If you’re looking for a magical getaway into the distant hills, try Sikkim. Home to vast lakes with mist rising off the surface, therapeutic hot springs, rumbling glaciers, bridges formed from the twisting roots of ancient trees, and white peaks in the distance, any Sikkim getaway is a wonderful Middle Earth-esque destination. One of the most popular places to visit in Sikkim is Kanchenjunga, which, until the discovery of the Mt. Everest, was considered to be the highest mountain in the world. It is now at Number 3, after Mt. Everest and K2.
Trekking in Sikkim
Darjeeling is considered to be the doorway to Sikkim, and from here, you can set off on fabulous adventures, including some of the best treks in India. Trekking in Sikkim is a totally different experience from trekking in the northern Himalayas, partly because it is one of the cleanest and least populated states. The landscape here is unique, and while you’re unlikely to meet too many people if you’re trekking in Sikkim, the people and culture are a world apart too. The climate here ranges from subtropical to high alpine, and of course, we think the best way to explore all this is on a trek!
Trekking in Sikkim – The Dzongri Goechala trek
One of the top things to do in Sikkim is the Dzongri Goechala trek, and although it is a moderately difficult trek, it involves many long days of trekking, and a couple of days of pretty steep climbing. Nestled amidst vibrant flora and fauna, the Goechala Pass trail is also the way to the astounding Kanchenjunga National Park. The Kanchenjunga is considered sacred by the people of the North East. Covered in mist most of the time, the peak plays hide and seek with anyone wishing to see it.
It is a thrilling journey for adventure lovers and nature enthusiasts alike. The popular Dzongri Goechala trek route starts from Yuksom, and winds upwards to Dzongri, and then to the dizzying Goecha La, at an altitude of 16,000 feet. On this Sikkim getaway, trekkers camp in the gorgeous meadows of Dzongri, soak in the serenity at Lake Samiti, cross beautiful dense rhododendron forests, and finally, stand in awe as they stare up at the Kanchenjunga mountain range. It’s a complete experience and definitely one of the best places to see in Sikkim.
The best season to hit the trekking trails of Dzongri-Goechala is in the summer from April to June and even in September to October, when temperatures range from 15 degrees C to 22 degrees C during the day, and drop to 7 degrees C to sub-zero, during the night.
Trekking in Sikkim – Sandakphu trek
Sandakphu is one of the top things to do in Sikkim and also one of the most sought after trails. The star attraction of this trek is that it shows you majestic views of the 4 tallest mountains in the world: Mt. Everest, Makalu, Kanchenjunga, and Lhotse. It’s a thrilling experience, and you’ll also get views of the Three Sisters range.
The Sandakphu trek is a moderately challenging one, and involves some long days of trekking. However, fit first-timers can attempt this if they have good stamina and endurance. This Sikkim getaway is best in summer, from April to May. During this time, the weather in Sandakphu is cool and the skies are clear, especially if you choose to go in April. The trail is in full bloom during this time, so you’ll see rhododendron flowers carpeting the trails, as well as orchids and primula flowers dotting the landscape.
Trekking in Sikkim – The Barsey Rhododendron trek
This is easily one of the best places to see in Sikkim as the Sandakphu trek is a riot of colours. It is set among blooming rhododendrons and the grand panoramas of the Kanchenjunga range. This trek is an easy one, perfect for a relaxed Sikkim getaway and for trekking newbies, but it involves some long hours of trekking. The route to Sandakphu takes you through conifer forests and soft green meadows, along flowing rivers, with magnificent views of the many snow-capped mountains around.
When to go trekking in Sikkim
Trekking in Sikkim is utterly gorgeous, and you should pick your season depending on what you want to see. If you go in the summer (Apr-June), the slopes of the Sikkim Himalayas are peppered with the bright hues and warm fragrance of thousands of blooming rhododendrons. The weather is milder, and the nights are not as cold. However, the reduced visibility and low clouds of this season get in the way of the views, and you might not get to see the main peaks.
If you travel during October-Nov, you’ll see less greenery and flowers, but thanks to better visibility, you’ll see views that stretch into the horizon, and glorious sunsets and sunrises. However, it’s very cold during this time, and there might be occasional snowfall, so do carry the right clothing and gear. There are fewer people on the trails, so you’ll have the land to yourself, if some solitude is what you’re looking for.