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.
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.
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.
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.
We checked out, loaded luggage in the CUV(crossover utility vehicle) and embarked towards Lachen.
To be continued in next blog…