Sikkim, enveloped by the Himalayas, is a destination for all kinds of people. Nature lovers, adventure buffs and spiritualists have come here to satisfy their longing to be with the most promising aesthetics of life and nature. The heaving touching mountain range, serene lakes, crystal clear azure sky, pure hilly weather, ethnic population and some of the best monasteries are what keep travelers drawn to Sikkim.
Also, this is the destination for shopaholics. Right from local gastronomic delicacies to indigenous clothing to some of the finest souvenirs are available across Sikkim. We all know that shopping covers a major part of any travel or tour plan. But when it comes to shopping in Sikkim, then you are spoiled for choice. The region will not disappoint you if you are a street shopper who has an eye for cheap yet unique products and loves collecting knick-knacks.
Why shopping in Sikkim is fun: Sikkim is like a small happy paradise with only a small population. Therefore, here the market places are not so elaborate like we see in other metropolitan cities. Here there are regular markets that cater to local people and travelers every day, except weekends. Besides, there are some special weekly or weekend shopping hubs that especially meet the tourists’ needs with their broad range of local products and produces.
Gangtok, the ultimate shopping hub: Gangtok is the capital of Sikkim. Not only it is the administrative headquarters of the Himalayan state, but it is the zone for all the primary civic activities, including shopping. It is a major reservoir of marketing for travelers. The place has witnessed thriving of various new shopping joints alongside the old ones. Right from the famous religious scroll paintings, locally known as Thangkas, by the Buddhists from Tibet to Sikkimese cups, figurines of Lord Buddha, high-quality tea, praying flags, local ethnic clothes, various souvenirs bearing the local culture and art and crafts are available in this Sikkim capital.
Eating paradise: You name an item, and Gangtok has them all. According to locals, more than 50 big and small shopping hubs are spread across Sikkim. If you are a fine eater, then this is the place to be and also collect some incredible food items back to your hometown. You can collect the chhurpi, which is basically fine cheese made of yak’s milk, a trademark item in Sikkim. Besides, local beer, dried fish and handmade noodles are some most relishing items to go for here in this hill state.
Now let’s talk about the best shopping hubs in Sikkim that can keep you coming back again and again.
Mahatma Gandhi Marg: MG Marg is the main market area in Sikkim. The entire stretch of the road is lined with big, small and medium shops on both its sides. A part of this MG Marg shopping center is also known as New Market. The shops at the MG Marg area open usually around 8 am and close by 7 in the evening. The entire hub is closed on Tuesdays. Here you can find a large number of stalls that sell local fabric and dress material for both men and women. Also, you can find shops selling shoes, gifts, trinkets, and unique souvenirs.
Sikkimese cups: There is a huge craze to buy these ethnic art pieces of Sikkim. Travelers from across the globe collect them as souvenirs. These cups, made of porcelain, carry the traditional designs of Sikkim and are available in different colors and sizes. These are something you can gift anybody and everybody.
Books and jewellery: If you are a bibliophile, then MG Marg can be your own favorite corner. Here shops like Kandoika sells books on Buddhist ideas about life and living, Buddhist ideologies and literature. A lot of books Sikkim culture and tourism are also available here. Jewelry items such as earrings, dragon pendants, finger rings, and metal crafts are sold at almost all the shops at the MG Marg markets.
When it comes exclusively to books, the development area in Gangtok is the best place. If you are wondering which way to go, then it is just a few minutes walking from the MG Marg market. You can also board a taxi to reach the destination. Several bookstalls are located in this area. Besides, this is a thriving place for cultural exchange among tourists. Old and young people flock here to have a good time in the evening. You can witness a live jazz band performing or be an audience at a film screening in this place. Also, poetry recitation and art and craft and photography exhibitions also take place in the development area. This is a very famous tourist hotspot. The book stores here sell books on Sikkimese history, philosophy, travel, culture, heritage, literature, art and music, and last but not the least children’s books.
Lal Bazar or Kanchenjunga shopping complex: If you happen to shop at the MG Marg, then there is no reason you miss the chance of visiting the Lal Bazar. This market is located just below the MG Marg market line. This is a buzzing shopping center and located just a few minutes from the MG Marg stop. This is one of the oldest markets of Sikkim too. The place is the heritage and tradition of the state. The Lal Bazar was established in 1956. You will get a cosmopolitan atmosphere across the market as people with their varied backgrounds come here to shop and sell.
What to buy at Lal Bazar: You will get all sorts of diverse items here including electronic gadgets to incense sticks. The time to visit this market is on a Sunday. It is the haat day at the market. So, you get more shops and more vendors to buy your favorite items. If you want to know more about the ethnic culture of Sikkim, then come visit this market. You will see villagers in traditional Bhutia or Nepali attire managing their shops. Just soak in the atmosphere here. Buy organic vegetables, dried fish and cheese. Sikkim dairy products are extremely popular among the local people.
A melting pot of shoppers: Also, you can get a variety of other items such as prayer flags. Traditional curved Nepali knives, known as khukri, are also available here. Handicraft items made of cane or bamboo is another favorite among tourists. Lal market is also famous for selling pottery items. But remember, this market remains closed on Thursdays. So, when you plan to cover both MG Marg and Lal bazaar markets, try to make it on a Sunday.
A hub of furniture and woollens: Sikkim is the place to buy the beautiful and delicately carved choktse furniture. These choktse are the very traditional type of furniture that are available in Sikkim. They are heritage pieces that can be collected as a lifetime signature item of the state which bears rich culture.
A lot of woolen garments are also available here at a very economical rate. You can purchase the fine quality and locally produced woven dress materials, shawls, blankets and also knitted garments. Woven carpets are also very popular in Sikkim. There is a local tribe that has the expertise of making these carpets.
Don’t forget to bargain: Sikkim markets are famous for their diverse products and sellers. It is an amalgamation of varied kinds of shoppers as well. So, if you are a domestic or international tourist buying your favorite items at the market, always make sure that you know the tricks to find your way to the best deal. All the shopkeepers at the Sikkim markets generally quote a higher price for their products. Therefore, it is always advisable that you buy the authentic items at their right price from the government registered shops and emporiums. Also, don’t forget to bargain if you happen to buy random items from the roadside stalls.
Lachen market: Lachen is the sister village in Lachung. This is one of the beautiful and scenic places in Sikkim. Situated at the altitude of 8838ft, this place is around an eight-hour drive from Gangtok. Lachen market located in the heart of the village provides an interesting shopping experience to its visitors. A fabulous range of handicraft and handloom products are available here. All the items are locally manufactured in small scale industrials hubs. So, they carry the very essence of the Sikkimese culture and tradition. If you want to buy anything from this market, it should be either shawls, handbags, blankets made of sheep and yak wool. In many of these articles, you will find designs on Buddhist culture and figures. But again, don’t forget to bargain with the shopkeeper as they usually overcharge from tourists.
Geyzing market: Geyzing located in the western part of Sikkim is a breathtakingly beautiful place surrounded by a lush green valley and snow-capped peaks. The market place of Geyzing was set up by a monk body for the benefit of the local villagers. The geyzing market has all kinds of shops. Since this is a commercial region, a number of shopping delights are awaiting for you in here, right from local handicrafts, handwoven woolens, carpets. Besides, you can find a lot of handmade products that are native to the region in the shops of Geyzing. There is also a farmers’ market here that offers visitors to buy organic fresh vegetables and herbs.
Ravangla market: Ravangla is a small town in Sikkim that lies at the elevation of 7000 ft in the southern part of the region. The town is well connected with the other parts of the state with highways. Ravangla is situated between Gangtok and Pelling. Ravangla has a famous market that sells various types of items starting from stationeries, tailoring items, groceries, food items, and other things. The market is famous for various other utilities such as photocopy services, medicine shops. A lot of popular Chinese restaurants are also located here. The Kheunphelling carpet weaving center is also located in Ravangla. Several Tibetan migrants once came here are set up this carpet weaving hub. You can purchase good quality traditional Sikkim carpets at a very low rate at Ravangla.
The place also has a lot of foreign liquor and local liquor shops. In terms of transportation, Ravangla is a very useful location as you can get a taxi and private vehicles from this point up to anywhere across Sikkim. If you want to straight to the airport or get a customized tour of your favorite place, everything can be managed from Ravangla.
Tea shopping: Sikkim is the place from where you can purchase the finest quality tea for yourself and your near and dear ones. Golden Tips is the famous tea shop in Sikkim where you can find a large array of teas to select from. You can seek discounts for bulk purchase as well. Unusual CTC and orthodox tea everything is available here. You can be sure about their quality.
Conclusion: Sikkim is not just a tourist destination. This is a region where as a visitor and also as a local resident you can lead a content stay with all the basic and primary amenities at your doorstep. The place is the ultimate example of enjoying a blissful life in serenity. It is away from the regular chaos of the city but has all the elements that you need to lead a city life. The Bengal government and also the Indian government are putting a lot of efforts to boost business and trade in this region.
Assistance and support are being provided to the small scale and medium scale business houses. A lot of investors from the plains are also visiting this part of the country with their capital. As a result, Sikkim is developing like never before. The amount of inbound tourists has also increased in this region, making the local residents more able and self-sufficient in terms of their economic and social growth. So, if you plan to visit Sikkim, make it happen because there is no such thing that is not available in this Himalayan terrain for your safe and peaceful stay.
Good things come in small packages.’ No other place in India, but Sikkim, can prove this. This place, enveloped by the Himalayas, is an ideal dream destination for all kinds of people. Nature lovers, religious buffs, adventure enthusiasts or simple family tour lovers, everyone can relish this mesmerizing valley hill station where mountains touch the heavens.
How to reach Sikkim: The northeast Indian state has a fair amount of transportation facilities. Many travelers, especially the youngsters prefer to reach there by road. Various road trips and bike rallies are that is why becoming famous in this region.
The helicopter way: If you are planning to make your Sikkim your dream destination this year, then add some thrill to it. Explore visiting the state through a helicopter ride. You can actually avoid the long and tiring tour and the road journey along the meandering and uphill road from Bagdogra to Gangtok or the other way.
The copter comes to your rescue. If you are thinking that the helicopter will only ferry you to the mesmerizing hill city, then you are totally wrong. Sikkim is the place for blue hills and verdant forest, rich heritage and flock of unknown birds. If you want to enjoy the panoramic beauty of all these at a glance, then the chopper is the ultimate one. The helicopter service is the best for aerial sightseeing tours. There thrill of watching the mind-blowing Himalayan terrain along with the majestic snow-capped mountain range from the sky at a close distance is simply unmatchable. It is a unique and rare experience that travel freaks often arrange for themselves or gift to their special ones. Now one might wonder that all of these adventures might cost a hefty amount of bucks. But it is not. Let’s get into the service and pricing details of chopper facilities in Sikkim.
Pawan Hans service and its features: The helicopter service is known as Pawan Hans. It is provided by the Sikkim Tourism Development Corporation. The tourism corporation wing is a part of the Sikkim government. The capacity of each helicopter under this service is five persons. If a child requires a seat during the journey, then he or she will be considered as a person.
The services are extremely popular because of its safety and reliability. But as a traveler, you should consider the weather conditions as the schedule and frequency of the chopper service is subject to change based on climate situations. Sikkim is a hill state, and sudden weather change or cloud formation resulting in heavy rain affect the chopper service’s timing.
The timing: Generally, it takes around 35 to 40 minutes to reach Gangtok from Bagdogra and vice versa. The service is daily, and you can arrange the booking from your home city much ahead of your journey. The helicopter that starts from Bagdogra and takes you to Gangtok sets out at 2.30pm. So, it is advisable that to opt for this service, one should book a morning flight to reach Bagdogra comfortably and avail the chopper facility for the next half of the journey. Likewise, another chopper leaves Gangtok at 11 am to land you to Bagdogra from where you get direct or connecting flights to your home. Both the up and down journey chopper facilities are available on a daily basis.
VIP criteria: If you or any of your co-traveler belongs to the VIP category, then service timings can be altered in consultation with the authorities concerned. Also, timings change as per weather and other situational factors such as pick up season among others.
Rate: According to the revised rate of February 2019, the present rate of the chopper service stands at Rs 3500 per person. But before making your final estimate or budget for the Sikkim trip, you should check the latest price details to stay updated.
Luggage limit: Here comes one of the most important and tricky aspects of the helicopter service in Sikkim. The simple thing to remember is you must travel light to avail of the chopper facility. Here only ten kg of luggage is allowed per traveler. But if you think that additional luggage can be accommodated with some added cash like you do in terms of regular flight journey, then you are wrong because here, there no such option. In case you are having extra luggage, you can send them to your hotel through dedicated taxi or other porter services while you and your family reach there by helicopter.
Many travelers plan their journey this way. Therefore, from the taxi and luggage bearing services are also contacted by the helicopter providers.
How to book: Booking in advance is the best option. To avoid the rush, last minute tension and other complexities book the seats in much ahead of your date of journey. Calling the Sikkim tourism corporation’s office or ticket booking counter to check the availability of seats should be your first step. Ask for the timing etc. and decide whether they suit your criteria. Then make the complete plan. Here are a couple of important phone numbers to book the helicopter service.
Contact – 03592-203960. 9475011220. You can call any of these numbers and look for seat availability. Once the authorities confirm you about the availability, then you can make the payment through account transfer.
After landing at Bagdogra airport also you can book the chopper seats. But again that is subject to availability. There is a booking counter out the departure hall from where you can book the entire chopper or required number of seats, though this is not the best option during the high season.
In case, the service is canceled for any unavoidable circumstances; you will get the refund.
Sightseeing through copter: Now let’s see what major tourist attractions you can cover while enjoying a joyride on the chopper. There are set tours for which they have specific costs. Also, special mountain flights are there, and for these, there are no set costs. If there are other passengers on the chopper with you and your family, then the cost or fare get divided. But usually one gets enough fellow travelers during the peak season, and the package costs are quite reasonable.
Regular tour of Sikkim: Within 10 minutes after flying from Bagdogra over Gangtok, you will see a mesmerizing combination of azure sky and beautiful landscape. The winding roads, alleyways, houses will all seem like a dream from the top. Among the popular places, you will see Rumtek Monastery, Gangtok ridge among others. If it is a regular flight, then per person charge would be around Rs 2500. You can book a charter flight for Rs 10,000.
Kanchenjunga tour: Another famous chopper tour would of Kanchenjunga, the world’s third highest peak. For this tour, if you start from Gangtok, you will ride over the places like Mangan, Chungthang, Lachen, Zemu, Green Lake and then get back to Gangtok from where you started. As you fly, you will be awestruck with the view of the beautiful and thrilling Kanchenjunga. You will get a panoramic view of the entire mountain range. The serene Teesta valley is also located here. Places like Mangan, Lachen, and Zemu if you cover, then the entire journey will be of around complete one hour. Sixty minutes of pure thrill and excitement. The tour can be conducted on request. This is not a regular tourist tour. Rather it is conducted by special arrangements and taken mostly by a handful of industrial and VIP families and those from the foreign countries. A charter flight of this tour will cost around Rs 96,000.
Tsomgo Lake tour: Now if you are in Sikkim and have not visited the Tsomgo Lake, then it is totally incomplete. You can take the copter tour or regular small airbus tour to the beautiful lake here. This is the best option for a group of four or five friends or families where you can book an entire flight for just Rs 19000. This is an affordable trip to a beautiful lakeside.
Mount Siniolchu and Namchi tour: If you like watching the best peaks of the Himalayas, then this is the tour you must book. There is no better experience in Sikkim than watching Mount Siniolchu and similar other peaks from the sky. Best time to see them is in the morning when the sunshine flashes on to their snowcapped crowns.
Namchi tour is for those who want to witness a religious place in Sikkim. This is a pilgrimage tour. It covers places like Sai temple, Tathagata sal among other important religious destinations. This tour is popularly called as the char dham tour of Sikkim.
Pakyong airport and its features: Sikkim’s one and only airport, Pakyong was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently. The airport is located just around 33km from Gangtok. It is the pure engineering marvel that has been constructed at the height of around 4500 above the sea level.
The airport has been built by the Airports Authority of India. The distance of Pakyong airport from Bagdogra, which is located in Bengal, is just 124 km. So, travelers coming from the east and northeast India can easily reach Sikkim via this route. Also, people from the rest of the country and abroad can land at Pakyong via Delhi or Calcutta. Pakyong airport is just 60 km from the international India China border.
Features: The airport has been given a look and infrastructure of an international standard facility. It has been built at Rs 605 crore, and it is equipped with all the modern facilities. The reinforcement wall here is almost 80-metre-high, one of the highest in the world. It has got a 1.75km runway and reflects the famous Buddhist culture of Sikkim through these interiors.
The airport has it dedicated 116metre long taxiway. Its terminal is around 1300 square km where with a capacity of handling 50 in bound passengers.
A budget carrier like SpiceJet operates in Pakyong, and since the airport has just been operational in last year October, you can easily get the flights touching in and out of Pakyong. This means the usual rush that you witness in other regular airports in metro cities are yet to catch Pakyong.
Transport from Pakyong: Several government and private transportation facilities are available from the airport. You don’t need to panic that as it is a new facility, you will not get any proper taxi or private vehicle to reach your hotel in Sikkim. Sikkim government has initiated various plans and issued licenses to many private transport provider agencies to streamline the movement of tourists across the state if they visit this part of the country through Pakyong airport.
The essence of Sikkim: Sikkim is the least populous state in the country. It is serene and peaceful. This is the place you would want to visit after having months of a hectic life and work pressure. This is where you get solitude in its abundance. Scenic beauty, fresh food, warm and friendly people with all the amenities extended to a traveler, Sikkim is increasingly becoming popular for world voyagers.
Gone are the days when you had to book your train ticket and dial several times your private booking agent for a car ride to the hotel from the airport. Things have been eased out in Sikkim. With the launch of the new airport and streamlined connectivity through the Bengal, the channel has made things easier like never before. Now you can plan a trip to Sikkim through any route of the country at any time.
Bagdogra airport: Bagdogra airport is another way through which you can easily land in Sikkim. It is an international facility that is located 45km west of Siliguri. Bagdogra is a major air transport hub in the northeast region as it connects all the flights from various metro cities across the country such as Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Hyderabad, and Guwahati. Also, if you are an international tourist, from Bagdogra, you can board flights to Bhutan and Bangkok. The distance to Sikkim from Bagdogra is around 80km. Plenty of private car and taxis are available from the airport premises to reach you to the Sikkim capital in just 5 and a half hours. You can pre-book your journey from Bagdogra to Bangkok or hire the running transportation.
Both expensive and economy packages are there for the flight services in Sikkim. For special mountain flights journey, you will have to spend some extra bucks, but the investment is worth because you get to see the enthralling place from the lap of luxury. This is a lifetime experience.
On the other hand, if you want to go for a regular ride and share your journey with other travelers then also it is fine as long as you cover various beautiful locations of the Himalayan range.
It is like a romantic saga. We have always been drawn to Darjeeling and Sikkim, these two places for their snow, mist, fog, mountains, multicultural, tea and toy trains. From time immemorial, various locations of these two northeast India have depicted numerous stories of love, loss, adventure and freedom on the celluloid.
Darjeeling and Sikkim share an iconic bond with the film industry. The makers and producers of good cinema have come here for their craft to be unfurled in its true sense. Now let’s look into the details of the significance of these two places in terms of location and overall filmmaking business.
The age-old bond: If we walk through the corridors of film making, especially in terms of the Indian film industry, the contribution of the hill stations of Darjeeling and Sikkim is undeniable. Right from Raj Kapoor and Nargis starrer Barsat in 1949 to Barfi and Yaarian in recent times, many blockbusters have been shot here. Many more are due too. The panorama of the majestic locations of Sikkim was caught in the frames of famous film Jewel Thief where Dev Anand acted in his prime time. And how can we ever forget the mesmerizing tunes of Aradhana, which was shot in the hills of Darjeeling in 1969. The meandering roads of the hills and the glance of the toy train caught the attention of the entire population irrespective of their age. The list is endless if we talk about other hits like Bobby, Mera Naam Joker, and Road to Sikkim among others. The deep connection between Darjeeling and Sikkim and the film industry is still thriving.
Why Darjeeling is famous among directors: Filmmakers have been giving a lot of love and importance to this beautiful and serene hill station of north Bengal. Let’s find out the primary reasons for this.
Tea industry and Darjeeling are synonymous. The hill station is located at the elevation of 6710 ft. The youthful vibe and rich cultural heritage of the place attract both tourists and filmmakers. The pristine forests and holiness of this beautiful town create the perfect atmosphere for filmmaking. This UNESCO world heritage site is also famous for its beautiful weather and trekking opportunities. From Aaye Din Bhara Ke in 1966 to Barfi in 2012, Darjeeling has been the destination for numerous filmmakers. Now let’s talk about the famous shooting spots in Darjeeling, the most beautiful town in north Bengal.
Sikkim, the upcoming filmy hotspot
Sikkim is emerging as one of the most promising films shooting destinations over the past few years. Various regional and biggest Bollywood films are being shot in this place. Last year, a Hindi film, Ladki, was shot in various scenic locations, including Yumthang valley, Lachung, Gnathang valley and several places of north Sikkim. Shooting films provide a great opportunity for local talents as well. Right from line producer to technicians to dancers, a lot of regional touches is associated when films are shot in such natural and raw atmosphere. Since music legend A.R. Rahman has been appointed as the brand ambassador of Sikkim, a lot of enthusiasm has been around about this place.
Places that make Sikkim a much sought-after destination for directors
Wonders come in small packages. This saying comes true when you visit Sikkim. Tucked away in the lap of enormous Himalayas, Sikkim is the second smallest states in the country. It is the gateway of the northeast India. Let’s find out the charismatic locations of this state where every frame of a film shot creates magic.
Package perk to film units: The Bengal tourism development corporation is ready to woo filmmaking crews that are scouting for shooting locations. Several packages designed to cater to their individual needs and overall support. Logistic assistance, accommodation, bulk booking of various outdoor facilities and technical support, along with booking private properties at discounted rates, such cooperation is being extended to the filmmakers and their teams by the government of both these states.
The USP behind locations: Many regions of Darjeeling and Sikkim are free for shooting. Even the popular places mentioned above are available at a very economical rate. That is why the increased number of both regional and national level directors are moving in these places with the teams. And the number will rise further. Films based on world tourism, wildlife, and conservation of nature and its resources are also shot in these two places on a regular basis.
Conclusion: Darjeeling and Sikkim are thriving locations for film shooting. With all required amenities and support system build here, these two places are changing the cliché concept with the outdoor shooting. New, pristine locations, young local talents, and supportive governmental gesture are all the budding and experienced directors looking forward to turning their ventures into reality in the hills.
Sikkim is a small autonomous state of India hidden between Nepal and Bhutan. Sikkim is not only varied in culture and traditions but also its landscapes. In the north, you will find High Mountain, near the third highest peak in the world, the Kanjenchunga (8586m), in the west an extensive collection of Buddhist monasteries such as Pemagantse. In the south, large Buddha sculptures such as Sandruptse, and in the east, more lively cities such as Gangtok.
Sikkim is all crafted with the magnificent beauty of nature, with countless places to explore and glance. The state is a breath-taking destination to relax and rejuvenate holiday within the breezing environment. If you are looking for some peace of mind, private vacation, or solace romance, Sikkim is an ideal travel destination to recreate the mood. Apart from the scenic beauty, adventurous sports activities also make this holiday place a significant choice for travelers.
Sikkim has a temperate climate in its inhabited areas and generally varies from a tropical climate to an alpine environment. In summer the temperatures can surpass the 28ºC, and in winter they hover the 0ºC, having an annual average of about 18ºC. To the north of the region and at high altitudes it can reach -40ºC in winter. We can highlight five weather stations, spring, summer, autumn, winter and the monsoon season. Caution should be taken in the monsoon season due to landslides caused by abundant rainfall, in addition to the abundant mists that can be very dangerous for transport.
In this post, we want the information that will be useful to get there, how to move, and the places that have seemed most interesting.
Below are few Incredible Things to Do in Sikkim for More Adventurous Experience:
Sikkim Guide: A Glace To The Magnificent State:
If you have chosen to visit and explore local places in Sikkim is not that so easy as it seems, and even can shuffle your pre-planned and expected deeds into surprises. So to avoid such struggling setbacks, plan your traveling and exploring route carefully to avoid destructive swings in your journey.
Sikkim is administratively divided into North Sikkim, South Sikkim, East Sikkim, and West Sikkim. We will explain that it can be seen in each region (Except the North) to make it easier.
Southern Region Of Sikkim:
Namchi and the Sandruptse:
The most important city in this area is Namchi, this is the best place to visit in Sikkim. A Joretang-Namchi jeep can be rented on 50 rupees, and the journey lasts about an hour. The town itself does not have great appeal. If the clouds allow you, you will have views of some peaks. The point of interest is Samdruptse. It is a hill that is about 7km from Namchi city. At the top of the hill, there is a statue of Guru Padmasambhava 45 meters high. Another thing you can do in Namchi is to live Siddheshvara Dham. It's like a miniature India. A complex with different replicas of the most important temples of India, and a statue of Shiva 33 meters high. At the Namchi jeep station, you have the "taxi stand" where one can take the shared taxi on rent to see all the attractions. Depends on the visits you choose you can leave more or less cheap. If you happen to travel between February-March and October, you will catch the Namchi flower festival.
Rabong / Ravangla and the Buddha Park:
This city is the base if you want to make a small trek to Maenam Hill Borong. You can also go to see Lake Cho Zolake and the Rabong Monastery. The "strong" point of Rabong is the Buddha Park where you will find another Buddha sculpture of about 45 meters. The trekking to Maenam Hill will take about 4 hours. The roads are not signposted so better hire a guide for about 600 rupees.
Other Local Attractions In Southern Sikkim: Sikip, Jorethang, Rabong, Borong Trekking, Tendong Hill, Maenam Hill, Solophok, Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary, Temi Tea Garden, Baichung Stadium, Rock Garden, Doling Gompa, Kartok Lake, Bonn Monastery are some amazingly beautiful places to visit in the southern region of Sikkim.
Western Region Of The Sikkim:
Pelling and the Pemayangtse Monastery: Pelling is one of the small cities of more interest in the Sikkim. From here, if the clouds allow you, you will have one of the best views of the Himalayas, among them the Kanjenchunga.
Sky Walk of Pelling – Most visited sites in West Sikkim: Chenrezig statue is the fourth tallest statue in Sikkim. Along with the statue, there is a glass skywalk where visitors can enjoy an enthralling on the glass, thousands of feet above the ground, into the clouds. Charge inside the complex is Rs 20 for locals and neighbors. It is Rs 50 for non-locals. From the skywalk, you can see the entire valley underneath, including the winding Teesta and Rangit, aside located is Kanchenjunga. This is the first skywalk of India. It has been made with Rs 500 crore by the department of Sikkim tourism.
Yuksom: It is a small and super quiet village that consists of a single street with two or three restaurants, two or three hotels, and several trekking agencies. We stayed at the Hotel Pradhan for Rs 500 the double room. Within the Yuksom offer, it was the best in terms of quality/price. Yuksom is actually a departure and trekking destination, which is a beautiful place blend a track to North Sikkim’s Singalila or Dzongri trekking zone.
It also has some more attractions such as the climb to the Dubdi Monastery. There was also the first monastery founded after the coronation of the first Chogyial (king) of the Sikkim. The monastery is quite small, but the walk is pleasant. You need to be quite careful and conscious if you are visiting the place in monsoon season, as the road is fledged with leeches.
You can also go to see the small lake Kathok (10 rupees) and the Norbugang Forest, where there is a small temple, and where is the "crown stone" of the first king of the Sikkim. Another interesting option is to make a short trek walking Yuksom - Khecheopalri Lake, which we explain below.
Khecheoplari Lake: It is a sacred lake for both Hindu and Buddhist; the entrance fee is 10 rupees. You cannot bathe. The place is located halfway between Yuksom and Pelling (25 Km), and it won’t take more than 10 minutes to reach the site. The lake view is quite refreshing and breezing which will definitely make a visit more worth precious and memorizing.
Other local attractions in West Sikkim: are Goecha La, Mount Pandim, Tashiding Monastery, Geyzing, Darap Village, Rabdentse Ruins, Yangtey, Dzongri Trek, Sangachoeling Monastery, Legship Town, Biksthang, Uttarey, Varsey, Okhrey Village, Rinchenpong and many other attractive tourists’ spots.
Eastern Region Of Sikkim:
The fact that we coincided with Indian national holidays made us give up visiting the Gangtok area and the east of the Sikkim. We had coincided with several travelers who had fled in terror from there, due to the massive influx of Indian tourists and the high prices of the hotels. Gantok is a capital city of the Sikkim state, so if you're looking for tranquillity, it's not your place. From here you can make fascinating excursions of many local tourist spots and places carved with scenic beauty.
Lake Tsomgo: Lake Tsomgo (38 km from Gangtok) or the Nathula Pass (56 km from Gangtok), in the northern region. To make these excursions, you will have to hire them through an agency, as it is a special permit zone.
Nathu Lal Pass:
This is one of the best places to visit in Sikkim. This fascinating pass is spread over the eastern part of Sikkim, known to be as old Silk Route in ancient times to explore the trade and business of silk between India and Tibet. It overlooks as one of the oldest mountains passes nearby to Indo-China border carving on Chumbi Valley.
Other Local Places In Easter Sikkim: Hanuman Tok, Rumtek Monastery, Baba Harbhajan Singh Temple, Namgyal Institute of Tibetology, Jelep La, Netsland Of Gangtok; Tashi District, Enchey Monastery, Tukla ValleyDo Drul Chorten, Jawaharlal Nehru Botanical Garden, Gangtok Ropeway, Ganesh Tok, Bakthang Waterfalls, Aritar Lake, Sikkim Himalayan Zoological Park, Zuluk, Nathang Valley,
Northern Region Of Sikkim:
The northern region of Sikkim is trekking territory and requires that you have a "tour-trekking" with an agency to travel it. In this area, you can enjoy the trekking, and for this, you can hire the trekking guide.
Lachung River: In the northern region, you can explore banks of Lachung river, which is indeed a calm and peaceful site to visit for nature lovers.
Yumthang Valley: This place is another natural site to visit in northern Sikkim, actually a rich rhododendron forest and also known as “Valley Of Flowers.”
Chopta Valley: The place is must visit natural site especially during the spring season, as all merged colorful flowers and natural forms.
Lachen: A place that will make you more alive and refreshing, encircled with natural beauty and Gurudongmar Lake and Lhamu lakes. Yak race is one of the attractions to look for.
Some more local destinations in Northern Region of Sikkim: are Seven Sisters Waterfall, Chungthang, Thangu, Mangan, Green Lake Trek, Tosar Lake Trek, Singhik, Kabi Lungchok and more.
Gurudongmar lake in Lachen north Sikkim – The lake is located near the Tibet border in north Sikkim. It is the place of blue ships, yaks and other high-altitude animals. The snow-fed milky water of the lake meets Teesta at its origin. Located at 17000 ft, Gurudongmar is one of the highest lakes in the world. It is encircled with snow-covered mountains. According to myth, the blessed water of the lake is said to have miraculous effect in terms of bringing children to the lives of issueless couples. The name of the lake has been derived from Guru Padmasambhava.
So, if you want to enjoy your holiday in a peaceful area and want to take an Adventurous Experience, then Sikkim is one of the best places for you to visit. So, book your ticket for Sikkim trip right now and enjoy your holiday.
Sikkim has emerged as a popular tourist destination in recent years. Nature enthusiasts come cruising into this northeast Indian state to revel in the bounteous natural beauty. However, Sikkim also offers a wide range of adventure activities that are sure to satiate the adrenaline pumping in you. Here are some of the popular adventurous sports in Sikkim awaiting to thrill you.
So, while in Sikkim, if you want to find your inner adventurer these are the activities that you can undertake to experience some spine chilling and exciting episodes in your trip. Sikkim can bring you immense satisfaction with its bounteous natural beauty and has also the potential to make it a trip that will stay with you for a lifetime.
To engage yourself in the positive vibe of Sikkim all you have to do simply look for We Care Holidays(Sikkim Tour Packages). This phrase has been used time and again to describe the magnetic pull of the mountains and truth be told, has become a cliché. But nevertheless, it is true in every sense. The ‘must’ in the phrase refers to how necessary it is NOT to miss an opportunity to breathe in the overwhelming experience of the mountains. Now, if you want to experience the mountains in its pristine form without having a crowd around you, there is hardly a place better than Gangtok; especially during winter. In Gangtok, the picturesque postcards of winter giving a glimpse into the beauty of snow clad mountains come to life.
Here are some of the experiences that you can find that the best time to visit Gangtok is during winters:
Winter Festival – The first and foremost reason for the best time to visit Gangtok during winters. Showcasing the beauty of Gangtok in winters, various stalls featuring organic traditional foods and beverages, the most famous being Chhang, of different tribes and communities pop up during this festival. Several other events like Bike stunt shows, street magic and DJ nights on the streets are also on the menu.
Cultural programmes during Christmas and New Year’s Eve – Head over to MG Marg to be in the midst of all the festivity. There are cultural programs of different communities and tribes along with performances by local bands every evening during the Christmas Week. Winter is the best season to visit Gangtok. A definite must witness is the wonderful performance by freestyle dancers showcasing beautiful choreographies right there on the streets.
Paragliding – For the adventure junkies, there are paragliding opportunities that should be given a try in Gangtok. Can be a daunting experience but after you glided through the clear blue sky above the snow-clad mountain peaks, cities and villages; you realize how breathtaking the view is.
Sikkimese nights – Replete with pubs, bars, casinos and nightclubs, Gangtok has an inconspicuously exciting nightlife. With all the winter festivals especially Christmas and New Year, the nightlife here warms your spirits despite the cold. There is nothing like a peg of rum beside a fireplace warming yourself after a fruitful day of sightseeing.
Shopping - Last but not the least, if you are someone who is always on the lookout for bargains and nostalgia invoking souvenirs, then MG Marg is the right place for you. A wide range of goods is available here, most common among them being the Chinese Feng-shui items like the Laughing Buddha, New Year Lamps, Tibetan Dresses, Handwoven Blankets, wooden and bamboo handicrafts among many others. A souvenir that always comes to mind from Sikkim is the Khukri. Similar to a machete, Khukri is the traditional weapons used by the Gurkhas of Nepal. Hailed as a symbol of the brave Gurkhas, it is famously known as the weapon of preference by the Gurkha Regiment of the Indian National Army. So basically winter is the best season to visit Gangtok.
If you want to spend your winter in the most amazing way, then Gangtok is the destination for you. This is the first part of this two-part blog, there are a lot more reasons to spend your winters in Gangtok, so stay tuned.
If you are looking for a Holiday Package full of Heritage Culture Food Family coupled with varied travel oriented experiences, well you have to simply look for We Care Holidays(Sikkim Tour Package). A traveler’s sojourn on an unfamiliar land is incomplete without savoring its cuisine. Sikkim, the land known for its bounteous natural beauty also has abundant to offer when it comes to food. Sikkimese food is supposedly a pastiche of Tibetan, Nepalese, Bhutan and Indian cuisine. The three major tribes: the Lepchas, the Bhutias and the Nepalese have their own traditional dishes that form a major part of the Sikkimese cuisine. The basic everyday meal includes “dal-bhat-tarkari-achar” or cooked rice, legume soup, curry and pickle with red hot chilies as the main constituent occasionally complemented by protein inclusive dishes.
But, Sikkim is not just “dal-bhat-tarkari”. Nor are Momos and Thukpa the be all and end all here. Though Momo and Thukpas are majorly associated with the state, its fame has made its way to the menus of big restaurants nationwide and is no more merely a household comfort food or street food. Due to its geographical location, a strong influence from neighboring places is present in Sikkimese food. Fermented food and traditional beverages form a major part of Sikkim and at an altitude like Sikkim’s, crops like Finger Millet, Buckwheat, Barley, soyabeans are adequately grown and are basic ingredients for the dishes prepared by the locals. Momos are traditionally stuffed with ground meat and assorted vegetables and is served piping hot with refreshing soup and spicy chilly chutney. However, today Momos have undergone experiments and now, one can find various stuffings that go into the making of Momo. Thukpa or Gyak Thuk is another popular dish from the state and is a noodle, meat based soup with assorted vegetables, and a bowl is enough to get you going for the day. Apart from these two popular dishes, there are other exotic dishes to try. Phagshapa is one such dish and pork lovers can give this dish a try. This pork dish is prepared with red chilies and radish as the two complementary main ingredients. There is no alternative of this for vegetarians as this dish cannot be made without pork. Sishnu soup is another tempting local dish. It is a household dish and would be hard to find in restaurants. This soup is prepared from edible nettle leaves found in the wild.
When it comes to fermented food, Gundruk and Sinki are two of the most popular ones. They both have Nepalese origin and can also be found in other Nepali dominated areas of the nation. Gundruk is basically fermented leafy vegetables especially mustard leaves, rich in mineral, and is a common side dish. Sinki is similar to Gundruk, except Sinki solely uses radish tap roots. Sinki is prepared in a hot bamboo pipe which is then covered with vegetation and mud and is left to ferment for about a month. It is then unearthed and is ready for consumption and can be stored for a year. Sinki can be added to soups or can be bottled to make a pickle. Kinema is another fermented food made of soyabean which is usually prepared as a soup which goes well with rice. Churpi, cottage cheese is another speciality from the state and is used to prepare yet another popular dish called Ningro Churpi which is milk based fern dish. Sael Roti, popular among the Nepalese community is also a must have. It is prepared with deep fried sweet rice batter served with potato curry or other meat based curries. This is prepared especially during Tihar or the Festive Indian season. Another popular food of Tibetan origin known as Sha Phaley is common in households of Sikkim. It is basically bread stuffed with ground meat and cabbage which is then deep fried. Sikkim also has its local liquor called Chaang and is usually prepared from fermented millet. It is said to be a strong and highly intoxicating drink.
The dishes listed are some of the local food of Sikkim which are gradually becoming popular among tourists and have become the face of Sikkimese cuisine and the fact that the state is the only 100% organic farming state in India ensures unadulterated wholesome meals for all. Sikkim’s food offers a multicultural experience and there are yet a lot more to discover in Sikkim and its cuisine.
To actively participate and enjoy yourself all you have to do simply look for We Care Holidays(Best Sikkim Tour Packages). 70 km away from Gangtok in North Sikkim is Dzongu, a land reserved for the Lepchas – the original inhabitants of Sikkim. The Lepchas believe that if Life is spent in accomplishing good deeds, then one is rewarded by attaining eternal bless in Mayal Lang, or in more common terms, Heaven. They also claim to be the proud pure line descendants of the original inhabitants of the land of Mayal Lang, and though this may be shrouded in fantasy, the heritage of the tribe is indeed a treasure, as evidenced by the reservation of this beautiful land to only the Lepchas.
The terrain of Dzongu is amazing, unlike any place that you might have visited. There are icy cold rivulets that must be crossed only to be welcomed by hot water springs and then all of a sudden, there is a luscious green forest teeming with exotic flora and fauna. If one casts his eyes around, you are sure to witness at least about 5 mesmerising waterfalls. And when you are in the middle of taking in all this heavenly beauty, clouds will come in and envelop the entire region occasionally and then all of a sudden, there are sporadic light showers alternating with soft sunlight falling on you. Truly, the gateway to heaven, isn’t it? Dzongu has something for everyone, starting from honeymooners, to nature loving travellers, to spiritual seekers and cultural enthusiasts.
In terms of accommodation, visitors can stay at any of the villages in Dzongu. The entire area is divided into Upper Dzongu, with villages like Tingvong and Kissong, and Lower Dzongu, with villages like Passingdong and Lingdong. If you are visiting during the months of December to January, then do not miss the Namsoong Festival, which has become quite an attractive festival of the year, attracting hundreds of people – both locals and tourists alike. In this festival, the visitors can experience the rustic charm of savouring the local delicacies while being seated on rugs hand spun using yak wool over a cowdung smeared floor.
Dzongu has a multitude of offerings for the people visiting it ranging from trekking opportunities from Passingdong through fragrant bamboo groves till the quaint little village of Lingthem. Here, one can enjoy mesmerising views of Mt. Kanchenjunga. Also, the village stands in the middle of a forest and also houses a monastery practising an ancient form of Nyingma Buddhism. If you are looking for cultural immersiveness, then a visit to the Hee Gyathang village is a must. And if you want to get close to the mountains, then Pentong is a must and should definitely be on your list. It is the last inhabited place and is very close to the mountains.
Dzongu is easily approachable from Gangtok using private or shared cars from a place called Mangan near Gangtok. If you are trying to visit from NJP or Siliguri, you will have to take the route through Singtam and Mangan. Either way you take, you have to halt at Mangan because you need to issue a permit for visiting Dzongu which is available only from Mangan. This can be done either by booking through an experienced travel agent or a homestay in Dzongu.
So, what are you waiting for? Just type Sikkim and book your ticktes and let WeCare Holidays make your trip to Sikkim a trip of a lifetime.
Located in one of the most untouched parts of South Sikkim, Sumbuk is, for want of a more appropriate word, a birdwatcher’s paradise. Sumbuk is one of the most unexplored places of Sikkim with astounding flora and fauna. Divided into two parts based on altitude, Lower Sumbuk with an altitude of about 1,500 ft. is covered with temperate forests and is an ideal place for watching birds like peacocks and hornbills. Upper Sumbuk, located at an altitude of 7,000 ft, is characterized by endless stretches of pine forests and firs. Together, the lower and upper parts of Sumbuk make for a paradise like destination covered with pine forests, gladiola farms, and monasteries, over 200 varied species of birds, countless butterflies and the Greater Rangeet River.
The dense forests at the southern slope of Lower Sumbuk are one of the prime attractions here and are famous as a peacock breeding forest. Also, the banks of the Rangeet River along with the numerous Gladiola farms and few old temples make Sumbuk a must visit attraction for travelers looking to truly enjoy the untouched paradise of South Sikkim. Among the many temples, the Sumbuk Shivalaya Mandir dedicated to Lord Shiva takes the cherry as being one of the most popular places of worship by locals and mass prayers are often organized during the festive time. The Colombe Rocky Mountain also provides some of the most picturesque viewpoints overlooking parts of Sikkim and Bengal. But, the icing on the cake is taken by the region of Upper Sumbuk. It takes about an hour to reach Upper Sumbuk from Lower Sumbuk and here, you can find the Monogram village, also known as Phooldara (hill of flowers) with a huge variety of Rhododendrons, wild orchids, pines and wild strawberries blooming in different seasons of the year. A huge tract of pine forest known as Dhupi covers most of Upper Sumbuk and one can find numerous varieties of birds and butterflies here. Located just above Phooldara, there is a place called Tamley Chaur, from where you can enjoy a glorious view of the Himalayan ranges. The natural viewpoints of Upper Sumbuk offer panoramic views of Mt. Kanchenjunga, Darjeeling, Kalimpong and other parts of Bengal.
Birdwatching is one of the favorite activities of the people visiting Sumbuk. Also, the Rangeet River offers guests with opportunities for white water rafting. One can also enjoy guided jungle walks and catch a glimpse of the fauna teeming in the forests of Sumbuk. The best time to visit Sumbuk is actually a subjective matter, and it is beautiful all year round. From March to May, the weather is fresh and travelers can enjoy the blooming of the rhododendrons in Upper Sumbuk. In Sumbuk, the winters are mild as compared to the higher reaches of Sikkim and is a perfect location for birding enthusiasts as Sumbuk becomes a favorite location for various migratory birds during the winters.
So, if you are planning to spend a few days in a destination away from the maddening rush of tourists and away from the mechanistic city life, Sumbuk is the place to be and we at WeCare Holidays make it our priority to make your experience in Sumbuk a memorable one.
Lying in the south west corner of the West Sikkim district, Barsey is well known for its vibrant and colourful Rhododendron Sanctuary. The sanctuary encompasses over 104 sq.km, across the razor sharp Singalila Range, which forms the natural international border with our neighbours, Nepal. Having three points of entry into this sanctuary from Hilley, Dentam and Soreng, both tourists and trekkers alike prefer entering through Hilley since it is easily approachable by road. The bridle path from Hilley to Barsey is a favourite among tourists especially during the Rhododendron flowering season, and the faunal treasures of the sanctuary include Leopard Cat, Himalayan Yellow Throated Marten, Himalayan Palm Civet, Himalayan Langur, Crimson Horned Pheasant, Monal Pheasant, Kaleej and many diverse species of birds. Hence, Barsey Rhododendron Sanctuary is a treasure trove for wildlife and birding enthusiasts and is therefore frequented by a number of wildlife photographers and ornithologist enthusiasts throughout the year.
Spanning over the razor sharp Singalila range of mountains, the climate of the Barsey Rhododendron Sanctuary is characterised by being wet and cold, thus favouring the spread of the dominant genus of flowers in the area – Rhododendron. July, being the wettest month, receives an average annual precipitation of over 250 cm and the areas above 2500 m sea level receive regular snowfalls during the winters. The period during November to May experience the clearest skies, characterised by a bright shade of azure blue. The sanctuary also boasts of over 40 species of Rhododendron and during the blooming season, the sanctuary is blanketed in a sea of colourful rhododendron flowers. To witness this majestic sight, it is best to visit during the season of the flowers which falls between March and May. The period between July and September is the wettest and is best avoided. The second trekking period starts from October to December, when the skies are clear with little to no haze, thus making the viewing of Mt. Kanchenjunga and the snow-capped ranges clearly visible. Though there are no rhododendrons blooming during this period, the sanctuary is exquisitely beautiful and is sure to satisfy the wildest of souls.
A beautiful trekker’s hut going by the name of Garas Kunj is located at Barsey, in the middle of the sea of Rhododendron at 10,000 feet, commanding a gorgeous view of the Singalila Mountain Range. Trekkers can spend the night at this hut and soak in the warm rays of the sun here while breathing in the fresh mountain air and enjoying a panaromic view of the rugged Singalila Range.
The easiest way to reach the sanctuary is from Hilley from where it is a 4 km trek to the sanctuary. Sombaria, which is situated about 25 km before the road ends at Hilley is the last major town. The best visiting hours is from 8 am to 4 pm and morning hours are the best time for day excursions. Also, trekkers and visitors should keep in mind to carry along proper gear and hire an experienced guide before visiting this site.
It is October now and the skies have cleared to provide you with a majestically clear view of the Kanchenjunga mountain range, so book your tickets to Sikkim and allow WeCare Holidays to make the trek through Barsey Rhododendron Sanctuary a memorable experience.