Tours, nature and culture
Nature / Culture / Hiking options
Where two land masses collide geologically, creating the highest mountain range in the world, the advanced civilizations of Asia meet. Probably no other region on earth is home to a comparable range of flora and fauna and so many peoples with their languages, religions and cultures in such a small area.
In ancient times, the Himalayan region at the intersection of the mighty empires of India and Tibet, with their ancient Hindu and Buddhist cultures, was divided into many small kingdoms and principalities. There is a strong Islamic influence from the west and the animistic tribal cultures of southwest China from the east. This unique mixture can still be seen today in the traditions, culinary uniqueness, folk arts and architectural styles. We at Sikkim.ch are fortunate to have created a solid bridge to this fascinating part of the world through personal connections – and to have been able to open it up to other interested parties for many years. The wide variety of human culture and nature in the region, from the vast steppes of Mongolia to the extreme heights of Tibet, Nepal and Bhutan to India, Bangladesh and Myanmar, is immensely captivating.
During the relatively short time of a single vacation, we give you the opportunity to discover many different ways of life, traditions, arts and cuisines and to roam the most diverse climatic zones with their respective flora and fauna. It is a matter close to our hearts that you come into contact with the people here, that you get in touch with the culture and get to know the inhabitants personally. Discover the landscape: bizarre deserts with green valleys, the rice terraces of the south, humid mountain forests and the all-dominating ice giants of the Himalayas and recognize how the respective environment has shaped the indigenous peoples and created a lively and colourful modernity.
According to your individual wishes, you travel in comfortable jeeps or quite authentically by train, explore the area and the unique national parks. With us, you always have the opportunity to gain deep insights into the country and its people on walks and easy hikes. Our culture/nature and hiking tours are designed to include some exercise on foot – but this aspect can also be adapted to suit your mood on the day. You will spend the night in lovingly furnished lodges, certified mid-range hotels, bungalows or easy stilt houses and bamboo huts. On request, we integrate homestays and you are a house guest with locals. Our guides, who are always at home in the respective region, will give you a voice and provide you with invaluable insider information. Cross the bridge into a new world with our individual, flexible travel experiences, immerse yourself in the details of a culture and share in our wealth of experience.
In Assam, the KazirangaNational Parkinvites you to observe the ornithological diversity. Indian rhinoceroses, Bengal tigers, water buffaloes and many other exotic animal species, some of which only exist here, can also be observed here. As a special highlight, you can not only do these tours in an off-road vehicle, but also roam through the forests on the back of an elephant, feeling its raw power under your hands.
In Sikkim, the region in the north-east of India, an amazingly diverse ecosystem awaits you on the grounds of the Khangchendzonga National Park. The biodiversity preserved here, the diverse abundance of birds, the wide range of different mammals including the snow leopard and the almost unimaginable number of different reptiles, amphibians and insects are impressive on a trekking tour and can be ideally experienced on foot. Stopping, listening and seeing in the midst of this pristine diversity is probably one of the most intense experiences that a trekking holiday in India has to offer.
In addition to these outstanding destinations for travelers to India who want to experience the country’s nature up close, the east in particular has some almost unknown and sometimes very remote treasure troves for botanists, orchid lovers and ornithologists. We advise you on hotspots in Sikkim and in wild Arunachal Pradeshthat will grab true enthusiasts for whom the intense experience of nature is more important than convenience.
On the waterways of the mighty Brahmaputra
The river delta of Meghna, Ganges and Brahmaputra is both a blessing and a curse for Bangladesh, as these mighty rivers branch out into countless watercourses and repeatedly cause widespread flooding of the entire region. These can be dangerous for humans and their civilization, but Mother Nature has taken advantage of the special nature of the region and created one of the largest contiguous mangrove forest areas in the world with unique biodiversity. This fascinating primeval forest – protected, for example, as a bandarbanmangrove reserve – is home to many endangered animal and plant species and enchants visitors with the splendid blooms of man-sized poinsettias, water hyacinths, jasmine, water lilies, roses, hibiscus, bougainvillea, magnolias and wild orchids.
This is the habitat of many different mangrove species and also the unique Sundaritree, of Bengal tigers, fishing cats, elephants, ruffed bears, sloth bears, clouded leopards, leopard cats, rhesus monkeys, various species of deer, wild boar, various species of deer, wild boar, jackals, gibbons, lorises, bantengs, gauruses, countless species of birds, Gangetic dolphins, Irrawaddydolphins, dugongsand much more. and much more. They have all found an important retreat here. This very special, unique habitat has been a nature reserve since 1977 and has also been awarded the title of UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997.
Cross the bridge with us into the mystical world of water under the trees and discover it in the only way that seems appropriate: during a river trip, where often no sound can be heard apart from the lapping of the waves against the hull of the boat and the incessant calls of cicadas and birds. An excursion out onto the open waters of the Bay of Bengal is also wonderful and rewarding. A few kilometers from the coast, a great biodiversity is preserved here, with marine mammals such as the small Indian porpoise and Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins; in the deeper regions also East Pacific dolphins, lean dolphins, Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins and Bryde’s whales. This biodiversityhot spotis also known as the “Swatch-of–No-Ground”, a unique region encompassing the area of the curved river delta of the Sundarbansin Bangladesh, the adjacent coastal waters and the offshore open sea.
A multi-day river cruise on the Brahmaputra itself is also worthwhile, during which you follow the mighty river almost silently and enjoy the view of villages, tea gardens or the untouched nature of a national park bordering the riverbank. During the cruises, you stay in comfortable, private cabins on the river boats and enjoy the comfort of shower rooms and toilets. You can also take your meals on the boat and enjoy the fantastic panoramic view from the shaded sun deck at all times.
Of course, we also organize day trips lasting several hours with canoe and rafting toursthat can be perfectly integrated into your travel programme, depending on the destination.
Did you know that trekking, or “long-distance hiking”, was invented in the Himalayas, so to speak? After centuries of locals taking on weeks-long and dangerous treks far away from civilization for trading purposes, most of these routes are now so well established that they can be enjoyed by experienced hikers with modern equipment. We at Sikkim.ch and Terralaya Travels (Terralaya.com) are in the fortunate position of being able to take you on wonderful trekking and hiking routes up to an altitude of around 5000 meters. On very easy or difficult routes, according to your choice, our highly qualified guides offer you a safe and comfortable bridge to magnificent panoramas of untouched nature..
From the ice giants of Nepal and northern India, to rugged mountain deserts in the west of the Himalayas and tropical, humid mountain forests in the east to the rice terraces of the south, there is something for everyone who likes to explore their surroundings on foot. On all our trekking tours with overnight stays in tents, you only carry your own daypack with your personal belongings. Your luggage will be transported by porters or pack animals, and our warm-hearted team will also take care of your physical well-being. Good cooks prepare varied and balanced meals that are adapted to the physical exertion and altitude. Our guides are trained to monitor your physical condition in order to prevent altitude sickness, for example. This includes advising you to drink enough fluids and much more. Our equipment, tents, mats etc. meet modern standards to make your stay in the sometimes lonely and harsh environment as comfortable as possible.
We deliberately refrain from labeling our trekking trips with standardized levels of difficulty, which in our experience are often misleading. The current conditions in the different regions as well as the expectations of participants from different countries are easy to differentiate. We prefer to try to describe the routes as accurately as possible and point out the fitness requirements and, of course, any dangers in individual cases. The route description therefore includes, for example, information about the altitude of the overnight accommodation, expected temperatures, daily walking times, infrastructure available at the location and an indication of the number of other trekkers on the route.
Just get in touch with us! Together we will find a trek that meets your requirements and expectations and opens a bridge to a fascinating part of our world.
Mystical journeys, pilgrimages
The Himalayas have been attracting mystical seekers for thousands of years, because there is no other place in the world where you are as close to heaven as here. On the one hand, of course, this applies to the very profane geographical altitude, but above all in a figurative sense: nowhere else in the world are there so many holy places created by nature and man, mountains, springs and rivers, lakes, caves, temples and monasteries that are revered as sacred. There is hardly a place in the grandiose mountain world that does not have a history worthy of veneration.
Our mystical tours are aimed at people who are looking for an awakening experience, who want to experience a change and enrich the yearningly unfulfilled part of the soul and discover it as a source of happiness and serenity for the hectic pace of everyday life. Let us take you on a mystical tour to sacred places in the Himalayas, which touch anyone who visits them with an open heart with their magic – according to the legends. Have you already delved deeper into the Buddhist culture of the Himalayas? Our expert pilgrimage guides will lead you to meditate at places of power, caves or monasteries and other sacred pilgrimage sites and build bridges to qualified masters from whom you can receive teachings.
We can integrate meetings with shamans, Buddhist lamas or Hindu priests into your tour, arrange health resorts/retreats in India, include an ashram visit to Rishikehs or elsewhere in India. Tour in the company of an expert – this can be an academic or a lama – and have an audience with rimpocheys or tulkus, the teachers of Tibetan Buddhism, or with a guru, the teacher of Vedic teachings. We take you to places of power and pilgrimage sites and tell you the stories of the places. True to our philosophy, we want to build bridges and open doors. Walk through them!
The animistic religions of the mountain peoples, who used to roam as hunters and gatherers, have always regarded extraordinary natural spectacles such as waterfalls, hot springs, particularly old trees and the like as sacred. In addition to sacred places and sites in nature, the countless sacred buildings should of course also be mentioned: all the temples, monasteries and Buddhist shrines (caves) that have escaped destruction in the Indian and Nepalese Himalayas, unlike in Tibet. Many of them are centuries, if not millennia old. All of these places exude an unforgettable magic that leaves no one untouched and draws the gaze inwards – away from the stress and cool practicality of everyday Western life.
The Hindus practically always built their temples in places where something extraordinary, magical or mystical once happened. Each temple tells its own story – how one of the many Hindu gods performed or continues to perform a special miracle at this place.
Buddhist shrines usually refer to historical figures who meditated in special places, often caves. It is believed that these places were particularly blessed by their presence and therefore have healing powers. Here, among many others, the yogi Milarepa and guru Padmasambhava should be mentioned in particular. The latter left footprints and handprints in rocks in the eastern Himalayas, which are still revered today.
Experience the culture and life in various city tours across India. We connect you with the local people and teach you exciting things about their lives.