Well, to be precise, 2016 was nice for me both in terms of travelling and from other perspectives. As the year has come to end and we all are making a step towards another new year, I thought of drafting the trips I took up on 2016.
Bhutan, February 2016 :
The year started with getting married and taking a huge risk of planning a Familymoon to Bhutan. Bhutan was really beautiful and unique, and we fell in love with Bhutan. The culture of Bhutan is so different from that of North East. Bhutan has a different charm which I can’t express in words with my limited vocabulary. Being Indian citizens, we need not pay any minimum daily tariff and plan through authorized Bhutanese travel agents unlike other foreigners. So, we traveled on our own according to our budget. We went all the way to Bumthang in the east. And I must say, one should really go to the remote areas in the eastern part if s/he’s looking forward to experience real Bhutan. The highlight of our trip was obviously hiking Tiger’s Nest. I intend to visit again, but this time it’d be through east exploring the leftovers.
Jholung River Camp, March 2016 :
We, a group of friends came across this serene beautiful palce across North Bengal, first on March 2015. And on-spot, we decided to visit here every year just to relax within the lap of mother nature. This year, we planned Jhallong on a verge and the first thing we noticed is that, the place have been renamed to Jholung. We even spotted Jhalung at some places. But as Shakespeare said “what’s there in the name?”. The place and it’s beauty is still intact. But unfortunately, the caretaker of the property Mr. Sushanta, informed us that, govt. would be renovating this place by building up cottages instead of tents. And to tell you the truth, we loved the environment of tent only. I don’t think cottages would be as beautiful as the tents and it’d loose it’s charm like Suntaleykhola River Camp.
South & West Sikkim, April 2016 :
This was pre-planned. Actually we planned for Arunachal, Tawang to be precise first, but later due to issues in budget, we had to change the plant to South & West Sikkim. After being to Gangtok and North Sikkim, it was long time pending for me. So I grabbed this oppurtunity to explore this beautiful part of Sikkim. We took up the Barsey Rhododendron Trek to start with. Then proceeded towards Kaluk. Kaluk is very beautiful, and the key aspect of Kaluk is, it offers 180 deg view of Kanchenjugha. But out of our luck, we missed the view due to cloudy weather. But with hope in our mind we moved to Pelling after exploring some offbeat destinations like Rinchenpong, Hee, Bermiok, Chaya Taal, Dentam and Uttarey. This time from Pelling, we could spot Kanchenjungha clearly. Finally we ended our journey by exploring another offbeat destination, Borong, somewhat 5 – 6KM from Ravangla.
Coorg, June 2016 :
Well, we had to go to Bangalore due to yearly checkup of my wife. But this time, things were wrapped up real quick due to one very humble and helpful person. Thus we too this oppurtunity to explore Coorg and Mysore. We have never been to south and from various blogs and social media, I heard a lot about this small hill station. Though this was not the right time to visit Coorg, but we took up this oppurtunity of exploring the same in low cost due to off season. The view throughout the way as splendid and just can’t be expressed in words. The villa we got (thanks to our driver for arranging the same), was abolutely stunning. The view in the background was something to lust for.
Goa, July 2016 :
Even though we planned a small weekend trip to Latpanchar, but on a verge with my nephew, we went to Goa. And believe me, even though I’m a mountain lover and never count on beaches, I fell in love with Goa. The trip to Goa, proved to a very eventful and unique experience for us. Infact I plan to make another trip to Goa. The open minded culture out there is something one can’t find anywhere in India. I personally loved North Goa more than that of South Goa. North Goa is mostly cluttered, but hip-hop place and perfect for party minded people. Whereas South Goa, is peaceful with less number of tourists, perfect for someone looking for some quite time alone. Even at that time of Monsoon, Goa didn’t fail to impress us with it’s vibe.
East, West & South Sikkim, October 2016 :
Now that I have been to almost all the parts of Sikkim, we couldn’t leave the Eastern part which is famously known as Silk Route. The key attraction of this tour was travelling and exploring the destination across Silk Route. But due to unfavourable weather, we had to miss few things out. Later on, we clubbed some key yet non touristy destinations of West & South Sikkim like Yuksom and Ravangla. We also covered Namchi which we missed on our last trip on April. And finally we revisited Pelling once again and it proved to be a lifetime memorable experience of watching the glorious Kanchenjungha in the moonlight of full moon. Though we couldn’t experience the sunrise from Pelling this time due to bad weather, but that wish of ours got fulfilled at Hee Gaon. Staying at Hee Gaon proved to be a quite great experience, specially due to it’s offbeat location and aerial view of Mt. Kanchenjungha.
Shivakhola, Latpanchar and Ahal Dara, December 2016 :
How could I ended the year without bragging about a proper winter vacation? Haha!! Just Kiddin!! On a verge we, some group of collegues (turned friends), went ahead for a small getaway, with some unexplored destination of North Bengal. The serene beauty of Shivakhola indeed helped us to get relaxed. And glad that I found somewhat same as Jhalong River Camp which would now loose it’s charm due to the cottages. At the Bonfire and Barbeque in the evening, we enjoyed a lot, forgetting about our daily life. Next we moved on to Ahal Dara and just got stunned by the 360 degree view it has to offer. We just couldn’t move, viewing the glorious Kanchenjungha in our front without any obstruction. The sunrise that we experienced here, was unique and something that we never experienced before. This became a lifetime memorable experience for us. Finally we ended our trip exploring Latpanchar, the remote village under Mahananda Wilflife Sanctuary.
So in a nutshell, Year 2016 was awesome in terms of travel. As a sign of appreciation, got DE (Destination Expert) badge for Sikkim, Bhutan and Darjeeling forums in Trip Advisor, worlds largest travel community. In terms of blogging, I moved on to new host, as few readers complained immense slowness and downtime. The same helped me to gain few loyal readers like you. As you have already noticed, I also invested in a better theme for better readability. Rest assured, this will still be free of any ads as of now.
Last but not the least, Merry X-Mas and advance Happy New Year 2017 to all of you 🙂