In which Aditrupz go for the Goecha la trek in Sikkim, part 1/3

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I remember quite distinctly, it was in June of 2017, I was discussing our annual vacation plans and the topic of the Goecha la trek in Sikkim came up. Adi and I had already agreed that this year the vacation was going to be in India, after last year’s Turkey trip! I was stumped when he said, ” We should go for a trek to Sikkim!”. I was in no shape physically or mentally to endure this and sleeping in tents didn’t really sound like a vacation. But he was hell-bent. The word spread and Prajwalit and Bhargava also decided to join us. I was still unsure but in about a month or so, preparations for the trek began. The boys did all the bookings and planning and I watched all the possible YouTube videos to get as familiar as possible with the trek route and trying to gauge the difficulty and what I would possibly endure.

Recommended to read: https://blawghh.com/in-which-trupz-says-travel-helps-builds-character/

What is so special about the Goecha la trek in Sikkim?

The Goecha La trek in Sikkim, India is known to be a picturesque trek through the Khangchendzonga National park.. The highlight of the trek being the grand views of Mount Kanchendzonga from Dzongri top and viewpoint 1 of the Goecha Pass. Apart from this, you get to walk in the Rhododendron forests of Phedang. The great Himalayan plains of Thansing and Lamuney. Another beautiful attraction on this trek is the Samiti lake which is a glacial lake. Let me break it here itself, the websites say Geocha La is a Moderate – Difficult level trek, for the most part, it is difficult, especially if you are going in the winter season like we did! This trek gets you closest you can to view Mount Kanchendzonga from the Indian side.

Goecha la trek in Sikkim | View of Mount Khangchendzonga en route Kokchurang

View of Mount Khangchendzonga en route Kokchurang

If you are loving the photos, you will love the video blawghh series of the  Goecha la trek in Sikkim 2017 on Youtube 

What are the essential things to pack for the Goecha la trek?

Goecha la trek Sikkim | Essential things to pack for Himalayan winter trek

Goecha la trek in Sikkim| Essential things to pack for any Himalayan winter trek

  1. Rain jacket
  2. Poncho
  3. Fleece jacket thin
  4. 2 walking sticks
  5. 1 pair of gloves
  6. 1 Balaclava, very useful in protecting ears and neck from sun and wind!
  7. 1 woolen cap
  8. 3 pairs of quick dry trekking pants (full length)
  9. 3 quick dry t-shirts (full sleeves)
  10. 1 pair of thermals
  11. Dry fruits
  12. 6 energy bars
  13. 2 rolls of tissue papers
  14. UV protected sunglasses
  15. Essential medicines
  16. 2 pairs of cotton socks
  17. 2 pairs of woolen socks
  18. 1 torch
  19. 1 headlamp ( i recommend this since it leaves your hands free for using walking sticks)
  20. 2  one liter water bottles
  21. 55-liter backpack
  22. 15-liter daypack
  23. Sunscreen, moisturizer, lip balm other toiletries
  24. Good fitting trekking shoes
  25. 1 pack of Wet wipes

There is a list compiled here by the good folks at IndiaHikes which I used as a reference packing for this trek

The idea is to travel light with basic and important necessities. Also you have to be comfortable with the fact that you may not get a chance to bathe, so carry wet wipes and use them frugally.

Goecha la trek day 0 – Pune – Delhi – Bagdogra – New Jalpaiguri

October 20th was the day, Diwali was just over and we set out for our first pitstop to New Jalpaiguri. Prajwalit, Adityo and I left from Pune to Delhi in the early hours of the morning. Bhargava would join us in Delhi from Hyderabad. He made it on time and after a quick lunch, it was time for our 2-hour flight to Bagdogra in West Bengal. Our stay for the night was in the city of New Jalpaiguri(NJP). The Kali Puja was just over, but some of the pandal decorations were still around. We didn’t have a lot of time to explore NJP and we were only there for one night. We walked around the street a bit to find some lunch. We had some “Aloo Panner” which was delicious along with some really hot chapati. Then we all napped a bit for some much-needed rest. The evening was uneventful, a small stroll down for some tea and we retired for the night. Before that, we got confirmation that the car, that was to take us to Yuksam will arrive the next day at 6.30 am.

Goecha la trek day 1 – NJP – Legship – Yuksam

Our sacks were packed up, day packs had now come out. The light cotton clothes were lined with thin fleeces. It was now time to cross over from the outskirts of West Bengal into the lush greenery of Sikkim with the Teesta river for the company for most of the way. We would be passing through the towns of Legship, Jorthang, Gyalshing. The total journey time would be about 7 – 8 hours not including breaks along the way, We had ordered some early breakfast but were surprised to find out that apart from tea not much can be available. So we decided to eat something along the way to Yuksam. The car arrived to pick us up on time, it wasn’t the most comfortable looking vehicle. It was an old jeep with no bucket seats. Assuming hilly and winding roads ahead, we all knew that it wasn’t our most preferred choice of transport but we had to make a start to the trip and getting to Yuksam was more important, so we took the risk.

New Jalpaiguri is very close to the border of West Bengal and Sikkim. We would be crossing over into Sikkim near a place called Melli. Our first halt was near Lohapul at Mama Hotel. “Luchi” which is Bengali means Puri and Aloo bhaji were devoured here, along with some yummy Aloo Parantha with pickle, and of course some much needed ‘Chai’.

Where can you have breakfast en route to Yuksam from NJP?

Breakfast at Mama Hotel, Loha Pul, Darjeeling, West Bengal 734008. Tel: 076024 36384

The happy trekkers with their tummies full, now made their way to Melli. The crossover at Melli was easy, the driver had the required papers and our backpacks did the remaining. As soon as we entered Sikkim, the landscape changed, the roads were winding and narrow with lush green forests all around. Although a very small state, it is important o know that 35% of Sikkim is covered by KhanchenDzonga National Park. Even though you are in a vehicle, you have to cross between valleys to get to Yuksam. There are single lane metal bridges that are built over the river that help you cross. The rattling of the bridge decks and the fact that you are about 500ft above a glacial river make it a very exciting drive. We could see the impact of an increase in tourism here, next to the single lane metal bridge a two-way concrete bridge is being built.

A couple of hours of driving and it was almost time for lunch. The driver recommended we should wait at Gurung, Hotel at Legship for lunch and took us to this lovely homely food place. the lady serving told us that they are serving organic food and even the chicken served there is organic! The boys continued their vegetarian streak and we got served with some piping hot dal, rice, vegetables and the red chilly pickle or the “Dalle”. The ambiance at the Gurung Hotel was homely and the food was delicious, Adityo surprised himself with the ‘Dalle” when he mistook that for a cherry tomato and attempted to eat the whole of it. We all teared up, the 3 of us thanks to how hilarious his situation was and Adityo because he seemed to have become a fire-spouting dragon!

Where can you have lunch en route to Yuksam from NJP?

Lunch at Gurung Hotel: Legship, Sikkim 737111. Tel: 081458 94311

The remaining journey was uneventful until we saw a road sign that said “Yuksam 10km”, we started making calls to Mr. Gurung who was a trek co-ordinator to locate the guest house. We had booked the Geocha la trek in Sikkim via Thrillophilia who then helped us find the Red Panda Tours and Travels, our local guides in Yuksam. Its only after reaching the village of Yuksam did we realize how big the village is! There is only 1 main road that runs through the entire village and all the hotels, homestays are all along this road. In the middle of the main road is the infamous main market area that has a couple of shops selling trekking gear and winter gear. “Gupta’s restaurant” is the most significant landmark on this road. It seems like in Yuksam, the world converges at Gupta’s. As Yuksam is the base village for many treks in this region, you get to meet and interact with a lot of other trekkers here. Also, Gupta’s serve amazing food and is open until late.

So after checking into our guest house, we made it to Gupta’s. The climate was beautiful, perfectly chilly and clean mountain air, we decided to walk around and explore the village. Our appetites were worked up so we ordered some Chowmein. We had 2 days in Yuksam, since we were informed that there will be another group of 4 people from Bangalore who would join us the next day. This meant that we could explore some more place in Yuksam.

More to come of the adventurous trek of Goecha la, which by the way has not even begun yet! In the meantime feast your eyes with some photos

What are the top 5 interesting places to visit in Yuksam?

1. Kartok Lake

Blawghh | Goecha la trek in Sikkim | Kartok lake, Yuksam

Kartok lake

2.Coronation Throne Of Norbugang

Blawghh | Goecha la trek in Sikkim | Coronation throne, Yuksam

Coronation Throne, Norbugang

3. Dubdi Monastery

Goecha la trek in Sikkim | Yuksom Dubdi Gompa
PC Kothanda SrinivasanFlickr, CC BY 2.0, Link

4. Khangchendzonga National park

Blawghh | Goecha la trek in Sikkim | Khangchendzonga National park, Yuksam

Khangchendzonga National park

5. Gupta Restaurant

Blawghh | Goecha la trek Sikkim | Gupta restaurant Yuksam

PC Nilabh Singh

Youtube | Goecha La Trek 2017 | Himalayan Trek | Video Blawghh Full HD Part 1

Youtube | Goecha La Trek 2017 | Himalayan Trek | Video Blawghh Full HD Part 2

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