When we plan for Sikkim tours, we all have Gangtok in mind. Indeed, Gangtok is a beautiful destination. But the city is quite costly. I would prefer to stay in Rangpo town.
Two decade ago, when we visited Sikkim, we stayed in capital city Gangtok. The tour was part of college excursions. We enjoyed the city, the Rumtek monastry, Sunset point and of course the Nathula Pass.
On our returning journey, we have to stop at Rangpo town which is the border town of Sikkim. Rangpo is the gateway of Sikkim. While returning from Gangtok, we got the news of Darjeeling bandh.
We have to stay in Rangpo. Our team consists of 7 girls and 15 boys, along with 2 bus drivers. One problem for the tours was we have spent most of our money in Gangtok during the 3 days stay.
Money was shortage and the banking system was not like today. We don’t have ATM or Debit card or the online payment system to call money from our parents.
Twenty four of us are stuck in the middle of Rangpo road. We don’t have mobile phones as well. Girl safety is our first priority. One thing is very clear to the team that it is Northeast, so we should not fear.
We were planning how to stay in Rangpo town and manage with the pocket money we have saved from Gangtok. Suddenly we saw the angel in the form of a Punjabi uncle.
Punjabi are trust worthy everywhere
This Punjabi uncle came towards us, seeing our travel backpacks. He started the conversation, “Noi Manipur dagira” (Are you from Manipur).
We were so happy to heard a man speaking Meeteilon in Rangpo. We narrated our problems and asked for his help. The Punjabi uncle was a businessman who once stayed in Imphal.
He contacted the local circuit house and arranged for the girls to stay. I think it was free. The chowkidar was a local Bhutia. Our girls got a home, a family from this Bhutia.
The locals are very kind and I think 20 years ago, the population of the town was hardly 1000. Accept few Marwaris, most of the shops are owned by the local people, the Nepalis and the Bhutiyas.
We arranged for the stay in a lodge which is very cheap. They charges us per bed for the 3 nights. Since there was bandh, all shops were closed and roads were empty.
How we stay in Rangpo Town during the Bandh?
The only past time for us was to swim in the shallow Rangpo river. We took some momos from our lodge and beers. Whole day we enjoy strolling on the river bank of Rangpo. It was like travelling in a beach.
Evening time, we went to the chowkidar home of Circuit house and sip locally made Tea by his wife.
Interesting fact is that, the price of essential things shoots up during the bandh. The Darjeeling bandh could not bring any essential commodities in Sikkim.
We also played footballs along with the local boys in the evening. It was a home stay for us. We never felt we are stuck in Rangpo town due to bandh.
Where to visit if you stay in Rangpo?
Gangtok is just one hour drive from Rangpo town. If you are staying in Rangpo, you have the option to visit not only the tourist destinations of Sikkim, but also West Bengal.
Some of the nearest place of tourist destinations are Lachung, Pelling and Yuksom. You can enjoy the Kalimpong, New Jalpaiguri and the Darjeeling from Rangpo.
With the introduction of railways, one can reach Sikkim from West bengal within 2 hours.
I heard from my friends that Rangpo town has developed and it is now one of the tourist destinations in the last few years. I would like to visit the place once more and enjoy the tours.
Best deals in Hotels to Stay in Rangpo town
We can stay in Rangpo Town and get a best deals of hotels. Most of the hotels can be booked at Rs 500 to 1200. You can get the best hotels in this range, which is not possible in Gangtok city.