Help sought for Sikkim Trip

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gautambhandari's picture
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Hello!

 
My name is Gautam. I read your blog/article on the net on Sikkim, hence, I am approaching you with regards to travel help for Sikkim. I am about to travel to Sikkim from 25 June, 2011 to 3rd July, 2011 along with my wife.
 
I needed your help with regards to the said trip with respect to the following:
 
- Places of interest to visit
 
- Preparations required to be done for travel at this time of the year and otherwise.
 
- Any specific precautions required to be taken.
 
- Suggestive Hotels / Places to stay where all we would be visiting.
 
- Mode of transportation to be used to travel to places of interest.
 
We have short listed the following places to visit, as of now:
 
Gangtok, Nathulla Pass, Changu Lake, Yumthang Valley, Lachung, Lachun, Guru Dongmar Lake, Cholamu Lake, Pelling, Darjeeling, Siliguri.
 
In the event, travel to North Sikkim is restricted due to rains for some reason, then could the option of travelling to Bhutan be explored from Gangtok or Bagdogra. If yes, then could you please help me with the same as well.
 
Thanking you in anticipation of your kind help.
 
Looking forward to hearing from you soon.
 
Many Thanks,
 
Best Regards,
 
Gautam
vishnu.kumar7's picture
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Hi Gautam,

                     Please find my comments inline in GREEN
 

My name is Gautam. I read your blog/article on the net on Sikkim, hence, I am approaching you with regards to travel help for Sikkim. I am about to travel to Sikkim from 25 June, 2011 to 3rd July, 2011 along with my wife.
I needed your help with regards to the said trip with respect to the following:

- Places of interest to visit
   In one week time, starting from Gangtok, you visit East Sikkim ( Changu lake, Nathula pass)
   North Sikkim : Lachung, Lachen, Thangu, Guru Dongmar Lake, Cholamu lake ( It's a bit longer trek), Yumthang, Zero Point
   South Sikkim & West Bengal: Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Lava-lalegaon
   West Sikkim : You can not travel in one week time. there are some popular treks like Goech la etc.
 
- Preparations required to be done for travel at this time of the year and otherwise.
 -   Other than Yumthang, Cholamu, Guru Dongmar lake, there is no remote place you will be approaching so there is no need to carry camping stuff, you will easily find an accommodation everywhere. Camping is anyway restricted in north sikkim. It would not chilly in day time but nights may be cooler so carry woolen clothes ,
- Carry food, chocolate when traveling to high altitude places like Thangu, Cholamu, Guru Dongmar lake
- For high altitude places, please carry some medicines to deal with Acute mountain sickness.

- Spend a night or a day at thangu to get acclimatize with high altitude before heading towards Guru dongmar lake or Cholamu lake. Cholamu is absouletly remote and tourists are not allowed through-out the year. please get a good guide if planning to visit cholamu else its easy to get lost. and you have to come back on the same day. can not stay at Cholamu.
- There are 2 routes to Cholamu lake, one goes via zero point ( Yumthang Valley) and another starts from Guru Dongmar lake. Its up to you which one you prefer. I would recommend the later one.

http://thinkingparticle.com/articles/cholamu-lake-indias-highest-lake
 
- Any specific precautions required to be taken.

- No precautions needed. Sikkim is calm state with least annoyance. Just eat healthy

- For traveling to East sikkim ( Changu, Nathula), Permits will be required which can be generated at Gangtok. Permit is also required for traveling all the places in north sikkim as well. Please get these permits from Gangtok itself. You will find many tour organizers on the mall street those will help you getting the permit. It will not cost more. else you can directly go to the tourists information center and get it.
 
- Suggestive Hotels / Places to stay where all we would be visiting.

Gangtok : A wide range of hotels are available. Even priror booking is not needed.
Lachen : there are some but i would recommend you to stay in Thangu ( Only homestay available).
Guru Dongmar / Cholamu / Nathula / Thangu / Yumthang / Zero point : No accommodation available except hunting small villages.
Lachen : You can get an accommodation on river side.

Room rent : 300-600 per night
 
- Mode of transportation to be used to travel to places of interest.

Public transport is not frequent so you need to hire a taxi for all of these places. you can get a private one or shared one depending on your convenience. the taxi guy will also arrange the permit for these places.
 
We have short listed the following places to visit, as of now:
 
Gangtok, Nathulla Pass, Changu Lake, Yumthang Valley, Lachung, Lachun, Guru Dongmar Lake, Cholamu Lake, Pelling, Darjeeling, Siliguri.

Nice Short listing smiley
 
In the event, travel to North Sikkim is restricted due to rains for some reason, then could the option of travelling to Bhutan be explored from Gangtok or Bagdogra. If yes, then could you please help me with the same as well.

There is connecitivity to bhutan from Gangtok, Darjeeling. There are direct busses to Thimpu but I would suggest to visit Jaldapara wild life sanctuary. It an amazing wilderness. One Horn Rhinos are in population. Then you can head to Jalgaon from where you will need to get a permit for Bhutan. The immigration office at border will ask you to mention the name of the districts you want to travel. your permit will only be applicable for those districts. You can cross the district border. So you need to plan your itinerary in advance. Bhutan is a big country and it can easily consume a week time if you plan to travel to Bhumthang valley in east bhutan. A section of Manas tiger reserve also falls in Bhutan and is worth visiting.
 
Thanking you in anticipation of your kind help.
 
Looking forward to hearing from you soon.
 
Many Thanks,
 
Hoping this information is helpful
 
Best Regards,
 
Vishnu
sayan mazumder (not verified)
sayan mazumder's picture

Hi, i hv plan to go to gangtok on 27/11/12. My tickets hv been booked.
Plz suggest me a plan, as we hv return ticket on 2nd dec 12.
Can we see snow in changu lake?

vishnu.kumar7's picture
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There are bright chances to see snow at Changu Lake...

Mrs.Nair (not verified)
sayan mazumder's picture

hi Vishnu

I wish to travel from India to China overland.would you please let me know if that possible..I have a few specific questions regarding this trip---the options I thought of are as follows--

Option 1

Mumbai- patna-raxaul-birgunj(indo nepal border)- Kathmandu --drive to Kodari (Nepal-Tibet Boarder) – entry into tibet follow into china and onwards journey by train/road

Option 2

Mumbai- patna-raxaul-birgunj (indo nepal border)--drive to Kodari directly (LHASA (Nepal-Tibet Boarder) – entry into tibet follow into china and onwards journey by train/road

Option 3

Mumbai- darjeeling- pashupati (indo nepal border)- -drive to Kodari (LHASA (Nepal-Tibet Boarder) – entry into tibet follow into china and onwards journey by train/road

The primary questions to check if any of the above are possible or no are as follows:-

1- how and where to take permit for Tibet
2- how and where to take visa for china
3- are Indian nationals allowed to cross Nepal china border via Tibet and travel ahead into china
4- how many people are required for group visa
5- what is the difference between group visa cost & tourist visa cost
6- how many days to we get visa for and what are other implications and conditions
7- if all of the above works out fine,can we hire or drive our own vehicle?

It"l be extremely kind of you to share your office numbers so that i can solve my queries at ease.Also, I have sent you a contact request on yahoo mesngr...Hope to hear from you soon.

Best regards
Ulka Nair
spunk.au@gmail.com

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Hello Mrs Nair,
                           Some of your questions can find answers from the thread below.

http://thinkingparticle.com/forum/china-bangladesh-road

Please post the follow up questions there only. I will try my level best to answer those.

--- Vishnu

Guest (not verified)
sayan mazumder's picture

I am planning to travel to sikkim with my mom, my mom cannot walk long distances so i will e carrying a wheel chair with me ... will it Be possile to cover all the places with the wheelchair??

vishnu.kumar7's picture
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Hello Guest... I am really sorry but i don't think that you can travel many places in Sikkim with your mother... I will only recommend you to travel Gangtok and Darjeeling... places like Nathula and north sikkim would not be recommended on wheel chair... You can do most of the sightseeing in and around Darjeeling and Gangtok comfortably and in-fact go till Lachung but Nathula, Tiger hills and other treks won't be possible....

let me know if you need more information.. will be glad to help you...

Regards
Vishnu Kumar

Pradeep (not verified)
sayan mazumder's picture

Hi,

We(Me and my wife)are planning to go for a 4 day trip from Bangalore to Gangtok in the first week of May. Can you please help with the plan to visit important places.

Thanks in advance!!!
Pradeep

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Hi Pradeep,
                      4 days are really a very short trip for Gangtok and Sikkim so I will be providing you a feasible itinerary...

- After Reaching Gangtok, You can spend one day in city sightseeing.
- Plan a trip to Nathula pass, Changu lake, Baba Mandir. It's a whole day trip and you would definitely enjoy it.
- While heading towards Gangtok, you can stop in between and take try white water rafting in river Teesta.

Intentionally, I have not included North Sikkim and Darjeeling in your tour because it will make it unnecessarily hectic... I think this would be the perfect 4 day itinerary...

let us know your take, we will be happy to help you further...

Regards
Vishnu Kumar

 

Pradeep (not verified)
sayan mazumder's picture

Vishnu,

Thanks a lot for your immediate response Smile Really appreciate it! I would also like to know which other places would you suggest for a 4 day trip during May.... It would be of great help if you could provide us with options and itinerary for different places.

Thanks in advance!!!
Pradeep

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Hi Pradeep... If you want you can stay at Kalimpong or include Darjeeling in your trip... Darjeeling would be hectic so I would not recommend that for 4 day trip... Other places in North Sikkim generally consume 2 days of traveling so you can not include those as well... the only options left here are East Sikkim (Nathula, Changu lake and Baba Mandir)... Infact, East Sikkim tour will provide you a quite evident picture of Sikkim..its landscape etc.. other adventure I suggested you was River Rafting... Peeling is another destination which people like to include but again it wont be much different from Gangtok... On the planes, there are couple of wild life sanctuaries but not rich with its flora and fauna.... so your itinerary would be like

Day 1: After reaching Gangtok, Spend time roaming around Mall road and get your permits for Nathula and East Sikkim tour.
Day 2: Nathula, Changu lake, Baba Mandir
Day 3: Gangtok Sightseeing tour: do-drul chorten, nam nang view point, flower show, Rope Way, Hanuman tok, ganesh tok – the flower show and ropeway
Day 4: Head back to Siliguri and try river rafting... you can stay at Kalimpong last evening...

Alternative tour:

Day 1: Reach Kalimpong directly from Gangtok and Half Day Kalimpong City Tour.
Local tour in Kalimpong with visits to Graham’s Home, Deolo View Point, Durpin Dara View Point, Zang Dhok Palria Phodang Monastery, Army Golf Course and Pine View Nursery. Stay over night at Kalimpong

Day 2: Kalimpong to Gangtok, 80kms in 2.5hrs – Check out from Kalimpong and drive to Gangtok (on the way you can try white water rafting)

Day 3: East Sikkim

Day 4: Gangtok Sightseeing....

I think you can include Kalimpong as an additional city in your itinerary... let us know what you think abou it...

Regards
Vishnu Kumar
 

Pradeep (not verified)
sayan mazumder's picture

Hi Vishnu,

We are planning to extend this trip to one more day. So it will be a 5 day trip from 1st May to 5th May (will be there in Sikkim even 5th night.We leave back to bangalore 6th morning). Is it possible to include north sikkim (Lachen, Gurudongmor lake, Lachung etc)along with the above itenerary which you have provided. Wanting to visit east as well as north sikkim since both have beautiful places. Also do you have any suggestions for reasonable but well maintained hotels. Eagerly awaiting your response!!

Thanks & Regards!!!
Pradeep

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Hi Pradeep,
                     One extra day would certainly be a great help outlining a better itinerary.. in that case... you can visit East sikkim first and then try to visit North Sikkim... Getting an accommodation at Gangtok won't be a problem... there are plenty of hotels on MG road... For north sikkim trip, your accommodation and food will be included by the tour agent who is arranging your tour from Gangtok.... If its a 5 day tour then

Day 1: After reaching Gangtok, Connect with a tour agent who will arrange permits and trips to East sikkim (Nathula, Changu lake) and North sikkim (Lachung, Yumthang)...Get quotation from at least 4-5 tour agents before confirming the deal. I heard that Gurudongmar lake is not open for tourists so you can exclude that...

Day 2: East Sikkim tour (Nathula Pass, Changu lake, Baba mandir)

Day 3: Start for North Sikkim ( Stay overnight at Lachung)

Day 4: Visit Yumthang Valley and Zero point early in the morning and head back to Gangtok (Over night Gangtok)

Day 5: Gangtok sightseeing tour and if you want, you can try white water rafting..

I think it would be a feasible itinerary for you.

Regards
Vishnu Kumar

Pradeep (not verified)
sayan mazumder's picture

Vishnu,

This itinerary really looks good Smile Will discuss about this with my wife and come to a final conclusion.. Also if we require any further assistance will post again. Thanks a lot once again.

Pradeep

Pradeep (not verified)
sayan mazumder's picture

Hi Vishnu,

Finally booked flight tickets from Bangalore to Bagdogra and back. Leaving Bangalore on 1st May....might reach Bagdogra by 2 pm on 1st....From Bagdogra booked returning flight on 7th May Monday. Hence extending trip to one more day Smile. Wanted to check with you if we can just visit Darjeeling,take toy train ride on 6th May which will be the last day of our trip. Could you please provide info regarding Darjeeling and toy train timings,also where toy train tickets will be available etc...

Thanks in advance!!!
Pradeep

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Hi Pradeep,
                      I am assuming that on 6th night you want to stay in Darjeeling and get the early morning taxi from Darjeeling to Bagdogara on 7th... If you can make Darjeeling in the afternoon on 6th then you can visit Toy train... Tickets are not the problem...but timings you need check once you reach Gangtok... you can take a very short trip between stations rather than taking a longer trip...

Regards
Vishnu Kumar

Pradeep (not verified)
sayan mazumder's picture

Hi Vishnu,

We will stick on to the previous itinerary. Not adding Darjeeling. Thought of making it little relaxed. Just wanted to know what might be the weather condition during May first week. Maybe in general if we could know it might help. Also what kind of clothing should we carry along with us? Kindly assist. Looking forward to visit Sikkim Smile

Thanks!
Pradeep

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Hi Pradeep,
                      In the month of May, it would be hot during day time in Gangtok and other foothills of Himalays. During night, temperature will go down but will be pleasant only. If you are planning to visit north sikkim, nathula then i will recommend you to carry woolen clothing, warmers. There may be slight chances of rain during may but those are bleak... Have an awesome trip..

--- Vishnu Kumar

Guest (not verified)
sayan mazumder's picture

Hi Vishnu, I am really glad to see a portal where lots of info is given for travelers. I really appreciate your effort, great job.
Our gang(6members) are planning to visit Sikkim, 27-04-12,night:starting from Kolkata and 02-05-12,morning: back in kolkata, which gives us 4days in hand.
We haven't been to Sikkim before so have done research on site seeing places in Sikkim through online.The places which we have chosen are: Gurudongmar lake,Yumthung,Zeropoint,Tsongmo lake,Nathula.
I have chalked out a rough plan, can you please tell me will it work.
27th night:start from kolkata
28th morning : reach NJP and directly start to Gangtok
afternoon : reach Gangtok and start to lachen/lachung/thangu
night: reach lachen/lachung/thangu (Can you please suggest which place would be
better to stay, out of three) and stay in a hotel
29th morning: start to Gurudongmar and comeback to hotel by evening/night and visit
local places at hotel.
30th morning : start to yumthung and zero point.
evening/night: back to hotel and start to gangtok.
1st morning : in Gangtok and I came to know from your website that Nathula will
be closed on Tue, so if not Nathula can we visit Tsongmo and baba
mandir or else we will plan to just visit Gangtok city.
afternoon: start to NJP
night: reach NJP to catch train.
This is completely a rough draft which I have prepared, I know it may sound hectic,but want to visit north sikkim and we have very less no.of days in hand, couldn't help it.
Can you please suggest us on this.

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Hi Venkat.... There are many assumption you have made before drafting your itinerary... let me point those out...

28th Morning: you assumed that you guys can make all the way till North Sikkim from NJP on the same day which is not possible.. First thing is that you guys will need permits for traveling to North Sikkim (Lachen, Lachung, Yumthang) so you will have to contact a tour agent in Gangtok to arrange permits for you guys and the same guy will also arrange a vehicle and driver.... so i think you can only start on 29th Morning for North Sikkim... After Reaching Gangtok on 28th, you guys should try to procure permits and finalize your tour agent for north Sikkim tour...

One of the traveler who recently returned from Sikkim mentioned that Gurudongmar lake is not open for tourists as of now so you need to revisit your itinerary once again... You can check it once again when you reach Gangtok... If Gurudongmar lake is open then i think on 29th you guys should head to Thangu and stay over night there and on 30th you should visit Gurudongmar early morning and return back to Lachung (Via Thangu>Lachen>Chungthang) and stay over night.. on 1st morning, you can visit Yumthang and Zero point early in the morning and then head back to Gangtok... stay overnight at Gangtok....

In case Gurudongmar is closed then... you should reach Lachung on 29th and then visit Yumthang and Zero point on 30th and return back to Gangtok on 30th itself and confirm the booking for your trip to East Sikkim (Changu lake and Baba mandir) for 1st... this way you would be able to make it to most of the destinations...

FYI, you also need permits for visiting these sites of East Sikkim.... let me know your inputs on the same....

Regards
Vishnu Kumar

Sandy (not verified)
sayan mazumder's picture

Hi Vishu,

I am Sandy.. I am planning my honeymoon trip to NorthEast India in month of June. Exact date is 4th of June to 9th June.
I am planning my trip from Bangalore.
I know some place in Northeast india by googling such as Gangtok,Darjeeling, Yumthang Valley, Pelling, and Siliguri.
Please can you help me to plan my itineary and suggest the place that i can visit during my trip.
thanks for your time.

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Hi Sandy,
                  5 days are too less to cover all of these places you listed so i would recommend you to exclude peeling from your trip... Siliguri is the place where you going to arrive but there is nothing so special to visit there.. If you want to visit Yumthang (which i think is still closed for tourists) then you should exclude Darjeeling as well... After reaching Siliguri, you can directly head to Darjeeling and stay there for 2 nights and then head to Gangtok. From Gangtok, you can visit Nathula pass, Changu lake, Baba Mandir as a one day trip and do some sightseeing next day.... you can try white water rafting in river Teesta while receding back from Gangtok.... This is pretty much what you can cover during the time frame you decided...let me know your take on the same...

Regards
Vishnu Kumar

Sandy (not verified)
sayan mazumder's picture

Hi Vishnu,

Thanks for your suggestion.
Please have a look at the below itinary which i found my internet.
Day 1: Sightseeing in Gangtok, there are many sites around the city
Day 2: East Sikkim tour ( Changu lake, Nathula pass, Baba mandir)
Day 3: Start for North Sikkim (Stay over night in Lachung)
Day 4: Visit Yumthang and Zero Point and you can return back to Chungthang...infact i would recommend you to stay in Lachung or return back to Gangtok..
Day 5: you can try river rafting in river teesta

what do you think about this? can i cover all this with leisure or will it be rush rush.

Regards,

Sandy

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Hi Sandy,
                  It would be quite relaxing itinerary... On Day4, you can return back to Gangtok do keep Day 5 little relaxing..

                   Have a safe journey.

Regards
Vishnu Kumar

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Hi Vishnu,

thanks for your suggestion.

Now that you have suggested dongmar lake is off for tourists, I have got some changes in my plan.Can you please suggest me chalking a new one, I have got very less time to deal with coz I would be starting on 27th to NJP. Please throw light on this.

As said earlier, I have got 28,29,30,1 (total 4days in hand).

27th night: start to NJP from Kolkata

28th: Morning in NJP, start to Gangtok (because Nathula can be visited on specific days so for us Sunday would be appropriate, gathered info from your website ) after reaching Gangtok, work on permits for Nathula,Tsongmo etc for East sikkim and remaining time of the day, visit sightseeing places in Gangtok city. Can you tell me how much do they charge for a normal ,good budget hotel and permits ?

29th: Visit East Sikkim as planned and get back to Gangtok by night and stay in Gangtok itself. Can you tell me how much it would take for 2 people to visit East Sikkim, I mean transport,no problem in shared transport even, ?

30th and 1st : here I need more help from you :). I want to include Teesta rafting and Darjeeling.Need details of how much would they charge for rafting and if possible more info about making it a pleasant trip...!!

1st night: should be in NJP.

 

Thank you Vishnu, once again, you guys are doing a fantastic job :)

 

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Answer to Amit's Query posted at Nathula's article

Hi Arun,
               Here are my inputs for the queries you posted...

21st : I do not think you can make all the way till Lachung from Darjeeling on the same day via Kalimpong... You should rather visit Gangtok first... over night stay there and then go for a trip to Lachung...

Rest everything seems perfect to me... there are plenty of accommodation options at Darjeeling and Gangtok... for North sikkim trip, the tour agent will take care of everything....

Regards
Vishnu Kumar

rajesh (not verified)
sayan mazumder's picture

Hi Vishnu,

I am planning to visit Sikkim with my wife and two kids(6 years old). Is it good to visit Yamthang and Zero point. Need your suggestions on my itenary.

We are reaching NJP on 13-May at 8.30am. Hoping that I will reach Gangtok by 2.00pm and will have local sight seeing

Day 2: East Sikkim tour ( Changu lake, Nathula pass, Baba mandir)
Day 3: Start for North Sikkim (Stay over night in Lachung)
Day 4: Visit Yumthang and Zero Point and back to Gangtok
Day 5: I can go for local sight seeing and leave Gangtok @ 12.00pm to reach NJP, since I have train at 5.30pm

Please let me know your suggestions on this.

Thanks,
Rajesh

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Hi Rajesh... Your itinerary seems perfect to me except one point that you can not visit Nathula pass on Day 2 (Monday)... Nathula pass only opens on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays... Yaa, You can start at 12:00 PM to catch you train at 5:30 PM from Siliguri...

Regards
Vishnu Kumar

sandy (not verified)
sayan mazumder's picture

Hi Vishnu,

I have finalized my trip to Sikkim.Air tickets are booked.
Below are my travel plans(plan1 and plan 2). Let me know what you think of these two plans and suggest me which one to opt.

Plan 1

June 4- Day 1 (Monday): Arrive at Bagdogra airport by Jet connect flight at 1.30 pm via Kolkata (12:20) leaving Bangalore at 7:55am
If we take helicopter from Bagdogra to Gangtok which leaves at 2:30 pm, we reach by 3:30 pm.
If we don’t get the helicopter say, then we need to hire a car by starting at 2:30pm then we reach Gangtok at 9:00 pm which will be late I think so.
So try to get the Helicopter which will make life easy and pleasant start to trip.

June 5 - Day 2 (Tuesday): Talk to few agents and make trip arrangements to Changu Lake, Nathula Pass, and Baba mandir. For this day trip we need to take pass (requirements: 2 passport photo and ID card).
Also make arrangements for North Sikkim 1N/2D trip. Plans for visit to see zero point, Yumthang and if permitted to Gurudongmar lake. Try to bargain the price and make clear at first what we will get?
After making trip arrangements, head for Gangtok sightseeing.
Rumtek Monastery or Ronka monastery, Ropeway, Banjhakri waterfalls and shopping.

June 6- Day 3( Wednesday): Travel to Changu or Tsomgo Lake, Nathula Pass, and Baba mandir may be private car or shared one.

June 7 & 8 - Day 4 & 5 (Thursday & Friday): Start to North Sikkim to cover Lachung, zero point ,Yumthang Valley and in-around 1N/2d. Head back on June 8 to Gangtok.
June 9 – Day 6 (Saturday): Head back to Bagdogra by car just to enjoy nature which is 4- 5hours drive by road. Safe to leave Gangtok by 8.00 am.

Plan 2

June 4- Day 1 (Monday): Arrive at Bagdogra airport by Jet connect flight at 1.30 pm via Kolkata (12:20) leaving Bangalore at 7:55am
If we take helicopter from Bagdogra to Gangtok which leaves at 2:30 pm, we reach by 3:30 pm.
If we don’t get the helicopter say, then we need to hire a car by starting at 2:30pm then we reach Gangtok at 9:00 pm which will be late I think so.
So try to get the Helicopter which will make life easy and pleasant start to trip.
June 5 - Day 2 (Tuesday): Talk to few agents and make trip arrangements to Changu Lake, Nathula Pass, and Baba mandir. For this day trip we need to take pass (requirements: 2 passport photo and ID card). Also make arrangements for North Sikkim 1N/2D trip. Plans for visit to see zero point, Yumthang and if permitted to Gurudongmar lake. Try to bargain the price and make clear at first what we will get?

All this I hope to finish it on Day1 if we reach by Helicopter or early next morning i.e. on Day 2.
June 5 & 6 - Day 2 &3 ( Tues & Wed): Then start to Yumthang, Zero point and Lanchang Valley which 1N/ 2d trip. Head back to Gangtok on June 6, will reach by evening.

June 7 - Day 4 (Thursday): Trip to Nathula Pass, Changu Lake, Baba Mandir, local sightseeing (Gangtok) and shopping.

June 8 - Day 5 (Friday): Head to Darjeeling, do white water river rafting and tiger hills on the way to Darjeeling.

June 9 – Day 6 (Saturday): Local Sightseeing (Darjeeling) if time permits then head back to Bagdogra to catch flight to Kolkata at 2:30pm.

Also i need to know how will the weather be during my visit.
Can you recommend any travel agents and also hotels to stay.

Cheers,

Sandy

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Hi Sandy,
                   You really did a remarkable job with your itinerary... Quite comprehensive indeed.... Here goes my inputs..

* If you happen to reach Gangtok at 3:30 or before evening on Day 1 then follow Plan B else follow plan A.

In Case following plan A, there is no change required from my end... If you are following plan B (Which i think has more probability), then I will recommend you not to visit Tiger hill in the evening (June8, Friday), rather you should plan it for early in the morning on June 9th... Weather is unpredictable in the month of June, You may witness heavy down pour though first week of June is generally bright sky.....

I personally do not recommend any tour agent anywhere...I need to make a meticulous trip to Sikkim to find someone whom I can recommend... Here are some really helpful inputs from some of our fellow travelers, you may find those useful...

Inputs from Rohit ( Go to page one of Nathula Article and find his comment): http://thinkingparticle.com/articles/nathula-pass?page=1

Inputs from Barri (Search for barri's comment on this page, comment no 198): http://thinkingparticle.com/forum/gangtok-sikkim-travel-discussion?page=2

Inputs from Saumyadut (Go to page 3 of this thread and search comment no 156): http://thinkingparticle.com/forum/gangtok-sikkim-travel-discussion?page=2

Inputs from Reena Bhatia: Go to page 3 of Nathula pass article and see the last comment....

http://thinkingparticle.com/articles/nathula-pass?page=2

Regards
Vishnu Kumar               

Vandana singh's picture
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Posts: 17

 

Hi Vishnu,

 

must say you and Barri have provided me valuable tips which will be helpful for my trip. still need some more help. my itinerary is as per below:

 

6may: ndls to njp

 

7may: njp at 1045 hrs by rajdhani. same day  to gangtok. we will hire a taxi hopefully will reach b4 sunset

 

8may: gangtok: will book a tour for local sightseeing + apply for permit for Nathula pass, changu lake

 

9may: nathula pass, baba mandir n changu lake

 

10may:some shopping then leave for kalimpong and night stay in kalimpong

 

11may:leave kalimpong around after lunch. reach njp. then we have to go to Binnaguri.overnight stay tehre at a friend's place

 

12may:morning..enter bhutan border..then to Thimpu..reach there by afternoon

13may:Thimpu

14may:to Paro then same day return to binnaguri by night n night stay at frnd

 

15may: train to ndls at 1330hrs

 

we are 2 cpls with 2 kids of 7 yrs. I know trip is bit hectic but do want to visit bhutan. plz let me know if any do's n dont's. also if there is some exit time also there to leave bhutan. will we get snow in Nathula pass.

 

Thanks

 

Vandana

vishnu.kumar7's picture
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Hi Vandana... Your itinerary for Gangtok seems fine to me...  Permit to Bhutan is not as easy as we feel...I will recommend to check on that at 11th May itself else reach early in the morning at Jalgaon Border and apply for that... They will take time to issue you the permit so you may be starting little late for Thimpu.... Carry passport size photographs. ID card (Voted id, passport) and provide them your itinerary while applying for the permit... Carry 2-3 extra copies of permits... they will be asking for your permit at each district border so you should mention that you need permit for paro and Thimpu both....

When we visited Bhutan in 2008, road condition was really pathetic. It took us more than 8 hours to reach Thimu from Phursoling....

There are chances to see snow at Nathula....

Regards
Vishnu Kumar

Vandana singh's picture
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Hi Vishnu,

 

Thanks for your feedback.  any idea of the closing time of permit office in Bhutan. is it possible to aaply for the same on 11may so that we can go on 12may dirct to thimpu. also any idea of the time by which we can exit Bhutan Border. as I was planning to hire Taxi on 14th visit Paro and then reach pheuntsholing by evening

 

Thanks Vandana

vishnu.kumar7's picture
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Hi Vandana... I think the immigration office at Phursoling issues the permits in the morning only... I do not think you can apply for the permits in the evening... I am not very sure about it but i think they create too much of issue even when we reached there in the afternoon (12:00 PM)..... I will recommend you to try early in the morning on 13th at Phursoling....

Being on the safer side, try to get permit till 15th.... There is no such timings when you can enter or exit Bhutan...  All you should not be inside Bhutan on the day after your permit expires.... There is another office at Thimpu which can easily extend your permit so it is not such a big deal.....

Amazing country it is... Share photographs once you are back...

Happy Traveling
Vishnu Kumar

HITESH (not verified)
sayan mazumder's picture

HELLO BUDDY,

WE ARE PLANNING OUT HONEY MOOON AFTER JUNE 12 2012 AND WANTED TO GET YOUR HELP WITH OUR ITENARY AND FEW QUESTIONS.

WILL THE CLIMATE BE GOOD IN MID JUNE.

THIS IS OUR BELOW ITENARY WHAT WE HAVE THOUGHT ,ARE WE MISSING ON SOMETHING OR SOMEWHERE EXTRA WE CAN GO IN THIS .

I WANT TO COVER THE BEST PLACES AND HENCE I SHORTLISTED THREE ITENARIES WITH HOTELS.

ALSO I HAD READ IN ONE OF YOUR ITENARIES REGARDING HELICOPTER RIDE TO GANGTOK.I WOULD LIKE TO GET MORE INSIGHTS ON THAT ALSO.

THIS IS ONLY FOR Pelling - Gangtok - lachung ( Yunthang)
Day 1: Pelling:
Arrive New Jalpaigudi Station / Bagdora Airport and proceeed to pelling (6 Hrs. Journey), on arrival the rest of the day is free for rest. Night halt at Pelling.
Day 2: Pelling:
After breakfast, sight seeing of Kecheopairi Lake & Rimbi Falls. After lunch visit Pemyang Monastery. Night halt at Pelling.
Day 3: Pelling - Gangtok:
After breakfast free time for rest. After lunch proceed to Gangtok (5-6 hrs. journey). Arrive Gangtok and rest of the day is free, Night halt at Gangtok.
Day 4: Gangtok:
After breakfast we will proceed for a monmoriable tour of Tshangu lakesituated at 12,000 feet above sea level in the eastern part of Sikkim which is known for it's natural beauty. Night halt at Gangtok.
Day 5: Gangtok- Lachung:
After breakfast morning is free at leisure, after lunch we proceed to Lachung (6 hrs. journey), en route enjoy scenic views of Seven Sister Water Falls & Mangan View. Night halt at Lachung.
Day 6: Lachung - Yumthang - Lachung:
Morning to afternoon explore the Natural beauty of Yumthang valley & Yumi Somdom (Zero Point). Night halt at Lachung.
Day 7: Lachung - Gangtok:
After breakfast we proceed to Gangtok (6 hrs. journey ) Arrive Gangtokand day is free for shopping / rest. Night halt at Gangtok.
Day 8: Gangtok :
After breakfast sight seeing of Gnagtok which includes International Flower show, Vanjageri Falls. Enchy Monastery, Handy craft Emprium, Stupa and enjoy Gondola Cable Car Ride. After lunch free time for shopping at famous M.G.Road Night halt at Gangtok.
Day 9: Gangtok - New Jalpaigudi / Bagdora - Train / Air Journey TO BANGALORE.

OUR HOTELS OPTIONS ARE
HOTEL ACCOMMODATION & NIGHT STAY (8Nights in Hotel)
Group 'A' Group 'B'
Pelling (2) Sikkim Tourist centre D Regency / Chaminda
Gangtok (2) Tamrind / Delliso Abode Sidlon / Daavachen retreat
Lachung (2)
Snow Lion (Simple Hotel) or Similar
Snow Lion (Simple Hotel) or Similar
Gangtok (2)
Hotel Tamrind / Delisso Abode
Sidlon / Daavachen Retreat

TOUR RATE: Ex. New Jalpaigudi

....................................................
THE SECOND ITENARY IS

TOUR ITINERARY
Day 1: Mirik:
Early morning arrive New Jalpaigudi Station / Bagdogra Airport and proceed to Mirik (3 hrs. journey). In the evening enjoy Boating at the famous Mirik Lake (at your own cost). Night halt at Mirik.
Day 2: Mirik - Darjeeling:
After breakfast morning is free at leisure after Lunch proceed to Darjeeling (2 hrs. journey), en route halt at Nepal border for shopping. Night halt at Darjeeling.
Day 3: Darjeeling:
After breakfast full day sight seeing of Darjeeling which includes Rock Garden, Gangamaiya Park, Darjeeling Zoo, Tenging Rock, Refuge Centre in the evening enjoy shopping at amll road. Night halt at Darjeeling.
Day 4: Darjeeling - Pelling:
Early morning at 03.30 hrs. proceed to Tiger Hill to see the breath taking view of sunrise & also the most magnificent view of Kanchanjunga Range. After breakfast proceed to Pelling (8 hrs. journey), en route enjoy Adventures River Rafting. (at your own cost). Arrive Pelling and rest of the day is free at leisure. Night halt at Pelling.
Day 5: Pelling:
After breakfast sight seeing of Kecheopalri Lake & Rimbi Falls. After lunch visit Pemyang Monastery. Night halt at Pelling.
Day 6: Pelling - Gangtok:
After breakfast we will depart for Gangtok (5-6 hrs. journey) Arrive Gangtok and rest of the day is free at leisure. Night halt at Gangtok.
Day 7: Gangtok:
After breakfast we proceed a memorable tour of Tshangu Lake Situated at 12000 feet above sea level. in the eastern part of Sikkim which is known for it's natural beauty. Night halt at Gangtok.
Day 8: Gangtok - Lachung:
After breakfast free time for rest. After lunch we will proceed to Lachung (6 hrs. journey) en route enjoy scenic views of seven Sister Water Falls & Mangan View. Night halt at Lachung.
Day 9: Lachung - Yumthang - Lachung:
Morning to afternoon explore the Natural beauty of Yumthang Valley 7 Yumi Somdom (Zero Point). Night halt at Lachung.
Day 10: Lachung - Gangtok:
After breakfast we will proceed to Gangtok (6 hrs. Journey). Arrive Gangtok and rest of the day is free at leisure. Night halt at Gangtok.
Day 11: Gangtok:
After breakfast sight seeing of Gangtok which includes International Flower show. Vanjageri Falls. Enchy Monastery, Handi Craft Emporium, Stupa and also enjoy Gondola Cable Car Ride. After lunch free time for shopping at the famous M.G. Road. Night halt at Gangtok.
Day 12: Gangtok - New Jalpaigudi / Bagdogra - Train / Air Journey:
After breakfast transfer to New Jalpaigudi station / Bagdogra airport

.........................................

THIRD ITENARY IS DATES 16,18,20,22,24, FOR ALL THREE ITENARIES

HOTEL ACCOMMODATION & NIGHT STAY (8Nights in Hotel)
Group 'A' Group 'B'
Mirik (1) Hotel Jagjit (Super Dlx or Similar) Hotel Jagjit ( Dlx room or Similar)
Darjeeling (2) Sterling Resort Sterling Resort
Peeling (2)
Sikkim tourist centre
D Regency / Chaminda
Gangtok (3)
Hotel Tamrind / Delisso Abode
Sidlon / Daavachen Retreatow 5 yrs.
* It is compulsary for sikkim tour to carry original photo ID card with Zerox copies & 6 passport size photographs per person.
TOUR ITINERARY
Day 1: Mirik:
Early morning Arrive new Jalpaigudi station / Bagdogra Airport & proceed ti Mirik (3 Hrs. Journey). In the evening enjoy boating at the famous Mirik Lake (At your own cost).
Day 2: Mirik - Darjeeling:
After breakfast, morning is free at leisure. At lunch proceed to Dargeeling (2 Hrs. journey) , en route halt at Nepal border for shopping.Night halt at Darjeeling.
Day 3: Darjeeling:
After breakfast full Day sight seeing of Darjeeling which includes rock garden, Ganga Maiya park, Darjeeling zoo, Tenzing Rock & Refuge centre. In the vening enjoy shopping at mall road. Night halt at Dargeeling.
Day 4: Darjeeling - Peeling:
Early morning at 3.30 Hrs. Proceed to tiger hill to see the breth taking view of Sunrise & also the most magnificent view of Kanchanjunga range. After breakfast we will proceed Peeling (8 Hrs. Journey), en route enjoy adventures river rafting (At your own cost). Arrive Peeling & rest of the day is free at leisure. Night halt at Peeling.
Day 5: Peeling:
After breakfast sight seeing of Kecheopalri Lake & Rambi falls. After Lunch visit Pemyang monastery. Night halt at Peeling.
Day 6: Peeling - Gnagtok:
After breakfast we will depart for Gangtok (5 - 6 Hrs. Journey). Arrive Gangtok & rest of the Day is free at Leisure. Night halt at Gangtok.
Day 7: Gangtok:
After breakfast we will proceed for a memorable tour of Tshangu lake situated at 1200 ft above sea level in the easter part of sikkim which is known for its natural beauty.Night halt at Gangtok.
Day 8: Gangtok :
After breakfast sight seeing of Gangtok which includes International Flower show, Vanjageri Falls, Enchy Monastery, Handy craft Emporium, Stupa and enjoy Gondola Cable Car Ride. After lunch free time for shopping at famous M.G.Road Night halt at Gangtok.
Day 9: Gangtok - New Jalpaigudi / Bagdora - Train / Air Journey:
After breakfast transfer to New Jalpaigudi station / Bagdogra airport

.....................

KINDLY LET ME KNOW REGARDING THE SAME BUDDY

THANK YO

vishnu.kumar7's picture
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Hi Hitesh,
                  I truly appreciate the effort you put in to draft your itineraries... really comprehensive work... left least space for my inputs... here is my attempt anyway...

* About Helicopter ride: http://thinkingparticle.com/articles/nathula-pass?page=2

Scroll down and go to comment from Reena Bhatia, She has taken helicopter ride while coming back from Gangtok..

Itinerary 1: The most common itinerary which most of the tourists follow and cover all the key attraction of Sikkim... Everything is perfect in your itinerary... Make sure that you apply (contact a tour agent) for your permits to Nathula, North Sikkim on Day 3 itself....

Itinerary 2: With more days, you have added Darjeeling as well... seems like everything is well researched.. quite laid-back vacations it would be....

Itinerary 3: Now, you are not including Lachung (North Sikkim). I will not recommend you this itinerary... You can exclude peeling from your trip but you must visit North Sikkim (Lachung, Yumthang, Zero Point).... There is nothing so special about peeling if you are traveling to Darjeeling....

If you have more days then Itinerary 2 is my pick from your list...

Please let me know if you want to know more about anything....admirable job with these itineraries... Congratulations for your marriage...

Sorry if i missed something...

Regards
Vishnu Kumar

 

HITESH PALRECHA (not verified)
sayan mazumder's picture

hello vishnu,

thank you for helping,
i planning to go after 20 june would it be an ideal time to go there also you suggested second itenary which does not include mirik and darjelling.

my marrage is on 12 june and according to rituals cant make it before 20

vishnu.kumar7's picture
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Posts: 12095

Thanks Vandana for replying back here...

Hitesh: Your second itinerary includes Mirik and Darjeeling....

Regards
Vishnu Kumar

Vandana singh's picture
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Joined: 05/04/2012
Posts: 17

Hi Hitesh,

 

I have just returned from gangtok so here r my few inputs:

=> I stayed in Snow Lion...nice n clean htl..u can go for it. The Manager(pankaj and his bro) get the taxi arranged for nathula/ changu/baba mandir

remember few drivers take u till changu lake n not further saying road ahead is closed...so do chk that.

 

=> the helicopter ride is only from bagdogra till gangtok

=> start early for changu n baba mandir as baba mandir closes at 1430hrs as weather usualyy changes after that.

=> do chk the weather as i was told it rains in june-july

for rest Vishnu is expert n have alreadu given advice. Also since it will b ur honeymoon trip...u can also go to Bhutan- paro...trust me its beeeeeautiful

 

take care 

 

Vandana

HITESH PALRECHA (not verified)
sayan mazumder's picture

hello vandana,

thank you for your help,

also how should i get the helicopter thing done and what would be our charges for couple.

june i have alseo heard it would rain but little hopefully and do they have snow there in this time of year as you have been there just recently.

regards
hitesh

Vandana singh's picture
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Posts: 17

Hi Hitesh,,

I chkd Google for u n found the link mentioned...may b this will help: www.sikkimpackages.com/helicopterservice.htm

Also when going for Nathula day Trip, do remember to carry something to eat n drink. At times Road gets blocked due to land Slides n there can b long wait till its cleared( it happened with us).

In case of Snow fall, they close the Nathula pass for the visitors but u can visit changu n baba mandir

 

TC

 

Vandana

HITESH PALRECHA (not verified)
sayan mazumder's picture

hi vishnu its a bit urgent ,

i am planning on 17 june to leave from here so reaching there on 19 is climate good and can we go for all tours and travelling..'

as i need to make the payment asking your suggestiion

vishnu.kumar7's picture
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Posts: 12095

Hi Hitesh,
               Sorry for the late response... I myself was stuck in snow storming of Western Himalayas... June and July is generally monsoon season in Sikkim but this year i had observed exceptional snowfall in High Himalayas (Which is still continuing)... I think Mid-June would not be a bad time to visit Sikkim... Carry Woolen clothing, Shocks, Gloves, warmers if you are planning all the way till Nathula...

btw: In month of June, There is no better option than Himalayas for Honeymoon ....

Regards
Vishnu Kumar

Divya Das (not verified)
sayan mazumder's picture

Hi Vishnu, I am planning on going to Darjeeling & Sikkim with my parents aged- 66 & 72 years on 24th June from Hyderabad.
Please check/add my itenary :-

24th Sunday - Train from Hyd to kolkata
25th Monday - Reach Kolkata at 12pm, take flight Spicejet 3pm to Gangtok, stay at hotel (can you recommend pl, budget maybe 4-5k per night)
26th Tuesday - Hire car for Changu, lingdum Monstary & Flower show, shopping
27th Wednesday - Nathula Pass, Yamthang & Lachung.
28th Thursday - Leave morning to Darjeeling ( how can I go?)
29th Friday - Darjeeling
30th Saturday - train to Hyderbad.

Now the places I want to see are taken from various blogs put up in your site, but I have no clue if it makes sense. Also, i am worried about my hotel stay since there seems to be high disparity on hotel feedbacks. Can you please recommend personally, since my parents are really old. Some feedback had stuff like - no electricity, food was not served in the morning, toilets were not clean etc etc.

Would sure appreciate your help. I also have yours & vijay's number, I spoke to him, who said incase I face any local trouble that you may be able to help, since I am very apprehensive about this trip.

Regards

Divya Das

vishnu.kumar7's picture
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Joined: 05/24/2010
Posts: 12095

Hi Divya,
         I can see your comment in our Nathula article as well...Please find my inputs below...

* I can not do much about the itinerary till 25th June.. After reaching Bagdogra at 3:00 PM, you should start immediately for Gangtok (Hire a taxi from Airport) so that you can reach Gangtok in the evening... You will have to contact a tour agent in Gangtok for arranging your permits and vehicle for Yumthang and Nathula...

* 26th June: Tuesday so nathula will be closed... I will recommend you to head to Lachung and stay there overnight

*27th June: Visit Yumthang and Zero point early in the morning and head back to Gangtok...You will reach there in the evening... you can do some city sightseeing...

*28th June: Visit Nathula pass, Changu lake....Stay at Gangtok....

{You will need a vehicle, driver and permits for all these 3 days, get it from the same tour agent..many readers recommended few)....

This is the best you can do till 28th... now I am not sure when you need to return back to Bagdogra...

Accommodation in Gangtok/Darjeeling: There are plenty of options...from high end to low end... you can go by the recommendation of few travelers... I have consolidated those in the link below....

http://thinkingparticle.com/forum/help-sought-sikkim-trip#comment-39082

I think you already read Reena Bhatia's review on our Nathula article (It's on page 3)

http://thinkingparticle.com/articles/nathula-pass?page=2

Accommodation in Lachung: Not high end, will be taken care by the tour agent...

You are traveling with old age people so you need to be careful while visiting Nathula and Zero point (both of these places are at high altitude)....

About Makemytrip: Please check how much they are charging....I never recommend any tour organizer of the country... They all are looting travelers....

let us know when you are returning back from NJP... we will suggest something for 29th and 30th...

Regards
Vishnu Kumar

Vandana singh's picture
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Joined: 05/04/2012
Posts: 17

Hi Divya,

 

As Vishnu correctly suggested...once u reach Bagdogra...start for Gangtok ASAP as its around 5-6hrs journey and will b tiring for ur parents ( its a uphill journey). u can take a break at 'Dosa Point' which is on the way. upper restaurant is for army by there is open restaurant downstairs for civilians. Very Peaceful place..they serve yummy dosas.

also Nathula, Changu lake and baba mandir r covered same day as they are on the same route. Please do chk the weather forecast as I was told it rains heavily in june july. also this place is at very high altitude..so plz do chk with ur parents.

 

In Gangtok I stayed in Snow Lion..around 1500+ taxes pn. Its Neat and Clean. Only issue in ur case will be of lift as it doesnt work all the time.

 

take care

vandana

vishnu.kumar7's picture
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Joined: 05/24/2010
Posts: 12095

Thanks Vandana for your valuable inputs..... these will be a great help to all the travelers to Sikkim....
                     

Vandana singh's picture
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Joined: 05/04/2012
Posts: 17

u r welcome Vishnu..also how to upload pics on this site?

vishnu.kumar7's picture
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Joined: 05/24/2010
Posts: 12095

Hi Vandana... I sent you an email with the process of uploading pics on Thinking Particle...

DAYA SHUKLA (not verified)
sayan mazumder's picture

Dear Vishnu, I am planning on going to Gangtok with my spouse and children from Raipur.

Please check/add my itenary :-

19th Saturday - Train from Raipur to kolkata
20th Sunday - Kolkata to NJP
21st Monday - 06:30 AM NJP to Gangtok - 12:30 Pm
21st Monday - chkin Hotel & local sightseeing.
22nd Tuesday - Please suggest place to visit.
23rd Wednesday - Nathula Pass, Changu lake, Baba Mandir (Is that 1 day tour naa?)
24th Tuesday - Please suggest place to visit.
24th Tuesday - 05:00 PM - Leave gangtok
24th Tuesday - 08:30 PM New Jalpaigudi - My train time 09:00 PM (NJP to Kolkata).

Dear Please suggest....

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