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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 馃槢

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 馃檪

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. 馃檪 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 馃槢 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.

980 Comments

  • SOUMIK DAS
    May 29, 2016 at 10:50 PM

    Hi, Krishnandu da..how r u???? we had been to North-East Travels on Saturday..Dipankar da advised us to avoid SIKKIM because it has been over crowded due to North Sikkim being closed for more than 10 days..and hotels at Gangtok are asking for much higher tariffs.. Therefore he suggested an alternate itinerary which is :

    31.05 : SILIGURI – KOLAKHAM..o/n @ SILENT VALLEY.

    01.06 : KOLAKHAM sight scene [TREK TO CHANGEY FALLS/WALKING AROUND KOLAKHAM VILLAGE]..o/n @ SILENT VALLEY.

    02.06 : KOLAKHAM-RISHYAP via-LAVA..[LAVA MONASTERY /NEORA VALLEY NATIONAL PARK as sight scene]..o/n @ HOTEL HOLLYHOAK.

    03.06 : RISHYAP-CHARKHOL..o/n @ MARIGOLD HOME STAY.

    04.06 : CHARKHOL-NJP via – KALIMPONG.

    We have booked a car exclusively for 5 days,which is going to pick us from Tenzing Norgay C.B.T,take us to all the spots and drop us at NJP.

    EXPENDITURE AS OFFERED BY NORTH EAST TRAVELS :

    HOTEL [4 nights X 6 heads]: Rs. 12000.

    CAR [SUMO/BOLERO] 5 days : Rs. 15000 includes transfers,sight scene,driver’s expenses,tolls,parking charges..

    TOTAL = Rs. 27000 for 6 heads i.e. Rs. 4500 per head.

    FOOD : roughly Rs. 500 per head/day = Rs. 2500 per head.

    TOTAL = Rs. 7000 per head.

    how is the plan ??any special tips??

    Really, Mr. Dipankar from NORTH-EAST TRAVELS is really generous and has vast knowledge about the places..and he had been very patient,answering all our queries and also provided us with discounts to keep the expenses within our budget..

    ** I HIGHLY RECOMMEND NORTH-EAST TRAVELS to everybody out there,reading this blog..

    Thanx Dada for referring NORTH-EAST TRAVELS….

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      May 29, 2016 at 11:08 PM

      HI Soumik, I’m fine. Yes Sikkim really got overcrowded due to many peoples stuck in there as they couldn’t proceed with their plan for North Sikkim as the bridge got collapsed. And hotels and other establishments are charging exorbitantly high rate to utilize the situation.

      Yes Dipankar Da has vast knowledge as he himself is an Traveler and CA by profession. He just runs this side business of Travel Agency for helping people and thus he offers everything on very low budget, keeping very minimal or no profit sometimes. He has really been a great friend of mine.

      You can give him my reference. He may lower the price a bit more if possible 馃槢

      BTW he has offered you a great plan within great budget. So you are exactly going for A Holiday To Lava Loleygaon Rishyap and Kolakham except Charkhol.

      Charkhol is a great destination by itself. You can spend some quality relaxable time in the lap of mother nature.

      Have a great holiday 馃檪

      Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      May 29, 2016 at 11:09 PM

      Ahh…I almost forgot, regarding special tips, just carry some salt if you are going to trek in Neora Valley, as chances of leeches being present are there due to monsoon. Though it’s not that dangerous as it sounds if you are careful and avoid the corners of the roads. But carry some salt just in case as an emergency though.

      Reply
  • Samiksha
    June 1, 2016 at 2:17 PM

    Nice article, very informative, thanks for sharing your experience.

    Reply
  • SOUMIK DAS
    June 6, 2016 at 9:04 PM

    Hi Krishnandu Da, hope things are fine at your and your families’ end..Returned yesterday..we had a very enjoyable trip packed with thrill,adventure,lots of fun and good memories..the weather was pretty nice..but @ Charkhol when we were about to start our bonfire,it started raining but lasted for only about ten minutes..again,we started with our bonfire..SILENT VALLEY @ Kolakham is located beautifully with perfectly placed view rooms and a small garden..Mr. and Mrs. Rai from SILENT VALLEY are two humble and nice person who took every possible care of ours and fed us with some very delicious dal,chicken and veg momos..we also had a very nice person with us, Mr. Sanjib,who received us @ Siliguri,took us to the spots and dropped us @ NJP on his Bolero..he had good driving skills and patience..he kept all our “uthpatang” requests..one such incident is while travelling from Rishyap to Loleygaon,we requested him to stop the car somewhere by the side of the road amidst thick rhododendron forest and turned on the speakers loud,with all the doors of the Bolero open and started dancing to the grooves like “DJ WALE BABU” and “GANGNAM STYLE”..!!!! he patiently kept on taking our dance videos for about 15-20 minuteswith a sweet smile on his face..Mr. Anish Tamang and his wife from Hotel MERRY GOLD @ Charkhol were also very generous and took every possible care of ours..By the way, Dipankar Da from NORTH-EAST TRAVELS called used to call us everyday and asked about our health and also if there are any issues we are facing anywhere or not..!!

    So,I would like to THANK U for your magnificent blogs,your suggestions and your references..We wouldn’t have enjoyed our trip this very much without your support.. Keep tripping and gifting us more such nice trip blogs..CHEERS !!!!

    Warm Regards..

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      June 6, 2016 at 9:12 PM

      Hi Soumik, Thanks a lot for your feedback. I’m glad that my blog helped you having a great trip with some great memories!!

      Reply
  • Eshita Das
    June 10, 2016 at 12:32 AM

    Hi, myself Eshita from Kolkata. We are also planning for a trip to North East Sikkim this year in October after the durga puja. So ur experiences, suggestions and beautiful mesmerising pictures about this trip is a lot help for us as a tour guide. We are also 5 family members for this tour. So just wanted to ask you about the hotel facilities and cleanliness and whether 1 room will be sufficient for 5 of us? Our hotel budget is also 1000-1500….Should we book hotels before and if yes how many days before we should book?

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      June 10, 2016 at 9:30 AM

      Hi Eshita, Thanks a lot for your kind words, I’m glad that you liked it 馃檪

      Well for Puja, you should book right now. Booking have already started for Puja. I’m almost done woth my bookings too!! This time I’ll be visiting East Sikkim (Silk Route)

      Quality of rooms depends on your budget. On your budget you can get good clean rooms. It depends on you, whether you can manage 5 people in 1 room. What I mean is if you don’t mind doing that then it’s fine.

      We were also 5 people and we all stayed in a single room as we all were family and don’t mind staying in a single room as we always travel in budget. And for us hotel is just the shelter for night. So we always look for clean family-safe options within lowest possible budget.

      In north sikkim everything is very basic with basic amenities but clean and full of warm hospitality.

      Nowadays though some good hotels have came up but those are not budget options at all.

      Hope this helps. Let me know if you have any more queries.

      Reply
  • Sanu Chakraborty
    June 21, 2016 at 2:47 PM

    Hi Krisnandu,

    Ami and Amar wife sikkim jachi. Amder jawar train 03.10.2016 and return train 10.10.2016. Amay jodi tumi akta plan kore dite tale khub valo hoto. Amra changu baba mandir, nathula, Gurudongar Lake, Pelling jete chai. Amder yumthung, namchi 0 point ghora. Only Gurudongar laker jonno share a gari pabo? Amra sharing a jete chai. Please suggest a tour plan.

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      June 21, 2016 at 5:44 PM

      Hi Sanu,
      Agei bole rakhi ajker date er news onujai North Sikkim e shared gari jacchena but October e chalu o hoye jete pare.

      4rd : NJP to Gangtok
      5th – 6th : 1N/2D Lachen Trip
      7th : Day Trip to Tsongmo Lake, Baba Mandir & Nathulla Pass
      8th : Gangtok to Pelling via Ravangla
      9th : Pelling Full Day Sightseeing
      10th : Pelling to NJP

      Haan sudhu Gurudongmar or Yumthang er jonno o shared gari pawa jay.

      Reply
      • Sanu Chakraborty
        June 21, 2016 at 6:28 PM

        Thanks for your reply!

        Tomar kache r kono tour agency r no n hotel r no thakle please provide koro. Because ami ajkei call korechilam Binita Lama ke but onek besi chaiche. changu, baba mandir, nathula 1000 per head, lachen lachun 4000 per head and pelling 4500 reserve car er jonno bolche. n hotel Maa Yang 1500 only accommodation bolche.

        Reply
        • Krishnandu Sarkar
          June 21, 2016 at 8:45 PM

          Tumi Dipankar Roy k phone korte paro. Onar number holo +91-8972247306. Ami onar sathe onkbar ghurte gechi. Khub bhalo. Amar reference diyo uni chinte parbe. Amy khub bhalo bhabei chene.

          R tachara sotti bolte pujo te dam ta sobaie bariye day. Ma Yang er rate amr thik i lagche pujor jonno. Ekbar Ma Yang e jigesh kore dekhte paro j North Sikkim ora koto nebe.

          Tobe 1N/2D North Sikkim 4000 per head reserve car e thik i ache. Kintu shared car e gele tomar 1500 per head e hoye jabe.

          Tachara nicher tour agency gulo k contact kore dekhte paro

          Travel Funda : https://travelfunda.net/

          Nature Beyond, Pallav Bhattacharya 09733000591 pallab@naturebeyond.org

          Yak & Yeti Travels Expedition Phone 03592280075, +919434117418, 09933008822 sikkim@live.in

          Skyworld Tours and Travels. Ramesh Basnet 09832089339, 09743141606. toursgangtok@gmail.com

          Dikcha Tours & Travels Phone No. : 03592200131, 9475709392, 9832327936. dlama_123@rediffmail.com

          Eder sobar modhye Travel Funda khub i bhalo. Besh bhalo naam ache oder.

          Reply
  • Sandip Dey
    June 23, 2016 at 4:32 PM

    Hi Dada, we are 5 guys from Assam and have planned our Darjeeling – Sikkim tour on 19th Oct. 16 to 25th Oct. 16 as follows:
    Day 1 – Darjeeling S/S.
    Day 2 – Darjeeling to Gangtok early morning, apply for permit and Gangtok S/S.
    Day 3 – Gangtok to Tsomgo Lake, Baba Mandir and Nathula and back to Gangtok.
    Day 4 – Gangtok to Lachen.
    Day 5 – Lachen – Gurudongmar – Lachung.
    Day 6 – Lachung – Yumthang – Zero Point – Gangtok.
    Day 7 – Gangtok to NJP.
    Now my questions are :
    1. Does our program look ok. And can we go to Lachen on the same day after visiting Nathula? ( Day 3 )
    2. When should we book our hotels and which are the best budget hotels?
    3. Reliable tour operators.
    4. Should we take reserve vehicle or shared vehicle?
    P.S. We are budget minded guys and will be comfortable with using a single room.

    Reply
  • Krishnandu Sarkar
    June 23, 2016 at 9:10 PM

    Hi Sandip,

    1. Does our program look ok.

    Yes. Absolutely fine.

    And can we go to Lachen on the same day after visiting Nathula? ( Day 3 )

    No, it’s not possible. You’ll need whole day for that Nathulla Trip. Your current plan is fine now.

    2. When should we book our hotels and which are the best budget hotels?

    For October, that also during Durga Puja? You should book it right away. Almost all the good budget hotels are already booked. Even I missed one of them 馃檨

    There are many budget hotels in Gangtok and Darjeeling., so I’d ask you to look on Trip Advisor and choose depending on your budget.

    My favorite is The Revolver in Darjeeling and in Gangtok I have only stayed in Maa Yang which is in Development Area, a bit far from M.G.Marg. So you may try Hotel Silverline (which I have booked this year) or Hotel Doma Residency in M.G.Marg.

    3. Reliable tour operators.

    Why do you need tour operator? For Nathulla and North Sikkim? Well there are many tour operators in M.G.Marg. You can ask the hotel also for booking of those tours. Or you can fix one of them after visiting there too.

    But given that you are going in October, I’d suggest you to book ahead. You may check the rates with below Tour Operators

    Nature Beyond, Pallav Bhattacharya 09733000591 pallab@naturebeyond.org

    Yak & Yeti Travels Expedition Phone 03592280075, +919434117418, 09933008822 sikkim@live.in

    Skyworld Tours and Travels. Ramesh Basnet 09832089339, 09743141606. toursgangtok@gmail.com

    Dikcha Tours & Travels Phone No. : 03592200131, 9475709392, 9832327936. dlama_123@rediffmail.com

    I went with Lama Tour & Travels +919832079292 / +919734983536 as they were offering me lowest rates.

    4. Should we take reserve vehicle or shared vehicle?

    Depends on what you want. Exclusive ones will be costly whereas Shared Vehicles will be always cheaper. So it’s upto you 馃檪

    Let me know if you have more queries

    Reply
    • Sandip Dey
      July 8, 2016 at 11:26 AM

      Hi dada, thanks for your response..Was a bit busy so couldnot reply in time..I have another query..Can we start for NJP after visiting Yumthang and Zero Point on the same day (Day 6). We donot want to stay at Gangtok while returning back. Waiting for your reply 馃檪

      Reply
      • Krishnandu Sarkar
        July 8, 2016 at 12:15 PM

        Hi Sandip, That’s not possible. Because after visiting Yumthang and Zero Point you’d be coming down to Lachung at around 12 PM. Post lunch you’ll start for Gangtok which you’ll reach by 7-8 PM. So you cant proceed to NJP that day.

        You have to do a night halt in Gangtok.

        If possible please go through https://krishnandusarkar.com/all-you-need-know-about-north-sikkim/. You’ll find all the details regarding North Sikkim there.

        Reply
  • saptarshi
    June 27, 2016 at 9:57 AM

    Planning for a north sikkim tour from 31st jan to 7th feb 2017.2N Gangtok and 2N lachung 1N Gangtok and back….suggest me will it be a good time to visit I will be in a group of 03 Me my wife and my son 7 yrs old. Also fwd me some no of good hotels and tour operators…also suggest will I be able to visit nathula,baba mandir changu gurudombara zero point yumthung etc

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      June 27, 2016 at 9:27 PM

      Hi Saptarshi, North Sikkim will not be accessible during January – February. And even if it’s accessible, it’d be a high risk travelling there.

      I’d suggest you to plan somewhere else instead. If you are interested in Sikkim, then you may explore, South & West Sikkim including Gangtok too.

      Also, accessibility to Tsongmo Lake and Baba Mandir cannot be even guaranteed at that time, let alone Nathulla Pass.

      Reply
  • GAURAV BHATNAGAR
    July 1, 2016 at 3:47 PM

    Hi Sir,
    I really like your entire blog about sikkim. I am going between 16th-30th September. I have contacted Navigator tours in silliguri. Several operators are telling me that currently I must not go to Lachen and Lachung since roads are blocked and there will be lot of issues . They are telling go to Pelling and Darjeeling instead along with Gangtok. I am also Bhutan tour along with this. What are your thoughts that should I go to Lachen & Lachung or should I go to Pelling & Darjeeling.

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      July 1, 2016 at 6:41 PM

      Hi Gaurav,
      Thank you for your appriciation 馃檪

      Yes roads to North Sikkim got disconnected due to heavy rain this month. But everything has been restored now. And tourists are visiting there as usual as of today’s date.

      But the roads are not in good state so expect a bumpy ride. Though it never was due to being a very remote location.

      So no need to change your plan. You can continue with your original plan. Even I’ll be there in October.

      And regarding Bhutan, you can take a look at my comprehensive trip reports to Bhutan where I visited this February.

      Reply
  • GAURAV BHATNAGAR
    July 2, 2016 at 10:33 AM

    Thanks Krishnandu for your quick response. I am coming to Bagdogra from Mumbai on 15th Sept and will be leaving back on 30th September. Hence I have 15 nights. I am planning to book through Navigator tours :https://www.northeast-india.in/tour-packages/ . They have suggested the route as given below :
    Darjeeling – 3 nights
    Pelling – 2 nights
    Gangtok -3 nights
    Phutshinlong – 1 night
    Thimphu – 2 nights
    Paro – 3 nights
    Phutshinlong – 1night
    I am asking them to include Lachung instead of Pelling so that I can at least get a glimpse of North Sikkim as well. They are quoting 90K for the entire package including stay and trips in different cities. Please tell me your point of view about my trip plan and please see the link for navigator tours in order to see how are their packages.
    Thanks in advance for all your help.
    Regards,
    Gaurav Bhatnagar

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      July 2, 2016 at 10:40 AM

      Hi Gaurav, Actually price depends on lots of things. What kind of hotels you choose and all.

      How many person you will be? Is this rate per person? Or for your whole family?

      And 90k woth Lachung Lachen right?

      And to tell you the truth, ofcourse you’ll have to shell out a bit more if you go through travel agents because you are outsourcing all the headaches to them. And they charge you for that only!!

      Reply
  • GAURAV BHATNAGAR
    July 2, 2016 at 10:53 AM

    Thanks Krishnandu for your response. 90K is for me and my wife both for 15 nights stay along with breakfast and dinner meal. Plus all the road trips on 15 days are covered. This includes the itinerary mentioned above. I will need to replace Pelling with Lachung in order to include North Sikkim. Currently , I have been given the plan of 15 nights as suggested above.
    1) 2 day sight seeing in Darjeeling – 3 nights
    2) 1 day sight seeing in Pelling – 2 night
    3) 2 day sight seeing in Gangtok – 3 nights
    (Here I can tell him to remove Pelling and include Lachung)
    4) Phutshinlong – 1 night (Connector)
    5) Thimphu – 1 day sight seeing – 2 nights
    6) Paro – 3 nights – 1 day Punakha sight seeing and 1 day Paro sight seeing including Che-La paas.
    7) Phutshinlong – 1 night connector with back to Bagdogra.
    I just wanted to know your point of view about this Navigator tours before I fix them. Makemytrip are quoting much more , they were saying 130000 . Currently all 3 star hotels will be booked by them which is fine fore me.

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      July 2, 2016 at 11:04 AM

      Gaurav, Well then I’d say it’s really a good quote considering you are two people touring for 15 days including Fooding, Lodging and Transport.

      That means 90k / 15 days = 6k per day / 2 pax = 3k per pax is really a good deal including meals, 3* hotels and transport (exclusive vehicle I believe).

      I’d say go ahead with it and replace Pelling with North Sikkim if you are keen on North Sikkim.

      Reply
  • GAURAV BHATNAGAR
    July 2, 2016 at 11:44 AM

    Thanks Krishnandu for your guidance. Appreciate your help. Will leave a comment if I need more information.

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      July 2, 2016 at 11:45 AM

      Sure Gaurav. Let me know in case you have further queries 馃檪

      Reply
  • dinesh
    July 2, 2016 at 12:10 PM

    Thanks for your useful info, very nice your blog and pics.

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      July 2, 2016 at 12:21 PM

      Thanks a lot Dinesh for your appreciation 馃檪

      I’m glad that you liked it 馃檪

      Reply
  • Pratap Biswas
    July 11, 2016 at 5:00 PM

    Hii krishnandu da…great post.
    I want to visit gangtok in mid october.I need your kind advice.
    1.At that peak season of puja will I find a suitable low budget room after reaching there? Otherwise it will be very distressing situation if I need to rome door to door for a room.
    2.Is there any other place other than peck north sikkim where we can enjoy snow as I am going with my elderly parents.
    Waiting for your reply.
    With regards
    Pratap

    Reply
  • GAURAV BHATNAGAR
    July 15, 2016 at 2:44 PM

    Hi Krishnandu,
    I just wanted to know your final opinion regarding my itinerary below :

    Hi Payal,
    As per our conversation, I am sending the itinerary of another vendor with the quotation :
    Apropos our telephonic conversation last evening, we are pleased to offer you as an under towards your Bhutan & Sikkim trip:

    package

    Bhutan & Sikkim tour (15N/16D)

    Refer to your request, Please find out the entire necessary details related to your Bhutan & Sikkim tour (15N/16D)

    3 Star Accommodation Hotel Lhaki – Phuentsholing (02Nts) / Hotel Migmar – Thimphu (01Nt) / Kichu Resort – Wangdi (02Nts) / Kichu Resort – Paro(02Nts) / The Sikkim Retreat – Gangtok (03Nts) / Summit New Regency – Pelling (02Nts) / Hotel Central Nirvana – Darjeeling (03Nts)

    Client Name: Mr. Gaurav
    Destination: Bhutan & Sikkim tour (15N/16D)
    Package Name: “Memorable Getaway’s”
    Dates: 15th Sep to 30th Sep 2016
    No.of Pax: 02 Adults
    No.of Rooms: 01 Room
    Room Category: Deluxe Room
    Meal Plan: CPAI (Accommodation with Breakfast basis)

    Total Package Cost: Rs. 1,18,200/- net with all taxes for a couple for the entire trip. (15N/16D)

    Package Inclusions:-

    路 Accommodation in 3 Star Hotel in well appointed Deluxe Room. (Non A/C Accommodation on Hill station)
    路 Welcome drink on arrival. (Non alcoholic)
    路 Morning tea, American/ Indian Breakfast basis.
    路 Sightseeing as per the Itinerary.
    路 Transport vehicle inclusive of all applicable taxes, driver allowances, parking fees etc..
    路 All transfers and sightseeing will be done by Non A/C private cab. (Tata Sumo/Mahindra Max)
    路 Inclusive of all applicable Taxes.

    Tour Programs:-

    Day 01: Arrival At Njp Railway Station / Bagdogra (Ixb) Airport 鈥 Phuntsholing Refer point 1, 2 & 3 given above (MANDATORY WHILE TRAVELLING TO BHUTAN FOR INDIAN PASSPORT HOLDER)

    Meet & Greet upon arrival at Bagdogra Airport and then transfer to Phuntsholing (298Mts / 977Fts) – The Frontier town, it is a thriving commercial centre, situated directly at the base of Himalayan foothills. It is a fascinating place where different ethnic groups mingle prominently Indian, Bhutanese and Nepalese. Being the border town, Phuntsholing serves as the convenient entry/exit point for Bhutan and also the important link to visit the Indian state of West Bengal, Sikkim and Assam. Depending on your arrival time our escort will assist you in procurement of your permit to Bhutan. The permit issuance take time depending on the rush one has to stand in queue for procurement of permit. In case the permits are not processed on the day of arrival then it can be issued next day before you start for next destination. Overnight at Hotel

    Day 02: Phuntsholing 鈥 Thimphu

    After breakfast and after completing your Visa / Permit formalities assisted by our Bhutan representative who will assist you in boarding your vehicle for transfer to Thimphu (2320Mts / 7656Fts, 180 Kms / 06 to 07 Hrs) in case if your permit are not done on day of arrival, Thimphu is the capital town of Bhutan and the centre of government, religion and commerce, Thimphu is a unique city with unusual mixture of modern development alongside ancient traditions. Although not what one expects from a capital city, Thimphu is still a fitting and lively place. Home to civil servants, expatriates and monk body, Thimphu maintains a strong national character in its architectural style. On arrival in Thimphu, Evening free at leisure. Overnight at Hotel.

    Day 03: Thimphu 鈥 Punakha / Wangdi

    Refer point 3, given above on how Pink Permit is procured. (There is a road widening work on progress in between Paro / Thimphu to Punakha / Wangdi. The department have allotted fixed timing schedule for Road Opening & closing, Hence the guide try to accommodates those timing while planning its movements. Guest are requested to cooperate on the same as it is beyond one control).

    After breakfasts go for Thimphu sightseeing covering 鈥 Memorial Chorten – The Chorten was built in 1974 to honor the 3rd King of Bhutan, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck (1928鈥1972), is a prominent landmark
    in the city with its Golden Spires and Bells. In 2008, it underwent extensive renovation. It is popularly known as “the most visible religious landmark in Bhutan”.Tashichho Dzong (All tourists visiting Dzongs and temples must be dressed appropriately. No half pant, sleeve less shirts, floaters, etc are allowed) 鈥 Also known as “Fortress of the Glorious Religion”, Trachichho Dzong, Thimphu was initially built in 1641 and later rebuilt in its present form by King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk in 1965. The Dzong houses, Main Secretariat Building which houses the Throne room of His Majesty, the King of Bhutan. The National Assembly Hall is housed in a modern building on the other side of the river from the Dzong. During the warmer summer months, the monk body headed by His Holiness, the Je Khenpo, makes its home in the Dzong. Kuensel Phodrang (Buddha Point) – You can pay your obeisance and offer prayers to the Buddha, the Largest Statue in the country and then walk around and take a glimpse of the valley, Changangkha Lhakhang (Monastery) (All tourists visiting Dzongs and temples must be dressed appropriately. No half pant, sleeve less shirts, floaters, etc are allowed) – This popular fortress-like temple perched on a ridge above central Thimphu regularly hums with pilgrim activity. It was established in the 12th century on a site chosen by Lama Phajo Drukgom Shigpo, who came from Ralung in Tibet. Parents traditionally come here to get auspicious names for their newborns or blessings for their young children from the protector deity Tamdrin (to the left in the grilled inner sanctum, next to Chenresig). Don’t leave without taking in the excellent view from the back Kora (Pilgrim path), with its lovely Black and Gold prayer wheels. Motithang Takin Preservation centre to see the rare “Takin” Which was declared by Royal Government of Bhutan as National Animal on 25th November 1985. Why Bhutan selected Takin as National Animal is associated with Bhutan Religious and Mythology, it was during the time Lama Drukpa Kuenley (1455 鈥 1529) the Divine Madman and Bhutan Favorite Saints known for his outrageous antic. One day his devotees were gathered to witness his magical power and they asked him to perform a miracle. However, the saint, in his usual unorthodox and outrageous way, demanded that he first be served a whole cow and a goat for lunch. Having devoured both and leaving only the bones, he stuck the Goat head on the bones of the Cow. To everyone amazement, upon a commanded uttered by Lama Drukpa Kuenley, the animal came to life, arose and ran to the meadow and then began to graze. The animal came to be known as 鈥淒ong Gyem Tsey鈥 and can still be seen grazing in the mountain meadows of the Kingdom. In these centre you can see Takin, Barking Deer & Sambar Deer. Something just to see Takin one needs to walk around the enclosure. Then visit the new Drupthob Goemba / Zilukha Nunnery – Perched on a promontory, overlooking picturesque Trashichho Dzong and Golf course, it is the only nunnery in capital known as Zilukha Anim Dratsang, once belonged to the Drubthob (Realized one) Thang Thong Gyalpo often referred to as The King of the open field (In the early 15th century with his multiple talents he popularly became the Leonardo da Vinci of the Great Himalayas). You may interact here with some of the nuns who have devoted their life to spirituality and Buddhism. National library (Closed on Saturday, Sunday & National Holidays) 鈥 is a major scriptural repository and research facility dedicated to the preservation and promotion of the rich literary, cultural and religious heritage of Bhutan. The scripture and document collection held in our library and archives is a national treasure and a fundamental source for Bhutanese History, Religion, Medicine, Arts and Culture. Later visit theIndigenous hospital where traditional art of healing is still practiced, Institute for Zorig Chusum (Traditional Art & Craft School) (Closed on Saturday, Sunday & National Holidays & During Summer & Winter Vacations) – The art taught today in Bhutan was introduced by the Great Treasurer Discoverer Terton Pema Lingpa in the Fifteen century. These traditional Crafts represents hundreds of years of Knowledge and ability that has passed down the generation. Bhutan unique artistic traditions have played a vital role in mounding its distinct cultural heritage. This tradition is best reflected in the 鈥淶orig Chusum鈥 or Thirteen Crafts. Textiles Museum (Handicrafts Shops)(Closed on Saturday, Sunday & National Holidays) – A wide assortment of colourful, hand woven textiles and other craft products is available for purchase at the government-run Handicrafts Emporium and many smaller crafts shops around the town. Then visit Zangthopelri Lhakhang (All tourists visiting Dzongs and temples must be dressed appropriately. No half pant, sleeve less shirts, floaters, etc are allowed) – The present structure was built in 1960s and although lacking the charm of many of the older temples, Zangthopelri still possesses some impressive murals and art treasures and is worthy of a visit. The site of the temple was a former battle ground, and the temple was constructed there in order to pacify energies. Later drive to Wangdi (Wangdiphodrang) (1350Mts / 4430Fts, 70 KMS / 03 to 3陆 HRS One way). Wangdi is the last town on the highway before entering Central Bhutan. The drive is over Dochu La pass (3080Mts / 10102Fts) which is very scenic with fascinating view of mountains of Bhutan. Stopping briefly here to take in the view and admire the Chorten, Mani wall, and Prayer flags which decorate the highest point on the road. If skies are clear, the following peaks can be seen from this Pass (Left to Right): Mt. Masagang (7,158Mts / 23478Fts), Mt. Tsendagang (6,960Mts / 22829Fts), Mt. Terigang (7,060Mts / 23157Fts), Mt. Jejegangphugang (7,158Mts / 23478Fts), Mt. Kangphugang (7,170Mts / 23518Fts), Mt. Zongphugang (7,060Mts / 23157Fts), a table mountain that dominates the isolated region of Lunana – Finally Mt.Gangkar Puensum (7,497Mts / 24590Fts), the highest peak in Bhutan. Overnight at the Hotel in Wangdi.

    Day 04: Punakha / Wangdi – Gangtey Excursion 鈥 Punakha / Wangdi

    Today the day start early for full day excursion to Gangtey & Phobjikha Valley (3000Mts / 9845fts , 85Kms / 3 to 3陆 Hrs One way ) The valley of Gangtey is one of the most beautiful spots in Bhutan. The surprise of finding such a wide, flat valley without any trees after the hard climb through dense forests is augmented by an impression of vast space, and extremely rare experience in Bhutan where most of the valley鈥檚 are tightly enclosed. A few kilometers beyond the Gangtey Monastery, on the valley floor lie鈥檚 the village of Phobjikha. This place is the winter home of black necked cranes that migrate from the arid plains in the north to pass winter in milder and lower climate. Phobjikha, at an altitude of 2900 m, falls under the district of Wangdiphodrang and lies on the periphery of the Black Mountain National Park. The valley boasts two beautiful meandering rivers, Nakay Chhu (Chhu Naap-black water) and Gay Chhu (Chhu Karp-white water). According to a local legend, the two rivers actually represent a snake and a boar. The two animals once raced each other with an agreement that if the snake (Nakay Chhu) won, Phobjikha valley would be able to grow rice, but if the boar won, then rice could never be cultivated in the area. The snake lost since it had to meander all the way during its journey. Rice cannot be cultivated in the valley even today. Black Necked Crane Information Centre (Closed on Saturday, Sunday & National Holidays)-Situated on the edge of the forest and wetland along the main road of Phobjikha valley, the black-necked crane information Centre has an observation room equipped with high power telescope and spotting scopes for catching the best view of the cranes. The centre also offers display information that outline the natural and cultural history of the area. There is a small gift shop, which sells handicrafts produced by the local people. Gangtey Goempa (All tourists visiting Dzongs and temples must be dressed appropriately. No half pant, sleeve less shirts, floaters, etc are allowed) – Perched on a small hill that rises from the valley floor, the Gangtey Monastery is the only Nyingmapa monastery on the western side of the Black Mountain鈥檚 Gangtey valley, Bhutan and also the biggest Nyingmapa monastery in Bhutan. The Monastery is surrounded by a large village inhabited mainly by the families of the 140 Gomchens who take care of the Monastery. Gangtey was founded by Pema Trinley, the grandson of Pema Lingpa, the famous Nyingmapa saint of Bhutan. In 1613, Pema Trinley establishes the monastery and became the first Gangtey Tulku. The religious traditions of Pema Lingpa still taught there. The second Tulku, Tenzin Legpa Dondrup (1645 to 1726), enhanced the size of Gangtey while keeping up good relations with Drukpas, and rebuilt the monastery in the form of a Dzong. Back to the hotel. Overnight at Hotel.

    Day 05: Punakha / Wangdi 鈥 Paro

    After breakfast transfer to Paro (2134Mts / 7000Fts, 135 Kms / 05 Hrs). On arrival Paro, check in to the hotel. Then proceed to visit Ta Dzong (National Museum)(After September 2011 Earth quake, Ta Dzong (Paro Museum) had been closed and shifted to exhibition hall just above the museum. Now the present exhibition hall will be open throughout the week except on Weekends & Government holidays. All tourists visiting Dzongs and temples must be dressed appropriately. No half pant, sleeve less shirts, floaters, etc are allowed). – One time watch tower built to defend Rinpung Dozng during inter-valley wars of the 17th century, since 1967 Ta Dzong is serving as the National Museum of the country. It holds fascinating collection of art, relics, religious Thankha paintings and Bhutan’s exquisite postage stamps. The museum circular shape augments its varied collection displayed over several floors. Rinpung Dzong (All tourists visiting Dzongs and temples must be dressed appropriately. No half pant, sleeve less shirts, floaters, etc are allowed) – Built in 1646 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, the First spiritual and temporal ruler of Bhutan, the Dzong houses the monastic body of Paro, the office of the Dzongda (district administrative head) and Thrimpon (judge) of Paro district. The approach to the Dzong is through a traditional covered bridge called Nemi Zam. A walk through the bridge, over a stone inlaid path, offers a good view of the architectural wonder of the Dzong as well as life around it. It is also the venue of Paro Tshechu, held once a year in the spring. Walk further down crossing the traditional bridge into Paro Town. Later visit Kyichu Lhakhang (All tourists visiting Dzongs and temples must be dressed appropriately. No half pant, sleeve less shirts, floaters, etc are allowed) – It is one of the oldest and most sacred shrines of the Kingdom dating back to 7th century (the other is Jambey Lhakhang in Bumthang). The Lhakhang complex is composed of two temples. The first temple was built by Tibetan King, Songtsen Gampo in the 7th century and in 1968, H.M. Ashi Kesang, the Queen Mother of Bhutan, built the second temple in original pattern, this is a popular monastery for wedding blessing among our travellers. Back to the hotel. Overnight at Hotel.

    Day 06: Paro 鈥 Haa Valley Excursion 鈥 Paro

    After breakfast go for Paro Sightseeing covering Drukgyel Dzong – This Dzong has a delightful village nestling at its foot, was built in 1646 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal to commemorate his victory over the Tibetan invaders. Historically and strategically this Dzong with stood all its glory and was featured in 1914 vide National Geographic magazine. The glory of Drukgyel Dzong remained even when it was destroyed by fire in 1951. On a clear day, one can see the commanding view of Mt Jhomolhari (7134Mts / 23400Fts) can be seen towering over the Dzong. The visit to Drukgyel Dzong ruins involves soft walking hence it is advice able that one goes with walking shoes. Dzong gives an excellent view of the foothills villages and its landscape, then visit Haa valley via Chele-la pass (3800Mts / 12465Fts, 65 Kms / 02 to 03Hrs 鈥 One way) with packed or early breakfast. Drive for 4 Kms away at Bondey village the road to Haa diverts towards the right hand side and ascends towards the Chele-la pass starts. After driving through Blue Pine & Rhododendron Forest for 45 km, reach Chele-la pass (3988Mts / 13081Fts). From this point one can have a superb view of Mt. Jhomolhari (7134Mts / 23400Fts) & Mt. Jichu Drake (6989Mts / 22924Fts). This is a very good place to walk around for few minutes enjoying the view. Drive on to Haa, descending all the way for another 22 km (under an hour鈥檚 drive), finally reaching Haa. The Haa Dzong is presently occupied by military, but the view from outside is stunning. After refreshment break one will visit the famous Monastery of Lhakhang Karpo (White Temple) (All tourists visiting Dzongs and temples must be dressed appropriately. No half pant, sleeve less shirts, floaters, etc are allowed) followed by visit to Lhakhang Nagpo (Black Temple) (All tourists visiting Dzongs and temples must be dressed appropriately. No half pant, sleeve less shirts, floaters, etc are allowed). The Central Shrine in Lhakhang Nagpo is said to have no difference with that of Lhasa JOWO in Tibet. The construction of the Lakhang Karpo is believed to have been assisted by the locality. As a result the place came to be locally known as “Hay” meaning” surprise” which later became “Haa” due to the differences in interpretations and pronunciations of different people over time. The three giant hills looming over the fringes of Haa valley were called “Me Rig Puen Sum” especially after the incidence of the Lhakhang Karpo construction. Today the three hills are popularly known as “Rig Sum Goenpa” signifying three deities-Jambayang, Chana Dorji and Chenrizig. Later, other Buddhist saints like Guru Rinpoche and “Machi Labdorn” came to the Jungney Drag in Haa and blessed the locality. The principal religion followed is Drukpa Kagyupa. After the arrival of Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyel, the chief guardian deity of Haa became, AP Chundu. One can also visit Wangchulo Dzong (All tourists visiting Dzongs and temples must be dressed appropriately. No half pant, sleeve less shirts, floaters, etc are allowed) – The construction of the Wangchulo Dzong was commissioned by Gongzim Ugyen Dorji, the Grandfather of the Royal Grandmother Ashi Kezang Choden Wangchuck. The Dzong structure resembles the Wangdicholing palace in Bumthang that was the seat of the 1st and 2nd Kings as well. Depending on the weather, Road conditions and time Haa excursion could be either taken from Chele-la Pass or from Chozum side one can also opt for going from Chele-la Pass and returning from Chuzom side or vice versa. Evening you drive back to Paro. Overnight at the hotel.

    Day 07: Paro – Full Day Hike To Taktsang Lhakhang (Tiger`S Nest) – Phuntsholing

    Start the day early for a day hike to Taktsang Lhakhang (Tiger’s Nest) (All tourists visiting Dzongs and temples must be dressed appropriately. No half pant, sleeve less shirts, floaters, etc are allowed) with packed or early breakfast – The hike which is all the way uphill takes about 2陆 hrs to 3Hrs one way through pine forests. The monastery clings to a huge granite cliff 900 meters from the Paro valley. It is one of the most famous of Bhutan’s monasteries. It is said that Guru Rinpoche arrived here on the back of a tigress and meditated at this monastery and hence it is called “Tiger’s Nest”. This site has been recognized as a most sacred place and visited by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1646 and now visited by all Bhutanese at least once in their lifetime. On 19 April, 1998, a fire severely damaged the main structure of building but now this Bhutanese jewel has been restored to its original splendour. Guest can also opt for Ponies on direct payment basis but for guest who are unable to make it to the top even reaching to the cafeteria area which in almost half way is very fulfilling. Back to the Paro hotel. Afternoon / Evening free at leisure or one can also go for shopping in the market. Then drive to Phuntsholing (298Mts / 977Fts, 176 Kms / 06 to 7 Hrs).Overnight at Hotel.

    Day 08: Phuntsholing – Gangtok
    After breakfast, depart Phuentsholing for onward journey. Our vehicle will drop guests at Gangtok. Meet & Greet on arrival at NJP Railway Station / IXB Airport & transfer to Gangtok (5,480 ft.). On arrival check-in to hotel & rest of the day at leisure. Overnight stay at Gangtok.

    Day 09: Excursion to Tsomgo Lake & Baba Mandir

    After breakfast start for an excursion to Tsomgo Lake (12,400 ft.) & Baba Mandir (13,200 ft.) which is 55 kms from Gangtok city. Overnight stay at Gangtok.

    Day 10: Gangtok (Local Sightseeing)

    Start for a Full day city tour covering Tashi view point, Ganesh Tok & Hanuman Tok, Ranka Monastery, Banjakhri Falls, Cottage Industry, Dro-dul Chorten, Institute of Tibetology, Flower show and Handicraft Centre (maximum 6 hours). Overnight stay atGangtok.

    Day 11: Gangtok – Pelling (117 kms / 5 hrs)

    After breakfast, transfer to Pelling (6,100 ft.). On arrival check-in to your hotel. Overnight stay at Pelling.

    Day 12: Pelling sightseeing

    After breakfast we start for local sightseeing trip covering Darap Valley, Rimbi Water Falls, Rimbi Power Project, Rock Garden, and Kangchendzonga falls, Khachoedpalri Wish Lake, Back to hotel for lunch. After lunch visit Pemayangtse Monastery, Rabdentse Ruins, Rabdantse View Point, Helipad Ground. Overnight stay will be at Pelling.

    Day 13: Pelling – Darjeeling (About 118 Kms /4 hrs).

    This morning drive to Darjeeling (7,100 ft.) is one of the most magnificent Hill Resorts in the World. On arrival check-in to your hotel & rest of the day at leisure. Overnight stay will be at Darjeeling.

    Day 14: Darjeeling (sight seeing)

    Early Morning (at 4.00 am) drive to Tiger Hill to watch the spectacular Sunrise over Mt. Khangchendzonga (28,208 ft. Worlds third highest peak), on your way back visit Ghoom Monastery and Batasia Loop. After breakfast visit Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, P.N. Zoological Park (closed on Thursday) Tenzing Rock, Tibetan Refugee Self-help Centre (closed on Sunday), Tea Garden (outer view), Ava Art Gallery and Japanese Temple. Evening free (walking tour of mall 鈥 suggested). Overnight stay will be at Darjeeling.

    Day 15: Darjeeling (sightseeing)

    This morning, drive to get the experience of Joy train ride which is the glory of Darjeeling. En route will cover Tukvur Tea Garden. Overnight stay will be at Darjeeling. (BUY TRAIN TICKTS AT OWN PRICE)

    It is being organized by http://www.honeymooninsikkim.com guys .
    What is your opinion about this

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      July 15, 2016 at 10:17 PM

      Hi Gaurav, The plan looks fine to me.

      But I have few suggestions…
      On Day 3 : You are doing Thimphu Sightseeing and moving to Punakha. Thimphu Sightseeing requires almost more than half day and Thimphu to Punakha is around 3 Hours via Dochula Pass. So that can be a but tiring. So I’d suggest to stay back in Thimphu on Day 3.

      On Day 4 : You are just visiting Phobjika as a day trip. But if you like Country Side, it’d be a great experience staying at Phobjika overlooking the valley!!

      So, if you follow my plan then you need one more day to stay at Punakha which should be the Day 4 and you should be visiting Phobjika on Day 5 and so on…

      So if you can’t extend another day, just follow the plan shared by your tour operator else another thing I noticed is that you are staying 3 nights in Darjeeling, so you can skip one night stay in Darjeeling and merge Day 14 and Day 15 on one single day.

      So finally it’s up to you to decide. Let me know if you feel confused!!

      Reply
  • Royal House Tours & Travels
    July 22, 2016 at 1:34 PM

    Hi !! Shivjit !!

    Wow that was some detailed post !!
    Great work !!!

    As i always say !!

    Come to Sikkim , Discover Yourself !! 馃檪

    Reply
  • Anant
    July 23, 2016 at 1:26 PM

    Hi,

    We are three couples accompanying by a 2 year old kid booked following itinerary by ourselves. Came across this informative site a bit late but still thought to get some of your guidance and views on the same.

    Places to be covered

    (Gangtok (1N) – Lachen (1N) – Lachung (1N) – Gangtok (2N) – Pelling (1N) Darjeeling (1N))

    Day 1:
    Transfer to Gangtok 鈥 Reach Gangtok in the afternoon 鈥 Check into hotel 鈥 Night stay at Gangtok
    (1N in Gangtok)

    Here we thought to rest in gangtok before the hectic tour.
    Hope this is fine. Can we cover some of local sightseeing here to reduce burden later on ? We plan to reach bagdogra by 1-2 in the afternoon.
    —————————————————————–

    Day 2: Gangtok Sightseeing on the way and travel to Lachen
    Leave Gangtok at about 10 A M聽 On the way stop and enjoy a few聽 wonderful聽 locations聽 like聽 Tashi聽 Viewpoint, Kabi Lungstok, Naga Waterfalls,聽 confluence聽 of聽 Lachen chu聽 and Lachung聽 Chu at Chungthang, Twin Waterfalls聽 and聽 Bhim Nala Waterfalls –
    Transfer to Lachen from Gangtok – Early morning breakfast 鈥 Drive 135 kilometers, 5 鈥 6 hours drive – Chungthang is 96 kilometers from Gangtok 鈥 Lunch at Chungthang 鈥 Lachen is 35 kilometers from Chungthang Reach Lachen late afternoon / early evening – Check into a hotel – Evening free to stroll and visit the Lepcha Village 鈥 Overnight stay at Hotel in Lachen聽
    (1N in Lachen)

    ——————————————————————–

    Day 3: Early Morning visit Thangu (Excursion Gurudongmar) & Chhopta Valley Tsolamu lake & Later after lunch drive to Lachung.
    Nearly 50 kilometers and two hours drive 鈥 Check into hotel at Lachung – Evening free to visit Lachung Monastery – Overnight stay at Hotel at Lachung
    (1N in Lachung)

    Note: due to climatic conditions 2 year old kid will be accompanied by one of us n will stay back in the hotel during trip to gurudongmar lake.

    ——————————————————————–

    Day 4: Early Morning drive to Yumthang-valley and zero point. On the way back visit Sulpher Hot Spring & Lachung Monestry & Return to resort at Lachung for Lunch 鈥 Transfer to Gangtok 鈥 Reach Gangtok in the evening 鈥 Check into hotel 鈥 Night stay at Gangtok
    (1N in Gangtok)

    Can we visit yumthang valley with 2 year old kid or better to let kid stay back with one of us?
    ——————————————————————–

    Day 5: Gangtok Sightseeing
    After breakfast drive to Tsongo Lake and proceed further to Legendary Baba Harbhajan Singh Mandir. Optional tour to Nathula Pass .Back to Hotel for late Lunch.聽 Afternoon free for personal activities. Overnight at Gangtok.

    (1N in Gangtok)
    Is it good time to visit nathula or can skip it instead go for local sightseeing 4 -5 points during late afternoon? Given that we have no time to cover for local sightseeing in this itinerary it seems.
    ———————————————————————

    Day 6: after breakfast transfer to Pelling to reach before noon聽聽
    Pelling sight seeing between 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm
    Overnight rest in Pelling
    (1N in Pelling)

    What points can be covered here?
    ———————————————————————

    Day 7: Reach Darjeeling , Sightseeing (7 Points) 2nd Half-1300 hrs to 1700
    聽Visit 7 points (Timing: 1.00PM to 5.00PM) – Darjeeling Zoo and Mountaineering Institute (Closed on Thursday), Tea garden, Tenzing Rock and Gombu Rock, Tibetan Refugee center (Closed on Sunday) and Lebong Race Course Area. Overnight at Darjeeling.
    (1N in Darjeeling)

    ———————————————————————-

    Day 8: Early morning tour to Tiger Hill Sunrise Point, Batasia Loop and Ghoom Monastery these 2 can be adjusted above) return to hotel fresh and breakfast (Timing 4.00AM to 7.30AM).
    Depart for Baghdogra or NJP for departure

    Incase this is more hectic do you see any scope if we can modify this given that we are already done with booking of hotels for the above given dates.

    Also we were planning to book a cab for all of us in advance to avoild last minute panic n delays?

    What kind of permits will be required by us to cover above itinerary. Can we obtain those in advance say 1 month.?

    Thanks

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      July 28, 2016 at 8:58 PM

      Hi Anant, First of all sorry for replying a bit late, I was on holiday to Goa!!

      Well, first things first, I’d highly suggest you to not to visit North Sikkim with a 2 years old kid. Legally kids below 10 years are not allowed. So he/she may not even get the permit.

      The reason being due to very high altitude, there’s scarcity of Oxygen. Even we adults face a lot of issues while breathing, so your kid might even have problem communicating that to you.

      Instead plan to South and West Sikkim like Kaluk, Pelling, Ravangla, Namchi, Borong etc.

      I really don’t know, from where you got that itinerary, but Tsolamu lake is not accessible to general tourists unless you have some high level contacts in Ministry or in Army at Brigadier level who is posted in Sikkim.

      You may go for Sightseeing the day you arrive in Gangtok, but given that you’ll be reaching post afternoon, you cannot cover all the points and it’ll be very hectic and tiring. As you’ll be reaching Gangtok after around 4 hours of journey and then post lunch you guys will be really tired to make another move.

      Again, Tsongmo Lake and Baba Mandir is fine, but I’d not suggest visiting Nathulla with your 2 year old kid due to same problem as in North Sikkim.

      For Sightseeing at Pelling you may check my posts regarding Pelling at Exploring Kaluk And Pelling and Exploring Ravangla And Borong instead.

      But please note that, you need 2 night stay in Pelling, as Pelling Sightseeing requires one full day and the same cannot be done the day you start from Gangtok.

      Yes you may hire exclusive vehicle for the entire tour depending on the season you are visiting. But note that you have to use different vehicle in Sikkim and Darjeeling, as the same is not allowed due to local taxi union issues.

      Regarding permits, you don’t have to bother about anything. The driver you’ll be hiring will arrange all the required permits. Or if you are planning to take the tours via Tour Operator / Hotel, they will arrange the same.

      If you are visiting in October, just make sure to contact them the day you arrive, as there’ll be huge rush in October, as you have to submit the document scans and photographs to them for the permits. All the permits (be it North Sikkim or Nathulla) are issued on the same day morning due to uncertainty issues.

      BTW, by “Incase this is more hectic do you see any scope if we can modify this given that we are already done with booking of hotels for the above given dates.” did you booked hotels in Lachung and Lachen yourself? I hope not. If yes, then you are in a big mess.

      Now, I’d suggest you a revised itinerary given that your hotels are already booked on those days (except Lachung and Lachen)

      Day 1 : Arrive Gangtok. Stroll around M.G.Marg in the evening.
      Day 2 : Gangtok Full Day Sightseeing
      Day 3 : Day Trip to Tsongmo Lake and Baba Mandir
      Day 4 : Gangtok to Ravangla / Namchi (whichever you wish). Sightseeing at Namchi.
      Day 5 : Ravangla / Namchi to Pelling via Sightseeing at Ravangla
      Day 6 : Pelling Sightseeing
      Day 7 : Pelling to Darjeeling.
      Day 8 : Darjeeling

      Your plan for Day 7 and Day 8 is perfectly fine.

      Let me know if you have further queries.

      Reply
      • Anant
        July 28, 2016 at 9:16 PM

        Thanks a lot for your suggestions. I went throught many sites n blogs but guess missed this one by big time.
        I am little worried now as we are travelling with 2.5-3 yr old kid n planned in such a way that kid will be accompanied by one if parent in the hotel while we cover points in aboce itinerary(i.e gurudongmar n yumthang)
        Yes 馃檨 we have booked hotels n lachung n lachen n infact all above places.

        Do you suggest if anything could be done with above itinerary without harming the booking.

        Thanks again for your valuable suggestions….

        Reply
        • Krishnandu Sarkar
          July 28, 2016 at 9:34 PM

          How many adults will be there? One of you have to sacrifice Gurudongmar, Yumthang and Zero Point and stay back with the kid.

          But for Nathulla, just skip it, else the person need to stay back in Baba Mandir while others go upto Nathulla (if that sounds okay to you), else the person who will be staying back have to stay back at the hotel in Gangtok and miss the whole Tsongmo Lake and Baba Mandir too.

          Reply
          • Anant
            July 28, 2016 at 10:17 PM

            We will be 3 couples – 6 adults. Yes we had initially planned that one or 2 of adults will be staying back in hotel in lachen and lachung while rest will cover gurudongmar and yumthang.

            We have kept nathula as optiona for gangtok.

            On Day 6 when we reach pelling, we have planned to have half day tour or something between 1-6 pm. Not sure if we can cover some major attactions not all though. will have a look at your other posts for this.

            For Gangtok, i guess we dont have time to do half day local sighseeing as we have very less time unless we can cover some points on the same day while travelling to lachen on day 2 or if we have enough time available after visit to baba mandir and tsomgo lake on day 5.

            Btw you mentioned it would be a mess as i booked hotels in lachen and lachung. Would it be fine if we stay back in hotel with kid and rest of us can cover points ?

            Thanks…

            Reply
            • Krishnandu Sarkar
              July 28, 2016 at 10:30 PM

              Yes, one or two of you can stay back in hotel in Lachung and Lachen and others can visit Gurudongmar Lake, Yumthang Valley and Zero Point.

              But take some first aid precautionary medicines and it’d be best if you can consult the doctor for your kid before visiting as even Lachung and Lachen is also in very high altitude. Though there’s no issues with oxygen in there but it can be too cold for him to cope up.

              Well, Gangtok City Sightseeing doesn’t have much attractions, so there’s nothing much to miss. If you still insist, do pay a visit to Rumtek Monastery and Ropeway (your kid might like this, though he’s too young!!) the day you reach Gangtok.

              Yes on Day 6, you can’t cover all of them. Check my post on Pelling and list down the spots attracts you most. Don’t miss Kanchenjungha Waterfalls though.

              You cannot do any of the sightseeing on the way to Lachen, the whole route is different. You can either do the local sightseeing on the day you reach or else after visiting Tsongmo Lake and Baba Mandir. If you are skipping Nathulla, then you’d have enough time to cover 2-3 spots on that day too.

              Yes, there’s no other way for you guys other than staying back in the hotel. Or you might go with your friends (I believe) if you can convince your wife 馃槢

              Reply
              • Anant
                July 28, 2016 at 10:57 PM

                Will look into above suggestions..Thanks so much again….

                Reply
            • Munna
              March 13, 2017 at 3:15 AM

              hi anant, can you please share your experience with 2 year old kid….did u face any issues while travelling to north sikkim.
              Does the rooms in the lachung and lachen have room heaters to take care of the kid.
              Can you suggest any precautions one need to take while travelling with 2 year old kid….Thanking you in advance…

              Reply
              • Krishnandu Sarkar
                March 13, 2017 at 10:15 AM

                Hi Munna, It’s not recommended to take such young kid to Nathulla & North Sikkim. Infact govt. too have restrictions of not allowing (& issuing permits) to kids below 5 years (for Nathulla) & 8 Years (for North Sikkim) and Senior Citizens, but due to our permit system not being so strong, you can get it though, but I’d highly suggest to avoid taking such young kid to those high altitude areas.

                Those being high altitude areas, there is a thin layer of oxygen, which is an issue to us adults too, let along the kid.

                Reply
              • Anant
                March 13, 2017 at 2:16 PM

                Hi. As suggested rightly, it is not recommended to visit those areas such as gurudongmar and nathula along with 2 year old kid. In our case, we were 2 families travelling along with a 2 year old kid so one of our family member stood back at the hotel along with the kid while we covered those places. Heaters are available in the hotel but you may have to pay extra for it unless it is included in your room by default which is unlikely in lachen n lachung. Be equipped with your winter wears n medicine kit for yourself and your kid.

                Reply
  • Anant
    July 23, 2016 at 1:33 PM

    Note: We plan to visit by mid-October

    Reply
  • Shobita Chugh
    August 1, 2016 at 9:31 PM

    Hi Krishnandu
    Firstly very informative post. Is it fine to visit these places in mid december?
    Can you also share a itinerary for Darjeeling.
    As we are planning a 12 days trip of Darjeeling and North Sikkim.

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      August 2, 2016 at 9:37 AM

      Thank You Shobita 馃檪 I’m glad that you liked it 馃檪

      In Mid-December sometime heavy snowfall starts, so nothing can be guaranteed about North Sikkim and Nathulla.

      But from last few years, I have noticed that many tourists have been successfully able to visit North Sikkim and Nathulla successfully.

      So what I’d suggest is to visit with a flexible plan and check whether the routes are accessible to North Sikkim and Nathulla, and then decide based on the situation.

      You may follow the below itinerary
      Day 1 : NJP / IXB to Darjeeling. Stroll around Mall in the evening. O/N at Darjeeling.
      Day 2 : Early morning trip to Tiger Hill, Batasia Loop and Ghoom Monastery. After breakfast at Keventar’s or Glenary’s, proceed for a Full Day Darjeeling Sightseeing. O/N at Darjeeling
      Day 3 : Go For Morning Joy Ride. Post that, proceed towards Gangtok. Stroll around M.G.Marg and book tours to North Sikkim and Nathulla if accessible.
      Day 4 – Day 6 : 2N/3D North Sikkim Tour
      Day 7 : Tsongmo Lake, Baba Mandir, Nathulla Pass
      Day 8 : Gangtok Sightseeing
      Day 9 : Gangtok to Pelling
      Day 10 : Pelling Sightseeing
      Day 11 : Pelling to Ravangla
      Day 12 : Ravangla to NJP / IXB via Namchi.

      If you find that, North Sikkim and/or Nathulla is not accessible, you can do whatever is accessible, and then proceed towards Pelling. In that case on the left over days, you can do Kaluk, Hee, Bermiok, Dentam, Chaya Taal etc.

      Let me know if this looks good to you 馃檪

      Reply
  • Shobita Chugh
    August 2, 2016 at 2:08 PM

    Thank you very much.
    Your post and reply helped me very much to decide itinerary.
    It looks doable.
    Hope I will be able to stick to original plan of North Sikkim.. Fingers Crossed 馃槈
    Keep posting whenever u travel anywhere, helps a lot . 馃榾

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      August 2, 2016 at 4:14 PM

      Sure!! You can subscribe to get mail notification whenever I come up with a new post!!

      Thanks and you are welcome 馃檪

      Have a great holiday and yes I wish weather to be favourable for you to visit North Sikkim and Nathulla

      Reply
    • Shobita Chugh
      October 20, 2016 at 2:27 PM

      Hi Again,
      I applied for a 20 days leave in my office which was duly accepted 馃榾 Now we are also planning to attach Silliguri in our itinerary.
      Can you suggest a 3D tour for silliguri. I think you didn’t wrote about Silliguri much as its like a second home to you. 馃槢

      Reply
      • Krishnandu Sarkar
        October 20, 2016 at 3:05 PM

        Hi Shobita, First of all let me tell you that 20 days leave is something we all lust for!! 馃槢 And now I’m really feeling jealous!!

        Haha!! Anyway coming to your query, yes as my elder sister is married off there it’s kind of a 2nd home to me. But Siliguri itself has nothing much to offer.

        You may visit the famous Hong Kong market but beware it’s kind of a fancy market in Kolkata. If you are at all from Kolkata. So make sure you are really a market freak to identify things before buying something from there.

        Make sure to try out Half Boiled Egg, alongg woth Bread with Butter with either Sugar or Black Peeper at Netaji Cabin at Hong Kong Market. I prefer the preparation with black pepper more than sugar personally.

        Other than these you may visit Sevoke Kali Temple, Coronation Bridge, Salugara Monastery, Science City, ISKON Temple, Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary etc.

        You may take one day out to check out the various Malls like Cosmos, City Centre, Shoppers Stop etc.

        Another day you may use to visit Bengal Safari and Madhuban Park.

        Hope that helps.

        Reply
        • Shobita Chugh
          October 21, 2016 at 11:16 PM

          Haha.I am from Gandhinagar, Gujarat. I am a teacher in CA coaching classes. Normally Decembers are like vacations for us. So I got lucky. Thanks for the help. It cleared my confusion. Will surely share my experience of this tour with u. Cos it was not possible without your Blog.
          馃榾

          Reply
          • Krishnandu Sarkar
            October 21, 2016 at 11:34 PM

            LOL!! That’s great!! Enjoy your holiday 馃檪

            I’m glad that you liked it 馃檪

            Reply
  • Sourav Nandy
    August 3, 2016 at 7:53 PM

    we 7 friends will go for entire north sikkim by Bikes on 3rd week of Nov..we decide to night stay at Gangtok,Lachen,Lachung,Nathang, Namchi…As we are travelling by bike we are lil afraid of the Passes for Gangtok to Gurudrongmer,Yumthang,Nathang.Can you please help us with the contact no of budget hotels…(we can stay in a single room) at the said locations.

    Reply
  • ujjal chakraborty
    August 4, 2016 at 6:29 PM

    in december 25 is save for journey at north sikkim

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      August 4, 2016 at 7:28 PM

      Hi Ujjal,
      Generally in late December heavy snowfall starts. So it depends on weather.

      Nothing can be guaranteed as of now as no one can predict the weather.

      Reply
  • Deepankar Borah
    August 10, 2016 at 3:15 PM

    Hi,

    We (2 people) are planning to visit Sikkim on 28th Oct and we will be there till 31st Oct, 1st Nov we will be returning back.

    Could you please suggest some places to visit at that time of the year. From what I have researched, we won’t find any snow at that time even if we visit Lachen/lachung/Zero Point. But we want to see some great natural sceneries (e.g. lakes, mountains etc.).

    Further, we want to visit Nathulla and Gurudongmar Lake.

    So your suggestion will be much appreciated. Along with that if you could throw some light on the baggage for that particular time of the year in Sikkim, we will be very grateful.

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      August 10, 2016 at 10:14 PM

      Hi Deepankar, well in October end you might get snow at Gurdongmar Lake and Zero Point. But chances are low in Nathulla.

      I can provide you two itinerary and would suggest you to travel with a flexible plan.

      28th – Arrive at Gangtok. Stroll in M.G.Marg in the evening.
      29th – Gangtok to Lachen.
      30th – Early morning trip to Gurudongmar. Post lunch proceed to Lachung
      31st – Early morning trip to Yumthangband Zero Point. Post lunch proceed to Gangtok.
      1st – Departure

      This is the best itinerary if you want to see snow. 29th to 31st is 2N/3D North Sikkim packaged tour.

      Another itinerary you can do is
      28th – Arrive at Gangtok and stroll around M.G.Marg in the evening
      29th – Day Trip To Tsongmo Lake, Baba Mandir and Nathulla Pass

      For remaining two days you may move to Darjeeling or Pelling via Ravangla or you may even choose to stay at Gangtok and do city sightseeing.

      But I’d always suggest North Sikkim if you want to see snow.

      Hope that helps. Let me know if you have query about anything else.

      Reply
  • Ramakant
    August 11, 2016 at 3:12 PM

    I really like your post and beautiful photos. I feel to visit North Sikkim and enjoy every thing. Thanks for sharing your experiences

    Reply
  • Sandip Saha
    August 15, 2016 at 8:49 PM

    Hi Krishnandu,
    we plan to visit gangtok and north sikkim in this october.We are a group of 12 peole. I talk with some tour operator for 2n/3d Lachen Lachung tour and all of them quote above 6000/- per head for this tour.but i think the rate is too high.So I need your suggestion for booking this tour. Can i book this tour after reaching gangtok?

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      August 15, 2016 at 9:27 PM

      Ofcouse you can book this tour after reaching Gangtok. But in October there will be huge rush for North Sikkim. So better is to book it in advance. Well 6000/- per head for shared trip?

      Generally fares for shared trip are like 3500/- – 4000/- per head. But yes, nowadays tourist rush for North Sikkim has grown a lot. So they might increased that price for that reason.

      I’d say 6k per head is really high. Better try to talk with some more tour operators (along with Lama Tour & Travel, I traveled with) and still if it is not possible to get lower prices, you may book it after reaching there.

      Simply, the tour needs to be booked and documents should be submitted previous night of your tour. As the permits are given on the morning of the tour day.

      But, October being rush season, it’s always recommend to pre-book the tour in advance.

      Reply
  • Farhan Siddiqui
    August 16, 2016 at 1:26 AM

    Thanks for sharing your experience.. your blog encourage me a lot..

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      August 16, 2016 at 9:34 AM

      Thanks a lot Farhan for your kind words 馃檪

      I’m glad that you liked it 馃檪

      Reply
  • Shyamal Halder
    August 17, 2016 at 3:56 PM

    Hi Krishnendu,
    Your post is very much informative and useful. Thank you for the post. Its a great help for those have not visited yet. I have few questions-
    Please tell me, if we three family members reach Gangtok in the afternoon, next day morning we want to move for lachen Lachung tour of 3D 2N, Is it possible. When the permit will be prepared? If any money involved for the permit? Who will prepare our permit? Documents required? Whether we have to go to taxi stand for catching the car or the car will come to hotel while starting for the conducted tour? When the car will start for the Tour from Gangtok? Whether prebooking the hotel and conducted tour will cost much?

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      August 17, 2016 at 7:16 PM

      Thank You Shyamal for your kind words. I’m glad that you liked it.

      Yes you can book the tour for next morning, the day you reach Gangtok. The permits are issued on the same day morning of the tour, so you need to submit the documents and book the tour with your tour operator within previous night.

      The cost of the permit is included to that of the tour. You do not need to pay anything else. Your tour operator will get everything done.

      Generally most tour operator provides car to pickup and drop guest from hotel to taxi stand and you don’t need to pay anything for that. But clearly discuss this before booking the tour.

      You have no other option other than doing for a packaged tour to North Sikkim. For more details please have a look at All You Need To Know About North Sikkim

      Reply
  • Manas biswas
    August 21, 2016 at 7:48 PM

    Thank u bro, it’s really helpfull to me,bcz I am going to north Sikkim 1st week of october 2016.

    Reply
  • AMIT SHAH
    August 22, 2016 at 3:29 PM

    m planning a trip to west sikkim pelling,darjeeling,gangtok…in the month of sept ..from 17th sept to 24sept 2016{3 persons} is it the good time to visit sikkim…..our budget is 21000…suggest or give some ideas or help me…dada…

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      August 22, 2016 at 5:27 PM

      Hi Amit, September is end of monsoon and that also as you are visiting in end of September, chances of heavy rain is very low. But some drizzling is expected.

      You may follow the below itinerary
      17th : NJP / IXB to Darjeeling. Stroll around mall in the evening.
      18th : Go for early morning sunrise trip to Tiger Hill, Batasia Loop and Ghoom Monastery. Post breakfast at Keventars or Glenary’s go for Full Day Sightseeing.
      19th : Go for Joy Ride if you wish to. Post that move to Pelling via Ravangla and Namchi.
      20th : Full day Pelling Sightseeing.
      21st : Pelling to Gangtok. Stroll around M.G.Marg in the evening.
      22nd : Gangtok Sightseeing
      23rd : Tsongmo Lake and Baba Mandir. Include Nathulla too of it’s accessible.
      24th: Gangtok to NJP / IXB.

      Budget depends on how you do your tour like choice of hotels, mode of transport etc.

      But to give you an idea of budget tour…
      Hotels costs around 1000/- – 1500/-
      1. NJP to Darjeeling shared vehicle costs 200/- per head
      2. Darjeeling Early Morning Tiger Hill, Batasia Loop and Ghoom Monastery shared trip costs 150/- per head
      3. Darjeeling Sightseeing is not possible in shared vehicle so exclusive vehicle would cost you around 1500/- – 1800/-
      4. Darjeeling to Pelling shared cabs are not much common but costs around 150/-. But if you want to do sightseeing at Ravangla and Namchi followed by drop at Pelling it’d cost you around 2500/- to 3000/-
      5. Pelling sightseeing again not possible in shared vehicle so exclusive vehicle would cost you around 2500/-
      6. Pelling to Gangtok shared cabs costs around 150/- per person but very rare. Otherwise exclusive vehicle costs around 2000/-
      7. Gangtok Sightseeings not possible by shared vehicle. And a exclusive vehicle costs around 1000/- – 1500/- depending on points.
      8. Tsongmo Lake and Baba Mandir trip costs 500/- per person by shared vehicle and if you include Nathulla ot costs 800/- per person.
      9. Gangtok to NJP shared vehicle costs 250/- per person.
      10. For fooding if you avoid high end restaurants keep 500/- per person per day as minimum cost.

      Now these are the indicative bare minimum cost. There’s no upper limit of luxury.

      Hope that helps 馃檪

      Reply
      • AMIT SHAH
        August 22, 2016 at 5:50 PM

        thank u so much dada…geysing is a good place to stay fr 1 day..or pelling will be better…bcz i”ll meet my friend ….der…we can increase our budget upto25k max…

        Reply
  • AMIT SHAH
    August 22, 2016 at 5:59 PM

    12k for travelling+ 8k for hotel+4k for food……i hope so it will work out..

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      August 22, 2016 at 6:41 PM

      There’s nothing to see in Geyzing. It’s just a town. So ofcourse Pelling is better. On a clear day you can see snow capped Mt. K along with other sightseeings.

      Check out Exploring West Sikkim – Kaluk – Pelling and Exploring South Sikkim – Ravangla – Borong for pictures and more details.

      Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      August 22, 2016 at 6:55 PM

      I highly doubt. 12k for travelling is fine.

      But 8k for hotel means 1000/- per day. That’s dicey. As hotels in Pelling costs around 1500/-. Best is keep 1500/- per day for hotel.

      And is 4k for food per person or total? If you are talking about total I think that’s dicey too. Consider atleast 500 per person per day as I said. So minimum 500 x 3 (pax) x 8 (days) = 12k for food.

      Reply
  • AMIT SHAH
    August 22, 2016 at 6:39 PM

    this is the quote i got….from a travel co. is it sounds good or ok…

    Ace Travel Solutions
    30 Trips sold | 12 Reviews | 58.33% Superb Reviews
    Summary of Quote (View complete details)
    ? 10,800.00( per person) | 6 days | Family
    Hotels (View all hotels)
    Gangtok : Samrat Residency / Budget property
    Da…
    Inclusions (View all inclusions)
    Meal plan : Breakfast Meal plan : Dinner Vehicle : Non-AC Vehicle : Normal GST Transport Tax
    Itinerary (View complete itinerary)
    DAY 1
    We receive you on your arrival and drive to Gangtok (Alt 5550Ft / 1675M), the Capital of Sikkim. Check in at Hotel. Free Evening, Overnight at Gangtok

    DAY 2
    Visit Rumtek Monastery, Botanical Garden, and Santi View Point, Sikkim Research Institute of Tibetology, Dodurl Chorten, Government Institute of Co…

    DAY 3
    After breakfast drive to Tsongo Lake (Alt 12000ft/3600M), a high altitude alpine lake close to Indo-China Border. Enjoy playing in snow and try Yak…

    DAY 4
    Check out from Gangtok and drive to Darjeeling (Alt 7100Ft/ 2100M). On arrival check in at Hotel. Free afternoon for personal activities. Overnight…

    DAY 5
    Early morning tour in Darjeeling with visits to 鈥 Tiger Hill Sunrise Point, Batasia Loop and Ghoom Monastery (Timing 4.00AM to 7.30AM). Free time f…

    DAY 6
    Check out from Darjeeling and drive back to NJP/Bagdogra.

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      August 22, 2016 at 6:49 PM

      Yes but you topd me you have 8 days whereas this package consists of 6 days. Also this package misses out Darjeeling Sightseeing and Baba Mandir at Gangtok.

      But the price looks okay. You can try doing the same or contact Mr. Dipankar from North East Tour and Travels at +91 8972-247306. You can compare the prices once. You can tell him that you are in budget and looking for budget tour. Also mention him that you have got his number from my blog or from me, he might give you some discounts as well.

      But remember that I’m not endorsing him or something. It’s just that I have taken car from him in Sikkim on many occurances and he always gave me best rate. So I’m just asking you to check with him once before finalizing.

      Reply
  • AMIT SHAH
    August 22, 2016 at 7:27 PM

    this is ok i guess…if they can make it in 30k…we can easily manage for 7 days…though they are quoted for 6 days….
    Prepared by

    Ace Travel Solutions
    About Agent | 12 Reviews | 30 Trips
    Download Quote
    29,500(total)
    opp. Gostho pal statue, Near Kanchanjungha stadium, Bidhan Road, Siliguri, West Bengal, India – 734001

    Recent updates Last Updated by Agent on 22nd Aug 2016 HIDE DETAILS
    Updated – Hotels1 minute ago
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    OverviewHotelsFlightsCabsInclusions/ExclusionsAdditional InfoItinerary
    Overview

    VIEW MAPVIEW ITINERARY 6 Days & 5 Nights
    Sat, 17th Sep 2016 to Thu, 22nd Sep 2016

    Cities

    Darjeeling>Pelling>Gangtok
    Hotels

    Gangtok : Samrat Residency / Budget property / 01 room
    Darjeeling : Hotel Shanti Palace / Budget property / 01 room
    Pelling : Hotel Rabdentsy / 01 room
    Flights

    Not Included

    Cabs

    ALL TRANSPORTATION AND SIGHTSEEING BY NON AC Indigo/ Sumo / Max (PRIVATE VEHICLE)

    Inclusions / Exclusions

    INCLUSIONS

    Meal plan

    Breakfast
    Vehicle

    Non-AC
    Normal
    GST

    Transport Tax

    Others

    Other Inclusions
    EXCLUSIONS

    Meal plan

    Lunch
    Dinner
    Vehicle

    Luxury
    AC
    Transportation

    Parking

    Insurance

    Laundary

    Other Than Mentioned in Inclusion

    Entry fees

    Guide charges

    Room Heater

    Others

    Other Exclusions
    Additional Info

    鈥 Our Cancellation Policy:

    鈥 Before 45 days to the departure : No charges

    鈥 From 45 days to 30 days prior to the departure date : 25% of Package Cost

    鈥 From 30 days to 15 days prior to the departure date : 50% of Package Cost

    鈥 From 14 days to 7 days prior to the departure date : 75% of Package Cost

    鈥 7 Days prior to departure date : Non Refundable

    Itinerary

    Trip to West Sikkim
    Day 1
    Bagdogra Airport / NJP Station to Darjeeling, 90kms in 3 Hrs.

    We receive you on your arrival and drive to Darjeeling (Alt 6825Ft / 2050M). Check in at Hotel. Free Evening Overnight at Darjeeling

    Day 2
    Darjeeling City Tour.

    Early morning tour in Darjeeling with visits to 鈥 Tiger Hill Sunrise Point, Batasia Loop and Ghoom Monastery (Timing 4.00AM to 7.30AM).
    Post Lunch City Tour – visit 7 points (Timing: 1.30PM to 5.00PM) – Darjeeling Zoo and Mountaineering Institute (Closed on Thursday), Tea garden, Tenzing Rock and Gombu Rock, Tibetan Refugee center (Closed on Sunday) . Free evening at Mall for Shopping. Overnight at Darjeeling

    Day 3
    Darjeeling to Pelling, 80kms in 3hrs

    Check out from Darjeeling and drive to Pelling in West Sikkim (Alt 7175Ft / 2150M). Enjoy scenic beauty of Rangeet River Valley on the way. On arrival check in at Hotel. Free evening. Overnight at Pelling

    Day 4
    Half Day Pelling Tour. / Pelling to Gangtok, 120kms in 4hrs

    Local tour in Pelling with visits to Pemayangtse Monastery, Rubduntse Palace Ruins , Khecheopalri Lake, Kunchenjungha Falls .

    Pelling to Gangtok, 120kms in 4hrs 鈥 Check out from Pelling and drive to Gangtok (Alt 5550Ft / 1675M). Enroute visit Rabangla. Arrival at Gangtok and check in at Hotel. Free afternoon for personal activities. Overnight at Gangtok.

    Day 5
    Gangtok to Tsongo Lake with Baba Mandir Excursion 鈥 52kms in 3hrs – One way (Timing: 7.30AM to 2.30PM).

    After breakfast drive to Tsongo Lake (Alt 12000ft/3600M), a high altitude alpine lake close to Indo-China Border. Enjoy playing in snow and try Yak Ride and proceed further to Legendary Baba Harbhajan Singh Mandir. Back to Hotel .
    Optional tour to Nathula Pass (Alt 14000Ft / 4200M) on China Border can also be arranged (Except Mon, Tue) for Indian Nationals only with 30 Days Advance Request at an additional cost. Afternoon is free for personal activities. Overnight at Gangtok

    Day 6
    Gangtok to Bagdogra Airport / NJP Station, 130kms in 4hrs

    Check out from Gangtok and drive back to NJP/Bagdogra

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      August 22, 2016 at 7:56 PM

      With 7 days you’d miss half of the sightseeing points at Pelling. So first fix how many days you have.

      Now the package looks good for 30k. But I highly doubt that they are quoting 30k per person. So get it clarified.

      But if it’s 30k for 3 pax for 6 days then it’s a really good package.

      Also do not forget that the meal plan they are offering you is B&B i.e. Bed and Breakfast. So keep another 10k for 3 pax for 6 days for fooding above that 30k.

      Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      August 22, 2016 at 7:58 PM

      Also I forgot to mention that the hotel they are offering you is in Lower Pelling. So confirm the Mt. K view. But if you are okay with no view then it’s fine 馃檪

      Reply
  • Drift
    August 23, 2016 at 11:30 AM

    Last year me and my colleague had been to eastern part of India , we had started our journey from West Bengal. We had been to Siliguri, Kalimpong, Goom and Darjeeling. Due to our lack in time we couldn’t visit many place like Assam, Sikkim and other eastern region.
    But after looking those pic i regreat that we didn’t visit Sikkim. Such a beautiful place with more beautiful views.
    Thanks for reminding my trip and for sharing such a lovely pic of Sikkim .

    Reply
  • Ruchi Gupta
    August 23, 2016 at 12:03 PM

    Hi Krishna,

    Really a nice blog. i am visiting Sikkim in september with my husband.
    I have decided below mentioned itinerary.
    Day 1: 24th Sept 2016, Arrival at Bagdogra Airport.
    Meet and greet at Bagdogra Airport and proceed to Aritar. Overnight saty at Aritar.
    Day 2: 25th Sept 2016.
    Start after breakfast for Lake, Magkhim [ Hill Top ] , Aritar Monastery, Brtish Banglow, and proceed to Lungthung view point, Zuluk Zig-jack road, Kewkhola, and check in at Gnathang hotel. visit Gnathang Valley, New Babamandir, Elephant Lake, Golf Course, Jalepla Pass and back to hotel at Gnathang. and back to Hotel.
    Day 3: 26th Sept 2016.
    After breakfast start for Harbajan Singh Babamandir, Tsomgo Lake and evening overnight stay at Gangtok hotel.
    LACHEN 1N/ LACHUNG 1N [ 2 Nights 3 Days]

    Day 4: 27th Sept 2016, North Sikkim Tour

    After getting permit start for North Sikkim, drive to Lachen (9,400 ft, 124 km). On the way visit Butterfly Waterfalls. Lunch at a local restaurant on the way at own cost. Check in at Hotel in the late afternoon. Overnight stay at Lachen.

    Day 5: 28th Sept 2016, North Sikkim Tour

    Morning drive to Thangu (13,500 ft, 31Kms from Lachen). Chopta Valley [ 13,200 ft] which is rich in alpine vegetation. Drive towards Gurudongmar Lake (17,000ft) [extra cost]only Indian National is allowed. Gurudongmar Lake is one of the highest situated lakes in North Sikkim. Remember the altitude here may cause breathing problem. Back to hotel & leave for Lachung (Alt 8,610 ft, 60 km). Overnight stay at Lachung.

    Day 6: 29th Sept 2016, North Sikkim & back to Gangtok.

    Early morning drive to Yumthang Valley (Alt 11,800 ft), 24kms an Alpine flower valley in North Sikkim. Enjoy the scenic landscape and Hot spring and drive back to Lachung for Lunch. Optional tour to Yumesamdong Valley or Zero Point close to Tibet Border [ Alt 15,000 ft, 23 kms from Yumthang) for Indian tourists only (at extra cost and prior notice). Back to Gangtok. Overnight stay at Gangtok.

    Day 7: 30th Sept 2016. West District Sikkim tour [Mt. Kanchendzonga & Natural heritage tour.
    Transfer to via visit Temi Tea Garden, Samdruptse, Namchi, Sai Mandir, Chardham, After sightseeing move to Pelling. Overnight stay at Pelling.

    Day 8: 1st Oct 2016.
    After breakfast start for full day sightseeing visit Darap Village, Change Waterfalls, Rimbi Waterfalls, Rock Garden, Khangchendzongha Water Falls and Khecheopalri Lake. It is one of the sacred Buddhist lake and it is believed that whatever is wished in front of the lake comes true. Myth is that when a leaf falls on the placid clear water surface, it is picked by a bird. Back to hotel for lunch. After lunch visit Pemayangtse Monastery, Helipad View Point, Rubduntse Palace Ruins and Bird Sanctuary. Overnight stay at Pelling hotel.

    Day 9: 2nd Oct 2016.
    Transfer to Bagdogra Airport [145 km] Tour ends with sweet memories…

    Is it feasible itinerary or will it be too hectic?

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      August 23, 2016 at 1:17 PM

      Hi Ruchi, Thanks a lot and I’m goad that you liked it 馃檪

      The itinerary is perfectly fine but one suggestion, if you can add one more day then break your Day 2 in 2 days with a night stay in Zuluk and another night stay in Gnathang.

      Rest everything looks fine 馃檪

      Have a great holiday 馃槈

      Reply
  • Arunabha Roy
    August 24, 2016 at 11:50 AM

    Hello Krishnandu,
    I am planning to visit Sikkim in mid of October’16. I do not plan to visit Gurudongmar Lake because of high altitude. But I propose to visit either Zero Point or Nathula. For Nature’s beauty which is better – Zero Point or Nathula at that time of the year???

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      August 24, 2016 at 1:12 PM

      Hi Arunava, Well Zero Point always scores more than Nathulla. But Zero Point is almost that of same altitude as of Gurudongmar and it’s in North Sikkim.

      Reply
      • Arunabha Roy
        August 24, 2016 at 2:24 PM

        Thank you very much for your prompt reply. Zero Point is 4663 m which I will try during my North Sikkim trip. We may be able to do it as we have visited Jungfrau at 4158 m where I had slight discomfort for 5mins. However Gurudongmar is at 5426m – almost 1000 m more, hence I am not taking chance.

        Reply
        • Krishnandu Sarkar
          August 24, 2016 at 5:28 PM

          Yes. But carry some popcorn and camphor from Gangtok as there’s very thin oxygenated in the air so you might have breathing issues a bit.

          Reply
          • Arunabha Roy
            August 24, 2016 at 7:17 PM

            Will surely do that. Thank you very much for your suggestions

            Reply
  • Mrinal Das
    August 30, 2016 at 4:00 PM

    Hi dada,
    Your awesome blog helped me to plan my Sikkim trip without much hassle. Just wanted to clear some doubt.
    1. We 4 guys have planned to visit in the month of Oct, 16 and we will also be visiting Lachen-Lachung. So should we pre-book the 2N / 3D package now or can we book it after reaching Gangtok? We are worried because of the rush during Puja and will be using shared trip.
    2. Our return ticket from NJP is at 10:30 am. So, will it be possible to reach NJP in time if we start from Gangtok the same day early morning and when should we start to reach NJP by 10 am?

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      August 30, 2016 at 4:57 PM

      Thank You Mrinal!! I’m glad that you liked it 馃檪

      1. Yes in October you should pre-book your North Sikkim trip. Specially if you visiting on October 2nd and 3rd week.

      2. NJP to Gangtok takes around 4 hours. So it’s better to come down to NJP / Siliguri previous night.

      Reply
  • Ravi Chandran
    September 8, 2016 at 7:24 PM

    Hi Krishnandu – Congrats on a well written blog.

    I was thinking of making a trip to Gangtok and Thimpu during the last week of Jan 17. I am from Bangalore. Thought of Blore-Kolkata Flight and Kolkata – NJP Train – Stay in Siliguri for a day and then proceed to Gangtok (probably not do north sikkim) – move to Thimpu and back to Hasimara to take a train back to Kolkata. Is above route Ok, how many days required for above plan and is the road route accessible during Jan/feb ? Your inputs will be valuable

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      September 8, 2016 at 9:05 PM

      Hi Ravi, Thanks for the appreciation and I’m glad that you liked it 馃檪

      Well, I’d suggest to take flight to Bagdogra instead, as you’d be taking flight to Kolkata anyways. So why take a flight to Kolkata and then travel to NJP and stay in Siliguri?

      If you want to stay in Siliguri, you can do that by directly flying to Bagdogra instead. You do not need to waste a day on train journey from Kolkata – NJP.

      Yes your route is fine, provided the above suggestion. And yes all the routes you mentioned are accessible in Jan / Feb. Only North Sikkim is not accessible, but you don’t want to go there either. So that’s not an issue at all.

      Number of days would be depending on what exactly you are trying to cover. If you just want to cover Siliguri, Gangtok and Thimphu and you’d need 1N at Siliguri, 2N at Gangtok, 1N at P/Soling, 2N at Thimphu and 1N while travelling from Hasimara to Kolkata.

      If you want to fly to Kolkata and take train to NJP, then add 1 more night.

      Hope that makes sense. Let me know if you have further queries 馃檪

      Reply
  • amit bhattacharya
    September 19, 2016 at 3:26 PM

    The Lachung 鈥 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.—-for two person does the rate change a lot? please tell me if you have the information.

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      September 19, 2016 at 8:54 PM

      Hi Amit, Depends. The rate varies across differrent tour operators. And in October, this rates change a lot. For E.g. I have already got various updates that tour operators are now asking Rs. 6000/- per head considering the popularity and crowd interested in North Sikkim.

      So there’s no specific answer to your question. On off season it’s still same. But on high season, it do varies.

      Reply
      • amit bhattacharya
        September 20, 2016 at 12:36 PM

        Thank you sir.You mean if we go off season,the rate will not increase a lot?
        Thank you again for your kind help.

        Reply
        • Krishnandu Sarkar
          September 20, 2016 at 6:32 PM

          I’m not any Sir!! So you can just call me Krishnandu!!

          And yes if you go on November the rate would be 3000 – 3500

          Reply
          • amit bhattacharya
            September 21, 2016 at 2:09 PM

            I am much younger than you.Thank you,your blog is very useful,now I have a strong idea about Sikkim tour plans,mostly from your blog.

            Reply
            • Krishnandu Sarkar
              September 21, 2016 at 8:47 PM

              Well then you can call me Krishnandu Da!!

              BTW Thank You!! I’m glad that you liked it 馃檪

              Reply
  • nandadyuti saha
    September 23, 2016 at 5:34 PM

    a very helpful and informative blog from u krishnenduda.can you give any idea about cost of tsomgo lake tour on sharing basis and snowfall period at the place!

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      September 23, 2016 at 6:34 PM

      Thank Yoi Nandadyuti 馃檪 I’m glad that you liked it 馃檪

      Tsongo Lake, Baba Mandir tour costs 500/- per head and 800/- per head with Nathulla.

      Best time to get snow at Tsongmo Lake is around December.

      Reply
      • nandadyuti saha
        September 27, 2016 at 4:23 PM

        if i want to watch snow in middle march then what is the easy way to locate this?

        Reply
        • Krishnandu Sarkar
          September 27, 2016 at 10:36 PM

          Hi Nandadyuti, Generally snow stays till march at Gurudongmar, Zero Point, Katao, Tsongmo Lake and Nathulla due to heavy snowfall which occurs in Jan – Feb.

          Reply
  • Pradipw
    September 25, 2016 at 3:43 AM

    Hi Krishnandu,
    I really feel very pleasant after reading your blog reg sikkim, coz i m planning to go there in mid of december for my honeymoon. i also like to travel a lot, but is it a good idea as not to take package tour as i m going with my wife, or 1. shall i book for on the spot tour? 2. Is tour to Nathula Pass requires 30 Days Advance Request for getting permit? 3. 15Dec i m planning to go for 8 days to Gangtok Darjeeling And North Sikkim, is north sikkim open during this week?

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      September 25, 2016 at 11:37 AM

      Hi Pradipw, I’m glad that you liked it 馃檪

      Now coming to your questions…
      1. Yes you can book the tours on spot. But book hotels a bit in advance. Even though December is off season but 20th Dec – 10th Jan is considered as rush season due to chirstmas and new year.

      2. No. The permits are issues same day morning. So you generally need to book the tour and submit the documents within previous evening. But in rush season, it’s recommended to book in advance because there are limited numbers of permits issued everyday for Nathulla. So it’d be kind of first come first serve for the tour operators.

      3. Most probably no. Chances are almost next to zero. But visit with a flexible plan and you can book this tour on spot after reaching Gangtok based on the accessibility.

      Reply
      • Pradipw
        September 25, 2016 at 12:38 PM

        Thanks Da, for your quick reply,
        thanks a lot.. n u r doing a great job…

        Reply
  • Anonymous
    September 27, 2016 at 4:08 PM

    4.5

    Reply
  • Vignesh
    September 27, 2016 at 4:14 PM

    Great blog yaar . . planned to go on Dec last 10 days .Already felt Sikkim by readin this Thank you for this. 馃檪

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      September 27, 2016 at 10:33 PM

      Thanks a lot Vignesh 馃檪

      I’m glad that you liked it 馃檪

      Reply
  • Anonymous
    October 1, 2016 at 1:04 AM

    5

    Reply
  • https://sekilasindonesia.com/
    October 6, 2016 at 1:15 AM

    I’m not sure why but thi? log is loading extremely slow f?r me.

    I? anyone ekse ha?ing tyis issue orr ?s it a problem ?n mmy end?
    I’ll check ba?k l?ter and se? if the ?roblem stilll exists.

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      October 6, 2016 at 10:16 PM

      Hi, Can you please try again and let me know if it’s still slow?

      Reply
  • PANKAJ PANWAR
    October 7, 2016 at 4:45 PM

    HI…

    I AM PLANNING TO VISIT NORTH SIKKIM AFTER 20TH DECEMBER 2016 FOR HONEYMOON. PLEASE SUGGEST WHETHER IT’S RIGHT TIME TO VISIT ?

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      October 7, 2016 at 4:55 PM

      Hi Pankaj,
      I’d say, if you are targeting North Sikkim, December is not the right time. Because there’s no guarantee whether North Sikkim would be accessible during December 2nd week onwards. That cannot be predicted as of now.

      Generally route to North Sikkim gets closed from 2nd week of December. But that’s not a hard and fast rule. It depends on weather. If the road gets blocked then it’d be not accessible.

      So, it’s best to visit North Sikkim within 2nd week of December. Else as it’s your honeymoon, I’d say, visit with a flexible itinerary and decide it based on accessibility after arriving Gangtok.

      Also, as it’s your honeymoon, it’s wise to inform you in advance that, trip to North Sikkim is really hectic due to the road, rough terrain and schedule. So if that is not something you are looking for, skip North Sikkim.

      Reply
      • pankaj panwar
        October 7, 2016 at 6:08 PM

        thnx buddy.
        your opinion matters a lot to me..

        Reply
        • Krishnandu Sarkar
          October 7, 2016 at 6:33 PM

          Thanks 馃檪 I’m glad 馃檪

          Reply
          • pankaj panwar
            November 8, 2016 at 11:16 AM

            Hello Dada,

            As i discussed above regarding visit to North Sikkim. If we unable to access north sikim due to weather then please suggest some other places there, where i get snowfall n etc.

            I would reach Bagdogara at 1400 hrs on 18th December. My flight back to home on 26th December afternoon. please suggest better itinerary except north sikkim.

            Reply
            • Krishnandu Sarkar
              November 8, 2016 at 8:59 PM

              Hi Pankaj, Well first let me tell you that getting snow is different thing and experiencing snowfall is completely different thing. Experiencing snowfall is a matter of luck and can never be guaranteed.

              Also in Sikkim, except North Sikkim & Nathulla, you won’t get snow anywhere. At most you can see snow at Tsongmo Lake. But weather is highly unpredictable in hills and that cannot be guaranteed. But chances are high.

              So if you want to visit Sikkim, then make it as Gangtok with South & West SIkkim. But in South & West Sikkim you can only view snow peaked mountains i.e. Mt. K but not snow anywhere.

              18th – IXB – Gangtok
              19th – Gangtok Sightseeing
              20th – Tsongmo Lake & Baba Mandir
              21st – Gangtok – Pelling via Ravangla
              22nd – Pelling Sightseeing
              23rd – Pelling – Kaluk
              24th – Kaluk – Darjeeling
              25th – Darjeeling Sightseeing
              26th – Darjeeling – IXB

              Well, I didn’t included Nathulla, because, Nathulla is closed on Mon’s and Tue’s and as you are reaching Gangtok on 18th (Sunday), next two days you won’t be able to visit Nathulla.

              But if you really want to take a chance, in case Nathulla is accessible, then do it reverse way. In that case if Nathulla is accessible, you’ll surely get snow there.

              Reply
  • Anonymous
    October 12, 2016 at 10:42 AM

    3

    Reply
  • Priyanka jain
    October 13, 2016 at 12:56 PM

    Query 1: Is this the right time for the Gangtok-Darjeeling-North Sikkim trip?
    Query 2: Suggested Itinerary
    Query 2: If North Sikkim is not accessible during that time, will we be able to find snow somewhere else?I read your blog on Gangtok-Darjeeling-North Sikkim trip and it was very detailed and helpful. I would still like your help in planning the itinerary for a family of 4 (2 Adults, 2 Kids 鈥 12 and 6). We would be travelling from Bangalore so want to be double sure before we take such a far away trip. We would be travelling between 24 Dec鈥 16 鈥 31 Dec鈥16.

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      October 18, 2016 at 11:56 AM

      Hi Priyanka, First of all extremely sorry for late reply as I was travelling in East, West and South Sikkim throughout last week with limited internet availability at such high altitude. Thus I couldn’t get back to you in time.

      Coming to your queries…
      1. December end is fine for Gangtok and Darjeeling. North Sikkim cannot be guaranteed, as North Sikkim might not be accessible during end of December.

      2. & 3.
      24th : Arrive at IXB and move to Gangtok
      25th : Tsongmo Lake, Baba Mandir & Nathulla Pass (closed on Mon & Tue)
      26th : Gangtok – Pelling via Ravangla
      27th : Pelling Sightseeing
      28th : Pelling – Darjeeling
      29th : Darjeeling Sightseeing
      31st : Darjeeling to IXB.

      NOTE : Nathulla Pass too might not be accessible during end of December. Chances are higher that Nathulla and North Sikkim won’t be accessible in December end. But nothing can be predicted in hills. So you have to travel with a flexible itinerary. So you may visit North Sikkim based on accessibility after your arrival at Gangtok. Also note that, Nathulla is closed on Mon’s and Tue’s. So if you are altering your itinerary, you should keep a tab on the date too.

      If North Sikkim is accessible you may follow…
      24th : Arrive at IXB and move to Gangtok
      25th : Gangtok – Lachen
      26th : Lachen – Gurudongmar – Lachung
      27th – Lacung – Yumthang – Zero Point – Gangtok
      28th – Gangtok to Darjeeling
      29th – Darjeeling Sightseeing
      31st – Darjeeling to IXB.

      Let me know if you have further queries 馃檪

      Reply
  • venky
    October 18, 2016 at 10:46 PM

    I am going solo to Gangtok on 26 Oct. wondering if I can travel to mentioned places thorugh shared jeeps.
    Is it possible to go to Dzuluk through shared jeeps.

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      October 19, 2016 at 6:55 AM

      Hi Venky, Yes you can travel to North Sikkim and Nathulla in shared cabs, though you have to book it through travel operator only for the permits.

      But Dzuluk is not possible in shared cabs. Shared cabs are not common on that region.

      Reply
  • GARGI DEB
    October 19, 2016 at 2:23 PM

    HELLO KRISHNENDU
    I AM GOING TO TRAVEL NORTH SIKKIM WITH MY FAMILY IN THE LAST WEEK OF FEBRUARY”2017. IS THAT WOULD BE THE SUITABLE TIME TO VISIT?

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      October 19, 2016 at 3:14 PM

      Hi Gargi, In Feb North Sikkim accessibility cannot be guaranteed. Generally it’s not accessible in Feb.

      Best is to plan around April or Oct – December 2nd week.

      Reply
  • Depanjan Bhattacharjee
    October 24, 2016 at 2:44 PM

    Is it goo time to go to North Sikkim on January?

    Actually we are going there by 2nd of January… to 9th January…

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      October 24, 2016 at 3:10 PM

      No. North Sikkim wont be accessible in January. The roads will be blocked.

      Reply
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