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Experience From My Sikkim Trip

Gurudongmar Lake

Hello, It’s been some time that I bought this domain and installed WordPress out of curiosity but never found anything to write about. But recently I have been to Sikkim and thought of writing about my experience which may help others to plan their itenary and for me, helping myself to make the setup useful πŸ˜›

So, it started off by my mom, who suddenly said, “Hey, it’s been a long time we have not done any trips, let’s go somewhere”. Yeah, I know she was right, I got really busy into my professional life and the rat race to make money. I always loved travelling and previously we used to go every year to some tour, but suddenly it’s been 2 years I started running after making money.

So thought of taking a week off and after going through few places I fixed on Sikkim. I always prefer Mountains over Beaches and I have never been to North East. So this was my chance to explore the beautiful state of NE.

Well, I better stay off from the details of Sikkim, it’s altitude and all etc. Who thinks about all these while planning for a trip? Well, if you disagree, then Wikipedia is there.

We all of us, in my family loves DIY Backpacker Tour instead of going with any Tour Operators. DIY is fun, starting form gathering all information, probable risks, scams etc. to fixing on destinations and everything. DIY allows me to do the tour in my own way instead of relying on someone else to plan my tour. Though there’s nothing wrong loving packaged tour, that eliminates all your headache. But we love DIY, as we don’t always go by fixed itenary, we may increase days at some destination if we like it.

It’s always better to catch a train at night, so that you can reach NJP (New Jalpaiguri) at morning and can go upwards on that day only. But due to my schedule we couldn’t do that so we started off our journey by catching the train at morning and reached NJP at around 7:30 PM. As it was too late to go further, so we stayed in Siliguri for the night and explored Hong Kong Market. Siliguri itself needs 2-3 days to explore, but we have been to Siliguri previously, so it didn’t matter much for us. Enjoyed the delicious Toasts and Half-Boiled Egg in Netaji Cabin. I always go there if I’m in Siliguri.

Teesta River

Teesta River

Next day early morning we took Shared Jeep to Gangtok. Shared Jeep’s are always available in Siliguri and NJP for different areas such as Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Gangtok etc. They have fixed rate, so no chances of being scammed. Right now, the cost of shared jeeps are 200/- for Gangtok and 150/- for Darjeeling per person. One can also go for private car but as you can guess it costs higher but is more comfortable. Private cars cost between 1500/- to 4000/- depending on the car you are hiring. The shared jeeps takes total 10 person (4 Back + 4 Middle + 2 Front), so it can be very uncomfortable if you are a bit fat and not much open minded. In that case I’d suggest to go for private car as once you start the journey you won’t be able to negotiate anything. If you are on a budget trip you can also go for 2 tickets to make yourself comfortable. We as backpackers, always prefer local mode of transport, that helps us keeping the cost within range and also to enjoy the local culture.

Sikkim Checkpost

Sikkim Checkpost

The cars of WB is not permitted to go beyond Deorali in Sikkim. So the cars from WB will drop you at Deorali Stand and from there you have to catch local cab to Hotel or M. G. Marg. The journey from NJP / Siliguri to Deorali is around 3.5 to 4 hours with a nashta break in between. Have your breakfast / tiffin over there with Tea or Coffee. Don’t forget to enjoy Momo which is served with cutney, as you are in the land of Momo’s. Also note that, in Sikkim they do not have any concept of Chicken Momo, Mutton Momo etc. It’s Veg momo everywhere. Though you may find some stalls at M. G. Marg selling Chicken Momo, but it’ll be rare, very rare.

If you can catch the cars going back, that came down from Sikkim to NJP / Siliguri, then you don’t need to change the car at Deorali. From Deorali it’ll be around 200/- to your hotel (depending on the location) or M. G. Marg. Remember that though these are Taxi, there’s no meter system in Gangtok. They have fixed rate for fixed distance for locals. So bargain it accordingly before the ride. Also, maximum 4 person is allowed in a cab, so if you are more than 4 person, then you have to hire more than 1 cab.

We stayed at Hotel Ma Yang in Gangtok, Development Area. It’s a bit far from M. G. Marg. Hotels in M. G. Marg will generally have higher rate, while on Development Area or Lal Bazar Road you will get cheaper options. From our hotel, shared cabs were available to M. G. Marg for Rs. 10/- per person so it was not a problem for us to roam around.

Hotels throughout the Sikkim are available on AMP (American Meal Plan) / EP (European Plan) / CP (Continental Plan). Ours was with AMP. Though it may seem first that with AMP it’s going to be on higher side, but ultimately at the end you’ll realize it’s not. In Sikkim, it works in a different way.

If you are not aware about the Meal Plan systems, below is the basic idea of all the Meal Plans.

  • AMP (American Meal Plan) – Room with Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
  • MAP (Modified American Plan) – Room with Breakfast, Lunch / Dinner
  • EP (European Plan) – Room only
  • CP (Continental Plan) – Room with Breakfast

AMP is generally preferred which serves Bengali Cuisine, rest you can be sure that you won’t be disappointed. Different dishes will be served in every meal. So rest assured dishes won’t be same on all the meals for all the days. One can also go for MAP if your itenary is something which won’t allow you to have Lunch at the hotel. You can also go for EP / CP if you want to try out local dishes. But beware that, in Hilly Regions everything gets closed at sharp 9 PM and food in M. G. Marg can be a bit costly with the ratio of quantity served.

Gangtok

Gangtok

Once thing I loved and amazed about Gangtok is, everything is well organized and it looks like planned city. First thing that amazed me as soon as I was entered Gangtok, is the Footpath and Footbridges. Here in Kolkata we do have footpath, but I never seen anyone to use that, instead peoples walk along the main road. Well how would they? footpaths are filled up with different stalls. But here in Gangtok, I was amazed to see, that everyone is walking along the footpath and using footbridges to cross the road. That way both the cars running along the road and the peoples walking, don’t interfere each other.

Way To M. G. Marg

Way To M. G. Marg

Next thing, I loved is, the organized Cab system. Like, cabs that bring you from Deorali to the City can only run along the same route and they cannot hop into short distance passengers or cannot run in different route. So the cab that runs within the city for short distance cannot hop into other passengers too. Each cab has the licence stucked on the front window which determines it’s route. Also, they have different Cab Stand (multistoried buildings) for these. Like the cabs that runs from Deorali to the Gangtok City have different stand than that of cabs running on short distance within the city or than that of the cabs going to North Sikkim or West Sikkim. Everyone have different stand with different set of Cabs.

After checking in to hotel and having lunch we took rest for few hours and went for a visit to M. G. Marg. Again, it was simply stunning. With the lighting and decorations everything seemed planned. Had some delicious Momo and Tea and walked around the Marg. It felt awesome in Chilly 5 Deg C. Well that’s what my mobile showed me πŸ™‚

M. G. Marg

M. G. Marg

M. G. Marg

M. G. Marg

M. G. Marg

M. G. Marg

Sikkim is one of the state for Spirit lovers. So don’t forget to buy Liquors / Beer. It’s a tax free state so prices are much lower than that of your hometown (if you are not coming from another tax free state). Branded Beers are available for 55/-. Local beer is available for 50/-. We bought Antiquity Blue and VAT 69 for 710/- and 1050/- respectively.

Low Price + Chilled Weather = Enjoy the drink.

Next day after breakfast, we left for 3D/2N North Sikkim tour (also known as Lachung – Lachen tour). Cab from our hotel to North Sikkim Cab Stand took 200/-. The Lachung – Lachen tour is generally available within 3000/- per person (everything inclusive i.e. Accommodation and Food). This tour comes in various forms and can be booked from your Hotel or in Tour Stalls in M. G. Marg or in Siliguri / NJP while catching the cab to Deorali / Gangtok.

The North Sikkim tour comes in various forms, such as

  • 2D/1N – Lachung with Yumthung Valley
  • 2D/1N – Lachen with Gurudongmar Lake
  • 3D/2N – Lachen – Gurudongmar Lake & Lachung – Yumthung Valley

All the above tour comes with accommodation and meal plan. You cannot deviate from this i.e. you can’t book hotel yourself. The reason is, at that high altitude you won’t find anything. The hotels are very basic, so keep your expectation low. Though, they are more of a Lodge rather than Hotel. You will be served Bengali Cuisine throughout your stay. These hotels runs depending on these tour operators in Gangtok. Each tour operator have collaboration with a particular hotel accordingly.

Let me warn you, that all of the North Sikkim tour is really hectic and tiresome. Specially the 3D/2N tour. Also you will be climbing at very high altitude (17,100 ft above sea level), so be prepared and plan accordingly specially if you have aged person with you.

Also note that, you need to fix the tour with you tour operator / hotel, a day before you are willing to take this tour and submit Photo ID Proof along with 4 Passport size Photos, as these places are situated in Indo – China border, getting permission is required for the same. If you are not Indian, then your permission will be very limited

INFO : North Sikkim Tours are available both in Shared and Private options. This is in terms of the vehicle. Accommodation will be private to you if you are travelling alone or in double sharing mode if you are travelling in a group. Shared Option is recommended for Budget Tourists, however please keep in mind that due to the hectic journey, this won’t be much comfortable though. Of course, if you don’t want to shell out 6X amount on private vehicle, you don’t have any other option.

North Sikkim being restricted region, you need Restricted Area Permit (Restricted Area Permit) / Protected Area Permit (PAP). On booking of the tour package, your tour operator would arrange the same for you on submission of a photocopy of Voter ID Card and Passport Size Photo for each member. And considering the current costing of the package (with both shared and private vehicle), this is the best option. Because getting the permit on your own is theoretically possible but practically very tough (because of local politics) and hiring a vehicle for the trip along with booking the homestays separately would cost you more than the package cost. So practically it’s not worth the effort.

But believe me, if you take this tour instead of all the obstacles, it’ll be your lifetime memory

Way To Chungthang

Way To Chungthang

Way To Chungthang

Way To Chungthang

We started at 11 AM and reached Chungthang at around 6 PM in the evening with a 30 mins lunch break in between. Gangtok to Chungthang is 6 Hours journey. From Chungthang the road gets divided to Lachung & Lachen. Generally Lachen is covered first and then Lachung. So after having some Momo and Tea in Chingthang, we started for Lachen again without wasting much time.

Note that, Chungthang is the last destination where you’ll get Mobile tower. So take your time to make any calls or surf internet if you needed to. After this point, only BSNL will work. So you’ll be out of coverage area for 2 days if your provider is not BSNL.

UPDATE (2018) : Airtel, Vodafone etc. works really great throughout Lachen and Lachung now. You can even access 4G Data. There’s no coverage at Gurudongmar, Yumthang and Zero Point though.

We sighed when we reached Lachen after around 1.5 Hours. Finally we were at Lachen at 7:30 PM starting from Gangtok at 11 AM. We checked in to the Hotel. It was -10 Deg C and what I loved is, as this sort of temperature stays throughout the year, all the hotel sells liquor. I sat with a Beer. After an hour or so, we were called for Dinner.

Way To Gurudongmar Lake

Way To Gurudongmar Lake

Next day early morning at sharp 3’O Clock in the morning we left for Gurudongmar Lake. We reached Thangu, the last village of Indo – Chinese Border at around 7 AM. It’s mostly covered with the military base so be ready to be amazed to see different Regiments, Armour, Tanks, Shelling Equipment’s etc. I felt proud when I saw how hard our Indian Army works to protects us throughout the year on -15 Deg C. I felt proud watching them how they sacrificed their life, their family and is always there standing on the border so that we all Indians can go to sleep without worrying.

“Jai Hind”

Gurudongmar Lake

Gurudongmar Lake

So finally at 7:30 we reached Gurudongmar Lake at 17,100 ft. Many of tourist felt ill due to low oxygen and started facing breathing problem. The hills looked awesome, it was like made of Gold. The beautiful and awe inspiring lake remains milky in color throughout the year. According to a legend, since the lake used to remain frozen most of the year, it was not possible to use its water for drinking purposes. When the Guru Padmasambhava passed by, while returning from Tibet, the local residents are reported to have approached him for providing source of water. The Guru obliged. A portion of the lake touched by him does not freeze in extreme winter. Since water of the lake is considered sacred, visitors carry the ‘blessed’ water in bottles.

  • Gurudongmar Lake 13100 Ft
    Gurudongmar Lake 13100 Ft

Don’t try to find logic or science within this story, but be amazed to see, how it’s not frozen at -15 Deg C when everything around it is frozen. πŸ™‚ Be amazed, to see the Hills, well the last hills of India.

While coming back to Lachen we had breakfast at Thangu and spoke to some of our Army mens regarding the border conditions. Finally we were back at Lachen again at 12’O Clock. Took rest and a nap for an hour and then we were called for Lunch. Taking rest for few mins we left for Lachung at 2 PM.

While going to Lachung, we had a break in Chungthang. Again we were back in coverage area, so made few calls back home to inform that everything is fine. We reached Lachung at 5:30 PM. Took rest for the evening as all of us were really tired after the hectic trip of 2 days, well still 1 day remaining. We were called for Dinner at around 10 PM and had a Beer afterwards and went off to sleep.

Yumthung Valley

Yumthung Valley

At 5’O Clock in the morning we left for Yumthung. Yumthung is famous for varieties of Rhododendrons and known as “Valley of Flowers”. Though as we took this tour in October, we couldn’t see any flowers there. Bad luck, we missed the natural beauty.

  • Yumthung Valley
    Yumthung Valley

It was around 7 AM, we thought of extending it to Zero Point. Generally Zero Point is not covered in the tour, but you can always negotiate with the driver. Don’t negotiate about Zero Point with the Tour Operator beforehand, as it requires permission which will raise the cost. Instead pay your driver 500 – 1000 bucks and ask him to take you to Zero Point.

  • Way To Zero Point
    Way To Zero Point

We reached Zero Point at around 9:00 AM. Finally after enjoying and playing a lot with ice bergs, we left for Lachung at around 10:30.

  • Zero Point
    Zero Point

At sharp 12’O Clock we reached Lachung, back to our Hotel again and left for Gangtok at 2’O Clock after having lunch and freshening up a bit.

Ahh…So finally we are back to Gangtok at around 7 PM. We all were really tired from this 3D / 2N North Sikkim tour. We planned for visiting M. G. Marg but we couldn’t, as we didn’t had any energy left. Got a beer ourselves and we soon hit the bed after dinner.

Next day Morning, we planned for Nathula Trip, but our hotel suggested to shift it next day, as it’d be really hectic for us as we were just from a hectic trip of North Sikkim. Well, yeah, he was right, so we shifted the Nathula trip to next day and planned for local sight-seen. After breakfast, we arranged a reserved 10 Point Half-Day Tour which cost us around 1000/-

There are many sight-seen packages like

  • 3 Point Half Day
  • 7 Point Half Day
  • 10 Point Half Day
  • 10 Point Full Day
  • Mixed Point

Points are fixed for all the tours unless you go for Mixed Point. For Mixed Point, you need to plan it yourself, what points you’d like to visit.

On our 10 Point tour, we went to Tashi View Point, Hanuman Tok, Ganesh Tok, Bakthang Waterfall, Enchey Monastery, Flower Exhibition Center, Handicraft Center, Chorten Stupa, Institute of Tibetology and Ropeway Cable Car.

  • Gangtok From Tashi View Point
    Gangtok From Tashi View Point

Well, we didn’t went to Cable Car as we didn’t think the price is justified for the timings. It’s just that, you’d be able to see the Gangtok from cable car. So if you have never been to cable car then this can be a nice experience. But we had ride cable car many times before. So this didn’t attract us.

I heard of Rumtek Monastery a lot, and I had planned to visit it from the very beginning when I started to research on my tour. But those are included in 10 Point Full Day tour as it was on the opposite side of all the above points. So, I thought of booking a 10 Point Half Day and then I’d try to negotiate directly with Cab driver as that would save the money and also I was not interested in other points of Full Day tour except Rumtek Monastery. So, as I had planned, we negotiated with our cab driver for 500/- and he agreed, as that amount will exclusively go to his pocket.

View From Rumtek Monastry

View From Rumtek Monastry

View From Rumtek Monastry

View From Rumtek Monastry

Finally, we were at Rumtek Monastery. What should I say, Awesome. Simply Awesome. Our driver was very friendly guide, he narrated us the story of the Monastery on the route.

Way To Rumtek Monastry

Way To Rumtek Monastry

Rumtek Monastry

Rumtek Monastry

Rumtek Monastry

Rumtek Monastry

Way To Golden Stupa

Way To Golden Stupa

After this, he took us to Botanical Garden, though we didn’t asked for it and it was closed too due to Diwali. And, with this, we ended our so called 10 Point Half-Day Tour (or should I call it 10 Point Quarter Tour :P) and back to our hotel.

Botanical Garden

Botanical Garden

We took a nap after having our Lunch and later in the evening we went to M. G. Marg. It was Diwali, and people were burning crackers all over and it was just stunning. Watching colorful shells in the mountain with Tea and Momo, is just different and awesome.

Diwali Celebration at M. G. Marg

Diwali Celebration at M. G. Marg

Next day, after breakfast, we went for Tsongmo Lake – Nathulla Pass – Baba Mandir Tour. This tour generally costs 800/- per head (With Nathulla), and 500/- per head (Without Nathulla). The first stop was Tsongmo Lake. I don’t know, but may be after all the scenic beauty of Gurudongmar and Zero Point, I didn’t find this much interesting. So we didn’t wasted much time here.

Tsongmo Lake

Tsongmo Lake

Tsongmo Lake

Tsongmo Lake

We had Thukpa as our lunch in a small jhoops near Tsongmo Lake and headed for Nathulla. Words can’t describe the feeling when you are standing in your country’s border watching the bunkers of India and China and the LoC. Just a step forward and you’ll be in China.

  • Way To Nathulla
    Way To Nathulla
Nathulla Pass

Nathulla Pass

While returning back from Mathulla, we visited Baba Mandir. Though the use of word Mandir which means Temple, it’s not a Temple actually. Baba Harbhajan Singh was an soldier who died near the Nathula Pass. He is revered by soldiers of the Indian army as the “Hero of Nathula” and the army men have also built a shrine in his honour. He has been accorded the status of saint by believers who refer to him as the Baba (saintly father). Many of the faithful people, chiefly Indian army personnel posted in and around the Nathula Pass and the Sino-Indian border between the state of Sikkim and Chinese occupied Tibet have come to believe his spirit protects every soldier in the inhospitable high altitude terrain of the Eastern Himalayas. As with most saints, the Baba is said to also grant favors presumably to those who revere and worship him.

  • Baba Mandir
    Baba Mandir

And finally we were back in Gangtok again.

Mera Bharat Mahan

Mera Bharat Mahan

It was 11 PM, chilled weather with a Chilled Beer in hand watching the peaks. Last night of our tour. What can I say, I thought I’ll miss this place, the trip, the enjoyment. The friendly nature of all the Nepali people around who helped us a lot throughout this trip of ours.

Next day, we left for NJP after breakfast. Throughout the route, I kept my eyes closed and every details of our trip went through my mind. I was missing it badly. And more than that, I was afraid of going back to that so called rat race life again. But what can I do? That’s the way of life. Right? I kept telling my heart that, Let’s go back, earn more money, so that you can again pack the bags and leave for another awesome place again.

Memory

Memory

Last but not the least, this trip would not have been successful without

Thanks a lot to all the volunteers out there in Trip Advisor, who helped me a lot researching about destinations and various suggestions. DIY is fun, it helps us to be informed about the destinations and pick up them according to our choices, probable scams which helps us to keep our cost low avoiding them.

Any critics and suggestions is welcome.

Costs Involved:
NJP -> Siliguri : Reserved Auto = 200/- (For 5 Members)
Siliguri -> Deorali : Shared Car – 200/- Per Head x 5 = 1000/-
Deorali -> Development Area (Hotel) – 200/- per car. As we were 5 members we took 2 taxi’s. So total is 400/-

North Sikkim 2N/3D Tour : 3000/- Per Head x 5 = 15000/- (including accommodation and all the meals) + 1200/- given extra for Zero Point (Zero Point is not included in the package)

If you are planning to hire a private vehicle it costs around Rs. 16,000/- for 2 Pax and around Rs. 20,000/- for 4 pax including accommodation and all the meals.

Gangtok 10 Point Sightseeing : Exclusive vehicle for 5 members – 500/- + 500/- Given Extra for Rumtek Monastry = 1000/-

Nathulla Pass Tour : 800/- Per Head x 5 Person = 3200/-

Hotel Maa Yang @ 1200/- Per Day x 4 Nights = 4800/-
We, 5 persons, stayed in a single room. And this price includes MAP i.e. Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner and Tea 2 times (Morning and Evening).

We were there for total 6 Nights, out of which 2 Nights we spent in Lachung, Lachen. So the Hotel Costs is of 4 night with all the meals.

As far as I remember, our total cost for the trip from Home to Home was 40k for 1 week for 5 persons. Ofcourse that includes too many Momo’s @ 30/- and Thukpas here and there.

Development Area -> M.G.Marg shared cabs take 10/- per head. But while returning from M.G.Marg you’ll never find a shared cab. So you need to book it exclusively for 80/- – 100/-. Depends on your bargaining. Some day we got for 70/- and some day for 90/-.

Contacts:
Hotel Maa Yang : +919748659918 / +919432491159

North Sikkim, Nathulla Pass and Sightseeing Tours booked from Lama Tour and Travels. It’s run by an young women, Binita Lama. You can call her or whatsapp her at +919832079292 / +919734983536. She has recently started her Hotel Business too in Development Area, Gangtok. Lamaz Residency : Lamaz Residency

We didn’t stayed there, as the prices were a bit high than our budget. We had a budget of around 1000/- for a room (for 5 people!!). Though she gave us a discount, still it was too high for us.

Sightseeing Driver [SK 01 T 1077] : +919734008523. Well I asked a lot but he didn’t told his name. Instead he kept on insisting by saving his name as Uncle. So I saved the contact as Uncle on my phone πŸ˜› He’s really a good driver and a guide himself. He told us the story behind Rumtek Monastry on our way.

About Author

Hi, I'm born and bought up in Kolkata in the midst of what bongs are best known for - Eating, Sleeping and Travelling. A developer by profession and a traveller by passion. As I was facing a lack of budget-friendly information on the internet while planning my travel, I started drafting my travel experiences here to help you all having a pocket-friendly smooth travel experience.

982 Comments

  • Amit Jaiswal
    November 16, 2015 at 2:15 PM

    Thanks a ton for your wishes.

    Regards
    Amit Jaiswal

    Reply
  • Krishnandu Sarkar
    November 16, 2015 at 2:24 PM

    Below are some points you might be interested in.

    Tashi View Point, Hanuman Tok, Ganesh Tok, Bakthang Waterfall, Enchey Monastry, Flower Exhibition Center, Chorten Stupa, Institute of Tibetology, Ropeway, Ranka Monastery, Rumtek Monastry.

    Reply
    • Amit Jaiswal
      January 10, 2016 at 12:05 AM

      Hi Krishnandu
      We came back from Sikkim trip with sweet memories. It is as beautiful as you described. Your blog was really helpful for our trip. Just came back to your page to thank you again. My experience with Maple tour and travels, Gangtok was also very good and it went without a single glitch. If anyone requires you can recommend Maple Tour and Travels (Mr. Subhash Rai) for Sikkim trip.

      Thanks and regards
      Amit Jaiswal

      Reply
      • Krishnandu Sarkar
        January 10, 2016 at 12:09 AM

        Hi Amit, Thanks a lot for dropping by. And I’m glad that you had a great holiday.

        Please share the number and email of Mr. Subhash Rai from Maple Tour & Travels, so that future readers can contact him directly.

        Reply
        • Amit Jaiswal
          January 10, 2016 at 12:16 AM

          Dear readers
          I took travel services for my Sikkim trip from Maple tours and travels, Gangtok and it was excellent. We did not face any problems, infact Mr. Subhash Rai took personal care for us like a friend. I would highly recommend Maple Tours and Travels for Sikkim/Darjeeling trip. You can directly contact him at 9609311777/9434153490. You can give my reference. You can write to me at amitanand22@gmail.com for any clarification.

          Reply
          • Krishnandu Sarkar
            January 10, 2016 at 12:18 AM

            Thanks a lot Amit for sharing the details. I hope it’ll help someone in future to have a great trip same as like yours πŸ™‚

            Reply
  • pranab
    November 16, 2015 at 2:39 PM

    krishnandu da,
    Our journey date confirm 23rd Feb & return date 29th Feb 2016,including journey date. please help me.only GANGTOK tour.

    Reply
  • Krishnandu Sarkar
    November 16, 2015 at 3:24 PM

    23rd Feb : Boarding Train.

    24th Feb : NJP to Gangtok. Go for a Half Day sightseeing including Rumtek Monastry. Stroll around M.G.Marg in the evening. O/N at Gangtok.

    25th, 26th, 27th Feb – North Sikkim Tour 2N/3D. (Lachug-Gurudongmar Lake-Lachen-Yumthang-Zero Point). Return to Gangtok on 27th Night. O/N at Gangtok.

    28th Feb : Tsongmo Lake, Baba Mandir, Nathulla Pass. O/N at Gangtok.

    29th Feb : Departure.

    #1. Feb may be too cold to enjoy enjoy North Sikkim. Infact if heavy snowfall occurs the roads to North Sikkim will be blocked. In that case you may move to Pelling or some other destinations.

    #2. Its a bit hectic to reach Gangtok and take Half Day Sightseeing on the same day itself. But rest assured its doable. Generally to enjoy Gangtok and North Sikkim in a bit relaxed way atleast 6 nights is required without travel dates. Whereas you are having only 5 nights (except travel dates). So I have made your itenary such that you don’t miss any places.

    Reply
  • pranab
    November 17, 2015 at 9:42 AM

    thanks dada

    Reply
  • Uttaran Chowdhury
    November 18, 2015 at 1:31 PM

    so back once again to tell u that our tour is confirmed. we will reach njp on jan 4th morning. we have a budget of 10k per head (6 persons). Here is our itinerary, pls modify if u wish
    4th jan- reach gangtok
    5th, 6th, 7th jan- north sikkim tour (really hoping that we can complete this trip as i’ve received positive news that heavy snowfall starts after 15th jan)
    8th jan- reach nathang valley via tsongmo lake, new baba mandir, tukla valley, kupup lake, menmecho lake, old baba mandir
    9th jan- sunrise on nathang top and leave for zuluk
    10th jan- leave zuluk and reach ravangla
    11th jan- ravangla sightseeing
    12th jan- maenam hill trek
    13th jan- leave for njp
    hope this is possible at our budget and pls enlighten me if not πŸ™‚

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      November 18, 2015 at 6:54 PM

      I think it’s fine and doable. Have a nice holiday πŸ™‚

      Reply
  • Uttaran Chowdhury
    November 19, 2015 at 12:57 AM

    one more thing…one of my friends suggested varsey rhododendron trek…which is better during that time…the varsey trek or the maenam hill trek??

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      November 19, 2015 at 7:59 AM

      Sorry I do not have any idea about the either. I know about the Hilley-Barsey trek but can’t comment on which one is better as I haven’t been to either of the trek.

      Reply
  • Akhil Prem
    November 19, 2015 at 9:36 AM

    Sir,
    I am planning to go to Sikkim alone this December . I want to ask is it necessary for me to book a tour package for north Sikkim . what will be it’s cost for a 3d/2N package if I don’t want shared vehicle . Also please tell me what will be the tour cost if I take shared vehicle

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      November 19, 2015 at 8:55 PM

      Hello Akhil, First of all I’m not someone whom you need to call Sir πŸ™‚

      No. Though you’ll always hear that you must book packages for North Sikkim else it’s not possible, but that’s not true. Agents there have created the image like that only for their business.

      You can do the tour on your own too. But that’s too hectic and thus people prefers to go via tour agent. If you do the tour on your own, you have to hire a vehicle, get the permits yourself or negotiate with the driver so that he goes early morning to get the permits. And you have too less or no way to contact the hotels up there, so you have to go and find in most cases. Only BSNL works up there above Chungthang and unless you have been there, it’s very hard to get the contacts on internet. But you can find some if you search thoroughly. So doing all these yourself, you’ll save very less and thus it’s better to take that tour via agent as their charge is not very huge.

      Exclusive vehicle would cost you anything between 12000/- to 20000/- depending on car type including fooding and lodging.

      If you go for shared vehicle it’s 3000/- per head including fooding and lodging. Sometimes the rate is hiked to 3500/- or 4000/- during high rush season.

      Reply
  • Uttaran Chowdhury
    November 19, 2015 at 5:35 PM

    ok thnx and is 10k enough for the whole tour???

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      November 19, 2015 at 8:32 PM

      That’s a very dicey question. Depends on how you are doing yor tour and luxury level and compromise that you are willing to make. Sometimes we 6 person stay in a single room. We do our homework on the car rates and bargain hard with drivers to get the best rate. So you see everything depends on how you do it. So it’s completely upto you.

      But I do understand that there is some minimum price that is required. You need to do your home work right on that part.

      Reply
  • Uttaran Chowdhury
    November 19, 2015 at 5:35 PM

    ok thnx and is 10k enough for the whole tour??? and in the silk route is there a better place to stay than zuluk??

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      November 19, 2015 at 8:18 PM

      I think so but that ofcourse depends on how are you spending. If you spend it tightly then its okay else it will be less. Why dont you try checking the rates of hotels you are planning to stay and car rates if you are thinking of point to point booking. That will give you an idea. And for fooding estimate roughly 500/- per day per person.

      There are many hamlets along the Silk Route. I think you have already planned for too much destinations. But rest assured your itenary is doable.

      You can try Gnathang if you are looking for alternate to Zuluk. But I’d suggest Zuluk due to your itenary. It’d be the best viable option.

      BTW though I don’t want to break your heart but keep an another itenary handy as if heavy snowfall occurs then these whole area would be inaccessible in Feb.

      Reply
  • Uttaran Chowdhury
    November 20, 2015 at 1:05 AM

    i know but im going on early january and once again thnx for the advice

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      November 20, 2015 at 8:00 AM

      Well the whole Dec – Feb is risky period. But still, everything depends on weather which is really unpredictable. Infact many people did the trip on Dec and Jan too. So Happy Journey πŸ™‚

      Reply
  • Uttaran Chowdhury
    November 21, 2015 at 12:23 AM

    yeah so gonna give it a try…if we manage then it will be a life changing trip

    Reply
  • Reshmi Jana
    November 21, 2015 at 1:55 AM

    Really great…!!!!!!
    I have a question. We are planning to go north sikkim (Lachen, Yumthang, Lachung, Katao). We are 6 adults and 2 children. Children ages are 1 yr 6 months and 2 year 10 months. What is your opinion, should we go with the children now ?? Please guide us. Thank you.

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      November 21, 2015 at 11:15 AM

      Hi Reshmi, No I’d not suggest to take North Sikkim trip. Infact children below 8 years are not allowed, you may not get the permit for them or even sometimes, Indian Army may stop you there.

      Some people have been able to done a trip successfully with their children, but those were instances where they have to gave in writing that, if anything happens they will be solely responsible, that also with kids between 4 years and 8 years.

      I really don’t think they will allow so little kids to Gurudongmar. Infact adults like you and me face altitude sickness and oxygen problem. Those little kids will not be able to cope up. Wait for few more years for them to grow then plan this trip. Don’t plan it with so many uncertainty and ofcourse you won’t want to take risk about your kids health right?

      You may explore South & West Sikkim, or some other destination.

      Reply
  • Reshmi Jana
    November 21, 2015 at 1:56 AM

    Really great…!!!!!!
    I have a question. We are planning to go north sikkim (Lachen, Yumthang, Lachung, Katao) in April 2016. We are 6 adults and 2 children. Children ages are 1 yr 6 months and 2 year 10 months. What is your opinion, should we go with the children now ?? Please guide us. Thank you.

    Reply
  • Uttaran Chowdhury
    November 21, 2015 at 1:00 PM

    if the north sikkim trip is ruled out due to snow what should we do??? considering we want snow

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      November 21, 2015 at 1:03 PM

      Well in that case you can try East Sikkim i.e. Silk Route. But chances are that may be closed as well if heavy snowfall occurs. In that case you may get some snow in Tsongmo Lake.

      Reply
  • Uttaran Chowdhury
    November 21, 2015 at 6:13 PM

    okay lets see!! acha to visit zero point do we need yumesandong mentioned in the permit or just paying the driver some cash will do??? and can yumthang, zero point and katao be visited on the same day??? i’ve heard that to visit katao permit is not required. is it true??

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      November 21, 2015 at 6:34 PM

      You don’t need to worry about that. Driver will arrange it. You don’t need to mention Zero Point to the tour operator. Else they will ask for much higher price. So just negotiate with the driver en-route.

      And sorry, I do not have any information about Katao.

      Reply
  • Uttaran Chowdhury
    November 21, 2015 at 8:38 PM

    ok thnx again…want to travel with you once…btw when did u visit north sikkim??

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      November 21, 2015 at 8:50 PM

      Sure!! I’d be glad!! Last year on Nov during Diwali. We were there on Diwali.

      Reply
  • Uttaran Chowdhury
    November 21, 2015 at 10:19 PM

    was there any snow at gurudongmar???

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      November 21, 2015 at 10:21 PM

      Ofcourse. It was full of snow at both Gurudongmar and Zero Point. Just check the pics avobe in the post πŸ™‚

      Reply
  • Uttaran Chowdhury
    November 22, 2015 at 1:04 AM

    no, actually i meant snowfall :p

    Reply
  • Uttaran Chowdhury
    November 22, 2015 at 1:17 AM

    thnx again da

    Reply
  • Sudipta halder
    November 23, 2015 at 10:42 PM

    Hotel maa young
    want some conformation money
    we affraid
    r thay chit or thay r very good persons

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      November 23, 2015 at 11:35 PM

      Well generally all hotels and tours asks for advance payment to confirm your booking. Its normal. But if you are not comfortable you can go for spot booking.

      My experience was good with the hotel.

      Reply
  • Akhil prem
    November 27, 2015 at 10:20 AM

    Hello Sir,
    I am planning to make a solo trip to Sikkim near mid -December. Is it advisable to go there at that time. I am planning a trip to nathula pass, gurudongmar lake, baba mandir, lachen, lachung, Yumthang valley, zero point if possible.. I am at holiday for 8 days. Could you tell me the possible itinerary.. If I travel in shared cab throughout the trip what will be the estimated cost? And if I want to travel in exclusive suv to gurudongmar lake how much will it cost me …
    And sorry for bothering you again

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      November 28, 2015 at 10:16 AM

      Hi Akhil,
      You don’t need to call me sir πŸ™‚

      Generally North Sikkim route gets closed in December due to heavy snowfall. So it completely depends on weather, whether you’ll be able to do the trip.

      I’d suggest keep an eye on weather report. Shared Cab to North Sikkim will cost around 3000 – 3500/- per head (including fooding and lodging) and Exclusive vehicle will cost anything between 15k to 20k depending on the type of vehicle.

      So it’s upto you, if you want to take the risk. Let me know if you are still planning for the same, then I’ll provide you an itenary.

      Reply
  • anil
    November 28, 2015 at 9:23 AM

    Hi K Sarkarji,
    I am planning a trip in mid December, may be alone or two of us. Your write up will be very useful. Tks for same. Also can u tell me if this is a good time to go on a similar trip as yours or there will be some restrictions.

    Tks
    Anil

    Reply
  • Krishnandu Sarkar
    November 28, 2015 at 10:18 AM

    Hi Anil, No December is not a good season to travel North Sikkim. You can go to Gangtok, it’s fine. But due to heavy snowfall in Winter, the road to North Sikkim gets closed down.

    So if you still plan for a trip, you have to depend on your luck. As no one knows what will happen this year. So you have to keep an eye on weather report.

    Reply
  • Akhil prem
    November 28, 2015 at 10:47 AM

    Hii again,
    I want to see the snowfall so I planned my visit before mid December from about 7th or 8th. I have seen many videos on YouTube of people who visited there during December going to changu lake or gurudongmar lake.. I have a budget of about 15k- 20k.. If possible can I book my tour package from there only for tour to north Sikkim… And suppose if I booked a tour package will they refund my money if the roads are blocked due to snowfall

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      November 28, 2015 at 11:01 AM

      Yes you can book package from Gangtok only. No need to book it from here.

      That I can’t tell you whether they will refund your money if road gets blocked due to snowfall.

      See I don’t think there’ll be much problem if you go to Gangtok and book it from there only. Because you need to submit the documents and book the package just a day before. So they will confirm you if the package can’t be booked then. Generally I have seen most of them to be very generous. They will clearly inform you if the road is inaccessible.

      Still, you can’t be sure about mother nature. Anything can happen in one night. So just confirm it from them only if heavy snowfall occurs and road gets blocked next day, whether they will refund your money.

      And yes, it’s not like North Sikkim is not accessible in December. Rest assured many people have done it. But there’s a risk of road getting blocked.

      Reply
  • Nikhil Rao
    November 29, 2015 at 8:46 PM

    Hi Krishnandu,

    First of all, very informative blog a very well presented !

    I am planning to travel solo to Sikkim in December. I will be reaching NJP on 15th of December and I will be having 8 days(including the day of my arrival) to explore the place.
    My initial plan was as follows:
    16th- yumthang excursion
    17th – 19th – lachung – lachen tour
    20th – Gangtok sightseeing
    21st, 22nd unsure what to do πŸ™‚

    It would be really helpful if you can give your suggestions on the above itinerary and also please suggest what places I can explore in the last two days of my holidays.

    If you think the above itinerary is not feasible or impossible due to weather issues, I request you to please help me out with some other options. As it is my first visit to Sikkim, I am open to options.

    A couple of more questions…

    Is it safe travelling alone in Sikkim ?

    Since I am travelling solo, how expensive will it be ?
    I am looking forward to do this holiday in a budget of 15k – 18k.
    Do you think it’s possible ?
    Please provide details of low budget places to stay as that will be very much useful.
    Also it would be great if you can share details of some great eating places in Sikkim as I am a foodie πŸ™‚

    It’s a lot of information I have asked from you πŸ™‚

    Looking forward for your reply.

    Thanks,
    Nikhil

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      November 29, 2015 at 11:25 PM

      Hi Nikhil, Thanks for your compliment πŸ™‚

      First of all I’d like to tell you that North Sikkim route may get blocked in Winter specially on or after December due to heavy snowfall. I don’t want to dishearten you, but it completely depends on weather. So keep an eye on weather report.

      Every year the scenario varies. So I won’t tell you that this year it will snow heavily in December. Infact many tourists have done North Sikkim in December. But as I said, it completely depends on weather.

      Secondly, regarding your itenary, I’d like to inform you that, Yumthang is in North Sikkim. Infact it’s covered in Lachung trip. So you can’t plan it separately.

      It’s like, you’ll first go to Lachen and will have to stay overnight. Next morning you’ll see Gurudongmar Lake and move to Lachung and stay overnight. Next morning you’ll go to Yumthang and Zero Point (if you wish to) and return to Gangtok. That’s the 2N / 3D North Sikkim (Lachung-Lachen) trip is like.

      I’d suggest the below itenary…
      16th – 18th – North Sikkim Trip. O/N at Gangtok on 18th.
      19th – Tsongmo Lake, Baba Mandir, Nathulla Pass trip. O/N at Gangtok.
      20th – Gangtok sightseeing. O/N at Gangtok.
      21st – Move to Pelling. O/N at Pelling.
      22nd – Pelling Sightseeing. O/N at Pelling.

      Now, if North Sikkim is not accessible due to snowfall, and you still want to consider Sikkim, then you can try West & South Sikkim.

      Thirdly, Yes, Sikkim is safe for Solo and Family Tourists as well.

      Fourthly, Well, expense is totally upto you. If you ask me, 15k – 18k is more than enough. Infact I’d make two trips on that money. Or can have a luxury holiday.

      Expense totally depends on your taste. How are you travelling, what kind of hotels you prefer and what kind of food you go for.

      If you noticed my budget, we 5 people did the trip on 33k NJP to NJP.

      But I believe, there’s a minimum cost for everything. So I’ll try to do a rough estimate of a budget tour. Rest is up to you, you can increase the amount for more luxury.

      1. Hotel – 800/- to 1000/- per day. So 5 Nights x 1000/- = 5000/-
      2. Food – 500/- per person per day. So 5 Nights x 500/- = 2500/-

      Note : I have calculated Hotel and Food for 5 Nights because, if you go for 2N / 3D North Sikkim trip, then that includes Fooding and Lodging. So you don’t need to calculate extra amount for those 2 Nights.

      3. Transport (Shared Cabs) :
      a. NJP to Deorali – 200/-
      b. Deorali to Hotel – 20/- (Don’t go for taxi’s inside the stand. Instead come to the road and you’ll get shared ones)
      c. North Sikkim Trip – 3000/- – 3500/- for 2N/3D including Fooding and Lodging.
      d. Tsongmo Lake, Baba Mandir, Nathulla Pass Tour – 800/- per person.
      e. Gangtok Sightseeing – Reserved Taxi – 800/- – 1500/-

      So that comes to around 13k. And you calculate 1k more for misc. expenses like having momos and tea and all.

      Hope now you can calculate the budget yourself.

      Let me know if you need anything else. I’d be glad to help πŸ™‚

      Reply
  • Uttaran Chowdhury
    November 30, 2015 at 8:41 PM

    acha can i book fo

    Reply
  • Uttaran Chowdhury
    November 30, 2015 at 8:42 PM

    acha can i book for my 2 days trip on the silk route from gangtok or i need to do it from here??

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      November 30, 2015 at 9:33 PM

      You can book it from here and from there also. But I’d suggest to do it from there, as there’s a chance of weather going rough in December.

      Reply
      • Dilip
        February 8, 2016 at 5:15 PM

        I am travelling with my 2 year kid.
        Can i visit nathula,baba mandir,lake? as i heard about extremely cold.
        If no, give some other location name.
        Also let me know, Can i take some alcohol as rates are very less there compare than my state.
        Also let me know hw many bottle allowed?

        Reply
        • Krishnandu Sarkar
          February 8, 2016 at 8:57 PM

          You nay visit Baba Mandir and Tsongmo Lake but I won’t suggest Nathulla as adults like us face breathing problem at that high altitude so your 2 yr old kid surely have problem.

          But also check for snowfall and weather for Tsongmo Lake. As you are visiting on winter season it might have get snowfall, in that case avoid Tsongmo Lake.

          Otherwise it’s wise to visit Pelling or Darjeeling if you haven’t.

          Regarding alcohol, you may take 6-10 bottle. Or you may take more but avoid the normal route at NJP station to avoid bag checking. Just cross the rail line. I did that many times without any issues.

          Reply
          • Dilip
            February 10, 2016 at 4:03 PM

            means 6-10 bottle allowed in station?
            can u pls narrate something abt pelling, what i will see there?

            Reply
            • Krishnandu Sarkar
              February 13, 2016 at 12:20 PM

              No I believe. Generally they allow 2-3 bottles. Actually those bottles are for sale in Sikkim only. So you can carry 1-2 but more than that, you have to carry it illegally.

              Reply
  • Uttaran Chowdhury
    November 30, 2015 at 11:49 PM

    ok thnx a lot

    Reply
  • Nikhil Rao
    December 1, 2015 at 1:38 AM

    Thanks a lot for the reply. I am definitely considering Sikkim. What do you suggest; should I pre-book the hotels or I should do it once I reach there ?
    Will I get shared cabs easily for the north sikkim tour given that December is off season ?
    And lastly, can you please suggest some good budget hotels to stay and the contact details if you have it ?

    Thanks,
    Nikhil

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      December 1, 2015 at 7:56 AM

      Hi Nikhil,
      1. December is off season for North Sikkim but not for Gangtok. Specially during 25th December it’s high season in Gangtok.

      2. If you are keen on some specific hotel, then please pre-book as during 25th Dec it’s high season in Gangtok. Else you can always land up there and book hotels by bargaining. Look at Development Area for buget hotels.

      3. Yes. If the tour is ongoing and route is not closed, you’ll easily get it. BTW you don’t book shared cabs to North Sikkim directly. You need to do that through Hotel / Tour Agents. You can find thousands of such stalls in M.G.Marg.

      4. I stayed at Hotel Ma-Yang, you can try them. Hotel Maa Yang : +919748659918 / +919432491159

      North Sikkim, Nathulla Pass and Sightseeing Tours booked from Lama Tour and Travels. It’s run by an young women, Binita Lama. You can call her or whatsapp her at +919832079292 / +919734983536.

      Reply
  • Uttaran Chowdhury
    December 3, 2015 at 12:47 PM

    many people are telling me that one cannot travel to nathang valley from gangtok…is it true???

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      December 3, 2015 at 1:08 PM

      No it’s not. You can do that provided weather and route is okay.

      Reply
  • Uttaran Chowdhury
    December 3, 2015 at 1:11 PM

    thanks a lot…so i can book the tour directly from gangtok??

    Reply
  • Soumik Datta
    December 3, 2015 at 1:12 PM

    Nice Blog!!

    Reply
  • Uttaran Chowdhury
    December 3, 2015 at 1:21 PM

    thanks again πŸ™‚

    Reply
  • ashim mandal
    December 7, 2015 at 11:48 AM

    Sir,
    I am planning to go to north Sikkim with my family(6 adult and 1child 6 year ) in may 2016 . I want to ask you my plane is for lachung and lachen first and what will be the second choise nathula or gurugogmer and yamthang . which one is better with lachung and lachen please suggest .what will be it’s cost for a the tour from bagdogra to bagdogra.

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      December 7, 2015 at 12:08 PM

      Hi Ashim, First of all you don’t need to call me Sir πŸ™‚

      Secondly let me clear your misconceptions first. Gurudongmar and Yumthang is not different from Lachung and Lachen. Actually its not possible to reach Gurudongmar and Yumthang in a day. So Lachen and Lachung is a place to where you have to halt at night to reach those places. Hope it’s clear now.

      So the trip is like Gangtok -> Lachen (O/N) -> Gurudongmar -> Lachung (O/N) -> Yumthang -> Zero Point -> Gangtok. You need 2N/3D for this.

      And Nathulla is different route altogether which is clubed with Tsongmo Lake & Baba Mandir. You can take this trip another day.

      Thirdly, Cost totally depends on how you travel, how you stay and what type food you consume. For basic cost ideas check the cost details I have posted. That can be extended to any extent if you go for more luxurious options.

      Reply
      • S K Singh
        December 9, 2015 at 11:25 AM

        Hi Krishnandu,

        Thanks for your preliminary guidance. Now suggest me how and what to see in Sikkim. My programme is as follows:

        27.12.15 Reaching Bagdogra Airport at 13:30 and will start for Gangtok. Night halt at Hotel White Conch Residency.

        28.12.15 Free for local sightseeings

        29.12.15 Free for half day sightseeing and after lunch to start for Pelling

        30.12.15 Free for local sightseeing in and around Pelling

        31.12.15 Free for half day sightseeing and after lunch to start for Darjeeling via Namchi

        We are two persons and would like to have share taxi with similar couple.

        Please suggest my the places and points I can cover in Gangtok and Pelling during this period.

        Your valued suggestions are essential for me.

        Thanks

        S K Singh

        Reply
        • Krishnandu Sarkar
          December 9, 2015 at 5:39 PM

          At Gangtok below are mentioned few local sightseeing points.
          Tashi View Point, Hanuman Tok, Ganesh Tok, Bankthang Waterfall, Enchey Monastery, Flower Exhibition Centre, Handicraft Centre, Chorten Stupa, Institute of Tibetology, Ropeway, Ranka Monastery and Rumtek Monastery (A Must Visit).

          At Pelling you may cover the below places.
          Pemayangtse Monastery, Ruins of Rabdentse Palace, Kanchenjunga Waterfalls, Khecheopalri Lake, Changay Waterfalls, Singshore Bridge, Geyzing, Darap Village, Yuksam, Tashiding Monastery.

          Reply
          • s k singh
            December 9, 2015 at 6:11 PM

            Thanks

            Reply
  • S K Singh
    December 9, 2015 at 2:32 PM

    In the meantime I got the rates from Lama Tours which is as follows:

    Transportation cost Rs.15, 800/-
    Gangtok Sightseeing, Tsongu lake and baba mandir, pelling drop, sightseeing and Darjiiling drop by Wagon R exclusively for two of us.

    Please give your opinion about the rate.

    S K Singh

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      December 9, 2015 at 5:40 PM

      If you are going for exclusive vehicle, the price looks nice. But yes, this can be lowered a bit if you bargain and talk to other operators out there.

      Reply
      • s k singh
        December 9, 2015 at 6:10 PM

        Thanks

        Reply
  • S K Singh
    December 9, 2015 at 2:32 PM

    In the meantime I got the rates from Lama Tours which is as follows:

    Transportation cost Rs.15, 800/-
    Gangtok Sightseeing, Tsongu lake and baba mandir, pelling drop, sightseeing and Darjiiling drop by Wagon R exclusively for two of us.

    Please give your opinion about the rate.

    S K Singh

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      December 10, 2015 at 7:04 PM

      Hi Mr. Singh, Sorry for late reply, as I was off to attend a wedding.

      The rate looks good to me considering the whole trip on exclusive vehicle. But can be lowered a bit if you bargain a bit more. Also try different agents and check if someone is offering the same for less.

      Reply
      • S K Singh
        December 11, 2015 at 9:49 AM

        Thanks for the reply

        Reply
  • Akhil
    December 9, 2015 at 10:19 PM

    hello,
    sorry to bother you again,but i just want your help with the tour itinerary, my ticket is for 11th and i will be reaching Gangtok by 12th noon……
    We are traveling in a group of two people and we wish to visit lachen,lachung,yamthung,chopta, gurudongmar etc (north sikkim), nathula, tsomgo lake,zuluk and pelling… what will be the cost of traveling in exclusive cab to nathula considering this to be off season? please also tell me the cost each of us will have to bear if we want to travel exclusively on a 2N/3D tour of north sikkim?
    sorry for so much queries…..
    thanks in advance for the help……

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      December 10, 2015 at 7:01 PM

      Hello Akhil, Don’t be sorry. I do te same while planning my trip. And I’m glad to help πŸ™‚

      Infact I’m sorry for late reply. Was off to attend a wedding.

      First of all I’d suggest don’t include Zuluk. East Sikkim trip itself needs 3-4 days in minimum to enjoy fully.

      For rest of the tour you can follow the below itenary.

      Day 1 : Reach Gangtok. O/N at Gangtok.
      Day 2, 3, 4 : 2N/3D North Sikkim (Lachung – Lachen) Trip. O/N at Gangtok on Day 4.
      Day 5 : Local Sightseeing. O/N at Gangtok.

      Option 1:
      Day 6 : Tsongmo Lake, Baba Mandir, Nathulla Pass. O/N at Gangtok.
      Day 7 : Reach Pelling. Half day sightseeing. O/N at Pelling.
      Day 8 : Local Sightseeing. O/ N at Pelling.

      Option 2: (If you still want to do Zuluk)
      Day 6 : Tsongmo Lake, Baba Mandir, Nathulla Pass to Zuluk via Gnathang Valley. O/N at Zuluk. (Note I’m not sure whether this route is still open)
      Day 7 : Reach Pelling. Half day sightseeing. O/N at Pelling.
      Day 8 : Local Sightseeing. O/ N at Pelling.

      Now regarding the cost, I dont think you’ll get it significantly cheaper rates. Yes you may get 100-500 rs off if you bargain hardly or so. Though I’m not sure.

      Exclusive vehicle for north sikkim may cost 15-25k depending on the vehicle. You can get Small vehicle at 15k (i.e. 4 seater ones)

      Exclusive vehicle upto Nathulla will be around 2.5-3k. But thay doesn’t include Zuluk drop. That’s different story altogether. I would suggest to talk to cab agents out there to get the exact rates.

      Hope that helps. I did the whole trip on shared vehicle. So I’m not much sure about the exclusive ones.

      Reply
  • Ajlaa
    December 10, 2015 at 3:01 AM

    Hi. Thank for your detailed entry, i’m glad that I found your blog. I never been to India before and I’m looking forward to do so next year. Thanks again for sharing.

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      December 10, 2015 at 7:58 AM

      Hello Ajlaa, I’m glad that that you liked it and it helped you πŸ™‚

      Reply
  • Sachikanta Acharya
    December 10, 2015 at 6:31 PM

    Dear Krishnandu ,
    I plan to visit Gangtok in March 6 to March 11 2016.We are 3(husband,wife and 10 year daughter) From your blog i have contacted Ma- Yang hotel.He said the cost of lodging will be 700/day for room only , with MAP it will be 700+1200(400/day for each person for food) ie 1900/day with MAP for 3 person/night.
    Ms Binita lama said it will be 3000/head for 3day /2 night on sharing to lachen and lachung tour.
    I also contacted Mr Uncle .He told the rate as 1500 for local 10 point tour but reluctant to add Rumtek.
    All these rates are after bargaining. Please tell if all the rates are correct or can be decreased further? Am i inquiring too early ?
    regards
    Sachikanta
    Odisha

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      December 10, 2015 at 6:41 PM

      Te price looks great. Yes Lamaz Residency is a bit higher end hotel.

      You can contact other hotels too on Development area to check the tariffs. Almost all the hotels in Development area have low rates than thaose in M.G.Marg depending on the quality of hotel and rooms ofcourse.

      Anyway, things looks fine to me. Just ask Uncle to include Rumtek. If needed leave out Hanuman Tok and Ganesh Tok. They are just simply hanuman mandir and ganesh mandir which you can see everywhere.

      And don’t worry, you are just on time. I do my research really early. Infact if your budget is still lower than what’s quoted you can directly move there without booking and bargain on spot to get sweet deals. We did that only.

      Reply
  • Sachikanta Acharya
    December 10, 2015 at 7:34 PM

    Thanks for such a quick reply. good tips for local sightseeing. I told you the 1. hotel rates of Ma-yang (total 1900/day for 3 of us in MAP plan) .Is it ok to take the stay part only(700/day) or the MAP one
    2.the travel rates of Binita Lama(3000/person for lachen and lachung tour 3 day and 2 night)
    Are both ok?
    do you have any contacts for hotels in Developement area?
    I contacted another hotel in MG Marg(Hotel Karma) .The rate is 1400/night including taxes(only stay).
    I am asking all these as sometimes you see that you have spend more while others have less for the same thing specially traveling to unknown destination and with family!
    If you also can give some light as how to book tour in MG marg,
    Thank you for such a nice blog, much much better that any commercial website !!!!!!!!1

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      December 11, 2015 at 12:24 AM

      1. It completely depends on you whether you want to take MAP plan or CP Plan. If you want to control what you eat or think you’ll have whatever you like then you can go for CP Plan. Many people likes to try out restaurants and don’t feel comfortable on MAP plan. As you have to eat whatever they will prepare. So don’t like the idea of MAP. They hop over and eat whatever they like.

      But sometimes this makes costly affair to have your choice of food at various Restaurants. We took MAP plan as we were completely satisfied with what was served. Our expectation was not high we just wanted simple Bengali Cuisine. So we took MAP plan.

      So it’s up to you to decide.

      2. Yes the rates quoted by Binita Lama, it perfect. That’s the rate.

      3. Nope, I do not have much contacts. What I do is, directly move in and look for hotels and book them on spot after bargaining. Ofcourse I do my research where I’ll get cheaper hotels and all.

      Again it’s preference. Many people like to stay at some specific hotel. So pre-booking is necessary, else you may miss that on-spot. But with us, we do not have anything particular in mind. We just look for clean budget solution. No luxury. So we always try to book on spot after checking out various hotels.

      Yes, I do support you on research. I do the same. I keep visiting various forums, blogs etc. for detailed research. That’s good. And I love this pre-planning part. That helps us to be aware about possible scams and avoid unnecessary spends.

      And thank you for your appreciation. It’s just a way of giving back to the community and help others. As I also take help of peoples like me and you when I’m planning for something. πŸ™‚

      Reply
      • Sachikanta Acharya
        December 11, 2015 at 1:13 PM

        thanks a lot bro.

        Reply
  • S K Singh
    December 11, 2015 at 3:39 PM

    Can you please suggest me which of following tour/taxi operators is more reliable as their rates are more or less equal:

    Prem Mainali, http://www.cabinsikkim.com
    Royal Sikkim
    Sheeya Tour and Travels
    Sharma Tours and Travels
    Aayush Holidays
    Lama Tours

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      December 11, 2015 at 6:27 PM

      If they all are quoting more or less same rates go with Lama Tour & Travels. I had personally used them and have great experience with them.

      Reply
      • S K Singh
        December 15, 2015 at 1:39 PM

        Thanks Krishanandu for your guidance. Now I have finalised my trip with Tamu Tour & Treks @ Rs.24000/- net for small vehicle it inculdes:
        27th DEC BAGDOGRA AIRPORT TO GANGTOK DROP

        28TH DEC EXCURSION TO TSOMGO LAKE & BABA MANDIR

        29TH DEC TRANSFER TO PELLING via Namchi covering Temi tea garden, Samdruptse and Char Dham

        30TH DEC PELLING LOCAL SIGHTSEEING
        The days sightseeing itinerary includes Khangchendzonga Water Falls, Khecheopalri Lake, Rimbi Water Falls & Rock Garden, Darap Cherry Village (Lunch Break), Rabdentse Palace Ruins, Pemayangtse Monastery, Return to Hotel.

        31ST DEC TRANSFER FROM PELLING TO DARJEELING

        1st JAN MIRIK SIGHTSEEING
        Darjeeling to Mirik lake and Pasupathi Nath Mandir Nepal border

        2nd JAN DARJEELING LOCAL SIGHT SEEING
        Early morning at around 3:45 AM drive to 8000 feet / 2440 meters through primitive forests of oak, magnolia to Tiger Hill to view sunrise over Kanchendzonga Peak (subject to clear weather) – On the way back visit Ghoom Monastery, Peace memorial & Batasia Loop – On the way back visit Ghoom Monastery, Peace memorial & Batasia Loop – Back to hotel for breakfast – After breakfast rest for half an hour After breakfast next round of sightseeing – Half Day city tour includes Padmaja Naidu Zoological Park, Himalayan Mountaineering Institute (Closed on Thursday), Ropeway, Tensing Gumpo Rock, Tibetan Refugee Self Help Center (Closed on Sunday), Tea Estate, Natural History Museum (Sunday Closed), Peace Pagoda – Back to hotel – Evening free to stroll around the area – Overnight stay at Darjeeling

        3RD JAN DARJEELING TO BAGDOGRA AIRPORT DROP

        with all tax and permit by Wagnor

        As it does not cover Gangtok Local sightseeings, please advise me whether I can come some points after returning from Baba Mandir/Lake visit and for that to whome should I contact.

        Thanks

        S K Singh

        Reply
        • Krishnandu Sarkar
          December 15, 2015 at 2:01 PM

          Yes if you return early you can cover 2-3 sightseeings on thay day.

          You can contact Lama Tour & Travels posted above or some other operators at M. G. Marg

          Reply
          • S K Singh
            December 15, 2015 at 3:57 PM

            Thanks….

            Reply
  • Seema
    December 12, 2015 at 8:08 PM

    Thank you for detailed information and prompt help you are offering to many here. Myself and my husband visiting Gangtok on 20-Dec, planning 2N/3D trip to North Sikkim in between. Have few queries, could you please suggest?
    1) Lama tours quoted 21K (exclusive trip ) for both of us and accommodation in moderate hotels. Other few operators are quoting higher rates. Hope this rate is OK?
    2) She quoted 4K for trip to Tsomgo lake and Baba Mandir, is this rate high? Will we get better option from there itself?
    3) Regarding our itinerary, we are back to Gangtok on 24th Dec, and planning to go to Darjeeling on 25th and return to Bangalore on 27th. I have done my hotel booking already in Darjeeling. But do you think that Pelling is a better option than Darjeeling in these days? Or some other totally different option?
    4) We are skipping Nathu La Pass in our itinerary as we are in Gangtok on Monday (it is closed). Are we really missing it, or it’s ok if we can visit North Sikkim?

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      December 13, 2015 at 7:34 PM

      Hi Seema, Thanks and I’m glad that you liked it.

      1. I hope you mean the 2N / 3D North Sikkim trip right? If yes, then the price is good. Generally you’ll get the same within 15k – 18k on Oct – Nov, but December is high season specially during 25th Dec. So considering that, I’d say it’s great price provided that she’s providing exclusive vehicle.

      2. Yes. Exclusive car @ 4k upto Tsongmo Lake and Baba Mandir is a bit high. Nathulla should get included in that. Bargain a bit more.

      3. Well, there are many places in North Bengal and Sikkim where you’d enjoy and have the same urge to cover. Pelling is ofcourse great, but it’d be unfair if I compare Pelling and Darjeeling or any other place. I’d say don’t think much, just stick to the plan. Do visit again for covering West and South Sikkim.

      4. Ahh I got it. Then as per #2 you should bargain a bit to make it to 2.5 – 3k. That’s the rate in Oct – Nov. But, December is high season there specially during 25th December. So chances are no one will give you at that rate. Well, personally I won’t say you will miss much if you are not visiting Nathulla. You’d have a great experience in North Sikkim.

      Hope that helps. πŸ™‚

      Reply
  • Seema
    December 13, 2015 at 11:06 PM

    Thank you for the quick response! That helped me to clear my confusions.

    Reply
  • Daipayan Sarkar
    December 15, 2015 at 12:37 AM

    We are a group of 3 from Kolkata travelling to Gangtok on 20 jan’2016 and reaching Gangtok on 21 jan.Have planned the itinerary the following way:
    1) 21jan’16: We reach Gangtok perhaps around 1pm(our train(Kolkata-Dibrugarh Express) is scheduled to reach njp at 7:45am) and spend the rest of the day at rest.

    2)22 jan: Changu-nathula-baba mandir(If road remains open)

    3)23 jan: At rest.(Or a 7 point sightseeing provided the 22jan trip getting cancelled owing to snowy conditions)

    4)24 jan: Check out and return to Siliguri and back to kolkata via Padatik Express.

    We seek your kind advice regarding the following matters:

    1)Being a group of students(Tuitions and pocketmoney being our only source of income) we had a either/or situation while choosing between the 7 point sightseeing and the Nathula changu trip.Nathula Changu was the obvious choice though provided the road remains open.So, i wish to know whether the seven point sightseeing be a great miss.

    2)We have not booked hotels yet and plan to book it on spot.Thanks to your detailed description regarding the Development Area-MG Merg hotel fares.Our budget is Rs.800 per room per day(EP plan) and i would like to know whether is it okay.

    3)And most important,is it possible to complete the trip within 4k per head?

    We went to the Sikkim House(Kolkata Branch) with all the aforesaid questions and the budget stood at 4460INR (including the 7 point sightseeing).As a result, we cancelled the 7 point sightseeing trip and focused only on Changu trip provided the road remain open.(Accuweather says Changu to be at -19 deg that time and i doubt whether it will remain open).In that case,the Sevenpoint sightseeing would be our obvious choice.

    Would be looking forward for your kind response and many thanks for providing all the intricate details of your Sikkim experience.

    Best Regards,
    Daipayan

    Reply
  • Krishnandu Sarkar
    December 15, 2015 at 7:55 AM

    Hi Daipayan, Your itenary looks perfect.

    1. If you have to choose between Tsongmo Lake, Baba Mandir, Nathulla and 7 Point SS, I’d recommend Nathulla trip.

    2. Great. Yes, you can easily get EP rooms in that budget at Development Area. But just calculate it +- 200/-

    3. No I guess. Provided that you travel in shared cabs, you can. Let’s calculate…

    Hotel : 4 Nights x 1000 = 4000/- (So 1333/- per head)
    Food : 500 per person per day i.e. 500 x 3 x 4 = 6000 (2000/- per head)
    NJP to Gangtok : 250/- per person
    Gangtok to NJP : 250/- per person
    Nathulla Trip : 800/- per person

    So per person cost is 4633/- This is strict cost. But you’ll have various misc. cost Like the cabs to and from NJP will go upto Deorali. From there you have to hire shared cab (@ Rs. 10/- per head) or exclusive vehicle (@ Rs. 200/-) upto M.G. Marg or Development Area.

    Plus if you are staying in Dev Area and whenever you want to travel to M.G.Marg you can either walk or take shared car of Rs. 10/- per head.

    So with these misc. expenses it’ll be 5k from NJP to NJP.

    3. Yes Tsongmo Lake, Nathulla might get closed at that time if heavy rainfall occurs. And among that sightseeing do visit Rumtek if you can. You’ll love it. If required negotiate with the driver to leave out Hanuman Tok and Ganesh Tok and instead visit Rumtek. They are just simple Hanuman and Ganesh mandir what you see everywhere and you have to climb very high stairs. So personally, I didn’t find anything special there. Whereas Rumtek is authentic.

    Let me know if you have more questions πŸ™‚

    Reply
  • Daipayan Sarkar
    December 15, 2015 at 3:52 PM

    Krishnendu da,would you kindly let me know your contact no.over the email as i have a lot of questions to ask and i am eager to get the answers from you only.

    Meanwhile,thanks for the effort that you put in while giving me a reply.While calculating the cost part,you calculated the cost for 4 nights while we are staying in Gangtok for 3 nights that is on the 21st,22nd and the 23rd.

    Further,the cost for the food that you calculated makes the total cost for fooding and lodging to stand at rs.1500(1000+500).I would like to ask whether we can reduce this cost to Rs.1200 considering the fact that Mid January is a low season in Gangtok.

    Soumitra uncle of the Sikkim House Kolkata offered us a room at Rs.800(a three beded room with the Kanchenjunga view) on EP basis.We didn’t book the hotel though as i expect the prices to be a bit low if we book it on spot.

    And last but not the least what i would to ask is the probability of getting snow.I know this is a bit silly to ask but considering my luck over getting snow,i am a bit tensed.I visited Munsiyari in the mid Jan of 2010 and didnt see a tint of snow in the whole trip.The exact thing repeated in the December of 2012 at Sandakhphu.That is why i would like to ask you if i shall be able to see it this time.:-|

    Thanks a ton again for your kind reply.

    Best Regards,
    Daipayan

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      December 15, 2015 at 6:21 PM

      Hi Daipayan,
      Sorry I wrongly calculated 4 nights. Yes you are staying 3 nights. I calculated 1000/- for hotel as I thought keeping +- 200 is better. But if you are getting it for 800/- then you can calculate the exact fare. And I calculated 500/- per head per day for food. As that’s generally minimum cost you would need. But that totally depends on what you eat!!

      And there’s a chance of getting snow at Tsongmo Lake at Nathulla.

      My email id is krishnandu.sarkar@gmail.com

      Reply
  • Daipayan
    December 15, 2015 at 8:11 PM

    Allright krishnendu da! Thanks a ton. Will be looking forward to share my sikkim experience with you. πŸ™‚

    Reply
  • Uttaran Chowdhury
    December 20, 2015 at 10:27 PM

    krishnenduda, i called sherpaji and he told me it would cost 4k per head for a 3d/2n silk route trip. the trip will start from gangtok and end at ravangla with stops at nathang and zuluk. is the cost too much or should i book this trip from gangtok?

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      December 20, 2015 at 10:47 PM

      Hi Uttaran, It depends on number of people. Owners around Zuluk provides muh better rate for Zuluk Trip than Gangtok based agents. Try contacting below mentioned persons.

      Sebestian Pradhan : +919932744407
      Dilip Tamang (Nirmala Homestay – Sillery Gaon) : +91 93 39 22859 / +919635005318 / +91 76 02 040018
      Gopal Pradhan (Dil Maya Retreat – Dzuluk) : +919609860266
      Sherpa Passang : +91 97 34 150546 / +91 97 33 188456
      Suraj Pradhan : +91 78 72 883264
      Mrs. Pema (Drafter Bunglow – Gnathang Valley) : +919474145958
      Santosh Gurung (Shantikunj – Mankhim) : +91 97 33 031792

      Reply
  • Uttaran Chowdhury
    December 20, 2015 at 11:11 PM

    thanks da, so 4k/head is expensive?? it should be much cheaper right??

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      December 20, 2015 at 11:18 PM

      Generally it should be 800/- per person per day with fooding and lodging. And car cost is 3k per day for sumo / bolero.

      Reply
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