Sikkim is positioned in the northeast section of the Sub Continent. It shares its border with 3 other international Countries, Bhutan in the East, China in the North, Nepal in the West. Altitude of Sikkim ranges from 900 ft to around 28000 ft. Sikkim is also known for its unique varieties of flora and fauna. We will tell you what best can be done on Chennai to Sikkim road trip.
10. Explore Vizag
Vizag is around 800 Kms from Chennai. The journey to Vizag can be divided into two marking Vijayawada as the center. Take the road through Prakasam Barrage to Vijayawada. Prakasam Barrage serves as a road bridge above River Krishna and is around 1 km in length. The lighting in the evening is very pleasant and the local street food is also very tasty.
On the way from Vijayawada to Vizag, you can find an ample number of mango stalls on the roadside. Make sure that you stop by and taste them. There are many varieties of Mangoes. You will get a dozen for Rs 100/-.
In Vishakhapatnam, you can take an evening stroll at Ramakrishna Beach. There is a submarine Museum near the beach, INS Kurusura, which happens to be the only submarine Museum in Entire Asia. The museum is closed on Mondays and is open from 2 pm to 9 pm for the rest of the days. The tickets cost Rs 40/- per Adult and Rs 20/- for Children.
9. Visit the Puri Jagannath Temple
Puri is a city located in Odisha which sits on the Eastern Coast of the Subcontinent. Anyone who visits Puri will definitely visit Jagannath Temple. Puri is around 450 km from Vizag. There are many hotels where you will get cheap stays. Plan for a Darshan in the Early morning. The temple is open from 2 am in the Morning. After the darshan, you can get wet at the Puri beach and spend some quality time with your near and dear ones.
8. Know About Konark Sun Temple
Konark is about 35 to 40 km from Puri. The roads are so beautiful with greenery on both sides. Also, there is Ramchandi Beach on the way where various water sports activities are available. At Konark, you’ll have to take an entry ticket to the sun temple which costs Rs 30/- per head. There will be small shops on both sides of the path leading to Sun temple. Don’t forget to bargain if you intend to buy something. There are plenty of guides available to explain the architecture, ruling times and how the sun played an important role in calculating time. This is one of the must-visit places on the way.
7. Hang Out At Kolkota
As you enter Kolkotta, you can feel the roads getting congested. Plan to stay on the outskirts of going in and coming out of the city is a pretty tedious task with the amount of traffic there. You can stay at Dankuni which is on the highway to Siliguri. At Kolkotta, you can walk on the footpaths of Howrah Bridge. You are not allowed to take photos of the bridge standing there. You’ll be fined by the Cops. You’ll also get the cheap and best tea there. Tea/Coffee are served in mud pots and you need not return the pots back.
The next thing you can do in Kolkata is to visit the Victora Memorial. The memorial is open from 10 AM to 5 PM and it costs about Rs 30/- per pax. The museum is closed on Mondays through the garden is open on all days. You can spend about 2-2.5 hours here including the photo sessions.
Do not forget to taste the yummy Kolkata Biriyani. The cab drivers will take you to the restaurants you prefer or you can ask them for suggestions. You can also do some shopping in the new Market Area where you get cheap leather goods.
6. A Quick Stop At Siliguri
Siliguri is the Gateway to Darjeeling and Gangtok. It is almost 13 hour’s drive from Kolkata and the roads are rough. Before you reach Darjeeling you can halt at Siliguri for the night. Plan to start at 5 AM from Kolkata so that you reach Siliguri by 6 PM. You can take an evening walk to the Hong Kong Market where you’ll get foreign goods. You should bargain till your throat gets dry to get some really good products. Get a good sleep as you have to travel very early to Tiger Hills at Darjeeling.
5. Get A View Of The Kanchenjunga
Start early from Siliguri to Tiger Hills. Tiger Hills is around 50 km from Siliguri and will take about 2 hours to reach. You should be very lucky to witness the sunrise and get a view of the Kanchenjunga because most of the days the sky is cloudy. In Darjeeling, you will get to hire cabs for one day and ask for the driver to take you through complete Darjeeling. Cab drivers offer packages like 3,5,7,10-point sight-seeing or you can also opt for mixed point sight-seeing. Time can vary depending on the points you plan to cover.
Take the Darjeeling Toy train ride for which you should book tickets in advance. You can take tickets from IRCTC website. The train travels through Batasia Loop to Ghum Monestry and back to Darjeeling. The complete journey takes about 2 hours to complete. You can stay at Darjeeling for the night and start to Gangtok the next day.
4. Enjoy The Peace And Tranquility Of Gangtok
The City of Gangtok will definitely amaze us. The people there are so kind and helpful. The City is very clean and quiet. Honking is strictly prohibited there. You will be able to see the vehicles plying in an orderly manner without overtaking or honking. There are ample home stays/hostels/rooms to stay in Gangtok. Plan to stay near MG Marg as it is one of the busiest areas in the town. You will get everything there right from display items to winter wears. There are a couple of good restaurants there which you must try. Taste of Tibet is one such Restaurant.
There is also a ropeway in Gangtok where you get to see the Ariel view of Gangtok township and the mountains crowned with snow. The Ropeway operates from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm and the ticket charges are Rs 110/- per adult and Rs 70/- for children below 6 years. You need not worry about the local transportation in Gangtok as there are copious taxi services available.
Visit the Himalayan Zoological Park where you can find a lot of Himalayan Animals. It is definitely not like normal zoos. It will be like walking through a forest. You can find the Red Panda and the snow leopard there. It is very neat and clean. Enjoy the climate and take proper rest in the city as you have to pack your bags and get ready for the adventure at Lachen the next day.
3. Float On The Clouds Of Kalapathar And Gurudongmar
It requires permits to visit most parts of Sikkim. If you book a package through a tour operator, they will take care of the permits. You need to submit a photocopy of your address proof and a passport size photo. If you prefer to travel by your own vehicle, you need to take the permits prior to one day of your travel and you can expect a decent queue for permits. There are two types of taxis available, one is sharing taxi where you share a Bolero/Sumo with random passengers and the next is Individual Taxis where you hire a complete vehicle and you have your own privacy. The later one is costlier as compared to the former one.
The Journey from Gangtok to Lachen is about seven to eight hours. The roads are so rough and only a four-wheel drive vehicle can easily maneuver over the rocky terrain. Make sure that you carry all the medicines required. There is a taxi stand in Gangtok where daily trips to different parts of Sikkim are available. As you approach Lachen, the roads get narrower.
You cannot call them as roads also. Army controls this area. You’ll be able to see flowers on both sides of the road. Make sure that you don’t pluck any flowers as it is punishable. The best season to visit Lachen is from March, April where summer season starts and October, November where winter starts. The crowd will be less in October, November compared to March and April.
At Lachen, there are countless home stays which charge from Rs 600/- to Rs 1500/- per person per night depending on the demand. You cannot do anything on that day as you will be tired due to the journey. Take a good rest.
The next day morning you can go to Kalapathar. The Jeep drivers will take you if you are already under a package. This is about 50 odd km from Lachen and it will take around 3 hours to reach to the top. You can see black mountains wrapped up with white blankets on both sides.
Also, there is a valley on the way, name as Chopta valley where you can stop and click pictures. As you go higher the oxygen level drops and it will be difficult to breathe. You can ask your driver to stop there for some time so that you can go and have fun in the snow. The temperature ranges from -1 to -5 degrees depending on the season you visit.
From Kalpathar you can leave to Gurudongmar Lake which will take another two hours of travel. Grudongmar Lake is one of the highest Lake in India located at an altitude of 17800 ft. You can see lots of prayer flags hanging around the lake. People consider this lake as very holy. Snowcapped mountains fill the background of the lake.
2. Journey To The Valley Of Flower
Yumthang Valley is known as the Valley of Flowers. Yumthang is a very calm and serene place with a river flowing silently on one side, Prayer flags flying everywhere, white pebbles and small rocks on both sides of the river. It is a natural sanctuary with greenery surrounding the lake. The lush green meadows are definitely a treat to our eyes.
From Yumthang Valley you should head to Zero Point. It is the point where three rivers meet and the road ends here. It is located at an altitude of 15800 ft which requires a special permission to visit Zero Point as situated in Indo-China border and the driver may ask few additional amounts for this.
1. Ride Through Nathula
This is the final destination on Chennai to Sikkim road trip. Nathula Pass was formerly known as the Silk Route where the exchange of good happened between India and Tibet. The area is fully under Army’s control. It is located at an altitude of 14000 ft. Nathula Pass is open from Wednesdays to Sundays. Army issues only very limited passes y and it is based on first come first serve basis.
During peak season the fares range between Rs 800/- to Rs 1000/- per person for Tsomgo Lake, Baba Mandir and Nathula Pass in a sharing cab including permit charges. Most of the days Nathula Pass remains closed as there will be heavy snowfall. There are many places on the way from where you can get winter gears for rental. Photography is strictly prohibited in these regions. Baba Mandir and Tsomgo Lake are other attraction on the route.
So, that’s our 10 amazing things to do on a Chennai to Sikkim road trip. What do you think of the list? Do we have missed some more facts which you have experienced during your trip? Let’s know in the comment below. Also, let us know how you liked our article. Your feedback is valuable to us.
You can also watch the whole journey in the video below.
Explorer, Car Nut, Gallivanter, Gear Head