Travelogue [A Girl’s solo trip]- A solo trip story of Priya. She decided to take the trip of her life all the way to Sikkim &Darjeeling. Read her adventurous story and her experience with your cuppa of tea/coffee
Girl’s solo trip story from Delhi to 17,000 ft
Solo trip was always on my mind, but it never got executed due to various reasons. But, this time, I decided to go Sikkim alone only to enjoy the tranquillity and serenity of the place. Without thinking much I booked a return ticket to Delhi from Bagdogra Airport, I did not book the flight ticket to go from Delhi to Bagdogra as the flight tickets were so costly.Also, for my solo backpacking trip, I wanted to print few great photos from my Sikkim trip and so searched the web to get my photo printing done at the best price and service. The hard copy of the photos are essential part to keep as a sweet memory from the trip.
I decided to go by train from Delhi to Jalpaiguri(NJP) and asked one travel agent to book one ticket in Tatkal of 7th May. I started making the itinerary for Darjeeling and Sikkim(though I did not really followed that). On 6th May, when I packed my bag and was set to go, my agent told me that because of the rush he was not able to book the ticket, I asked him to book a ticket for any train possible for 8th May. Thank God, I got the ticket in Rajdhani else all my plans would have been foiled.
First Day of my solo trip, 8th May-2016
I boarded the Rajdhani around 9:30 in the morning from the NDLS Railway Station in Delhi. The train was on time, and I reached NJP in the morning around 11. From there I took a shared Jeep for Darjeeling. The journey was full of scenic views. I found one special thing about every house in Darjeeling, they all had a small garden of really beautiful flowers in their balconies.
Second Day, 9th May- On way to Darjeeling:Tea garden all over
It took around 4.5 hours to reach Darjeeling, so I reached around 4 in the evening. I checked into the Hotel Tower View. I freshened up and just walked through the market near ChowRasta. I also found a fellow traveler, Alex, who came from Barcelona(Spain) and was also traveling alone. We saw the market, ate Momos and then were just walking to see more of the city. We saw a big screen in the market of Chowrasta and mesmerizing views of Darjeeling. After that, we went to a Restaurant cum cafe and ordered pau bhaji, aloo paratha, and the special Darjeeling tea. We enjoyed the tasty snacks with tea and walked back to our respective hotels. There is one specialty of some of the restaurants and hotels at Darjeeling that you can see the view of the whole city or beautiful mountains from the window. Luckily, I had that window in my room. In my hotel, there were many other fellow travelers too, so I had a great company for the night and we also decided to explore more of the Darjeeling next day.
Third Day,10th May-Early morning ride to Tiger Hills
I woke up early in the morning around 4 to see the sunrise at Tiger Hills. There was one more fellow traveler with me; we took a shared jeep to the Tiger Hills. It was crowded; I didn’t like it much but yes, it was fine. After that we went to one Monastery and a war memorial museum, both were good. Outside the war memorial, we had the yummy Samosas and Pakodas as our breakfast.
We returned to the hotel after that. I took a small nap and decided to leave the beautiful city as I had to go to Gangtok. So, I packed my bag and left the hotel to see the Happy Valley Tea Estate with Alex. It was drizzling in Darjeeling at that time, and the Tea Estate was looking stunning due to that. We saw ladies plucking the tea leaves into the Basket just like we used to see in the T.V. advertisements. I did n’t want to leave the Tea Estate but had too, so I took leave from the Tea Estate and said goodbye to Alex to explore the next city. I went to the bus stand to get the shared jeep for Gangtok around 2:30 in the afternoon.
I was lucky enough to get a car which I shared with a couple. He charged me 300 for the trip which was decent enough. I reached Gangtok around 6:30 in the evening so, the journey took 4 hours. I was so, so just went to the hotel and slept like a pig.
Fourth Day, 11th May- Exploring beautiful Gangtok
I woke up around 4:30 in the morning, got ready and went out to see the places around. I saw the calm market area where people were taking morning walks. So, in Gangtok, there were two roads, out of which on one the only vehicle is allowed and on the second vehicles were strictly prohibited. I felt like I wasn’t in India as there was a small garden maintained in the middle of the road and benches were also there for the people to sit and relax. I had breakfast in one of the sweets shops; I had puri-chole which was the normal breakfast there.
I met few oldies who were having kachodis after our morning walk. They told me about the places to go around and they also, didn’t allow me to pay for my breakfast, they said: “you have to see our city, enjoy child.” After that, I went to a nearby taxi stand and asked for booking a taxi for a day for sight-seeing in Gangtok. The driver agreed for 1400. We left for Rumtek Monastery, in the route we found some cute school walking to their schools, the driver stopped and gave a lift to 2 girls. He told me that here the drivers of Taxis normally do such things. I was so happy to see such a nice gesture of the taxi drivers. The Rumtek Monastery was radiating some peaceful vibes. I met many monks from the age of 5 to the age of 50; they were all dressed in their traditional attire.
The kids can be admitted from different places of India, Bhutan, Tibet, Nepal, etc. to the Monastery at any age and according to their age, they are either admitted to a school for basic education or college. The subjects taught in college are related to philosophy. I went to the reading room of the small monks, and they all were making noise and hopping here and there just like the normal school kids.I played with them for some time and took leave thereafter. Next, we covered Hanuman tok; it was a temple, and you could see the view of the whole city from the top.
Next, we went to a Flower show, which was blooming with beautiful different kinds of flowers. I sat there for quite a time to hold the beauty in my eyes of that place forever. Next, we went to a Museum where the life of the Buddha was briefly explained through the handmade paintings by great artists. The had a collection of different types of idols, jewelry, pots, etc. of Buddha’s Era. Next stop was a Zoo, which was a mini Jungle maintained for the animal there. I saw the cute Red Panda, Leopard, Bear. After that we stopped at a small but nice waterfall, I found a bunch of schools sitting there and I grabbed the opportunity to talk and play with the kids. The kids were so smart; they were climbing the rocks like a pro. The last stop was Tashi Point; it’s a point from where you could see the Kanchenjunga mountains on a clear sunny day. I could not see, but I was n’t sad as I saw the same in the morning but yes, I enjoyed the scenic beauty there with a good cup of Tea. I returned to the market after that to book a 3 Day-2 Night Package for the North Sikkim. After roaming around for some time, I found a travel agency who had a seat for the next morning, they agreed on a price of 3500 inclusive of everything(hotel, food, etc.). I had Thupka(famous cuisine of Tibet) as dinner after the long tiring Day and slept early.
The kids were so smart; they were climbing the rocks like a pro. The last stop was Tashi Point; it’s a point from where you could see the Kanchenjunga mountains on a clear sunny day. I could not see, but I was n’t sad as I saw the same in the morning but yes, I enjoyed the scenic beauty there with a good cup of Tea. I returned to the market after that to book a 3 Day-2 Night Package for the North Sikkim. After roaming around for some time, I found a travel agency who had a seat for the next morning, they agreed on a price of 3500 inclusive of everything(hotel, food, etc.). I had Thupka(famous cuisine of Tibet) as dinner after the long tiring Day and slept early.
I could not see, but I was n’t sad as I saw the same in the morning but yes, I enjoyed the scenic beauty there with a good cup of Tea. I returned to the market after that to book a 3 Day-2 Night Package for the North Sikkim. After roaming around for some time, I found a travel agency who had a seat for the next morning, they agreed on a price of 3500 inclusive of everything(hotel, food, etc.). I had Thupka(famous cuisine of Tibet) as dinner after the long tiring Day and slept early.
The last stop was Tashi Point; it’s a point from where you could see the Kanchenjunga mountains on a clear sunny day. I could not see, but I wasn’t sad as I saw the same in the morning but yes, I enjoyed the scenic beauty there with a good cup of Tea. I returned to the market after that to book a 3 Day-2 Night Package for the North Sikkim. After roaming around for some time, I found a travel agency who had a seat for the next morning, they agreed on a price of 3500 inclusive of everything(hotel, food, etc.). I had Thupka(famous cuisine of Tibet) as dinner after the long tiring Day and slept early.
Fifth Day,12th May- Journey to the numerous natural waterfalls
There were three families and a group of 3 guys I was sharing my rented Jeep. We started around 11 in the morning. The views in the journey to Lachen was magnetizing. There were so many natural waterfalls in the route. I was just thinking that we used to see man-made waterfalls near Pune and used to feel so happy seeing them and now I can see hundreds of waterfalls. In fact, the roads were always good; I have to praise Sikkim’s government for such a great infrastructure. We reached Lachen around 7 in the evening.
It was chilling cold out there as we were at about 9000 feet above the ground level. Seeing the view outside my hotel’s, it looked like I am living in a castle in clouds. I had simple dinner which included rice, Egg curry with pickle and green chili cooked in an open hearth, so was yummy. I sat outside for a while to feel the cold breeze with melodious sound of water falling from waterfalls and slept after some time.
Sixth Day, 13th May- All the way to 17,000 ft into the thin air
We left the place early in the morning to see the famous Gurudongmar Lake. The Lake was at 17000 feet height so, only about 4% oxygen was present there. But it’s worth visiting the place. You would just spellbind seeing the beauty of the place. I could hear my heartbeats clearly as oxygen was less there but could n’t forget the scene there ever in life. We also saw Army bunkers there as the place was the border between India and China.
My respect multiplied ten times for Indian Army for living in such an area where we could n’t stay for more than 10 minutes and protecting us. Salute guys. Seeing the hypnotizing view, we stopped at Thangu to had tasty Maggi at a place. It was the tastiest soupy Maggi I could ever have in my life. After that, we came back to Lachen and had our lunch. We left for Lachung in the evening after having Tea and Popcorn at an Army Camp. I am again mentioning the view in the route as it was so enthralling that I could ever imagine it to be.
We reached Lachung in the night. I had my dinner and had a chit-chat with a servant serving in the hotel and he was deaf and dumb. But, he was a sweetheart. He was working since childhood there and was taking care of his little sisters’ education whom he has adopted. He knew driving, cooking food, was good at calculations and a real sweetheart. He had plans of owning a hotel someday; I wish his wishes come true come someday. It’s lovely to meet such people; you realize people are living so happily with minimum wages out there.
Seventh Day, 14th May- To Zero Point- with snow all around
I got up early in the morning and was just roaming around the place. I saw Buddhist temple, pretty waterfalls and had a brief chit-chat with some locals. After that, I had my breakfast, and we left for the next place called Zero Point to see the snow. We stopped at Yumthang to have breakfast and left for Zero point. We reached Zero point in the afternoon, and I was the happiest among all to see the snow after so long. There was a beautiful lake near that mountain filled with snow. It was just so captivating view which I used to see in photographs or T.V. I played with the snow for a while, and then we started coming back. We had lunch at a place and then started the journey back to Gangtok. It started raining, and it was multiplying to the beauty of the place. I was enjoying every view as I knew I am going to miss everything later.
The driver was driving well in such dangerous terrain that too when it was raining. We were so thankful to him that he got us safely to Gangtok. I booked a room for the night at Gangtok and in the morning I took a sharing cab to Bagdogra Airport saying goodbye to the most awesome city I have ever visited.
Tips and learning from my solo trip experience:
Just roam around by yourself as much as possible, you will enjoy much more.Take toffees like Hajmola, Pulse with you for the journey. Also, keep eating popcorns when on heights, you will feel much more comfortable.Ask when in doubts.Talk to locals; they will tell you stories you would love to listen.
P.S. I am so so proud of myself for making the solo trip. Now, I have the confidence to anything alone. 🙂 . Please like, share, comment to spread the words if you liked my solo trip journey to the farthest and tallest region in India. Oh yes, I did find this great online website for photo printing Photojaanic. I recommend you to try the services of these guys! They are running some awesome offers. Over to you!
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