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“Gangtok- Sikkim - A Goog place”
Review of Gangtok

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Level 4 Contributor
30 reviews
89 helpful votes
“Gangtok- Sikkim - A Goog place”
Reviewed May 25, 2010

Gangtok, Lachung and around in Sikkim. A good place for Tour
of 4-5 days.
Gangtok : City Tour visit Monasteries, Ropeway, Flower shows, M. G. Road, Refugee Camp.
Nathula Pass : Indo China Border Memorable Journey.
Lachung : Zero Point One can see snow throught the year.
Yunthang Flower valley : Beautiful wild flowers.

From Bagdogra Airport we reach Gangtok in 5 hours journey. Good road, beautifull scenery on both sides of road. On one side of road Tishta river.
One full day for Gangtok City Tour.
Two days for around Gantok
Then we left for Lanchung. Lanchung Zero Point where one see snow throught the year.
Yunthang flower valley.

Sanjay Patil

6 Thank SanjayPatil
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
2 helpful votes
“gateway to heaven”
Reviewed May 20, 2010

its a door way to heaven. the best place i have ever been. very calm and quite. people are very friendly. best place to visit are changu lake, baba mandir, nathula pass and north sikkim-Yumthang Valley and katao.

2 Thank tukai85
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
1 helpful vote
“fun with romance”
Reviewed May 13, 2010

this time i travel gantot city again in the month of april last yr. i was travel gantok also. it a great city 7 i visit gangtok again and again. mainly i love sikkim monesty & flower vallys.this time by luck i taste holly water at ghoom monesty which very rare people got it.In this visit i see hanuman tok,ghoom monesty,lachung,kalingpong ,baba mandir,chagu lake & many more,U may say i go on my second honeymoon.after gantok i was go to darjeeling to ride world famous toy train.during my visit i stay hotel royal plaja in gangtok and hotel mayfair resort in darjeeling.

1 Thank PreetyPeeyush
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 3 Contributor
6 reviews
24 helpful votes
“Gangtok is awesome”
Reviewed September 27, 2009

We had been on a trip to Gangtok and Darjeeling from September 19-25, 2009, through Hammock Holidays, Bangalore. We were two families, including 2 senior citizens, a 4-year old and one 2-year old.

Sep.19, 2009:
We took the flight from Bangalore to Delhi, and made it just in time for the Bagdogra flight. Make sure you have atleast 3 hours between connecting flights. Bangalore to Gangtok takes about 15 hours totally. Gangtok 5500 Ft /1677 Mts, 130 Kms / 04 Hrs from bagdogra

As it was durga puja season, both Gangtok and Darjeeling were very crowded.

We stayed at Hotel Chumbi Residency on Tibet road, which has been reviewed separately.

Sep.20, 2009:

We started at 8am to go to Tsomgo lake and Baba Mandir, which is part of the old “silk route”.

Tsomgo lake (or Changu lake) 12400Ft / 3780 Mts / 43Kms:
It is literally known as "source of the lake" in Bhutia language. Just about 40 kms. away from Gangtok, this serene lake is situated at an altitude of 12,000 ft on the Gangtok Nathu La highway. It falls in the restricted area and hence an inner line permit is required even by Indians to visit this place. The lake is about 1 km. Long, oval in shape, 15 meters deep and is considered sacred by the local people. Our travel agent got the permit the previous day. You need copy of one id proof and 2 passport size photos for the same, for Indian nationals. There are three check-posts on the way. Permission is given only on the previous day of travel.

Tsomgo lake is beautiful all through the year. You can also take a Yak ride for Rs. 30 there. We had hot wai-wai noodles at the Chinese market about 1 km away from the lake. It is just AWESOME, more because of the weather. Chinese traders as allowed so far into India for trade, and you can buy many of the Chinese products here.

The road is bad enroute, and combined with sudden increase in altitude, you will tend to feel nauseated. Our travel agent advised us to eat some thing on the way to keep our sugar levels up. Especially for children, please carry dry fruits, biscuits etc. We wore caps, sweaters, jackets, gloves, shoes and socks to keep warm. It was really cold. We passed through many army camps, bunkers, ammunition depots on the way.

Baba mandir:
Baba Mandir, located on the road to Kupup near Nathu-la in East Sikkim, is a popular tourist destination-[--]-pilgrim centre for its association with the legend of Harbhajan Singh, a soldier of the 23rd Punjab Regiment who died while on duty in the late 60s. It is widely believed that even after his death, Baba continued to guard the border at night and look after the men on patrol. At present an honorary captain on extension (he is past the retirement age), Baba continues to feature on the payroll of the army, and is even granted annual leave from September to November. Even now two army jawans are deputed to accompany Baba to his hometown in Punjab, while special vehicles are hired to take him to the New Jalpaiguri station and train reservations are made for the onward and return journeys.

Even without its historical significance, the area has a wonderful view of Tibet (supposedly China) and you will see a board that says “this section of the road is maintained by Chinese posts”. It seems that Chinese soldiers watch this section of the road and keep a tab of the number of vehicles passing this area.

The army gift shop should not be missed. Everything is very cheap here. You can buy artefacts, purses, jewellery etc. as take-away gifts. The canteen is not good. The toilets are clean.

We did not apply for the permit to nathula pass, because we were advised not to take kids below 5 years old there. Later, we regretted not taking the permission as the weather was good that day, and nathula is only 4 kms from baba mandir. I heard the permit for Indians is about Rs. 6500 per vehicle. The driver told us that the area is barren land with a fence and one soldier near it. On a very clear day you can see the Chinese market about 1 km away. He said that there is not much to see there anyway. Some consolation!!!!

On the way back we saw many soldiers were standing at particular spots for “mobile-signal”. It was a tiring journey back to the hotel. Please carry enough food for the way.

September 21, 2009:
Rumtek Monastry
It is about 1.5 hours travel from Gangtok (and a short uphill walk), bad roads. Very scenic route. The monastry has very beautiful paintings and statue of Buddha. Lot of small shops nearby.

Jhakri falls (or Banjhakri water falls) is another one hour’s drive away. The water looks dirty but the park around it is good. It is ok to miss this. The smaller waterfalls on the way look much prettier.

Droul Chorthen

Do Drul Chorten, built in the year 1945, is the biggest and the most important stupa in Sikkim. It is the most important tourist spot in the East Sikkim.

Nothing other than a stupa here. The view of Gangtok town is good.

Research Institute of Tibetology
This is a museum with the history of Sikkim, Tibet and Buddha. You can see the display of Tibetan paintings, jewellery and artillery here. This is in the same campus as the Droul Chorthen.

We missed the Directorate of Handicraft & Handloom and the Flower Show (the driver said there will be no orchids at that time), and took the ropeway up and down Gangtok (30mins). Very beautiful, worth seeing.

Gangtok had beautiful footpaths all over that town (12 kms we heard). We went to see the famous MG Marg. Very beautiful road. The pavement has tiles and seating benches and water fountains, and one section of the road has traffic.

12 Thank priyapink
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
31 helpful votes
Reviewed June 5, 2009

I visited Gangtok, Darjeeling Siliguri and Kolkata on LTC from Visakhapatnam. The experience gained and lessons learnt and are as follows:-

1. Reaching there.

(a) Nearest airport: Bagdogra City (it is an AF Base)- Daily flights from New Delhi and Kolkata.

(b) Nearest Railway Station: New Jalpaiguri City (NJP)

(c) Alternate City- Siliguri (Bus services from various cities)

I travelled by air and landed at Bagdogra. There is a Prepaid Taxi service run by West Bengal taxi association right near the exit gate of airport. The bill given by them has the stamp of LTC approved. I don’t know how authentic that is. The charge for a small car (Wagon R /Omini / Alto -non ac) is 1500/-. There is a strong union and it is difficult to bargain. I had to pay full fare. It is best to share with any passenger so fare can be divided but this you have to find in advance. People just vanish after getting down.

Alternate tips: Upon getting down, quietly go out and look for any taxi which has come from Darjeeling/ Gangtok with passenger. They would be desperate for a passenger as they will not like to go back alone. If you are lucky then you can reach in 900-1000/-. These taxis stand separately from the normal taxi stand.
Alternately take an auto and go to siliguri stand (near Darjeeling more) 8-10 Km and take a share taxi (Tata Sumo/Mahindra Max). Book all 4 seats in the row behind the driver and one can go in the same comfort as an Alto/wagon R. you pay only 500-520/- They are very comfortable. I used this method while coming back; it certainly saves a lot of money.

I also observed that some PEOPLE had booked taxi for entire duration of visit from Siliguri itself. The rate was 700/ per day for taxi and fuel at rate of 11 km per litre for small taxi like alto/indica/wagonR. For bigger vehicle like Sumo/max/quails the rate was 1200 and 8 km per litre. May be for families it would come cheaper. But for this a sticker ON ARMY DUTY needs to be stuck on the glass else the taxi wont be permitted at any tourist destination and will be stopped at the entrance to town. Union is very strong.

2. Reaching Gangtok. Gangtok is one place in India where the law of the land is followed. Separate Taxi stands are earmarked for all purpose, rates are fixed and strictly followed and traffic rules are extremely strict. So the taxi from Siliguri/Bagdogra/NJP will drop you at Siliguri stand of Gangtok. The stand is just at the entrance to the town. It will not enter inside the town. However the centre of the town is not very far. Full taxi will take 50 bucks. If you are lucky to take a Gangtok taxi from airport (SK registration) then he can enter the town and drop you at your destination.

3. Stay at Gangtok. I stayed at Black Cat Institute (BCI) at Gangtok. I found good hotels all through Gangtok. Average cost of a decent accommodation with all facilities was 850-1000 bucks, some resorts are there of range 2000-2500 too, so the choice is left to individual. If staying in a hotel then staying at MG Marg will be beneficial as it is the heart of town. Most market and local tourist place is close by at walking distance from here. From BCI a taxi was required to reach the town.

4. Sight Seeing. A tour operator or a taxi driver will offer 7/10/mixed point tour. Charges are 100 for each point. I went by what they showed and found that there are many points for which one doesn’t need a taxi. They are within 2 km radius from the centre of town. The list of points is as follows:-

Flower Exhibition
Handycraft and Handloom
Chorten Stupa
For these you have to walk up a km from rope way.
Taking a walk on MG marg is a must
Rumtek Monastry(must see)
Shanti View Point
Ray khola (nothing great)
Enchey Monastry(must see)
Tashi Point(must see)
Ganesh point
Zoological park(must see)
Botanical Garden (may see comes enroute to Rumtek)
Note: There are many water falls in and around so don’t go to any specific waterfalls. None are so great to merit a special visit.

There are three major taxi stands at Gangtok. One for outside vehicle called siliguri stand (refer Para 2) The other two are for sight seeing of which one has local taxis for sight seeing and the other taxi stand at/near Bajra (it’s a cinema hall) is for the taxis going on trip to Nathula pass, Tsomgo lake, Baba Mandir or North/South Sikkim. One needs a pass to go any place. Photo ID is a must and carry sufficient Passport size picture and Xerox of id proof for getting permit made & Glue stick and stepler. Procedure for going to Nathula is explained later. For local sight seeing one should use local taxi stand which are on road sides where local taxi comes and stop and they drop you at various locations at 8-10 Rs per passenger. Booking a full taxi for point to point will cost 60-80 bucks. Just stand by the road side taxi stand and some taxi will come. Walking around MG marg and Lal market is a good time pass.
Going outside Gangtok (like Nathula etc) will need permit. For Defence personal it is not difficult as they can get the army clearance themselves from the HQ MTN DIV office situated near the entrance to town. Leave the filled form in morning and you can take it back by noon. For civilians it is done by tour operator who fleeces them because they might not be able to get the form. It is actually a very simple process and any civilian can go and submit his application at army office with valid identity proof and it is done immediately. On completion of army clearance, civil police clearance is required. This process is done on the day of journey and the same is done by the driver as the vehicle number is to be written in it. I suggest that civilians should tie up with a taxi in advance and then get the army clearance done by yourself.
Note: Only big vehicle like sumo/Mahindra can reach Nathula, although drivers will pitch for small vehicles. Big vehicle are handy in bad weather. A full booked big vehicle will cost 2100-2300 so it is again advisable to get a partner to share).

Days for visiting Nathula pass are as follows:-

Defence personnel can go on any day.
WED, SAT, SUN - CIVILIAN DAY, There is a Chinese market on
Sunday at Nathula so go on Sunday (items bought
through Nathula pass and sold at reasonable rate.

Enroute to Nathula you will see the Tsomgo lake and below Nathula is the Baba Mandir.Go to Nathula first and on return enjoy at Tsomgo lake. The cutoff time for Nathula is 1100 hrs as weather gets rough very fast and the roads become inaccessible. On days when civilians are not permitted to Nathula the taxis go to Baba Mandir and they show the Nathula from outside without going to the actual post. So Civilian visitors need to decide if they ok with seeing Tsomgo lake and Baba Mandir only.

ADVISORY. It was all snow even in mid may at Nathula so one will need woolen clothing. Although it can be taken on rent from shops near Tsomgo lake 40 bucks for each woolen but for kids woolen clothing are not available. I had a bad time there and had to buy the woolen clothes in the morning from market for my daughter. She had horrible time as the woolen were not of good quality. She fell ill after coming back from there and I had to run to doctors. The army doctor later told me that kids should not be taken there as few cases of children turning blue with cold have been reported, this also happens because of lack of oxygen at that height(14200 ft). So parents with kids be careful and prepare in advance. My advice, avoid taking kids there.

Suggested Ittenary for Gangtok:-
a) Day 1- Local Sight Seeing on Taxi and submit form for clearance from army.
b) Day 2- Leave Early morning for Nathula.
c) Day3- Walk round MG marg and seeing sites inside town, rope way ride
d) Day 4&5 –North Sikkim trip(very very beautiful)
e) Day 6- Depart for next destination

5. Visiting North Sikkim (Yumtang valley)/East Sikkim(Pelling). I couldn’t visit any of these places as I didn’t plan properly and also I was not aware. North Sikkim is called as mini Switzerland and is considered extremely scenic. Packaged tour for North Sikkim is available for 2day 1 night or 3 day 2 night package. The tour is a sharing tour and it comes to approx 1000 buck per head for 2 day 1night trip. The package includes boarding and lodging (economy hotels). They leave in morning and are back by next day evening. Pelling can be reached from siliguri directly or from Gangtok. I didn’t enquire much about this tour but I believe there are monasteries as well as flowers to see there too and the city itself is more beautiful than Gangtok.

return- Icame back via darjeeling which i will put in darjeeling review

31 Thank IndiaNeya
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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