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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 ๐Ÿ˜›

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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. ๐Ÿ™‚ 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 ๐Ÿ˜› 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.

937 Comments

  • Sree
    October 1, 2017 at 11:33 PM

    Hi,
    We are a family of 4 from Bangalore, 2 adults and 2 kids (11 and 5) planning for a trip to Gangtok and North Sikkim during the second half of December. I understand from your previous posts that North Sikkim may perhaps be closed due to heavy snowfall. Could you please help me figure out an travel itinerary (specially travelling with the little one) to make our trip worthy ?
    Thanks so much for your time!

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      October 8, 2017 at 7:04 PM

      Hi Sree,
      Sorry for getting you back a bit late as I was travelling with limited network connectivity for last 2 weeks.

      How many days do you have? You may plan for Gangtok along with Kaluk, Pelling, Ravangla, Namchi if you found North Sikkim to be closed.

      Reply
  • raUNAV
    October 18, 2017 at 10:44 PM

    Hi Krishnendu Da, I just loved your blog. I am planning to travel ganktok in 1st week of January. Dates are 1-4 probably. We are 9 person travelling. So will it be a issue to get a reserved or shared car? Bcz we want to accomodate in one car. And in that season can we go to nathula??

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      October 21, 2017 at 2:20 PM

      Thanks a lot Raunav!! I’m glad that you liked it ๐Ÿ™‚

      If you can fit in a single Sumo then it’s not an issue. It depends on physique of your team members!! Shared Cars are Jeeps and they can fit in 10 pax ๐Ÿ™‚

      Nathulla in January is dicey. Chances are bit low as the route gets closed due to heavy snowfall. Rest depends on your luck ๐Ÿ™‚

      Reply
  • Dakshesh
    October 21, 2017 at 11:23 AM

    Hello Krishnendu,

    This is very nicely written article, which give all information about visiting Sikkim. I have planned my itinerary for travelling in 1st week of Nov (with wife and two children). from 1st to 9th Nov.

    Its very easy to DIY using your guideline – and thats wonderful experience; giving advantage that you have done research and now going for enjoyment.

    Few questions I have for you –

    1. I want to do train ride from NJG to Darjeeling – Is it worth? I have seen trains are going in morning time only, is there any train in afternoon?

    2. Where we can do paragliding – I think in Peeling. Are they reducing cost or it is fixed?

    Thanks
    Dakshesh

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      October 21, 2017 at 2:26 PM

      Thanks a lot Dakshesh!! I’m glad that it helped you ๐Ÿ™‚

      1. No, only one train as of now. Well if it’s worth it is debatable. Let me put in my points of view. When I went first time, it was an awesome experience. Riding in a toy train through the edges of mountain, it was breathtaking. I just loved it. But if you ask me now, I’d say no. Why? Because I have already done it once, and the journey is much longer than by car. So it’s upto you to decide. If you don’t want to go for the long journey, you can opt for Joy Ride in Darjeeling. Same thing, but small distance round trip. And also lots of trains available on various timings.

      2. There’s no Paragliding in Pelling. You can do Paragliding in Gangtok, Kalimpong (Dealo) and Darjeeling. So as you are going to Darjeeling, you can do Paragliding there. Yes cost are fixed, no bargaining ๐Ÿ˜› But still try your luck ๐Ÿ™‚

      Reply
  • Shadab mohid
    October 21, 2017 at 12:51 PM

    Hello Krishnendu,

    Thanks for sharing your experience, its really a valuable source of information for North Sikkim tour.
    Please clarify some of my questions:
    1) I am also planning to do a Peling tour. So what should be the order Peling first or Gangtok first?
    2) I am planning to visit Gangtok in 25th dec to 1st Jan time. Is it correct time to visit 3D/2N โ€“ Lachen โ€“ Gurudongmar Lake & Lachung โ€“ Yumthung Valley?
    3) Also, in continuation to point 2, could you please let me know Can i take my 3 year old daughter at that heights?
    4) Did you check in hotel in Gangtok and kept the same hotel till last day of your tour as I read your blog you took 3D/2N โ€“ Lachen โ€“ Gurudongmar Lake & Lachung โ€“ Yumthung Valley?

    Thanks and Regards.
    Shadab Mohid

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      October 21, 2017 at 2:33 PM

      Hi Shadab, Thanks a lot and I’m glad that you liked it ๐Ÿ™‚

      1. You can do either one first. Doesn’t matter much. But I’d suggest to go Pelling first, as after visiting North Sikkim, Pelling might not feel like worth it ๐Ÿ˜›

      2. No. Actually post 2nd week of Dec, depending on weather (which is very unpredictable), route to North Sikkim might get blocked due to heavy snowfall. But Lachung and Lachen will be open, but Gurudongmar and Yumthang might not. So it depends on your luck now. So, don’t book North Sikkim packages in advance, book it after reaching Gangtok based on the situation.

      3. No definitely not. Govt. recommendation is minimum 5 years for Lachung, Lachen and Yumthang. And minimum 8 years for Gurudongmar and Zero Point. Oxygen is very less there, even adults face issues, so kids below above mentioned age is not recommended.

      4. Yes, but except those 2N/3D. It’s upto you, after you are back from North Sikkim, you can have different hotel booked accordingly. But we kept same hotel, as we didn’t took all the luggage there and kept most of it in Gangtok. Infact most people does the same. So keeping same hotel helps here.

      But wait, forget North Sikkim with your 3 year old daughter. It’d be very risky.

      Reply
      • Shadab Mohid
        October 21, 2017 at 3:30 PM

        Hi Krishnandu,

        Thank you for such a quick response. Oh I need to wait..any suggestions for any hill station near West Bengal?

        Best Regards,
        Shadab Mohid

        Reply
        • Krishnandu Sarkar
          October 22, 2017 at 12:35 PM

          Hi Shadab, There are lots of offbeat places in and around Darjeeling which you can consider such as Charkhole, Tinchuley, Takdah, Dawaipani, Ahal Dara, Bagora, Bankulang, Tabakoshi etc. There are lot.

          However why don’t you plan for Sikkim only except North Sikkim. There are lots of places in Sikkim where you can visit with your kid. Such as Pelling, Ravangla, Namchi, Kaluk etc.

          Let me know if this interests you, I can then suggest you an itinerary accordingly.

          Reply
          • Shadab
            October 28, 2017 at 2:52 PM

            Hi Krishnandu,

            Have been busy and couldn’t reply and i have changed plan too. Would like to visit in the end of Jan. Can you please suggest an itinerary which you had mentioned”There are lots of places in Sikkim where you can visit with your kid. Such as Pelling, Ravangla, Namchi, Kaluk etc.”

            Also, include Gangtok.

            Thanks for your replies. God Bless.

            Best Regards,
            Shadab Mohid

            Reply
            • Shadab
              October 28, 2017 at 3:03 PM

              Also, My Itinerary is from 19th Jan(starting from Kol) till 26th Jan(starting from NJP) via train.

              Thanks and Regards,
              Shadab Mohid

              Reply
              • Krishnandu Sarkar
                October 28, 2017 at 9:17 PM

                Hi Shadab, You may do it like…

                20th : NJP – Gangtok
                21st : Gangtok Sightseeing
                22nd : Tsongmo Lake & Baba Mandir
                23rd : Gangtok – Pelling via Ravangla
                24th : Pelling Sightseeing
                25th : Pelling – Kaluk
                26th : Kaluk – NJP via Namchi

                I hope you have evening / night train from NJP on 26th.

                Reply
                • Shadab Mohid
                  October 29, 2017 at 10:19 AM

                  Hello Krishnandu,

                  Thanks again for all the clear details. Little clarifications:
                  1) Gangtok – Peling via Ravangla.
                  Will be booking a solo car for my family, so do they charge extra for going via Ravangla to Peling?
                  2) Peling – Kaluk
                  What time to start from Peling for KAluk?
                  Did you suggest an overnight stay in Kaluk? Where to stay in Kaluk? A decent one with family.
                  any suggestions for hotel in Gangtok and Peling?
                  I have been checking Summit Nam Nang Courtyard & Spa and Hotel Sonam delek in Gangtok.
                  And, Hotel Sonamchen in Peling?
                  Your suggestions are welcomed for these hotels or any other?

                  Yes, its during evening time around 8 o’ clock through Darjeeling mail.
                  I do have 2 more days to of that weekend.
                  Would you advise to extend the trip or this is it?

                  Thanks and Regards.
                  Shadab Mohid

                  Reply
                  • Krishnandu Sarkar
                    October 30, 2017 at 11:37 PM

                    1. No. Ravangla comes on the way to Pelling. Just inform the driver that you’d be doing Sightseeing at Ravangla before proceeding to Pelling while booking him.

                    2. Yes, because day trip to Kaluk won’t reveal it’s true beauty. You can start early morning and cover Uttarey, Singshore, Dentam, Hee Bermiok, Chaya Taal on the way. Also after reaching there, you can go to Rinchenpong. You can go to the Wine farm there. They produce and sells organic Fruit Wines and Honey.

                    At Kaluk you may stay at Ghonday Resort / Mandarin Resort.

                    For Pelling you may check Hotel Garuda / Pachu Residency / Hotel Window Park in Upper Pelling.

                    For Kaluk and Pelling details you may check West Sikkim –
                    Kaluk – Pelling

                    For Gangtok you may check Hotel Silverline / Hotel Tibet / Hotel Doma Residency.

                    The above are budget hotels (except the ones at Kaluk). I’m more of a budget traveller, so can only comment on Budget Hotels.

                    If you have 2 more days, why not go for Darjeeling (if you haven’t already been there). Or some offbeat places nearby Darjeeling?

                    Reply
  • Read More
    October 29, 2017 at 10:32 AM

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    Reply
  • Abhijit
    November 1, 2017 at 2:32 PM

    You have truly served the purpose of a travel blogger. A detailed story is what people/travelers need to know all about the place the person intend to visit. Really liked the write-up. This is how I try myself on my Blog. Really learnt so many things from your write-ups. Keep writing. Good wishes.
    -Thanks
    Abhijit
    http://www.traveldias.com

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      November 1, 2017 at 6:28 PM

      Hi Abhijit, Thanks!! I’m glad that you like my posts!! Infact I’m too a fan of yours, and your blog really helped me plan Silk Route ๐Ÿ™‚

      Reply
  • vishal patil
    November 13, 2017 at 4:29 PM

    Dear Krishnandu,
    Firstly i want to thank you for sharing this wonderful plan.I really excited to visit and experience the beauty of North Sikkim We are planning to travel in 1st or 2nd week of Feb 2017 for 6 days.Is this the right time to visit?,I will be following the same plan suggested by You.
    If North Sikkim is not accessible,Are there any other adventurous and scenic beauty places to watch in sikkim in that duration.
    Thanks

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      November 13, 2017 at 5:21 PM

      Hi Vishal, Thanks a lot and I’m glad that you liked it.

      Well during Feb, North Sikkim might not be accessible. Due to heavy snowfall post December 3rd Week, it generally gets blocked upto around March 1st or 2nd Week.

      But it depends on weather which is very unpredictable. Though the chance is very less, still I’d suggest you to visit Gangtok with flexible itinerary. And upon reaching Gangtok, if you find the North Sikkim to be accessible then you can book the tour else you can proceed elsewhere.

      If North Sikkim is not accessible then you may do it like..

      Day 1 : IXB / NJP – Gangtok
      Day 2 ; Gangtok Sightseeing
      Day 3 : Tsongmo Lake – Baba Mandir – Nathulla Pass
      Day 4 : Gangtok – Pelling via Ravangla
      Day 5 : Pelling Sightseeing
      Day 6 : Pelling – NJP / IXB via Namchi

      NOTE : Tsongmo Lake – Baba Mandir – Nathulla Pass too might not be accessible during that time. Or even only Tsongmo Lake might be accessible. So based on the situation you have to decide. Even if Tsongmo Lake is inaccessible, then you’ll be allowed to go to 15th mile where you’ll get enourmous amount of snow.

      You may replace Pelling with Darjeeling too if you wish to. Or if you have been to both or do something offbeat then you may stay at Kaluk / Uttarey / Hee Gaon.

      Reply
  • Muhammad Hashim Nisar
    November 22, 2017 at 1:35 PM

    I love this place really, i wish to go there ๐Ÿ™
    I want to fly for there, really it’s awesome

    Reply
  • Aditya pandey
    January 3, 2018 at 9:45 PM

    Amazingly written man.helped me a lot.

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      January 3, 2018 at 10:51 PM

      Hi Aditya, Thanks a lot and I’m glad that you liked it ๐Ÿ™‚

      Reply
  • Jagbandhu
    January 24, 2018 at 3:41 PM

    Hi Krishnandu,
    Very well written and detailed blog for sikkim trip. I almost got all my answers from your blog. Thanks for that.
    We are travelling in group of 7 (2Male +5 females).
    19th May Reach Bagdogra (5.15pm)
    19th May Siliguri to Gangtok
    20th May Gangtok sight seeing
    21st May Gangtok to North Sikkim(Lachen-Lachung
    23rd May return to Gangtok
    24th May Gangtok to Nathula/Tsogomo/Baba mandir
    25th May Gangtok to Bagdog/Pelling
    Still I have few queries:
    1. We are reaching bagdogra in evening(5.15pm). Will we get shared taxi at that time for Gangtok.
    Assuming we get a shared cab in the eve for gangtok. For permit we have to apply next day right? In that case we cannot for 3D/2N tour of north sikkim?

    2. For what all places we need permit?
    3. We are also planning to visit pelling, but not decided yet. Is it worth to visit pelling?
    The main reason we wanted to visit pelling is because we have read in many other blogs that view of kanchenjunga is best from pelling.

    Appreciate your help.

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      January 26, 2018 at 12:30 PM

      Hi Jagbandhu, Thanks a lot and I’m glad that you liked it ๐Ÿ™‚

      1. May is peak season, better book in advance. As on spot prices will be inflated during that period. No, if you are reaching at around 5:15, I’ll assume it’d take another 30 minutes to collect the luggage and come out of airport and another 20 minutes to come to Siliguri. It’d be too late for shared cabs.

      You need to book the Noth Sikkim tour by 20th May evening to go for the same on 21st.

      2. North Sikkim (21st – 23rd) and Tsomgo – Nathula tour (24th) from your plan. For both the tour book it by 21st Evening.

      3. Well there are many beautiful palces in Sikkim where view of Mt. Kanchenjungha is magnificient. Kaluk is better in that terms instead of Pelling. However if you are considering Pelling, you’d need 2N more. You may check Sikkim for Kaluk and Pelling.

      Reply
      • Jagbandhu
        January 26, 2018 at 8:08 PM

        Thanks for your quick response.
        Sorry for troubling you, but I have couple of more queries:
        1. You have written in your blog that 3D/2N north Sikkim tour costed you 3000/head in October month. So should I expect inflated price for May or it remains the same through out the year.
        2. Also, do you have contacts for some other affordable hotels in Gangtok, I tried contacting the no. you provided in the blog, but somehow couldn’t connect.

        Thanks for your help

        Reply
        • Krishnandu Sarkar
          January 26, 2018 at 8:13 PM

          Hi Jagbandhu,
          1. Yes it might inflate a bit as North Sikkim is a hot destination nowadays. So per head price generally gets increased upto 4000/- – 4500/-. BTW that’s the per head price on shared vehicle.

          2. Yes you may check Hotel Silver Line, Gangtok : +91-97758-90990 / +91-92335-58288 / Hotel Doma Residency / Hotel Tibet etc. nearby M.G.Marg. These are few of the budget hotels I know. You may check https://krishnandusarkar.com/wandering-namchi-ravangla-yuksom/ for my experience and some pics of Hotel Silver Line.

          Reply
          • Jagbandhu
            January 26, 2018 at 8:27 PM

            Thanks Krishnandu
            One last thing I want to ask is for the Gangtok stay we have to pay only for the no. of days we stay in the hotel right. So if we are out for 3D/2N north Sikkim trip then we don’t have to pay anything for that?

            Reply
            • Krishnandu Sarkar
              January 26, 2018 at 11:28 PM

              Yes definitely. You have to book your hotel at Gangtok accordingly. You don’t need to pay anything at Gangtok (don’t book) for those 2N/3D of North Sikkim.

              Reply
              • Jagbandhu
                January 27, 2018 at 12:06 PM

                Thanks krishna,
                Really appreciate your help

                Reply
  • Amit Sengupta
    March 8, 2018 at 3:14 PM

    Mr. Krishnandu,
    Thank you very much for your travel guideline. I am going to make a trip at Pelling, Gangtok and Lachung and Yanthum Valey. All cost price are still same or not?

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      March 8, 2018 at 9:23 PM

      Hi Amit, Thanks a lot and I’m glad that you liked it ๐Ÿ™‚

      Well the tariffs are still more or less same.

      Reply
  • Utsav
    March 11, 2018 at 3:25 PM

    Hello Krishna,

    I read your article and found very informative. Keep it up. This helps one time traveller like me alot.
    I am planning an north sikkim tour along with my wife from Gangtok in early April for 2N 3D. And was wondering if there are difference in rates in April. I am not a fan of spending 18-20K by booking a exclusive vehicle. Hence i inquired on group tours. I got to know the fares were 3500 per head, ex zero point. Is that negotiable of is it fair to be charged this much.

    This will help me in planning most important part of my sikkim trip. Thanks in advance

    Reply
  • PRADEEEP
    March 17, 2018 at 6:31 PM

    Hi, Krishna

    I really became a fan of your Sikkim blog. Have decided to to visit in May for 7 days (2-9 may) with relatives having 2 kids (10 year olds) and one child 4 year old. Wanted to know if it would be advisable to have a north Sikkim tour with such small kid. Also needed your help in planning the 7 day schedule if we book 2 cars. Keenly awaiting a reply soon.

    Thanks & regards,
    PRADEEP

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      March 17, 2018 at 8:45 PM

      Hi Pradeep,
      Thanks a lot and I’m glad that you liked it ๐Ÿ™‚

      No. It’s not recommended to visit North Sikkim and Nathula with the 4 year old kid. However at your own risk you may travel upto Yumthang but definitely not beyond that.

      Well if you are avoiding North Sikkim you can do it like…
      2nd : IXB / NJP – Gangtok
      3rd : Gangtok Sightseeing
      4th : Tsomgo Lake – Baba Mandir (You may visit Nathula too at your own risk)
      5th : Gangtok – Pelling via Ravangla
      6th : Pelling Sightseeing
      7th : Pelling – Darjeeling via Namchi
      8th : Darjeeling Sightseeing
      9th : Joy Ride. Darjeeling – NJP / IXB

      Reply
      • PRADEEEP
        March 19, 2018 at 11:49 AM

        Hi, Krishna

        Thanks a lot for the prompt reply with detailed day plans. Will definitely update you about this exciting trip.

        Thanks,
        PRADEEP

        Reply
        • Krishnandu Sarkar
          March 19, 2018 at 11:15 PM

          Hi Pradeep, Sure!! Would love to hear your experiences ๐Ÿ™‚

          Reply
  • deekshant
    March 18, 2018 at 11:30 PM

    Hey,can you help me with planning a tour to Sikkim from Guwahati in this month end. Please tell me the itinerary and approximate cost (for 2 people) if we plan to take private cabs from bagdogra.

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      March 19, 2018 at 12:07 AM

      Hi Deekshant, Sure. But I need to know for how many days you are planning for? Alos the age group of travellers?

      Reply
  • Bikash Agarwal
    March 26, 2018 at 1:50 PM

    Hi Krishnandu, your information was quite useful.

    I have some questions in my mind to ask.

    1. Can we travel to Gangtok from Assam on self driving by hiring a Zoomcar?
    2. Is there any permit required to take a Zoomcar from Assam to Gangtok?
    3. What should be the places to visit as we are planning a 2N/3D trip to Gangtok?

    Your early response is awaited.

    Thanks

    Bikash

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      March 27, 2018 at 7:58 PM

      Hi Bikash, Thanks a lot and I’m glad that you liked it ๐Ÿ™‚

      1. Sorry I have no idea with Zoomcar. It’s best to contact them directly regarding this.

      2. No permit is required for Gangtok.

      3. You can do Gangtok Sightseeing one day and another day you can go for Tsomgo Lake – Baba Mandir – Nathula Pass. However you can’t do Tsomgo – Nathula tour with self drive vehicle as you’d require ILP.

      Reply
  • Romi Chakraborti
    March 31, 2018 at 11:47 AM

    Krishnandu Da, we are planning to go lachen,lachun 18th May’2018. Our intention is to see rhododendron in yumthang valley. Is it possible to see the flowers in that time? pls inform us.

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      March 31, 2018 at 11:52 AM

      Hi Romi, Although April is the best season for Rhododendron, but you’d still get it during the time you are visiting ๐Ÿ™‚

      Reply
      • Romi Chakraborti
        April 11, 2018 at 3:02 PM

        Thank u so much Krishnandu Da…And Thank u again for our tour to Hee patal on Dec’2018. Your blog helped us lot. As per ur recommendation we had contacted with Gopi Bhaiya who is an excellent person and so much cooperative.

        Reply
  • Ashis
    March 31, 2018 at 9:15 PM

    Love you

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      April 1, 2018 at 9:28 AM

      Haha!! Thanks a lot Ashis ๐Ÿ™‚

      I’m glad that you liked it ๐Ÿ™‚

      Reply
  • Romi Chakraborti
    April 11, 2018 at 3:10 PM

    Thank u so much Krishnandu Da…And Thank u again for our tour to Hee patal on Dec’2018. Your blog helped us lot. As per ur recommendation we had contacted with Gopi Bhaiya who is an excellent person and so much cooperative.

    Reply
  • Viraj
    April 19, 2018 at 5:03 PM

    Hi Dada,

    You have written very good info about Sikkim. I am my wife are planning to Visit Sikkim on 30th April till 7th May. Below is the itinerary I have prepared for the trip. Let me know if my itinerary is fine.

    Day1- New jalpaigudi to Pelling
    Day2- Pelling-Gangtok
    Day3- Gangtok
    Day4- gangtok-Lachen
    Day5- Lachen-Gurudongmar Lake-Lachung
    Day6- Lachung-gangtok
    Day7- Gangtok-Nathula-Zuluk
    Day8- Zuluk- Siliguri
    Day9- Siliguri-Goa

    I want to cover Old silk route. So is it possible if I go from Gangtok to Zuluk and cover Nathula,Baba Mandir, Tsongo lake, Stay at Zuluk and leave for Siliguri on the next day? Are shared vehicle available for this route? What is the approx cost?

    Thanks,
    Viraj

    Reply
  • Poulami
    April 26, 2018 at 12:13 PM

    Hi,

    Very well written blog. It will help a lot to a person who is planning to visit Sikkim (like me :P). I am planning to visit in May. I hope I get to see all this scenic beauty (specially Zero Point & Gurudongmar Lake). Thanks for sharing your experience.

    Thanks

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      May 9, 2018 at 10:55 PM

      Hi Poulami,
      First of all sorry for replying a bit late. I was out for a trip throughout last week with limited connectivity.

      I’m glad that you liked my blog ๐Ÿ™‚

      Reply
  • ANSHUL
    April 28, 2018 at 4:02 PM

    Dear Krishnandu

    Great to see your enthusiasm to reply so many queries, hope you will help me as well, i have fixed following itinerary:

    Day-1 Bagdora to Darjeling
    Day-2 Stay & sightseeing in Darjeling
    Day-3 Stay & sightseeing in Darjeling / Mirik
    Day-4 Darjeling to Gangtok
    Day-5 Stay & sightseeing in Gangtok
    Day-6
    Day – 7
    Day -8 Flight from bagdora

    can you kindly suggest places to visit (Kalimpong, pelling or any other places), cant visit Lachung as it seems too much travelling.

    Thanks in advance.
    Regards
    Anshul

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      May 9, 2018 at 11:09 PM

      Hi Anshul,
      First of all sorry for replying a bit late. I was out for a trip throughout last week with limited connectivity.

      Well you can do it like…
      Day 1 : IXB – Gangtok
      Day 2 : Gangtok Sightseeing
      Day 3 : Tsomgo Lake – Baba Mandir – Nathula Pass
      Day 4 : Gangtok – Pelling via Ravangla
      Day 5 : Pelling Sightseeing
      Day 6 : Pelling – Darjeeling via Namchi
      Day 7 : Darjeeling Sightseeing
      Day 8 : Darjeeling – IXB via Mirik

      Reply
  • Puneet srivastava
    April 28, 2018 at 5:21 PM

    Hi krishnandu , really very nicely you described sikkim. It increased my hungerness to visit sikkim. I am planning , a solo trip to visit sikkim. I am from mumbai can you help me to prepare the trip plan. In mid of the may I am planning.

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      May 9, 2018 at 11:10 PM

      Hi Puneet,
      First of all sorry for replying a bit late. I was out for a trip throughout last week with limited connectivity.

      Yes I can defintiely help you out, however I need to know how many days do you have and age group of travellers.

      Reply
  • Vinay
    May 4, 2018 at 3:56 PM

    hey i read your article and it was just awesome. From now i will follw your website.
    You write each and every thing. I became your fan.

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      May 9, 2018 at 11:11 PM

      Hi Vinay,
      First of all sorry for replying a bit late. I was out for a trip throughout last week with limited connectivity.

      Thanks a lot and I’m glad that you liked my blog ๐Ÿ™‚

      Reply
  • Ramachandra
    May 7, 2018 at 6:18 PM

    HI Krishnendu Da

    Travelling with my family to Gangtok from 11 May for 6 days. Could you please suggest an itenary that will cover as much of the tourist spots as possible. WE will be staying away from Gangtok at a resort . Could you also suggest if it would be wise to hire a car and keep it at our disposal untill the end of our trip ? IS your Uncle from 2015 still available to do the trips ๐Ÿ™‚ ? Is LAMA tours still operational? Would prefer to keep a car for the one week if its affordable.
    I am also told that the roads are not in good shape. WIll it be OK to travel in a small hired car( Swift/I 10) as compared to a bigger car ( Innova).

    thanks in advance for your help Dada. And i should also thank Google for putting me across to this treasure trove of information – your blog.

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      May 9, 2018 at 11:14 PM

      Hi Ramachandra,
      First of all sorry for replying a bit late. I was out for a trip throughout last week with limited connectivity.

      Well for 6 days you can do it like (If you are not traveling with senior citizens and kids below 8 years)
      Day 1 : IXB / NJP – Gangtok
      Day 2 : Gangtok – Lachen
      Day 3 : Lachen – Gurudongmar – Lachung
      Day 4 : Lachung – Yumthang – Zero Point – Gangtok
      Day 5 : Tsomgo Lake – Baba Mandir – Nathula Pass
      Day 6 : Gangtok – NJP / IXB

      Yes Lama Tours are still operational, you can have a word with them. I’m not sure about Uncle, however you can give him a call and check.

      Yes roads throughout North Sikkim and some parts of West Sikkim are not in good condition. A small car won’t be able to do North Sikkim and Tsomgo – Nathula trip as well. So you need to hire a SUV for those routes.

      Reply
  • Arun
    May 7, 2018 at 6:37 PM

    Family – two kids in their late teens and my wife plan to travel to Sikkim this month. We will be staying at a resort quote far from Gangtok – am told that we need to hire taxis to come to the main city. WE plan to stay for 6 days. Could you please help us with the following
    1. A Plan which will help us cover as much area as possible during the six days
    2. Whether it is advisable to hire a car from Airport back to the Airport and keep the car with us? If yes, what would be the cost and is there a reliable / dependable tour operator who will help. I read about your Uncle from your first Blog in 2015. Is he still around . He sounded like a reliable person from your description.
    3. Am told that the roads are bad. Is it true. If yes, Does it make sense to hire big cars to reduce fatigue

    thank you in advance for your help

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      May 9, 2018 at 11:18 PM

      Hi Arun,
      First of all sorry for replying a bit late. I was out for a trip throughout last week with limited connectivity.

      1. Well for 6 days you can do it like…
      Day 1 : IXB / NJP โ€“ Gangtok
      Day 2 : Gangtok โ€“ Lachen
      Day 3 : Lachen โ€“ Gurudongmar โ€“ Lachung
      Day 4 : Lachung โ€“ Yumthang โ€“ Zero Point โ€“ Gangtok
      Day 5 : Tsomgo Lake โ€“ Baba Mandir โ€“ Nathula Pass
      Day 6 : Gangtok โ€“ NJP / IXB

      2. Yes, if you can afford it. As it’d be more convenient. But hire it from a tour operator, as due to several territorial restrictions a single vehicle might not be able to do the whole trip. A SUV would be around 4000/- – 4500/- per day during peak season.

      I’m not sure about Uncle, you can give him a call and check. However he can only do local sightseeings in Gangtok.

      3. Yes. Road conditions in North Sikkim is very bad and having a vehicle like Innova / Xylo would be comfortable.

      Reply
  • Udupi Ramachandra Acharya
    May 7, 2018 at 6:47 PM

    Hi Krishnandu Da

    Family – two kids in their late teens and my wife plan to travel to Sikkim this month. We will be staying at a resort quote far from Gangtok – am told that we need to hire taxis to come to the main city. WE plan to stay for 6 days. Could you please help us with the following
    1. A Plan which will help us cover as much area as possible during the six days
    2. Whether it is advisable to hire a car from Airport back to the Airport and keep the car with us? If yes, what would be the cost and is there a reliable / dependable tour operator who will help. I read about your Uncle from your first Blog in 2015. Is he still around . He sounded like a reliable person from your description.
    3. Am told that the roads are bad. Is it true. If yes, Does it make sense to hire big cars to reduce fatigue

    thank you in advance for your help

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      May 7, 2018 at 11:27 PM

      Hello Mr. Udupi, First of all I’m extremely sorry for replying you back a bit late. I was out of town for a tour of mine throughout last week with no / limited connectivity.

      Well coming to your query…

      1. It depends on what kind of trip you’d like to have. You may do it like…
      Day 1 : NJP / IXB – Gangtok
      Day 2 : Gangtok – Lachen
      Day 3 : Lachen – Gurudongmar – Lachung
      Day 4 : Lachung – Yumthang – Zero Point – Gangtok
      Day 5 : Tsomgo Lake – Baba Mandir – Nathula
      Day 6 : Gangtok – NJP / IXB

      Although North Sikkim is bit hectic however it’s the most scenic part of Sikkim. If you don’t want to do that let me know, I’ll suggest you a different itinerary.

      2. Having an exclusive vehicle throughout the trip is convenient. If you can afford to do that, you may go for it. Uncle won’t be able to do that as there are several territorial restrictions within Sikkim. So you need to hire a vehicle from a tour operator. Who would provide you vehicles accordingly. For you it’d be a same type of vehicle everyday however the exact vehicle and driver might change.

      3. Yes. Hiring Innova would be more comfortable if you can afford.

      Reply
  • Sandeep Pandey
    May 11, 2018 at 4:54 PM

    i really like this post. You have discussed really good things about Sikkim. There are many good tourist places in Sikkim, very tasty cuisine which people canโ€™t resist and many more which can’t stop people from viewing Sikkim.

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      May 13, 2018 at 9:03 PM

      Hi Sandeep, Thanks a lot and I’m glad that you liked it ๐Ÿ™‚

      Reply
  • Palash Chatterjee
    May 17, 2018 at 4:58 PM

    Hello Krishnandu Sarkar,

    We have a plan for 3 days / 2 Nights for North sikkim in the month of November middle this year, what would be the cost per head for this trip, could you please let me know.
    Any good traveling agent to contact for a budgeted trip.

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      May 17, 2018 at 10:19 PM

      Hi Palash,
      For 2N/3D North SIkkim Trip, in shared vehicles it costs around Rs. 3000/- per head. But with exclusive vehicle it costs around 18k for 2 pax. Both the costs inlcudes accommodation and fooding along with permits too.

      The cost mentioned above is indicative and fluctuates accordingly as per rush & season.

      You may check with Binita Lama, Lama Tour & Travels : +91-97349-83536 / +91-98320-79292

      Reply
      • Palash
        May 18, 2018 at 3:44 PM

        Thanks You Krishnandu Sarkar, for the 3000 shared package, is the accommodation and food good enough.

        Thanks!

        Reply
        • Krishnandu Sarkar
          May 20, 2018 at 10:54 AM

          Hi Palash, Accommodations are homestays. So yes it lacks high end aminities however clean and warm hospitality. Food is very basic and more than good enough at that high altitude low temperature!!

          Infact there are only one high end hotels at Lachen and Lachung which ofcourse costs a bomb. Other than that few standard accommodations have popped up in recent years. But most of them are still homestays.

          You need to understand the life being at such high altitude detached from the world most of the time throughout the year.

          BTW 3000/- is indicative price. As during peak season they inflates it to 3500/- to as high as 4500/- per head.

          Reply
  • Pratap Chhetri
    May 21, 2018 at 10:27 AM

    love to read your blog…

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      May 21, 2018 at 10:14 PM

      Thanks a lot Mr. Pratap ๐Ÿ™‚

      I’m glad that you liked it ๐Ÿ™‚

      Reply
  • vinod
    June 10, 2018 at 9:36 PM

    Amazing Blog Krishn!!
    It has solved so many questions..
    Just one point if you could reply I want to break Lachen-Lachung for 3 nights instead of 2. Two nights in lachen to make the trip easy. Second, 3 Am in the morning is too early for us, can’t we start from lachen at around 7-8 am, this is since we are planning to stay back in lachen again. What about to the scenic beauty of way to Nathula after having seen Lachen/Lachung…just thinking to give it a miss….
    Our 6 Night trip will start from 22 june I’m bit concern about weather and landslide ..we are family of 8 plus + 2 kids from Delhi.
    hope, weather GOD will allow us …
    Thank you so much for your highly informative blog ..

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      June 11, 2018 at 10:07 AM

      Hi Vinod, Thanks a lot and I’m glad that you liked it ๐Ÿ™‚

      Yes instead of doing it for 2N/3D which is a generic itinerary, you can always increase it, but accordingly the rates will also increase. For Gurudongmar 3AM is fixed time, as you need to cross the Army check posts at Thangu (the last village of the border) by 7:30. So there are some timing restrictions at Gurudongmar, and thus you have to go there and come back by specific time. So you really can’t make it flexible according to your needs.

      Yes you can leave out Nathula after visiting North Sikkim. You won’t miss out something by doing that.

      Yes, monsoon is expected to start full fledgedly by that time. So keep your plan flexible and decide it after reaching Gangtok based on the weather. If it’s raining badly, avoid North Sikkim.

      Well I hope the kids are above 6-8 years.

      Reply
  • Pratap Biswas
    July 25, 2018 at 1:55 PM

    You are a genius krishnendu Da..
    We are (two backpackers ) planning a short tour(3N/4D) in mid October .
    Four points I wish to hear from you
    1.Availability of shared transport /car service from gangtok to siliguri at night time(after 10 pm)
    2.Availability and timing of bus service from siliguri to kolkata.
    3.Chance of witnessing snowfall/snow in north sikkim in mid October .
    4.Lastly your suggestion as the duration is short which will be better Darjeeling or gangtok?
    Waiting for your kind reply…
    Thank you very much. Good day.

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      July 25, 2018 at 8:39 PM

      Hi Pratap, Thanks a lot & I’m glad that you liked it ๐Ÿ™‚

      1. Ahh not really available. Shared Cabs are locals way of transport and in the hills life stops post evening. Gangtok being a tourist place and a town shops and all are still open till 9PM or even upto 10PM during peak season. But transports closes post 4-5 PM. You can take private vehicle though.

      2. Lots of Buses are available throughout the evening.

      3. Snow is not an issue, however snowfall is really not expected during that period.

      4. 3N/4D Gangtok + North Sikkim will be really hectic. I’d recommend Darjeeling instead.

      Reply
  • Asha
    August 27, 2018 at 5:12 AM

    Hello Krishhhhhhhh, you are amazing. The information is so very helpful.

    I am planning to visit darjeeling + sikkim(gangtok) together. As you have mentioned that the package to “The Lachung โ€“ Lachen tour” is generally available within 3000/- per person, I am unsure in which year the price was. Since, I am planning to go in Sep’2018, can you help me with the information of the recent prices of the package. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Thanks in advance.

    Regard,
    Asha

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      August 27, 2018 at 7:14 PM

      Hi Asha, Thanks a lot and I’m glad that you liked it ๐Ÿ™‚

      Well still the price is Rs. 3000/- per head for 2N/3D Shared Package. September being lean season, you can srill expect to find the same price ๐Ÿ™‚

      Reply
  • Tanmay Das
    August 29, 2018 at 6:18 PM

    Such wonderful pictures! Wow! Your article is awesome and I’m speechless seeing your pictures..

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      August 29, 2018 at 9:11 PM

      Hi Tanmay, Thanks a lot and I’m glad that you liked it ๐Ÿ™‚

      Reply
  • Aparna
    October 23, 2018 at 5:26 PM

    Krishnandu da,
    Such a helpful post for those who are planning for a trip to Sikkim. I’m from Goa and me & my husband are planning a Sikkim – Darjeeling trip around Dec 9, 2018. Thankfully, the to & fro flight costs from Goa to byodorg will be covered by LTC . We are planning a 9-10 day trip. Since you mentioned in your post that North Sikkim might be inaccessible in Dec and also the high altitudes kind of frighten me, we’d prefer to visit Pelling. Can we book a tour for West sikkim after reaching there? Also could you please suggest a itinerary for us? How many days to you recommend spending in Sikkim and how many days in Darjeeling? Do you think it’s worthwhile to skip Darjeeling and enjoy all the days in Sikkim itself?

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      October 23, 2018 at 7:30 PM

      Hi Aparna, Thanks a lot and I’m glad that you liked it ๐Ÿ™‚

      Well, during the time you are visiting, you might find North Sikkim to be accessible. But yes if you have issues with high altitudes then you might do it like…

      Day 1 : IXB – Gangtok
      Day 2 : Gangtok Sightseeing
      Day 3 : Tsomgo Lake – Baba Mandir
      Day 4 : Gangtok – Pelling via Ravangla
      Day 5 : Pelling Sightseeing
      Day 6 : Pelling – Darjeeling via Namchi
      Day 7 : Darjeeling Sightseeing
      Day 8 : Joy Ride. Day Trip To Mirik
      Day 9 : Darjeeling – IXB

      On Day 3 you may include Nathula Pass as well. Although it’s high altitude however doesn’t cause much issues. But Day 3 shouldn’t be Monday / Tuesday, as Nathula Pass is closed on those 2 days of week.

      Reply
      • Aparna
        October 24, 2018 at 4:11 PM

        Thanks so much Krishnandu for such a detailed response. We’ll plan accordingly keeping your suggestions in mind. Your blog is such a wonderful resource ; I’ve already added it to my feed reader. I’ll go through this post as well. https://krishnandusarkar.com/queen-of-hills-darjeeling/

        Reply
        • Aparna
          October 24, 2018 at 4:17 PM

          I did add your feed [ https://krishnandusarkar.com/feed/ ] but got this message “Looks like this feed is not valid or currently not responding.” You might want to check it.

          Reply
          • Krishnandu Sarkar
            October 24, 2018 at 6:54 PM

            Hi Aparna, Regarding the Feed, I just checked the URL with Feedly and it seems to be working fine. Can you please check again and let me know?

            If it’s still not working, can I email your personally to check what’s exactly hapenning so that if there’s an issue on my end, I can get it fixed?

            If you don’t mind that, then just reply with Yes and please don’t post personal Email ID publicly. I can fetch it from backend from your comment.

            Reply
            • Aparna
              October 25, 2018 at 3:11 PM

              I am using netvibes as a feed reader. Initially when I added your feed it was showing that error message. Now it’s working perfectly fine. Thank you once again.

              Reply
              • Krishnandu Sarkar
                October 25, 2018 at 6:56 PM

                Hi Aparna, Thanks a lot ๐Ÿ™‚

                Well, I believe my blog might have been down during that time. Thanks a lot for taking the pain up ๐Ÿ™‚

                Reply
        • Krishnandu Sarkar
          October 24, 2018 at 6:51 PM

          Hi Aparna, Thanks a lot ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m glad that it helped you ๐Ÿ™‚

          Reply
  • Aparna
    October 26, 2018 at 8:49 PM

    Krishna du, sorry for bothering you again. There is some change in our schedule. My husband’s bank’s holiday homes were available on certain dates only. As that would save some money, he has booked rooms in Darjeeling on 26th & 27th Nov & in Gangtok on 28, 29,30. So do u think it’s wise to visit Pelling on 23, 24, 25, that is if we arrive Bagdogra on 23rd? Or should we think of seeing places in & around Siliguri itself on these days & the head to Darjeeling?

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      October 27, 2018 at 11:49 AM

      Hi Aparna, Well the route would be a bit odd but who cares when you can save money? So defintiely go ahead with Pelling – Darjeeling – Gangtok as per the availabily of holiday homes.

      There’s no point in wasting time in Siliguri.

      Reply
      • Aparna
        November 11, 2018 at 9:03 PM

        Hi Krishn,andu, Our final plan is like this.On 24 25 nov Kolkata, 26th 27th Darjeeling & 28, 29 30, 1st Dec GangtokCould u suggest we should see in and around Kolkata in these 2 days. Also our flight to Goa is at around 2:30 pm from Bagdogra. We were planning to leave Gangtok in the afternoon on 1st andstay atsiliguri for the nigso in the morning of 2nd, if u could suggest what to see in Siliguri, would be helpful for us.

        Reply
        • Krishnandu Sarkar
          November 11, 2018 at 9:54 PM

          Well there are lots of places in Kolkata depending on your taste. One day you can visit You can visit Indian Museum (if you love history), Victoria, Birla Planetorium, Maidan etc. which are the main attractions of Kolkata.

          Another day you have to choose according to your taste. If you are religious then do pay a visit to Kalighat Temple, Dakkhineswar Temple, Belur Math etc. . You can also check out Science City, Nicco Park, Eco Park, Aquatica etc. if you are into Amusement Parks. You can also check out Alipur Zoo, Botanical Garden if you are into Flora & Fauna.

          Whatever it be…do try out street foods.

          In Siliguri, you can visit the Bengal Safari and Hong Kong Market. You may check out various Malls if you are interested.

          Reply
          • Aparna
            November 11, 2018 at 10:23 PM

            Thank you so much for all your help!

            Reply
            • Krishnandu Sarkar
              November 12, 2018 at 7:50 PM

              You are welcome ๐Ÿ™‚

              Reply
              • Aparna
                November 23, 2018 at 8:05 AM

                Krishnandu, where did you stay when you reached Siliguri.? Is it better to book hotels there online oris it better to reach there and book then & there?

                Reply
                • Krishnandu Sarkar
                  November 23, 2018 at 10:36 AM

                  Hi Aparna, Well my Di (elder sister) stays there. So I just crashed at her place for a night. For you, yes you may book it on spot. Siliguri being a town there’s not much tourish rush there at the hotels. So you can go and bargain accordingly as per your budget.

                  Reply
                  • Aparna
                    December 21, 2018 at 11:00 PM

                    Hi krishnandu,
                    I had meant to comment earlier but ow kept postponing. Our trip was quite enjoyable, thanks to the tips & advice on your blog & your valuable inputs. We even got to visit Nathu la. Darjeeling was very cold. The only problem we had to face was when we pre-booked a shared jeep to Gangtok on 28thnov. Unfortunately, taxi drivers from Darjeeling to Gangtok were on a strike & reimbursed our ticket. We had to go to Gangtok via jorethang. The rad from Darjeeling to jorethang & jorethang to Gangtok was horrible. Other than that minor hitch, everything else was mostly smooth sailing. And btw, e did manage to visit hong kong market, salagura monastery & isckon temple at Siliguri, your di’s place.

                    Reply
                    • Krishnandu Sarkar
                      December 24, 2018 at 10:04 AM

                      Ahh!! Thanks a lot for coming back and let me know ๐Ÿ™‚

                      I’m glad that you enjoyed it ๐Ÿ™‚

  • soubir chattopadhyay
    November 10, 2018 at 9:11 PM

    Hi Krishnendu,

    Great and very informative blog. Great job!

    i have two questions –

    1. Can you please tell me how many people are accommodated in the shared vehicle while taking the trip for North Sikkim? Is it too uncomfortable/cramped for such hectic journey?
    2. Same question for taking the trip to Tsongmo Lake โ€“ Nathulla Pass โ€“ Baba Mandir Tour?

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      November 10, 2018 at 9:20 PM

      Hi Soubir, Thanks a lot and I’m glad that you liked it ๐Ÿ™‚

      1. 10. 2 Beside Driver + 4 in Middle Row + 4 in Last Row. To be frank, yes it’sd definitely uncomfortable a bit considering the route. However that’s the most economical option. You can opt for 2 seats for a person if you wish to, ofcourse you have to pay the amount.

      2. Same as #1. However considering a day trip you can manage. Otherwise you always have the option to pay for 2 seats. Like if you are 3 you can pay for 4 and take the whole middle row. You have that choise to choose the seats.

      Reply
  • Atraye ghosh
    November 14, 2018 at 7:00 PM

    Hi Krishnendu da,

    I want to visit Gangtok and north Sikkim on coming end of May. Can you tell me the approx temperature of Sikkim in that time?

    Secondly, I want to skip Lachung โ€“ Yumthang and just want to go for Lachen, Gurudongmar. As you told that Lachen, Gurudongmar is 2D/1N tour from Gangtok, so after visiting there we still have 2.5 days in hand to stay in Gangtok. 1 day will go for Tsomgo Lake โ€“ Baba Mandir โ€“ Nathula Pass. Can you suggest others places to visit near Gangtok for the another day?

    Thirdly, do you have contacts of them who provides 2D/1N tour for Lachen?

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      November 14, 2018 at 7:09 PM

      Hi Atraye, During May temperatures are bit plesant, however North Sikkim would still be cold. So you should carry proper winter garments. So is the case for Nathula. At Gangtok, a wind cheater or thin sweaters would be more than enough. However during the nights you can feel a bit chilly, so a windcheater would help there.

      Well, I’d strongly recommend against 1N/2D tour for Lachen – Gurudongmar as that’s very hectic and not much tour operators offers that package by default. However if you insist they would, but it’d be very hectic. So either go for 1N/2D Lachung – Yumthang or 2N/3D Lachen – Gurudongmar – Lachung – Yumthang – Zero Point tour.

      You can do local Gangtok Sightseeing on a half day or full day depending on the spots you wish to see.

      Reply
      • Atraye ghosh
        November 14, 2018 at 7:57 PM

        Thanks Dada,

        No, I don’t want to miss Gurudongmar lake at all so 2N/3D tour is ok. another thing is that, you posted this blog on 2015. So can you tell me what is the package cost will be in May, 2019 for 2N/3D Lachen โ€“ Gurudongmar โ€“ Lachung โ€“ Yumthang โ€“ Zero Point tour?

        Reply
        • Krishnandu Sarkar
          November 14, 2018 at 8:01 PM

          Hi Atraye, The package cost is still same. However April – May being peak season rates gets inflated. So expect to pay around 3500/- – 4000/- per person for shared package.

          Reply
  • Bodhayan
    November 21, 2018 at 6:38 PM

    Thank you for the information. I would like to add that you can explore Zuluk valley and North Sikkim on a bike too. a few years ago me and two of my friends rode from Siliguri to Gangtok. It was really fun. We wanted to tour Zuluk valley too but we didn’t have permits. We will definitely be visiting Zuluk this coming year.

    Reply
  • Saptarshi Bhattacharya
    December 21, 2018 at 4:43 PM

    Wonderful article grate presentation thank’s for sharing .

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      December 24, 2018 at 10:02 AM

      Thanks a lot and I’m glad that you liked it ๐Ÿ™‚

      Reply
  • Umesh Kaul
    January 23, 2019 at 12:53 PM

    Enjoyed reading ur blog. Nice and informative. Planning to go this year. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      January 24, 2019 at 9:27 PM

      Hi Umesh, Thanks a lot and I’m glad that you liked it ๐Ÿ™‚

      Reply
  • cdc.gov
    February 8, 2019 at 10:33 AM

    It’s difficult to find educated people about this subject, however, you
    seem like you know what you’re talking about!
    Thanks

    Reply
  • sudhanshu
    February 8, 2019 at 9:05 PM

    hii Krishnandu,

    Glad to read from you again. A very informative and deep travel description of your Sikkim Visit.Thanks for writing such a beautiful article about Sikkim. I am thrilled to compliment on your photography skills. You have clicked some of the most beautiful photographs of Sikkim I have ever seen. Keep up to good and diligent work.

    Thanks and regard for your better future.
    Sudhanshu

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      February 14, 2019 at 10:48 AM

      Hi Sudhanshu, Thanks a lot and I’m glad that you liked it ๐Ÿ™‚

      Reply
  • Murali Krishna
    March 17, 2019 at 5:55 PM

    Hello Krishnanandu

    Very precise and informative article. I visited Sikkim with family recently and your article and the various discussion on the site helped me do the tour without going for a package tour . Very useful and will recommend it to anyone who want to visit sikkim from my part of the world

    Regards

    Murali
    Cochin, Kerala

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      March 25, 2019 at 9:09 PM

      Hello Mr. Murali, Thanks a lot and I’m really glad that my article helped you out planning a trip to Sikkim on your own ๐Ÿ™‚

      Reply
  • Naina patel
    April 27, 2019 at 5:43 PM

    Hello
    Your blog is very informative since i am also planning to travel to sikkim in May that too all females
    we too want to have budget travelling and your information will be of lot of help

    Thanks

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      May 21, 2019 at 11:51 AM

      Hi Naina,
      Thanks a lot and I’m glad that my blog helped your plan your trip!

      Reply
  • Deepshikha
    June 20, 2019 at 12:14 PM

    Hi,

    What time did you visit Sikkim? As in what month/week?
    It will be great to know as i traveled to Sikkim in the first week of February. While I loved the snow and extreme cold, I plan to visit again to explore Yumthang and Gurudongmar. I ask this question because i see Yumthang is still covered in snow but Nathula isnt in your pictures.

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      June 20, 2019 at 12:22 PM

      Hi Deepshikha, I visited Sikkim a lot of times at various seasons. So if you are specifically asking about North Sikkim, I have been there once during November (During Diwali) and once during April / May.

      This article is from the once that I visited during November (During Diwali). Well you are not seeing any pictures of Nathu La, is because taking pictures at Nathu La is not allowed considering it’s a border region. Although a lot of tourists ignores that and clicks photo, however if army catches you doing that they would snatch the camera / memory card. It happened right in front of me to one tourist. After several request army just took the memory card and left his camera.

      Although I always try to abide by these rules, as this is related to security of our country. So a single post of mine at Facebook just to show-off my friends can have severe consequences.

      Anyway if you meant if there was snow at Nathu La, yes it was completely covered with snow during November.

      Also if you are planning Gurudongmar and Yumthang, you need to visit before heavy snowfall starts. February is not good time for North Sikkim. For North Sikkim best time is October – Mid-December. You can also visit during end of December if snowfall doesn’t starts by that time.

      Reply
  • Sanjoy Das
    July 6, 2019 at 2:32 PM

    Hi,

    We will reach NJP on 21st october and will depart from NJP on 28th October. We have a plan like this NJP-Gangtok-Nathula/Baba Mandir-Back to Gangtok-Pelling Via Ravangla-Darjeling-NJP

    2) NJP-Darjeeling-Pelling-Gangtok Via Ravangla-Nathula/Baba Mandir/Changu-back to Gangtok or Stay at Dzuluk-NJP

    Kindly help to arrange our tour plan. Also please please give us some contacts of good but budget hotels(1000 to 1500) at Darjeeling, Pelling and Gangtok.

    Kindly advice.

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      July 7, 2019 at 11:05 AM

      Hi Sanjay,
      Well the itinerary would be like
      21st : NJP – Gangtok
      22nd : Gangtok Sightseeing
      23rd : Day Trip To Tsomgo Lake, Baba Mandir, Nathu La Pass
      24th : Gangtok – Pelling via Ravangla
      25th : Pelling Sightseeing
      26th : Pelling – Darjeeling via Namchi
      27th : Darjeeling Sightseeing
      28th : Darjeeling – NJP

      Now if you want to start with Darjeeling and end with Gangtok, just do the same itinerary in reverse order.

      Budget Hotels at Gangtok : Hotel Tibet, Hotel Doma Residency, Hotel Silver Line, Hotel Maa Yang etc.
      Budget Hotels at Pelling : Hotel Garuda, Hotel Pachu Residency, Hotel Window Park, Simvo etc.
      Budget Hotels at Darjeeling : The Revolver, Classic Guest House, Broadway Annexe, Hotel Dekeling, Snow Lion Homestay etc.

      Reply
  • Sanjoy Das
    July 11, 2019 at 6:28 PM

    Dada, Thanks a lot for your reply.
    I have a few more questions to get an idea about the trip.
    1) As per you, what is the best? Darjeeling to Ganktok or Gangtok to Darjeeling
    2) We donโ€™t want to spent a day for Gangtok sightseeing(already done). Where we can adjust it.
    3) Did you visited Tarey Bhir ? Can we add the location in our trip ? Kindly advice

    4) Is there any chances of snow in late October.(21ST TO 28th Oct)
    5) We have 14 members( Family) in our team. We are planning for 4 rooms (4+4+4+2). Is double bedded room benefited us by cost instead of taking 7 rooms for 14 persons.
    6) As per itinerary,What is the approx fare/rent of a car on October 21st to 28th. Actually we donโ€™t have any prior experience or idea . It will help us to negotiate with travel agency or Car driver on NJP.
    7) Can you suggest a good and reliable driver for our trip ?
    8) Do you have any experience on OYO group of hotels. ?

    Thanks,

    Sanjoy

    ,

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      July 11, 2019 at 9:04 PM

      Hi Sanjay,
      1. Well that’s not an issue at all. It’s completely upto you. However if you have early return train then keep Darjeeling in the end as Darjeeling – NJP / Bagdogra is much shorter than Gangtok – NJP / Bagdogra. If you ask my personal opinion, I’d suggest to keep Darjeeling in the end.

      2. Okay in that case do it like Darjeeling – Pelling – Gangtok. Because Nathu La is closed on Monday’s and Tuesday’s. So you can do it like…
      21st : NJP โ€“ Darjeeling
      22nd : Darjeeling Sightseeing
      23rd : Day Trip To Simana, Pashupati & Mirik
      24th : Darjeeling โ€“ Pelling via Namchi
      25th : Pelling Sightseeing
      26th : Pelling โ€“ Gangtok via Ravangla
      27th : Day Trip To Tsomgo Lake, Baba Mandir, Nathu La Pass
      28th : Gangtok โ€“ NJP

      OR

      21st : NJP โ€“ Darjeeling
      22nd : Darjeeling Sightseeing
      23rd : Darjeeling – Namchi & Namchi Sightseeing
      24th : Namchi โ€“ Pelling
      25th : Pelling Sightseeing
      26th : Pelling โ€“ Gangtok via Ravangla
      27th : Day Trip To Tsomgo Lake, Baba Mandir, Nathu La Pass
      28th : Gangtok โ€“ NJP

      3. Yes Tarey Bhir is before Namchi. Check the Plan B above. You can stay at Tarey Bhir instead of Namchi on 23rd.

      4. Nope. Not at all. Atleast to the places you are visiting.

      5. That depends. Generally four bedded rooms are cheaper than Double Bedded Room + 2 Extra Mats. But every hotel have very limited number of Four Bedded Rooms. So always try to get the four bedded rooms first. And if you can’t find four bedded room, in that case you have to opt for Double Bedded Room + 2 Extra Mats. Also check the prices of each Extra Mats. For E.g. Extra Mats costs around Rs. 400/- – Rs. 600/- per day. So if you take 2 mats it’s around 800/- – 1200/- per day. So sometimes at budget hotels double bed rooms costs around Rs. 1200/- anyway. In that case instead of taking double bedded rooms with extra mats it’s best to take another seperate room (7 in your case). BTW just FYI, you won’t be allowed to stay 4 pax in double bedded rooms unless you opt for extra mats in hotels. In homestays it’s different case though. Hope that clears your confusion.

      6. It depends on the type of vehicle you want to hire. Innova /. Xylo would be around Rs. 4000/- – Rs. 4500/- per day. A Sumo / Bolero would be around Rs. 3000/- – Rs. 3500/- per day. So considering you are 14 people you have to hire 2 vehicles. And also please note that the above price range is for indicative purpose. During Puja vacations the price would be inflated. Also note that same vehicle won’t be able to do the whole trip because of various territorial restrictions. However that shouldn’t be any concern for you. Your tour operator would take care of that.

      7. As I said a single vehicle can’t do this whole trip due to territorial restrictions. So best is to contact a tour operator. Check with Dipankar Roy (North East Tour & Travels) – +91-89722-47306. Take my reference and see if you can get some discounts.

      8. Well I do! But in Kolkata! ๐Ÿ˜› Never stayed at OYO while on tour!

      Reply
  • Aeishwariya
    July 19, 2019 at 3:01 PM

    Hi
    very informative blog..
    i am travelling solo and planning it on a budget.so planning to take shared vehicles for all 10 days. i have few queries
    what are shared cab options from bagdora to siliguri?
    am travelling by nov 2nd week for 10 days.is it good time to visit all the places especially north sikkim?
    my itinery
    day-01 arrival in gangtok by evening
    Gangtok -day02-local sight seeing
    Gangtok -day03-tsongmo-nathula
    Gangtok -day04,5,6-North sikkim
    day 7 namchi/ravangla
    day 8 pelling
    day 9 darjeeling
    day 10 return
    can u suggest safe places to stay in gangtok?
    and also give a clear itinery for day 7,8,9 and stay options and travel options?
    importantly is it safe to travel alone in sikkim and darjeeling for 10 days??
    any suggestions regarding the itinery is also most welcome..
    Thanks in advance..

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      July 22, 2019 at 7:41 PM

      Hi Aeiswariya,
      Well you can book Wizzride for Bagdogra to Gangtok. They run luxury vehicles like Innova / Xylo from Bagdogra to various destnations on shared mode. The fare is a little bit on the higher side though. Else you have to take a reserved auto / cab to Siliguri and from there you can get lots of shared cabs to Gangtok. Other than Wizzride, local shared cabs don’t operate out of Bagdogra.

      Yes November is infact of the best time to travel North Sikkim considering all the aspects.

      Yout itinerary is more or less like except few things.
      1. Make sure your Day 3 is not Monday / Tuesday. Nathula is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays
      2. On Day 7 stay at Ravangla if you wish to move to Pelling next day i.e. on Day 8. As you have kept only 1N at Pelling you won’t get much time to cover the pelling sightseeing otherwise.
      3. You can cover Namchi on your way to Darjeeling from Pelling. Or even on Day 7 if you wish to.
      4. Well I feel you have included too much. Pelling Ravangla Namchi was still Okay. But Darjeeling needs 2-3N itself to cover. And I see you are just moving to Darjeeling for 1N. Is there any specific reason? It’s okay if you just want to explore the town and do nothing or plan to visit Darjeeling later.

      Okay so for Day 7, 8, 9 you can do it like…
      Day 7 : Gangtok – Pelling via Ravangla (You can stay at Ravangla / Borong if you want to.)
      Day 8 : Pelling Sightseeing
      Day 9 : Pelling – Namchi
      Day 10 : Namch – IXB
      Yes I have ommitted Darjeeling, as I don’t see any reason to move to Darjeeling just for a night. Let me know if you are planning otherwise ๐Ÿ™‚

      Yes it’s completely safe to travel alone in these states. You’d be amazed to know that NE is Matraichal Society, so being a solo women there’s no issue at all. Everyone out here respects womens a lot. Shops and Hotels are run by women only. Infact most people who are working out there would be women mostly including the police ๐Ÿ™‚

      For stay recommendations, please let me know your budget. You can also check deals on MMT / Goibibo like online portals. But before finalizing something, do read their review at TripAdvisor. And you can definitely comment here and I’d be happy to help you out ๐Ÿ™‚

      Reply
      • Aeishwariya
        July 23, 2019 at 3:41 PM

        Thank you so much for ur inputs..can u suggest any homestay kinds for day 7 night stay along ravangla or borong or any place on the way to pelling.some stay options for pelling too..i dont know if i can come again to visit darjeeling,thats y planning a quick one day trip trying to cover major attractions only..last day my flight by afternoon only..so i can spend a day comfortably in darjeeling and start to bagdogra after breakfast from darjeeling.is it ok to take a mixed point tour for a day and cover major attractions in darjeeling?

        Reply
        • Krishnandu Sarkar
          July 24, 2019 at 11:27 AM

          Hi Aeishwariya,
          Well, Pelling to Darjeeling is around 4 hours. So if you start after breakfast, it’d be around 12PM – 1PM when you’ll reach Darjeeling. Well you can definitely go for a 7 point tour after that.

          And next day early morning you can go for the 3 point tour which starts by around 4AM and ends by around 8AM. Post breakfast you can leave for Bagdogra.

          But as you can see, it’d be a very tight schedule. However lot of people (including me), don’t mind travelling in tight schedule. If you are one of them, go ahead.

          In that case it’d be like…
          Day 7 : Gangtok โ€“ Pelling via Ravangla and Namchi
          Day 8 : Pelling Sightseeing
          Day 9 : Pelling โ€“ Darjeeling & Darjeeling Sightseeing
          Day 10 : Darjeeling โ€“ IXB

          In case you are planning to move Darjeeling on Day 9, cover both Ravangla and Namchi on Day 7 and make sure to halt at Pelling only. Because in that case your Day 7 would be a long journey and it’d be easier for Day 8.

          Hope that helps ๐Ÿ™‚

          For Day 7 – Check out Hotel Zumthang (Mrs. Pema – +91-97330-61311 / +91-74782-93110) at Ravangla. Or Wildlife Reatreat at Borong If you are planning to move Darjeeling on Day 9 then better stay at Pelling on Day 7. In that case check out Hotel Pachu Residency (Mr. Prantik – +91-98303-29591), Hotel Garuda, Hotel Window Park under budget category at Upper Pelling.

          The ones that needs to be booked offline, I have proided the contact details. Remaining can be booked online through their website or portrals like Goibibo / MMT.

          At Darjeeling, under budget category check The Revolver (my personal preference & I stay here whenever I visit Darjeeling), Classic Guest House, Fairmont, Broadway Annexe, Snow Lion Homestay, Dekeling etc.

          Reply
  • Aeishwariya
    July 24, 2019 at 12:21 PM

    Thank u so much for the details.day-7&8-gangtok-namchi/ravangla & pelling can u please share the fare detailes both shared and private cab.in case if i take a private cab,are accomodation & food included in the package??what will be the best option?? and also to move to darjeeling from pelling,are buses avilable or shared cabs??

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      July 24, 2019 at 12:33 PM

      Well, for Day 7 it’s best that you take a private cab. As there are no buses in these region (except Siliguri – Gangtok and Darjeeling), Shared Cabs are local’s way of public transport. So they act and move like Buses only in other parts of India. So it’s like you have to wait to get a cab for your route and wait until it gets full. And you have to get down at your point (if it comes on their way) accordingly. And if single cab doesn’t covers your route, you need to break accordingly.

      So the issue on Day 7 is you want to cover Ravangla and Namchi as sightseeing and then move to Pelling. So by shared cabs this won’t be possible practically. So the route by shared cabs would be like Gangtok – Ravangla and then Ravangla – Namchi and then Namchi – Pelling. There are direct shared cabs for Gangtok – Pelling and Gangtok – Namchi as well.

      However I’d recommend private cab is because, shared cabs operate out of stands in market. So Sightseeing points are not closer always. Also it’s impossible to move through 3 different towns in a day by shared cabs considering the time taken and wait time to get each shared cabs.

      So private cab would charge you anywhere around 4k – 5k for Day 7 only. And shared cabs cost < Rs. 100/- for short distance. And for long distance it's around Rs. 100/- - Rs. 300/- depending on the route. No there are no busses between Pelling and Darjeeling. Direct Shared cabs are available though but less in numbers. So if you miss those, you have to break.

      Reply
  • Aeishwariya
    July 24, 2019 at 12:44 PM

    Does private cab package cover food and accomadation also for day 7?? for day 8 in pelling,are shared cabs available for one full day sight seeing??

    Reply
    • Krishnandu Sarkar
      July 24, 2019 at 7:49 PM

      No you can hire cab and hotel seperately, however if you want package then you can contact some tour operator. Or even if you book hotel directly, your hotel’s travel desk should be able arrange the vehicle as per your needs.

      No sightseeings cannot be done in shared cabs as I explained on my previous comment. Also not all points are reached by shared cabs. So that way it’d take more than a day to cover all the points in Pelling.

      So ofcourse more convenient and easier way is to hire a private vehicle for sightseeing. You can book the Day 7 and Day 8 cab together on your own or you can also book the cab for sightseeing after reaching there from your hotel’s travel desk or there are lots of tour operators around the market.

      Reply
      • aeishwariya
        July 25, 2019 at 12:33 PM

        Thank you so much for all the information..very very useful in planning the trip..for now i got everything covered,if need any other help,i will comment here.tysm..

        Reply
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