Situated amidst the eastern Himalayas – is the attractive city of Gangtok, which is also the capital city of the state of Sikkim. At the onset of the 1980s, Gangtok began to gain importance as a Buddhist pilgrimage site. Gangtok has now become one of the biggest tourist attractions in the whole of northeastern India owing to its serene natural beauty and religious significance and beliefs.
You will find yourself lost in the magical collage of stunning landscapes, snow-capped mountains, pristine lakes, and bewitching valleys that collectively form the picturesque city of Gangtok. The city is so vast and has a plethora of places and activities that eagerly await you. We would recommend you spare at least ten good days to explore the best destinations in and around the city.
If you are planning on visiting Gangtok, we suggest you visit between October and December for a clearer view of the Himalayas. However, narrowing down to the list of the top five places in Gangtok that are a must-visit.
It is a tough task, so here we have compiled a brief list of the few places in Gangtok you cannot afford to miss.
Belonging to the Kagyu section of the Buddhist community who began to live in Tibet around the 12th century, the Rumtek monastery can surely be referred to as one of the most popular attractions for tourists in Sikkim. The style of the monastery bears a clear resemblance to the original structure that is located in Tsurphu, Tibet. You can visit this monastery, located in the Dharma Chakra center, between the hours of 10 am and 5 pm in the winter and 8 am and 5 pm in the summer. Make sure not to miss this majestic monastery off your Gangtok tour that lies at a mere distance of 34 kilometers from the airport.
Towering at a staggering altitude of 14450 ft, Nathu-La passes through the scenic Tsomgo Lake and is one of the most important places in Gangtok. A prime corridor of the passage that lies between India and Tibet, Nathula Pass is the world’s highest motorable road at a breathtaking 4310 meters. However, entry to this area is restricted, and hence travelers need to obtain an entry permit from the zonal office to visit this awe-inspiring destination. The tourists would get to take a stroll along the international borders and also get a glimpse of the Chinese soldiers in action at the Nathula Pass.
At a stunning elevation of 12400 ft, Tsomgo lake, commonly known as Changu Lake, is located off the Gangtok Nathula highway on the steep route called the Jawaharlal Nehru Road. This glacial beauty in the hills of Sikkim offers a glimpse of the turquoise waters with a magical backdrop and a peaceful environment. Take a step back from the city lights and stroll along the river in the winter. Ride on yaks and mules, and try on ice skating at the lake Tsomgo. The hospitality, as well as the beauty offered at this place, will amaze you.
Resting at a staggering elevation of 7500 ft above sea level, Hanuman Tok is immensely popular for offering breathtaking vistas of the Khangchendzonga from Gangtok. The spirituality of the place, as well as its calmness, draws a large number of tourists. Take a stroll around the temple and feel lost in the serenity and peace that is offered at this temple. Between the hours of 7 a.m. and 5 p.m., you will get to witness the simplicity of life and the beauty that attracts hundreds of devotees and tourists each year.
Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve.
One of the most beautiful vistas you will ever see in your life boasts diverse flora and fauna of all species, including those that have been extinct for decades as well as those that might go extinct in the coming years. Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve stretches to a vast expanse of 850 sq m and is one of the few reserves that tower that high. With a sheer devotion to the lives of all species, Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve also boasts Himalayan tahr, snow leopards, and musk deer at regularly priced tickets without any surges in the fees.