In this video, we are going to share a tour plan to the East district of Indian state Sikkim that can be covered in 4-5 days for Rs.7500 per person.
Here, we will discuss how to minimize your tour cost after COVID and what are the necessary documents that you should keep with you while visiting.
So, without wasting much time let’s get started.
The COVID guideline
As I mentioned earlier, currently, before we visit any Indian state, we have to follow certain COVID guidelines according to the state rule. To visit Sikkim, you have to carry either a full vaccination report or an RTPCR report in which the test has been carried 72 hours before your visit. Self-tests are not accepted in Sikkim. The state may not allow you to enter the premises if you fail to show any one of the above.
The Train to Sikkim
The train service to the state Sikkim has resumed. The train fare for sleeper class is within Rs.700 and for 2-tire or 3-tire AC coaches the fare varies between Rs.1600 to 2600 approximately. Please remember that any conveyance fare is not fixed and may vary due to different reasons. What we are mentioning here is the current rate. Do, check the correct ticket price before booking on the railways official website. I’ll provide the link in the description box below.
The Flight to Sikkim
The flight service to the state has also started functioning again. The flight fare varies between Rs.1600 to 4000 one way, depending upon the season and tourist rush. But here also, we suggest checking the prices before booking as it may change. I’ll share online booking links in the description box below.
East Sikkim is one of the four districts of Sikkim and occupies the southeast region of the state. The state capital Gangtok falls under this district. The area-wise it is the smallest of all four districts but at the same time, it is popular for its diverse scenic beauty.
A large area of the southern part of the district is filled with dense Himalayan forests. Other than this, the entire southern part is dotted with many lakes and gushing mountain rivers. As you move towards the north of the district, the surroundings will change from green mountain forests to snow-covered mountain peaks and snow-covered valleys. No, doubt both are equally enjoyable for their own beauty. And that is the main reason, this small district is one of the major tourist attractions of the country.
Two mountain passes of East Sikkim are Nathula and Jelepla which connects Sikkim to China and Bhutan. Due to military activities, visitors to this region are restricted and just a few areas are open to tourists.
Things to Do in East Sikkim
The famous places to visit in east Sikkim are Zuluk, Gnathang Valley, Tukla Valley, Lungthang, Thambi viewpoint, Baba Mandir, and Nathula Pass.
From the Thambi viewpoint, you can enjoy a spectacular view of the famous zig-zag road of the old silk route.
The spectacular natural glacier lakes Tsongmo and Kupup or Elephant Lake is also located in this district and are the two most visited tourist attractions here. Other than the lakes, you can enjoy the beauty of Mountain Rivers Teesta, Rongpo, Rongli, or Reshikhola at this place.
All the locations I mentioned till now are part of the old Silk route which you can cover in a tour of 4-5 days.
Remember, only Indian nationals are allowed to visit the Nathula Pass and Baba Mandir, and they also need an inner line permit to enter into these regions. You will have to collect your permits one day before you visit there from the authority.
Next, you can visit the capital city Gangtok in East Sikkim. The famous places to visit in Gangtok are Hanuman Tok, Ganesh Tok, Tashi view Point, Flower observatory centre, Bakthang Falls, Banjakhri falls, Rumtek Monastery, and can enjoy a ride of Gangtok ropeway to get a bird’s eye view of the country.
Since Gangtok is a modern city, you can take a stroll at the famous MG Marg here and can collect souvenirs. But if you want some cheaper options then the nearby Lal Market is the best place for you.
Without visiting the silk route, you can also visit Tsongmo Lake, Baba Mandir and Nathula Pass from Gangtok on a separate tour.
You can see animals like yak and red panda at this place.
Where to Stay
In all the places of the old silk route, you will mostly get homestays for night stay. Currently, there are lots of homestays available here which are quite good and can offer all modern amenities. But due to the remote locations, you may not get facilities like a Television or room heater in your room and a geyser in your bathroom. The charges for these homestays varies from Rs1200 – 1500 per person per day including food and stay.
Since Gangtok is a city, you can get more options for a night stay here ranging from a budget hotel to star category properties where you can expect all the modern facilities. The charges of these hotels vary between Rs.1000 to 3000 approximately.
Food in East Sikkim
In Sikkim, you can find both veg and non-veg food. Though there is a misconception that only non-veg food is available here but you can also get good quality veg food at this state. If you want to taste local delicacies then momo and thukpa are the two best options. Momos can be of two types veg or non-veg. and thukpa is a kind of noodle soup which can also be in veg or non-veg form. In non-veg items, you will mostly get chicken or pork. Fish and mutton are rare to find here. Other than momo and thukpa, you can have noodles, rice, dal, vegetable curry or roti.
How to Minimize the Cost
Before you plan your trip to Sikkim remember one thing, that the hotel charges and cab fare varies a lot here. It will increase by 1-2 thousand rupees during peak season which is during October-November and April- May. So, if you are planning to visit at that time do consider booking hotels and cabs at least 2 months before you go there so that you can get a cheaper rate. If you try to book a hotel right at the time of your visit then all the hotels and cabs will charge much higher. And it is applicable for both online, offline or on spot bookings, directly or through an agent.
Sikkim is beautiful between October and December and late February to early June. Try to avoid visiting during Durga puja or Diwali and in summer vacation. At that time the rates are higher and the places are crowded with many tourists. So, try to plan your trip in November-December or in March – April, to get a cheaper rate and to experience less crowd without compromising with the scenic beauty. In case, you don’t have these options then try to book your tour earlier.