Sikkim has always been a special interest to a section of travellers all around the globe. Sikkim is still a little known Himalayan Kingdom, isn’t it?
Whether to get a closer look at the big Himalayan mountains or to taste the core nature of Sikkim, you will probably plan a:
- Full trekking programme.
- Or visiting interior places in Sikkim, villages and hikes connecting the core of Sikkim and its people, culture or religion.
But what if you are a:
Foreigner or an Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) travelling alone? Or you are keen on a solo hiking experience?
Wait, is there a problem in Sikkim treks, if I am travelling alone?
To answer your question, you need a special Trekking Permit for most of the treks in Sikkim. Officially this is called Protected Area Permit (PAP). You must obtain PAP for all major treks that are inside National Parks/Sanctuaries/Designated areas etc.
OK, what else?
You must be a minimum of two foreigners to apply for such a permit. Tourism and forest department will issue the necessary permit(s). If you are already together, we will take care of the rest.
A problem which you just realise now? A sudden show stopper that you can’t plan any further? Hold on, we have good news for you. Yes you can still plan and execute a trek in Sikkim.
To solve your problem, you may do one of the following:
1) Join a Fixed Group Departure trek:
You will see a list of available group treks in our Upcoming Trek Calendar. Usually this the convenient and economic option if you are travelling alone.
This looks quite simple but not so! First of all we must have foreigners already registered and confirmed on a fixed departure. Then only we may go ahead and process your trekking permit(s) along with the other foreigners in a group.
For a popular trail like Goechala, most likely you will get such a group or two during the season. However you may not be able to book it readily but wait for a while.
If the above solution doesn’t work for you, check out the following options. Understand that the logistical expenses are shared when you trek in a group. Trekking alone with a guide is typically NOT a budget friendly option.
2) Treks which you can do with a guide as a solo foreigner in Sikkim:
What if you are particularly looking for a solo trekking experience? Note that you must take a trekking guide in Sikkim. This is required for permit(s) and for security reasons as well.
We do have curated treks like Sikkim Monastery trail in west Sikkim or a short Maenam Top trek in South Sikkim. You don’t need a PAP for these treks and may club any of these treks within your Sikkim tour. We can modify, extend or shorten the itinerary that suits you.
3) Choose neighbouring Darjeeling treks instead:
There are many similarities between Sikkim and Darjeeling treks. Be it the landscape, weather/season or be the culture and language people speak.
You don’t need to be a minimum of two people together to get a trekking permit for the trails inside Darjeeling, West Bengal. You can hire a personal tour guide and complete Sandakphu trek or the longer circuit which includes Phalut.
If you need more clarifications or have queries on budgeting, drop an email to [email protected]