A Travelers Guide to Sikkim, India

A Travelers Guide to Sikkim, India

A part of the Eastern Himalaya

Sikkim the landlocked state is surrounded by Nepal, Bhutan, China and West Bengal is a wonderland for nature lovers as you can spot waterfalls and a wide variety of exotic plants everywhere. The people are very honest, hardworking & concerned about nature and that is the biggest reason behind it being the cleanest state, people don’t litter things on the road and they don’t even pee publicly. Moreover they don’t even let you do that and you might be scolded for doing that.

Few queries that everyone had due to lack of information about the north east were about

  • The best time (September – October & March – mid June)
  • Tension with China & terrorism like Assam (it is very peaceful last war was in 1967 since then no such incidence unlike the indo-pak border)
  • Permits (you need them but not a big problem, Refer this for more details Sikkimpermits )
  • People (they are mostly Nepali and are open to everyone)
  • English-speaking (Most of the people can speak English so it won’t be a lot of problem if you can’t speak Hindi).
  • Cost (A 10 day trip will cost you 25-30k solo, 17-20k each if you are two).

Few things that you should know before going to Sikkim

  • You need permits for going to north Sikkim and east Sikkim so carry min 4 passport size photos.
  • Nathula is closed on Monday & Tuesday plan accordingly.
  • It is a bit expensive for budget backpackers.
  • Carry with you a waterproof jacket coz it can rain anytime in Gangtok.
  • Booking your trip from NJP station might be the stupidest decision of your whole trip, the guys there will charge you double for what you will get in Gangtok and won’t respond to your complaint calls.
  • Foreign nationals can’t go everywhere and they need to be at least two people accompanied by a guide if they want to trek. Your go to place is Altitude travels near tourist reception centre mg marg, they specialise in arranging treks for foreigners, you can easily find someone to accompany you for the trek.
  • There are shared jeeps for most of the places that are shared by 10 people so book front two seats for you if you want to travel comfortably.
  • Internet is not smooth in most places except Gangtok so preplan your trip and have all the important info that you want saved on your mobile or laptop.

Ideal Route

Gangtok & North Sikkim.

Day 1 Going to Gangtok from Njp/Bagdogra

Day 2 Taking the Local sightseeing tour and booking the North Sikkim Tour.

  • Shared Innova from Bagdogra to Gangtok will be 700-800, or you can take a rickshaw to siliguri and then take a shared jeep to gangtok it will be 400-500.
  • Carry a waterproof jacket/umbrella as it can rain anytime in Gangtok.
  • I found a nice place for solo travellers on Mg Marg Go Hills Bnb(avg price for one person ₹600 including breakfast)
  • Restaurants- Khan Uncles, Bakers Café, Roll House, Apna Dhaba.

Day 3 Gangtok to Lachen

Day 4 Lachen to gurudongmar lake, chopta valley & then to Lachung.

Day 5 Lachung to Yumthang, Zero Point, Katao & back.

Day 6 Lachung to Gangtok

  • The roads are not great but the weather and the natural beauty is worth the bumpy ride so give it a shot.
  • You can book your north sikkim trip from travel operators, it will cost 2000-4000 depending upon hotel offered.(2nights 3 days, you can opt a night each in lachen & lachung or both the nights in lachung).
  • Can even book your hotel and hire a taxi by yourself the driver will take care of your permits and will charge 4500/day.(Contact of a Reasonable driver- Manoj 8436002396)
  • It weather will be cold and the air will be thinner carry your clothes, medicines accordingly.
  • Food will not be great, carry something from Gangtok.
  • You will have to pay ₹5000 extra for sightseeing at Lachung.

To get the insights of all the places open this: North Sikkim

East Sikkim

Day 7 Gantok to Changu/Tsomgo lake, Nathula, Baba Mandir(Old & New), Stay at Gnathang/Dzuluk/Kupup.

Day 8 Can stay at the same place for another day to enjoy the exquisite nature.

Day 9 Silk route sightseeing & move to Kalimpong (enjoy paragliding & white water rafting)

  • Day tours to Nathula,Tsomgo & Baba Mandir are available but for the three villages you have to go via you own vehicle, so better make friends during the journey and tell them about these places so that they join you.
  • My advice will be to stay at Gnathang, my experience was awesome.
  • Mobile signals are rare so inform anyone before leaving from gangtok.
  • No hotels you will find homestays in these villages.
  • Homestay will be 1500 per person including food(you can negotiate if you are two)

To get insights open East Sikkim

West Sikkim

Day 10 Kalimpong to Pelling

Day 11 Pelling is a place to relax so don’t go for day tour and enjoy your day.

Day 12 You can go to Namchi, Rabangla

Day 13 Darjeeling

Day 14 Back to NJP/Bagdogra

  • Though Pelling is suggested for relaxing the roads to reach there are extremely bad so I would suggest you to skip this.
  • I don’t have much info about west Sikkim because I opted to relax.
  • Kabur hotel is your go to place and they dont book online so call them.
  • You can get a ride for Pelling from Gangtok or Rangpo for 200 in a shared jeep.
  • Pelling to Darjelling will be 300 you have to switch your jeep at Gorethang.
  • Instead of taking the day tour walk to Pemyangtse Monastery and spend some time with the Monks.
  • Last Toy train ride in Darjelling is at 16:15 you can catch that if you leave Pelling by 7:00.
  • Darjelling to Bagdogra is again 200 in a shared jeep.

My journey

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Vik Rantgupta

Guest Wanderer

I am a young entrepreneur who loves travelling and sharing my travel stories. Currently i am working on my backpackers hostel project Wanderers nest in india and have friends all over the world. I am currently on a mission to cover india and then travel the world.

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