Top attractions in Gangtok
Gangtok, the capital city of the Indian state of Sikkim, offers a unique blend of natural beauty, cultural heritage, and adventure activities. Here are some of the top attractions in Gangtok:
Located at an elevation of 12,313 feet, Tsomgo Lake is a breathtaking glacial lake surrounded by snow-capped mountains. It is a popular tourist spot for its stunning beauty and the opportunity to enjoy yak rides.
Situated on the Indo-China border, Nathula Pass is a historical mountain pass that offers panoramic views of the surrounding Himalayan peaks. It was an important trade route in ancient times and is now a popular tourist destination.
Also known as the Rumtek Dharma Chakra Centre, it is one of the most significant monasteries in Sikkim. The monastery is known for its beautiful architecture, intricate murals, and religious artifacts.
The main street of Gangtok, MG Marg, is a pedestrian-only zone and a bustling hub of activity. It is lined with shops, restaurants, and cafes, making it a great place to relax, shop for souvenirs, and savor local delicacies.
Located on a hilltop, Enchey Monastery is a 200-year-old Buddhist monastery known for its serene atmosphere and traditional architecture. It offers panoramic views of Gangtok and hosts vibrant religious festivals.
Tashi Viewpoint provides a panoramic view of the snow-capped peaks of the Eastern Himalayas, including the mighty Kanchenjunga. It is an ideal spot for witnessing breathtaking sunrises and sunsets.
A temple dedicated to Lord Hanuman, Hanuman Tok is perched at an altitude of 7,200 feet. It offers stunning views of Gangtok town, the neighboring hills, and the Khangchendzonga range.
Located on the outskirts of Gangtok, Banjhakri Falls is a picturesque waterfall surrounded by lush greenery. The area also features traditional sculptures, a park, and a small lake.
Do Drul Chorten
It is one of the most important Buddhist stupas in Gangtok. Built in 1945, the stupa is adorned with religious mantras and prayer wheels, and it attracts both tourists and devotees.
Cable Car Ride
Enjoy a cable car ride that provides breathtaking views of Gangtok as it takes you from Deorali to Tashiling. It offers a unique perspective of the city and its surroundings.
These are just a few of the many attractions Gangtok has to offer. The city’s natural beauty, rich culture, and warm hospitality make it a delightful destination for travelers.
Things to do in Gangtok
In addition to visiting the top attractions in Gangtok, there are several other exciting things to do in the city. Here are some suggestions:
Explore Namgyal Institute of Tibetology
Visit the renowned institute dedicated to the study of Tibetan language, culture, and Buddhism. It houses a museum with an extensive collection of artifacts, manuscripts, and religious artworks.
Visit the Flower Exhibition Center
Gangtok is known for its vibrant and diverse flora. The Flower Exhibition Center showcases a wide variety of flowers, including rare orchids, and is a treat for nature lovers and photographers.
Indulge in local cuisine
Try out the delectable local cuisine of Sikkim, which includes dishes like momos (steamed dumplings), thukpa (noodle soup), gundruk (fermented leafy greens), and sel roti (a traditional sweet bread). You can explore local eateries or visit the MG Marg for a wide range of dining options.
Go for a Yak Safari
Experience the thrill of riding a yak at places like Tsomgo Lake or Dzongri in Gangtok. It’s a unique way to explore the scenic beauty of the region.
Visit the Sikkim Himalayan Zoological Park
Located near Gangtok, this zoo is home to several rare and endangered species like the red panda, snow leopard, Himalayan black bear, and many more. It offers an opportunity to see these animals in their natural habitat.
Enjoy adventure sports
Gangtok offers a range of adventure activities for thrill-seekers. You can go river rafting in the Teesta River, paragliding over the lush valleys, or trekking in the nearby Himalayan trails.
Experience a traditional Sikkimese homestay
Get a glimpse of the local culture and lifestyle by staying in a traditional Sikkimese homestay. It provides an immersive experience and a chance to interact with the locals, try local cuisine, and participate in traditional activities.
Visit the Hanuman Tok Viewpoint at night
The Hanuman Tok Viewpoint offers stunning views of Gangtok during the day, but it also provides a magical experience at night. The city lights illuminate the landscape, creating a breathtaking sight.
Attend a cultural show
Enjoy traditional dance and music performances showcasing the rich cultural heritage of Sikkim. Various cultural centers and hotels in Gangtok organize such shows regularly.
Relax at a spa or wellness center
After exploring the city, pamper yourself with a rejuvenating spa session or wellness treatment. Gangtok has several wellness centers and spas offering various therapies inspired by traditional healing practices.
Remember to check the availability and local regulations for each activity before planning your itinerary. Enjoy your time in Gangtok!
FAQs on Gangtok Tourism
The best time to visit Gangtok is during the months of March to May and October to mid-December. These months offer pleasant weather with clear skies, making it ideal for sightseeing and outdoor activities.
The nearest airport to Gangtok is Bagdogra Airport, located near Siliguri in West Bengal. From there, you can hire a taxi or take a shared cab to reach Gangtok. The nearest major railway station is New Jalpaiguri (NJP), which is well-connected to major cities in India. From NJP, you can continue your journey to Gangtok by road.
Yes, Indian tourists require an Inner Line Permit (ILP) to visit Gangtok and other parts of Sikkim. The permit can be obtained online or at various checkpoints, such as Rangpo, Melli, or the Sikkim Tourism Office in Gangtok. Foreign nationals need to obtain a Protected Area Permit (PAP) or Restricted Area Permit (RAP) to visit specific areas in Sikkim.
It is important to check the latest travel advisories and guidelines related to COVID-19 before planning your trip to Gangtok. Travel restrictions and protocols may vary based on the prevailing situation and government regulations. Ensure you have necessary documents like vaccination certificates or negative RT-PCR test reports as per the requirements.
Some popular day trips from Gangtok include visiting places like Tsomgo Lake, Nathula Pass, Rumtek Monastery, Pelling, Yuksom, Lachung, and Ravangla. These destinations offer beautiful landscapes, monasteries, waterfalls, and stunning views of the Himalayas.
Gangtok is generally a safe city for travelers. However, it is advisable to take standard precautions like avoiding isolated areas at night, keeping your belongings secure, and following local regulations and advice.
Gangtok offers a range of accommodation options, including luxury hotels, budget hotels, guesthouses, homestays, and resorts. The MG Marg area and nearby areas are popular for their hotels and guesthouses.
Yes, Gangtok offers a variety of vegetarian and vegan food options. Many restaurants and eateries serve vegetarian dishes, and some even specialize in local vegetarian cuisine. You can also find vegetarian-friendly versions of popular dishes like momos and thukpa.
Yes, Gangtok has several ATMs and banks where you can withdraw cash and carry out banking transactions. However, it is advisable to carry sufficient cash, especially while traveling to remote areas or during peak tourist seasons.
Gangtok celebrates various festivals throughout the year. Some of the major festivals include Losar (Tibetan New Year), Saga Dawa, Tihar (Diwali), Bumchu, and the International Flower Festival. These festivals offer a glimpse into the local culture, traditions, and religious practices.