THE SHADOWY PARADISE- SIKKIM
Planning trip to Sikkim? Thinking about what to do and the best thing to do during your trip?
Don’t the worry here is an extensive travel guide to Sikkim about all the main tourist attractions, sightseeing, activities, and food.
Tiny hilly state- Sikkim tucked in the north-eastern state of India, popularly known for Kanchenjunga-the 3rd highest peak on the earth (1st highest in India), it can be visible almost anywhere you stand. Sikkim has the least population in India and is the smallest state of India. It is notable for biodiversity, alpine and subtropical climate.
Travelling to this Himalayan state gives you the best scenery view from thick woodland to colourful meadows to few barren patches to panoramic views of the snow-capped mountains and its quaint villages, pristine scenery. Whether you are looking for a break, extravaganza of natural scenic beauty and seeking days filled with adventure, Sikkim will not leave you disappointed.
BEST TIME TO VISIT SIKKIM.
Sikkim is the beautiful state and every season of this state offers something different to its tourist. As suggested by Sikkim Tourism, the best time to visit Sikkim is either between March and May or October and mid-December. If you want to witness the blooming natural beauty in Gangtok best season to visit would be in spring, from March to May. Autumn, on the other hand, brings a clear view of Himalayan Range. If you want to capture the picturesque view of Himalayan Range, then October to December is the best season to visit Sikkim. During this time you can be part of various festivals like the Maniram Bhanjyang Tourism Festival where you can enjoy local homestays among many other things. You can also be a part of the Cherry Tea Festival as well as the Red Panda Winter Festival. These festivals showcase a different side of Sikkim.
1. April to June
2.July to sep.
3.Oct. to March
10°c - 27°c
PLACES TO VISIT IN EAST SIKKIM.
GANGTOK- the capital of Sikkim. And the largest city of the state. It is a beautiful and mesmerising city with soaring peaks, picturesque views, and fresh air. It has a salubrious climate which makes this place worth spending a vacation in the lap of Mother Nature.
So, here is the must-see tourist attraction in Gangtok.
1. TSOMGO LAKE.
Tsomgo Lake is locally known as Change Lake requires navigating a winding route that goes through the Rocky Mountains and narrow cliffs. It is worth visiting. It is one of the marvellous places to visit in East Sikkim. It is situated at a distance of 38 km from the main town of Gangtok at an altitude of 12,400 ft. this lake can be visited in any season as each season of Gangtok has something beautiful in its self and you’ll always discover something new there.
Location: East of Sikkim, Near Gangtok, Sikkim 737103
Entry Fee: No entry fee
Timings: Open 24 hrs
2. NATHU LA PASS.
The one of the oldest mountain pass in India which overlook the indo-china border, giving you a momentary view of chumbi valley. Situated at an altitude of 14,140 ft, it used to be part of the famous old silk route, the ancient trade route linking India and Tibet.
On a very fine and clear day, the hills of Bhutan’s chomolhari massif rises to say hello to you!!
TIPS: Make sure to visit the world’s highest ATM at Thegu, which falls right on the way to the Pass.
And, as a precautionary measure, do carry a portable oxygen cylinder to battle the threat of altitude sickness, which can turn into a fatal condition at high attitudes if not tended to immediately.
Timings: Open on all days except Monday and Tuesday
Entry Fee: The permit fee is about INR 200 per person.
Location: East of Gangtok, Sikkim 737101
3. HANUMAN TOK.
Hanuman Tok is one of the most revered places to visit in East Sikkim, And to get the best surreal vistas of Himalayan peaks. It is essentially a tribute to the Hindu God Hanuman. The temple is looked after and maintained meticulously by the Indian Army. And you’ll definitely amaze to see the pujari of the temple dressed in the uniform of the Indian Army. If you’re blessed with clear skies, you can also treat yourself to mesmerising views of the surrounding Himalayan massifs, dominated by the magnificent Mt. Kanchenjunga!
Timings: 07:00 AM to 09:00 PM every day
Entry Fee: No entry fee
Location: Gangtok, Sikkim 737103
4. RUMTEK MONASTERY.
It is one of the best largest monasteries in Sikkim and must place to visit during your holidays in Sikkim. It is located at a distance of 23 km from Gangtok and set at a height of 5000 ft. This monastery is surrounded by lush green landscapes. The architect of the building is old ancient Tibetan style, decorated with colourful murals, the monastery houses the Golden Stupa that contains relics and ashes of the sixteenth Karmapa. Tranquil settings of the monastery combined with sounds of enchantments of mantras by the monks reverberate your souls with inner peace and solace during your visit to this divine place.
Timings: 10:00 AM to 05:00 PM
Entry Fee: INR 10 per person
Location: Tsurphu Labrang Pal Karmae Sangha Dhuche, Dharma Chakra Centre, Sikkim 737135
5. BABA HARBHAJAN SINGH TEMPLE.
Cradled by the Nathula Pass and Jelep La Pass on either side, Baba Harbhajan Singh Temple, fondly known as ‘Baba Mandir’ is a posthumous tribute to a brave soldier of the Indian Army. Standing at a height of an astounding 13,123 ft., the temple is famous amongst devotees of Baba, who have confessed to having seen his ’soul’ wandering in the neighbouring mountains. It is believed that he watches over the Indian army at the border, and alerts them against any foreign threats. This memorial is frequented by various tourists and devotees, including army veterans. It is also one of the most interesting East Sikkim Tourist Spots.
Timings: The temple timings are 08:00 AM to 02:30 PM, every day
Entry Fee: No entry fee
Location: Baba Harbhajan Singh Mandir, East Sikkim, Sikkim 737131
6. KYONGNOSLA ALPINE SANCTUARY AND WATERFALLS.
This place is located around the Tsomgo Lake. It is one of the best high altitude scenic wildlife sanctuaries in India. It is the home to some endemic species of Himalayan alpine flowers that include colourful primulas, magnolias, poppies and irises; the Kyongnosla Alpine Sanctuary is also famous for its Red Pandas and Snow Leopards.
The breath-taking ‘Kyongnosla Waterfalls’ in the sanctuary, with the water gushing down from the height of 10, 400 ft., is also a sight to behold.
7. BAN JHAKRI FALLS.
The Ban jhakri falls, Situated amidst a lush green valley at a distance of around 4 km. from Gangtok, the Banjhakri Falls are an enchanting scenic site visited by many tourists. Enclosed within a beautifully landscaped park based on the Shamanistic theme and dotted with sculptures depicting the Jhakri (local Sikkimese) culture, these falls provide a perfect ambience to have a fun-filled day with family.
8. GANGTOK ROPEWAY.
It is one of the most thrilling places to visit in East Sikkim. The ropeway’s dual cables are hoisted at a height of 100 ft. and spans one km. The zig-zag ride begins from the ticket window at Deorali, very close to the Namgyal Institute to Tibetology. The city of Darjeeling unfolds right before your eyes, offering you a bird’s eye view of the sprawling expanses. It is one of the most unmissable experiences in Sikkim. And the ride is must when you visit Sikkim.
Timings: 09:30 AM to 04:30 PM
Entry Fee: INR 110 per person
Location: Deorali, Gangtok, Sikkim
9. ENCHEY MONASTERY.
Another significant Buddhist Monastery and one of the most famous tourist attractions of Gangtok, the Enchey Monastery lies at a distance of just 3 km. from the main city centre. Sights of the spinning prayer wheels, vibrant prayer flags and echoing chants of the monks, all this combined with peaceful surroundings are sure to fill your heart with divinity and spirituality. There is a massive prayer hall, which carries countless images and portraits of various Gods, Goddesses and Tantric murals. One of the most fascinating East Sikkim tourist spots, this magnificent monastery is currently home to about 90 monks!
Timings: 06:00 AM to 04:00 PM every day.
Entry Fee: No entry fee
Location: Gangtok, Sikkim 737117
10. GANESH TOK.
This place is located at a distance of 6 km. from Gangtok, Ganesh Tok is situated on a hilltop and is home to a small temple dedicated to Lord Ganesha. Besides the temple, the place is also considered to be one of the finest points in Gangtok from where you can get the best views of Mt. Kanchenjunga, other Eastern Himalayan peaks and the city of Gangtok.
Timings: 06:00 AM to 07:00 PM
PLACES TO VISIT IN NORTH SIKKIM.
A few of the notable tourist places in North Sikkim are Yumthang Valley, Lachen, Chungthang, Gurudongmar Lake, Zemu Glacier etc. With an interesting bucket list of tourist places, North Sikkim is an ideal getaway whether you are a leisure vacationer, travelling in search of solitude, wish to spend some romantic time with your partner or looking to have a memorable vacation with your family.
1. LACHUNG GOMPA.
The Lachung Gompa is a must-visit during your vacation in north Sikkim. It is situated on a hilltop with a scenic view of Himalayan peaks surrounded with apple and peach orchards, a visit to the Monastery will surely provide you with a feeling of peace and tranquillity.
Tucked beautifully in the scenic beauty of Himalayas, Lachung is one of the most beautiful places to visit in North Sikkim. Replete with a number of stunning mountains, gorgeous waterfalls, colourful orchards, Lachung should be on every traveller’s bucket list in North Sikkim.
The place has something astounding to offer whether you are looking to enjoy some romance, solitude or adventure in the lap of nature’s beauty. Surrounded by incredible scenic beauty, Lachung promises to charm you with memorable memories of this scenic hamlet away from the hustle and bustle of the cities. Attracting thousands of tourists, the exquisite beauty of Lachung is a splendid start to a glorious holiday in Sikkim.
2. YUMTHANG VALLEY.
Yumthang valley is popularly known as “valley of flower”. If you are a nature lover then this valley will surely worth visiting for you. It is a famous tourist attraction having myriad flower and some distinct fauna that will leave speechless, as the lines disappeared this valley starts to mesmerise you with its colourful landscape and scented ambience. Located at a height of 1180 feet above sea level, Yumthang Valley is a pleasing sight to behold with infinite flowerbeds. Offering an unforgettable experience, Yumthang Valley is a place where you can bask in the beauty of nature. Along with visiting Yumthang, one should also visit the village of Lachung to know more about the local culture on your vacation.
3. YUMESAMDONG (ZERO POINT)
One of the most scintillating places to visit in North Sikkim, Yume Samdong is located at a height of 15,300 feet above sea level. With a thrilling drive through some curving roads and rugged terrains, Yume Samdong can be reached in an hour from Yumthang valley. This place is covered with snow throughout the year. If you are fortunate enough you will experience fresh snow even in the month of June after. This place is the major attraction for all the tourists around the world because of snow, as you’ll feel as the whole ground is covered with white blanket throughout the year.
TIPS: This area comes under the Army zone, so before visiting, Please obtain permission.
This valley lies at the distance of 28km from Lachung. Katao valley is blessed with panoramic beauty and is often visited by adventures people wanting to try their hands in activities like skiing, snowboarding, and snow tubing.
TIPS: This area lies under a restricted zone and one need to obtain Army permissions before visiting this place.
5. SEVEN SISTERS WATERFALLS.
As the name suggests, the seven different waterfalls harmoniously arranged sideways on a wide rugged cliff seem distinct if watched from a distance. It becomes a must-see place in Gangtok after rains when the falls come into a fierce life offering an awe-inspiring view. The gurgling water of the fall plunges out of the lush green vegetation plastering the rugged cliffs, falls over the limestone making a thunderous sound whether you are visiting with friends or family, Seven Sisters Waterfall is a delightful retreat to enjoy a prismatic tourist attraction with a day picnic.
The alluring waterfall is most famous for offering a picturesque spot for photography and a charming vista of the sunset Gear up to be overwhelmed by the magnificence of the picturesque setting of Seven Sisters Waterfall when you are in Sikkim. Created by the alignment of seven different waterfalls, this place offers a thrilling getaway in the midst of a kaleidoscopic landscape.
6. CHOPTA VALLEY.
The undiscovered and unexplored chopta valley is very popular among the trekkers. Relining at the altitude of 13200 ft on the chandrashile makes this valley an isolated place. Located on the way to Gurudongmar Lake. This valley is also known as ‘valley of flowers".
This valley offers the tourist with a view of serpentine rivers stream through the valley of alpine and on the other side offers a panoramic view of snow-capped mountains.
The journey towards chopta valley is unforgettable. The northern part of Sikkim as chopta valley offers you last the last patch of green vegetation before the landscape changes into cold dessert.
This place is famous for its biodiversity and it is a blissful small quaint town in the north Sikkim. Chungthang is a quaint little town that is considered very sacred by the locals. Along with the popular legend of Buddhist saint Guru Padmasambhava blessing the town, Chunghtang is also famous as the place where Guru Nanak Dev stopped on his way to Tibet and China.
Associated with a number of legends, Chungthang is also considered to be the place where the word Demaong that literally translates to The hidden valley of rice initiated in Sikkim. It is surprising to see that that there is a rock with Guru Padmasambhava’s footprints and it has a small opening from where the water seeps through continuously. Most of the locals believe that it is a miracle with paddy being grown in such harsh climatic conditions that Chungthang is known for in the winters.
One of the extravaganza tourist places in North Sikkim. Mt Katao is a spectacular peak that should not be missed on your Sikkim vacation. However, to enter this area, a permit is required from the army since the place where Mt Katao is located at a military base.
Tourists can witness this captive sight and be mesmerised by the stunning landscape. A delight for the adventure seekers, Mt. Katao is famous for enjoying activities like skiing, snowboarding, snow tubing and stone grinding. The picturesque setting of Mt. Katao is replete with snow-covered mountains and a thundering waterfall. The landscape is enhanced by the gorgeous cover of colourful flora like poppy, primula and rhododendron. With a height of 15000 feet, Mt. Katao the surreal landscape of Mt. Katao makes for a superb tourist place to visit with your loved ones.
This amazing place is situated at an elevation of 15000 feet and remains covered in snow almost throughout the year. There is a zero point situated nearby which provides some spectacular views.
3. THANGU VALLEY.
Gear up yourself for an adventurous trip with a visit to Thangu valley. Thangu Valley is located at an altitude of about 13000 feet and about 30 kilometres north of Lachen. Since it is located at a high altitude, the place remains snow-covered for most of the time.
The tranquil and serene valley of Thangu looks like a carpet of flowers during the months of May and June. The whole landscape turns into a valley of snow from the months of October till March. Thangu Valley is an idyllic holiday destination to enjoy time with your loved ones.
PLACES TO VISIT IN WEST SIKKIM.
Pelling is a place from where you can witness the snow-covered mountain peaks of Kanchenjunga. This tiny hamlet is located in the west of Sikkim at a distance of 115km from Gangtok. Peaceful environment and blissful nature of this tiny town attract thousands of tourists every year across the country.
Following are some of the major tourist attractions of Pelling.
2. Khecheopalri Lake
3. Rabadantse Ruins
4. Singshore Bridge
5. Dentam Valley
People seeking extreme quiet and solitude, Yuksom is the perfect destination for them. This blissful place offers a tranquil environment, fresh air and picturesque view. Apart from the scenic views, this place offers a plethora of trekking options.
Here are some of the major tourist attractions in Yuksom.
1. Dubdi Monastery
2. Tashiding Monastery
3. Kanchenjunga National Park
4. Norbugang Park
PLACES TO VISIT IN SOUTH SIKKIM.
Nearly 80 km. from Gangtok, Namchi is a tiny settlement in South of Sikkim that commands awe-inspiring views of Darjeeling and Kalimpong in West Bengal. Namchi is gradually taking up as a major tourist destination in Sikkim with some of its following tourist attractions.
1. Samdruptse Hill
2. Solophok Chardham
3. Temi Tea Estate
Ravngla is known for its atmosphere and magnificent beauty. Peaceful villages, snow-clad mountains, gushing waterfalls and fresh mountains air. Ravangla attracts lots of tourists to have relaxing holidays in Sikkim.
Following are some of the best sightseeing options in Ravangla
1. Ralang Monastery
2. Buddha Park
3. Ralong Hot Springs.
WHAT ACTIVITIES TO DO IN SIKKIM?
Apart from sightseeing, Sikkim is an ideal place to indulge you in some adventure fun, thrill and excitement. With its plethora of adventure activities listed below, you can choose the one that suits you best according to your interest.
2. River rafting.
3. Hang Gliding and Paragliding.
4. Mountain biking.
5. Yak safari.
WHAT TO EAT?
Food is an important aspect and an integral part of any trip to any part of the world. Here are some must-try traditional and local food delicacies of Sikkim.
1. Momos – Momos are steamed dumplings made of wheat flour stuffed with minced meat, cheese and vegetables. Served with a spicy sauce and piping hot soup, momos have made their mark in menus of roadside shacks to expensive restaurants not only in Sikkim but in different parts of the country.
2. Thupka – It is a soup comprising of noodles, vegetables and meat, made in traditional Tibetan style.
3. Kinema Curry – A curry made of fermented soybean served with rice.
4. Gundruk and Sinki Soup – A special soup made of fermented vegetables (radish, cauliflower and mustard leaves) which are then sundried and used in soups and curries.
5. Sel Roti – A special kind of round spiralled shaped Nepalese bread made of fermented rice batter and deep-fried. The roti is served with potato or meat curry.
6. Mesu – Mesu is the fermented bamboo shoot that is used to make curries, soups and pickles.
7. Pakku – Mutton curry made in Nepalese style and served with rice.
8.Sishnu – Traditional soup made with nettle leaves.
1. Since most of the touristy areas in Sikkim lie in restricted zones, it is advisable to check for the permits needed to visit these areas. You may require permissions from the tourism department, forest department and Army authorities depending on the type of area you plan to visit; apply for the permits well in advance.
2. Respect cultural traditions and customs while visiting monasteries or temples. Follow rules there.
3. The weather remains cool throughout the year so, it is always recommended to carry proper woollens clothes.
4. For adventure activities, always consider a licensed tour operator who provides you with all the necessary safety gears and equipment.
5. Respect cleanliness while visiting parks, wildlife sanctuaries and national parks.
6. For activities like trekking and mountain biking, it is always advisable to do it as part of groups rather than individually.
Hope the above travel guide helps you plan a comfortable and memorable holiday in Sikkim. For any more information or for any suggestions, you can always write to us through this blog. If you are still reading, I'd like to say thanks for coming to my blog and staying here until the end of this article. I appreciate if you find this blog post helpful, please share it, pin it or share it and follow me on Instagram.