If the sight of fresh flowers in bloom gets you excited and leaves you feeling refreshed, then Sikkim’s colourful Varsey Trek is going to leave you thrilled. The moderate grade climb takes you through different twists and turns to leave you meandering through blankets after blankets of flowers. With a backdrop of tall peaks blessedly standing in their snow-capped existence, one finds the colour of these rhododendrons in bloom looking like a scenery painted by a masterful artist.
How to reach: Fly down to Bagdogra and then make your way till Gangtok. You can alternatively even catch a train till New Jalpaiguri Railway Station.
Best time to visit: March and April
Maximum altitude: 3,300 metres
Difficulty Level: Moderate
Duration: 4 days
Trek route: Bagdogra – Okhrey – Hilley – Barsey – Hilley – New Jalpaiguri/Bagdogra
Click here to read about Kasturi Orar Trek in Sikkim!
Day 1: Bagdogra/New Jalpaiguri – Okhrey
Distance: 130 kms drive
Your adventure commences by arriving into the state of Sikkim in the first place. Jump off from the Bagdogra airport or New Jalpaiguri railway station to let the pep in your step lead you towards this new adventure! You’re about to start off on a new trip and go on a whole new journey, not just on the roads but within your wanderer’s soul as well. After your arrival make your way to the village of Okhrey. This cosy little village is mostly inhabited by the Sherpa and Bhutia communities hailing from the hilly regions around here. Take your day’s rest and meal in a local homestay in order to interact with the folks from here and get an authentic taste of what it means to be leading such lives. Rest well as your trek commences the next day.
Day 2: Okhrey – Hilley – Varsey
Distance: Reach Hilley at a distance of 30kms to Okhrey. This drive will take about 30 minutes and thereafter, from Hilley start your trek till Varsey. The trek distance is approximately 4.5kms and can be completed within 3 – 4 hours.
This is the day that you have looked forward to! Thrown on your trekking shoes and get walking along the terrain of these Sikkimese hills. Get ready to experience your time by entering into the Barsey Rhododendron Sanctuary. In addition to the vegetation and natural beauty, you will also get to witness the peaks of Sikkim including Pandim, Rathong, Kabru group and many more. The sanctuary spreads over 104 sq. km. and so you shall be rewarded with plentiful sighting of the forest cover falling within your trek trail. From mountain tops to the lush green stretches, this day has you seeing it all at a comfortable and gradual pace. Come early evening you will reach the Trekker’s Hut. Make that time memorable by interacting with fellow travellers who too have come all the way to explore Sikkim’s gems. Let the conversations flow and your time at Barsey become something you dearly hold. If you are in luck and find clear skies, then you will be blessed with the reward of a starry night.
Day 3: Varsey
The third day of the trek is devoted purely to going about and immersing yourself completely within the Varsey sanctuary. The jungle area receives about 250 cm of rainfall that too an altitude that lays above 2,000 metres. This is why you are in luck to find a cool climate and also the abundance of growth of rhododendrons here which is the key motivation for visitors headed over here. With the onset of spring, it is as if every inhabitant has come out of their house in order to perform an elaborate dance, except that these inhabitants are the flowers called rhododendrons and the performance they undertake is of bewitching you with their view. Now this is not a sight that you can see here throughout the year, so, you have to pick the time of your visit correctly. This is a trek meant for the ones who aren’t seeking something overly adventurous but are rather in the mood to be left smitten by nature’s simple and sweet pleasures. It is all about roaming around a densely green meadow seeking flowers after flowers grow, from each corner to the path, to the centre like a key piece to unexpected curled up spots next to trees. If you have heard the phrase “a riot of colours” this is when you truly get to see it for yourself. Touch a flower tenderly (Of course, please do not pluck any flowers). Maybe put a fallen one in your hair? Haha. Or maybe just carry some fallen petals back home as a memento with more heart than a souvenir. Make a drawing with your own eyes. Sit at a spot and plug in your music as you take in the views. This is a day and a time designed for you to enjoy the place you sought as you wish to.
Day 4: Varsey – Hilley – New Jalpaiguri/Bagdogra
After a deeply evoted time with nature it is time for you to head back. As you start your descend and trek below, say goodbye to the jungle you so dearly explored. After your arrival at Hilley, get a local taxi or a private one to take you to your departure spot by train or a flight respectively. And, if time permits make sure to have a local bite because why leave without some edible goodies? Let the peaks, the flowers that adorned them and your time with them all etch a special place in your memories.
Have you been to Sikkim yet? Which place would you wish to explore first in the scenic state?
Click here to read about Green Lake Trek in Sikkim!
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