Team-BHP > Buckle Up > Travelogues


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 20th May 2019, 05:23   #1
BHPian
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 642
Thanked: 1,731 Times
Default Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim

PRELUDE

Sikkim wasn't even the first choice of our vacation destination. Ever since S started reading about Kashmir, he had been dreaming about visiting there. We even booked our flight tickets, well in advance (but refundable ones, given the proximity of our vacations to the 2019 elections timelines). However with the unfortunate Pulwama attacks and the situation in the valley worsening, we decided to invoke Plan B. We started scrambling for alternate destinations, and finalized on Sikkim. With limited time, we started scrounging TripAdvisor, various trip reports before deciding on our itinerary. Flight tickets were booked, hotels were booked (read the end notes for reviews and our recommendations) and we were set for our trip to this beautiful state - Sikkim, where nature smiles at you.



Our Itinerary was as follows
Day 0: Bangalore to Bagdogra, Overnight at Siliguri.
Day 1: Siliguri to Pelling.
Day 2: Pelling Local Sightseeing, Overnight at Yuksom.
Day 3: Yuksom - Ravangla - Gangtok
Day 4: Gangtok - Lachen
Day 5: Morning drive to Gurudongmar Lake. Transfer to Lachung
Day 6: Lachung Local Sightseeing (Yumthang/Zero Point).
Day 7: Lachung to Gangtok, followed by local sightseeing.
Day 8: Visit Nathula Pass / Changu Lake, Overnight at Gangtok
Day 9: Gangtok to Bagdogra, fly back.




Some key takeaways and contacts
  • We booked all our hotels directly. Filtering fake reviews on Trip Advisor took time, but the effort was worth it.
  • Taxis are expensive in Sikkim. We reached out to Mr. Tenzing (+91 8001241715 / +91 9800294950) from Explore Sikkim. I would highly recommend him. Honest and well informed. He assigned good drivers, and was constantly checking if we were doing fine. That said, he did not have options to upgrade to larger vehicles at extra cost.
  • If you are planning a trip to Sikkim, two places you must not skip - Pelling and Lachung. The two most beautiful destinations in our trip.
  • At Pelling, we stayed at the Ifseen Villa. While we would completely recommend this place, another option we considered was "Norbu Ghang Resort". When in Pelling, we thought the location of the later was much better. No experience on the rooms/service though.
  • When at Lachung, do not book anything besides "The Season House". Arguably the best stay of our trip. The beauty of this place can only be experienced. Cannot be booked online. You need to call the owner directly (Mr. Tashi Lachungpa / +91 9734466727) for the bookings.
  • Personal opinion, but the visit to Gurudongmar Lake is a tad overrated. Surely on most-travelers bucket list, but probably over-hyped.
  • Gangtok left us very impressed. Clean and beautiful. Traffic is disciplined.
  • At Gangtok, we stayed at the Bookman's Inn. Located centrally it is a family-run stay which also runs the Rachna Book House and Cafe Fiction. A place with a lot of character and highly recommended.
  • A slightly stupid one - avoid Dominos Pizza in Sikkim (more on that later).
  • AVOID Oyo Rooms at all costs. They have not paid dues to many of the hotels, and most partner hotels in Siliguri (at least) are exiting the platform (though Oyo Rooms continues to accept booking illegally on behalf of these hotels).
  • Finally, Photographs do not do justice to the beauty of this place. You need to experience this first-hand to soak it in.


Photography Gear
  • Nikon D7200
  • Sigma 17-50 f/2.8 EX DC HSM OS (Primary)
  • Nikon 70-200 f/4 VR (Secondary)
  • Tokina 11-16 f/2.8 AT-X116 Pro DX II (Got this hoping to capture the Milkyway, but with cloudy skies, almost never used it)



Links to our reviews on TripAdvisor
To be added shortly



Will keep the travelogue brief, with pictures doing the talking. Sharing 2 Photographs, which summarize the trip.


Kangchenjunga Range
Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-dsc_8648_p.jpg



Tathagatha Tsal at Ravangla
Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-dsc_9242_p.jpg



Thus begins our journey, and also this story ....

Last edited by Samurai : 24th May 2019 at 19:03. Reason: Rule#11
sachinayak is offline   (18) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 21st May 2019, 18:47   #2
BHPian
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 642
Thanked: 1,731 Times
Default re: Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim

DAY 0

Dedicated to Spicejet and Oyo Rooms.

A day when not everything goes to plan. You need a Plan B, Plan C and possibly a Plan D. With Airbus facing issues with their A320 Neos, we thought of booking Spicejet (which flies Boeing). Little did we know of the Max8 issues that Boeing would soon be grappling with. Thankfully, passenger safety took priority (albeit at the cost of convenience). Thus, our direct flight to Bagdogra got cancelled and we were put on another direct flight. No big deal, we thought. Too early though, that flight got cancelled too. Hmmmmm......., our only option now was a flight via a halt in Delhi (Meanwhile, direct ticket prices with other airlines had zoomed 3X). Plan C looked good until our flight at Delhi was re-routed else where. After a 6 hour delay at Delhi Airport, we finally got going . At least the flight wasn't cancelled.

Finally landed at Bagdogra Airport around 8:30pm, and the airport shut down as soon as we got out. A quaint place this is.

And we thought we were done with our share of adventure for the day. Not really. Our hotel booking was cancelled (shame on you Oyo rooms) but we managed to get a last minute booking close-by and we called it a day (a long long day, when not many things happened as planned).

A big thanks to the manager of Gupta's Hotel, who helped us out, though he was no longer affiliated to Oyo Rooms.

Last edited by sachinayak : 23rd May 2019 at 22:35.
sachinayak is offline   (7) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 21st May 2019, 19:10   #3
BHPian
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 642
Thanked: 1,731 Times
Default re: Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim

DAY 1 - PELLING

Early morning 7AM, we checked out. Our driver - Subhash Thapa was there waiting for us as we departed for Pelling. The roads (specially after crossing into Sikkim) are rather poor with a lot of slush, following overnight rain. Few hours later (after a much-deserved nap enroute) we reached Pelling. The drive to Pelling was quite scenic with picturesque towns and beautiful landscapes giving us company along the way. Pelling is beautiful and serene. We did not see traffic jams that are typically common with our "popular hillstations". One of the most unique aspects of Pelling is that the Kangchenjunga Range is visible from almost anywhere in this town.

Our stay was at the beautiful "Ifseen Villa". The property is very beautiful and our room had a view of the mountains. Apparently, on a clear day, you can see the Kangchenjunga peak (the highest in India) from the room itself. The property has a very beautiful and well-maintained garden with a variety of flowers which were in full bloom (spring time, yeah). Our hosts were very courteous and helpful. They dropped us to Pelling town with a lunch recommendation - Kabur. What a recommendation it was. Perfect location with awesome views of the valley. We ordered soupy noodles - Thupka and Thenduk, accompanied by local garlic bread. The food was scrumptious - specially the Thenduk - hand-pulled noodle soup, which was perfectly apt for the weather (it was drizzling).

After a brief halt, the weather cleared up and we decided to walk up to the Pelling Helipad. It was a lovely walk along meandering roads with dense vegetation (and thus with great bird-life). 20 minutes later, we were rewarded with breathtaking views of the Kangchenjunga Range on one side, the Pelling town on another and a view of the Chenrezig statue in the distance. Great place for some photography.

We then returned back to our hotel with a short snack break enroute. The lovely weather and our walk resulted in 4 hungry bellies (foodies to the core, we are). A relaxed evening, followed by yummy home-cooked dinner, and we called it another day. Today, almost compensated for the previous day


Somewhere enroute Pelling

Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-dsc_8527_p.jpg




Ifseen Villa @ Pelling

Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-dsc_8746_p.jpg

Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-dsc_8701_p.jpg




View from our room at Ifseen Villa

Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-dsc_8541_p.jpg




A enjoying the view

Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-dsc_8542_p.jpg




Somewhere in the hills

Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-dsc_8565_p.jpg

Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-dsc_8610_p.jpg




Thenduk at Kabur, incredibly yummy !

Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-dsc_8571_p.jpg




Kangchenjunga Range from the Pelling Helipad

Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-dsc_8648_p.jpg




Chenrezig Statue from the Pelling Helipad

Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-dsc_8655_p.jpg




Flowers in full bloom in the garden at Ifseen Villa

Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-dsc_8685_p.jpg

Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-dsc_8703_p.jpg




Morning view of the Kangchenjunga Range from our room

Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-dsc_8722_p.jpg




Freshly grown Mint at Ifseen Villa

Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-dsc_8740_p.jpg

Last edited by sachinayak : 21st May 2019 at 19:11.
sachinayak is offline   (10) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 21st May 2019, 19:29   #4
BHPian
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 642
Thanked: 1,731 Times
Default re: Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim

DAY 2 - MORE OF PELLING

Early-Morning birding plans were washed out due to a persistent drizzle. Nevertheless, we did some balcony birding from our room. Great Barbets, Rufous Sibia, Green-backed Tits, Whiskered Yuhinia, Verditer Flycatchers and a solitary Bar-Winged Siva were some prized sightings. The magnificient Kangchenjunga range was visible much clearly from our room. Post breakfast, we checked out and headed for some local sightseeing.

Our first stop was the Pemayangtse Monastery - a peaceful and beautiful place. Photography was prohibited inside the monastery. The monastery has beautiful idols, statues, paintings and artificats dating to 17th/18th century. Next stop was the beautiful Rabdentse Ruins. We were the first visitors here and it was an amazing experience. A short walk through thick forest, guided by a friendly indie dog led us to an unbelievably clean and neatly maintained ruins. The aviary here though is quite ordinary and can be skipped.

There is a lot to learn from Sikkim tourism. Each tourist spot has clean toilets, easily-accessible dustbins, drinking water and they are proud of their clean/green heritage.

Lots of photographs clicked and we then headed to the Chenrezig Statue / Skywalk. The skywalk is a new addition to the toursim map and barely an year old. This was another amazing experience. A rather well-thought of feature of this place is providing wheel-chairs on hire and a nicely designed path for easy-access.

Post lunch at Melting Point (no where as good as Kabur) we headed to Yuksom via quick halts at Khecheopalri Lake and Kangchenjunga Falls. Both spots are quite far from Pelling and not worth the long drive, IMHO. The road however from Pelling right till Yuksom was quite good with not much to complain about. We had a little tough time locating our hotel - The Red Palace Hotel, which is quite isolated from the town. Almost in the middle-of-nowhere, this place is extremely serene and peaceful. The approach road is quite a challenge though. A chilled-out evening and some local cuisine for dinner ended our day.

Tip: Yuksom is a base for most Kangchenjunga-centric treks to begin. Else, there is not much to do here. If you are short on time, you can skip the Kheceopalri Lake/Kangchenjunga Falls and head to Gangtok from Pelling itself (giving Yuksom a skip).



PEMAYANGTSE MONASTERY

Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-dsc_8754_p.jpg

Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-dsc_8762_p.jpg

Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-dsc_8771_p.jpg

Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-dsc_8774_p.jpg

Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-dsc_8865_p.jpg





RABDENTSE RUINS
Note that there aren't any tourists in sight. How often do you experience this in India. We were truly lucky.

Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-dsc_8784_p.jpg

Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-dsc_8796_p.jpg

Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-dsc_8804_p.jpg

Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-dsc_8806_p.jpg

Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-dsc_8829_p.jpg

Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-dsc_8835_p.jpg






CHENREZIG STATUE & SKYWALK

Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-dsc_8914_p.jpg

Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-dsc_8935_p.jpg

Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-dsc_8942_p.jpg

Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-dsc_8948_p.jpg

Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-dsc_8960_p.jpg

Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-dsc_8971_p.jpg

Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-dsc_8995_p.jpg

Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-dsc_9008_p.jpg





KHECHEOPALRI LAKE

Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-dsc_9050_p.jpg

Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-dsc_9067_p.jpg

Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-dsc_9123_p.jpg






KANGCHENJUNGA FALLS

Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-dsc_9113_p.jpg






RED PALACE HOTEL, YUKSOM

Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-dsc_9134_p.jpg

Last edited by sachinayak : 23rd May 2019 at 17:51.
sachinayak is offline   (10) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 23rd May 2019, 03:21   #5
BHPian
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 642
Thanked: 1,731 Times
Default re: Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim

DAY 3 - TO GANGTOK VIA RAVANGLA

Today would be a long day (1 of 3) on the road. The plan was to drive to Gangtok with a halt in Ravangla. We started at 8:15am, post breakfast and by around 11am we reached Ravangla. We directly headed to the Buddha Park, also known as Tathagata Tsal. It was constructed between 2006 and 2013 and features a 130-foot (40 m) high statue of the Buddha as its centerpiece. The entire complex was extremely beautiful and well-maintained (didn't surprise us any longer). Neat and clean toilets, well manicured gardens and beautiful paintings seemed to be a common theme across all places. The main temple is beneath the huge statue of Lord Buddha. There were 12 deeds representing various stages of the life of Lord Buddha. Accompanied by very vivid paintings, these depicted a great story that we could read out to the kids. There was an immediate connect and it was a serene experience for all of us. Post some souvenir shopping (where-in we bumped into a Bollywood starlet) we continued towards Gangtok, albeit with a couple of breaks for food (the Tathagata Kitchen would certainly be our recommendation).

A few hours later, we were stuck in a massive traffic pile-up to enter Gangtok. Finally around 5.30 pm, we checked into Bookman's B&B and bid adieu to our driver. Bookman's B&B was a quite off-beat choice to stay in Gangtok and there were numerous positive reviews on TA, rightly so. This place has a lot of character. Located above Cafe Fiction and Rachna Books (one of the best book stores in Gangtok to get local content) it is run by Mr Raman Shresta and his family. Books + Tea + Conversations made a super combination. Highly recommended.


After a quick break, we headed down to MG Road (the central place of Gangtok). Thankfully, it wasn't very crowded but was still buzzing with activity. Lots of restaurants, cafes, bars, bakeries and eateries here. We roamed around mulling over dinner options, before we finally chose a place that served local+nepali food - Nimtho (apparently run by the son of the Nepali PM). TripAdvisor Reviews were bang on - the food here was awesome and the service here was quite opposite - awful. Most of the stuff we ordered was not available. Left us quite disappointed (though the food that we were served was incredibly tasty - do try their delicious Jhol Momo and Potato Sandheko). If you can overlook bad service for good food, then surely recommended.

A short walk and then a cab (thanks to a persistent drizzle) got us back to our room and we called it a day. We were done with West Sikkim and were looking forward to North Sikkim.


The incredibly beautiful Tathagata Tsal

Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-dsc_9276_p.jpg

Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-dsc_9237_p.jpg

Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-dsc_9251_p.jpg






At MG Road, Gangtok

Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-dsc_9297_p.jpg





Nimtho Gangtok

Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-dsc_9303_p.jpg

Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-dsc_9320_p.jpg

Last edited by sachinayak : 23rd May 2019 at 17:52.
sachinayak is offline   (8) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 23rd May 2019, 17:38   #6
BHPian
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 642
Thanked: 1,731 Times
Default re: Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim

DAY 4 - TO LACHEN

Today we began our journey to the north. The weather till now was quite pleasant, so we were bracing for colder temperatures. The day started with a sumptuous breakfast at Cafe Fiction (part of the Bookman's B&B). It is a very tastefully done cafe and serves good food too. As guided, we headed to the Lachung Jeep stand (Tourist Jeeps with J registration are not allowed inside the city from 8am to 6pm.) Completed travel formalities / paperwork and we started our journey towards Lachen, this time around in a Bolero. The weather enroute was surprisingly warm and after umpteen breaks (without much to write about) we reached Lachen.

Lachen is a transit destination (of sorts) with most visitors here only for an overnight halt to head to Gurudongmar lake. The weather in Lachen was extremely cold. We had booked Delight Royale Lachen, perhaps one of the very few "decent" properties in Lachen (hardly any good place here to choose from). Our room was large (but quite ordinary), and thankfully we were provided with a heater to make our stay bearable. The service was prompt and food, though basic, was very tasty. We slept off early, bracing for a long-long day to follow.

PS: The following day, we heard a lot of fellow travelers' complain about their accommodation. In hindsight, Delight Royale Lachen was perhaps not too bad. The same management has a more luxurious stay option coming up (perhaps operational by now) that could be explored.



Rachna Book House

Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-dsc_9348_p.jpg




Cafe Fiction....for chai pe charcha.

Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-dsc_9340_p.jpg

Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-dsc_9328_p.jpg

Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-dsc_9331_p.jpg

Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-dsc_9347_p.jpg





Enroute Lachen

Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-dsc_9381_p.jpg

Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-dsc_9447_p.jpg

Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-dsc_9461_p.jpg

Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-dsc_9464_p.jpg

Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-dsc_9468_p.jpg




One of the many tributaries of Teesta River

Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-dsc_9480_p.jpg

Last edited by sachinayak : 23rd May 2019 at 17:52.
sachinayak is offline   (11) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 23rd May 2019, 17:51   #7
BHPian
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 642
Thanked: 1,731 Times
Default re: Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim

DAY 5 - GURUDONGMAR LAKE AND LACHUNG

Today was a day of two worlds. S left early morning 5.30 AM for a drive to the Gurudongmar Lake. The lake is at an altitude of 17200 feet above MSL and with sub-zero temperatures, cold winds and reduced oxygen levels, kids below 8 years are not recommended to visit this place. Thus N and the kids stayed back at the hotel.

The first stop enroute was at an army check point which only opened at 7.30 am, thus this halt also doubled as a breakfast/loo-break point. Hot Maggie and a shot of brandy gave some much-needed warmth amidst super chilling weather accompanied by a light drizzle.


Formalities completed, we moved ahead. The landscape changed with a lot more of snow around and lot of army presence every few kms. After a few hours of driving through extremely bad roads, we reached Gurudongmar Lake. The lake was completely frozen (not exactly, coz this lake never freezes completely as per the local legend). With good sunshine and not much wind, we were able to spend good time here.

Surprisingly there was good bird life along the route and at the lake itself. Some of the birds sighted (without binocs) were - White Collared Blackbird, Snow Pigeon, Red Billed Chugh, White Capped Redstart, Hodgson's Redstart, Horned Lark and the Blue Whistling Thrush.

On the return leg, we unfortunately got stuck due to a landslide on the route. Unfortunately with no mobile network, communication was impossible. Thankfully the Indian Army was very responsive, they arranged for earth-movers (aka JCB) and got started on clearing up the road, while also providing some biscuits and refreshments to the stranded tourists. A few hours later, we resumed and returned to Lachen. In the meanwhile, N and the kids roamed around Lachen even visiting a local monastery which was specially opened for them. There was a lot of restlessness due to the unexpected delay in S's return and the lack of information did not help either. Slowly the news of the landslide trickled through and nervous moments settled down.

Post S's return, we headed over to Lachung, much later than originally planned. The road to Lachung was surprisingly good and though it was raining, we got to our destination - The Season House in good time. The Season House seems to be a quite luxurious place with large rooms. Lachung was very cold but thankfully the room was well heated. We called it a day, hoping to have a more relaxed day next.


Note:
1. Most of the pics of the day appear B&W, coz that's how the landscape actually was.
2. Was initially wondering of the hype around the Gurudongmar Lake, before a friend shared an interesting bit. The lake is at an altitude of 17200 feet above MSL (Leh/Ladakh in comparison are only 11000 feet above MSL). Gives a different perspective.




Gurudongmar Lake

Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-gurudongmar_lake_panorama.jpg

Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-gurudongmar_lake_panorama2.jpg

Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-dsc_9512_p.jpg

Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-dsc_9547_p.jpg

Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-dsc_9561_p.jpg

Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-dsc_9565_p.jpg

Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-dsc_9605_p.jpg

Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-dsc_9688_p.jpg

Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-dsc_9722_p.jpg

Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-dsc_9761_p.jpg

Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-dsc_9764_p.jpg

Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-dsc_9766_p.jpg

Last edited by sachinayak : 23rd May 2019 at 17:55.
sachinayak is offline   (11) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 23rd May 2019, 18:18   #8
BHPian
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 642
Thanked: 1,731 Times
Default re: Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim

DAY 6 - SOAKING UP LACHUNG

We woke up to a surprisingly sunny morning (specially considering the heavy overnight rain). The air was crisp and fresh. Lachung is a place right out of heaven, and the Season House is the cherry on the cake. You would just want to soak in the sun and the nature around and feel so unbelievably fresh. Surprisingly it wasnt as bone-chilling cold as the previous evening.

Post breakfast, we headed to Yumthang Valley (which we almost skipped) and headed directly to Zero Point, well at least as far as the road was accessible. What a place it was (well, if you could ignore the traffic jam at the very end). Lots of snow all around for the entire family to play with, and make cute snowmen (our first). We spent a lot of time here. Maggie, spiced Chanas and Old Monk gave us great company. We were indeed in seventh heaven. A typical character of the hills is that the weather here can change abruptly. From bright and sunny weather, it suddenly got dark and cloudly. On the brighter side (pun uninteded), there was a mild snowfall. It was the first snow-fall experience for the kids and we were over the moon. More Maggie and tea at a local pitstop and we got back to our beautiful abode - The Season House .

Evening, we braved a light drizzle to walk around and enjoy the scenic beauty of this place. Had great sightings of the Fire-Tailed Sunbird (almost a colorful version of our favorite Asian Paradise Flycatcher), a solitary Short-billed Minivet (F) and the Black-Throated Tit. One of our best days on the trip.



Note:
  • Repeating again, but The Season House was our best stay in the entire trip and gets a an absolute whole-hearted recommendation from our end.
  • The location is unbelievably pretty (almost picture postcard-esque), service is very efficient and food is incredibly tasty. The location is remote (and thus beautiful) and no shops/restaurants around. Hence meals are included in the stay package.
  • The view along the road to The Season House is to die for. You get a birds-eye view of the entire Lachung Valley.
  • Our previous all-time-favorite stay - The Seclude, Palampur finally found a match and was very sadly knocked off the top spot.



The Season House, Lachung

Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-dsc_9789_p.jpg

Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-dsc_9801_p.jpg

Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-dsc_9803_p.jpg

Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-dsc_0097_p.jpg

Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-dsc_0082_p.jpg







To Yumthang Valley and Zero Point

Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-dsc_9863_p.jpg

Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-dsc_9878_p.jpg

Name:  DSC_0058_P.jpg
Views: 8946
Size:  389.8 KB

Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-dsc_0060_p.jpg






Views at Lachung

Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-dsc_0120_p.jpg

Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-dsc_0139_p.jpg

Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-dsc_0147_p.jpg

Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-dsc_0156_p.jpg

Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-dsc_0177_p.jpg

Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-dsc_0170_p.jpg

Last edited by sachinayak : 23rd May 2019 at 18:21.
sachinayak is offline   (12) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 23rd May 2019, 19:17   #9
BHPian
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 642
Thanked: 1,731 Times
Default re: Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim

DAY 7 - A DAY OF UPS AND DOWNS.

The day started on a high note, with an beautiful morning walk. We walked along the meandering road along the mountain as we feasted on the fairy-tale-like landscapes and enjoying great birding opportunities. Some of the lifers were the Blue-fronted Redstart and the Black-Headed Laughing Thrush. Another prized sighting was the Yellow Billed Blue Magpie. Satisfied to our heart's content we bid adieu to Lachung (but not before a yummy puri-subzi for breakfast).

The drive back to Gangtok was quite uneventful and we got back it time to do a half-day sightseeing. Over the next couple of hours we covered the Flower Exhibition, the Palace Monastery, the Enchey Monastery and finally Ganesh Tok. With very few tourists (courtesy election time in West Bengal) all tourist spots were empty and it took a few minutes to cover each. No jostling around, pushing and rushing that is associated with most "tourist spots" that we were typically used to. Overall a good experience. The monasteries specially, were very beautiful, peaceful and soothing.


The weather in Gangtok, like on most days in this trip, changed suddenly post 4pm and there was a strong downpour that just would not stop. Temperatures dipped too. 'Twas too cold to head out for dinner. Thus we thought of taking the "supposedly safer" option of ordering in and of all places we ordered pizzas' from Dominos (what a terrible blunder it turned out to be). Around midnight, M (our DD) suffered from food poisoning and threw up multiple times. We finally decided to take her to the hospital and at 2AM, M & S started walking in search of one. The nearest hospital (as indicated by Google Maps) had recently shifted to the outskirts of the city. We approached a local police station (fully functional at 2AM) and were rightly advised to go to Manipal Hospital (a bit far, but supposedly the best one around). Thankfully we got a cab and were able to get to the hospital without much adventure. The docs treated M and finally at 5AM we headed back. Surprisingly, at 5AM Gantok was quite abuzz with activity and it never felt unsafe (not even in the eerily quiet 2:00 AM either). We returned back to the hotel for some well-deserved sleep.

Amazing sighting of the Kangchenjunga Peak basking in morning-sunlight just brought about a tired smile on our faces, as we signed off a long long long day. Phew.....




Palace Monastery

Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-dsc_0417.jpg

Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-dsc_0431_p.jpg

Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-dsc_0433_p.jpg




At the Flower Exhibition

Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-dsc_0363_p.jpg

Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-dsc_0372_p.jpg




Enchey Monastery

Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-dsc_0513_p.jpg

Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-dsc_0488_p.jpg

Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-dsc_0526_p.jpg





Miscellaneous Pics

Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-dsc_0459_p.jpg

Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-dsc_0538_p.jpg





Kangchenjunga Range Views from Gangtok

Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-dsc_0573_p.jpg

Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-dsc_0590_p.jpg

Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-dsc_0561_p.jpg
sachinayak is offline   (9) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 23rd May 2019, 19:22   #10
BHPian
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 642
Thanked: 1,731 Times
Default re: Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim

DAY 8 - THE "UNPLANNED" REST DAY

Today our plan originally was to visit Nathula Pass, Tsongmo Lake and Baba Mandir. However post the midnight events, we decided to call it off and take it easy, much to the dismay of the kids who were looking forward to playing with the snow. With our return the following day, we could not afford to take any risks. Even the afternoon plan to visit Ranka Monastery was put to rest.

The entire day was spent at leisure. The hosts at Bookman's B&B offered khichdi to the kids (so kind of them) for lunch and dinner.

With kids resting, N & S got our long-awaited opportunity of our walks (a highlight of most our trips, but missing in this trip). We had long walks in the morning and evening as we explored Gangtok on foot. What a beautiful and neat place this is. Footpaths are available everywhere and barricaded to prevent any two-wheelers from attempting any adventure (Bangalore folks would understand this). The foot-over bridges have beautiful flowering plants potted all along. This city has some character - inner beauty.

N&S had early dinner at Taste of Tibet (on MG Road) and we hit the bed early. A nice and relaxed day it was, with weather finally relenting. We were almost done with our trip - :(


Somewhere along the morning walk
Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-dsc_0641_p.jpg



The Ridge Park, Gangtok

Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-dsc_0653_p.jpg



Miscellaneous Pics from Gangtok

Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-dsc_0626_p.jpg

Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-dsc_0627_p.jpg

Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-dsc_0630_p.jpg

Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-dsc_0636_p.jpg

Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-dsc_0670_p.jpg

Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-dsc_0702_p.jpg

Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-dsc_0707_p.jpg

Last edited by sachinayak : 23rd May 2019 at 22:20.
sachinayak is offline   (10) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 23rd May 2019, 22:25   #11
BHPian
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 642
Thanked: 1,731 Times
Default re: Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim

DAY 9 - THE RETURN

Will keep this short - The road from Gangtok to Bagdogra is in pretty good condition. We had a quick halt for breakfast at Oasis Cafe at Rangpo and we headed straight to the airport. The route also passes through the Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary in West Bengal which is quite pretty.

Everyone advised us to get to Bagdogra Airport much in advance to avoid hassles but we thought the airline check-in and security process was rather quick. There is a full-fledged restaurant at the airport, but quite pricey. The airport itself is pretty small and crowded though.

An uneventful flight took us to New Delhi. We had pre-booked the left window seats hoping for a glimpse of the Kangchenjunga peaks from the flight and though the flight route is slightly southwards initially, we did get solitary grainy pic of the mighty Himalayan peak. A few hours later we boarded our flight back to Bangalore. It was a long day spent on travel - starting 8AM from Gangtok and finally us reaching home in Bangalore at 2AM. Thankfully without much drama on the way.

Thus ended one of our most beautiful vacations to this paradise on earth - Sikkim.


A quick note on some of the birds that we sighted on this trip (though we did not do much active birding)

KEY SIGHTINGS
  • Whiskered Yuhinia*
  • Oriental Turtle Dove
  • Black Bulbul*
  • Russet Sparrow
  • Blue Whistling Thrush
  • Blue-fronted Redstart*
  • Himalayan Bulbul*
  • White Collared Blackbird*
  • Snow Pigeon*
  • Red Billed Chugh*
  • White Capped Redstart*
  • Horned Lark*
  • Rufous Sibia*
  • Black-Headed Laughing Thrush*
  • Great Barbet
  • Green-backed Tit*
  • Verditer Flycatcher
  • Bar-Winged Siva*
  • Fire-Tailed Sunbird*
  • Black-Throated Tit*
  • Short-billed Minivet* (F)
  • Red-billed Leothrix*
  • Blue-winged Minla*
  • Oriental Sunbird
  • Hill Myna
  • Crested Kingfisher*
  • Striped Keelback Snake*
  • Hodgson's Redstart*
  • Grey Bushchat*

* Indicates Lifers



Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-dsc_0719_p.jpg


Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-dsc_0740_p.jpg


Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-dsc_0759_p.jpg


Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim-dsc_0735_p.jpg

Last edited by sachinayak : 23rd May 2019 at 22:28.
sachinayak is offline   (20) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 24th May 2019, 09:59   #12
Team-BHP Support
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Mumbai
Posts: 8,555
Thanked: 32,359 Times
Default re: Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim

Thread moved out from the Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing!
Aditya is offline   (2) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 24th May 2019, 12:44   #13
BHPian
 
pugram's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Chennai
Posts: 294
Thanked: 61 Times
Default Re: Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim

A nice travelogue with beautiful photographs !!

Sikkim is in my bucket list of places to visit.

Just a question on how friendly it is for vegetarians considering the remote places one visits during these trips.
pugram is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 24th May 2019, 13:45   #14
Newbie
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Hyderabad
Posts: 14
Thanked: 22 Times
Default Re: Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim

Superb travelogue and kick ass pictures.

May I know what were the dates of your visit? It seems like an ideal time to visit.
croupier is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 24th May 2019, 15:45   #15
BHPian
 
PapaBravo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: KOL-DEL-LKO
Posts: 552
Thanked: 2,113 Times
Default Re: Trip Report: 9-day holiday in Sikkim

Lovely travelogue sachinayak. You have captured the essence of Sikkim very well. Photos are fantastic. Great to see that you got clear weather in Pelling & Gangtok for Mt. K sightings.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pugram View Post
Just a question on how friendly it is for vegetarians considering the remote places one visits during these trips.
Veg food will not be a problem in Sikkim. You get equally good veg & non veg delights.
PapaBravo is offline   (3) Thanks Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Another Sikkim Travelogue - West Sikkim in a Ford EcoSport Uprasenjit Travelogues 7 13th November 2017 10:01
Yuksom, West Sikkim - Drive to the birthplace of Sikkim PointZero Travelogues 14 16th June 2016 22:17
Suggestions for my 4 day holiday subs Route / Travel Queries 31 27th May 2014 12:03
One day Jaipur trip from Gurgaon - Trip Report rkbharat Travelogues 2 18th September 2007 10:42


All times are GMT +5.5. The time now is 03:01.

Copyright 2000 - 2019, Team-BHP.com
Proudly powered by E2E Networks