Thursday, May 9, 2013

Travelling to Sikkim - A guest post.


Surrounded on three sides by Nepal,China and Bhutan, Sikkim is a highly-recommended destination for travellers who enjoy natural beauty and seek spiritual bliss. Known for its historic monasteries and spectacular view of Mt.Kanchendzonga, the third highest mountain in the world, the newest state in India is the epitome of unspoilt beauty, which is maintained thanks to the diligence of its locals.

Travelling to Sikkim involves reaching New Jalpaiguri Station in Siliguri via road or rail, or by taking a flight to Bagdogra airport and then renting or sharing a vehicle which will travel uphill towards Gangtok. The distance between both New Jalpaiguri-Gangtok and Bagdogra-Gangtok is between 117 to 121 kilometres and it will take approximately 2-3 hours to reach by road. Sharing a vehicle is a common practice by travellers as it saves money.

Once there, it will be easy to check into the innumerable hotels, resorts, villas and bed and breakfast inns which are run mostly by locals. It is usually recommended to get regular rooms without bothering much about the much-hyped “room with a view of the majestic mountains” as they incur heavy damage on the pocket and also because one would naturally be viewing the same mountains upon going outdoors! Choosing lodging near the M.G.Road is a good idea as it is centrally-located, is very near the mall and local eateries. Prices per night for a single room can be as low as $20 (INR 1000 approx) for a bed and breakfast.

Foodies will be delighted to learn of the many local delicacies and international cuisine which is offered by the people of Sikkim. It is mandatory to sample the many varieties of “Momo”, which is meat or vegetables stuffed in flour dough, moulded into dumpling shapes and either steamed or fried and served with a special red chilli sauce [each outlet is said to have its own unique blend]. Thukpa is a common meal choice for the Sikkimese; it is a noodle soup with meat or vegetables. For those who enjoy pork dishes, the Phagshapa is a must-try; it is basically pork fat which has been stewed with dry chillies and chopped radish. Those who enjoy a good pint of beer will enjoy a bamboo container full of Thomba or Change, which is local beer which has been made by fermenting millet with yeast. It is mandatory to sip the beer straight out of the bamboo container with a bamboo pipe, thereby making this a rather unique beer-drinking experience!

Among the many places to visit, the Nathula Passis an attraction which must not be missed. It is only available for Indian passport holders, and permission for visits must be applied for and acquired 24 hours before the trip. NathulaPass is the Indo-China border which is guarded by both Indian and Chinese soldiers who stand facing each other at an Altitude of 14790 feet.

For those who prefer quaint village sceneries to bustling commercial areas, Pemayangtse or Pelling village in West Sikkim, offers much natural beauty, peace and quiet as can be expected from a comparatively unspoilt tourist hotspot. The village proudly houses the ancient Pemayangtse Monastery which was built in 18th century A.D. and follows the Nyingmapa sect of Tibetan Buddhism. Pelling also offers a spectacular view of Mount Kanchendzonga, which is known as the guardian deity of Sikkim.

Rabongla in South Sikkim will appeal to those who are looking to explore local markets and hot springs. The historical Kawzing Market is a delight to visit and offers fresh local produce and local culinary delights. One can visit the Bonn and Ralong Monasteries and also the Borong Hot Springs. It is also interesting to view and visit the MaenamPeak which stands at an altitude of 10,300 feet.

The historic Rumtek Monastery is located 24 kilometres away from Gangtok, and is one of the most popular attractions for tourists and spiritual peace seekers. It was originally built in 1730 by the 9thKarmapa, but was destroyed in a fire and rebuilt. The monastery offers peace and sanctity, and houses the world’s most unique religious scriptures and manuscripts.

Another common and therefore crowded tourist attraction is the Tsomogo or ChangoLake, which is located near the Indo-China border at an altitude of 12.400 feet, 34 kilometres away from the state capital. It remains frozen between January to April and is considered to be holy, and the head of all the lakes in Sikkim.

Shopping in Sikkimis fun on M.G.Road where one can easily buy clothing and footwear at throwaway prices. Locally manufactured alcohol such as Dansberg are cheaper than other brands, and local cherry liqueur and crème de menthe are also worth a taste. Naturally these products are only available within the state, so sampling them and taking a few bottles home as gifts is a good idea. Free Wi-Fi is available in some cafes, and the friendly locals are always on hand to help in times of need. Most commuting is done via small mini vans or larger SUVs [for long trips], and given the potential of some drivers to overcharge, it is always advisable to do research on fares and rates before boarding.

Sikkim is one of the cleanest states in the country and follows strict protocols regarding the maintenance of its flora and fauna. There are fines for littering, even in the mall area where not even cars are allowed, and creating a nuisance, especially in and around places of worship, is a strict no-no. Overall, this is the place to visit if you are looking for peace, serenity, nature and good, wholesome food.


This is a guest article by To read articles on Health, Lifestyle, Relationships, Empowerment and Leisure, visit this woman-centric online magazine which has a fast growing community of over 75,000 members.





  1. Nice Post! Gangtok is one of my favorite places i ever visited:)

    1. Yes, it is a wonderful place. :)

  2. Sikkim is quite alluring.


  3. This is a brilliant post.

    The narrative, simple and suave, reminds one of Terry Pratchett's style. Seldom does one come across such brilliance. Are you sure the author is not Pratchett in disguise?

    There is also the unmistakable Shakespearean magic. The sheer visual romance has never been replicated in the history of the language until - I came across this post.

    And what about the traits of Jane Austen - the undisputed queen of female literature? Isn't the portrayal of Sikkim as a woman the same here?

    And then, the Wodehousesque humour that peeks through - subtle yet prominent? How can the reader miss that? The archaic charm of Dickens, the mystique of Agatha Christie...

    In all, I guess this is the most versatile and complete of all articles I have read till date. I wish I could know this champion in person. Who is this guest author?

    1. Thanks. I am not sure who specifically from the team wrote it. But i am sure if they read your comment, they would be thrilled beyond words.

  4. Excellent piece of work.... post some fresh local photos next time,if possible..!

    1. Thanks Mr. Murthy. This was a guest post.

  5. WOw ! Amazing blogpost thanks for sharing :)had a similar experience would like to share
    Itinerary for a short time (3 Days) in Sikkim


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