Backpacking Sikkim: Where beauty redefines itself
When I entered Sikkim by road, I felt I was entering a different world, in a good, awesome way.. Endless arid deserts stretched before my eyes, through a vast, wide valley, with high walls and cliffs on either side. I had never seen anything like these landscapes before. Yet another alibi to the diversity that India offers, Sikkim is a land where beauty redefines itself. Backpacking Sikkim, another indescribable Himalayan kingdom, rich in natural beauty and colour – definitely recommended!
A turquoise-blue river flowing through white sanded and white rocked valley, manicured roads, is just the beginning. With colourful monasteries rising out from scenic, virgin landscapes, and snow-capped mountains, every waking moment in Sikkim is a visual treat. For the adrenalin junkies, Sikkim houses Mt. Khangchendzonga the 3rd tallest mountain in the world, a variety of colour changing high-altitude lakes, and numerous treks and hikes.
Visa & Permits
While it is extremely rewarding to be able to experience backpacking through Sikkim, a few formalities must be completed before you can enter Sikkim. For non-Indians, in addition to an Indian visa, a 15 day inner line permit (ILP) is required to visit Sikkim. The permit is free of cost, and can be obtained on arrival at the Sikkim border office. Or, if you don’t want to make a stop to take the permit (takes half an hour) get one in advance from any Indian missions, Tourism Office, New Delhi, Sikkim Tourism office, Calcutta and Sikkim Tourism Office, Siliguri on the strength of an Indian Visa.
Carry your Passport & two passport sized photographs. ILP can be extended for further 30 days at FRO at Gangtok, Superintendent of Police of North, South and West Districts.
If you wish to visit the interior regions, you also require a Restricted Area Permit (RAP) OR Protected Area Permit (PAP) which is obtainable in Gangtok from the Police Check Post and Department of Tourism.