As its name suggests, Shakti Sikkim Village Walk isn’t your average hotel; it’s a trio of rural houses with host families, set in different parts of scenic Sikkim. Don’t expect to have these vivid landscapes to yourselves – you’ll share them with snow leopards, black bears, red pandas, blue sheep, musk deer and more. Days here are spent discovering the region on lofty walks with Shakti’s expert guides and porters, and picnicking by glaciers and alpine forests; you’ll also visit local schools and monasteries and go on the search for wolves and other wildlife. When dusk falls, you’ll be glad for the hot showers, private chef and big beds that await you, back at boutique basecamp.
A trio of houses, each owned by a host family and occupying a different part of Sikkim (you’ll experience each of the three outposts on your itinerary). Two of the houses have three bedrooms; one has two.
5pm (flexible, subject to availability). Earliest check-in, 8am. Unsurprisingly, things aren’t minute-strict here.
Double rooms from $1368.42, excluding tax at 4.5 per cent.
Rates usually include all meals, soft drinks, transfers, trips, walks and cookery classes.
If you like Shakti Sikkim Village Walk, have a gander at the brand’s other outposts in Kumaon and Ladakh.
The hotel will be closed until 1 October 2018, and will be open from then until 20 April 2019.
At the hotel
Kitchen; living/dining room. In rooms: working fireplace; kettle; SOS Organics bath products.Kitchen; living/dining room. In rooms: working fireplace; kettle; SOS Organics bath products.
Our favourite rooms
Each of the houses has its own distinct character and setting. Sangdyang Lee and Radhu Khandu have three bedrooms; the house at Hee has two bedrooms. All three are very simple, though the bathrooms are pleasingly modern and have hot showers and a tempting stash of organic bath products (shampoo, conditioner, soap, apricot cream and a body butter from a shop in Kumaon called SOS Organics). The woollen fabrics are made in the Himalayas.
Whatever you bring will be added to your load (or your poor porters’), so go easy on the fripperies.
Adventurous little Smiths aged three and above are invited; they can join the village walks, too (one of the friendly porters might even give them a piggyback). Beyond board games, Shakti doesn’t have family-friendly flourishes.
Shakti Sikkim Village Walks’ three houses were built by local craftsmen using sustainable local materials. The activities programme champions hiking, village walks, nature walks and trips to wildlife reserves. Shakti also helps out with sanitation projects; its bath products are locally made and organic.
The one in your living room – unless you’d rather set up camp outside. Lunch is usually a table-free picnic, amid jaw-droppingly beautiful scenery.
Clothes you can hike the Himalayas in.
Instead of a formal restaurant, each Shakti Village house has a kitchen and dining room and comes equipped with a private chef and support staff. Breakfast is a mixture of Continental and Indian options; lunch and dinner champion local dishes: biryani,momos (dumplings), samosas, Parsi chicken curry with apricots and khow suey (noodle soup), for example. Guests will be asked for their preferences, so that the chef can work to their tastes. You’re always welcome to step into the kitchen and watch what’s going on (or get involved with a cookery class).
You’re in a village house, not the Dorchester. That said, drinks are available on request (just let the team know what you’d like ordered in before arrival).
Mealtimes are tailored to when you want them. Expect breakfast around 8am or 9am, lunch at oneish and dinner at 8pm.
None. Speak to your chef or guides if you’re hungry or thirsty between meals.
Shakti Tours & Travels PVT. (Ltd.)
Hee Bazaar, West Sikkim,
Sikkim is in the eastern Himalayas, in India’s rugged northeast, bordered by Bhutan, Tibet and Nepal. It’s a fairytale land of glaciers, alpine meadows and fields of vivid wildflowers.
Bagdogra Airport is a five-hour drive away from Shakti Sikkim; private transfers with a guide are included in Shakti’s rates.
You’ve no need for wheels – private transfers are included and you’ll be fully taken care of on the ground. (You’ll also be using your legs. A lot.)
Worth getting out of bed for
Village walks lie at the heart of Shakti’s philosophy; its expert guides and porters will give you privileged access to remote villages. You’ll experience rural life in the mountains via the three houses on your itinerary, walking from one to the other. The team will also take you to local schools, wildlife sanctuaries, family monasteries and mountain-village markets; don’t miss Yuma Samyo Mangheem (AKA Limboo Temple) and the Pemayangtse Monastery. Walks will be tailored to guests’ comfort levels (there’s a car at the ready, should you get tired). If you’ve been enjoying all the biryanis, momos and samosas rustled up by your private chef, have a free cookery class with them.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this remote hotel in Sikkim and unpacked their walking boots and woollen socks, a full account of their adventure break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Shakti Sikkim Village Walk in the Himalayas…
At some hotels, you have to sing for your supper. At Shakti Sikkim Village Walk, you have to hike for it. Shakti Sikkim’s trio of simple rural dwellings occupy different pockets of scenic Sikkim – a vivid landscape of alpine meadows, glaciers, mountains and wildflowers. You couldn’t discover this wilderness without help; luckily, Shakti’s expert guides and porters will lead you from one house to the other on a vertiginous walking adventure that encompassing wildlife reserves, family monasteries, mountain-village markets and more. Each of the three houses has a different style and story – one house belongs to a local politician; one has a prayer room; one has outside showers and 270-degree views – but each one will give you an authentic taste of village life in the eastern Himalayas. If you ever needed proof that there’s more to Smith than high thread-counts, marble bathrooms and faultless room service, this is it.
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