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Darjeeling and Sikkim Itinerary - 6 to 7 days!

Dublin
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Darjeeling and Sikkim Itinerary - 6 to 7 days!

Hi all,

I'm plg a trip to Darjeeling and Sikkim as part of our honeymoon (cold January). Following is the tentative itinerary and I'd welcome any suggestions or question.

17th January - Arrive Darjeeling and overnight in darjeeling

18th January - Mountaineering institute, tea estates and bazaars - mainly relax. overnight in darjeeling.

19th January - visit to tiger hill for early morning to view sunrise over Kanchenjunga. also, visit Darjeeling Rangeet Valley Passenger Ropeway. overnight in Darjeeling.

20th January - drive to sikkim (Gangtok). stop at interesting places on our way and basically just relax that day and overnight in gangtok.

21st January - visit Tsomgo Lake and also, Nathula Pass. I've read that Nathula is open only for Indian nationals on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays. I'm Indian and husband is Irish and we both would like to visit Nathula PAss - can this be organised by the travel agents? Overnight in Gangtok. how many hours would this trip take if we start around 10am. and can we do or see anything special in gangtok - basically don't want to stress ourselves by visiting too many places and just want to relax.

22nd January - Visit Tashi View point and pelling. overnight in Gangtok. again, how many hours would this take. I'm plg to visit Tashi view point early in the morning - what would be the best time.

23rd January - return to bagdogra airport.

- can you recommend any travel agents in gangtok who will organise the sikkim trip (as per the above itinerary)

- can you recommend any other view points from where we can get good view of the himalayan range - as per our itinerary we have tiger hill in darjeeling and tashi view in sikkim.

- any other suggestions or info would be highly appreciated.

Thanks in advance.

Cannock, United...
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1. Re: Darjeeling and Sikkim Itinerary - 6 to 7 days!

Try and fit in a ride on the Darjeeling Himalyan Railway!

You can get a short ride to Ghoom and back - something I believe they call a "joy-ride" The train stops at Bhatasia Loop for pictures and you get to see the Gurkha Memorial at the same time. Well worth the effort. Great views across to Kanchenjunga too!

Tony

Calcutta
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2. Re: Darjeeling and Sikkim Itinerary - 6 to 7 days!

Pelling is far from Gangtok - its not advisable to go there and come back same day. I had travelled by a bus run by Sikkim Govt. We started around 6am - it took us a long long time - 8+ hours to my remembrance.

Check out the travel time before you make this trip. If you are interested in Pelling try and checkin to a hotel there. That would extend your stay by 2-3 days - but why not - if you are travelling this far.

Calcutta
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3. Re: Darjeeling and Sikkim Itinerary - 6 to 7 days!

Oh - btw - I forgot to mention that January is a great time to go to Sikkim and Darjeeling. We went to Lake Tsongo ( or Changu Lake) in Feb - and it started snowing rather heavily. It was nice.

There are small shops selling tea - and all the seats they had was covered with snow - so they looked like benches made of snow. And the tea ( in that cold) was nice, strong and sweet.

The Yaks that roam the place are cute as well. Dont know if you can hitch a ride on a Yak!

Dublin
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4. Re: Darjeeling and Sikkim Itinerary - 6 to 7 days!

Tony, Snandi,

Thanks for the suggestions.

couple of more questions:

- Pelling - Are the mountain views great from Pelling? i was plg to include Tashi view point and would Pelling be better than Tashi view point.

- We are plg to go to Nathula Pass and My husband is Irish (I'm Indian) and I'm not sure if he'll be permitted to visit Nathula Pass. Is there anyway this can be organised?

Thanks

Ratna

Kolkata (Calcutta...
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for Kolkata (Calcutta), Darjeeling, India
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5. Re: Darjeeling and Sikkim Itinerary - 6 to 7 days!

Ratna,

As I mentioned before, Nathula is likely to be closed for extreme conditions. Its not a good idea to make the trip in winter, the road conditions are very risky if it snows. You should take that into consideration.

Dublin
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6. Re: Darjeeling and Sikkim Itinerary - 6 to 7 days!

Hi Brave,

Don't want to give up :(

I don't know when i'll be back to this part of India. Realistically, you are probably right - will see how the weather is when we arrive in sikkim and plan accordingly. But i think it'll be useful to get what ever permits are required before hand to avoid last minute disappointment (in terms of arrangments) - the weather might disappoint us anyways.

one more question.

The Tsongo Lake - i've read on few sikkim websites that a group of minimum 4 is required to travel to the lake - is that correct. If you have been to the LAke how many were in the Group? Can just the couple and the travel agent + driver not add up as four :) ? just being smart.

Thanks

Ratna

Gangtok, India
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7. Re: Darjeeling and Sikkim Itinerary - 6 to 7 days!

Dear Ratna!

Hope all is well with you! Regarding ur honeymoon trip to Darjeeling and Sikkim, let me start off by telling you that its a great choice for a honeymoon. This, especially since the North Eastern part of India is still relatively undiscovered and unspoiled. What makes it even better is that the place will not be flooded with tourists in Jan! However, it will be alittle on the cold side! I noticed in ur itenary u wanted to go to the Ropeway in Darjeeling ..... unfortunately its been closed for the past few years and somehow its still included in many of the guide books. The Zoo & and Mountaineering Institute are in the same vicinity so you could probably finsh both of them off in one shot! If you really want to experience a proper visit to a tea garden, you would need atleast 3 hours on hand to see the process of manufacturing. On the other hand, since in Jan its still the domancy period for the tea, its unlikely that much production will be taking place. While in Darjeeling, as Mr. Tony mentioned, try and take the 'joy ride' on the DHR... form Darjeeling to Ghoom. If you guys are the adventurous type, maybe white water rafting on the Teesta river could also be an option on your way to Gangtok! Also, Pelling happens to have a magnificent view of Kanchenjunga and seems almost as if its right on your lap! So though i wouldnt suggest doing a day trip to Pelling, you might want to add a day or two there. Regarding places to stay, I think Mr. Tony Davies would suggest a great place in Darjeeling to stay at! :) If you require any further information, do let me know! Brave1 and snandi are also pretty farmiliar with the area and would provide useful information that I might not know since I have been in Darjeeling only for the past 8 months! :) Cheers!

Calcutta
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8. Re: Darjeeling and Sikkim Itinerary - 6 to 7 days!

Ratna:

here are the answers to your Qs

1. Pelling - In my view Pelling has one of the best views of Kanchenjunga. At least thats the way it was when I went in the early 1990s. You can see the range from head to toe!

2. Nathula and Tsongo (Changu) - Will definitely be cold ( sub Zero). Yes - it may snow heavily. and the weather is fickle - changes every day. I actually visited Tsongo on two consecutive days - first day we got stuck in a mini blizard. I found it exciting to be honest. The second day was clear - but colder. So take a call once u reach Gangtok.

Calcutta
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9. Re: Darjeeling and Sikkim Itinerary - 6 to 7 days!

Ratna

Just saw a video posted under Darjeeling called "Jeep Ride in Sikkim".

When we went to Tsongo (Changu) - thats how the road looked - white from heavy snowfall.

Kolkata (Calcutta...
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10. Re: Darjeeling and Sikkim Itinerary - 6 to 7 days!

Hi Ratna,

Just wanted to add a few points to what our friends have already advised you....

1) On 17th Jan, instead of reaching Darjeeling, you might consider travelling upto Kurseong and visiting themagnificient tea gardens ( viz makaibari Tea Estate etc). have a night halt in Kurseong and travel to Darjeeling by the early morning toy train that leaves Kurseong at 6 am. This toytrain is special because this is perhaps the only steam loco operated toytrain -- all others operate with diesel engines. In case you are unable to wake up so early, then you can always reach Darjeeling by car in about 1.30 hrs 8 and visit the Batasia Loop enroute).

2) Iam not sure if the ropeway has reopened, but you can cover that on Jan 18th, since it is very close to the HMI and Zoo.

3) On Jan19th, your trip to Tiger Hill should be over by 8.30 am. So you can either take the joyride by the toy train ( which starts from darjeeling at 9am and terminates at darjeeling around 12 noon). And on the afternoon, you can visit the Rock garden, which is quite a nice place to visit.

4) On Jan 20th, when you drive to Gangtok, pls try to visit the world famous Rumtek Monastery first enroute to gangtok. This will be a detour on the left, approx 12 kms before entering Gangtok. However you are advised to take a car registered in Sikkim (from darjeeling) and also do confirm if he is allowed to go to Rumtek. This is because Sikkim govt has a ruling whereby any non Sikkim geristered tourist cars are not allowed to travel upto the various tourist points of interests -- in order to promote tourim industry in sikkim and generate work for the locals.

5) In all probability, you will be unable to make it to nathula in the winters, as the roads are closed for civilian traffic. However, pls check this with your hotel on arrival. In case the route is open then your travel agent will organise the necessary permits etc in a day. However, pls remember to hire a 4 wheeled drive SUV even if you are travelling to Tsomgo (Changu) lake. It will be costlier, but then safety should always take precedence.

6) Regarding Pelling, it should definitely be included in your itenary since the vies of the Kanchendzonga are magnificient from there. I've been there 4 times and it always rejuvenates me !!! The trip from Gangtok shall take approx 6 hours. So I would suggest if you can extend your overall trip by a day to include 2 nights in Pelling.

Do let us know if you have any further questions....

Debasish