My eventful tour of North Sikkim

Gurudongmar Lake, Sikkim

Gurudongmar Lake, Sikkim

Located in North East of India, the state of Sikkim is blessed with breathtaking waterfalls, lakes, scenic Valleys monasteries and Gompas. There are several exciting trek routes too.

In the year 2010, just after Durga Puja, I got roped into a hurriedly decided tour to Sikkim with some of my young friends who were mostly from TCS. The tour itinerary included the Capital city Gangtok and its outskirts followed by a tour to North Sikkim.

I have been four times unlucky regarding a trip to Gangtok and North Sikkim. So I hopped in, despite the fact I knew only one of the team members.

A typical tour to Gangtok and North Sikkim comprises of several things. To start with there is the city tour which comprises of several Monasteries including the famous Rumtek.

The highlight of North Sikkim tour comprises of the high altitude fresh water lake of Gurudongmar at 17,100 feet in North Sikkim. The lake is named after Guru Padmasambhava who had brought Tantric Buddhism to Tibet in the 8th century. It is said that Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikh religion, visited this lake.

Also added to the tour was a visit to Tsongmo alias Changu Lake in east Sikkim, 40 km from Gangtok. The lake was 40 km from Gangtok at a height of 12,400 ft and is accessed through a treacherous road.

Crawling Traffic at Ranipool Bridge

Crawling Traffic at Ranipool Bridge

Accompanied by my young friends, I reached the very next day after Durga Puja at New Jalpaiguri Station. With a bright sunny weather accompanied by the blue waters of Tista River, we enjoyed a pleasant 4-hour drive to Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim. There is a bridge just before entering Gangtok. The bridge is known as Ranipool bridge and the stream below it as Rani Khola. On crossing the bridge some army men checks car papers. The traffic usually crawls here.

Not great news at Gangtok

On our arrival to Gangtok, we came to know that our hired car from NJP will not be allowed to go further from the Deorali Jeep stand. We had to hire cabs to reach there. The cabs do not run on meter and do not have any fixed rate. Besides that, each cab takes only 4 people. Since we were a group of five, we were forced to take two cabs to reach our hotel.

There was more bad news to come. Our North Sikkim Tour scheduled two days later took a jolt when our pre-booked exclusive tour with a local travel agent was cancelled. Since it was peak season and we had no other options than to convert our exclusive tour into a shared one with another agent. Also, there seemed to be no car or taxi available to take us to Tsongmo alias Changu lake the next day at a reasonable rate.

We went out for a stroll in the afternoon to keep our spirits high. Our hotel was near Tashiling Secretariat. There was a viewpoint near it, but dusk was settling fast. We managed to get in the last ride on the ropeway over the city. It was not very fruitful as the fog was coming down very fast. We got a basic glance of the city from the top and then everything went white.

Viewpoint near Secretriat

Viewpoint near Secretriat

View of Gangtok from Ropeway

View of Gangtok from Ropeway

After getting down from ropeway, we walked down to the most happening place of Gangtok – the M.G. Marg. It is a pedestrian plaza and well maintained. Comparing with Kolkata, this road can be considered as the Park Street of Gangtok. The bus and jeep stands are nearby. Also the famous ‘Lal Market’ where tourists do their maximum shopping is just adjacent to it. There are several hotels on the M. G. Marg. It occurred to me that maybe we should have opted for a hotel at M.G. Road to save the cabby fare up and down to the hotel.

M.G. Marg is the most happening place of Gangtok

M.G. Marg is the most happening place of Gangtok

Lal Market is the best place to shop at Gangtok

Lal Market is the best place to shop at Gangtok

A souvenir shop at Lal Market

A souvenir shop at Lal Market

Since nobody was in a great mood, we decided to have dinner in a good restaurant instead of our hotel. We entered into one of the good restaurants named “Gang Talk”. The ambience was good and so was the food. Some of the team members decided to drown their sorrow with alcohol. It did not have a good effect and the result was that on our way back in confusion escorting our “high spirited” friends we took a wrong pathway to the hotel.

Chance Night encounter strikes rich.

It sounds funny, but getting “lost” in a city that too in the night is rather embarrassing. Worse one of our “high spirited” friends started hailing cabs at random and asking them whether next day they could take us to a tour of Changu lake and Baba Mandir . I was getting irritated and puzzled when a miracle happened. A cab actually stopped and he informed that there can actually be a car available next day to give us a tour to Changu Lake and Baba Mandir! After we reached our hotel, the driver of the said car paid a visit. He took two of our passport sized photograph and I.D. Proof photocopy in order to make Inner Line Permit to visit the lake. The lake falls in restricted area and thus needs a permit. Our tour to Changu Lake for the next day was fixed.

The next morning started very promisingly. To start off we were treated to an awesome sight of Mount Kanchendzonga and other peaks shining brightly amongst floating clouds and lush greeneries right from our balcony. The scenario was looking like an oil painting and it was not till clouds covered the snow capped mountains, we thought of getting ready for our tour to Changu Lake. After a hearty breakfast, we had a talk over the phone with our driver who asked us to join him at the private bus/jeep stand opposite to Hungry Jack Hotel. It was walking distance from M.G. Road.

Mt. Kangchenjunga and other peaks as seen from out hotel balcony

Mt. Kangchenjunga and other peaks as seen from out hotel balcony

Zoomed view of Mt. Kangchenjunga as seen from out hotel balcony

Zoomed view of Mt. Kangchenjunga as seen from out hotel balcony

We walked from our hotel to the M.G. Road. In the day time, the path looked pretty easy and we reached the Jeep Stand in no time. Our driver arrived sometimes later with a Mahindra Maxx. We had intended to visit Nathula pass too. However, it was not possible as we came to know that the pass remains open only to Indian nationals on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Sadly it was Tuesday, so we had to drop the idea.

Tsongmo alias Changu Lake and Baba Mandir

We started at 10:00. Another fellow came in and handed over the inner line permit to the driver. It was sunny all around with clouds floating. The zigzag pathway with greeneries all around was a treat to the eyes.

Inner Permit for Changu Lake handed over to our Driver

Inner Permit for Changu Lake handed over to our Driver

After a drive of one and half hour we stopped at the check post where there was a huge line of cars. Our driver went to see the permit, whence I notice small waterfalls beside the road. It looked pretty and in a jiffy I was on the road armed with my camera and tripod. As soon as my photo session was over, the driver came back and we resumed our journey.

A small waterfalls on our way to Changu Lake

A small waterfalls on our way to Changu Lake

The road was a mixed affair. At some place it was pretty descent, while it was extremely difficult to negotiate at some other. We needed some military men to push our vehicle at a point. We came to know that there was a landslide yesterday and the cleaning process was going on. We saw some road repairing machines on the way.

Road to Changu Lake from Gangtok

Road to Changu Lake from Gangtok

Meanwhile the weather God played foul with us. As we were proceeding towards Changu, it became cloudy. By the time we had reached, the place was full of fog and mist. It was drizzling a bit too. The water of the lake was yet unfrozen. The glacial lake is at a height of 12,400 ft and about 40 km from Gangtok.

Changu lake on a cloudy day

Changu lake on a cloudy day

We loitered a bit around the lake, plainly disappointed as the weather was dull and full of mist. There was a small wooden bridge with lots of coloured flags. We strolled over the bridge a bit and went back to the car and drove off to Baba Mandir. On our way back I was lucky to spot and shoot Rainbow at Changu Lake which for me was no less than a miracle.

A Rainbow at Changu Lake

A Rainbow at Changu Lake

The legend of Baba Mandir is quite famous. It was built in memory of Baba Harbhajan Singh, a soldier in the 23rd Punjab Regiment of Indian Army, who was drowned in a stream near the spot. In fact, there are two Baba Mandirs at Sikkim. The original Baba Mandir has been built at the site of the bunker of Baba Harbhajan, where he served during his tenure at the army. The new one has been built close to Changu Lake. It is around 20 km from the lake at a height of 13000 feet. Tourists traveling to West Sikkim at Nathang Valley, Kupup Lake visits old Baba Mandir. The new temple is always crowded with Indian Army Soldiers who believe the soul of the departed soldier still guards the frontier. A huge number of devotees visit the temple during peak tourist season.

Baba Mandir with Indian Soldiers around

Baba Mandir with Indian Soldiers around

I found this blog to be useful about facts on Baba Harbajan Singh http://sikhim.blogspot.in/2008/06/baba-harbhajan-singh-story-of-dead.html

North Sikkim Tour

Shared jeep travel in Gangtok means 10 passengers other than the driver in a Mahindra Maxx. Since we were first to arrive, we got the best seats. Two of us sat beside the driver and two positioned themselves in the middle seats. The other passenger took some time to come and it was not before 12 noon we started our journey.

We were to first reach Lachen (8838 Feet or 2694 Mtrs), which was 123 km from Gangtok. On the way to Lachen, our first stop was the Seven Sisters falls. Located 32 km from Gangtok, the waterfall gushes down against a green backdrop. There were quite a lot of tourists climbing up a staircase to reach near the waterfalls. I managed to get some good shots fixing the tripod some way on the stones.

Seven sisters falls

Seven sisters falls

Around 2 p.m. we halted for a lunch break at a pre-arranged local house at Phodong, 40 km from Gangtok. Soon after leaving Phodong, the road turned from bad to worse. It was a two way narrow lane with thick mud all over. Worse, in some places there were abandoned military trucks on the road. We literally crawled up to Mangan, the district headquarters of North Sikkim. There was a round of permit checking after Mangan.

Scenic fields at Phodong

Scenic fields at Phodong

The road turned from bad to worse after Phodong

The road turned from bad to worse after Phodong

After Mangan, we passed by the gorgeous Naga falls which flows over the road. Unfortunately, the light was very low now, so we could not stop to have a good view. Our final checking was at Tung check post before entering Lachen. It was around 6:00 when we reached Chungthang , where there are two pathways. The left goes to Lachen and the right to Lachung. The road was very dangerous here as there were no street lights. On our right side, below the valley, we could see a hydroelectric project under construction.

The village of Lachen

The village of Lachen

We reached Lachen at around 07:30 p.m. The accommodation was reasonably good at Lachen as we did not expect such a well-furnished room with Geyser facilities for bathing. It was extremely cold outside and we had earlier thought of skipping bath these days. After a nice bath and a simple dinner, we went to bed early.

Gurudongmar Lake

Next day in our journey for Gurudongmar Lake started at 04:00 a.m. The road condition was the worst and for the first time, I was feeling scary. There were numerous waterfalls on the way. We reached Thanggu at 06:45 a.m. It was still quite cold. The hot breakfast and tea at Thanggu tasted heavenly. Foreign Nationals cannot proceed after Thanggu as they are not permitted to visit the lake. They visit Chopta Valley instead.

Early morning at Thanggu

Early morning at Thanggu

Our breakfast getting ready at Thanggu

Our breakfast getting ready at Thanggu

It was getting cloudy and the terrain after Thanggu was very much like Ladakh. The clouds were getting dense and it was drizzling a bit. We were stopped at a military post where army men asked as whether we were feeling fine. There were bunkers and heavy artillery around us. None of us dared to take out our camera here. This was the final checkpoint and after that, the road was like a massive field from one horizon to the other. On our right, we could see snow clad mountains. Here we took out our cameras and started shooting.

The terrain from Thanggu to Gurudongmar Lake

The terrain from Thanggu to Gurudongmar Lake

The massive open field on the way to Gurudongmar

The massive open field on the way to Gurudongmar

We reached Gurudongmer lake around at 09:00 a.m. The time allotted was 1 hour. The clouds were clearing a bit but the snow clad peaks were not clearly visible. I climbed down a steep wooden staircase to reach the banks of the lake. There were colourful prayers flag around the lake. Keeping a sharp watch on the time, I decided to take a stroll around the giant waterbody.

Close view of Gurudongmar Lake

Close view of Gurudongmar Lake

At 17,100 feet, it is not surprising to have breathing trouble. Especially when you have gained that altitude from 9022 feet at that early part of the day in just about 5 hours !

My friends decided to stay up and not risk it. I walked to the left of the lake and crossed a small bridge. The colour of Gurudongmar Lake was greenish blue. With the clouds clearing from the snow clad mountains beside it, the place was looking out of the world. I have no idea what heaven looks like, but it must be something like this. Half way down the lake, I decided to turn back as it was getting late. A major disadvantage of a shared trip is you do not seem to get enough time anywhere.

Gurudongmar Lake Panoramic view

Gurudongmar Lake Panoramic view

After I climbed up the stairs, I found that it was the correct light to take my desired panorama shot of the lake. I took some other shots too as the driver was pursuing us to get in. Two of the fellow members were not feeling well and it was time to go. There was a small temple of Buddhist Guru besides the temple, where we made a hasty visit.

Landscape Near Gurudongmar

Landscape Near Gurudongmar

The sun was shining brightly now, and with great despair I climbed into the car. On our way back the valley was looking nothing less than Ladakh with the snow clad mountains shining on the horizon underneath the blue sky.

Going back I was feeling like having something extremely tasty but not having enough of it. One hour in heaven was bit too less.

Visit to Yumthang Valley and Zero Point

We reached Lachung (8610 Feet or 2624 Mts) the same afternoon after having a brief lunch stop at Lachen. I found Lachung more scenic and spread out than Lachen. The dinner was excellent today with Rumali Roti and Chicken Curry. Thankfully next day we were not supposed to start in the dark, but around 07:00 in the morning.

Lachung was more scenic than Lachen. That yellow two storied house was our lodge

Lachung was more scenic than Lachen. That yellow two storied house was our lodge

Next day the weather did not clear and Yumthung Valley was a big disappointment. We did not expect any flowers at this “Valley of Flowers” of Sikkim in October, but the bad light made the scenary look extremely dull.It had not snowed there as well. We strolled down to the river and had some slow shutter shot.

Yumthang Valley was a big disappointment because of bad weather

Yumthang Valley was a big disappointment because of bad weather

River at Yumthang Valley

River at Yumthang Valley

The driver had already told us that if we were to proceed to Zero Point, we have to pay extra Rs 500 as it has not part of original plan. Reluctantly we paid him the money, but it turned out worth going to reach Zero Point. The road was zigzag and narrow. Since it was a two way road, driving was really difficult.

Road to Zero Point

Road to Zero Point

Although weather did not clear and we could not see any snow clad peaks, it had snowed heavily at Zero point and everyone had their share of fun with snow and ice in the area. We took a stroll in the snow, but I advised not to cross the bridge over the icy river as fog was getting in.

Tourists at Zero Point

Tourists at Zero Point

A Kid enjoying with snow at Zero Point

A kid enjoying with snow at Zero Point

A bridge at zero point

A bridge at zero point

Three of our fellow passenger ventured across the bridge and we had to wait for long before they came back. By that time all other tourist jeep has left and it had started snowing again. As we were about to lose our patience they came back strolling lazily. Well, you have to face such troubles while going in a shared car.

Our lone car at Zero Point waiting for our fellow mates to return

Our lone car at Zero Point waiting for our fellow mates to return

The visibility was getting down from bad to worse as we drove on through that zig zag road with walls of ice beside us. Finally, we came down to a normal road and drove without much event to Lachung. After a quick lunch, we drove back to Gangtok. The road was worse while returning. One vehicle had got stuck in the mud and everyone gave a hand to heave it. We reached around 11 in the night at the city.

After a day of local sightseeing at Gangtok including a visit to Rumtek and Ranka Monastery, we headed for New Jalpaiguri Station the next day.

Rumtek Monastery

Rumtek Monastery

Ranka Monastery

Ranka Monastery

The Manager of our lodge, Hotel Pomra promised to get us an SUV, but ended up providing us with a Tata Indica. We had a heated argument, but at the end, we were forced to board that car as there was not much alternative. My friends had done truckload of shopping at Gangtok, and it was really cramped inside the car.

We learned the lesson in the hard way that at Gangtok, one should arrange the vehicle on their own instead of depending on hotel managers.

As we reached New Jalpaiguri, one of the team member said – “We managed a car out of the blue for going to Changu Lake, survived a shared trip to North Sikkim after our tour agent duped. At least, we had a ready car to drop us at New Jalpaiguri. Thank God the worst is over.”

Actually at that time fate must have looked upon us and said “Picture abhi baki hai mere dost” (the show is yet to go on), as we were completely unaware of the events which were about to happen within another two hours.

But that is another story. Maybe in some other blog post, I will share it. Look out for that adventure or should I say a misadventure.

Neccessary information

North Sikkim

To reach Gurudongmar Lake and /or Yumthang, it is mandatory to do the trip of North Sikkim with tour operators recognized by Sikkim Government. If budget permits, try to go for an exclusive tour instead of a shared one. I recommend that you book your tour from travel agent based in your city or at Kolkata instead of directly booking through a Gangtok based agency. The drivers of Sikkim may be champion of the roads, but most of the Gangtok based travel agencies are extremely unreliable.

People having a heart problem or breathing trouble should not attempt this journey. You should carry enough warm clothes anytime you visit this lake. You need to carry your identity card (Voter’s card or Pan Card preferable) and two copies of your passport sized photograph as you will need a permit to visit this lake. Normally your local tour operator is supposed to get you the permit. Keep more photographs with you in case you need it.

Gurudongmar Lake is very near to China border and a high-security zone. Be careful not to take photographs of bunkers, heavy artillery and other military buildings. You may be heavily penalised for this.

Usually the best time to visit North Sikkim is the end of April to mid of June and October to the first week of November. But nowadays the perfect months to get together the flowers in full bloom at Yumthang and also relatively clear Sky at Gurudongmar is end of April to the second week of May.

Gangtok

You can reach Gangtok in 4-5 hours either by hired car from NJP station/ Siliguri or by Sikkim transport’s Bus from Siliguri. There are several trains reaching NJP station in the morning from Howrah / Sealdah. Preferable time of visit is March to June and November to December. October is a good time too, but due to late monsoons it may be dicey.

At Gangtok, I will advise staying at a hotel near M.G. Marg. It is walking distance from the Deorali Bus /Jeep Stand. Also since M.G. Marg is at heart of Gangtok, you get easy access to every amenity. Lal Market is a good place to shop, but one needs to bargain hard and do proper quality check before closing the deal.

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199 thoughts on “My eventful tour of North Sikkim

  1. Ritika |Indian Screw Up says:

    North east is the only place in India where I haven’t been..we always make plans to see Sikkim and we always end up going somewhere else

    I seriously had no idea it was such a beautiful place ! I am in awe.. next year, its definitely going to be Sikkim

    • AMITABHA GUPTA says:

      Yes…you should definitely visit Sikkim. Include in your tour Pelling, Ravangla and Yuksom too.

      Alos you should visit other North Eastern State like Meghalaya. Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland.

      • jayanta saha says:

        Dear amitabha gupta i jayanta saha with my family is planing to vist north sikkim on first week of nov. Pls suggest some good hotel in lachen and lachung and how to book them. Thank you

      • AMITABHA GUPTA says:

        I have mentioned in my blog that
        ‘To reach Gurudongmar Lake and /or Yumthang, it is mandatory to do the trip of North Sikkim with tour operators recognized by Sikkim Government.’

        This means you CANNOT do a North Sikkim Tour on your own. You MUST HAVE a tour operator as the route to North Sikkim is treacherous and dangerous.

        So all you have to do is to ask your Tour operator the type of hotel you want and they will do the needfull.

        An additional word of advice here …Choose your tour operator through a reliable kolkata based travel agency.

      • Amritangshu panja says:

        Wat will b d cost for one person in shared jeep for north Sikkim??? Plzz sir inform me

      • prateek says:

        Hi Amitabh,
        My parents are visiting gangtok in september 2016, is it advisable to go to Yumthang/ gurudongmar??..if not, what are the other suitable places near gangtok.

  2. Island Traveler says:

    An amazing, incredible journey! North Sikkim is bursting with so much nature, culture, of wonders that breathes inspiration. Thanks for sharing all this. All the best to you and family. Awesome adventure!

  3. balaka says:

    I was born and brought up In Gangtok. I went to TNA(Tashi Namgyal Academy)school. We lived in a place called Baluakhani. Thanks for taking me back to my childhood memories. I really feel nostalgic looking at the images.

  4. Anandan Iyer says:

    Sikkim is an amazing place. It is perfect place for peaceful vacationers. I visited Gangtok last year to attend a friend’s wedding and it was a wonderful experience. Your pictures are very beautiful. I found your blog to be very interesting. It reminded me of my Sikkim vacation.

  5. vipin k says:

    Mr Amitbha,

    Please let me know if its feasible to visit sikkim last month of jan to first week of feb?
    Is atmosphere clear to view snow peak mountains?

    • AMITABHA GUPTA says:

      Depends where you want to go to Sikkim. It is a good time for Snow fall actually,,,, roads to Nathula and North Sikkim often gets closed. No flowers will be there at Yumthang and chances of road to Gurudingmar getting blocked is high.

      But getting clear sky in hill station is pure luck, unless you go there in May or November ( that guarantee is going away too because of global warming)..

      If you stick to Gangtok and Pelling Itenary that will be safest.

      To enjoy snowfall and an off beat route, try West Sikkim Sik Route…Sellary Gaon, Zuluk, Nathang Valley and Aritar Lake.

      Although Road blocking chances are there in January – February due to snow,but the scenary looks heavenly. You may not be able to do the total route, but snowfall frequency is getting irregular with Global warming. December is a good time for Silk route, but it gets too much crowded due to tourists.

      • vipin says:

        So basically i can try going there in jan end.
        actually im going there on honeymoon.. hope the stay amd local sightseeing is safe when its booked exclusively.

      • AMITABHA GUPTA says:

        Yes… Sikkim is safe for tourists than many other places. Exclusive package deal is best.

        BUT … please do your booking of Hotel and Transportation through a Reliable Travel agent based in your city and not directly through a travel agent based at Sikkim. People may argue with me, but I have done the both and seen the results.

        If you are going on January for your honeymoon, stay at Gangtok and tour its surrounding. But I doubt if you can go to Changu Lake as the road will be snow-filled. Nathu La will not be approachable.

        You can also try going to Pelling. It will be a beautiful experience and sky should be reasonably clear. Kanchendzonga looks awesome from there. To get a
        sneak preview as to how Mt. K looks from Pelling, try viewing the Bengali movie “Anuranan”. I believe it has a Hindi dubbed version, which is available in You Tube.

        Do not try West Sikkim Silk Route, as there is no need to take a risky journey on your honeymoon. North Sikkim is simply no no on January for general tourists.

        Just another info, in case you are a smoker. Avoid smoking in Public, specially in M.G. Marg of Gangtok.

      • vipin says:

        Can you tell me if the below itinerary is right for jan 27th till 4th feb ?
        If you see modificationd what would it be? Can you suggest please?

        DAY 01 NJP RAILWAY STATION / IXB (BAGDOGRA AIRPORT) – DARJEELING
        Arrival at NJP Railway Station / Bagdogra Airport. Transfer to Darjeeling (7100ft / 110 kms / 03 hrs). Arrives & Check in Hotel. Evening free for leisure. Overnight stay at Hotel

        DAY 02 DARJEELING
        Early Morning at 0400 AM visit Tiger Hill ,famous for sunrise over Mt. Kanchendzonga, on way back visit Ghoom Monastery, Batasia Loop and back to hotel. After breakfast proceed for visit Mix points, covering The Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, PNZ Zoological Park (closed on Thursday) Tenzing Rock, Tibetans Refuge Centre (closed on Sunday), Tea Garden (outer view), Rope way, Japanese Temple, Ava Art Gallary & Peace pagoda. Overnight stay at hotel.

        DAY 03 DARJEELING-PELLING
        After breakfast, transfer to Pelling (6000 ft /118 kms / 04 hrs). Afternoon proceed for half day local tour covering Rimbi Waterfalls, Rimbi Rock Garden, Khecheopalri Wishing Lake & Kanchenjunga Falls. Over night at Hotel.

        DAY 04 PELLING – GANGTOK
        After Breakfast transfer to Gangtok (5500 ft / 132 kms / 05 hrs). Gangtok the capital of Sikkim is a beautiful and clean town. Arrives & Check in Hotel. Afternoon go for half day local tour covering Jhakri Water Falls, Ranka Monastery, Research Institute of Tibetology (Closed on Sunday & govt.Holidays), Do-Drul Chorten, Directorate of Handicrafts & Handloom (Closed on Sunday & Govt. Holidays) & Flower Show. Evening free at leisure. Over night at Hotel.

        DAY 05 TSANGU LAKE & BABA MANDIR ( gangtok )
        A day excursion to Tsangu Lake (departure at 0900 to 0930 AM hrs ) – situated at a height of 3,780 Mts. with an average depth of 50 ft & Baba Mandir – The shrine maid in memory of sepoy Harbahajan Singh, Back to Gangtok. Evening free. Over night stay at hotel.

        DAY 06 GANGTOK-LACHUNG
        Pick- up from hotel at Gangtok at about 10 a.m. proceed to Lachung (115 Kms / 06 hrs) at an altitude of 8,600 ft. On the way stop and enjoy a few wonderful locations like Tashi Viewpoint, Kabi Lungstok, Naga Waterfalls, the confluence of Lachen-Chu and Lachung-Chu at Chungthang, Twin Waterfalls and Bhim Nala Waterfalls. You are likely to reach Lachung at late afternoon / in the evening and will check in our hotel.

        DAY 07 LACHUNG-YUMTHANG-LACHUNG
        After breakfast leave for Yumthang (11800 ft / 43 kms / 02 hrs) On the way you may visit the famous hot spring. Yumthang is a large valley surrounded by mountains where the tree line ends. In April / May / June the valley erupts in a riot of colours as Rhododendrons, Primulae and many other Alpine Flowers are in full bloom. In the winter months, Yumthang is somber with snow all around, and the anow clad mountains adding to the ethereal beauty. Return to Lachung for Lunch. After lunch visit Lachung Monastery, Cottage Industry and Waterfalls. Dinner will be served at about 8 p.m.

        DAY 08 LACHUNG-GANGTOK
        After breakfast leave for Gangtok. On the way stops between singhik, Mangan and if the weather is clear you may get to see the Khangchendzonga Range. This location offers a majestic view of Mt. Pandim, Mt. Kabru, Mt. Simvo, Mt. Jopuno, Mt. Khangchendzonga and Mt. Siniolchu on the way. O/n at Gangtok.

        DAY 09 gANGTOK – NJP RAILWAY STATION / IXB AIRPORT
        After breakfast, transfer to NJP Railway Station / IXB Airport (125 kms / 04 Hrs) for your onward journey.

        TOTAL PACKAGE COST IN LUXURY CATEGORY PER COUPLE@79800/ ON MAPAI PLAN (ONE ROOM 02 PAX )

        TOTAL PACKAGE COST IN PREMIUM CATEGORY PER COUPLE@66900/ ON MAPAI PLAN (ONE ROOM 02 PAX )

        TOTAL PACKAGE COST IN DELUXE CATEGORY PER COUPLE@58000/ ON MAPAI PLAN (ONE ROOM 02 PAX )

        PACKAGE COST INCLUDES- HOTEL ACCOMODATION IN ONE DOUBLE ROOM ON MAPAI PLAN ONLY LACHUNG TWO NIGHTS ON APAI PLAN AND ALL TRANSFER BY ONE EXCLUSIVE TATA SUMO AND ALL TAXES.

      • AMITABHA GUPTA says:

        Give me your Email Id…. I will reply on that. This Plan is NOT at all correct.

        Yumthung in February ???? What they will suggest next ? May be Trekking to Gurudongmar Lake from Gangtok In July ! 🙂

  6. lifestyleproblog says:

    What an awesome post! Revisited my own Sikkim memories… we could not go to Lachen and Yumthang and reading your post and looking at the pics, I wish we had gone 😦

    Truly Truly beautiful pictures 🙂

  7. Friend says:

    Thank you for such an amazing description of sikkim…:) I am going on 27th Feb and return on 4th March. It would be really nice of you if you can tell me the best route possible to cover…Its a family trip and we love mountains and nature to core 🙂

  8. Mugdha T says:

    Hi Amitabha,

    Amazing pics & would love to visit these places. Given you are completely aware of the area & have explored, your opinion would be really helpful here….I am planning a trip to Gangtok around 15th Feb. Will the route to Lachen/Lachung be safe during this time?Many sites have promoted this area for its beauty during this season esp. the snow covered region/snowfall. However, I am a bit concerned about the journey from Gangtok to Lachen & the road safety.
    Also I can visist either Yumthang or Gurudongmar lake, which one do you suggest.

    Thanks!!

    • AMITABHA GUPTA says:

      Thanks for visiting my blog. I am happy that my post inspired you to travel to North Sikkim. However, February is not the best time to visit Yumthang or Gurudongmar lake as during these period North Sikkim receives heavy snowfall resulting in road blockage.

      You should visit these two places in early to Mid May to get flowers in Yumthang and clear sky in Gurudongmar. Gurudongmar is tougher than Yumthang because of the terrain and the altitude (17100 feet).

      In February… other than Gangtok visit Pelling, Ravangala and Rinchengpong. I doubt whether route to Changu , Babamandir and Nathula will be open at that time.

  9. Rachna gogri says:

    Thank You So Much For Your Information….
    We are goin sikkim in March 7-14
    As U said For north sikkim v must book from here in mumbai
    But apart from that
    Can V do gangtok n darjeeling
    Car n hotel booking from our own after goin there….
    Also want to know lachung and lachen If One we want to skip….what do u suggest
    V have 7 nights n 8 days only in hand so feel it can Be tough to do both
    We want to do darjeeling
    Gangtok and Lachung or lachen
    So……

    • AMITABHA GUPTA says:

      I prefer contacting the hotels personally before going and thus book in advance. After a long journey I detest roaming around the city to book the hotel.

      But you can always book the hotel after you reach Darjeeling and Gangtok as March is a relatively off season in both these places. Also you can get discount on spot booking . Regarding local sight seeing at both these places you can always book a car locally.

      Lachen or Lachung will not be advisable in March second week. Try going to Pelling instead or try Ravangla. 8 days is enough to cover three places . It may be like this :- Three days in Darjeeling and its surroundings. Two days in Gangtok. Two days in Pelling. Final day to go to Bangdogra or NJP to catch flight or train.

      • Rachna gogri says:

        Thank You frm heart for replying…
        Actully we wantd to go in feb bt v postponed thinking that In March we can go to lachung….bt if nt advisabl then…we will skip….but is it worth spending 3 days in Darjeeling…..
        Can U suggest othr spot of interest…….

      • AMITABHA GUPTA says:

        At Darjeeling.
        Eat at Glenarys, Shop at Tibetian Refugee Self Help Centre. Walk in the Mall and do local sightseeing .

        Outskits of Darjeeling.
        Keep your base at Darjeeling and go to any or all of these : A. Batasia loop riding Toy Train and Ghoom Monastery B. Lepcha Jagat instead of the overcrowded Tiger Hill C. Happy Valley Tea Estate for a Tea Garden Tour

  10. Prashanth says:

    Hi Amitabha,

    Awesome blog!. The pictures are magnificent. Myself along with my four friends would like to travel to sikkim. Like you we are working professionals who badly want to travel and have some fun. Depending on our availability we could only plan the trip in december. Can you please advice us if we should pursue this? If yes a breif trip itinerary please. We have 6 days to spare :). I would like to thank you once again for such an informative blog.

    Regards,
    Prashanth

    • AMITABHA GUPTA says:

      Hi Prashanth,

      Good to know you liked my blog on North Sikkim. You can plan a North Sikkim Tour in December, but please verify the road conditions at Gangtok before you start the tour. Road conditions are unpredictable in that route, although December should usually be fine. Just check the suggestions I have given in my blog.

      Suggested Itenary

      Day 1. Reach Gangtok. Do a bit of sightseeing

      Day 2. Tour to Changu Lake, Baba Mandir and Nathu la

      Day 3. Leave for North Sikkim Tour. Reach Lachen in the afternoon for night stay

      Day 4. Start for Gurudongmar early in the morning. Visit the lake, come back to Lachen. Have lunch and leave for Lachung. Overnight at Lachung.

      Day 5. Visit Yumthang and Zero point in the morning. Come back To Lachung, have dinner and leave for Gangtok. Overnight at Gangtok.

      Day 6. If you have energy left, try for a half day tour of Gangtok. Or Simply Relax, do shopping at Lal market, Leave for New Jalpaiguri or Bagdogra by 13:00

      If North Sikkim & Changu Lake tour is abandoned for excessive snowfall, alternative route is :

      Day 1, Gangtok
      Day 2. Full day sightseeing at Gangtok including visiting Rumtek Monastery
      Day 3. Leave for Pelling. Pelling sightseeing
      Day 4. Pelling sightseeing
      Day 5. Tour To Yuksom and back to pelling
      Day 6. Leave for NJP or Bangdogra by 13:00

      Hope this helps.

      Regards

      Amitabha Gupta

  11. Dr. Dipti shende says:

    HELLO AMITABHA
    We are planing for north sikkim tour in month of april, our tour iternary is as follow…Plz guide us whether cost is perfect or too high and what else we can add in this package…
    Number of Days : 4 nights and 5 days
    Package Details : 2 nights in Gangtok – 1 nights in Lachung again last night in Gangtok.
    No. Of Pax : 2 (Two).
    Hotels : 3 star.
    Best time to visit : During the months of March to June and from September to December. During winters (December end till February), it is extremely cold out there, receiving perpetual snowfalls. The roads and mountains get enveloped in snow.

    DAY 1
    Reception at NJP/Bagdogra and drive to Gangtok, the Capital of Sikkim .Check in at Hotel. Free Evening, Overnight at Gangtok
    DAY 2
    Drive to Tsongo Lake,Baba Mandir and Nathula Pass (Except Monday & Tuesday) back to Hotel . Afternoon is free for personal activities. Overnight at Gangtok.
    DAY 3
    After Breakfast start journey towards Lachung. En-route Seven Sisters Water Fall, (Lunch at your own cost) Miyang Chu, Naga Water Fall, Vim Nala & Twin Water Fall sight seeing. 4:00 – 5:00 p.m. Arrival at Lachung. Check in to Hotel & leisure.
    DAY 4
    8:30 a.m. After breakfast, Day excursion to Simba Rhododendron Sanctuary, Hot Spring & Yumthang Valley. check out from hotel and Drive bcak to Gangtok.. Over night stay at Gangtok
    DAY 5
    After breakfast Check out from Gangtok and drive back to NJP/Bagdogra.. Tour ends.

    Tariff :-

    Drescription.
    Amount/Adult.
    Accomodation With Breakfast & Dinner in Gangtok, all meal at Lachung. Transportation including sight seen.
    Rs. 42500.00

    thank you

    • AMITABHA GUPTA says:

      1. If you are going to Yumthung, insist to your travel agent that in this package they should take you to Zero point also without any extra cost.

      2. Difficult to comment on the cost. You haven’t clearly mentioned if only two persons are going on an exclusive car, or sharing it with other ?

      3. if possible stay an extra day at Lachung, instead of returning back the same day to Gangtok. Start early morning Next day for Gangtok. Otherwise it becomes a bit hectic. The roads are bad and returning same day can cause you reaching Gangtok even at 11:30 in the night. Happened with me and it was not a pleasure !

  12. Manikuntala Das says:

    hi, Is April a good time to visit North Sikkim? And if yes, can you please tell me the complete package cost estimates of Gurudongmar and Yumthang. Thank you in advance. I loved reading the article

    • AMITABHA GUPTA says:

      Yes it is…. Try going Middle of April. Chances are you may get a totally frozen Gurudongmar lake, but you will get plenty of flowers in full bloom at Yumthang.

      Difficult to say about the cost as I have no idea about the standard you want. Then there are shared vehicles tours and exclusive vehicle tours.

      I am not sure of the present cost , but in 2013 a shared tour was costing Rs 3500 – Rs 4000 per person ( included charges for car, accommodation and all meals). In 2013, for exclusive tour with a full vehicle cost for two persons was something in the range of Rs 20,000 (Gangtok To Gangtok) . This will increase as you increase the accommodation standard.

      I did the trip in 2010 at a dirt cheap price of Rs 2500 in a shared vehicle. 🙂

      But the accommodation was good, food was descent and driver was superb who drove a Mahindra Maxx… one of the best cars to travel in these kind of terrains.

  13. Debasis Mukhopadhyay says:

    I went through your entire journey/description of Gurudongmar Lake.You have a very good skill of storytelling.I require some information regarding my Gurudongmar Lake trip expected on 12th of April’15 and have already arranged a separate SUV(Non Sharing).
    We are two persons in count(Me and my wife).We dont have any regular breathing trouble but still whether an inhaler can be an taken as a precautionary measurement or not required.
    Second, as we know Gurudongmar Lake is the second highest lake in India.Just 5-6 Km above(45 mins drive) Gurudongmar, is Cholamu Lake,the highest lake in India.The roads are already there to Cholamu, but one can not visit the lake with the same permit of Gurudongmar Lake.It requires a special permit for going over there.But it is nothing like that no one has ever visited the place.In internet pics are available of the people who have successfully visited the Cholamu but I could not find any videos on YouTube.I am very curious about visiting the Cholamu Lake.5-6 Kms from Cholamu lake is China.Infact in this part India and china share the same platue.It would be nice if you can provide your valuable input over the same.Apart from my mentioned queries, if any other inputs come up to your mind,please dont hesitate to share those.Waiting for your reply…
    Regards,
    Debasis Mukhopadhyay

  14. Lipika says:

    Hello Amitabha..

    Thanks Amitabha for such a helpful and self explanatory article… we (2 ppl) are planing to travel Gangtok and North sikkim in the month of June.. Could you please suggest if we should take a tour packages for the same or we can directly go there and travel by arranging local taxi or cab..

    • AMITABHA GUPTA says:

      You can travel within Gangtok and even upto Rumtek by local taxi ,,,, But North Sikkim in local cab ?????

      I think you better read my blog post again. Under Necessary information about North Sikkim I have mentioned categorically “To reach Gurudongmar Lake and /or Yumthang, it is mandatory to do the trip of North Sikkim with tour operators recognized by Sikkim Government.”

      So no local cabs will take you there. In fact it those roads it would be impossible. You will need an expert driver and a car like Mahindra Maxx.

      The road to North Sikkim is itself perilous even before you reach Lachen. The road from Phodong is itself very bad.

      Another thing I would like to add here. North Sikkim Tour In June is not a great idea. Monsoon will be predominant at that time.

      Get ready to face Rain… lots of Rain…. with every small streams converted into waterfalls flowing on the roads everywhere. The roads will be nothing less than perilous and chances of breathing trouble at Gurudongmar will be maximum.

      Of course if you have mountain luck, you may get clear sky and no frills journey, but that is v-e-r-y r-a-r-e. In fact one in a million chance.

      If you want my advise of touring North Sikkim in June in one word it would be “Don’t Go”.

  15. Aditya says:

    Hi Amitabha,

    Thanks for writing such a lovely post !!

    I am planning a trip for my honey moon from May 22-30, 2015. I am confused whether to go to West Sikkim or North Sikkim

    I am reaching Bagdogra airport 4:30 PM on 22nd May ( Friday ) & have time till 30th May ( Saturday ) afternoon ( when I have a return flight from Bagdogra )

    During this time, what would be recommend or can we cover both West & North ? I mean to ask if North Sikkim is too much for 8 days then I can plan for west sikkim. I read about Yangsum home stay in West Sikkim. If yes, I was planning to go to West Sikkim first ( 2-3 days ) & then North SIkkim. Your opinions please.

    Thanks a lot,
    Aditya

  16. Amogh says:

    Hi Amitabha,

    We are planning to visit Sikkim in coming November. Please let us know whether it is a good time to visit & is there any possibility of witnessing snow at Tsongmo lake , Nathu la & North Sikkim?

    Regards,
    Amogh Puranik

      • amogh says:

        Thanks Amitabha,

        I heard that there are some shared sightseeing packages available in North Sikkim, so I would like to know is it worth to take this package? One of the travel agent offering Rs.3500/- per person for two days three night package of North Sikkim.

        Regards,
        Amogh Puranik

  17. Amita says:

    Hello Amitabha ,
    Firstly thank you for writing such an amazing blog , it has provided a great interest and keenness in my mind now to visit Northesast . I along with three members of my family is planning to visit Darjeeling and Sikkim by the coming week of june . We will be travelling from Delhi . Which all places can be covered in the very first trip (for a week) Your suggestion will be really helpul .
    Thank you

    • AMITABHA GUPTA says:

      June… I am afraid is not the best time to visit Drajeeling and Sikkim if you are opting to view the snow clad peaks. It often rains at that time.

      But nevertheless, you can do lot of other sightseeing. In Darjeeling Toy Train ride to Ghoom via Batasaia loop is a must. Try taking a tea garden tour, indulge in shopping, eat voraciously at Keventer’s and Glenary’s.

      For Sikkim, In Gangtok other than the local sightseeing, visit Enchey, Rumtek and Ranka Monastery. If weather permits visit Changu Lake, Baba Mandir and Nathula.

      That is all you can cover in 1 week.

      • Amita says:

        Thanks a ton will surely look forward to your suggestion well one more query , my dad want to know whether we can cover north sikkim irrespective of snow capped mountains . Waiting for your reply
        Thank you

      • AMITABHA GUPTA says:

        North Sikkim takes at least three full days….road is very treacherous….and landslide prone….so if rain starts by the time you reach there, going to North Sikkim may be bit dicey….

        In June going to North Sikkim is actually unpredictable because of the weather conditions.

      • Amita says:

        Thank you , thank you soooo much for a great advice .
        Blessings , prayers and warm wishes .

  18. Pronoy Chatterjee says:

    Hi Amitabha,
    Your blog about north sikkim is really good.This end of september or beginning of october we are planning to visit gurudongmar.could you please advise us that whether it will be the best time to visit or not.we are looking for less croud also.will it be possible at that time.

    • AMITABHA GUPTA says:

      Beginning of October ? Well, it will be just post monsoon and getting clear weather will be just luck.

      Of course you will have less crowd then….. but to get somewhat sureshot views try end of October or first week of November. The post Puja crowd will be there , but anyways North Sikkim is not everyone’s cup of tea – so you may get max 30 odd people around of which maximum will be not in a jumping mood due to altitude sickness.

  19. Pronoy Chatterjee says:

    Hi,thank you so much for reply.Actually,we are planning to visit silk route also in the same tour along with gurudongmar.i m bit confused about from where to start.please help me how to plan our journey.could you please advise me some good tour operator.thank you.

    • AMITABHA GUPTA says:

      First day at Gangtok will be just settling down. Chill… relax and take a leisurely evening walk. Book a hotel near M.G. Marg .

      North Sikkim Tour (Gurudongmar and Yumthang valley) will need minimum three days.

      The route to North Sikkim is not a walk in the park,there are dangers which can be quite severe. Besides at Gurudongmar you gain altitude above 17000 feet which can cause breathing trouble.

      You will need at least one day to relax after North Sikkim. Do a bit of sight seeing in and around Gangtok, if you are fit enough. Check out Ganesh Tok, Hanuman Tok, Enchey Monastery. Take a tour to Rumtek Monastery as well as Ranka Monastery (they are in opposite directions, keep in mind).

      On day 6.. start your Silk Route Tour which is in east Sikkim. You get to see Tsomgo Lake,

      It will take at least three to four full day to do the tour comfortably. On the last day leave for Bagdogra to catch the flight or NJP for train

  20. Barbara Sievers says:

    Amitabha, thank you for the nice blog. We just came back from a Sikkim tour. The monsoon has already started, we saw the sun only for some hours during the last day (June13) of our 8 days, streets were in a very bad shape, landslides had blocked the streets to North Sikkim. But it was a remarable trip anyway, thanks to our guard Nidup and his knowledge about monasteries, Tibetan buddhism, small escapes in the forest where we could hide from the rain. Rumtek is a place not to be missed.
    We went to South Sikkim and visited the Bon Monastery in Kewzing http://www.sikkimstdc.com/GeneralPages/Details/Bon-Monastery/97/Details.aspx and the Pemayangtse monastery in Pelling https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pemayangtse_Monastery.
    And another ourworldly experience was the Temi Tea Gardens where you can take a tour through the factory for Rs. 100 and then taste the wonderful tea at a small kiosk hovering over the huge tea fields. A walk through the tea gardens was even nice under foggy conditions.
    So, we will give North Sikkim another chance and visit in April. Thanks for all your helpful tips
    Barbara

    • AMITABHA GUPTA says:

      Good to get a feedback from you Barbara. It was heartening to know that you visited Kewzing. Very few people go there. They have nice homestays . Since you went to Temi Tea Garden, did you visit Ravangla as well ?

      • Barbara Sievers says:

        Yes, we visited Ravangla and the Buddha Park – although you could hardly see the statue from the entrance due to fog :-). But we entered the statue which was very fascinating – the paintings guide you through the life of Buddha. Near the park we had some food at a small stall and a hot chai! That helped.

  21. Maria says:

    Wow… I read till the rainbow photo at the lake… I have been to Nathu La Pass and my friend she actually went over the rope and touched the China border. It was nice experience interacting with soldiers, when our India soldier saw she went to crossed the rope, he said one should never do such things. It’s cold place and rough people… I understood the disappointment at the initial phase but for me in travel even if we experience some incredible movement it is worthwhile, because it will be a memory and story we can share with others. Travel stories are inspiring and colourful especially when accompanied with photos for sure… it is a good thing to read as well, somehow enhances or expands our world…will continue reading this fully later… Tea I think is very nice in those places(:

  22. Soudipan Maity says:

    This is a wonderful article! I could totally visualize myself being there it’s so vividly written accompanied with beautiful photos. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

    I had a question regarding your tour itinerary. Did you finalize your hotel bookings in Gangtok and Lachen right from Kolkata or was it through a travel agent? I am planning to go there during April-May for a 10 day trip and probably stay in Gangtok, Lachen and Pelling. Could you help me out with the procedure to follow for accommodation bookings at cheap rates?

    Thanks in advance!

    • AMITABHA GUPTA says:

      This trip was one of my rarest where my trip was not planned by me but by my young friends… they had the hotels booked directly from Kolkata….and it was on Bhanu Path,,,, which was away from the M.G. Marg and thus a bad choice actually.

      Regarding booking of Hotel in Gangtok and Pelling please get it booked through a reputed travel agency at Kolkata. Same Applies to North Sikkim. Hotels in Lachen and Lachung are booked in the North Sikkim Package.

      Avoid booking through a Travel Agent based at Gangtok and having no Contact at Kolkata.

      As for Gangtok, check the location of Hotel in Google map to ensure that the location is on M.G. Marg itself. Staying on M.G. Marg saves you a lot of money. Remember if you are staying away from the Downtown area you will be dishing out lot on Taxi fare.

      Finally on Cheap Rates. If you are looking for very Cheap Rates you will get bad services at entire Sikkim. That is a lesson I have learned. Besides the cheaper hotels are away from M.G. Road , so you will anyway have to spend on conveyance.

      Better to give your Travel Agent a budget, an itenary and ask them to give you a choice of Hotels.

  23. Suranjan says:

    Dear Mr, Gupta can u suggest any travel agent in Kolkata, doing booking for Gangtok and North Sikkim at a reasonable rate? Planned for Oct 2015 mid.

  24. Kalpana Choudhury says:

    Hi Amitabha,
    This is the great blog for the north sikkim tour. Thanks a lot for such detailed travelogue and replying to all the queries so nicely. Please do help me too for planning my trip to north sikkim.

    We are 2 people. We are planning this trip from 17th October to 24th October. I will be reaching Kolkata on 17th, planning to leave for Siliguri in the night. Reach Siliguri by morning via bus. And for returning, I have my train on 25th from Kolkata, so I want to be back by 24th night.
    The places I wish to visit are- Gurudongmar Lake, Gangtok, Lachung, Lachen, Nathula pass, Zero point and what all lies in the between and can be covered. This is my first backpacking trip so I do not have much idea how to go about making the itinerary.
    Can you please suggest me how to go about planning the trip day wise. You have already provided quite useful hotel and contact information.
    We have a budget of Rs.30,000 almost. We want a decent trip and not a luxury one.
    After reading a lot on net I tried to plan the below itinerary. Please review it nad let me know what changes are needed 🙂

    DAY 1– Reach Siliguri in Morning, Leave for Gangtok. Night Stay in Gangtok.
    DAY 2– Excursion to Tsmogo lake , Baba Mandir and Nathula Pass (Full day) -Over Night stay at Gangtok.
    DAY 3to5– Book a 2N/3D trip to North Sikkim, covering Gurudongmar Lake,Lachung, Lachen, Zero point, Yumthang valley and Chungthang etc.
    DAY 6– Return to Gangtok, do local sightseeing.
    DAY 7– Leave for Siliguri from Gangtok.

    1) The time period of our trip is fine? Is it a good season to visit North Sikkim?
    1) All the permits required for Gurudongmar Lake and Nathlu La are arranged by the tavel agent?
    2) All these places are they possible to cover in the stated time?
    3) The budget suggested is ok for the trip? As we want a budget trip?
    4) The cabs and buses will be easily available?
    5) We are a 2 people travelling, me and my male travel partner. As it is a budget trip we dont want to book 2 seperate rooms for oursleves. In many cities the hotel owner have issue in booking rooms for travelers like this. Will we face any such problem? I will contact the mentioned hotel by you prior and ask about this too.

    Please do reply to my queries. It will be of great help.
    Thanks in advance. 🙂

  25. ajay says:

    Hi Amitabha, thanks for the post. Sikkim had always been on my list but upon seeing the pics of Gurudongmar lake I just thought Sikkim should be the next place to visit. I’m planning to visit during november end for a period of 8 days. Probably along the lines of the itenary suggested by you to Prashanth. Just wanted to know a couple of things.
    1) We will be travelling as a couple. How difficult it would be to find a jeep to tour ? If jeep guys prefer larger group and we end up waiting for the jeep to be filled by smaller groups like us 🙂
    2) snowfall guaranteed at zeropoint ?

    Thanks,
    ajay

    • AMITABHA GUPTA says:

      1. If you are looking to travel comfortably with a group, go for a reputed travel agencies at Sikkim who also has offices at Kolkata like Marco Polo or Blue Sky Tours & Travels. You can also get a car exclusively for you two, but then the costs will be on the higher side.In a shared jeep, try the front seats or middle seats.

      There is no concept of “Jeep Guys Prefer Larger Group”. It is either a shared group travelling or Exclusive Travelling. Usually they get the tourists pre booked and then only they leave. North Sikkim Tour is a trip full of all kind of thrills and risks, so pre-arrangement needs to be done.

      Moral of the story : Pre book your North Sikkim tour with a reputed travel agency. Don’t get carried away by my misadventure in the blogpost.

      2. There is nothing Guaranteed when it comes to weather. However, During November there is a fair chance.

      3. A word of advice : Through weather is changing rapidly, November end is not the correct time to visit Gurudongmar. October end to 1st Week of November to middle ( before 15th) is suggested. It will be very very cold in November though. April – May is best time actually.

      • ajay says:

        Ah ok. I guess it will be difficult for me to get leaves earlier than that. May be I should try my luck or rethink for April-May time. Thanks for the info.

  26. Sejal says:

    Hi..we planing to do a road trip frm mumbai to sikkim via varanasi in end of decembr,,wud like to know how r the roads n climate during tat tym,,,we do lot of road trips,,hav done frm mumbai to amritsar and back…lindly guide me..my email id is sejalchandak@gmail.com

    N

  27. Sejal says:

    Hi
    Loved your writeup.
    We family of 4 wish to visit Sikkim in November 2015 from 9th to 15th. Would these many days suffice ? Also what would be the approximate total trip cost ?
    Which is the closest airport we take from Mumbai ?
    Thank you

  28. varun says:

    Hi Amitabha,
    Very informative blog indeed! thanks for your effort.
    I am traveling along with my wife in November end.i have got confused after going through multiple blogs and sites. i want to cover each place i read in any blog. North Sikkim, Pelling,silk route etc..i will be there for 8 nights and 9 days. I will be covering North sikkim for sure but unable to decide whether to go to pelling and relax after hectic north Sikkim tour or try more adventure in silk route.
    could you please suggest me a suitable itenary? and also, we are just 2 and we will have to take exclusive vehicle through out the trip and cost will go higher, how can i get more people preferably a couple to club with us? we are visiting on 23rd nov to 1st dec 2015.

    • AMITABHA GUPTA says:

      Take Rest on your first day. 2nd day visit Changu Lake and Baba Mandir and Nathu La ( check dasy when it is open). 3rd day do local sightseeing at Gangtok including visit to Rumtek and Ranka (depending on your energy level). 4th -6th Day take a three day day night tour to North Sikkim Tour. 7th Day – Relax at Gangtok in the first half and then head for Pelling the second half. Overnight at Pelling.
      8th Day – Sightseeing at Pelling
      9th Day – Leave for NJP / Bagdogra

      How can you get more people ? Rope another like-minded and equally fit couple to travel with you. Surely you will have some friends who will be willing to join with you.

  29. Uttaran Chowdhury says:

    we will be going to sikkim probably in dec end-early jan…can i visit gurudongmar lake and zero point during that time??

  30. Sree says:

    Hi Amitabha,

    Lovely and very informative write-up; Thanks for taking the time to do this.
    We are a couple with 7 year old daughter and are considering visiting Darjeeling, Gangtok, Pelling, Lachung, Yumthang between 2-15 December. This is the first time for our daughter to experience high locales, so I am worried about whether how safe it will be for her. She is a healthy kid and is raring to see the snow, but I have a doubt at the back of my mind as to whether this is the right itinerary. Are you aware of any news about kids severe facing medical issues etc. while visiting Sikkim, especially North Sikkim?

    Appreciate your thoughts when you get some time

    Regards
    S

  31. Sanjiv says:

    Hi!
    We are travelling to Sikkim in April 2016.We are a family of 5 including my mother who is 67 years old.We want to do North Sikkim package.Is it possible for us to do it?Can you please suggest some comfortable tour packages & operators?We want the 2n/3d package from Gangtok.
    Thanks

  32. Sudip Saha says:

    Dear Mr. Amitabha,

    Thanks for your very useful and informative blog. We are 2 people planning to visit North Sikkim on this Dec’2015. We also want to follow your tour details except Nathula/ Tshagu Lake as we dont have time to go there. We will reach NJP on 14-Dec-2015 Morning. 15-Dec-15 : Gangtok to Lachen 16-Dec-15 : Lachen to Gurudongmar & back to Lachung. 17-Dec-15 : Lachung to Yumthang & Zero point & back to Gangtok.

    Do you have any details of good tour operator whom we trust ? As we are only 2 we want tour package on sharing basis.

    Thanking You in Advance !!!

    • AMITABHA GUPTA says:

      Mid December North Sikkim ? That is too risky. High chances you will find roads closed due to snowfall. Plus you should take one day to acclimatize, before embarking into a journey to North Sikkim.

      In my opinion you should stick to Pelling and Gangtok in this short period., that too in December.

      Try Marcopolo World Travels and Blue Sky Tours and Travels at Gangtok. I heard they were good.

  33. Rohit says:

    I am going ti north sikkim 2 dec to 10 dec.is it this is good time to go there.plz suggest hotel.shopping .which tea buy in darjlling.

    • AMITABHA GUPTA says:

      North sikkim is always a bit risky from December. Mid December onward to April First week (at least) is simply no no. For hotels in Gangtok try something near M.G. Marg. Don’t go for rooms below Rs 2000 and don’t go for rooms above 1st floor,as in most hotels there are no lift.

  34. soudipan says:

    This is a beautifully written article! I’m planning a trip to Sikkim next year, during April and I’ve sent you a mail regarding some queries on the same. It would be very helpful if you can kindly go through it once. Thank you. 🙂

  35. Mudit says:

    Hi Amitabha,

    I am planning a trip for my honey moon from 25th Feb, 2016 to 1st March, 2016.

    Please do help me in planning my trip to north Sikkim.

    Our tour itinerary is as follow:

    The detailed itinerary is
    Destination : Gangtok + Pelling + Lachung
    Traveldate :25 Feb ’16to 01 March ’16

    FlightDetail per person(Round Trip) : 9,700/-

    Package costfor 02 Adults excluding flight: INR 47,000/-

    Please go through it and reply

    Duration : 06 Nights & 07 Days
    Destination: Pelling (2); Gangtok (3); Lachung (1)
    Day 01: 25.02.16 NJP/ IXB/Siliguri to Pelling On arrival at Bagdogra you will be transferred to Pelling, One can enjoy the spectacular Eastern Himalayan Range from Pelling.It is the entry point for major destinations in West Sikkim which has great historical and religious history surrounding these places. There are several places of interest in and around Pelling while it is recommended that one can walk around the area amidst the woods. Overnight stay at Pelling hotel
    Day 02: 26.02.16 Pelling sightseeing After breakfast start for full day sightseeing which includes, Rimbi Falls, and Kanchenjunga falls, Khecheopalri Lake (a sacred lake and a pilgrimage centre for all faiths and is about 2 hours drive from Pelling, also known as wish fulfilling lake), Darap Village and after lunch visit Pemayangtse Monastery ( wild sublime lotus…it is the premier monastery and the oldest of Sikkim and was patronized by the Royal Family and belongs to the Nyingmapa order – visit on the top floor to see zanthong pheri,a replica of Heaven built in wood), Rabdentse Ruins(the second capital of Sikkim, one has to walk through a bird sanctuary to reach this spot) Overnight stay at Pelling hotel
    Day 03: 27.02.16 Pelling to Gangtok via South Sikkim After breakfast transfer to Gangtok via South Sikkim , covering Temi Tea Garden , Samdruptse Monastery , Buddha Park and Chaar Dham Gangtok’s strategic location, a strong Buddhist presence and heady cultural offerings make the First City of Sikkim – Gangtok, a tempting insight into this stimulating land. Mt.Kanchenjunga…. great shopping – Overnight stay at Gangtok hotel
    Day 04: 28.02.16 Gangtok to Lachung Pick up at 10:00 A.M from stand at Gangtok & transfer to Lachung (one of the most beautiful and a picturesque village in the area and is covered with snow during the winter months), altitude 8610 ft). Enroute Visit Mangan( North district headquarters), Singik view point, Chungthang. Lunch on the way. Overnight dinner & stay at Lachung hotel
    Day 05: 29.12.16 Excursion to Yumthang Valley & Back:- Early Morning after breakfast visit Yumthang-valley (known as Valley of Flowers), the locals believe that Yumthang is the summer grazing ground of the yaks & winter playgrounds of yetis. On the way back visit the Hot Spring considered to have medicinal properties. Back to resort for lunch and transfer to Gangtok. en route witness the Beautification of the wonderful Bheema & Twin Falls. Overnight stay at Gangtok hotel
    Day 06: 01.03.16 Gangtok to Tsomgo Lake & Baba Mandir After breakfast day excursion to the oval shaped Tsomgo Lake (40 kms from Gangtok departure in the morning) – situated at a height of 3,780 mts. with an average depth of 50 ft and home to the Brahminy duck and several migratory birds On the way stop at Kyongnosla The cool water of the Lake is perfectly attuned with the scenic beauty around. Travel to Baba Mandir another 17 kms beyond Changu lake Return to Gangtok. Overnight halt at Gangtok Hotel
    Day 07: 02.03.16 Gangtok to NJP / IXB / Siliguri After breakfast transfer to NJP/ IXB/ Siliguri for return journey.
    Package Includes
    · Accommodation in. super deluxe double rooms

    · Daily Breakfast at Gangtok & Pelling

    · All meals Lachung

    · Day excursion to Tsomgo Lake & Baba Mandir

    · Visit to South Sikkim and associated places as mentioned above

    · Yumthang valley from Lachung

    · 1 sightseeing at Pelling

    Alltransfers and sightseeing.

    · all intermediate transfers

    · Pickup and drop from NJP / Siliguri or IXB

    Package Excludes
    · Whatever not mentioned in the above inclusions,

    · Yumesamdong, Katao,’o’ point

    · Tips, porter-age, mineral water, room heater, car heater

    · Entry fees at sightseeing points

    · Any personal expenses occurred during any unfavorable condition

    Accommodation Provided
    · Pelling – Rabdentse Residency

    · Gangtok – Hotel Saikripa

    · Lachung – Padma Resort / Khansherpa / similar

  36. Baishakhi Rana says:

    Hi Amitabha,

    Have gone through your article and found it very informative. We r planning to make a trip to north sikkim end of february (27th feb ). We have planned for Gangtok-Lachen-Gurudongmar lake-lachung-yumthang -gangtok.

    Please let me know is this the right time to visit north sikkim and is the route to the following places accessible early march.
    Actually the above itenary is of 5 days. I have 2 more days in hand. Can u suggest any off beat location where i can stay for 2 more days not far away from gangtok? I have thought of one silery gaon but need some confirmation.

    Baishakhi

  37. Rohit Agarwal says:

    Hello Amitabha,
    We are a family of 5 people and are planning to visit Sikkim on 5th Feb 2015. Our self made itinerary is as given below:

    Day 1: NJP Railway Station – Gangtok = Check in Hotel around 12 PM. Local sightseeing. Overnight stay at Hotel
    Day 2: Visit to Tsangu Lake & Baba Mandir. Over night stay at hotel.
    Day 3: Transfer to Pelling. On way visit Seven Sisters Water Fall. Pelling local sight seeing. Over night stay at hotel
    Day 4: Transfer to Dargeeling. On way visit Namchi. Local sight seeing. Over night stay at hotel
    Day 5: Early Morning visit Tiger Hill. Transfer to NJP Railway Station

    Kindly suggest if this is okie or needs any modification. Should we book hotels in advance or do spot bookings?

    Can you also suggest what are the must see places in the above mentioned locations

  38. Prasun Banerjee says:

    Hello,

    I’m Prasun Banerjee from Kolkata and want to go Sikim on next March’16. My planned itinerary is-

    25/03/2016- Reach NJP station and transfer to Gangtok. Night stay Gangtok

    26/03/2016- Gangtok local sight sceen. Night stay Gangtok

    27/03/2016- Gangtok to Tsomgo lake, Baba Mondir etc. Night stay Gangtok

    28/03/2016- Gangtok to Lachen. Night stay Lachen

    29/03/2016- Lachen – Thangu – Chopta Valley – Gurudongmar Lake. Night stay Lachung

    30/03/2016- Lachung – Yumthang – Yumesamdang. Night stay Lachung

    31/03/2016- Lachung – Katao – Lachung. Night stay Gangtok

    01/04/2016- Gangtok to NJP drop.

    No. of head- 2 adult (couple)

    This tour should be budget category.

    I have some question-
    1. Whether the above itinerary is correct or there need some modification. If not then please
    suggest a good one for covering the mentioned place.
    2. Is this time is perfect for those place?
    3. Whether the journey is comfort or not?
    4. Is some precaution needed for that?
    5. Inner line permit required?
    6. Can I book hotel & vehicle on spot or needed advance booking.
    7. What will be the costing of above package?

    Please suggest me for cheap package detail and contact no if u have.

    Please note that my train ticket for up and down is confirm.

    Any one can contact with me regarding the above tour.

    Mobile – 9475502505 / 9153030267

    email – banerjee.prasun03@gmail.com

    Thanks,

    Prasun

  39. Prantik Mukherjee says:

    Hello Sir,

    Greetings for the day!

    We, are planning to visit Cholamu Lake, Sikkim on end of March 2016.

    We are reaching NJP on 24th of March ’16 & shall back to NGP on 27th of March ’16.

    Please suggest :

    1. whether we will get the permission for Cholamu Lake, Sikkim that time or not.

    2. What will be the per head approximate cost from NJP to NJP

    3. Is there any Hut or Hotel at Cholamu Lake, Sikkim & its cost per day.

    4. Do we have to carry tent & food. Else if available there then what will be the cost.

    5. Expected average Temperature during that time.

    6 Please suggest the shortest root from NJP to to NJP.

    7. YOUR Contact Details (If possible then only).

    Shall be obliged if you suggest us above with detail.

    Regards,

    Prantik Mukherjee

    • AMITABHA GUPTA says:

      Cholamu Lake ? As per my knowledge goes that is not open to Tourists … you need special permission to go there issued by Department of Home, Government of Sikkim which is located at Tashiling Secretariat, Gangtok. And you need your own vehicle to reach there. No tour operators of North Sikkim will take you to Cholamu Lake.

  40. Sachikanta Acharya says:

    hi,
    nice blog.inspired thousand other travelers.We ( me,wife and daughter 10 year) planing to travel to Gangtok in this March 6 to 11. is it advisable to travel to lachen /lachung?

  41. Surbhi jain says:

    Hii…very well written description and so amazing pictures. I have a query too. Me n my brother are planning a trip to Sikkim and darjeeling in march first week. Can you please tell what all places should we cover. We wd b going for 7 days and 6 nights..
    thankyou.

      • Surbhi jain says:

        Thankyou so much fr guiding..:)
        I want to know which is the best time to visit sikkim and darjeeling so that I can make the most of this beautiful place..

  42. Anshul Agarwal says:

    Hi there. We are a group of 8 college students planning to visit sikkim in the mid of may. Can you please provide me with some guidance on what plan should we follow?

      • Anshul agarwal says:

        We have a timespan of 8 to 9 days and a budget of 15,000 per person for Kolkata to kolkata. We wish to conver Gangtok and north Sikkim . Darjeeling is optional. So can you please guide us with or without Darjeeling ?

      • AMITABHA GUPTA says:

        Itenary could be :

        Day 1 : NJP To Gangtok
        Day 2 : Gangtok Sight Seeing including Rumtek Monastery
        Day 3 : Changu Lake, Baba Mandir and Nathu La
        Day 4 – Day 6 – Three days Two Night Tour of North Sikkim
        Day 7 – Relax in the morning.If fit enough can take a tour to Ranka Monastery and Bonjhankri Falls. After lunch leave for Darjeeling. Overnight at Darjeeling.
        Day 8 – Full day sight seeing at Darjeeling
        Day 9 – Take a Toy train ride and visit Ghoom Monastery.. Leave for NJP in the afternoon.

        In Gangtok stay close to M.G. Road or Paljor Stadium for easy accommodation. For very basic hotels dry Development Area. Since you are a big group, Book an exclusive trip to North Sikkim with a Travel Agent, instead of opting for a shared trip.

      • Anshul agarwal says:

        Do we need to book the trip through a travel agent or we can plan it as you did? Maybe like you we can take a package for north Sikkim only.

      • AMITABHA GUPTA says:

        No need really for a travel agent except North Sikkim. Talk to reputed travel agency only for exclusive North Sikkim tour. For vehicles from NJP to Gangtok, Gangtok to Darjeeling and Darjeeling to NJP book vehicles on spot. For
        hotels book online after checking reviews and location from TripAdvisor. For changu lake tour and local sightseeing , local cars can be talked to on spot. Carry voter’s Id card with enough photocopies along with 10 copies of passport sized photographs.

      • Anshul agarwal says:

        We have a timespan of 8 to 9 days and a budget of 15,000 per person for Kolkata to kolkata. We wish to conver Gangtok and north Sikkim . Darjeeling is optional. So can you please guide us with or without Darjeeling ? And yes your blog is too awesome. This inspired us to visit Sikkim.

      • AMITABHA GUPTA says:

        Very difficult to say what YOU will miss without knowing your perspective.

        Once One gentleman had said to me that he was not interested in Monasteries of Sikkim because he was not religious!

        So I am not sure what YOU will miss if you do not visit Darjeeling. Some find Darjeeling chaotic, some find it Nostalgic, Some find it a town with a definite character, Some go to simply have breakfast at Glenary’s, some find it straightway congested and dirty and for some it is their second home. So I cannot tell what YOU will miss if you do not go to Darjeeling.

        Keep your budget stuck to Rs 15000 per head. If you visit Darjeeling, it will be close affair and if you indulge in frivolities there, you may have to visit the ATM. If you stick only to Sikkim, it is is very good budget.

  43. Anindit Aich says:

    Hi,
    We are a pack of 7 and planning to go for North sikkim including Gurudongmar lake and Nathang valley in east. Please guide if we be able to see some snow to play and cherish at both the points or on the way.

    • AMITABHA GUPTA says:

      1. You need to have two separate Travel plans for North Sikkim (which includes Gurudongmar Lake) and East Sikkim (which includes Nathang Valley). It is difficult to do both trip in one visit unless you have ample time and wish to spend a lot.

      2. For Snow , April is ideal time for East Sikkim. You can try March, but chances are most part of the roads will remain closed that time due to snowfall.

      Regarding North Sikkim, Zero Point and Katao are the two best places to play with and enjoy the snow. Try North Sikkim in May.

  44. Sandip Das says:

    We want to start program from pelling Via NJP, then Gangtok , North Sikim and Changu/Baba Mandir/Nathu La. Please make an optimize plan trip from Kolkata to Kaolkata. Please share the tentative budget specially North Sikim 2D/1N or 3D/2N and One day Changu/ Babamandir with Nathula .
    Our trip schedule in first week of April’16

  45. punyabagga says:

    Hello,

    I’m planning a trip to Gangtok first week of April. I was wondering if it is feasible to do a day trip to Gurudongmar lake without spending a night at Lachen? As I will be a solo traveller, it will probably have to be a shared tour. How dangerous is the road condition for the journey? Lastly, did you prepare for the high altitude and how bad is the altitude sickness?

    Thank you!

    • AMITABHA GUPTA says:

      Don’t even think of such an absurd plan and never tell any tour operator for a “day trip” to Gurudongmar lake from Gangtok. They will laugh all day and may die laughing !

      The road to Gurudongmar is BAD ! It is scary at many places. And if it starts snowing , you had it. There is every possible chance of landslide in this route.

      I personally did not do any preparation for Gurudongmar because in the last two years before going to this lake I had done treks to Pindari-Kafni, Roopkund, Goechala, Sandakphu and Darma valley. So I was more than fit.

      Regarding you, I have no idea about your fitness level. But there is always chance of altitude sickness at 17,100 feet.

  46. Mayank says:

    How to reach yumthang from njp ,directly?
    How much will it cost, if we are traveling in a pack of 6?
    How about the accomodation at yumthang?

    • AMITABHA GUPTA says:

      No Way….It is North Sikkim, not a
      walk in the park. You have to start from Gangtok, cannot do it directly from NJP.

      You have to take the service of a Govt registered Travel agency from Gangtok. They arrange car and hotels both. For shared trip having 10 people….approx Rs 3500 per head(all inclusive)….3 days /2 Nights.

  47. Anuradha Ghose says:

    Thank you so much for this informative blog post! Would you be willing to review my plans and guide me through for my upcoming holiday? We are 2 women travelers and aiming for an exclusive tour, and although we have received quotes from a Kolkata based travel agent, we’d very much appreciate if someone like yourself would test the authenticity of plans 🙂 My email id is anuradha.ghose@gmail.com. Thanks!!!!

  48. Mayank Bansal says:

    Hi Amitabha,

    I with my wife and 4 year old baby has planned to go to 3rd April-9th April.
    our plan is as follows.
    3rd April- Bagdogra to Namchi. O/n Stay at Namchi.
    4th April –Namchi Full day and Transfer to Pelling. O/n stay at Pelling.
    5th April- transfer to Gangtok via Ravangla.O/n stay Gangtok
    6th April- Gangtok full day ss.
    7th April- Gangtok to Nathula Pass/Changu lake/Baba Mandir and back. O/n stay Gangtok.
    8th April Gangtok to Lingtam SS and O/n stay
    9th April – Check out and Back to Bagdogra in early morning.

    My queries.
    1. is it possible to cover all these in 5 days
    2. should we book our hotels in advance? or we can do it on arrival after checking with our requirements?
    3. My budget for Hotel + Vehicle for full day is 5000.00 per day inclusive of all considering above budget hotels.

    please suggest.

    regd,

    Mayank Bansal

    • AMITABHA GUPTA says:

      1. No, absolutely not…. specially with a four year old baby ! In fact the first three days can make an adult go crazy too. Hardly any sightseeing and only transit journeys.

      Your baby will get tired on the first day itself with the drive from Bagdogra to Namchi itself.

      Anyways , why do you want to do stay at Namchi out of the all places in Sikkim ?

      By the way , if you want to travel to Changu Lake with a four year old baby, you are actually putting the baby in extreme life risk as the route to Changu is extremely treacherous.

      2. If you are going with family it is better to book in advance.

      3. You want a full day vehicle for every day at Sikkim ??? The cost can be sky high.

      4. If you actually want to visit Sikkim with a four year old baby, stay at Gnagtok or Pelling only and do local sightseeing.

      Then you can travel by local cabs only and the cost will definitely be within Rs 5000 per day.

  49. yogesh says:

    Hi Amitabh
    Your blog is really a like a virtual tour to sikkim.thanks a lot.I really appreciate your responses to people which are really humble and cooperative.
    I am planning for honeymoon in first week of may for less than 8days. can you please suggest itenary for it.thanks a lot in advance

  50. Parag KINKHABWALA says:

    hi,
    we are planning a trip to sikkim ex mumbai on 27th april and wish to cover the following places
    pelling, gangtok, lachen-Gurudongmar lake,lachung-yumthoong-zero point,katao.
    will be travelling from mumbai by train (so need one day rest at gangtok).
    1. Suggest a plan for us.
    2. At Gurudongmar you had mentioned that oxygen level are low… is that the case in any other place where we are visiting above.. Also suggest the whether oxygen cylinders are available..
    we are family of 2 adults and 2 kids(9 and 14)
    3. Can i travel from lachung to pelling directly..
    4. Can i travel from Pelling to NJP directly..
    5. if possible suggest hotels to stay and car travel cost

    • AMITABHA GUPTA says:

      1. Please mention the days. Otherwise cannot give you a plan.

      2. No oxygen cylinders available.

      It is totally upto your adaptability whether you are fit enough to go. A normal person will have no problem at Gurudongmar, unless he /she runs around the lake. Persons with breathing problem should not go.

      Zero point near Yumthang has low oxygen level too.

      3. Usually no.

      North Sikkim packages generally start and end at Gangtok. You have to talk to your travel agent for a North Sikkim Tour from Pelling.

      4. Yes you can.

      5. In Gangtok stay in a hotel close to M.G. Marg. In Pelling stay at Hotels in Upper Pelling. As for North Sikkim, the costly is your Package – the better will be the hotels.

      • Parag KINKHABWALA says:

        Hi,
        Here are the days for travel
        27th april we will reach gangtok and we need to reach njp by evening on 8th may for overnight train to Kolkata and next day morning train to mumbai
        Please include any other places of interest, if you feel we have more days
        Parag

      • Parag KINKHABWALA says:

        The dates of travel are 27th April we reach gangtok and on 8th may we need to reach njp by 18:00 hours

      • AMITABHA GUPTA says:

        Here is it. Hope this helps you.

        April
        27th Reach Pelling from NJP
        28th Pellng Sightseeing
        29th Pelling Sightseeing
        30th Leave for Gangtok after lunch.

        May
        1st Gangtok Sightseeing including
        Rumtek
        2nd Gangtok sightseeing including
        Ranka (Lingdum) monastery &
        Bonjhankri falls
        3rd Leave for Lachen. Takes 7 hours
        from Gangtok
        4th Visit Gurudongmar Lake. Lunch
        at Lachen, Night stay at Lachung
        5th Visit Yumthang valley & Zero
        Point. Night Stay at Lachung
        6th Leave for Gangtok. Relax the day
        7th Nathula, Baba Mandir and
        Changu Lake
        8th Leave for NJP by 13:00 ( have at
        least 2 hour buffer time)

        Note :
        1. Nathula is open from Wednesday to
        Sunday for general public. So I have
        fixed it on 7th – a Saturday.
        Alternatively You can fix it after
        returning from Pelling on 1st -a
        Sunday.

        2. Since you have enough time I have suggested a 4 days 3 night package for North Sikkim instead of a 3 day 2 night package. This is because it feels very hectic returning to Gangtok the same day you visit yumthang. People do it as they do not have time.

  51. sumit says:

    Very informative Blog…
    Please help me to create Itineraries for Sikkim trip as there are many places.
    I am travelling with my family ( 2 adults and one 4-year old Kid) from 6 th April to 12 th April.
    Below i have planed , please help me
    – 6 Th April -> Reach Gangtok and rest
    – 7 th April –> Changu /Baba mandir/nathu-la
    – 8 th and 9 th April –> 2 days and 1 night trip to Yumthang Valley and zero point in north sikkim
    -10 April – Darzling local shit scene
    -11 April Darzeling – tiger hill/tea garden etc
    12 April leave for bangalore

    Would we facing any issue with kid on changu and Yumthang Valley.

    Please help me with your Itineraries. my mail id is sumitgoy@gmail.com

    Thanks,
    Sumit

  52. Sarang Pandharkar says:

    Hi Amitabha,

    Nice blog…I wanted to Know through which tour operator you booked North Sikkim tour & Nathula Pass tour ? What would be the tentative charges to visit these places in May first week ?

    • AMITABHA GUPTA says:

      Hotel Pomra at Secretariat Road. It is 10-15 walking from M.G. Marg. Second Fortnight of October is good time to visit North Sikkim. Usually weather remains clear at that time.

  53. Dr Rahul Gupta says:

    hi amitabha,
    your blog is really informative and interesting. I am pretty convienced to go to sikkim in the last week of november this year with my wife. Can you help me out to plan an itenary for like 7-8days.I would really like to see the lake you mentioned and the scenic beauty.

  54. theloneroadtripper says:

    Hey Amitabha, wonderful article. Its very informative. I wish you go for a solo road trip from Mumbai to Sikkim and i want to visit all the places that you have mentioned. Is it possible to visit all the places that you have mentioned esp. Nathan la and La chung in my own vehicle (its Mumbai registered). Also do you have any suggestions for the trip. Thank you.

  55. anupam says:

    Hi Amitabha, Thanks, very informative blog. We are planning a family trip(parents+ kid) to Sikkim in early September i.e 4th to 10th Sep. Would you suggest going to Lachung & Yumtang now. We are planning to cover in and around Gangtok & Darjeeling.Not sure on other places as such.

  56. MRIDUL says:

    Hi, Amitabha, Its a very nice effort. Really appreciable. Can u please share the EXIF details of those photos. Thanks in advance.
    BTW I am planning a trip to north sikkim. Your blog is a big help. Thank you.

  57. DEBASHISH BEHERA says:

    Hi, Dear Sir i hav been to sikkim this year in may 2016 . it’s was a great experience to explore the sikkim but due to bad weather condition my north sikkim part was totally cancelled. Now we are planning for n-sikkim in feb 2017 . Could you pls give some suggest regarding this tour is it ok in feb 2017. an early reply is reqested.

  58. Ashish gupta says:

    Hello sir very nice and informative article
    Sir, I m planning to visit Sikkim from 24th to 30th december.
    I have planned it like this kindly suggest me
    Day1 bagdogra to Gangtok .gangtok stay
    Day 2 nathula pass route back to Gangtok
    Day 3 gangtok s.s.
    Day 4 to lachung and stay
    Day 5 lachung yumthang and zero point with return to Gangtok
    Day 6______________
    Day 7 to bagdogra

    I m planning to book a tour operator. I talked to Sikkim tour and travels.how is this tour operator

    Also want to enquire about 2hotels.h ow are these hotels. Mainly cleanliness and heating facilities
    1) in gangtok–yangthang heritage
    2) lachung—yarlam resort.is this different from yarlam portico
    3) etho metho at lachung

    He suggested me these hotels

    Is it possible to visit lachen and the guru lake

    Thanx

  59. Tamal halder says:

    hi bro i planing nortth sikkim april first week ,i visit zero point,Yumtang,Gurudongmar lake etc.but i go april first week anay problem ? please help me.

  60. Lakshmi says:

    We ( I , my husband and my 7 year old son) are planning to visit North Sikkim during November. can we visit Cholamu lake also and how to reach that place from Lachen or Lachung?

  61. Anirban banerjee says:

    Nice blog Amitabha, nicely penned as well as a good hand in photography…
    I am planning to visit Sikkim during 5-10th Dec 2016. Could you please suggest a tentative itenary? Or will it be possible to visit gurdongmar that time? I know that hilly region is always unpredictable still want to try our luck. I will appreciate if you can help

  62. HTV8 says:

    Thanks for sharing time to take such greats photo + details for the blogs. I have the same problem with the people coming to Sikkim end Jan- early Feb. We did contact some travel agents in Sikkim, and was advised that it is “ok” to go to the North. I really doubt about it, until i read your post and it reconfirms me. Please help to advise:
    1. People will normally go Darjelling–> Gangtok–> Pelling-> Lachung-> Yumthung–> Gurudongmar. What will be the good alternatives if the road will be block from Pelling to Lachung–> Yumthung valley.
    2. I read another post of you regarding the “unseen and undiscovered places” and the social media affect to our travelling life. I m the one who want to see place not are full of tourists. I have noticed the Rinchenpong and Okhrey on your web, are there any places that we can only see, breath and play with the natural beauties?
    Thanks for feedback.

  63. Manish says:

    Hi

    We are planning to visit gangtok and north sikkin from 30th dec to 4th jan

    Would it be possible to visit nathula pass and gurudongmar lake at that time.??

  64. mayank says:

    Hi Amitabha,
    Can u provide the name and no. of that driver. I will book my comelete package through him for 8 n/9 days…or if u can suggest one.. going with mom dad, kids , wife in june 2017…

  65. Ankit Shah says:

    Very informative blog Amitabha. I am visiting sikkim next month (4-5th april) for a week, can i get details on reliable taxi operators for 8 days airport-airport service? i really appreciate it.

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