Hey fellas, this time my article is gonna take you to an imagination of a paradise. A state in North East India which is a Home to the Kanchenjunga. This beautiful state with warm-hearted people is called Sikkim. Sikkim is known for its greenery and hence it is a ‘Land of Flower’. It is also known as an organic state. I visited Sikkim in the first week of June 2019, so let me just brief you my tour day wise. I will also be listing the overall cost of my trip, the hotels I was staying in, Food to try, tips to travel, things to pack etc. in the end so that it’s helpful for you as well. So keep reading …..
We boarded an early morning flight from Mumbai Terminal 1 to Bagdogra Airport which was a 4-5 hrs journey but the real struggle started from Bagdogra airport where we had to travel from the airport to Gangtok which was again a 4-5 hrs journey. The route was beautiful and the roads were good but it was a tiring journey. And so it is highly recommended to book an early morning flight so that you could reach Gangtok before sunset. Also, you could see the beautiful Teesta river and if time permits, you could even go for rafting. We reached Gangtok around 6 pm, checked in our rooms and headed to the M.G. (Mahatma Gandhi) Marg for dinner. It’s a market lined up with glittering shops, restaurants, cafes & bars on both sides. Also, the entire area is free of litter, smoke and vehicle. We went to Dj’s Downtown Resto bar / Rooftop Cafe for some good time. The food was good but the items arrived late as there was only one waiter. DANSBERG and HIT are a must try beers. With this our day 1 ended.
On day 2, we had to cover all the places before sunset. We were heading to Nathula Pass. After an ascend of 50-60 kms, we finally reached there. Nathula Pass is a place where China is at a hand’s distance and you can even see the Chinese Armies. Since it is at higher altitudes, so we had to carry medication for altitude sickness and dozens of jackets with us since it was freezing there. Remember, if your nationality is Indian, then only you can visit this place and you need to get permit from Tourism and Civil Aviation department. As we had no permit, we couldn’t go there so we headed to Baba Harbhajan Singh Memorial Temple. The temple was a tribute to Baba Harbhajan Singh. The belief is that he still guards the borders and he is still treated as army personnel on duty. Please go to this link to read his story. It was a beautiful temple with a breathtaking view. Behind the temple, there was a grand statue of Lord Shiva on a hill and there was a river that was flowing between the Baba Temple and the Shiva’s massive statue which was a sight to behold. We stayed there for some time and as the place was picturesque, we couldn’t stop ourselves from taking pictures.
Then we headed to our next destination which was Tsomgo lake also referred to as Changu Lake. ‘Nature at it’s best’. Yes! It’s a natural lake surrounded by serene mountains covered with lush green vegetation. If there’s snow, you will enjoy more because the lake gets frozen but unfortunately we had visited that place in June, hence there was no snow. Also, if you haven’t seen Yak, then you will find numerous here. You can even go for Yak ride. While heading back to our hotel in Gangtok, it was so foggy that we couldn’t see the roads properly. So it is recommended to complete your journey as early as possible. We ended our day with drinks and food at Cafe Live & Loud. With this our day 2 ended.
Day 3 was a crazy travelling day as we were heading to Lachung from Gangtok. Lachung is a Himalayan village nestled in the lap of North Sikkim. It was at a distance of 103 kms from Gangtok which took us around 5-6 hours to reach there considering the halts. As we were passing by, we saw this beautiful waterfall named Seven Sisters waterfall, we decided to take a halt there. This fall changes direction seven times i.e. it has seven bends but only four were visible. Rainbow formation at the bottom of the fall looked beautiful. Overall, it was a good spot for clicking nice pictures. Then we had our lunch and headed towards Lachung. Before entering Lachung, we were asked to throw all plastic items as we were not allowed to carry any plastic material there. It was a good initiative to keep the environment plastic free. When we entered Lachung, we were mesmerized by the view. The tall dark mountains, gushing waterfalls, striking fruit orchards and meandering glacial rivers which took us in complete awe of the magic in just a matter of few seconds. We reached our hotel and checked in. It was freezing in Lachung. Also the view from our room was beautiful. With this our day 3 ended.
We had to wake up early in the morning as we were heading to Yume Samdong (Zero Point). The route was quite scary as the quality of the road was not that good as there were steep inclines, curves, high mountains and sections where the road was broken away completely due to a landslide or a stream flowing through which made a typical North Sikkim drive. Especially the point where an entire hill had come down in the earth quake of 2011. The makeshift road meanders down next to the tributary of river Teesta made it an adventurous and memorable drive. The weather was bit chaotic as it was raining, it was foggy, it was cold and it was snowy.
It was a 3 hrs journey. The oxygen level was low as it was located at a very high altitude of 15300 ft. We could see the melting snow. The place was overcrowded but we had fun. Also, I dared myself to remove the jackets i wore and clicked pictures in 2 degrees. Haha..:P There were small stalls of Maggi, tea, coffee and many more. After spending an hour, we had to leave the place because the road was extremely narrow and there were numerous cars and jeeps parked which took us 30 minutes to get out of the place. Then we went to Yumthang Valley. It was a beautiful valley rightfully called ‘Valley of flowers”. It was a breathtaking view with Teesta river flowing. Also we had seen blooming rhododendron and yaks everywhere. We clicked some pictures and headed to Yumthang Hot Spring which was located at some distance from Yumthang village. We had to walk few miles from road to village. It was a hut with two pools which containing hot spring water. It was rich in sulphureted hydrogen gas from the spring which was diverted to pools. We sat there for some time keeping our leg inside the water to feel the warmth in such a cold weather. Then we headed back to our Gangtok hotel. We had our food and drinks at Lounge 31a Studio. With this our day 4 ended.
We woke up at 5 am and checked out form the hotel as we were heading from Gangtok to Pelling. It was raining, the roads were better than Lachung’s roads. On our way to Pelling, we thought of going to this tranquil, serene and divine place called Buddha Park (Ravangla). It was the best place I explored in Sikkim. I would highly recommend this place for you to visit if you are planning to go to Sikkim. I fell in love with this place the moment I entered. I forgot all the stress. The giant statue of Gautam Buddha which was supposedly 300ft high and it was clearly visible but after sometime, it was surrounded by clouds, felt like it got completely vanished. There was a temple which had a pictorial representation of Buddha’s life. Lovely music was flowing through the meditation hall which was an absolute peace of mind. There was a garden which was very clean and well maintained. Also battery car was available for those who had difficulty to walk since there were lot of stairs to go through in order to reach the temple. There were some restaurants inside the campus, so we had our lunch and left the place as we had to reach our Pelling hotel before the sunset. We reached the hotel around 5 pm and were relaxing. We couldn’t do much since it was raining. We had our delicious dinner in the hotel and slept. With this our day 5 ended.
We woke up around 4 pm to see the Kanchenjunga mountains from the window of our room but we couldn’t see anything since it was too foggy. Otherwise it is said that the view of Kanchejunga looks beautiful in the morning when the sun rises. So don’t forget to book a room which has a view of Kanchenjunga mountains. Then we headed to a holy lake known as Khecheopalri Lake. It was at a distance of 250 m from the parking area. There were lotttt of fishes and you even feed those fishes. There was a small monestary which we skipped due to time constraints.
Then we went to our next destination which was Kanchenjunga waterfalls. It is one of the magnificent and largest falls in Sikkim. There was a zip line facility organized for tourists. The water was visible from the main road itself. The water was quite cold and clear, it glittered like a diamond when the sun’s rays fell on it. We had spent half an hour there, clicked pictures and left the place. Then we went to Pelling glasswalk which is India’s first glass skywalk and you can enjoy the thrill of walking on the glass. The path leads to the Chenrezig statue which is a manifestation of all the Buddha’s compassion. His name means “One Who Looks with an Unwavering Eye”. The place was serene. We sat there for some time. Then again headed to Pelling main area, had lunch and left for Siliguri around 4 pm. The Bagdogra airport was quite near to Siliguri and so we thought to stay there in order to avoid next day’s chaos. Suggest you to do the same in case if you are planning for this trip. With this our day 6 ended.
With Day 7, our tourism to Sikkim was ended. We headed to Mumbai airport from Bagdogra airport. Also we purchased some sweets like Rasgulla and Rajbhog and i purchased a packet of Assam tea from Siliguri. Overall, it was a memorable journey. I always cherish the moments I had spend there with my friends. Also, please take a look below to know few more details of my trip. This will be helpful for you if you are planning for a trip to Sikkim.
Overall cost: We had spent approx. Rs.38000 /- person for the entire trip. Here and there, we might have spent some extra money for drinking, food and shopping. You can spent accordingly.
Flight tickets: Round trip from Mumbai to Bagdogra: Rs. 12274
Nathula Pass Permit: Rs. 200/- per person for the form provided by the tour operator (it can vary) and additional Rs.20 for the permit itself
Food: Famous dishes you should definitely try is:
• Thukpa/ Gya Thuk, Thenthuk: Tibetan style soupy noodles mixed with vegetables or minced food
• Momos with a home-made red chilli sauce and sometimes even soup
• Chowmein: Stir-friend noodles with vegetables
Hotels we stayed in:
• Pelling: Pemaling Residency Upper Pelling
• Lachung: Magellan’s The Golden Bridge
• Gangtok: Megallan’s Hotel Renam
• Siliguri: Hotel Balaji Inn
Few things you need to pack if you are planning for a vacation to Sikkim:
• Carry a resistant jacket to protect yourself from wind/water
• If you are planning to go there during any rainy month, then carry an umbrella as it rains there most of the time.
• Extra pair of clothes and shoes wherever you are traveling within Sikkim because in case if you get drenched and you wanna change, you should have an extra pair handy.
That was all about my visit to Sikkim. Hope you enjoyed reading. Also, I hope the article was useful to you. Thanks for reading fellas 🙂