Sikkim tour

Here is a comprehensive Sikkim tour guide. Sikkim is land of glaciers, alpine pastures, rhododendron, monastery, snow, tea gardens, herbs. It is extremely tourist friendly state of India. Because it is close to international border hence Indians need permit.  Tourism and Civil aviation department issue permit to visit certain attractions. While all foreign nationals need Inner Line Permit (ILP) to visit any part of the state.

Day wise break up of 8 day trip

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Itinerary of 8 day Sikkim tour

Indians need permit for below attractions in Sikkim tour:

  1. Gurudongmar lake
  2. Yumthang valley
  3. Zero point
  4. Tsomgo lake
  5. Baba mandir
  6. Nathula pass

Foreign nationals get permit only for below listed attractions: 

  1. Gurudongmar lake
  2. Yumthang valley
  3. Zero point
  4. Tsomgo lake

Pakistan, Bangladesh, China, Myanmar and Nigeria nationals do not get any permit.

Most noteworthy, only Indians can visit Baba mandir and Nathula Pass.

Documents needed for permit in Sikkim tour 

  1. Passport (mandatory for foreign nationals)
  2. Indian nationals need IDs containing address like voter ID etc.
  3.  Passport size photograph (3 pics are required)

Permits are issued only through local tour operators. Hence I chose Sikkim Tours and travels for permit.

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Why is Sikkim an ideal holiday spot?

  • Endless landscapes exhibiting natural beauty
  • extremely safe destination
  • humble, helpful and trendy locals
  • If you wish to explore a remote corner

How to book hotel in Sikkim?

I used MakeMyTrip to book hotel using “Book Now Pay Later” feature. As a result I did pay for hotel booking in advance.

Budget: 1200-1500 INR/hotel

Day 1: Reach Gangtok and check in to hotel

How to reach Gangtok, Sikkim

By Air: Siliguri (IXB) or Bagdogra (IXB) is the nearest airport.

From airport prepaid taxi are available to Gangtok. The price of prepaid taxi is fixed hence I paid 2200 (Indian rupee) for a private taxi in December 2016.

Travelling time between Gangtok and Bagdogra is 4.5 hours.

To be continued in next blog…

 

Trip to Sikkim – Unwind ME

Previously in this story

We quickly checked in to the hotel as it had already been a long day. We made hotel bookings of entire trip through MakeMyTrip using their feature “Book Now, Pay Later“. This gave us the flexibility of confirmed booking without paying anything and cancelling it anytime up to 2 days before the check in date. Our decision of bringing in ample cash was right. In the nation gripped with the wave of demonetisation, everyone was grabbing every opportunity to get hand on the paper currency.  We were asked to pay for the room tariff in cash. We were happy as we had already anticipated this situation and were prepared for it. Upon enquiring about the North Sikkim tour transportation, hotel staff at the reception desk told they’ll connect us to the local tour operator.

First look at the room and it was nicee… Check out the room pics here.

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I always check the washroom first at any hotel/guest house. That way I ensure if the place has been cleaned properly before check in, it was super clean here. I grabbed the in-house restaurant menu and there came another pleasant surprise. The menu was full of vegetarian dishes whereas I was expecting that there may be just handful of them.  We quickly ordered for room service. Meanwhile our probable tour operator came in to meet us. Our idea of this holiday was not to rush anywhere.

Sometimes the most productive thing you can do is to relax – Mark Black

We wanted to see whatever was feasible by spending as much time as we want at a particular place of interest. We had a chat with the operator and decided that we’ll take private cab for our first leg of journey as North Sikkim terrain was extremely rough and in the next 3 days we’ll see the second highest lake in India, Yumthang valley and Zero point the last outpost of civilisation.

Cost and tour operator details

I called up my parents to inform that I’ve reached Gangtok and as usual they said “Enjoy”. I stood by the window for a while to feel the air. Although it was cold but it was pure. There was something beside the hotel which I could not figure out what it is as it was dense dark outside. But far away Gangtok city was glistening in lights. I allowed this cool breeze to fall on me till the time dinner came in. Surprisingly, I was not interested in watching television or browsing internet on my mobile although WiFi connection was available. Something magical had already started to happen. 🙂 After having yummy dinner, quickly went off to sleep wrapping myself in a cosy blanket with wind passing in from time to time. Yes, that’s how winters are in North and East India. No matter how thick your blanket is but the cold air will find their way into your rooms.

Sun rises from the east, it was an early morning for me next day. I could hear some voices outside the window. I got up to see what I couldn’t the previous night. It was a football stadium and a group of boys were enjoying themselves in a match, game extremely popular in East India. All of sudden it clicked that I was in home state of Baichung Bhutia ,God’s gift to Indian Football.

And what a place to build the stadium, under the shelter of mighty Kanchenjunga, third highest mountain in the world.

sdr

I turned back all happy and went downstairs to the reception to hand over the documents needed for permits. As we were to leave for Lachen by 9.30 AM; a town which acts as night halt for tourist intending to visit Gurudongmar lake, we got ready and had delectable complimentary breakfast at the hotel. By the time we were done with it, our cab had reached the hotel and driver had the required permits. Talking about the cab, since next 3 days would take fitness, stamina, endurance test of not only us but also the vehicle, so we had Mahindra Xylo, a beast at our service.

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Rainbow among pure air

We checked out, loaded luggage in the CUV(crossover utility vehicle) and embarked towards Lachen.

To be continued in next blog…