Best Time to Vist is April to May End & October to November End
Sikkim couldn't be explained in a page or two. Beautiful snow clad mountains, monastries & waterfalls add to the plus points of Sikkim. Though Sikkim has been neglected for so many years both in the terms of development & tourism, it could be considered as plus point as the place has not been spoiled & is still fresh to visit. Considering the situation of Shimla, Panchmarhi like Hill Stations which are now not recommeded to be visited as Hill Stations due to crowd & untidyness, this state is full of Hill Stations with fresh look. Gangtok though a city with substaincial population is still considered to be nice Hill Station for visit. Activities like Paragliding, Water Rafting etc are also carried out in Gangtok. Nearby places like Nathula Pass, Changu Lake & Baba Mandir are also places of interest. Nathula Pass is entry point to Republic of China & is covered with snow round the year. Beauty of Changu Lake cannot be explained in words. View of Snow Clad Mountains from the lake which cann't be described in words. Moreover Lachung is also considered to be nice place (Hill Station) for magnificent views of Snow Clad Mountains. Nearby Lachung is Zero Point, which is the last point where road ends & on the other end Republic of China Starts, covered with snow round the year. Best place to play in snow. North Sikkim [Lachung & Zero Point] & Nathula Pass, Changu Lake & Baba Mandir requires permission to be visited. Hence ensure to take it before reaching there.
Darjeeling in West Bengal is normally visited with Sikkim Package and is considered to be one of the finest Hill Stations since rule of Britisher in india. Though it has selected places to be visited. It is still nice Hill Station with nice view of mountains. I would suggest 2-3 days visit to Darjeeling as sufficient to visit all the places in Darjeeling. Major attractions at Darjeeling is Toy Train & its sightseeing places like Tiger Hill, Japanese Temple adjoining to Peace Pagoda, HMI etc.. Nearby places to be considered for One full day visit are Mirik. Though i didn't visited. Also if your tour is more than 7 Days then you could consider visiting Pelling & Namchi as well.
- About the Journey
This journey was not planned but planned. Didn't Understood the term! I explain it more precisely. I just arrived from Kashmir trip in last week of August 2014. There was no plan for next trip as on that date [First week of September 2014], i struck with a deal from Jet Airways, which was unbelievable. Ahmedabad to Bagdogara via Delhi @5900.00 per person Return Fare from 17th May,2015 to 24rth May 2015 that excludes food but later included without any extra charge for 2 Adults & 1 Child due to change in terms. Once the tickets were confirmed, i was to make choice of destinations to be included in the itinerary. There were two choice for me, one was a trip to bhutan and the other was sikkim & darjeeling. After lot of mind boggling i opted for Sikkim Darjeeling Trip [Gangtok-Lachung-Zero Point- Nathula Pass- Darjeeling]. I researched on trip advisor for the destinations available in sikkim & north west bengal for visit. I researched different itineraries of different tour operators as well. Finally i made a layout for my plan. Several changes were made in the layout as to reach all the spots without any holiday over the spot. Deals for Hotel were also locked from ibibo.com with luxurious stay within our budget. This trip was mainly consisting of Road trip hence a proper & reliable source for hiring a car was made through local contacts of sikkim.
(Tour Operator : Ta Kassang : +919434867100, +919609871102)
(Tour Operator : Ta Kassang : +919434867100, +919609871102)
Reached Bagdogra at 13.20 pm. Later from there drive to Gangtok. (5500 ft., 130 Kms/5 Hrs). Visited M.G. Road in Gangtok on the same day. Overnight stay at Gangtok.
After Breakfast, check out of the hotel at Gangtok & proceed to Lachung. (125 Kms/7 Hrs) On the way visit Tashi View Point, Optional if route is clear : Kabi Longtsok, Seven Sister’s Water Fall & Singhik View Point. Arrive in the evening at Lachung. Evening free to stroll at the village. Overnight Stay at Lachung.
Early Morning excursion to Yumthang Valley. Yumthang is a lush green valley.. In April / May the valley erupts in a riot of colours with flowers of Rhododendrons with 26 varieties. On the way visit the Hot Spring, Singba Rhododendron Sanctuary, Bhim Nala Water Falls & Twin Water Fall. Move to Yumesandong (Zero Point) covered with snow round the year. Best place to play in snow. Back to Lachung. Overnight Stay at Lachung.
After Breakfast drive to Gangtok. If time permits visit Rumtek Monastery.
Early Morning leave for Tsomgo Lake (Changu Lake), Baba Mandir and Nathula Pass. Nathula Pass is closed on Monday & Tuesday. Gangtok Half Day Sightseeing which includes Sikkim Zoological Park, Hanuman Tok & Ganesh Tok. Overnight Stay at Gangtok.
After Breakfast leave for Darjeeling. I made program in such a way that i could catch the toy train from Kurseong to Darjeeling. It was a 3 Hour Journey. Though i would suggest to reach Darjeeling first & then book a train from Ghoom to Darjeeling. It would be enjoyable trip. Free to Stroll in the evening. Overnight Stay at Darjeeling.
Early Morning at around 3.45 am drive to 8000ft/2440 mtr. through primitive forests of oak, Tiger Hills to view sunrise over Kanchendzonga Peak (subject to clear weather) & view of Mt. Everest (subject to very very clear weather) – On the way back visit Ghoom Monastery, Peace Pagoda (Japanese Temple) & Batasia Loop. Back to Hotel for Breakfast. Half Day City Tour to Padmaja Naidu Zoological Park, Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, Ropeway, Tensing Rock etc.. Back to Hotel. Evening Free to Stroll aroung the area. Overnight Stay at Darjeeling.
Early Morning. Leave for Bagdogara. Flight at 12.00 pm. Back to Ahmedabad
- Do's & Don't
As discussed above, This trip was mainly consisting of Road trip hence a proper & reliable source for hiring a car was made through local contacts of sikkim. After comparing two to three taxi operators, i finally made the choice. I demanded everything to be in writing through email from the itinerary to halt. Everything was made clear. Even the charges for extra places to be visited were made clear through email only. I came across many people complaining about the taxi operators in sikkim that lot of arguments began, if the taxi driver & clarity of the terms are not made. Even heard of leaving travellers at isolated places. Also make it clear, that at the respective destination, you want n number of hours to stay & enjoy. Let the journey began early. Moreover don't try to argue for minor things with the driver. Luckly our driver was good. Listen & Understand, if he stops you from going out of the way or stopping you to move forward. This place is full of uneven roads & there are many landslides taking place.