If one is in search of adventure, the west is the district to visit. The west district lives up to its proverbial name as being wild and free as it is the base from where all treks into the wilds of the majestic Himalayas begin. Whether it's white water rafting down the frothing waters of the Teesta and Rangit, or trekking through the beautiful and dense Rhododendron forests, the west district has it all.
It is 35-km by car and 16-km by trekking which takes about six to eight hours. After visiting the monastery, one of the oldest in Sikkim, the pilgrimage starts and the six to eight hours trek gives glimpses of Sikkimese life and provides a good acclimatization for the next few days. Passing through terraced fields of rice, barley and corn, the track is dotted with Nepalese, Shepra and Lepcha huts. Crossing first, the Rimbi 'Chu', the trekker gets to the turbulent mountainous streams of Sikkim. A tableland of barley and apples, Yoksum provides beautiful vistas of mini lakes with the Himalayan background. The night can be spent in tourist huts.
|Day 2||Yoksum - Bakhim (2,750m or 9,000
The trail now runs through rice wood hills abounding in flora and fauna going, as it does, though moss-laden forests of Oak, Spruce, Chestnut, Fir, Pines, Giant Magnolias and Rhododendrn a botanists' paradise. Not to be outdone, the naturalist's can view hundreds of varieties of exotic of birds, butterflies and orchids. It takes six hours before the Bakhim forest bungalow is reached for the night.
|Day 3||Bakhim- Dzongri (4, 550m or 13,221 ft)
8-km and six hours away, each step to Dzongri leads to the world of the famed Kanchenjunga massive. The spectacle at dawn and dusk tinted in softest hues, is one never to be missed - a supernatural vision of ethereal beauty. Camp in tents or yak huts.
|Day 4||Dzongri-Thangsing (3,930m or 12,467 ft)
7-km from Dzongri, the four hours' trek leads through meadows and valleys down the burrows leads into the most beautiful valley of all situated at the base Jopine peak. To reach the camping grounds dwarfed in the giant valley, one crosses a wooden bridge over the stream under the watchful even of majestic Pandim.
|Day 5||Thangsig-Chemathang (4,800m or 15,748 ft)
Situated at the base of mighty Pandim, Chemathang is 8-km from Thangsing and takes 6 hours to trek.
|Day 6||Chemathang-Goecha La (4,940m) - Chemathang
Still higher and steeper, is the Goecha (also spelt as Guicha) pass about 5-km away but taking a good three hours to cover. This is the northernmost and highest point of the trek.
|Day 7||Chemathang -
This is the return journey and is spent looking for rare high altitude birds and blue sheep roaming in the wilderness of high cliffs and snows, among the thick and low bushes.
|Day 8||Thansing - Dzongri
It is a four to five hour climb through Rhododendron forests to the camping grounds.
Side Trip To Chowrithang (4,380 metres or 14,370 ft)
It is an eight-hour and 10-km trip to the Chowrithang falls at the Rohtang glacier. Here is the base camp of the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute of Darjeeling, world famous as a centre for training would be mountaineers. Splendid views of the peaks, Frey, Koktang, Kabru, Ratong, Chandra Peak and the Kabru Dome are obtained from here. En route one passes the forbidden Kabur Rock, which none is allowed to climb. From Chowrithang a two-hour walk along the glacier leads to the Houe-Chu Lake, the special feature of which is its accumulated milky water. Also ten years from Chowrithang on the way to Bakhim is Zamling Gaon, named after Tenzing's son and a good place to break the journey.
|Day 9||Dzongri - Bakhim via Jamlingthang (Zamling Gaon)
This different route to Bakhim passes through one of the most spectacular forested areas of Sikkim engulfed in the fragrance of magnolias, which is all the more beautiful in the spring when the giant magnolias and more than ten types of Rhododendron are in bloom and the trail runs through the garden of flowers.
|Day 10|| Bakhim -Yoksum
A leisurely walk of about four hours bring one back to Yoksum.
|Day 11||Yoksum-Tashiding (1,470m or 4,822 ft)
A pleasant 6-7 hour steady and beautiful trail through fields and Cardamom groves, giant bamboos and orange gardens leads to the Tashiding monastery which crowns the hill-top. One can camp near the monastery
|Day 12||Tashiding - Legship
This is the last day and a 4-5 hour walk down hill all the way brings the trekker to the village of Legship along the Rangeet valley ending the delightful 'Pilgrimage Trek'. From here, there is transport available to Dar/places/cities/darjeeling/ jeeling, Gangtok or Kalimpong.