Sikkim & Darjeeling Travel
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Spread below the Mt. Kanchanjunga (8534 m), the third highest mountain in the world and revered by the Sikkimese as their protective Deity, Sikkim shares her borders with Tibet in the north; Bhutan in the east, Nepal in the west and state of Bengal in the south.
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Sikkim & Darjeeling Travel —» Adventure & Wildlife —» Birding Circuits in Sikkim

Tour Itineraries

Birding Circuits in Sikkim

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Birding Sites in Sikkim HimalayasSikkim has not yet been fully explored by birders, due to travel restrictions. We are continuing to explore new areas and will add these sites to our birding tours as they are validated.

Sikkim is a restricted area but is open to Foreign tourists for 15 days at a time. Foreign nationals can easily get a Sikkim entry permit endorsed on their India visa, by applying for the same to the nearest Indian mission. 

Bagdogra near Siliguri Town is the gateway airport. It is connected to Delhi, Guwahati, and Kolkata

West Sikkim

Vershay and Kalej Valley Birding circuit

Vershay is located at 3300 m, on a massive ridge covered with protected forests of Silver Fir, hemlocks, magnolia, and Rhododendrons. It is one of the best birding areas in Sikkim. Starting from the road head at the small village of Hilley at 2700 m, it is an easy walk up to the ridge top. As you climb higher it is theRhododendrons that reign supreme. Branches of trees twine together to form a leafy canopy. Sunlight filtering through a fretwork of rich green foliage lights up flowers in splashes of colors. Butterflies of many hues dance from flower to flower. There is bird song in the air, and all the species of this zone can be spotted. Blood Pheasant, Satyr Tragopan, Mountain Hawk Eagle, Amur Falcon, Kalij Pheasant, Rufus belied woodpecker, Fire-tailed Myzornis, and Brown Parrot bills, Slaty-backed Flycatchers, Golden Robin, Long Tailed thrushes, Grey-crested tits, Streak breasted, Rusty cheeked, and slender billed Scimitar Babblers, various Laughing thrushes, Red-tailed Minla, and many others have been spotted. There is also the attraction of breathtaking views of Mount KhangchenDzonga, apart from the delightful Rhododendrons in bloom in Feb-March. The down hill trek Sikkim Tourism, Birding Sites in Sikkim Himalayasto Dentam in the Khalij Valley (elevation 1500 m) requires walking for 3-4 hours. The route passes through a mixed forest of rhododendron, magnolia, and other flora. Look out for Red breasted Tragopan, Red eared Bay Wood Pecker, Solitary snipe, Brown Wood Owl, Himalayan Cuckoo, Kaleej, and others. There are chances of encountering Barking Deer and some of the wildcat family. In the lower regions as you walk through cardamom fields, wild orchids, and ethnic villages, you can spend a day birding for Ashy Wood Pigeon, Rufous throated and Spotted Wren Babblers, Yellow throated Fulvetta, Red - faced Liocichla, Cutia, Rust belied shortwing, Blue fronted Robin and long-billed Thrush. Hosts of other species including those found around Darjeeling and Lava have been spotted..

Hilley is 79 Kms from Darjeeling (04 hrs). It can also be reached from Kalimpong in 04.30 hours, and from Pamayangtse also in 04 hours. If moving directly from Bagdogra Airport it will take 06 hours. From Dentam after the birding trek it is a 1.30 hours drive to Pelling/Pamayangtse. 

We provide fully serviced camping on this circuit, with the possibility of staying at trekkers hut at Vershay.

Four days are required. to do this circuit. On the first day drive to Hilley from Darjeeling or Kalimpong or Bagdogra, for overnight camping. Spend the next day birding along the trail to Vershay, and spend the second night there. On the third day bird along the trekking trail to Dentam, spending the night there. Finally on the fourth day try the birding sites along the Khalej Valley, reaching Pelling /Pamayangtse by  the evening.
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Pamayangtse - Yoksom birding circuit

Pamayangtse Monastery, SikkimThe Pamayangtse Monastery stands on a lovely site at 2085 m altitude with breathtaking views of Mount Khangchendzonga. It is the second oldest in Sikkim, and the main attraction of West Sikkim. Around Pamayangtse and the nearby village of Pelling there are several excellent birding sites and hikes. Some of the birds recorded are Besra, Mountain Hawk Eagle, Black Eagle, Himalayan Griffon, Kalij Pheasant, Barred Cuckoo Dove, Oriental Turtle Dove, Various Cuckoos, Woodpeckers, Barbets, shrikes, Babblers, and 
Thrushes, Long tailed Minivet, Orange-belied leafbird, Striated Bulbul, Cutia, Yellow breasted Green Finch, various Robins, Warblers, tits, and Sunbirds, along with others.

The Khechepheri Lake at an altitude of 1980 m is 28 Kms from Pamayangtse. It is a sacred lake located in a natural crater-like basin. The lake hosts migrant ducks and occasionally some rare species such as Black necked Grebe, Baer's Pochard or Greater Sccaup. Other birds spotted have been Speckled wood pigeon, Emerald Cuckoo, Blue winged and Scaly Laughing Thrushes; White napped Yuhina and many of those at Pamayangtse. 

Yoksom Village at 1780 m is as far as you can go by jeep. Around Yoksom some of the birds recorded are Mountain Hawk Eagle, Crimson breasted Woodpecker, Maroon Oriole, Short-billed and Grey chinned Minevets, Himalayan Bulbul, Red -tailed Minla, White-naped Yuhina, various Thrushes, Grey winged Blackbird, various Tits, White tailed Nuthatch, and various sunbirds.

Pamayangtse is 77 kms from Darjeeling and it takes 04 hours by jeep. It is also connected to Kalimpong (100 kms in 04 hrs). If you want to go directly from Bagdogra it is 148 kms and takes 05.30 hrs. From Pamayangtse Khochipheri Lake is 28 Kms and Yoksom is 32 Kms. It is feasible to drive from Pamayangtse/Pelling to Yoksom with a days birding at Khechepheri Lake.

Standard Tourist hotels are available at Pelling (02 kms from Pamayangtse), Gyalshing (10 Kms from Pamayangtse), and at Yoksom. We stay at the Hotel Phamrong at Pelling or the Tashigang Resort at Gyalshing. and at the Tashigang Hotel at Yoksom.

04 days are suggested with 02 nights stay at Pelling for 02 days birding around Pamayangtse, 02 nights, at Yoksom with one days birding enroute at Khechepheri Lake, and another days birding around Yoksom.

Dzongri & Prek Chu Valley Birding trek - Elevation up to 4400 m

For those who are enthusiastic about trekking in the high Himalayas, the best way to see higher altitude birds is to take the 08 days Dzongri trek along the circuit Yoksom-Tshokha-Dzongri - Thanshing - Tshoka - Yoksom. 

Some of the birds recorded on this trip are Blood Pheasant, Brown Parotbill, Fire-tailed Myzorinas, Cutia, Sapphire flycatcher, White browned Bush Robin, Grandala, Rufous - breasted Accentors, White winged and collared Grosbeaks, Spot-winged Rosefinch, Scarlet finch, and Khalij Pheasant. For details of this treklook under trekking

B/03: 12 days West Sikkim Birding Circuit

Night Heron, West Sikkim Birding CircuitDay 01
Arrive Bagdogra. Drive to Hilley Camp (can also drive from Darjeeling or Kalimpong)

Day 02
Birding around Hilley and trek to Vershay

Day 03
Birding around Vershay

Day 04 Birding trek to Dentam

Day 04 Birding in Khalij Valley and drive to Pamayangtse

Day 05-06 Pamayangtese birding
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Day 07 Drive to Khechipheri Lake and birding.

Day 08 Birding around Khechepheri

Day 09
Drive to Yoksom and birding.

Day 10-11 Birding around Yoksom

Day 12
Drive to Bagdogra for departure (or can go to Gangtok, Kalimpong, Lava, or Darjeeling)

Small Blue Kingfisher, West Sikkim Birding CircuitB/04: 14 days West Sikkim Birding Trek

Day 01 Arrive Bagdogra. Drive to Pamayangtse

Day 02-03 Pamayangtse birding

Day 04 Drive to Khichepheri and birding

Day 05 Drive to Yoksom & birding

Day 06 Birding around Yoksom

Day 07-
13 Birding trek to Dzongri and Prekchu Valley. Return to Yoksom

Day 14
Drive to Bagdogra for departure (or can go to Kalimpong, Lava, or Darjeeling).

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Trekking Map's
Green Lake Trek Map || Dzongri & Singalila Map || Yuksom Goechala Map || Yumesamdong Trek Map || Kanchenjunga Trek Map || Sikkim Group of Peaks Map || Singalila & Kanchenjung Map || Sandakphu With Altitude Map
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