Solo sojourn – Gangtok, Shillong, Kaziranga

Tripoto
20th Dec 2015
Photo of Solo sojourn – Gangtok, Shillong, Kaziranga 1/12 by Vaibhav Khandelwal
Rumtek Monastery
Photo of Solo sojourn – Gangtok, Shillong, Kaziranga 2/12 by Vaibhav Khandelwal
Sharing a ride with Buddhism studies students
Photo of Solo sojourn – Gangtok, Shillong, Kaziranga 3/12 by Vaibhav Khandelwal
Yumthang Valley
Photo of Solo sojourn – Gangtok, Shillong, Kaziranga 4/12 by Vaibhav Khandelwal
Ramkrishna Mission school in Cherrapunji
Photo of Solo sojourn – Gangtok, Shillong, Kaziranga 5/12 by Vaibhav Khandelwal
Single decker roots bridge
Photo of Solo sojourn – Gangtok, Shillong, Kaziranga 6/12 by Vaibhav Khandelwal
India-Bangladesh border
Photo of Solo sojourn – Gangtok, Shillong, Kaziranga 7/12 by Vaibhav Khandelwal
India-Bangladesh border
Photo of Solo sojourn – Gangtok, Shillong, Kaziranga 8/12 by Vaibhav Khandelwal
India-Bangladesh border
Photo of Solo sojourn – Gangtok, Shillong, Kaziranga 9/12 by Vaibhav Khandelwal
En-route to double decker roots bridge,Cherrapunji
Photo of Solo sojourn – Gangtok, Shillong, Kaziranga 10/12 by Vaibhav Khandelwal
Double decker roots bridge,Cherrapunji
Photo of Solo sojourn – Gangtok, Shillong, Kaziranga 11/12 by Vaibhav Khandelwal
En-route to double decker roots bridge,Cherrapunji
Photo of Solo sojourn – Gangtok, Shillong, Kaziranga 12/12 by Vaibhav Khandelwal
Double decker roots bridge,Cherrapunji

So, this was my farthest and longest solo trip so far. I was feeling excited during the journey by thinking of what lies ahead in the days to come! It has always been on my wishlist to make at least one trip to North-east India and this is about to get fulfilled.

I really liked Gangtok as a city. It was very clean and MG Road market is a great place to hang out. It is well connected to all major tourist destinations. I stayed in a hotel near MG Road market. Permits are needed for visit to Lachen, Lachung and Nathula Pass. Try to avoid winters as some of these areas might get closed due to snow.

Shillong is famous for (1) Waterfalls (well the whole Meghalaya for that matter) and (2) Living roots bridges. Cherrapunji is an important place from that point of view. There are lot of waterfalls around and a famous double decker roots bridge. It is advisable to make an overnight stay while visiting double decker roots bridge. Also the way to the bridge has some amazing scenic beauties to appreciate. For people interested in cultural aspects, the region is amongst the very few places where theres is a matriarchal society.

I also enjoyed India-Bangladesh border. The river there is called crystal river as the water is so clean that one can easily see the bottom of the river.

Laitlum canyons are also becoming famous as tourist destination post the shooting of 'Rock on 2' movie.

Advice for tourists:

Expect low availability of taxis and also maximum shops would be closed during Sundays in Shillong.

Tips for tourists:

Gangtok:

For Gurudongmar lake visit, Lachen Valley, do confirm with different people in Gangtok if the roads are open as many times the roads get closed due to snow but the tour operators try to sell you that package of 2N/3D. Try avoid visiting during winters.

Shillong:

There is a youth hostel very close to Police Bazaar in Shillong where there are many dormitories and beds are easily available.

Try avoid visiting during dry seasons (Dec-Feb) when water is low in waterfalls.

Kaziranga National Park:

Although the ticket booking starts from 7pm for the next day safari yet, there is a queue from 3pm for elephant safari for Indian tourists. The seats are limited and tourists are more, so many tourists are not able to get tickets. Jeep safaris are easily available and booking happens the same day.

PS: Feel free to message me in case there are any questions for these places.

I was amazed to see how beautiful the architecture of the monastery was. The hymns played there make the whole environment spiritual. One has to walk up a little, I see a smile on trekkers' faces now !!, to reach the monastery. Indian nationals shall have to show their photo ID cards. Foreign nationals need a permit which is made at the entry gate. There is Nalanda Institute just beside the monastery which is also worth visiting.

Homestay and people were great. I tried 'tongba' (local alcoholic drink) at second night. I didn't like the taste but it helped in bearing the cold and I could sleep tight that night ! This is a stay point for a visit to Yumthang Valley and Zero point.

If visiting mountains at high altitudes excites you then these two places are just right for you. Yumthang valley, 12500 ft, and zero point, 14000 ft, will provide you with some amazing views. There is a frozen river on which people could easily walk. Many tourists even got shoes especially to walk on this although this is not necessary. There are some shops at both the points where one could buy woollen clothes and some food.

Shillong is a Christian dominated city and hence there is a huge celebration on 25th Dec. One can visit police bazaar market, ward's lake and museums in the nearly areas on foot. Also this being a major hub, transport is available to all other major tourist attractions.

Tourism department conduct one day trip to Cherrapunji which includes waterfalls (Nohkalikai is more famous), a cave, Ramkrishna Mission school and a garden. The high attractions are the waterfalls (during some seasons these get dry, one can avoid then) and the cave. The cave is quite big with some small openings for one to pass through. One should also visit double decker roots bridge for which transport would be through either local taxis or a reserved taxi. One has to walk up and down almost 3000 stairs to get to the place (almost 1.5-2hrs). I also liked spending a night in homestay nearby and visiting the bridge early in the morning again when there was no crowd and the environment was calm.

This is famous for white rhinos. I also liked dense vegetation during the entire safari. Elephant safari is preferable but difficult to get tickets for. Jeep safaris are easily available at Kohora. I liked the safari in the morning when it's less sunny and animal sighting is relatively easier.

1 Comment(s)
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is it ok to visit Sikkim in this July ?
Thu 03 02 17, 20:35 · Reply (1) · Report
Hi Mukesh, I noticed landslide in the month of December at one place in Sikkim. In July, i.e. during monsoon, there would be many landslides and you might have to face longer travel time while visiting various places. Having said that, rains have their own charm though!
Thu 05 04 17, 10:08 · Report
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