Sam's Road trip to Sikkim- Switzerland of the North-East

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I visited Sikkim in the June of 2012, with my husband and a group of friends. Sikkim is something I wanted to visit since long so I was pretty excited about the entire trip. We took the Train to New Jalpaigudi Station from where we went by a 4 hour car journey to Gangtok. You could also take a flight to Baghdogra and then take a taxi for the onward journey to Sikkim, since Baghdogra happens to be the nearest airport. © © ©

The drive from Baghdogra to Gangtok is beautiful. Gangtok, is a very organized, disciplined and scenic capital city of Sikkim. The city is so clean, full of awesome cafe's and restaurants that cater to the firang and desi travellers too. We stayed at a great budget hotel called Pemayantse. The hotel is very neat and clean, with clean linen and bathrooms, and is quite conveniently located. If you don't have a car, there are cabs that run from outside the hotel that can take you to the main bazaar where you can eat and shop.

The people of the city are early risers and the city sleeps by about 10 in the night. Most restaurants do not serve dinner beyond 8-8.30pm, so one has got to have an early supper. The restaurants I would recommend would be the 9'INE Native Cuisine, The Coffee Shop; and the Tibet hotel's restaurant if you want to enjoy contemporary western cuisine and some nice authentic North eastern India cuisine.

I simply loved the fact that there is no tax on alcohol even in the b est fine dining restaurants and the food is really reasonable too. The coffee shop in the main market has the best thin crust pizza's and shakes and cold coffees. The 9'INE Native Cuisine restaurant has pretty decent tasting food, but the best is the Tibet hotels inhouse restaurant. We enjoyed some great authentic food there, including the khao suey and the thukpa's and of course the momo's.
You must enjoy the night life at the Gangtok casino, and take a day trip to the Nathula pass at the china border. But you must reach the pass entrance by 10 since you need to apply for some army permissions to go there, also please do take something to eat coz there aren't any shops there, so in case you get hungry, you might just end up starving yourself.
Hotels are not hard to find in Gangtok, we stayed at a budget hotel Pemayantse which was pretty good and they served decent food too. Its location is pretty good because if you do not have a private vehicle you can easily take public transport from there. Its a bit towards the end of main gangtok which is almost a 20 minute drive from the main Gangtok Bazaar, which by the way is the place you find the best restaurants. What might benefit you in case you take a trip to Gangtok is that most restaurants do not take Dinner orders past 8pm, so you might want to have an early supper unless staying at a 5 star which would have 24 hour room service.
The beauty of Sikkim is quite intriguing. You can simply head out any where in Gangtok and get lost in the peaceful monasteries or if you are an adventure seeker visit North Sikkim which is stunning by the way. The beauty of north Sikkim is unlike anything you might have seen before. Clear blue skies, snow covered peaks and a beautiful landscape. There are some stunning patches when you are driving past Lachen, Lachung and towards the Valley of Flowers or more popularly called the Yumthang Valley.

April - September. Recommended visit Apr-May since the Rhododendron is in full bloom in the Valley of Flowers

We then drove about 8 hours to north Sikkim, where we stayed over night before we left at 5 next morning for the 5 hour tough drive to the Beautiful Gurudongmar lake. The drive is pretty tough and the roads are real bad. But the sight of the lake makes you forget everything. Since the height is 17100 ft you might find it difficult to breathe so you might just take it slow, and let your body get used to the low air pressure. The Lake is the most stunning and breathtaking piece of beauty I have ever seen in my entire life. The drive towards the lake which is about almost 6 hours from Lachung is stunning. Take some great shots at the lake and if your lucky like I was it might be a bright sunny day so make the most of it like I captured the natural beauty in my camera.
Sikkim is a trip that must be a part of your bucket list and you must visit Sikkim, at least once in your life time, and if you are lucky, you might just get the cab and the fauji permission and you could even drive from there to Bhutan, which I wasn't fortunate enough to do. But Bhutan is next on my list. And I am definitely doing both Sikkim and Bhutan again hopefully next year.
© Follow Sam on Instagram - Search for sgkatoch Must Visit attractions : North Sikkim, Lachen, Lachung, Gurudongmar lake, Yumthang Valley, Zero Point, Gangtok, Gangtok Casino, Gangtok main market, Nathula pass and Monasteries in Gangtok

Sikkim is a trip that must be a part of your bucket list and you must visit Sikkim, atleast once in your life time, and if you are lucky, you might just get the cab and the fauji permission and you could even drive from there to Bhutan, which I wasn’t fortunate enough to do. But Bhutan is next on my list. And I am definitely doing both Sikkim and Bhutan again hopefully next year.

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