Category Archives: Sikkim

Sikkim is a smallest state of India, bordered by Tibet, Bhutan, Nepal and West Bengal. It is categorised as North Sikkim, South Sikkim, East Sikkim and West Sikkim.

10 Reasons Why Everyone Should Travel India

India the land of 1.3 Billion inhabitants is a cacophony of contrasts, sound, colors, smell, and taste. Mother India as we Indians say it, has a rich history, heritage, traditions, unbelievable landscapes, lush beauty and exotic architecture to overload your senses. It is the Birthplace of Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism, Jainism, and other religions. Guests are treated as Gods and each Indian live by the saying “Atithi Devo Bhava”. Not only this, but the variety of lavish cuisines of every state of India is also unique and completely mouthwatering. So, in the post, we will be quoting reasons, that why everyone should travel India, at least once in their lifetime. Also, we will brief the Indian visa and its application process.

10 Reasons Why Travel India

Why Travel India?

History & Architecture

India, also known as Bharat is one of the oldest civilizations in the world. It has a history dating back to the Neothilic period. The land has been ruled by several rulers, dynasties and has gone through several wars and conquers. Each of these rulers during its era built unique massive forts, palaces, mosques, temples, etc. So there is a lot of history behind each of these structures along with unique architecture and an interesting story. Apart from this India is also known as the land of epics and legends. The two epics Ramayana and Mahabharata belong to this nation.

Haunted Bhangarh fort
Bhangarh fort in Rajasthan

Today, 38 ancient sites (cultural and natural) of the nation are listed on the UNESCO World Heritage list, making it a treasure trove for history buffs and design enthusiasts.

Culture and Traditions

The country is known throughout the world for its diverse cultures. And the same manifest well in its religions, traditions, languages, festivals, fairs, values, dresses, art and craft. India is dominantly a Hindu state but has a lot of Muslim population too, making it to one of the largest Muslim nations in the world.

Pushkar in Rajasthan- Travel India

The country has multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, multi-lingual and multi-religious society i.e. the total 29 states of country have its own communities, culture, traditions, festivals, dressing style and food. People speak different languages and have diverse lingual tones. The traditional culture and lifestyle in Indian villages symbolizes the true essence of India. But overall, it is an amalgamation of various cultures influenced from thousands of year’s old history. The phrase Unity in Diversity sums up the true India.


The word “Himalayas” means a house of snow or snow abode in Sanskrit. The Indian Himalayas spread over the northern frontiers and the north of it is known as roof the world. The Himalayas span Jammu & Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Himachal, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh and Bay of Bengal in India.

View of Chau Chau Kang Nilda from Fossil Village Langza
View of Chau Chau Kang Nilda from Fossil Village Langza Spiti Valley

The Himalayas have some of the highest peaks like Kanchenjunga, which is the third-highest peak in the world. Many of these peaks are considered sacred by Hindus and Buddhists. The Himalayas too are rich in extensive flora, fauna, and medicinal herbs. The mighty rivers like Ganges, Indus, Satluj, Brahmaputra have their origin from the Himalayas. The River Ganga is sacred of all rivers and runs for 2500 Kilometers from Northern Himalayas to the Bay of Bengal. It is a source of fishing, agriculture and many other activities. Hindus also believed that the River transports the prayers of believers to heaven and a dip in the river purifies your soul.

Devprayag - Confluence of River Bhagirathi and River Alaknanda
Devprayag – Confluence of River Bhagirathi and River Alaknanda

Another thing, not to miss in the Himalayas is Himalayan Toy Train of Shimla, Darjeeling, Ooty. These colonial trains are a part of UNESCO Heritage sites and they provide a mesmerizing experience. The scenic beauty around the lush green landscapes and blue sky from the speeding train looks just out of the world.

Darjeeling Toy Train Steam Engine- Darjeeling Sikkim Tour
Darjeeling Toy Train Steam Engine


If you are an adventure lover and like an instant adrenaline rush, then travel India. In India, adventure follows everywhere – be it while hiking or driving in the Himalayas in Leh Ladakh and Spiti Valley, riding around the beaches of Goa; while doing a safari in Sariska Tiger Reserve, Ranthambore National Park or checking the haunted Bhangarh fort of Rajasthan, while checking the wildlife in the Himalayas or jungle, while passing the highest motorable passes in Ladakh or ridging the double-humped camels in Nubra valley or moving endlessly in the chaotic streets of Old Delhi, while hitchhiking or boarding the public transport. In every nook and corner, you will find an endless adventure and it is extremely fun.

View of Khajjiar Meadows form Hotel Devdar - Dalhousie Chamba Khajjiar
View of Khajjiar Meadows form Hotel Devdar

High Altitude Lakes

Indian Himalayas are home to plenty of high altitude lakes, out of which many are still undiscovered. These high altitude turquoise blue water Lakes nestled between the snow covered mountain peaks looks completely ethereal and surreal in summers whereas remain completely frozen in winters.

Gurudongmar Lake in North Sikkim - Darjeeling Sikkim Tour
Gurudongmar Lake in North Sikkim

The Gurudongmar Lake in North Sikkim, located at 5430 meters i.e. 17,800 feet is the highest lake in India. Its changing colors with the daylight can leave anyone spellbound. The other high altitude lakes which one should check are – Pangong Tso, Tso Moriri, Tso Kar, and Suraj Tal in Jammu and Kashmir. Foreign Nationals need a special PAP (Protected Area Permit) and Indians need an Inner line permit to visit many of these.

Religious and Spiritual Tour to Temples & Monasteries

Religion and spirituality are intertwined in the daily lives of Indians. India is a birthplace of various religions like Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Jainism, and others. Visiting temples (Badrinath, Kedarnath Temple, etc), Buddhist monasteries like Hemis Monastery, and looking into their relics and stories gives one a better picture of Indian culture. Witnessing the people worshipping and praying in their own ways is not less than a treat to eyes. Spirituality here is not just about praying but it’s about finding one’s inner peace and spiritual self.

Thiksey Monastery in Ladakh- Travel India
Thiksey Monastery in Ladakh – Travel India

The Buddhist Gompas in the North India, exemplify the rich traditions and simplistic life Monks lead, the Ashrams spread throughout the country gives you an idea of slow peaceful life with the consumption of organic food whereas the ancient Temples of South gives you the insight of wealth of the country. Apart these, there are some amusing and unique temples too, set up on the beliefs, likelihood or on the fan following For e.g. – motorcycle temple in Rajasthan, Amitabh Bachhan Temple in Kolkata, Dog Temple in Karnataka, Visa Temple in Jalandhar Punjab, Narender Modi Temple in Gujarat and Bharat Mata Temple in Varanasi.  


Indians have diverse culinary habits throughout and their food style is influenced by Mughlai, Persian and many others. Most importantly Indians take their food quite seriously.

Pao Bhaji at Orange Festival Dambuk
Pao Bhaji – Indian Street food

The diverse variety of lip-smacking delicacies range from the Thukpa in North to the Idly-Sambar in the South, including the Dal Baati Churma in the West and the various dishes of pork in the East. Chapatti with the thick curries also makes to the staple food in North India whereas rice with the seafood, prepared in coconut curry, is for South. Apart this there is no end to the street food here. So, overall India is a gastronomical paradise and the aroma of food can easily trigger up your taste buds.

Festivals & Fairs

India the largest democratic country with diversity in religion, culture, and topography is diverse with its festivals and fairs too. Each month there is some or other festival or fair and it is celebrated on a large scale. Some of these festivals have a religious affair whereas others are celebrated for fun and seasonal change. The main motto of each is to bring people of all religions together for bonding and humanity and unite the whole of India to a single bunch. For the month-wise details of Indian festivals of India check Part 1 and Part 2 here.

Holi Festival Travel India
Holi Festival – Travel India

The festival of Lights Diwali, where the whole sky gets illuminated by fireworks and the festival of Colors are the two most important festivals of India. Apart from festivals, the endless fairs or melas celebrated across the country, highlights the local culture of the land in most colorful and expressive ways, emphasizing the prevailing folklore and history of the region. The must-visit fairs while travelling to India include the Pushkar Camel fair, Khumb Mela, Rann Utsav, Goa Carnival, Khajuraho Dance Festival, Elephant festival of Jaipur, Dambuk Orange festival, etc.

4-4 Fury adventure at Dambuk Orange Festival - Travel India
4-4 Fury adventure at Dambuk Orange Festival – Travel India

Yoga & Ayurveda Treatment

Yoga and Meditation originated in India and today it is practiced throughout the world for stress relief, physical fitness, and relaxation. So, Yoga might belong to the world but its Home is India only. Therefore, to learn or practice yoga, travel India and it’s the best place to lean it. Yoga is not just about physical fitness and being flexible, it is a repository. It means to connect- Connect to yourself and maintain harmony with nature. It is a way to recognize self, increase self-consciousness and coordination, to open yourself to new things and ideas. The best places to learn Yoga are Rishikesh, Dharamshala, Haridwar, Mysore, etc.

View from Ayurvedic Spa Room of Chariot Beach Resort Mahabalipuram
View from Ayurvedic Spa Room of Chariot Beach Resort Mahabalipuram

Ayurveda, the 5000 years old natural medicine system, too has its origin in India and today its variants are used everywhere in the world as alternative medicine. The traditional system focuses on treating and eradicating the problem right from the root cause of it, by taking the account of diet, lifestyle, routine, exercise and circumstances of a patient. Ayurveda purifies the mind, body and soul. Indian forests being rich in herbs and flora, have multiple medical concoctions. So, India is an ideal place for availing Ayurveda Treatment. The best place to experience Ayurveda treatment, spas and massages in India is Kerala.


Last but not the least is always smiling, and hospitable people. Be it the extreme village of Spiti Valley or the desert, people are kind enough to invite you to your home for a cup of tea with local bread. Even if they have one room and you are in shortage of space, they will be more than happy to accommodate you. Still in the remote villages, you can see the innocent children playing in the puddles or climbing the trees, much away from the facts of internet and technology.

Children playing cricket on the way to chanshal pass
Children playing cricket on the way to Chanshal Pass

How to get Indian Visa

All tourists need to apply for Indian visa before traveling. The visa can be applied through Indian Post or via the most convenient option i.e. e- visa. The e- visas should be applied at least four days before the travel date and the traveler can enter the country within a period of 120 days from the issue date. For Example: If you are applying on 1st Sept then the applicant can select the arrival date from 5th Sept to 2nd Jan.

From 2019, the newly issued tourist and business e-visas for India are valid for 365 days. Within this period, the tourist can make an unlimited number of trips to India. However, this does not mean that you can stay in India for one consecutive year. UK, USA, Canada or Japan passport holders can stay for max. 180 days whereas other nationalities can only stay for a maximum of 90 consecutive days.

From the web browser open the site for applying for an India visa. Fill all the required details like contact information, place of residence, travel dates, passport information, and passport photo, and wait for 4 days to get the approval. In case of emergency, visas get approved within 24 hrs.

10 Reasons Why Travel India
10 Reasons Why Travel India

Important Points to Remember before traveling to India

  • Give yourself enough time to enjoy every location in India
  • Prepare a rough itinerary encompassing accommodation and transport, to avoid unavoidable Indian mishaps and adventurous detours
  • Hindi is India’s mother tongue still it isn’t spoken by everyone and everywhere in India. In fact, there are more than 20 languages spoken throughout the country and English tends to serve as a common lingo
  • Learn few Hindi phrases to break the ice with locals like “Namaskar” (hello), “Dhanyawaad” (thank you), “Aap Kaise hai” (how are you), “Kitna Dena hai” (how much to pay) and “Naam kya hai” (what’s your name)
  • Credit cards, Debit cards, and money wallets are accepted throughout the country. But still carry some cash while traveling in the remote areas and in the Himalayas
  • There are plenty of street food options in India but consume it from a good food joint only to avoid food poisoning
  • Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated
  • Wear comfortable clothing and dress appropriately according to the location. In mountains, it is usually cold even in summers so always remember to carry windcheaters and a light jacket
  • Toilets are still a big-time challenge in many remote parts of India. So, carry Pee safe with you always to avoid infection
  • Public transport as well as cab service is good in the country but make sure to take complete information about the route before traveling
  • Inform the concerned person about your travel plans and locations in India for safety and security
  • Bargaining is possible in the street and flea markets of India, so remember to do it before making a purchase

Chasing Rains at offbeat Monsoon Destinations in India

Since 7:00 am, we both are glued to our chairs in the hotel’s room Balcony with tea mugs in our hand. You know why? Because it has been raining since early morning and we can’t miss gazing at the formation of the raindrops, swaying trees, moving clouds, dancing flowers and that cool misty breeze on the face. You might think, we are crazy. Yes! We are because we love seeing, getting wet and jumping in rains at different places. So, as soon as monsoon set it foot, we start planning a trip to one of the offbeat monsoon destinations in India. Till now, we have covered many monsoon destinations in India and in this post, we will be covering our favorite ones.

Chasing Rains - Offbeat Monsoon Destinations in India

Offbeat Monsoon Destinations in India

With the onset of the rainy season, mother earth wakes up from hibernation and starts rejuvenating. The downpour provides relief to everyone and everything from the scorching heat and the whole nature just turns magical. In hills, the clouds engulf the mountains and landscapes, the dried-up patches turn lush green, waterfalls soar up, and the silent rivers turn ferocious. Not only this the rhythmic rain sound, earthy smell, and misty fragrance further adds fuel to the soul. So, it’s our favorite time of year for traveling.

Vagator Beach - Offbeat Monsoon Destinations in India
Vagator Beach – Offbeat Monsoon Destinations in India

And, if you too are someone like us who wants to enjoy these perils of nature in its purest form, then you must travel in monsoons. So, pack your bag and get ready to explore these offbeat monsoon destinations in India.

Chakrata, Uttarakhand

Chakrata, the cantonment area at an elevation of 7500 feet, in the Garhwal Himalayas in Dehradun district, is a hidden gem of Uttarakhand. The hill station was developed by British rulers as a summer retreat for the high executives, exactly like all other cantonments of India.

Chakrata in Monsoons
Chakrata – Offbeat Monsoon Destinations in India

In monsoons, Chakrata looks extremely dramatic. The roaring, hanging clouds in seconds descend down on the ground, reducing the visibility to zero. You can’t predict when downpour will begin here and if it starts it won’t stop that easily. Rains make the landscapes look crystal clear and lush green. Waterfall howl in full volume during monsoon season and there is a fragrance of fresh air throughout.

Must Visit – Tiger Fall, Deoban, Chilmiri Point, Kanasar and Budher Caves

How to reach Chakrata

Chakrata lies 89 kilometers from Dehradun city and 323 kilometers from Delhi. From Delhi it can be reached by car, bus, train or cab. The nearest airport and railway station is at Dehradun. From there one can hire cab or take a bus to reach Chakrata.

According. to AllGudThings, the best way is to take a self-drive road trip. There are two routes and we opted for route 1 because it is a highway and to avoid heavy traffic at Meerut and Saharanpur.

Route 1: Delhi – Panipat –Karnal – Yamunagar – Ponta Sahib – Chakrata

Route 2: Delhi – Ghaziabad – Meerut – Saharanpur –Dakpathar – Chakrata

Condition of Roads: Excellent, fully graveled highway roads. The steep roads start only after Ponta Sahib

Binsar, Uttarakhand

Binsar, located at 7913 feet is a hidden sleepy place in the Kumaon Himalayas of Uttarakhand. Indeed, it is a less traveled forest, encircled by a vast wildlife sanctuary spreading up to 46km2. And today it is home to many rare animals, birds, and wildflowers.

As soon one enters the Binsar wildlife sanctuary the blanket of green hangs all around. The rocks are covered with unusual moss and ferns, and flowers and shrubs foliage is seen sprouting out of every conceivable nook and corner of the hillside. The entire place looks from a different era. It seems time never touched this place and it has been similar since years. In monsoons, Binsar becomes too exiting. If one moment, there is a heavy rainfall followed by pitter – patter of raindrops than other moment it will be misty with floating clouds in the valley.  Overall the place is adorable throughout and looks super green, fresh, foggy and smells earthy.

Must Visit –  Zero Point, Bineshwar Mahadev Temple, Kasar Devi Temple,

Binsar in Monsoons
Binsar in Monsoons

How to reach Binsar

Binsar lies 95 Kilometers from Nainital, 35 kilometers form Almora, and 423 kilometers from Delhi. It can be reached via air, road or rail. The nearest airport is Pantnagar airport and the nearest railway station is at Kathgodam. Further from both the stations, distance to Binsar can be covered by taxis or buses.

Route to Binsar from Delhi – Delhi- Ghaziabad- Hapur- Moradabad- Kaladungi- Nainital- Almora – Binsar

Condition of Roads- Gaveled single lane tortuous roads and at places expect detours due to landslides

Registration Fee for Binsar Wildlife SanctuaryRs 150 per person and Rs 250 for vehicle

Thanedar, Himachal Pradesh – Offbeat Monsoon Destination in India

Thanedar, a small offbeat town in Himachal Pradesh is located at 7700 feet, near Narkanda. It is well known as the home to the first apple plantations of the country. Along with apple, the fertile land and good climate conditions too helps in cultivation of plums and apricots and today this belt is referred as a Food Bowl of Himachal.

In monsoons, Thanedar and its surroundings look completely heavenly. The whole of the valley is lush green and submerged in clouds. There is pin-drop silence except the chirping of birds and roaring clouds. And when the clouds clear or valley lifts up its veil, one can see the apple trees in full bloom, laden with clusters of pink-tinged white flowers. So, overall this place is enough for a sensory explosion and we time.

Narkanda Thanedar in Monsoons
On the way Narkanda Thanedar – Offbeat Monsoon Destinations in India

Must Visit – Tani Jubber Lake, St. Mary’s Church, Apple Orchards, Sutlej River, Harmony Hall also known as The Samuel Stokes stone house, dedicated to the man who started apple cultivation in this belt and later who changed his name to Satyanand, Stokes Farm and Narkanda

How to reach Thanedar

Thanedar lies at a distance of 445 kilometers from Delhi, 80 kilometers from Shimla and about 15 kilometers from Narkanda. It can be reached via air, road or rail. The nearest airport is the Shimla airport located in Jubbarhatti and the nearest railway station is at Shimla. Further from both the stations, distance to Thanedar can be covered by taxis or buses.

Route to Thanedar from Delhi – Delhi – Karnal- Kurukshetra- Zirakpur- Shimla- Narkanda- Thanedar

Condition of Roads- Highway with fully gavelled roads except few bad places. Also expect jams due to work in progress


Sikkim, is the least populous and second smallest mountainous state in North East India. The state is further divided into North, South, East and West Sikkim. The state has around 28 mountain peaks and also host the highest peak of India i.e. Kanchenjunga. Around 35% part of the entire state is covered by Kanchenjunga National Park & its capital is Gangtok.

Sikkim in Monsoons
Sikkim – Offbeat Monsoon Destinations in India

Sikkim in Monsoons won’t be on anyone’s radar because of the incessant rains area receives. But believe us, if you want to see the beauty of the real nature, then this is the best time. Paths get lined up with ginormous ferns and wildflowers, forests turn green & dense and fog in between make it look mysterious. The river starts flowing in full swing, the waterfalls become exuberant, the blanket of clouds continuously hover over the landscapes and the whole nature smells earthy. Everything looks extremely dreamy and just imagine having that lone house standing grand in the middle of the glistening field, swathed with the layers of mist. Isnt that the best feeling. Also, the place turns to a chirpy heaven and one can even spot the rarest species of the birds at this time.

Must Visit – Gangtok, North Sikkim (Gurudongmar Lake, Lachen, Lachung, Katao), Rumtek Monastery, Zuluk, Pelling, Yuksom, Ravangla, Rabdentse Palace Ruins, Kanchenjunga National Park and waterfall, Khecheopalri Lake

How to reach Sikkim

Sikkim (Gangtok) lies at a distance of 1601 kilometers from Delhi, 671 kilometers from Kolkata, 123 Kilometers from Bagdogra and 30 kilometers from Pakyong. It can be reached via air, road or rail. The nearest airport till 2018 was Bagdogra Airport but now the nearest is Pakyong Airport. The nearest railway station is at Siliguri. Further from here, the distance to Gangtok can be covered by shared or private cabs or buses.

Condition of Roads from Bagdogra Airport- Highway with fully gaveled roads except for a few bad patches.


Goa, the smallest state of India is well known nationally and Internationally for its beaches, parties, sunsets and liberal culture. Just like Old Manali it too is listed under the Banana Pancake trail and is famous not only among the hippies and backpackers but also among the honeymoon couple.

Goa in Monsoons
Goa in Monsoons

During Monsoons, Goa looks extremely different and special. There is a feeling of romance, refreshment and magic. The whole place turns lush green, Palm trees dance and sway to the tune of the winds, the quaint lanes get clean and cleared by the continuous rains, thick grey clouds rule the sky, colorful houses shine bright among the landscapes and waves swirl and bash hard at the shore of the beaches.

Most of the Shacks in Goa gets packed up during Monsoons. Only the permanent structures survive the harsh downpour. So, to enjoy the action and party scenes during monsoons, prefer staying in North Goa over South Goa as most of the Shacks are operational here.

Views of Vagator Beach from Shalai The Cliff resort
Views of Vagator Beach from Shalai The Cliff resort

Must VisitDudhsagar waterfall, North Goa Beaches (Candolim, Calangute, Vagator, Baga. Anjuna, Morjim), Chapora Fort, Old Goa Tour, Divar Island, Spice Plantations around Ponda, Bhagwan Mahavir Sanctuary, Mollem National Park, Netravali Wildlife Sanctuary, Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary, Dr. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary, Panjim and Casinos. Also, check for the local Monsoon festivals like Soao Jao (celebrated in June) and Bonderam flag festival (celebrated in August).

How to reach Goa

Goa lie at a distance of 1902 kilometers from Delhi, 603 kilometers from Mumbai, 572Kilometers from Bangalore and 44 kilometers from Dabolim. It can be reached via air, road or rail. The nearest airport is Dabolim Airport whereas the nearest railway station is at Madgaon and Vasco – Da- Gama. Further from here, the distance to Panjim can be covered by shared or private cabs or local buses.

Condition of Roads from Dabolim Airport- Fully gaveled roads with potholes. Also, expect slow traffic due to work in progress.

Tips for Traveling in Monsoons

Remember the itinerary you planned cannot be completely followed during monsoons. Half of the time you will be just sitting in your room balcony, sipping tea, enjoying the rain or you might get stuck at a place for hours. So, keep a buffer day or two in your itinerary. Also, remember to be slow and go with the flow during the rainy season.

  • Rain-proof your entire luggage and your electronic devices
  • Carry an umbrella, raincoat, first aid box, extra pair of clothes, non-slippery floaters and slippers with you
  • Do keep windcheater, light jacket and a pair of socks as the weather gets cool after rains at all these places except Goa
  • Carry torch, mosquito repellants and some packaged food
  • Keep your ID proofs and photographs with you for the permits and a visit to North and East Sikkim
  • Make sure to keep your power banks charged as there are high chances of power failure or cut in monsoons
  • Travel safely as there are chances of landslides in hilly areas
  • Don’t go out if there is an alert by Metrological Department
  • Avoid going to the waterlogged areas
  • Stop if there are a heavy downpour and thunderstorm
  • Keep yourself hydrated and avoid exposing yourself to direct winds
  • In Goa, don’t go into the beach, as the high tides are really dangerous and can push you down hard
  • Don’t run in the hills as monsoons make the trails highly slippery and there are high chances of getting slipped and injured
  • Don’t opt for water activities, although you will see companies advertising and selling them in Goa
Chasing Rains - Offbeat Monsoon Destinations in India

Tips for Road Trips to Offbeat Monsoon Destinations in India

  • Get your car wipers, headlights, brakes and tires inspected before you leave. Prefer having the anti-skid suspension tires
  • Avoid taking unknown routes and prefer the highways. Also be prepared for the detours because of the landslides
  • Start early and take the break when showers are over powering and visibility is highly reduced
  • Watch your speed and be really gentle on the curves

Eat, Roam, Live & Fall in Love with Gangtok Sikkim

Some bonds are built by chance and cannot be explained in words. They just happen and leave a direct mark on your soul. Such is the bond we have formed with Gangtok Sikkim in India.

On the first look, Gangtok City located in Northeast India looked like another uber hill town of Himachal or Uttarakhand but after spending a few days there, we realized how unique and advance it is. Locals absolutely love their city, like to keep it CLEAN and also abide by every single rule and regulations set up by the government. The Tangible Goals to end Tuberculosis by 2020, to make state completely organic and plastic-free clearly shows the high vision of state Sikkim. Just imagine, if the whole of India follows this, where we can head to. The Gangtok Town is flanked by the Himalayas on all side and has traditional monasteries hidden in between them, just like the Hemis Monastery in Ladakh.

Eat Roam Live and Fall in Love with Gangtok Sikkim

During our Darjeeling Sikkim Trip, the plan was to spend 2 days in Gangtok, Sikkim whereas we ended up spending up 4 days here. Gangtok acts as a base for trips to East, West, South or North Sikkim. So, even we made it our base and explored all zones from here itself. Also, we got surplus time to imbibe its culture and aura into our souls.

So, here is a brief travel guide from our experience on Gangtok City.

Eat- Places to enjoy food in Gangtok Sikkim, India

Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim, is a city of Nepalese, Tibetans’, and Sikkimese.  So, on MG Marg (Mahatma Gandhi Marg) the heart of Gangtok; one can find plenty of cafes and restaurants serving all the specialties to satiate your taste buds. Here are the recommendations of cafes and restaurants from the ones we tried.

Osm Restro & Lounge- Let’s Get Social

The Osm Restro & Lounge located on the first floor has great interiors and gives a feel of fine dining. The seating is comfortable and the corner seats offer the direct view of MG Marg. Their motto to “Let’s Get Social”SMILE, ENJOY, LAUGH, EAT, DRINK, SHOUT is what this place truly lives too. After a long hectic walk, we relaxed, enjoyed some cocktails and munched on thin-crust pizza here. And the experience was great enough to make us hit back the streets .

Osm Lounge & Bar at MG Marg, Gangtok
Osm Lounge & Bar at MG Marg, Gangtok Sikkim India

Nimtho- Authentic Local Cuisines of Himalayas

Nimtho, located on the first floor in the middle of MG Marg is known for authentic local cuisines of Himalayas. They serve Sikkimese, Nepali and Tibetan food, cooked in the old style with aromatic herb and spices.

Chicken Achar Momos at Nimtho in Gangtok
Chicken Achar Momos at Nimtho in Gangtok

The place has a cozy warmth and a rustic feel of the traditions with a display of traditional cooking styles throughout the sitting area. We tried Mula Chursi Salad (Raddish spunned with herbs and Sikkim Cheese) and Chicken Achar Momos. The salad was average because we didn’t like the Cheese taste much but Momos were to die for. They were absolutely soupy, juicy and spicy. Although we ordered a plain bread after that to pacify the chilliness.

Golden Dragon Bar & Restaurant

The Golden Dragon Bar and restaurant located near the Tourist Information Center on the first floor is a center of attraction of MG Marg. The loud music and two huge dragons on its exteriors make the place easily recognizable and quite distinct from others. But honestly, we didn’t like it much. The place interiors were gloomy and dingy. We wanted to rush out immediately but after the backache from the North Sikkim trip, we had no energy. So, took a chance and seated ourselves. We ordered here pizza, salad, and HIT, the local beer of Sikkim.

Hit- The Local Beer of Sikkim at Gangtok Sikkim India
Hit- The Local Beer of Sikkim at Gangtok Sikkim India

Pizza and Salad both were good but the best was chilled HIT, and it really took away all our pain.  They also have an open terrace opening towards, MG Marg.

Bakers Café

Good breakfast is what helps us to start our day well. So, we directly headed to the Bakers Café, located on MG Marg.

Bakers Cafe on MG Marg Gangtok India
Bakers Cafe on MG Marg Gangtok India

The first look of Bakers Cafe was WoW! The place has a cool ambiance and it looked like heaven for Bakery lovers. We choose a place next to the window opening up to the Himalayas and ordered a quick breakfast with cappuccino and ginger drink. The food taste and presentation were a treat to eyes. Overall, we loved this cafe and will recommend it to every traveler.

Views from Bakers Cafe in Gangtok Sikkim
Views from Bakers Cafe in Gangtok Sikkim

Our stomach was full after the scrumptious breakfast but taste buds still had the cravings of sweet so before leaving, we got some cakes, muffins, and munchies packed for ourselves.

Breakfast at Bakers Cafe in Gangtok India.
Breakfast at Bakers Cafe in Gangtok India.

Hotel Tashi Delek – Rooftop Restaurant

The Hotel Tashi Delek, hidden in one of the lanes of MG Marg is another favorite of all the places. The place has a blend of traditional and modern design and its classy rooftop with an open bar is what makes this place super special. We loved spending our evenings here, admiring the landscapes and densely spread Gangtok. The advise is to occupy a corner seat in the open for the perfect view.  

Rooftop of Hotel Tashi Delek at MG Marg Gangtok
The Rooftop of Hotel Tashi Delek at MG Marg Gangtok

The service at Tashi Delek is good but their menu has very limited food options. In food, we ate fish and egg fried rice with Local Beer “Dansberg” repeatedly and it was absolutely worth the price.

The Tangerine in Chumbi Residency

The Tangerine, restaurant in the Chumbi residency is another hyped place in Gangtok town. We were staying at Chumbi residency, so didn’t pay much attention to its restaurant but definitely, the food we ordered for breakfast and Dinner was yum and value for money.

Tangerine at Chumbi Residency, Gangtok Sikkim
Tangerine at Chumbi Residency, Gangtok Sikkim

Note: The restaurants and café in Gangtok are not overly expensive. Two people’s meal on average costs around Rs. 1000- Rs.1500/-.

Roam – Attractions in Gangtok Sikkim

Gangtok the capital of Sikkim; proves big things come in small packages. The place is a wonderland and there is some or other place of interest for every tourist or traveler. Gangtok is soaked in the beauty of Himalayas, has unlimited waterfalls, nature trails, monasteries, temples and also boasts one of the highest peaks of the world i.e. Kanchenjunga. Indeed, Gangtok is known as a “Land of Monasteries” and has some of the oldest and largest monasteries. So, here are the places of interest we would like to recommend you.

MG Marg (Mahatma Gandhi Marg)

Mahatma Gandhi Marg, the heart and most happening place of Gangtok is famous among tourists as well as locals. The marg is well paved, maintained, clean, green, and litter-free. It is absolutely full of colors and positive vibes. Also, it houses all the beautiful cafes, lounges, and traditional eateries.

MG Marg Gangtok Sikkim India
MG Marg Gangtok Sikkim India in August


Gangtok has around 100 small monasteries in and around its vicinity -like Enchey Monastery, Tusklakhang Palace Monastery, Lingdum monastery, Rumtek monastery, etc. But if you want to visit only one then do visit Rumtek Monastery.

Entry Gate To Rumtek Monastery
Entry Gate To Rumtek Monastery

The Rumtek Monastery, largest in Sikkim and mother of all monasteries, lies on an opposite hill in the Rumtek town, 23 kilometers away from the Gangtok city. At the main gate, there is a check post and from here one needs to walk for a Kilometer to reach Monastery. The path is lined with trees, colorful shops and rows of prayer wheels. The grind of prayer wheels and chirping of birds throughout the walk keep the atmosphere quite lively.

Prayer Wheels on the way to Rumtek Monastery in Sikkim
Prayer Wheels on the way to Rumtek Monastery in Sikkim

As you enter the main Monastery gate, 4 storied colorful building stands in front against a calm, green, beautiful mountainous backdrop. The colors and the aura of this place automatically pull you towards it.

Rumtek Monastery - Largest Monastery of Sikkim
Rumtek Monastery – Largest Monastery of Sikkim

Its beautiful architecture, Thangka, and the years-old artifacts clearly state its importance in Sikkim.  Also, there are several vantage points around Monastery, from where you get the entire sprawling view of Gangtok city.

Colorful Rumtek Monastery in Sikkim
Colorful Rumtek Monastery in Sikkim

Timings: 8:00 am -5:00 pm

Entry TicketRs. 10/-

View of Gangtok Town from Rumtek Monastery
View of Gangtok Town from Rumtek Monastery

Karma Shri Nalanda Institute / Rumtek Dharma Chakra Center

Keep circumambulating around the Rumtek Monastery and from behind climb the steps to reach Karma Shri Nalanda Institute, an institute for higher Buddhist studies.

Way to Golden Stupa, Karma Shri Nalanda Institute
Way to Golden Stupa, Karma Shri Nalanda Institute

The main shrine of the institute houses the 13-foot-high Golden Stupa (also known as Lhabab Chodteen) made of Gold and copper, bejeweled with ancient stones and corals. Inside the Stupa are the precious relics and holy remains of His Holiness the Sixteenth Gyalwa Karmapa Rangjung Rigpe Dorje. Photography is strictly prohibited inside the shrine.

Karma Shri Nalanda Institute in Sikkim
Karma Shri Nalanda Institute in Sikkim


Gangtok has plenty of grandeur Temples and each one is known for its peaceful environment and divine atmosphere. If you have ample time then do visit one or two of them. We checked out Hanuman Tok and Ganesha Tok, both located on the Hilltop offering an amazing view of Himalayas and Kanchenjunga Peak. But during our visit, it was monsoon time and clouds had completely engulfed the ranges, so we didn’t even get a glimpse of them.

On the way to Hanuman Top
On the way to Hanuman Top in Gangtok Sikkim India

Hanuman Tok, located at 7200 feet is dedicated to Lord Hanuman and is one of the main shrines in Gangtok. It lies 11 Kilometers from Gangtok city, on the branch road of Gangtok Nathula Highway. The drive to the temple is breathtaking especially during monsoons when every inch looks green and serene. But be carefully with the Leeches, if you are walking down.

The Hanuman Temple has a mythical story- it is believed that Lord Hanuman rested here for a while, during his return trip from Sri Lanka, while carrying Sanjeevani Bhuti (Herbs) from the Himalayas to cure Lord Laxman. And today this temple is known as wish-fulfilling Temple by locals.

Ganesh Tok I
Ganesh Tok In Gangtok Sikkim India

Ganesha Tok, the shrine dedicated to Lord Ganesha lies on the way to Hanuman Tok. The temple can be identified easily from a distance because of its vibrant colors and the colorful flags decorating the pathway. The entrance to the Temple is quite narrow and only one person can enter at a time.

Kanchenjunga View Point /Tashi View Point

The Kanchenjunga viewpoint, also known as Tashi viewpoint lies 8 Kilometers from the Gangtok city. The place is known for the panoramic views it offers of Gangtok city, and of Mount Kanchenjunga and Mount Sinolchu.

Tashi View Point in Gangtok
Tashi View Point in Gangtok

Tashi View Point is an irregular structure built on the hilltop and can be reached only via a climbing few steps. In the center of this structure is installed a beautiful dragon art, at the front are the viewpoints built with railing to get the clear panoramic views whereas at back stands the multi-floor hexagonal building. For reaching this building’s top, climb more stairs and pay a nominal fee. And it is all worth after seeing the views from the top. Clouds were floating among the mountains and we could see the specs of Gangtok city in between. The whole scene looked imaginary and completely out of the world.

View from Tashi View Point
View from Tashi View Point

Here you will also see the tourists getting themselves draped and clicked in traditional Sikkimese dresses.

Dragon art at Tashi View Point in Gangtok
Dragon art at Tashi View Point in Gangtok

Bakthang waterfall – Gangtok Sikkim

Bakthang waterfall lies 3 kilometers from Gangtok city on the North Sikkim Highway. The fall looks absolutely magnificent because of its spread and the way it falls on the green canopy of creepers.

Bakthang Waterfall
Bakthang Waterfall in Gangtok Sikkim India

In front of the Bakthang waterfall is a green bridge where one can climb up for better views and pictures. Also, do enjoy juicy and delicious momos from a local vendor standing in the car parking lot.

Lal Market

The Lal Bazaar very close to MG Marg truly represents the vibrant colors of Sikkim. The local farmers congregate here to sell their local produce and interestingly the majority of vendors are women. On Sunday, the market is super full and it looks like a melody of colors.

Mushroom at Lal Market in Gangtok
Mushroom at Lal Market in Gangtok

Lal Market has 3 floors, where the 1st and 2nd floors are dedicated to vegetable and fruit vendors and part of the 2nd and complete 3rd floor, are for purchasing clothes of every variety and range. We went here to purchase Dalle – the spiciest Chilli in the world and some local mushrooms.

Dalle- The spiciest chilli in the world
Dalle- The spiciest chili in the world

Dalle, the chili of a cherry size was a rare commodity in the market and was available in red and green. We brought 500 grams each to prepare Dalle Khursani.

Ropeway Ride for bird’s eye view of Gangtok Sikkim

The ropeway cable car ride is one of the topmost tourist attraction of Gangtok. It is a kilometer-long ride, which starts from Deorali near the Institute of Tibetology and goes up to Tashiling. The Cable car operates daily between 9:30 am to 4:30 pm continuously and the ticket price is Rs. 110/- per adult and Rs. 70/- for child below 6 years. Also, video camera charges are additional Rs. 100/-. 

Deorali Butterfly Bridge in Gangtok
Deorali Butterfly Bridge in Gangtok

Attractions Nearby Gangtok

Nathula Pass

The Nathula Pass located at 14,140 feet lies 56 kilometers from Gangtok town and can be visited as a day trip. The route was once the main silk trade route between India and China but today only limited trade takes place here. For more details on Nathula Pass and permit check here.

Tsomgo/ Changu Lake

The Tsomgo or Changu Lake is a glacial oval-shaped lake at 12,310 feet. It lies 40 Kilometers from Gangtok and can also be visited as a day trip destination. The Changu Lake Lake too is considered as one of the highest glacial lakes of India like Gurudongmar Lake and Chandratal Lake.

Tsongmo Lake or Changu Lake
Tsongmo Lake or Changu Lake (Source)

Note: Nathula Pass and Tsomgo Lake both need an inner line permit for a visit and can be visited via local cabs only. We skipped visiting both these places for two reasons. First, as we already visited another high altitude Lake i.e. Gurudongmar Lake in North Sikkim and second we never wanted to travel anymore in the cabs.

Live – Accomodation in Gangtok Sikkim India

There are plenty of accommodation options in Gangtok from guest houses to budget hotels to luxurious hotels. The only criteria we had set up for choosing a hotel for ourselves was to find a good place near to the MG Marg. So, we choose to stay at Hotel Chumbi Residency, located on the Tibet Road, at just 5 minutes’ walk away from the main market M.G. Marg.

The Lobby of Hotel Chumbi Residency in Gangtok
The Lobby of Hotel Chumbi Residency in Gangtok

The first look of the hotel lobby was impressive. It was well decorated with artifacts reflecting the Sikkim culture and the huge glass on one end gave the complete view of landscapes around Gangtok.

View from Hotel Lobby of Chumbi Residency
View from Hotel Lobby of Chumbi Residency

We opted for the Jade room at Rs. 2500 per night. The room was super comfortable, cozy, well furnished and had the feel of the bedroom, which we needed for the coming 4-5 days. Moreover, the huge window on one end was enough to have Gangtok feel.

Jade room at Hotel Chumbi Residency in Gangtok
Jade room at Hotel Chumbi Residency in Gangtok

The hotel Chumbi Residency has its own parking space and a wonderful restaurant Tangerine, which serves Continental, Oriental, Indian and Sikkimese cuisine. The other plus of the place is that they let you leave your vehicle while going for a North Sikkim tour.

Fall in Love with Gangtok Sikkim

Gangtok truly represents the beauty and serenity. It is a place which takes you through rolling hills, lush green misty valleys, beautiful monasteries and makes you fall in love. Here are some reasons why we say that

  1. Gangtok is the friendliest walking city with proper pathways
  2. Is absolutely pollution and dirt free
  3. The “N” number of cafeterias, serve the yummiest cuisines without robbing your pockets. So, the city is a gastronomical delight
  4. Has well-aligned policies for the safety and growth of state & Citizens
  5. Weather is excellent throughout the year
  6. And there are multiple options of day trips from the city

How to reach Gangtok

The closest airport to Gangtok was Bagdogra airport near Siliguri in West Bengal. From there one could opt for shared cabs, private taxis, local bus or Zoomcar. We took Zoomcar from Siliguri to Gangtok and it took us around 5 hours to reach there. However, on 4 October 2019, the new airport has opened up at Pakyong in Sikkim which is about 33 km from Gangtok and this will cut downtime to reach Gangtok to 1-hour form 5 hours.

Weather at Gangtok Sikkim, India

Gangtok has mild comfortable temperature weather throughout the year and it never crosses 25 degrees Celsius. Here, Summers are from April end to June and the temperature ranges between 22° to 14 degrees Celsius. Monsoon starts in June and continues till September. During this time Gangtok receives heavy downpour and one can witness multiple landslides too. Autumn lasts in September and October. Winter starts in November and continues until March. The temperature ranges between 7° to 4 degrees Celsius and sometimes even dip to 1 degree Celsius. Spring lasts in April and the weather starts getting warm.

We visited Gangtok in Monsoons and it is a trip to remember forever. The valley was beautifully covered in clouds. The rain continued for days but we didn’t mind getting wet anywhere. Landscapes too looked lush green and misty. So, if you are a rain lover and sucker of natural beauty than visit Gangtok during monsoon i.e. in off season.


Travel Guide for 10 Days Darjeeling Sikkim tour

We (AllGUDTHINGS), known as the unplanned travelers, are quite random in our travel plans. If one hour we are at home, another hour we will be packing and leaving for some destination. Exactly the same happened during our anniversary. The plan was to go somewhere in Himachal from Delhi, then came Munsiyari in Uttarakhand and by night the whole plan changed and we opted to go for a Darjeeling Sikkim Tour. Most people, don’t trust us on this, but yes we booked our tickets at midnight for Bagdogra Airport, Siliguri in West Bengal and boarded our flight next morning at 11:00 am. So, without any schedule, plan or bookings we left to explore the tea estate land Darjeeling and the smallest state of India, Sikkim.

Darjeeling Sikkim Tour

About Darjeeling Sikkim

Darjeeling, a hill town is located in the lower Himalayas in West Bengal at 6700 feet. It is well known for its Darjeeling tea, the world’s third highest mountain Kanchenjunga, and the UNESCO world heritage site the Darjeeling Himalayan Toy Train. Darjeeling is 68 Kilometers from Bagdogra and 80 Kilometers from Siliguri via Hill Cart road and can be reached in almost 3 hours.

Darjeeling Toy Train Steam Engine

Whereas Sikkim, the least populous and second smallest state of India is divided into North, South, East and West Sikkim. It is known nationally as the most environmentally conscious state, having banned plastic bottles and polystyrene products. The state is a host for the highest peak of India i.e. Kanchenjunga and 35% part of the state is covered by Kanchenjunga National Park. Its capital is Gangtok. Interestingly, Sikkim was earlier not on every tourist’s radar but thanks to social media for giving it glamour.

Tea Estates in Darjeeling Sikkim Tour
Tea Estates in Darjeeling Sikkim Tour

Itinerary for Darjeeling Sikkim Tour

Day 1– Fly to Bagdogra airport from Delhi. Hire a Zoomcar from Siliguri and then head further to Darjeeling. Read our experience of Zoomcar from Siliguri to Sikkim

Day 2– Explore Darjeeling

Day 3- Drive to Gangtok from Darjeeling

Day 4- Explore Gangtok and surroundings

Day 5-7 North Sikkim Tour. Visit Lachen, Lachung, Gurudongmar Lake, Chopta Valley, Yumthang Valley, Kala Pathar, Katao

Day 8– Drive towards West Sikkim to reach Pelling but unfortunately, we had to come back to Gangtok because of a massive landslide on the way.

Day 9 – Explore East Sikkim (Rumtek Monastery and Surroundings)

Day 10 –Drive from Gangtok till Siliguri by Zoomcar, then to Bagdogra airport by cab, and further flight back home to Delhi

Darjeeling Sikkim Tour
Darjeeling Sikkim Tour

Total Expense Breakup

  • Flights – Because of offseason (July – August), to & fro ticket (Delhi – Bagdogra) cost us Rs. 12,000 for two people
  • Zoomcar for the whole trip – Rs, 20,000 for first 965 Kilometers, and 5,000 Rs. as refundable security. Above this, the additional Kilometers will be charged at Rs. 15 per kilometer
  • North Sikkim Trip – Rs. 16,000 including cab, accommodation and permit + Rs. 4000/- for covering additional places like Kala Pathar, Zero Point, Chopta Valley, and Katao
  • Cab from Bagdogra airport to Siliguri – Rs.1400 to and fro
  • Hotel in Darjeeling – Due to the offseason we got Rs. 7000/- Club Room in Rs. 3500/- (Heritage Hotel); So, Rs. 7000/- for 2 nights including two meals
  • Hotels in Gangtok – Rs. 2500/- per night again due to offseason (Rs. 10,000/- for 4 nights)
  • Miscellaneous meals – Breakfast between Rs. 500- Rs.700 whereas Dinner costs around Rs. 1000- Rs. 1500. Total cost approx. – Rs. 15000/-
  • Shopping – Rs. 5000/-

Transport in Darjeeling Sikkim

Darjeeling and Sikkim both have well-connected roads and can be reached via bus, shared or private cabs. The self-drive option is also open in Darjeeling and certain districts of Sikkim, just that one needs proper permits for it. So, being road trip lovers we opted for a self-drive option and did the complete journey with Zoomcar from Siliguri.

Zoomcar Parking Lot Siliguri. - Darjeeling Sikkim Tour
Zoomcar Parking Lot Siliguri. – Darjeeling Sikkim Tour

Private and shared cabs run at very short intervals from Bagdogra airport. Shared jeep charges almost Rs. 150/- per person but it moves when it is full and there are 10 people in the jeep between 7 am to 3 pm. There is another Luxury class, share ride, which carries only 5 passengers by the name Wizzride. It starts from Siliguri and takes one to Darjeeling at a fare of Rs. 475/- and Gangtok at a fare of Rs.712 per seat. Whereas the private cab charges are Rs. 1850.00 for small car and Rs. 2200.00 for a large car.

Bus, the cheapest mode of transport starts at 7:00 am from Siliguri and go up to Darjeeling/ Gangtok. Night service is not available.

Darjeeling Toy Train Track runs parallel to road from Siliguri to Darjeeling

Another exciting option is to travel by Darjeeling Toy Train. The diesel engine hauled toy train leaves from NJP station i.e. New Jalpaiguri railway station; in the morning around 9 am and it takes about 7 hours to reach Darjeeling. The train can also be boarded from Siliguri Town and Siliguri Junction stations that are 5kms and 8kms away from NJP respectively. One side fare for First Class is Rs. 1,285/-. For the Darjeeling Toy Train schedule, check here.

Permits/ Interstate Rod Taxes for Self Drive Zoomcar

From Siliguri to Darjeeling, we didn’t pay any tax but while entering state Sikkim from West Bengal, at Rangpo we paid an interstate tax of around 700 Rs for 9 days. This amount is nonrefundable by Zoomcar and you will get an alert in the Zoomcar app as soon as you enter the sate.

Note: Zoomcar cannot be taken to North and East Sikkim because the permits for the regions are issued to the Travel agents only. For Day 5-7 we parked our vehicle at the hotel itself.

Day Wise Itinerary Breakup

Day 1 – Flight to Bagdogra Airport from Delhi, Took Zoomcar from Siliguri and moved to Darjeeling

Board a flight from New Delhi airport and you will land at Bagdogra airport in 2 – 2:15 hrs. Bagdogra airport is a small airport. Within minutes, you will collect your baggage and make an exit. At the exit gate itself, you will be surrounded by plenty of cab drivers quoting random prices. If you have not booked your cab earlier, we advise you to take an exit, walk for 500 meters and book a cab at the prepaid counter.

We hired the cab for Siliguri, from prepaid taxi stand at Rs.700/-. In 45 minutes he dropped us to the Zoomcar parking lot. As, we reached the Parking lot, our Red Scorpio and the customer care executive was waiting for us. He checked our license on arrival and handed us the documents bag, which had car RC, insurance and other important documents in it. Further he asked us to do quick inspection of the car and make a note of the scratches, dents or any other issues.  To be on the safer side, we made a quick short video and took pictures of the car.

Further, the customer representative logged into the app showed us the checklist explaining all the modules, took our signatures, handed us the keys and we were all set to go. For more details check our post experience with Zoomcar from Siliguri to Sikkim.

Tea Estates in Darjeeling
Tea Estates in Darjeeling

Within 15 minutes, we were on the road to Darjeeling. The road to Darjeeling is a beautiful road with the narrow gauge track on one side and valley on others. From one point, there are continuous ascent and tea estates on another side.  We took the Hill cart road also known as the main road and reached Darjeeling in 4 hours. Clouds were pouring, there was hardly any visibility and all we could smell was freshness in the valley.

Route: Siliguri- Kurseong- Sonada- Ghoom- Darjeeling

Accommodation at Darjeeling

There are plenty of accommodation options in Darjeeling from luxurious hotels to budget ones, guest houses and heritage homes. We choose to stay at the Central heritage resort and Spa Hotel, constructed in 1905. The hotel has heritage and a newly constructed block.

Central Heritage Resort & Spa in Darjeeling
Central Heritage Resort & Spa in Darjeeling

We chose to stay at the Heritage Club room, which completely reflected the design of the Colonial era. The room had extensive woodwork, antique furnishing, fireplace, paintings, and all required necessities. In a hotel, there are two multi-cuisine restaurants and one of them has a bar too. Also, there is also a separate bar lounge with a designated smoking area. Food is good and we advise you to must try fish from their starters menu.

Restaurant at Central Heritage Resort
Restaurant at Central Heritage Resort

Note: The Central Heritage resort is located centrally right in the market area, and the mall (chowrasta) is only a 4-5-minute walk from here. Rest markets, taxi stand, railway station, and great restaurants are also within easy walking distance from here. 

Day 2Explore Darjeeling

Darjeeling, the queen of the hill stations is also the home to a Toy train and is a land of tea estates. The bustling town, towered over by the majestic Khangchendzonga (8598 m), also has many amazing attractions around it.

Darjeeling Toy Train Station.
Darjeeling Toy Train Station

But we just had one day for Darjeeling in 10 days’ Darjeeling Sikkim Tour. So, it was impossible for us to check every attraction and here is what all we checked and will recommend to you.

  • Get up early and go to Tiger Hill for catching the first sunlight on snowcapped peaks of Kanchenjunga. If the weather is clear you will also get a glimpse of Mount Everest. Unfortunately, during our trip there was heavy rain so we skipped going to Tiger Hill.
  • Go for a stroll to the Darjeeling railway station. See how till the day, the steam engines of Toy Tain are set and the train track is cleaned
  • Toy Train starts at 7:40 am from Darjeeling Railway station. Opt to go till the nearest station Ghum/ Ghoom, which is the highest altitude station on the Darjeeling Himalayan Rail track. It’s a 2-hour round trip covering a total distance of 14kms
  • Head to Batasia Loop, which is one of the greatest engineering marvels till day. The Loop was commissioned in 1919 for the toy train to handle a steep gradient of 140 feet. Just after Ghoom, there is a sharp fall as the toy train moves towards Darjeeling so this was the only way to reduce the gradient of the slope. 
  • Go to Chowrasta/ or the mall for the relaxing stroll and shopping. In August, practice for 15th August was going on mall road, so we enjoyed the perfect show in a mist
  • Enjoy delicious Thupka and momos which you can find on every corner.
  • Visit Darjeeling Tea Estates and learn about the various types of tea. We brought some flavors for ourselves from Golden Tips. Also read the guide on Darjeeling tea, before buying for yourself
  • Visit Peace Pagoda sitting atop the Charlemont Hill. It was established by the Japanese Buddhist monk Nichidatsu Fujii as a way of promoting World Peace and harmony
  • If you have more time, then do visit Kalimpong, Sandakhpu, Himalayan Mountaineering Institue, Padmaja, and Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park
Chowrasta in Darjeeling- Darjeeling Sikkim Tour
Chowrasta in Darjeeling- Darjeeling Sikkim Tour

Day 3 – Road trip from Darjeeling to Gangtok, Sikkim

Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim lies 100 Kilometers from Darjeeling and can be reached in 5-6 hours. Tea estates in the valley accompany you on the way, further taken over by River Teesta/ Tista. Roads in West Bengal are well built and starts getting narrower after some Kilometres. You will cross several small colourful villages on the way and at times expect taking detours too.

Route: Darjeeling- Tista- Meli- Rangpo- Singtam- Ranpool- Gangtok

Eco Tourism project on the way from Darjeeling to Gangtok
Eco Tourism project on the way from Darjeeling to Gangtok

At Rangpo cross a bridge and there is a check post. Here, you need to pay, interstate tax for driving from West Bengal. We paid Rs. 700 for almost 8 days. For documentation take your car’s Registration Card and Driving License and the whole process takes around 15 minutes.

We reached Gangtok by 4:00 pm and the first thing was to search for a Hotel near MG Marg, as we had no prior bookings. July – August is considered the off-season period, so we were sure we will get it on a bit of a search.

Gangtok during Monsoons
Gangtok during Monsoons

Accommodation at Gangtok

Just like Darjeeling, there are plenty of accommodation options in Gangtok. We planned to stay at Chumbi Residency, located on the Tibet Road, and just 5 minutes’ walk away from the main market M.G. Marg.

Lobby of Hotel Chumbi Residency in Gangtok
Lobby of Hotel Chumbi Residency in Gangtok

The hotel lobby of Chumbi residency was well decorated with artifacts reflecting the Sikkim culture and the huge glass on one end gave the complete view of landscapes with floating clouds in between. We opted for the Jade room at Rs. 2500 per night. The room was super comfortable, cozy and well furnished. It had the perfect feel of the bedroom, as it was going to be our abode for the coming 4-5 days. The staff welcomed us with a pleasant smile and were super helpful. They guided us with all the petty details, we needed on our unplanned trip.

Jade Room at Hotel Chumbi Residency in Gangtok
Jade Room at Hotel Chumbi Residency in Gangtok

Note: The Chumbi Residency has its own parking space and lets you leave your vehicle while going for a North Sikkim tour. Also, they have one of the best restaurants of Gangtok by name, Tangerine, which serves Continental, Oriental, Indian and Sikkimese cuisine.

In the evening we went for a quick stroll at MG Garg and were impressed by the vibes of the place and food options we can enjoy here.

MG Marg Gangtok
MG Marg Gangtok

Day 4 – Explored Gangtok and Surroundings

Gangtok, the neat and clean vibrant town is full of life and is equally peaceful too. There are plenty of things to enjoy in Gangtok and its surroundings. So, here is what we will suggest to you.

Bakthang Waterfall in Gangtok
Bakthang Waterfall in Gangtok
  • Take a stroll at MG Marg. It has plenty of amazing cafes, bookstores, and restaurants to chill out
  • Visit the nearest Bakthang waterfall. Also enjoy tea, Momos, and Maggi from the tea vendors there
  • Admire the views of Kanchenjunga from Kanchenjunga viewpoint
  • Pay a visit at colorful Hanuman Tok and Ganesha Tok
  • Visit Lal market to buy Dalle (the spiciest chili in the world) and some more souvenirs
  • If you’re Skipping North Sikkim, then we would recommend you to visit the glittering Tsomgo/Changu Lake, Nathula Pass, and Tashi View Point. However, if you are visiting North Sikkim, then you can skip these sites and the Tashi viewpoint will come on your way
  • In the evening head to MG Garg and enjoy some local Momos and Thupkas or relish good food and local drinks at a café. We have explored some amazing cafes during our visit and will be writing about them soon
Ganesh Tok in Gangtok
Ganesh Tok in Gangtok

Day 5 – Drive to North Sikkim (Lachen)

The real Darjeeling Sikkim tour started here, as we will be visiting the remotest area i.e. North Sikkim. For the next 3 days, our Zoomcar was in the parking lot and we will be tripping in the local cab as one cannot drive his/her own vehicle or take Zoomcar to the restricted areas of Sikkim. Moreover, Indians need inner line permit whereas foreigners need restricted area permit for visiting these areas. For us, the last minute bookings and permits were arranged by our Hotel staff with a trustworthy driver.

Documents for Permit

Carry an identity proof (Aadhar Card, Voter ID, Driving License, Passport) of each individual along with 2-3 photographs.

Our day started with a call from a driver (Sharon Chettri) at 9:00 am. He instructed us to carry water, snacks, medicines, and other necessary stuff on the way as it is going to be a long and tedious day. We packed and left at the earliest. As soon we took an exit from Gangtok, vistas started changing. Surroundings became completely green and the roads turned narrow and winding. The journey looked like a marvel with endless waterfalls and panoramic views of Himalayas. We advise you to make multiple stops in between to sip tea with views, have food and obviously for photography.

Tea with views on the way to Lachen
Tea with views on the way to Lachen- Darjeeling Sikkim Tour

Route to LachenGangtok – Mangan- Chungthang- Lachen

Distance – 110 Kilometers

Time to reach – approx. 6 to7 hrs. but in seasons this can go up to 8-10 hrs.

Note: From Mangan, the restricted area zone begins. Here, at the check post, your permit will be checked and you will be advised to purchase a plastic bottle as ahead Mangan plastic bottles are not allowed. Isn’t that wonderful? Also buy some snacks and munchies, if you are not carrying from Gangtok.

Views on the way to Lachen in North Sikkim
Views on the way to Lachen in North Sikkim

Accommodation and Meals in Lachen

We reached Lachen by 5:00 – 5:30 pm. It was raining continuously and the temperature had already dipped by several degrees. The driver took us immediately into Hotel Sinolchu (included in our package) and on arrival, the owner served us hot tea. We relaxed for some time and then left for a walk in the beautiful village.

The Colorful Dining area of Hotel Sinolchu at Lachen
The Colorful Dining area of Hotel Sinolchu at Lachen

At Lachen, there are limited accommodation options. Although, lots of new good hotels are coming up but in offseason many are closed; so just expect the basic accommodation and meals. Basic accommodation means guest house with very limited facilities. Our hotel rooms were small, had two single beds, an attached washroom, and unpredictable lighting. Meals served too were quite basic and it included Rice, Dal, Veg, and Chapatti only. One or two shops in the evening were open and were serving hot Maggi, Thupka, and Momos.

Early Morning views of Lachen
Early Morning views of Lachen- Darjeeling Sikkim Tour

Day 6 – Drive to Gurudongamr Lake, Chopta Valley, Kala Pathar and night at Lachung

Lachen is the mid-point to the remotest and highest Gurudongmar Lake. From here the distance to Lake is just 67 Kilometers but it takes almost 5 hours to reach. So, start your day quite early at 4:30 am to reach Gurudongmar Lake by 9:00 – 9:30 am.

Route: Lachen – Thangu Valley – Gurudongmar Lake

The graveled road ahead Lachen turn into pebbly and muddy road with wide pot holes.  Road becomes a single lane road and your driver will be driving at a speed of 10- 15 Kms/ hr. Just think that you will be off-roading for most of the time. Your driver will make a quick stop for a breakfast before reaching Thangu Check post. It will be too early for breakfast but we advise you to have something to avoid AMS (Altitude Mountain Sickness). After this, the road turns bumpier and green landscapes are taken over by barren mountains.

Road to Gurudongmar Lake in North Sikkim
Road to Gurudongmar Lake in North Sikkim – Darjeeling Sikkim Tour

Further, the last checkpoint and settlement come at Giagong i.e. at 15,000th feet. you can use public convenience and enjoy soup or tea at the café. Just, 9 kilometers before the destination, roads turned smoother and well-constructed and you start seeing the snowcapped peaks. Landscapes around will keep you hypnotized throughout and in the next few minutes, you will be standing by the glistening blue Gurudongmar Lake. For the detailed experience please read the complete post on Gurudongmar Lake.

Gurudongmar Lake in North Sikkim
Gurudongmar Lake in North Sikkim

It was already 11:30 am. Our driver was shouting for us to come back as the wind and water speed has already increased but we were not ready. Anyways we had too and started our journey back.

On the way, we took a detour to Chopta Valley and Kala Pathar. The Chopta Valley, at 13,200 feet is just 2-3 detour from Thangu. It is a valley of green carpet and flowers and it left us completely stunned by its riots of colors. The valley is still unexplored but it looked like a heaven for the nature lovers.

From the valley keep ascending further on the pebbly road, crossing multiple waterfalls till 14,850 feet to see the snow-covered black cliffs known as Kala Patthar. It is a very close point at Indo- Tibet border and there is no human settlement here.

Kala Pathara is a new, less known tourist destination and is not included in the North Sikkim package. You need to pay your driver some extra money for this trip. Our driver asked us Rs. 2500/- per destination but we negotiated and paid him lump sum Rs. 4000/- extra. We left the place by 2:30 am and reached back Lachen by 4:00 pm.

Road to Kala Pathar in North Sikkim- Darjeeling Sikkim Tour

Quick lunch at Lachen and we further left for Lachung. It was already pouring and we were afraid of Landslides on the way. So, we just planned to cover the distance at the earliest without taking much stops. From Lachen, Lachung is just 47 Kilometers but it takes around 3 hours to reach. 

Route: Lachen- Chungthang – Lachung

On the way, comes the Bhewma waterfall also known as Amitabh Bachchan Waterfall. Here water falls from a height of 275 meters, and it is known so because of the shooting of the movie Aankhen starring Amitabh Bachchan at this particular spot.

Accommodation and Meals in Lachung

We reached Lachung by 8:30 pm and checked in to our Hotel the Cliff View Residency, located a bit away from the main town. Quick hot water bath, followed by dinner and we were ready to sleep. The rain was still pouring and we were still literally about the journey ahead to Yumthang valley.

View from our room in Lachung- Darjeeling Sikkim Tour
View from our room in Lachung

Our Hotel included in the package was very basic but had an excellent view. The room was clean, had a double bed and quilts with lots of mosquitoes. Dinner too was basic just like in Lachen and included the similar Dal, mixed Veg, Chapati, and Rice. So, we seriously advise you to inquire about the accommodation and meals with a tour operator before booking the North Sikkim Trip.

Day 7 – Drive to Yumthang Valley, Zero Point and Transfer back to Gangtok

Our day began at 6:00 am and by 7:00 am, we left for Yumthang valley, also known as the valley of flowers. In light, Lachung looked much bigger than Lachen and perfectly green with beautiful landscapes all around.  

On the way to Yumthang Valley in North Sikkim
On the way to Yumthang Valley in North Sikkim- Darjeeling Sikkim Tour

Route: Lachung – Yumthang- Zero Point

As we crossed Lachung, roads became narrower with a continuous ascent. Clouds were floating in between the Himalayas and last night rain had made everything looked cleaner and greener. At times there were no roads and we were just driving on the stones and water streams but we were completely hypnotized by the views around.

Finally, we entered the Shingba Rhododendron Sanctuary in the Yumthang valley, from a beautiful gate. The road was lined on both sides by the flowering plants and we could see the tributary of River Teesta, (Lachung Chu), flowing in between the valley. And then came a halt! We rushed out of the car to see what has happened. It was a massive landslide because of the last night rain and there Our fear came true. We waited for half an hour but there was no scope of getting it Cleared.

River Lachung Chu Tributary of River Teesta in Yumthang Valley- Darjeeling Sikkim Tour
iver Lachung Chu Tributary of River Teesta in Yumthang Valley

From there we took a U-turn and seeing our disappointment our driver took us to another place Katao, situated at 13,500 feet along the Indo- China Border. Katao too offers the panoramic view of Himalayan ranges and is known as the rival of Yumthang Valley in beauty. Just like Sonamarg in Jammu & Kashmir, it is also known as Switzerland of India.

Way to Katao in North Sikkim - Darjeeling Sikkim Tour
Way to Katao in North Sikkim

We spent some good time there and started our journey back to Gangtok. Fully exhausted, we reached Gangtok back by 6:00 pm.

Day 8 – Drive to West Sikkim and Back to Gangtok

We started our day in a relaxed manner, with a good breakfast and left in Zoomcar to reach Pelling town, located in West Sikkim. The plan was to chill for the remaining days in West Sikkim and then back to Gangtok but destiny had planned some other surprise for us.

Butterfly Waterfall on the way to West Sikkim- Darjeeling Sikkim Tour
Butterfly Waterfall on the way to West Sikkim.

We started our journey seeing Google Maps and instead of going back to Singtam, we planned to take the other scenic route; crossing east and South Sikkim to reach West Sikkim i.e – Gangtok – Bakthang Waterfall- Samdong- Rangang- Ravangla . The route was extremely scenic with multiple detours and waterfalls. But all that starts well doesn’t end well too. After driving for 6 hours, we couldn’t cover 80 Kilometers. And just 10 Kilometers before Ravangla, there happened a massive Landslide. So, left with no other option we had to take a detour to reach Singtam and back to the base, Gangtok.

Day 9 – Explore East Sikkim and Surroundings

Gangtok lies in East Sikkim and left with just a day in hand we thought to explore the surrounding areas only. The area on our mind was Zuluk but it too needed a permit and could be explored with the local operators only. So, we gave up on it and made a visit to the Rumtek Monastery and Karma Shri Nalanda Institute.

Rumtek-Monastery in East Sikkim- Darjeeling Sikkim Tour
Rumtek-Monastery in East Sikkim

Rumtek Monastery, one of the largest monasteries in Sikkim is located on the hilltop and faces the Gangtok city. Many sacred objects are housed within the complex, and one of the most magnificent is the Golden Stupa, which contains the precious relics of His Holiness the Sixteenth Karmapa. Just opposite to it is the Karma Shri Nalanda Institute, for higher Buddhist studies.

From there we drove, further in East Sikkim, to soak our eyes with some more gorgeous views and ended our day by doing restaurant and café hopping.

Day 10 – Drive to Siliguri to hand over Zoomcar, Transfer to Bagdogra Airport and Back to Delhi

Even after spending enough time in Sikkim, we were not ready to leave and we are totally in LOVE with the state.

Anyways, we left around 9:00am. Distance from Gangtok to Siliguri is just 115 Kilometers and expected time to reach was 4:30 hrs. But we took a margin of 2 hours, to handover over Zoomcar because of the bad roads, landslides and unexpected detours in Sikkim. But unexpectedly reached within the time span, handed Zoomcar at Siliguri office in 15-20 without any damage and took a flight back to Delhi.

Flight Back to Delhi from Bagdogra Airport -  Darjeeling Sikkim Tour
Flight Back to Delhi from Bagdogra Airport

Some Tips for Darjeeling Sikkim Tour

  • The closest airport is Bagdogra in West Bengal and it takes around 5 hours to reach from there to Gangtok. However, the new airport in Sikkim has opened this October 4, and this will certainly make it easier for travelers who plan to visit the city. It’s located, about 33 km from Gangtok so travel to Gangtok will come down from 5 hours to just one.
  • If you are traveling in Monsoons i.e. July- August expect a lot of change in plans due to landslides, excessive rain and detours whereas in season time there are long queues
  • Roads are really bad in Sikkim, so the traveling time can go hours beyond the expected reach time
  • Driving a Zoomcar in the state was fun and locals didn’t create any problem for us, except a big stare. All we hear about the locals creating a problem for self-drive vehicles is just a rumor
  • One cannot drive his own vehicle or take a Zoomcar to the restricted areas like North Sikkim, and East Sikkim
  • Sikkim is not just a Buddhist state. Most of the people are Hindus and they follow Buddhism
  • Smoking is banned in public and plastic too. You might just get penalized for throwing the wrappers anywhere on the road
Darjeeling Sikkim Tour
Darjeeling Sikkim Tour

So, during our Darjeeling Sikkim tour, we tasted Darjeeling and all the districts of Sikkim but missed reaching many destinations too due to excess of rains and landslides. We saw a lush green beautiful Sikkim, with almost Zero tourists. Overall, it is a trip to remember forever.

If you still have any questions for us, leave in the comments. We will be happy to answer them.