blog img

Red Panda Photo Tour

From

INR 75,000/-

Highlights

  • 4 full days of Red Panda tracking and photography
  • Birding and Bird photography from in-house bird hide On field Photographic instruction
  • 2 daily short treks looking for birds and wildlife Transfers by 1956 model Land Rovers
  • Panoramic views of Mt Everest from Sandakphu
  • Incredible location of our homestay on the Indo-Nepal Border
  • Ensuite facilities with running hot and cold water
  • Authentic Himalayan wildlife experience in comfort
  • All inclusive tour ex Bagdogra, West Bengal

Overview

The Tinchule Forest of Nepal & India’s Singalila National Park is one of the most exotic Himalayan habitats in the eastern Indo-Nepal region. Singalila is a national park of India located on the Singalila Ridge at an altitude ranging between 7000 feet to 12000 feet above sea level, in the Darjeeling district of West Bengal. It is well known for the incredibly scenic trekking route to the Sandakphu peak that runs through it.

The area is one of the best-known places in the world to see and photograph the Exotic Red Panda. During our Red Panda photo tours to Singalila-Tinchule Forest, our group would be guided by highly experienced local guides who specialize in tracking the endangered Red Pandas on a day-to-day basis. Our guests on all the previous tours have all had 100% success in not just finding Red Pandas but have also had great photographic opportunities.

Apart from Red Pandas other mammals found in the region include Himalayan Black Bear, Clouded Leopard, Leopard, Black Panther, Leopard Cat, Serow, Barking Deer, Yellow-throated Marten, Wild Boar, Pangolin, Himalayan Pika, etc. Tinchule-Singalila is also a Birding Paradise. More than 300 species of birds are found here. It has a plethora of exotic and colorful birds like the Blood Pheasant, Satyr Tragopan, Kalij Pheasant, Brown and Fulvous Parrotbills, Rufous-vented Tit, and Old World babblers like the Fire-tailed Myzornis and the Golden-breasted Fulvetta, Rose Finches, Bull Finches, Wren Babblers, Laughingthrushes, Nuthatches, Treecreepers, Yuhinas, Minivets, Partriges, and many more avian wonders call these mountains their home.

One of the best places to see sunrises and sunsets is the Sandakphu top, the highest peak in West Bengal. A short 50-minute drive in a Land Rover from our homestay would have us arrive at the peak. Starting before sunrise, on one of the mornings, our group would be driven up to the Sandakphu top to watch the sunrise over the mighty Himalayas. Brave the morning cold and get prepared to be mesmerized by the best panoramic views of Mt Kanchenjunga and Mt Everest also known as “Sleeping Buddha” or “Sleeping Shiva”.

Our Homestay

The homestay is an Indo-Nepal joint venture towards sustainable tourism around the Red Panda and its conservation. The endangered Red Panda & its habitat are largely threatened across their region of distribution and pushing them further towards extinction. The founders and operators of the homestay strive hard to protect and conserve the Red Panda and have launched a conservation project dedicated to this cause. Your travel to this region to see and photograph Red Pandas directly contributes to conservation as the homestay shares 20% of profits earned from hospitality with its conservation initiative.

This village is home to around 15 people who established the homestay themselves. They monitor the surrounding Red Panda habitat as a part of Red Panda conservation and research. Beyond any doubt, they are the best trackers around with a 100% success rate till now and who better to have as your host? Members of the house are unique in their own way and are always ready to give you the most exclusive experience. It is an experiential homestay that provides the highest quality of Red Panda tracking experience at 10,000 ft. above mean sea level bordering India (Singalila) & Nepal (Illam). Unlike resorts & lodges, at this homestay, guests become part of a villager’s household and experience their life, but with all the amenities and comforts including electricity, hot and cold running water, and ensuite facilities with flush toilets.

The 4 well-appointed rooms in the homestay have comfortable mattresses and quilts to keep you warm during the cold nights. The ensuite facilities include hot/cold shower with flush toilets. Every night, the homestay staffs warm your bed using hot water bags creating the perfect sanctuary to retire after a tiring day of tracking Red Pandas and other wildlife in the region. Meals include local dishes as well as other Indian selections. Tea and coffee are available at any time. Please inform us if you have any specific dietary requirements.

The road passing along the homestay is the International border between India and Nepal. During the Red Panda Photo Tour, you would be walking back and forth into India and Nepal several times a day. Literally just crossing the road would politically take you across from India to Nepal and vice versa.

Please visit the gallery for more images.

Itinerary

  • Day 1: November 11, 2021

    Transfer from Bagdogra to the Homestay

    The tour begins at Bagdogra airport around 9 am. After all the members of the group have arrived, we will depart in 2 Innovas to Manebhajan. The transfer from Bagdogra would take around 3 hours. This is where we complete formalities with the Forest Department and immigration authorities before we further proceed into Singalila National Park on the beautiful Indo-Nepal friendship road. The fleet of Land Rovers would be ready waiting for us. Once we shift our luggage from the Innova to the Rovers, we make our way up the windy road.

    Throughout the journey, we would be driving between India and Nepal – India on your right and Nepal on your left. Along the way, there will be some opportunities where we would stop for a few minutes to observe the beauty of the Singalila National Park and take some interesting photographs on the border between the two countries. About 2 hours after leaving Manebhajan, we reach our homestay on the Nepal side of the road.

    Following a warm welcome by the homestay staff, guests are shown their rooms, and lunch is served. The rest of the day is spent with short walks around the accommodation along with birding and bird photography in the in-house hide as we all acclimatize to the higher elevation. Dinner is served around 7:30 pm, and guests can retire for the day.

  • Day 2-5: November 12-15, 2021

    4 days of tracking Red Pandas

    Depending on weather conditions in the Himalayas and based on wildlife movement, the schedule for the next 4 days on this Red Panda Photo Tour will remain flexible.

    The typical day would begin around 7 am as we embark on a 2-hour long walk on one of the trails looking for birds and other wildlife, and breakfast served upon return. During mid-day, there is plenty of opportunities to photograph various birds visiting the in-house bird hide,  stunning landscapes of Singalila-Tinchule, create time-lapses as clouds drift by, or sit on the verandah, and soak in the beauty of the Himalayan mountains. Lunch is served.

    In the meanwhile, our trackers would head out in different directions looking for Red Pandas. When there is a sighting, the group would then be escorted to the location. Sightings can happen anywhere right from the homestay itself to as far as 1 km away or so. Please talk to us if you would like to have a personal porter to help carry your camera gear.

    On one of the mornings, the group will be transferred to the Sandakphu peak before sunrise to watch the rays spill over the Mighty Himalayas. Sandakphu is one of the best places to have a panoramic view of Mt Kanchenjunga and Mt Everest on a clear day.

    Once again, in the evening, we would explore another trail looking for the multitude of birds found in the region that include Satyr Tragopan and Blood Pheasant. Dinner and overnight at the homestay.

  • Day 6: November 16, 2021

    Final tracking and check-out

    This morning will be our final outing to look for the Red Pandas. Like all good things come to an end too soon, this Red Panda Photo Tour would conclude today. It would be time for the homestay staff to bid us farewell as we depart home with hard drives full of memories and tales to narrate from the Himalayan Mountains to cherish for a lifetime.

    Returning to the lodge around 9:00-9:30, we have breakfast, check-out, and cruise back in the Land Rover to Manebhajan from where the Innova taxis will take us back to Bagdogra airport arriving around 3 pm. Due to the constraint of time, our lunch stop would be brief en route to the airport.

    On arrival in Bagdogra, the tour ends.

Gallery

October 26, 2021

from INR 76,500/-

Spaces:

2 spots open

Guide:

Gaurav Ramnarayanan

Book Now

We offer 3 types of stay plans based on supply of electricity

Basic Stay Plan: 76,500/- per person

Electricity is supplied from Solar only

No Genset for room heating and running hot water

Standard Stay Plan: 84,500/- per person

Solar + Eco Genset for 3 hours

Room heating Charging facility for 3 hours

Hot running water for 3-6 hours

Comfort Stay Plan: 92,000/- per person

Solar + Eco Genset for 6 hours

Room heating Charging facility for 6 hours

Hot running water for 6-12 hours

Inclusions:

5 nights stay on double occupancy at the Homestay

All meals during the tour

Forest permits in India & Nepal

Red Panda Tracking

Still Camera Charges

Naturalist, Guide and Porter services

In-house Bird Hide

Sunrise tour to Sandakphu

Return transfers from Bagdogra to Manebhajang

Return transfers from Manebhajang to Singalila

Electricity based on chosen package

Exclusions:

Travel from your home to Bagdogra

Alcohol, soft drinks and extra meals

Any extra nights not mentioned above

Tips, gratuities and other extra services

5% GST applicable on tour cost

Anything not mentioned under inclusions

How to reach?

Bagdogra International Airport (IXB) is well connected with all major Indian Cities with direct flights. The tour commences on October 26, 2021, around 9 am from Bagdogra. Please plan to arrive by a flight landing no later than 8:30 am. On the day of departure, you need to plan to book a flight that departs after 4:00 pm.

FAQ

Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry’s standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book. It has survived not only five centuries, but also the leap into electronic typesetting, remaining essentially unchanged. It was popularised in the 1960s with the release of Letraset sheets containing Lorem Ipsum passages, and more recently with desktop publishing software like Aldus PageMaker including versions of Lorem Ipsum.

Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry’s standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book. It has survived not only five centuries, but also the leap into electronic typesetting, remaining essentially unchanged. It was popularised in the 1960s with the release of Letraset sheets containing Lorem Ipsum passages, and more recently with desktop publishing software like Aldus PageMaker including versions of Lorem Ipsum.

Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry’s standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book. It has survived not only five centuries, but also the leap into electronic typesetting, remaining essentially unchanged. It was popularised in the 1960s with the release of Letraset sheets containing Lorem Ipsum passages, and more recently with desktop publishing software like Aldus PageMaker including versions of Lorem Ipsum.

Book Now

    tour img

    Explore Anamalais

    • Date: 21/10/2021 – 24/10/2021
    • Duration: 3 nights and 4 days
    • Skipper: Gaurav Ramnarayanan
    Read More
    tour img

    Birds and Tigers of India

    • Date: 18/02/2022 – 09/03/2022
    • Duration: 19N/20D
    • Skipper: Gaurav Ramnarayanan
    Read More