Things you wanted to know before travelling to Sikkim
Sikkim is one of the tiniest states of India with an area of about 7096 sq kms. This small state is full of wonder and beauty. You can see the snow capped peaks, green valleys, colourful rhododendrons, luscious waterfalls and sprawling tea garden all here. And you can also find your peace among the monasteries. The state is a wonderful place to travel. So based on our experience, we tell you here all that you need to know to visit and travel this state.
Sikkim can be broadly divided into four zones- east, west, north and south. The tourism here is also divided likewise. Gangtok is the main town and wherever you go, you can always start from Gangtok.
Gangtok, the capital is situated on East Sikkim. For places of interest in Gangtok, visit our previous blog post on Gangtok.
The Silk route tour is also an option if you want to visit East Sikkim. Visit Aritar and Zuluk and get to know the ancient trade route between India and Tibet.
This part has one of the best views of the mountain ranges. Pelling is a picturesque hill station with grand views of Mt. Kanchenjungha ranges. From Pelling, you can take trip to Pemayangtse, Kechepari Lake, Legship and Yuksom.
The ruins of Rabdentse, the ancient capital of Sikkim is near Pelling. The all-encompassing view from Rabdentse is simply breath taking.
Travel a little more to visit the somber towns of Ohkrey, Rinchenpong and Kaluk having magnificent views of the mountain ranges. And if you want to see the rhododendrons in bloom, visit the Barsey Rhododendron Sanctuary. But to see the colorful blooming rhododendrons, you must visit Barsey in April.
The northern part of Sikkim is the largest area wise and is more remote. To visit Northern Sikkim, you need to get a permit. Visit the holy Gurudongmar Lake via Lachen, a small village. It is said the on visiting Gurudongmar, all your wishes will come true. This place is indeed like a picture postcard.
Next you can visit the Yumthang Valley. The valley is also called the Valley of flowers for the variety of rhododendrons and seasonal flowers that bloom here. During May-June, the whole place becomes a riot of colours.
These two places are not the only wonders of North Sikkim. The hidden gem is undoubtedly Dzongu. Dzongu is a Lepcha reserve and a picture perfect village. Just imagine a few small huts and fluttering white prayer flags in front of them! Dzongu is such a place with warm people and lovely views. To visit Dzongu, you need to get a permit from Mangan.
Visit Namchi, Chardham and the mighty Samdruptse in South district. Get enchanted by the lovely Temi Tea gardens. Visit Ravangla, Ralong and Borong for a wonderful stay and watching rare Himalayan birds.
Apart from these well known places, there are a few small villages that are being helmed as eco-tourism spots. These small villages have homestays that welcome travellers throughout the year.
A few facts about Sikkim:
Best time to Visit:
Monsoons should be preferably avoided. During monsoons, apart from bad weather, there are chances of landslides.
Mode of transport:
By public or private vehicles. For North Sikkim tour, you have to take the help of travel agent to get the required permits. Also to visit Nathula Pass, permit is required.
To know more about transport rates in Sikkim, click here.
How to reach:
Bagdogra is the nearest airport and NJP is the nearest railhead. You can get shared jeep from NJP or Siliguri to Gangtok. The major towns and villages are connected by shared vehicles, but the vehicles are fewer in number and you have to check the timings of the shared jeeps.
Smoking in public is banned in Sikkim. And so is plastic. They take cleanliness quite seriously. So while in Sikkim, do not throw the wrappers anywhere on road, you might just get penalized for it.