Sikkim is a tiny underexplored place in northeast india with tibetan culture, sandwiched between nepal, tibet, bhutan and bangladesh. i thought the under-exploration and less commercialised environment may spell a more fruitful photographic trip with less tourist. also the colorful festivals in sikkim is going to be interesting, in particularly their colored masks dancing.
trying to see if there is an interested group (probably 4 people). i need partners who can share the load in planning (esp on detailed transport and accomodation), and definitely someone who is more vocal (as i'm a very bad bargainer when it comes to accomodation or transport).
posted it earlier so that there is enough time for people to read and think abt it, and when the date/options is being more or less finalised, to take leave by may. of cos will need inputs too.
i'm taking exam in mid-march, so the actual planning and meeting may occur in late march to april, so any specific questions, e.g. pertaining to costs of flight etc, i probably won't be able to give an idea now.
general idea is to go cheap and safe, but reasonably comfortable. we will stay flexible, stay as a group when required, split into pairs when in safe and familiar environment, e.g. day 3 or 4 in the same town
permit to sikkim: try to get it on visa in sg, or at calcutta, siliguri or the sikkimese border
at least 2 weeks: 13-17 days (9-13 working days)
time to travel to/fro sikkim via calcutta: 5-8 days including the 2days of siliguri to/fro sikkim (5hrs)
time to travel to/fro sikkim via nepal: 7-8 days including the 2 days of siliguri to/fro sikkim (5hrs)
protected time in sikkim 5-9 days (+2 days including siliguru-sikkim days, will be 7-11 days)
Option 2A: early june, tentatively 6th (fri) to 18th (wed)
1. Jun 7-27, Saga Dawa at Gangtok (east)
2. Jun 10, tue, Drupchen Chaams (colored mask dancing) at Rumtek (east, further in)
Option 2B: late july, tentatively 17th (fri) to 29th (wed)
1. Jul 21, mon, Drukpa Tsheshi at Gangtok (east)
2. Jul 27, sun, Guru Rimpoche’s Trungkar Tsechu (location: unknown)
but probably not all (you can google to see more if u r interested)
Location area 1 (southeast): Rumtek, Gangtok, Tsompo lake, Lingdum Gompa (mainly for festivals)
Location area 2 (southcentral): Namchi giant statue (see if along the way)
Location area 3 (southwest): Pelling, Yuksom mini-trekking, Khecheopalri, Tashiding gompa (mainly for views of the breathtaking khanchendzonga.
calcutta - siliguri - KIV darjeeling - sikkim (may travel west then east)- siliguri - calcutta
darjeeling can be considered for either on the to/back trip, or skipped.
To....(takes 3-5 days)
Day 1 - flight to Calcutta (KIV +1 day overnite in calcutta)
Day 1 (+1) 6-8pm - train to siliguri
Day 2 (+1) - reach by 430 to 530am, KIV find a place for sunrise.
Day 2 (+1) 7am siliguri to darjeeling (jeep or buses, 2.5-3.5 hrs)
Day 2 (+1) 11am, darjeeling lunch, shooting.... KIV leave same night, or next day
Day 3 (+2) somewhere in sikkim (siliguri or darjeeling to gangtok takes abt 5hrs on jeep)
Returning.... (takes 2-3 days)
Day 1 - returning to siliguri (probably quite fast, 5hrs if from gangtok, leave in the morning)
Day 1 - siliguri to calcutta (530pm Darjeeling mail 11hrs, or 6-8pm by bus 12-16hrs)
Day 2 (+1) - reach calcutta in the morning, flight to sg (KIV 1 overnite, depending on flight)
kathmandu (nepal) - kakarbhitta (nepal) - siliguri - gangtok first & rest of sikkim - siliguri - kakarbhitta - kathmandu
2mth single entry visa US$30
To....(takes 4 days)
Day 1 - flight to Katmandu, stay over
Day 2 - kathmandu, stay over
Day 3 - Kathmandu to kakar (13hrs, leave by 330-6am) and maybe to siliguri (1hr more), Nepali side opens 7am to 8pm.
Day 4 - siliguri to gangtok (most probably will not have time for darjeeling as time spent in kathmandu)
Returning.... (takes 3-4 days)
Day 1 - from siliguri to kakar (1hr, enter at 7am)
Day 1 - kakar to kathmandu (presuming there is morning tpt), nite stay over kathmandu (KIV +1 day more, enter before 8pm, stay 1 nite at kakar to leave very early next morning if transport only available then)
Day 2 (+1) - buffer day in Kathmandu
Day 3 (+1) - leave kathmandu back to sg.