|Sikkim was really cool. It is this small state that is technically part of India, altough China does not recognize that. I met this really cool girl, Alana, from New Zealand. We took a day trip to Lake Changu which is in the Eastern part of the state. The lake is at 12,400 feet and it finally felt like we were in the Himalayas. There were yaks everywhere! You could take a yak ride around the lake, which we chose not to, but we did get some good photos of them. Some of the yaks even had little sweaters on their horns, it was great. We asked our guide if we could see Khangchendzonga (8598m and the 3rd highest peak in the world behind Everest and K2) and he said we could if we hiked up this huge hill. We really wanted to see it, so we set off. It only took us about 30-40 minutes to hike up the hill, but it was tough work with the altitude and considering how steep the hill was. When we got to the top however, it was worth it. The view was absolutely unbelievable. We could see the whole Khangchendzonga range and it was spectacular. It totally put the whole "climbing Mt. Everest" thing in perspective. It was just so great to see something so huge and mighty.
On our way back to Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim, we went to the Himalayan Zoological Park, which was great. We saw red pandas (the state animal), snow leopards, himalayan civets, tibetian wolves and a himalayan black bear.
Alana and I also went to the Namgyal Institute of Tibetology. It was so cool to learn about Tibet and Sikkim and how closely they are related.