North Sikkim Trip...

#1 Dec 15th, 2008, 23:00
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  • sgupta is offline
#1
hi....

We came back from a holiday from sikkim less than a week back and would love to share my experience.

Day 1 - arrived at bagdogra. We took a cab from Bagdogra airport to Gangtok. There is a prepaid taxi counter at the airport.

they charge was Rs. 1500. Another option was to fly to gangtok in a helicopter ... but it is a option only if you reach bagdogra before the afternooon ... it costs Rs. 2000 per person. The taxi took about 5 hrs to reach gangtok. West Bengal regisgtered taxis are not allowed to enter some areas of gangtok during the day time .... hence, the taxi usually drop passengers at one of the designated taxi stands. In our case, it was 10 PM ... hence the taxi took us all the way to MG Marg where our hotel was located ... Hotel Oriental Gangtok.

If you are looking for a good, not too expensive hotel, Oriental will be an excellent option. The service & staff are very good. From some rooms, you even get a good view of Kanchanjenga.

Hotel Tarrif - they charge Rs. 1920 per room for a double room ... we managed to get 25% off-season discount.

Travel Agent - Sonam Dorjee ... Ph: 9832370463 ... we booked all our trips thru him ... Gangtok Site seeing, north sikkim trip, trip to nathula pass

Day 2 - Gangtok Site seeing ...we took one day site-seeing tour - Cost Rs 1000
1.Tashi view ponit ... you get an excellent view of Mt. Kanchenjenga
2.ganesh tok ... a Ganesh temple on the top of a hill
3.Lingdum Monastery ... a beautiful monastery
4.Flower show ... this is kind of an exhibition ... has really beautiful flowers.... you can click some really awesome photos here ...
5.directorate of handicraft & handloom
6.namgyal instutite of tibletology,
7.Gangtok Ropeway(cable car) ... the last three items ... they are not worth it....

Day 3 - Relax at gangtok

Day 4 - leave for north sikkim trip
We took at 5 day & 4 night package ... it cost Rs. 20000 for the two of us. The stay at Lachung as well as Lachen was in

Hotel Fortuna. The driver was Dorjee .. Ph: 9474530584 .... he is not only a good driver & a good guide but also an excellent person. He knows how to make you fee special.
We left for Lachung at about 11 AM from Gangtok ... it was a 6 hr journey ... you will find lots of beautiful waterfalls on the way.
We reached lachung at about 5 PM. It was dark already ... it appeared as if it was late night already.Food at Fortuna was excellent.

Day 5 - trip to Yumthung valley
It is a beautiful place ... it is a small valley with a lovely river in the middle ... there is a hot sulphur spring very close to the valley.
We came back to lachung by lunch time. After lunch, we proceeded for site seeing in Lachung ... we went to one view point and then to the local monastery.

Day 6 - trip to Katao ... it was okay ... nothing speical except for lots of snow ...
After lunch we headed to lachen and check into Fortuna hotel.
Lachen is a very very small village ... and there are no TVs in the hotel. i recommend carrying some indoor games Eg. cards, ludo etc ... these come in handy in the evenings ... otherwise there will be absolutely nothing to do in the evenings and that could get boring.

Day 7 - Trip to Gurudongmar lake ... it is a must see ... but you need to be really lucky to reach there ... the major problems that people face are
1. bad weather
2. health issues ... mainly caused by low density of oxygen at such high altitudes ... eating popcorn will help
3. velicle breakdown ... mainly caused by the cold

Fortunately we did not face any of these issues ... Dorjee, our driver was really careful and prepared for preventing any vehicle breakdown.

Day 8 - drive back to gangtok ...

North sikkim is absolutely fantastic ... there can be no place like it ... natural beauty everywhere Your sikkim trip cannot be complete without a visit to north sikkim.

Day 9 - relax, shop

Day 10 - trip to nathula pass - cost Rs.2500 in an exclusive vehicle
its a nice place ... you feel proud to be an Indian. Changu lake & Baba mandir were okay ...

Day 11, 12, 13 - relax, shop & enjoy the peaceful life.

Day 14 - leave for NJP ... gangtok-NJP travel in an exclusive vehicle cost us Rs. 1400

Food at Gangtok ... Pariwar & Golden Pagoda are good options.
The food at Rasoi is good but the attitude of the owner is HORRIBLE ... There was a small girl who had come to have dinner there ... the girl was not well as a result vomitted on the floor ... the owner made the girl's old grandmonther to clean the
floor. He is a disgrace to the people in the restaurant business. If i ever go to gangtok again, i will not visit this restaurant again.

Some tips:
1. if you plan to go to sikkim with small children, i would recommend that you do not go there during the winter ... it can be difficult for small children to cope with such cold
2. the only mobile network that works in lachung & lachen is BSNL ... hence if your phone cannot work on the bsnl network, please let you family know that you might not be reachable on phone for the duration of the north sikkim trip
3. whenever possible, try to keep the batteries of your camera warm ... sometimes batteries dont work when very cold.
4. carry some indoor games ... Eg. cards, ludo etc ... they can be very helpful during evenings especially in lachen
Last edited by Nick-H; Dec 16th, 2008 at 00:29.. Reason: took out double spacing
#2 Dec 16th, 2008, 00:27
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  • Nick-H is offline
#2
Deleted the other identical post. Double posting is not allowed, and your long, detailed post deserves a thread of it's own.

Thanks for the report!
#3 Dec 18th, 2008, 19:19
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  • abkchennai is offline
#3
hello sgupta'
nice report.we 4 adults and 4 children 4yrs,6 yrs are going to sikkim on 25 th dec.saw your warning about children and cold
would you please elaborate regarding the cold and specially places where children migth suffer. what was the minimum temp.thanks
#4 Dec 18th, 2008, 23:27
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  • sgupta is offline
#4
Gangtok should be comfortable. You might face some issues in north sikkim. The min temperature in Lachung & Lachen would be near zero ... but places like gurudongmar lake, yamthang, katao etc will be very very cold ... especially gurudongmar lake.
Also, Changu lake, Nathula Pass might have subzero temperatures.

Dont get scared .... I guess you take care of suffient padding with warm clothes, things should be okay. You might not get a room heater in lachung & lachen. If possible carry a portable one.
#5 Dec 22nd, 2008, 19:15
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  • CoolShyam is offline
#5
Hello SG,

Can you pleass share some pics of Katao Point? We also went to N Sikkim but we skipped Katao. The desire is still burning to have view of Katao.

Thanks in Advance
Shyam
#6 Dec 31st, 2008, 07:00
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  • sandoc76 is offline
#6
I am planning North Sikkim trip in March-Apr 09.
I would be grateful if anyone could help me with my planning.
Its for 2 of us (me and my wife); young adults. I do not mind sharing some distances with others to save some money. But, prefer to go for north sikkim exclusively or with another couple.

My plan is:

Reach Gantok previous day from kolkata via njp.

Day 01

Start early from Gantok (8am). Drive to Lachung.

On the way stop for sightseeing spots like Tashi View Point, Kabi Lungtsok, Naga Waterfall and The Confluence of Lachen Chu & Lachung Chu at Chungthang.

Stay- Lachung



Day 02
After breakfast leave for YUMTHANG (valley and hot water spring).

Visit Yume-Sandong (is it also called Point Zero?)

Can I visit Katao on this day? And is it worth it?

Plan to move to Lachen for night halt. (is it feasible?)



Day 03

Lachen to Gurudhongmar lake- On the way Thangu & Chopta Valley. Late lunch and rest or discover the village. Night halt at Lachen.


Day 04

Lachen to NJP (tiresome). On the way Singhik, Phodong Monastery

Plan to catch train to Kolkata on the same day.



Or is it better to go to Lachen first? Which of the two places is better to cover first, lichen or lachung?

Is there anything else that I have missed out? On the map I see places like green lake, etc.

some web site also says Zongu, Domang Valley and Kanchendzonga National Park. How do I include these?

Dr Nayak
#7 Jan 5th, 2009, 23:16
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  • sgupta is offline
#7

you will be dead tired by the end of your trip

Hi,

I guess you can cover either katao or zero point ... i dont think you will be able to cover both in one day. There is nothing much to see in katao. I believe, going to zero point will be better.

If possible go in April ... in march you may not find many flowers in yamthung valley.

Please keep in mind that you will be dead tired by the time you end this short trip. If possible, spend a day or two more at gangtok after coming back from the north ..

hope this helps you.

Thanks
#8 Jan 6th, 2009, 09:25
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  • sandoc76 is offline
#8
Quote:
Originally Posted by sgupta View Post Hi,

I guess you can cover either katao or zero point ... i dont think you will be able to cover both in one day. There is nothing much to see in katao. I believe, going to zero point will be better.

If possible go in April ... in march you may not find many flowers in yamthung valley.

Please keep in mind that you will be dead tired by the time you end this short trip. If possible, spend a day or two more at gangtok after coming back from the north ..

hope this helps you.

Thanks
Thanks Mr Sgupta

I have almost boiled down on 28th March to 4th Apr. How are my chances of seeing the bloom?
#9 Jan 6th, 2009, 09:42
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  • stephan is offline
#9
Thank you sgupta for the information. We are planning to be there December 2009 and your information was very nice.
sandoc76,
I was in Sikkim Arpil 2004 and had a wonderful time I went from:
Calcutta-Darjeeling few nights (needed to get permits there)
Darjeeling-Gantok nice drive in one day.
Traveling form NJP to Gantok would be a very long day for me!
If you could stay longer in each place and enjoy its surroundings would be highly recommended, I also took buses/ shared jeeps and had to sometimes wait long time for a ride.
I had to go back to Darjeeling (very very bad tooth problem!) and had to cut my visit short, and can't wait to be back next winter for a much longer time.
Either way enjoy your visit.
#10 Jan 6th, 2009, 16:29
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  • tobubun is offline
#10

trip to gorudongmar lake in march 09

Me and my wife are planning to visit north sikkim during mid march,does we require special permission to go to nathula pass,gorudongmar ,or will it be available once we are in gangtok,please reply me to tobubun@rediffmail.com
#11 Jan 6th, 2009, 19:46
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  • sandoc76 is offline
#11
Quote:
Originally Posted by stephan View Post Thank you sgupta for the information. We are planning to be there December 2009 and your information was very nice.
sandoc76,
I was in Sikkim Arpil 2004 and had a wonderful time I went from:
Calcutta-Darjeeling few nights (needed to get permits there)
Darjeeling-Gantok nice drive in one day.
Traveling form NJP to Gantok would be a very long day for me!
If you could stay longer in each place and enjoy its surroundings would be highly recommended, I also took buses/ shared jeeps and had to sometimes wait long time for a ride.
I had to go back to Darjeeling (very very bad tooth problem!) and had to cut my visit short, and can't wait to be back next winter for a much longer time.
Either way enjoy your visit.
Thanks Stephen
I'm refining my plan.
#12 Jan 8th, 2009, 17:54
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  • sandoc76 is offline
#12

Recieved some quotations

I have received 2 quotations so far from operates for my North sikkim plan which I posted earlier:

1. Gangtok Hotel Delamere with in 1500/= per room per day .
Nathula pass will be @Rs 500/= per head share basis .
Lachung yumthang yumasomdong Katau lachen Thangu Gurudongmarlake and choptavalley will be rupees 22000/= for 3nights 4days package tour all inclusive.

2. a choice of 3 category of resorts at Lachen – Lachung sharing pax for 3Nts/4 Days
(a)14000+2500+1800+1800=20100/-
(b)18500+2500+1800+1800=24,600/-
(c)20100+2500+1800+1800=26,200/-

Are these rates reasonable or too much?
Can anyone suggest me good hotels in Gangtok?
If there was any couple who is planning the same trip it would bring down my cost. Please do contact me.

My nearly finalised plan is: (Mar 28th to Apr 4th)

Day 01

Kolkata to NJP by train.

Day 02

NJP to Gangtok. (exclusive vehicle)- want to take time as I travel to enjoy the route.
Night – Gangtok
(If there is nothing to watch on the way, then share taxi would do.)
Or can I do Helicopter ride (Gangtok 20 min) in the afternoon?

Day 03

Gangtok- Tsongo lake , Nathula Pass trip (shared)

Day 04

(Exclussive North Sikkim 4d/3n)
Start early from Gangtok (7am). Drive to Lachen.

On the way stop for sightseeing spots like Singhik, Phodong Monastery, Tashi View Point, Kabi Lungtsok, Naga Waterfall and The Confluence of Lachen Chu & Lachung Chu at Chungthang, Etc.
Arround Lachen.

Stay- Lachen

Day 05

Lachen to Gurudhongmar lake- On the way Thangu & Chopta Valley.
Carry Luch or Late lunch?

Travel to Lachung. Stay- Lachung


Day 06
After breakfast leave for YUMTHANG (valley and hot water spring).
Visit Yume-Sandong
Want this to be a whole day program…. Can we carry lunch?
Stay: Lachung

Day 07
Start early from Lachung. Visit Dzongu Vally

Stay- Gangtok

Day 08

Gangtok Local Sight seeing- 7 points

Travel to NJP. Plan to catch train to Kolkata on the same day by night train.


Dr Nayak
#13 Jan 8th, 2009, 22:00
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  • stephan is offline
#13
sandoc76,
Thats wonderful that you are able to extend your trip, its going to be worth it! Your plans sound amazing. I wish I can help with the prices you were quoted but I was there too long ago. Your idea of a Helicopter ride sounds very amazing let me know how that was when you get back. The exclusive vehicle is a good idea, so that you can stop whenever you like and enjoy the amazing scenery. I remember seeing so many beautiful waterfalls/river valleys everywhere along the roads. Good luck with the planning & Enjoy.
#14 Feb 2nd, 2009, 12:48
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  • shobana29272 is offline
#14
Hello Sgupta ...
I am in the process of planning a trip to North Sikkim with family an friends and propose to be there in the 1st week of MAy.
I contacted Mr.Dorjee (the agent ,through whom you had done your bookings)and he has asked me to pay 25% advance .Is that ok ?
Moreover were you satisfied with the arrangements ?

shobana
#15 Feb 3rd, 2009, 09:15
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  • mishra_rp is offline
#15

HI shobhana

We visited sikkim in december 2008. If you are looking for economical trip i can give you contact details of hotel where i stayed in gangtok and contact number of its travel agent. They can arrange good trips also as per your needs to north sikkim/Nathula pass etc.

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