The Barsey Rhododendron Sanctuary occupies 104 km² in the Singalila Range in western Sikkim. It borders Nepal to the west and the state of West Bengal to the south across the Ramam Khola stream. The sanctuary is famous for varieties of rhododendron and magnolias. The protected area is also home to the state animal- the Red Panda. The Barsey Rhododendron Sanctuary can be entered through three different entry points: Hilley, Soreng, and Dentam; all the places are in West Sikkim. Most of the tourists and the visitors prefer to enter through Hilley as it is easily approachable by road.
Inside Barsey Rhododendron Sanctuary
The bridle path from Hilley to Barsey is a favourite among tourists, especially during the rhododendron flowering season, which starts from the end of March to May. The faunal value of Barsey Rhododendron Sanctuary includes Leopard cat, Himalayan Palm Civet, Kaleej, Himalayan Yellow Throated Marten, Himalayan Langur, Crimson Horned Pheasant, Monal Pheasant, and many diverse species of birds. The place is also a perfect location for bird watching since many bird watchers visit Hilley and the Barsey Rhododendron Sanctuary for bird watching. One can also stay overnight in the Barsey Rhododendron Sanctuary to see the sunset and early morning sunrise. A beautiful tourist trekkers hut is constructed in the Barsey Rhododendron Sanctuary along with very few facilities.
View from Barsey Rhododendron Sanctuary
Most of the visitors visit the Barsey Rhododendron Sanctuary early in the morning and come back by lunchtime. Instead of staying overnight in Barsey Rhododendron Sanctuary, they prefer to stay in Hilley or Okhrey as a number of homestays are available in the small village. A visit to the Barsey Rhododendron Sanctuary is like experiencing a slice of paradise itself. Okhrey is located 110 km from Gangtok, the capital city of Sikkim and 145 km from Siliguri. The nearest airport is Bagdogra airport, and the nearest railway station is New Jalpaiguri Railway Station; both are in Siliguri, West Bengal. There are many things to see in and around Okhrey like the magnificent view of Mount Kangchendzonga from Hilley – Varsey as it is the base of Varsey Rhododendron Sanctuary, Latitar, Sai Mandir, and Lepcha Ladder of Daramdin. Adventure activities to try out around Okhrey include hiking, trekking, bird watching, nature walk, or jungle walk.
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