Sikkim is a very small state in Indian union located above the West Bengal in the map of India. Sikkim treasures the natural beauty gifted by the nature and is one of the most visited tourist destinations in India. Sikkim is a nature’s paradise with high hills all around, chilled weather in winter and Rhododendrons in April and May. The fantastic scenic view gives a treat to your eyes. Here I am sharing all details that would help you in making an easy trip plan to Sikkim and know all about Sikkim tourism.
Sikkim is well accessible by train, road and airway from Kolkata and other parts of India. New Jalpaiguri and Siliguri in North Bengal is the gateway to Sikkim. If you are traveling by train from Kolkata or any other parts of the country, you are supposed to drop at New Jalpaiguri (NJP) station. If you are flying, Bagdogra is the airport near Siliguri to land. All buses from Kolkata takeokay you to Siliguri Tenzing Norgay bus stand or terminus. There are shared jeeps and taxis from NJP station, Siliguri and Bagdogra airport up to various destinations in Sikkim. Most of the traffic goes up to Gangtok and Pelling. Gangtok is the capital city of Sikkim and Pelling is another favorite destination of tourists.
Sikkim may be small in size but there are so many numbers of places of interests. There are tourist destinations in different parts of the state and it is not feasible to visit all the places at one go. You can make it only if you have got no time limit. One would require good number of days to explore all the places of interests in Sikkim. I must let you know that there are offbeat destinations too, if traveled; you would have a lifetime memorable experience. I would always suggest a tailor made holiday to Sikkim if you have time in hand. A tailor made holiday is a customized tour which would provide you the beauty of rough terrains at high altitudes in north and east Sikkim, beauty of waterfalls with greenery all around on high hills in West Sikkim.
Now let us now get into the popular tourists places and offbeat destinations in Sikkim. Once you have an idea about the tourist places in Sikkim and information on Sikkim tourism, you can plan your trip to Sikkim accordingly. One cannot make a trip plan, budget unless he know the places to be visited.
Gangtok – The Capital Of Sikkim
Gangtok is the capital city of Sikkim located centrally in Sikkim. It is one of the most beautiful cities I have ever visited till date. Though located at such a high altitude, the Gangtok city is very clean, well designed and well maintained by the Sikkim government. Gangtok is one of the main tourist attractions in Sikkim tourism. It looks like Park Street in Kolkata with all brands and high end outlets all around, super restaurants & bars on either way of the MG Marg. Ohh.. I must let you know that MG Marg is the heart of the city. MG Marg is the most popular street in Gangtok city. Most of the tourists and local people spend time here sitting on the chairs on road side, shopping, visiting eateries etc. You would never know when time has passed by. Gangtok can easily compete with any other hill cities around the world. There are hundreds of hotels located at MG Marg or in streets near MG Marg but the fact is that hotels at Development Area provide best view of the scenic beauty all around. Development Area is the second most popular and visited place in Gangtok city. Development Area is just a few minutes away from MG Marg. A taxi would take around Rs. 30 from Dvelopment Area to MG Marg. I would suggest you to stay at Development Area if you are visiting Gangtok. I always stay at development Area and love the scenic beauty all around. You would have to spend at least 2 days in sightseeing the Gangtok city and the places around the city. There are so many attractions around the city and these are worth visiting.
If you are looking forward to visit most of the tourist destinations in Sikkim, I would suggest you to make Gangtok city as the base and then go for sightseeing and other places of interest. It would be very tiring if you visit from an extreme end to another end, so if you are staying in Gangtok city, it would be easier to travel to your destination of interest.
North Sikkim Tour From Gangtok City
North Sikkim is one of the most visited and beautiful destinations in Sikkim. North Sikkim with rough terrains located at such a high altitude would be a fantastic tour. The journey to north Sikkim is quite adventurous too. The sharp bends of the narrow roads will thrill you and the weather there is very chilling in winter. April – May is the time for colorful Rhododendrons. In winter north Sikkim is gifted with heavy snow. In February the roads get blocked due to heavy snowfall. The roads there are well maintained by Border Road Organization (BRO) and the area is looked after by Indian Army because north Sikkim is the border between India and China. North Sikkim is accessible only by Indian citizens and restricted to foreigners for security reasons. The best time to visit north Sikkim is from October to January and April to May. In the period October to December, the temperature in north Sikkim remains very cold and it starts freezing. In January the weather is totally chilled, you get snow all around the temperature goes down to minus. April – May is the time to view beautiful and colorful Rhododendrons.
You have to take package tours to north Sikkim from Gangtok city. Generally there are 2 package tours to north Sikkim, 1 night – 2days and 2 nights – 3 days tour to north Sikkim. You can stay longer there if you want. In that case the agency who would arrange your tour can help you. I would suggest you a 2 nights – 3days tour to north Sikkim and it is enough to experience the beauty of the place.
Places Of Interest In North Sikkim
- Chopta Valley
- Gurudongmar lake
- Katao (if accessible)
- Yumtang Valley
- Zero Point
East Sikkim Trip – The Silk Route Trip in Sikkim
You can visit east Sikkim from Gangtok or you can visit Gangtok from east Sikkim. I have been to east Sikkim several times and each time I visited the east Sikkim first and then visited Gangtok city via the old Silk Route. The famous Silk Route stretches from east Sikkim to China occupied Tibet. East Sikkim used to be one of the offbeat destinations in Sikkim but now tourists have started visiting the place and the old Silk Route in Sikkim is becoming popular day by day. Silk route in Sikkim plays an important role in Sikkim tourism these days. All the places of interest in east Sikkim are located at high altitude in remote places. There are no hotels except a place called Lingtam. You are supposed to stay at house stays provided by local people. Local people there have developed themselves to such a level that they provide basic necessities, good hospitality to the tourists. A stay in a home stay with that scenic view all around would be a lifetime experience to you. People there are very simple, friendly and well behaved. They know how to treat their guests.
Places Of Interest In East Sikkim
- Nathang Valley
Pelling – A West Sikkim Trip
West Sikkim is not that much rough and rowdy as north or east Sikkim, rather west Sikkim is green with trees on hills. Waterfalls there are additional attractions for Sikkim tourism. There are many waterfalls in Pelling and west Sikkim is a place to spend time in leisure. Pelling is the most visited and popular destination is west Sikkim and there are several places of interests in and around Pelling. You can stay in Pelling and do the sightseeing. Mt. Kanchenjungha is best visible from Pelling. Pelling is well connected with Gangtok city and other parts of Sikkim. I would suggest visiting Pelling from Gangtok via Namchi. More information is given below in south Sikkim section.
There are two more serene places in west Sikkim near Pelling which can be explored too.
Namchi & Ravangla – A South Sikkim Trip
South Sikkim is not that much popular among tourists but people who love nature and offbeat destinations visit this part of the state to get the view of the scenic beauty all around. Thos who have plan to visit Pelling from Gangtok City, I would suggest them to visit Pelling via south Sikkim from Gangtok. Tourists generally do not take this route, rather they take the direct route from Gangtok to Pelling. This route takes you through the beautiful Temi tea garden, Char Dham etc.
Places of interest in South Sikkim are:
I have tried to provide you an overall idea of the places of interests in Sikkim. This information about Sikkim tourism would help you in planning your trip to Sikkim. You can also decide the number of days required to spend a holiday in Sikkim.