The Himalayan Ride: Kolkata - Siliguri - North Sikkim - East Sikkim - Bhutan

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by hrishi_from_pune, Dec 17, 2009.

  1. hrishi_from_pune

    hrishi_from_pune Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2009
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    The photos are in order of our journey starting from Kolkata - Siliguri - North Sikkim - East Sikkim - Bhutan. Started riding from Siliguri after picking up bikes from Gati transport.

    Over 2000 km and over 17000 ft...every km was so exciting!

    Route Map:


    View North Sikkim - Bhutan in a larger map

    Some panoramas from the trip...

    Gurdongmar Lake, North Sikkim
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    108 Chortens, Dochu La, Bhutan
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    City Sqaure, Thimpu, Bhutan[​IMG]
    North Sikkim
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    Tiger's Nest, Bhutan
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    Tsongmo Lake, en route Nathu la
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    North Sikkim
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    The Album

    On our way to Kolkata
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    Birla Planetarium, Kolkata
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    Victoria Memorial, Kolkata
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    Park Street,Kolkata
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    Peter Cat Restaurant, Kolkata
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    Utter Bana Express: Kolkata-New Jalpaiguri over night train
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    Coronation Bridge, Sevoke, Siliguri-Gangok Road, We picked up our bikes from Siliguri and started riding..
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    Gangtok View from our Hotel
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    Prayer Wheels at Lingdong Monastery near Gangtok
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    Lingdong Monastery, Gangtok Area
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    Little Monk!
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    Ban Jhakri Falls, Gangtok Area
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    Night View: Gangtok
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    Momos everywhere!
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    Tibetan Cuisine!
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    met her at Seven Sister's Falls on our way to North Sikkim..she was very happy to pose!
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    Thats a very happy n excited guy..
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    View from a High Bridge on the way to Mangan, North Sikkim
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    Parag at the last petrol pump in North Sikkim..
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    The better roads...
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    Expect all this.. true excitement!
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    and the excitement never stops!
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    a water fall in Sikkim
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    The road conditions..you never know when'll you see a cross mark at all the places...
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    Teesta flowing fast!
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    The kind of bridges you get there
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    Road or not..its still exciting!
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    Info chart at Chungtang in North Sikkim
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    Its all restricted area but we had our permits after a 2 day struggle at Govt. offices at Gangtok!
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    on way to Lachung..
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    Nice water fall on the way to Lachung from Chungtang
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    Nice restaurant at Alpine Resort, lachung.. we stayed here..
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    Yumthang valley
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    Well you do get excited after a few rounds of old monk & this stunning scenery!
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    These girls run all the shacks at Yumthang..not a single man there!
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    Yumthang Valley aali re!!
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    Way to Zero point from Yumthang valley
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    Way to Zero point.. thick fog..rain..muddy n slippery road..chilly weather..perfect!!
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    Our first glimpse of ice!
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    Prayer flags on the way to zero point
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    It was flowering season at Yumthang valley
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    You won't miss Pune roads here!
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    Thats the kind of sight we've been waiting for! too good!
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    Yak on the run!
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    End of the road at Zero Point!
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    Finally at Zero Point!
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    Flowers near our hotel at Lachung
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    View from our Hotel at Lachung
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    Way to katao from Lachung!
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    Thats the farthest we were allowed by Army men ahead of Zeku Phyak and before Katao
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    Posing with Army men at Zeku Phyak..they said we were the first one on motorcyles there!
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    We all wanted to go to Katao desperately but alas!
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    Winding roads reaching to Katao!
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    Way back to Lachung from Katao
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    Lachung Valley
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    Rhododendron is their Sikkim's state flower and is found in this alpine country.
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    A cup of coffee from army men on the way...feel special!
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    Hot Springs at Yumthang valley
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    Just landed!
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    Morning 4'o Clock View from Hotel at Lachung
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    Another view...
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    Thanggu Village: We stayed here for a day to acclimatize for our next day's ride to Gurudongmar lake..pretty village
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    Thats our lodge at Thanggu
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    Dosa at 15000 ft!! An Army men makes dosa and kerala parotha!
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    way to Chopta valley
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    Chopta valley
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    Chopta valley
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    Our dinner table at Thanggu!
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    He woke up when Parag shouted...
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    Nice Picture!
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    Curious!
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    Cheerfull!
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    Last check point before Gurudongmar Lake
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    The last thing you need here!
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    Ice capped mountains n glacier lakes!
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    gr8 roads!
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    Do what you feel like!
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    Himalayan Desert!
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    The roads up there...
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    Clear!
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    You dont get to ride at such places often!
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    I loved it!
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    The High Point: Gurudongmar Lake!
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    My bike made it without any problems.. she is such a darling!
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    Another shot of lake
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    Prayer flags at the lake
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    Nicee!
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    Clear Skies!
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    The fantastic lake!
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    See it for yourself
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    I just loved this photo!
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    Woww!
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    Tsomgo lake on the way to Nathu la..it freezes in winter..
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    Chinese gate at Nathu La.. we could see chinese army men on the other side..very exciting place..
    we could get here thanks to Major Chauhan who gave permission to come till this point as it was beyond closing time..
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    Chinese workers on the other side!
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    A cup of coffee from these men right on the border.. now thats a treat!
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    Lhasa is closer than my home!
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    Posing with the Guards on the border
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    Baba Mandir near nathu la
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    ATM at 15000 ft!
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    Local lady at a shop
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    Bhutan Gate: our entry into the himalayan kingdom
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    Bhutan's National Dress!
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    Coronation Special..guess that one!
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    Local currency (ngultrum)
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    with Kapil Thapa, runner up, Indian Idol 2.. I never watched the show but still..
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    No..not carrom..its called Marriage!
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    Way to Thimpu
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    land slides were common
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    Project Dantak(BRO) maintains all the roads in Bhutan
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    Thimpu City!
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    Never expected such roads.. four lane roads..too good!
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    Thimpu: Night View
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    Thimpu: Night View
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    Thimpu: Local Pub
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    Thats Sangay, lead singer at the pub.. he dedicated few songs for us too!
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    Thimpu is perhaps the only capital city in the world with no Traffic Lights!
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    Norzin Lam, Main Street at Thimpu
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    Cinema Theater.. baghaila hava hota picture!
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    Taj Tashi, Star hotel in Thimpu
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    Thimpu Streets
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    Takin Reserve, National Animal
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    Strange Animal.. combination of Goat and Cow!
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    Thimpu from BBS tower
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    Ema Datshi..National Dish..chillies in Cheese
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    108 chortens, Dochu la
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    108 chortens, Dochu la
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    Bhutan Country Side
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    Punakha: Ancient city
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    Punakha Dzong(Monastery)
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    Punakha Dzong(Monastery)
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    Punakha Dzong(Monastery)
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    Punakha Dzong(Monastery)
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    Punakha Dzong(Monastery)
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    Punakha Dzong(Monastery)
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    Punakha Dzong(Monastery)
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    Druk!
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    You get yak cheese as well
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    National Stadium, Thimpu
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    Sikam Paa..was highly recommended by Sangay the singer.. But then he was joking i guess..its a horrible taste!
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    nice menu to have in Bhutan!
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    Archery is Bhutan's National obessesion!
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    They play it the whole day on weekends!
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    Serious aiming!
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    Tiger's Nest Monastery Trek!
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    Tiger's Nest Monastery Trek: First View
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    Tiger's Nest Monastery Trek: Cafe
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    Looks stunning
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    way to Tiger's Nest Monastery
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    Woww!
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    Stunning place!
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    The mantra
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    Paro valley
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    See you again!
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    #1
    Dewsworld likes this.
  2. GB

    GB . Administrator Super Moderator Super Supporter

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    Great pics, I'm going to put this thread with your Himalayan ride thread to keep it all together.
    #2
  3. RED CAT

    RED CAT Bumpy Backroader

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    Thanks!
    #3
  4. Dessert Storm

    Dessert Storm Dances With Drunks

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    Sensational! :clap
    #4
  5. hrishi_from_pune

    hrishi_from_pune Adventurer

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    These are two different trips so can i edit the the topic title by some way?
    #5
  6. Johnny Drunkard

    Johnny Drunkard Todo utz Super Moderator

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    I split the thread back into 2 different threads for you. Let me know if you want the title changed.

    :thumb

    Namaste.
    #6
  7. hrishi_from_pune

    hrishi_from_pune Adventurer

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    Namaste Johnny Drunkard!
    Thanx for splitting the thread. The title is fine.

    Cheers!
    #7
  8. Roro

    Roro Adventurer

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    Location:
    Sotteville-lès-Rouen, FRANCE
    What do you think about riding a bike in Sikkim during january??? is there lot's of snow?? roads are open??
    #8
  9. fierstf

    fierstf girl power

    Joined:
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    going where ever work takes me
    I am doing a similar trip, although I am starting in Bhutan. Here is my itinerary. I have to be guided while in Bhutan but at the end of my "official" tour I am using the same bike and riding around Sikkim on my own. Can you make any recommendations of where I should go after my scheduled trip ends? How much English do people speak in Sikkim? My Nepali is quiet poor and I don't speak Hindi.
    Oct 2. Arrive Paro from Kathmandu.
    Oct.3. Paro-Haa-Thimphu.
    Oct.4. Thimphu.
    Oct.5. Thimphu-Punakha.
    Oct. 6. Punakha-Gangtey-Trongsa.
    Oct.7. Trongsa to Bumthang.
    Oct.8. Bumthang.
    Oct.9. Bumthang to Mongar.
    Oct.10. Mongar to Lhuentse excursion.
    Oct.11. Mongar to Trashigang.
    Oct.12. Trashigang to Yangtsi excursion or Ranjung excursion.
    Oct13. Trashigang to Samdrup Jongkhar.
    Oct14. Samdrup Jongkhar to Jaigaon/India.


    So where to next?
    #9
  10. lefteris

    lefteris fat daddy

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    Great adventure!

    Lefteris
    #10
  11. hrishi_from_pune

    hrishi_from_pune Adventurer

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    Thats a good plan to explore much of Bhutan. For Sikkim, I don't think you will have major problem communicating. Many people do speak English there. Also your bit of Nepali will help too. Sikkim is divided into mostly North, West and East
    North Sikkim, i.e beyond Mangan, you will need special permits from home department in Gangtok. Nathu la in east Sikkim will require a permit too. West sikkim mostly consists of Pelling and near by areas. IMO, North Sikkim is the most beautiful part where roads reach very high altitudes. Places like Yumthang, Lachen, Gurudongmar are a must.
    #11
  12. hrishi_from_pune

    hrishi_from_pune Adventurer

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    Sorry Roro as I am very late for your reply. In case you haven't made the trip yet, January might not be snowy IMO but will be chilly. Nov, Dec are better months.
    #12
  13. ethemhakan

    ethemhakan n00b

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    A very nice trip. I liked the bikes I think they are sold under the name 'TVS apache' here in Turkey .
    #13
  14. hrishi_from_pune

    hrishi_from_pune Adventurer

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    These are Indian make Pulsar 150cc bikes manufactures by Bajaj. We have TVS Apache too. They are also similar kind of bikes but a different manufacturer. It is TVS in this case. How popular are these bikes in Turkey?
    #14
  15. vaish

    vaish Adventurer

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    hey nice photographs .. that explains a lot .. thanks for sharing .. and so surprised to see DOSHA AND KERALA POROTA over there :clap
    #15
  16. hrishi_from_pune

    hrishi_from_pune Adventurer

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    We were equally surprised to find Dosa and Kerala Parotha. Just loved it!
    #16
  17. Haroon

    Haroon RIDE for PASSION

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    Great adventure trip and wonderful pics hrishi. Truly, a picture is worth a thousand words so they speak for themselves.

    Thanks for sharing.
    #17
  18. fierstf

    fierstf girl power

    Joined:
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    Did you need permits to enter some areas in Sikkim? If not, will I (being an American) need to get some? If so, what is involved in getting a permit? My time is short so I don't want to spend several days waiting in one place for a permit.

    How rough were the roads? Which ones were in the best condition? I realize they can change seasonally. I will be traveling solo on a large bike and I don't want to get in over my head.
    #18
  19. hrishi_from_pune

    hrishi_from_pune Adventurer

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    Thanks Haroon! BTW, I truly enjoyed your posts too. I think i read ur post on South Indian trip somewhere on xbhp or bcmtouring and thoroughly enjoyed it. Amazing bike you have...wish you more exciting adventures!
    Cheers!
    Hrishi
    #19
  20. hrishi_from_pune

    hrishi_from_pune Adventurer

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    Yes, you need permits to enter North Sikkim and permit to visit Nathu La. For a Indian national, it involves running around Gangtok for day or two, involving different offices, The permit process starts by applying at Home Department Building at the secretariat in Gangtok. This is all for a Indian national. I am not sure about foreigners wanting to enter North Sikkim and Nathu La. The process also involves going to Army office in Gangtok for a quick interview. One permit for whole of north sikkim and second one for Nathu La in east sikkim is what you will need. West sikkim and Mangan is North sikkim is free to explore without any need for permits. About the roads, roads aren't great in north sikkim with long patches of slush , mud and loose gravel on the road. Roads were slightly better on Gangtok-Mangan stretch and Chungtang-Lachung stretch.
    www.indiamike.com will get you answers for foreign travel in Sikkim.
    #20
    James59 likes this.