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First of all, if you are an avid traveller, you should definitely come to Sikkim. The nearest airport to reach Sikkim is Pakyong. The nearest railway station is New Jalpaiguri. Also, if you want to club the Sikkim visit with a visit to Darjeeling… …then the nearest airport would be Bagdogra. You should have at least 14 days to travel all the four districts in Sikkim.
This is how you can plan your trip to Sikkim –
On Day 1
First of all, you should spend at least 2 nights and 3 days in Gangtok. Keep Day 1 for local sightseeing. During off-season, you can hire a taxi for a full day for Rs.2500/- for local travel. In the peak season, it may cost upto Rs. 3000/-. You can also move around local Gangtok on foot. Or you can travel in a shared cab from point to point. For short-distance, point-to-point travelling within Gangtok, you can hire a cab easily.
On Day 2
You can visit Nathula Pass, Baba Mandir, Changu Lake. To go to these sites, you need to book your journey a day or two in advance. This is because limited vehicles are allowed to travel to Nathula Pass on a daily basis. You will need permit for that journey so you should carry your ID with you. You can hire a shared cab for Rs.800/- or… …you can hire a vehicle all for yourself, in about Rs. 7000-Rs. 8000/- during off-season. The rate during peak season goes up to Rs. 9000-Rs. 10,000.
\On Day 3
You can visit local Gangtok market, Mahatma Gandhi Road,,, And enjoy the weather as well as the local food.
Let us talk about North Sikkim now. The biggest attraction of North Sikkim is its waterfalls. And absolutely breathtaking scenic views. During the monsoon season, you will get to see a new waterfall at every few kilometres. If you want to travel in your own car to North Sikkim, you will need a permit for that. But if you want to go in a taxi, the taxi operator can obtain this permit from Gangtok. To travel North, South and West Sikkim, if you need a smaller car you can get it from Gangtok, at a rate of about Rs.. 3300/- per day. You can also hire a bigger vehicle at a cost of Rs. 4000/- per day.
You need, at least, 4 nights and 5 days’ trip. As per my suggestion, you should stay in Lachen for 2 nights.
You can visit Gurudongmar Lake. It is a very beautiful lake. The place has very scarce green cover and due to its high altitude, oxygen level is low as well. Zero Point is an awesome place. You will definitely want to spend at least 1-2 hours at such a beautiful location. But due to low oxygen level here and frequent weather changes you won’t be able to spend too long time here.
In any case, by 12 pm to 12.30 pm, most of the tourists already leave this place. While coming back from Zero Point, you can stopover at Yumthang Valley. If you come to Sikkim during April or May….. …you will get to see lots of flowers in Yumthang Valley. Because of that, this place is also known as Flower Valley.
From Yumthang, you can go to Lachung for a night stay. Next day, you can travel to Katao. After a 2-night stay in Lachung, on next day, you can come back to Gangtok. You’ll also experience and explored a whole lot of traditional food items here. To go to West and South Sikkim, you will need to come back to Gangtok from North Sikkim.Till now, you saw the tour planning of 8 days, including travel to Gangtok and North Sikkim.
You will have to start your journey to South and West Sikkim from Gangtok. It would be better if you first go to South Sikkim and then to West. In South Sikkim, you can do a one-night stay in Namchi. And another one-night stay in Ravangla. If you have a short time for travel, then you should go to Namchi.
South Sikkim is more popular for holy tourism. In this part of the tour, you can plan for a 2 nights and 3 days stay in South Sikkim. If you are travelling
here, you must visit Buddha Park. Overall, in two nights and three days, you can cover all of South Sikkim very well.
When you travel from South Sikkim to West your destination should be Pelling
. It is an immensely beautiful place.
After a one-night stay in Pelling you can travel to Yuksom for a second night stay.
In Yuksom, you will find a village-like atmosphere waterfalls trekking locations traditional food…. …and a lot more. Overall, you should keep 2 nights and 3 days aside for your West Sikkim journey too. From West, you can end your journey at New Jalpaiguri,
If you are travelling back by train, or you can catch a return flight from Baghdogra
airport. So, if I summarize this whole planning you would need 3 days for Gangtok, 5 days for North Sikkim, 3 days for South, and 3 days for West Sikkim. In about 14-15 days, you can travel all the four districts of Sikkim in a beautiful manner. As is the case with every hill station, same is with Sikkim
Sikkim has hotels for every budget. In Gangtok
,… ..you can get a room from tariff as low as Rs. 1000/- per day to the high-cost hotels at many places. As per your own budget, you can choose a hotel or a homestay. You can research on the internet and easily identify your options.
For your information, Sikkim also has a lot of homestay options too..the overall cost of staying in Sikkim, in comparison to other hill stations,… …including food, travel and lodging, is 30-35% higher.
In Gangtok, you will get to see more options for North Indian food, than traditional food. There are a few dishes that I would like to specially mention. The delicious taste of Khuri with chutney. The taste that you won’t forget for the rest of your life. The combination of Iskus, buckwheat flour roti and chutney made of Dalle pepper.
In your Sikkim tour, don’t miss eating Gundruk
. You shouldn’t miss that. If you like traditional food,,… …you will get to eat very simple food during your Sikkim journey. The best part is that the food here is organically grown. Leafy vegetables, overall, are good for health.
If you are a foreigner who wants to visit Sikkim, then what is the maximum duration of permit for staying in Sikkim, what are the frequently asked questions, all this information is available on the website of Sikkim Tourism .
Some more important information – Plastic bottles are banned in North Sikkim. This means you cannot even carry the bottles with you. If you travel to North Sikkim even during summers, you will need woollen clothes. While reaching closer to waterfalls, at a lot of places, leeches stuck on to our skin. Wear shoes for your own safety. This is a very important tip.
This much only for today’s blog! Till then stay tuned and wait for another blog.