Exactly 42 years ago in May 1975 Sikkim became part of independent India. I have traveled to North India, South India and of course West India because I live in West. But never did I get a chance to explore Eastern part of India. So as soon as I got this opportunity I wasted no time in jumping aboard.
Along with snow-capped mountains, alpine forests and an innumerable variety of flora and fauna, Sikkim also boasts of Kangchenjunga, the third highest peak of the world and the highest peak of India.
To say that Sikkim is stunning would be an understatement. Flourishing on the bank of river Teesta, this little state (with Gangtok as its capital) is one of the most promising and exciting tourist destinations of India.
If you have read my earlier blogs about Kashmir then you might be aware how smitten I am with its unparalleled beauty. When I went to Sikkim, I had little expectations as there were only a few other blogs and images on the internet to refer to. But when I reached and experienced it myself, I must say this little princely state revels in its own charm. And a little bit of fact checking will amaze you, all right.
- Sikkim is world’s highest producer of cardamom.
- Sikkim is world’s second largest producer of spices after Guatemala.
- Sikkim is high on organic farming.
- Sikkim is one of the most conscious states in terms of cleanliness. It has banned the use of all kinds of plastics, Styrofoam products and so on. And this one I have experienced myself.
So many accomplishments in spite of being the second smallest state in India! I am so proud of it.
Before I start, I would like to inform all my readers that this was my first ever sponsored trip; sponsored by Wild Turks Pvt. Ltd. Based in Gurgaon. They organize awesome trips for women. So, women who wish to travel solo (and still feel safe) or would like to go on a trip but have no company or women who want to meet new people and make new girlfriends, Wild Turks is the best option for you. PS: I took my mom along with me so that we could take some time out to be with each other from our busy lives. She is a real sport, I guess stronger in stamina than even me!
So let’s get started. Here is a complete lowdown on my itinerary of Sikkim, 6 nights/ 7 Days. I visited Sikkim in the month of April. So if you are specifically reading this to make the most of your Summer vacation, here is my personal account of best places to visit in Sikkim in April.
Day-1: Flight from Mumbai to Bagdogra (Military Airport of Sikkim), Night stay in Gangtok
Temperature in April: 13-17 degrees Celsius
A car and a representative were waiting for me at the airport. As soon as we left the airport, we were surrounded by lush green tea plantations; and it was a sight to behold. We had lunch on the way and reached Gangtok by evening. From hot weather in Bagdogra to cold cozy weather in Gangtok, the transition was quite pleasant. We made friends with a batch of couples who had come from Southern India at dinner and enjoyed like crazy. I love to meet and know people wherever I go, so that’s one of the sassy things I do to make my trips memorable.
Next morning when I woke up 2 hours early than my usual time, I had the most exciting window view. I realized our room was on the upper side of the hill and down I could see the snake like roads and the usual bustle of vehicles and travelers. And as I sat for my breakfast in the hall below, I went nuts. Why? Well, who gets to enjoy morning meals hanging up in the air where paragliders say Hi as they pass by! I wish I had my camera ready at that time!
(On the way to Gangtok from Airport)
(View from my window, next morning)
Day-2: Gangtok to Lachung by road (6-7 hours journey), Night stay in Lachung
Temperature in April: 5 degrees Celsius
After breakfast, we started our journey towards Lachung. We were supposed to reach by evening but got late as our car broke down in between. So we reached at around dinner time. We froze as soon as we stepped out of the car. The road trip was excellent, except that roads are very bad. I mean, the scenery is mind blowing, but roads are always in bad shape due to heavy rainfall almost all the time of year and surge in travelers. BRO (Border Road Organization) is doing a commendable job though!
In between, we also visited Seven Sisters waterfall. I thought I could spend days together camping in the lap of such beautiful natural places. I wanted to sit longer, but our driver warned of upcoming rain. And it did rain heavily in the last leg of our road trip. And to add to the scare, the sun had set already! All we had was prayers to make us reach our hotel safely. Since whole of the day had gone in traveling; we grabbed quick bites and got tucked in bed early. Besides, the sudden chilling weather had got on to our nerves.
(Seven Sisters waterfall)
Day-3: Yumthang Valley, Lachung
Temperature in April: 3-4 degrees Celsius, Snowfall likely (It snowed heavily when we were there)
So, the third day is when the real fun begins. And it easily qualifies to be the best memory from all my trips until now. Yes, even better than Kashmir. Do you know why? Because it SNOWED!!!!! While I was in Gulmarg, Kashmir which is similar to Yumthang Valley of Sikkim, I just had a glimpse of snowfall for about 5-10 minutes and those were kind of snowy-rainy mixed particles. But here, in Yumthang Valley, it snowed for all the 4-5 hours that we were there. My hands turned blue by the time I had finished playing with snow. (Don’t laugh! I am crazy and I know it)
Being sassy is being lively (and crazy too!) True to my blog’s name, here is all THE SASSY STUFF that I did in Yumthang Valley. I think my pictures will suffice.
(Pine trees laden with snow)
After all the fun, we had to do the same journey but on worse roads than the day before since it had rained the day before. So, we had to cut short the fun and head back to Gangtok. But I did manage to take some awesome shots of flora and fauna of Sikkim on the way. Since there were so many pictures, I have created a separate blog for those snaps alone. We did the night stay in the same hotel of Gangtok.
Day-4: Tsomgo lake and then exploring local life of Gangtok
Temperature in April: 5-6 Degrees Celsius
Now this place, Tsomgo lake gave me all those pictures that I have been using as my profile pictures and cover pages on all my Social media accounts. So if you are keen on good photos (and I know every single one today is) along with the classic experience of nature than do not give this place a miss. It’s situated quite high in the mountains surrounded by snow and yaks.
So this place is usually windy, which I did not check before hand and hence suffered terribly. First mistake, I decided to wash my hair after all the crazy snow games I played day before (tossing snow on each other’s heads and so on) and the second mistake, I had so many layers of warm clothes already on me, so I put my scarf back in the car, which went long way to park. As soon as we stepped forward, the chilly winds got on to my head and it started thumping, though you won’t see it from my face in this photographs below. (LOL)
Let my pictures speak for this marvelous place.
(My awesome travel buddies)
(Me and my momma. Look how badass she looks! Like a Lady Mafia.)
Later in the day, we went for late Sunday lunch on Gangtok’s most bustling road. We took help of Zomato and found a cool place called Café Live and Loud which gave us a nice vibe. Although it was late afternoon and the fun had yet not begun, we could see youngsters gathering around in beautiful dresses to make the most of the evening.
We had a mix of traditional dishes of Sikkim and regular pizzas and Chinese food for lunch. Two awesome traditional dishes we tasted were Veg. Thenthuk and Chicken Thukpa. They were less calorific and high on protein. Guess I should start having it on daily basis. They were yum.
(Souveniers shopping on M G Road)
(M G Road)
(Innumerable types of tea for tea lovers)
And guess what! Since our car broke down, the day before, Wild Turks gave us a free pass to the grand 5 star casino of Gangtok (The Denzong Regency) as an apology. Isn’t that amazing!
Day-5: Set out for Pelling.
Temperature in April: 20-22 Degrees Celsius during the day, 12-13 Degrees at night.
Our next stop was Pelling which is situated in West Sikkim. It is again 6-7 hours journey by road from Gangtok. So after a good breakfast, we set out with fewer stops to reach on time. We reached Pelling at around 4 pm, had a late lunch, took some rest and set out for our next adventure. Rabdentse, Site of ancient capital of Sikkim
Now this place is situated in a wide area and you will find; what are the remains of a grand kingdom, a palace, a throne, a worship place and so on. Rabdentse was the ancient capital of Sikkim (now it is Gangtok), but the royal family and their subjects had to flee after attacks from Nepalese in the 18th century. Now the govt. is converting part of this place into a beautiful bird sanctuary.
What struck out in this site was that the place was so very clean. It felt as if I was in some other country (and it is a shame to say so). I felt jealous because my city is not this clean. I want whole of my country to be as clean as the Rabdentse site. And for this very reason, people should visit Sikkim and learn something. Clean India, Green India cannot be possible without our participation, right?
I hope you get the idea from these pictures of Rabdentse Ruins. Take a look.
(The ancient throne of King -the Chogyal)
Can you see those white cloths tied around the throne? These are holy “khada” that one ties in name of prayer or for a wish.
Day-6: Sightseeing in Pelling
On the last day, we went to a myriad of lush and exotic places like Sewaro rock garden where we saw a multitude of blushing flowers, orange trees, cardamom fields and a noisy thriving river too. It was wonderful to sit and picnic over there.
Sewaro Rock Garden
You have already heard of Kanchendzonga, the third largest peak in the world after Everest and Kilimanjaro. Well, this waterfall is where it all begins, the hike I mean to say. But we couldn’t do it because it needs physical readiness as well as time, and we had neither.
But this waterfall is mammoth. We even did zip line crossing stunt above it. Now one more intriguing thing we saw here was, that there comes a point while hiking to the waterfall where you have to cross over to go to the other side of the fall to reach it, but the current is too strong, you might fall in it and get swayed. So the Sikkim Tourism organized a team of local people who stood balanced on various rocks on that path and helped people cross by literally taking their hands. This is just WOW! Kudos to Sikkim Tourism for being so considerate!
Have a look:
Then we dressed like locals. It was fun.
It was just a baby waterfall as compared to the gigantic Kanchendzonga waterfall but no less beautiful. Natural and unlimited flow of water still amazes me, because I come from a place that faces acute shortage of water especially in Summer.
We spent maximum hours of our day admiring beauty of this heaven. I have no other words. It is purely heaven. People here believe that Goddess Tara, the Goddess of nature herself designed this place and the lake was formed after she emerged from beneath the land and stepped on that place. Hence, the Khecheopalri Lake is shaped like a giant foot.
(Prayers carved in Buddhist on rocks)
The hike to view point was too much for me to take on that day. But my mates did do it while I waited for them midway, taking in the breath-taking beauty of the place. You come here and you feel like you are already meditating, no need to close your eyes and imagine about a distant serene place. It’s there for real, what else can I say! Take a look.
And then we had momos for lunch. Yummy yummy!
Sangchen Pemayangtse Monastery
In this monastery, we found about Sikkim’s culture one century ago; their dressing, their food, their utensils, their subjects and so on. Lamas over there were very friendly and they also taught us a unique dance they were performing as a prayer to God. Besides, the location of the monastery is also beautiful as it is surrounded by nothing but greenery and tall mountains on all sides. Oh, what could I give for a life in mountains! It’s a dream that I would like to come true on some day of my life.
To add to this exciting day, it was my birthday too which means it was a birthday well enjoyed. What better way to enter the golden period than enjoying refreshing sights all around! But what touched my heart the most was this.
Wild Turks had arranged a surprise midnight birthday celebration for me. Do you see that handmade cake, flower bouquet, balloons, confetti and all those sweet gifts? I must say, Wild Turks, I am mighty impressed and touched 🙂 Thank you for making my birthday special.
Day-7: Pelling to Bagdogra Airport to Mumbai
Finally, on the last day, we were left with nothing but to reach Bagdogra airport from Pelling on time. Everybody was silent, no one uttered a word in the whole 6 hours journey and I knew exactly why. We were nostalgic. We didn’t want to leave that mesmerizing place which was a dreamland and head back to pinching reality and our hot summer.
I will miss sudden springs of colorful rhododendrons that waved at me on every path. I will miss forever, the silence of snowy mountains, and I will certainly miss warm smiles of Sikkimese people. If I ever have enough money in life, I would like to retire in this magnificent place.
(Mom with cute girls)
I suppose this is it. I end my adventure here. If you, my dear readers have anything to add to this list of amazing things to do in Sikkim then you are most welcome. Type away in the comments section below.
Note: This trip was sponsored by Wild Turks India Pvt. Ltd. But all opinions are my own. Here’s the link. Go check it out http://www.wildturks.com
Also check my review of Wild Turks on Youtube: Link – https://youtu.be/6CFKcwzIK-A