Wildlife of Eastern India: From Red Pandas to Rhinos

Singalila, Kaziranga, and Darjeeling with Devendra Basnet


Some of the rarest species in the world are found in the fascinating wildlife reserves of eastern India, including the furry, tree-dwelling red panda and the prehistoric-looking one-horned rhino. With Trip Leader Devendra Basnet, an inveterate naturalist who has been leading for WT for 35 years, we’ll be immersed in the richness of India’s natural habitats each day as we explore from the Himalayan foothills to the grassy savannas of Assam. To look for red pandas, we’ll fly from Kathmandu to remote eastern Nepal and make our way by road up into the rugged Himalayan landscape of Singalila National Park, which straddles a dramatic ridge on the India-Nepal border. A population of endangered red pandas resides in the forests here, and with our local trackers, we’ll look for these beautiful creatures as we hike peaceful trails. We’ll also witness Himalayan panoramas from Singalila’s high viewpoints. Afterwards, we’ll descend into India and unwind in charming Darjeeling, known as the Queen of the Hill Stations. Our next Indian wildlife adventure begins in Kaziranga National Park in the lowlands of Assam. Spread across the floodplains of the great Brahmaputra River, Kaziranga is home to some of the world’s last one-horned rhinos, along with a host of other wildlife including tigers and large breeding populations of elephant. This unique journey is limited to just eight people, so early signup is advised.

Itinerary at a Glance

Days 1-2
Kathmandu / Singalila National Park

After an overnight in Kathmandu, a short flight brings us to eastern Nepal, where we board 4WD vehicles for a day's drive up to our remote accommodation in the broadleaf forests of Singalila National Park, habitat of the red panda and other fascinating species.

Hotel Yak and Yeti
Kathmandu, Nepal
Day 1 (1 night)
Habre's Nest
Singalila, India
Days 2 to 5 (4 nights)
Days 3-5
Singalila National Park / Tracking Red Pandas / Sandakphu

We join professional trackers to hike mountain trails in search of these iconic animals each day. While we're here, we'll also head up to the famous Himalayan overlook at Sandakphu (11,929’) for classic Kanchenjunga and Everest views.  Our ridgetop accommodation is a conservation hub and a Nepali-style homestay with breathtaking Himalayan views into India on one side and Nepal on the other.

Habre's Nest
Singalila, India
Days 2 to 5 (4 nights)
Days 6-8
Darjeeling / Tiger Hill

We descend from Singalila for an overnight at a tea resort in Siligiri, then continue to Darjeeling, long the queen of the British hill stations and still exuding Victorian charm. During our days here, we’ll ride the narrow-gauge “toy train” and visit the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute and Himalayan Zoological Park, with the option of a sunrise visit to the famous Kanchenjunga viewpoint at Tiger Hill.

Mayfair Tea Resort
Siliguri, India
Day 6 (1 night)
Mayfair Spa and Resort
Darjeeling, India
Days 7 to 8 (2 nights)
Days 9-12
Kaziranga National Park / One-Horned Rhinos and More

Descending to the tropical plains of Assam, we check into our wonderful lodge just outside Kaziranga National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site on the banks of the Brahmaputra River. Endangered Asian one-horned rhinos are the stars here, but as we explore by 4WD vehicle with our trackers, we’ll also be on the lookout for elephant, wild Asiatic water buffalo, and with luck, a glimpse of the elusive Bengal tiger. Depart via Kolkata on Day 12.



Track endangered red pandas in the misty Himalayan forests of Singalila
Look for Asian one-horned rhinos in the UNESCO-listed sanctuary of Kaziranga
Enjoy breathtaking panoramas of Mt. Kanchenjunga from Sandakphu and Darjeeling


Length: 12 days
Cost From: $7795  
Arrive: Kathmandu, Nepal
Depart: Kolkata, India
Lodging: 7 nights hotels and lodges, 4 nights homestay
Meals: All meals included except 1 dinner as indicated in the Detailed Itinerary (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
Activity: Walking, Wildlife and Natural History, Safaris
Trip Level:

Cultural exploration, wildlife viewing, moderate walks and hikes, some long drives.