I had been planning to travel to Sikkim and explore most of the places in a single trip. After doing some research for a few weeks I came up with a plan for about 12 days including a day in Darjeeling (10 days for Sikkim).
Important Tips and Other Information on Sikkim Tourism
Airports in Sikkim
Sikkim has only one airport which was constructed and became operational during the end of 2018. We wanted to travel to Gangtok using India’s 100th and the highest airport, but we were not lucky.
Traveling to Sikkim
As the option of flying to Gangtok was closed, we traveled from Bangalore to Bagdogra Airport. Bagdogra is in West Bengal, about 11kms from Siliguri. There are good number of flights operating from different cities in India by operators like Indigo, SpiceJet, etc. We flew on Indigo and the tickets cost us INR 13,000 per person (Return).
Travelling Inside Sikkim
The most preferred way to travel inside Sikkim would be a SUV like Mahindra Scorpio / XYLO / Innova. All our travel / bookings / permits was handled by a very reliable company called TravelZone. Mr Arun is the person whom we were working with and I understand, he runs this company. He has more than 20+ years of experience in tourism in Sikkim, Bhutan and Nepal. I would highly recommend him for your trip to Sikkim.
Permits / Climatic / Security Conditions
It is very important to note that we need to take permits for places like Nathula Pass, Zuluk, etc. These permits are issued only in the morning if all the conditions are favourable. We cannot be sure that we would be able to travel to all the planned places, so don’t get disappointed. If you check out my Sikkim Travel Vlog, you would understand how difficult / adventurous the travel conditions are in Sikkim. We really enjoyed every moment of the trip.
Places to Visit in Sikkim
There are many adventures, beautiful, breathtaking and wonderful places to visit in Sikkim. I will go into details explaining how my travel went as per plans and many a times not as planned for specific reasons. Below I have grouped the places I visited, my experiences and everything I got to know about Sikkim according to days starting from Day 1 to Day 10.
We can divide the tourism map of Sikkim into the following
- East Sikkim
- West Sikkim
- North Sikkim
- South Sikkim
Places to Visit in East Sikkim
- Ganesh Tok
- Bakthang Waterfalls
- Plant Conservation- Botanical Garden
- Ranka Monastery
- Jhakri waterfalls
- Handicraft Exhibition
- Flower Show
- Gnathang Valley
- Nathula Pass
- Tsomgo Lake
- Tsomgo Rope Way
- Zigzag road (Thambi View Point)
- Elephant Lake
- Baba Mandir
- Old Baba Mandir
Places to visit in West Sikkim
- Skywalk – First and Only Skywalk in India
- Rimbi Water Falls / Rock Garden / Orange Garden
- Khecheopalri Lake – This was amazing, but you need to trek up to the top view point.
- Pemayangtse Monastery
- Rabdentse Ruins
- Kanchenjunga Water Falls
Places to visit in North Sikkim
- Thangu Chopta Valley
- Gurudongmar Lake
- Mt Katau
- Yemesandong (Zero Point)
- Yumthang Valley
- Hot Spring
Places to visit in South Sikkim
- Buddha Temple
- Namchi Chardham
- Temi Tea Garden
- Samdruptse Monastery
- Lampokhari Lake (Aritar Lake)
- Aritar Gumba Monastery
- Mankhim View Point
- Fusray (West Bengal)- Near to Aritar Village
Best Time to Visit Sikkim
I suggest the best time to travel to Sikkim would be from April to June. I went during early April, still I could not visit all the places that I had planned due to weather conditions like rain, landslides, security reasons, etc.
Warm Cloths / Snow Shoes
Warm cloths is a must, there are places where temperature would be less than 0 degree. You can hire or buy snow shoes if you are planning to spend more time in the snow
Home Stays in Sikkim
The best place in Sikkim would be to stay in Home stays rather than hotels. It’s not just Sikkim, my first preference is home stay and I use AirBNB for my bookings. Booking.com is also a great service, but I use that mostly for my business travels.
We had a great experience with Mr Rohit at his home stay in Lingtam. He was a good cook and host.
Languages used in Sikkim
If you know Hindi, then you do not have to worry. I found most of the locals very friendly and had high respect for tourists.
I was using Airtel, the connectivity was fine when I compare it with Andamans where only BSNL was working (2G). There are locations where there are no connectivity, but I would say the connectivity was fairly good.
Sikkim Trip – Food , Stay, travel Costs
The cost to reach Sikkim would depend of from where you are traveling. As I mentioned above, I travelled from Bangalore and it cost me about INR 13,000 for my return tickets on Indigo Airlines.
The major cost would be for traveling inside Sikkim. As we used personal vehicle and driver (Not Sharing), the costs would be high. I understand that there are options for using shared vehicles for Solo travellers. The cost of stay and food are very nominal. Overall, it cost us about INR 2,00,000 for 3 people including the Airfare from Bangalore.
Other Facts about Sikkim
- Plastics are banned
- No open defecation
- 100% organic state
Sikkim Travel 2019
- Planning the Trip
- Sikkim Day 1 – Mysore to Bangalore to Bagdogra to Pelling
- Sikkim Day 2 – Exploring Pelling – Places to Visit in Pelling Skywalk, Rimbi water falls, Khecheopalri Lake, Rabdentse Ruins
- Sikkim Day 3 – Drive to Gangtok, Buddha Park Ravangla, Namchi Chardham, Temi Tea Garden, Samdrupte Monastery
- Sikkim Day 4 – Drive to Lachen, Naga / Seven Sisters Water Falls
- Sikkim Day 5 – Drive to Lachung, Thangu Chapta Valley
- Sikkim Day 6 – Drive to Gangtok, Yumesamdong (Zero Point), Yumthang Valley, Mt Katau
- Sikkim Day 7 – Exploring Gangtok
- Sikkim Day 8 – Zuluk, Gnathang Valley, Zigzag road, Aritar , Lingtam
- Sikkim Day 9 – Exploring Aritar Village , Lingtam, Home stay
- Sikkim Day 10 – Drive to Darjeeling