The Hills are Alive … With Leeches

The Hills are Alive … With Leeches

Thankfully as soon as we arrived in Sikkim the Boys were able to organise the trek they originally intended on so at 6am the next morning off they went on their Goecha La adventure leaving me to explore solo.

Khecheopalri Lake is described as the perfect place to relax in an eco environment and reviews have even gone as far as to say it is “Heaven on Earth” so I decided to head their for my first night alone. I arrived at 3pm and saw my Lake View Nest homestay sign right away so I headed into the woods expecting to see a little Eco lodge somewhere amongst the trees with a viewing platform of the lake.


After 30 minutes of hiking up through leech infested shrubbery I decided I must have read the sign wrong but decided to continue in the hope that the view would be epic. 15 minutes later I scrambled to the top entering a small group of wooden houses with tin roofs, elderly tribal women squatting on their door steps and chickens running everywhere. I struggled to find anyone who spoke English, there wasn’t really a view and there was no sign of the Holy lake. I finally found somebody who just about understood me and she assured me that my homestay was just a few minutes walk away so I set off and prayed that she was right.

On the way I get caught up in a fight between 3 haggard dogs at which point I’m completely out of my comfort zone and start screaming until a local boy comes out with a stick and scares them away … Temporarily. By the time I arrive at Lake View Nest I am completely dishevelled and just want a cup of tea overlooking this Lake I’ve heard so much about. The lady running the homestay makes me a lovely cup on fresh mint tea while I get over my shock of an impromptu hike and potentially rabid attack. I ask where I can sit and enjoy the Lake view and she laughed “no lake view ma’am, people say I should cut down all these trees so you can see the lake but I like the trees”.


I managed to get this shot on my tip toes with the camera above my head
I attempted to go back down through the forest to the lake but half way down the light was drawing in so I chickened out and made my way back up. As soon as the sun dipped down below the mountain ahead the home stay lit up in an array of coloured fairy lights, finally I can relax and enjoy being in what felt like the middle of nowhere. Just as I slumped back into my chair with a hot cup of chai there was a power cut which ended up lasting two hours so bedtime came earlier than planned, I felt like a toddler in bed at 6.

I decided to leave Khecheopalri first thing, not before visiting the lake though! I’m not sure I would go as far as to call it a lake, I think a swamp is more accurate. The Buddhist prayer flags leading the way were sweet though, when the wind blows these flags it is thought that the prayers are sent all around the world, what a lovely thought.



During my stay in Yuksom, I stayed at Ejam Residency – the most amazing home stay (which felt more like a 5 star hotel).

One night I was joined by a brilliant bunch of girls from Bangalore, some Canadians and local Nepalis dancers who performed for us on the front garden.

This was my hangover spot the morning after.

I loved going for walks in Sikkim, I felt like Gretel in the sound of music.



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