Talk Less, Communicate More, Most Common Phrases to Efficiently Travel Through Sikkim

Sikkim, besides being the blissful metamorphosis from the mammoth snow-capped peaks to the carpeted greens of the valleys, is also an eclectic hub of culture. It is a multi-ethnic home to the indigenous tribes of Lepcha, Bhutia, Limbu, Sherpa and many more. Being amiable, as they are, the natives are eminently known for their generosity. With so much to see and explore, the best way to have a rendezvous with this divine expanse of Nature is a little eloquence in the vernacular. Although English is the official language and Sikkim is multilingual, Nepali is spoken by a majority here. Communicating in the local dialect brings down the facade of having just a guide-tourist conversation, shifting it to a more pliant kinship. And an added privilege to clique in the neighborhoods. And voila! All of a sudden offbeat jaunts are so easy-peasy. 


    Geography is often a muse to traveling, and local culture and the local dialect adds the soulful vibe to it.


    Start the Conversation Yourself

    Kick start the conversation with a “Namaste Daju/Bahini”, which is more of like “Hello dear brother/sister” and you have initiated the bonding. They call their elder brother as daju and sister as bahini. An addition of “Tashi Delek” while bidding goodbye strengthens the gesture. 
    Start off with these greetings! doibedouin
    Start off with these greetings!


    Pro Tip: One need not learn Nepali for traveling to Sikkim, nevertheless intoning a few common words in between is taken as a sign of respect; it indicates that you are appreciating your opportunity to merge in with the locals. Also, it helps if it is a remote location.


    Worried about Accommodation, Ask it then

    Hop in a hotel and ask for a room. The word “is” is simply put as “chha” in Nepali and “isn’t” as “chhaina”. So if you are asking “Is there a vacant room?” you might simply ask “Room chha?”
    If he says “Chhaina”, you need to find another hotel, and if you hear a “Chha”, you are in. For the former ask “Mo kaha basno sakcha?” [Where can I stay then?]
    After getting fresh, order for your cup of tea, “Mo room lai eyota/ek cup tato chai dinus”, and for emphasizing on the urgency, add a “chhitto” (quickly) after it. So what you are saying is “Give me a cup of hot tea to my room as fast as you can.” 

    Out for Transport?

    Up for availing transport to explore the other vibrant vicinities, then try a few sentences in Nepali.
    Yo Ravangla ko gadi kaha chha?[Where is the car for Ravangla?]
    Yo Ravangla janccha?[Will this go to Ravangla?] 
    Jandayna? Law law[It won’t go. Okay Okay.]
    Ravangla ko lai bato ramro chha?[Is the road to Ravangla in good condition?]
    Molayi Ravangla lage do.[Please take me to Ravangla.]
    Kati time lagcha?[How long will it take?]
    Ita roknu na.[Please stop here.]
    Kati paisa bhayo?[How much do I pay?]
    Yo bus kati baje jahan cha?” [When does this bus leave?]
    "Bus aaonu." [ The bus is coming]
    "Bus agayo" [ The bus has come].

    A Food Trailing is All Set

    A mountain cliché is never complete without the food trailing. Few words to help you out while sampling the local cuisine-
    Bahini ke painchha?” [Sister what will be available?]
    Momo painchha?” or "Momo hunchha?" [Will I get momo?]
    Eyota/Ek plate momo dinus na” [provide me a plate of momo please]
    Khana bhayo. Bill launu” [I am done eating, bring the bill please]

    I asked him "Khana bhayo?" He said no and turned to his sister. @DoiBedouin
    I asked him "Khana bhayo?" He said no and turned to his sister.

    Want to Take Some Photos?

    While traversing through the panoramic mountainscapes, every now and then you will find smiling faces looking at you, greet them back with a smile, keep your DSLR ready, sometimes waving ask out “sab ramro chha?” and trust me you will be gifted with the best portraits ever. “Mo photo linu sakchhu?” [May I take a photograph?]

    Tashi Delek @DoiBedouin
    Tashi Delek

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    Talk Less, Communicate More, Most Common Phrases to Efficiently Travel Through Sikkim

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    1. Thanks for the linguistic approach. Its good to know the language of a place before visiting it.


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