Sikkim- North and East in April 2009

#1 May 3rd, 2009, 16:26
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  • sandoc76 is offline
#1
Thanks to all those helpful advises, I have had a fair trip of Sikkim.
I would like to reqest those travelling to Sikkim to please keep 2 things in mind:

1. Please do not throw waste and plastic every where. We have already spoilt all the beautiful hill stations and our cities. They all look like dust bins now. Please leave behind the attitude that Ď whole world is my dust bin.í
2. please do not distry nature: do not pluck flowers and plants. There is very little of it left.

My trip was as follows:

Day1

I went from Kolkata to NJP (over night train)
Taxi to Bagdogra airport.
To Gangtok by Helicopter.
Night at Gangtok

The taxi to Bagdogra was a maruthi van prepaid. Cost me total of Rs 300/-. Please note that they charge you even the entry fee at bagdogra airport which you have to pay to the driver (unbilled).
The helicopter ride was a good experience. Itís a 5 seater. Takes 35min. charge is Rs 2000/- per head. Only one ride per day at 2.30pm better book it in advance. You can contact them at 0353 2531219. (airport-0353 2698030) There is a weight restriction of 10kg per person which is not strictly followed. They start even earlier if all the passengers reach.

day2


Tashi, Ganeshtok and Hanumantok, Tsongo lake, flower show, ropeway.

our plan was to visit Tsongo lake, Natulla pass, Baba mandir. But the plan changed as Natulla was closed due to road problem. So we did the 3 view points at Gangtok (Tashi, Ganeshtok and Hanumantok) started at 5 AM expecting a good view. Could not see K2 due to bad weather. This was by a small vehicle. Came back to freshen and have break fast. Started for Tsongo by 8.30am. On the way there is a water fall. The lake is beautiful tough crowded. There are yak rides available. The Yak operators have made a mess out of the place. They just donít care about the safety of the people. You may get trampled by yak when you cross a narrow bridge. We saw some snow as we went in end of april.

We returned by 3pm and visited flower show (not so great) and rope way. Ropeway is worth for Rs 60.

day 3

we started from Gangtok after breakfast around 9.30am for 4D/3N North Sikkim trip. This has to be a package tour as there are permits to be done and not much facilities in north sikkim. In other words, north sikkim is not yet destroyed.
We drove to Lachen. I had booked the entire tour from Kolkata.
On the way we stopped at 7 sisters water falls, Naga Waterfall and some unnamed view points. Had lunch at Mangan. We reached by 6.30 as the road was blocked and took 2 hrs to clear. So, we did not rome around at Lachen.
The lodging at lichen was basic and clean.
Stay- Lachen

Day 4

The toughest journey of the trip - Lachen to Gurudongmar lake. The route is scenic. The lake is marvellous. You would find tourists trying to dirty it. My wife picked up some waste from near the lake (freshly thrown by some Bengalis after Khava). The altitude can make you feel sick (17000ft). Those used to pranayama may fair better. Some amount of ujjayi breathing may help. But, whatever you do, do not exert yourself. Take tablets for motion sickness, if you need. Roads do not exist and those that do are treacherous. On the way back we stopeed at Chopta Valley. But, you would be extremely tired by the time to keep awake.

Late lunch.Travel to Lachung.
Stay- Lachung

day 5

After breakfast we started for YUMTHANG (valley and hot water spring).
The best attraction in spring are the Rhodendendron flowers at Simbha Sanctuary. Our people are always busy plucking flowers and throwing plastic here as well. Even the sikkim drivers donít behave so cheap. I saw the driver put the wrappers in his pocket after mouthing the contents. Drivers do request guests not to pluck flowers.
Yumthang valley is also a beautiful place with carpets of primula flower (pink) with Lachung Chu (river) flowing serenely.
The hot water spring isnít that attractive.
Yume-Samdong is supposedly gives a good view of glazier. But, as weather was bad we could hardly see a few feet. There was some snow there.

Stay: Lachung

day 6

I wanted to visit Katao. But, my guide, Mr Arun, discouraged me saying police wonít give permission. I felt that his intentions was to reach back early to Gangtok. So we started to Gangtok after breakfast. On the way we stopped at Bhima water falls.
Then at Shingik view point. Itís a nice spot where you can climb down a long way. We could not view Kanchanjuna as the weather was bad.
We had lunch at Mangan.
We visited Phodong Monastery and Kabi Lungtsok on the way. Monastery is good. Kabi is a place of historic importance. Our guide managed to give miss to both The Confluence of Lachen Chu & Lachung Chu at Chungthang and Chungthang Gurudwara.

Stay- Gangtok

day 7

We dedicated the day for local sightseeing. We visited:
1. DO-DRUL CHOTEN- a nice stoopa.
2. INSTITUTE OF TIBETOLOGY- historic things. Good place to visit
3. RUMTEK MONASTERY- beautiful monastery. Needs some time. You will gunmen all around.
4. BOTONICAL GARDEN- I did not find anything here. Just a walk path. Can spend time walking or sitting under a tree.
5. LINGDUM MONASTERY- very serene place. We had lunch here.
6. BANJHAKRI FALL AND ENERGY PARK- waste of time. Tried to make an amusement park.
7. HANDICRAFTS CENTER- not worth

stay- Gangtok

Day 8

Gangtok Zoological garden- A beautiful place spread over 250 hectares. Animals are very friendly here. I wonder how most of the beats (humans ) behave there. I should say that this is a less visited place. So, serenity is still maintained. Better to visit early if you like to peacefully watch without disturbing the animals. If you intention is to shout and act primitive, you may as well go little late when there is more crowd.

We returned to Kolkata.

Other points:

We stayed at Minto-kling at Gangtok. A very good place away from city. Good in all aspects. I tried the local food here- phing with mushroom and chicken (rice noodle), Khuri wth Chu (sour paneer) and noodle soup- they prepare them well.

I booked through Capt Shekar Dutta, 9831075636. He does give good advise and arranges well. You can also book your tour directly at Gangtok (cheaper).

Remember a few things: Your journey is your destination. Enjoy your journey.
And care for nature.
The best way to see Sikkim is by trekking. Sitting in jeep you loose the touch with nature. My nest visit would be a trekking trip.

You can visit my pictures at: http://picasaweb.google.co.in/sandee...kim?feat=email

Hope this helps.
#2 May 4th, 2009, 17:30
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  • jiten shah is offline
#2
Hi Sandoc,

It is a very useful & brief report of your tour with nice photos. We are going on 17th may to Gangtok, Pelling & north Sikkim. Our North Sikkim plan is similar to yours. How is the weather there? How cold is North Sikkim and what protection do we need. Also for people having Asthama what is the advice. Did you get a chance to play in the snow? I will put our report once we are back on 1st June.

Thanks;

Jiten Shah.
#3 May 4th, 2009, 18:45
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  • sandoc76 is offline
#3
Mr Shah

North Sikkim can get very cold. The day time temp at lachen and Lachung is about 10 C. Its very windy at Gurudongmar- very cold there (2 C). Even Yumesamdong is about that. You need warm clothings like: woolen thermals+Shirt and pant+ a good jacket or wind sheet. Don't forget woolen socks and glove.
Our rooms had geezer at both places. Room heater at Lachung.

Gurudangmar could be difficult for people with COPD (Asthma) as the air is very thin here. Do not take alcohol for at least 2-3 days before. Stop smoking for a week at least.
There is no direct relationship between altitude sickness and asthma. Reduce water intake from previous evening. T.Diamox may help by throwing out body water. But, may not be required.

Dr Nayak

Quote:
Originally Posted by jiten shah View Post Hi Sandoc,

It is a very useful & brief report of your tour with nice photos. We are going on 17th may to Gangtok, Pelling & north Sikkim. Our North Sikkim plan is similar to yours. How is the weather there? How cold is North Sikkim and what protection do we need. Also for people having Asthama what is the advice. Did you get a chance to play in the snow? I will put our report once we are back on 1st June.

Thanks;

Jiten Shah.
#4 May 4th, 2009, 21:10
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  • jiten shah is offline
#4
Sir,

Thank you very much for your inputs it will be of great help.
#5 May 6th, 2009, 12:34
Return from Gir - Dwarka - Mcleodganj - Manali
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  • rushijoshi is offline
#5
Hi Jiten,

I am also from Mumbai.

You are going to heaven, I went there last December.

If you have planned your tour then it is okay, but if you are going to arrange then just let me know I would help you.

One importent thing, I guess you are Veggi and you will faced problem in your North Sikkim tour. So better to take some foods with you. You can take Meggi and some other ready to cook food with you.

If you want to contect me, just let me know. I will provide you my number to discuss your trip.

Regards
Rushi
#6 May 6th, 2009, 14:09
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  • jiten shah is offline
#6

sikkim

Hi Rushi, Our trip is planned. We are total 35 pax with children total 10 family. We are at Tashi gang resort in pelling, Royal demazong at Gangtok, Fortuna at Lachen & lachung, Royal plaza at Gangtok, and Ceddar inn at darjeeling. Let me know if you have any tips at all this places.

Thanks;

Jiten.
#7 May 6th, 2009, 15:44
Return from Gir - Dwarka - Mcleodganj - Manali
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  • rushijoshi is offline
#7
Hi Jiten,

I dont know whether you are taking your cook along with you or not. If not then you will get good Veggi food at Rasoi, Gangtok (near MG Road, main market) and you will get some more Veggi restaurant around MG Road only. I am informing you as food is important for Gujarati family .

If your are going with some tour operator, then make sure that what kind of vehicle are they providing. A minibus can only go till Lanchung after that to goto Gurudongmer Lake and Zero Point a special 4 Wheel Power vehicle is required, so confimed this well in Advance. You will not get Snow in Lancung, you have to goto Yumthang Valley, Zero Point and Gurudongmer Lake. Not going to this point is just wastage of money.

Power cuts in Lancung region is normal, so prepared with tourch.

Get ready with extra set of Camera batteries and DataCard/Roll, this place is full of beauty and once you will start taking photos you will not end... My battery pack was discharge at Zero Point and I was just able to clicked one photo at this lovely point.

You are going in a big group and we gujju are used to go in Big Group... But keep in mind dont litter, throw garbage, plastic bags these rubbish things are destroying nature.

Dont spend much money behind buying Darjeeling Tea, actualy that good who are driking Green Tea, as it is well famous people are buying tea but we dont like test of it.(this is my personel feeling, might vary people by people).

Dont forget to take ride of Darjeeling Train, but just go to 1 or 2 stops as it is quite slow.

Dont hier a car loaded with Heter, as drivers are not starting at climbing hill (especially going for sunrise @ Darjeeling).

Take enough juicy chocolates in North Sikkim trip it is useful to avoid vomiting. Dont eat junk food, smoking, drinking before going to North Sikkim. Try to eat Biscuits in the breakfast, so it will get stuck in stomach and useful to avoid vomiting.

At Pashupati Nagar (Nepal Border, Darjeeling) dont take Nepalian Currency in Bulk (even for change). Just think 8.** Indian Ruppes = 10 Nepalian Rupees, so actualy you are in loss .

If your group has some Adventure lovers then try out White (Blue) Water Rafting in Teesta River @ Kalimpong or Rangpo.

Dont buy shawls, shawls are famous in Kashmir region.

Again...
Take some food along with you and Dont destroy Nature. Keep it in mind you are going to see nature and let it open for your Grand Son/Daughter too.


Bye for Now, if you want any specific information let me know.

Regards
Rushi
#8 May 6th, 2009, 18:12
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  • jiten shah is offline
#8
Thanks Rushi,

We do not have any cook with us.Your tips will be really helpful. Thanks;

Jiten Shah.
#9 May 6th, 2009, 18:37
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  • sandoc76 is offline
#9
Thanks Rushi for sharing my concerns abt nature. We have to be responsible for our actions.
Well, when i visited in april there was no snow at Lachung. The temp was around 10-12 C. I expect May to be warmer.
We did not face much problem with food (My wife is veggie). The restaurants on MG rd are mostly veg. North Sikkim most of the food was veg.
For motion sickness (vomiting) during traveling, one may take T. VERTIN 8mg half an hour before starting your travel.

Dr Nayak
#10 May 6th, 2009, 19:11
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  • luckvasu is offline
#10
Hi Rushi,
me n my wife r going to kulu manali trip next week as we are very new in tht places as we r from hyderabad here my trip is on may 13th morning in AP Express which is still waiting list in 2nd A/C the waiting list is 17 and 18 current status onces it is confromed we r landing down to agra on 14th morning from there we will see agra n then proceed to delhi on 15th morning so we dont know exactly where to stay much so my brother in law said tht there r numberous of travels in delhi so he said Rao travels as they said 7days 6 nights from delhi to simla to kulu to manali to chandaigarh to kurushetra 2 night stay simla,3 nights stay in manali n one night stay in chandairagh which is cost 8000 plus tax with Volv a/c bus with twin sharing accomdation excluding food so i want to know whether is it worthable or coz we are very new in north side 1st time we are coming to the north side so i reguest u to give good suggestion whether it is good package or not i will give u the url of the package http://www.raotravels.com/dream/shimla-kulu-manali.html the day of this package every friday morning 6am n depature on thursday night so next week comes may 15th n depature on 21st night so our return train journy is 22nd so one day left we want to see delhi site seeing as well shooping the train will leave 20.50 night train name Bangalore rajdhani from NZM to Secunderabad this is want we planned past one month my majour problem is the train ticket is not confromed on two ways still tension i hope it will confrom it (p.s if u r not satisifed this package i will change it coz i want expriences people as i had not paid the money to them it is just booked as is we want to see good places in himacha pradesh for one week trip i hope u will give us good suggestion)
#11 May 6th, 2009, 19:17
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  • luckvasu is offline
#11
i want others memebers about my tour for suggestion especailly who r good expreinces in Himachal pradesh
#12 May 7th, 2009, 08:57
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  • tacita is offline
#12
Thanks for the detailed write-up and pix, Sandoc76.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sandoc76 View Post 1. Please do not throw waste and plastic every where. We have already spoilt all the beautiful hill stations and our cities. They all look like dust bins now. Please leave behind the attitude that Ď whole world is my dust bin.í
2. please do not distry nature: do not pluck flowers and plants. There is very little of it left.
Those are great points. It was disappointing to see so much trash in some such breathtakingly beautiful places. We should always "take only pictures, leave only footprints." Geocachers also like to say "cache in, trash out", i.e., take a little extra trash out with you, even if it's not yours.

I'm envious--I wasn't able to take the helicopter from Bagdogra to Gangtok, despite having had a confirmed reservation. It apparently wasn't weather-related. Never got to the bottom of why. It must have been a great ride!

Quote:
RUMTEK MONASTERY- beautiful monastery. Needs some time. You will gunmen all around.
Gunman? Can you elaborate? I didn't see anything like that.

Again, thanks for the detailed write-up. Glad you had such a nice trip.
Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing. ~Helen Keller [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
#13 May 9th, 2009, 10:29
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  • sandoc76 is offline
#13
Rumtek Monastery has a lot of gards now. probably bcause of terorist threats. Full of military people with AK47 at all entrances. felt odd.

Dr Nayak

Quote:
Originally Posted by tacita View Post Thanks for the detailed write-up and pix, Sandoc76.



Those are great points. It was disappointing to see so much trash in some such breathtakingly beautiful places. We should always "take only pictures, leave only footprints." Geocachers also like to say "cache in, trash out", i.e., take a little extra trash out with you, even if it's not yours.

I'm envious--I wasn't able to take the helicopter from Bagdogra to Gangtok, despite having had a confirmed reservation. It apparently wasn't weather-related. Never got to the bottom of why. It must have been a great ride!



Gunman? Can you elaborate? I didn't see anything like that.

Again, thanks for the detailed write-up. Glad you had such a nice trip.
#14 May 9th, 2009, 10:50
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  • riddho is offline
#14
what is the best time to visit gurudongmar lake?

Is it OK in August? Plz comment.
#15 May 9th, 2009, 11:05
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  • sandoc76 is offline
#15
Gurudhongmar is accessible during all seasons except extreme winter. Weather is always clear here. August is fine.
Dr Nayak

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