Tour Programme - Sikkim

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latha1394's picture
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Hi,

We saw this thread and liked it. We also hope to get help for a tour programme we are planning in the month of May.

Group size : 4 adults and 3 children aged 12, 8 and 6 years. We are vegetarians.

The tentative Tour programme is as under. Any suggestions, improvements and changes which will help us to have a better tour is appreciated.

16th May - Arrival at NJP and onward departure to Gangtok. If possible, will do some local sightseeing.

17th May -  Nathula pass, Changu lake, Alpine sanctuary, Saramsa flower Pavilion- Stay ay Gangtok

18th May -  Phodong-Chumthang-Lachen-Thangu ( Night stay will be better at Lachen or Thangu?) 

19th May - Lachen / Thangu to Gurudongmar lake, then to Lachung for stay. (Is it safe with children to go there?)

20th May - From Lachung to Yumthang valley, hot spring and zero point, then same day back to Gangtok. (Again is it safe to go to Zero point with children? and what is the distance from Yumthung valley? how to reach it?)

21st May - Gangtok in and around and night stay

22nd May - Morning Departure to Darjeeling ( Via kalimpong or pelling?) - tiger hill, tea garden, Zoo, (What else?), then night stay.

23rd - back to Delhi

Queries:

1. Is it advisable to book rooms in advance? (being peak season, it should not be a problem)

2. What will be the approximate travel cost mainly for 17th, 18th, 19th trip?

3. How safe are these roads? ( We faced problem in 'chakrata' as the roads were too narrow and kutcha.)

4. Which option is better? -Take a package deal for 18th & 19th / stay and transport seperate? ( We prefer to take car rental.)

5. Any other precautions necessary? Any luck to see snow there?

 

Regards.

 

 

vishnu.kumar7's picture
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Hi Latha,
                 First of all i will thank you for signing up and posting an independent thread for your queries. Your itineraries seem fine me, I will add my inputs for each day.

16th May:  There is nothing much in Siliguri but you guys can try your hands in Tibbet market where illegally exported goods are traded. Try to leave early from Siliguri so that you can reach Gangtok in the evening. After reaching Gangtok, you need to find a hotel and even before that you should try to contact some tour agent for getting the permits for nathula, changu lake which you are planning on 17th May. [Nathula is open only on Wednesday, Thu, Sat and Sun]. You can find my tour agents on mall road who will arrange your trip to Nathula and Changu.

17th May: Seems like a perfect plan

18th May: In terms of tourism facilities, Lachen is the better pick as you are traveling with kids. Thangu is at very high altitude so i would not recommend you to spend a night in Thangu. However in terms of natural beauty, Thangu will outclass Lachen in each respect.

19th May: here is hitch considering the age group of tourists. There is no doubt that Gurudongmar lies at very high altitude and people fall sick, feel drowsy and get hit by AMS (Acute mountain sickness)... its very common and you guys will also feel the affect of thin air.... Temperature won't be a major challenge in the month of May.... I am not sure how it would be for kids... generally our body gets acclimatize to high altitude but it takes couple of days.. I will suggest you to check with a doctor once about the kids.... there are some medicines you can take but those have its side-affect as well.... Despite of AMS, i don't think its really dangerous to visit Gurudongmar Lake. Lachung is at nominal altitude so you will get a good sleep there.

20th May: Yumthang valley and Zero points are not very far from Lachung and I assume that you are going to hire the same taxi for entire north Sikkim tour. Please mention your entirely itinerary in detail with the tour agent in Gangtok before handing over the money... Sometimes driver complains that this place not included and ask for extra money...

21st May: Seems fine

22nd May: It would be through Kalimpong.. pelling in on the other direction... enroute, you can try white water rafting....

Queries
------------------------------------
- I don't think you really need to do the booking for hotel in advance... accommodation options are in plenty in Sikkim.
- For the travel cost (Specially about north Sikkim tour), I will recommend to go through the link below which includes invaluable inputs from one of our readers who recently returned back...

http://thinkingparticle.com/articles/nathula-pass#comment-15388

- Roads are not in very good condition specially in north Sikkim but those are motorable...

- Getting independent transport between the towns in north sikkim is not an option... you need to book the taxi for the entire itinerary... from Gangtok to Gangtok..

- May is bit harsh on those who want to see snow but there are always chances specially at Zero point and Gurudongmar lake...

Rest seems like perfect.... Ahh I completely forgot that you will only get rice and green vegetables while being in North Sikkim...  for vegeterians, options are limited but you won't starve.... carry chocolates and eat maggies...

Gangtok/Darjeeling is full of veg restaurants serving all kind of north indian cuisines...

Have a great journey and shoot your queries..we will try our level best to help you...

Regards
Vishnu Kumar

Latha (not verified)
Latha's picture

Hi Vishnu,

Thank you for the suggestions and answers mainly your time and patience.

Continuation of Queries:

1. Will you please send me your tour agents' phone no.s? (for Nathula trip and Lachen & Lachung trip too)

2. In an article, I read that 1700/- per person for Lachen & Lachung trip, inclusive of food & accommodation. But in another article it was mentioned as 9000/- for 6 members. Will you please give us an approx. figure if possible?

The places we want to include in North Sikkim: Day 1: Singhik, Phodong, Chumthang, Lachen, Thangu

Day 2: Gurudongmar lake, Chopta valley, Bimnalla water falls (optional), Lachung

Day 3: Yumthang valley, Zero point ( Singba Rhodendron Sanctuary & Kanchenzonga National park- located Where?.. Is it possible and worth to include?)

Our max. limit for this package is 15000/-. (4 adults + 3 kids) Is it possible to cover ? If not, Which places we can give up ? Is it inclusive of food & accommodation? What about 'home stay'? Hotels are costlier here as per net. Please suggest how can we work it out. (Sorry for the trouble!)

3. For Nathula trip, will they ask ID proof for Kids too?

I will take your suggestion and consult a Dr for kids regarding AMS. And... thanks..with Maggie we will manage the trip!!). I think.. we need woolen clothes for north sikkim trip.

Regards,
Latha.

vishnu.kumar7's picture
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Hi Latha.... Thanks for liking us on facebook....  let me see what can i answer in return...

1) Swati has mentioned couple of numbers of tour agents those she tried... you can try to reach those numbers and get the quotation.. I personally don't recommend any particular tour agent... in fact it's been a while when i was in sikkim...

http://thinkingparticle.com/articles/nathula-pass#comment-15388

2) Generally the tour to North sikkim included food and accommodation but the cost increases as you add more destinations in the list... 1700/ person in lachen/lachung trip seems a bit tricky because they will charge more when you ask the driver to go till Yumthang etc...  for the group of your size (4 adults and 3 kids), I will recommend you to book the whole taxi and it should cost 9000 approx including food and accommodation... If you making the deal in Gangtok then try to get the quotations from at least 4-5 guys before confirming the deal and negotiate for 10-15 % discount...

Day1: All of these destinations lies enroute to Thangu so there won't be any extra charges/time require to visit these destination... All of these just can be your pit stops because there is nothing so special about these towns... Thangu would be a different experience all together...

Day2: Again all the destinations fall enroute from Thangu to Lachung (Via Lachen/Chunthang)... You will anyway be passing these sites.... so no extra time/charges.

Day3: Yumthang Valley and surroundings are known for flowers in rhododendron time that's why people start giving calling it some sanctuary.... Here is the google map snippet of Khanchendzonga national park which says that its very close to Thangu and Chungthang but generally its popular amongst the trekkers for Goecha-la trek, Dzongri trek etc.... you will be anyway passing very close the park but higher ranges of the park have different entrance and only permitted for trekkers or field researchers...

Your north sikkim trip will include food and accommodation and its recommended as well... from the replies i am getting from other travelers, I think you north sikkim trip should cost near 10K.... you can browse our forum section for more inputs from other fellow travelers.... there are plenty of budget/decent hotels in Gangtok and i believe you can get a nice room in 500 INR per night... Same way it goes for Darjeeling...

I hope i could answer your queries to some extent.... let us know if you have any more queries...

Regards
Vishnu Kumar

 

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Hi Latha

Vishnu has given u most of the info with finer details....

I would like to add few tips since we travelled to same destination last May with our 8 yr old son.

* Id proof of kids is required for Nathula as well as North sikkim tour

* Ur North sikkim trip follows next day after Nathula. since it would be tiring after a day long trip and again getting to Lachen is quiet strenous considering kids. the journey to lachen n gurudongmar is really challenging... not very easy though... There is a checkpost past Thangu village where they check the health of people travelling towards gurudongmar... I doubt ur 6 yr old may not be allowed. they retain kids at checkpost to be taken back after visiting the lake.... even ur 8 yr old may have some problem due to hypoxia...

* DO carry lot of warm / wollen clothes.

* If elders are included in the adult group of 4... then their health should permit the journey to North sikkim.

* Considering hiring a vehicle for ur group alone otherwise they pack 10 of them. we paired with 3 more people and hired a vehicle for 6 of us and after hard bargaining came up to 17000  for 2 nights 3 days package. whereas per person it was 1900. ( ie they wait till 10 fill the vehicle)

* The itenary u intend to visit - not all are practically possible due to journey breaks, n other travel conditions... we missed on some small places too

BUT neverthless.... Gurudongmar lake is just AMAZING!!! worth all the effort n unforgettable journey experience .... n the flawless beauty of Yumthang valley n Zero point.... ( kids will enjoy the snow :) )

Wishing u n ur family a safe n memorable trip

Regards,

Poornima

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Thanks for pitching in Poornima and providing your valuable inputs on this trail...  

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We,a 4 persons family members shall reach NJP. on 12.10.13 at around 9 am. and want to return NJP. on 24.10.13 at about 4 pm. for a tour. We want to cover important places/spot of SIKKIM(covering 4 dist.of Sikkim) and also want to cover Darjeeling & Kalimpong (if days permits). Please suggest a suitable tour programme with night staying place.

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Hi, 12 days are good enough to cover most of the tourist places in Sikkim... There is  nothing much Kalimpong however you can have 2 nights in Darjeeling...

Visit North Sikkim and Pelling in West sikkim as well...

While going through the forums, you can find many itineraries... please draft initial version of itinerary based on those inputs... I will see if there is any gap in it... Days seem not a problem with your itinerary so it will be easy to outline the itinerary... Some pointers are below..

East Sikkim (One day tour from Gangtok): Nathula pass, Changu lake, Baba Mandir.
West Sikkim (Stay in Pelling): Visit nearby villages and Yuksom.
North Sikkim (Can be 3 nights tour from Gangtok): Stay in Thangu/Lachen and visit Gurudongmar lake, Stay in Lachung and visit Yumthang valley, zero point.

==== Vishnu

 

Latha (not verified)
Latha's picture

Thank u Vishnu for the elaborate complete answers.

For the time being no more queries. Somehow i have outlined our trip with your great help. Thank u once again.Definitely i will contact you in case of any help in need.

Hats off to your group.. your guidance will be extremely helpful for so many people those who blindly plan for a trip.

I look forward to be a part of thinking particle.

Regards.

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Thanks a lot for the feedback.

We will keep in touch.

Regards

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I will always be glad to help fellow travelers... In fact the entire purpose of Thinking Particle is to help other travelers and cutting down the traveling cost.... We should be heading towards a planet with "NO Tour agents/Organized tours"..... In fact we are planning to start a new initiative of hosting travelers at our place.... another way of promoting independent/budget  traveling....

Subhasish (not verified)
Latha's picture

Hi Vishnu

We are a honeymoon couple and planning to visit Gangtok on 24.1.13. I will be staying their for three days and will return on 27.1.13. Kindly suggest us the following

1) how to reach Gangtok from Bagdogra airport?
2) Can we visit Chango lake on 26th january 2013 (Saturday) as it will be independance day?
3) Since time available is very less suggest us places to visit in Gangtok on 25th january?
4) Also suggest us how to plan for the tour so that we can explore the area at its best?
5) What would be the fare for hiring a taxi from Gangtok to Chango lake?
6) Will Snow will be their at that point of time?

Please help.....

Thanks
Subhasish

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Hi Subasish,
                        Here are my answers for your queries.

1) You can either hire a private taxi to Gangtok from Airport or get a taxi to Siliguri and then hop into any shared taxi going towards Gangtok. Shared Taxis to Gangtok are available from Siliguri.

2) Visiting Changu lake on 26th January should not be a problem however visiting Nathula can be.

3) do-drul chorten, nam nang view point, flower show, Rope Way, Hanuman tok and ganesh tok, Tibetan Monastery are the points for day tour in Gangtok.

4) As you don't have many days for your trip so I would suggest you to have a one day tour to Changu lake and spend an entire day exploring Gangtok. You should not try to include more place, It will only make the trip very tiring.

5) Taxi fare etc can be found on the link below

http://thinkingparticle.com/forum/valuable-inputs-travelers-gangtok-sikkim

6) There will be snow around Changu lake. Changu lake itself will be completely frozen during winters.

Regards
Vishnu Kumar

Subhasish (not verified)
Latha's picture

Hi Vishnu

Thanks for your valuable guidance. Really this is a great what you are doing....

Please suggest me some some good hotels ranging between rs. 1800 - 2000 in Gangtok?

Since it is a off season can we get a three star hotel in this range and when it is advisable to book the hotel since i will be visiting in January?

Also please let me know how to arrange pass for Nathu la pass ( if open) in a day ?

What would be the travelling time from Bagdogra airport to Siliguri and then fromm Siliguri to Gangtok or is it advisable to hire direct cab from Bagdogra to Gangtok?

We are reaching around 12.30 p.m in Bagdogra and then we were thinking that if we can reach Gangtok by evening then we can see the city? Kindly suggest ( if we reach by evening ) where to visit in the evening hours ?
Thanks
Subhasish

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Hi Subhasish,
                          Answer for most of your queries can be found on the link below.

http://thinkingparticle.com/forum/valuable-inputs-travelers-gangtok-sikkim

* Direct cab from Bagdogar to Gangtok will be available but will be bit expensive than what you will get from Siliguri.

* You can easily reach Gangtok by evening and have a quick look at the city. I will recommend you to arrange for passes on the same day so that you can recieve those next day.

Regards
Vishnu Kumar

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[quote=vishnu.kumar7]

I will always be glad to help fellow travelers... In fact the entire purpose of Thinking Particle is to help other travelers and cutting down the traveling cost.... We should be heading towards a planet with "NO Tour agents/Organized tours"..... In fact we are planning to start a new initiative of hosting travelers at our place.... another way of promoting independent/budget  traveling....

[/quote]

 

Well said Vishnu.   People like you are helping us a lot as we can plan and then accordingly start our journey.

Enjoy Life. Its a one time gift. Make the best out of it.

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Glad that you liked the idea....

Suman (not verified)
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Hi vishnu

I am planning a trip to Sikkim and Darjeeling from 5th Apr,2012 to 11th apr 2012.We are a group of two( me & my wife).Please give me some ideas regaring the following questions.

1.Please provide me a list of budget hotels(neat and clean&safe) in MG road in Ganktok.My budget is 700/to rs 1000/day.

2.How much would it cost to have a trip of two to Nathula Pass both by private car as well as shared basis

3.Good sightseeing spots in and around ganktok

4.How mush does it cost to rent a cab from NJP station to gangtok and how much does it take on a shared basis

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Hi Suman,
                  About your queries regarding taxi fare and hotel cost, I think you can refer the link below (comments from one of the fellow traveler)....

                   http://thinkingparticle.com/articles/nathula-pass#comment-15388

                   In addition to that, Please find my inputs inlined..

1- There are plenty of hotels near MG road Gangtok and you can get a decent room with clean bed sheets in some 500 INR per night...

2- I do know know the exact figure but private taxi should cost 10 times more than what it should be for per person. you can find these numbers on the comment link i mentioned above...

3- There are many sights around Gangtok which you can plan as a whole day tour. please find these one day itineraries in our forum section.

http://thinkingparticle.com/forum/gangtok-sikkim-travel-discussion

4- Please find these details in the link i mentioned or in our forum section. If you are two people then you can cut down your expenses by opting for Shared Taxi (Public transport)...

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

Regards
Vishnu Kumar

Kapil (not verified)
Latha's picture

Hi,
Vishnu, Thanxxx for your forum. We are in a plan for tour program to Gantok-Tsomgo lake-Lachen-Gurudongmar Lake-Lachung-Yumthang Valley-Gangtok-Darjeeling from 05 may 2012.
We are five adult & one child ( 5 Y). Kindly advice us a comfortable itinerary to cover above spot, required clothes & Minimum travel cost including accommodation.
Is it possible to cover all these spot in 6/7 day?
We appreciate for your valuable quick replay

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Hi Kapil... Gurudongmar lake is not open for tourists these days so you should exclude it from your list... These places can be covered in 6-7 days.... After reaching Gangtok, you can book a tour for East Sikkim (Nathula pass, Changu lake, Baba Mandir) and then book a tour for North Sikkim (Lachung, Yumthang) for subsequent days... Many of our fellow travelers posted gold mine of information from their experience which can be helpful..Nathula and Yumthang would be colder so i will recommend you to carry woolen clothings... Nathula is also at high altitude so you should be careful as you are traveling with kids...Thin Air is a challenge at Nathula pass...  browse other forums, you will find more information...

http://thinkingparticle.com/forum/gangtok-sikkim-travel-discussion#comment-34477

Regards
Vishnu Kumar

Kapil (not verified)
Latha's picture

Hi,Vishnu,
Thanks for your immideate reaply with valuable information.
We will decide about Nathula at Gangtok.BTW how many day need for East sikkim tour.

Cheers
Kapil

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East Sikkim (Nathula Pass, Changu lake, Baba Mandir) is a one day tour from Gangtok....

Pawan (not verified)
Latha's picture

Hi Vishnu...
U r truly a good samaritan...
Vishnu we r planning a same trip (Gangtok-Nathula pass-tsomgo lake-baba mandir-ranka monastry-lachung-yumthang-lachen-gurudangmar-gangtok)but on Oct 10 To Oct 15.
5 days n 6 nights.
We have a group of same boys all college pass outs.
I guess gurudongmar lake is open tat time of the year.We have a overall budget of Rs.32000.
Is possible to tour all this place within this budget n time.

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Hi Pawan,
                 Thanks for the comment ( good samaritan )....;).... I got a new distraction to read about...

Budget is not a problem for the itinerary you outlined and number of days are also fine... Gurudongmar should be reachable in the month of October... Can you add 1-2 extra days...

Gangtok-Nathula pass-tsomgo lake-baba mandir will take one day... Similarly one day for Gangtok sightseeing and visiting Monasteries nearby....

Gangtok-Thangu (One day)... Thangu-Gurudonmar lake-Lachung (one day).... Lachung-Yumthang Valley-Zero point-Gangtok (One day)....

Keeping one extra day would be a wise call though....

==== Vishnu

Kapil (not verified)
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Hi,Vishnu,
Could you suggest us the permit fee for each people to Nathula & Yumthang?

Thanks in advance

Cheers
Kapil

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Hi Kapil... It's not much.. I think some 200 INR per person for these permits... rather than applying yourself, you can get it done through a tour operator in Gangtok...

Vishnu Kumar

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Latha's picture

I just heard from a friend that Gurudongmar is open from last 2 days. Is anyone recently back from 'The Gurudongmar Experience' ? Please share.

Kapil (not verified)
Latha's picture

Hi,
Could you suggest us which document we have to show for minor. ie;Ration card, MP admit card or birth certificates photo copy applicable or not?

Advance thanks to you.

Regards
Kapil

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Hi Kapil,
               With minors, there won't be any issue with identity card. Any of those would work. Minors generally traveler as a dependent... It's still advisable to carry copies of these documents and passport sized photographs.

Regards
Vishnu Kumar

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Answer to Srirang Queries posted at Nathula pass article...  http://thinkingparticle.com/articles/nathula-pass#comment-38908

Hi Srirang,
                   Thanks for appreciation... Nathula pass, Changu lake and Baba mandir is one day trip from Gangtok... After that one day you will need in local sightseeing at Gangtok... Darjeeling also requires 1-2 day for local sightseeing... A friend of mine from Maharashtra recently traveled to Sikkim... You can call him up... He will certainly help you out... will drop an email...

Nathula pass and zero point are at high altitude but its safe to visit these places with kids and family...

Regards
Vishnu Kumar

SRIRANG (not verified)
Latha's picture

Thanks Vishnuji. I will certainly call Mr Omkar. But I want to know from you what precautions I shud take from the safety point of view.

Tks

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Hi Srirang... In terms of precautions, there is nothing much to include as Sikkim is really a pleasant landscape... Don't assume it something adventurous...However for Nathula pass, Zero point and other places those lie at high altitude, you should carry proper woolen cloths, warmers and shoes...

RAVI B (not verified)
Latha's picture

sir
i am planning to visit Gangok for the period from 12 June-2012 to 17 June 2012

June 12 – Arrive at Bagdogra Airport by Spice Jet at 14:55 hrs plan to halt at Darjeeling

June-13 visit at Tiger Hills. Local Sightseeing (Darjeeling) late evening drive to Gangtok if time permits or next day also ok....

June-15 : make a trip arrangements to Changu Lake, Nathula Pass, or Baba mandir. For this day trip we need to take pass (requirements: 2 passport photo and ID card).

June 16 - local sightseeing (Gangtok) and shopping.

June-17 back to Bagdogra
June-18 flight to Kolkata at 3:25pm.

Also i need to know how will the weather be during my visit. is there any best place to visit at this time any addition / deletion.please suggest.

i am coming with 8 adults 2 child & 1 infant aged 1year baby. Please give your valuable suggestion plzzzzzzzzzz.

regards
ravi b
9481714433

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Hi Ravi... Your itinerary seems perfect to me... I will recommend you to spend entire day (June 13th) in Darjeeling and start for Gangtok on 14th early morning... In the evening, you can arrange your permits, vehicle for Nathula pass tour.... June is however considered as Monsoon season in this part of Himalayas so you may witness heavy downpour along the way....

Your group includes infant and kids so i will recommend you to take extra care while visiting Nathula pass... Nathula pass is at higher altitude which is relatively challenging due to Thin Air.... Though I had seen many families visiting Nathula with kids and old age people yet i will recommend you to consult with a doctor first....

There is nothing as such best place around Gangtok... Trip to East Sikkim (Nathula, Changu lake, Baba Mandir) is always a delight to the travelers...

Regards
Vishnu Kumar

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Dear Sir

Thanks for your reply. Our team are witnessing the heavy rain since our childhood as we belongs to Western Ghat Region. If heavy rain will be there then our group members feeling that we can't enjoy the nature Gangtok its surrounding nature what we are expecting now. But still i follow your valuable suggestions .

thanks & regards

ravi b.

9481714433

ravi b
karwar dist:uttar kannada
karnataka
9481714433

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You belong to a state I love the most... My favorite state in India... I traveled a lot in Western ghats and was in Karwar also... here is the travel memoir from Karwar..

http://thinkingparticle.com/blog/monsoon-diaries-doused-karwar

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Hi Ravi... Yes its right, monsoon is not the right time to visit foot hills of Himalayas such as Gangtok and Darjeeling however chances of rainfall at higher altitude such as nathula pass etc are rare.... During monsoon there is also high probability of getting stuck due to land slides etc... There are few points if you are traveling Gangtok during June... However there are many people i can see planning their trip in June itself.... Keep your fingers crossed...may be you witness pleasant days during your time in Sikkim...

Regards
Vishnu Kumar

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Sir

thanks for catching a beautiful photos of my state. Still i show u some more hidden/un named waterfalls. which u remember forever. 

 

sir please guide me about my tour plan, i am unable to decide what to do? i am in Dual mind situation. Kindly help 

 

regards

ravi b
karwar dist:uttar kannada
karnataka
9481714433

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Ravi... Personally i would recommend you guys to go... I mentioned the pros, cons and possibilities but still as a traveler, I will say you should give it a try... :)

shetal (not verified)
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we r 7 px.21 may to 31 may we r travel from njp to bagdogara.we cant make our plsm so plz help is out.5+ 2child.

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Hi Shetal...
                   I would have really loved to help your group but i do not have sufficient information... I think you have around 10 days to travel Sikkim so I will suggest you to include Darjeeling as well.... Please read the itineraries from other travelers... You will find all kind of itineraries in our forum section (Varying from 4 days to 10 days)... pick any of those... let me know if you need more inputs...

Regards
Vishnu Kumar

Varun (not verified)
Latha's picture

Hi Vishnu,
I have been following this thread to get information regarding Sikkim. It's been one of those threads which actually instiils confidence in one making one familiar with the place with all the info needed.
I am a biker from Blore, and this will be my first ride to sikkim.
Recently had been to Ladakh riding from Blore for a month. This time all i have is a weeks time to see sikkim and ride those beautiful roads of Zuluk and others and get back with an amazing experience.
If you can, please let me know the places that would be perfect for such a ride.
Will be taking a flight from blore on 25th may., and reaching New Jalpaiguri by train on the 26th (Not yet planned how).
and my flight back is on the 4th of June monday from Kolkata.
My bike will be reachin New Jalpaiguri station on 26th saturday.

Also Needed info regarding the permits to places,
how much would they cost??
and can i get it done before i reach gangtok?

This will be of a great help as i'm riding solo and any loss in time procuring permits would be affecting any plans i have.
Please help.

thanks,
Varun

vishnu.kumar7's picture
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Joined: 05/24/2010
Posts: 11807

Hi Varun,
              I truly appreciate your spirit of driving to Himalayas... will be glad to help you planning your bike trip to Sikkim... Once your bike arrive at New Jalpaiguri, I will recommend you to head towards Gangtok... If you can reach there by evening on 26th may then you can contact a tour agent for your permits to Nathula pass, Changu lake, North Sikkim, Gurudongmar lake.... tell them that you need a permit for your bike as well... they will arrange it... Else on 27th Morning, you can go to the sikkim tourism office and apply for your permits...

Once you get the permits then there is one day tour to Nathula pass which is must do... Nathula is not open on monday, tuesday and friday.... The best pick for you would be Sunday 27th itself....

28th May: If you have done nathula tour on 27th then you can head towards North Sikkim... Start early because its going to be along day....drive all the way till Lachen.. if possible, stretch till Thangu Village and stay there overnight...

29th May: I am assuming that you got permit for Gurudongmar lake as well...so drive further north till Gurudongmar lake (18K feet), second highest lake of India (Acute mountain sickness is quite common at that altitude)....Drive back to Lachen-Chungthang... overnight stay at Lachen or Chungthang...

30th May: Drive further north to Yumthang, Zero point (via Lachung)...Retung back to Lachung or Chungthang (Overnight stay)...

31st May: Drive back to Gangtok following the same route back.... overnight stay at Gangtok....

1st June: Gangtok-Darjeeling (If you want, you can visit Kalimpong as well).. Over night stay at Darjeeling...

2nd June: Darjeeling to Mirik (Overnight stay at Mirik)

3rd June: Mirik-Siliguri (So that you can start for Kolkata on the same day)

4th June:

Getting permits to the border areas is bit difficult in Sikkim in comparison to other region of Himalayas (Ladakh, Spiti, Lahaul, Garwal etc)... North sikkim is really beautiful but you won't get permit for many sites... Route from peeling to Yuksom is also picturesque but that will make your trip quite taxing....

Regards
Vishnu Kumar

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Joined: 05/24/2010
Posts: 11807

Lachung to Katao is another offbeat trail for bike trip... It is one of the best route in Eastern Himalayas.... However getting permit would be bit tricky....  Contact Sikkim Tourism Office at Gangtok for this permit...

I will be glad if you can share your travel experience with us in the form of travel blogs....

Regards
Vishnu Kumar

Neeti (not verified)
Latha's picture

Hi,

I have planned my trip to gangtok - darjeeling from May 30th to june 5th

We will halting at gangtok for one and half day..Our itineirary includes changu lake but not nathula pass..as they say the permit is very difficult to procure and there are lucky draws going on for the same as its very crowded these days there..if u dont qualify u may loose 5000 rs which they will take for passes.

Pls suggest how to take the permit to nathula pass

vishnu.kumar7's picture
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Joined: 05/24/2010
Posts: 11807

Hi Neeti,
                Who said to you that there is some lucky draw for Nathula pass's permit and permit costs 5000 INR ?... If Nathula is open on the day you are visiting Changu lake then you must visit Nathula pass...

                Getting permit for Nathula pass was never such dramatic un till unless it snows heavily in the surrounding areas... I think permit for Indian national should cost nearly 200 INR (even less) per person...

                  Please check with any tour agent once you arrive at Gangtok... No need to worry about it upfront... you have to submit your documents personally anyway...

Regards
Vishnu Kumar

Neeti (not verified)
Latha's picture

Hi Vishnu,

Can you suggest whom should i contact, as travel agent is suggesting not to cover nathula pass because of lesser time. But according to my itinierary i am arriving on wednesday - 30th May to gangtok and the next day i.e. thurday we have a full day excursion only to Tshangu Lake and return..pls tell me whom to get in touch with and what all documents are reuired for the same.

Thanks
Neeti

vishnu.kumar7's picture
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Joined: 05/24/2010
Posts: 11807

Hi Neeti... There are some numbers suggested by our fellow travelers for some agents.. I personally do not recommend any particular travel agent... You can visit Nathula pass on the day (Thursday) you are visiting Changu lake... Changu lake is enroute to Nathula and just 3-4 km before.... How come your agent is saying that it will require more days... most of the travelers visit Nathula pass, Changu lake, Baba Mandir as a single day trip.... Most of travelers do the booking of this tour after arriving at Gangtok and I have never heard that there are some limited seats.... I do not think that you really need to do advance booking for this tour....

However for the numbers of the agents, you can browse the links in my answer below...  You can browse other threads about Gangtok travel in our forum section...

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

 

Regards
Vishnu Kumar

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

Hi Neeti,

 

I have just visited the place.  There is no such problem in getting the permit. We  stayed at Snow Lion and the permit and taxi was arranged by the manager himself. Nathula Pass, Changu Lake n baba mandir r covered on the same day. In our case, Nathula pass was closed due to snow fall. Hence we visited only Changu n baba mandir. Please do carry passport size photos of all members as will be required for the permits as well as an photo id. u just need to submit the details an evening before. You get the permit only if the road is open. We paid I think Rs 2600 all inclusive and the driver was very good.

Dont pay the driver in full beforehand as our driver had told us that there r many new drivers who take the money in full n dont go beyond changu saying further road in blocked due to snow. Apart from the taxi money, they charge Rs 10 each(not kids) at the checkpoint when entering the permit details.

I have also updated pics of changu lake n baba mandir. u can see those

Also if nathula is open then u can visit the same only on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays(only Indian nationals).

Let me know if u need any further help.

 

 

Thanks

 

vandana

vishnu.kumar7's picture
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Thanks a lot Vandana for stepping in and sharing your own personal experience...  I believe you comment will resolve most of the queries related to East sikkim (Nathula pass, Changu lake, Baba mandir)....

So far it is the latest update we have about East Sikkim itineraries...

looking forward to see you more often at Thinking Particle...

Regards
Vishnu Kumar

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