For planning a trip to experience the serene beauty of Old Silk Route, across East Sikkim, it’s better to keep a few points in mind on a prior note. It will help you avoid the holiday travel hassles. Some scattered news on Silk Route permit, home stay and pre-booking on vehicles might be available on the internet. But, there is no structured response to all your travel-related queries for a desired trip across the Silk Route. Let this be of some help!
The most important point of concern in travelling with children and senior citizens is to take cognizance of their adaptability to high altitudes. In that case, you must avoid a night halt at the high altitude home-stays. There is applicable in planning for a trip to Zuluk or Nathang valley that might be unsuitable for the aged people or kids. However, they can stay at Padamchen and make a day- trip for sightseeing purposes. Another solution could be to transfer them to Gangtok from Padamchem, to avoid a night-stay at Nathang valley or Zuluk. In that case, the trip plan would be somewhat in the following order: Kalimpong >> Ramdura >> Ichey Gaon >> Sillery Gaon >> Mankhim >> Rongli >> Lingtam >> Padamchen >> Zuluk >> Lungthung >> Nathang Valley >> Gangtok.
Again, if you and your family are avid snow –lovers and plan to visit East Sikkim in the winter months, you should pack enough woolen garments, jackets and pullovers to beat the chill. You might sense a chilling breeze, accompanied with a biting cold in those months, all across the Silk Route. A good home-made remedy is honey as it works wonders in common cold, just 2 tbps of it. Also, camphor is a good inhalant for people suffering with congestion and nasal blockage. Another common query among travelers is to know the procedures for arranging the permits for Silk Route and what all documents to carry along. Adults need to carry Voter ID cards (Original and Photostat copies), 2 passport sized photos, while children below the age of 18 years need Ration Cards or their Birth Certificates, for getting the inner line permits. Foreigners are not allowed to visit Silk Route. They are not given permits. Permits for Indian nationals are issued from the DPO office at Rongli within a day’s time. It is easily procured from the local tourist guides/often your drivers for the tour; at an additional cost of Rs. 100-200 INR each for running the errands. Bear in mind that no other identity proofs are usually accepted for issuance of permits. Be stocked with enough cash as ATMs aren’t much available until up to Rongli, only 1-2 of them too. You may find 3-4 ATMs at Rongpo for a stop-gap refill of cash for your entire tour of rest of Silk Route.
Enjoying the ethereal beauty of East Sikkim makes more sense to a biker! For bike riders and gang of youths who want to make the most of their moments in a remarkable tour of East Sikkim, be aware of the procedure of permits for you and the vehicle. Permits are available only from Gangtok for an entry into the Silk Route. All valid documents of the vehicle and the tourist must be presented. Although, only Voter ID cards are strictly preferred for issuing official permits, yet, from a personal experience, I have also witnessed under-the-table settlement in case of one of our fellow-travelers who wasn’t carrying a valid identity proof. It might be a tip in case of any exigency but you may resort to the official procedure to avoid any trouble on your trip.
If you plan to have liquor on the trip, please be sure to carry your own stock. There are no liquor shops all along the Silk Route, other than a few at Gangtok or Rongpo bazaar. Make the most of the trip with all the above information. Hope it turns out to be memorable one! The place is perfect for all groups – family, friends and honeymooners! Stay tuned to TravelDias for more travel updates and information. You can mail me at “firstname.lastname@example.org” for any detail you need. Keep traveling, cheers…!