Gangtok, Sikkim’s modern capital, is situated above the sea level at the height of 5,500 ft. The
city is layered along the mountain ridges, dropping down the hillside in steep tiers. This city is
connected to its religious, cultural, and commercial activities. The city is also known for learning
Buddhism and a huge number of places to visit in Gangtok.
Apart from the calmness of the mountain, Gangtok also has other things to let you enjoy the
place and have a nice vacation for yourself. You can visit a few nearby places for sightseeing like
Ranka monastery, banjhakri falls and enery park, bakthang waterfall, Tashi View Point, Nathu La Pass, Hanuman Tok, Rumtek Monastery, Seven Sister Waterfall, and more. Go for cable rides, enjoy the chill weather, shop some fashionable clothes as Gangtok offers you the most fashionable and cheap woolen clothes, and relish their delicious local food at night before going back to your hotel room.
Gangtok is a place that sits beautifully in the lap of the Himalayas and let you watch the ranges of Kanchenjunga. When you watch the third highest mountain range in the world, from a distance it feels like the peaks are covered in a white shroud.Sangita Mukherjee (Author)
Best Time to Visit places in GangtokGANGTOK WEATHER
The climate of Gangtok is appealing and refreshing. Most of the time the temperature is around
is 22° C in Gangtok. The summers are of average temperature and winters are cold in Gangtok.
You can visit Gangtok all over the year but the best time of visit Gangtok is September to October or March to June.
Culture of Gangtok
Gangtok is surrounded by most Nepali people including the Tibetans, Bhutias. and Lepchas.
The city has got a mixed culture in its nature because of the different communities in the city.
The most followed religion in Gangtok is Buddhism. The festival that they celebrate is Sankranti,
Maghe and Ram Navami. The people in Gangtok are warm and loving, you will enjoy their
company while you explore the city with local cab drivers.
It will be great to research and read a bit about the culture, climate and people before visiting
any place. This will make you more inquisitive to visit and enjoy the place to its fullest.
How to Reach Gangtok
Gangtok is connected with rest of India via National highway 31A that connects to Siliguri in
West Bengal. You should know that Gangtok has no Railway station or Airport. The nearest Railway station is New Jalpaiguri in Siliguri and the nearest airport is Pakyong, which is 30
kilometers from Gangtok.
Gangtok by Air
There are two airports- Bagdogra Airport and Pakyong Airport nearest to Gangtok, if you plan to
go by air then these two options will be best for you. From the airport, there are local taxis that
you can take to Gangtok.
Gangtok by Train
If you want to travel by train then you have to go to New Jalpaiguri from there can get local taxis, cabs which you can book to go from the station to Gangtok.
Gangtok by Road
Planning a road trip? Gangtok is easily accessible via roadways. A road trip to Gangtok will refresh your mind, The sleek roads, the curvy ends, and the greenery will blow your mind. The clouds covering the roads ahead of you will mesmerize you. The road to Gangtok will lead you to heaven on Earth.
Best and most recommended Places to Visit in Gangtok
You should plan a trip to Gangtok for 2-3 days, it will be sufficient for sightseeing. If you are
planning a long vacation then I must tell you, you should also extend your trip by visiting some
places around Gangtok, like in North Sikkim you can cover Gurudongmar Lake, Lachung and
Lachen, Yumthang Valley, Chungthang, Chopta Valley, Mt Katao.
In South Sikkim, you can cover Namchi, Ravangla, Borong, Statue of Guru Rinpoche, Tendong Hill, Temi Tea Garden, Ralang Monastery, Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary. In East Sikkim, you can visit Zuluk, Nathang Valley, Pakyong, Kupup. In West Sikkim, you can visit Pelling, Yuksom, Khangchendzonga National Park, Geyzing, Tshoka, and many more.
Sikkim is a pretty big place you won’t be able to cover the entire Sikkim in one trip. 6 days and 5 nights in North Sikkim will cost you approximately 15000 per person.
Have a look at some craziest things that you can do in Gangtok:
Banjhakri Falls and energy park – Devour your Fantasies
Visiting Banjhakri Falls and energy park is breathtaking, it is one of the most magical and refreshing waterfalls and must in places to visit in gangtok. You can see the marvels of Mother Nature, the sounds of water falling on the ground and following in a stream are overwhelming. The greenery that surrounds the gushing waterfall gives you a feeling that you are in a dream destination.
Banjhakri Fall is around 100 ft. long. The manmade lake, a park that is themed on the Shaman Culture shows the Sikkimese architecture and gazebos. This waterfall is situated 7 km from Gangtok town. You can book a cab from the taxi stand or a booking agency to reach banjhakri falls and energy park.
You can visit the Banjhakri falls and energy park while you are visiting Ranka Monastery. The Shaman park is also known as Energy Park. You can visit this park, go paddle boating in the manmade lake. It will be great to visit this place in the morning around 10 am, then move on to the Ranka monastery in the evening by 4 pm.
You will find the ticket counter at the main gate and beside it, there is a car parking area. At one
side of the car park, there is a café and a gift shop. Location link for Banjhakri falls and energy park.
Timings: 8 am – 6 pm
Charges: INR 50 entry fee
Ranka Monastery – Feel the Essence of Spirituality
Ranka monastery is surrounded by mountains and greenery. It is an ideal place to visit in the evening when the sun is setting down. The gleam in sunlight that falls over the ranka monastery is worth watching. Evenings are mostly chilly in Gangtok, with the sunset and the chilly wind will help you to relax your mind and will fulfill the purpose of your vacation.
This monastery has a great series of prayer wheels, a huge courtyard, and a phenomenal pagodatop. The ranka monastery will bring out the essence of spirituality and tranquillity in yourself. The terrace outside the prayer hall will give you an enthralling view of the mountains and the sun setting and spreading orange, yellow, and red hues all over the sky before your eyes.
Timings: 6 am – 6 pm
When you arise in the morning think of what a privilege it is to be alive, to think, to enjoy, and to
Bakthang Waterfall – The Source of Water
Bakthang waterfall is situated in the North Sikkim Highway, in Gangtok, it is a 5 km ride from Gangtok SNT Bus Station. On the way to your sightseeing of Tashi View Point, you can visit
this waterfall. This waterfall is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Gangtok.
This waterfall originates from Ratey Chu, the main source of water in the Gangtok area. The
water cascades down from the steep rock and forms a small pool down below. The height of
the waterfall is not much as compared to Banjhakri Falls but, the waterfall is as astonishing as Banjhakri Falls making it one of the important places to visit in Gangtok. You can click nice photographs for your #traveldairies.
If you love adventure activities you can also enjoy some Rope Sliding, where you will get the bird’s eye view of the region. Though it is a very short slide but still a thrilling adventure.
Timings: 10 am – 4 pm
Charges: Rope Sliding- INR 100 per person
Nathu La Pass – Beauty at its Best
Nathu la Pass is at an altitude of 4300 m, in the Eastern Himalayas in Sikkim. It is located almost
56 kms from Gangtok town and one of the must-visit places in Northeast. It acts as one of the borders between India and China, which works as the trade link between both counties. The highest mountain pass which tourists can access through motorable road is Nathu La Pass which gets it into the list of places to visit in Gangtok. This place has also got a historical touch because through this place, the ancient silk route used to function until 1962.
From the international border, you can see the Chinese soldiers on the other side of the barbed
wire. You can also see our Indian soldiers guarding the border. The check posts are marked by
the Border Gates of India and China. It is an Exhibition Centre of the Indian Army and a war
The road to Nathu La Pass is a treat to eyes, surrounded by alpine flora. On a clear day, the road winding down the Chumbi valley can be seen. The blue and beautiful Tsomgo Lake also known as (Changu Lake) can also be seen from Nathu La Pass. From Nathu La Pass, Mt. Chomolhari can be seen on a clear day and the view is breathtaking. You can also visit Baba Mandir, Mandakini Waterfalls, and Mera Bharat Mahan Hill. Do not miss to sip a hot cup of Tea near Changu Lake, watching yaks!
Usually, on Mondays and Tuesdays, the Nathu La Pass stays closed for the tourists. It will be
great if you leave for Nathu La Pass early in the morning as it closes by 1:30 pm. You
can book a cab from a verified travel agency who will also help you to get a permit to visit
Nathu La Pass.
To visit Nathu La Pass you will need a permit from the Sikkim government. You can get a permit by applying to the Civil Aviation and Tourism Department. You can apply for the permit through a
registered travel agency. You will have to carry your valid ID proof and two passport size photographs. Only Indians who hold a valid permit can visit Nathu La Pass. The permit cost is
INR 200 per person for Nathu La Pass.
Note: Children below 5 years of age are not permitted by the government because of the high
altitude oxygen levels and thin air level. And you should also know Aaadhar card is no longer
accepted by the Sikkim government to issue permit pass.
Timings: The pass closes by 1:30 pm, so you should visit Nathu La Pass before 1:30 pm.
Charges: INR 200 per person
Himalayan Zoological Park – The Wild Side of Gangtok
Gangtok has one of the most stunning Zoological Park, sitting in Bulbulay, at an altitude of 1780
meters. To all the wildlife and animal lovers, this zoological park will be a great visit. This Park
isn’t just renowned for the animals it houses, you can also set eyes on the radiant perspectives of the great Kanchenjunga range.
The Himalayan Zoological Park was established in the year 1991 and it is no different from all the
other zoological parks that you have seen. You can see Himalayan red panda, snow leopard cat, goral, Himalayan black bear, crimson-horned pheasant, Himalayan monal pheasant, and such other animals and hence this is a not to miss places to visit in Gangtok for animal lovers.
Timings: 9 am – 4 pm
Charges: INR 25 for Indians, INR 50 for Foreign Nationals
Paragliding – Get a Skyscraper View
Imagine yourself to be flying over the mountains and clouds, you can feel the chill in your
bones, your body shivering from the cold, yet you have excitement in your eyes, being thrilled
from the view before your eyes. Isn’t it an amazing feeling? Yes, it is and you can feel this while paragliding, a must-try sport when you are in Gangtok, Sikkim.
You don’t have to be pro to go for paragliding, there are many operators and all of them provide complete safety. There will be a certified pilot who will accompany you, they will take care of the entire flight and navigation.
Timings: 9 am – 4 pm
Location: Baliman Dara – For Medium Fly (1400 m altitude, 5-10 mins) and Reshithang Village
for High Fly (2200 m altitude, 20-30 mins)
Charges: Between INR 2000 and 5000 (depends on operator to operator)
There are many more palaces to visit in Gangtok, which will be as enthusiastic and as pretty
as a picture. All the above including – M.G. Marg, Tashi View Point, Hanuman Tok, Rumtek
Monastery, Seven Sister Waterfall. And don’t forget to free your spirit by doing River Rafting,
Mountain Biking, and Cable Ride.
Some Shopping Tips
When you visit Gangtok your attention will be captured by handcrafted stuff which includes –
durries and carpets, Lepcha weave bags, clothes, furniture. The exclusive designs with delicate
creativity and other handloom and handcrafted items will grab your attention quickly. The
famous M.G. Marg Mall road is known for shopping the best in Gangtok.
However, the shops on M.G. Marg are a bit costly. So, a little tip to all the shopaholics out there,
you can shop at Lal Bazar Market that is located behind the M.G. Marg road where you get better rates. There are other markets as well – the old market and the new market. If you love handcrafted traditional stuff then Gangtok is the best place for you to shop.
Nightlife in Gangtok
Hills are mostly quiet at night. Traveling on mountain roads is dangerous at night and you will miss the beautiful views after the sunset. Gangtok is also known for pubs, bars, DJ nights, events and gigs, which mostly attract the youth. You can go to Lee’s Lounge, Bantawa (live bands), and Arthur’s Blur, along with Homeground (sports bar/club). Other than Tara Complex,
you can also head to Downtown, The Square, and Tashi Delek Hotel to relish the nightlife.
Must-try Street Foods in Gangtok
Experience the best Tibetan foods when you are in Gangtok. For the foodies visiting Gangtok,
some of the food items that you must try are Phagshapa, Thenthuk, Churrpi, Thukpa, Sel Roti,
Momos, Sha Phaley, Shimi Ko Achar, Gundruk, and Chhaang (millet beer) which are traditional Nepali Food.
If you want to taste some traditionally cooked food you can visit some of the local people. You should try Baker’s Café one of the most famous cafés in Gangtok. There are some more food joints and cafes which you must try are – cabin café, the travel café, the local café, Nimtho, taste of Tibet.
Gangtok is a destination that will bring peace to your mind. When you go up the road to
your destination the mountain will surround you. Roll down the glass of your car, let the chilled
breeze touch your face; believe me, it will feel like you are doing meditation. The greenery and
curvy roads will fill your heart with joy. And don’t forget to free your spirit by doing River
Rafting, Mountain Biking, and Cable Riding.
If you are planning a trip to North Sikkim, make sure that you include all the above places on
your itinerary to make your trip successful. Above are all the best things that you can experience when you visit Gangtok – Northeastern Beauty.