Sikkim

Intended for: 2.5+yo and 5+yo, mum and dad. (Need to be old enough to cope with long car rides.)

Overview: Indian railways, Himalayan foothills. Folds in with work trip for mum.

Views from Gangtok.

Views from Gangtok.

Strengths: Sikkim is a fairly quiet region so should be easy to cope with. Nepalese-style food is not as challenging for our kids as other Indian fare, and western food is widely available in town. Eldest is keen to legitimately eat with his fingers. Gangtok has a cable car. And… a helicopter service… shh…

Forseeable difficulties and mitigating strategies: The hustle and bustle of India outside Sikkim can be a bit overwhelming. Travelling by taxi straight from the airport to the train station at Kolkata, using the first class waiting room at the station and second class AC accommodation or above on trains, and keeping the kids inside the station at New Jaipalguri until onward transport has been arranged by one parent will help with acclimatisation. (You could make it even easier by contacting this guy called Arjun who will pick you up from NJP in a private, luxury jeep. Not cheap by Indian standards, but once you convert it to your own currency, and especially if you divide it up per head, it’s not too bad a price to pay to get someone who will run on your schedule and look after you both on the road and at the Rangpo checkpoint. SMS him a week or so before your trip on +91 94-34-381 891 .)

A short look around Kolkata on the return leg should be manageable and will provide an introduction for future trips to places like the Taj Mahal. The idea of those mountain roads freaks me out a bit but those jeep drivers hardly ever crash.

Estimated Price Bracket: Moderate

Itinerary:

Day One

  • Fly Singapore to Kolkata
  • Taxi from airport to train station (30-60 minutes)
  • Overnight train from Kolkata to New Jaipalguri (11+ hrs depending on train)

Day Two

  • New Jaipalguri to Gangtok by jeep (5hrs) – hire whole jeep for exclusive use
  • Overnight Gangtok

Day Three

  • Rest/orientation day
  • Cable car ride
  • Walk to local temple
  • Arrange sightseeing trips
  • Overnight Gangtok

Days Four, Five, Six

  • Sightseeing around Sikkim – walks, scenery, jeep trips, toy railway at Darjeeling
  • Overnight wherever

Day Seven

  • Jeep back to New Jaipalguri station
  • Overnight on sleeper train to Kolkata

Day Eight

  • Sightseeing around Kolkata
  • Overnight Kolkata

Day Nine

  • Family fly home to Singapore, Mum returns to Gangtok by overnight train and jeep for work
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