Through pashupatinath we reached Darjeeling in an hour’s time. Finally, we were out of Nepal and started our ride to Darjeeling. The place was lush green. And voila!! Our mobiles were also working now as we were back in India now. We moved and reached Darjeeling city. #1852 built toy train
There are toy trains trips available for 240 INR twice in a day starting from Darjeeling station. This train takes you around Darjeeling and takes you to some of the places like museum etc. in Darjeeling.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darjeeling From Darjeeling there is a nice NH route to go to Sikkim and also another short but challenging way via Majhidhar which connects to Sikkim via an old wooden bridge. This was our next adventure when we dragged our bikes over a 172 years old, feeble , almost broken at so many places, wooden bridge.
And now we were in Sikkim. From here we started for Gangtok. The road to Gangtok is a NH but pretty busy with lots of buses, trucks and traffic. #Stay
Here we checked in a hotel few km away from MG marg named Royal Residency who gave us a room in basement for 1200 INR. The hotel offers decent food also but we choose to go out to MG marg and eat.
PS: We suggest you take a hotel near MG marg to avoid finding taxi’s in the night and landing up paying them 150 bucks just for 2-3 km. #Day of Permits to Gurudongmar and Yumthang point
Next day morning, we woke up and went for the permit. The tourist office on the main MG marg misguided us that we can onl
y go through an agent. After few discussions, they asked us to go to Deputy Secretary’s office down the road. This place is at a walking distance from the MG marg though you can always take your bikes to the office and park them in a parking lot.
You need following documents for permit DL original and photocopies RC original and photocopies Pollution certification original and photocopies ID proof original and photocopies 2 photographs We had all the documents and their photocopies but we reached by 10 o’clock and by that time the concerned lady was not available due to which we landed up waiting for the whole day in the permit office. The office opens at 9 a.m. and we suggest unlike us if you be there by 9 with all documents and Xerox then your work can be done earlier and you could utilize the day to see the Gangtok. Finally at 4 in the evening, we got our NOC. #Food
Gangtok has many decent restaurants to suit your taste buds of different ethnicity.
Breakfast (Puri sabji and jalebi) in MG marg
The place also offers lot of interesting things for shopping warm clothes, antiques. I bought a singing bowl here for 1500 INR but there are many cheaper options available though I can’t vouch for their quality.
Next day early in the morning at 7:00 a.m., we got the permits for Gurudongmar , Yumsadong , zero point but not for Cholamu. We took the photocopy of the permits to be safer and started for Mangan. The road from Gangtok to mangan is not a smooth ride. Mangan is the place where you will find the last petrol bunk. Hence here we filled our tanks full and also filled the petrol in a 5 liter can. #Food at Mangan
The momos are the best thing to have in these places .Hot yummy momos, dal roti and tea were served to us.
After continuous ride on steep road with water bodies and pebbles etc. we reached to Chatan which is an army headquarter. Finally late in the night we reached Lachen. At Lachen, you have to show your permits at the check post so keep your permits handy.
There is no other place in Lachen which I would suggest for stay except for Hotel Dhonka La because of my love and friendship for the children of this hotel. #Food at Lachen – Dhonka La
Home made simple rice, dal, spinach, chicken, egg
Next day morning, we quickly got ready as early as 5 o’clock, covered ourselves in multiple layers, put up all the clothes we had and set out for the lake. As the lake is situated on 18000 ft. altitude, it’s better to ride/drive slow and get acclimatized to avoid nausea, headache etc.
After few kilometers from Lachen , there is a place which offers tasty maggi and tea. Here we also rented gum boots as our boots were wet. Though it was windy and cold but strong sun made the ride easier for us. After few more kilometers of riding, we reached the army check post where they again checked our permits. The ride after the check post can be confusing because we lost our way and reached at another Army post. This post was actually a no civilian zone and China border was just few meters from there. The army people were friendly and allowed us to click few pictures and we started back for Gurudongmar lake. And there we were at ‘Gurudongmar lake’. I was dumbstruck with the beauty of that place. The strong wind, snow covered mountains were on one side and deserted mountains on the other and in the middle reflecting beautiful sun rays was the blue clear water lake. It’s a must see if you are travelling to North Sikkim.
While coming back, the wind was much stronger so we had to hurry up.
Distanced around 70 km from Lachen, today was the plan to reach Yumthang valley. We reached Lachung in 1.5 hours as it’s only around 40 km from Lachen so we could have easily gone and come back to Yumthang valley on the same day. As many of the localites /Army people told us that there is no habitation or places to stay in Yumthang hence we stayed in Lachung itself at Iceberg hotel.
Today we left for Yumesamdong via Yumthang which is 60 km from Lachung. The road to Yumthang is decent with intermittent bad patches due to landslides. As Yumthang is 30 km away, we reached in around 1- 1.5 hours. #Food at Yumthang
There are many shops available which gives momos and maggi. The lady named Prema and her sister were very nice and hospitable. We also rented gum boots and water resistant gloves and started for Zero point. Unfortunately, today the skies were not clear and it was already raining. But determined to see Zero point, we started in rain.
The route to reach zero point is via 4 bridgesTo see Yumesamdong hot spring, you must take a diversion at the fourth bridge. To go to Zero point continue on the main route after the 4th bridge also. Due to constant rain and snow we left back for yumthang after warming up ourselves at the Army check post
As it was now constantly pouring so we started back for Mangan in rain itself. The roads were very slippery so we rode very slow and reached back to Mangan in almost double the time than what we had taken while coming. At Mangan, we refilled our bikes and had food at the same place. This time we took a diversion for Siliguri from Mangan so that we didn’t have to go all the way to Gangtok and then to Siliguri. This road was apparently much nicer albeit longer than the road from Gangtok to Mangan via which we had come. This diversion for the road can be easily found as there is a board for the same.
By now our bikes were little rusty and needed a quick servicing so we reached Siliguri and found Wasim Bullet specialist where we got our bikes serviced. #Food at Siliguri
Here at Siliguri we ate at a place called Sona Pure veg which was delight to our taste buds From Siliguri again there are 2 routes available to go to Guwahati. Based on the recommendation from local people, we took the way via Alipur duar as everyone suggested that road is better on this route. Hence, after spending this day in bike servicing, around 5 in the evening we started for Alipurduar.
n the night we reached Alipur duar. The place has many hotels to stay which are in range of 700-800 INR. #Food at Alipur duar
Poori and sabji. Mishti dahi and Sondesh. The local shops had very tasty Mishti dahi and Sondesh. #Stay We stayed at Madham guest in Alipur duar. Now we started for Guwahati and this was a plain NH road with nothing much to offer. On this route one of our bikes chain also got broken so it took longer for us to reach and late in the night we reached Guwahati. As we wanted to go to Shillong hence we didn’t want to go inside the Guwahati city and instead kept riding on the by pass to Shillong.
From the bypass we reached the Assam -Meghalaya border in the morning. Unfortunately, there was a bandh in Meghalaya till 5 in the evening and hence we stopped by at the Assam – Meghalaya border working on one of the bike’s tyre puncture. At around 4 o’clock in the evening, a police car escorted us with other few foreigners. On the way, we again had a tyre puncture due to which we took longer to reach Shillong. #Stay
In Shillong we stayed in a hotel named Blue mount in the city centre but there are many more options available. As we landed up in the city on a bandh day we had lesser options.
You might want to take help of google maps and localites to reach to Living root bridge as it’s very inside a village and roads are narrow and lush green.
PS: There is another living root bridge in Cherapunjee which has 2 levels of bridge so you could decide on which one would you like to see.
It’s the cleanest village in Asia and one can see it very easily there. Few km away, there are view points to see Bangladesh border from the village.
#Food at Mawlynnong The food was extremely fresh, clean and tasty and it was same dal, rice, chicken and tea
The road to cherapunjee is also extremely beautiful with serpentile roads. There are many waterfalls and caves in Cherapunjee. We visited Mawsmai which is 12 km from the city. The entry to caves it opened till 6 p.m. so you would want to plan your trip accordingly.
Today we finally started from Shillong back to Guwahati by 10 a.m. We reached to Gati office as we had to send our bikes by gati courier back to Bangalore. We filled forms, gave them Xerox of DL, RC and insurance paid 6000 INR for RE and 5500 for Unicorn. This took us around 2-3 hours. Finally, we started for the railway station as we had our train at 9:45 p.m. to Jalpeguri. The train was late by few hours so we veiled out time in the railway station itself. Finally our train arrived and after 30-45 minutes of waiting at Guwahati itself, left for New Jalpeguri.
Next morning by 8 a.m., we reached New Jalpeguri and took a rikshaw to hotel Breeze. We went around to the butcher market, vegetable market and bought Sondesh. Finally, we took our flights from Bagdogra back to Bangalore and that’s where one of the most adventurous voyages of my life came to an end.