Things to do in Sikkim:
1.) The Nathu La, Baba Mandir & Tsongomo Lake Day Trip:
All these three places can be visited on the same day as they are on the way of one another. Make sure you hire a local travel agent or contact your hotel to get the required permits, to visit these beautiful points. To begin with, Nathu La Pass lies on the Indo-Chinese border and only Indians are permitted to visit this place. It is shut during Winters and reopens in May. Nathu La Pass is breath taking but, the roads to reach here are very dangerous and narrow. Going to Gangtok and not visiting Nathu La is like going to Agra and not visiting the Taj Mahal. This place is a white lanscape, so quiet and pure that it will leave you spell bound.
The next place that you would visit is the Baba Mandir which has a very interesting tale to tell. Major Baba Harbajan Singh of the Indian Army passed away while escorting a mule column as he slipped into a fast flowing stream and drowned.After which, he came in one of his colleagues dreams and expressed the desire to have a samadhi built in his memory. It is to be believed that he cautions soldiers about future wars and dangers by coming in their dreams and also slaps soldiers who fall asleep while they are on duty. The soldiers have also built a seat on Nathu La pass for his spirit and they give spiritual water at the temple which is meant to heal the visitors from any kind of physical ailments. This story is really fascinating and it makes you “want to” believe in life after death.
After this,head to the Tsongmo Lake (pronounced as Changu Lake) which is breathtaking. The lake is beautiful and so clean that you can see your own reflection in it. It is a sacred place for the Hindus and Buddhists and it is believed that the birds do not let one leaf also enter the lake surface. This lake is frozen during the winters which makes it even more scenic. They have yak rides here which I did not participate in as I felt bad for the poor animals. You should grab a hot cup of simmering coffee, just sit at the edge of the lake , close your eyes and listen to the sounds of the water. You will LOVE clicking selfies here!!
(Links to hotels and travel agents will be mentioned at the end of the blog.)
2.) Take a walk in The Buddha Park at Ravlanga:
The Buddha Park in Ravlanga is humongous and absolutely stunning. The beauty of this park with it’s blissful scenery will leave you wanting for more. The park has it’s own pure veg cafe that is extremely hygienic. The surroundings are clean and serene with a huge glass conference hall, a temple and a 130 feet tall Golden Buddha Statue right at the head of the park. The statue is marvelous and the temple has their walls painted with stories right up to the height of the statue. This statue can be seen from all directions of Southwest Sikkim. You can take a walk in this beautiful garden away from all the hustle bustle and breathe the fresh air.
3.) Go Organic or Eat Home cooked Meals:
Sikkim is the first fully organic state in India. So what’s better than to indulge yourselves into a complete organic diet and just mediate at the serene temples. This could be a mental as well as a physical detox trip for you.
You Must also totally try the food served at homes of the locals. The locals have restaurants inside the living area of their house. This is a totally amazing experience, because you get to try the real local dishes and flavors coming right out of someone’s kitchen.
Some Famous Dishes are listed below:
-You must eat delicious momos stuffed with meat (also known as ‘Dumpling’).
-Thupka or noodle soup.
-Gyathak: is a pasta/ macroni soup.
-Phagshapa is a strip of pork fat stewed with radishes and dried chillies.
-Wai Wai Noodles and Maggi noodles.
4.) Visit The Casino:
Now many of you do not know this, but Sikkim is the only State that is permitted to legally build a live casino on Indian Land. (Goa has machinated casinos on land and live ones can only be built on international waters like Deltin Royale.) The Casino Mahjong is situated inside the luxurious hotel called Mayfair Spa and Resort. It is a 20-30 min ride from the main market in Gangtok and you can easily travel in a taxi. So all you Poker and Roulette Lovers in India, do not forget to carry your ID proof. They have around 15 live gaming tables with 7 poker rooms. The entry fee fluctuates according to season. I will link the official website of the casino at the end of the blog. Thank me later for this one!
(link to Casino website mentioned at the end of the blog.)
5.) Go Shopping:
Surprisingly, the shopping in Gangtok is really good. You will find showrooms of brands like Adidas, Nike, Biba, Fab India and many more. You will also find a lot of boutiques selling “Bangkok Mall” type clothes. You will get very fashionable and good quality bags, shoes and umbrellas. The locals are very well dressed and have a great fashion sense. The young teenagers even dress up to go to college! The drivers out here, have amazing hair do’s with colored streaks and spikes. This is because all of them are highly inspired by Korean Sitcoms and have a lot of things imported from China.
6.) Experience the Nightlife in Sikkim:
The Nightlife in Sikkim is upbeat and crazy. You will come across a lot of street bars to hifi lounges to open terrace parlors to clubs. My favorite bar in Sikkim was a red lit dingy one called Zomsa, that I accidentally came across. They had karaoke night and really really cheap drinks. And by cheap I mean, 25 bucks for a peg of old monk. (yes, you read that right!!) Zomsa is right in the main market at MG Road, in Gangtok and 15 minutes from the bar, there is a club called Plur that you could visit right after. It’s open till around 1am ideally. Cafe Live and Loud and Lounge 31a are also some other lounges that you could visit.
7.) Go for River Rafting in Teesta Waters:
If you love adventure then take a plunge in the icy waters of Sikkim for White Water River Rafting, which is one of the best adventure sports in Sikkim. They provide you with all the equipment needed for the rafting and also explain the do’s and dont’s before you enter your boat. The entire activity is pretty safe and you can participate in it, even if you are a non swimmer. The journey is for about 30 mins and you can book the activity prior through their website.
(link to bookings for this activity will be mentioned at the end of the blog.)
8.) Stay for a day or two at Lachung:
The mountain village of Lachung, at a height of 8610 ft, is covered by snow capped mountain peaks, steep waterfalls and apple orchards.The Yumthang Valley in Lachung, is a grazing pasture on a plateau surrounded by the Himalayan mountains. Lachung is a long ride from Sikkim, almost about 7 hours, so incase you do not like road trips you can skip this one out. It is at an elevation of 3,575 metrers and it is also home to the Shingba Rhododendron Sanctuary, which has over twenty-four species of the rhododendron. Yumthang is closed between December and March due to heavy snowfall.
9.) Trekking & Paragliding:
If you are in Sikkim, the most obvious thing to do is go for a trek.There are numerous treks that you can sign up for in Sikkim. You can book it prior through a website and also get detailed information on what each trek is all about. The most famous treks are the Sikkim La Goecha Trek and the Singhalia Trek. Please make sure you carry your passport and travel light.
I am sure most of you aren’t aware of this, but Sikkim also has Paragliding to offer as one of the adventure activities. The trip begins from Ani Gumpa, in Gangtok and they three different levels that you can choose from. Fly over the snow capped mountains of North Eastern India touching the clear blue skies filled while you feel an adrenaline rush through your body.
(Link for both these activities will be mentioned at the end of the Blog! )
10.) Solophok Chardham Yatra:
As per the Hindu belief in order to attain Moksha, one has to perform pilgrimage to all the existing four Dhams, hence, replicas of these four Dhams, are built here at the Solophok Chardham in Namchi. This Pilgrim Centre has the most important temple with the 87 feet high statue of Lord Shiva. The whole complex is divided into four key elements:
(1) Shiva Statue with 12 Jyotirlingas.
(2) Char Dham
(3) Sai Baba Temple
(4) Kirateshwar statue as well Nandi bull the ride of Lord Shiva, Sai dwar, Sai Temple, Kirat dwar and Shiv Dwar.
I have also attached some helpful and fun vlogs from my Sikkim trip to this post.
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