Sikkim is a state in northeast India, bordered by Bhutan, Tibet and Nepal. Part of the Himalayas, the area has a dramatic landscape that includes India’s highest mountain, 8,586m Kangchenjunga. Sikkim is also home to glaciers, alpine meadows and thousands of varieties of wildflowers. Steep paths lead to hilltop Buddhist monasteries such as Pemayangtse, which dates to the early 1700s.
Hailed as one of the world’s last utopias by legendary Buddhist guru Padmasambhava, Sikkim is arguably among the loveliest destinations in India. And what variety in such a small state: plunging rhododendron-clad mountain valleys in the north, West Sikkim’s atmospheric Buddhist monasteries, monumental religious statues in South Sikkim, and friendly and cheerful urban centres in the east.
Sikkim not only boasts of its enchanting beauty, but also offers an engrossing list of things to do and places to visit as well. If you are planning to visit this charismatic state, here is a list of best places to visit in Sikkim that makes it for a wonderful as well as blissful holiday:
Believe it or not, but resisting the alluring charm and appeal of Gangtok is almost impossible for anyone! The capital city of Sikkim, Gangotk is nestled in the Eastern Himalayas and is one of the kaleidoscopic tourist destinations in the state.
Whether you are looking for serene beauty, lush forests, gurgling rivers or mental peace, Gangtok travel packages will cuddle up your Sikkim holidays. For the nature lovers, a holiday in this scenic city is enough to fulfil all their wishes. On the other hand, for the adventure lovers, they can enjoy cable car rides, river rafting, go for mountain biking and several other activities in Gangtok.
Located in the Western parts of Sikkim, Yuksom is the origin of several enthralling treks into the Himalayas or the magical Kanchenjunga. The once a capital of Sikkim, this hamlet is more known for its pristine beauty and rustic appeal.
Also known as the ‘Meeting place of Three Lamas’, this Sikkimese village has recently started gaining tourism attention. Well, this is also the reason, you can expect pristine beauty and untouched nature in Yuksom. Home to the oldest monastery in Sikkim, this pictorial hamlet is one amongst the most peaceful and serene places to visit in Sikkim.
- Tsomgo Lake
On a visit to Gangtok, do not miss the chance to visit the Tsomgo Lake or the Changu Lake! Located only 38km from Sikkim’s capital, it lies at an altitude of 12,400ft and is one of the highest lakes in India.
While the lake remains frozen during the winters, summer brings in a magical charm and appeal to Tsomgo. It is during this time of the year, the turquoise waters of the lake reflects the amazing views of the nearby peaks and the azure sky above!
- Nathula Pass
The once a part of the historic ‘Silk Road’, a visit to Nathu La is a must in any of the Sikkim travel packages. One of the highest motorable pass in the world, this amazing pass is located at a towering height of 4,310m above the sea level and connects Sikkim with Tibet.
The pass is open to Indians; however, one has to obtain permission from the tourism department in order to visit this pass. And for the foreign national, they cannot make it to Nathu La.
If you are an ardent fan of the captivating Himalayan Range, Pelling is the destination for you! It is from this Sikkimese town, one can have the best views of the Himalayas and the Kanchenjunga Peak, and can experience the best of their Sikkim holidays.
Located at a height of 7,200ft above the sea, this scenic town is bestowed with several waterfalls, breath-taking views, natural beauty and adventure options like rafting, kayaking, trekking, mountain biking and several others.
Lachung has multiple reasons to make you fall in love with it! While its location at an enthralling height of 8,610ft makes it a popular snow-destination in Sikkim, its untouched and surreal beauty makes it one of the scenic as well as charming tourist places in Sikkim.
Located in the northern part of Sikkim, this quaint mountain village is adorned by the immaculate beauty of the Lachung Chu River and is also known for the Lachung Gompa. Though this village is one of the mostly visited regions in Sikkim, it still holds an alluring charm that can hardly be found in any other destinations.
Nestled amidst the Maenam and Tendong Hills, Ravangla is among the best places to visit in Sikkim; especially in the southern part of the state. A scenic town between Gangtok and Pelling, this hill-town also hosts some of the most popular treks in Sikkim.
More popular as a paradise for the bird watchers, it is home to some of the most rare and endangered birds in the world. On a usual visit to Ravangla, you can spot dark-throated thrush, verditre flycatchers, blue whistling thrush, babblers, cuckoos and several others.
- Rumtek Monastery
Counted amongst the largest monasteries in Sikkim, Rumtek Monastery is also one of the oldest monasteries in the state. An ode to the Buddhist cultures and traditions, this monastery is located near Gangtok and is also known as the ‘Dharma Chakra Centre’.
A testimony to the Buddhist architecture and teachings, it is a perfect place to attain mental peace and know more about Buddhism. Its spiritual appeal and grandeur makes it an integral part of any Gangtok travel packages!
Translated into the native Tibetan language, Namchi means the ‘top of the sky’. And on a visit to this magnificent Sikkimese city, this will be proved! Located around 92km from Gangtok and at a height of 1,675m above the sea level, it is also one of the most gorgeous cities in the state.
More than tourism, Namchi is more considered as a pilgrimage centre for the Buddhists. Amongst the important religious sites, the Namchi Monastery, Tendong Hill and Ralong Monasteries are the pre-dominant. The city also has a 108ft Lord Shiva statue and is visited a large number of Hindu devotees as well.
- Do-Drul Chorten
The largest Stupa in Sikkim, Do Drul Chorten was built in 1945 under the leadership of Truslshi Rimpoche. Holding a high prominence amongst all the religious sites in the state, this stupa is laced with 108 Mani Lhakor prayer wheels and is an ultimate place to connect with the essence of one’s inner-self.
- Jawaharlal Nehru Botanical Garden
Located within a close proximity with the Rumket Monastery, this lush and verdant botanical garden is the home to several rare and exotic species of plants and trees. Some of the orchids found in this garden are indigenous to only this part of the world and holds high medicinal and commercial value as well.
If you are a vivid nature lover, this colourful offering of the Sikkim travel packages will take you to a treasure island. And if you are visiting this garden with your family members; especially the younger ones, your visit will surely be cuddled up by the colourful ambience within the garden.
Touching a towering height of 10,000ft, Zuluk is one of the least discovered destinations in the entire of Sikkim. Located on the ancient ‘Silk Route’, this quaint Sikkimese village takes the pride of being a vintage point to enjoy panoramic views of the Mt Kanchenjunga.
In addition to the magical beauty of this hamlet, it is also popular among the adventure lovers as the ride to Zuluk takes them through 32 hair-pin bends.
- Namgyal Institute of Tibetology
Nestled amidst lush and evergreen thickets, the Namgyal Institute of Tibetology is an ideal centre to learn about Buddhist cultures and traditions. Established in 1958, this institute is in fact the home to the largest collection of Tibetan preaching outside Tibet, and this include relics from 11th and 12th century collected from different parts of the world.
- Yumthang Valley
A visit to Yumthang Valleys it truly a colourful affair! Located at an elevation of 3,500m, this scenic valley is the home to several exotic, rare and wild flowers. It is often said, one who visits this quintessential valley, often gets pleasantly affected by its treacherous colours and alluring beauty!
Come the monsoons, the entire valley blooms at its best and displays the most enchanting colours of the nature. Primrose, cobra-lilies, louseworts and cinquefoils are some of the most commonly found species in Yumthang.
Last, but not the least in this list is the Gurudongmar Lake! One of the highest fresh-water lakes in the world, this gorgeous place to visit in Sikkim is located at a towering height of 17,800ft and is also known as Tso Lhsmo Lake.
Considered as a sacred lake, the legends say that though this lake remains frozen during the winters, one of its portion never freezes. No matter, how extreme is the weather, this certain portion blessed by Guru Padmasambhava never freezes and thus its water is considered holy by the devotees.