Sikkim- What a place !
In India, Sikkim estate is an UFO. Located between Nepal, Bhoutan and Tibet, this small state (the last one that joined India and the less populated) stayed isolated for long long time. Because of its mountainous geography, access has always been difficult (and it is still difficult. Our 10h trip to make around 200km from Siliguri is a true proof). Nevertheless, Sikkim has a lot of assets.
Indeed, being protected by its remotness, the state is nowadays organic. No chemical pesticide has reached the state before and it is now forbidden to use them. Regional government actively fights for protecting the soil. Biodiversity is here very important and everything is made for letting it to the next generation. Amazing!!!
Smile Panda Tours
When we met by chance Chayan, founder of Smile Panda Tours, we simply founded a nature lover, a passionate man who only wants to develop a responsible and sustainable tourism in this region.
Chayan has traveled few years in India with his backpack especially around Himalaya. Then, he decided to make a bit more for these backpackers travelling around Sikkim, Bhoutan and Darjeeling.
A network of Homestay dedicated to backpackers but not only...
Sikkim is a paradise for trekking. The one leading to Kanchendzonga (3rd highest summit in the world) view point is the top attraction in Sikkim but there are also multitude of other paths linking villages to each other. In the west part of Sikkim, around Pelling, a lot of villages are above 2000m high. If few of them already started to host travellers, we cannot miss that some of them have lack of marketing resources to attract tourists and backpackers in their piece of paradise.
Homestay in Himalaya
Chayan had the good idea to select few guesthouses/homestays and put them under a same network. The goal? Make sure that backpackers will travel around from one to another (walking but also by shared jeep which are available for that routes) in order to discover the local culture. Between Lepcha, Buthia and Nepali, sikkimese culture is rich and diversified. From its remoteness, artworks are very present? And everything is surrounded by an Himalayan lifestyle.
Today, thanks to Smile Panda Tours, it is possible to enjoy this network and meet villagers which have put their culture and the environment as priorities. You can visit Sikkim for example with local guides who will make you go off beaten path. More than everything, you will share local dishes with villagers, tasting organic products growing there, around houses full of flowers.
This network has everything for success. The key? Inform, educate, make sure that Sikkim experience will be unforgettable… Thank you Chayan for your passion, for your commitment in making possible for everyone the discovery of a responsible Sikkim (and Bhutan and Darjeeling 🙂 ).
Hasta Luego Smile Panda Tours !
We are Ela & David, 2 citizens of the world. In quest of a new way of living, more respectful from the environment and the Humans, we travel slowly to discover new cultures, to look for inspirations and with a wish of sharing. Wants to know more?