Explore Gangtok: Top Things to Do in Sikkim

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Nestled amidst breathtaking mountain vistas in West Sikkim, Gangtok is a destination that will leave you spellbound. Whether you’re trekking through the Nathula Pass or starting your journey from New Jalpaiguri, Gangtok offers unparalleled beauty and adventure.

As you explore the vibrant city of Gangtok, you’ll come across stunning views of the town and Buddhist monasteries that exude tranquility and spirituality, attracting tourists.

Immerse yourself in the vibrant energy of Gangtok, a bustling town with a population that offers breathtaking views as you wander through its streets.

This gateway to adventure in Gangtok, the capital city of the state, allows you to witness stunning landscapes around the lake and experience an exhilarating journey like no other, with the opportunity to visit a nearby monastery.

Prepare yourself for awe-inspiring views of Gangtok, cultural immersion in the monastery, and an adventure that will stay with you forever at the lake in this state.

Best Time to Visit Gangtok

Ideal time is from March to May and October to December

These periods in the state of Gangtok offer the most favorable weather conditions and a plethora of exciting experiences, including visits to the lake and monastery.

Spring offers pleasant weather and blooming flowers

Imagine strolling through lush gardens adorned with rhododendrons, orchids, and other exotic flora in Gangtok, the capital city of the state of Sikkim.

During spring, make sure to visit places like Enchey Monastery and Tashi Viewpoint in Gangtok, the capital city of the state of Sikkim, for panoramic views of the surrounding mountains covered in a soft haze.

Autumn brings clear skies and breathtaking views of Kanchenjunga peak

From October to December, as summer transitions into winter, nature paints a picture-perfect landscape in Gangtok that will leave you awe-inspired. The mesmerizing views of the monastery add to the breathtaking beauty of this season.

Capture these breathtaking moments from vantage points like Ganesh Tok or Hanuman Tok in Gangtok. Don’t miss the chance to visit the stunning monasteries in Gangtok as well.

Autumn in Gangtok also offers opportunities for adventurous activities such as paragliding or river rafting near the monastery in Teesta River.

Winter is perfect for snow lovers and adventure activities like skiing

From December to February, Gangtok, this charming city transforms into a winter wonderland, attracting snow lovers and monastery enthusiasts from far and wide.

Head to Gangtok and visit Tsomgo Lake or Nathula Pass for an unforgettable experience amidst the snowy landscapes near the monastery.

Visit Rumtek Monastery or Do Drul Chorten in Gangtok to immerse yourself in the spiritual side of this vibrant city.

Top Attractions and Activities in Gangtok

Explore Rumtek Monastery, a Buddhist Pilgrimage Site

As one of the largest monasteries in Gangtok, Sikkim, it offers a serene and tranquil atmosphere that attracts both locals and tourists alike.

Upon entering Rumtek Monastery in Gangtok, you will be greeted by the mesmerizing sight of intricate murals adorning the walls.

The rhythmic chants and hypnotic music create an enchanting ambiance that truly immerses visitors in the Buddhist culture of Gangtok.

Discover Tsomgo Lake – A Natural Gem Surrounded by Mountains

The journey to Gangtok, this natural gem, takes you through winding roads surrounded by snow-capped mountains and lush greenery.

Visiting Tsomgo Lake in Gangtok offers an array of activities for nature enthusiasts.

For those seeking a bit more adventure in Gangtok, nearby Nathu La Pass provides an opportunity to experience the thrill of snowfall and witness the stunning Himalayan vistas.

Take a Cable Car Ride to Tashi Viewpoint for Panoramic Views

As you ascend in Gangtok, you’ll be treated to breathtaking views of the city nestled amidst rolling hills and snow-clad peaks.

Once you reach Tashi Viewpoint in Gangtok, prepare yourself for awe-inspiring vistas of Gangtok that stretch as far as the eye can see.

Apart from admiring the natural beauty of Gangtok, Tashi Viewpoint in Gangtok also offers various recreational activities such as horse riding and paragliding for those seeking an adrenaline rush in Gangtok.

Hotels and Accommodation in Gangtok

Luxury Options: The Elgin Nor-Khill Hotel and Mayfair Spa Resort & Casino

These top-notch hotels in Gangtok offer an exquisite experience that will leave you feeling pampered and rejuvenated.

This heritage property in Gangtok boasts beautifully designed rooms adorned with traditional Sikkimese decor.

Enjoy spacious rooms in Gangtok equipped with modern amenities and breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains.

Mid-Range Comfort: Summit Golden Crescent Resort & Spa

Nestled amidst lush greenery in Gangtok, this mid-range hotel offers a tranquil retreat away from the hustle and bustle of city life.

The resort in Gangtok features well-appointed rooms that provide all the essential amenities for a comfortable stay.

Summit Golden Crescent Resort & Spa in Gangtok also boasts a multi-cuisine restaurant serving delectable dishes that will satisfy your taste buds.

Budget-Friendly Accommodations: Hotel Rendezvous

Traveling on a tight budget? Hotel Rendezvous offers affordable accommodations without compromising on comfort. Located in the heart of Gangtok, this budget-friendly hotel provides a convenient base for exploring the city’s attractions.

The hotel’s friendly staff in Gangtok is always ready to assist you with any queries or requests you may have, making you feel right at home.

With its affordability and convenience, this hotel in Gangtok is an ideal choice for budget-conscious travelers.

Authentic Local Experience: Homestays

For those seeking an authentic local experience in Gangtok, staying in a homestay in Gangtok is highly recommended.

From traditional architecture to home-cooked meals prepared with love, every aspect of your stay in Gangtok will be infused with authenticity.

Nearby Destinations for Excursions from Gangtok

Nathu La Pass: A Gateway to Adventure

Situated in Gangtok at a staggering altitude of 14,140 feet above sea level, this mountain pass serves as an Indo-China border crossing.

Once you reach your destination, take a moment to soak in the historical significance of this place. Nathu La Pass played a crucial role in trade between India and Tibet before it was closed in 1962 due to political tensions. Today, it stands as a symbol of peace and cooperation between the two nations.

As you explore Nathu La Pass, make sure to bring warm clothing as the temperatures can drop significantly. Take advantage of the opportunity to interact with Indian Army personnel stationed here who will share fascinating stories about their experiences guarding the border. Don’t forget your camera either because capturing the awe-inspiring beauty of this place is an absolute must!

Yumthang Valley: Nature’s Color Palette

Prepare yourself for nature’s masterpiece as you venture into Yumthang Valley, also known as the “Valley of Flowers.” Located at an altitude of around 11,800 feet above sea level, this enchanting valley is a paradise for nature lovers and photographers alike.

As you wander through Yumthang Valley, be prepared to witness a kaleidoscope of colors. During springtime (April-May), the entire valley bursts into bloom with countless varieties of wildflowers covering every inch of land. The vibrant hues create a surreal landscape that will leave you spellbound.

Apart from its floral extravaganza, Yumthang Valley also boasts hot springs where you can relax and rejuvenate amidst the pristine surroundings. Immerse yourself in the warm waters and let your worries melt away as you soak up the tranquility of this natural wonder.

Pelling: A Gateway to Serenity

For those seeking panoramic views of the majestic Kanchenjunga peak, a trip to Pelling is an absolute must. Nestled at an altitude of around 7,200 feet above sea level, this charming town offers breathtaking vistas that will leave you in awe.

Take a leisurely stroll through Pelling and explore its ancient monasteries that exude an air of spirituality and serenity. The Pemayangtse Monastery, one of the oldest in Sikkim, is a sight to behold with its intricate architecture and stunning murals depicting Buddhist mythology.

If you’re up for some adventure, embark on a trek to Sangachoeling Monastery located atop a hill. The journey may be challenging, but the reward is well worth it. As you reach the monastery, take a moment to absorb the peaceful atmosphere and enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding mountains.

Ravangla: Where Tranquility Meets Nature

Escape from the hustle and bustle of city life and find solace in Ravangla’s serene landscapes. Situated at an altitude of approximately 7,000 feet above sea level, this picturesque town offers a perfect retreat for nature enthusiasts.

Local Cuisine and Restaurants in Gangtok

Traditional Sikkimese Dishes: Momos, Thukpa, and Gundruk

You cannot miss out on trying some traditional Sikkimese dishes. One of the most popular dishes is momos, which are steamed dumplings filled with a variety of ingredients like vegetables, meat, or cheese. These little pockets of deliciousness are served with spicy tomato sauce or a tangy chutney that adds an extra kick to every bite.

Another must-try dish is thukpa, a hearty noodle soup that will warm your soul. Made with fresh vegetables, meat or tofu, and flavored with aromatic spices, this dish is perfect for those chilly evenings in Gangtok. The combination of flavors and textures in thukpa will leave you craving for more.

If you’re feeling adventurous and want to try something unique to Sikkim, give gundruk a shot. It is a fermented leafy green vegetable that is used as an ingredient in various dishes. Its distinct flavor adds depth to curries and soups. You can find gundruk being served as a side dish or incorporated into other traditional recipes.

Fusion Delights at The Square

For those looking for a culinary adventure that combines different cuisines, head over to The Square restaurant in Gangtok. Known for its fusion cuisine, this eatery offers exciting dishes that blend flavors from around the world.

Indulge your taste buds with their signature dish – the Tibetan-Mexican fusion momo tacos! These tantalizing treats combine the best of both worlds by filling momo wrappers with Mexican-inspired fillings like seasoned ground beef or grilled veggies topped with salsa and guacamole. It’s an explosion of flavors that will leave you craving for more.

Apart from their innovative momo tacos, The Square also offers a wide range of fusion dishes like Thai-style pizza, Korean BBQ burgers, and Indian-inspired pasta. Each dish is carefully crafted to create a unique dining experience that will surprise and delight your palate.

Authentic Tibetan Food at Roll House & Chogyal Restaurant

If you want to savor the authentic flavors of Tibetan cuisine, look no further than Roll House & Chogyal Restaurant in Gangtok. This charming eatery specializes in traditional Tibetan dishes that are sure to transport you to the majestic Himalayan region.

Start your culinary journey with some delicious Tibetan momos. These dumplings are made with a delicate dough and filled with a variety of ingredients such as minced meat, vegetables, or cheese. The momos at Roll House & Chogyal Restaurant are steamed to perfection and served piping hot with a side of spicy dipping sauce.

For the main course, try their thenthuk – a hearty noodle soup made with hand-pulled noodles, fresh vegetables, and your choice of meat or tofu. The flavors are rich and comforting, making it an ideal dish for any time of the year.

To round off your meal on a sweet note, indulge in some traditional Tibetan desserts like khapsey or tingmo. Khapsey is a deep-fried pastry that is often enjoyed during festive occasions, while tingmo is a soft steamed bread that pairs perfectly with butter tea.

Travel Tips and Essential Information for Gangtok

Carry valid identification documents while traveling in Sikkim

When visiting Gangtok, it is important to carry valid identification documents with you. These documents may include your passport, driver’s license, or any other government-issued ID. This is necessary as you may be required to present these documents at various checkpoints during your journey.

Carrying identification not only ensures that you can easily prove your identity if needed but also helps facilitate a smooth travel experience. It is advisable to keep copies of these documents in a separate place from the originals, such as in your hotel room or with a trusted companion.

Obtain Inner Line Permit to visit restricted areas like Nathu La Pass

To explore certain restricted areas near Gangtok, such as the famous Nathu La Pass, it is essential to obtain an Inner Line Permit (ILP). The ILP serves as a special authorization allowing tourists to visit these restricted regions.

To acquire an ILP, you can apply online or visit the designated authorities in Gangtok. The permit requires some necessary information like personal details and purpose of visit. It is recommended to apply for the permit well in advance of your trip to avoid any last-minute hassles.

Once you have obtained the Inner Line Permit, make sure to carry it with you at all times when visiting restricted areas. It will be checked by officials at various checkpoints along the way.

Dress in layers as the weather can change quickly

Gangtok experiences varying weather conditions throughout the year. To prepare yourself for unpredictable changes in temperature, it is advisable to dress in layers.

Layering allows you to adjust your clothing according to the changing weather conditions and ensures that you stay comfortable throughout your trip. Start with a base layer made of moisture-wicking material that keeps sweat away from your body. Over this layer, add insulating layers like sweaters or jackets depending on the season.

It is recommended to carry a lightweight rain jacket or umbrella as Gangtok receives occasional rainfall. This will help you stay dry and protected in case of unexpected showers.

Hire a local guide to explore offbeat attractions

While Gangtok offers numerous popular tourist attractions, there are also hidden gems and offbeat locations that may not be well-known to visitors. To fully explore these lesser-known places and gain insights into the local culture, hiring a local guide can be immensely beneficial.

A local guide can provide you with valuable information about the history, traditions, and folklore associated with different sites. They can take you off the beaten path and show you unique spots that may not be mentioned in guidebooks or travel websites.

Moreover, a local guide can assist you in navigating through the city, recommending authentic local cuisine, and ensuring your safety during your explorations. They bring an insider’s perspective that adds depth and richness to your travel experience.

Respect the local culture and customs

When visiting Gangtok, it is important to respect the local culture and customs of the region. Sikkim has a rich cultural heritage influenced by its indigenous communities like the Lepchas and Bhutias.

To show respect towards their traditions, it is advisable to dress modestly while visiting monasteries or religious sites. Remove your shoes before entering these sacred places as a sign of reverence. Seek permission before taking photographs of individuals or religious objects.

Exploring the Charms of Gangtok

Now that you know the best time to visit Gangtok, the top attractions and activities it offers, where to stay, nearby destinations for excursions, and the local cuisine and restaurants to try, you’re all set to embark on a memorable adventure in this charming city. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast seeking breathtaking views or a food lover looking to tantalize your taste buds with delicious delicacies, Gangtok has something for everyone.

So what are you waiting for? Pack your bags, put on your adventurous spirit, and get ready to explore the wonders of Gangtok. Immerse yourself in the vibrant culture, indulge in mouthwatering dishes, and create memories that will last a lifetime. Don’t miss out on this incredible experience!

FAQs

Can I visit Gangtok during monsoon season?

Yes, you can visit Gangtok during monsoon season (June to September), but be prepared for heavy rainfall. The lush green landscapes during this time are truly mesmerizing.

Are there any adventure activities available in Gangtok?

Absolutely! Gangtok offers various adventure activities such as paragliding, river rafting, trekking, and cable car rides. You can satisfy your adrenaline rush while enjoying the stunning natural beauty.

What is the currency accepted in Gangtok?

The currency accepted in Gangtok is the Indian Rupee (INR). It’s advisable to carry sufficient cash as some places may not accept credit cards.

Is it necessary to obtain permits for visiting nearby areas from Gangtok?

Yes, certain nearby areas like Nathula Pass and Tsomgo Lake require permits due to their proximity to restricted border regions. Make sure to check with local authorities or your travel agent beforehand.

How do I reach Gangtok from Bagdogra Airport?

To reach Gangtok from Bagdogra Airport, you can hire a prepaid taxi or take a shared cab. The journey takes approximately 4-5 hours, depending on the traffic and road conditions.

Can I find vegetarian food options in Gangtok?

Yes, Gangtok offers a wide range of vegetarian food options. From traditional Sikkimese cuisine to international dishes, you’ll have plenty of choices to satisfy your palate.