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India: Sikkim

My tale of treks and adventure through the gorgeous cross cultural, Nepal / Bhutan straddling state of Sikkim...

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Sikkim

I spent a wonderful week or so in gorgeous Sikkim to tour the famous Monastery Loop.
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Permit

To enter Sikkim you need a permit! This is a mere formality to keep track of tourists.
I applied for mine in Darjeeling. It took 10 minutes at the Sikkim Tourist office there.
The lady who processed my application was particulary enchanting :-)

Journey from Darjeeling

I left tranquil Tranqulity Hotel early in the morning and took a bumpy share jeep to join anotherbound for gorgeous Pelling!

Pelling

"Offical" map of Pelling
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Pelling is a gorgeous. tiny, hospitable and friendly hilltiop town; with truly spectacular views!

I spent 2 nights here at the wonderful Kabur Guesthouse which has a view lookin out over the mountains from the rooftob restaurant.
I hiked the surrounding areas stopping at Pemayangtse Monastery and Rabdentse Palace Ruins.
I also met a lovely family from Mumbai who asked me what caste I am from.... it took some explaining that this kind of social hierarchy does not exist in my country.
Giving my profession seemed enough for them to continue talking to me ... phew ;-)

Pemayangtse:
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Scenic hike path
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Rabdentse Palace Ruins:
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Khecheorpali Lake

Took a very cramped share jeep to Khecheopalri Lake. I think at one point there were 15 passengers (albeit mostly tiny school kids).
When we finally arrived after the 3 hour journey, I met up with others from Kabur who had hiked from Pelling (it was raininhg and I was knackered from Singalila still). We all then hiked up to Lake Nest View Guesthouse.
This place is fantastic. It feels like the most remote place in India - tuicked into the lush hills. The hosptality is incredible. 3 home cooked meals a day, the most comfy rooms (and comfy beds!) I have had all trip.
There were other trekkers from Netherlands, USA, Germany and USA, so it made from a cross cultural couple of days.

Whilst there I trekked the surrounding areas, exploring the lake area itself and then up to the mountain peak that faced our guesthouse.
It was a really peaceful, and chilled few days. Just what the doctor ordered.

Trek to Yuksom

I left Khecheorpali with Andreas, Roberto and Natalie (from Germany and USA) for the long but gorgeous trek to Yuksom.
We took in monasteries, villages, gorgeous waterfalls and amazing mountain views along the way.
Whenever we passed ANYONE they would always smile and wave. Sikkim is probably India's friendlest state!

We bunked down at Wild Orchid Guesthouse in Yuksom upon arrival. The manager there was really helpful in advising on transport, etc arounmd the state.
Yuksom is a great trekking stop. Good food, atmosphere, socially conducive, friendly locals and a great view of the snowy Himalayas!!

As I straggle behind fellow trekkers:
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Yuksom to Tashiding

This was a tough trek. 19kms, but again, truly gorgeous. I would say this was the most picturesque leg of the monastery circuit!
The path isn't always clearly defined ,and there were some baffling forks (on some occasions we took the wrong option and ended up at a farmhouse - being offered tea nontheless!)
Sikkim is a land of boundless, breaktaking beauty. The mountain ranges are ENORMOUS. Vertigo sufferers should avoid! :-)

We arrived in Tashining, a bit worn out. Thankfully the local cafe had plenty of momos ready!

I left my non essentials locked away in Yuksom, so bid my fellow trekkers farewell and chartered a private jeep back that evening.
The driver was an enthusiastic young fellow - and despite his lack of English (dominant languages are Nepali and Hindi) we managed to have a conversation as we swerved through the mountain 4WD tracks in the pouring rain, at astoundly high altitudes, with clear view of the surrounding mountains decorating our window view. Nice.
Only in Sikkim!

Thanks Sikkim! (and West Bengal)

I decided to return to Darjeeling to sort my travel to Bodhgaya.
It was a LONG morning in share jeeps, but worth it upon arrival to good old Darjeeling.
I love that town!
Took 3 days of return visits to the train station for faffing/queing/shoving/qualifying ambiguities to get confirmed tickets to Bodhgaya (this is India after all). Though Darjeeling is not a bad place to get stuck in at all!

Photo Gallery

You can see all my Sikkim photos here

Now to Buddha's place of enlightenment for Vipassana and om shantiness.... Bodhgaya, Bihar.

Posted by SkinnyFists 06:36 Archived in India Tagged darjeeling trekking_india sikim monastery_loop

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