Sikkim is one of the most favorite tourist destinations of India among tourists and travel enthusiasts. Because of its beauty and habitation in Himalayas, it provides a lot of diverse tourist destinations. The picturesque landscapes of Himalayas may fulfill your enthusiasm or may increase your desire of travelling vigorously.
Sikkim has distinguished biodiversity, lakes, rivers, valleys and mountain peaks etc. It also hosts Mt. Kanchenjunga which rises to 8,586 m or 28,169 feet from the sea level. It is the 2nd highest Mountain peak of India after K2 Mountain and third highest mountain peak on the Earth.
The Gangtok is considered to be a base for hikers and trekkers for going through Sikkim’s Himalayan mountain ranges. So fuel your craving of travelling or wanderlust by picking some tourist destinations of Sikkim for your next trip to the nature. Prepare your favorite bucket list from a variety of very well-known to some hidden jewels of Sikkim.
There are 3 different sectors or set of tourist places to visit in single journey of one week. If you want to visit all the places of Sikkim then you have to take at least 2 or 3 visits or one visit of 2-3 weeks.
1st Set: Gangtok (MG Market), Sikkim Himalayan Zoological Park, Ganesh Tok, Hanuman Tok, Tsomgo Lake, Nathula Pass, Baba Harbhajan Singh Temple, Rumtek Monastery, Do DrulChorten, Enchey Monastery, Jawaharlal Nehru Botanical Garden, Namgyal Institute of Tibetology, Bakthang Waterfall, Ridge Flower Park, Banjhakri Falls and Energy Park
2nd Set: Lachung, Lachen, Zero Point,Yumthang Valley, Gurudongmar Lake, TsoLhamo, Thangu valley, Mangan, Phodong Monastery, Teesta River.
3rd Set: Pelling, Ravangla, Namchi, Tendong Hilltop, Zuluk, Aritar, Yuksom, Geyzing, Biksthang, Pemayangtse Monastery, Khecheopalri Lake, Singshore Bridge, Rabdentse Ruins, Kanchenjunga Falls, Kanchenjunga National Park, Goecha LaTrek, Zemu Glacier.
You can club Kalimpong, Darjeeling of West Bengal or Thimphu, Bhutan to make it large.
Best time to visit:
April to June or September to October
The best time to visit Sikkim starts through from April to June and September to October as the weather is pleasant and temperature ranges from 28-30 degree Celsius.
The monsoon months i.e. July and August are not considered very well for travelling because of heavy rain and landslides etc.
The weather during the winters i.e. from November to March is very harsh with temperature drops to subzero in some parts of Sikkim.
Day 1: Reach to Gangtok and take rest in your hotel.
How to reach Gangtok, Sikkim:
The Bagdogra Airport, Siliguri, West Bengal is the nearest airport which is about 122 kms away from the capital of Sikkim i.e. Gangtok. The private taxi may charge around INR 2500-3500 from Bagdogra Airport to Gangtok.
The Pakyong Airport, Sikkim is just 28 KM away from Gangtok. SpiceJet is the only airline which operates its flights from Kolkata and Guwahati under Government’s UDAN Regional Connectivity Scheme.
The New Jalpaiguriis the nearest Railway Station which is about 120 kms from Gangtok. It is well connected with major cities of the country like Delhi, Kolkata and Guwahati.
There are regular bus services from Bagdograor Siliguri or New Jalpaigurito Gangtok which almost take 4 hours to reach there.
Where to stay:
There are several high-range, mid-range and Budget hotels available in the Gangtok which can be chosen according to the need and budget. Always consider your priorities like distance from the main market or tourist attractions, serene and calm environment or great landscapes or from the hotel you may see Mount Kanchenjunga Peaks.
The Government Circuit House, CPWD Guest house and State Guest House are also available which can be booked as per their procedure.
Important Suggestion: Decide your itinerary in advance because you have to take inner-line permit from the concerned authorities for visiting some important places in Sikkim. Accordingly, after reaching to Gangtok, talk to the Hotel Management Staff or your travel agent about your plan or go to Sikkim Tourist Centre, located at MG Road, for inner-line permit. The issuance of permit may take, atleast, a day. Photo identity proof and two passport size photos are required to get the permit.
What to see in Lachen, Lachung, Yumthang & Gangtok:
Here I am discussing tourist places mentioned in 2nd set, only:
Gangtok & Nearby
TsoLhamo or Cholamu Lake
Zero Point or Yumesodong
Gangtok & Nearby
Read full article to visit Gangtok and nearby places: Gangtok – a quick travel guide.
From Gangtok to Lachen:
Lachen is situated at a distance of 120 Km from the Gangtok which can be reached easily by visiting Phodong Monastery and Mangan, hill station.
Situated in the Phodong village at a distance of 28 km from Gangtok. It provides and insight into Sikkim’s glorious past. It offers picturesque view of the city. It is famous for ancient murals and beautiful paintings.
Mangan is the capital of the district of North Sikkim. It offers beautiful sightseeing spots. It also serves as a transit point to other parts of the state like Lachen, Lachung and Yumthang. You can go for trekking, hiking, rock climbing and can explore untouched nearby areas with the help of a travel guide. If you want to go alone then take only known or designated trekking routes. If you are planning for December, you may have a great experience and enjoy a three-day music festival.
The name Lachen means “big pass”. Lachen has its unique form of local self-governance called the “Dzumsa”.The heads of the Dzumsa are known as PiponandGyenbos. Every household is a member of this traditional administrative system; this institution is in charge of governing and organizing activities within the village.
Lachen valley has almost everything to fulfill wishes of a traveler i.e. land of fairs and festivals, snow-clad mountains, lakes, valley of flora, fauna and a vibrant local culture.Visit to the Lachen monastery and the women’s handicraft centre to view weaving of traditional blankets and carpets.
A day tour can be under taken from Lachen to Gurudongmar Lake and Cho Lhamu Lake. One can also stay overnight at Thangu which is 30 km away from Lachen. A short two day long trekking route also connects the Yumthang Valley to Lachen.
From Lachen to Thangu:
Thangu is about 30 kilometers from Lachen & located at an altitude of 13000 ft from the sea level. Since its location it remains covered in thick snow from the month of October to March. It is very popular among tourist who visits Gurudongmer Lake. Witness the natural beauty turning entire area into a collage of numerous shades with the commencement of the blossoming season from the month of May.The Thangu valley will hypnotize you with its breathtaking colourful views and scenery.
It is flowing calmly through the Thangu valley offer fantastic views. This area is mostly inhabited by the Nomadic tribes but a number of streams, rivulets, natural beauty and great landscapes make this place to be trekked. The routes from Thangu to Chopta Valley and Muguthang Valley are good to explore the area.
From Thangu to Gurudongmar Lake & Tso Lhamo:
It is one of the highest lakes in the world, located in a high plateau area of Sikkim. This beautiful lake is located at an altitude of 17,800 ft. Naturally fed by the glaciers, it is considered sacred by three religions i.e. Hindus, Sikhs and Buddhists.
From the months of November to April, the lake is totally frozen. But one of its portion blessed by Guru Padmasambhava never freezes. No matter, how extreme the weather is and thus its water is considered holy by the devotees.Views of snow covered mountain and landscapes reflecting in the water are spectacular.
Tso Lhamo or Cholamu Lake
The one of the highest lakes in the world and it is a wonder of Sikkim. It is located at a height of 18,000 feet above the sea level. To get a glimpse of this almost frozen lake, you have go for a difficult Trek but worth every breath. The surreal reflection of the mighty Himalayas in the turquoise blue waters of the lake may be an appealing reward. Because of the difficult Trek, you may go with your friends and visit Gurudongmer Lake with family instead. It is quite famous among tourists but needs a special permit to enter the zone.
From Lachen to Lachung:
Lachung, a hill station, located at an elevation of about 9,600 feet at the confluence of the Lachen and Lachung Rivers, both tributaries of the River Teesta. The word Lachung means “small pass”. It is approximately 125 Kms from Gangtok. It is also the base camp for Rhododendron Valley Trek which starts from Yumthang Valley and ends at Lachen Valley. Skiing is conducted in Phuni near the town. British explorer Joseph Dalton Hooker had described it as the “most picturesque village of Sikkim” in The Himalayan Journal (1855).
From Lachung to Yumthang:
The Yumthang Valley is known as the Sikkim Valley of Flowers sanctuary. It is a nature sanctuary with river, hot springs, meadows,home to several exotic, rare and wild flowers. It is at an elevation of 11,693 ft above the sea level and located at a distance of 150 Kms from the Gangtok.
A white wonderland of winter turns its colour in spring when the entire valley blooms at its best. The Primrose, cobra-lilies, louseworts and cinquefoils blossoms and displays the most enchanting colours of the nature.The valley comes alive with different colours and making it like an artist’s canvas.
The best time to visit the Yumthang Valley is from April end to mid-June to witness the flowering season.
Zero Point or Yume Samdong or Yumesodong
Situated at an altitude of 15,300 ft above sea level, it is a last point near International Border where three rivers meet amidst a panoramic view of snow-clad mountains and picturesque landscapes. Because of its location near International border between India and China, visitors need special permit to reach here.
You can reach here in 1.5 hours from Yumthang Valley and 3 to 3.5 hours from Lachung. Enjoy the picturesque surroundings, snowy valleys and azure skies. Spot yaks in their natural habitat because this part is mostly covered in thick snow after October to March. So make a worth rewarding visit here.
Return to Home via Gangtok
Must Read: Gangtok – a quick travel guide to visit Gangtok and nearby places.
Must Read: From Gangtok to Kanchenjunga National Park to visit Gangtok and Kanchenjunga National Park.