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Old 21st May 2014, 20:05   #16
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Default Re: Mystical North Sikkim on a Classic 500 and CBZ Xtreme

Good T-log and decent snaps for a digicam.Lucky Mr.//M for undertaking the ride in the peak of summer and enjoying his bike ride.

Going through the snaps ,cant help but say that India has so many beautiful places to be explored.I just wish that the infrastructure was much better so that any biker can readily undertake a trip and so called permits are easily available so that the rider can concentrate and enjoy the ride much better.
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Old 22nd May 2014, 02:51   #17
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Default Re: Mystical North Sikkim on a Classic 500 and CBZ Xtreme

8th May, Day 4


We left Mangan by 7 am for Chungthang. This 30 kms was probably the worst stretch of road in the entire journey. More than a road, itís a slush field with water crossings and boulders over the roads due to landslides. It took us close to 4 hours to complete the 30 odd kms to Chungthang. The first checkpost where the permits were asked for lies 10 kms before Chungthang.
With wasting further time, we continued to Lachung. Compared to the Mangan-Chungthang stretch, the Chungthang-Lachung road was a paradise for bikers. Not that it had an excellent surface, but it was just so much scenic and beautiful.

We reached the picturesque hamlet of Lachung by 12 pm. The second checkpost was here. We submitted a copy of the permit and proceeded to Yumthang. The third checkpost was at Yumthang. The road runs through the breathtakingly scenic Shingba Rhododendron Sanctuary. I always thought Yumthang was a picturesque village and the gateway to the beautiful Yumthang Valley, so we planned to stay the night in Yumthang. No doubt Yumthang was like a fairy tale. Lots of waterfalls, beautiful streams, rhododendrons, yaks, snow-capped peaks and the lovely Teesta River, Yumthang had it all. But it had no hotels. One must stay in Lachung, beyond which there are no hotels in Yumthang Valley. On the way we saw some lovely colorful birds. I am not an ornithologist, but then some of the birds I saw here I am sure I was seeing them for the first time. The lovely environs of the picturesque Yumthang Valley are indeed very rich in their variety of flora and fauna.

So we proceeded to Yumesamdong, submitted a copy of the permit at the fourth checkpost here and went to Zero Point situated at a height of 15,500 feet above sea level. Now Zero Point must be visited in the first half of the day in order to avoid clouds that restrict visibility. We reached Zero Point by 3 pm, couldnít really enjoy the views around. But we saw snow, lots of snow. The CBZ faced some minor acceleration problems as the climbs were steep but the Classic 500 marched ahead as if it was a homecoming for my Enfield. It started raining all of a sudden and we couldnít spend much time there. So we rode back to Yumthang. As we descended, the CBZ started behaving normally again. The rain and the cold made us shiver and the fingers and toes went numb. The only savior was a small shop that was open in Yumthang which served us tea and amazing maggi. The most delicious maggi I ever had if I recollect correctly. Drenched in the rain, we rode back to Lachung. We checked in a hotel called P.D.Resort. The family which runs the hotel was so warm and friendly. The room was simple but cozy and comfortable with excellent view of a huge waterfall outside. There is no mobile connectivity in Yumthang Valley and Lachung.

Route Taken: Mangan-Chungthang-Lachung-Yumthang-Yumesamdong-Zero Point-Yumesamdong-Yumthang-Lachung (175 kms)

The 30-odd kms from Mangan to Chungthang, which took us close to 4 hours to complete
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The Chungthang-Lachung stretch of 30 kms took us just 1 hour to complete

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The picturesque little hamlet of Lachung

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Old 22nd May 2014, 10:59   #18
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Default Re: Mystical North Sikkim on a Classic 500 and CBZ Xtreme

Some pictures taken at Zero Point and Yumthang. Please excuse the quality of the pictures as they are taken from a mobile cam. The camera battery already drained out and there was no electricity in Yumthang so we couldn't charge it at all. It was freezing cold and it was raining too. We were drenched and were shivering badly. Just a few clicks we managed to take from a mobile cam.
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Old 22nd May 2014, 11:28   #19
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Default Re: Mystical North Sikkim on a Classic 500 and CBZ Xtreme

Quote:
Originally Posted by DragonHawk View Post
Oh man!!, Photographs are really tempting to make a trip over there. Definitely this is going to be next ride after my Ladakh trip this year.

BTW I see you have changed your stock tires. Can you share the details of your new tire.
Thank You Sir.

The front tire is a stock one, however I changed my rear tire before the trip. Its a Ceat Vertigo 120/80 R18 and costed me Rs 2225.00 from a local dealer. Some pictures I posted in my Classic 500 Desert Storm thread:
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/motorb...ml#post3421250 (My 1st Bull: Classic 500 Desert Storm)

Quote:
Originally Posted by -veSpace View Post
Beautiful pictures and descriptions of these divine places... would love to see more.

We visited Sikkim from 26th Apr to 4th May this year. Visited Gangtok (Tsomgo Lake), Lachung (Yumthang Valley) and finally Darjeeling on our way back.
Having visited and experienced the relatively untouched beauty of Lachung and Gangtok - Darjeeling felt like a bit of a downer.
Enjoyed our trip to Sikkim much more than our similar trip last year to Shimla and Manali.
Thank You sir.

We wanted to visit Tsomgo Lake as well, but due to a landslide the road was blocked and no permits were issued for this route. Next time, I will surely cover the eastern Sikkim.


Quote:
Originally Posted by sayakc View Post
Hey Arunabh,
So you have done it!Hearty congratulations.
Were you focussed solely on North Sikkim or did you explore other regions as well? Do let us know more.

And i guess you procured the permits from the Home dept? It will be helpful if you can share any contact since the travel agents charge exorbitantly.
I am planning another trip to the area this Oct.

Btw, during the time you were in North Sikkim, I too had gone venturing out to Goecha La, a popular trek .Will share them later on the forum.

Rated 5*

Thanks!
Sayak
Thank you so much Sayak A big thanks to your thread which was indeed an inspiration !!

We only visited North Sikkim. We had time constraints and moreover, the road to Tsomgo Lake was blocked due to a landslide so the permits were not issued on this route. But east Sikkim is on cards as well, for the next time though.

Now I am awaiting your Goecha La thread with anticipation. Do post a thread about the trek plus some drool worthy pics too.
Quote:
Originally Posted by raghubhaskar View Post
Really beautiful pics..!! One would definitly agree, India is very beautiful..!

How did the CBZ fare? Any hiccups? Also how did you arrange the stays there? I'm planning a family trip this year end so just wanted to know.

Again, a very daring and beautiful TL..!! 5 stars..!!
Thank You Sir.

The CBZ did very well apart from a minor acceleration problem over steep slopes at sub-zero temperatures. But overall the CBZ is a hearty bike and covered all the distance without any major hiccups.

Regarding the stays, we didn't arrange any. We just reached places and looked for options. Since we three were students, we were on a budget so we looked for spacious, decent options which would be easy on the pocket too.
Quote:
Originally Posted by gaurav_3000ad View Post
Bravo!!!

Having stayed in north sikkim for the better part of past two years, it speaks a lot about your mettle to take two wheelers upto gurudongmar and back. The roads after mangan are probably some of the worst i've encountered. But yes, on the flip side, the views more than make up for it.

Waiting for the rest of your write-up. Cheers.
Thank You sir.

You are absolutely right about the roads and yes, ofcourse the breathtakingly beautiful views. The bad roads were a challenge and I am happy that both the motorcycles didn't face any problems.

The rest of the travelogue will be up soon !!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seventhgear View Post
Good T-log and decent snaps for a digicam.Lucky Mr.//M for undertaking the ride in the peak of summer and enjoying his bike ride.

Going through the snaps ,cant help but say that India has so many beautiful places to be explored.I just wish that the infrastructure was much better so that any biker can readily undertake a trip and so called permits are easily available so that the rider can concentrate and enjoy the ride much better.
Thank You sir.

Yes the permits do pose restrictions on travel but it also restricts these pristine places from getting overcrowded. Going through this thread, you will also realize that getting the permits done was not at all difficult for us.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oreen View Post
Oh, what pics. Went mad looking at them and lusting like crazy.
The last longish ride I had done was in Himachal with son and wife (Machismo 350) way back in 2008. After that been itching to go, but these pics have totally woken me up. Oh, to be able to bike up there!

Can you share some phone numbers of people who can get passes and permissions? I had been to East Sikkim in 1994 (Yoksum, Bakhim, Jamlinkham, and Chaurikiang), but all a trek up from Yoksum, not motorable roads at all. Your pics brought back wonderful memories. Thanks! Rated 5 stars.
Thank You sir.

There are several agents who can get the permits done for you. But my suggestion would be to get the permits done by yourself from the Home Department. You will have to spare a day for this though.

The charges we were quoted by the agents were around Rs 1000.00 per person and Rs 1000.00 per bike. So three people plus two bikes meant close to Rs 5000.00 so we chose not to get in touch with any agent. We straight away went to the Home Dept, got the permit forms, attached the documents required and got the permits done at Rs 20.00 per bike and not even a single penny charged for three of us. So for two bikes, we payed a mere Rs 40.00 for a permit duration of 7 days and saved atleast Rs 4960.00
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Old 22nd May 2014, 13:55   #20
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Default Re: Mystical North Sikkim on a Classic 500 and CBZ Xtreme

Fantastic journey Arunabh! Sorry to be late to the party, but somehow I missed your thread. But as they say, better late than never.
Amazing journey and beautiful pictures. Never had any doubts on the RE, but surely a great show put up by the CBZ, being a regular commuter bike. Hats off to you & your team who managed to scale those heights on two wheels, and through such adverse riding conditions. Great show indeed.

A journey to NE India always fascinates me and hopefully my next trip will be to this region only. When and by what mode, remains to be seen.

Do bring in the remaining posts soon; already rated 5 stars!

Regards,
Saket
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Old 22nd May 2014, 15:58   #21
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9th May, Day 5


We started off from Lachung early in the morning at 5 am and reached Chungthang by 6 am. Got some signals of phone network and called up my parents, who were tensed as I was not able to contact them the previous day due to no mobile network in Yumthang Valley. From Chungthang, we proceeded towards Lachen. The fifth checkpost was at Lachen and the copy of the permit alongwith the details of the travelers were submitted here.

99.9% of the tourists going to Gurudongmar Lake stay in Lachen and then start the ascend by 3-3.30 am in the next morning in their respective tourist cabs, reach Gurudongmar by 9-9.30 am and come back to Lachen by 3 pm, as it is not advisable to spend much time in Gurudongmar Lake due to thin air, low oxygen levels and one must return back to the checkpost by 12 noon. But for bikers, it is difficult to start riding in this stretch at 3 am due to the following reasons:

1. Dense clouds and foggy conditions that restrict visibility making riding very difficult. Post 5.30 am the clouds clear out.
2. There are no roads post Lachen. Itís more of a dirt track with several water crossings. So bikers are not advisable to ride in such conditions with zero visibility in a dark night.

So keeping these two reasons in mind, we proceeded to Thangu, a small village at 14,000 feet above sea level. We reached Thangu by 11.30 am. Thangu, however, has only a couple of hotels. Very basic, cheap, simple rooms with common toilets. But still it was a wise decision as one will get acclimatized easily in such high altitude and also from Thangu, Gurudongmar Lake is just 32 kms away so a 6.30 am start will ensure we reach Gurudongmar Lake by 9 am.

At Thangu, we met a group of 8 Bulleteers from Siliguri, under the club ďTeesta ThumpersĒ. We made good friends with this gang and went on walking around Thangu towards the Chopta Valley. Also, the family which runs the Dragon Hotel in Thangu were very warm and the kids were so friendly. We had to take the kids for a small ride in our motorcycles around the picturesque village of Thangu. Again, there is no mobile network anywhere in and around Thangu. Infact, there is no electricity too. The few lights that work are due to the solar power. The earthquake in North Sikkim had devastated Thangu and now fresh electricity lines were being laid out between Lachen and Thangu.

However, one can use the phone at the ITBP (Indo-Tibetan Border Police) Checkpost in Thangu from 9 am to 10 am and then from 3 pm to 4.30 pm daily. Normal STD rates are applicable for the calls. Winter jackets, gloves and boots can be had for rent from Thangu for a very nominal cost to be used in Gurudongmar Lake. Thangu also has the sixth checkpost and one copy of the permit had to be submitted here.

We had a great time discussion motorcycles and traveling with the Teesta Thumpers and retired to bed after having a delicious dinner.

Route Taken: Lachung-Chungthang-Lachen-Thangu (86 kms)
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Old 22nd May 2014, 18:02   #22
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Default Re: Mystical North Sikkim on a Classic 500 and CBZ Xtreme

Quote:
Originally Posted by saket77 View Post
Fantastic journey Arunabh! Sorry to be late to the party, but somehow I missed your thread. But as they say, better late than never.
Amazing journey and beautiful pictures. Never had any doubts on the RE, but surely a great show put up by the CBZ, being a regular commuter bike. Hats off to you & your team who managed to scale those heights on two wheels, and through such adverse riding conditions. Great show indeed.

A journey to NE India always fascinates me and hopefully my next trip will be to this region only. When and by what mode, remains to be seen.

Do bring in the remaining posts soon; already rated 5 stars!

Regards,
Saket
Thank You so much Sir.

The CBZ did put up a brilliant show. We were a little worried when it faced those acceleration problems in Zero Point but it was totally fine as soon as we started descending the slopes. It was so cold up there that probably the engine was a little reluctant to get the motorbike moving.

North East India is indeed fascinating. I couldn't get enough of those verdant meadows, valleys, rivers and snow-capped peaks in such a short duration of time. I will be back there for sure, whenever time permits. East Sikkim and Tawang are two places that I still need to tick in my bucket list.

The remaining posts and pics will be up very soon !!
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Old 22nd May 2014, 18:14   #23
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Originally Posted by //M View Post
The CBZ did put up a brilliant show. We were a little worried when it faced those acceleration problems in Zero Point but it was totally fine as soon as we started descending the slopes. It was so cold up there that probably the engine was a little reluctant to get the motorbike moving.
I think the CBZ was a little reluctant due to low air density & hence lower levels of oxygen which resulted in poor Air/Fuel Ratio. Since, you did not mention that it was tuned to take on this challenge before ascending on the hills (by running the engine little leaner), I suspect it to be the case.

Also, since your RE has electronic fuel injection , it fared much better by adjusting into the scenario automatically in real time.

Regards,
Saket

Last edited by saket77 : 22nd May 2014 at 18:18.
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Old 22nd May 2014, 22:14   #24
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Default Re: Mystical North Sikkim on a Classic 500 and CBZ Xtreme

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Originally Posted by saket77 View Post
I think the CBZ was a little reluctant due to low air density & hence lower levels of oxygen which resulted in poor Air/Fuel Ratio. Since, you did not mention that it was tuned to take on this challenge before ascending on the hills (by running the engine little leaner), I suspect it to be the case.

Also, since your RE has electronic fuel injection , it fared much better by adjusting into the scenario automatically in real time.

Regards,
Saket
That's true Sir. The Air-Fuel Ratio was a spoilsport. The EFI in my Classic 500 helped it to climb up the slopes with ease, while the CBZ was struggling due to the thin air.

Thank You for sharing this bit of info.
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Old 23rd May 2014, 09:18   #25
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10th May, Day 6


At 6 am we saw hordes of tourist cabs approaching Thangu packed with tourists from all over India. Thangu is a breakfast point for these tourists. We got several thumbs-ups from the tourists and many also posed with our motorcycles for a quick snap. Kids, elders and young ladies loved my Classic 500 Desert Storm. The younger generation flooded us with several questions about our ride and how we tackled the cold in Zero Point and whether it is easy to cross the water crossings on two-wheelers. Many lovely young ladies posed with our bikes which became a bragging point for us in the entire trip.

At 7 am, we left Thangu for Gurudongmar Lake. The Bullets marched forward and the thump was music to the ears. We left the CBZ Extreme in Thangu fearing that it might not be able to climb up the slopes as it faced problems during the climb in Zero Point.

The 32 kms to Gurudongmar Lake was a proper dirt track. It can easily be classified as a poor manís Ladakh, much similar to the More Plains. While Yumthang Valley is as beautiful as a fairy tale with lush green meadows and waterfalls, the Gurudongmar Lake has raw beauty. Stark landscapes, inhospitable and harsh climate, sub-zero temperatures, high altitude sickness, strong winds and no tarmac, this sums up the access road to Gurudongmar Lake.

We reached the seventh and the final checkpost at 15,000 feet en route to Gurudongmar Lake and our details were registered here and a copy of the permit was submitted. The beauty of Gurudongmar cannot be explained in mere words. Another bigger problem is we did not have a better camera to get excellent pictures, but this place is a treasure. Absolutely beautiful and at 17,100 feet above sea level, it is one of the highest lakes in the world. The lake was half frozen even during May. We went walking around the lake and touched the water which is said to have strong healing powers.

We spent almost two and half hours there and then by 2 pm we returned back to Thangu. We also saw tanks on road. Probably the BMP tanks on test. Three of the eight Bullet's that the Teesta Thumpers were riding got some issues during the incline and also during the descend, few of them couldn't balance their bikes due to strong winds and fell off. One of their bikes also suffered a puncture.

We left Thangu by 2.30 pm and reached Chungthang by evening for a nightís stopover. Chungthang has only a couple of hotels and we stayed in Hotel Pema Gantsey. Basic rooms, electricity is a problem here too.

Route Taken: Thangu-Gurudongmar Lake-Thangu-Lachen-Chungthang (125 kms)
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Old 23rd May 2014, 10:21   #26
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Default Re: Mystical North Sikkim on a Classic 500 and CBZ Xtreme

The more the story unfolds, the more mystic it becomes. Magic of NE coupled with your spectacular narration. And beautiful pictures to make it complete.
Please also let us readers know about the availability and expenses towards staying & fooding. I think I need to take more details from you about Sikkim soon.

Regards,
Saket
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Old 23rd May 2014, 11:05   #27
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Default Re: Mystical North Sikkim on a Classic 500 and CBZ Xtreme

Some pictures of the mighty Gurudongmar Lake and its surroundings.
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Old 23rd May 2014, 12:47   #28
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Default Re: Mystical North Sikkim on a Classic 500 and CBZ Xtreme

Quote:
Originally Posted by saket77 View Post
The more the story unfolds, the more mystic it becomes. Magic of NE coupled with your spectacular narration. And beautiful pictures to make it complete.
Please also let us readers know about the availability and expenses towards staying & fooding. I think I need to take more details from you about Sikkim soon.

Regards,
Saket
Thank You again Sir Ji.

There are quite a few hotels in Mangan, Lachung and Lachen over varied budget ranges. There are no hotels in Yumthang, though. Chungthang and Thangu have only a couple of basic hotels.

As far as fooding is concerned, you will get momo's, thukpa's, thenthuk's, maggi almost everywhere. North indian cuisine is available in some hotels, bengali food is available in a few hotels as well.

While accommodation is mostly on the cheaper side, food is a little costly. We carried an electric kettle with us, sugar and tea bags. So we used to get normal drinking water and make hot pipping black/green tea every morning.

As far as food is concerned, well, we three are big foodies. So, we carried enough khakra, thepla, missi poori with us so that in case we are stuck in a landslide or any such situation, we will have enough food to tickle our taste buds as well as to keep our starving bellies bulge in delight.
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Old 23rd May 2014, 16:37   #29
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Default Re: Mystical North Sikkim on a Classic 500 and CBZ Xtreme

Khoob Bhalo.

I had been to these places in November-December 2011 and the memories are just coming back all over again. Thank you very much for sharing. Off course the visit at that time was in car (chilling honeymoon) and I remember spending a chilling night at 23rd mile post near Baba Mandir. ( I hope the name of the milepost is correct). There was some major landslide and we had to spend the entire night in that chilling stormy winds and rains. Though it was a pain, but yes, its definitely some experience, worth remembering, worth cherishing.

Reading this travelogue is bringing back those for memories. Thank you again for sharing
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Old 23rd May 2014, 22:43   #30
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Khoob Bhalo.

I had been to these places in November-December 2011 and the memories are just coming back all over again. Thank you very much for sharing. Off course the visit at that time was in car (chilling honeymoon) and I remember spending a chilling night at 23rd mile post near Baba Mandir. ( I hope the name of the milepost is correct). There was some major landslide and we had to spend the entire night in that chilling stormy winds and rains. Though it was a pain, but yes, its definitely some experience, worth remembering, worth cherishing.

Reading this travelogue is bringing back those for memories. Thank you again for sharing
Whoa that would have been some experience.

We wanted to squeeze in another day and travel the Gangtok-Tsomgo Lake-Baba Mandir-Kupup-Zuluk-Rongli route. But due to a major landslide just before Tsomgo Lake, the road was blocked and the permits were not issued on this route. So we dropped our plans and carried on to North Sikkim.

Thank You for sharing your experience and I am glad that this travelogue brought back those fond memories.
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