KABI LUNGTSOK - This historical place is 17 kms, from Gangtok on the North Sikkim highway. This is where the historic treaty of blood brotherhood between the Lepcha Chief Te-Kung-Tek and the Bhutia Chief Khey-Bum-Sar was signed ritually. The spot where the ceremony took place is marked by a memorial stone pillar amidst the cover of dense forest.
SINGIEK - The place offers one of the most spectacular views of Mt. Khangchendzonga and its ranges. A well known Tourism wayside accommodation for visitors is also available. The area also has a number of interesting short nature trails for 1 to 3 days along the higher ridges of the surrounding hills.
CHUNGTHANG - Chungthang, on the confluence of Lachen and Lachung Chu and the starting point of river teesta , has emerged as a major sub-division settlement in North Sikkim. It is the nodal junction for the two passes, Lachen and Lachung. The valley is believed to have been blessed by guru Rimpoche and one can visit the Holy Guru Ihedu to see the foot and palm left behind by the patron saint. The place, rich in Bio-Diversity with a large variety of orchids , plants & wild life, is 95 kms. from Gangtok, 23 kms. from Lachung , 29 kms. from Lachen, and is predominantly a Lepcha region.
YUMTHANG - Yumthang, at an elevation of 11,800 ft. & 140 kms. from Gangtok, is a paradise for nature lovers with a fascinating blend of flora & fauna and breathtaking scenic grandeur. Yumthang "Tsa-Chu" or the hot spring on the left bank of Lachung Chu is immensely popular for its curative and healing power. Covered with rhododendron shrubs and trees, the entire valley erupts into a riot of colors in May. Yak and Yeti Travels organize 'Alpine Package Tour' for 2 nights and 3 days and also for 7 nights 8 days and the night stay for the tour is at Lachung, a quaint village which has its own unique beauty and lifestyle. On the way to Lachung is Singhik where one can see the magnificent Kanchendzonga range in its splendor.
NAMTSE- Namtse, meaning sky high, nestled among the hills at an elevation of 5500 ft., commands panoramic view of the snow capped mountains and vast stretches of valley. It is also the HQ of the south district. The area is fast developing into a tourist destination with its immense potential for all round tourist activities. It is about 78 kms. from Gangtok and 100 kms. from Siliguri.
TENDONG HILL- Above Damthang, overlooking South District Headquarter town Namtse, there is a small flat stretch of land at an altitude of 8530 ft., surrounded by lush green ancient forest which is popularly known as the Tendong Hill. Historically, this has been a place of recluse for Buddhist Lamas who spend years in meditation amidst the silent scenic grandeur. The view from the top of the Tendong Hill is something to be cherished and enjoyed as it spans across plains of Bengal to the majestic heights of the Himalayan Ranges. One can also proceed to Namtse by trekking via Tendong Hill following the traditional route used in the old days. Such trekking is also possible throughout the year except during monsoons, that is if one is scared of ubiquitous leaches.
RAVANGLA- At the base of Maenam Hill is Ravangla, a small township and transit to various tourist destinations in South Sikkim and West Sikkim . It is also an upcoming tourist spot, and transit point for trekkers to Maenam Hill and Borong. There are accommodation facilities and numerous short nature trails. A trek down to the sacred cave "Shar Chok Bephu", one of the holiest caves in Sikkim.
MAENAM HILL - Maenam towers above Tendong Hill on the other side overlooking the Ravangla Bazar settlement. Situated at an altitude of 10,300 ft., the scenic view from this height is, perhaps, unmatched in this part of the world. The trek from Maenam from Ravangla takes about 4 hrs. and from Maenam Hill-Top one has the option to take the gentle trek to Borong village .
BORONG - Facing the snow-capped mountains is Borong motorable from Ravangla or a trek via Maenam. A picturesque village with beautiful landscape and magnificent view is also host to the hot spring "Borong Tsa-Chu". The trek trail, originating from Namchi or Damthang to Tendong-Ravangla-Maenam-Borong (5 to 6 days) is one of the most interesting trials scaling the hill tops along the route.
VARSEY - It lies at an elevation of 10,000 ft. and has motorable roads access up to Hilly. An easy 4 kms. Trek from there takes one up to the Varsey rhododendron sanctuary. One can also trek from Soreng or Dentam in West Sikkim.
DIRECTORATE OF HANDICRAFT & HANDLOOM - Instituted with the aim of promoting and keeping alive the state's traditional arts and crafts, the directorate of handicrafts & handloom is a storehouse of hand-woven carpets with traditional motifs, blankets, shawls in Lepcha weaves and exquisitely-carved 'Choktse' or table and many other gift items.
FLOWER FESTIVAL - Flower exhibitions are organized round the year at the flower show venue near the white hall complex, Gangtok. Orchid shows held during the spring tourist season is one of the most popular shows organized in the state.
WHITE HALL - The White Hall only has historical value and is situated on the Ridge. It is a two storeyed structure and has typical British architecture and was built in 1932. It is so called not because it is painted white but because it was built in memory of the first Political Officer of Sikkim, Claude White. There is an Officers' Club and a badminton court in the White Hall.
RIDGE GARDEN - The Ridge is a small stretch of plain and flat road above the town of Gangtok. It is just about fifteen minutes walk from the main market. The Ridge has the White Hall and the Chief Minister's official residence, known as the Mintogang, meaning "blossomed crowned hilltop" on one end and the beautifully designed Palace Gate with a Pagoda rooftop on the other end. A statue of Nehru, the late Prime Minister of India, adorns the roundabout above White Hall. Situated on the Ridge is also a resting shed using Tibetan architecture. The Ridge is lined with plants and trees which when bloom are a riot of colors. Flower shows which attract tourists from all over the world are held just below the Ridge.
DO-DRUL CHORTEN (STUPA) - The Do-Drul Chorten or Stupa was built by the venerable Truslshi Rimpoche, head of the Nyingma order of Tibetan Buddhism, in 1945. Inside this Stupa, there are complete Mandala sets of Dorjee Phurba around this Chorten, which is one of the most important Stupas in Sikkim, are 108 Mani-lhakor(prayer wheels). These prayer wheels are turned by the devout Buddhist while chanting "hail to the jewel in the lotus ", to invoke Buddhisattva.
RABDENTSE RUINS - This was the second capital of the erstwhile kingdom of Sikkim after Yuksum and till the year 1814 a.d., the king of Sikkim had ruled the state from this place. Today, the ruins lie hidden from the main road at a walking distance from the tourist lodge and the Pemayangtse monastery. It can be approached by following a footpath which branches off the main road. The scenic view from the top of the ruin scanning across deep valley to the mystic heights of Khanchendzonga ranges is something to be cherished and etched in memory.
PELLING- Pelling is fast growing to be an urban settlement due to tourist influx. Situated at an altitude of 6,800 ft, it offers a good view of entire mountain ranges and due to this locational advantages, many hotels and lodges have mushroomed in and around Pelling offering various categories of accommodation facilities. There is a bus service which links Pelling to west district headquarter town of Gyalshing , situated at a distance of 10 kms. from Pelling.
YUKSOM - This was the first capital of Sikkim, where according to the historical records, the first Chogyal of the kingdom of Sikkim was consecrated in 1641 a.d. by three learned Lamas. Since the history of the state began from this place, these areas are now considered sacred by the people of Sikkim. Yuksum is served by all weather road from Pemayangtse which is at a distance of 32 kms. from Yuksun. Several categories of accommodations are available in Yuksum for those desiring to spend a few days there.
MONASTERY- Sikkim's near about 200 monasteries or Gompas belonging to the Nyingma and Kagyu order have not only been influencing the cultural heritage and lifestyle of the people, but also demonstrates the ancient rituals in practice.
Devoted Lamas robed in red, chant ancient mantras to the rhythm of drums and trumpets while soft lights flicker from decorative lamps placed before statues of the great Guru Padmasambhava. Feel the peace and quiet of being one with nature and close to the almighty as sacred words mingle with the whirring prayer wheels.
The Gompas are adorned with life-like frescoes of hoary Buddhist legends, rare silk and brocade Thangkas. Also preserved here, are ancient Tibetan manuscripts, exquisitely carved wood work and icons of silver and gold.
PEMAYANGTSE MONASTERY - Pemayangtse Monastery is situated in West Sikkim at Gyalshing (140 kms. from Gangtok) and commands an impressive view of Mount khanchendzonga. This monastery belongs to the Nyingma order and all other Nyingma monasteries in Sikkim are subordinate to it.
RUMTEK MONASTERY - 24 Kms. from Gangtok, a drive through beautiful countryside takes one to Rumtek Dharma Chakra centre built in 1960'S by his holiness the late 16th GYALWA KARMAPA when he took refuge in Sikkim after the Chinese attack. It houses some of the worlds most unique art objects, ancient manuscripts and icons.
ENCHEY MONASTERY - This monastery is situated in Gangtok on a hill top. It was built during the reign of Thutob Namgyal .
PHENSANG MONASTERY - This monastery was built in 1721 during the time of Jigme Pawo. In 1947 it was completely gutted by a devastating fire. However it was rebuilt in 1948. It is present in North Sikkim.
PHODANG MONASTERY - This monastery is in North Sikkim 28 kms. from Gangtok. The original monastery is rebuilt and is today one of the most beautiful monasteries in Sikkim.
TASHIDING MONASTERY - This is another important monastery belonging to the Nyingmapa order and is about 40 Kms. from Gyalshing by road via Legship (West Sikkim). It lies nestled on the top of a hill that looms up between the Rathong river and the Rangit river and is surrounded by a profusion of Prayer flags that flutter in the air.
SANGA CHELLING MONASTERY - Sanga chelling means ' the island of esoteric teaching'. This monastery was built in 1697 and is situated about 7 kms. from Pemayangste. It is said to be the oldest monastery in Sikkim.
DUBDI MONASTERY - Dubdi means 'the retreat' and this monastery was built in 1700. It is located near Yuksum on a hill top. One has to travel by foot to reach it.
KHECHOPARI MONASTEREY - This monastery is located just above the famous near Yukusm.
MELLI MONASTERY - Melli basically means 'a lepcha village'. This monastery is also located near Yuksum.
SINON MONASTERY - Sinon means 'the suppressor of intense fear'. The monastery was built in 1716 and is located about 10 kms. from Tashiding on a hill top.
DALLING MONASTERY - Dalling means 'the thunderbolt'. This monastery was built in 1840 and is situated near kwezing in .
YANGYANG MONASTERY - Yangyang means 'the ridge of fortune'. This monastery was built in 1840 and is situated at a place called Yangyang 10 kms. Downhill from Rabongla.
NAMCHI MONASTERY - This monastery is located in Namchi, the district headquarters of south district and was constructed during the reign of Chogyal Gurmed Namgyal.
KWEZING MONASTERY - This monastery is located near Kwezing in South Sikkim. It was built during the reign of Chogyal Thutob Namgyal.
SIMIK MONASTERY - This monastery is situated in near Singtam town. It was built during the reign of Chogyal Tsudphud Namgyal.
HEE GYATHANG MONASTERY - This monastery is located in and follows the Nyingma sect of Buddhism.
LINGTEM MONASTERY - This monastery is located in the Zongu area of North Sikkim.
CHAWANG ANI MONASTERY - This monastery is located near Phensang which is on the highway between Gangtok amd Mangan. It was built during the reign of Chogyal Tshudphud Namgyal .
RHENOCK MONASTERY - This monastery is located in bout 63 kms. from Gangtok.
KHATOK MONASTERY - This monastery is located in East Sikkim near Pakyong. The present structure of the monastery was built during the reign of Chogyal Thutob Namgyal.
BERMOIK MONASTERY - This monastery was constructed in 1952 and follows the Nyingma sect of Buddhism. It is situated in South Sikkim above Singtam.
LACHEN MONASTERY - This monastery in North Sikkim was built in 1806 and follows the Nyingma sec of Buddhism. \
LACHUNG MONASTERY - This monastery in North Sikkim was built in Sikkim 1880 and also follows the Nyingma sect of Buddhism.
SANG MONASTERY - This monastery is situated near Rumtek and was built in 1912.
RALONG MONASTERY - This monastery is situated near Rabongla in South Sikkim.
Because of the altitude that vary right from sea level to summits that touch the skies ,the flora and fauna naturally covers a wide spectrum. Nowhere in the world in such a small area can one find flora and fauna of all varieties - Tropical to the Alpines. Sikkim's botanical and zoological richness is awe- inspiring, boasting of more than 4000 species of plants and 30% of all the birds found in the Indian sub-continent . No wonder Sikkim has been a dream of naturalists. Dr. J. Hooker during the middle of the last century surveyed in the detail the botanical wealth in Sikkim and his findings were embodied in the publication 'Himalayan Journal' that is still considered as an authoritative document. Dr. Salim Ali an ornithologist has given a detailed account on birds in his book 'The birds of Sikkim'. Besides these there are many books available on the flora & fauna of sikkim.
The lowlands in the south, 800'to 5000', experience a tropical climate; lush vegetation such as figs, laurel, Sal trees and bamboos have been cleared in some areas for farming. The temperate forest of oak, chestnut, maple, birch, alder, magnolia and silver fir dominates between 5000; and 13000. Above 13000, is the alpine zone where juniper, cypresses and rhododendrons grow. The perpetual snowline lies at 16000'. Luxuriant forests cover 36% of the land; more than 4000 species of plant have been recorded in Sikkim. Over 600 species of orchids grow in Sikkim, Epiphytal and terrestrial types, in the tropical and temperate zones. 35 species of rhododendrons grow in temperate and alpine regions, their flowering from May to August colors hillsides.
Amongst the mammals of Sikkim are the rare Snow Leopard, Himalayan Black Bear, Red panda, Musk Deer and Blue Sheep.
Birdlife is abundant with Giant Lammergeier, Vultures, Eagles, Whistling Thursh, Minivets, Bulbuls and Pheasants among the 550 species to be seen in Sikkim.
Two weeks holiday in Nepal with Mission Eco-Trek
My wife and I took a 2 week tour in Nepal with Mission Eco-Trek in Feb 2011 and had a fantastic time. Mission Eco-Trek provided the very highest caliber guides and Ram Kumar (the proprietor) personally made sure that everything went smoothly. When storms caused our original flights to be cancelled and then cancelled for a second time, he graciously accommodated our changes at no extra cost. The cost was reasonable and the services provided were exceptional -even beyond what we had expected from the contract....
Kevin & Jacque
New York, USA