The stunning landscapes surrounding the most famous places to visit in Gangtok includes snow-laden highlands, crystal clear sparkling lakes, serene temples and monasteries, and lush greenery. The magical aura of Gangtok can be felt once you step into the land of the Himalayas. Even beyond the city borders, you will be mesmerized to watch the natural beauty of the entire state of Sikkim.
In this article, we will provide a list of must-see Sikkim tour places that ought to be in your bucket list once you visit this north-eastern Indian state. It doesn’t matter if you are a history buff or simply a nature lover. Sikkim and its capital city Gangtok have something for everyone.
- Nathula Pass: It would be an injustice to the travelers planning their visit to Gangtok if we don’t recommend Nathula Pass at the top of the list. This is a hilly channel, located at an altitude of 4310 meters that connects Sikkim with Tibet. Nathula was once a part of the famous Silk Route. A visit to this site is a rare and unforgettable affair. Only Indian tourists are allowed to visit Nathula Pass. And for this, they have to collect permission pass from the Sikkim government.
Located on the Indo-Chinese border, several tourists flock here for trekking and enjoy the site’s untouched natural beauty. The snow-capped mountain peaks, gushing natural waterfalls and exciting cold weather are some attractions that draw hundreds of tourists to Nathula. If you are lucky, you can enjoy a glimpse of the Himalayan wildlife as well. Tibetan snow leopards, yaks, and wolves reside in the nearby jungles and tourists often enjoy their sightings from a distant valley.
- MG Road: If you are a city person, then MG Road will keep you entertained. Located at the heart of the city of Gangtok, this place is thriving with endless shops, restaurants, and hotels lined up on both sides. This place is like an open mall or boulevard square and regarded as the best shopping center in Sikkim. A leisurely stroll on the street in the evening is something that shouldn’t miss here. The one km stretch is famous for its cleanliness as well. The entire road remains decked up and well-lit during Gangtok Food and Culture Festival and celebrations like Christmas or New Year. The eye-catching Victorian style road lamps and a statue of Mahatma Gandhi at the center of the road, make this place a signature zone of Sikkim. Collect your souvenirs from here and get into any restaurant for dinner, nothing on MG Road will disappoint you.
- Rumtek Monastery: This monastery is located around 24 km from Gangtok. Rumtek is regarded as one of the most sacred monasteries or prayer hubs of Buddhism. Regular rituals and prayers and visits of famous lamas of famous Buddhist gurus here is a regular affair. The monastery, originally known as the Dharma Chakra Centre, belongs to the Kargyu sect of Buddhist who hailed from Tibet. You can enjoy the breathtaking view of the entire Gangtok town from the elevated land of Rumtek. Verdant green mountains encircle the monastery, making the place the focal point of spiritual solace among all Sikkim tour places.
You should spend at least half-an-hour at the massive prayer hall of the monastery. The walls of it have been decorated with traditional Tibetan murals, wall art, and statues.
- Tsomgo Lake: The Tsomgo Lake is situated around 35 km away from the main city of Gangtok. Perched between the mountains at a dizzying height of 12400ft above the sea level, this lake is one of the rare high-altitude lakes of India and Asia as well. Also known as Changu Lake, this place is included almost every Sikkim-bound tourist’s itinerary for all good reasons.
Overwhelming scenic beauty, steep snow-covered mountains, serene lake, and clear azure sky over it, the bright green series of alpine forests alongside are some of the features of this place that will definitely leave you in awe of Tsomgo Lake. If you visit this place in summer, you might be lucky to witness how the nearby glaciers melt and fall into the lake water, changing its very color.
- Ganesh Tok and Hanuman Tok: Ganesh Tok is a famous small temple of Lord Ganesh which is situated around 40km from Gangtok at the height of 6400 meters. Located on top of a quaint hill, this place offers a wonderful view of Kanchenjunga. The peak of the world’s third highest mountain range can be seen from here with its true glory. The best viewing time is morning, right when the sun rises. The temple, however, here is pretty small. Only one person can visit at a time. The surroundings here is surreal, and the ambiance is very comforting.
Colorful flags perched on the side of the staircase welcome you here. You have to take off your shoes and wash your hands before entering the temple. You can also visit Hanuman Tok, which is located nearby. The place is known for fulfilling the wishes of its devotees. These two places are a must-visit destination for nature lovers and photographers.
- Namgyal Institute of Tibetology: The museum, housed in the Tibetan style mansion, boats jaw-dropping collection of artifacts related to Buddhism. The institute aims to promote and spread awareness on scholastic and cultural research work. The museum displays Buddhist icons, manuscripts on Buddhist studies, and Asian culture. The place has its own quiet and serene charm. It is a paradise for tourists and history enthusiasts. Photography is not allowed here. If you want to gather knowledge about Tibetan art, culture, literature, heritage, religious, philosophy and everything else that comes with it, then visit this institute to quench your thirst for knowledge. Tall golden towers, significant murals, and majestic architecture are some of the brilliant features of this place.
- Kanchenjunga: The third highest peak in the world, Kanchenjunga is one of the majestic mountain ranges of the globe. Surrounded by Nepal, Tibet and of course Sikkim, this mountain range was first scaled in 1955. Kanchenjunga is a Tibetan name which means The Five Treasures of the High Snow. If you are a trekking buff, then try one of the treks here because there are several trekking routes in and around Kanchenjunga. Out of the five peaks of Kanchenjunga, four can be viewed from Gangtok and Darjeeling. If you are visiting Sikkim and plan to join a trekking program, then Goecha La Trek is the best for you. It is the standard base camp for trekking up the range of the mountain.
- Baba Harbhajan Singh temple: This sacred temple is located on the road passing between Nathula Pass and Jelepla Pass. It is a shrine which was built at the memorial structure of Baba Harbhajan Singh. Local residents worship him as a saint who protects the local population along with the soldiers who guard the border. The temple is located in enchantingly beautiful terrain. As you climb the stairs to reach the shrine, you will see bells on both sides of the staircase. Local believe that once you come to this place, you must pay your respect to Baba Harbhajan Singh. Tourists who come here often leave their water bottles at the temple premises and collect them later. As per the local belief, drinking that water makes all the wishes fulfilled. Baba Harbhajan Singh temple is an important place to visit for the tales associated with it.
- Mangan: The town of Mangan, the capital of the northern part of Sikkim, is a major tourist destination and many travelers use this place as a base camp from where they start different treks and tour to other parts of the district. Mangan is one the least populated towns of Sikkim. There is a sanctuary here, along with other attractive tourist destinations. A three-day music festival is organized here every December where bands from across the country, especially from the north-eastern states come and perform in front of a huge gathering.
- Tinkitam: Tinkitam Rayong is a village in south Sikkim. Mount Kanchenjunga can be seen in the backdrop of this village. Tinkitam is a beautiful place that has become a hub of various rare natural orchids. You will find Temi Tea Gardens very near to Tinkitam. These are the only tea gardens of Sikkim. The town has a nice chilling climate throughout the year. It also doesn’t have much population as well. So, if you are planning to enjoy a calm and relaxing holiday in a quiet place, then spend a few days in Tinkitam.
- Flower Exhibition Centre: This center has captured all the various flower species of Sikkim and other northeastern states of the country under a single roof. This is why it is treated as the paradise of nature lovers. Located near the White Memorial Hall and Ridge Park, the exhibition center is a five minutes’ walk from MG Road. The annual flower show takes place here between April and May, during the springtime. There is a medium-sized greenhouse at the center of this place that houses various unusual species of orchids and other plants. If you are a nature lover or loves photography, then visit this flower exhibition center. The ever-smiling flowers here will freshen you up and brighten your day.
- Do Drul Chorten: Do Drul Chorten, one of the most important Buddhist stupas of Sikkim, was built in 1945. The stupa was initially supervised by late Truslshi and Rimpoche. The stupa has 108 prayer wheels. Important chantings are engraved on the wheels and as a devotee one is supposed to rotate the wheels and chant the prayers. Serenity and calmness have made this place for those seeking solace and reflect on themselves. Spend an hour at a quiet place at this stupa, and you will return enlightened.
- Kabi Longstok: Situated at a distance of 17km from the town of Gangtok, Kabi Longstok carries a lot of historical importance of Sikkim. There is a monastery here too, and you can see local villagers and children associated with the monastery. The life-sized statues of blood brothers Lepcha and Bhutia, who contributed a lot for Sikkim and its population, are situated here. Kabi Longstok will definitely enthrall you with its captivating natural beauty. The famous Thakurbari temple is also located here. Listen to the tale of the place’s historical importance from a local guide, and your trip to Kabi Longstok will be a fulfilling experience.
- Himalayan Zoological Park: The Himalayan Zoological Park is located just 3km away from Gangtok. This is the place to be for wildlife lovers. Located at the altitude of 1780 meters, this place provides an amazing view of the Mount Kanchenjunga. In this park, various Himalayan creatures are kept in a natural habitat, while the park authority ensures for their safety, and as a visitor, you should disturb the animals or hamper the park’s peaceful atmosphere. Goral, snow leopard cat, Himalayan bear, red panda, pheasant, black civet, and other local animals’ species are kept here. Around the zoo, there are coffee shops, souvenir shops, and drinking water points. The breathtaking natural beauty engulfs this region. If you want to enjoy a day purely in the lap of nature with lots of local animal breeds to give you a cheerful company, then this park is the ideal place for you.
- Saramsa Garden: Located at a distance of 14km from Gangtok, Saramsa Garden is also known as Ipecac Garden. It is a true treat to your senses. The exquisite range of flowery trees is lined up across the garden. The lush greenery and a greenhouse at the center of the garden will definitely enthrall you as a visitor. The garden is used for various recreational activities and sports. You can find rare breeds of orchids here. The park was established in 1922 by the forest department of the Sikkim government. The purpose was to help the then colonial rulers with their administration activities. The park was also regularly visited by the members of Namgyal royal family.
- Reshi Hot spring: Sikkim has numerous hot springs, but Reshi is the most important one for its religious significance and strategic location. The water of thing spring is believed to have medicinal properties. Therefore, visitors from across India and even abroad make a trip to this place. The spring is located near the Rangit River Valley. It is an hour drive from the valley.
- Seven Sisters Waterfalls: Seven Sister Falls is located on the Gangtok Lachung Highway. The place is located around 32km from the central Gangtok town. As the name suggests, seven waterfalls of the northeast assimilate here, creating a majestic natural sight for visitors. It makes an awe-inspiring view, especially during monsoon. The green vegetation around, rugged cliffs and feisty streams of water falling over the steep slopes make this spot a picturesque location. This is a perfect spot for photography as well.
- Tashi viewpoint: At Tashi viewpoint, you will enjoy a brilliant view of the Kanchenjunga. It is just 8km from Gangtok, and you will enjoy the best sunrise and sunset views from here. Tourists can relish tea or coffee from the nearby joints while enjoying the mesmerizing beauty of the valley. You can collect souvenirs, books on Buddhist culture, and food items while heading towards MG Road or hotel.
- Banjhakri Falls: This fall is located just 7km away from Gangtok town. It is a 100 feet waterfall situated in a landscaped park. The place is close to Ranka Monastery. Ban Jhakri means jungle priest or jungle magician. There are several homestay and lodges here. Though economic, you can try them as they don’t have the commercial outlook and let you spend days just like a local resident.
- Ranka Monastery: Ranka Monastery, also known as the Lingdum monastery, is a gorgeous creation of the Buddhism followers. The distance between Gangtok town and this monastery is around 20km. The traditional wall carvings, paintings, and murals associated with Buddhist culture can be seen here. The Sikkim government completed constructing this monastery is 1999. The scenic beauty again is wonderful here. Also, as a visitor, you can contribute food, the little amount of money or clothing item for the pilgrims here and enjoy the bliss of serenity.
Sikkim is a place that has a bounty of natural beauty and the calmest atmosphere. The valleys and hills and tea estates here make fall in love with this place as you visit for the first time. Take a break from the mundane urban life and spend a week in Sikkim. It doesn’t matter if you cannot cover all the tourist destinations. Choose the ones that catch your fancy or make you feel interested about the state. If you want to visit certain popular places, plan much in advance as there could be issues related to the entry fee, tickets and rush because of peak seasons. Try to avoid visiting the locations of the steep hills during monsoon. Be it train or air, Sikkim is connected with every transport means.