Tucked away in the lap of the magical Himalayas, Sikkim is truly a magical abode filled with the charm of green valleys, mystical lakes, ancient monasteries and a rich variety of flora and fauna.
Apart from it's natural beauty and bio-diversity, this little state is known to preserve and protect its cultural heritage.
The moment you enter the state, you will be greeted with Prayer flags, cheerful people and a lot of positive vibes. I had been on a 27 day Bike trip from Bangalore to the North east states of India and spend a fair amount of time exploring the most beautiful places in Sikkim.
In this blog, I will list down what all can be done in 6 days, things to be taken care of and what you can expect during the trip.
So, without further ado, lets get this started.
Day 1 : Arrive at Gangtok from New Jalpaiguri Railway station/ Bagdogra Airport
Gangtok is the starting point to any of the places in Sikkim. From chilling at amazing hilltop hotels to relaxing by the serene lakes and gushing waterfalls, there are ample things to enjoy during your trip to Gangtok.
These are my top picks at Gangtok :
Offering a bird’s eye view of Gangtok, it is one of the most famous and top-rated activities among Gangtok tourist attractions.
Take a stroll at M.G. Road
M.G road is the hub of Gangtok that houses some amazing restaurants, food cafes, shopping places etc. Spend a good amount of time doing some shopping and enjoying some good food.
It is one of the largest Buddhists monasteries in Sikkim. The architecture is one of the finest in the world. From the entrance to the top ,you need to walk for about half a kilometer to which opens doors to a picturesque surrounding.
DAY 2 : Go to East Sikkim
East Sikkim is one of the best places to visit. The following are must visit places and these can be covered in a day's time and you can come back to Gangtok on the same day.
Shaped like an oval, the lake is located 40 km away from the city of Gangtok and is located at an altitude of 3,780 m above sea level. The scenic beauty breathtaking.
Located at an altitude of 14,140 feet and 56kms from Gangtok, Nathula Pass was the place through which the famous Silk Route used to operate until 1962.
The fenced Indo-China border is also few meters away and you can see both Indian and Chinese soldiers guarding the border. The guards are friendly. A stairway leads to the border. There is no 'no mans land' here.
The trip to East Sikkim is not complete without a visit to the shrine of the famous Baba Harbhajan Singh, a war hero. The shrine is popularly called the Baba Mandir.
Once these places are visited, you can head back to Gangtok to explore North Sikkim the next day.
Watch the video of my Bike trip to Nathula Pass. Who doesn't love to ride their bike though the snowy roads?
DAY 3 : Gangtok to Lachen
Drive to Lachen (9500ft), a village surrounded by snow-capped peaks and beautiful alpine meadows via Chungthang, another quiet and picturesque hamlet on the higher Himalayas.
Day 4 - Lachen - Gurudongmar Lake (40 km each side) - Lachung
Located at the height of 17,100 feet above the sea level, Gurudongmar Lake, located in Sikkim, is one of the fifteen highest lakes in the world. It is also the second highest lake in Sikkim.
Gurudongmar Lake cannot be reached in 1 day. Hence, you have to stay in Lachen for the night and then proceed to the lake the next day.
The lake is so high that the oxygen level gets depleted that it is not advisable for people with breathing problems to visit this place. Please note that private 4 wheelers are not allowed here. Only bikes and Taxis are allowed, provided you have proper permission (details of the same provided in the end)
The sight of the lake is so rewarding and blissful. Have a look at the entire journey from Gangtok to the lake in this short video.
After spending some time at the lake, you can proceed to Lachung and visit the confluence of Lachen Chu and Lachung Chu at Chungthang.
Day 5 - Lachung - Yumthang Valley - Gangtok
On day 5, you will be visiting Yumthang valley also known as Valley of Flowers. At an altitude of approx. 11,800 ft above sea level, Yumthang is located 26 km away from Lachung. Where the tree line ends, the valley erupts in multi-colored meadows of flowers of Primula, Rhododendron, other alpine flowers.
It will take an entire day to visit this place and then head back to Gangtok.
Day 6 : Gangtok to Bagdogra Airport / NJP Railway station
On day, 6 you can return with a lot of memories and amazing experiences.
Things to keep in mind :
The best mode of transportation in Sikkim is by hiring a cab or if you are into biking, get a motorbike on rent. The nearest airport is Bagdogra and the nearest Railway station is NJP Railway station.
The taxi fare for this complete itinerary will be around Rs. 15000/- for a 6 seater.
If you are a solo traveler, you can also get shared taxi.
You get all types of food in Sikkim but it is always good to try their local delicacies like Momos, Thukpa, Sha Phaley, Sinki etc.
It is easy to find accommodation in Sikkim. You can book hotels via Oyo, MMT, Airbnb etc. In Lachen, I suggest you to stay in some homestay to get a different experience.
Best time to visit :
Peak Season - March, April, May, October to December.
However, you can still plan to visit this beautiful anytime round the year. However, it is advisable to avoid a trip during monsoon as entry to the lake and other places will be restricted.
This is very important. You need to get permits to visit North and East Sikkim. It usually takes 1 day to get the same. So my suggestion is that the day you arrive at Gangtok, you can get in touch with any of the tour operators to get it done for you for around Rs. 300/- per person. You will need to provide ID Card copy and Passport size photos for the same.
It gets really cold in the nights and also at high altitude places like Gurudongmar lake, Nathula pass, Lachung etc. You can even find snow in these places. So be adequately packed with jackets and warmers. It is not advisable for those with breathing problem to visit the high altitude places.
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