One of the biggest festivals celebrated in Sikkim, Pang Lhabsol is rich in history, tradition and folklore. The festival commemorates the consecration of Mt. Khangchendzonga, considered to be the guardian deity of Sikkim. Based on the handwritten biography of Lhatsun Chenpo, the main propagator of Buddhism in the state, he received divine visions from the mountain God. The pompousness of the festival is accentuated by the costumes and colorful masks along with the choreography. This road trip not only brings you closer to the Sikkimese culture but also exposes you to the grandeur of North Sikkim, especially Lachen, Yathang and Gurudongmar Lake.
124 kms/4-5 hours
Arrive at Bagdogra Airport/NJP Railway Station. We will make travel arrangements for your journey from the airport or railway station to Tag Along Backpackers Hostel in Gangtok. You will spend the night here and rest up before the journey begins the next day.
123 kms/5-6 hours
We begin the journey and drive to Lachen in North Sikkim. En route Lachen, we will visit the ruins of Tumlong, the previous capital of Sikkim and Labrang Monastery, one of the six great monasteries of the Gelug School of Tibetan Buddhism. Reach Lachen by mid-afternoon and stay the night. You have the rest of the day to explore the Lachen landscape on foot. On your way, you will pass numerous viewpoints from where you can derive a better understanding of the magnificent setting of Lachen.
30 kms/2 hours
Drive from Lachen to Yathang Valley and hike for 2-3 hours to Alexandra Neil Cave, where Alexandra David Neal, a French lady and Buddhist-convert, went into the cave for months to meditate and practice “Tumo” breathing, an ancient Tibetan technique of generating body heat to survive in extreme cold conditions. Spend the night in Yathang Valley, under the open sky, with accomodation made available in tents.
36 kms/2 hours
Drive up to the famous Gurudongmar Lake situated at 17,800 ft., a stone’s throw from the Indo-China border. The highlight of the day will be the drive itself up to the lake and upon reaching, you will want to pinch yourself at the sight of the turquoise blue lake against the backdrop of Mt. Khangchen Gyao standing tall at 22,600 ft. The weather conditions at this high altitude is rough and unpredictable. Even though you will hate to leave, we will have to make a move for Thangu eventually, situated at 13,500 ft. We then drive back to Yathang and spend another night under the stars, in tented accommodation.
Drive to Gochung post breakfast, the starting point for a 3-4 hours hike to the unexplored Lashar Valley. For the journey back to Thangu, we take a new trail, a 2-3 hours hike, back to our base.
The day for the popular Pang Lhabsol festival - the highlight of the trip. Celebrated with much pomp and magnificence at Thangu Monastery, you will clearly see the reasons behind the footfalls of the numerous locals and traveller, traveling specifically to be part of and experience Pang Lhabsol. You will experience how how locals pray to Mt. Khangchendzonga and seek blessings. The grandeur of the festival will be evident. At the end of the festival, there is a great feast and dance in which you can participate as well. After the festival, we spent the night under the stars again, around the same locality in tented accommodation.
138 kms/6-7 hours
Drive to back to Gangtok to Tag Along Backpackers Hostel and spend the night. The Travel Cafe at the hostel is available for you to spend some leisurely hours, connect with fellow travellers, read a book and sip hot coffee. You can also choose to explore Gangtok on foot or on bicycles, which you can rent for the day at a discounted rate. The recommended places to see would be The Bookman’s Cafe, Paljor Stadium, M.G. Marg, Ridge Park, Tashi View Point, Himalayan Zoological Park and the many historical monasteries including Enchey, Drul Chorten, Rumtek and Ranka. Take your pick!
107 kms/4-5 hours
Prepare for departure and drive to Bagdogra Airport or NJP Railway Station. Travel arrangements to the airport or station will be taken care of.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which is the nearest Airport or Railway Station to Sikkim? The nearest airport is Bagdogra Airport (IXB) located near Siliguri, West Bengal. The nearest railway station is New Jalpaiguri Railway station (NJP).
Do I need to bring a tent, sleeping bag, etc.? Accommodation is provided by Tag Along. It won’t be necessary for you to bring your own tent or sleeping bag. However, if you choose to use your own, please feel free to bring them along.
What kind of food is provided during the trip? Both vegetarian and non-vegetarian meals with local delicacies will be provided.
What is the cost of trip? What will it include? INR 27,500. It would include accommodation at Tag Along Backpackers Hostel, homestays and tents, meals, permits and Transport to-and-fro Bagdogra Airport/NJP Railway Station.
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