17 November 2010

Sikkim Trip: Summary & Retrospect

We the group of six people(myself, Jatin, Ravi, Jay, Deb, Harish) made the most of back-to-back long weekends in Oct-Nov 2010 and explored one of picturesque states in India. Thanks a ton to Jatin for taking up the initiative of planning the trip and getting people on board, without his enthusiasm the trip would not have materialized.

Let’s get to Retrospect of the trip
  • The ten day long trip was my first date North-East India and also with Himalayas.
  • North Sikkim is simply beautiful. Majority of time and energy should allocated for it.
  • Kachenjunga view: East, West or South Sikkim, starting the day early with view of Kachenjunga will be a ritual. The best view was at Pelling(W.Sikkim) where we witnessed the early morning spectacle from open balcony of our hotel. Btw it’s not only about Kanchenjunga, the local peaks in North Sikkim are equally magnificent.
  • Waterfall overdose: The number waterfalls I witnessed in 10 days of the trip would be easily more than numbers I would have seen before the trip. Initially it used to exciting but in final leg of the trip it got too mundane. Don’t even remember names of a few falls :)
  • Lonely Planet guide was very handy to read being physically present at a site, it makes a hell lot of difference. Instead buying the entire book I downloaded the pdf version of Sikkim chapter(only 25 pgs) individually from online store for $4.95. It was worth every cent as I was able to carry the printout in my camera bag throughout the trip.
  • Travelling during diwali(off-season in Sikkim) was a plus point as we were able get deals w.r.t accommodations etc.
  • Flying in Spicejet for me was the worst experiences of travelling by air till date. While landing at Kolkata as well as Bagdogra the cabin pressure was so hopelessly maintained that I literally felt like cutting off my ears.

Itinerary in brief:
I am reproducing this because it can be a handy reference for people who are planning to visit Sikkim in future. Since efficient connectivity is a major issue in the state, proper planning should be a top priority. We wasted most of time in negotiations, especially in second half of the trip as we had not planned it well in advance.

Day-0: 28th Oct 2010
  • Bangalore to Bagdogra (via Kolkata) by flight.
  • Took a prepaid taxi from Bagdogra airport to Gangtok(AC Innova for 2300/-).
  • Arrived in Gangtok at 8.30 pm. Did accommodation hunting for an hour and checked-in at Hotel Fujiya near MG Road.
Day-1: 29th Oct 2010
  • Enquired about N.Sikkim and Nathu La trips and finalized the deal with Lama Tours and Travels(next to Tourism office).
  • Around 11 am we started with Gangtok sight seeing in two Maruti Omnis. MUV taxis like Sumo don’t have permits inside the city so we were forced to hire two vehicles.
  • Visited Flower park, Hanuman Tok, Ganesh Tok, Zoological Park (to see Red Pandas), Tashi Viewpoint, a Monastery, Bakhang Falls and some viewpoint near Assembly house.
  • Later in evening we had a casual walk on MG Road. Had momos at roll house and pastries, cookies at Baker’s Cafe.
Day-2:  30th Oct 2010
  • Nanthu La and Chaggu Lake trip.
  • Had a photo session with Indian jawans at Nathu La and with Yaks next to Chaggu lake.
Day-3: 31st Oct 2010
  • Departure for North Sikkim Trip.
  • Stopover at Seven-sisters waterfalls and Phodong for lunch.
  • Tea at Singhik viewpoint witnessing panoramic view of Teesta Valley.
  • Reached Lachen at 7 pm.
Day-4: 1st Nov 2010
  • 4:30 am: Departure towards Gurudongmar Lake
  • 6:30 am: Stopover at Thangu for breakfast and simultaneously experienced snowfall. Couldn’t continue towards Gurudongmar, as there was high probability of road blockage on account of heavy snowfall.
  • Back to Lachen, departure to Lachung after lunch.
  • Stopover at Teesta-Lanchung river confluence near Chungthang and BimNalla waterfalls
  • At Lachung, we witnessed daylight fading into dusk by relaxing on banks of the river below the cantilever bridge.
Day-5: 2nd Nov 2010
  • 5.30 am: Departure to Yumthang Valley
  • Breakfast at Pema’s Shop
  • 9 am: Experienced sub-zero temperature and 360 degree snow clad mountains at Zero-point(15000+ feet)
  • Back to Lachung for lunch and departure to Gangtok.
Day-6: 3rd Nov 2010
  • 11 am: Departure towards Ravangala (via Rumtek) after all kinds of silly delays.
  • Visited Rumtek monastery and golden Stupa. Had a chat with a lama and discussed about significance of the monastery.
  • 5:30 pm arrival at Ravangala. Enquired and bargained about trips around Ravangala.
Day-7: 4th Nov 2010
  • 8 am: Departure from Ravangala
  • Visited Ravangala Kanchenjunga Viewpoint, Temi Tea Garden, Sandruptse(Padmasambhav statue), Namchi Rock Garden. At Temi combination of Tea Garden, Cherry Trees and Kanchenjunga in background was an experience indeed.
  • 5.30 pm: Arrival at Pelling and checked-in at a hotel by ensuring that it had decent of Mt. Kanchenjunga.
Day-8: 5th Nov 2010
  • Early morning wake-up to view Mt. Kachenjunga from balcony for our hotel. Witnessed orangish light falling on tip of the peak.
  • Pelling sightseeing: Visit to Pemayangtse monastery, Khechoperry Lake, Rimbi Falls, Kanchenjunga Falls, Changay Falls, Singhore Bridge(second highest suspension bridge).
  • Concluded the sightseeing by a visit to helipad of Pelling. At nighttime one can see illuminated towns nearby Geyzing, Namchi, Ravangala and also decently lit Darjeeing at far away distance.
Day-9: 6th Nov 2010
  • 7 am: Departure from Pelling thru Sikkim Transport Bus.
  • Took an overnight train from NJP to Kolkata and next day’s evening flight from Kolkata to Bangalore.
  • The half day stopover at Siliguri was disappointing. The hyped up Hongkong market had nothing to offer.

Detailed Narration

Major expenses ( All figures in Indian Rupees)
  • Per Head Expenses
    • Flight: Bangalore->Bagdogra: 7000
    • Flight: Kolkata->Bangalore: 5300
    • Bus: Pelling->Siliguri: 130
  • Group Expenses ( 6 people)
    • Taxis:
      • Bagdogra->Gangtok: 2300 [ Innova with A/C ]
      • Gangtok->Ravangla + 2 hour stopover at Rumtek: 2500 [Mahindra Max]
      • Ravangla->Pelling + South Sikkim sightseeing: 2500 [Sumo Victa]
    • Accommodation
      • Gangtok (4 nights): 5000
      • Ravangala (1 night): 800
      • Pelling (2 nights): 2400
    • Conducted Trips ( including accommodation and food)
      • North Sikkim: 16000 [ including permit fee]
      • Nathu La and Chaggu Lake: 6000 [ including permit fee]
      • Gangtok sightseeing: 2400


  1. useful post. Will refer to it if I ever plan one to sikkim

  2. Anonymous4:49 AM

    thanx a lot mate!

  3. Thanks a lot, its so useful and lucky to find it before my trip which is towards end of march!!

  4. Very Helpfull Post for Every One who want to visit Sikim......

  5. Lovely reading all these about known places...

  6. Good reading about all these known places..

    1. Too much helpful..thanks a lot 😊

  7. Excellent post! Extremely helpful :)