Where To Go?
While planning your trip to Sikkim, it's better you decide on which part of the state you wish to explore.
The capital city, Gangtok, lies in East Sikkim and it's one of the most visited places. Other than the bustling local markets and Insta-worthy cafes, you'd also find casinos in Gangtok! From here, you can head off to explore other places in East Sikkim, covering Rumtek Monastery, Tsomgo Lake, Nathu La, Baba Harbhajan Singh Temple, etc. The famous Old Silk Route also winds through the very heart of East Sikkim.
Spending a couple of days in Gangtok, you can plan to head off to North Sikkim, exploring the gorgeous valleys around Lachung and Lachen, before driving uphill - all the way to Guru Dongmar Lake, sitting at an altitude of 17,800 ft. On the way, you'll also get to stop by the postcard-perfect destinations like Yumesamdong and Yumthang Valley.
Located at the foothills of Mt. Kanchenjunga, West Sikkim offers one of the best views of the Southeast face of this peak. Some of the popular high-altitude treks, including Goecha La, begin from the quaint town of Yuksom. The beautiful amalgamation of nature, religion, and history makes West Sikkim a popular destination among tourists. Hike through the dense forests to visit the Khecheopalri Lake, considered to be a holy water body by the Buddhists. Soak in the serenity at Pelling and enjoy the tranquility encircling the age-old monasteries like Sangachoeling and Pemayansgtse.
Surrounded by beautiful forests and majestic hills, South Sikkim is the perfect vacation spot for those who are looking for a retreat, away from chaos and cacophony. Spend your days exploring the Rangit Valley, walk through the hidden trails of Namchi, adore the grandeur of the Buddha Park at Ravangla, and enjoy your days living with a local family at Borong.
It's literally impossible to cover the whole of Sikkim at one go, until and unless you plan to stay there for a month or more!
Where To Stay?
Sikkim offers a diverse range of accommodation options, ranging from luxurious properties to budget hotels, from backpacker's hostels to affordable homestays.
In Gangtok, you can stay at the Sinclairs - offering a mountain-facing infinity pool, or at Mayfair Hotel where you can try your luck at the casino! Other than that, there are several hotels in and around MG Marg, the most popular part of the town. There are hostels like Tagalong Backpackers and Zostel, which are preferred by solo travelers and trekkers. Pelling also has some unique luxury properties, Hotel Elgin being one of them, offering the views of Mt. Pandim from every room! In other smaller towns like Lachung, Lachen, and Yumthang - mostly homestay options are available, where the host would welcome you with warmth and treat you like a family! If you're looking for an out-of-the-box experience, you can choose to spend a night at the local monasteries, where rooms are occasionally available.
What To Eat?
The cuisine in Sikkim is tremendously influenced by Nepali and Tibetan delicacies, and you'd find momos, thenthuk, and thukpa almost everywhere in this state! But there's a lot more to try beyond that as well.
When in Gangtok, head to Thakali and try the authentic Nepali Thali - it's a must! While stopping by the local eateries, try Phagshapa - which is a strip of pork fat, stewed with dry chilies and radish. It's usually served with Chaang, a local alcoholic beverage made with fermented millets and warm water.
Another popular dish is sael roti, which resembles a pretzel and it's usually served along with potato curry. Don't forget to try Churpi - the local cheese made from yak milk, and hardened to make it like a toffee.
5 Bucketlist Experiences In Sikkim That You Can’t Afford To Miss!
1. Soak in the peaceful vibes while witnessing the beauty of the monasteries