Satisfy your taste buds with some delicious food of Sikkim where the varied tastes and specialities create a unique dining experience. There are a variety of Sikkim traditional foods like Thenthuk, Momos, Thukpa, Phagshapa, Sael Roti, Niguru with Churpi, Gundruk, and others. Phagshapa is one speciality that you must try as it is made using just prok, radish and red chillies and is a delicious treat.
If you have more of a sweeth tooth, gorge on the Sael Roti that is made of rice flour. If you want a taste of a homemade dish, try eating the local fiddlehead fern Niguru with churpi (sour cheese) that has a delectable taste.
After filling your tummy, wash down your food with some local beer called Chang that is made by fermenting millet using yeast. Sip on this delicious treat from a bamboo receptacle using a bamboo pipe. This can be a bit strong so remember to drink at your own pace and ease.
Shopaholics will have a gala time picking up souvenirs at the local markets and bazaars of Sikkim where the different cultures and tastes give rise to a variety of items and handicrafts. Some popular markets you can go to are Lall Market, The Old Market, New Market and MG Road.
Some of the popular items you can pick up from these markets include carved relief 'Choktse' furniture, Lepcha weave bags, Damru, Tibetan Thangka paintings, wooden and bamboo artifacts. dresses, shawls, knitted garments and blankets. A popular item you should definitely pick up are the carved metal 'Dragon sets' that are teeming with precious stones. If you go near Tibet Hotel, you can buy trade jewelry and holy objects at the curio shops here. Also pick up some world famous Sikkim Tea, by the trademark of ‘Khangchendzonga' and 'Solja'.
Scour the markets for such traditional items like Prayer Wheels and Tibetan crockery (teapots, mugs and vases), food items like Yak’s Cheese and Cherry Liquor, woollen gear like ski caps, mufflers and gloves as well as Nepali music CDs.
You can plan a trip to Sikkim at any time of the year as the weather of Sikkim stays pleasant and cool throughout. Even in summers, the temperature does fall low and the maximum has never gone beyond 25 degrees Celsius.
The best time to visit Sikkim is generally during the summer season from April to June where the temperature generally ranges from 5 degrees to 25 degrees Celsius. The weather stays cool and can often fall pretty low so it is a good idea to keep warm clothes with you. This is also the best time to go on sightseeing tours of the monasteries, lakes and valleys.
Monsoons generally last from July to September and there are heavy rain showers throughout. The maximum temperature generally stays around 15 degrees Celsius and the minimum stays around 4 degrees Celsius. This area is prone to landslides during this time so you should avoid visiting here during this season.
Winters start from October and last till March and the temperature falls as low as -5 degrees Celsius. This is the perfect weather to go snowboarding and skiing as the entire area is draped in snow and the surroundings look beautiful and lush.
Witness the kaleidoscopic riot of colors during the festivals and fests in the pristine and scenic lands of the Northeastern Himalayan Kingdom of Sikkim. The heartwarming traditions, the rustic beliefs and the diversified culture make this destination a land of varied festivities.
If you visit Sikkim during May and the beginning of June you will be able to enjoy some grand and vibrant festivals of Sikkim. Some festivals that are definitely worth attending are the Saga Dawa, Tharpu Monsoon Festival, Gangtok Winter Festival, Losar Festival and many more.
Out of these, the Saga Dawa festival is one of the important festivals of Sikkim as three major occasions associated with Buddha are celebrated. These are the Lord Buddha’s birth, enlightenment of the Lord Buddha and Buddha achieving nirvana. This festival is generally celebrated around the end of May and early June. During this festival, the Mahayana Buddhists visit the monasteries and offer butter lamps.
Also make sure you witness the Sikkimese New Year; also known as ‘Sonam Losar’ where the farmers celebrate their harvest. You will also get to watch enjoyable lama dances where the evil spirits are expelled and the good spirits are welcomed.