Sikkim has only recently found its way to the map of some of the best travel destinations in the country and we couldn’t have been more surprised about its delayed arrival to the list. The state is all organic, the distinct and alluring sight of the Northeastern Himalayas, and all that delish momo should be enough to convince any solo traveller to pack their rucksacks and go missing for a few days in the enveloping mist of Sikkim. By Shubhanjana Das
1. Kanchendzonga National Park
Home to the Red Panda, Himalayan Tahr, and the snow leopard among other such magnificent creatures, Kanchendzonga is perhaps one of the most dense and compact biodiversity reserves in the whole country. There are few other places where you can come so close to the wonders of nature and get your mind blown away. It’s perfect for a little contemplation and feeling close and one with nature, something we miss out on in our city lives.
2. Go Paragliding
If Sikkim is on your itinerary during the months of October and November, then you will be greeted by the annual Sikkim Paragliding Festival, which takes place in Gangtok. What’s in store? A sweeping glide over the colourful valleys and the lofty hills from a height of 2,200 metres and the only shot you will have at seeing Sikkim from a bird’s eye view, quite literally. If adventure isn’t one of the goals of solo travel, then what is?
3. Try Northeastern Cuisine
Solo travel means not having to worry about what your friends or family want for food and being able to make all the bold culinary decisions. Order yourself a plate or two of some of the most mouth-watering momos you will ever have in your life along with a few other specialities like the sisnoo, gundruk ka jhol, fermented soybean chutney, and the scrumptious pork curry — things you’ll be hard-pressed to find elsewhere.
4. Gurudongmar Lake
Experience isolation in its most beautiful form at the frozen Gurudongmar Lake perched at an altitude of 17,800 ft. above sea level, making it one of the highest freshwater lakes in the world. Considered holy by both Hindus and Buddhists, part of the lake never freezes, even in sub-zero temperatures, due to mysterious reasons. What can be better than to witness the coming together of the different hues of blue of the clear sky and the lake and to ponder over the absolute master of a painter than nature is?
5. Explore The High Altitude City Life
In Gangtok, you will find cool new cafes that have popped up over the last few years, thanks to the hike in tourism. Visit Lal Bazar, MG Road, and the Tibetan Market for some local food, souvenirs, and catching a glimpse of the local nightlife. Perfect opportunity to meet fellow solo travellers, as well!
6. Stroll Through the Temi Tea Gardens
Put your photography skills to test at the Temi Tea Gardens situated along the west Sikkim highway. The backdrop is that of Mt. Kanchendzonga and the road to the tea gardens is lined with pink cherry blossoms. Hard to imagine such picture-perfect beauty, right? Wait till you see it in person!