So I have successfully completed my 14th state and that is Sikkim. Sikkim is beautiful. It has so much to offer, beautiful roads to endless waterfalls. Every moment was filled with excitement. Glittering glacial lakes, endless pastures, waterfalls at every turn, quiet monastery towns, and scenic drives on some of the worst roads we’ve encountered. Of all the trips made, our trip to Sikkim is an adventure we will never forget. It’s always better to catch a train at night so that you can reach NJP (New Jalpaiguri) in the morning and can go upwards on that very day.
Gangtok is the largest town in Sikkim and the perfect place to explore the sites and the sounds of East Sikkim. The bustling town is also home to some amazing eateries. Spend your days in Gangtok sampling local food, sipping on a cup of local black tea as you watch the locals go about their lives, and visiting impressive sites in the area. Here are a couple of places to visit in Gangtok that we’d like to recommend.
● Go for an aimless stroll on MG Road. Pick up some souvenirs or just sample some local foods such as Momos (steamed dumplings) and Thukpa (a hearty noodle soup)
● If you’re looking for scrumptious momos (steamed dumplings) try Taste of Tibet and the iconic Momo Roll Corner located up a flight of stairs. Both these hole-in-the-wall eateries are situated on the busy MG Road. Here, there are momo shops by the dozen and we tried a fair few, but these are the two we liked best. Visit for a super affordable snack/meal on the go.
● If you’re looking for a more comfortable place to leisure some time away, then visit Bibliothéque café or the café at Bookman’s B&B for breakfast or brunch.
● Spend an afternoon at The Tibetology Museum to acquaint yourself with Buddhism and learn more about the fascinating monasteries in the area. Combine it with a visit to Rumtek Monastery.
Although the usage of the word ‘Mandir’, (which means Temple), it’s not a Temple actually. Baba Harbhajan Singh was a soldier who died near the Nathula Pass. He is revered by soldiers of the Indian army as the “Hero of Nathula” and the army men have also built a shrine in his honour. He has been accorded the status of the saint by believers who refer to him as the Baba (saintly father). Many of the faithful people, chiefly Indian army personnel posted in and around the Nathula Pass and the Sino-Indian border between the state of Sikkim and Chinese occupied Tibet have come to believe that his spirit still protects every soldier in the inhospitable high altitude terrain of the Eastern
The Himalayas. As with most saints, the Baba is said to also grant favours presumably to those who revere and worship him.
Make sure you stop at the gorgeous Tsomgo (or Changu) lake en route. Do take a walk around the lovely lake and enjoy the views. In the wintry season, the entire area is covered in snow and the view is something to behold!
The North Sikkim tour comes in various forms, such as
● 2D/1N – Lachung with Yumthung Valley
● 2D/1N – Lachen with Gurudongmar Lake
● 3D/2N – Lachen – Gurudongmar Lake & Lachung – Yumthung Valley
3D/2N North Sikkim tour (also known as Lachung – Lachen tour)
Let the fun (and backaches 😉 ) begin!! For the next 3 days, you will be spending over 12 hours a day in your rental car on roads that aren’t worthy of being called roads, so make sure you’ve stocked up on snacks, some music, and optimism!
An early wake-up call followed by an arduous but scenic drive 8-hour drive will bring you to Lachen. Lachen is a small village, which is the perfect place to break the journey between Gangtok and Gurudongmar Lake. The drive to Lachen is laden by nature’s marvels – stop for photographs with waterfalls, marvel at meandering brooks, or just sip on a cup of tea at a small eatery that offers stunning views of the Himalayas.
You will need to leave your hotel by 3 a.m. for the long and exciting drive to Kala Patthar. We wanted to experience snow in a less touristy spot and we made our driver know about our wish to enjoy the snow in solitude and he told us about Kala Patthar, where we were more than happy to get going. After taking a short nap that night, we left our cosy bed, got dressed and moved towards the snow-capped mountains at about 3:30 a.m. It was drizzling and we could see mountain dews glittering around the pathway. It was an extremely chilly morning. The temperature outside was around zero degrees Centigrade. We covered ourselves with multiple jackets and it still wasn’t enough. We could see snow on the branches of the alpine trees and bushes as if someone had spread cotton over these plants. With the Sun rising, these light layers of snow started melting revealing the beautiful artwork of the Mother Nature. Our experience was so surreal. There were endless curves over the mountains. Finally, we were told that we are arriving out destination – Kala Patthar. This is a new tourist destination further Chopta towards Muguthang Valley named “Kala Patthar” — situated at an elevation of 14,850 ft. It’s not included in the regular travel package. The taxi drivers take tourists to this on payment of an additional amount of Rs. 3,000 ($46). We agreed for the detour to Kala Patthar. This place got the name as there are mountains with snowy peaks and black cliffs. Kala Patthar is normally uninhabitable except for some occasional settlements by Tibetan nomads for grazing their Yaks. The road for motor vehicles ends at Kala Patthar at 14,850 ft. and it is a dead-end. When we arrived at Kala Patthar, there was snow all around. I haven’t seen so much white in my life.
It was an experience of a lifetime as that picture was imprinted in my memory forever. We reached Thangu, the last village of Indo – Chinese Border at around 7 AM. It’s mostly covered with the military base, so be ready to be amazed to see different Regiments, Armour, Tanks, Shelling Equipment’s etc. I felt pride when I saw how hard our Indian Army works to protect us throughout the year in -15° C. I was proudly watching them how they sacrificed their life, their family and is always standing there on the border so that we, Indians, can go to sleep without worrying. And then we went to Gurudongmar Lake, one of the highest and most remote lakes in the world. The journey takes about 5 hours each way from Lachen. You will be off-roading for the majority of this time as a lot of the ‘roads’ in the area are just gravel and pebbles. Having said that, the mountain views around you will hypnotize you into oblivion. At 18000 feet there’s little you can do other than stopping and staring at nature’s wonders. But do click a photograph or two to preserve the moment for posterity. Gurudongmar Lake is spellbinding and the definite highlight of a trip to Sikkim. Due to the lack of oxygen at such high altitudes, you can only stay there for 30 minutes or so. This is followed by another long and gorgeous drive to Lachung, where you will stay for the night. We arrived at Lachen from Gangtok. It was a cold night and a long drive.
The third and the final day of your North Sikkim tour will take you to lots of interesting sites. Yumthang Valley is particularly resplendent during the month of April when it is covered with purple flowers. On your way back to Gangtok, stop and stare at the dozens of waterfalls along the way.
Kisses to my travel partners – Sudipto Bhowmik, Sriparna Naskar, Tridibesh Naskar. Yes it wasn’t a solo trip it was my first ever group trip and I loved every bit of it. I really wish to go back. For more pictures from Sikkim Trip check out my Instagram – Lost_loveadventure
Special Mention – My PeeBuddy Standard Travel Hygiene Kit
- PeeBuddy – 3 Funnels. You get the freedom to stand and pee
- Feminine Pain Relief Patches – 1 Pcs. As I suffer from PCOD so cramps are unbearable
- Disposal Bag – 5 Bags. These are OXO biodegradable
- Intimate Wet Wipe – 10 Pcs – 1 Pack. Much needed
- Underarm Sweat Pads – 2 Pads, 1 Pair. So I got the freedom from underarm sweat & odour.
- Mosquito Repellent Patches – 4 Patches. Much needed
I am also curating another special blog on women hygiene soon before that get yourself these products from Peebuddy and SAY NO TO UNHYGIENIC TOILETS