In Lachen we stayed the night at Golden Valley Hotel. Next morning we woke up early as we planned to give a visit to Lachen Monastery before leaving for Yumthang Valley. Lachen Monastery is within a walk able distance from our hotel. The monastery is very peaceful and has a beautiful surrounding. At around 7.30 AM we started towards Yumthang valley, to see the Rhododendron on their full bloom and also the unending snow capped mountains at Zero Point. The curvy roads with colourful wild flowers and Buddhist flags on both the sides, the road to Yumthang is a delight for the eyes. I wished this magical trip to Yumthang never end.
We got lucky on our trip to Gurudongmar Lake but not in Yumthang valley. Due to landslide we could not reach to our destination. After waiting for the situation to improve for an hour we had to come back. Since we could not make it to Zero Point, our driver offered to take us to Katao: to get a close experience with snow. We too were happy to get an alternative. In Katao we tried to spend as much time as possible in the snow, walking, climbing and playing on the snow. We even made snowman and threw snow balls at each other, our driver too joined us in the fun. (Tip: Although Katao is an alternative but Zero Point is a much better option than Katao, as in Katao the area where one can play in the snow is very limited). After playing for some time our hands became numb and we decided to return back to our car. (Tip: A two night three days trip covering Lachung and Lachen may be physically tiring for some people as it involves around 7-8 hour travelling in the car every day, for those who prefer a comfortable trip two days in Lachung is advisable). After having our lunch at the hotel we started our return journey towards Gangtok. Magical sceneries on both the sides of road kept us mesmerized throughout the stretch; Kanchenjunga was also glowing orange with the reflection of afternoon sun. But I felt heavy on my heart as the trip was about to end.
We reached hotel at around 6 PM. Being the last night in Sikkim, we did not want to waste the time by staying back at the hotel. We wanted to try some Sikkimese delicacies for our dinner and 9’ine Native Cuisine is the best place for having some authentic Sikkimese cuisine. (Tip: They get sold out early in the evening, so it’s better to call them and confirm before visiting them, they gets sold out as early as 7 PM, and the owner is helpful and makes the guests feel at home). After the dinner we roamed at the M.G. Road buying stuffs for our friends and family till the shops started to close, trying to make most of the time left in Sikkim. (Tip: M.G. Marg has many souvenir shops selling products with traditional designs, bargaining applies just like any other Indian cities. One can also buy Temi tea and Sikkimese wine, which are indigenous to Sikkim. But the market gets closed early at around 8 PM, so one has to wrap up the shopping early).
Next morning we bid adieu to Gangtok early in the morning, at around 5.30 AM and our driver drove us till NJP. (Tip: We learned that the drivers who drive in the route know how much time it takes to reach from Gangtok to NJP, so it’s better to listen rather trying to be an expert of own).
This Sikkim trip was special for many reasons. We got to experience the arrival of spring in the trees of rhododendron, see the mighty Kanchenjunga up close, feel the breathlessness in 17100 feet, eat some delicious Sikkimese dishes, meet some wonderful locals as well as fellow tourists and most importantly, play with the snow. The picture of snow clad Himalaya will remain in my mind forever like a white background.
How much we spend (approx):
Train fare: Rs.1500/- (to NJP and return)
Taxi fare from NJP to Gangtok: Rs.400/- (Rs.2400/- for 6 person in a Tevera)
Hotel Pandim: Rs.1200/- (2 nights @Rs.1800/- per night for a three bedded room)
North Sikkim trip: Rs.3500/- (Rs.21000/- for 3 days and 2 nights for 6 persons inclusive of Hotel, food, sightseeing)
Sightseeing in Gangtok: Rs.400/- (2 cars @Rs.1200/- per car)
Food: Rs.800/- (1 lunch, 1 lunch and 2 dinners)
Taxi fare from Gangtok to NJP: Rs.500 (Rs.3000/- for 6 persons including tips)
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