Nestled amidst the Himalayas, Sikkim is a tiny hill state that will surprise you with its pristine beauty, natural attractions and fantastic adventure options. Include these places and activities in your itinerary while planning for Sikkim.
Tsomgo Lake : An oval shaped glacial lake and perhaps the most beautiful lake of Sikkim. The best time to be here is early spring and late autumn, when parts of the lake are frozen. Enjoy serene scenery while sipping hot tea and eating hot momos and chowmein at the food stalls by the lake. On Gangtok – Nathu La highway, Tsomgo Lake is situated at an altitude of 12,400 ft.
Gurudongmar Lake: The largest and the highest lake in Sikkim. Gurudongmar Lake is considered as one most sacred lakes by the Buddhists and Hindus alike. This awe inspiring lake of emerald blue colour is surrounded by snow capped mountains and is located close to Indo-Tibet border.
Cholamu lake: This is India’s highest lake and is at just 6 kilometers distance from Gurudongmar Lake. The main source of Teesata river its a crystal-clear lake that flows on the plateau that extends from Sikkim to Tibet.
Khecheopalri Lake : A sacred lake near Pelling that stays hidden within green forest cover. A clean lake, the legend goes that the birds do not permit even a leaf to float on the lake.
Rumtek Monastery: One of Tibetan Buddhism’s most important centres. It displays numerous priceless Tibetan and Buddhist artifacts along with many beautiful and impressive paintings. Visit during May/June to enjoy Chaam dances of Drupchen festival.
Pemayangtse Monastery:One of the oldest monasteries of Sikkim and an important altar for the Buddhists, this three storied monastery houses a great collection sculptures and of wall paintings.
Phensang Monastery: One of the largest and most beautiful monasteries in Sikkim that is famed for its sacred dance is performed by all the monks during the Sikkimese New Year.
ExperinceTrekking and Hiking
Trek to Goecha La: Perfect way to see and enjoy Sikkim is to trek to Gorche La. Starting from Yuksom, this trek follows a pictorial route of lush green valleys, colourful forests and offers the most amazing views of Mt. Khangchendzonga. The Rathong Chu River along the trek adds more appeal and allure to Goecha La trek.
Dzongri Trek: This trek starts near Yuksom and stretches till Dzongri. The trekking route offers the most mesmerizing and breathtaking views of the Mt. Pandim and Kanchenjunga.
Singalila Trek: A popular trek in Sikkim that offers views of four majestic mountains – Everest, Kangchenjunga, Makalu, and Lhotse. This trek also covers some of the most picturesque high altitude lakes of Sikkim.
Hiking at Yuksom : Popular for natural charm Yuksom, near Pelling, has some superb hiking trails through Yuksom to Tashiding. Dubdi Gompa amid splendid gardens, Kathok Wodsallin Gompa and the remains of Tashi Tenka palace complex here offers superb 360 views.
Appreciate Stunning Views
View Khangchendzonga From Pelling : The stride-stopping views all around draws numerous nature lovers to Pelling, a pleasant hilly town. The stunning views of Khangchendzonga from Pemayangtse Monastery, is a must see here. Rabdentse Palace ruins and the bird sanctuary nearby are also beautiful sightseeing spots in Pelling.
Laze Around at Ravangla : Ravangla is perfect place to laze around with a cup of local tea. Explore the lovely tea gardens,quaint villages, cascading waterfalls,historical market of Kewzing, mysterious small caves here. Exotic monasteries like Bonn Monastery, Ralang Monastery and Tashiding Monastery add to the charm along with the Buddha Park and a 70 feet tall Sakyamuni Buddha statue.
Smell the Rhododendrons at Yumthang Valley : Singba Rhododendron Sanctuary is the main attraction at Yumthang Valley. Primulas,poppies, rhododendrons and other flowering plants make it a “Valley of Flowers” from March to May. Glaciers, snowcapped peaks, grazing yaks and the mountains raising towards Tibet offer the most enchanting scenes.Yumthang is closed between December and March due to heavy snowfall
Try Adventure Sports
River Rafting on Teesta : Teesta river known as the life line of Sikkim is one of the best spots to try adventure activities in Sikkim. From calm stretches for newbies to great rapids for the avid rafters, Teesta has some thrill for all. The rapids in Teesta range between grade 2 and 4. Experience the beautiful patches of paddy fields, colourful forests, quaint villages and white sandy beaches with camps on this magnificent river. Image credit
Paraglide and Enjoy a Birdseye View : Fly like an eagle and get an birds eye view of the hills, mountains, scenic green landscape and feel free. March to April and October to November, when the skies the clear are the best time to enjoy paragliding in Sikkim. November is also the time when Gangtok hosts the annual Sikkim Paragliding Festival.
Enjoy Gangtok : Sikkim’s capital Gangtok is quite a functional sprawl of buildings, shops along with mesmerizing sights. Namgyal Institute of Tibetology, Damovar Ropeway and shopping at the beautifully maintained M.G. Road are the main tourist attractions over here. Enchey Gompa offers amazing views of the conifers.
Eat, Shop And Enjoy Nightlife : Gangtok in Sikkim offers some of the best places to try out the local cuisines and Tongba, a native drink of Sikkim. Only a few local restaurant, serve Tongba on demand. Visit the various clubs, pubs and discos here to enjoy a great night out. Do not forget to shop for The Thangkas (traditional paintings on cotton canvas and silk frames), traditional woven carpets, Lepcha weave bags, woolen blankets, sweaters, jackets and ski caps while here.
Now that you know how to make the most of your Sikkim trip just apply for the much awaited leave, or wait for a long weekend, book your hotel, pack your bags and head to Sikkim, the wonderland of North-East.
Note: Foreigners need to get Inner Line Permit to enter Sikkim. Offices for permit are: Sikkim House, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi; New Sikkim House at Middleton Street, Kolkata; and Sikkim tourist Information Centre. M.G. Marg , Gangtok. Indian nationals need permit from the Police Check Post in Gangtok to visit few places like Tsogmo Lake, Nathula Pass, Yumthang Valley etc.