This is a particularly great time to visit the Barsey Rhododendron Sanctuary in Sikkim, as the flowers are in full bloom through April and May. Perched at a height of 10,000 feet, Barsey can only be reached after a stint of trekking.
With one part of its border sharing with Nepal, Barsey is a home to exquisite flora and several endangered fauna including the elusive red panda, Himalayan brown bear, and musk deer. The clear mountain views coupled with the pink blossoms, however, takes the cake at Barsey. Though rhododendrons can be found everywhere in Sikkim, the best place to experience their beautiful riot of colours is in this park because of the large number of trees here.
Barsey can be accessed from Hilley, Dentam and Soreng; but the most referred one is Hilley. You reach the gates of the sanctuary after a 5km trek from Hilley. Watch out for the stunning views of Mt. Kanchenjunga and other snow-capped mountains on your way up.
You can either start early, explore the forests of Barsey and return on the same day or choose to stay at a basic trekker’s hut called the Guras Kunj, inside the sanctuary. Another option is to book an overnight stay at the simple home-stays in the villages of Hilley or Okhrey. You could also pitch a tent in the premises of Guras Kunj and camp overnight. The view of the sunrise over the mountains from the tent will turn out to be the best experience of your trip.
Apart from the pink spring blossoms, the glacial streams running through Barsey are a delight to the senses. The slightly wider ones have wooden bridges over them. It’s a subtly changing landscape; the grassy trails ascend and descend slightly, one that gives a thrill to the adventure enthusiast.