Gangtok Tourism, India 2020 (50 Tours & Activities)

Gangtok, the exotic capital city of Sikkim, is a Buddhist haven. In sync with the Zen philosophy that divinity can only make its way through clear and clean surroundings, Gangtok is an epitome of neatness and is one of the few such places in India. The stunning panoramic views of the snow-capped Mount Kanchenjunga, only add to the Gangokian environs. Offering the best tourist places in Gangtok, this place is also famous for its distinct cuisine, of which Momos and Kinema, are an excellent example. Gangtok is a city of great food, atmospheric sceneries and beautiful Buddhist monasteries, which include Rumtek and Enchey. It has great potential for sightseeing as well, including the Nathu La Pass and Tsomgo Lake. Gangtok is also a testament to the unique fashion sense of the North East. The folks here are known to have a keen sense of style and have a totally refreshing way of wearing the most casual outfits. Gangtok also has a very folksy and indie live-music sentiment. Finally, the people make the place and it is the helpful and friendly citizens of Gangtok, who are true exemplars of the principles of the Buddhist lifestyle.   

Situated in the eastern Himalayan range, state capital Gangtok combines a modern, resort town style with ancient spiritual beliefs and an impressive natural heritage. Mountain views act as the backdrop to holidays in Gangtok, where much of the focus also lies on the monasteries, shrines, and temples of this old center of Tibetan Buddhist pilgrimage. Local delicacies such as momo (stuffed dumplings) also link Gangtok to Tibet. Use Gangtok as your gateway for exploring the state and beyond, with tour operators offering a number of day excursions and longer trips. To know more about the best tourist places in Gangtok, read below:

Recommendations for Gangtok

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23 November 2019
Excellent
This was my first trip with Thrillophilia as well as with complete strangers. I must say that Thrillophilia did not disappoint me ( nobody is perfect, so be flexible to accept minute glitches) . The whole trip went so smooth , starting from the pick up from airport, the hotels we got, arrangement of permits, site seeing and drop at the airport. Special thanks to Deep ( trip coordinator from tour angle) and Ammu ( my cab driver) . P. S. : if you want to see the flower calf yumthang valley and the frozen Tsomgo and Gurudongmar lake , then the ideal time to visit north Sikkim is March-April. November is the ideal time to witness the pleasant winter of sikkim along with its untouched beauty. Looking forward to travel more with Thrillophilia. P.S: the only problem which we faced was two co- passengers who used to get late for everything and because of them we had to rush from each location because of time constraint ( I totally understand that this things isn’t in the hand of Thrillophilia)
14 September 2015
Excellent
I am madly and deeply in love with Sikkim. I can't believe a place like this can be so beautiful and still people are unaware about it. Walking through narrow pathways and tiny hamlets on the way make this place all the more interesting and worth the effort.
15 May 2015
Excellent
Kanchenjunga is certainly an epitome of beauty and Sikkim is one place that provides you with panoramic views. loved the entire trekking part. Great place, great people amazing time - thanks to our trek guide who made sure people were satisfied and enjoying the trek.
23 November 2019
Excellent
It was a very good experience. Accommodation was good. Beautiful locations.
07 November 2019
Excellent
This was an awesome ride over the mountains. Even though its 6 days trip we enjoyed a lot. Thanks Thrillophillia for such a good arrangement. We got good vehicles through out the trip and also good drivers. Accommodation was also fine, standard hotels. Short time trip with lot of memories.
23 March 2020
Excellent
Though Dzongri trekking is a short trek of 11 days in West Sikkim, it is quite challenging because of altitude acclimatization. But the package includes an overnight stay in a local hut in Tshoka village that will help you to adapt to the change in weather. The accommodation is quite comfortable and includes all the basic amenities.
16 March 2020
Excellent
Previously, I have booked Kedarnath Trek in Uttarakhand from Thrillophilia and had an amazing experience. Whether it is the description on the website or the pictures, Thrillophilia has been my travel assistant from beginning till the end of Dzongri Trek. With an amazing customer support team who is always available to solve your queries, you can easily enjoy your magnificent and soak in the natural beauty.
04 January 2020
Very Good
It was overall a good tour to have on a new year. There were few goods and few bads which I want to mention. When we reached Gangtok from Bagdogra, the hotels provided were very good and it was easy to register yourself there. Highlight of the tour was that we got the permit for Nathula which we covered on Day 2 along with Changu Lake and Baba Mandir. We came to know that Gurudongmar was not accesible and we were given the very basic option to see the local sightseeing of Gangtok which is no where equals to Gurudongmar Lake. We should have been given an option equivalent to GD Lake. The hotels at Lachen and Lachung were below average. The planning for meal was not adequate as we have to call again and again to the organizer to check what is included and what is not as the plan was changing very frequently. Deep helped us in every way possible but it could have been more organized and they should have a back up plan ready when one plan fails which was not there. Another disappointment was that we failed to see Yumthang Valley too due to weather issue(which we can blame on Kismet and not on organizers ofcourse). It was overall a good trip but it could have been better. The group was very understanding. I want to give it a 3.5 rating but there is no option for .5 so I went with 3. Here are some pictures.
24 December 2019
Excellent
vehicles provided i.e, Xylo were comfortable enough to make the journey through non existent roads bearable. hotels had all standard facilities.our driver was very compliant. Mr.Deep really coordinated well. package was money's worth. few travellers reached bagdogra at 3pm. Overall tour was enjoyable and exciting as well. advice - On the way to Gurudongmar Lake try coffee jalebi momos at Gaigaon Check post one the highest army check post. have dosa at Thangu valley at the world's highest dosa point. try thukpas ,momos, wai wai all your way. try imli candies buy different kinds of tea from Lal Market Or M. G.Marg black tea, white tea, flavoured green teas (lemon, tulsi, ginger) , chamomile tea, rose tea. Temi tea is a good brand marketed by Govt of Sikkim. Buy Buddhist prayer flags available starting from rs. 20 only . they consider it good omen to receive these flags as a gift.
23 December 2019
Superb
It was a wonderful 7 days in Sikkim + Darjeeling with my newly wed wife. December is a cold month so we had a hard time adjusting to the weather but it was absolutely worth it. Must visit places include Nathula pass, Lachen(Gurdmohar Lake), Lachung(Zero Point) and Tiger Hill at Darjeeling for the view of Kanchenjunga mountain range as the sun rises. The itinerary was well planned and the local operator's communication was sufficient. While the whole state is beautiful, its the roads between towns that can be back breaking. The only reason I wouldn't recommend this itinerary is for that. But I will definitely recommend Thrillophilia for their communication and promptness.

People Also Ask About Gangtok

  1. Travel Advice

    • Pre-book your stay accommodation before you visit as Gangtok is a popular tourist destination and you might end up not getting a hotel booking.

    • Holidays in Gangtok are safe, but you should always take basic precautions like locking your backs, taking care of money and expensive belongings.

    • While going on treks or mountain biking trips, make sure that you follow the right route maps and basic safety rules.

    • Obtain all the permits to go on adventure trips and treks.

    • The locals here are very friendly and hence, you are advised to speak to them in a friendly manner.

    • Carry basic medicines and motion sickness control tablets as the mountain roads might make you feel sick.

  2. Drinking Laws

    According to the State laws of Sikkim, the minimum legal age to consume alcohol is 18 years.


  3. Our Recommendations: What you can’t afford to miss?

    • White Hall
    If you are a worshipper of nature, the flower show at the White hall is like a dream come true. Sikkim is a home to hundreds of floral species of different vibrant colors and White Hall, which holds an exhibition of flowers during the months of April and May will make you witness riots of these floral colors. You can also visit the Deorali Orchid Sanctuary and Kyongnosia Alpine Sanctuary for flower watching
    • Rumtek Monastery
    If you are making a sight-seeing list for Gangtok, then you cannot miss out on including the Rumtek Monastery at all. This breathtakingly beautiful monastery depicts authentic Buddhist architecture, culture and impresses its visitors. The most impressive aspect of this shrine is the Golden Stupa, which has religious sayings written on it
    • Mountain Biking to Rangpo
    Being the longest mountain biking route in Sikkim, the Gangtok-Rangpo is a dream destination for mountain bikers who have always dreamt about the difficult, rugged and dramatic route for their adventure. With the view of countryside lifestyle and Himalayas as well as some naked lush green hills, this ride is going to give you a feel of riding in paradise.
    • Paragliding
    Gangtok is a paragliding hub of Sikkim and if you are enthusiastic about it, you cannot afford to miss going here. You will experience surreal beauty while you have the most mesmerizing paragliding flight of your life and it is indeed going to be one of the most memorable experiences of the sport. If you want to get the full feel of it, you should visit the Sikkim Paragliding festival held in Gangtok during October and November
    • Cable car ride
    A cable car ride from over the picturesque town of Gangtok is a mesmerizing experience as it gives you some of the most stunning views of the town surrounded by mountains and filled with lush green landscape and colorful flowers. There are three main terminals from where you can board the cable cars which cover a distance of one km in just 7 minutes. This cable car ride is a serene and thrilling experience at the same time
    • Ban Jhakri Falls

    The Ban Jhakri falls are located just 4 kilometers away from Gangtok but they definitely deserve a visit because what you experience here is sheer tranquility and rejuvenation. The falls, located inside the Ban Jhakri Energy Park are surrounded by 2 acres of blanket of green glass over the valley. This place is packed with tourists in the peak season, for the reason that this sight is worth visiting.


  4. What you will like there?

    • Nature’s grandeur
    If you want to see what being pampered by nature is like, you should right away book your tour to Gangtok. A town surrounded by Himalayas, lush green fields and colorful flowers in abundance acting as ornaments to the nature, this place is a mirror of nature’s real grandeur and magnificence
    • Local culture
    The people of Gangtok are very rooted to their culture and traditions. They eat traditional food, live in old-architecture houses and celebrate traditional festivals with great fun and frolic. Hence, it is best to visit here during the time of festivals to see the real reflection of the culture of this place.
    • Serene Atmosphere
    Nestling in the laps of Himalayan Mountains, Gangtok is a place which will help you unwind your mind and revitalize your soul like nowhere else. The serene atmosphere, pollution and noise free environment and tranquil weather will pave your way towards sheer peace of mind
    • Shopping and Nightlife

    Despite being a very calm and less developed place compared to other major cities of Indian states, you can look for shopping for some of the best apparel, makeup, accessories, handicrafts, bamboo products, woolens and other local items in Gangtok. In addition to this, the nightlife in Gangtok is vibrant and fun beyond your imagination and you will know it only when you experience it.


  5. Recommended reads for destination

    Website

    Sikkim Tourism

    Books

    Sikkim-A Guide and Handbook


  6. When is the best time to visit Gangtok?

    The period from September to June, attracts many tourists to Gangtok. However, the ideal time to visit Gangtok is during:

    September-October, when Autumn is nascent

    Or

    March-June, during Spring.

  7. How to reach Gangtok?

    There are different ways to reach Gangtok. Below mentioned are the ways:

     

    By Air

    The nearest airport is 124 Km away at Bagdogra, West Bengal.

     

    By Rail

    The nearest railway station is 115 Km away at New Jalpaiguri.

     

    By Bus

    For a more raw taste of travel, you can hop onto a state transport or private bus from Sikkim to Gangtok.

     

    By Helicopter

    Alternatively, there are chopper rides available from Bagdogra to Gangtok, but these work out very expensive.  

     

  8. What are the different things/activities to do in Gangtok?

    When in Gangtok, immerse yourself in the Buddhist spirit of the place.Here are some things you must do in Gangtok.

    • Pay your respects at the Buddhist monasteries. One of these is Enchey Monastery. Set atop a hill over Gangtok ridge, this place offers the most picturesque views of the town.
    • The Pemayangtse Monastery is a sort of museum that houses beautiful Buddhist art.
    • Colourful and vibrant Rumtek is known for its tranquil surroundings.
    • Hike around Tsomgo Lake, which is surrounded by rugged mountains towards its periphery but towards its epicentre, houses a variety of flowers such as Rhododendron, Poppy and Iris.
    • You can also shop around in the stalls near Tsomgo Lake.
    • Additionally, you can visit the expansive Sikkim Himalayan Zoo Park.
    • Marvel at Tibetan artefacts of manuscripts, Thangka paintings, Buddhist statues and relics at The Namgyal Institute of Tibetology.
    • Take the cable-car ride at Damovar Ropeway, which provides a sweeping bird’s-eye view of the place.
    • Go access the  world’s highest ATM  using a permit! Yes, we are speaking about Nathu La Pass, a part of the historic Silk Road.
    • Try Pakku, a mutton curry and Churpi, native cottage cheese that the Gangtokian menu boasts.
    • Swing to live music at Cafe Live and Loud, on Tibet Road.  

  9. Which are the best resorts to stay in Gangtok?

    • Mayfair Spa Resort and Casino is renowned for its plush interiors and colonial architecture.
    • Orange Village is famous for its rustic decor, intermixed with a modern disco. It also has a beautiful Orchid garden.
    • The Club Mahindra Royal Demazong is home to exotic Tibetan artwork but is accessible only if you are a member.
    • The Mandarin Resort located near the Bersay Rhododendron Sanctuary, is prettily done up in pastel decor. It has melodious live music playing throughout the day and is a budget-friendly accommodation.
    • For the most spectacular view of Gangtok from the mountains, you can stay at The Maplewood Resort, located in the lap of the mountain ranges.
  10. What are the best public transport modes to commute around Gangtok?

    On Foot

    Gangtok is a place to be enjoyed on foot.

     

    By Cab

    You can also take a taxi to move around. Some tourists opt for shared taxis as well.

  11. Which are the best places for shopping in Gangtok?

    Below mentioned are the best places for shopping:

    • MG Marg is a shopper’s paradise. Buy clothes, accessories, gifts and souvenirs from here. The markets sell Sikkimese Cups, which are made of porcelain and have printed inscriptions or pictures on them.
    • Purchase Temi tea from the Golden Tips Tea House, at Yangthang House.
    • Asta Mangla Arts, opposite the Institute of Tibetology, is a great place for souvenirs.
    • Visit the tableau-esque market area of Lal Bazaar, to witness the diversity of cultures diverge in the form of Sikkimese handiworks.


  12. What are the famous treks in and around Gangtok?

    this trek.Below mentioned are the names of famous treks in Gangtok:

    • The Tinjurey Trek, is an easy trek in Phambong-Iho Wildlife Sanctuary. It takes you across steep terrains, rich in Pine and Maple forests and landscapes laden with flower beds.
    • Another trek is the Maenam La camping experience, passing through Maenam Sanctuary in Sikkim.
    • Some other famous treks include Dzongri Trek and Versay Trek.
    • Another famous trek around Gangtok and which is very famous for its undeniable views of Mt. Kanchenjunga is Goecha la trek, one should go on a trekking expedition to this trek.

  13. Which are famous monasteries in Gangtok?

    • One of the most famous is Enchey Monastery. Set at a high altitude, this place offers the most picturesque views of the town.
    • The Pemayangtse Monastery is a curatorial effort that houses beautiful Buddhist art.
    • Rumtek Monastery is vibrant and  known for its serene surroundings.
    • In addition, there are the palatial Tsuklakhang Royal Chapel and The Phensang Monastery, located among the most jaw-dropping landscapes.  
    • You can enjoy the soulful chanting of hymns at Lingdum Monastery, which is run by young monks.
  14. Which are the best camping sites in Gangtok?

    Below mentioned are the best camping sites in Gangtok:

    1. The Maenam La trek near Maenam Sanctuary is an excellent camping site, in the most meditative surroundings.
    2. Night-camping on the riverside of Teesta, has also be spoken about.

     

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