North Sikkim memorable trip

#1 Jun 5th, 2009, 20:43
Join Date:
Mar 2009
  • jiten shah is offline
We are back from our Sikkim trip and happy to give the details of our experience.

Pelling: Distance from NJP to Pelling is 135 kms. The journey is really breathtaking. The road goes from one mountain to the other. We stayed at Hotel Tashigang resort. One of the best hotel in Pelling. It is located at Gayzling near Yangtey about 10 kms from pelling. We also saw Narbugang resort at Pelling, but as far as location is concerned tashigang has the best location. This hotel is on top having all the three sides open and you get an excellent view of the snow mountains. One of the best property but under rated, very open from all the sides. Nice rooms. All rooms have a great view. The situation of the hotel is so nice that you feel like staying there for the full one day.You have one day full of sight seeing in pelling visiting the Pemayagtse monastery, Khangchendzonga water falls, Khecheopalri lake Rabdentse ruins etc .

Gangtok: From pelling to gangtok is 130 kms. The journey is very nice. we stayed at The Royal Demezong resort. Very nice property about 6 kms away from Gangtok. Very good for nature & peace lover away from the hustles of the city. Also it is on the way to Tsomgo lake & Nathula border. They have a very big rooms with all the amenities including DVD players. All the rooms have an excellent view.

Nathula border: The journey is 50 kms from Gangtok. It takes about 3 hours to reach. From 6500 ft you go up to about 14500 ft. The roads are very bad. The landslide is a common and Border police keeps on cleaning the roads from land slides. If it rains you may have to cancel the journey. You need to get the permit in advance to visit this place which your travel agent takes care. You can visit only four days of the week. The Tsomgo lake has become very commercial, you find all dirt around. Your journey is not complete if you do not visit nathula & Baba Harbhajan memorial. At nathula there was some snow where children could play. You can see the Chinese soldiers and the road leading to china which they use for the trading activity. It is great feeling to be there. You really wonder how our soldiers do their duty at such height in such an extreme weather.

North Sikkim: Our main journey was North Sikkim. People say your journey is important not the destination, here the journey was also great and so was the destination. Our first stop was Lachen about 130 kms from Gangtok, but the whole road is up hill and it takes about 7 hours. The roads are very narrow, in a bad condition, there is lot of army movements and due to this traffic jam is regular, beside this regular blasting takes place to widen the road this makes the closure of the road for almost 3 to 4 hours. You need to start early from gangtok at about 9am. The journey along the teesta river is breathtaking.

Lachen: It is a very small village.It is at an altitude of 8800 ft. It has few hotels like guest house. You do not get better then this at this remote places. Our hotel was Fortuna, it has only eight rooms. The rooms are very big. You get nice & simple homely veg. food. The rooms had geyser in the bathroom for hot water. No TV.

Next morning at 6 am we started for Gurudongmer lake. Our first halt was thangu about 28 kms from Lachen. The journey from Lachen to Thangu is very nice. After about 15 kms you are away from the valley and plateau starts. You don't realise that you are at an altitude of 13500 ft. We reached there at 8.30am and had our breakfast. Everywhere they serve you maggi muddles and Momos. Momos is a very nice veg. food like boiled wantons. They also serve you tea with salt may be it is good to get acclimatize. Thangu is very beautiful place. One should make this as a base for going to Gurudongmer but may be they may not have good hotels. The river flows by you see greenery all around, the air is so clean.

Gurudongmer lake is further 33 kms from Thangu. Once we left Thanngu in about 10 kms we entered the army check post we have to show our permits. Here the terrain changes the greenery has gone and you see vegetation free area with snow mountains around. The army people were so nice and warm they gave us some dryfruits to eat. They also provide you the medicine in case you feel uncomfortable at this height. The road till Gurudongmer lake was so beautiful as if you are in a dessert. There was no cement road, you can drive where you want only you have to keep the direction in mind or else you never know you will land in to Tibet as it is only about 30 to 40 kms from here. Once you cross the mountain you see the white milky lake in front of you. behind and around you see snow mountain. It was a life time chance to see the scenic beauty like this. Non of us had any problem, we were at the height of 17100 ft. The air was nice and clean. Few of us went down to the lake to get some water. The air was freezing cold and wind was at high speed. Two army personnel deployed there said they start from their base camp at 7 in the morning and it takes 2 hours to reach there walking. They leave this place at 1 pm to go back to their base camp. It becomes very cold and windy after that. We also left from there at 12.30 pm.

I went through number of postings on this site and was really worried about the health of the people joining us as we were total 35 people from the age of 8 to 45. Luckily non of the member had any problem there at such a height. Only few of us had a headache once we came down to thangu. We had with us children, heart patient, and few people having asthma but everyone were alright.

After having lunch at lachen we left for lachung about 50 kms from Lachen via Chungthang. We stayed at Hotel Fortuna at lachung.Lachung is at an altitude of 8000ft The location of the hotel is very nice. They say it is one of the best hotel there. We can say It was one of the best guest house. You could get the nice view from the room. Room had TV and geyser in the bathroom for hot water. They serve nice food as per your requirement. Very clean and decent property. The Lachung village is so nice you feel you should stay here for couple of days. Such a nice and clean air and peaceful life.

Reaching Lachung we inquired if we can get to play in snow at katau, and accordingly we decided to go to Katau the next morning. It is about 32 kms from lachung. On the 24th May peak summer we could get to play in snow at katau. Children had lot of fun. We had hired gumboots before we reached there. In the afternoon after lunch at 1 pm we left for Yumthang about 24 kms from Lachung. The road here were much better since there is regular army movement and they maintain the road. We could see very few flowers. Driver said due to rains since one week the flowers are gone. just 10 days before there were lots of flower. The journey to the Yumthnag valley was very nice. There is a nice picnic spot there along the flowing river.Yumtang is situated at 11800 ft. From Yumthang valley further 30 kms is the Yume samdong or zero point. The road was very bad and narrow at certain places. It is much higher then Yumthang. From the height you can see the beautiful Yumthang valley. And you reach a road to an end. There is no road from this point, the bridge is broken. Driver said you can go further about 5 kms. The vibes you get at this point is unforgettable. It was about 14000 ft high. It was very cold and windy.It was one more memorable journey.

If you go to Sikkim you must go to North Sikkim and also you must go to Gurudongmer lake & Yumthang & zero point. Your trip is incomplete if you do not visit this places. You really wonder that Sikkim state is really under rated. They have such a beauty and people are not much aware of it. We always talk about Kashmir, Manali etc but this place is equally important.

From here we went back to gangtok and stayed at The Royal Plaza hotel. This is a 4 star hotel. It is about 2 kms away from MG road. The approach road is not good. It has a very nice view from the rooms. The new rooms are very nicely decorated. You have tea/coffee maker, Fridge in the room. The hotel has a very nice spread of Buffet breakfast & Dinner. It also has a casino on the first floor. It is India's first land based casino. It has few slot machines, 2 roulette table, one Black/jack table and one baccarat table. It is a very small casino in the size of one suit room.

Overall it was a very great experience in Sikkim. One should keep few points in mind.
1. Your destination is not important, it is your journey that you should enjoy.
2. In Sikkim you are traveling from one mountain to the other so your average speed is about 20 to 25 kms per hour. Also due to the army vehicle movement there can be traffic jams as the roads are very narrow.
3. Land slide is very common so prepare your self for the further delays.
4. Avoid going during rains as the land slides takes place during rains and chances of most roads closed are very high.
5. Do not get scared of high altitude sickness, keep in mind that you can do it and go ahead and I am sure you can do it without any problems.

We are thankful to Mr.Prabir Sen of tibet Tours & travels 09434024070 for making all the arrangements for us. Everything was well organised and well planeed by them.
#2 Jun 5th, 2009, 20:50
Join Date:
May 2009
  • abhijitbanerjee is offline
Thanks Jiten for sharing your experience with Sikkim, I'm sure to benefit a lot of tourists planning their visits therein. Nice to note that you've managed to visit Yumthang as many people miss that part out.

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