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Travelling Across Pelling – Hee Gaon

Sunrise at Nature Hilltop Resort

Staying at Hee Gaon (Hee Patal) proved to be an unique experience for us. It was only after reaching there we understood, why Dipankar Da was constantly insisting us for staying there. Although we have been to Pelling, Hee and even Chaya Taal on our previous trip to South & West Sikkim, but then it was a touch & go type. Staying where was a unique charm which can’t be explained but only felt.

This Trip Report is a continuation from Wandering Through Namchi – Ravangla – Yuksom.

Below is the full itinerary again for your reference…
Day 1 : NJP – Reshikhola
Day 2 : Reshikhola – Mankhim
Day 3 : Mankhim – Zuluk (Dzuluk)
Day 4 : Zuluk (Dzuluk) – Nathang (Gnathang)
Day 5 : Nathang (Gnathang) – Gangtok

Day 6 : Gangtok – Ravangla via Namchi
Day 7 : Ravangla – Yuksom via Tashiding

Day 8 : Yuksom – Pelling via Pelling Sightseeing
Day 9 : Pelling – Hee Gaon (Hee Patal) via Singhore, Uttarey, Dentam
Day 10 : Hee Gaon (Hee Patal) – NJP

15th October : Day 8 : Yuksom – Pelling via Pelling Sightseeing
Our day started very early, as Mr. Limboo, already informed us last night to check around his garden but as it was too dark by then, we thought of getting up early in the morning and check around the garden and market and then hike to Dubdi Monastery. This was the 2nd time after Ravangla, I realized, I made this plan totally wrong. I should have kept 2 days each at Ravangla and Yuksom. It was really feeling like we were hurrying up through each of the destination without feeling it’s true charm which I don’t like. It was like we were just visiting the destination for sake of telling people that we have been there, which is not at all my way of travelling.

Flowers of Yuksom

    Flowers of Yuksom

    Yuksom was a calm and quite small hill town which can make one feel lazy leading to get relaxed. The lifestyle there is very different than other parts of Sikkim, specially due to being the base of Dzongri – Goechala Trek. People mostly go there for trekking and the people you’d see chilling around are relaxing themselves, before or after their trek. The whole environment out there can make you feel lazy and encourage as well to take up the trek.

    The Kitty Shot - Yuksom

    After exploring the garden in the backyard and discussing few things about Dzongri – Goechala trek, we were about to proceed towards Dubdi. But Mr. Limboo suggested us against doing that. He informed us that, due to the rain for last couple of days, the road is really in worst condition and as we don’t have much time in hand, hurrying up through that road would worsen the situation for us. One can view Dubdi Monastery from Limboo’s Homestay, his being the last one on that road leading to Dubdi.

    Dubdi Monastery - Yuksom

    After bidding him good bye and assuring him to come back again next time for the trek, we started proceeding towards our first destination for the day, Coronation Throne of Norbugang. It was just 10 minutes drive from Limboo’s Homestay. Yuksom being so small town, almost everything is a walk away.

    Coronation Throne Norbugang - Yuksom

      Then we went to Kathog Lake, just opposite of the Norbugang.

      Kathog Lake - Yuksom

      Kathog Lake - Yuksom

      Post that we came to Yuksom market and had a stop over at same restaurant as of last night for Tea and Momo. After chit-chatting around for some time, Gopi asked me to follow him to Red Panda’s office. Last night me and Akash went there to gather some information about Dzongri – Goechala after hearing positive reviews about them. Fortunately, Mr. Gurung recognized me and Gopi turned out to be his old friend. Gopi told me that, Mr. Dhanraj belongs from his village Dentam, but now he’s settled here in Yuksom for this tourism business. Mr. Gurung showed us various certificates and recognition of his various trekking expedition. Gopi too informed us that, he used to trek a lot when he was young. He offered us Tea and handovered a album of various trekking expedition that his foreigner guests sent him.

      Yuksom

      Yuksom

      Finally we started for Pelling at around 11:30 AM. While proceeding towards our first point for the day, Kunchenjungha Falls, we noticed a lots of students cleaning around roads and all. Gopi told us that it’s kind of cleaning day for them. Most schools in Sikkim follows this tradition, where students have to keep the environment clean by cleaning the roads around the school, including school ground and all. A nice tradition isn’t it? But in cities like ours, people are very narrow minded, I think. The parents would surely take their child off the school, if the school made them clean roads.

      Trip To Yuksom

      We reached Kunchenjangha Falls at around 11:50 AM. We already planned to have the same old good “Chola Makha” up there.

      Kanchenjungha Falls - Pelling

      Kanchenjungha Falls - Pelling

      Kanchenjungha Falls - Pelling

      Kanchenjungha Falls - Pelling

      Kanchenjungha Falls - Pelling

      After Kunchenjungha Falls, we went to Khecheopalri Lake. We reached there at around 1:40 PM. Last time when we went there, it was raining heavily. No one came with me, so I went alone after renting an umbrella from nearby shop. But this time, it was full bright and sunny. Khecheopalri Lake is sacred for both Buddhist’s and Hindu’s and is a part of Buddhist Pilgrimage Circuit.

      Khecheopalri Lake - Pelling

        Khecheopalri Lake - Pelling

        Next was Rimbi Falls. Last time I remember, there was shortage of water when we came here. But this time due to this heavy rainfall for last few days, it was looking vivacious.

        Rimbi Falls - Pelling

        Rimbi Falls - Pelling

          Rimbi Falls - Pelling

          Moving through the picturesque Darap Village, we proceeded towards Pemyangtse Monastery.

          Darap Village - Pelling

          Darap Village - Pelling

          Darap Village - Pelling

          Darap Village - Pelling

          Finally we went to Pemyangtse Monastery. As me and Suparna already been there, we choose to stay inside car. But suddenly Suparna noticed that Mt. K is visible and she literally rushed there and asked me come along.

          Pemyangtse Monastery - Pelling

          Pemyangtse Monastery - Pelling

          Pemyangtse Monastery - Pelling

          Mt. K From Pemyangtse Monastery - Pelling

          Post monastery, we rushed towards Helipad expecting the view. Though the view was not clear but it was not bad too. But my 55-200 lens was in the luggage up there. Thus I missed the golden picture that I always wanted to capture from a long time. And specially I was hoping to get a shot here after missing out the same at Gnathang due to rain. So I asked Gopi to proceed to our same-old-good known shelter for the day, Pachu Residency. We reached Pachu Residency at around 5:30 PM and by then the Mt. K again disappeared and I missed the golden shot again 🙁

          Pelling Helipad

          Mr. Prantik, the owner of Pachu Residency, recognizing Me and Suparna, came ahead with a warm smile. I introduced remaining of my family members. We stayed here when we came to Pelling last time. That time we were allocated the rooftop rooms. So while booking for this time, I specifically mentioned Dipankar Da, to ask for the rooftop rooms only. Though it was a bit problematic with stairs for my mom, but hearing the description, mom assured that she would manage. There’s a different charm staying at roof top. First of all, no one would disturb you and you are not bound to your rooms only, so you can enjoy the whole roof, and most importantly you’d be the first one to notice Mt. K if it gets visible.

          I noticed they hired some new people, who helped us taking the luggages to our rooms. After getting fresh and having Tea we went out to explore the market. Though it was nothing new for Me and Suparna, but other family members wanted to explore it. Also aunt wanted to buy Buddhist wind charm which she could find in Ravangla. First we went to Havmore, where we used to have breakfast when we came to Pelling last time. Havmore have their own souveniour shop, so we thought of having snakcs as well as take a look at some souveniours including the wind charm.

          Pachu Residency - Pelling

          Luckily we got the wind charm she was looking for. We bought some buddhist souveniors too and later before heading towards hotel. Me and Akash, went to middle Pelling to grab few bottle of beers for the night. Though last time Gopi went to his home in Dentam after dropping us in Pelling, but this time, as he had no one back there in Dentam, he choose to stay with us only. We all gathered at the roof. A unused table and few chairs were lying there so we thought of using those for our purpose. As a matter of co-incidence they were there too last time and we used those to serve our purpose (of drinking arrangements) 😛

          Full Moon - Pelling

          It was one of the best night we spent in Sikkim. It was a full moon night (Laxmi Puja), and luckily there was no cloud and we could view the glorious Mt. K. We spent rest of the evening clicking pictures of Mt. K, drinking and enjoying among ourselves.

          Kunchenjungha on Full Moon - Pelling

          Kunchenjungha on Full Moon - Pelling

          We choose to have dinner at our hotel only because of the good experience last time. At around 9:30 PM, few guests and Prantik Da came up. Though I didn’t informed him about this of our arrangement but I still choose to ask him. He assured us that, it was absolutely fine and not to worry, as we are not disturbing any guests no one will mind anything. He further informed us that, he was calling us since evening on our intercom but as we were not picking up phone he guessed that we were already aware of this view and might have came out of the room.

          Kunchenjungha on Full Moon - Pelling

          Later we took our dinner at around 10:30 PM and hit the bed soon as we planned to catch sunrise wishing it to be a clear day.

          16th October : Day 9 : Pelling – Hee Gaon (Hee Patal) via Singhore, Uttarey, Dentam
          The were up by 5:30 AM due to the alarm. But removing the curtain revealed to be all cloudy thus I went back to bed by setting up alarm past 30 minutes. The same continued till 7 o’ clock but nothing changed. Later we woke up at 8:00 AM and got ready. We choose to have breakfast at hotel only. So we ordered Alu Paratha and ordered Tea at rooms.

          Kanchenjungha Sunrise - Pelling

          Though last night, they messed up our dinner a bit, but later when reported to Prantik Da, he apologized and assured us to adjust the same in bill and will take it up personally with the cook. But after having the Alu Paratha, we were just stumped. It was sooo awesome that only a person who loves Alu (potato) and Alu Paratha can understand 😛

          View From Pelling

          After having sumptuous breakfast, bidding good bye to Prantik Da and assuring to be coming again if we come to Pelling next time, we started our day at around 10:00 AM. We skipped Rabdentse Ruins as we have been there last time, and other family members didn’t wanted to take such a long walk to reach there. So our first point of the day was Changey Falls. We met Mr. Limboo there, who was travelling with his daughters to drop them to school.

          Changey Falls - Pelling

          Changey Falls - Pelling

          Changey Falls - Pelling

          Changey Falls - Pelling

          Next we stopped at Dentam Valley for a small tea break at around 10:45 AM.

          Dentam Valley

            Next we proceeded towards Singshore Bridge. Last time when we went there, light vehicles were allowed to use the bridge, but this time Gopi informed us that, vehicles are no more allowed to ply over the bridge. Singshore is the highest bridge in Sikkim and 2nd Highest suspension bridge in Asia.

            Singshore Bridge - Pelling

              Last time when we were here, with Dipankar Da and his family, we looked out for Faley at a nearby restaurant which is well known for the same. But we were out of our luck. But this time we were lucky to got Falley there. And believe me, it was really awesome.

              Falley at Singshore

              After spending around more than an hour, we started for Uttarey at around 12:55 PM. Uttarey is a nice quaint village nearby Singshore & Pelling. One may choose to stay here from the hustle bustle life of Pelling. Though I’m not sure about the Mt. K view from Uttarey.

              Uttarey

                Hotels, Homestay’s and Local Houses in Uttarey, like common Sikkim Traditional culture, are well decorated with flowers. And as usual, I couldn’t restrict myself capturing them in my camera!!

                Flowers at Uttarey

                  Dentam

                  After spending some time around Uttarey, we set off for Dentam. Last time due to some holiday, we couldn’t spot cheese there at the cheese factory. Gopi informed us that we won’t be lucky this time too, as the day being Sunday, the factory would be closed. So we asked him to take us to the same old Madhu Pradhan’s restaurant where we had momo last time. Gopi dropped us there and informed us that, he’ll be back by 30 minutes. Upon asking he informed us that he’s a bit suspicious about something wrong with the break, and as tomorrow is the last day and we have to travel a lot of distance, he doesn’t want to take any chance. So he’ll go a bit further to a garage to get his car checked.

                  We quite liked the momo last time, and everything is still same, better infact I’d say. After having our lunch, our parents went ahead to check Dentam market. So we thought of walking up to the garage and check with Gopi. Upon reaching there we found, he was correct indeed, as there really was a problem with the break and he was getting it repaired. It took around 1 hour to get it repaired and as it was already getting evening, Gopi wanted to start for our hotel. But we insisted on going to Madhu Ji’s restaurant and have his lunch first.

                  Dentam

                  Later we started at around 4:34 PM. We reached Hee Water Garden within next 15 minutes. Me, Suparna and Gopi choosed to stay outside and had a beer while rest of the family members went ahead to check the Garden. Well, it was kind of revisiting the old memories for us. As last time when we were here, we bought the same beer from the same shop before proceeding to our next destination 🙂

                  Me and Gopi having beer

                  Hee Water Garden - Hee Bazaar

                  Hee Water Garden - Hee Bazaar

                  Hee Water Garden - Hee Bazaar

                  Next our destination was Chaya Taal, but Gopi told us that he’ll cover it tomorrow, as it was getting too dark and we have to go a bit further from Chaaya Taal to reach our hotel. In the meanwhile Dipankar Da called me up to check if we have reached hotel. Well it’s something he does regularly with all the guests travelling, calling up two times a day to check if everything is fine. Finally we reached our shelter for the day Nature Hilltop Resort.

                  Nature Hilltop Resort

                  Upon reaching there, Miss Ganga, incharge of the hotel came forward and showed us our rooms. Two other boys carried our lugagge. It was kind of a 5* property located at such exotic location. We were allotted the the same cottages where Dipankar Da stayed last time. We were really impressed by the establishment, as truely speaking we are not much accustommed with staying in such high end properties. But the tariff was reasonable (atleast what Dipankar Da charged us), pocket friendly and not much higher than what we payed for hotels at other locations. The destination needs no explanation, as it’s really exotic and very remote which adds up the feeling automatically.

                  Nature Hilltop Resort

                  Gopi being from Dentam, told us he’d go to his home. But we knew, his wife and son being there at his in-laws house, no one was there. And also it was evening by then, so he would drive all the way to Dentam now and then again he will need to come tomorrow early morning. So I refused. Also today being last day, we planned to enjoy it to our fullest. Gopi told us that even he wants to stay with us too, but he have not been here before and thus doesn’t aware about the arrangements for driver. Now I understood why he said he’d be going to home when there’s no one at his home and today being our last day.

                  Nature Hilltop Resort

                  I called up Dipankar Da, and explained the situation. He asked me to speak to Mr. Pradip, the owner of the resort, and let him know the status and then if needed he’ll take care of it. Mr. Pradip was there at the reception, so I went up there. Noticing me, he came forward and welcomed me to the resort and asked few initial questions like, whether we are liking it and we have any problems or not etc. I inquired if they have any arrangements for the drivers, but his answer was a bit dicey. He said that, they generally don’t have such arrangements here, and today they have no cottages, as they are houseful today, but they have some tie ups with one of the resort at Chaya Taal, where they generally make the driver’s stay. I didn’t asked anything for fooding, as we generally pay for it and we knew it’d be very basic anyway like other hotels.

                  Nature Hilltop Resort

                  I was relieved that atleast some arrangement can be done. I informed Gopi, not to worry, as the arrangements have been done and also informed Dipankar Da about the same. Mr. Pradip asked us, if we want, we can play badminton, and that they have arrangements for such. I’m not good at sports, neither interested, so I left informing him that “I’ll ask my wife and if required I’ll get back”. My wife loves playing Badminton, and Gopi too encouraged it, so they arranged rackets and shuttlecock from Ganga Ji. While they were playing, Me and Akash went ahead to ask the boys if some Beers can be arranged.

                  Few minutes later Ganga Ji came up with Tea and some Pakoda’s. I must say, I have never seen such hygenic way of serving. The cups were covered with a cap and the plate of Pakoda was completely wrapped in foil. Yes, I do agree that the price of food was a little bit higher. But at such exotic remote destination, I think it was justified.

                  Moon at Nature Hilltop Resort

                  While chit-chatting with other guests around, I stumbled upon one of my reader, Ipshita Di, who was travelling with her family. Upon knowing my name she exclaimed “Are you Krishnandu Sarkar from Krishnandu’s Blog?“. Truely, I was amazed by such reaction. I never knew, that much people reads my blog. She praised about it and told me that she came up here and planned this trip after reading posts from my last visit to South & West Sikkim. And then when she called up Dipankar Da, he suggested this destination to her too.

                  Rest of the evening we spent enjoying among ourselves, drinking and partying. Ipsita Di’s family and Mr. Santosh, who was driving Ipsita Di’s family, happened to be a close friend of Gopi so he joined us too. Finally after dinner, Gopi went to Mr. Pradip to check out where exactly the arrangements have been done. And it was then the whole mishap started. Mr. Pradip was surprised to see Gopi there at that point of time and asked him “Why are you here so late when I have asked you go leave by 8PM?” Gopi was surprised to hear that. Gopi was with us whole evening and no one told him to leave by 8. Mr. Pradip further informed him that “There were two more drivers whose arrangement was done at same resort and they already left after having dinner by 8PM. You should have gone with them“. He further went on saying “See, there’s a old woman who manages the property, and generally at such remote location, people sleeps by 8. So I’m not sure what can be done now“. He asked Gopi to leave immediately and check with them.

                  Nature Hilltop Resort

                  Gopi rushed to me and narrated the whole scenario and left immediately. I assured him that I’ll be here to follow up with Mr. Pradip and Dipankar Da at such odd hours if required. It was 11:30 by then. I called up Gopi, to check his whereabouts, he told that, he have reached the spot and knocking the door since last 5 minutes, but no one is responding. I asked him to check for some more time and then I’d call him again. Mr. Santosh too was there with Gopi.

                  I called up Gopi again after some time, to check the status, but the situation didn’t seemed to change. They were still knocking the door at such odd hours and no one was answering. Thus I called up Mr. Pradip to check out about other alternatives. He informed me that he clearly told them to leave by 8 and he’s not sure how they can be so much irresponsible. He further informed that there were two more drivers, who already left by 8. I informed him that they were with us whole evening, and may be he just forgot to inform them the same. Mr. Pradip is really a gentleman and very generous. He informed me that, today he have no rooms at the resort to make their arrangements, though tomorrow there are will be some free rooms, but today it won’t be possible at all.

                  He further told me, he could make arrangements at the restaurant, but then the establishment of restaurant is not that strong and they may suffer due to cold breeze. He asked me to told them to sleep in the car otherwise as that would be better than suffering in the restaurant. Well for me, that was not an option at all. I called up Gopi to check if anything have improved, but nothing changed. Gopi told me “I doubt whether someone is here. Even if that lady went to sleep how can the drivers sleep so early and that also even after knocking door for so long no one is answering“. I feared some mis-management and passed on Mr. Pradip’s number to him and asked him to check with Mr. Pradip directly and let me know the status.

                  Though he asked me to go to bed, but I standed still on my decision. By no way I can go to sleep leaving him at such situation. After some time, Gopi called me up and told me that, he had a word with Mr. Pradip and after that Mr. Pradip called someone and then a lady came out of the resort and started abusing them. She thought they were drunk drivers and disturbing at such odd hours. The lady further told him that she have no tie-up with the resort and she’s not aware of any drivers being there. So asked them not to disturb anymore and shut the door at their face.

                  I thought of calling up Mr. Pradip again, but Gopi interrupted me and said as per Mr. Pradip’s instruction, he called up the numbers on the board in front of the resort and found that the owner lives somewhere else near Hee Bazaar and that she asked them to come up to Hee Bazaar and he’s driving to Hee Bazaar now with Santosh. I asked him to drive safely and inform me once he reach there. Gopi pushed me hard to go to bed and that he’ll arrange something. But I standed still on my decision.

                  It was around 12:20 PM, I called up Gopi again to check his whereabouts. He informed me that, they have reached Hee Bazaar and met with the lady. They are now going towards some resort. I was relieved after hearing that. It was already late by then. So we hit the bed after having a smoke.

                  17th October : Day 10 : Hee Gaon (Hee Patal) – NJP
                  Dad woke me up at around 5 AM in the morning and asked me come out immidiately. The sunrise was about to happen and Mt. K was visible clearly. The aerial view of Mt. K was at it’s best from the resort. I quickly grabbed my camera, called up my wife and cousin and started clicking pictures.

                  Sunrise at Nature Hilltop Resort

                  Sunrise at Nature Hilltop Resort

                  Sunrise at Nature Hilltop Resort

                  Sunrise at Nature Hilltop Resort

                  Sunrise at Nature Hilltop Resort

                  We went to sleep again, as gradually the cloud came over and covered it completely. Later at around 8 AM, we woke up to found that Bed Tea has already been served. So I went up to Ganga Ji and requested 3 cups of tea for us late risers. 😛 And also as electricity was not there, she informed me that she’ll send someone to pickup the buckets from our washrooms to provide hot water for us.

                  Mt. K from Nature Hilltop Resort

                  We called up Gopi to check if things were okay and when would he arrive. He assured me that everything is fine and he’d be here within next 30 minutes. We were ready by then. But time passed by and Gopi didn’t arrived even after an hour. I called him up again and he told me that he got stuck somewhere and would be here within next 15 minutes. It was already 9:30 by then. So to avoid any more delay we thought of clearing the bills upfront, so that we can checkout and leave as soon as Gopi arrives.

                  Mt. K from Nature Hilltop Resort

                  But time passed by and Gopi didn’t arrived. At around 10:15 AM, I called him up again to check what’s the matter. Gopi never does like this, something might have happened. I feared that, he might have lied to me last night, so that I go to sleep. Gopi told me that he’s on the way, near Chaya Taal and that he’ll arrive within next 5 mintues. So we called up Ganga Ji and informed her that we’ll be checking out. She sent two boys to take our luggage.

                  In the meanwhile, Ipsita Di came up and asked me, whether I could contact them, as their driver, Santosh was also with Gopi. I informed her that they are on the way and will be here within next 5 minutes. While checking out Mr. Pradip came up to bid good bye. I narrated him the whole thing that happened last night. He agreed that, they don’t have much scope for accomodating drivers as of now here in the resort, thus for now, they are using that resort of Chaya Taal for driver’s accomodation. I told him that, it’s fine, but he should have informed Gopi about leaving within 8 PM, then all these wouldn’t have happened. Although he said, he informed all the drivers, but I standed still that Gopi and Santosh was with me whole evening and he might have forgot to inform Gopi. I further informed him that, the lady at the resort, denied any tie up’s with his hotel regarding driver’s accommodation, last night.

                  Mt. K from Nature Hilltop Resort

                  Though I don’t have any grudge on him, as he have always been co-operative even at such odd hours and as a person he’s always smiling and welcoming. Thus I suggested him that, if one is trying to do business at such remote location and that also when the resort is too good, location, facility and infrastructure wise, one should have a look at proper driver accommodation. He agreed and told me, he’s already working on it. After all, it’s the drivers who take you to such location, and without the drivers one cannot reach these locations. So if someone is not taking care of them, they will soon start refusing to go there, except the locals. Gopi being local, he could have drove to his home in Dentam, but what about people like Santosh, who is from Gangtok or some other drivers who are not local and cannot drive to their home after dropping their passengers? One might have to rely on hotel itself to arrange the car at premium price.

                  Mt. K from Nature Hilltop Resort

                  Well I know, not many tourists takes their driver’s accommodation seriously. Theoretically they are right, as the fare includes TA / DA. I know, Gopi being my old friend and very close to me, I took this pain to arrange things for him. But believe me, I’d have done the same, if he was someone new to me. Because, it’s the driver who drives you all the way. I know he takes money for that, but as a matter of ethics, one should think of them too. Because if the driver is not having a good sleep, it’s obvious that he won’t be able to drive you next morning. And think, what if he doze up on the way. A single mistake can be dangerous on hilly terrain.

                  Gopi finally arrived at around 10:20 AM and we started for where we never wanted to be, NJP. Our first stop was Chaya Taal and it took us 5 minutes to reach there. After spending sometime, we started again. Gopi informed us, today he won’t give us much breaks, as the road near Jorethang being washed away, chances are we’d get a blockage there. So we need to keep around 2 hours as buffer if we get stuck there. On the way, one women came up for help, and said she have to deposit the money within today, to get her son admitted at school. She further said, she have to go to Jorethang for that, but she’ll get down at Soreng as his husband will be coming there. So she asked us to drop her to Soreng. We agreed.

                  Chaya Taal

                  Sikkim River

                  One travelling in the hills, are well aware of these situations. Unlike cities, at hills, one can’t survive without helping each other. Some unwritten rules like, you wait for allowing the large vehicle to give you pass instead of overtaking, blowing a thank you horn when some large vehicle gives you pass with a welcome horn in reply, small vehicles go back to give pass to large vehicles etc. are there in place. Rules like these are not drafted theoretically but followed practically. Unlike cities, you can’t just get down and started arguing about who’s wrong. It’d take up your whole day then. Instead they co-operate with each and solve the situation. There’s a difference between being educated and being literate. Literature doesn’t teach one how to behave and civic sense.

                  Sikkim Flowers

                  We adjusted ourselves and asked her to get in. While chit-chatting with her, we came to know that, she’s a govt. school teacher here in Sikkim, and she’s getting her son admitted at a renowned school in Darjeeling. And to get him admitted, today is the last day she needs to deposit the money for 1 year in advance. Next day, they have some admission test there, so after depositing the money, she’ll be moving to Darjeeling today only. And after the test, they will come back again tomorrow, as she only got 2 days leave from her school.

                  I took some time out to re-think, how painful their life is. I have ATM, Bank, Movie Hall everything, you just name it, just across the road. And here, they have to travel 50KM for depositing the money. And even after all these, they don’t complain. We reached Soreng within 12:13 and the lady bid good bye and went into her husband’s car who was waiting there with their son. I expected a stopover here, but Gopi told us that he’ll give us stopover directly at Jorethang.

                  Sikkim River

                  We reached Jorethang at around 1:20. Gopi dropped us near Hotel New Walk-In and told us to have our lunch there and he’d soon be joining us after renewing the pollution permit for his car. We have been to this hotel last time when we came here. So we guided our parents up to the hotel. Gopi joined us soon. I asked Gopi whether he’d like to have a beer like last time, but he denied. He said last time we were going to Okhrey, but now we are going towards NJP and chances are he’ll be caught by police there in WB if checked. So he didn’t wanted to take any risk.

                  Post lunch, we started proceeding. I’m not sure but for some strange reason, everytime when a trip comes to end, I feel like crying. Travelling through hilly terrain on a warm afternoon keeps flashing back in my mind. May be it’s a common phenomenon that I can’t ignore. Though this continues till I get back to home, but soon fades away after getting back to daily Home-Office-Home life. It was no different this time. Post Jorethang, things from the first day of our trip started flashing back, travelling to Yuksom on a warm afternoon on hilly terrain flashed up like a dream.

                  Sikkim Waterfalls

                  Soon we were asked to halt when we were about to approach Kalijhora. The lady out there told us they are operating the road as one way, so asked us to wait till she gets signal from the other side. We waited for around 15 minutes, and started again for our today’s destination. We crossed Sevoke at around 5:00 PM. Thus we thought, we’d easily reach NJP by 6 and thus we took a small break for 20 minutes. It have been long time that we had a smoke.

                  Sikkim Waterfalls

                  The road through Siliguri, post Sevoke was full of traffic jam, such that, it look us almost 1.5 hours to reach NJP. We were there at NJP by 7. Gopi parked the car and came to us. We hugged each other and promised to stay in touch as always with tears in our eyes. Gopi promised to come Kolkata at off season during January – Febuary when he’ll not have much engagement and asked me to send the pictures by postal / courier which I promised to take as a first thing I reach Kolkata.

                  The Baccha Party!!

                  Hotel Reviews :

                  Pachu Residency, Pelling : Pachu Residency is not something new for us. We were extremely satisfied when we came to Pelling last time and stayed here. Same as like last time, we took the rooftop rooms. The rooms and washrooms are clean enough and value for money. Mr. Prantik the owner, is a Bengali with his hometown being Howrah. He’s a very jovial and welcoming person, very kind and helpful in nature. You can easily count on this hotel, if you are looking for a typical Bengali stay with Bengali food. The hotel being in Upper Pelling offers great view of Mt. K. from view rooms and rooftop.

                  • Pachu Residency

                  Nature Hilltop Resort, Hee Gaon (Hee Patal) : It’s extremely exotic hotel situated at a remote location above Chaya Taal. The aerial view of Mt. K from this hotel is one of it’s kind. The staffs and owner Mr. Pradip is extremely warm and helpful. You’d always see Ganga Ji, always running after guests to fulfill their needs. Though it’s a kind of 5* hotel but pocket friendly. The hotel being at very remote location, you have to depend on in-house restaurant which is a bit costly, but justified considering the quality and hygiene of the food.

                    Contacts :

                    Pelling :
                    Pachu Residency, Upper Pelling : Mr. Prantik – +91-98303-29591
                    Floret Hotel & Resorts, Pelling Helipad : +91-96749-22030 / Website
                    Hotel Hill View, Pelling Helipad : +91-84208-20913 / +91-75480-57827

                    Uttarey :
                    Hotel Uttarey Valley & Recluse Hut, Uttarey : +91-9733084992 / +91-9733165507 / +91-8972935757 / +91-9734958887
                    Hotel Chandraya, Uttarey : +91-95939-83242
                    Green Valley Resort, Uttarey : +91-97330-84992 / +91-97331-65507 / +91-97349-58887 / +91-84361-07588

                    Dentam :
                    Madhu Pradhan’s Hotel, Bar & Restaurant : +91-97330-92280 / +91-96092-57112

                    Hee Gaon (Hee Patal) :
                    Nature Hilltop Resort, Hee Gaon : Mr. Pradip – +91-95646-16935 / Mayurima – +91-90932-00601 / Ganga Ji – +91-99321-21695

                    Gopi : +91-97330-83795 / +91-80162-88879

                    Gopi

                    Gopi

                    Cost :
                    Limboo Homestay Food Bill : Rs. 1000/-
                    Norbugang Entry Fee : Rs. 120/- (Rs. 20/- Per Head)
                    Kathog Lake Entry Fee : Rs. 60/- (Rs. 10/- Per Head)
                    Momo & Tea at Yuksom : Rs. 700/-
                    Kanchenjungha Falls Entry Fee : 60/- (Rs. 10/- Per Head)
                    Tiffin at Kanchenjungha Falls : Rs. 60/-
                    Khecheopalri Lake Entry Fee & Parking : Rs. 70/- (Rs. 10/- per head & Rs. 10/- Parking Fee)
                    Snacks at Pelling : Rs. 450/-
                    Pachu Residency Food Hotel : Rs. 1620/-
                    Tea at Dentam Valley : Rs. 40/-
                    Singshore Bridge Entry Fee & Parking : Rs. 30/-
                    Tea & Falley at Singshore Bridge : Rs. 210/-
                    Momo at Dentam (Madhu Pradhan’s Restaurant) : Rs. 300/-
                    Bill at Nature Hilltop Restaurant : Rs. 1940/-
                    Lunch at Jorethang : Rs. 960/-
                    Dinner at NJP : Rs. 860/-

                    Gopi : Rs. 3300/- per day

                    NOTE : I have omitted costs of personal nature such as buying beer / liquors etc.

                    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.

                    29 Comments

                    • […] Below is the full itinerary again for your reference… Day 1 : NJP – Reshikhola Day 2 : Reshikhola – Mankhim Day 3 : Mankhim – Zuluk (Dzuluk) Day 4 : Zuluk (Dzuluk) – Nathang (Gnathang) Day 5 : Nathang (Gnathang) – Gangtok Day 6 : Gangtok – Ravangla via Namchi Day 7 : Ravangla – Yuksom via Tashiding Day 8 : Yuksom – Pelling via Pelling Sightseeing Day 9 : Pelling – Hee Gaon (Hee Patal) … […]

                      Reply
                    • […] Here’s the final itinerary for your reference… Day 1 : NJP – Reshikhola Day 2 : Reshikhola – Mankhim Day 3 : Mankhim – Zuluk (Dzuluk) Day 4 : Zuluk (Dzuluk) – Nathang (Gnathang) Day 5 : Nathang (Gnathang) – Gangtok Day 6 : Gangtok – Ravangla via Namchi Day 7 : Ravangla – Yuksom via Tashiding Day 8 : Yuksom – Pelling via Pelling Sightseeing Day 9 : Pelling – Hee Gaon / Hee Patal … […]

                      Reply
                    • Anonymous
                      November 29, 2016 at 10:27 AM

                      4.5

                      Reply
                    • Shubhi Jain
                      December 8, 2016 at 3:20 PM

                      Flowers are so unique and colorful. Nice

                      Reply
                    • Mateen
                      February 15, 2017 at 9:08 PM

                      Normally I’m against killing but this article sluahgtered my ignorance.

                      Reply
                    • sneha govil
                      April 12, 2017 at 2:03 PM

                      Hi,

                      I need you help and advise for our trip to namchi, ravangla and pelling. Can you please guide us through it.
                      Here is our itinerary for above mentioned destination.

                      Day 7 – leave for pelling and visit namchi, ravangla on the way. stay at namchi.
                      Day 8 – move from namchi to pelling
                      Day 9 – pelling sightseeing and stay at pelling
                      Day 10 – Pelling to bagdogra

                      Can you please suggest someone with whom we can book car and hotel under tight budget. It will be really helpful.
                      We are visiting in first week of may. Please give an idea of estimated cost for both car and hotel for above plan.

                      Reply
                      • Krishnandu Sarkar
                        April 12, 2017 at 8:39 PM

                        Hi Sneha, It’d be good if you can please share your plan for Day 6, as suggesting anything is not possible without knowing from where you’d be coming from.

                        The routes and plans will be different for different regions. Please let me know the plan for Day 6 and then I can surely help with you with this leg 🙂

                        Reply
                        • sneha govil
                          April 12, 2017 at 9:58 PM

                          Hi,

                          Thanks for replying. 🙂 We will be coming from Gangtok.

                          Reply
                          • Krishnandu Sarkar
                            April 12, 2017 at 10:04 PM

                            Hi Sneha, Then you can do it like…

                            Day 7 : Gangtok – Namchi via Ravangla
                            Day 8 : Namchi – Pelling
                            Day 9 : Pelling Sightseeing
                            Day 10 : Pelling to Bagdogra

                            But you must note that Pelling to Bagdogra is around 6hours and your flight should be a late afternoon or evening flight.

                            If you can travel a bit more on Day 7 you can also do it like…

                            Day 7 : Gangtok to Pelling via Ravangla & Namchi
                            Day 8 : Pelling Sightseeing
                            Day 9 : Pelling – Kaluk
                            Day 10 : Kaluk – Bagdogra

                            You can do both Ravangla and Namchi in a day if you stary early from Gangtok. Then you can visit Kaluk too!!

                            Reply
                            • sneha govil
                              April 13, 2017 at 12:08 AM

                              Thanks Krishna. We will try this too. 🙂 Also can you please suggest us some names to book car for three people on this route.

                              Reply
                              • Krishnandu Sarkar
                                April 13, 2017 at 10:26 AM

                                Hi Sneha, Sure you may contact Dipankar Roy for arranging the car at +91-89722-47306 / +91-94745-94445. You may refer him my name, he knows me well!!

                                Also if you want you can check with the driver I always travel with in South & West Sikkim, Gopi : +91-97330-83795 / +91-80162-88879. You can also refer him my name. He’s a close friend of mine 🙂

                                Reply
                    • Sneha govil
                      April 14, 2017 at 3:08 PM

                      Thanks Krishna.. as per your suggestion we have modified our itinerary… But we want to know that from kaluk will we get any shared taxi or Jeep to bagdogra on day 10.

                      Reply
                      • Krishnandu Sarkar
                        April 14, 2017 at 3:35 PM

                        Hi Sneha, No. There are no shared taxis from anywhere to & from Bagdogra. Shared taxi’s do not ply to & from Bagdogra at all.

                        And also Shared taxis are bit rare in South & West Sikkim. Best is to hire a private vehicle as anyway the journey to Bagdogra is anyway a long one.

                        I would have suggested to break at Jorethang and go to Siliguri in sharing mode and then take a private cab to Bagdogra. But given that you’ll have a flight to catch, it’s best not to be adventurous and take a private vehicle instead!!

                        Reply
                    • Mayukh basak
                      May 9, 2018 at 10:30 AM

                      Krishnendu da,

                      I am a regular reader of your blog. I have done zuluk trip based on your guidance. your blog is very very helpful for traveler like us.

                      I want to visit pelling & surrounding places for 4 night 5 days with a tight budget with my wife & parents. total 4 heads.

                      can you please guide me about day wise eternity, site seen & budget.

                      Reply
                      • Krishnandu Sarkar
                        May 9, 2018 at 11:21 PM

                        Hi Mayukh,
                        Thanks a lot and I’m glad that you liked my blog 🙂

                        You can do it like…
                        Day 1 : NJP / IXB – Pelling
                        Day 2 : Pelling Sightseeing
                        Day 3 : Pelling – Ravangla – Borong
                        Day 4 : Borong – Namchi
                        Day 5 : Namchi – NJP / IXB

                        Budget depends on various factors like standard of hotels, mode of transport etc. On a budget tour, budget hotels would be aorund 1500/- per room per night. A small vehicle, would be around 2500/- per day or a Sumo / Bolero would be around 3300/- – 3500/- per day.

                        Reply
                        • mayukh basak
                          May 10, 2018 at 1:28 PM

                          Dear Krishnendu da,
                          thanks for your reply…

                          I want to do Ravangla , Namchi tour in some other time. rather would like to do bermiok, uttery, kaluk or rinchengpong. i saw the pictures of bermiok hotel of your’s & I want to visit the place.

                          please advice whether it is wise to stay 2 days at Pelling & 2 days at Nature Hilltop Resort & visit surrounding places or else stay at kaluk or rinchengpong?
                          hee bermiok & hee patal both are same place?
                          what will be expected site seen?
                          what is the cost for pelling site seen in a small car?

                          Reply
                          • Krishnandu Sarkar
                            May 13, 2018 at 9:14 PM

                            Hi Mayukh,
                            Well then you can do it like…

                            Day 1 : NJP / IXB – Kaluk
                            Day 2 : Kaluk
                            Day 3 : Kaluk – Hee Gaon / Uttarey
                            Day 4 : Hee Gaon / Uttarey
                            Day 5 : Hee Gaon / Uttarey – NJP / IXB

                            Nature Hilltop is in Hee Gaon (further from Chaya Taal). It’s a great hotel with great views. You can stay there. Or you can choose to stay at Uttarey also. However Nature Hilltop will be better than Uttarey in my personal opinion in terms of views, beauty and hotel.

                            Well yes if you want to do Pelling then do 2N Pelling and 2N Kaluk / Nature Hilltop. Well if you need to choose between Kaluk and Nature Hilltop then Kaluk wins hands down in terms of views. Hotel wise both places are same.

                            Hee Bermiok and Hee Patal are not same place. It’s closer though. All the sightseeings will fall en-route (except Pelling, where you’ll have 2nd Day for Pelling Sightseeing). So don’t worry on that.

                            A small vehicle would cost you around Rs. 2500/- – 2800/- per day.

                            If you are dong Pelling and Kaluk / Nature Hilltop, It’d be like…

                            Day 1 : NJP / IXB – Pelling
                            Day 2 : Pelling
                            Day 3 : Pelling – Kaluk / Hee Gaon
                            Day 4 : Kaluk / Hee Gaon
                            Day 5 : Kaluk / Hee Gaon – NJP / IXB

                            Between Kaluk and Hee Gaon (Nature Hilltop), I’ll always choose Kaluk over Nature Hilltop personally.

                            Reply
                    • Saheli Desai
                      June 9, 2018 at 1:21 PM

                      Dear Krishnandu da,

                      Thanks for your reply and refer your blog at Chayatal, I have already made a booking at Nature Hill Top Resort at Chayatal, and our Itinerary is like below: –

                      Day 1( 16th Oct) – NJP to Chayatal (Hee Gaon)
                      Day 2 – Chayatal Sight Seen ( Like Singshore Bridge and surroundings)
                      Day 3 – Chk out from Nature Hill Top, Sight seen of Pelling & Night Stay at Pelling
                      Day 4 – Pelling to NJP

                      I’m only looking for car for the above Itinerary, can Gopi will help in this regards?

                      Reply
                      • Krishnandu Sarkar
                        June 9, 2018 at 1:33 PM

                        Hi Saheli, The itinerary is perfectly fine. Yes you can call Gopi and refer my name. If he’s free on your dates, he’ll definitely help you out 🙂

                        Reply
                    • Soham Kundu
                      December 14, 2018 at 3:46 PM

                      Hi Krishnendu,

                      We are planning for a trip to West Sikkim in the month of March. Please find the itinerary below and suggest us if we can do any modification keeping number of days same.

                      Day 1: NJP to Okhrey

                      Day 2: Okhrey to Hiley. Trek to Varse. After lunch transfer to Kaluk.

                      Day 3: Kaluk- Rinchengpong- Barmiok- Chayatal- Uttarey.

                      Day 4: Uttarey- Singshore Bridge- Pelling. After lunch sight seeing to Khecheopalri lake and Kanchenjunga falls.

                      Day 5: Pelling- Ravangla. (Ravangla Local Sight seeing)

                      Day 6: Ravangla- NJP.

                      Reply
                      • Krishnandu Sarkar
                        December 14, 2018 at 8:03 PM

                        Hi Soham,
                        Well you are aiming a lot on Day 2. It’d be very tiresome and hectic. Better break it in to 2 days. On day 2 I’d recommend to come back and stay at Okhrey itself. Later you can move to Kaluk on Day 3.

                        There’s no point in staying at Uttarey after Kaluk. So you can leave that. And move to Kaluk on Day 3 as I suggested earler. Later on Day 4, while going to Pelling go via Uttarey and Singshore and cover Uttarey as sightseeing.

                        On Day 3, Rinchenpong and Bermiok are on different direction. You can cover Rinchenpong on your way to Kaluk from Okhrey.

                        So modification that I’d recommend is…

                        Day 1: NJP to Okhrey
                        Day 2: Okhrey to Hiley. Trek to Varsey. Overnight at Okhrey.
                        Day 3: Okhrey – Kaluk via Rinchenpong
                        Day 4: Kaluk – Chaya Taal – Hee – Bermiok – Dentam – Uttarey – Singshore – Pelling
                        Day 5: Pelling Sightseeing
                        Day 6: Pelling – NJP via Ravangla and Namchi

                        Reply
                        • Soham Kundu
                          December 14, 2018 at 8:42 PM

                          Thanks Krishnendu for your prompt reply. As per your advice you are asking to stay 1 night more in Okhrey and not to stay in Ravangla. But in day 6 we have to travel Pelling- Ravangla- Namchi- NJP (including Ravangla and Namchi sight seeing) and catch train in the evening. So is it possible to do Pelling sight seeing and transfer to Ravangla in day 5 so that we can have enough time in hand in day 6.

                          So the modified itinerary is:

                          Day 5: Pelling sight seeing and transfer to Ravangla

                          Day 6: Ravangla sight seeing- Namchi- NJP

                          Reply
                          • Krishnandu Sarkar
                            December 14, 2018 at 9:08 PM

                            Hi Soham, Pelling – NJP via Ravangla and Namchi can be done but yes you’d have to start early and there’s always a hurry catch the train and risk to miss the same.

                            Anyway, you can transfer to Ravangla on Day 5. That would be better I believe. But start early on Day 6 morning.

                            Reply
                            • Soham Kundu
                              December 14, 2018 at 9:32 PM

                              Ok.. Another thing … In day 3 which place will be better to stay? Kaluk/ Rinchengpong/ Barmiok/ Hee Gaon/ Chayataal?

                              Reply
                              • Krishnandu Sarkar
                                December 18, 2018 at 10:59 AM

                                Personally I’d recommend Kaluk / Hee Gaon. However view wise and nature wise I like Kaluk much. Also Hee Gaon being secluded is very costly and I don’t feel the view is worth the cost you pay.

                                Infact you get better views in Kaluk whereas in Hee Gaon it’s aerial view.

                                Reply
                    • Sankha De
                      September 8, 2019 at 11:53 AM

                      Hi Krishnendu,

                      We are planning for a short visit to north Bengal/Sikkim before durga pujo…..We only have a couple of days excluding the day we are reaching Bagdogra around 2 PM …. We want a smooth and relaxing couple of days with sightseeing at nearby places ……..would be really nice if we can have a glimpse of Kanchenjunga and also if a river flows nearby….I am considering currently chatakpur/Reshikhola….we have been to Kolakham and Rishop reading your blogs…they are absolutely priceless….thanks for helping so many travelers daily….thanking you in advance – Sankha

                      Reply
                      • Krishnandu Sarkar
                        September 8, 2019 at 12:51 PM

                        Hi Sankha, Thanks a lot and I’m glad that my blog helped you planning your trip before.

                        Well considering the views you are looking for, I’d suggest Silk Route. Yes you can start with Reshikhola and then to Mankhim and then to Zuluk / Lungthung.

                        So I need to know the exact number of days you have in order to suggest anything. And yes you can obviously plan for Reshikhola and Chatakpur, however those are completely different routes.

                        So instead if you have around 3N or 4N you can plan for Silk Route. So you’d get the views like River and Kanchenjungha both.

                        Reply

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