North-East India Wildlife Highlights

This trip exploring Kaziranga and Manas (the finest of India’s national parks), the charming hill station of Darjeeling and Pelling in Sikkim famous for magnificent views of the snow-capped Mt. Kanchenjunga range, the third highest peak in the world, plus an exciting optional extension to the magical kingdom of Bhutan.... More

This trip exploring Kaziranga and Manas (the finest of India’s national parks), the charming hill station of Darjeeling and Pelling in Sikkim famous for magnificent views of the snow-capped Mt. Kanchenjunga range, the third highest peak in the world, plus an exciting optional extension to the magical kingdom of Bhutan.

Northeast India is a largely unvisited region of India. The biodiversity of Northeast India is one of the most diverse in the world. This region is home to a multitude of Asia’s rarest and most secretive animal and bird species. It is the home to indigenous hill tribes of a very different cultural anthropology. The Naga tribes in particular, who are indigenous to both India and Burma, have largely preserved their cultural heritage and distinctive features to this day.

Only since 1994 have some areas been opened to foreigners. Since then, the still almost unknown Manas National Park has been open to tourists interested in nature & wildlife. This park borders Bhutan and is home to a fabulous fauna with a rich bird life as well as a variety of highly interesting mammals.

We visit four very different destinations – each dominated by the rich flora, fauna and mighty Himalayan range – for this unusual tour. First we head to Kaziranga National Park. Situated on the Brahmaputra River in Assam, Kaziranga has a superb variety of wildlife and is probably the best place in the world to see the endangered Great Indian One-horned Rhinoceros. Next we visit Manas National Park, which is situated in the foothills of the Himalayas bordering Bhutan. Next we spend six days in Darjeeling and Pelling , enjoying the area’s nature, culture and breathtaking views of the eastern Himalayan peaks.



  • The world’s largest population of Indian One-horned Rhinoceros in Kaziranga
  • Hog Deer, Swamp Deer, Hoolock Gibbon & the chance of seeing a Tiger
  • Extensive bird list featuring waterbirds, raptors & Bengal Florican
  • Highly endangered species of mammals such the rare Pygmy Hog, the Hispid Hare and the Golden Langur, Fishing Cats, Wild Buffalo, Wild Dog (Dhole) in Manas National Park
  • Montane vegetation including Himalayan Rhododendron in Sikkim & Darjeeling
  • Picturesque scenery in Darjeeling, including tea estates
  • Breathtaking view of the entire Kanchenjunga mountain range from Pelling in Sikkim
  • Optional extension to Unique Bhutanese architecture including spectacular temples & dzongs

Welcome to India! Upon arrival in Kolkata a travel-to-nature Asia guide/representative will be at the airport to greet and take us to our hotel. Please look out for your name-card once you exit out of arrival area.

If time permits, we will explore bit of Kolkata city – visiting Victoria Memorial Hall, Jalighat Temple, also visit Ashram of Mother Teresa.

Accommodation: The Oberoi Grand

Today we leave Kolkata and proceed to the airport where we board our flight to Jorhat in Assam.

Arriving at Jorhat Airport, we will board our minibus and drive to Kaziranga National Park (about a 2-hour drive), where we will settle into the Wild Grass Lodge or Infinity Lodge. These are small, comfortable lodges which offers en suite rooms with showers and is set in a pleasant garden. It is surrounded by open grassland and some wooded areas, both of which are good for watching birds.

Kaziranga, with an area of 430 square kilometers, is one of the world’s most beautiful national parks. It lies on the south bank of the great Brahmaputra River and is one of the last haunts of the Greater One-Horned Rhinoceros. The area was first given protection as a forest reserve in the early years of this century, but it was not opened to visitors until 1938, and it was not until 1954 that the Great Indian One-Horned Rhinoceros was given complete statutory protection, allowing Kaziranga to become one of the most important refuges for this endangered mammal. The wildlife sanctuary was given National Park status in 1974 and today there are over 1,100 rhinos in the park, a figure which represents over 70% of the world total. Kaziranga is also home to the Asian Elephant, wild Water Buffalo, Swamp Deer and the endangered freshwater Ganges River Dolphin.

Accommodation: Infinity Resort
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

We will spend our two full days in Kaziranga exploring the reserve by jeep and on elephant back. There will be ample time for birdwatching and photography as well as opportunities to learn about the work of the reserve patrols.

Kaziranga is a vast area of swamps interspersed with broad tracts of tall elephant grass, open forests, watercourses (known as ‘jheels’) and reedbeds. To the south the ground rises to 1,200 metres to form the Mikir Hills, an important refuge for the reserve’s wildlife when the lowlands flood during the annual monsoon.

In addition to seeing the endangered Greater One-horned Rhinoceros, we also hope to see Kaziranga’s important population of Water Buffalo, (one of the last remaining wild populations), and a variety of other mammal species, such as Rhesus Macaque, Common and Capped Langurs, Sambar, plus Swamp, Barking and Hog Deer, Common and Clawless Otters, and Wild Boar. We will make every effort to locate other more elusive inhabitants of the Reserve such as Asian Elephant and Hoolock Gibbon. Birdlife is equally diverse and among the bird species found here is an exceptional range of waterbirds – cormorants, herons, egrets, storks, geese, ducks, waders, terns and birds of prey. Other regional specialties include Swamp Partridge, Bengal Florican, Abbott’s Babbler, Sultan Tit, Black-breasted Thrush, Bristled Grass Warbler, Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker and Little Spiderhunter. It really is a wonderful place to visit.

Accommodation: Infinity Resort
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

We will leave Kaziranga today then travel the whole day by road to Manas National Park via Guwahati. The long drive interrupted by several stops and the landscape is fascinating before you reach Manas Park.

We will be based in simple but comfortable accommodation – The Bansbari Lodge – for three nights, which is conveniently situated near the entrance to the national park. The twin-bedded rooms have private bathrooms and also have electricity (though please note that power cuts occur quite frequently).

Manas National Park which is a World Heritage Site is nestled right beneath the Bhutan Himalayas; it has sub tropical vegetation and is fed by the Manas and the Beki rivers and a few more streams and rivulets. Mathanguri, at its northern end has a spectacular sight of the Manas river gushing down and the forested mountains on the Bhutanese side. This is the Indo-Bhutan international border – and a chance to spot the rare and endangered Golden Langur. Because of its elevation and forests and grasslands the bird life is very interesting with the Great Indian Hornbill making an occasional appearance. The park home to a great variety of wildlife including many endangered species. The Tiger Project Reserve extends over an area of 2,837 square kilometres with a core area of 500 square kilometres.

Accommodation: The Bansbari Lodge
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Early morning we will take an elephant safari for about an hour looking for Wild Gaur/Wild Water Buffalos and the rare Bengal Florican frequently seen in the grassland. Return to lodge for breakfast.

Mid morning we will visit on foot a nearby tribal village walking alongside a tea garden observing some low land bird species. We may visit a school in the village.

Lunch at the lodge. Then we go to the river to see elephant bathing and feeding. PM go for another jeep safari inside the park. We will drive right up to the Bhutan border where we can see a gushing river coming down from the Bhutan Himalayas. Sip a hot cup of Assam tea as you see the spectacular sight of the sun going down. Return to the lodge in the dark, this time our naturalists accompanying you will have spot lights ready to gaze at the wild life that might be present in the vicinity.

Accommodation: The Bansbari Lodge
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

After our early breakfast in Manas we’ll then make the 3-4 hour drive to Guwahati airport to catch our fight to Bagdogra. On arrival we will be transferred by road to Darjeeling in the state of West Bengal, north-east India.

Darjeeling is a small town which the British tea planters and the Raj used as a summer capital to escape the searing heat of the plains lower down in Kolkata. The season promised frequent tea parties and discussions around polished tables in quaint and beautifully located bungalows where life had its own rhythm. It is still possible to experience this relaxed style of life in Darjeeling.

We will stay in the Elgin Hotel for two nights. This elegant hotel combines tradition with modernity and was once the residence of the Maharaja of Cooch Bihar. The building itself dates back 120 years. Guests are greeted by draping a silken Khada around the neck in typical Himalayan tradition and the decor is of oak floorboards and panelling, fireplaces and antique Burma teak furniture. The en-suite rooms are very comfortable and offer a wide range of facilities. Authentic Indian and continental dishes are served here as well as many local recipes.

Accommodation: New Elgin Hotel
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

With a backdrop of mighty snow-clad Himalayan peaks, Darjeeling is the most important hill resort in eastern India. The mighty Kanchenjunga peak overlooks the town and, with luck, we will also see the world’s highest peak, Mount Everest, from near the town. There is a great deal to interest visitors here. We will visit Tiger Hill which offers views of the Kanchenjunga and we will also be exploring Darjeeling on foot, enjoying the colonial style buildings of the British Raj and visiting some of the town’s attractive locations, such as Observatory Hill (known as ‘The Mall’) and the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute (HMI). The Mall is a hill near the main square in Darjeeling, Chowrasta. There are wonderful views of the Himalayas from The Mall. Situated at an elevation of 2,100 meters, the HMI was founded in 1954 after the historic conquest of Everest on the 29th May 1953 by Tenzing Norgay (a Sherpa) from Darjeeling and Sir Edmund Hillary, from New Zealand.

Darjeeling Himalayan Railway or the ‘Toy Train’- The Toy Train is one of the most famous narrow gauge trains in the world. Highlights of a trip on this train include the Batasia Loop with its spectacular views down into Darjeeling and of the surrounding high peaks, Tiger Hill – the highest station on the line and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Gurkha War Memorial and the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute.

Narrow gauge steam engine trains still operate with their original steam engines and the loops and the zigzags along the route are remarkable feats of engineering. We will take a short ride from Darjeeling town to Ghoom, the nearest station. It is a joy ride in itself. The Toy Train is considered an engineering marvel and railway enthusiasts regard it as one of the wonders of the world, worth preserving forever.

Darjeeling Zoo: This is a 67.56 acre (27.3 ha) zoo in the town of Darjeeling. The zoo was opened in 1958, and an average elevation of 2,134 m, is the largest high altitude zoo in India. It specializes in breeding animals adapted to alpine conditions, and has successful captive breeding programs for the snow leopard, the critically endangered Himalayan wolf and the red panda.

Himalayan Mountaineering Institute: This was founded in 1954 after the historic conquest of Everest on the 29th May 1953, when two people reached its summit. They were the Sherpa Tenzing Norgay, from Darjeeling and Sir Edmund Hillary, from New Zealand. As an honor to the great Sherpa this institute was formed with the aim of imparting mountaineering skills to enthusiasts. Tenzing Norgay was one of the founding members of HMI and also served as field director of the Institute. HMI also houses a museum which holds a rare collection of mementoes from various Everest expeditions.

Accommodation: New Elgin Hotel
Meal: Breakfast

Today we leave Darjeeling and proceed to Pelling where we will settle into the resort “The Elgin Mount Pandim”. It offers a unique and personal tryst with the Himalayas and revokes the old world charm created by its first owners – the royal family of Sikkim and offers a peaceful retreat.

For bird lovers the resort offers an excellent vantage point for watching rare birds including the Green-tailed sunbirds, Rufous-gorgeted Flycatchers, Scimiter Babblers and Laughing thrushes and many more.

Pelling is about 73 km away from Darjeeling and 115 km from Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim. The placid town pulls most of the visitors for its representative status in history, nature and culture of the state of Sikkim. More precisely Pelling is famous for magnificent views of the snow-capped Kanchenjunga range, the third highest peak in the world.

Accommodation: The Elgin Mount Pandim
Meal: Breakfast

Sun, cloud or fog? This is the key question in the morning when we wake up directly in front of the 8,686m third-highest mountain in the world, Kanchenchunga. Situated at an altitude of 2150 m, Pelling offers breathtaking view of the entire Kanchenjunga mountain range including Koktang, Kumbhakaran (Jannu), Rathong, Kabru, Kabru Dome, Kanchenjunga, Pandim, Siniolchu and others. This is as close as you can get to the Kanchenjunga range without leaving the material comfort of good hotels. There is a great deal to interest visitors here.

We will spend our two full days here exploring by jeep and hiking around. We will take time to explore the town, meet the local people and get an insider’s perspective on the local culture. We will visit many places of interest that fit the best to all of us.

Pemayangtse Monastery: Pemayangtse literally means ‘Perfect Sublime Lotus’. This is one of the oldest and most important monasteries of Sikkim. Founded in 1705, this monastery belongs to the Nyingma-pa sect. The three-storied building of the monastery houses a good collection of wall paintings and sculptures. On the third floor of the monastery, there is a seven-tiered painted wooden model of the abode of Guru Rimpoche, complete with rainbows, angels and the whole panoply of Buddha and bodhisattva. In January/ February every year, a religious dance called ‘Cham’ is performed in Pemayangtse.

Sanga Choeling Monastery is located on the top of the mountain behind the town of Pelling. The distance to the monastery from town is about 3 km. The road is not motorable and one needs to take a 45 minute walk through a quite path to reach the monastery. As a result a visit to Sanga Choeling Monastery is not part of any of the regular itinerary. But if you have time and energy, the effort of the uphill walk is well rewarded with great views of Pelling and surrounding hills including great views of Mount Kanchenjunga that can be seen from the monastery compound.

Built in 1697 the Sanga Choeling is one of the oldest monasteries in Sikkim. Sanga Choeling means ‘the island of esoteric teaching’. This Gompa is another of Lhatsun Chenpo’s creations, and is highly venerated among the Nyingmapa. Gutted by fire, it has been rebuilt and houses some of the original clay statues.This monastery is the second oldest in Sikkim. Since the place can only be reached on foot, even during high tourist season, the monastery is not crowded. One can still enjoy the great views among tranquillity.

Khecheopalri Lake: Khecheopalri Lake is considered one of the most sacred lakes of Sikkim. The lake remains hidden under rich forest cover. It is believed that birds do not permit even a single leaf to float on the lake surface. Our visit to Pelling would be incomplete without a tour to this lake.

Rabdentse Ruins: This was the second capital of the erstwhile kingdom of Sikkim after Yuksom and till the year 1814 A.D., the king of Sikkim ruled the state from this place. Today, Rabdentse ruins lie hidden from the main road at a walking distance from Pelling and the Pemayangtse monastery. It can be approached by following a footpath which branches off the main road. The scenic view from the top of the ruin scanning across deep valley to the mystic heights of Kangchenjunga ranges is something to be cherished and etched in memory.

Accommodation: The Elgin Mount Pandim
Meal: Breakfast

Getting up early is rewarded by a beautiful sunrise, as if the Himalayas opening its unique light theater. Around the Hills sky and earth suddenly seem to melt. Glowing, the sun awakens the mountain gods of the highest Himalayan summits.

After our leisurely breakfast we are set for a beautiful and scenic journey to Kalimpong (1250 m) for overnight stay at The Elgin Silver Oaks, Kalimpong. The Elgin Silver Oaks Kalimpong, was the home of a famous Jute magnate. It is now converted into a luxury Elgin boutique hotel in the Himalayas.

Accommodation: The Elgin Silver Oaks
Meal: Breakfast

We will leave Kalimpong today and drive to Bagdogra airport where we will board our flight to Kolkata or Delhi.

On arrival in Kolkata (or Delhi) where we’ll spend our final day in India. The reminder of the day is free for individual shopping or sightseeing . Evening Farewell  dinner in a local restaurant  followed by   transfer to  airport  to connect  flight  to onward  destination.

Meal: Breakfast

Bhutan extension: An extension trip to Bhutan is highly recommended not only because of its close proximity but being one of the few last remaining Shangri-La of the Himalayas!


  • Airport (pick up/drop off) transfers by private A/C vehicle
  • Twin-Sharing accommodation in all Hotel/Resort/Lodge as mentioned
  • Daily breakfast throughout the trip, other meals as mentioned in the itinerary
  • Guided Sightseeing, all activities and day excursions as per itinerary
  • Entrance fees (national parks/conservation areas/monuments etc.)
  • 3 Jeep Safari’s in Kaziranga National park with Entry fee (5-6 persons sharing a Jeep)
  • 3 Jeep Safari’s in Manas National park with Entry fee (5-6 persons sharing a Jeep)
  • All sightseeing and long-distance transportation in a private air-conditioned vehicle (cars/SUVs or mini/micro-van etc. depending on group size). This includes toll taxes, parking, allowance for the driver, outstation overnight charges for the driver
  • Experience Tour Leader
  • All applicable government taxes

Not Included

  • International flight tickets
  • Visa fees
  • Travel insurance & vaccinations
  • Tips for trip leader/guide, driver, hotel staff and porters
  • Camera/photography fees inside the monasteries & monuments
  • Personal clothing and equipment
  • Items of personal nature such as alcoholic beverages, soft drinks, laundry, telephone calls and other unforeseen expenses
  • Items/services not listed in "included"
  • Extra expenses/payment for 'Optional’ activities/programs if opted in

Price: US$ 2,275 per person (Twin Sharing | Based on Minimum 6 Travelers)
Single Supplement: US$ 885

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The Oberoi Grand, Kolkata

Fondly referred to as the Grand Dame of Chowringhee, our 5 star hotel: The Oberoi Grand has been an icon on the landscape of Kolkata for more than a century; with a reputation for taking care of its guests that befits the best hotel in Kolkata.The sense of calm that pervades the outdoor space is carried into the classically appointed rooms and suites that encircle the courtyard.

Infinity Resort, Kaziranga

Our guests are drawn to the magic of nature, to the slow pace of life, closeness to the natural world and to the relief from the pressures of modern living. The ethos of Infinity Resort is founded on super luxury, afforded by an exceptionally great location which is harmoniously blended with its natural environment. A completely a zen experience for our guests!

The Bansbari Lodge, Manas

One of the oldest lodge in Manas National park, Bansbari Lodge is located in a very scenic location close to the main gate. It is situated overlooking the forest hills of the park on one side and lush green tea garden on the other side. It offers clean and airy room with a small balcony attached in each room.

Hotel New Elgin, Darjeeling

One of the most popular luxury heritage hotels in Darjeeling, the Elgin is a 125-year old property, which used to be the summer residence of the Maharaja of Cooch Behar. The hotel offers stunning views as it lies on the altitude of 6000 feet amid the Himalayas. The property has a colonial charm due to its history and architecture.

The Elgin Mount Pandim, Pelling

The Elgin Mount Pandim Hotel in Pelling offers a unique and personal tryst with the Himalayas. Set in eight acres of virgin forest and landscaped gardens, it revokes the old world charm created by its first owners – the royal family of Sikkim and offers a peaceful retreat about one hundred and fifty kilometers from Siliguri, with a glorious view of the Singalila range.

The Elgin Silver Oaks, Kalimpong

Lounging in the landscaped gardens in a profusion of colors, one is treated to breath-taking view at The Elgin Silver Oaks, Kalimpong. The natural décor is characteristic in the imposing Kanchenjunga which can be seen on a clear day, blooming petunias and asters, the serrated violet edges of iris, iridescent butterflies flitting through colourful azaleas, drooping geraniums, proud orchids and heaven, temporarily descends on earth.

Trip Facts

  • Price (USD) From 2,275
  • Duration 15 Days
  • Group Size 2-12 Pax
  • Arrive Kolkata
  • Depart Kolkata
  • Trip Level
    easy to moderate
  • Activity Wildlife | Birding | Hiking
  • Meals 14 Breakfasts, 6 Lunches, 6 Dinners
  • Accommodation 4-5* Hotel, Resort, Lodge

Giving back to the communities is our responsibility!

With every trip, you also support the SWAN and thus projects for Sustainable Community development and Biodiversity protection.

Our primary NGO partner is Social Welfare Association of Nepal (SWAN), with whom we have carried out multiple CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) projects. Besides carrying out regular CSR activities in the areas of education and women empowerment, we have supported relief and rehabilitation initiatives in the aftermath of several natural disasters like earthquake, immediate response to COVID-19 pandemic across Nepal. 

Giving something back to the world is a special and responsible affair of travel-to-nature Asia right from its inception. When you travel with travel-to-nature Asia and SWAN-Nepal, you become an integral force for change in addressing the most pressing social and wildlife conservation issues. Your tourism funds help transform the future of under-privileged and marginalized communities and transform the future of at-risk natural places you travel. Portion of our profit flows to local communities who live with and steward nature, creating jobs and improving livelihoods.

By joining one of our holidays you are playing a vital role in bringing positive changes in the lives of local community.

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