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Old 14th January 2010, 14:45   #16
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You can cover West Sikkhim also, which has some nice places like Rumtek, Ravangla, Pemayangtse, Kechopari. Scenic drives, lots of waterfalls (although they may be dry in Feb), lots of greenery. But honestly, I think you should postpone visit to Sikkhim till April when there is lot more greenery, flowers and water flowing in the rivers once summer starts. North Sikkhim is also a better place to go at that time.
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Old 14th January 2010, 16:57   #17
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I had been to Sikkim in May '07. We were there for 8 days and covered quite a few places, especially North Sikkim. We went all the way up to Gurudongmar Lake, which is 17100ft above MSL. It was an out-of-the-world experience for me. It is a little difficult getting to that place, you need to go to Chungthang, then to Lachung, then to Yuhme-Somdang and then onto Gugudongmar. You will need to spend a night at Lachung. These areas are well into Army land and needs special permission for entry, but the journey and the destination are very much worth the 2-day hassle.

These places are a bit off-the-beaten-track, but they afford some breathtaking scenery (waterfalls, mountains, rivers, lovely meadows, valleys etc) hardly found anywhere else in India. I found the whole state to be extremely neat and clean. Food can be a problem in the outskirts. But it pays to heed the adage, "When in Rome, be like a Roman", and try out what is made there locally. Vegetarians might find getting food other than dal-chawal a tough proposition. Non-vegetarians will be slightly happier - chicken is plentiful, you will also get lamb and sheep meat or even beef and pork.

Among the few places that I have had the good fortune of visiting, Sikkim holds pride of place for its pristine locales, awesome diversity (altitude goes from < 1000ft when you enter the state through the Siliguri-Gangtok road, all the way upto 20000+ft, giving the state abundant flora and fauna), cleanliness and that great feeling of being away from crowds.
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Old 14th January 2010, 23:39   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by civicsense View Post
I had been to Sikkim in May '07. We were there for 8 days and covered quite a few places, especially North Sikkim. We went all the way up to Gurudongmar Lake, which is 17100ft above MSL. It was an out-of-the-world experience for me. It is a little difficult getting to that place, you need to go to Chungthang, then to Lachung, then to Yuhme-Somdang and then onto Gugudongmar. You will need to spend a night at Lachung. These areas are well into Army land and needs special permission for entry, but the journey and the destination are very much worth the 2-day hassle.
How difficult are these permissions to get? I heard that
  1. You need to hire a local cabbie
  2. He can get the paperwork done much faster than you can on your own.
How far is this true?


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Originally Posted by arin_12 View Post
You can visit Darjeeling at this time. Crowd will be really less. I will suggest you to visit Darjeeling if you have not been. But remind that this time it will be too cold there. Just Exactly opp to Chennai climate

You can go to MIRIK/Kalimpong...
I think if there are things to do and places to see around Gangtok for 6 days, we might not visit Darjeeling. Else we will.


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Originally Posted by ashthedivx View Post
As per information gathered things aren't very smooth currently, however, it is completely your decision so I would not interfere there-in.

However you can pm Chevy_lover and phamilyman, they were great helper.
Have PMed Chevy_lover, will PM phamilyman as well. The road blockages are really unfortunate. Lets hope that they dont interrupt.

Do they block the roads everyday? Apart from road blocks, what else do they do? I mean can there be problems at Gangtok?

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Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
I think you should postpone visit to Sikkhim till April when there is lot more greenery, flowers and water flowing in the rivers once summer starts. North Sikkhim is also a better place to go at that time.
We really need to get a trip done soon. When does spring start? I am thinking beginning of April.
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Old 15th January 2010, 00:10   #19
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That is all true but Darjeeling is an overcommercialized bustling dirty dieseled blotch on the landscape. I would anyday recommend Kalimpong over Darjeeling!
I beg to differ on this. I have been to Gangtok and Darjeeling many times and both have their own charm. Agreed that Darjeeling becomes horrible during summer season. The best time to go there is in December -January. Very little crowd, chilling cold and the great food at Glenary and Keventers.. yummy..
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Old 15th January 2010, 14:26   #20
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I think I should clarify that I wasn't trying to promote Darjeeling by saying what I said. I was just trying to illustrate the difference between a hill station and a valley town through an example. A new comer to Darjeeling might not like the hustle and bustle of the town. And I agree Kalimpong is way more soothing. But Darjeeling, as BlackPearl says, will always be a favourite of mine, especially in winter.
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Old 26th January 2010, 04:15   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sudipto-S-Team View Post
But Darjeeling, as BlackPearl says, will always be a favourite of mine, especially in winter.
And Darjeeling is not called the Queen of the Hills without a reason. Hope it still stays the queen after Gorkhaland.
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Old 26th January 2010, 06:20   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackPearl View Post
I beg to differ on this. I have been to Gangtok and Darjeeling many times and both have their own charm. Agreed that Darjeeling becomes horrible during summer season. The best time to go there is in December -January. Very little crowd, chilling cold and the great food at Glenary and Keventers.. yummy..
To each their own. As a delhiwala who himself HATES the chaos of Shimla to the core - FWIW, I've sped through Shimla atleast 15 times in the past four years and stopped only once - to buy engine oil - that tells you what I think of overgrown hill cities!!

Of course, I saw it just immed. after the Pooja season but the levels of chaos/mismanagement and diesel fumes were anything but adorable! Though yes, I can see how someone whose seen Darjeeling over the years (esp in off season) may have a close bond!!
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Old 1st March 2010, 14:31   #23
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Default Family trip to Sikkim (April 11 to 18)

We are a family of 4 adults and having now booked tickets to IXB (April 11 to 18), I am trying to finalize the itinerary. Based on the information from the threads here and from other forums, this is the tentative plan:

Sunday: Arrive Gangtok from IXB
Monday: Gangtok- Tsomgo lake-Nathula pass Tukla pass Baba Mandir - Gangtok
Tuesday: Gangtok to Lachen with sightseeing in between (Labrang monastery, Phodong Monastery, Singhik view point)
Wednesday: Lachen- Thangu valley - Gurudongmar Lake - Tsolamu lake Chopta valley - Lachung
Thursday: Lachung-Katao-Yumthang valley-Zero point-Yumsamdong-Lachung
Friday: Lachung-Gangtok with sightseeing in between (Dzongu?)
Saturday: Sightseeing and shopping around Gangtok
Sunday: Attend church in Gangtok and take a jeep to IXB

I would love to have inputs on my itinerary. I also need specific guidance on these points:
  1. Places to see enroute Gangtok to Lachen
  2. Places to see enroute Lachung to Gangtok
  3. Sightseeing and shopping places in and around Gangtok for Saturday
  4. Any place that I have missed out that I should visit?
I am also open to a complete revision on the itinerary.

many thanks
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Old 1st March 2010, 15:33   #24
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Proxima, no Rumtek (25 kms from Gangtok) or Pemayangtse (full day to and fro)?
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Old 1st March 2010, 16:28   #25
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Thanks HVK. Will include Rumtek. But am not sure if I can accommodate Pemayangtse.Any inputs on
  1. Places to see enroute Gangtok to Lachen
  2. Places to see enroute Lachung to Gangtok
  3. Sightseeing and shopping places in and around Gangtok for Saturday
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Old 1st March 2010, 19:21   #26
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Does anyone know of good tour operators in Sikkim?
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Old 1st March 2010, 19:47   #27
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I traveled to North Sikkim places like Gurudongmar lake, lachen, lachung, etc by tours conducted by Blue Sky Tours and Travels. Their office is located in MG Marg in Gangtok near Sikkim Tourism Office. Their Site : http://www.himalayantourismonline.com/home.htm. You can talk to Mr. Bhaichung.

They are reputed and reliable and yes, they bargain too! :-)

I would recommended having good gaps. Back to back can get hectic and roads and very bad and long journeys.

What we did was:

Day 1: Reached Gangtok. Saw Gangtok. Visited Blue Sky office and discussed plans. Booked them for North Sikkim and Nathula Trip. Both these places require permission which they arrange. You need to take your ID and photos.

Day 2: Started for North Sikkim trip. Reached Lachen in evening abt 7 hrs drive. Make sure you take a 4X4 like Mahindra Maxx ONLY! It can be a savior.

Day 3: Started very early for Gurudongmar Lake. Visited that and reached Lachen in afternoon. And started for Lachung. Reached Lachung in night

Day 4: When to Zero Point and yumthang Valley and back to Lachung

Day 5: Started for Gangtok and reached at 4PM. Visited Ropeway in Gangtok

Day 6: Gangtok -> Nathula Pass -> Changu lake -> Gangtok. Also try to visit on the day China Market is open. Its very close to Nathula Pass. Till I remember its closed on Sat and Sun.

Day 7: Left for Darjeeling


This was the most ideal as we were family and took things easily. Anything less and can be painful. Also there are landslides, road blocks all the time. These places can be harsh on health so be completely prepared!

Always carry emergency medication, especially things like eno, vicks, balm, etc.

Also, Please check the weather and double check if all these places are accessible.

Wish you and your family a very safe trip.

Last edited by devrajman : 1st March 2010 at 19:51.
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Old 2nd March 2010, 21:16   #28
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During my trip, I included Pelling also. It is of some distance but the view of the mountains from there is a lifetime experience. Through tea gardens I went to Darjeeling with some steeeeep roads. It was a memorable experience.
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Old 8th March 2010, 16:45   #29
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Thanks Devang, have sent you a PM.

Friends, this is the itinerary that I have come up with after quite a bit of research and talking to people, please let me know if it makes sense.

Also, has anyone traveled with Arun Bhagat of Travel Zone Tours and Treks?

Quote:
11 April Sunday:
Go to Pelling from IXB. Land in IXB at 1:30, leave IXB around 2:30, reach Pelling around 7:30. Evening and night in Pelling free.
Stay in Pelling.

Monday:
Before breakfast - Get up early around 5-30AM. Trek to Sanga Choeling Monastery (2nd oldest of Sikkim) for 40 minutes climb. Back to Pelling by 8:30 AM
Before lunch - Rimbi waterfalls, Rimbi rock garden, Khecheopalri lake, Kanchenjunga falls
After lunch - Pemayangtse Monastery, Rabdengtse Ruins (Ancient capital of Sikkim & upper Helipad)
Stay in Pelling.

Tuesday:
Start early for Gangtok around 7 AM. Reach Gangtok by 12 Noon. Afternoon and evening free for going around Gangtok and shopping...
Stay in Gangtok.

Wednesday:
Trip to Tsomgo Lake, Nathula Pass, Baba Mandir & Tukla pass.
Stay in Gangtok.

Thursday:
Gangtok to Lachen. En-route - Seven Sisters falls, Amitav Bacchan falls, Vima Falls, Phodong View point & Monastery, Labrang monastery, Singhik view point
Stay in Lachen.

Friday:
Lachen to Tahngu - Chopta Vally- Gurudongmar Lake - Tsolamu lake - back to Lachen ... after lunch go to Lachung
Stay in Lachung.

Saturday:
Start early morning - Zero point (Yumesamdong) Yumthang valley back to Lachung.
Lachung to Gangtok.
Stay in Gangtok

18 April Sunday:
Start for IXB from Gangtok.
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Old 8th March 2010, 17:30   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Proxima View Post
Monday:
Before breakfast - Get up early around 5-30AM. Trek to Sanga Choeling Monastery (2nd oldest of Sikkim) for 40 minutes climb. Back to Pelling by 8:30 AM
Before lunch - Rimbi waterfalls, Rimbi rock garden, Khecheopalri lake, Kanchenjunga falls
After lunch - Pemayangtse Monastery, Rabdengtse Ruins (Ancient capital of Sikkim & upper Helipad)
Stay in Pelling.
I would suggest you to include Sinshore Bridge in the "after lunch" schedule. It's so much worth seeing. You have ask the operator specially for this.

Plus, you will enjoy the trek to Sanga Choeling Monastery.

Rest looks fine. But just ensure with the individual driver that they can afford to complete the Lachen-Lachung trip properly. For us (we went in 1st week of Feb), the vehicle was not in proper health and we had to cut short our Lachung trip (only Yumthang)

Last edited by mayukh : 8th March 2010 at 17:35.
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