Sikkim – Holding the world’s third-highest mountain peak, Kanchenjunga in its arms, Sikkim is a small north-eastern state in India with jaw-dropping scenic beauty. This Himalayan state has dramatic contours of thick woodlands, panoramic views of snow-capped mountains, colour-flecked meadows, magnificent treks, and an amalgamation of Hindu, Nepali, Lepcha, and Bhutanese cultures.
You can reach Sikkim by air. The first airport in the state has been operational since October 2018, called the Pakyong Airport. You can also reach Sikkim by the closest operational airport, the Bagdogra Airport. You can also use roads to get to the state—National Highway 10 links Siliguri to Gangtok. The nearest significant railways are the Siliguri and New Jalpaiguri junctions in West Bengal. The best time to visit Sikkim is from March to October.
Don’t miss out on these places in Sikkim-
The very heart of the state, the incredibly alluring capital, Gangtok is famous for it’s pleasant weather. Abounding in clouds, Gangtok is one of the most popular hill stations in India. Gangtok forms the base for various trekking expeditions.
The main attractions in Gangtok include Ban Jhakri Falls, Tsomgo Lake, Ganesh Tok, Rumtek Monastery, and Enchey Monastery. From March to May, wild rhododendrons bloom, giving the region a colorful mystical appearance.
The exotic hill station of Gangtok is famous for its beautiful market. Tibetan handicrafts, hand-carved wooden handicrafts, premium quality liquor, exquisitely woven woolens art, and culture of the city.
Best time to visit Gangtok- The best time to visit Gangtok is between mid-September to mid-December and from March to May.
Nearest airport- The closest airport is Bagdogra Airport in West Bengal. The distance between Bagdogra and Gangtok is 124 kilometers.
02. The Nathula Pass and Tsomgo Lake
Situated on the Nathula highway at 12400ft above sea level, the Tsomgo Lake is a high-altitude lake in India and a popular tourist attraction for its enchanting scenic beauty. White snow-capped mountains and lush green alpine forests envelop it. Thousands of blooming flowers surround this glacial lake. This lake is considered sacred by the Sikkimese.
Nathula is one of the highest motorable roads in the world. This mountain pass joins Sikkim with China. This pass is famous for its enchanting beauty and beautiful environment. The best time to visit the Nathula Pass is during the summer. During monsoons, there are landslides; during winters, it is covered with thick snow. Nathula Pass has Baba Harbhajan Singh Temple with an eerie backstory.
Best time to visit Nathula Pass and Tsomgo Lake- You can see the pass any time except for the monsoon season. During the monsoons, it is hazardous to travel on the pass. The pass remains closed on Monday and Tuesday every week.
Nearest airport- The nearest airport is Bagdogra Airport.
The third-highest peak in the world, Kanchenjunga, is a majestic mountain peak with a plethora of flora and fauna. The Kanchenjunga base camp trek is one of the most exciting treks in the world. The adventurous trek allows you to witness the stunning panoramic views of the valley, mountains, lush greenery, tribal villages and yaks grazing on the pastures.
The Kanchenjunga National Park encompassing the Kanchenjunga Peak and Zemu Glacier, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This biosphere reserve is home to over 550 species of birds, musk deer, Himalayan blue sheep, snow leopard, red panda, goral, serow, Himalayan tahr, etc.
Best time to visit Kanchenjunga- The best time for trekking on Kanchenjunga are from March to mid-May and October to late November.
Nearest airport- The closest airport to the mountain is the Bagdogra Airport which is around 70 kilometers away.
Literally meaning ‘top of the sky,’ Namchi is a popular tourist hotspot in Sikkim. There are two gigantic statues situated on hilltops in Namchi, one of Lord Shiva and the other of Guru Padmasambhava. Namchi abounds in spas, bars, and luxury hotels. The Rock Garden is another striking feature of the area and draws thousands of tourists annually. Namchi has a lot of shops selling crafts and souvenirs.
Best time to visit Namchi- is March to June.
Closest airport to Namchi- Bagdogra Airport is the closest to Namchi and is 102 kilometers from Namchi.
05. Lachen And Lachung
Situated in North Sikkim, Lachen is one of Sikkim’s most beautiful tourist destinations. It forms the gateway to sacred lakes like the Gurudongmar and Tso Llamu. This small town is famous for its apple orchards and pine-covered valleys. You can visit the Rhododendron Sanctuary, Chopta Valley, and Green Lake, which lie in the vicinity.
Lachung is another tourist hotspot in North Sikkim with a spectacular tourist site. The town abounds in snow-capped mountains, waterfalls, orchards of apples, peaches, and apricots, which tempt tourists. Yumesamdong, known as Lachung Zero Point, is 15,300ft above sea level. It’s perpetually covered with snow. For every adventure seeker, it is a lifetime experience.
The best time to visit Lachen and Lachung- is May to October.
The closest airport to Lachen and Lachung- Bagdogra Airport in Siliguri is the nearest airport to Lachen and Lachung.
A famous breathtaking town in West Sikkim, Pelling has become a significant tourist attraction in the state. Its natural scenic beauty makes it ideal for a holiday destination.
You can visit the Rimbi Waterfall, Darap Village, Rabdentse Ruins, Peymayangtse Monastery, and the Sangachoeling Monastery. Pelling forms a base for several treks. There are sites for rock climbing, mountain biking, paragliding, etc.
The best time to visit Pelling- is September to May.
The closest airport to Pelling- Bagdogra Airport is the nearest to Pelling and is 143 kilometers away.
- Chhang/ Thumba/ Chee – Locally brewed millet beer. It is served in bamboo with a wooden straw. This alcoholic drink is available almost everywhere in Sikkim.
- HIT Beer – Another local favorite. It is produced by a brewery owned by the Bollywood Actor Danny Denzongpa. This brand is also available in almost every place in Sikkim.
- Liquor – Other Alcohol like whiskey, brandy, and rum is very cheap in Sikkim as compared to any other place in India.
Sikkim has much to offer to every tourist out there. From mountain biking, paragliding, rock climbing, trekking, bungee jumping, and camping to star and nature gazing Sikkim is an enchanting mystical world far away from the hustle and rat race of life.
Calm yourself down at a monastery or explore nature’s best creations, savor the north-eastern delicacies like finger-licking culinary delights like momos, thupkas, sisnoo, or shop for Tibetan handicrafts. Sikkim should be on the top bucket list for adventure seekers and nature lovers.
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