Gangtok: An Ultimate Handy Travel Guide

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Gangtok: An Ultimate Handy Travel Guide

“Gangtok” – this famous secluded, the capital city of the Sikkim state in India is one marvelous place to visit for each wanderer. We visited Gangtok back in 2011, but the memories are still refresh and we are yet not out of it.

Snuggled between the borders of Nepal and Bhutan, the capital city of the small state of Sikkim, is rich in history, scenic beauty of Himalayas and known as land of monasteries. Situated accurate in the middle of the Himalayan range, Gangtok is one of the most picturesque places to visit in India. Although it’s a least populated state, Sikkim has some of the amazing landscape lovable places to visit for every traveler.

gangtok
(C) – istock

Travelling to the North-eastern India, more so Sikkim, is one of the best gifts you could give to yourself. The experiences one gathers here are a class apart. And if you happen to land in a place like Gangtok, a value-for-money vacation is guaranteed because there is an amazing array of things to do in the Himalayan hill town.

As the Welcome board says, ‘The place where Nature meets’. It’s one such mesmerizing place which can heal all your pains. If you are looking to head into a nature’s lap to take a nap in the beauty of Himalayas, then GET READY! Time to head to “Gangtok”!

We are getting you a quick handy travel guide for you to refer when you head to Gangtok.

~~ Fast Facts ~~ 

Nearest Airport: Bagdogra (124 kms away from Gangtok)

 Best time to visit: March to late May, October to mid-December.To experience snow, you can travel in Jan end – Mid Feb.

Languages: Nepali, English and Hindi

Currency accepted: Indian Rupee.

Getting Around: Taxis will be your primary mode of transport and can be quite cheap if you opt for a shared one.

~~ Accommodations in Gangtok ~~

All types of budget hotels to high end hotels are available in Gangtok. May it be Luxury, Mid- Budget or backpacker’s choice. We stayed in Club Mahindra resort in Gangtok and it was worth staying in such amazing property.

Club Mahindra Hotel - Gangtok
Club Mahindra Hotel – Gangtok

You could choose to stay in Sikkim Retreat, The Nettle & Fern, The Golden Crest, Sikkim continental etc for a relaxed yet easy on the pocket accommodation. Check the ratings and reviews before you choose your stay. There are good options for Home stay’s as well.

 ~ Do Not Miss these eateries in Gangtok ~

Gangtok is a treat for foodies. You will find lot of good cafes, restaurants with Sikkimese, Tibetan and Indian cuisines.  You must try local delicacies like thupka, ningro (Fern rings), Churpi (yak cheese), Hot piping momos, Sikkimese pork curry, will leave you craving for more.

Food in Gangtok - Momos
Food in Gangtok – Momos

The entire line-up of restaurants in Gangtok is a delight. To name a few, The Square restaurant at M.G. Road, The Roll House for some mashed potatoes, Rainbow Fast food for some yummy Momos, Café Fiction and Café Live & Loud are some coolest cafes in Gangtok for a chilling eve to spend. 9‘ine restaurant on M.G road serve some of the best local Sikkimese food so and let your taste buds feel a new high.

Loafing Around and Baker’s café serve the delicious and mouth watering desserts which you should not miss ever when in Gangtok.

 ~ Do not leave Gangtok before you see ~

Enchey Monastery: 3 kms from Gangtok, this 200-year-old monastery was built on the site blessed by the great tantric master Lama Druptab Karpa, revered for the flying powers accredited to him.

Enchey Monastery, Gangtok
(c) – Flickr

Religious masked dances are performed here on special occasions. Enchey monastery offers picturesque views of the town and the Kanchenjunga peak.

 

Rumtek Monastery:  Located at 24 kms from Gangtok, the Rumtek Monastery is a beautiful Tibetan Buddhist monastery. This is the seat of the ‘Kagyu order’ a close replica of the original Kagyu in Tibet.

Rumtek Monestry - Gangtok
Rumtek Monastery – Gangtok

Here one can find some of the most unique art objects in the world. Also, Renowned as “Dharma Chakra Centre”, surrounded by Serene hills and calm greenery all over.

  Lingdum (Ranka) Monastery:

Lingdum (Ranka) Monastery
Lingdum (Ranka) Monastery

Situated in Lingdum, Ranka Monastery is another popular Buddhist monastery in Gangtok, known for its architecture and artistic value, this monastery has an assemblage of colorful Thangkas (Tibetan paintings) that embellish the walls.

Tashi View Point: Situated 8 kms from Gangtok, this place offers a breathtaking view of the majestic mount Khangchendzonga and Mount Siniolchu.

tashi view point
(c) – Wiki

If you are Sunrise/Sunset chaser, you will find one of the best sunrise/ sunsets views from Tashi Point.

Gurudongmar Lake: Counted amongst the highest lakes across the globe, Gurudongmar Lake is a beauty. High-altitude water body perched at an elevation on around 17800 feet in Sikkim. Covered by snow-clad mountains, this a touch of milky white and emerald lake excites visitors with its breathtaking view.

Gurudongmar Lake - Gangtok
Gurudongmar Lake – Gangtok

Blessed with scenic beauty and stunning surroundings, this lake is perfect for photography enthusiasts. Though, this lake remains frozen for most parts of the year, your camera would still be happy to capture the charm of this emerald lake.

Tsomgo Lake: This tranquil lake is a much-visited site about 34 Km from Gangtok at 12,400ft. It freezes completely during the winter and is much revered by the locals. When we visited in February month, the lake was all frozen but the charm of Tsomgo has left us speechless.

Tsomgo lake
Tsomgo lake

Surrounded by rugged mountains on all sides, this scenic lake is encircled by lush green landscapes on all sides. You can also enjoy a yak ride around the lake. 

 

Nathula Pass: Situated at an altitude of 14,450 feet, Nathula Pass was part of the historic Silk Route that was used for trade between China and India.

Nathula pass - Gangtok
Nathula pass – Gangtok

Located around 56 kilometres from Gangtok, the road to Nathula passes through the Tsomgo Lake. It is one of the highest motorable roads in the world and offers spectacular views of the Chumbi valley. The drive from Gangtok to Nathula can be an exhilarating experience as one can get a view of many snow-clad peaks along the way.

Nathula Pass
Nathula Pass

After the gap of 44 years, this pass was open, and tourists are allowed to go close to Indo- China border. Chinese soldiers on the other side of the barbed wire can be viewed from the international border.

nathula 3
On the way to see Indo-China border in Nathula Pass

Quick Tips:

  • Nathu La pass is only open for Indian nationals on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sundays.
  • Visitors need to get the permit. You can apply via the Tourism and Civil Aviation Department through a registered travel agency.
  • Carry your Identity proof while visiting to Nathula.

 

Baba Harbhajan Singh Memorial: This temple lies amidst the Nathu-La and the Jelep-La passes and is built in the memory of Harbhajan Singh, a sepoy in the 23rd Punjab regiment.

Memoria1

It has now become a site for pilgrimage and devotees leave a bottle of water which they later collect to take back home.

Himalayan Zoological Park:  Located 8 km away from town it is home to the elusive red panda, the cuddly state animal, barking deer, Himalayan black bear and others.

 

Himalayan zoo park
Himalayan zoo park
Red Panda
(c) – Flickr

This Zoological park is spread across 230 hectares of hillside and houses rare animals includes Snow leopards, Wolves, etc,

Hanuman Tok: Hanuman Tok is a famous temple in Gangtok dedicated to Lord Hanuman. This temple is managed by the Indian Army and lies at 7200 feet on the road to Nathula.

tashi2.JPG It is well known for its tranquil atmosphere and surreal panorama views of enormous mount Kanchenjunga.

Do Drul Chorten: Considered one of the largest stupa in Sikkim it is surrounded by 108 prayer wheels. Was built by the Van Trulshik Rinpoche in 1945.

Do Drul Chorten
Do Drul Chorten

Today a much-acclaimed center of Buddhist learning it treasures a vast collection of rare Lepcha, Tibetan and Sanskrit manuscripts along with an admirable volume of over 200 Buddhist icons, Thangkas and other religious objects.

~ Do not return from Gangtok before you buy ~

We all love getting souvenir for our loved ones, And Gangtok is indeed a treasure trove for its tourists. Besides curios you may pick up bronze and silver jewelry, turquoise, coral jewelry and beads easily from Gangtok. For the food freaks Gangtok offers the dried fish, yak’s cheese (churpi), and yeast for making the local beer (tomba).

MG Market - Gangtok
MG Market – Gangtok

Gangtok also offers several options for gift items and souvenirs. You may take your pick from carpets, handloom fabrics, thangka paintings and wooden objects.

M.G. Road Market is must visit even though you do not want to buy anything, just take a walk around there to experience the culture & vicinity.  

~ Do not miss packing while travelling to Gangtok ~  

  • Warm Jackets, thermals & Gloves.
  • Walking shoes
  • Medicines
  • Sunglasses
  • Mosquito repellents

 

Gangtok has grown as a popular travel destination over the years now. Lying over the mountains and in the valleys, seen from the skies or even from the ropeway, Gangtok shows a colourful face dilade against the backdrop of the snow-clad mountains.

What are your favourite tourist spots in Gangtok? Share with us in comments.

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16 comments on “Gangtok: An Ultimate Handy Travel Guide”

  1. This so much reminds me of my trip to Bhutan… I am yet to visit gangtok..hopefully this year I make it happen

  2. Interesting ! Never heard of this city before in India ! Such different are the architectures abd colours compared to the India im familiar with. Thanks for sharing !

  3. Gangtok looks really beautiful, but cold! I’ve never travelled to India before but there is so many amazing places to see there. Although, when I think of India, I think hot! Not snow haha

  4. I love how colorful the buildings are – and so very detailed! They look amazing. And the lakes, especially Gurudongmar Lake, are gorgeous. The food sounds delicious, I’d love to try the momos. This is definitely a place to check out one day!

  5. Great post! Gangtok is not a place that one hears about frequently, but its such a beautiful place. I would love to visit those high peaks and clear mountain lakes!

  6. Gurudongmar Lake looks absolutely stunning! And the colors of the temples … simply WOW! You mention that “Nathu La pass is only open for Indian nationals on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sundays.” I am presuming that it is open to other nationality passport holders with a permit too?

  7. I haven’t heard of Gangtok before, but it sounds amazing. I’m fascinated by temples and shrines so checking out the Do Drul Chorten would be high on my list if I visit here. Great post!

  8. I have to admit I have not heard of Gangtok before but I just love the sound and look of it. One of the great things about blogging is being introduce to such places. I am definitely adding this to my bucketlist. I don’t want to go during snow, so would go most likely in March to late May. Thanks for the tip

  9. I’ve always wanted to visit Gangtok but didn’t have the chance. Your guide is exceptional and shows how a place can be explored properly and thoroughly, Krupa and Vishal. How many days would you recommend staying there?

  10. When I planned my trip to India I did not find any information about this place, it seems spectacular! What a wonderful country …

  11. Gantok seems like an amazing place to visit and explore, Krupa and Vishal! This is an amazing and detailed travel guide for there which I hope to put to use soon!

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