Sikkim – A Traveller’s Paradise
It is now more than two years since we made that memorable trip to Sikkim in April 2017. The memories of the trip are still so fresh and I am sure they will last forever. Such was the unadulterated beauty of the land. Still remember the thrilling drive to Nathula and that sense of slight breathlessness as you climbed up to the border. Lovely roads of Gangtok where honking was not allowed and the pretty little stretch of MG Road where you can tirelessly roam for hours. The chilly night in Lachung where it had started raining the moment we had settled in our hotel and the night saw temperature going below zero. The mesmerising view at Yumthang Valley, laden with fresh snow which left us totally awestruck. The colourful prayer flags which decorated the roads all over as we travelled across the length and breadth of this tiny state. The sight of River Tiesta which was almost omnipresent and is so aptly revered in the region. The beautiful Rumtek monastery, lush green forests, organic tea gardens and the historical ruins of the old capital in Pelling. Sikkim is s a small state but there is so much to see and we did our best to cover it in the 7 days we had as we travelled almost 1000 kms in that time touching every district – North Sikkim, East Sikkim, West Sikkim and South Sikkim.
How to Plan a 7 day Trip in Sikkim
(April -May )
DAY 01 Travel to Gangtok from Bagdogra
Nearest Airport to Gangtok is Bagdogra and if you are travelling by train then you can deboard at New Jalpaiguri. Travel from Bagdogra Airport to Gangtok is approximately 4- 5 hours/ 125 kms. You will reach Gangtok by evening which can be used for leisurely time in the capital of Sikkim.
DAY 02 Nathula Pass, Tsangu Lake and back to Gangtok
The first full day in Gangtok took us to Nathula Pass and Tsangu Lake . Please ensure that you apply for permits to be able to go to Nathula Pass which we secured through our travel agency IndiaRepz. We could leave around 10.00 am only once our permit was confirmed but it would be ideal to leave a little early around 8.00 am for two reasons. First you avoid the rush and secondly the unpredictable afternoon weather. Still remember the hurried drive down to Gangtok as it had started pouring down and it is best to avoid that . Once back to Gangtok you can unwind and choose to go for a stroll on the MG Road
DAY 03 Travel to Lachung from Gangtok
On our third day we left Gangtok at about 10 a.m. and proceeded to Lachung (124 Kms / 06 Hrs) at an altitude of 9,600 ft. the far north of the state. On the way you can stop and enjoy a few wonderful locations like Tashi View Point, Kabi Lungstok, Naga Waterfalls, the confluence of Lachen-Chu and Lachung- Chu at Chungthang, Twin Waterfalls and Bhim Nala Waterfalls, Again you would need permits to be able to enter North Sikkim which has been arranged for us by our travel agents. It is a long and treacherous drive but with breathtaking views all along. You are likely to reach Lachung late afternoon / evening. For second day in a row it had started pouring down in the afternoon but this time we had safely checked in our Hotel Norling Zimkhang
DAY 04 Visit Yumthang Valley and Return to Gangtok
The day 4 was definitely the most mesmerising . After breakfast we went for an excursion to Yumthang Valley (11800 ft / 02 hrs). In the valley laden with snow all around we enjoyed tea and maggi while getting bamboozled by the view we had all around. After having lunch back in our hotel, we returned back to Gangtok ( 6 -7 hours).
DAY 05 Gangtok City Tour
This was our only full day in the city of Gagngtok. You can leave after breakfast for local sightseeing covering Tashi View Point, Ganesh Tok, Hanuman Tok, Jhakri Water Falls, Burtuk Falls, Ranka Monastery, Research Institute of Tibetology (Closed on Sunday & govt. Holidays), Do-Drul Chorten, Directorate of Handicrafts & Handloom (Closed on Sunday & Govt. Holidays), Nam Nang View Point (Ropeway on direct payment basis) & Flower Show. We covered a few and then chose to go to Rumtek Monastery ( 1 Hr from Gangtok). For the evening you always have the cheerful MG Road.
DAY 06 Gangtok to Pelling via Namchi
On our sixth day in Sikkim we headed to to Pelling (6000 ft / 128 kms / 06 hrs) in West Sikkim via Temi Tea Gardens, Namchi, Samdruptse and Chardham. This was a slight detour and not the shortest route to Pelling from Gangtok but ensured that we covered the above mentioned destinations in South Sikkim. This was by far our longest day on the road further stretched by a roadblock which made us take a detour on a detour We were able to reach our place of accomodation TashiGang Resort after sun had well and truly set.
DAY 07 In and Around Pelling
We began the morning with a sneak peek of the Mt Kanchenjunga before it hid behind the haze and the clouds. After breakfast we went for for a full day sightseeing around Pelling covering Rimbi Waterfalls and Khecheopalri Lake. After lunch we covered the beautiful Pemayangtse Monastery and Rabdentse Ruins of the old capital of Sikkim.
DAY 08 Pelling to Bagdogra Airport
The last day was for travelling back to Bagdogra Airport. We had left early as the weather forecast was not favourable and the road which connected Pelling to main highway between Gangtok was under construction. Any downpour could have been troublesome and it was but we managed to get out of the tricky areas in time.
Hotels We Stayed in
Gangtok: Lindsay Himalayan Heights http://www.thelindsay.in/himalayan-heights/
Lachung: Norling Zimkhong http://hotelnorlingzimkhang.com/
Pelling: TashiGang Resort( in Yangtey, approx. 5-6 Kms before Pelling) http://www.thetashighangresort.com/
Note: If travelling April/May keep an eye on the weather and plan to be near your base by late afternoon.