The higher Himalayas have always fascinated us and we are so psyched to have an itinerary exploring the passes, glacial lakes and beautiful valleys of North Sikkim. To think that this tiny little state packs in so much, gives you a perspective on how much there is in India to explore and experience.
Get ready for an authentic Sikkimese experience – a balance of the famous and off beat. Visit the Gurudongmar at 17000 ft, relax at the beautiful Lepcha town of Dzongu and make a short visit to Kurseong, a quaint little tea-growing hill station in West Bengal. There is so much that you should just read the itinerary. The trip is not for the faint hearted!
Please read everything carefully till the end. You should be sure of what you are signing up for. We welcome your questions.
Price: INR 62000 + 5% GST
Single supplement Surcharge – INR 19,500 + 5% GST
Day 1 - 29 Apr 2023
Arrive in Bagdogra Airport and proceed to Gangtok. This will serve as our base for the trip tomorrow. Check into the homestay and relax. Overnight at Gangtok.
Day 2 - 30 Apr 2023
After breakfast we take our day trip to Changu Lake, locally known as Tsomgo. This glacial lake is one of the most beautiful lakes in India and its setting amidst the mighty Himalayas, makes it appear surreal. A visit to the Nathu La pass is also on the cards, depending on weather conditions and permit. Spend the evening shopping at the bustling MG Road area and trying out some famous cafes. Overnight at Gangtok.
Day 3 - 01 May 2023
After breakfast we will proceed to the picturesque town of Lachen which is very close to the Indo-Tibetan border. Enroute visit the myriad waterfalls. Overnight at Lachen.
Day 4 - 02 May 2023
Today, we start very early to visit the Gurudongmar Lake. At 17,000 ft, this lake is considered sacred and is one of the highest lakes in the world and in India. The snow-clad mountains surrounding the lake and the scenic beauty of this area will take your breath away. We will drive back to Lachen and after lunch start our journey to Lachung. Overnight at Lachung.
Day 5 - 03 May 2023
Today we set out to soak in the beauty of Yumthang Valley and Zero Point where the motorable road ends and it is very close to the Indo-Chinese border. We will be touching altitudes of about 15000 ft. Be prepared to witness the magnificence of nature’s landscape throughout your journey from Lachung all the way till Zero Point. Back to Lachung for lunch and rest. Evening walk around the stay and the town in Lachung. You can try the local millet beer and relax. Overnight at Lachung.
Day 6 - 04 May 2023
Post lunch, we will take a short hike in the village and visit an old monastery, all the while, understanding the unique Lepcha culture. Dinner and overnight in Dzongu (Mangan).
Day 7 - 05 May 2023
After breakfast we will again explore the Dzongu area including a visit to Hot water springs and a walk to the river beach. Post lunch, we start our return journey, halting at a small village of Martam near the Rumtek Monastery. Overnight at Martam.
Day 8 - 06 May 2023
Visit the Rumtek monastery after checkout, and then proceed to Kurseong via a scenic drive. A small hill station surrounded by tea estates, Kurseong is the perfect end to a beautiful trip. Our stay tonight is steeped in the tea-growing history of the region. An elaborate tea tasting awaits you. It is close to the Bagdogra airport and hence our choice of stop. Overnight in Kurseong.
Day 9 - 07 May 2023
After breakfast, proceed to Bagdogra airport. Tour ends with beautiful memories and promises to meet again!
- All meals and evening tea/coffee starting from lunch on Day 1 till breakfast on Day 9
- Accommodation for 8N
- Double sharing basis at Gangtok, Lachen, Lachung and Kurseong
- Triple sharing basis at Dzongu(Mangan)
- All transportation in Innova or similar vehicles. Max 5 people per Innova.
- Bolero or Sumo on Day 7 for Dzongu visit
- Permits for Nathu La, Gurudongmar, Zero point and Dzongu
- Guide for Dzongu on Day 6
- Tolls and Parking
- Entry charges
- Guidance of an F5 tour leader
- Food, snacks other than mentioned in inclusions.
- Camera charges
- Activity charges other than mentioned
- Tips and personal expenses
- Flights from your city of residence to Bagdogra and return
- Any cost arising due to natural calamities, personal flight delays and aspects beyond our control. We will definitely facilitate an alternative and handle the contingency, the cost being yours.
- 5% GST
Terms & Conditions
- If cancelled 90 days or more in advance, cancellation fee is 12% of the trip amount.
- 25% of the trip cost if cancelled 89 – 60 days in advance.
- 50% of the trip cost if cancelled 59 to 16 days in advance.
- Last 15 days – no show – entire amount will be forfeited.
- If you use our services to book flights, cancellation charges of the flights will apply.
F5 CARES FOR YOUR SAFETY!
- Your tour lead will be fully vaccinated, and will be carrying sanitizer.
- As tourism has picked up, most destinations will probably be crowded – we are planning our trips such that we do not have to spend a long time in enclosed crowded spaces.
- It is mandatory to be fully vaccinated to be a part of F5 trips.
- Please do keep in mind that even restaurants where we stop on the roads for breakfast/tea might be crowded. Always exercise caution.
- Please do not travel if you have symptoms prior to the trip – for your own and other people’s safety.
- ALWAYS take all precautions while on the trip. Stay safe and have fun!
- Please be prepared for a fair bit of walking.
- F5 Escapes is in no way responsible for any untoward incident happening due to the ignorance/negligence of the guests, natural/man-made calamities, accidents or any other events that are out of human control during the trip.
- All our trips are well-researched, including identifying access to medical facilities. In case of a medical emergency, F5 will assist the traveler in getting medical attention.
- F5 reserves the right to cancel the trip under certain conditions – in such a case, the amount will be refunded in full.
Arrival & Departure Timings:
This trip is Ex-Bagdogra.
Reach Bagdogra by 1 PM on Day 1 and fly out after 1 PM on Day 9. Kurseong to Bagdogra airport takes 1.5 hours. Keeping delays in mind, it will be safe to book a flight that takes off around 1 PM.
Note on weather:
April-end/May-start is the onset of Summer in Sikkim. However, in North Sikkim, the lowest temperatures may still go in single digits (approx 5 degrees C). You will need your warm clothes.
*Please note that now a days, climate/ weather is dependent on many factors and unpredictable hence above information might be subject to change during your actual travel days
Note about SMOKING & ALCOHOL:
Everyone joining is an adult and we realise that we cannot dictate the behaviour on how you should enjoy the trip. All we ask is to drink responsibly. Hangover delays are going to cost a lot, and will not be tolerated at all. Excessive drinking on higher altitudes can result in serious dehydration and should be avoided. So please do not test your limits and enjoy in moderation. Also, do respect your roommate’s comfort levels with the alcohol smell and avoid drinking in the room if she is not comfortable.
If you smoke, please do so outside the room, even if the rooms have ashtray.
About your stay:
- Gangtok – A well appointed family-run homestay completely to ourselves.
- Lachen – A well appointed hotel. Please note that Lachen is a town used as a base camp for Gurudongmar and various North Sikkim hikes. It is remote and remains closed for a good 4 to 5 months a year. Considering this, one cannot expect the luxury/amenities that we are used to at other hospitality establishments. Having said that, we will have the basic amenities – food, attached washrooms with water heaters and comfortable beds.
- Lachung – Beautiful, conveniently located boutique hotel
- Martam – A boutique property near the Rumtek Monastery.
- Kurseong – A heritage boutique hotel with a plethora of tea-history
- Dzongu (Mangan) – A boutique stay amidst nature with 3 large rooms and 1 Swiss tent, each with attached bathrooms. Please note:
- No other place of stay in Dzongu have attached bathrooms, or a large room inventory
- Munlom Nature Resort is the only one that provides the comfort and amenities suitable for an F5 Escapes trip and the authenticity of local culture that F5 Escapes is known for.
- Hence, it will have to be triple sharing at Dzongu
- Person opting for a single occupancy surcharge, will have the Swiss tent for herself. Swiss tents are like glamping tents with all amenities of a standard hotel room.
- Simple Indian food such as rotis/dal, rice etc. Toast/Omelettes will be available.
- There will be some local Sikkimese dishes too. Option of continental food will be available at MG Road Gangtok.
- North Sikkim is remote and rotis do not form a part of the local diet. So lunch/dinner will be rice, dal, veggies, chutneys etc.
- If you have special dietary requests, please let us know beforehand.
Note > Prepare > Accept > Embrace:
- Higher altitudes require a certain level of fitness. We are not strictly trekking in Lachen and Lachung, but walking at high altitudes is tiresome. In Dzongu, the nature trails will feel like treks, given the altitude (around 8000 to 10000 ft altitudes). You can choose to sit them out and relax during the stay. If you can walk briskly for 2 kilometres regularly, you should be okay. Please also remember that nature trails or treks in the Himalayas are not races. Even if you regularly run in the plains, you will have to pace it out slowly on a climb. If walking at steep places is an issue for you, please reconsider.
- Changu Lake is at 12,000 ft and Nathu La is at over 14,000 ft. Furthermore Gurudongmar is at 17,000ft. While there is no trek required to visit these places, being at these altitudes will be exhausting due to oxygen rarity and low temperatures. We will share with you the do’s and don’ts of travelling to high altitude places and will need a consent form from you. Please consult your physician regarding the same.
- The roads in North Sikkim are really bad. There will be patches where the speed will be less than 20 kmph. Some people say that ‘non-existent’ will be a better term for the roads there. The rewards more than make up for it, though! Although the vehicles will be Innovas, the journey will be tiring. Please reconsider if you have back/knee issues. The journey will have enough breaks however for everyone to stretch and walk it off.
- We will have 2 Innovas for a group of 10 (max). It is mandatory to switch seats. You cannot expect to be seated in front or at window seats during the entire trip. If you have motion sickness, please know that others would also have that issue. It is better to have your medication in place. If seating in the middle or the back seat of Innova is not for you, we can plan a customised trip for you but you should probably not be a part of the group trip.
- Please note that Lachen is a town used as a base camp for Gurudongmar and various North Sikkim hikes, and most visitors do not spend more than 12 hours in the hotel. It is remote and remains closed for a good 4 to 5 months a year. Considering this, one cannot expect the luxury/amenities that we are used to at other hospitality establishments. Having said that, we will have the basic amenities – food, attached washrooms with water heaters, and comfortable beds.
- Sikkim is a 100% organic state and people there live as naturally as possible. All stays will have water heating facilities and in case of a power cut, the hosts will provide you hot water from wood-fired heaters. Please do not insist on a diesel run generator and have patience.
- Sun rises early and sets early in North East India. So our days will start early and end early. To cover everything that is promised, it is important that we maintain the timings. Although distances are less, the mountain roads make it difficult to maintain the average speed of more than 25kmph.
- We really want to take you to Nathu La, War Memorial and Baba Mandir, Zero Point and Gurudongmar. However, these areas are army controlled and face unpredictable weather turns. Hence the permits to visit these places are allotted just a day before. Thus, please be prepared for the eventuality of bad weather and trust us to try our best.
- To visit Gurudongmar, you will have to start at 5:00AM. Tourists are not allowed at the lake beyond 11AM. It takes a minimum of 3 hours from Lachen to Gurudongmar Lake.
- The last night in Kurseong is strategic so that you get to experience another beautiful place and be close to the airport for your return flight. Staying overnight in Siliguri/Bagdogra is boring.
- Mountain states may get rainfall/snowfall unexpectedly anytime.
- Network in North Sikkim is patchy at best. BSNL postpaid has the maximum chances of working. You can expect Wifi in Gangtok and Kurseong but not anywhere else.
‘F5 Escapes’ is a Bangalore-based, experiential travel company, with a focus on redefining the way women travel in India. The premise of F5 is an ambitious dream – to put India on the global travel map as a preferred destination for women from across the globe.
F5 Escapes offers fixed departure all-women group tours, customized itineraries for families, groups and solo travellers. We also do in-city engagements which include #JustGo travel meetups, workshops to educate women on travel safety, sustainable menstruation, motorbiking etc.