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.

Click here especially for Travel tips

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…

 

North Sikkim tour

Visit to North Sikkim need minimum 3 days. My trip included visit to Gurudongmar lake, Yumthang valley and Zero point. Click here for Sikkim tour – Part I

Interesting facts about Sikkim:

a)Vehicles of other Indian states are not allowed in Sikkim for sightseeing . Vehicles of other states can enter the state only to drop off the passengers at their hotel/home. Drivers should very well know the local routes and respect army restrictions which is otherwise a punishable offence.

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Facts about Sikkim

 

Day 2: Beginning North Sikkim tour by reaching Lachen (base village for Gurudongmar lake)

By road is the only available mode. Private or shared cabs can be hired from Gangtok. I chose for private cab from Sikkim Tours and Travels. Travel time between Gangtok and Lachen is 7 hours covering distance of 95 KM.

Why special visit to a lake:

i. It is one of the highest lakes in the world located at an altitude of 17,800ft

ii. It’s proximity to Chinese border

iii. It’s sacred nature due to the legends associated with Guru Padmasambhava and Gurunanak.

We were riding on SUV owing to the difficult terrain that was waiting to be conquered. Sikkim has mountainous terrain with lush greenery and waterfalls all over.

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Stopover for lunch en route to North Sikkim

Gangtok was windy at 19°C while in Lachen mercury had dipped to 11°C. Our body had to acclimatise both to mountain sickness and the temperature. We had early dinner in Delight hotels Royal Lachen and marked it end of day.

Day 3: Our ascent to Gurudongmar

We began our journey at 4 in the morning when temperature was negative and we were shivering. It took 4 hours of treacherous ride through snow clad peaks to reach the lake.

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Food available on way to Gurudongmar:

Since oxygen level and temperature is low around the lake, it’s essential that one should not have empty stomach.

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Food available on the way to Gurudongmar lake

The locals will let you buy the least quantity of liquor which will make you feel at ease with the temperature.

I was admiring the locals for hospitality, adherence to rough surroundings, hard-working nature, zeal to stay at native place and still make a beautiful today and better tomorrow.

15 Km before the lake is Indian army base camp.

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Snow covered mountain on the way to Gurudongmar
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North Sikkim tour

I bought handful of coffee mugs as a small token of saying THANK YOU.

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Gurudongmar lake

An interesting fact about this lake is that a part of it never freezes and devotees carry sacred water in containers.

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It is advisable to return to Gurudongmar lake army base camp max by 12 noon as the oxygen level dips further. We stayed at the lake for about 45 mins and began our descent to Lachen. During descent we saw alpine pastures covered with rhododendron tree all over. This state has maintained its raw form and is still flourishing.On reaching the hotel in Lachen, had lunch and left for next stop, Lachung.

To be continued in next blog