Trip To Silk Route In Sikkim
If you are looking forward to visit the old silk route in Sikkim, you have chosen the nature’s paradise. The road to this heaven takes you through some of the offbeat and most beautiful places on earth. Know all about Silk route in Sikkim before you make an easy trip plan to the destination. Some of the places one can cover while visiting Silk route are the followings:
Places Of Interests Along Silk Route In Sikkim
It is a small hamlet and a kind of valley with high mountains all around. A few families live there with only one property for tourists. There are house stays too but it is better to stay in the Silk Route Resort – located at a super position between the mountains. Lingtam is the first tourist’s destination on the way to Silk route. It is located a few kilometers down the Rishikhola, another superb destination for tourists. One can spend 2 to 3 days in Lingtam relaxing and enjoying the nature’s view. Aritar Lake is very near to Lingtam, one can hire a vehicle to spot the lake and then return on the same day.
It is another favorite destination for the nature lovers. Reshikhola is named after the river called Rishi. Khola means river in their language. There are no hotels or resorts at Reshikhola but the house stays are superb to stay in. You don’t need any luxury there. The hospitality of the people there are worth mentioning. Once you visit there, you would get to know the simplicity and honesty of the people there. A deep in the crystal clear and chilled water of Reshi Khola would be memorable to you. Read my story on my Honeymoon trip to Reshikhola: Here
Know all about Home-stays and cttages at Reshikhola: Here
The next destination is Zuluk, another scenic beauty in east Sikkim. There are no hotels in Zuluk, all are house stays owned by local people. Zuluk lies in between Nathang Valley and Rishikhola. 1 night stay here is must for all travelers. A stay in Zuluk also breaks the journey and one can get some rest and spend the night in leisure with the nature.
This placed is fully covered in winter with chilled wind waves blowing all around. The area is an Indian Army cantonment and mainly monitored and maintained by Army. Local people stay there but they are now mainly focusing on tourists for livelihood. There are no hotels or resorts. The Dafter Bungalow, a old British bungalow and the Pinasha Lodge are the only good options for a stay. The family who maintains the properties is very friendly and helpful. Mr. Karma Sherpa and his elder daughter Prema are very helpful and kind enough to guide you and arrange everything you want if feasible.
It is another hamlet on high mountains. You can visit this place and spend a night here. The view all around is just amazing. One can leave Nathang Valley and visit Lungthung to spend a night there. If you are not interested to visit Gangtok along Silk Route I would suggest you to spend a night here but if you got plan to visit Gangtok city, I would suggest not go to Lungthung but to move ahead to gangtok City directly from Nathang Valley. Lungthung is around 20 – 25 kilometers away from Nathang Valley.
NOTE:There is another local resident who arranges home stays. His name is Sebestian Prodhan. Don’t trust this guy. We had to cancel our first plan of visiting Silk route just because of him. We told him again and again to take the advance and book the house stays for us but he kept on saying that it was not needed and he would arrange the house stay for sure but when time came he surrendered that he would not be able to provide us rooms. There is no need to go for this man, the Sherpa family can easily arrange house stays in Rishikhola and Zuluk apart from lodging at Nathang Valley.
From Nathang Valley, one has got two options
Option 1: You can go for sightseeing up to Tsomgo Lake via Old and new Baba Mandir, Zig-Zag Road (Bhulbhulaiya), Thambi View Point, Sorethang (the market with Chinese items), Tookla Valley etc. and then return to Nathang Valley. One has to stay there the night at Nathang and then leave for NJP or Siliguri next day. 2
Option 2: The other option is that one can leave for Gangtok City from Nathang Valley via Silk route. The journey would superb and adventurous.
Sightseeing Along Silk Route
There are so many places of interests in Silk Route Sikkim. You would be amazed with the beauty and nature’s creations. The places one can cover while visiting Sikkim Silk Route are the followings:
Menmecho Lake lies at a short distance from the road. One has to trek to spot the lake. There is no free access because it is a prohibited place, so vehicles are not allowed to enter this route and the route is very bumpy and not suited for a vehicle to move along. By the way, you can have a talk with the driver to mange this if you are interested to reach up to the lake. You can trek the route and return to the spot where the driver would wait for you. If you don’t want to trek up to the lake, do not worry, you can have a aerial view of the lake while going along the Silk Route from Zuluk to Nathang Valley or from Nathang Valley to further ahead towards Gangtok.
Eagle’s Nest Bunker:
It is located just 5 km away from Nathang Valley. It is an abandoned army bunker which is located at a high point and gives you a superb view of the sun rise.
Kupup Lake Or Elephant Lake:
You can get to see this lake while moving towards Gangtok from Nathang Valley. The lake is shaped like an elephant.
Thambi View Point:
It is a sun rise point along Silk Route and one can view the Zig-Zag road perfectly from here.
Zig-Zag Road (locally known as Bhulbhulaiya):
It seems like someone has sketched it. The awesome view would amaze you for sure. You can get to see the more than 50 sharp turns of the road.
Sorethang (The China Market):
One can get woolen cloths, jackets at a very reasonable price here. The goods are brought from China and this market is the first point in Indian Territory where these goods are sold and supplied further in Gangtok city and other markets. If you are passionate about jackets, just take Rs 1000 – 1500 extra and you would get 2-3 superb jackets there. Each time I go there, I bring a jacket with me.
Old Baba Mandir:
This Old Baba Mandir is not accessible if you come from Gangtok side. So it is an advantage if you visit Silk Route that you get to visit the actual old Baba Mandir maintained by Indian Army.
New Baba Mandir:
New Baba Mandir is accessible from both sides. You get good hospitality from Indian Jawans and the readymade tea provided by the Army is a must have thing in such chilling weather.
It is a valley with snow all around in winter and Rhododendron flowers in the period from April to May.
Tsomgo lake is approachable from both side. If you visit Gangtok first, you can come to Nathang Valley via Tsomgo Lake or you can visit this lake on way while reaching Gangtok from Nathang Valley along the old Silk Route in Sikkim.
Nathula Pass is closed on Friday and you can visit this India-China border only if you have got the permit. If you have plan to visit Gangtok city via Silk Route, just ask your hotel manager at Gangtok to get the permit for you. If you are not visiting Gangtok from Nathang Valley, you won’t get the permit because permit for Nathula Pass can only be obtained from Gangtok city. Nathula Pass is worth visiting, one of the oldest border gates between India and China.
This is a beautiful waterfall located after Tsomgo Lake if you go from Nathang Valley towards Gangtok via Silk Route. One can stop here by, get a hot cup of tea and stare at the beautiful Mandakini waterfall.
Probable Itineraries for Silk Route trip in Sikkim:
Making an itinerary is one of the most painful tasks of a tour planner. If you don’t have an itinerary in visual, it is hard to make a budget and a plan. I am trying to help you out in this regard.
Probable Itinerary 1:
Day 1: Reach Lingtam from Siliguri/NJP, O/N stay
Day 2: Visit Aritar lake and view point, O/N stay
Day 3: Leave for Rishikhola, O/N stay
Day 4: Leave for Zuluk, O/N stay
Day 5: Leave for Nathang Valley, sightseeing en-route to Nathang and O/N stay
Day 6: Sightseeing and O/N stay at Nathang valley
Day 7: Leave for NJP/Siliguri
Probable Itinerary 2:
Day 1: Reach Rishikhola from NJP/Siliguri, O/N stay
Day 2: Visit Aritar Lake and View Point, O/N stay at Rishikhola
Day 3: Reach Zuluk, O/N stay
Day 4: Reach Nathang Valley, sightseeing en-route, O/N stay
Day 5: Sightseeing, O/N stay at Nathang
Day 6: Reach Lungthung, O/N stay
Day 7: Leave for NJP/Siliguri
Probable Itinerary 3:
Day 1: Reach Lingtam from Siliguri/NJP, O/N stay
Day 2: Visit Aritar and view point, O/N stay
Day 3: Visit Zuluk, O/N stay
Day 3: Visit Nathang Valley, sightseeing en-route and O/N stay
Day 4: Visit Gangtok via Silk Route
Read more on Silk Route here: http://www.traveldias.com/number-of-days-cover-silk-route-east-sikkim/
Click on the link to see more Sikkim tour plan.