Sikkim 2008 June 6 to 18.


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zoossh

Senior Member
Nov 29, 2005
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#1
Bringing over from another thread.

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.

There is currently 3 people in the group (2 male, 1 female), trying to see if i can expand the group from 3 to about 6 to maximise transport costs. those confirmed on the duration may book tickets when it is cheaper now, but others are still welcome to join us later.

Interested parties, please post here or email me at zoossh@starhub.net.sg. Please do not pm me.


Who is welcome?
Male and female of any age, interested in photography or flexible with photographers.
As i'm replacing the dzongri trek, it will be just a day trek, and fitness and rains shouldn't be of major concerns.


Flight
Price quoted from misa travels online $360 + estimated $223
Thai airway, stopover at Bangkok
TO: Thu, Jun 5th, 2040 SIN Time to 0045 CCU Time, 6 hrs 35 mins
FRO: Wed, Jun 18th, 0200 CCU Time to 1115 SIN Time, 6 hrs 45 mins

Price quoted from mustafa agent, prices will fluctuate, estimated $550
Air India express, direct, to (mon, wed, fri), return (mon, tues, fri)
TO: Fri, Jun 6th, 1435 SIN time to 1620 CCU time
FRO: Tue, Jun 17th, 0900 CCU time to 1500 SIN time

Probably will take from the former, as my partners will need to return by 18th, unless someone is keen to stay a few more days and leave on Fri, Jun 20th, then we may split towards the end, maybe at darjeeling or calcutta.


Duration
As mentioned above. Excluding the 5th and including the 19th, it will be 14 days duration and 10 working days


Visa
Separate permit required, preferably done in sg. Unfortunately, PRC passport holders will not be allowed permit into sikkim due to territorial claims between the two countries.


General idea
is to go cheap and safe, but reasonably comfortable. It is a free and easy budget backpacking style, where most transport and accomodation are often located insitu (we will pre-plan but not pre-book unless required). Some homework is required, and we will split the work.


Budget estimate per person
Total estimate $1-1.5k and potentially less than 1k.
Flight <$600
Meals $5-10 x 3 x 13 = $100-$300
Accomodation $10-35 per double x 11 = $100-$300
Transport variable but shouldn't be expensive, most probably only for the 2 overnite trains.
Visa+permit $100
Day trek: Guide US$50/4 = $30, each porter additional $30


Locations
Calcutta, South Sikkim and Darjeeling. As the borders are stringent on photography and we will not have time, North Sikkim and Dzongri Trekking is out.

Tentative locations that we may go through include
Calcutta region: street shooting
- Calcutta
- Mahesh (if the car festival coincides)
North Bengal & South Sikkim: mainly for Victorian Nostalgia, sea of rhododendron flowers and tea plantation workers
- Siliguri
- Maybe Namchi
- Maybe Ravangla and Geyzing
- Darjeeling
- Tiger hill
- Singalilia trek
Southeast Sikkim: try to catch Rumtek Drupchen Chaams (Tibetan masked dancing festival)
- Gangtok
- Tsomgo Lake, Lingdum Gompa & other excursions from Gangtok
- Rumtek
Southwest Sikkim: mainly for views of the breathtaking khanchendzonga.
- Pelling
- Keocheopalri lake & other excursions from Pelling
- Tashiding


rough itinerary:
the number denotes the date reaching and leaving the above locations
Bracket denotes locations where nights are spent

5 Flight 6 (late night flight)
6 Calcutta 7 (leave in evening, overnite train)
7 gangtok 9 (stay over 7, 8)
9 rumtek 11 (stay over 9, 10)
11 pelling 14 (stay over 11, 12, 13)
14 darjeeling 16 (stay over 14,15, overnite train on 16)
17 calcutta 18 (stay over 17, overnite fly back on 18, reached sg 19)

Itinerary may be adjusted accordingly when dates of festival are more confirmed, and definitely can be altered with time while we travel. I try to fit at least 2 nites per location to reduce the hecticness of moving our backpacks.

.
 

MichaelLee

Senior Member
May 19, 2003
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#2
hi zoosh,

I am really interested and had been following this thread.

My real concern is that "why on june" ? Is the date FIXED ?

I could understand it s hard to get everyone to agree on a good timing to go for this trip. But at least we dun go there during monsoon, let alone June is the month where you would experience the most heaviest rainfall.


http://www.planholidays.com/sikkim/climate.php
 

zoossh

Senior Member
Nov 29, 2005
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#3
hi zoosh,

I am really interested and had been following this thread.

My real concern is that "why on june" ? Is the date FIXED ?

I could understand it s hard to get everyone to agree on a good timing to go for this trip. But at least we dun go there during monsoon, let alone June is the month where you would experience the most heaviest rainfall.


http://www.planholidays.com/sikkim/climate.php
i'm available in may till july but some of the travellors have limited period for leave, so our best bet is to go in the early june just before the monsoon and entering monsoon by the time we are in calcutta. the peak of the monsoon is mid to late july so what you are saying is untrue.

there will be some plus minus definitely. and there have been people who have been lucky to visit all the places he wants in june, there are also people who have been seeing misty weathers in july but still happy with the trip.

besides rhododendron seems to peak in different places at around may to early june. and since early june is quoted the best time at singurilia, i will try to fit that in.

it will be a very major concern if it is mainly a trekking trip, as rains may affect a multi-day trekking at higher attitudes. besides, a few of the festivals comes in these periods. i suppose they will not change it just becos it is monsoon. if there are some festivals in may, perhaps there is an option... but there isn't.

and yes, it is fixed. because a couple have already got committed to the trip, and they are limited by the leave, and i try to accomodate to their request and will not change it out of my own interest or for subsequent joiners, except for possibility of entering calcutta earlier or leaving darjeeling or pelling later, ie extending the trip. i've already already took into considerations of what everyone has to say before the dates and itineary is tailored to it. there are certain promises one have to keep to your partners for it is the spirit for going together. if i can turn my back now, i can turn my back during travelling too, isn't it?

and it really depends on your shooting habits. i'm quite omnivorous and shoots a variety. itinerary can be flexible and i'll try not set fixed targets. if i die die must get an eiffel tower in my vision when i go paris, or the great wall when i go china, i will end up an unhappy travel photographer becos unexpectability and surprise elements are often the norm in backpacking and the chances of good photos. that's why i still can drop the dzongri trek after much discussion and consideration, becos i know there is plenty of other things to shoot.

however if fixed targets are your concern, the recommended months are mar and april, and travelling alone is the best way for fixed targets while travelling in groups is the best way for security and crisis control. i've particular concerns for travelling alone in the third world becos i have known of a few who have fatal mishaps when backpacking alone, but that is something personal. sikkim is still relatively safe.

however do note that some parts of sikkim do not entertain permit request for lone travellor. for what good reason is there i'm not sure, maybe becos group travellors are less likely to be infiltrators?? you can try to get a copy of lonely planet to see the areas that can be more easily travelled.
 

MichaelLee

Senior Member
May 19, 2003
3,575
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JB, SG
#4
thanks for detail explanation.

I dun have fixed target or wat. Just concern about the timing "june".

according to some of the research I read on net, everywhere is pointing that June is the beginning of the monsoon and having the most heaviest rainfall.

I am sure we dun want to spend the effort/time/$ going there but having limited outdoor opportuities.
 

zoossh

Senior Member
Nov 29, 2005
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#5
thanks for detail explanation.

I dun have fixed target or wat. Just concern about the timing "june".

according to some of the research I read on net, everywhere is pointing that June is the beginning of the monsoon and having the most heaviest rainfall.

I am sure we dun want to spend the effort/time/$ going there but having limited outdoor opportuities.
well, i'm taking a chance for the festivals there versus an intermediate period of possible rain. besides, even your linked source points to july if you look carefully. i would have zero chance for my delhi and uttar pradesh threads if i have just leave it to hearsay and some of the worries that is not untrue but is not definite.

http://www.clubsnap.com/forums/showthread.php?t=253359
http://www.clubsnap.com/forums/showthread.php?t=253438

of cos i agree not everyone take chances like that, and that's why i'm offering another option to you as described above. i've explained why i'm not able to shift it to may as above too. for my travel, i'll made do with what god has given me there and then. my australian thread is also done in intermittent rainy weather.
 

zoossh

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Nov 29, 2005
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#6
if anyone is interested to be in the loop, can email me and i will add you to the mass mail (information for internal circulation). tickets might be purchased in early mar before 5th mar.
 

goon

New Member
Jan 16, 2005
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#7
Aiyo please don't go during the monsoon la.If u must go during this time, go to Ladakh and Zanskar in NW India instead. It's much more stunning plus it's out of the monsoon zone during this time n the optimum time to trek.
U don't want to trek during the rain,leeches-galore,muddy n slippery,worst -can't get any mountain vistas unless u r lucky so can forget about Tiger Hill! Even around the the southern Tibetan plateau it's raining so........
Just my humble advice as i've been travelling to the Himalyan region a dozen times hehe
 

Jan 30, 2005
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#8
Wow soo cool... wish i can join you guys.:(
Always wanted to go on a trip just to take photos.

Anyway, goodluck :thumbsup: for those who are going. Cant wait to see the Pics:)
 

fliplock

New Member
Jan 7, 2007
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#9
wow. wish could join u all as i miss sikkism very much... i have been to dzongri trek recently, last yr.. and it was in winter... couldnt see pretty much of the scenery but.. the summit was indeed stunning when u go at sunrise.

oh well. there's always another time.
 

zoossh

Senior Member
Nov 29, 2005
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Singapore
#10
guys. there has been some changes within the group and we have decided to go to dharamsala and leh in the other end of north india. will lock up the thread now.
 

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