Did a day trip to a Lake nearby at 3700m altitude along a 'death defying' road. So steep all around. Met our trekking group - we were fortunate to end up with a group of 7 which made the costs each quite resaonable so happiness all round. After 3 days in Gangtok, headed to western Sikkim and Yuksam to do the 8 days of trekking.
Took a share jeep from Darjeeling into Sikkim and the city of Gangtok. D is not designed for these jeeps!! The Indians fit 4 across each seat whereas 3 is tight for people of our build!. Took about 5 hours of winding roads and spectacular scenery. Organised the necessary permits to enter Sikkim at the border-quite painless and quick which was a pleasant surprise! Lots of evidence in Sikkim of massive investment by the Indian Gov't. Many signs of western influence as well. Gangtok (like all places in Sikkim) on the side and top of a steep ridge. Found a very nice hotel with views from our bed to Mt. Khangchendzonga - the sacred mountain that dominates Sikkim. It is the 3rd highest in the world and no-one has actually stood on the summit. Groups have stopped 6 feet short out of respect to the locals! Sikkim is very Buddhist due to Nepalese and Tibetan influences. So different to continental India.