Snow laden highlands, serene lakes, and appealing valleys – stunning landscapes of Gangtok form a magical collage that allures tourists from all around. The capital city of Sikkim is a mesmerising hill station sitting in the lap of Eastern Himalayas. With the kind of natural beauty that Gangtok has, it becomes irresistible to keep one from exploring these beautiful places to visit in Gangtok.
The list of places to see during your trip to Gangtok is so vivid and serene that zeroing down on one is a tough task. Nevertheless keeping one ready might help.
1. Rumtek Monastery – One of the oldest Tibetan Monasteries in the world
Rumtek monastery is one of the most popular places to visit in Gangtok. The monastery belongs to the Kagyu sect of Buddhists who started living in Tibet in the 12th century. It is one of the chief and magnificent monasteries in Sikkim. The style and structure resemble the original one located in Tsurphu, Tibet.
Opening hours: 10 am to 5 pm in winters, 8 am to 5 pm during summers
Major attractions: Golden Stupa, hiking downhill, and several other old and historic monasteries
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2. Nathula Pass – Gateway to diferent yet similar cultures
Located at an altitude of 14,450 ft, Nathu-La is a prime corridor of the passage between India and Tibet. Passing through the serene Tsomgo Lake, it is one of the most important places to see in Gangtok. It has one of the highest motorable roads in the world that makes is a popular adventure destination. Access to this area is restricted and one needs entry permits from the zonal office to visit Nathu La.
Opening hours: There are no opening hours as such. The pass is open for public from Wednesday to Sunday.
Major attractions: Walking along the International borders, biking, and watching the Chinese soldiers in action
3. Tsomgo Lake – One of the most ethereal places to visit in Gangtok
Located off the Gangtok Nathu La Highway at an elevation of 12,400 ft, Tsongmo Lake or Changu Lake is a glacial beauty in the hills of Sikkim. Turquoise water of the lake, magical backdrop and the serenity of the place are absolutely hypnotic. One just can’t afford to miss Tsongmo Lake among many beautiful places to visit in Gangtok.
Major attractions: Yak and Mule rides along the lake, tea and piping hot instant noodles in small eateries, ice skating, and a walk on the river in the winters
4. Hanuman Tok – A peaceful piece of heaven
Hanuman Tok is another tourist friendly place to visit in Gangtok. This age old Hanuman Temple located at an elevation of 7,500 ft offers the best views of Khangchendzonga from Gangtok. It is not the spirituality but the peacefulness of the place that has attracted tourist footfall since ages.
Opening hours: 7 am to 5 pm
Major attractions: Temple walk, serenity of the place, and Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve
5. Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve – Call of the wild in Gangtok
This grand natural habitat in Gangtok boasts of rich flora and fauna of the normal, endangered and nearly extinct varieties. Stretched over an area of around 850 sq km, this biosphere reserve is one of the few high altitude reserves in India with musk deer, snow leopards and Himalayan tahr.
Opening hours: 10 am to 6: 30 pm
Major attractions: Animal safaris, hikes and trek to the reserve, and snow leopard spotting
6. Namchi – A popular tourist attraction in Gangtok
Namchi means top of the sky. It is one of those tourist places to see in Gangtok that offers picturesque view of the Khangchendzonga range and the Rangit valley simultaneously. The 135 feet high statue of Guru Padmasambhava, perched upon the valley in Samdruptse at Namchi, is a famous attraction amongst tourists.
Major attractions: Shedrup Choling monastery, Ngadak monastery, Dichen Choling monastery, Rock garden, treks to the surrounding valley and photography of magnificent Khangchendzonga from Namchi
These top six attractions are the most famous places in Gangtok, presents in every sightseeing tour in Gangtok. But if you are the kind who hate staying boxed in a hotel room, here are few more places to visit in Gangtok. Based on your company and interest these tourist attractions might find place on your customized itinerary.
7. Khangchendzonga – The picture says it all!
Visit Gangtok to get the best views of Khangchendzonga – the third highest peak in the world. Tashi Viewpoint and Singhik Viewpoint are the perfect spots for photography.
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8. Do Drul Chorten Stupa – A peaceful tourist place in Gangtok
If you love peace, spend some time at Do Drul Chorten Stupa. The stupa surrounded by 108 prayer wheels is one of the most popular places to see in Gangtok.
9. Tsuk La Khang Monastery – A beautiful monastery in Gangtok
The walls, platforms and slabs of this palatial monastery are extravagantly ornamented with paintings and images of Buddha, Bodhisattva and other tantrik idols of Buddhism.
10. Flower Exhibition Centre – A playground of colors
The exhibition centre is located near the Ridge Park in Gangtok and houses the annual orchid show. From March to June many exclusive varieties of orchids are displayed here.
11. Kabi Town – The beauty lies in small things
The small settlement is historically significant as the friendship agreement between the Lepcha chief Te Kung Tek and the Bhutia chief Khey Bum Sar was signed here. There is also a small monastery in Kabi.
12. Saramsa Garden – An allure of Gangtok
A picnic and leisure destination, Saramsa garden is managed by Sikkim Forest Department. The garden has many rare and exclusive plant species, and offers a picturesque view of River Rani and the surrounding hills. It is perfect for a small picnic with kids and a leisure getaway with family.
13. Himalayan Zoological Park – A peak into the wildlife in Gangtok
If you are traveling to Gangtok with children, make sure Gangtok Zoo is on the itinerary. It is famous for pandas, Himalayan black bears, snow leopards, Tibetan wolves, Himalayan palm civets, large Indian civets, and various other animals.
14. Banjhakri Falls – A spot perfect for family getaways in Gangtok
This is a 100 ft waterfall located in a park near Ranka Monastery and is popular among tourists and locals for day picnics.
Must Read: 10 Beautiful Resorts In Gangtok
15. Namgyal Institute of Tibetology – Where you learn to love!
A mansion reflecting the traditional Tibetan architecture, it gives insights into Buddhist culture. It exhibits cloth paintings, manuscripts, ritual objects, and human bone trumpets. Also, there is a souvenir store where you can buy jewellery, mementos and more.
What we shared above is a comprehensive list that tells you what to see on a short trip to Gangtok. But if your vacation is slightly elongated (5 to 6 days) days for Gangtok, there are some fabulous places to see around the city. These tourist places are perfect to plan a day trip.
16. Phurchachu Reshi Hot Spring – A natural wonder
The hot spring is located near a cave called Kadosangphu, about 135 km away from Gangtok. The water gushing out of the hot spring is rich in sulphur and has medicinal value.
Major attractions: Besides the belief, spend some time in the hot waters of the spring to relax and unwind.
17. Pemayangtse Monastery – A popular monastery near Gangtok
140 km from Gangtok, Pemayangtse Monastery was built by Lama Lhatsun Chempo in 1705. It is one of the ancient and premier monasteries of Sikkim which has been a popular name among the places to visit in Gangtok since many years. A morning or an evening at this monastery is an experience of lifetime.
Opening hours: 9:00 am to 6:00 pm
Major attractions: Sculptures and architecture of the age old monastery, visiting the wrecks of Rabdentse, located near the monastery
Must Read: 15 Cozy Budget Hotels In Gangtok
18. Khecheopalri Lake – An amalgamation of religion and nature
Located at an elevation of 6,000 ft, Khecheopalri Lake is believed and worshipped as a holy lake that fulfills the wishes of its devotees. The 15th full moon day of the 1st month of the lunar calendar—which comes in Feb-March—hosts a fiesta of mass prayers offered by a brimming crowd of the locals and visitors.
Major attractions: Treks to the surrounding areas, a visit to the Lepcha village and glimpses of the native culture and tradition
19. Yumthang Valley – One of the most beautiful places to visit in Gangtok
Popularly known as the Valley of Flowers, Yumthang valley is located at a height of 11,800 ft. The valley is a replica of paradise with the collage of beautiful flora and enchanting surroundings.
Major attractions: Trekking along the banks of Yumthang River through pine forests up to a Shiva temple
20. Lachung – Tales of twists and turns
Lachung is located at the junction of Lachen and Lachung River — at an altitude of 9,600 ft. Lachung means small pass and this one has a base of Indian army and has been described by foreign travellers as ‘most picturesque village of Sikkim.’
Major attractions: Lachung Monastery, skiing in Phuni near Lachung.
Alright! Winters are already here. Gear up, pack up, get going to one of the most amazing hill stations of north-east India. You just can’t afford to miss it!
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