Both Gangtok and Darjeeling are picturesque hill stations that draw the endless number of tourists from various places far and wide around the year. The hills of the eastern part of India present a pleasing climate to its visitors around the year. But you seek opinion on the best time of the year to visit Gangtok and Darjeeling with all its crystal-clear sky, clarified view of the great Himalayan peaks then summer is the best time.
Weather-wise condition in Gangtok
Just because summer means no snowfall or mist or fog, does not mean that you will not be able to cherish the mystique land of Gangtok in winter. Winter has its own charm in Sikkim; however, the temperature can go down below the freezing point between December and February. Most of the tourists and local tour operators and guides believe that visiting Gangtok during monsoon could be a little tricky and risky because of heavy rainfall and slippery road conditions and landslides.
Summer sojourn: Summer is the populist choice of visiting Gangtok. In this season, you will get a moderate climate that starts with the advent of spring in March, and it ends in June. The average temperature during this time remains around 22 degrees Celsius. So, you can understand that you can plan a nice family vacation during this period when the Gangtok weather remains pleasant.
Fun and frolics: Summer offers you the opportunity to visit all the tourist attractions without a headache. You can also opt for the ropeway services and copter rides without being worried about the weather conditions or foggy mornings. Your investments for these activities are totally worth this time as there is almost zero chance of the journeys being canceled.
Winter wonders: Winter in Gangtok begins from the month of October and ends in the month of March. If you plan your trip to Sikkim, you should know that this season opens up to the beautiful views of the blue valleys and mountains with the azure skies in the background. If you are a lover of adventure tourism and choose your visits and their timings as per the natural weather conditions of the destinations, then visit Gangtok anytime between December and February when the current temperature hovers around 4 degree Celsius to 7 degree Celsius.
Autumn adventure: Between October to November first week is the time when you feel the slight chill in the air but still a very pleasant atmosphere to schedule your visits to all the tourist attractions in Sikkim and Gangtok. The temperature starts falling further from November end. So, you can easily visit this northeastern hill state during autumn and avoid the extreme chill.
No-plan monsoon: Monsoon in Gangtok sets in July and ends in the month of September. In this time, the place, including several tourist spots, witnesses heavy rainfall triggering landslips in many places. As a result, roads remain blocked for days, causing a complete shutdown of transportation and tourism business. Sometimes, a complete area remains cut off for days because of such weather-related issues. Hence, it is advisable that you do not plan to visit Gangtok during monsoon. The general Gangtok weather remains misty and dull during this time.
Best places to visit in Gangtok
Serene lakes, snow-laden islands, appealing valleys, and stunning landscapes, these are what Gangtok offers to its visitors. The capital of Sikkim is a mesmerizing hill station that is nestled in the lap of the eastern Himalayas. With the huge natural beauty and resources, it becomes almost irresistible for tourists not to visit Gangtok.
Top 10 places, a must-see in Gangtok: Gangtok has such bounty of natural beauty that it is almost impossible to zero down on one or two places. Nevertheless, here are some top 10 tourist attractions in Gangtok that you must cover while visiting this enthralling Himalayan hill station.
Darjeeling weather and best time for visit
The emerald green hill station of Darjeeling is nestled in the far north-eastern corner of India. Sitting 2590 meters above the sea level, Darjeeling is a melting pot of varied cultures, including Sikkim, Nepal, Bhutan, and Tibet. Not just a steaming cup of world-famous Darjeeling tea, this place has a bounty to offer to its curious travelers.
Overall climate of Darjeeling
Before you make an ideal plan to visit this part of the world, you should know that for tourists, there are two best seasons to visit Darjeeling. The first season is between March and May that is between spring and summer. And the other one is between October and November which is the autumn season. These are the two perfect times of the year when the weather is pleasantly cool, and the sky remains clear and therefore gives you the best opportunity to view the majestic Kanchenjunga peak.
When not to visit: When the summer ends up in June middle, the overall weather here starts to gather moisture. Monsoon sets in the month of July. Sometimes it lingers till October first half. December to February is winter in Darjeeling. It is advisable that you don’t visit Darjeeling during monsoon as you will not be able to see and enjoy much and face a lot of transportation hassle because of risky road conditions.
Whimsical weather of the hills: But it is difficult to reply to Darjeeling weather. You can see a perfectly settled nice and clear weather, but soon fog and mist can make your vision grey. The fog rises from the deep, humid valleys here and puts a white blank across the district. Sometimes you can flakes of white clouds in the sky above you and sometimes below you in the valley.
Weather conditions in Darjeeling do not follow any specific pattern. Also, it varies widely in different places across the district. Kalimpong, Terai, Dooars, and even Gangtok all these neighboring areas have different weather.
Weather conditions and scenario on tourists’ visit
If you want to enjoy Darjeeling with its best resources, then these are phases you can select from as per your convenience and plan your visit accordingly.
Spring in Darjeeling: This is one of the best and finest periods to visit Darjeeling. Though it is one of those short and elusive periods, but this time various hilly flowers bloom in their prettiest colors, making the entire hill station look surreal. You will also find different garden flowers blooming. During springtime weather in Darjeeling remains absolutely lovable the sky remains mostly clear, but you may also have to face some sudden hailstorms or strong winds. But this is actually fine if you compare the overall atmosphere.
During this time, the temperature at night generally remains at 6 degrees Celsius, and it reaches up to 17 degree Celsius during the day. Overall, this is a great time to visit Darjeeling and view the mountains all around. But if you really want to visit the hill station during this time, you will have plan much in advance; Due to tourist rush at the peak season, all hotels remain full. Particularly in the month of April, people from all over the globe flock to Darjeeling to cherish its scenic beauty when they are at best.
Summer in Darjeeling: Here the warm season starts in the month of May and lasts till July. The average temperature generally varies anything between 11 degree Celsius and 19 degree Celsius. May is also another famous time to visit Darjeeling. But there are good chances of hailstorm and showers during this time. Barring the sudden spell of rain, this is a nice time to visit the hills.
Monsoon in Darjeeling: The monsoon in Darjeeling starts June. When the atmosphere starts getting misty quite frequently, you will know that monsoon is about to set in in the hills. The proper monsoon remains here from June to September; sometimes it also stretched to October first half. There can be frequent showers during this time. During monsoon, weather in Darjeeling is dull. The sky here can hardly be seen for more than 10 days. Sometimes it rains incessantly and cripples the daily life. Forget about taking a trip to Darjeeling, even the local trade and business run with a lot of difficulties because of risky roads that often remain closed because of landslides.
The scare of landslides: The average temperature during monsoon hovers around 13 degree Celsius to 19 degree Celsius. However, at night, the weather remains very cold. During this time, landslides occur in different areas of the district, causing much hassle to the local resident as well as tourists.
Autumn in Darjeeling: Darjeeling turns into a paradise again during this time. Unless the rains are stretched, the months of October and November remain mostly rain-free and delightful for tourists. With the fog and mist clearing, this is a great time to view all the mountain ranges here. The temperature ranges from 6 degree Celsius to 18 degree Celsius during this period. So, you can easily surmise why tourists pour in Darjeeling this time and all hotels, homestays remain almost full and thriving with business.
Winter in Darjeeling: The winter in the hills begins in December, and it stays for at least three months, if not more. During this time, the sky remains mostly clear unless there is any sudden change in the weather system that triggers occasional showers in the valleys. The view of almost all the hills here remains clear adding to the joys of visitors. The early mornings here is very cold, but it is utterly enjoyable. During the entire day, the temperature remains around 22 degrees Celsius, making ideal weather for tourists to roam around, involve themselves in various fun-filled activities, group trek long walks, etc.
The charm of Christmas: The flavor of Darjeeling is altogether different during Christmas. If you are willing to relish the feel of the old colonial-style festivities, then you must plan to come to Darjeeling during the period of Christmas and New Year. The entire town here along with its neighborhoods remain nicely lit and decorated during this time, while hotels offer several lucrative deals with stay and food and wine. The local pubs and hangout places thrive with the melody of beautiful festive music and laughter. This is altogether a different kind of ambiance that not only makes your brief stay in the hills exciting and fulfilling but also gives you a long-lasting memory of the land of the Kanchenjunga.
Best places to visit in Darjeeling
Now let’s find out the best summer gateways of Darjeeling.
Tiger hills: It is the complete package for the nature lovers. If you love the adventure of chilling cold and climb up the hills to witness the charismatic Kanchenjunga when the first rays of the sun come, then don’t skip Tiger hills and fix your cameras before the sunrise.
Batasia Loop: The elevated area around the Ghum station has a beautifully decorated garden. This is a pure treat to your eyes. You get a panoramic view of the entire town from the place. The wide expanse of greenery and the majestic view of the hills will make you feel like visiting Darjeeling time and again.
Padmaja zoo: If you are an animal lover, this place is for you. You can experience the local flora and fauna here. Located downward Jawahar Road, this zoo is the home of the largest number of snow leopards of India. The zoo opens at 8.30 in the morning and closes at 4 pm. You have to pay Rs 20 if you are a domestic tourist; the charge is Rs 50 for international visitors.
Peace pagoda: The pagoda represents different avatars of Lord Buddha. It attracts people from all religions. It is a beautiful serene place that makes you feel calm and composed.
Other places to visit: Besides, Ghum monastery, rock garden, Nightingale park are famous among tourists. You can also visit the Himalayan Mountaineering Park where you get the basic knowledge about trekking and mountaineering. Amateur and also professional mountaineers come here and get the lessons of various trekking courses. If you are one of these people, then you must visit the institute. St Andrews Church is also a very famous location here that draws hundreds of visitors during Christmas and New Year. The Happy Valley tea estate is the place for tea lovers. Acres of verdant tea gardens and the blue hills in the background make your visit to this place an unforgettable one. The tea lovers can collect their souvenirs from various small-town shops here that are mostly run by local people, though you can also opt for the branded varieties at the traditional shops. The price range differs and also quality. But in terms of local food and beverages, visit the small shacks, they look rickety but sell excellent momos and thukpas.
Conclusion: If you are planning to visit these two famous places of the eastern Indian territory, then plan accordingly. Now you have a decent idea about the weather conditions and overall scenario regarding activities and offers. Plan your schedule depending on the things you want to see and do during your visit. Consider some factors that suit your family members. The best of the natural beauty and food and scenic locales can be enjoyed only when you are fully planned in advance.