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Old 1st June 2014, 07:10   #46
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Default Re: Mystical North Sikkim on a Classic 500 and CBZ Xtreme

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There is a line written above by Saket, that - if someone reads the entire travelogue in one go, he will be at the edge of the seat. Well, I did read it in one go, and Yes, I am there, a little more and I would be flat on the ground.

This is truly amazing, truly spectacular and wonderfully exotic. Just the pictures brought out a certain adrenaline rush flowing through. Imagine what the reality will do!! I remember going to Sikkim once, never went as far though, just restricted to Gangtok, Kalimpong, and I think Mirik. Now I regret why I didn't. Guess, you better do it when you can.

I would love to do this someday, not sure if I still have it in me to go the distance, but for sure will keep this on my to do list.
Thank You so much Sir.

The pictures do not describe the sheer splendour that North Sikkim has to offer. One has to see it to believe it. Also, most tourists restrict themselves to Gangtok and surroundings but trust me North Sikkim is a different world. I would say, take a few days off and visit this place for sure !!
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Old 1st June 2014, 11:01   #47
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Default Re: Mystical North Sikkim on a Classic 500 and CBZ Xtreme

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Thank You so much Sir.

The pictures do not describe the sheer splendour that North Sikkim has to offer. One has to see it to believe it. Also, most tourists restrict themselves to Gangtok and surroundings but trust me North Sikkim is a different world. I would say, take a few days off and visit this place for sure !!
Well written and beautiful pictures. I can feel the excitement through your words and pictures. Had done the Manali Leh route way back on a bullet in mid nineties when the old road had numerous charms yet to be smothered by BRO, so fully appreciate your feeling of thump and metal between the legs. It will stay with you for a very long time. And you did impressive distances. Respect. Could you please give more details about staying options in the North. If I go for camping would it be permitted? What about army presence up there?

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Old 1st June 2014, 21:56   #48
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Default Re: Mystical North Sikkim on a Classic 500 and CBZ Xtreme

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Well written and beautiful pictures. I can feel the excitement through your words and pictures. Had done the Manali Leh route way back on a bullet in mid nineties when the old road had numerous charms yet to be smothered by BRO, so fully appreciate your feeling of thump and metal between the legs. It will stay with you for a very long time. And you did impressive distances. Respect. Could you please give more details about staying options in the North. If I go for camping would it be permitted? What about army presence up there?
Thank You so much Sir.

North Sikkim is less crowded when compared to other parts of Sikkim, so hotels are readily available on spot. I would list down the towns and accommodation facilities:

Mangan: Around a dozen hotels over a varied budget range.

Chungthang: Only a couple of hotels, basic facilities and cheap.

Lachung: Good number of hotels around this picturesque hamlet over a varied budget range.

Yumthang: No hotels here.

Lachen: Good number of hotels available here.

Thangu: Only a couple of basic hotels with common toilet facilities, no electricity here.

I am not sure about permits for camping. We did not see any camping activities wherever we went. However I assume that in the famous trek routes around North Sikkim, camping takes place. So there might be some way to seek permissions and pitch a tent.

The Army is very helpful and is present almost everywhere in the region. There are seven Army checkposts, one each in Chungthang, Lachung, Yumthang, Yumesamdong, Lachen, Thangu and somewhere between Thangu and Gurudongmar Lake. There is a tank regiment beyond Thangu. On seeing the Enfield's up there at Gurudongmar Lake, the Army personnel were delighted, got themselves clicked on our bikes and also provided us enough fruit juices, chocolates, cookies and welcomed us at a tank regiment too. We were not allowed to take pictures though. There are no mechanics or vehicle repair shops beyond Mangan so if anything goes wrong with the vehicles, help is always at hand courtesy the warm and friendly Army personnel omnipresent in the entire district of North Sikkim.
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Old 2nd June 2014, 11:04   #49
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Default Re: Mystical North Sikkim on a Classic 500 and CBZ Xtreme

@//M - cant agree with you more. A picture is worth a thousand words, a video worth a thousand pictures, being there in person, well that's priceless!! Your travelogue is epic, man.
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Old 2nd June 2014, 13:44   #50
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Just awesome, lovely in-depth write-up and photographs. Braving these slopes in a two wheeler is a tremendous feat in itself. The cold must have been like knives and daggers. Made my day reading the log.
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Old 2nd June 2014, 16:02   #51
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Default Re: Mystical North Sikkim on a Classic 500 and CBZ Xtreme

That was a great trip with some awesome captures. I am planning to travel to Gangtok-Lachung-Yumthang-Zero Pt sometime in next March. How is the road condition from Gangtok to lachung and onwards to Zero Pt.
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Old 3rd June 2014, 22:09   #52
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Default Re: Mystical North Sikkim on a Classic 500 and CBZ Xtreme

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Originally Posted by rattanw View Post
@//M - cant agree with you more. A picture is worth a thousand words, a video worth a thousand pictures, being there in person, well that's priceless!! Your travelogue is epic, man.
.
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Just awesome, lovely in-depth write-up and photographs. Braving these slopes in a two wheeler is a tremendous feat in itself. The cold must have been like knives and daggers. Made my day reading the log.
Thank You so much Sir.

There were some serious inclines and dangerous slopes with thousand feet drops, but all these challenges only added to the motoring pleasure that we will cherish for a long time to come.

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That was a great trip with some awesome captures. I am planning to travel to Gangtok-Lachung-Yumthang-Zero Pt sometime in next March. How is the road condition from Gangtok to lachung and onwards to Zero Pt.
Thank You sir. The road conditions from Gangtok to Mangan is excellent, Mangan to Chungthang is pathetic, Chungthang to Lachung and Zero Point is good with excellent views and scintillating scenery. Any car will be able to make it without much of an issue. Sedans with long wheelbases might have a problem though.
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Old 7th June 2014, 18:22   #53
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Default Re: Mystical North Sikkim on a Classic 500 and CBZ Xtreme

Dear //M,

Brilliant narration and pictures. We did this entire stretch in 2010 December, against popular advise (fears about the chilling winter et all), but in the end, never regretted a moment nor a penny spent. But of-course, yours has been way better, because you had the courage to ride it up all the way, alas we were at the mercy of our tour operator (who was pretty decent by the way). Re-lived our entire trip reading your travelogue. Someday, sometime, will try and knock up the courage to drive it up.

Many many many congratulations, both, for an excellent trip and a and an even lovelier trip report.

Cheers

AG
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Old 28th April 2016, 16:37   #54
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Default Re: Mystical North Sikkim on a Classic 500 and CBZ Xtreme

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5th May, Day 1


Three of us started off from Ranchi at 5 am on two motorcycles, a Royal Enfield Classic 500 Desert Storm and a Hero Honda CBZ Extreme.
Hey M.

This is one of the best travelogues around Sikkim. Thanks for sharing.

I own a CBZ Xtreme and I have a plan to cover Leh and Ladakh along with a couple of my friends in July-August this year.

Wanted to ask a couple of things related to CBZ Xtreme so that I can prepare well for the journey. Hope this is fine with you.

1. How did the CBZ performed during the journey, on highway, hills, corners, no roads? Were there any nervous moments?

2. My bike is 7 years old and I have already covered close to 60,000 kms on it. Do you think that the bike can be taken on this trip? Did you guys took care of anything special while preparing the bike for this journey? Focus on servicing, engine, brakes, air filter, among others

3. My bike has tube type tires, Michelin Sirac Street which I changed around 15,000 kms back, so they have almost 10,000 kms of effective life in this. Do you think that I should upgrade the tires or these will do?

4. Any other information which you think may be useful.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 28th April 2016, 17:03   #55
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Default Re: Mystical North Sikkim on a Classic 500 and CBZ Xtreme

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Hey M.

This is one of the best travelogues around Sikkim. Thanks for sharing.

I own a CBZ Xtreme and I have a plan to cover Leh and Ladakh along with a couple of my friends in July-August this year.

Wanted to ask a couple of things related to CBZ Xtreme so that I can prepare well for the journey. Hope this is fine with you.

Thanks in advance.
Hi Amit, many thanks for the appreciation. Let me try and answer your questions:


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1. How did the CBZ performed during the journey, on highway, hills, corners, no roads? Were there any nervous moments?
The CBZ performed very well in the entire trip, except that it really struggled hard to climb the last few kms to Zero Point. We had done a mistake of attempting Zero Point in the second half of the day knowing that the weather will turn bad. It rained and it was freezing cold so our bodies went numb and the air-fuel ratio in the CBZ did not help.

The same CBZ now over 50000 kms on the odo did the entire Spiti circuit without any hiccup at all.

The link to the travelogue: The rarefied air of a high altitude cold desert - Spiti Valley on Motorcycles (The rarefied air of a high altitude cold desert - Spiti Valley on Motorcycles)

Ladakh thankfully does not have serious gradients like Sikkim even though altitude-wise Ladakh is much higher in elevation. Its a known fact that in the afternoons, the weather in these high altitude places can turn bad and windy so its best if you attempt the higher passes during the day time.

August will be relatively pleasant, the glaciers would have melted and the weather would be quite nice specially in the later half of August.

I do not think the CBZ will face a challenge. With little caution and some patience this is very much doable.


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2. My bike is 7 years old and I have already covered close to 60,000 kms on it. Do you think that the bike can be taken on this trip? Did you guys took care of anything special while preparing the bike for this journey? Focus on servicing, engine, brakes, air filter, among others
Yes ofcourse the bike can be taken on this trip provided you get a thorough servicing done prior to the trip and carry all essential spares.

You may refer to the Spiti travelogue (link shared above) where we did not carry enough spares forcing us to tow one of the Enfield's from Chandratal to Manali.


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Originally Posted by Amit_breakfree View Post
3. My bike has tube type tires, Michelin Sirac Street which I changed around 15,000 kms back, so they have almost 10,000 kms of effective life in this. Do you think that I should upgrade the tires or these will do?
Tube type tyres are not a problem as long as you can fix a puncture by yourself assuming the worst case scenario. Else I suggest you get a new set of tubeless tyres as CBZ has alloy wheels and with tubeless tyres, fixing punctures won't be that difficult.


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4. Any other information which you think may be useful.
Maintain good health, carry essential spares, ride a thoroughly serviced motorcycle, and let the adventure begin.

My only concern is last year the taxi mafia in Ladakh had created some nuisance to self-drive rentals and even to some private vehicles. This year the road will open in June so do proper research through various travel forums to reassure that its safe to ride motorcycles there.

All the best.
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Old 28th April 2016, 17:29   #56
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Default Re: Mystical North Sikkim on a Classic 500 and CBZ Xtreme

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Hi Amit, many thanks for the appreciation. Let me try and answer your questions:

The CBZ performed very well in the entire trip. All the best.
Thanks a lot M for the detailed response and your inputs. I'll surely go through the Spiti travelogue for more information.

My only concern is that I have shifted to Hyderabad recently and my bike is in Delhi, so I'll have to tell one of my friends to pick up the bike, get the servicing done and ride it for couple of hundred kms so that any factor which can trouble in the long run can be identified. Will have to think of this! Also check about the price of new tubeless tires and should I go for it or not depending on the remaining life.

One more thing, in how many days were you able to complete the whole circuit? I won't be able to get more than 10 leaves at a stretch so we plan to complete it in 15 days. Will that be enough?

Couple of my other friends are taking bikes on rent but you know the feeling of doing this circuit on your own bike will be unparalleled.

On a separate note, I read that you started your journey from Ranchi. Are you from Ranchi by any chance?
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Old 29th April 2016, 09:35   #57
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Default Re: Mystical North Sikkim on a Classic 500 and CBZ Xtreme

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Thanks a lot M for the detailed response and your inputs. I'll surely go through the Spiti travelogue for more information.

My only concern is that I have shifted to Hyderabad recently and my bike is in Delhi, so I'll have to tell one of my friends to pick up the bike, get the servicing done and ride it for couple of hundred kms so that any factor which can trouble in the long run can be identified. Will have to think of this! Also check about the price of new tubeless tires and should I go for it or not depending on the remaining life.

One more thing, in how many days were you able to complete the whole circuit? I won't be able to get more than 10 leaves at a stretch so we plan to complete it in 15 days. Will that be enough?

Couple of my other friends are taking bikes on rent but you know the feeling of doing this circuit on your own bike will be unparalleled.
15 days for a Ladakh circuit is good enough ex-Delhi if you plan to take the Delhi - Srinagar - Kargil - Leh - Nubra Valley - Pangong Lake - Manali - Delhi route. Infact you will still have 2 days to spare which you may utilise to see the Zanskar & Suru Valley or you may ride towards Tso Moriri and Hanle or you may have 2 days as buffer days which can be utilised at the end of the trip after reaching Manali maybe towards the Tosh Valley or Tirthan Valley and then back to Delhi.

The fun of riding your own motorcycle through the high passes is unparalleled for sure and I totally agree to it.


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On a separate note, I read that you started your journey from Ranchi. Are you from Ranchi by any chance?
Yes I am from Ranchi, now staying in Pune. Your profile also suggests you are from Ranchi. There are quite a few bhpians from Ranchi in this forum now, the count is increasing slowly.
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Old 29th April 2016, 11:36   #58
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Default Re: Mystical North Sikkim on a Classic 500 and CBZ Xtreme

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Delhi - Srinagar - Kargil - Leh - Nubra Valley - Pangong Lake - Manali - Delhi
Yes I am from Ranchi, now staying in Pune. Your profile also suggests you are from Ranchi. There are quite a few bhpians from Ranchi in this forum now, the count is increasing slowly.
Thanks for your valuable inputs M. We are planning for the same route, the only difference is that we plan to go from Manali side and return via Srinagar. The plan is strictly on very preliminary stage right now. Will surely get in touch with you when a more detailed plan is ready.

That's great. I am from a town called Jamalpur in Bihar and my dad is posted in Ranchi from last 7 years so I can say that I am from Ranchi too. Right now I am working in Hyderabad. We should open a Ranchi chapter now and see if all of us can contribute, the only problem will be matching the leaves and timeings for everybody.
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Old 29th April 2016, 11:41   #59
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Default Re: Mystical North Sikkim on a Classic 500 and CBZ Xtreme

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Thanks for your valuable inputs M. We are planning for the same route, the only difference is that we plan to go from Manali side and return via Srinagar. The plan is strictly on very preliminary stage right now. Will surely get in touch with you when a more detailed plan is ready.

That's great. I am from a town called Jamalpur in Bihar and my dad is posted in Ranchi from last 7 years so I can say that I am from Ranchi too. Right now I am working in Hyderabad. We should open a Ranchi chapter now and see if all of us can contribute, the only problem will be matching the leaves and timeings for everybody.
There used to be a Ranchi/Jamshedpur meet thread in Team-Bhp however it is now inactive for years due to lack of member participation, solely because most members have moved elsewhere and visit their hometowns only once in a while.

Also, there is a dedicated Ladakh route plan thread which will help you immensely while finalizing your trip plans.

Here's the link to the thread: Leh, Ladakh and Zanskar - The Ultimate Guide
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Old 29th April 2016, 11:51   #60
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Default Re: Mystical North Sikkim on a Classic 500 and CBZ Xtreme

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There used to be a Ranchi/Jamshedpur meet thread in Team-Bhp however it is now inactive for years due to lack of member participation.

Also, there is a dedicated Ladakh route plan thread which will help you immensely while finalizing your trip plans.

Here's the link to the thread: Leh, Ladakh and Zanskar - The Ultimate Guide
I have joined Team-Bhp only last year so I wasn't sure that such a thread exists. That's one of the problems, if one is into IT, finance or any such industry then we don't have options around our hometown. So leaving Ranchi/Jamshedpur was the only option we have got. Let's see, will ping you when I go to Ranchi next, maybe we can meet up over a tank full of petrol.

Thanks for guiding me to the thread. Will surely have a look at it, but on the onset it surely looks like Encyclopedia on planning a Ladakh trip.
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