Sikkim Travel Blog: Exploring the Lost Kingdom.

Sikkim blogs, west Sikkim, Sikkim himalayas

In this Sikkim travel blog, come with me virtually on a Sikkim trip to discover the secret treasures of the last kingdom to be annexed to India in 1975.

Sikkim travel blog

On a late evening, we sat on a steep cliff, drinking the local Sikkimese Beer. Sparse villages and farms lay scattered in the valley below. The River Teesta roared along intensely. The mountains echoed with hypnotic chants from a nearby monastery. We were lost in our thoughts, when the mist slowly rose, and revealed to us in all its snow-capped glory, the mighty Mount Kanchendzonga!

Also read my Gangtok travel blog: Eat, Pray, Love: Offbeat Things to do in Gangtok (including where to find Sikkim traditional food and best Sikkim hotels)

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Sikkim travel blog | A glimpse of the mighty Kanchenjunga. Photo: Jakub Michankow

Sikkim India, truly off the beaten path

Places like these can’t be found on a Sikkim travel map. Trying to find my footing down a path of lose pebbles, I had asked two school kids where the narrow, winding path would take us. They enthusiastically decided to lead the way in a direction where the coarse mountain paths turned into a bed of flowers, with bright red rhododendrons blooming along the slopes. 

The path culminated in a cliff, from where we would get the first glimpse in two weeks of our Sikkim travel itinerary, of the spectacular snow-clad Himalayas!

Also read: Hiking from Darjeeling to Sikkim

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Sikkim nature | Rhododendrons in bloom.

Sikkim natural beauty, like no other

We spent our days in West Sikkim hiking to remote monasteries and villages, marveling at the isolation in which Sikkim people choose to live and pray in these parts.

In most mountain regions in India, village homes are clustered together and their farms further away. But locals in Sikkim build spacious homes surrounded by fields, often a 10-15 minute walk from the nearest neighbor.

Also read: The Mystical Ways of Arunachal Pradesh’s Galo Tribe

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Visit Sikkim to feel the tranquility in these stones.

Sikkim culture and fulfilment

For the most part, we let the chants of Om mani padme hum and the fluttering Tibetan prayer flags guide us. But one afternoon, we trudged up a particularly steep forest path with a local Sikkim guide. Trekked for an hour across the mountain, to reach a private monastery built by a Lepcha family in the solitude of the Himalayas.

Unlike many temples, there were no donation boxes or information about the founders, who had spent years carrying each stone up the tiring paths. And it is people with the same conviction, who aren’t looking for anything but peace, that perhaps feel fulfilled here.

Also read: Chhattisgarh: Motorcycle Adventures, Tribal Life and a Lingering Sadness

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Sikkim historical places | On an isolated hill in West Sikkim, a beautiful old monastery.

Shared taxis for a real Sikkim adventure

Sikkim road journeys often took us on steep, narrow, mucky and broken roads.

On a treacherous journey up to Dzongu in North Sikkim, our taxi taxi threatened to roll back down a slope multiple times and we hurriedly joined the locals in taking turns to push it up. 

Shared taxis are the fabric of life in Sikkim (the most used Sikkim transport), where no public buses ply the rough mountain roads. There are no timetables or location routes. Yet everything from people to documents to bottles of fresh brews efficiently get transported from one end of Sikkim state to another. 

Local encounters on the Sikkim Darjeeling trip

It was in a shared taxi ride to Mangan that we met Joon, a civil engineer who went out of his way to help us get permits for Dzongu at the district magistrate’s office on election day. He introduced us as old friends to the officer in charge, and helped us secure documents to hasten the process.

In the village of Dzongu, we met the Lepcha people, who have passionately protested the damming of the Teesta River. To them, the elements of nature – the river, the mountains, the forests – are sacred.

Our host family even chided me for asking if the vegetables they grow are organic, because there should be no such thing as ‘organic Sikkim’. That is the only way of farming they’ve known. Much before the world gave food without chemicals a fancy name.

Also read: Sustainable Living Ideas to Embrace as we Emerge Into a New “Normal”

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Sikkim blog travel | The mountains echo with hums of Om Mani Padme Hum.

Sikkim: State of India, forgotten kingdom

On our way out of the state, I observed in fascination, the point where the Rangeet River from Darjeeling joins the mighty Teesta. Each charts a different journey through the mountains. Yet at one point, the Rangeet flows into the Teesta, and the colors of its waters, the intensity of its flow, and its humble origins are quickly forgotten.

And so it is with Sikkim, the lost kingdom. The last state to be annexed to India in 1975.


Sikkim wikitravel | Sikkim tourism | Sikkim tripadvisor | Sikkim trekking (and why it’s never too late to go on your first trek).

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Sikkim trip blog | Confluence of the Rangeet River with the Teesta.

How is your Sikkim travel plan shaping up? What else would you like to read about in my next Sikkim blog post?

Also read:

15 Responsible Travel Tips for Authentic, Meaningful Experiences on the Road

Awe-Inspiring Uttarakhand Homestays to Tune Out of Life and Tune Into the Mountains

A Traveller’s Guide to Gujarat’s Best Kept Secrets

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  1. You should have tried North Sikkim as well especially Yumthang Valley/Lachung. I rate it above other parts, road from Gangtok is not great though. πŸ™‚

    1. No roads are great in these parts πŸ˜‰ I wanted to go north, but was told I’ll have to take a package and all that and go. Not a fan of doing that.

  2. Phew! I’m just out of Sikkim after traveling there for two weeks. Loved your take on it – since my memories are still fresh, I was nodding in agreement to whatever you wrote. πŸ™‚ All I can say at the moment is that Sikkim is an experience.

    1. It sure is! Waiting to read all about your trip πŸ™‚

  3. I so want to visit Sikim after this post… India is filled up with such beautiful places.. πŸ™‚

    1. Agreed Nakul! Hope you get to visit soon. They say october-november are some of the best months!

  4. Lake Gurudonmar was gorgeous in Sikkim ! It is something definitely worth seeing, if you haven’t already πŸ™‚

    1. I didn’t see it. But heard you have to take a package et al to go there. Did you manage to go on your own?

      1. Yes, afaik, you have to take a package. We (4 ppl) took one from Gantok. I remember it was a little pricy, but was worth it πŸ™‚

  5. Great coverage, lucid writing & thank you for sharing. We believe that there is more to India than what meets eye. You have tabled one such beautiful place.
    ‘dod’ Rangers

    1. Thanks! And it’s true, there’s so much more to India than we’ll discover in this lifetime.

  6. I so want to visit Sikkim after reading this. East India and north-eastern India are next onmy bucket list

  7. Brilliantly crafted…lost in Sikkim for some time…thanks for posting

    1. Thanks Sunil! I’m glad you could experience the place for a bit. In person next πŸ™‚

  8. The best way to understand Sikkim is to travel in shared jeeps. You get to meet local people of Sikkim and observe their daily lives. On one occasion while travelling from Pelling to Darjeeling, I had to change shared jeep in a smaller town (I forgot the name πŸ™ ). It was around 1 PM in afternoon and there were no jeeps available at stand. When I inquired at the counter they said if we get enough people then there will be one more jeep available. When I asked what if not enough people are, then the reply I got was : “Then you stay in the town for a day :)”.

    1. Gotta love how patient and laid back people are in these parts! And I agree, shared jeeps are the best way to meet locals.

  9. Loved your description of the experience in Sikkim. It reminded me of my journey in Sikkim last year. Feeling nostalgic. Will need to visit Darjeeling and Sikkim again soon. Thanks for sharing your memories and experiences.

    1. I want to go back too! Hope it’s soon for both of us πŸ™‚

  10. Chaitali Patel says:

    Lovely post… makes me want to go to Sikkim now. Life in villages is simple yet hard, and you find some of the most fulfilled people there.

    1. Agreed. And that’s the beauty of India’s villages. Hope you get to experience Sikkim soon!

  11. Sikkim is gorgeous and just perfect for these hot summer days πŸ™‚


    1. It is! Though I hear June-August are months of heavy rain (and leeches), so a good idea to wait till September.

  12. Dussel_Brad! says:

    I have been to this place; in fact Sikkim both north/ west and to Ladakh. It was one among the most peaceful trip of my life! Blissful…It seems like God must be residing around with all his charm and blessings. Wonderful place it is πŸ™‚

    1. I can imagine it must have been. Can’t get enough of these mountains!

  13. I always wonder at the ‘we’ that often figures on your solo trips. πŸ™‚

    1. Wasn’t travelling alone on this trip. Think you may have missed out a post on this blog that explains :p

  14. Another stunning location…if I get to India any time soon it’s gong to have to be the Himalayan regions.

  15. Pingback: Sikkim: The Lost Kingdom. | The Talking Sloth - Asia
  16. Hey! Been a silent admirer for long ! :))
    North Sikkim happened last year in a private taxi (i.e. white number plate one) no hassles with the package tour, i cant travel in a preordained way ! 3300/- INR per day for the taxi (Xylo). I arranged for the permits with the taxi fellow @ Rs. 100/- per person. We just have to be persistent enough, stayed at the super Forest Rest House in Lachung/Lachen (cant remember).
    The package thing is a sham to deprive real travelers like you from exploring and blogging !
    You are living the life i ve dreamt of πŸ˜€
    Keep Traveling n stay blessed

  17. @Shivya, was just imagining when I would get such a lovely opportunity. Sipping on beer and travelling lovely scenic locations truly appears like a dream to me. I hope to visit Sikkim in my next vacation. Will surely carry my camera along.

  18. Just stumbled upon this blog and really liked it …and kudos to you for living your dream . Wonder what your experience is traveling as a single woman in India ?

  19. Sikkim is on the cards for November. This article helps me a lot! πŸ™‚

  20. My gangtok trip is best till date,been to yungthamvalley,lachung and katau though could not make up to gurdogmar.the serene beauty is still fresh in my heart,

  21. Sanket D. says:

    Every time I feel a little lost in my own quest I come to your blog to read some of your stories and I want you to know it helps πŸ™‚

    Thanks awesome woman! More power to you 😊

  22. Mohit Kumar says:

    Well…..I love what you are doing…Following your heart and living the moment….For there’s nothing as like the joy of travelling…The moment of self-introspection and loving the silence within… Feeling that learning comes through experiences of life…

    About Sikkim…
    I was there last year during September, it was a random plan for me, after attending my friend’s wedding.I was travelling solo and that was a blessing for me. I reached Silliguri via a bus and then had the option of going to either darjeeling, duars or gangtok.I decided to chose the place depending on whichever jeep i get first, and i heard someone shouting “Gangtok”…!!!!

    I tell you the best thing about Sikkim is the people living in there. People who are doing small jobs still have a smile on their face for they are very much happy living with each other, people who believe that to be happy you dont have to seek after big things, rather happiness is found in small things in life, that happen to be in plenty. People of sikkim who welcome travellers like us with open hearts…people who believe like us that everyday is a Journey and Journey itself is Home…

    I wish to meet you in person for I admire what you are doing….
    All the best for your Journey ahead…
    Bon Voyage… πŸ™‚

  23. Hamlets of West Sikkim are a treat for mountain lovers. I can still feel the fresh air and majestic view of snowpeaks from Borong village where I got happily lost while having a solo walk on the hill trails.

  24. I started off from Sikkim only and you are an inspiration to travelers all around the world. I found the place to be enchanted right out of some fairy tales.

  25. Ranit Dey says:

    I first visited sikkim in 2012 and places i visit was Sikkim, Peling Lachung, second time i visit Sikkim on 2018 for Llingtham, Zuluk, Nathang( kwnows as old silk route). Now again i am planning to visit Sikkim, it always wonders me with something new.

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