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Sikkim

India, Lachen, Lachung, Sikkim, Yumthang, zero point

North Sikkim Days 3 & 4: Lachung to Zero Point through the Yumthang Valley and home again.

June 27, 2016

After a crazy breakfast spread in Lachung…

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Left to right: coleslaw sandwiches, ceraal, watermelon, jam sandwiches, boiled eggs, veg patties in the shape of leaves, rotis and bananas

…we headed towards “Zero Point”. You know you’re going on an adventure when you’re headed to Zero Point. For us foreigners, Zero Point is as far north as we were allowed to go. Although the famous Gurudongmar Lake lies even further north, we aren’t allowed to go there.   It was a fun ride and nowhere near as bumpy as day 1 or 2.

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Lachen

North Sikkim Day 1: Gangtok to Lachen.

June 16, 2016

Much like all of our previous travels across India, we had no idea really what was going to happen over the next 4 days. North Sikkim is a pretty remote place. It’s not a hugely popular tourist destination for westerners, probably because it’s out of the way and not that easy to get to. As we mentioned in our last post, tourists aren’t allowed to make their own way around the area, so the only way to explore is to book onto an organised tour with a driver and guide. There are also certain areas of North Sikkim that foreigners simply aren’t allowed to visit.  Anywhere too close to the Chinese border was strictly off limits.  This meant that we were not allowed to go to the famously beautiful Gurudongmar Lake.

Organised tours are not always that accessible to shoestring travellers, but teaming up with Steve and Sarah meant that we were able to get a sweet deal.

Spoiler alert:  We ended up travelling with these babes for a month because we love them so much.

This is Sarah and Steve, they're basically fantastical.

This is Sarah and Steve, they’re basically fantastical.

Luckily for us Steve and Sarah had not only done all the research the day before we were introduced to them but they were looking to do exactly the same kind of tour as us. MG Marg, which is the main strip in the town centre has plenty of travel agencies all offering the same sorts of packages.  We couldn’t really say whether one company is better than another.  With these kinds of things, you have to go with your gut, or just go with the friendliest face and the best price. We got a driver, a guide, all fuel, a jeep, accommodation for 3 nights plus breakfast, lunch and dinner for the grand total of £360 or £60 per day, per couple. For a 3 day jaunt, that’s a reasonable amount to spend.

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gangtok, India, Sikkim

Gangtok, Sikkim

June 10, 2016

The sweet smell of diesel filled the air as we arrived in Gangtok, via a 6 hour ride in a shared jeep. 

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Wonderful statue in the middle of the town centre

Our home was to be Tara’s Urban Homestay, a delightful place about 3km from the town centre.  When the clouds let up, we had incredible views of the surrounding mountains. 

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Darap, Sikkim

Darap, Sikkim

June 8, 2016

We spent a magnificent couple of weeks visiting the west, east and north of Sikkim.  Bombay was wonderful,  but we were in need of cooler air, so we headed to the Himalayas.
Sikkim_Darrap_Weather2Sikkim only became part of India in 1975 and so everything from the culture and food to the way people look is very different and feels unlike any other parts of the country that we have visited.  The main language spoken in Sikkim is Nepali, although there are a number of other languages spoken by different tribes.  Sikkim also became India’s first organic state this year.  Over a period of around 12 years, all chemical fertilisers were banned across Sikkim’s 75 000 hectares of agricultural land.  WIN!

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