magchronicles

π˜Όπ™‡π™‡ π˜Όπ˜½π™Šπ™π™ π™‹π™€π™Šπ™‹π™‡π™€!

Sikkim- A Guide For An Epic Vacation

The state of Sikkim, in India’s north-eastern region, isn’t exactly a tourism hotspot. However, it should be. Visitors will find that the state has a lot to offer. You will be at a loss for words to adequately convey its natural beauty. Beautiful hotels and scenery can be found in towns like Gangtok and Pelling, ensuring a wonderful vacation.

However, the absence of infrastructure, particularly in areas like North Sikkim, makes the voyage difficult. If this makes you nervous, skip North Sikkim and instead visit Gangtok and Pelling on your Sikkim tour, or go for a journey to Ladakh, India (similar panoramas, better infrastructure). If you’re more of an adventurous, here’s our schedule that covers the majority of Sikkim

BASE PLAN TO SIKKIM

Day 1: Arrive in Bagdogra and transfer to Gangtok.

Days 2–3: Tour Gangtok and its environs

North Sikkim Tour Days 4-6: Visit Gurudongmar Lake, Lachen, and Lachung

Day 6: Transfer back to Gangtok from Yumthang Valley

Transfer to Pelling on Day 7

Days 8-9: Pelling and its environs are explored.

Day 10: Transfer to Bagdogra Airport for your return journey.


Sikkim- Blessing Of Nature.
Credits:- Unsplashed


BUDGET FOR A TRIP TO SIKKIM

A ten-day trip for a couple costs INR 90,000 (Β£1000) (as of October 2017). Of course, the amount varies based on where you fly from and the type of hotel you select. Here’s how it works:

  • INR 12000 per person for flights (New Delhi-Bagdogra).
  • Transfers, accommodation, and permits are included in the North Sikkim Tour (2N/3D). 25000 INR
  • Private Transfer from Bagdogra Airport to Gangtok INR 3500 Gangktok 1 day sightseeing cab rental INR 2500
  • Private Transfer from Gangtok to Pelling 4000 INR
  • Pelling 1 day sightseeing cab rental INR 2500 INR 2500 INR 2500 INR 2500 INR 2
  • Private Pelling-Bagdogra Airport transfer in a large car (please do not opt for a small car with low clearance for this stretch, the road is horrendous) 4000 INR

HOW TO GET AROUND SIKKIM

There are no rental automobiles accessible in Sikkim, therefore self-driving is not an option. You could drive your own automobile from another state, but you’ll need numerous permits to visit different attractions. We recommend reserving your transportation with a local tour firm that will handle both cabs and permits for you due to the presence of multiple taxi unions and permit requirements.

Regardless of whether you choose a company recommended by us or one recommended by family/friends, make SURE (we cannot emphasise this enough) that you have written confirmation of the type of transfers you have chosen (private/shared), the type of car that will be provided to you (44, 2 wheel drive, etc), and a list of inclusions (e.g. cost of permits, day trips, etc) to avoid paying more later.

After reading several positive reviews on Tripadvisor, we decided to book ALL of our transfers and the North Sikkim tour with Galaxy Tours (contact Tenzing). They were responsive in their internet communication, which placed us at rest. We opted for private transportation throughout on a 2N/3D North Sikkim tour. Although there were a few minor snags in service once we arrived, we would highly recommend them.

A DAY BY DAY BREAKDOWN OF A SIKKIM TRIP WITH MANY TIPS

Day 1: Arrive in Bagdogra and transfer to Gangtok.

You will arrive at Bagdogra Airport on this day. Expect a tangle of taxi drivers, tourists, and travel agents as you collect your belongings and exit the airport. You can choose a cab on the spot, but we recommend scheduling one ahead of time so that:

  1. You can rest assured that you are in capable hands with someone who can be held accountable if something goes wrong.
  2. You won’t waste time looking for a cab and haggling on the spot.

A private transfer to Gangtok should cost between INR 3000 and INR 3500, depending on whether you order a cab immediately there or in advance. If you choose for a shared transfer, the cost is greatly reduced. Expect a nice trip with a few bumps along the way on the road from Bagdogra Airport to Gangtok, which is one of Sikkim’s few acceptable roads.

Gangtok’s lodging options.

In Gangtok, there are plenty of hotels to suit all budgets. We selected to stay at a beautiful boutique hotel with a unique history. Elgin Nor Khill used to be the King of Sikkim’s Royal Guesthouse. It has now been converted into a hotel, yet its splendour has been preserved.

The foyer is decorated with items and artwork that depict Sikkim’s vibrant culture. You can stay in a room in either the older, more traditionally furnished wing or the newer, more contemporary wing, which features clean lines and contemporary furnishings. At check-in, we were met with cherry liquor and large smiles, and this continued throughout our stay – the personnel at Elgin Nor Khill genuinely stand out.

Be aware that the hotel is immediately adjacent to the famed Paljor Football Stadium, which is great if you like football but can be annoying if you don’t because the sound of matches and practises drifts through the windows.

Want to visit GOA click here to read a tour guide to Goa


Sikkim- Blessing Of Nature.
Credits:- Unsplashed


Days 2–3: Tour Gangtok and its environs

Gangtok is Sikkim’s largest city and the ideal starting point for seeing the sights and sounds of East Sikkim. There are some fantastic restaurants in the bustling town. Spend your days in Gangtok savouring local cuisine, sipping native black tea while watching the inhabitants go about their daily lives, and viewing the area’s stunning sights. Here are a few places in Gangtok that we recommend.

  • Take a leisurely stroll down MG Road. Pick up some souvenirs or just try some local delicacies like momos (steamed dumplings) and thukpa (a thick noodle soup). On the popular MG Road, both of these hole-in-the-wall cafes are located.
  •  There are plenty of momo shops here, and we tried quite a few, but these two were our favourites. Visit for an on-the-go snack or dinner at a low price.
  • If you’re searching for a more relaxing spot to spend some time, try the BibliothΓ©que cafΓ© or Bookman’s B&B’s cafΓ© for breakfast or brunch.
  • Spend an afternoon at The Tibetology Museum learning about Buddhism and the fascinating monasteries that can be found in the area. Combining it with a visit to Rumtek Monastery is a great idea.
  • If you’re not visiting North Sikkim, we recommend renting a car for the day (see the budgeting section for estimates) and exploring some of the area’s attractions, such as the glistening Tsomgo/Changu Lake and Tashi View Point. If you are going to North Sikkim, however, you can miss these sites because there are plenty of waterfalls, glacier lakes, and panoramic observation points.

Days 4–6: North Sikkim Tour: Gangtok to Lachen Drive.

Let the good times (and backaches) begin!! You’ll be spending almost 12 hours a day in your rental car for the next three days on roads that aren’t worthy of being called roads, so bring snacks, music, and optimism!

You’ll arrive in Lachen after an early wake-up call and a long yet gorgeous 8-hour drive. Lachen is a little village that serves as an excellent stopover between Gangtok and Gurudongmar Lake. Stop for photographs with waterfalls, marvel at meandering brooks, or simply have a cup of tea at a little cafΓ© that gives spectacular views of the Himalayas on the way to Lachen.Because the roads in North Sikkim are in poor condition, the journey will leave you fatigued. You should get a good night’s sleep because you have a long and exciting day ahead of you.

A guide about kheerganga trekking


Sikkim- Blessing Of Nature.
Credits:- Unsplashed


 Options for lodging and dining, In Lachen, 

The North Sikkim Tour (INR 25000/Β£300), which we stated in the budgeting section, includes basic lodging and meals. However, be aware that this lodging is as primitive as it gets, with home-stays, unreliable electricity, suspect bedding, and cramped rooms. The hosts, on the other hand, are welcoming and always willing to supply hot water or an extra blanket if needed.

If you want comfortable lodging, we recommend taking a North Sikkim Tour that only includes a cab and a driver and booking your own accommodations. In this instance, you could stay at the Apple Orchard Resort in Lachen, which is slightly more upscale. Although the hotel was closed at the time of our visit, we had heard nothing but good things about it.

Day 5: Travel to Gurudongmar Lake and spend the night in Lachung.

You must leave your accommodation by 3 a.m. for the lengthy and thrilling journey to Gurudongmar Lake, one of the world’s highest and most inaccessible lakes. From Lachen, the travel takes roughly 5 hours each way. Because many of the ‘roads’ in the area are just dirt and pebbles, you’ll be off-roading for the majority of this time.

However, the surrounding mountain views will lure you into forgetfulness. Bright azure skies and crisp mountain air will entice you to submit as you approach Gurudongmar Lake. You’ll be staring at a beautiful water body surrounded by mountains and glaciers before you realise it.

There’s hardly much you can do at 18000 feet but pause and stare at nature’s marvels. However, take a photo or two to capture the event for posterity. Gurudongmar Lake is awe-inspiring and a must-see on any vacation to Sikkim. You should only stay here for 30 minutes or so due to the shortage of oxygen at such high elevations. After that, you’ll take another lengthy and beautiful trip to Lachung, where you’ll spend the night.


Sikkim- Blessing Of Nature.
Credits:- Unsplashed


In Lachung, you can stay and eat at the following places:

The North Sikkim Tour (INR 25000/Β£300), which we stated in the budgeting section, includes basic lodging and meals. Lachung is larger and, as a result, more developed than Lachen. The tour includes a night at a very modest hotel, which is fine for a stopover but not much else!

If you want decent lodging, choose the North Sikkim Tour, which includes only a cab and a driver and requires you to book your own accommodations. You could stay at the Yarlam Resort in Lachung in this scenario. The hotel has beautiful views of the surrounding mountains, and it’s easy to spend a few nights here in the middle of nature. However, be aware that internet access is limited in the area, so you may not want to remain longer than required.

Tour guide to Manali 

Yumthang Valley, Zero Point, and return to Gangtok on Day 6

The third and last day of your North Sikkim tour will take you to a variety of fascinating locations. Yumthang Valley is especially beautiful in April, when the valley is carpeted in purple blossoms. At other seasons of the year, it provides breathtaking views. If the prospect of seeing snow entices you, continue on to Zero Point. You may skip this during the summer, but this location can be stunning and dramatic during the winter (assuming the road going to it isn’t snowed under!). Stop and marvel at the numerous of waterfalls along the journey back to Gangtok.

We really appreciated Bhim Nala Falls (also known as the Amitabh Bachan Falls) because we chose not to visit Nathula Pass and therefore avoided the masses of day trippers who visit these falls at the same time. We were the only ones there, and we had a blast. North Sikkim’s roads remained to be the worst we’ve ever seen on our travels. Needless to say, we were hurting and fatigued when we landed in Gangtok! Nothing, however, a hot bath and a hot lunch can’t fix.

Transfer to Pelling on Day 7

If you thought your experience with Sikkim’s dangerous roads had ended, you were mistaken. This morning, we recommend waking up without an alarm clock and eating a leisurely breakfast before heading to Pelling, a monastery town. The journey is difficult, but once you get to Pelling, you will be astounded by the tranquillity. Spend the next three days in Pelling relaxing, exploring monasteries, and chasing waterfalls.


Sikkim- Blessing Of Nature.
Credits:- Unsplashed


Pelling – places to stay.

I’ve saved the best for last! We came across a stunning property in Pelling and couldn’t believe it hadn’t been included in one of those ‘100 hotels you must visit before you die’ lists. The Elgin Mount Pandim is a premium experience property that used to be the King of Sikkim’s summer palace.

The rooms are roomy and well-equipped, and the food is delicious. The outdoor spaces, though, are the highlight of a visit here. The hotel is surrounded by 8 acres of private farmland and offers stunning views of the Himalayan peaks, including Mt. Kanchenjunga, the world’s third highest peak. It’s easy to lose track of time when sipping coffee or nursing a cocktail and admiring the scenery.

The hotel is located near the peaceful Pemayangtse monastery, away from the hustle and bustle of Pelling. If your budget allows, a stay here is highly recommended! The best deals may be found here.

Days 8-9: Pelling and its environs are explored.

A three-day tour of North Sikkim would undoubtedly fatigue you. As a result, we recommend using Day 8 to unwind and breathe in the fresh mountain air. You may visit the beautiful Pemayangtse monastery next door or enjoy bird watching in the complex if you stay at The Elgin Mount Pandim. Allow yourself to be enchanted by Sikkim’s natural beauty and to linger over meals β€” you’ve earned it!

Rent a cab on your last day in Sikkim to see the sights. There are numerous waterfalls and monasteries in the vicinity, so a full day trip is possible. If you haven’t already done so, now is a fantastic time to visit the Pemayangtse monastery. We rented a car for a few hours to go to the famed Kanchenjunga Falls and Rimbi Falls after seeing so many waterfalls in Sikkim – you could do the same.

Kanchenjunga Falls are particularly beautiful during the monsoon season. If you want to avoid the crowds, we recommend leaving your hotel early and arriving at Kanchenjunga Falls before 8.30 a.m. If you’re a keen photographer, we recommend leaving your hotel early and arriving at Kanchenjunga Falls before 8.30 a.m.

Read all about Auli here

Sikkim- Blessing Of Nature.
Credits:- Unsplashed

Day 10: Transfer to Bagdogra Airport for your return journey.

You may be well rested and in good shape, but Sikkim’s roads certainly get the last laugh – the Pelling-Bagdogra road is one of the worst we’ve seen in the state, and that’s saying a lot. We recommend getting up early and setting up at least 9 hours to complete this 140-kilometre stretch. There’s nothing you won’t find here: gravel roads, potholes, and squelchy soil. We are not attempting to dissuade you; rather, we are delivering a reality check.

So leave on time, and as you board your trip back home, savour the memories of Gurudongmar’s dancing waters, enticing waterfalls, fairytale-like views, and the cutest and nicest folks.

aujasverma

4 thoughts on “Sikkim- A Guide For An Epic Vacation

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top