Get Out Of The Smog- An Ultimate Guide To Touring in Sikkim

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Whether you’re a digital nomad or just a travel enthusiast seeking for that perfect getaway, Sikkim has definitely got to be on your bucket list. This might sound like an exaggeration but trust me, travelling to Sikkim is like one of those classic Bollywood locations where you can picture yourself driving along the serpentine roads of the hills while the view from your car window reveals a picturesque view of some wild orchids blooming and some wet pine trees in the background. Sikkim is the second smallest state when it comes to size, but the four districts have a lot to offer when it comes to natural beauty and cultural and historical heritage. This is a simple and an honest guide on how to make the most out of your journey to Sikkim, whilst making it more entertaining and meaningful at the same time.

Here are some really honest reasons as to why you must visit Sikkim, at least once in your lifetime.

  • If you want to witness scenic landscapes and the flowers you’ve only seen in movies.
  • If you want to exchange hot and sweaty summer for some chilly Himalayan air.
  • If the busy lifestyle of the modern civilisation is making you weary.
  • If you want to replace the erratic traffic noises with the whistling of a pheasant and the blowing of the wind.
  • If you’ve never been in a “snowball fight”.
  • Sikkim was featured in The New York Times’ “52 Places to go in 2017”
  • Sikkim’s capital, Gangtok, is the cleanest city in Northeast India.

For all the mouth-watering pictures and articles about why you should visit Sikkim, there’s plenty all over the internet, you can visit them. I’m here to tell you how you can plan your own trip to Sikkim.

Pelling, Gangtok and Lachung in Seven Night and Eight Days

DAY ONE: – From Bagdogra Airport or The NJP Railway Station, you need to keep an eye out for a cab bearing a Sikkimese number plate eg. SK 00 0000, because there will be plenty of other brokers promising you the perfect deal, only to charge you extra. If you’ve already booked under travel agencies like ‘Dharma Wheels,’ they will provide you with a comfortable ride, hotel bookings and planned itinerary at reasonable rates. Head towards Pelling and book a hotel there.

DAY TWO: – Situating at about 7200 feet above Sea Level, Pelling is a small hill town in West Sikkim situating at the foothills of the Eastern Himalaya. Wake up before the sun rises, to witness the spell-casting beauty of the Kanchenjunga and take that perfect snapshot.
West Sikkim holds as a place of great religious and historical importance to Sikkim. After breakfast, explore the heritage and tradition of Sikkim. Visit Darap Village, Rimbi Water Falls, Rimbi Power Project, Rock Garden, Kanchenjunga falls, and Khechopari Lake. After lunch, visit Pemayangtse Monastery and The Rabdentse Palace Ruins. Spend the night at the hotel or a homestay.

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DAY THREE:- After breakfast, check out off the hotel and head towards Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim, and the cleanest city in North East India.

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Gangtok reflects the blend of tradition and modernity. One of the busiest hotspots of the state, it has a mixture of indigenous Sikkimese and people of Nepalese and Tibetan ancestry. Some of the key places to visit include Rumtek Monastery, Do-Drul Chorten, Enchey Monastery, Tashi View Point and the local bazaar, Lal Bazaar.

DAY FOUR: – We’re going to the lake, yay!

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Tsomgo Lake, also know as Tsongmo Lake or Changu Lake is a glacial lake situated at 40 kilometres from Gangtok at a height of 3,753 miles, the lake remains frozen during the winter season. The lake surface reflects different colours in different seasons and is held in great reverence by the local Sikkimese people.

It normally takes about 3 hours depending on the weather conditions. You can witness snowfall and enjoy yak riding, which is obviously only if you are lucky. Visit Baba Mandir and Nathula Pass( Indo-China border) depending upon the availability of permit which costs an additional Rs. 3000 per vehicle. The passes are closed during Monday and Tuesday.

Head back to Gangtok in the evening and stroll the busy streets of MG Marg and get yourself a souvenir to remember this trip by.

DAY FIVE: – Early morning ride to Lachung from Gangtok. Lachung is a town and hill station in northeast Sikkim located at an elevation of 9600 feet and at the confluence of the lichen and Lachung Rivers, both tributaries of the River Teesta.

Visit attractions like Twin Waterfalls, Seven Sisters Waterfall, Singhik View Point during the journey. Lunch at a local restaurant and check in at the hotel during the afternoon. Spend the night at the hotel.

DAY SIX: – Trip To Yumthang Valley (11,800ft, 24kms From Lachung)

The Yumthang Valley or Sikkim Valley of Flowers sanctuary, is a nature sanctuary with a river, hot springs, yaks and grazing pasture on rolling meadows surrounded by the Himalayan mountains in the North Sikkim district of Sikkim state in India.

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Early morning drive to Yumthang Valley. Enjoy the scenic landscape and the hot spring and drive back to Lachung for Lunch. You can take an optional tour to Yumesamdong Valley or Zero Point close to Tibet Border(15,000 ft, 23kms from Yumthang) for Indian tourists (at an extra cost of Rs.3000/- per vehicle on prior notice). Spend the night at a hotel in Lachung.

DAY SEVEN: – Head towards Gangtok after breakfast. Today is the day to enjoy the life at Gangtok. Visit the town’s most famous pubs and shop till you drop. Dine at a hotel.

DAY EIGHT: – Drop to Bagdogra Airport / NJP Railway Station according to the schedule taking home a memory of a lifetime.

Gangtok and Namchi in Four Days and Five Nights

DAY ONE: – Ride to Gangtok from The Airport/Railway Station. Spend the night in Gangtok.

DAY TWO: – Take a trip to Tsomgo Lake and visit the nearby attractions such as Baba Mandir and Nathula Pass. Return to Gangtok

DAY THREE: – Spend the day sightseeing in Gangtok and nearby attractions like the Deorali Ropeway, Do-Drul Chorten, Namgyal Institute of Tibetology, Directorate of Handicraft and Handloom and Flower Show (Orchid). Get back to the hotel at the end of the day.

DAY FOUR: – After breakfast, head towards Namchi.

Namchi is situated at an altitude of 5500 feet above sea level, 78 kilometres from Gangtok that lies off the road between Melli and Jorethang. It is well connected to other towns in Sikkim and West Bengal.

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Visit the Temi Tea Garden, Sandruptse, Siddheswar Dham. Return back to Gangtok

DAY FIVE: – Drop to Bagdogra Airport / NJP Railway Station according to the schedule.

Gangtok, Pelling, Kalimpong and Darjeeling in Eight Nights and Nine Days

DAY ONE: – Ride To Gangtok from the Airport/Railway Station and stay overnight.

DAY TWO: – Head towards Tsomgo Lake And Its Nearby Attractions and return back to Gangtok.

DAY THREE: – Spend the day sightseeing in Gangtok and Nearby Tourist Attractions and stay overnight there.

DAY FOUR: – This morning after you have your breakfast travel toward towards Pelling and spend the night over there.

DAY FIVE: – Spent the entire day exploring the historical and religious realms of Pelling and spent the night there.

DAY SIX: – Drive to Kalimpong (4,100ft) from Pelling for the continuation of the tour.

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Kalimpong is hill station reputed for its educational institutions, many of which were established during the British colonial period similar to that of Gangtok, but unique in itself. The town is mostly flooded with local people moving towards their respective destinations and the outskirts of the town hold some special scenic and spiritual landmarks that might prove to be soul-replenishing. The important landmarks to cover are Army Golf course, Durpin Monastery, Pine view nursery, Mangal Dham, Delo Hill. Durpin Dara is a dream in itself which is located in the top of Kalimpong The monasteries set in the hill, the “Dhajas”(Prayer Flags) fluttering in the shades of red, yellow, green and blue and the weather all round adds up to the ambience. The place also reveals a panoramic view of the entire Kalimpong.

DAY SEVEN:- This day you will be travelling to Darjeeling(7,200ft) after your breakfast and will be spending the night there. Darjeeling or the “Mecca of tea” has been popularised by its sprawling tea estates which delights the entire world with its one of a kind tea and is also famous for its tea tourism. It is believed that Darjeeling is a place where tea grows at its finest.

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DAY EIGHT: – Tiger hill is a place to be. To witness the spectacular view the sunrise over Mt.Khangchendzonga (world’s third highest peak) you have to be an eager beaver. Start your journey early in the morning (4 am) to tiger hill and if the clouds are clear you will witness the absolute beauty of the sunrise and the snow-clad mountains ornamented with the golden touch of sunlight. On the way back, visit Ghoom Monastery, you can light up some “chimis” (butter lamps) to add up some spirituality to your well lit morning. For the rest of the day, you can cover up some important landmarks which include Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, P.N. Zoological Park (Thursday closed), Tenzing Rock, Tibetan Refugee self-help Centre (Sunday closed), Tea Garden (outer view) and Japanese Temple, which may take around 4 hours and after that you can return back to your hotel. If you are a shopper, then the rest of the evening can be spent on contemplating the Mall road. It is a good place to stroll around where you can buy exotic varieties of tea and souvenirs for friends and family.

DAY NINE: – Drive to Bagdogra Airport/ NJP railway station according to schedule with a lot of tales to tell when you are back at home.

Gangtok Lachung Kalimpong and Darjeeling in 7 nights and 8 days.

DAY ONE: – Ride to Gangtok from railway station/ airport. Stay overnight there.

DAY TWO: – Trip to Tsongmo lake and nearby attractions. Head back to Gangtok for the overnight stay.

DAY THREE: – Trip to Lachung and visit other main attractions while on the way to Lachung and stay there overnight.

DAY FOUR: – Trip to Yumthang Valley. Explore Yumthang and places nearby until the afternoon and head towards Gangtok.

DAY FIVE: -A Ride To Kalimpong from Gangtok for continuation the tour. Spend the entire day sightseeing and stay overnight at Kalimpong.

DAY SIX: – Ride to Darjeeling (7,200ft) from Kailmpong after you fill your tummy with some breakfast to cheer you and stay overnight there.

DAY SEVEN: – Spend the day sightseeing and return to your hotel.

DAY EIGHT: – Drive to Bagdogra Airport/ NJP railway station according to schedule.

Gangtok Namchi in Four Days and Five Nights

DAY ONE: – Pick up and ride To Gangtok from The Airport/Railway Station and stay overnight at Gangtok.

DAY TWO: – Travel to Tsongmo Lake and its nearby attractions and return back to Gangtok.

DAY THREE: – Gangtok has a lot to offer, spend the entire day sightseeing in Gangtok visiting nearby attractions like Ropeway, Do-Drul Chorten, Namgyal Institute of Tibetology, Directorate of Handicraft & Handloom (Sunday Closed) & Flower Show (Orchid).

DAY FOUR: – Ride to Namchi and along the way visit Temi tea garden, Samdruptse, Siddheswar Dham (replica of Char-Dham) and return to Gangtok.

DAY FIVE: – Drop to Bagdogra Airport / NJP railway station according to the schedule.

Travelling can be tricky at times and I hope this article helps you make your way to Sikkim whilst making it memorable and delightful. Winter is the best time to be in Sikkim, you can even be able to witness the RED PANDA FESTIVAl in action. The next time you pack your bags for a vacation, you know the place to be.

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