Sikkim Itinerary for 8 days will come in handy for travellers who are visiting the beautiful state of Sikkim for the very first time.
In 8 days, we were able to cover some of the major spots in all four districts of Sikkim. I was mesmerized by how each one had its own unique flavour, aesthetics and natural beauty.
In the current blog, I will share with you my experience and a Sikkim Itinerary for 8 days. This itinerary will help all you travellers plan a wonderful trip to this North Eastern Indian state.
Sikkim Itinerary for 8 Days: What, Where & How?
Well, no precise word can describe the heaven on earth that Sikkim is. The word Sikkim means a new palace but the original inhabitants of this place the Lepchas use to call it NYE-mae-el meaning paradise.
The entire Sikkim is painted in magnificent colours which offer you shades of history, culture and hospitality with a touch of a modern wave that encircles the entire state.
Before I delve into the details, here is a quick overview of my Sikkim Itinerary for 8 days:
Reaching Gangtok from Delhi Taking an evening stroll on MG Road
Covering Eight of the most beautiful spots in and around Gangtok
Travelling from Gangtok to Lachen in North Sikkim
Visiting one of the highest Lakes in India
Travelling from Lachen to Lachung
Visiting the Valley of Flowers
Travelling from Lachung to Gangtok
Travelling from Gangtok to Pelling through Namchi
Exploring Orange Garden and Waterfalls in Pelling
Covering four splendid spots in Pelling
So, on the eve of 3rd December with our bags stuffed with woollens and our hearts overflowing with a mix of excitement, enthusiasm and anxiety. We finally began our overnight train journey from our home town Jodhpur to Delhi.
From Delhi, we took a flight to Bagdogra which is a city in Siliguri in West Bengal and also has an airport nearest to Sikkim.
On Day 1, Reach Sikkim’s Capital Gangtok
Reaching Gangtok was one tiring journey but a plate of hot pakoras served with spicy tomato chutney and a cup of hot adrak chai geared me up again for the mountains.
|From Bagdogra Airport, it takes some 5 odd hours to reach Gangtok. The cheapest option to reach Gangtok is taking a shared taxi that costs 300 INR per person.|
One thing about Sikkim that astonished me was the early setting of the sun. By the time we reached Gangtok, it was already dark. However, since we were too excited to be there in Gangtok, we decided to go to MG Marg.
From our Hotel Golden Crest which was conveniently located in Deorali we took a cab to reach MG Marg. To our surprise, Gangtok was quite sleepy by the time we decided to explore. Almost all the shops were closing down so we decided to sip on some tea and get back to our hotel for dinner.
Include 8 Beautiful Sights in Gangtok for Day 2 of Sikkim Itinerary for 8 Days
I woke up to dew-drenched windows, I could barely see through. After having a cup of piping hot tea, and swallowing the mist of the mountains, we decided to go out exploring the town.
I found Gangtok to be a laid-back hill station, just the kind I love. Nobody was in a hurry to start the day, rather everyone around was relaxed and soaking in the warm rays of the sun.
Gangtok in December is an amazing mix of cold breeze and warm sun. After having Momo Rolls for breakfast, we set to explore Gangtok.
8 Beautiful Places to see in Gangtok in a day
If you are not travelling in Gangtok using a self-driven vehicle, I suggest you take a city tour. It is a convenient and cheaper option since you will easily find shared taxis.
We did an eight-point city tour, but I would suggest that if time permits you should choose a 10-point instead. These are the beautiful places that we covered on Day 2 in Gangtok:
|Tashi View Point|
|Namgyal Institute of Tibetology and Do-Drul Chorten|
|Ban Jhakri Falls|
We started the day with a ride on the Gangtok Ropeway. We could see the entire town from up there.
Next were the viewpoints- Ganesh Tok and Hanuman Tok. Since we were in Sikkim in December, the skies were clear and we could see mountains from the viewpoints. Being a person from the desert, seeing Kanchenjunga standing tall covered in white, was absolutely spectacular.
We ended our city tour by visiting Ban Jhakri Falls. The falls are so soothing to be around that you almost forget to keep a track of time and can spend hours on a stretch just sitting there
Around 4 o’clock in the evening, we came back to our hotel in Gangtok, but the feel of the town was captivating so rather than hitting back to our room we decided to go for an aimless stroll on MG Marg and bought some souvenirs. Did a quick dinner at Baker’s Café (strongly recommended).
|Tip: If you’re planning to visit North Sikkim, make sure you book through a tour operator on time. This gives them enough time to get your Sikkim permits ready. There are a lot of local and registered tour operators’ offices at MG Marg. We booked a Bolero through Galaxy Tours and Travels. (We contacted Tenzin, an extremely helpful guy, who helped us book a proper cab and kept in contact with us throughout our journey)|
On Day 3, Enjoy the Bumpy yet Scenic Journey to Lachen in North Sikkim
We began our journey up north at around 11 a.m. from the Vajra taxi stand. All tours to North Sikkim start from this place. The distance between Gangtok and Lachen in North Sikkim is around 120kms but owing to the terrain, it feels much longer.
The Bumpy ride to Lachen from Gangtok
Because of my fear of heights and motion sickness, I was a little scared. I had read a lot about the condition of the roads. However, once we began the journey, it was not at all like what I had imagined it to be.
The roads were bumpy, and to be honest, at some places, there were no roads at all. For me, however, this was a blessing in disguise. Our driver Kamal was very careful and therefore, I didn’t feel sick on the way.
Also, his friendly behaviour and interesting stories made our journey easy and entertaining.
Interesting Spots to be covered on the way to Lachen
Gangtok to Lachen was a 7-hour journey during which we stopped by to see a few points like
- Seven Sister Waterfalls
- Teesta River Dam
|While driving up to North Sikkim, you cannot carry your regular plastic mineral water bottles. So, you have to dump all before you enter the north. Strict fines are imposed if you act otherwise. This move by the Sikkim government is applaudable.|
By the time we crossed all the military points and reached Lachen, it was dark. The sun had already retired for the day, so we couldn’t explore the little village.
So, I advise all travellers to start early and keep some time in hand to stroll around the small cantonment town of Lachen. The town has a population of about 1500 Bhutia people.
Staying at a cosy homestay in Lachen
We opted for a homestay named Lhakhim homestay. Our host Dathoop was extremely humble and he told us a lot about the place and the culture of Lachen.
The entire family was super comforting, Dathoop’s mother offered us an amazing cup of tea which we drank sitting next to the fireplace. We were served a simple yet the most satisfying dinner ever.
As we had no room heaters, we snuggled in our blankets with our hot water bag, somehow trying to keep ourselves warm, and fell asleep soon enough. The hosts provided us with enough hot water and a water heating kettle in the room.
Dedicated Day 4 on your Sikkim Itinerary for 8 Days to visiting Gurudongmar Lake
Day 4 of our Sikkim Itinerary for 8 days began too early. We got up around 4 am in the morning and started our journey at 5 a.m. to Gurudongmarg Lake.
Visiting Gurudongmarg Lake, India’s 2nd highest lake
The day was too cold, so, we wore 3 layers of warm clothes. At around 7 a.m. we reached Mangan- the capital of North Sikkim. Here we stopped for some hot tea Maggi and bread jam.
|Tip: Please carry protein bars and biscuits along with you, a hot water bottle and camphor to keep away the giddy feeling that the heights might give you. There is a military dispensary 10 km before the lake to help in case of any medical emergency.|
The way up to Gurudongmarg was unbelievably bumpy and deserted. Nothing other than a few military vehicles going up to the lake could be seen over a long stretch. But finally, when you reach the lake the view is breathtakingly beautiful and serene.
The wind blows at a terrifyingly high speed and there is a drastically low level of oxygen up here. Despite that, you would want to be there and absorb the stillness and tranquillity of the sacred lake and its surroundings.
If you are feeling well and are comfortable with your breathing, I would suggest going closer to the lake. Since I am a little asthmatic, I avoided such adventures.
Visiting the Beautiful Waterfalls on the Way to Lachung
From the lake, we went straight to Lachung, a small yet mesmerising village in north Sikkim which is 47 km from Lachen. On our way, we saw Bhim Nala waterfalls (Bhimwa fall)- which according to me is the best waterfall in Sikkim.
We finally reached Lachung before sunset and checked into our stay at Hotel Green Tara. Lachung had everything beautiful, nature had to offer, encapsulated in itself. From our hotel, we saw green mountains encircled by snowcapped mountains and a perennial Lachung river flowing through the village.
Explore Lachung & head back to Gangtok on Day 5 of your Sikkim 8-Day Trip
Morning in Lachung was yet another experience. We woke up to the burbling of the Lachung River flowing close to our hotel. The burble filled both of us with enthusiasm to begin our day at Lachung.
Visiting the incredible Valley of Flowers is an absolute must on Sikkim Itinerary for 8 Days
We packed some dry fruits, biscuits and chocolate bars, to begin our trip to Yumthang Valley at around 6 a.m.
Yumthang Valley popularly known as the Valley of flowers is home to a large variety of rhododendrons. During the blooming season, when the rhododendrons are in full bloom, you wouldn’t see an inch of the land.
However, December is a non-blooming season we couldn’t find many of the flowers. What Yumthang offered us in place of the flowers was freshly fallen snow to play around with.
Taking a dip in the Hot Water Springs is an absolute must on your Sikkim Trip
They say if you didn’t take a dip at the hot water springs of Sikkim, the visit isn’t complete. A few kilometres from Yumthang Valley is Yumthang hot spring. The way to reach the spring is even romantic.
You have to cross this bridge with the Lachung River flowing underneath and the bridge is decorated with a variety of colourful flags, these flags have significant importance in Buddhist mythology. After clicking over a hundred pictures at the bridge and around, we finally took a dip in the hot spring and washed off all our fatigue.
Travelling back to Gangtok from North Sikkim
Locals told us that there was barely any snow at the zero point, so we skipped it and spent some more time at the hot spring pool.
The cold wind struck us as soon as we came out of the hot spring, so we decided to stop by a small tea shop just near the hot spring. It was owned by a very friendly young woman who served us an amazing tea and an insight into the lives of the people living around.
We came back to our hotel for a quick breakfast and started our journey back to Gangtok. It was a 7-hour journey from Lachung to Gangtok. On our way back we bought a lot of organic vegetables and oranges from the local shops on the roadside. These people have their farms down in the village and also sell organic veggies.
On Day 6, Travel from Gangtok to Pelling with a quick stopover at Namchi
We wanted to travel to Nathu La Pass, but since we were travelling in December, the pass was closed due to snowfall.
Our day began with a long journey from Gangtok to Pelling via Namchi. We started our journey at around 9 a.m. and reached Namchi at 12 noon.
Quick Sightseeing in Namchi
We visited the very famous Char Dham temple skipped Rawangla and proceeded to Pelling. Sikkim is a small state but my god the natural diversity that this state is blessed with cannot be expressed in any word. No wonder it was called the paradise on earth.
In a stretch of 170 km, we witnessed such stark change in the landscape. the snow was replaced by flowers, fog by mist and bitter cold by pleasant hilly temperature.
Sunflower became our constant companion in west Sikkim. At around 2 p.m. we reached our hotel and took a quick lunch and an aimless stroll nearby. We decided to call it a day and spend some time just soaking in the beauty of Pelling.
Visiting the Orange Garden and Rimbi Waterfalls on Day 7 of the Sikkim Itinerary for 8 Days
Day 7 and Day 8 of our Sikkim Itinerary for 8 days were dedicated to exploring Pelling, a beautiful town in West Sikkim.
Trying some juicy oranges at Rimbi Orange Garden
When we started our day, it felt like moving in the clouds. We visited the Nimbi Orange Garden on the banks of the Rimbi River. Make sure to buy some fresh oranges and juices from here to keep yourself fresh throughout the day.
Visiting the splendid waterfalls in Pelling
Next, we then headed to Rimbi Waterfalls and later to the Kanchenjunga Waterfalls. The waterfalls in Sikkim are magical. I say this because, in a matter of seconds, they will cast a spell on you and take away all your tiredness, leaving you feeling fresh, young and full of energy.
On Day 8, Cover Pelling’s Most Beautiful Spots
Pelling has a lot of beautiful spots that we were not able to cover in one day. Therefore, we covered them on Day 8 of our Sikkim Itinerary for 8 days.
The places we covered are:
|Sanga Choeling monastery|
Visiting the Breathtaking Khecheopalri Lake
I had read a lot about the beauty of the lake and was very excited to see it for myself. No matter what you read about this place, I bet nothing will ever justify the stillness, serenity and calmness the lake has to offer a visitor.
If you aren’t an observer, to you it will look like just another water body. However, if you can feel the aura of the lake, it will hit your soul and give a weird sense of calmness. This feeling will travel with you for the rest of your day.
Staring at the Gigantic Chenrezig statue from Pelling Skywalk
From a natural wonder to a man-made one, we went to the famous and the only skywalk in India- the Pelling skywalk. The primary attraction here is the gigantic Chenrezig statue.
One gets good views of Kanchenjunga and Pelling town from the skywalk. You do get that tipsy feeling while walking over it(wink!wink!). From the skywalk, a few steps down is the Sanga Choeling Monastery.
Visiting Sanga Choeling Monastery, the oldest Monastery in Sikkim
It is the oldest monastery in Sikkim. The walls are adorned with Buddhist paintings, and statues and the entire compound is surrounded by colourful prayer flags. It was relaxing to be there.
Ending the day at Pemayangtse Monastery, the Most Famous Monastery in West Sikkim
At the Monastery, one can witness ancient scriptures and manuscripts related to different schools of Buddhism. It is a three-storied structure which holds within itself a collection of statues of some of the very famous Buddhist monks like Guru Padmasambhava and Rinpoches
We headed back to our hotel tired but content and mesmerised by our Sikkim 8 Day trip.
Complete Cost Breakdown of My 8-Day Sikkim Trip
Although I am a commerce graduate, sometimes it becomes very difficult for me to cut down my travel expenses and plan a budget trip. So that’s where my meticulous planner husband took up the centre stage.
Here’s the cost breakdown of the 8 Days trip to Sikkim. The cost given here is for 2 people.
Cost Breakdown of Day 1, Reaching Gangtok
Bagdogra airport to Gangtok – 2600 INR non-sharing, 300 INR for a shared cab.
Stay at Hotel Golden Crest near Deorali stand – 1800 INR per night
Hotel to MG Marg – 100 INR (non-sharing) and 25 INR per person (sharing)
Cost Breakdown for Gangtok Sightseeing on Day 2
There are three options for local sightseeing
- 8-point sightseeing charging 2000 INR (bargainable) non-sharing, 450 INR per person sharing
- Full day city tour which covers 10 places 3000 INR (bargainable) non-sharing, 700 INR per person sharing
- Tsongo Lake and Nathula pass 2000 INR
Cost Breakdown of Travelling to North Sikkim on Day 3
Conveyance charges – 11000 INR ( Bolero)
Stay at Lhakhim homestay.- 2000 INR including all 3 meals
Miscellaneous -1000 INR
Here is a little insight into our north Sikkim tour, I suffer from acute motion sickness so even though we were extremely lured by the sharing prices we couldn’t travel that way. So, we had to go in a personal vehicle to the north.
Cost Breakdown for Day 4 of Exploring North Sikkim
Lachen to Gurudongmarg lake – 100 INR tea, Maggi and bread jam
Stay in Hotel Green Tara in Lachung – 2000 INR including breakfast
Cost Breakdown of Lachung Tour on Day 5
The conveyance was included in the car we had hired from Gangtok
Miscellaneous -500 INR
Cost Breakdown of travelling from Gangtok to Pelling on Day 6
Gangtok to Pelling- 300 INR per person in a shared cab with 10 people sharing, 13000 INR non-sharing Inova car (including Namchi, Pelling sightseeing and Darjeeling drop)
Stay at Magpie Pachhu Village Resort in Pelling – 2025 INR per night
Cost Breakdown of Pelling Sightseeing on Day 7 & Day 8
250-300 INR per person in a shared cab with 8-10 people per day
What to Pack for 8-10 Day Sikkim Trip?
For 8-10 days Sikkim trip during the cold months, you will need to carry the following things
- 3 very warm jackets/sweaters/overcoats
- 1 pair of thermal innerwear
- 2 pairs of jeans
- 2 warm joggers
- 2-3 sweatshirts
- 4-5 pairs of socks (If you do not feel like packing these many pairs, you can always buy them in Gangtok at Laal Bazar, a pocket-friendly and amazing market to be at)
- 1 pair of hand gloves (preferably leather ones)
- 2 pairs of shoes (one pair is enough, but if you encounter rain then you might require the other one as it will not be possible for you to dry your wet shoe unless you spend a considerable amount of time with a hairdryer and your shoe)
- 6 sets of innerwear (it was so cold on some of the days in Sikkim that washing our face was also a task, so you won’t feel like bathing or even changing)
- Hot water bag (it’s a must if you travel to North Sikkim)
- Medical kit – I carried the following medicines: paracetamol, Stemetil (when you feel giddy), Avomine (for AMS), Pain reliever spray, Iodine tablets (for water purification) Vomit bags, Oxygen cylinder (you can easily rent them from any medical store at mg marg), Antidiarrhoeal pills, Mosquito repellents, bandages.
In the end, I would like to say that what we experienced in Sikkim cannot be summarised in a few words. It was a journey that helped us grow as responsible citizens and taught us how to love our native place.
Sikkimese are proud to be the inhabitants of one of the most beautiful pieces of landscape ever created by God. Therefore, they give it their 100 per cent to keep it clean, green and beautiful. Therefore, I urge all you travellers to be respectful of nature and responsible travellers, no matter where you are headed.