A travel Guide to Gangtok
The capital of Sikkim, Gangtok holds its own as a famous tourist destination. Located amidst the Shivalik Hills, the hill station is atop a pedestal that is 5500 ft. high. The town is famous for its scenic view of the Kanchenjunga, the highest mountain in the world. Climate wise, it enjoys around 23 degrees during summer, and around six degrees in winter, thereby making Gangtok, India, the perfect hill station.
The small town of Gangtok houses many ethnicities like Nepali, Lepchas, and Butia. With a history dating back to the days of colonialism, it is just like any other modern and vibrant city in the country. Apart from the happening nightlife, shops, and restaurants, there are many Gangtok tourist attractions. You will find many temples and monasteries that have made Gangtok an important centre for Buddhists and those who are devoted to religion.
While it had a slow rise, tourism in the city has always been very important. Ecotourism has also started to become popular and the number of Gangtok tours has begun to grow fast.
Places to visit in Gangtok
1. Nathu La Pass
This is perhaps one of the oldest Gangtok attractions, which connect Sikkim to China’s Tibet Autonomous Region. It has a deep history entrenched into it. In earlier days, the Pass used to form an important part of the Silk Route, which was the most important trading route in the world at that point. Due to the sheer height of the Pass, beautiful images of mountains and hills can be seen. Anyone can enjoy the snow-capped mountains in the Chumbi valley and picturesque scenery by driving along the winding roads or trekking along the same.
2. Tsomgo Lake
Tsomgo Lake is a glacial lake and stays frozen in the winter season. It is the pinnacle of Gangtok tourism in terms of beauty and nature. The clear blue water reflects the gorgeous Himalayas that make for a soothing sight. The small Shiva temple on the side of the lake tells the sacred way the locals look at the natural spectacle. Many tourists visit the spot and sit down by the shores to admire the view. There are few roadside stalls nearby that treat you to some delicious local delicacies.
3. Rumtek Monastery
Gangtok is one of the most famous Buddhist pilgrimage spots and the numerous monasteries show for it. The Rumtek Monastery is amongst the famous Gangtok tourist places that are known especially for their Kagyu teachings. The architecture follows the classical Tibetan gompa style and the halls inside are intricately decorated with beautiful murals and adorned by statues of great depth. The floors have important knowledge that gives a deep insight into the teachings of Buddhism. Being located in such a tourist spot, one can see the unending Gangtok valley from the terrace of the monastery.
4. Fambong La Wildlife Sanctuary
Fambong La Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the centre-pieces of Gangtok tourism. It is home to many unique animals like the Red Panda and the Himalayan Bear. While strolling through the corners of this park, you can find various exotic flora like bamboo, wild orchids, and much more. Ask your Gangtok travel guide to guide you through the vast sanctuary if you are in the mood to be one with nature.
5. Ganesh Tok
Another spot amongst the famous Gangtok attractions is the Ganesh Tok. Located near the Tashi Viewpoint and the Bakthang Falls, the Tok is a temple solely dedicated to Lord Ganesha. Like most Gangtok tourist places, the Ganesh Tok offers a mesmerising view of the mountain ranges. It is the perfect place to offer prayers and get lost amidst nature and a feeling of religiosity. This is the perfect place to experience the holiness of Gangtok.
Things to do in Gangtok
There are many exciting things to do in Gangtok that are sure to embed in your minds as beautiful memories of the past.
Experience the Goecha La Trek
Goecha La Trek is known for its majestic view. A trek here shows 14 other peaks, along with Kanchenjunga. The actual pass is not open for trekkers. But you can go to Dzongri and ViewPoint 1. Samiti Lake is also a key attraction of the trek. You can see the shadow of Mount Pandim in the Samiti Lake during the early hours. The season of spring and summer fills the trek with blooming rhododendrons.
Rafting at Teesta River
Another exciting aspect of Gangtok tourism is river rafting at the Teesta, which is a very important river for not only Gangtok and the whole of Sikkim. The sudden twists and turns and winding nature of the river provide the perfect terrain for experienced as well as new rafters. At each turn of the river, you will find professional rafting organisers. These provide you with the boat and the necessary gear. Once comfortable with the easier routes, you can challenge yourself with the unpredictable patches of the river to give you an adrenaline rush.
Paraglide over the hills
Enrol yourself in a paragliding session where you will get a chance to soar over the city. With clean and pristine mountains, surrounding lakes, and forest, you will get a view of beautiful landscapes. The act of paragliding has become one of the growing Gangtok attractions. The various centres have professionals that accompany you on the ride. One paraglide trip continues for 10 to 20 minutes. Everything is done under supervision and efficient safety measures.
Go on Yak Safari
When you visit the calm Tsomgo Lake, you can experience a Yak Safari. It is a fun and exciting element of Gangtok tourism that attracts a lot of tourists. The calm and sombre animals are covered in long hairs to protect them from the cold. They are decorated in colourful rugs and ribbons. You can experience the beauty of the surroundings, all while on the back of a yak.
Best time to visit Gangtok
Anytime around the year is the best time to visit Gangtok since the climate remains pleasant throughout the year. People generally come here between March and May when people come here to beat the heat. Summer is the best season to visit Gangtok and also the peak season. Hotels are packed during this time, so prior booking will help. Planning a trip to Gangtok during the monsoon is not advisable. There are chances of landslides during this season.
How to reach Gangtok
Here are some easy and convenient ways on how to reach Gangtok:
By Air: The nearest major airport to Gangtok is in Bagdogra, West Bengal. The distance between Bagdogra and Gangtok is 124 km. You will get many flights to Bagdogra from major cities in the country. Apart from a flight, a helicopter service is also available that will take you to Gangtok from Bagdogra in just 20 minutes.
By Rail: The nearest railway station is New Jalpaiguri which is linked to most parts of the country. People generally prefer to travel to Gangtok via railways. You will find taxi and bus services that take you to various hotels in Gangtok.
By Road: Gangtok is well-linked with Darjeeling, Siliguri, and Kalimpong via roadways. You will get many bus services. The Sikkim State Transport also provides busses and taxis here.
Plan You Travel
3 Star Hotels & Resorts in Gangtok
Jewel of the East Residency & Spa
₹ 4380 per night
Hotel Tashi Tagey
₹ 2000 per night
LA Ttakshang Residency Hotel & Spa
₹ 9100 per night
Hotel dew pond
₹ 2676 per night
Summit Oriental Boutique Hotel & Spa (MG Marg)
₹ 7800 per night
₹ 2565 per night
Golden Star Continental & Spa
₹ 7200₹ 2160 per night
Mash Flora Fountain
₹ 2052 per night
OYO 13466 Hotel Indrakil
₹ 3719 per night