Once upon a time a Himalayan kingdom thrived in one of North East India’s popular travel destination, Sikkim. I love Sikkim, especially North Sikkim. Its all about rustled leaves in cold winds, curving road and snowy hilltops with the Teesta River appearing as the local friend along for almost the whole ride. In this gorgeous state resides a village named Gyathang. Gyathang lays in the Dzongu forest area which maintains a relative exclusivity as the resident Lepcha community (the original inhabitants of Sikkim) has continued to live with their cultural practices being passed down from one generation to the next. It is here that the idea of responsible tourism led to a nature resort named Munlom being established. I’ll tell you what all you’ll find there but first and foremost you’re in store for “happiness” as they themselves proclaim!
How to reach: The resort is located approximately 70kms from Gangtok. Fly in to Bagdogra or take a train till Siliguri and thereafter either way take a private or local taxi till
Gangtok. From Gangtok take another taxi to reach Munlom.
Best time to visit: This location can actually be visited throughout the year. End of February to May is ideal for pleasant weather, greens and bird sighting. If you’re keen on tasting winter you can visit between October to February but make sure to check in for snowfall predictions
Price: Approximately Rs.5,000 per night for a room for 2
The name ‘Munlom’ in the local language means “blessing”. The resort has pretty much been built with this ideology. At an altitude of 5,100 ft this resort has been built with the locally sourced materials. As a nature resort they have tried ensuring minimal environmental footprint, something that we are always appreciative of as the need for sustainable travel grows. And they earn more brownie points because they try to ensure local human resource engagement providing you with a chance to interact with them about their lives and also providing employment within the area itself.
Waterfalls and hot springs nearby pave your path to this gem. Escape from dense population in this hidden land. Throngs of jungle groves have you forgetting the city as you wake up to the sound of birds and in the evenings hear the jungle creatures whispering to each other. And in its quietness, you can set out to hear the sounds of the gurgling streams nearby. The blue green colour of the Teesta deserves you to take a dip in its chilliness and scream!
For those who believe a vacation warrants getting away from the business of everything, I have good news. This resort has only 4 cottages. Yes, their aim of ensuring low impact tourism whilst also providing visitors with a serenely secluded experience has maintained this low number.
The cottages are comfortably large and have an air of cosiness in their interiors. You could sit in the outside area to catch the sunset with a warm hearty broth prepared in the kitchen. Or you could wrap yourself in the cocoon of your blanket and crack upon a window for a gush of air overlooking the green mountain tops.
There is a nearby Tholung monastery too that you could walk to. Additionally, they also arrange nature trails and walks for you to take. If interaction with the locals is your idea of an authentic visit, then you not only have the chance of eating Sikkimese food but also of learning their way of cooking here! Further, they even welcome guests to participate in their gardening and local festivals or weddings for a true Sikkimese taste in every way. For those who want to laze and rejuvenate how does a picnic by the stream sound?! Nibble away on munchies with your feet in the cold water or just gaze at it as you enjoy that holidaying lifestyle.
Converse to know more about the Lepcha lives or if you are very intrigued you can even head to the Lepcha Museum. Go angling in the river. Visit Passingon’s bamboo bridge or walk in the periphery of rice fields. Greet the villages of Penthong, Lingthem and Hee Gyantheng. This is for those who relish the idea of slow travel. And enthusiasts of eco travel. For those a visit here would be the ideal vacation.