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The snowy Himalayas, the hills with green carpets, the pristine lakes, the numerous waterfalls, the river valleys and the monasteries that sing Buddhist hymns are what await you when you visit Sikkim. The scenic places to explore are distributed throughout the State.

Sikkim is a haven of peace and solitude. The Sikkim tour packages offer you itinerary that allows you to leisurely watch the clouds playing hide and seek during your honeymoon. You can enjoy the breeze playing with the beautiful silver fir trees, valleys rejoicing and blushing with cherry red Rhododendron. The walking trails will greet hikers with powder white Magnolias and monasteries will welcome you with deep mystic chants.

Here you will spend some time rooted to the earth, watch people leading simple stress free lives without the city madness and complexities of metro life. Sikkim is a land of charming and down-to-earth people who greet you with open arms. Let us peep at some of the best things that make Sikkim the best vacay destination.

Sikkim is an ideal vacation destination for the young and old is search of beauty, peace harmony and diversity. A getaway to Sikkim is driven by an urge to see the beautiful places, to enjoy nature at its best, to taste varied kind of meals, to experience the diversity of culture, geography, festivals, religious beliefs and ethnicity.

Planning for a distant sojourn to Sikkim involves planning the trip, including booking hotels, searching for the best shopping destinations, looking for the cheapest flight options, meals, accommodation, local transfers and sightseeing.

Sikkim presents a vibrant face of traditional India which has the perfect blend of modernity and ethnicity. The ancient monasteries and pilgrimage places will fan the spirituality while the thrill of adventure activities will flare up the adrenaline rush and the captivating vistas and breath-taking mountain ranges, meadows and valleys will keep you overwhelmed.

Visit the Nathula Pass at a height of 14,400 feet and get the mesmeric view of Chomorhali in Bhutan. Venture to the monasteries at Namchi. To add mysticism, visit the four holy caves in Gangtok. Tread to the remotest parts of Gangtok to feel the thrill of mystery of the Caves of Occult Fairies and Secret Caves and Cave of Happiness.

Visit the brilliant monasteries of Sikkim to enjoy the sheer delight of art forms and man-made creation such as Rumtek Monastery, Enchey Monastery, Phensang Monastery, Pemayangtse Monastery, Sanga Chelling Monastery, Karma Thekchen Ling Donkun Duppali Gatsal Monastery, The Labrang Monastery and many more.

Catch the thrill of spotting the third highest mountain peak of Kanchenjunga and watch the clouds paly hide and seek. Get relief from the scorching heat of the northern plains of India and make the humid and cool climes of Sikkim your shroud and getaway to a few days of peace and snow-clad vacation. Here is a list of places to visit in Sikkim from the northernmost part of the state to the south.

Adventure Activities in Sikkim

There is a long list of delightful adventurous things that can be planned while on a Sikkim getaway. Magnificent Sikkim with the majestic mountain ranges, picturesque locations and rugged terrain offer a plethora of Natural Mountain trekking options. The misty mountains and cool slopes, beauty of conifers and elusive greenery are regarded as essential ingredients for happy trekking expeditions.

Sikkim has got in its avenue some of the most hair-raising expeditions for the most adventurous of trekkers. These treks give you an opportunity to praise the unexplored ranges of Himalayas. Bare your bones to the divinely trekking expeditions of Sikkim.

White Water River rafting on Teesta

Teesta is the lifeline of Sikkim and adds majorly to the charm and beauty of this tourist-favourite destination. Teesta also offers the tourists the chance to experience some great rapids that can be manoeuvred only by ace and avid rafters with experience.

The rafting course holds enough of thrill to entice the most brave and adventurous of rafters. There is enough pull and current in the river to set your heart racing. One can attempt grade 2 and 4 rapids according to their expertise.

Teesta offers the bumpy thrill of experiencing the rapids across the gushing river currents. Teesta has rapids ranging from Grade One to Grade Five and thus forms an international attraction for river rafting. Summers in Gangtok are ideal for enjoying . The rapids of these waters are an international site for rafting ranging from Grade I to V. The river course forms one of the most fascinating routes across the thrilling gorges and deep valleys.

Thrill of Cable Car Ride in Gangtok

Sitting on the high-altitude cable car of Gangtok makes it to the list of top things to do in Sikkim. This ride is extremely joyful for both young and old. The view from above is stunning and one can look down upon the busy city life going about with their everyday life and enjoy the sensation of being suspended in air.

Tsomgo Lake Yak Ride

The ecotourism division of Sikkim tourism greatly encourages the idea of exploring the vicinity of the picturesque Tsomgo Lake even while riding a yak. Tsomgo Lake is located at a height of 12,400 feet and is surrounded by spellbinding views of the mighty snow clad Himalayan peaks.

The changing beauty of lake with frozen water in winters and myriad coloured flowers and greenery in spring make yak rides a wonderful delight. The yaks on rent are decorated with bells and strings which makes them look adorable.

Mountain Biking from Gangtok to Rangpo

Mountain biking is a thrill for adventure lovers. Gangtok-Rangpo is an mountain biking route for ace and passionate bikers who dream of riding across rough and rugged nature. The enchanting landscape, the magnificent flora and fauna can be thoroughly experienced while motorbiking through the lush green hills. Group Mountain biking in Sikkim and, solo biking both are popular in Sikkim. Some other biking routes are Rangpo to Yungthum and Temi, Gangtok, Melli route.

Paragliding Adventure

While you are in a travelling spree to Gangtok, watch out for the delightful paragliding opportunities. The 15 to 20 minutes of paragliding venture at Gangtok offers a brilliant chance to catch bird’s eye view of the valleys and the mountains carrying in its folds such mystery and beauty. Summer time is ideal to plan for a paragliding adventure.

places to visit in Sikkim travel guide

Trekking in Sikkim

Dzongri Trek

The classic trip to Dzongri peak (13,123 feet) in west Sikkim passes through magnificent rhododendron forests and culminates with the magnificent views of the snow-covered peaks in Dzongri. The emotion of Dzongri, the meeting place of man and the gods of the mountains, is undoubtedly a source of attention.

The trek starts from the Khangchendzonga National Park in Yuksom. The trek to Dzongri is ideally five days, with a day of acclimatization in the Tshoka village. The trek to Tshokha passes through dense tropical forests of the Khangchendzonga National Park, with magnificent views of the mountain peaks and the mystic music of the river that flows down into the Valley.

The first five or six miles of the hike are quite easy, with picturesque waterfalls, some suspension bridges and magnificent red and white flowers of rhododendron. The last kilometers are particularly exhausting. The walk has a continuous ascent with a gradient of 45 to 60 degrees to Tshokha.

The best time to visit Dzongri is from mid-March to April, and then from September to mid-October, to avoid snowfall and monsoon rains. However, due to the high altitude, there is a definite possibility that the climate will take unexpected turns at any time of the year.

Goecha La Trek

When you want to experience tough and arduous trekking in the Himalayas, then go for Goecha La. Nestled between the imposing peaks of Sikkim, Nepal, China and Bhutan, lies a land of incomparable beauty that invites hikers and adventurers. Embarking on the daring Goecha trek The one that passes through the picturesque Yuksom-Dzongri pass and great views of Mt. Kanchenjunga.

Feel close to nature as you pass through rhododendron forests to valleys swathed in lichen and moss. This makes for a memorable trek as it offers fresh chilling breeze and silent wild vales and the magic of Kanchenjunga.

Sandakphu Phalut Trek

It is an exotically divine trek with interesting twists and turns and thrilling terrains. Its magnetism arises from the spellbinding views of four of the world’s five highest peaks of Mount Everest (8,850 metres), Mount Kanchenjunga (8,586 metres), Mount Lhotse (8,501 metres) and Mount Makalu (8,475 metres).

Singalila Pass Trek

This one has access to the majestic razor sharp snow clad mountains slopes. The route leads via Barsey Rhododendron Sanctuary and offers open views of the pristine forests of Eastern Himalayas.

Ravangla Trek

Oaks, hemlocks and rhododendrons are his companions in this walk. The dense forests pass right next to almost all the trekking. You can reach the start of the trek in Ravangla by taking a taxi from the New Jalpaiguri train station or from the Bagdogra airport. You can spend a night in Ravangla and see the Ralanag Monastery there. If you start early the next morning from the base camp, you will be at the top at sunset.

The walk is quite easy and straight and you will find a clearly marked path to choose from. One of the best parts of this hike is that there are some hikers in this.

Birding in Sikkim

Sikkim is a bird watcher's paradise. Sikkim is rich in bird species and offers approximately 550 species of birds. The marked distinction of various zones with differing humidity, rainfall and climate create typical pockets of astounding variety of bird species. You can watch several bird species that are completely indigenous to Sikkim.

Rare species of birds along with exotic and indigenous ones include Satyr Tragopan, Fire-tailed Myzornis Sultan Tit, Puff-throated Babbler, Streaked Spiderhunter Scaly Laughingthrush, Rusty Cheeked Scimitar Babbler, Red Faced Liochichla, Scarlet Finch, Cutia, Black-headed Shrike Babbler, Scaly-breasted Wren Babbler and more.

Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary, the areas around Khecheopalri Lake, the enchanting Yuksom Valley, the interesting Varsey Rhododendron Sanctuary and Dzongri are some of the popular destinations booked exclusively for bird watching in Sikkim. Nature and wildlife photographers, simple nature lovers and ornithologists all flock regularly at these locations.

Things to Do in Sikkim

Leisure Walk in Rinchenpong

Leisure walk across the pretty villages of Sikkim are a treat to eyes. The very green forests and hills, the tranquil environment all around, the all-pervading serenity of a village walk of Sikkim is undoubtedly remarkable. The crimson glow of the setting and the rising sun, the snow-laden peaks of Himalayas, the misty valleys, the fresh air all do wonders to your health and mind or if you are on honeymoon.

Summer Festivals in Sikkim

While you are planning on a vacation to Sikkim try coinciding the dates with the celebration of the various unique festivals throughout the states. Some of the festivals that carry a lot of enigma and glamour should be considered before freezing the travel dates and time.

The sizzling summer festivals offer a vibrant show of Sikkim culture and tradition that can easily mesmerise tourists. The tourist enjoy in awe the spirited dancing, mellifluous songs, glitzy costume and the grandeur of the show.

Flower Exhibition at White Hall

White Hall in Gangtok is famous for hosting a majestic flower show where they exhibit a grand variety of various different seasonal flowers. This flower show along with others in Sikkim is nature lover’s delight.

To add to the glamour, there are also orchids exhibited of so many rare and gorgeous varieties. Generally, the exhibition is hosted during the months of April and May when Sikkim meadows in general throw a splurge of colour everywhere. The exhibitions even attract international recognition.

International Summer Festival

Sikkim has gorgeous and stupendous variety of flora and fauna on account of the geographical diversity and uniqueness. Keep a watch out of the finest exhibitions of the glorious orchids and rhododendrons that adorn the vales and hills of Sikkim during the warm summer months. In the month of April after the rain showers, the Sikkim hills get covered with an exquisitely colourful and gorgeous shroud of wild flowers of variegated colours.

Saga Dawa – The Festival Of Gratitude

This a brilliant and glittering festivals mainly for the Buddhists belonging to the Mayan Sect. This festival gives the curious tourists a chance to experience the diversity of Sikkim’s culture. It is a sacred religious festival where the Mayan Buddhists gather in temples and pay their homage to their Lord for being blessed with the gift of life.

A bright and gorgeous procession of monks travel along the streets of Gangtok chanting hymns and prayers. To add vibrancy to the festivities, brilliant masked dances are performed. This festival opens up a whole new world of tradition and culture for the tourists.

Hee Bermiok Heritage And Tourism Festival

Similarly, there is the Hee Bermiok Heritage and Tourism Festival which is hosted in a small village by the same name. This village is located around 120 kilometres west of Gangtok. Hee Bermiok Festival, celebrated in Summer, also offers a chance to get familiar with the culture and lifestyle of Sikkim. Taste the various different varieties of rice wine and local delicacies.

places to visit in Sikkim travel guide

Places to Visit in Sikkim

1. Gangtok

Gangtok is one of the most beautiful cities with varieties of rhododendron, orchids and butterflies. The first thing you will notice here are the buildings precariously perched on the edge of the hills. If you find a good hotel with a view, you can see the imposing Kanchenjunga peak in all its splendor. The top of this mountain has an orange glow, since the first rays of the sun adorn this mountain every morning.

Wander around MG Road or the local mall. Explore the streets of Gangtok on foot or in buggy. Enjoy Tibetan, Sikkimese and Nepalese cuisine when you are here. Try the noodle soups such as Thupka and Thenthuk. Do not miss the hot steam momos that are easy to get here. Catch up on a book with fresh and hot tea at Cafe Fiction or look at the bustling streets of the comfortable Baker's Cafe.

There are many monasteries around Gangtok such as the famous Rumtek Monastery, the Enchey Monastery, the Lingdum Monastery and the Gonjang Monastery. Rumtek Monastery is a gompa or complex built by the Karmapa of the Kagyu Buddhist order. Belonging to the Nyingma Buddhist order, the Enchey Monastery (Solitary Monastery), was initially built in the 19th century and rebuilt in Chinese architectural style in 1909.

These Buddhist temples are colorful, you can listen to the monks singing prayers and you can see how the life of these monks goes as they live, study and continue to work in this monastery.

In the gardens of the palace of the ancient kings, the Chogyals of Sikkim, we find the Tsuklakhang Monastery or Royal Chapel. Closer to Gangtok is the Deorali orchid sanctuary in southern Gangtok and Fambong Lho Wildlife Sanctuary, approximately one hour west of Gangtok. The Kyongnosla alpine sanctuary is located one hour east of Gangtok, on the way to Lake Tsomgo and Nathu La.

Stroll on the cable car to enjoy magnificent views of Gangtok at the top of the hill. Rafting on the river is the ultimate adventure activity to get to Sikkim, and the Teesta River offers some world-class opportunities. The main route is Makha-Sirwani-Bardang-Rongpo. The Rangeet River, with its more turbulent waters, also offers advanced opportunities for rafting from Sikip-Jorethang-Majitar-Melli.

Practice paragliding in the village of Baliman Dara or Reshithang or mountain biking in the rugged region surrounding Gangtok. The Do Drul Chorten is one of the most important of Sikkim and inside it houses numerous relics of sacred Buddhist books and religious objects.

At the top of a hill and after circumventing numerous steps, stands the small Ganesh Tok temple. The temple itself is quite small, but it's worth going up here to admire the views over Gangtok and the Kanchenjunga peak.

2. Lachen

Chungthang Valley is between Lachung and the Yumthang Valley, famous for Yumesamdong (Zero Point)and Mathilda pass. This point is 15,300 feet in altitude and the stretch of road that brings you here stops abruptly. That's why this place is called Zero Point. Here you will find some members of the army, since the Chinese border is a few kilometers from here.

Chungthang is 96 kilometers from Gangtok. Lachen is 35 kilometers from Chungthang with snow-capped peaks. Shingba Rhododendron Sanctuary, located in the Singalila range in the southwest corner of West Sikkim, Gurudongmar Lake, Chopta Valley, Thangu are the biggest attractions. It is a valley surrounded by giant snow peak mountains and is the starting point of the Green Lake Trek.

In fact the village is cradled between stern, high standing rocks as protectors. This village is almost hidden from the outside world like a Shangri-La. Visit the Lepcha village.

places to visit in Sikkim travel guide

3. Gurudongmar Lake

At an altitude of 17,800 feet, this is a must see in Sikkim. It is located in the northernmost point of Sikkim and is very close to the Chinese border. Nestled between the mountains, this lake is as isolated and pristine as it can be. The crystal blue waters surrounded by sterile earth reflect the snowy mountains.

You can see colorful prayer flags hanging from the rocks. This is a place where you can pause and appreciate nature in all its splendor. The region through which Lachen Chu flows is completely covered with rhododendron forests with Chopta and Thangu valley as other places of interest.

4. Yumthang

Visit the flower sanctuary in Yumthang. It is located in North Sikkim, with an altitude of 11,693 ft. You can see at least 24 types of rhododendron flowers. Your journey to Yumthang will be followed by the River Teesta, where the whole area will be covered by flowers due to rainfall.

Yumthang is located at an altitude of almost 11,800 feet. On the way back you can visit the famous hot spring which is known for its healing properties. Yumthang is a valley near the Lachung Chu River surrounded by mountains where the tree line ends.

In spring the valley erupts in riot of colors with flowers like Primulae, Rhododendrons and many other flowers in full bloom along with snow covered valley. Yumthang has snow all around and the snow clad mountains add to the beauty. Wander up to Lachung monastery and the of Lepcha village.

5. Lachung Valley

Yumesamdong is a large valley surrounded by mountains and Katao is a snow-covered peak near Lachung. Now, it is the base camp for the famous Rhododendron Valley Trek from the Yumthang Valley to the Lachen Valley. If the weather is good and the sky is clear you can get to see the Himalayan range. The location on the road offers a majestic view of Mount Pandim, Mount Kabru, Mount Simvo, Mount Jopuno, Mount Khanchendzonga, Mount Sinolchu and other peaks and the wooded path of the Rhododendron forest usually blooms during the spring.

This valley has stunning views of the Himalayas, small villages, bright streams and fruit orchards. If you come here in June, you will be lucky enough to witness the Saga Dawa Festival, the most sacred festival for Buddhists. During spring, this place is full of Primulae, Rhododendrons and many other alpine flowers in full bloom. During the winter, this place looks darker and more rugged.

6. Lake Tso Lhamo and Zemu Glacier

This is one of the high-altitude lakes of Sikkim, fed by the nearby Zemu glacier. This glacier is 26 km long and is located at the base of the Kanchenjunga. There are many adventure walks in which you can board around this glacier. This is the best way to fully enjoy the terrain in the Himalayan laps.

7. Khangchendzonga National Park

This UNESCO World Heritage site is a unique diversity of plains, valleys, lakes, glaciers and spectacular snow-capped mountains covered with ancient forests. This great site has the third highest peak in the world, Mount Khangchendzonga. The best way to experience the spectacular views of this mountain is by taking a walk through the port of Goecha La. This would be a moderate to difficult hike with rewarding views of many peaks in the Himalayas such as Mount Pandim.

8. Dzongu

This is not the typical mountain town. The reason is that Dzongu is located in the buffer zone of the Kanchendzonga National Park and is home to the Lepcha tribe. In about 3 hours from Gangtok, Dzongu is an experience that you will value all your life.

9. Ravangla

This city is the base if you want to make a small trek to Maenam Hill and Borong. In the south of Sikkim we find the Ravangla Buddha Park (about 80 km from Gangtok), also called Tathagata Tsal. Built in 2006, on the 2550th anniversary of the birth of Gautama Buddha, the government and the inhabitants of Ravangla decided to create a complex with a giant statue of Sakyamuni Buddha and a beautiful garden surrounding it.

How could it be otherwise, is part of the important circuit of Buddhist pilgrimage. The Palchen Choeling monastic institute (also known as the new Ralong monastery) in the nearby town of Ralong also houses a golden Buddha of considerable size. You'll find Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary near Ravangla in the south of Sikkim. Halfway between Ravangla and Namchi, you will find the picturesque Temi Tea Garden. It's just a tea garden in Sikkim and the peaceful Cherry Resort is in the middle of it. You can also go to see Cho Zo Lake and the Rabong Monastery.

10. Yuksom

Yuksom has become the base camp to ascend Mount Kanchenjunga. The Dubdi Monastery, one of the oldest in Sikkim, is a Buddhist shrine also called Yuksom Monastery which is accessed after walking for an hour from Yuksom. At the top of the roof, there is an ornate bell-shaped golden dome called Gyaltshen.

Along with the Dubdi and Ngadak Chorling monasteries, the Kathok or Kartok monastery, named after one of the three monks who crowned the first king of Sikkim, is one of the most important of Yuksom. It is next to Lake Kathok and the Norbugang Forest and, after climbing a small wooden staircase, you access the building that is very striking for the amount of colors, including red as a base and yellow ornamentation, a classic Tibetan style.

Tashi Tenka was a complex built for the delight of the royal family when Yuksom was the capital of the Namgyal kingdom. One of the most recommended is the Goechala and Dzongi trek, which will take you to walk among the most impressive mountains in the area, seeing the Kanchenjunga peak of more than 8500 m, the Talung or the Rathong.

One of the places not to be missed in the center of Yuksom is the Mani Hall temple, with large glass windows that reveal huge golden copper cylinders. The trip from Yuksom to Dzongri Peak and Rathong Glacier, and beyond to the Goecha Peak if you are prepared for the challenge, is the most popular trek in Sikkim.

11. Pelling

Pelling is located at an altitude of 2070 meters. On a clear day guest can get a nice view of the Himalayan snow capped range Pandim, Khangchendzonga, Kumbhakarna, Rathong, Narsing, Zopuno, Shimbho, Sinolchu. It is one of the exotic destinations with historical sites, short trekking routes and wildlife.

Its botanical and zoological wealth is inspiring and the panoramic view is something to be seen to be believed. Kaluk, Rinchenpong and Namchi are some of the tourists place nearby. In Kaluk there are some night resorts and from there you can walk the distance (3 km) to Rinchenpong to see the monastery and get trapped by the tranquility of this area. Other places of visit are Rimbi waterfalls, Rimbi Rock Garden. Lake Kechopalri, is one of the Buddhist holy lakes.

Myth is that when a leaf falls on the water surface, it is picked up by a bird and thus the surface of the water is always leafless. Near Khecheopalri monastery is the Kanchenjunga Falls, ruins of Pemayangtse monastery, and Rabdentse monastery or the Sanga Choeling and the Rathong valley with all its mountains in the background.

The panoramic view from the top of the ruin to the mystical heights of Kanchendzonga ranges is something to be caressed. Wander around the helipad or shopping center. Tashiding monastery is famous for the Bhumchu festival.

12. Namchi

There is a large statue of the local deity called Guru Padmasambhava on the top of Samdruptse hill in the beautiful Namchi valley. You can also visit the Samdruptse Monastery a short distance from the sanctuary. Another thing you can do in Namchi is to see Siddheshvara Dham, a complex with different replicas of the most important temples of India, and a statue of Shiva. If you happen to travel between February, March or October, you will catch the Namchi flower festival.

13. Tsomgo Lake

Changu lake is only 40 km from Gangtok. It stays frozen throughout the winter. During the rest of the year, the lake's water reflects different colors. This lake is considered very auspicious by the locals. See if you can do a yak safari for this place. It's as exciting as a camel ride through the sand dunes of a desert. Stay at Gnathang or Dzuluk or Kupup.

The road continues climbing up to reach 4300 meters of Nathula Pass and then descends towards the Nathang Valley and then the famous Zuluk Zig Zag Road to end at Lingtam. It is the Old Silk Route that is unanimously defined as one of the most beautiful routes in the world.

places to visit in Sikkim travel guide

14. Nathu La

Nathu La pass in eastern Sikkim was an important passage on the ancient Silk Road between India and Tibet. Indians require an inner line permit to visit it. Unfortunately, travel here are allowed only on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays. A special permit is also required and can be obtained through a travel agency registered in Gangtok.

On the way, you will meet Dzuluk, which is a village at a height of 10,000 feet. Dzuluk is an unusual but close destination near Padamchen. You can see winding roads below the village on the edge of the mountains that lead to Nathula. Northeast of Zuluk is Lungthung and is southwest of Lungthu.

Zuluk is located about 3,000 meters above sea level on a slope surrounded by steep mountains. To have an unobstructed view of the Kangchenjunga massif it is necessary to climb a few more kilometers, but accommodation can no longer be found. The village of Zuluk is aptly called the abode of the clouds. The garrison located in the surroundings is also called that of the fighters of the clouds.

Before independence, the English soldiers who were there for the construction of the roads were physically strong and survived on the basis of a diet consisting of whole chickens and a bottle of Ron. There are no hotels or hostels in Zuluk, and the town has not changed since the time caravans and their yak convoys had a habit of stopping for the night, making sure to get there before the sun sets.

Comfort is rudimentary, with ingenious heating systems in the rooms. The village is composed of few families, and most of the men work for the army, installed in the transit camp located about 300 meters above Zuluk. Huddled in the jeep, we left Zuluk in the cool, foggy darkness of 5 am the next day. The driver, installed at the wheel as usual, step on the pedals and take the vehicle through tortuous slopes to a strategic place to enjoy the sunrise.

Zuluk is covered with a thick layer of snow since a few days ago and the higher we climb, the more it thickens at the edge of the road. Totally green and yellow during the monsoon, the region offers browns and reds during the winter. When turning by an abrupt curve, we observe the sky that is going from a deep violet color to pink tints.

About fifteen minutes later, while the temperatures remain glacial outside and that Zuluk is no more than a miniature version of herself, the sun, with its orange face, appears at last among the peaks of Bhutan. An amazing vision with a panoramic effect at 360 degrees, the road has been ornate, for a moment with a golden and silky glow.

Right in front of the sun, the Kangchenjunga massif drastically changes color from one minute to the next. How many spectacular sunrises in altitude exist in the world? The glacial silence was broken by our driver, who invited the team to have a hot coffee. Just what we needed! We continue our ascent along the winding road.

After the viewpoint of Thambi and the town of Lungthang, we spotted a couple of Lophophore, a local bird species close to the peacock. We progressed with difficulty in the direction of Nathang Valley where, according to legend, a woman claimed to have seen a yeti some years ago.

But our biggest surprise was discovering bear tracks along the way. We were the first to pass after the snowfall and the road was marked by these tracks for several kilometers. The bears must have traveled the road at night. Kupup is located about 35 kilometers from Zuluk, at more than 4,000 meters of altitude.

Seen from above, the lake is shaped like an elephant. That's why it was named after the Elephant Lake. Bhutan uses its waters for a long time. The lake is also the usual place where Chinese red-billed cranes come to nest. A little further we see the Jelep La Pass. We cannot ignore the Chinese and Indian bunkers on both sides of the pass.

The climb is steep, but at the top the view is sublime. Kupup and its environs, the winding roads that lead to Jelep La and Lake Elephant, were a grandiose panorama that also had to marvel the merchants of the ancient Silk Road. Just a little further away is another of these curiosities created by man, the highest golf course in the world, installed and maintained by the Kupup garrison.

For all those who wish to experience the Eastern Himalayas in all its purity, without any kind of material comfort, this route is absolutely recommended. The places are little contaminated by the commercial tourism, they are still authentic and surely this way they stay during long time.

Weather in Sikkim

Gangtok in summer is generally a gratifying experience with cloudy days and humid and coolly pleasant atmosphere. Plan your clothes according to weather. In May and June, days are relatively warm and these months make for the peak tourist season as it is the best time to visit Sikkim. The famous tourists hubs bustle with bunches of jovial crowds and the cities throb with life.

These months form the ideal time to explore the remote regions of West and North Sikkim which get inaccessible in the monsoon and winter months. The daily range of average temperature in Sikkim varies from around 22 degrees Celsius at the maximum level to 7 degrees Celsius at the lowest.

Choice of clothes and accessories depend a lot on the time of the year that you are planning your travel. Do check the maximum and minimum temperatures of the places in the itinerary prior to beginning your journey. During the day, rugged travel clothes such as jeans or shorts, t-shirts and light jackets would feel comfortable and suit the travellers especially if someone is planning for a hike or trek or the adventure activities.

Try layering your bodies instead of carrying too puffy or heavy jackets. For the colder nights, carry shawls, sweaters, mufflers, windcheaters, comfy trousers, walking shoes and sneakers.

Permits Required in Sikkim

To enter Sikkim, foreigners need a special permit. This permit is called Restricted Area Permit (RAP) and is free. The initial permit lasts a maximum of 30 days, and may be extended for a further 30 days up to 60 days. If once inside you want to stay longer, to extend the permit you have to go to the foreign registration office in Gangtok and in some cities in the offices of the superintendent of police.

This permit gives you the right to move practically all over the East, West and South Sikkim, and a small part to the north, to the Singhik village. You will need photos and a photocopy of your passport. You have many options to process permits, from Delhi, Calcutta, Darjeeling, or at the same border post of Sikkim in Melli. Before you could enter through Jorethang but, currently you can only enter through Melli.

Practically in all the cities or villages there are hotels, guesthouses and homestays. From Siliguri there are direct jeeps to Gangtok, so if you do not intend to stop by Darjeeling, this is your best option. Siliguri has a train station, but if you come from Delhi, Calcutta or large cities, you will stop at the NJP station, a little further away.

How to visit Sikkim

Until recently the nearest airport was Bagdogra Airport in West Bengal. This airport is 126 km away and it takes 4 hours to get to Gangtok by bus or jeep. There are direct flights from New Delhi, Mumbai, Calcutta and other major cities to Bagdogra Airport. Located at an altitude of 1,700 meters, now the newly opened Pakyong airport near Gangtok is the ideal way to get there.
Kalyan Panja Kalyan Panja Author


  1. Sounds like a nice place to relax and enjoy! I would love to travel there. Your guide is making me motivated to actually go there sooner

  2. That looks like a great adventure and the mountains, lakes and wild life must be magnificent. I have never been to tht part of the world but would be a great way to see Sikkim if I go to China.

  3. I went to Sikkim when I was 16 yo. Now I am 25. Many things have changed and developd for good. One thing that has not changed here is, it is still the place that relaxes me.

  4. I have never heard Skikkim but it sounds and looks like a lovely place to visit for the views.

  5. I love your detailed and complete guide! I'd love to visit Sikkim one day!

  6. I've never even heard of Sikkim but as a hiker, wow, it just bumped its way up to near the top of my bucket list. Stunning places.

  7. I have never heard of Skikkim before but sounds like an amazing place to visit

  8. You've made this area sound very inticing!! All the flowers would be gorgeous and seeing the temples would be breathtaking. Thank you for an excellent post!

  9. Ok, now I want to visit Sikkim so badly! There is too much to do there! This place is in my bucket list

  10. Wow, I didn't know much about Sikkim before but it looks ans sounds absolutely amazing! I'd definitely like to visit someday.

  11. SO many places to see!! wow i need to visit asap :D


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