A tailormade trip to Sikkim makes for a fantastic sojourn into the lap of the Himalayas, instantly imposing and arresting in their grandeur. Setting foot in the northeastern hill state, one is greeted by beautiful colours and clear skies throughout autumn (October to December) and spring (March to May), while Winter months (January-February) witness snow and sub-zero temperatures at night and may be avoided while planning your trip.
Transport in Sikkim
Gangtok, the Sikkimese capital, is easily reached by a 4-5 hour drive either from the nearest railway station, Siliguri (114 km) or the nearest airport, Bagdogra (125 km). Locally rented transport within Sikkim is the most convenient method of finding your way around, taxicabs and shared jeeps being quite common.
Sights to See in Sikkim
The charming state of Sikkim is best explored on a tailor-made trip that includes a mandatory drive to the beautiful Tsomgo Lake. At a height of 3780 m, the lake is partly frozen in Spring and Autumn which provides for fabulous photo-ops. A Yak ride by the lake and hot tea and lip-smacking Momos (filled dumplings) from the lakeside stalls complete the enjoyable experience. You could go on a day hike to Gochela Pass for a charming sunrise view of the world’s third largest peak, Kanchenjunga. Pay a visit to the famous Rumtek or Rampa Buddhist monasteries for a truly spiritual and life-altering experience.
Things to Do in Sikkim
Tribal and folk dances are true mirrors of Sikkimese culture and must definitely be on your customized trip itinerary. The local cuisine boasts of Chhang (a refreshing local rice beer), Momos, Sisnoo (nettle soup), spicy pork curry and many other delightful specialties. Mountaineering and trekking enthusiasts are in for a treat as the rugged Himalayas are the perfect destination for adventure treks, hikes and mountain trails. The turbulent waters of the mighty Teesta River offer great opportunities for rafting and kayaking at all levels of expertise.
Ensure you have everything you’ll need
Foreign tourists are required to get Restricted Area Permits to visit certain places that lie within sensitive border zones or protected tribal areas. These can be obtained from any Tourist Office of the Sikkim government. It is advisable to drink only mineral water and carry water purification tablets to keep water-borne diseases at bay. Visitors should dress conservatively, especially at monasteries, to respect the sensibilities of the still-conservative residents of Sikkim. There are no specific customs or inoculation requirements; visitors travelling from Yellow Fever-affected countries however are required to carry valid certificates of yellow fever vaccinations with them.
Extended Trip to Bhutan
One can get their travel agent or planner to extend their tailormade Sikkim trip on to the neighbouring Bhutan, also making sure to get all immigration formalities completed beforehand. You could visit the ancient Dzongs (fortresses) and monasteries, go on bird-watching and trekking tours and also take some time to sit back and enjoy the sheer scenic wonder that Bhutan is. Travel within Bhutan costs around USD 200 a day for foreign nationals including arrangements for internal transport, guides, meals and accommodation – a relatively small price to pay for a glimpse into the rich cultural heritage of the happiest country in the world.
Now that you have made your mind to travel to Sikkim, so do check out Shanti Travel’s Tailormade holidays to Sikkim to unwind yourself in the lap of the pristine Eastern Himalayan state in Northeastern India http://www.shantitravel.com/en/indian-himalayas/sikkim-trekking/