North Sikkim Trip September 2010

#1 Apr 27th, 2010, 23:50
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  • krummi is offline
#1
Hi all,

we (2 people; foreign nationals) plan a trip to Northern Sikkim in mid-September 2010. Itinerary likely to be as following:

Day 1: Bagdogra - Gangtok
Day 2: Gangtok
Day 3: Gangtok - Chomgo Lake - Rumtek Monastery - Gangtok
Day 4: Gangtok - Lachung
Day 5: Lachung - Yumtheng Valley - Lachen
Day 6: Lachen - Thangu - Chopta Valley - Lachen
Day 7: Lachen - Gangtok
Day 8: Gangtok - Bagdogra

A few questions:

1. I assume Gurdongmar Lake and Nathula Pass is (still) closed for non-Indian nationals?

2. Would you suggest to have the whole tour organized by a tour operator or just the trip to North Sikkim (day 3 to day 7)? How much should I expect to pay for 2 people a) if the whole trip is organized by a tour operator and b) if only the North Sikkim trip is organized by a tour operator? We would like to travel alone (no sharing) and stay in mid-range hotel (3 star).

3. Which tour operators would you recommend?

4. Should I book in advance or only on arrival in Gangtok?

5. Which hotels would you recommend in Gangtok, Lachung and Lachen?

6. Anything else you feel is a must see but not on my itinerary? We are mainly inrerested in mountain scenary/landscape, less cultural sites.

Thanks for the advise.
#2 Apr 28th, 2010, 01:52
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  • solo-n is offline
#2
Day 1: Bagdogra - Gangtok
Day 2: Gangtok
Day 3: Gangtok - Chomgo Lake - Rumtek Monastery - Gangtok
Day 4: Gangtok - Lachung
Day 5: Lachung - Yumtheng Valley - Lachen
Day 6: Lachen - Thangu - Chopta Valley - Lachen
Day 7: Lachen - Gangtok
Day 8: Gangtok - Bagdogra

1. I assume Gurdongmar Lake and Nathula Pass is (still) closed for non-Indian nationals?
Both are closed for foreign nationals.

2. Would you suggest to have the whole tour organized by a tour operator or just the trip to North Sikkim (day 3 to day 7)? How much should I expect to pay for 2 people a) if the whole trip is organized by a tour operator and b) if only the North Sikkim trip is organized by a tour operator? We would like to travel alone (no sharing) and stay in mid-range hotel (3 star).

My call is for planning only N.Sikkim with an agency (can be a 2N/3D or 3N/4D). If you are not familiar with high altitudes opt for a 3N/4D as you will get ample amount of time to acclimatise. Roam around MG Marg in Gangtok and you could see many agencies there. Arrange a local gangtok sight seeing and trip to Changu/Tsongmo lake). Normally, local sight seeing in gangtok (some 12-13 points including Rumtek Monastery) costs INR 1200-1400. And the trip to Changu lake around INR 1500. When I traveled in last Feb, 2N/3D N.Sikkim package was priced at 14k or so.

3. Which tour operators would you recommend?
For N.Sikkim Yak & Yeti, Prabir Sen and Blue Sky. If you are non veg, avoid Prabir Sen's agency as their hotel serves only veg. Yak n Yeti is good and their pricing is at the higher side.

4. Should I book in advance or only on arrival in Gangtok?
Sept being peak season, better you book the tour in advance.

5. Which hotels would you recommend in Gangtok, Lachung and Lachen?
In Gangtok - Mayfair (5 Star), Mintokling Guesthouse, Cherry Guesthouse (I stayed here and its stunning)... At Lachung - Le Coxy, Lachen - Apple Orchard

6. Anything else you feel is a must see but not on my itinerary? We are mainly inrerested in mountain scenary/landscape, less cultural sites.
Entire north sikkim is stunning and usually the trip covers Lachung, Lachen and Yumthang.
#3 Apr 28th, 2010, 18:15
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  • esmeen is offline
#3

Smile Honeymoon in June

Hi all,

Thanks for all the amazing posts out here. I've chalked up the following itinerary based on what I've read here. However, going by people's raves, I want to confirm that I'm visiting all the right places (very greedy!)

12th: Fly from Hyd, Arrive in Calcutta early morning, train to New Jalpaiguri then to Kalimpong

13th: Kalimpong/Pedong/Lava/Rishap, overnight at Kalimpong/Pedong/Lava/Rishap

14th: Get to Pelling, overnight at Pelling

15th: Full day at Pelling, drive to Gangtok

16th: Gangtok Lachen (overnight at Lachen)

17th: Gurudongmar Lake( 60kms) Thangu Chopta Valley Lachung (overnight at Lachung)

18th: Yumthang Flower Valley - Singhba Rhododendron Sanctuary - Yumsamdong (ZERO POINT) - Hot Spring at Yumthang valley - Yumeysamdong Gangtok (Overnight at the hotel).

19th: Gangtok Kalimpong overnight at Kalimpong

20th: drive to Bagdogra (Kalimpong Bagdogra 3 hours drive), fly from Bagdogra-Calcutta-Hyderabad


Should I replace any of the above with Kaluk, Katao, Rinchenpong, Chungthang?

I've read that it's better to go to Gangtok and book the North Sikkim tour. Will the package (with permits, Mahindra Maxx et al) be available in June if we don't prebook? Please help.

Many thanks.
#4 Apr 29th, 2010, 18:10
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  • krummi is offline
#4
Has anyone heard of the following travel agent? Alpine Nature Beyond

Any particular good/bad experience with them?
#5 Apr 29th, 2010, 18:37
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  • vonkla is offline
#5
Quote:
Originally Posted by krummi View Post Has anyone heard of the following travel agent? Alpine Nature Beyond

Any particular good/bad experience with them?
We made a 3D/2N trip to Lachung/Yumthang early this month. We did not have planned anything anything and went to the Siklkkim tourist office, on the March, for information.
They told that foreigners had to use a registered organization and give us some names.

Blue Sky http://www.himalayantourismonline.com/ was next door and we used them.
We made the appointments on Sunday and went on Tuesday to the North.

For a day-trip around Gangtok we paid 1250 and for North-Sikkim 14500 rs (all included).
Especially for this trip we had a great driver who explained us a lot.
#6 Apr 29th, 2010, 19:10
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  • sanmuk4965 is offline
#6
your n skkm tour can b marred by ur jeep drvr. they r all local bhutia (tibetan) boyz frm lacung/lachen area. try to keep him in gud humor (xtra bux). tour operators r helpless. quite often the drvrs report "agey rastaa kharab hay". a happy drvr can take u to katao/ yumesamdong. if u hv xtra time do visit lachung monastery n d house of d rimpoche at lachung. trgt prctice by army personnel is an unnecessary sound pollution.
#7 Apr 29th, 2010, 19:12
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  • sanmuk4965 is offline
#7
blue sky and marcopolo r well managed operators hving own websites.
#8 May 1st, 2010, 09:34
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  • krummi is offline
#8
Was quoted 30,000 Rs for an exclusive 3N/4D trip in North Sikkim for 2 pax. 2 nights at Apple Orchard in Lachen, 1 night at Le Coxy in Lachung. All meals, permit costs, tax and English speaking guide included. Transport in Mahindra Maxx or Mahindra Bolero. Does this price sound reasonable?
#9 May 1st, 2010, 17:29
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  • vonkla is offline
#9
Quote:
Originally Posted by krummi View Post Was quoted 30,000 Rs for an exclusive 3N/4D trip in North Sikkim for 2 pax. 2 nights at Apple Orchard in Lachen, 1 night at Le Coxy in Lachung. All meals, permit costs, tax and English speaking guide included. Transport in Mahindra Maxx or Mahindra Bolero. Does this price sound reasonable?
We paid 14500 rs. for a 2N/3D trip with simular conditions.We stayed both night in Le Coxy.
#10 May 1st, 2010, 17:58
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#10
Wow, in this case 30,000 Rs for 3N/4D for 2 pax seem pretty excessive
#11 May 2nd, 2010, 02:04
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  • solo-n is offline
#11
Quote:
Originally Posted by vonkla View Post We paid 14500 rs. for a 2N/3D trip with simular conditions.We stayed both night in Le Coxy.
Le Coxy is cheap compared to Apple Orchard, latter being the most luxurious in Lachen. Though I feel 30k is too much.
#12 May 2nd, 2010, 02:10
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#12
I just Googled and found this:

http://theappleorchardresort.com/tariff.html

For double occupancy, they charge 6k :-)
#13 May 3rd, 2010, 14:49
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  • username_x is offline
#13
Quote:
Originally Posted by krummi View Post Hi all,

we (2 people; foreign nationals) plan a trip to Northern Sikkim in mid-September 2010. Itinerary likely to be as following:

Day 1: Bagdogra - Gangtok
Day 2: Gangtok
Day 3: Gangtok - Chomgo Lake - Rumtek Monastery - Gangtok
Day 4: Gangtok - Lachung
Day 5: Lachung - Yumtheng Valley - Lachen
Day 6: Lachen - Thangu - Chopta Valley - Lachen
Day 7: Lachen - Gangtok
Day 8: Gangtok - Bagdogra

A few questions:

1. I assume Gurdongmar Lake and Nathula Pass is (still) closed for non-Indian nationals?

2. Would you suggest to have the whole tour organized by a tour operator or just the trip to North Sikkim (day 3 to day 7)? How much should I expect to pay for 2 people a) if the whole trip is organized by a tour operator and b) if only the North Sikkim trip is organized by a tour operator? We would like to travel alone (no sharing) and stay in mid-range hotel (3 star).

3. Which tour operators would you recommend?

4. Should I book in advance or only on arrival in Gangtok?

5. Which hotels would you recommend in Gangtok, Lachung and Lachen?

6. Anything else you feel is a must see but not on my itinerary? We are mainly inrerested in mountain scenary/landscape, less cultural sites.

Thanks for the advise.
Looks like a good plan. September is a great time to go to Sikkim. Lots of greenery after the rains and lots of water in the waterfalls too. I was there in September last year. It was wonderful.

It is sad that you would not be allowed to go to Gurudongmar Lake. Thangu is a beautiful place too, though. Go there early morning (if you stay at Lachen). The scenery will leave you spell bound. We started from Lachen at 4 in the morning when we went there. As soon as the first light came, we were just mesmerized with the view all around us.

However if the rains are delayed (like the last year), then parts of North Sikkim may not be possible due to the land slides. So have a plan B .. just in case.

Have a great trip!
#14 May 5th, 2010, 23:13
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  • Ayan Sengupta is offline
#14

North Sikkim

I have planned for a 3N/4D trip to North Sikkim thru' Help tourism in the last week of May,2010. The stay at Lachung & Lachen are arranged in Hotel Himalayan Residency. Is there anyone who stayed in the same hotel? If so, can you share your experience pl.

Further, the pkg comprise 2 nights at Lachen & 1 night at Lachung. I intend to increase a day at Lachung. But in that case I need to travel back to Siliguri directly from Lachung the very next day, considering my holiday schedule. I am not sure whether it is practically possible to travel such a long distance at a stretch. Does anyone have the experience of travelling back to Siliguri directly from Lachung?
#15 May 6th, 2010, 06:51
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  • solo-n is offline
#15
Never stayed in above hotels. Traveling directly from Lachung to Siliguri is impossible. Up to Gangtok it self will take 6-7 hours and you will be tired!

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