North Sikkim Trip Report May - 2018

#1 Jun 2nd, 2018, 21:08
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#1
Gurudongmar...!!! A long waited destination in my wish list. Not only me all my of family members also wanted to see Gurudongmar Lake by their own eyes. So I had to plan in such a way which suits for aged persons. Many thanks to Indiamikers for sharing experience and information which helped me a lot. However I think I made some mistakes. The plan was like this -

Day 1: Start from Sealdah
Day 2: Reach New Jalpaiguri and go to Gangtok
Day 3: Gangtok to Lachen
Day 4: Lachen to Gurudongmar and back to Lachen
Day 5: Lachen to Lachung
Day 6: Lachung to Yumthang vally, zero point(if possible) and back to Lachung
Day 7: Lachung to Gangtok
Day 8: Gangtok to New Jalpaiguri and start for Sealdah

Time of journey: 19-May-2018 to 27-May-2018

Our team: Wife, Son (8 years), Dad (66 years), Mom, Mother-in-law (64 years) and I.








#2 Jun 2nd, 2018, 23:25
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  • aneek is offline
#2
Nice teaser. Waiting for more.. Cheers!!
Darjeeling, Kuari Pass Winter trek, Tawang-Dirang-Bomdila


Two roads diverged in a wood, and I I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.
#3 Jun 2nd, 2018, 23:36
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#3
Wonderful ..

Following
#4 Jun 6th, 2018, 21:13
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#4

Day 1

19-May: 12377 Padatik Express entered platform no. 9B at 23:00. So everyone was in hurry to be on-board with luggage. Only Indian Rail can answer the question that where is the problem to make it 15 minutes earlier? Train started at right time 23:15. Then we had our dinner with home made luchi, alur-dam and sweets. Our driver for NJP to Gangtok Mr. Tarakishore called me at afternoon to provide his cell and vehicle no. It was an Innova.
#5 Jun 6th, 2018, 23:54
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#5

Day 2

20-May: All of us had to woke up at around 5:00 o'clock a person started watching a video in his smartphone without ear plug! One person made him stop but that was too late. Upon reaching Kishanganj I called Tarakishore to inform our progress. The train reached NJP at right time 9:15. We came outside and boarded the car. For breakfast we halted at Laddugopal. Finally we started for Gangtok at 11:00. The journey was smooth and uneventful except it started raining just before we reach. We reached Gangtok taxi stand at 14.30. There we meet with our agent Mr. Rajesh who booked two small taxis to take us to the Hotel Hidden Flower.

The hotel It is at Arithang was in a bad shape. Bad smell at reception and dining space. We had been taken to first floor room which gave us a government hospital like feeling with very tiny space, torn carpet, bent curtain rod and dirty green curtains. I asked the manager if any other rooms are available. He show me same positioned second floor rooms which are little better. But I did not move there at the cost of one more staircase journey of elderly persons.

We had our lunch there which was in our package. The package was booked from Kolkata. I will go into that detail later. The food was ok type with a daal, veg curry and fish. After lunch we took rest for some time. In the evening Rajesh came to the hotel to collect documents for our North Sikkim permit - 2 passport size photo and photocopy of voter ID. Rajesh asked us to become ready by 9:30 next morning.

I wanted to have some momo from Test Of Tibet in the Mall. So my wife, son, mother and mother-in-law went out. But unfortunately they got stuck at Lal Bazar for shopping and then mother and mother-in-law was not feeling well due to knee pain. So we came back to hotel. We had our dinner at around hotel with roti and chicken curry and thus call it a day.
#6 Jun 7th, 2018, 01:25
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#6
Waiting!!!! What happened the next day??????
#7 Jun 8th, 2018, 13:29
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#7

Day 2 Photos

On the way to Gangtok







#8 Jun 8th, 2018, 13:38
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#8

Day 3

21-May: Morning was fresh and sunny. We had our breakfast with puri, sabji and become ready by 9:30. But Rajesh did not appear. I called him. He said there is long queue for permit and that is taking time. So me and my wife went outside to have a walk and take some photos. After around half an hour we could see Rajesh in the road talking to someone in phone. He said it will take half around an hour more. So we continued walking. After sometime my mother called me on cell phone and said the hotel boys are saying we can not take all luggage to North Sikkim. We have too much luggage which would not be allowed there. In actual we had four mid-sized and one small soft luggage, one rook sack. That was for our six people. Beside that we had three hand bags for fry foods. I really do not consider that "too much". I never heard about any luggage limitation in the North Sikkim. Also my actual travel agent Mr. Amit Kumar Ray never informed me such things. So I asked my mother not to worry and ignore them.

After some time we came back to the hotel. We heard from my mother that she told the hotel boys that we have all necessary thing for cold weather and we have to take everything with us. Then they said in that case you may not get same rooms at the time of return journey and you will have to go to the upper floor. She replied if it it is so then we will accept that. Because none of our luggage is unnecessary - no ways. It was already 11:30 I called Rajesh again. His phone is always busy and I had to call 3-4 times to reach him. I asked him what is going on? We are so late. He said that he is at taxi stand. Permit has been done. From hotel we will be arranged small taxis to go to taxi stand. Then he asked me that are you taking all of your luggage with you? I said yes. He said the car may be returned from the check-post. It is actually for our security. I said I never heard this kind thing. Be fast and do your actual job. He said ok.

Then when I asked hotel boys to arrange taxis, one of them refused to take our luggage outside and with his tremendous audacity he said my mother-in-law as she want to take all luggage she had to do it at her own. This could not kept me more patient and I called Mr. Amit. I inform him everything. I mentioned that I did not called him last day to complain about a nasty hotel. But what is this? He said he is taking care of that and then he asked me to please become calm with the driver as he will be our only support in North Sikkim. I made him understood that I am not a first time traveler and I matured enough to understand how to behave with whom. I was already wondered by surprises. After sometime hotel boys came to take our luggage. Then one of them caught taxi for us. I heard him scolding the rude guy and saying - you do not know how to behave with customer and even elder persons? I believe some message from Amit was reached there by that time.

Finally we reached the taxi stand at around 12. Rajesh was there and he said now he is not finding the driver. After sometime the driver arrived with a Xylo E8. I was very happy to get a 4X4 for the terrain. But after seeing our luggage driver started talking with Rajesh excitedly in local language. Then he asked me whether Rajesh asked us to keep less luggage before we start our trip? I clearly said no. Then after long conversation with Rajesh he went to top of the car and loaded 4 soft luggage and the rook-sack. He then put the small soft luggage inside of the car such a way that we don not have problem to sit in the rear sit. The rear sit was front facing.

Finally we were able to start at 12:45. Very soon I have started conversation with the driver and understand that he was the person who made permit for us. All formalities were done by 9:00. Then he waited in the stand up to 11:00. Rajesh continuously told him that passengers are not ready! Also we understand luckily we got a nice driver. His name is Avon - very energetic young guy. Soon we were mesmerized by the nature and forgot the bad things faced from the morning.

Cont...
#9 Jun 10th, 2018, 21:00
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#9
Day 3 continuation

We stopped at Chirag Da Dhaba for lunch. It is near Gangtok-Chungthan road and Singtam-Chungthan road junction. After lunch when we came outside there was a queue formed for lunch. I found one of my school friends there. From him I came to know their car started at 1:30 pm from Gangtok and there were massive chaos with cars at Gangtok.
There our driver filled up fuel and took additional fuel in a metal tank. He said this is the last gas station with Diesel. He also kept two spare wheels in the car. Then we started again. There were beautiful waterfalls here and there on the way. But we did not stop as we were already running late. After sometime we reached the check post. There was long queue. But Avon said he will be back soon. And we saw he managed to do so within just 2-3 minutes. He said he have good relation with police and check post guys. He found him managing this way throughout the trip. We were lucky from this aspect. At this point we disposed all plastic water/cold-drinks bottle as we know Lachen is plastic free zone.
We kept moving on and crossed Chungthang. In the dusk we stopped at a tea shop. I took some snaps there. Then started again. After sometime there was a checking for plastic bottles with torch. They open all doors including the rear one and search everywhere. We saw they caught one car and for a plastic bottle they fined Rs 5000/-
We reached Lachen at 7:30 pm and another drama started. We were booked in Hotel Econest. Avon asked us to stay in the car as there was cold outside. We saw that he is talking with hotel guys excitedly, making phone calls. It kept going on. Then I get down from the car to understand what actually happened. I understand that Mr. Rajesh booked only two rooms for us instead of three rooms I called Mr. Amit and asked informed him the situation. Finally he managed another Hotel called Hotel Lachen View Point with three rooms. Rooms were very good considering the remote location. Stuffs were Sikkimese and very polite.
We had dinner at 8:45 pm. Food was good. We started taking Coca 30 twice in a day from NJP as preventive measure. We took out all winter garments out of the bag for next morning. Avon said we will start at 5:30 in the morning. But I heard other drivers will start at 5:00 am. On asking he said there is a check post which takes entry from 7:30 am. So no point of starting early. And it is his responsibility to show us Gurudongmar. So do not worry. After hearing this I went to sleep without tension as I already understand that Avon is a very good guy
#10 Jun 10th, 2018, 21:13
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#10

Day 3 Photos

From Gangtok




Our Car




Lunch Break




Evening Tea Break



#11 Jun 12th, 2018, 13:05
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#11
Waiting for the next part
#12 Jun 12th, 2018, 18:31
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#12
Chirag Da Dhaba - Indian/Bengali/Gujarati/Punjabi/Chinese!!!!!! Everything except Sikkimese cuisine!!!!!
#13 Jun 12th, 2018, 19:49
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#13

Day 4

22-May: We woke up at 4:30 in the morning. Golden capped mountain greeted us. I started hurry to the kitchen as everyone get hot water and tea as soon as possible. Finally we were able to start at 5:40 am. The road was bad but not the worst. I can compare it with bad roads of Kinnaur.

We stopped at a point for using urinal. There was a tea, coffee, Maggie etc. shop. I entered there and bounced back momentarily due to intense smell of kerosene stove. I took some pictures there and again stared. Soon we reached the check post. It was around 7:50 am and we could see long queue. Again Avon showed his managing skill and surprisingly we started again at 7:55!

Long road continued. Army camp, tanks, cannons were almost here and there. We did our breakfast in car with dark-chocolate, popcorn etc. In regular interval I was pushing everyone to drink water. Finally we reached at the last army camp before Gurudongmar. It is At 15,000 ft. We took hot black coffee and water there. Then started towards Gurudongmar. The road here was just awesome. We have seen many bunkers. After some time we saw the direction for Gurudongmar Lake and our car took that road. Again, it was in bad shape. After a few while we have reached.

What a beauty. It was 10:15 am and wind speed was high. So we could not see the reflection in the water very well. All started taking pictures in their mobile phone. I have set up my tripod to take a group photo there using timer. We have seen one 4-5 years old child was feeling very uneasy. I gave him Coca 6 liquid. By that time my son started feeling uneasy and sat on a rock. We then just took pictures quickly. When I was wrapping up with the tripod and almost all set to start for return, my son started feeling very bad. One driver pick him up in his lap and took him to his car and laid him down on the seat. I gave him Coca 6, picked up him in lap and took back to our car. Soon we started for return journey.

Very soon we reached back to the army camp at 15,000 ft. There we again took coffee and water. My son was okay by that time. We have seen one lady got fainted while she was standing in the queue for toilet. Another lady was holding tissue after tissue on her nose and those were becoming red. We still did not know what was waiting for us.

We started from there. After some time we could see my wife is not fully conscious. She was sitting at window side and her head was almost hammering the closed glass. I asked the driver to stop. I get down and carefully opened the door. She was become senseless. I put water on her face and shoulder. Then she became slightly conscious and told me that she will go to home. I said yes, we will soon be there.

We started again. My mother and mother in-law was also not in very good condition. They were having head ace. When I was asking them to drink more water they said they will vomit if they consume more water. I knew that the best medicine is get down to lower altitude. In the meantime my wife started vomiting. I was thinking that after reaching Lachen we have to shift hotel and how can we do this having people in such condition!

On reaching Lachen the driver took us directly to Econest where we were supposed to move. The manager said that rooms will be clear within two hours. He show us that he have some foreign guests and they are having their lunch. After lunch they will check-out. I explained the condition of my wife and requested him that it would be very good if we do not have to shift. He asked go back to the hotel and take rest. He is looking into whether it can be managed. So we came back to the hotel Lachen View Point. The lunch was ready. Everybody took shower and become fresh. My wife took very little amount rice and dal. She treated herself with some medicines and went to sleep. She is doctor by profession. Others were perfectly okay by that time.

The manager of Econest came to meet me after an hour and said that the Lachen View Point room tariff is actually higher. That is the only problem. I asked him how much he required to absorb the extra cost. He said Rs 1000/- I said I can give you 500/- He agreed to that and said he it take that at the time of our check-out next day.

Rest of the day we spent leisure time. The driver informed me that next day we will start at 9:30. There was power cut-off many times but it was back within 5-10 minutes. In the evening it started raining. We took our dinner at 8:30 pm. At that time I said to the cook that unlike today we will take breakfast tomorrow. He said he will make allo-paratha for us.
#14 Jun 12th, 2018, 20:40
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#14

Day 4 Photos

At Morning From Lachen




Way To Gurudongmar































Gurudongmar Lake
















#15 Jun 13th, 2018, 16:38
Sukumar Manna (Chala jata hun kisi ki dhun mein)
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  • travelmanna is offline
#15
Nice photographs!!! Waiting for more...
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