Sikkim, India’s only entirely organic state, has lots to offer. You’ll be greeted by hospitable people, cosy guesthouses and hotels, and vibrant rhododendrons. We’ve plotted out a nine-day itinerary that will take you through Gangtok, Pelling, Lachung and Lachen. Plan your trip now.
Fly into Bagdogra and drive to Gangtok. The ride will take about four hours, so make sure you book an early flight. Hidden Forest Retreat is a good place to spend the night when you get there.
Spend the day exploring Gangtok – visit Enchey Gompa, a 200-year-old monastery of the Nyingma order of Vajrayana Buddhism, and then the Flower Exhibition Centre, a tropical greenhouse. Go to MG Road for shopping and food. Spend time understanding the teachings of Buddhism at the Namgyal Institute of Tibetology, where you’ll find a large collection of Buddhist manuscripts and artefacts. You could also wander around the Himalayan Zoological Park and ride the cable car. Overnight at Hidden Forest Retreat.
Drive to Pelling, which is about 100-odd kilometres from Gangtok and check into Chumbi Mountain Retreat & Spa has to offer. Treat yourself to a spa therapy at the Menlha Dottho & Spa.
Explore Pelling. Visit the Rabdentse ruins, Pemayangtse Monastery and Sangacholing Monastery. Overnight at Chumbi Mountain Retreat & Spa.
Devote the day to the five-hour drive to Lachung (179km). Overnight at Yarlam Resort.
Walk through Lachung Village. Visit the Shingba Rhododendron Sanctuary in the Yumthang Valley of Flowers – if you happen to visit between April and May, you’ll be greeted by vibrant blooms and Yume Samdong (or Zero Point). Overnight at Yarlam Resort.
Drive to Lachen (47km from Lachung). Visit Gurudongmar Lake and Thangu. Overnight at The Apple Orchard Resort.
Drive back to Gangtok (107km) and spend the night at Hidden Forest Retreat. It is better to make this pit stop in Gangtok, as driving back to Bagdogra directly can be quite long.
Drive to Bagdogra Airport for your flight back home.