Why North Sikkim? What's there to see? Well! it's a paradise. Mostly you can see snow covered mountains all year round, lush green forests, Rhodendron trees, plenty of waterfalls, river view, hot springs and lake. We have been to Sikkim many times, but in this post we will talk about North Sikkim and how you can plan a trip to North Sikkim on a budget.
How to reach North Sikkim on a Budget?
On the way to Gurudongmar
Sikkim recently got its own airport called Pakyong Airport. As it is a new airport therefore very few flights go there. We are here to provide you a list of options to travel to North Sikkim on a budget.
Fly to Bagdogra Airport that's the nearest airport to reach Gangtok.( till the time proposed airport comes up fully functional in Gangtok).
You can take a train to NJP or Siliguri station from Kolkata, or directly if you have an option. Kolkata to both these station is overnight journey.
Now from NJP, Siliguri or Bagdogra the only mode to reach Gangtok is by road. You can book a full cab, shared cab or a chopper to reach Gangtok. After that, book a full cab for North Sikkim or opt for the North Sikkim package tour. Full car rental will cost you around 10-12k for 3days.
How many day needed for North Sikkim trip?
On the way Lachen
We went there on a long weekend, total 4 nights- 5 days is minimum required for this trip. Two days will go on reaching and getting out of Gangtok. You need to stay overnight in Gangtok on arrival and before departure. If you want the trip to be relaxing then can add a day or two in this.
Where to stay in North Sikkim?
You must book one night stay in Gangtok on arrival. Our Trip to North Sikkim on a budget tip would be, to book a package tour to North Sikkim with an agent . The popular packages are of 1N/2D and 2N/3D package. In the first package you only go to Lachung and come back next Day. The later package is the one we took on our trip. That covers one night in Lachen and one night in Lachung, and return next day. Depending on the package you booked the day you return back to Gangtok book a hotel for that night.
If you're not taking any package then you need to book 1Night in Gangtok, 1Night in Lachen, 1Night in Lachung and 1Night in Gangtok. If you want to book hotels on your own then it will cost you around INR 1000-2500 per night. Accommodations will be basic and family run, please do not expect luxury there.
Package Trip to North Sikkim
The 2N/3D packages were all inclusive (food, sightseeing, travel and stay) INR 2500-3000 per person.
The package is truly made for budget traveler. It includes the following irrespective of which one you choose:
Round transfer to North Sikkim from Gangtok Stay for 2 nights in Lachen & Lachung Three meals per day- Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner (includes non-vegetarian food also) Sightseeing of places - Seven Sister waterfall, Naga Waterfall, Gurudongmar lake, Yumthang Valley and Bachchan falls.
Evening tea If you want to visit Katao, then pay extra to the driver Cost for Zero point to be paid extra to the driver
During our trip the cost per person was hardly INR500 for visiting both Katao & Zeropoint. Remember the car will have 11 people including the driver, so be prepared for a rough road trip.
Things to Carry for the Trip
Zero point Make sure to carry a valid ID card You need to carry 4 passport size photos for the permit Medicines are a must, because these places are remote carry you medicines Take out cash from ATM, you might not get ATM in the entire trip There won't be any Network in Lachen so deal with that. Warm clothes, The place gets into subzero temperature and can be very cold, so carry your woollens. AMS you might be hit by AMS as the place is in High altitude and in a car you go 17500ft above sea level without acclimatisation, so avoid alcohol though some shacks might be selling it on top of the mountain.
Please note if you are a foreigner and reading this blog then you won't be able to travel to Gurudongmar lake you have to go till Lachung and nearby. Gurudongmar lake is accessible to Indian citizens only.