A travel Guide to Sikkim

Sikkim Tourism

Sikkim or as the locals call it Nya-Mae-El, which means paradise, is an alluring state in northeastern India. It shares its border with Tibet in the north, Bhutan in the east, West Bengal in the south, and Nepal in the west. Close to Siliguri Corridor, the multiethnic and multilingual state of Sikkim is the least populous and the second smallest state in India. It is rich in natural diversity and culture and is blessed with an alpine and subtropical climate. It is also the second-largest producer of cardamom in the world, right after Guatemala.

Sikkim is also the host to Kanchenjunga which is the highest mountain in India and the third-highest across the globe. If you buy a Sikkim tours package, you are in for a treat as you will be able to witness some beautiful places like Yuksom, Tsomgo Lake, Lachung, Nathula Pass, Pelling, and many other widely known Sikkim tourist attractions. From peaking hills, gushing water, and serene monasteries to amazing local food and nightlife, Sikkim will make you go through your photographs from the trip over and over again and you still won’t be able to get enough of it.

Places to visit in Sikkim

1. Gangtok

Gangtok is one of the top Sikkim attractions. Being the capital of Sikkim, it is one of the most visited places in Sikkim. If you want to do some shopping, experience the hustle-bustle of the city and enjoy great food and nightlife; you should visit MG Marg, India’s first spit and litter-free zone. Even though Gangtok is a base for various important treks and sightseeing tours in the state, the city doesn’t have its own airport. The nearest airport is the Bagdogra Airport in West Bengal from where you can either hit the road to Gangtok or take a helicopter ride.

2. Nathula Pass

Nathula Pass was a part of the original silk road and you have to make sure that this place is pinned in your Sikkim travel guide. One of the highest motorable roads at 4310 meters above sea level, it connects Sikkim with Tibet. Indians are allowed to visit this place if they have a travel pass authorised by the Sikkim tourism department. Unfortunately, foreign nationals are restricted from visiting this place. You can also witness the magnificent view of the Chumbi Valley of Tibet that has beautiful snow-capped mountains. Nathula Pass is inaccessible during winters as the temperature drops below -25? and gets snowfall.

3. Baba Harbhajan Singh Temple

Baba Harbhajan Singh Temple is one of the notable Sikkim attractions. This temple is located at 13,123 ft and 52 km from Gangtok. You need to know that this is the new temple which was made for tourists. The original bunker of Baba Harbhajan Singh where the old temple is situated is at a much higher altitude which was unfavourable for tourists and could lead to fatalities. The new temple stands opposite a huge mountain which acts as a natural border between India and Tibet. If you stand there in silence and take a look at the mountain, it will send a chill down your spine. The legend associated with this spot is what makes it one of the most interesting and famous Sikkim tourist places.

4. Tsomgo Lake

Tsomgo Lake, also known as Changu Lake, is another remarkable location in the list of Sikkim attractions for tourists. It is situated 38 km from Gangtok at an altitude of 12,400 ft and is one of the highest lakes in the country. It usually remains frozen during winters and travellers can enjoy ice-skating and yak rides on the frozen lake. During summers, the turquoise blue water of the lake will show you clear reflections of the nearby peaks.

5. Yuksom

Yuksom is one of the most popular Sikkim tourist places amongst trekkers. Known as the meeting place of three lamas, it is situated in the western part of Sikkim and is the origin point of several treks into the Himalayas and Kanchenjunga. It was once the capital of Sikkim when the Kingdom was founded in the 17th century by the Namgyal Dynasty. Yuksom has always been a point of tourist attraction as it has the oldest monastery in Sikkim i.e the Dubdi Monastery which was established by Chogyar Namgyal in 1701.

Things to do in Sikkim

Whether you are here on a solo soul-searching trip or a family vacation, there are a lot of things to do in Sikkim. From water sports to paragliding activity and from trekking to seeking spirituality, there’s something for everyone.

Hang Gliding in Yumthang

All you adrenaline junkies can go for a hang gliding session in Yumthang. Just imagine, gliding through the gracious valleys of Sikkim. You don’t need to be an expert to do this, as an experienced pilot will accompany you on this experience. If you decide to make an early morning round, you’ll even be able to witness the sunrise.

Caving in North Lha-Ri-Nying Phu

The Cave of North Lha-Ri-Nying Phu is considered a holy destination that is visited by tourists from across the globe. It is a spiritual place and those on a quest for spirituality must definitely add it to their Sikkim travel guide. Visiting this place might bring a different sort of energy into your life as you’ll quite literally be in touch with nature. The terrain of this cave is obviously very challenging but worth every dime in your wallet and ounce of energy in you.

Hot Spring in Yumthang

Along with hang gliding, Yumthang also houses natural hot springs. The Reshi Hot Spring is the most famous out of all. These hot springs also hold some religious significance as they have been around since ancient times. Besides, it is also believed to have medicinal properties.

Mountain Bike Riding

Wouldn’t it be amazing to wear a leather jacket, hop on a bike and ride along the roads to witness the Himalayan glamour as if you are in some music video? You can make this dream come true at Sikkim. There are several trails that you can opt from and have a mountain biking tour in Sikkim.

Yak Ride

Many of you might have done horse riding or camel riding, but Sikkim offers you the experience of a yak ride. You can do this activity at Tsomgo Lake and have a yak ride around the lake.

Best time to visit Sikkim

Sikkim is one such destination that can be found on many travellers’ lists. The best time to visit Sikkim is between March and May or October and Mid-December. Although, keep in mind that if you are travelling in December then some of the places might be inaccessible due to really low temperatures and snowfall. The best seasons to visit Sikkim are spring and autumn.

How to reach Sikkim?

Before you wonder about how to reach Sikkim, you need to make sure to get your travel permit authorised by Sikkim tourism.

The fastest way to reach Sikkim is by flight. You can take a flight up to Bagdogra Airport in West Bengal. From there, you can take a helicopter ride or simply hit the road to reach your ultimate destination - Sikkim. There are shared and private taxis available. You can take a bus ride as well.

There’s no major railway station in Sikkim so you’ll have to take a train up to Siliguri or Jalpaiguri and then take the road from there. Adventure seekers can take a road trip right from the starting point and experience the varied terrains of India up to Sikkim and have a wonderful time there as well.

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