Q: I am planning a trip to Sikkim with my wife and 10-year-old daughter in October. We plan to go for about 9-10 days. I see that Sikkim has many places to visit in the north, south, east and west. I am not sure if I can cover all of them in this period. Can you suggest what places we should visit? We are interested in nature, culture and heritage. Any suggestions on whether I need to go through a travel company or do it myself?

Marco Says: Yes, that’s true. For a small state,Sikkim has many attractions and even a 10-day trip can’t do it full justice. North Sikkim has some of the most stunning views you will see anywhere, but you’ll need a tour operator to help you with transport and permits. And naturally, you’ll want to spend some time in Gangtok and take a day trip to Nathula.

I have a couple of options to suggest to you. Option 1 includes the north district: Bagdogra/NJP—Gangtok—Tsomgo Lake, Nathula—Lachen, Gurudongmar Lake—Lachung—Yumthang Valley—Gangtok—Bagdogra/NJP. Option 2 is dominated by east Sikkim: Bagdogra/NJP—Pedong—Zuluk—Kupup—Nathula—Tsongmo Lake—Gangtok—Pelling—Bagdogra/NJP. You will find more information on these places at sikkimtourism.gov.in.

You could plan your own trip, but it is still necessary to have authorised local agents to obtain permits and organise transport, so I suggest you workout a customised tour. There are several excellent tour and trek operators to help you plan your trip: Help Tourism (helptourism.com), Adarsh Tours and Travels (adarshtours.com), Nature Beyond (naturebeyond.org), Yak and Yeti Travels (yaknyeti.com) and Himalayan Planet Tours and Travels (sikkimhimalayanplanet.com).