10 BEST Places to Visit in Gangtok

A trip to Sikkim will leave you in the mixed emotions, you can experience calm, thrill, nature, and everything wonderful. The primary source of income for Sikkim involves tourism as well. Gangtok is one of the cleanest places in India. If you have decided to visit Sikkim this winter, make your first stop at the state capital – Gangtok.

Gangtok is the capital city of Sikkim and is located at the edge of the Himalaya mountains. It shares its borders with China. Mount Kanchenjunga (third highest peak in the world) is one of the best touring sites in Gangtok, that flock tourists all around the world. The mesmerizing beauty of the mountain view and greenish plain is a sight to behold. Gangtok needs to be into your to-do list of dream destinations in India.

This picturesque holiday destination has various options for all age groups. Whether you simply wish to go sightseeing, or like to shop, or go trekking, or party all through the night – Gangtok has it all! This backpacking trip will another lifetime experience you can cash out of Sikkim. This trip basically starts from Gangtok but if you are taking a flight to Bagdogra, try finding the Sikkim Jeep Stand in Siliguri so you can travel cheap to Gangtok in shared cab.

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.

Sikkim is beautiful and brimming with awe-inspiring natural wonders. The prominent places to go in Sikkim include Gangtok and Gurudongmar Lake. And while these places are beautiful, they are not the reason Sikkim is in the number one spot.

places to visit in gangtok

Here are the best places to visit in Gangtok:

1. Mahatma Gandhi Marg

Summers in Gangtok are ideal for wandering 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 steamed momos that are easy to get here. Catch up on a book with fresh and hot tea at a cafe or look at the bustling streets from the comfortable cafe.

2. Rumtek Monastery

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.

3. Kyongnosla Alpine Sanctuary

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.

4. Do-drul Chorten

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.

5. Nathula

The first part of this backpacking in exploring the outskirts of Gangtok like Tsongmo Lake, Baba Harbhajan Singh Temple and ofcourse the historical Nathula Pass. From Nathula pass you can see the Indo-china border. This destination is quite popular so try reaching here as earliest as possible as there are limited passes only.

Tsomgo lake is yet another must visit site on your trip to Sikkim. Changu lake is only 40 km from Gangtok. Getting to Tsomgo lake is an adventure in itself. To get to this lake you will need to traverse past a rough and rocky road. And, if you do not wish to drive on your own, you may also haul a cab from Gangtok for a few hundred rupees.

Tsomgo Lake is located at a height of 12,400 feet and is surrounded by spellbinding views of the mighty snow clad Himalayan peaks. 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. This large beautiful lake is considered holy by both Hindus as well as Buddhists and is in pristine condition.

Aside from watching migratory birds you can also enjoy Yak and pony rides at the lake. See if you can do a yak safari in 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 ecotourism division of Sikkim tourism greatly encourages the idea of exploring the vicinity of the picturesque Tsomgo Lake even while riding a yak.

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.

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. On the way, you will meet Dzuluk, which is a village at a height of 10,000 feet.

Visit the Nathula Pass at a height of 14,400 feet and get the mesmeric view of Chomorhali in Bhutan. 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. 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.

6. White Hall

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.

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.

7. Lal Bazar

Quench your shopaholic soul in the Lal Bazar. Also, if you are in Gangtok, explore the Namgyal Institute of Tibetology, here can you can learn all about the Tibetan culture or have a evening walk in the MG Marg Street for shopping.

8. Gangtok Ropeway

Sitting on the high-altitude cable car of Gangtok makes it to the list of top things to do in Sikkim. Get your heart ready for the thrilling cable ride starts from Deorali and takes the visitors to Tashiling. Stroll on the cable car to enjoy magnificent views of Gangtok at the top of the hill. 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.

9. Gangtok Paragliding

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.

Practice paragliding in the village of Baliman Dara or Reshithang or mountain biking in the rugged region surrounding Gangtok.

10. Bakthang Waterfall

Bakthang Falls is one of the several photogenic cascades that dot the main highway 31A. The highway connects the capital city of Sikkim to the valleys of North Sikkim. This lovely terraced falls is located about 10 kilometers north of the city centre.

So, what are you waiting for? Explore the many Sikkim tour packages available to you, and pick the one that is most enticing!
Kalyan Panja