Sikkim in June or July


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zoossh

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Nov 29, 2005
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#1
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
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
duration:
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)


Period considered
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)


Interested locations
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.


rough itinerary:

Option 1A
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)


Option 1B
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.
 

zoossh

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#2
have pm those who have expressed interest to travelling. apology if i have missed out anyone who have pm me last time and if i have promised to keep you updated.
 

foreverlovex

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Feb 1, 2006
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#3
I notice that the travel period seems to fall within or near the monsoon period.

Do take note when planning the route to take. Himalayas region quite prone to floods and landslides in recent years during monsoon season.

During the period likely to be quite foggy also, may not be able to see the scenery in full.
 

zoossh

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Nov 29, 2005
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#4
I notice that the travel period seems to fall within or near the monsoon period.

Do take note when planning the route to take. Himalayas region quite prone to floods and landslides in recent years during monsoon season.

During the period likely to be quite foggy also, may not be able to see the scenery in full.
have taken into consideration that the period is just before the monsoon, but mountain trekking is not the main highlight, so we may or may not trek the yuksom monastery trek. have come across people who did fairly well in walking around and sightseeing for that period, so it may all be due to luck. main highlight i'm going in for is the festivals.
 

Jun 23, 2007
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#5
Hi zoosh, I did visit sikkim last july with nus, hope the following helps... You can try asking STA travels to see if they can arrange flights, hotels and such.

Flew there on Jet Airways to Delhi then a domestic flight to Gangtok. There's a chopper service from the airport to gangtok, but I am not sure if they operate during that period.

As for visa, get them in Singapore at the Indian Embassy, do note that you have to indicate you are going Sikkim so that your passport has a special chop that shows you are cleared to go sikkim. Another thing, no offence to any bros here, no prc passport holders.

I suggest travel via suvs due to the rough terain there, lots of nice scenery there. Hotels outside the capital, Gangtok is just average. Hot water for showering must be arranged upon check-in. As for Gangtok, stay at the Chumbi Residency, one of the best there. Nice room, shower.

Hope you guys enjoy your trip!
 

zoossh

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#6
Flew there on Jet Airways to Delhi then a domestic flight to Gangtok.
how much did you pay for the domestic flight from delhi to gangtok? and how long is the duration? by the way, the suvs is arranged by STA liason with the tour group there, or did you source from the agents there directly?

Hotels outside the capital, Gangtok is just average. Hot water for showering must be arranged upon check-in. As for Gangtok, stay at the Chumbi Residency, one of the best there. Nice room, shower.
how is the temperature at gangtok? hot, warm or slightly cool? and do you remember the sunrise times? should be quite early rite?

sorry to ask so many questions.
 

jkaiser

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Aug 31, 2005
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#7
indian visas i believe, are solely handled by mustafa travel agency...efficient cos u can go anytime (24hrs) and collect 2 days later
 

foreverlovex

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Feb 1, 2006
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#8
have taken into consideration that the period is shortly after the monsoon, but mountain trekking is not the main highlight, so we may or may not trek the yuksom monastery trek. have come across people who did fairly well for the period, so it may just be luck. main highlight i'm going in for is the festivals.
no lah.....not just trekking nia. Mudslides/landslides may block the road.

But for weather cannot control one. Going one day earlier or later may be the deciding factor......all down to luck.
 

Jun 23, 2007
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#9
how much did you pay for the domestic flight from delhi to gangtok? and how long is the duration? by the way, the suvs is arranged by STA liason with the tour group there, or did you source from the agents there directly?

Everything was done by the STA liason. Duration was 3 weeks. You can check out jetairways.com for flight cost.


how is the temperature at gangtok? hot, warm or slightly cool? and do you remember the sunrise times? should be quite early rite?

Temps are cool. Sunrise is hard to get due to the foggy mornings. Tried to capture the sunrise for the 1st two days and was unable to do so. In fact, during the trip, we were mostly in the clouds during travels from city to city. If you want to go there for photography, I suggest going during their peak period which is September to November and April to May
 

Snowywolf

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Apr 21, 2007
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westeries...
#11
Jun 23, 2007
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#12
You must have gone to a primary school called odenchoeling( or something like that). Went there too for a visit and they thought we students were there to teach.
 

Snowywolf

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Apr 21, 2007
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#13
You must have gone to a primary school called odenchoeling( or something like that). Went there too for a visit and they thought we students were there to teach.
not really, it's an international boarding school that was set up by a pair of very experienced teachers for the community. -smiles-

Taktse International School
http://www.marioninstitute.org/matr...PageID_E_93_A_PageName_E_ProgramsTaktseSchool
 

zoossh

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Nov 29, 2005
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#15
can still see trekking packages in early june, so should still be ok, so the july option probably is less favorable.

dunno if it is a good idea to do trekking first, then streets (might get too exhausted). will try to look for the easiest trek to do....
 

Snowywolf

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Apr 21, 2007
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#16
can still see trekking packages in early june, so should still be ok, so the july option probably is less favorable.

dunno if it is a good idea to do trekking first, then streets (might get too exhausted). will try to look for the easiest trek to do....
hey zoosh,
how did you know that i really wanted to go for the trek?
i've a galfriend who went with me to Sikkim during the previous trip and we want to revisit there. But we really hope to do the trek. So if you guys are not going for the trek, we might break off from you after we are done from the other activities to continue the trek.
I hope you don't mind, coz we've been wanting to do that since 2006. :)

p.s. couldn't pm ya coz ur mail box is full.. a bit 'paiseh' to post this up here..
 

zoossh

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Nov 29, 2005
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#17
any need to be paiseh here??? :think:
you can email me at zoossh@starhub.net.sg if you want.

i supposed anyone so game enough to be interested in such exotic places, would like to trek if their fitness allow. wonder what is your trekking experience so far?

i got india lonely planet edition 2005, which got a short part on sikkim. if anything i may skip the monastery trek since it can be covered by wheels. might start from yuksom, and to see if anything gives a good period of 4-6 days trek. power will become a serious problem as we get higher. will get the northeast india LP 2007 when more people can get confirmed on the trip, currently 2 confirmed (excluding your friend), and 3 sitting on the bench. my flexible open period is may-july, as i'm taking another exam module in sep-october, but i'll try to fit the itinerary to coincide with at least one festival which will increase your photographic yield by a few times (2GB isn't a lot for me).

i'm hoping to get more familiar with the environement in sikkim, and hopefully soon to cover arunachal, assam and nagaland.
 

zoossh

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Nov 29, 2005
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#18
mass mail sent to those interested or potentially interested.
 

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