Before you consider Dubai or Sri Lanka or Singapore, you should perhaps examine the possibility of going to Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim. A visit to Sikkim could be as comfortable and as interesting as any other foreign destination. It could as well give you more than what you get in foreign destinations. From verdant valleys and mountains, innumerable waterfalls, to lakes which have crystal clear water, long winding ghat sections which are a pure pleasure to drive; a lot more worth seeing sights are guaranteed in Gangtok. Not to forget Nathu La Pass which connects the Tibet autonomous region of China in the only gateway to the region situated about 40 kilometres from Gangtok.
What instantly strikes the first time visitor is the guileless smile every local sports when a stranger comes by. One can comfortably travel at cheap prices within Gangtok and one wouldn’t feel out of place when ordering any cuisine there. For those who love some adventure, there are possibilities like Paragliding which could take you over the mountains and valleys soaring like an eagle. And for those who are religious, there are monasteries – Rumtex being one among them. And, of course, for photography freaks, Gangtok is ‘the’ place.
Gangtok is the safest place for everyone. Though some cab drivers try to fleece tourists, most shopkeepers are helpful and always smiling. Public toilets are built all through the ghat road sections in Gangtok.
How to reach from Hyderabad:
- Indigo operates a flight service from Hyderabad to Bagdogra, which is about 150 km from Gangtok.
- Travel by road to Gangtok will take you through the most scenic ghat sections in India.
- The National Highway runs parallel to Teetsa river and you will stop at several places to enjoy the scenery.
(There is an airport at Pakyong in Gangtok, but flight services are suspended now and even if it is functional, it’s better to land in Bagdogra and travel by road as quick changes in weather conditions can affect flight operations)
Where to stay:
There are many hotels and lodges, which can offer accommodation to suit every budget.
What to eat:
Food is tasty and one can try vegetarian or non-vegetarian dishes, particularly the Nepalese cuisine.
What to see:
Rumtek and Phodong monasteries, Nathu La Pass, Kalimpong, Tsomgo Lake (aka Changu lake), numerous waterfalls, Haribhajan Singh temple (named after the soldier who never died), Tashi Viewpoint, Kanchenjunga Mountain…the list is endless.