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Winters are approaching and it is time to plan your next family vacation. If you are looking out for tourist destinations that are in full bloom during winter, you must consider Sikkim tour packages. Sikkim during winter is no less than a wonderland, with picturesque attractions, snow clad mountains, and acres of wilderness. This is a great place to drench yourself in pretty snowflakes and weave some beautiful memories with your loved ones.

If you have decided to visit Sikkim this winter, make your first stop at the state capital – Gangtok. 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!

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.

places to visit in gangtok

Here are the best places to visit in Gangtok:

1. MG Road

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 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. Deorali Orchid 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. Mangan

The capital of North Sikkim, Mangan is a lazy town that attracts visitors looking for a luxurious place to enjoy while in Sikkim. This is a high-end destination that fortunately doesn’t mandate any kind of special permits. This beautiful place is the gateway to many other hidden havens in the state such as Lachen, Lachung, Katao, Yumthang and Chungthang.

For a truly marvelous experience here, plan your visit to make it to the three-day music festival held every year. You can enjoy live music from bands all over northeast India. Prepare to be enamoured by natural beauty all around you.

6. Tsomgo Lake

Tsomgo lake is yet another must visit site on your trip to Sikkim. This large beautiful lake is considered holy by both Hindus as well as Buddhists and is in pristine condition. To get to this lake you will need to traverse past a rough and rocky road. Getting to Tsomgo lake is an adventure in itself. And, if you do not wish to drive on your own, you may also haul a cab from Gangtok for a few hundred rupees. Aside from watching migratory birds you can also enjoy Yak and pony rides at the 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.

7. Green Lake

North Sikkim is a magical escape for travelers who want to get away from the usual tourist spots. With majestic mountain ranges, stunning lakes, and lush green meadows, it is a haven for those who want to enjoy nature in all its glory. Nestled in Lachen, Green Lake is one of the best-hidden places in the state, and you should not miss visiting it.

You can go on an enthralling trek and revel in the glory of the high mountains. Challenge the rough trails, hike through the fascinating slopes, and scale the heights of the hills and finally feast your eyes on the otherworldly lake as a reward for your efforts.

8. Yumthang Valley

This stunning spot in Sikkim is also known as the 'Valley of Flowers' and can be visited only during a certain time of the year between April and November. Seated at a height of 3,564 m above sea level, Yumthang Valley is guarded by the majestic Himalayas. While you are here, be sure to stop at the Shingba Rhododendron Sanctuary - a wonderful place for botanists, ecologists and nature lovers.

Although it is located about 150 km from Gangtok, you need to travel for nearly two days to reach this pretty valley because visibility drops from early evening due to heavy fog.

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.

9. 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.

10. Zero Point

Wrapped in a blanket of snow, Zero Point, also known as Yumesamdong, is the last outpost in Sikkim. Situated roughly 15,300 ft above sea level, this is a place that takes your breath away and makes you forget all your worries. Only Indian nationals are allowed to visit Zero Point, and only after obtaining a Protected Area Permit from the District Administrative Center at the Gangtok Tourism Office, Sub-Divisional Magistrate Office, or Mangan.

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.

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 Kalyan Panja Author

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