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Travel Advice: Sikkim

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This page is a dump of alot of information on things Sikkim, and is not meant to complement most tour guides but encapsulate key learnings.


What to do in 5 days

  1. Day 1: Local Gangtok sightseeing & acclimitization. hire a regular cheap omni for 4-6 hours and you're done. The best shopping for the trip was at the monastery on this day itself - you'll have lesser / costlier variety elsewhere except Kalimpong.
  2. Day 2: Nathu la & Tsomgo/Changu Lake. Leave early to beat the crowds. Don't give notes to the Chinese guards for exchange (they ask for it) - the Indian guards will let u do it and in 10s, confiscate the "illegal" Chinese currency & make you return it. Bah.
  3. Day 3: Depart (10am ish from the taxi stand for North Sikkim) for Lachen. Stay overnight - have enough garlic & soup.
  4. Day 4: Visit Gurudongmar in the first half, then retire for the day at Lachung.
  5. Day 5: Yumthang is paradise - make sure you stop for photography breaks (there's fantastic vistas at every turn). Yume Samdong (zero point) is overrated and only if you're desparate for snow (costs extra) and has bone chilling winds and little snow till November (most years).

Other itineraries include Pelling and east Sikkim (search for east Sikkim travelogues by user "ADC" on http://www.team-bhp.com )


Why or why not Should Foreigners Visit Sikkim (if you have the time!)

What do you get?

  • Gangtok - Nice place. Lovely small city (MG road is awesome pedestrian district)
  • Tsangu - Lovely but by itself is not worth it
  • Pelling - Not been there, but pretty much known for views of Kanchenjunga

What do you NOT get?

  • Gurudongmar - Amazing lake at 5000+m altitude
  • Yumthang valley - Come November and the flowers would be in bloom in Yumthang. Sight for sore eyes - but how far are you allowed?
  • Zero point/Lachung - End of the road, close to China - decent vistasand several other treks etc in that region.

Other things to keep in mind:

  • Kanchendjunga views are good BUT kindly realize that you are only getting half the package!
  • Darjeeling?

    NOOOO! It is overrun by diesel fumes, mad traffic, antiquated shabby buildings and just plain mad rush (try going there around/post pooja time - mayhem!) - full of completely overrated tourist points - the real joy is views of Kanchenjunga. The endless traffic jams don't help the cause either!

  • Kalimpong?

    Yeah!! It is a nice quiet place with lovely people, decent small bit of sightseeing and (yeah!) Kanchenjunga views!


Curiousities

  • Laid back: Sikkim is the only state - rather Gangtok the only state capital where even the booze shop closes by 7. So if you have midnight parantha pangs or want to shop in the evening, forget it.
  • Slow: The guys are really nice and honest, but rather slow compared to the average Himachali in Shimla. Sad but true, not necessarily in a negative way.


North Sikkim tour package

The cost circa '08 was 2100 per pax for three days full tour (paid 150 extra to driver for zero point) + 200 bucks for front seat. In terms of comfort, Mahindra maxx is good - for the front seat. The last seat in any cab is puke central.

Clearly, with all operators selling tours this cheap - you have the rooms serving the lowest common denominator and basically being crap. Ergo, the hotel in Lachung was nothing great - i'd recommend getting a discount and staying at the fortuna lachung anyday. Recommended: Front left room on entry with the fireplace. It costs a bomb however.


Sikkim tour Operator


Contact Rikesh Pradhan (Director) of BAYUL TOURS & TRAVELS PVT. LTD. ESTD 1990
Head office - Baluwakhani ,P.O.BOX: 59 ,
GANGTOK 737101, SIKKIM, INDIA.
PH: +91-3592-228341/226627 FAX: +91-3592-201422/222707
CELL: 9434127094 (D.N.Pradhan ) Managing Director, 9434409117 (Rikesh Pradhan) Director.



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Story | by Dr. Radut