I am not an Indian citizen. Can I travel to the Silk Route?
No! Sorry. Only Indian citizens are allowed to travel in this route.
I am an Indian citizen. How can I travel to this route?
You need to arrange for a permit from the Tourism Department. We at Travel Monk can help you in organizing the Sikkim Silk Route trip and arranging the permits.
What are the procedures for arranging a permit and can I arrange the permit myself?
The permit to travel to the various destinations of the Silk Route can only be arranged by registered Travel Agencies and Tour Operators.
What details do I need to submit to my tour operator for the Silk Route permit?
Four “passport size” photographs and a photocopy of the Voter’s ID card of each guest needs to be submitted well in advance.
What happens if natural calamities and national security circumstances happen?
As this Indo-China border region is guarded by the Indian Army, all permits to civilian tourists are issued by the army. They are the sole authority to allow tourists through this region. Under situations of natural calamity or security issues they may disallow all tourists to this region. In such circumstances, we would refund a major part of your advance money or try to arrange an alternative trip from Mankhim or Gangtok to other parts of Eastern Himalayas.
What is your cancellation policy?
After confirming the bookings and paying us the advance, you can always postpone your trip to any future date but you need to inform us at least 15 days before your journey date and we would re-schedule your trip to any future date within 6 months subject to room availability without charging you extra. However, if you reach Gangtok or Mankhim and then cancel your trip, then you would be refunded only a part of your advance amount. We would mention all the details in your booking slip.
What type of accommodation do I get in the various destinations in this Silk Route?
Overnight accommodations are presently available in Nathang Valley, Lungthung-Dhupidara, Zuluk and Padamchen. There are no hotels in this region but you would have to be put up in home stays run by villagers. The most modern and best homestays are available in Nathang Valley and comes with attached Western Bathrooms, 24-hrs electricity, room heaters and separate dining halls. There are some traditional homestays in Nathang Valley too with Bukharis (Wood Burners) within the room to keep guests cosy. In Padamchen, you can opt to stay in a Forest Resthouse too.
What type of accommodation is provided in Gangtok, Mankhim, Sillery, Reshikhola or Icchey Gaon?
In Gangtok, our guests get Deluxe rooms equipped with all modern facilities. Our hotel in Gangtok is 10 mins walk from MG Marg. In Mankhim, our homestay is located at the hilltop with great views of Mt. Kanchenjungha. In Reshikhola, our homestay is located at the riverside. Icchey Gaon is a newfound destination with only one homestay facility overlooking Mt. Kanchenjungha. In Sillery Gaon too, our homestay facility has excellent views of Mt. Kanchenjungha. All homestay facilities are clean and come with attached bathrooms. There are no ‘in room’ televisions in the homestays.
What type of transport would be provided to us?
Standard SUVs like Bolero, Sumo or Maxx is provided within the package rates. Luxury category SUVs like Scorpio can also be arranged but would require extra costs.
Are public transports available to the various destinations in this route?
No, tourists can only travel in reserved cars in this route. Your tour operator would also have to arrange for the car permit and driver permit.
What type of food is available in the homestays?
Hot, home cooked delicious Indian food. The menu usually consist rice, roti, puri, bhaji, dal, egg curry, chicken curry, vegetables etc. For snacks, you would have choices between momos, pakoras, chowmein, etc. Tea is complimentary and endless. Fish is rare in this region.
What food do I get for my baby?
The usual food like rice, dal, sabji, egg, etc. is available in the home stays and it can be cooked by your hosts as per your instruction. However, it is advisable to carry the essential baby foods that your baby needs.
I do not know the destinations within this route, so who would show me the places?
Our driver knows all the destinations and sightseeings of this route. He has been trained to show the spots and take you for sightseeing trips. We also have a Sikkim Tourism registered guide in our team, who would guide to Eagle’s Nest Bunker or similar destinations and treks if opted.
What type of activities can I undertake apart from the package?
You can take horse rides and yak rides in Nathang Valley. Birdwatching is another very popular activity of the tourists visiting this region. Treks to some untouched regions like Genmochen can also be arranged.
What does your package include?
The complete Silk Route Package includes all transport to all destinations and sightseeings mentioned in the Itinerary. All lodging and food expenses are also covered in the package. You would only have to pay for your dinner at Gangtok on Day 1. The Alternate Silk Route Package includes all transport, food and lodging to all destinations and sightseeings mentioned in the Itinerary.
What is not included in your package?
The dinner in Day 1 in Gangtok is not included in the package. Also, boating charges in Lampokhri Lake, Yak/ Horse ride charges in Nathang or Changu Lake are not included. The permit charges to Nathula are also not included within the standard package costs.
Why is there a Complete package and an Alternate package?
Our Complete silk Route package starts from Gangtok, there are few reasons for it. Firstly, the Old Silk Route in Sikkim actually crossed Nathu La Pass from Tibet and entered Sikkim, if you really want to trace the whole of the route then you cannot miss Nathu la. Secondly, if you are not travelling from Gangtok then you would miss the mesmerizing Four Lake Point (a viewpoint from where you can see four mountain lakes on the horizon) and Menmecho Lake. Finally, if you take the Alternate Route, then you would trace the same route twice and cover half of the Silk Route up to Kupup and miss Four Lake Point and few other great spots.
Do I need to pay the whole Package amount to you in advance?
No, you have to pay 70% of the whole package during booking at our Kolkata office and pay the remaining 30% of the package amount at Padamchen enroute.
What essentials do I need to carry?
Any regular medicine you take, documents to prove your Indian identity, some basic medications like pain sprays, water bottles, some dry food items, chocolates and most importantly your camera.
What type of clothing should I carry?
You need to carry warm clothes like jackets, mufflers, gloves, inners and all types of warm clothes you feel necessary. However, daytime is usually warm and temperatures may rise up to 25 deg C on clear days. As night falls, it becomes quite chilling.
I have elderly parents, can I take them?
You would cross altitudes of 13000 to 14000 feet and elderly citizens (above 70 years) may not find it comfortable, so it is suggested to not opt for this route if you have ailing and elderly members in your group.
Can I take my baby with me to this route?
Children above two years would be fine and at their best in this region. However, children with breathing problems or other chronic diseases are not allowed in this route.
What is the temperature like in this region?
From December to April, this region experiences snow and the temperature usually stay below zero. However, sunshine is abundant and daytimes are cool and sunny on clear days. From June to September, this entire region experiences rain and is covered in wild flowers. The months of October, November and December are ideal for mountain peak viewing. The weather stays clear and the days are sparkling but nights are usually chilling during these three months