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Old 21st September 2010, 00:41   #16
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Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
Agree with SS and Suman. Yes, the latest map is the route to take, via Nagpur, Raipur, Sambalpur, Kharagpur, Calcutta, Durgapur, Siuri, Malda & Siliguri.

Why not your original route?
- Badlands of UP
- Terrible parts of Bihar
- Some bad roads

Why this new route is the best?
- Some bad roads in Orissa & CG, but great otherwise
- Some Naxal-affected areas between Jashpur & Kharagpur, but manageable

NH42 avoids the Joshipur Jhargram Lodhasuli section.

In case you are booking a hotel room in advance, make sure you bargain for car parking space too, since parking is a premium in Gangtok.

Very very important advice. In fact, park your car and take a taxi at least for local sightseeing.

BTW, I had a MMI Navigator on test last trip and I found glaring inaccuracies. Please avoid dependence on Navigators and online maps, you can safely rely on my own log book (I have driven on some roads in Sikkhim that do not figure in any map) or use physical maps.
I have not used these navigators in Sikkim, but in the rest of NE, they are hilarious.

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SS, in Sikkhim, a powerful taximen cartel ensures that they protect their turf and try to throttle private cars from
You are too polite. I prefer the term Mafia.

Regards
Sutripta
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Old 21st September 2010, 00:50   #17
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do not carry weapons or anything like that unless you plan to use them if you cannot they serve no purpose all the best god speed,
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Old 21st September 2010, 01:10   #18
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do not carry weapons or anything like that unless you plan to use them if you cannot they serve no purpose all the best god speed,
I entirely agree with sierrakamat. You cannot battle goons, especially in their territory. BY my experience, talking your way through is the best form of defence, offence does not work. Losing a little money is better than being mauled or crippled. When you are far away from home, with no friends or support, it is better to set your egos aside and resolve it as sweetly as possible. BTW, I drive all over the country, have encountered the worst of India on the highways, but have never carried any weapons. My car has been seized by corrupt cops twice, I have had encounters with Naxals and terrorists and have driven some of the so-called worst areas of India. Exercise restraint.
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Old 21st September 2010, 10:14   #19
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Good luck buddy and have a safe trip. Would check out the updates in the days to come. All the best again.
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Old 21st September 2010, 10:50   #20
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I would be sceptical of obtaining permits to visit Nathu la and Gurudongmar, since Sikkhim is a land of taximen, and all private vehicles are discouraged from venturing too far from Gangtok.

In case you are booking a hotel room in advance, make sure you bargain for car parking space too, since parking is a premium in Gangtok.

BTW, I had a MMI Navigator on test last trip and I found glaring inaccuracies. Please avoid dependence on Navigators and online maps, you can safely rely on my own log book (I have driven on some roads in Sikkhim that do not figure in any map) or use physical maps.
HVK thank you so much, much thanks to ss too, have changed my route after you guys cautioning me. Point taken on the earlier route and the new one.

Also I am not doing any advance bookings in gangtok, as i dont know if i will reach gangtok by end of day 3. Is it imperative to get a booking done in gangtok ? are hotels scarce and rare ?

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SS, in Sikkhim, a powerful taximen cartel ensures that they protect their turf and try to throttle private cars from going to the bets parts of Sikkhim, such as Nathu la and North Sikkhim. There is no such criteria (4WD, self-driven), and the plain straightforward answer is NO. I am told that you have to run around a lot, including meeting the :Police Commissioner, with a good story on why you want to take your own vehicle, before the permits are reluctantly give. That means 2 days wasted. I prefer to save my time and take a taxi instead of driving my own car to such places. Someone in this forum had even mentioned how vindictive the taxi lobby can be, tearing private car tyres if they did get the permit.
Point taken: Plan a] try and get the permit ourselves, no point being a tourist and being driven around when I am driving all the way from Mumbai to Sikkim to drive on those crazy dangerous roads.

Plan b] take a cab :(

Anyways am trying to speak to a few army men i know, and trying to get permissions for myself.

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do not carry weapons or anything like that unless you plan to use them if you cannot they serve no purpose all the best god speed,
Point well taken, Will drop off the knife, though will retain the axe, its too cool thats why

Guys looks like this one is going to be a tough trip, am leaving tomorrow morning @ 4.a.m. Wish me luck, i think ill need all of the luck around now.

Will update as I hit the road.

Cheers,
ac
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Old 21st September 2010, 10:54   #21
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Cheers AC, good Luck...this is going to be a great trip and I will look fwd to your logs.

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BTW, I drive all over the country, have encountered the worst of India on the highways, but have never carried any weapons. My car has been seized by corrupt cops twice, I have had encounters with Naxals and terrorists and have driven
some of the so-called worst areas of India. Exercise restraint.
HV Sir, I would request you to write a thread on the above. It would make an awesome read
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Old 21st September 2010, 14:07   #22
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HVK thank you so much, much thanks to ss too, have changed my route after you guys cautioning me. Point taken on the earlier route and the new one.
Also I am not doing any advance bookings in gangtok, as i dont know if i will reach gangtok by end of day 3. Is it imperative to get a booking done in gangtok ? are hotels scarce and rare ?
Point taken: Plan a] try and get the permit ourselves, no point being a tourist and being driven around when I am driving all the way from Mumbai to Sikkim to drive on those crazy dangerous roads.
Plan b] take a cab :(
Anyways am trying to speak to a few army men i know, and trying to get permissions for myself.
Point well taken, Will drop off the knife, though will retain the axe, its too cool thats why
Guys looks like this one is going to be a tough trip, am leaving tomorrow morning @ 4.a.m. Wish me luck, i think ill need all of the luck around now.
Will update as I hit the road.
Cheers,
ac
All the best and drive safe. The gurus have already told you about the precautions to be taken. Please follow all their tips. Try to avoid driving post sunset.
In case you get the permits for self driving in Sikkim, may be this site will come in handy. It will give you the status of the roads.
Roads Bridges
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Old 21st September 2010, 14:13   #23
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Gangtok hotels - unless it is the holiday season, you can walk into hotels in Gangtok.
Since you are driving with uncertainties, why block up bookings which may have to be rescheduled?
Army connections - best to get you the permits. Use them to the hilt.
Rahul, maybe I should do that one of these days.
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Old 21st September 2010, 14:13   #24
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BolBolero, the link on road status in Sikkhim is awesome. Although I hope it is uptodate unlike the one for Ladakh!
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Old 21st September 2010, 19:18   #25
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Originally Posted by BolBolero View Post
...may be this site will come in handy. It will give you the status of the roads.
Roads Bridges
Wow! That's a great link. Incidentally Gangtok-Nathu La and Gangtok-Yumthang appears to be blocked currently.
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Old 23rd September 2010, 01:17   #26
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incidentally the oxygen can that you are going to carry will not last for more than 2 mins better to carry a 20 lit bottle which lasts for about an hour should be available with your friendly neighbourhood hospital owner on lease .
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Old 23rd September 2010, 13:14   #27
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BolBolero, the link on road status in Sikkhim is awesome. Although I hope it is uptodate unlike the one for Ladakh!
@ HVK Sir, it is updated everyday at around 7.30 am. This site has been running for more than two years now. I thought you would have known about this link. Wish they would have something like this for all the mountains roads. Would help a lot of travelers!

@SS- Traveller, Thank you sir.
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Old 23rd September 2010, 18:11   #28
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AC,

All the best for a safe drive. As many others have said, pay up where pepole demand money, it's safer to pay up, avoid driving after sunset.

Awaiting your reports, experience on the route and pictures.

--Ramky
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Old 23rd September 2010, 18:24   #29
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Hi AC 427, hope u have a safe trip and looking forward to your travelogue. Just a small bit of advice from a local of this region (sikkim & darjeeling), there has been a prolonged monsoon this year and even today it is still raining in and around sikkim and darjeeling. So the roads are in a pathetic state. There were countless landslides this year, far more than in recent memory, so do factor in extra time while travelling and do be very careful on the roads.
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Old 24th September 2010, 08:00   #30
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Hope you have a great trip. If you are driving through Kolkata and need anything, let me know. Keep updating as and when you get time.
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