10 days journey through former Kingdom Sikkim – India
And again my travel lead me to India!! The country I love so much... But at the same time sometimes hate. Where I find the best food in the world! REALLY!! If you go only for the food I think that is a good reason all by itself. But it is also the country where I took doggie bags and threw them out of the car into the hands of poor people alongside the road.
This time I go to explore Sikkim and I soon find out that Sikkim is different. There is not so much poverty as I am used to in India and it is a lot cleaner all around! The first day we are in Gangtok and if we make an eveningstroll I don’t feel like being in India… It more feels like Indonesia or Malaysia.
Did you know:
Sikkim is the state all the way up in India on the right side? It borders with China (Tibet) and Bhutan on the right and Nepal to the left of it. Sikkim is also in the Himalaya region so that gives it great mountains and views over landscape!! The state has the same Chief Mininster for decades already and that is the mainreason that it has been so stabile I’ve been told.
That Sikkim was a Kingdom? Untill India conquered the state in 1975
The life is good. I heard there is a annual jobmarket, was in january this year. They make sure that every family at least has one job. This to maintain the income to be stabile in the different layers of society.
that in almost the whole state plastic in banned? Also throwing garbage on the street is punished with a high fine.
that in the city of Gangtok all kinds of religions are? I saw Buddhism, Hinduism and also Sikhs and Christianity.
Gangtok – Sikkim
A Day Full of Temples and Monasteries
With views on the Himalaya
Our first day is full of history, culture and religion. We went from temples to monasteries and on the way we are treated with the best of views!! On the one side of the road we find the best views and on the other side we see every now and then a waterfall. We sometimes stop for pictures ofcourse.
We see the following temples and monasteries in the surroundings of Gangtok and I can recommend them highly:
Dro-dul Chorten, Rumtek monastery, Hanuman Tok, Gonjang monastery, Ganesh Tok, Enchey Gompa.
At eveningtime you have to go to the famous shoppingstreet MG Marg. When you walk there you almost feel in Europe…as long as you don’t look at all the advertisment and sort of shops. The streets is so clean and nice!! You can get a great cup of chai there and ofcourse a good curry for dinner!
The journey across the mountains to Lachung – North Sikkim
“Did you know that North Sikkim has banned all plastics? If you are there with some plastic bottle as a tourist you can get a fine of 5000INR. That is over 70 Dollar.”
Lachung – Yumthang Valley
Foreigner needs Permit for Yumthang Valley
After a while it appears that the road has been opened and we can go to the Yumthang valley after all. When we get there we find it not to be as pleasant and beautiful as the first valley where we spend so much time. You need to come here in March or April when it is a sea of flowers!!
“Did you know that in this part of India Hindu is not the religion that dominates? The coloured flags you see everywhere, on brigdes and at dangerous curves in the road has probably told you already.. It is the Buddhism that is everywhere in Sikkim.”
Visiting Lachung Monastery
Great Hike through the Village of Lachung
I do get, as a Western tourist a lot of attention. My fellow blogger and traveler Abhinav was so surprised by that. Lots of people were smiling and saying hi to us. Some even dare to ask me where I was from, sometimes Abhinav will also answer but they weren’t even listening anymore.We really had to laugh about those situations and the interaction got even better because of that!!
10 days journey through Sikkim – India
On our way to Namchi – South Sikkim
And if you like a bonfire in the evening.. They’ve got the perfect spot for that. There is no central heating in India so it can be cold in the evening.But with a great bonfire and it is offered almost everywhere for 500 to 1000 INR (you share the costs ofcourse) you can warm yourselves and have a good talk about the day before heading to your room..
Surroudings Namchi – Exploring South Sikkim
Tendong Hill Trek – Damthang
Going from South Sikkim to West Sikkim – Pelling
We also went to the huge Buddha Park in Ravangla that afternoon. I really loved walking there, the serene chant of Om Mani Padme Hum was played softly throughout the parc. I could’ve stayed for longer and sit down to meditate…. As you can see it was not that busy at the time we were there.
When you walk to the toilets and go on to the gate you can enter to visit the monastery: Rabong Gompa. We almost missed this one, there are not many signs to tell you. So think about it when you visit, it is defenitely worth it!
Chenrezig Singkham Riwo Potala Sikkim / Skywalk
On day 8 we went to the new Skywalk which is situated on the premises of Chenrezig statue. This skywalk has been opened in Nov 2018 and so it is brand new! I really liked walking this one and even more to see the people walking on it.. At first being scared to step on the glass 🙂
That afternoon we visited the second highest brigde in India, the Singshore brigde. The brigde is over 100 meter high and has a length of 240 meter and is the longest and highest of Sikkim!
I can highly recommend taking a Nepalese lunch near the brigde 🙂
Visiting the great old city of Yuksom – West Sikkim
On day 9 we went to Yuksom. On our last day of this great tour.. On our way there we visit a biological garden with orange trees.
When we entered Yuksom it immediatly felt like a great and peacefull place. We were staying in Pelling which has no real identity but only over 250 hotels. We felt sad we didn’t stay here. So if you can choose your stay for West Sikkim….Go to Yuksom and book your stay here. It is an old village with lots of nice, local streetfood restaurants and the best temples!!
We hiked to Norbugang, to see Coronation Throne where the first religious king (Chogyal) of Sikkim was crowned. This is also the place where the 3 lama’s preached their religion, Buddhism.
Hiking back to the centre of Yuksom we visited the wonderful Kartok monastery.
10 days journey through Sikkim – India
That last day we drive to Bagdogra in West Bengal.
My flight was planned from here to go to Delhi again. From there I would go on to Amsterdam, The Netherlands after a day exploring Delhi and visiting a friend 🙂 On our way back to Bagdogra we stopped at Coronation Brigde. It gives you a great view once again over that blue river Teesta and gives you time to buy some fresh fruit with red pepper for 20INR.
Would you love to book this trip too? Contact me or go directly to Yogesh of Sikkim Cab Rental Co. We love to help you exploring the great state of Sikkim!!
Number of this journey:
- I was in North, West and South Sikkim.
- I stayed in 4 different places: Gangtok, Lachung, Namchi and Pelling.
- I visited 13 monasteries which I loved for their history and for their views over the surroundings!!
- I paid for a meal, lunch or diner around Voor een gemiddelde maaltijd, lunch of diner, betaalde ik rond de 1 tot almost 4 dollar.
- So many pleasant surprises on this trip 🙂
Tips for this journey:
- To visit Sikkim you need a permit. When you enter Sikkim you go to a agency and they need a passport picture, a copy of your passport and a copy of your visa for India. In some parts of Sikkim you can’t go as a solo traveler and you need foreign company, 2 or more foreigners was enough. This was needed in Lachung.
- Be aware of the fact that your in the Himalayas. You’re at an altitude between 5000 to 9000 feet and the hotels and restaurants haven’t got heatings. So good jacket, sweater and some thermo clothes are a good thing to carry with you!
- You can use the ATM in the city I have mentioned. I changed 100 Euro and it was enough for me to have lunches, pay for entrees and buy some small items along the way. Only on the last day when I started buying some souvenirs I needed more money.
- The shower has limited hot water. There is a boiler in the bathroom that you need to activate 10 minutes before showering. Mixing the hot and cold water is also a bit tricky. Sometimes it does not really work and it is either hot or cold.
- They have the baskets in there and I recommend you to fill it while you have still hot water. Just in case the hot water runs out and your hair is still shampooed you can rinse it with nice warm water 🙂 Most of the time I did have time to quickly wash and condition my hair and then the hot water was gone…
- India is mostly vegetarian. If you look at the restaurant menus you’ll see mostly vegetarian or even vegan. All the products you’ll buy will have a logo to show you if its vegetarian or vegan also. I really like that about India. Check products for a green dot or a brownish/orange dot (includes egg).
Do you like this trip too?
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Will you help spread the word about Sikkim?
Looking for more travels in India?
Sunrise at the Taj Mahal – Agra
Dive into the Streetfood Culture – Mumbai
In search for the Tiger @ Periyar Tiger Reserve – Kerala
Climbing Thajiwas Glacier – Kashmir
Or can I inspire you to go do a Vipassana Course? I did my first in Chennai, Tamil Nadu – India and went again in Belgium
I hope you love this world as much as I do!!
Jacomijn is een politieagent uit Nederland die jou graag laat zien hoe je veilig, actief en gezond de wereld kan over reizen. Safe and Healthy travel is a MUST
Wow, All The Places are Awesome, Next December I will visit India. I got perfect places for traveling and exploring new places, Thanks for sharing information. I will keep all this in mind and explain to my DMC USA for my visit.