The life of backpackers is full of excitement and thrill as they keep exploring new destinations, meeting new people and spending most of their time in knowing the culture of novel destinations.
Yes, low budget travelling allows them to enjoy their lives to the fullest! All the existing and aspiring backpackers out there if you are planning to begin your journey to Sikkim then you are at the correct place!
Perched in the mighty Himalayas, Sikkim is a beautiful state between Tibet, Nepal and Bhutan. It is free from all the hustle, pollution and tensions which you must have encountered in metro cities.
One can find simple and generous people with a rich culture, appealing historical sites, monasteries and natural charms in Sikkim. Being an offbeat destination, you won’t find so many independent backpackers in Sikkim.
(If you’re reading this, then you’re surely unique!) Due to which, collecting important information about this place becomes a little bit difficult for independent travellers. We will assist you in knowing Sikkim before undertaking a beautiful journey to this Himalayan state.
Best time to visit Sikkim:
Sikkim is located exactly at the foothills of the Himalayas which makes it a cold and sub-tropical region. This place witnesses very cold winters and wet summers with heavy rainfall. Considering this, you should visit Sikkim in either October-November or in March-May to enjoy properly.
It’s the best time to explore Sikkim as the temperature is pleasant during the day and cold during the night. The prices are a little bit high during the season but, your experience would be awesome as you can explore most places in dry days. You can consider Sikkim tour packages during these months to avail best prices.
Transport in Sikkim:
As a backpacker, you should first reach to the nearest cities of Sikkim via train or bus as per your convenience as there is no direct bus stand or train station in Sikkim. You can also opt for the recently opened Pakyong airport near Gangtok.
From the nearest cities, you can take Sumo sharing jeep which is the easiest and cheapest transport for reaching Sikkim.
They provide services between various towns at reasonable prices of INR 100-200 and can accommodate 10 people at a time. You should inquire about the jeeps in advance as they run on fix timings which can be different for various routes.
Its tickets are available at jeep stands and don’t forget to keep fragile items with you as the luggage will be tied on the roof or below the jeep.
Roads of Sikkim:
Due to the mountainous location, the roads are steep, difficult and bumpy in Sikkim. Some of them are very dangerous and prone to landslides.
Narrow streets and paths result in traffic as only one vehicle can pass at a time on such roads. You should drive only if you have excellent driving skills. Otherwise hiring the driver will be a good idea. Consequently, lots of patience is required as you can’t reach fast on any location here.
Stay in Sikkim:
You can stay in backpackers or youth hostels at reasonable prices in Sikkim. Although, you won’t find a long list of such hostels there are some decent ones. Or you can also buy Sikkim tour package which will cover your stay and transportation at affordable rates.
Permits for Sikkim:
The foreigners would require a special permit for visiting lower and western Sikkim areas which they can easily avail before arriving in Sikkim from cities like Delhi, Siliguri or Kolkata. Otherwise, you can get it by showing your passport at the border crossing of Sikkim. It is free of cost permit.
However, for visiting the upper Sikkim both Indians and foreigners require the protected area permit. It is not easy to get this permit especially for foreigners but, we suggest you should explore other areas of Sikkim due to limited budget as a backpacker.
Best places to visit in Sikkim:
Backpackers usually want to explore more places in less time. So, we are mentioning only those places through which you can know the culture, traditions and people of Sikkim in the best way.
Gangtok is known as the gateway of Sikkim and, usually, people start their tour from here. Add some thrill by choosing adventurous activities like Mountain biking and motor biking in this city.
Relish on authentic Sikkimese food, interact with locals starting from Mahatma Gandhi Marg. Besides this, few worth visiting attractions are Rumtek Monastery, Nmagyal Institute of Tibetology and Tsomgo Lake.
Located ahead of Gangtok, Ravangla should be your next stop. It is a small town with astounding views, beautiful monasteries and famous Buddha Park with large Buddha statues.
The best places to explore in Ravangla are Samdruptse Hill, Ralong Monastery and hot spring, Doling Gopma and Buddha Park.
Enrich your historical knowledge about Sikkim by visiting the town of Yuksom. People come here usually to see the oldest monastery of Sikkim, Dubdi monastery and the historic throne of Sikkim’s first King.
If you are a nature lover, then you should visit Kartok Lake which is surrounded by colourful prayer flags.
It is one of the most famous mountain towns of Sikkim with lots of facilities for tourists. Enjoy some peaceful moments away from all rush in Sanghak Choeling monastery or Pemayangtsi monastery.
Don’t forget to walk on the highest bridge of Sikkim, Singshore Bridge, while exploring Pelling. There are plenty of waterfalls, lakes and gardens to soothe you internally!
Kecheopalri is a sacred lake located near Pelling. It is best for those travellers who want to spend some time in the tranquil natural surroundings. It’s a small lake with panoramic beauty and calm atmosphere.
People stop at this destination for taking perfect images near the lake. You must look at the top view of the lake as it’s in the shape of foot mark of Lord Shiva.
Now, get set go to Sikkim! Come one, backpackers don’t think twice for such trips.