Taking it Easy

Pelling, Sikkim Travel Blog

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After a 5 hour journey by jeep from Darjeeling I found myself in Gangtok, the capital of the small North Eastern state of Sikkim. The town was not so great, not helped by the low cloud and drizzle. After a comfortable night I arranged a further 4 & 1/2 hour jeep journey to the small town of Pelling, towards the Nepal border.

Jeep journeys are required because the roads, although generally pretty smooth, are full of hairpin bends as they snake up and down the valleys and mountain passes. With up to 10 people crammed into each vehicle they are not necessarily comfortable affairs, though they do allow plenty of time to catch up on reading, and I am well behind with my book reviews!

Pelling is a lovely little town perched high on the mountain side facing north, affording fantastic views of the Himalaya when the conditions allow. On my first morning the sight of Khangchendzonga (8,598m, the world's 3rd highest mountain), Kabru (7,338m), Pamdim (6,691m) and Narsis (5,825m) was truely spectacular.

I hardly saw another western face in Sikkim, indeed I felt a little like a giant as I stood well above the locals, a mix of Tibetans, Nepalese and Indians. I spent my brief time here trekking and reading, visting the Pemayangtse Gompa, a Buddhist Gompa founded in 1705 - a wonderful Tibetan affair with 167 monks - and the ruins of the old capital of Sikkim at Rabdentse, as well as the local market at the small town on Geyzing, where a host of the most bizarre items were available.

From Sikkim I headed back to Siliguri in West Bengal, a rather grotty town but with the airport at Bagdogra only 12 kms away the ideal jumping point back to Delhi where I was to hook up with some of the old India gang.

Book Reviews

John LeCarre - Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

My first foray into LeCarre and definately not my last, a fantastic spy thriller. A far more intriguing insight to the world of espionage than anything Stella Rimmington had to say. Smiley is a wonderful character, I can't wait to catch up with him again soon.

Steven D Levitt & Stephen J Dubner - Freakonomics

Freakstatics more like! As an economist of sorts I feel vaguely able to state that this is not the economics that I was taught. However, for whatever it may be, an interesting read in parts, though dropping ionto the absurd at times, but enough to keep one going.

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Pelling, Sikkim