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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.

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.

places to visit in Sikkim travel guide

Here are the best places to visit in Sikkim:

1. Gangtok


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.

places to visit in Sikkim travel guide

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. 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.

7. Ravangla


With a jaw-dropping view of the Himalayas, Ravangla is a journey into the clouds. Surrounded by a thick forest of Oak, Magnolia, Chestnut, and Rhododendron trees, this small town is known for breathtaking landscapes and tranquility. With silence breathing in the air of Ravangla, and snowfall an astounding sight during the winter months, the town also gives a glimpse of the Himalayan Mountain like Mt. Pandim, Mt Sinialchu, Mt. Kanchenjunga, Mt Kabru, etc.

The fragrance of the flowers, untimely rains, low-lying clouds and romance seeping into the air – Ravangla is but a paradise that nature lovers would love to make a home at.

This city is the base if you want to make a small trek to Maenam Hill and Borong. In south 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, Ravangla is part of the important Buddhist pilgrimage circuit. 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 south 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.

8. 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.

9. Namchi


South Sikkim is highly known for its cultural indulgence, traditional values, and purity of nature. Being a religious hub, this part of Sikkim is filled with religious places to visit. Namchi is the first stop you should make when on a tour to Sikkim. This hill town shares an ecstatic view of the mountains while holding some really interesting spots to visit.

The Char Dham Temple, dedicated to the four popular Hindu pilgrimage site is a beauty in itself. With a larger than life statue of Lord Shiva atop a hill, there are reimagined versions of the four temples inside the complex. The temple is at such a height that one can feel clouds and cool breeze touch their face. With a collection of flower gardens and rich natural vegetation – Namchi is a must-visit.

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.

places to visit in Sikkim travel guide

10. 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.

11. Borong & Ralang Cha-Chu


Known predominantly for the hot sulfur springs that have been found enriched with medicinal properties, the Borong & Ralang Cha-Chu on the banks of Rangit River is a sight beyond imagination. The traditional winter spas of the hot springs amidst nature invite travelers from around the world to taste the goodness of nature.

Borong is a popular destination for eco-tourism embracing unmatched beauty that collides warm sunny days and cold winter nights. Taking you amidst the mountainous beauty, this small town brings the experience of traditional huts, jungle safari and a minimalistic style of living. One can indulge in an organic diet that is a staple diet here as the state is known to practice organic farming.

12. Rabong base camp


One of the interesting places of visit in South Sikkim, Rabong has its comforting charm on the foothills of Maenam Hill. This tiny town with revering natural beauty, natural living and a jaw-dropping view of the hills is the ultimate place to live through the silence of the hills. A hub for the trekkers, Rabong is the base camp for Maenam hill trek, Borong trek and more. The sightseeing places of Rabong like the Chozo Lake, Manilakhang, etc are quite stunning to unleash amidst nature.

13. Maenam Hill


Home to India’s finest medicinal herbs, Maenam hills is a revering sight for the botanists, naturopathy practitioners, and nature lovers, Dug deep into alpine forests trekking to the Maenam hill is quite popular. The diverse terrain of the Maenam wildlife sanctuary invites travelers to wanted in high altitude capturing glimpses of rare birds and animals on the way.

The rich population of flora and fauna of the sanctuary that includes red panda, barking deer, civet cats, magpies, pheasants, blue-necked Pitta, etc. As you make way to the hilltop you are greeted with a jaw-dropping sight of the Himalayas, nearby villages and snow-capped mountains.

14. Tendong Hill


Once a chosen site by the lamas and the Lepchas for their hermitage, Tedong Hills are popular for their divine beauty. 13km from Ravangla, the Tedong Hill is a popular trek and a spiritual journey for the trekkers as the forests of the hill are considered holy because of the Lepcha Tribe praying inside them.

Connect back to nature as you march through the hill of Tedong and make your way to the top. The Tedong State Biodiversity Park spread across an area of 255 acres is widely famous for bamboo, walnut, cane and oak trees, medicinal plants and flowers. With different species of birds and animals finding their home at the park – this is the perfect place to indulge into a sprawling walk in nature.

15. Sumbuk


Covering the foothills of the outer Himalayan region, the deep gorges and steep valleys of Sumbuk are a treat for the nature lovers. Sumbuk Village encapsulates the mind with its laid back beauty, the charm of small hill stations and an extension of tropical forests along the greater Rangeet zone. Unassumingly this place is an astounding visit for travelers to enjoy the exquisite presence of nature and wildlife.

Sumbuk is popular for its biodiversity and population of birds like hornbill, peafowl, peacock, etc along with a large stretch of pine and Sal trees. Bird lovers are known to give a long stay at the village for their fetish of bird watching and wildlife photography.

From lush Tea Gardens, an expanse of forests and wildlife to old-age monasteries, bird sanctuaries, and vivid landscapes – South Sikkim is a paradise to unfold for the nature lovers. With each new site, the state becomes an ecstatic journey!

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.
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Kalyan Kalyan Author

11 comments:

  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

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  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.

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  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.

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

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

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  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.

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

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  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!

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

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

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

    ReplyDelete

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