Splendid Sikkim - Switzerland of India & Darjeeling

Tripoto
6th Mar 2019
Photo of Splendid Sikkim - Switzerland of India & Darjeeling by Abhiman Kokate

Two couples. We were excited to travel the north-east India. Thus we finalized our travel month as march and decided Sikkim-Darjeeling as our destination. We booked the flight tickets well in advance to save expenses on travelling. We wanted a budget trip. We got many quotes from travel agents whom we contacted through mail and whatsapp. We got contacts from our friend circle who had travel there earlier for local sightseeing and hotels. Finally, the affordable one was Vineet travels from Siliguri. The reason we selected this specific travels agent,because while we were discussing about the itinerary, he was flexible enough to include all our request and he had good knowledge of that area.

We decided 6 days and 5 nights trip from Mumbai.

Got tickets in 7k for our two way journey for single person. And got local sightseeing and stay package in 10k per head. So, our total costing per head was going around 20k including food. And 80k for four of us. Overall it was a good deal.

As our travel included places of snow region, we needed clothes for that. We shopped for gloves, jackets, shoes and goggles.

So our itinerary was,

1. Tsomgo Lake & Baba Mandir

2. Nathula pass

3. Lachung

4. Yumthang Valley Excursion-Zero point

5. Darjeeling

6. Tiger hill

7. Darjeeling local sightseeing

Day1

Day 1

Flight from Mumbai to Siliguri (Bagdogra Airport) 11am to 2pm

We reached Bagdogra on time. Our driver was waiting for us at the airport. The travel agency had arranged a Xylo for us. So from Siliguri to Gangtok journey took around 5 hours by road. The road is scenic and you can see Tista river on one side of the road and big hills on other side of the road. Roads are narrow but are in good condition. Lot of twist and turns on the way as it is a total hilly area. Once you cross Siliguri you feel cold weather. We took a stop after Siliguri to have lunch. Driver took us to a veg restaurant called Laddoo gopal. The reviews were good but we didn’t like it much as the taste was sweet. Then we headed for Gangtok. We reached around 7 in the evening. Once you reach Gangtok, you will realise that the whole city is situated on hilly terrains. Very quite city. No horns, no traffic. Less crowd. Everywhere you will see hotels or small restaurants on the main road. In the morning you are in an over crowded city like Mumbai and evening you are in a different world. We liked the city very much.

Our hotel was Narayani continental. Hotel is opposite to Decchen gumpa monastery. We decided to roam in the city after check in.

Near Narayani hotel there is small café called Doma Restaurant. Menu was very interesting. It had Pan pizza, momos in chicken, pork, thukpa, Falay.

Do try everything here. Rates are also pocket friendly and taste is good.

Day 2

Day 2

So next was our first sightseeing. Changu lake. Our driver told us to be ready at 7 in the morning as tourist vehicles are not allowed in the city after 8. Only taxis are allowed. So we woke up early and had our breakfast at around 7. Driver called and told us that changu lake is close due to heavy snowfall in that region.

We were upset. We requested our tour operator to get us to some other point. He told we can shift the plan and do lachung first. So we agreed. Again second day was only travelling like the first day. Lachung is also 4 to 5 hours journey from Gangtok. Permit and other formalities took 2 hours. We had some time so, we went to gumpa monstary which was opposite to our hotel. Very clean, calm and well maintained monastery.

Gangtok on the

Photo of Lachung, Sikkim, India by Abhiman Kokate

We left for lachung around 10am. Driver said on the way we will cover some points. We were happy. Lachung route is again very hilly. Very narrow turns and slopes. During monsoon, landslide is common here. Our jounery started in Mahindra bolero.

Butterfly Waterfall

Photo of Puttali Jharna, Butterfly Waterfall, Sikkim, India by Abhiman Kokate

Our first point was butterfly waterfall. Some say there are lot of butterflies in this region hence the name. Cold water and greenery around it makes it a beautiful fall. We took some photographs and started our journey again.

Day 3

Second point on way to Lachung was Tista river view. You can enjoy the valley along the Tista river flow.Very scenic view. Weather was clear so were able to see river till end of hills.

Photo of Katao, Sikkim, India by Abhiman Kokate

We stopped for lunch on the way. Small hotels before Chumthang. We ordered momos and chowmein.

Chowmein

Photo of Splendid Sikkim - Switzerland of India & Darjeeling by Abhiman Kokate

Third point was again a Waterfall. But it was big compared to butterfly waterfall. Lot of tourist were there. Landslide was common there so there was metal bridge on that fall. You will see lot of military vehicles also on the way.

kanchenjunga View Point

Photo of Splendid Sikkim - Switzerland of India & Darjeeling by Abhiman Kokate

We reached Chungthang checkpost. It’s a plastic free zone. You cannot take plastic bottles hereafter. So you have to dispose all plastic item here.From chungthang, lachung is 30 kilometeres away. You can buy food packets or any cloth item like gloves and cap here as things are comparetively costly at Lachung. Its also understandable that people have to travel 30km to get the basic food items. So better buy everything in Chungthang. Alcohol also. You will need it, as temperature drops below zero degrees at Lachung.

Chungthang Town

Photo of Splendid Sikkim - Switzerland of India & Darjeeling by Abhiman Kokate

After Chungthang we were able to see snow covered mountains. It was our first time to witness snow. We reached Lachung around 5 o clock in the evening. There are limited hotels in the region. It’s a very small town. If you go to one of the hills you can see whole of Lachung from there. Lachung is surrounded by mighty mountains covered with snow. Black rock mountains with white snow on top of it. What a view it was! We went to the hotel terrace to have a better view of the mountains. Food was provided by hotel itself. We stayed at the Golden valley resort. Only 4 people were managing everything. Very soft spoken and always smiling.

Mighty Lachung Mountain. at the base Lachung Village

Photo of Splendid Sikkim - Switzerland of India & Darjeeling by Abhiman Kokate

Travel tip- in case you require extra jackets,shoes or gloves, they rent it out for a day at minimum charges. Do enquire about the availability. We rented a jacket and gumboots for the four of us at 50rs each. Worth the money for our next stop- yumthang valley

Day3

We were informed that Yumthang valley is also not fully open due to heavy snow so driver said we will go halfway. He told us that we can go to Katau. Its similar or more beautiful than Yumthang valley. We agreed to go to katau with some additional charges. In the morning 8 o clock driver took us to Katau. Literally its a very beatuful spot. Everywhere snow. Trees covered with snow. Rocks covered with snow. Both sides of the road was covered with snow. It was heaven. Fewer tourists at that spot as its usually not included in itinerary. It’s a new point. We felt like we were in the Switzerland. We returned from Katau around 11'o clock. After having some maggi and tea we left for Yumthang valley. We could reach halfway as beyond that road was covered with snow. We played in the snow. Also made a snowman. After enjoying at that point it was time to return back to Gangtok.

Katao, Lachung

Photo of Zero Point Yumthang Valley, Sikkim, India by Abhiman Kokate

Snowman - On the way to Yumthang Valley

Photo of Zero Point Yumthang Valley, Sikkim, India by Abhiman Kokate
Photo of Zero Point Yumthang Valley, Sikkim, India by Abhiman Kokate
Photo of Zero Point Yumthang Valley, Sikkim, India by Abhiman Kokate
Photo of Zero Point Yumthang Valley, Sikkim, India by Abhiman Kokate
Photo of Zero Point Yumthang Valley, Sikkim, India by Abhiman Kokate

We reached Gangtok in the evening.

Day4

Now, it was time for Changu lake but to our surprise, again it was closed due to heavy snow fall. Tour operator, gave us Gangtok city sightseeing.

First point was Ban Jhakri Falls. There is park near that falls. It has some statues of tribal people from gangtok. They looked like real people. We tried the traditional Sikkimese clothes which was on rent for 50rs per dress.

Sikkimese cloths

Photo of Splendid Sikkim - Switzerland of India & Darjeeling by Abhiman Kokate

Ban Jhakri Falls

Photo of Splendid Sikkim - Switzerland of India & Darjeeling by Abhiman Kokate

Ban Jhakri Falls garden

Photo of Splendid Sikkim - Switzerland of India & Darjeeling by Abhiman Kokate

Next point was Tashi view point. A hill top point from where you can have a city view. Due to fog it was not that good on that day. There are restaurants at base of tashi view point. We had thupka and chaowmin as usual.

Third point was Do Drul Chorten.

Do-drul Chorten

Photo of Splendid Sikkim - Switzerland of India & Darjeeling by Abhiman Kokate

Then,

Ganesh Tok,

Hanuman Tok,

Ropeway,

Gangtok Ropeway

Photo of Splendid Sikkim - Switzerland of India & Darjeeling by Abhiman Kokate

Zoological park,

Zoological park

Photo of Splendid Sikkim - Switzerland of India & Darjeeling by Abhiman Kokate

MG Market

Photo of Splendid Sikkim - Switzerland of India & Darjeeling by Abhiman Kokate

Flower show.

Flower Show Center

Photo of Splendid Sikkim - Switzerland of India & Darjeeling by Abhiman Kokate

And then in the evening MG market. Famous for shopping in tourist and locals its good for wollen cloths, gift items, local Sikkim things.

Day 4
Day 5

Day 5

In the morning we left for Darjeeling. It was 3-4 hour journey from gangtok. The road was scenic to Darjeeling. You can spot tall trees and some tea gardens on the way. After you enter in West Bengal you are able to see train track on one side of the road.

Darjeeling (5,500 ft.). On arrival we checked-in our your hotel. Hotel was Sanderling. Hotel was not that good. Entrance was situated in dirty gully. After lunch we started our half day tour of Darjeeling.

We saw Tenzing Rock first. Its just a big rock on which you can do rock climbing at rupees 50 each.

Next was Tea Garden. It was good spot. We were able to visit the tea plantation. There we tried traditional clothes of tea pickers. Then next was Ropeway and Japanese Temple.

Drajeeling-Tea Garden

Photo of Darjeeling, West Bengal, India by Abhiman Kokate

Tea Garden

Photo of Darjeeling, West Bengal, India by Abhiman Kokate

Himalayan Mountaineering Institute was closed as we reached around 4.30pm there. Its time is 9am to 4pm. So go early.

Evening we went for shopping in Darjeeling. Wollen clothes are very cheap. As compared to gangtok.

We woke up early around 3 o clock to see Khangchendzongha view from Tiger hill. Started our Early Morning drive to Tiger hill to watch the spectacular sunrise over Mt. Khangchendzongha (28,208 ft. Worlds 3rd highest peak) but couldn’t watch it due to fog. Local people said it will be visible in the month of May. On your way back we visited Ghoom Monastery and Batasia Loop. Batasia loop is where the toy train makes a full round circle. There they have built a garden and memorial for war heroes.

Monastery

Photo of Splendid Sikkim - Switzerland of India & Darjeeling by Abhiman Kokate

Batasia Loop

Photo of Splendid Sikkim - Switzerland of India & Darjeeling by Abhiman Kokate
Photo of Splendid Sikkim - Switzerland of India & Darjeeling by Abhiman Kokate

Army Jawan Memorial

Photo of Splendid Sikkim - Switzerland of India & Darjeeling by Abhiman Kokate

After breakfast we Checked-out from hotel in time and started our journey towards our home. We reached Bagdogra at 12.30. had some food there and took the 2'o clock flight to Mumbai.

Day 6

So our memorable trip to Sikkim and Darjeeling came to an end. Truly before going to other countries for travel we should explore our country first. There is more than what we know in India. Lachung and Katao are like heaven. Darjeeling has its own charm. And there is no city like Gangtok it has its own flavour. Silent, beautiful,warm and welcoming.

Happy travelling.

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