Jul 27, 2011

Planning Sikkim through Kipepeo

A trip to the far North-East of India had been on my wishlist for the longest time. And that Sikkim happened, was a dream come true!

We came across Piran Elavia and Kipepeo through Facebook, gave Piran our requirements and budget, and he came up with a plan for seven days in Sikkim. 

I would highly recommend Kipepeo for anyone looking to visit the North East with a keen interest in "alternative travel" and  "refreshing experiences". Do have a look at their FB page here. They are an environmentally responsible organization promoting a balance between tourism, conservation and livelihood of the local populace. 

The trip was well planned, suited our requirements and gave us more than what we imagined the experience would be.

Here's what we asked Piran for...
1) A budget trip for two backpackers with affordable accommodation (homestays)
2) A visit to the villages far removed from the crowds of Gangtok
3) Short, easy treks to experience the local culture and terrain

Here's the iterinary he planned...
Day 1: Bangalore - Bagdogra - Gangtok
Day 2: Gangtok - Mangan - Dzongu 
Day 5: Dzongu - Mangan - Lingee Payong 
Day 6: Lingee Payong - Singtam - Siliguri
Day 7: Siliguri - Bagdogra - Bangalore
(The two villages being Dzongu and Lingee Payong)

And here's what it gave us, more than just a regular holiday...
1) A lovely experience of local food, staying with villagers
2) Easy treks and village walks letting us take in local colors, flavors and hospitality
3) Tasting the local cuisines - Lepcha and Nepali in the two villages
4) Far from touristy locales - we were the only tourists in both the villages during our visit 
5) Long conversations with our hosts giving us an idea of life in the Himalayan mountain villages
6) A deep respect for people who live in these villages, cultivating their own food, and who love the village like nothing else
7) A feeling of insignificance in front of the mighty Himalayas 

And here's what's not for folks who are very particular about impeccable service, comforts and access to technology while travelling...
1) There was no TV, or any provision to watch it anywhere nearby in both the homes we stayed at
2) No attached bathrooms/loos ... you have to walk out of the comforts of your room and use common loos
3) Not much scope for privacy, the idea is to mingle and experience the local flavor... the hosts are more than willing to come to you and chit-chat all day
4) No city-comforts such as toilet paper rolls, soaps/toothpastes/towels in the loos
5) Small, basic, clean rooms
6) Medical aid being far, far away. You might get immediate aid from the nearby clinic, but for anything else, would have to go to Gangtok
7) Travel might take longer than expected, depending on the road condition, landslides, rains, availability of public transport 

We got it all just right, and here's what we took back from the trip...
Wonderful memories, and a long lasting experience etched in our minds for years to come.


  1. Fantastic... the place looks so surreal :)
    No wonder you had a great time out there, would love to see more snaps from these places...

  2. They're on the way! I have a few @ http://sunnyellowindow.blogspot.com/2011/04/on-high-called-sikkim.html, http://sunnyellowindow.blogspot.com/2011/04/sikkim-ii-kettle-love.html, http://sunnyellowindow.blogspot.com/2011/04/painted-windows.html, http://sunnyellowindow.blogspot.com/2011/04/chai-and-rhododendron.html, http://sunnyellowindow.blogspot.com/2011/04/berries-ferns-and-dash-o-color.html

  3. This is gorgeous! Northeast in on my wishlist too. This post is of great help! :)

  4. I am following your advice and getting in touch with these people for a North-East experience. :)


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