The government of Sikkim has announced that several popular tourist destinations across the state are now open to visitors after the terrible flood. However, it is essential to note that the extreme northern regions of North Sikkim are still inaccessible. This announcement was made by Bandana Chettri, Additional Secretary of the Tourism and Civil Aviation Department, who stated that areas like Gangtok, Namchi, Soreng, Pakyong, and Gyalshing are entirely safe to explore and have pleasant weather conditions for the festive season. A recent advisory clarified that while the extreme northern part of Sikkim remains closed, other destinations are fully open to tourists, and normalcy has returned following the impact of the Teesta River flood.
Visiting Gangtok during this time of the year is a must due to the pleasant weather and year-end festivities. To make your trip easier, we have prepared a detailed three-day itinerary for Gangtok, which you can refer to once you are in the city.
Upon arrival, check into your chosen accommodation and refresh yourself after your journey. Start your morning by exploring MG Marg, a pedestrian-only street with shops, cafes, and street art. Then, head to Enchey Monastery to absorb the spiritual ambience and explore the intricate architecture and courtyards. Engage with the resident monks to learn more about their way of life and the teachings of Buddhism.
If you're looking for a great lunch spot, head to one of the local eateries around MG Marg. The delicious Sikkimese cuisine, including regional favourites like momos and thukpa, won't disappoint you. The unique blend of spices and textures will tantalise your taste buds and leave you feeling satisfied.
Once you've had your fill, it's time for the Gangtok Ropeway adventure. This exciting ride offers a thrilling experience and stunning panoramic views of the city and surrounding hills. Make sure to bring your camera to capture the beauty of Gangtok from different perspectives as you ascend and descend.
As night falls, MG Marg comes alive with enchanting colourful lights. Explore the street's boutiques and art galleries, or join a guided heritage walk to dive deeper into the city's history. Dine at a rooftop restaurant for a memorable culinary experience with a view of the city's twinkling lights.
Start your day with an early breakfast at the hotel and depart for Tsomgo Lake. Take a leisurely walk along the lakeshore, embrace the local culture. Go for a Yak ride, and capture the beauty of Tsomgo Lake and the majestic mountains that encircle it through photography.
If you're looking for a place to have lunch, consider finding a comfortable spot by the lake and bringing a picnic-style meal to appreciate the natural beauty fully. Alternatively, check out local food vendors to experience authentic Himalayan cuisine.
After lunch, head to Baba Harbhajan Singh Mandir, a revered site that seamlessly blends spirituality and military history. You can engage with locals to learn about the stories and folklore associated with Baba Harbhajan Singh. Take your time to explore the temple and its surroundings.
On your way back to Gangtok in the evening, make sure to stop by some of the scenic viewpoints along the route and take in the breathtaking landscapes. Remember to capture the beauty of the sunset and its magnificent colours. Once you return to Gangtok, relax and unwind at the hotel in the evening. Consider indulging in a traditional Sikkimese massage to soothe your mind and body.
Start your day with a relaxed and satisfying breakfast at your hotel. Indulge in the delectable local breakfast offerings, providing the energy you need for the day's adventures. Use this time to soak in the hotel's atmosphere and the warm hospitality of its staff.
Next, head out to continue your exploration of the Rumtek Monastery. The journey to the monastery is culturally enriching and offers breathtaking views along the way. A knowledgeable guide will lead you through the monastery, allowing you to fully appreciate the intricate details of Tibetan Buddhist art and architecture. Take time to absorb the spiritual atmosphere and immerse yourself in the experience.
For lunch, choose a local restaurant known for regional specialities. It would be a great opportunity to try some unique dishes not commonly known as part of Sikkimese cuisine. While enjoying your meal, you can engage with the staff or fellow diners to learn more about the local culinary traditions.
Later in the afternoon, you can revisit the vibrant Lal Bazaar and New Market to explore further. Interact with local vendors and indulge in the market's energy. You can also pick up any souvenirs or handicrafts you might have missed earlier.
As the afternoon progresses, it's time to prepare for departure from Gangtok. Begin by checking out of the hotel and ensure that all your belongings are accounted for. Next, reconfirm your travel arrangements and make any necessary arrangements for transportation to your departure point.
Before leaving, take some time to enjoy the final moments in Gangtok. Depending on your departure time, you can take a short walk to a nearby park or viewpoint. Allow yourself to soak in the city's essence and consider revisiting a favourite spot or exploring a small corner you might have missed.
(With inputs from the PTI)