03 April 2016

FAQs on Sikkim Trip

Art work at Rumtek Monastery
I had been to Sikkim in 2010 for a week and had covered many of the interesting places. The experiences of the trip shared in this blog have been very handy for people who plan for a visit to  the State. And based on the detailing and prompt response to queries some people assume I am a travel agent or a resident of the state :) especially in my post on North Sikkim ! Also, there have a few specific queries from my close friends. This blog post is an attempt is to consolidate all such queries at one place :)

Q: Winter clothes - how many overcoats/sweaters one needs to wear to bear the cold?
It depends on the time of year you're visiting Sikkim. In winters, it will be very cold at high altitudes and wearing thermal is highly recommended if you're not used to cold climatic conditions. Whereas in summers, the temperature in Gangtok would be normal i.e. manageable without jackets and in North Sikkim you can manage with one layer of warm clothes.

Q: Shoes - should we have one extra pair? Will it get wet soon?
Not required, it will unnecessarily add weight to your luggage. Your shoes may get wet while walking on the snow at Zero-point but you can manage by having a back-up slippers/floaters.

Q: Yak Ride - how much one negotiate for Yak Ride Tshung lake in Gangtok. I read a mule stepped on your feet in Ladakh? How about here - is it crowded?
I didn't opt for Yak Ride and it may be crowded during peak season as many tourists will be keen on having a profile with the beast :) Btw Tsanghu lake is quite far from Gangtok, may be around 2-3 hours ride :). A mule had stamped on my feet when I was hiking at Valley of Flowers which is quite far from Ladakh :).

Q: Lonely Planet Sikkim Guide - you told you have the guide. Can you pass it on? :)
It's DRM protected soft copy and also with dated information. I highly recommend you to download latest PDF version at Lonely Planet - India- Sikkim - Download for 3.32 USD

My friend Debojit having Veg Thupka
Q: Food - how is the food there, should we carry some fast food/junk food?
At remote areas while traveling, getting homely food will be tough and you may have to compromise with Maggi. You will get dal and rice at accommodations at North Sikkim but don't have very high expectations. It's recommended to carry some junk food for quick bites. However, I suggest trying out local cuisines like Momos and Veg Thupka. If you're a non-veg there will be multiple options for which I am not the right person to comment.

Q: How to protect the Camera in moist, windy, cold conditions in Sikkim. Did you buy any special gear for that ? 
Not required. All entry-level DSLRs are robust enough to sustain cold temperatures. If you want to be on safer side, I suggest buying a DSLR pouch from amazon/flipkart. Kindly note that you may not be able to get good quality pictures by operating DSLRs inside this pouches :)

Q: Any other suggestion you would like to make?
  • Nothing particular. Do you try to strike a conversation with locals. They will have some interesting story to share. Many households have their sons/daughters working in metro cities in India and would definitely relate to your stories. 
  • Have realistic expectations about travel time. In mountainous terrain, sometimes you won't be able to cover even 20 kms in an hour :). 
  • I am planning to write a new post on top-10 things to do in Sikkim stay tuned !

Q: We are 4 adult 2 kids and one infant and wanted to visit north Sikkim in coming June last week, could you plz suggest here ?
Travel to North Sikkim is regulated. You cannot travel on your own. Please book your excursions from an authorized tour operator in Gangtok. For details, you can get in touch with Binita Lama: 09734983536/09832079292. Young kids may have difficulties in getting adjusted to high altitudes but I feel it won't be serious.

In case you have any other queries please write me at sandeep.shande@gmail.com. I will try my level best to address it :)

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