Have you ever thought or wished to visit the hilly region of Northeast India? Or already made plans to visit the crowd-pleasing destinations of Sikkim and Darjeeling? These two places, blessed with the mighty Himalayas, surreal landscape, intriguing culture, interesting food, and much more, are what make them so popular.
Sikkim and Darjeeling will both have you captivated with their beauty and the welcoming nature of the local people. If you are planning for some exciting memories to take back home, you must tour Sikkim and Darjeeling together. Whether you’re a nature lover, history buff, or adrenaline junky, Sikkim and Darjeeling satiate every traveller’s interests.
Both Sikkim and Darjeeling offer the most amazing weather most of the year. If you haven’t planned your vacation yet, you can opt for one of TourGenie’s budget-friendly Sikkim Darjeeling tours such as Darjeeling Gangtok Tour Package.
Here’s a quick run-through of one of TourGenie’s Sikkim Darjeeling tour packages.
Day 1: Reach Gangtok (Sikkim) and relax
Although Sikkim has an airport of its own, the windy altitude disrupts most airline schedules, leaving many flights cancelled at the last moment. Therefore, the easiest way to reach Gangtok, Sikkim’s capital is by arriving at Bagdogra airport or NJP railway station in Siliguri, West Bengal. From here, it’s a 4-hour scenic road journey to Gangtok, with the green Teesta River to keep you company.
After reaching Gangtok, evenings are best spent at MG Marg, a hotspot for locals and tourists alike. It has nice cafes where you can unwind with good coffee and good books. For dinner, there are numerous restaurants in Gangtok that offer traditional Sikkimese cuisines you can try out (Read: 5 foods I’m positive you should not miss out in Gangtok).
Read: Nightlife in Gangtok.
Where to stay in Gangtok?
Staying in Gangtok is not a problem at all. The hotels in Gangtok, which come in all budgets, are generally nice, with most of them providing amazing views of Mt. Khangchendzonga. TourGenie will book your stay in Hotel Mount Siniolchu, a wonderful property situated in the upper ridges of Gangtok and a 5-min drive/1.5 km, from Gangtok town. The hotel is away from the hustle and bustle of urban Gangtok, providing the needed peace and serenity of a hilly region.
Hotel Mount Siniolchu, Gangtok
Day 2: Visit Tsomgo Lake (Changu) and Baba Mandir (East Sikkim)
A halt in Gangtok is best suited for acclimatization before heading up to higher altitudes in Sikkim. On day 2, guests are given a taste of the Himalayas with a drive up to Tsomgo Lake, a high altitude glacial lake in East Sikkim. This is 1.5 hours from Gangtok. It’s best enjoyed taking a yak ride around it or from the cable car. The lake water in summers is clear and the reflection of the surrounding hills on the water makes the view more beautiful. In the wintertime, the entire lake is frozen, and the view just as breathtaking. A trip to Tsomgo Lake is incomplete without proceeding to see Baba Mandir, a memorial and temple honoring an Indian army soldier, folk hero, and saint Baba Harbhajan Singh.
Day 3: Gangtok to Pelling (West Sikkim) via Namchi (South Sikkim)
Pelling is another great destination that you will be taken to. Pelling, in West Sikkim, is a 4.5-hour drive from Gangtok and offers breathtaking vistas of green forests and gushing rivers. Pelling is reached via Namchi (South Sikkim) where you will find Temi Tea Garden, the only tea garden in Sikkim. You can make a halt here and take a stroll in the tea garden or opt for a few adventurous activities on offer such as cycling, zip-lining, and paragliding. Other places of interest to see in Namchi are Samdruptse Temple, where a huge statue of Guru Padmasambhava stands, and Siddheshwar Dham or Char Dham. This will be the most tiring and also the most fulfilling day of your journey.
Temi Tea Garden
Where to stay in Pelling?
Pelling is a small yet charming town that is very popular with the tourists—which means that there are more hotels than homes and also hotels in all budgets. What adds more to the delight is the sunrise and sunset, which gives a shining orange color to the snow-capped mountains. Pelling’ hotels are very nice and cozy—De Regency Hotel is one of them. This hotel exudes a blend of rich decor, luxury, and comfort. The rooms offer a panoramic view of Khangchendzonga and breakfasting in the rooms will surely be a delightful experience for you.
Day 4: Explorations around Pelling
Pelling as a town is a place to relax and enjoy nature. A wonderful sightseeing tour is arranged to explore this quaint town, some of which include the following places:
1. Pemayangtse Monastery
It is one of the oldest and most famous monasteries in West Sikkim. Less than a kilometer walk from Pelling, the 3-storied building of the monastery has a great collection of sculptures and wall paintings. The two-sided scenic backdrop of snow mountains adds to the beauty of the monastery.
2. Khangchendzonga Fall
It is the biggest waterfall in Pelling. Local traditional wearable jewelry and costumes are available here for women to take photographs. The entry fee is 20/- per person. Rimbi Falls, which fall on the way, are worth exploring.
3. Khecheopalri Lake
Want to make a wish? You can do so at the wish-fulfilling Khecheopalri Lake found only in Sikkim. An interesting feature of this lake is that the leaves are not allowed to float on the lake, which is ensured by the birds that industriously pick them up as soon as they drop onto the lake surface. You can feed the fish in the lake (Read: Gyalshing to Khecheopalri: The calling of the lake).
4. Rabdentse Ruins
This place excites history enthusiasts. Rabdentse was the second capital of the former kingdom of Sikkim. The palace and monastery complex was destroyed during a Nepalese invasion.
5. Helipad ground
This will be the last stopover in Pelling. The helipad is located in upper Pelling. Here you can witness the whole city and click awesome pictures before you head back to the hotel.
Day 5: Pelling to Darjeeling
The day starts with an early morning drive to the scenic hill station of Darjeeling located amidst the Himalayas. It is a scenic 3-4 hours journey from Pelling to Darjeeling.
The Himalayas as seen from Darjeeling
Day 6: Darjeeling and around
If you’ve ever heard of people talking about Darjeeling, then sunrise at Tiger’s Hill is always given a mention (Read: Five reasons to visit Darjeeling)
. You will be heading to this point today to see just that and on your way back you will visit Ghoom Monastery, which preserves some rare handwritten Buddhist manuscripts. Next, you will head to Batasia Loop, where the Darjeeling toy train passes in a loop-like pattern. From here, you can enjoy a 360-degree view of Darjeeling’s picture-perfect landscape.
Darjeeling Toy Train
The second half will cover tourist attractions in and around Darjeeling such as Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, P N Zoological Park, Tenzing Rock, and Tibetan Refugee Self-help Centre. An interesting and puzzling tourist attraction in Darjeeling you’ll come across is the Japanese temple built in traditional Japanese architectural style. It is one of the major Buddhist pilgrimage sites in Darjeeling.
Darjeeling’s splendor can be best seen on the Rangeet Valley passenger cable car. You will witness a spectacular view of the valley bedded with lush green tea gardens, dense forest, and small gushing streams.
Day 7: Darjeeling to home
It’s time to say goodbye to this beautiful region called Darjeeling, but don’t be surprised if you’re already planning your visit back here.
Where to stay in Darjeeling?
Your stay will be at Pinetree Hotel, a premium category hotel in Darjeeling that highlights a combination of vintage and luxury. This hotel offers absolute value for money accommodation for the guest. Hotel Pinetree is widely recognized for providing spacious and convenient stay for guests travelling for leisure and quality time. The view of the city from the rooms is simply to die for—especially the valley-facing rooms.