This itinerary is your guide to spend a week Xploring Sikkim by road covering Gangtok-Lachen-Lachung.
Flight to Bagdogra and then a cab to Gangtok
Check in at Denzong Regency in Gangtok
Travel to Lachen
Visit Tashi View Point and Seven Sister’s waterfall
Check in at Apple Orchard in Lachen
Visit Gurudongmar Lake followed by a steep ascent till Thangu, stop to eat
Enjoy Chopta Valley
Travel to Lachung and check in at Yarlam Resort
Visit Yumthang Valley – valley of flowers
Visit zero Point
Next morning, travel from Lachung to Gangtok
Roam around the MG Road
Next day, visit Nathu La, Baba Mandir and Tshangu Lake
Later in the day visit, Ganesh Tonk mandir, Flower Exhibition Center and Banjhakri Waterfalls
Next day leave for Bagdogra and then a flight back to Delhi
HOW TO REACH
- We booked a fight from Delhi to Bagdogra (closest airport to Gangtok at the time we booked the flights – 124 kms).
- Then we boarded the cab arranged by our tour operator from Bagdogra till our hotel in Gangtok.
- Alternatively, there are a few buses and other taxi operators that ply on this route.
- Note that post our trip, a new airport has opened in Pakyong, 35 km South of Gangtok.
WHAT AND WHEN TO DO
- We took an afternoon flight from Delhi to Bagdogra (nearest airport to Gangtok when we booked our flights).
- Our tour operator (Taj Tours and Travel) had arranged for cabs from Bagdogra till Gangtok. It was around a 4 hour journey. In general the tour operator had taken care of travelling throughout the trip.
- We checked in Denzong Regency and slept on time to start the next day early.
- We had our breakfast at the hotel, and left for a 7 hour journey from Gangtok to Lachen.
- On our way, we visited the Tashi view point and the Seven sister’s water fall.
- We reached at our hotel, Apple Orchard, in the evening decided to stay indoors for the day. With the rain outside, a cup of tea inside the hotel it was the perfect night.
- The day starts early at 5 am for a 4 hours journey to Gurudongmar lake.
- It was a journey one doesn’t forget. It was still dark when we left, as we made our way up, we could see the morning sun rays falling on the snow peaks, making it look like as if the mountains are made of gold.
- Post which we left for Thangu, which is a 2 hour steep ascent from Gurudongmar lake.
- There is a family kitchen that serves tea, bread butter and maggi. This is a heavenly combination.
- A further 30 minute drive gets you to the virgin and uninhabited land of Chopta Valley.
- The valley is rich with Alpine vegetation and offers scenic beauty to behold.
- On our way from Lachen to Lachung there are quite a few water falls one can stop and enjoy.
- We called it a day and slept the night at Yarlam Resort in Lachung.
- We left early morning to spend the day in Yumthang Valley, which is a 1.5 hour drive from our hotel.
- The soaring snow-capped peaks, and herds of wandering yaks makes this a Himalayan paradise. The valley is also known for its hot spring.
- Post that, we went to the Zero point (a.k.a. Yumesamdong) – as far as you can see, it is all a bed of the most serene snow.
- The aroma of sweet fragrance of Ezilia permeates the air. Ezilia is a plant used by the inhabitant to manufacture incense sticks.
- Post our day well spent amidst all the scenic beauty, we ate dinner at the hotel and slept.
- We ate our breakfast at the hotel itself.
- Post the breakfast we left for a 6 hour journey from Lachung to Gangtok.
- In the evening, we spent some time on the MG Road, which is the famous market for shopping as well a good taste of the local cuisine. We were able to find an electric blanket. It is the perfect things if winters get too cold for you!
- We chilled out at our hotel (Denzong Regency) for the rest of the day.
- We had our breakfast at the hotel itself, post which we left for Nathu La. In Tibetan “Nathu” means “listening ears” and “La” means “pass”.
- Post visiting the Nathu La, we went to Baba Mandir (a memorial remembering the Indian soldier, Captain “Baba” Harbhajan Singh).
- We also visited Tshangu Lake. The cool water of the lake is perfectly attuned with the scenic beauty around.
- We still had some time on our hands for the day, so we decided to see around Gangtok. We covered – Ganesh Tonk Mandir, Flower Exhibition Centre at Ridge Park and Banjhakri Waterfalls & Energy Park.
- After having visited all these places through the day, we ate our dinner at the hotel and retired for the night.
- We had our breakfast and left for Bagdogra to catch our afternoon flight.
- To kill some time before our flight we visited the Hong Kong market in Siliguri.
- Concluded the trip in the afternoon.
WHERE TO STAY
- We had all our hotels for the trip pre-booked to save any hassle on the trip.
- We stayed at the following hotels:
- We selected the hotels in a way to make sure that they are not outside the cities, for a more convenient commute.
WHERE TO EAT
- One can never comment on the availability of the eating places amongst the mountains.
- For the better part we had our meals arranged at our hotel.
- Though, a family kitchen at Thangu deserves the mention for serving tea, bread butter and maggi. We absolutely loved the feeling there.
HOW TO TRAVEL AROUND
- This trip in general involved a decent bit of travelling as we wanted to cover a few places.
- So, we were travelling around in our tour operator provided car.
- Without a doubt, it will be the easiest to hire a cab.
- If you love driving a car, taking your own vehicle or renting one in Gangtok can be a good option too.
SOME HELPFUL TIPS FOR THE TRIP
- Certain Permits are required for tourists visiting Sikkim (Non-Indian citizens) and various places within Sikkim (both Indian and Non-Indian citizens). This is due to the place’s proximity to the Chinese border. For details regarding the permits, check here.
- Given the high altitude, specially while in Lachen and Lachung, it becomes difficult to breathe. It is essential that you carry Camphor (a.k.a. Kapur) and sniff at it, to make sure that your breathing does not suffer. While travelling staying inside the car will give you a much better feeling, as compared to standing outside.
- Lachen and Lachung, have a lot of military presence and they are always more than happy to assist the tourists. Feel free to speak with them and take their assistance.
SOME PICTURES FROM THE TRIP
This Itinerary was contributed by Rajeev Kumar Agarwal.
Ensure you travel responsibly and keep your carbon footprint to the minimum. Happy Xploring!
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