North Sikkim in December

#1 Nov 11th, 2010, 20:56
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  • Abhishek Chatterjee is offline
#1
I am planning for a north sikkim trip with 4 friends in the coming december (around 25th Dec). We want to visit Gurdongmar Lake, Yumslengdong and Katao. We are reaching NJP on 23th Morning and return train is on 26th Night from NJP.

1. Is it a safe time to visit there? (I have heard of that the roads remains blocked due to heavy snow fall) or will it be very difficult to arrange for a vehicle at that time from Lachen/Lachung?

2. What can be the tour plan? Is it possible to visit all those places in 3 days? Which is the best place to stay - Lachen or Lachung or else?

Please suggest.
#2 Nov 12th, 2010, 11:24
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#2
When we were there in the same period in 2006 we could not a vehicle for Gurdongmar (could be because we wanted a shared jeep and not hire one) but Lachen/Lachung was easily available.
#3 Nov 12th, 2010, 11:42
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#3
Reaching NJP on 23rd and returning to NJP by 6th evening. In this case you either can visit only Lachen-Gurudongmar, or you can visit only Lachung-Yumthang-Yumesamdong. You cannot do both Gurudongmar and Yumesamdong Katao in 3 days. because you have to go to Gangtok first on 23rd and stay a night there.On 24th you can start for North Sikkim,and stay at either Lachen or Lachung. Visit Gurudongmar on 25th if you are staying in Lachen. If you are staying in Lachung visit Yumthang and other places. 25th evening back to Gangtok. 26th back to NJP.

Roads might be blocked only if there is very heavy snowfall.But that generally happens in January.December end you should be able to make it. You will find lots of snow in North Sikkim.
#4 Nov 12th, 2010, 15:31
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#4
Quote:
Originally Posted by Abhishek Chatterjee View Post I am planning for a north sikkim trip with 4 friends in the coming december (around 25th Dec). We want to visit Gurdongmar Lake, Yumslengdong and Katao. We are reaching NJP on 23th Morning and return train is on 26th Night from NJP.

1. Is it a safe time to visit there? (I have heard of that the roads remains blocked due to heavy snow fall) or will it be very difficult to arrange for a vehicle at that time from Lachen/Lachung?

2. What can be the tour plan? Is it possible to visit all those places in 3 days? Which is the best place to stay - Lachen or Lachung or else?

Please suggest.


Hi Abhishek!!

As Cutie suggested, for completing a standard north Sikkim trip, you need at least 4n/5d in hand. So the options you have are:-

1) Enhance your stay by 1 day.
2) Skip Gurudongmar.
3) Skip Lachung part.

My advice for you would be to Skip Lachung part and head for Gurudongmar as its something beyond description. Even I have my bags packed for the same trip but 4 days later then yours.

Have a happy trip Mate.
#5 Nov 12th, 2010, 15:57
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#5
Quote:
Originally Posted by Abhishek Chatterjee View Post I am planning for a north sikkim trip with 4 friends in the coming december (around 25th Dec). We want to visit Gurdongmar Lake, Yumslengdong and Katao. We are reaching NJP on 23th Morning and return train is on 26th Night from NJP.

1. Is it a safe time to visit there? (I have heard of that the roads remains blocked due to heavy snow fall) or will it be very difficult to arrange for a vehicle at that time from Lachen/Lachung?

2. What can be the tour plan? Is it possible to visit all those places in 3 days? Which is the best place to stay - Lachen or Lachung or else?

Please suggest.
Hi Avishek,

Answering your questions....

1. Is it a safe time to visit there? (I have heard of that the roads remains blocked due to heavy snow fall) or will it be very difficult to arrange for a vehicle at that time from Lachen/Lachung?

Answer :

I visited North Sikim during every possible season and and found no body predict the weather. I reached Gurudongmar lake on 26th December,2007 December safely....Found no Ice at Yumthang and moderate snow at Katao on 23rd January but last year 6th October failed to reach even upto Yumesemdong because of sudden 2 days snowfall. So it all depends upon the local depression. So just check the weather on hills before you start and plan your trip accordingly.....and always keep a plan B in mind.

2. What can be the tour plan? Is it possible to visit all those places in 3 days? Which is the best place to stay - Lachen or Lachung or else?

Answer :

Suggested Itinerary

23rd. - Reach NJP and NJP to Gangtak
24th - gangtak to Lachung & Stay Overnight
25th. Start very early(say 4.30AM) to katao...come back by 8.30AM...Have your break fast....start for Yumesemdong at 9.00AM..reach by 11.30...Spend an hour or so...come back..Lunch...start around 3.30 PM..Reach Gangtak by 10.00PM.

26th - NJP to Gangtak.

OR

24th - Gangtak to Lachen, stay overnight.
25th - Lachen to Gurudongmar Lake - chopta vally - to gangtak


Chek the road condition before you start from gangtak.

Cheers

Saikat
#6 Nov 12th, 2010, 17:14
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#6
HI,

I have some free holidays in december, Please let me know if you guys can accomodate me.

Regards,
Pankaj
#7 Nov 17th, 2010, 12:55
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#7
I am a new bee in this forum and got several replies on my first post....So a big thanks to all of you for sharing your opinion.
What I can make out from your posts that in most of the cases roads remain opened at that time, but "nobody can predict the weather". As Dolovenature suggested, I am also thinking for plan B. Can you please let me know, suppose we reach Gangtok or Lachen/Lachung and find the weather is not good and we can not head for Yumesemdong/Gurudongmar, then what can be the plan B? Actually in that case also we dont want to stay in Gangtok or those kind of very common/congested places.
#8 Nov 17th, 2010, 13:54
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Hi Abhishek!!
The fact is that even if you can not reach up to Guru/Yumesemdong, you should still go for it. Because even if you cant reach to the culminating point, you are sure to end up enjoying piles of snow. And the journey to Gurudongmar is breathtaking. So no matter even if you cant reach there (Chances are that you will), you will be at most just a few kms away from the lake.
Hope it helps.
#9 Nov 17th, 2010, 15:41
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#9
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Originally Posted by Abhishek Chatterjee View Post I am a new bee in this forum and got several replies on my first post....So a big thanks to all of you for sharing your opinion.
What I can make out from your posts that in most of the cases roads remain opened at that time, but "nobody can predict the weather". As Dolovenature suggested, I am also thinking for plan B. Can you please let me know, suppose we reach Gangtok or Lachen/Lachung and find the weather is not good and we can not head for Yumesemdong/Gurudongmar, then what can be the plan B? Actually in that case also we dont want to stay in Gangtok or those kind of very common/congested places.
Abhishek,

It can be two ways around...

FIRST ONE :-
When ever you are going to get permit at gangtak just check if it is up to Yumthang or Gurudongmar or not. That should be your first check point. if its alright just drive to North Sikim and enjoy.

Secon One :-
If there is any sudden local depression at high altitudes after you reach Lachung, just carry on. even if the road remains closed to Yumthang you are going to get up to the snow line to enjoy.

But do not take chance about Gurudongmar Lake. Go there only if you are absolutely certain that road is open . The actual beauty starts from Thangu..

Plan B will come in to effect only when you will not get permit from Gangtak itself. Then you can think to go to other places of Sikim.

Saikat
#10 Nov 17th, 2010, 17:55
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#10
I have no idea on getting the permit or those kind of formalities. I was under an impression that those places are similar to others. Please mention in detail..
"Cholo let's go"...Abhishek

<a href="http://picasaweb.google.com/achatterjee104">My Travel Photos</a>
#11 Nov 17th, 2010, 18:28
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Originally Posted by Abhishek Chatterjee View Post I have no idea on getting the permit or those kind of formalities. I was under an impression that those places are similar to others. Please mention in detail..
Well,

Any North Sikim Trip( Either Yumthang or Gurudongmar) need proper permit since Chinese insertion is very common there. ( You can find boards reading " Only Army rules here" - near Katao.

Now How to Obtain Those?

You need not require to do anything directly.

For North Sikim, you have to hire the service of authorized Travel Agents. You can contact them directly over phone or can finalize after reaching gangtak. All that they need is ONE pass port size photo & photocopy of your voter card of all members and they will take care of arranging permits. After getting it just check the paper about the destination names and you will get the clear picture.

You can also ask your hotels to arrange for the trip but in that case they will keep their commission after paying the Travel agents.

All the travel agents generally provide equal service(descent one) at almost equal rates except some luxury ones like Marcopolo, Fortuna..etc. and accordingly their costs are several times higher.

Saikat
#12 Nov 17th, 2010, 20:10
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#12
Thanks Saikat for the information. But we are planning to reach Lachen/Lachung directly (without staying at Gangtok). If we ask there for permits (ask in hotels), will they be able to arrange or it is only arrangeable for Gangtok agents? Can you give some contacts of authorized travel agents, so that we can contact them from here and just take it from them in the way?
#13 Nov 18th, 2010, 01:22
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#13
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Originally Posted by Abhishek Chatterjee View Post Thanks Saikat for the information. But we are planning to reach Lachen/Lachung directly (without staying at Gangtok). If we ask there for permits (ask in hotels), will they be able to arrange or it is only arrangeable for Gangtok agents? Can you give some contacts of authorized travel agents, so that we can contact them from here and just take it from them in the way?
NO -1 )In that case you have to speak to your Hotels at Lachen / Lachung if they can obtain permission for you. It can only be obtained from Gangtak or Geyzing. But may be Fortuna like Hotels have now arrange for it though I am not sure.

No -2 ) Are you going from Kolkata? Can you please share your plan? How you have planned to reach Lachen / Lachung directly skipping Gangtak??

NJP/ Bagdorgar to gangtak = 4.30 hrs(110 Kms uphil)
Gangtak to Lachen / Lachung = 6 Hrs(Minimum) but with so many beautiful spots in between Three like waterfalls you can safely add another ONE hour. So......

i shall PM you some contact nos to which you can talk.
Just providing some pictures to you...Authorized MAP, Barren Yumthang on 23rd January,2008 and Road closed due to snow on 1oth. Oct,2oo9. Just imagine how unpredictable the weather could be. So just forget about that part for the time being.

Saikat
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#14 Nov 18th, 2010, 12:45
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Thanks Saikat. I did not have that much detail idea of the travel time from NJP to Lachen. Yes, in that case we need to stay overnight at Gangtok. Please provide me the contacts you mentioned. Another thing, do u have any idea about Ravangla, Rinchengpong. We are four friends planning for the tour. And we need some itinerary which is different from common "side-scening" plans.
#15 Nov 18th, 2010, 13:24
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#15
Dear Abhishek!!

Permits are required to travel in that part of the world. Once you are on the way to Lachen/Lachung via Gangtok, you need to produce your permits at more than 3 places for verification. So forget about going to Lachen/Lachung without permits. And Hotels have contacts with Agents who arrange for permits. So you can contact the agents directly or go through the hotels. But since permits do not earn much profit to agents/hotel people, they shall insist you to take a complete package for north. However, you shall find reference of many a travel agents in other threads here. If not, I can name a few to you.

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