There are umpteen touristy places to visit in Darjeeling and Gangtok. Boasting of surreal natural beauty and picturesque environs, both of these places are hot travel destinations for honeymooners, romantic couples, backpackers, family vacations and the like. Replete with a dense green forest cover, mighty hills in the backdrop and quaint mesmerizing valleys, these charming places to visit in Darjeeling and Gangtok attract a large tourist influx especially during the summers when people are looking to beat the heat in the mountains. With a plethora of options for trekking opportunities, laid back vacations, backpacking etc., these quaint and dainty places in Darjeeling and Gangtok are also equally popular among nature lovers, photography buffs, young couples, trekkers and adventure enthusiasts alike.
Here is the list of 21 Places to Visit in Darjeeling and Gangtok for a Perfect Vacation
Lying at an altitude of 2590 meters and a distance of 13 kilometres away from the Darjeeling, Tiger Hill is most famous for its splendid sights of the morning sunrise from where you can see the peaks of Kanchenjunga illuminate before the sun is seen at lower elevations. The magnificent view of snow - capped mountains sitting amidst cotton clouds attracts tourists to Tiger Hill from all over the country. Interestingly, this is also the summit of Ghoom, which is the highest railway station in the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, also referred to as the DHR, and lovingly called the 'Toy Train', is a 2 feet narrow gauge train that runs between New Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling, in West Bengal, India. A journey in this Toy Train has amazing sights on display. Passengers on the train witness pleasing mountain views and pass by villages and local shops on the way, with children merrily waving at them. The pace of the train is so slow that local children often hop and off the moving train.
Nathula, one of the highest drive roads in the world, is a mountain pass in the Himalayan peaks that co-joins Sikkim and China. Nathula Pass is situated on the Indo-Chinese border and is one of the biggest tourist attractions in India. Several tourists flock here every year for trekking in the valley and enjoying the scenic beauty. There are a number of waterfalls that gush along the way from Gangtok to Nathula. It also offers an opportunity to see beautiful snow peaks encircling the area.
The Rumtek Monastery is one of the largest and most significant monasteries in Sikkim, perched on top of a hill 23 km from Gangtok. Originally called as the Dharma Chakra Centre, it belongs to the Kargyu sect of Buddhists who originated in Tibet in the 12th century. The monastery is surrounded by verdant green mountains and thus serves as a visual treat besides being a focal point for spiritual solace. If you climb on top to the Rumtek Monastery you can have a breathtaking view of the whole Gangtok town situated right opposite the hill. Besides this, the architecture of the monastery is one of the finest in the world.
Perched between the mountains at a dizzying height of 12400 ft above sea level, the Tsomgo Lake is one of the few high-altitude lakes in India situated on the Gangtok-Nathula highway. This lake is a part of every tourist's itinerary and for a good reason- its overwhelming scenic beauty. Enveloped by steep snow-capped mountains and resting between a bright green carpet of alpine forests, the charming beauty of Tsongmo Lake is bound to leave you in awe. The lake's mesmerising scenic allure combined with its legendary significance to the locals definitely makes it a must visit attraction of Sikkim.
Darjeeling is renowned across the world as one of the most picturesque hill stations, where one can witness a myriad of exquisite landscapes, from the glorious snow-capped mountains to the charming valley replete with verdant tea estates. For this reason, the Darjeeling Ropeway finds itself as a prime attraction of Darjeeling, giving its passengers an array of divine panoramic views as they travel across the magical valley.
The third highest peak in the world, the majestic Kanchenjunga is one of the most stunning mountains in the world. Surrounded by Nepal, Sikkim and Tibet, this mountain was first scaled in 1955 but since then has been declared sacred. Kanchenjunga' is a Tibetan name which means 'The Five Treasures of the High Snow'. The treasures represent the five repositories of God, namely gold, silver, gems, grain and holy books. There are a lot of trekking routes in Kanchenjunga which will take you through woody forests and serene countryside.
Located at an altitude of more than 7000 feet above the sea in the Singalila range, the Singalila National Park is the highest national park in the state of West Bengal. Initially a wildlife sanctuary, the place was converted into a national park in the year 1992. The national park encompasses a beautiful, 78.60 sq km land of virgin rhododendron forests, alpine valley and rare species of animals and orchids. It is most famous for the breathtakingly mind-stirring view of the Himalayan peak that it offers, providing a panoramic view of the gigantic Himalayas from Nepal to Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh (India), up to Bhutan.
Perhaps one of the most picturesque train routes in all of Darjeeling, the Batasia Loop is a lush green toy train pathway that is meant to minimise the elevation of the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway. One of the most enchanting aspects of the Batasia Loop is its unmatched natural beauty which is a wonderful sight to behold.
Justifying its name, Seven Sisters Waterfalls comprises of seven different waterfalls amicably arranged side by side on a wide rugged cliff which seems distinct when looked at from a distance. It appears even more beautiful after rains when it comes to life and offers a captivating view. The gurgling water passes through the green vegetation onto the rugged cliffs and falls on the limestones making a roaring sound. The view of the setting sun pulls the visitors to indulge in a long photography session.
This park was earlier called 'The Shrubbery' when it was a private courtyard. The park was closed for renovation for about four years and has reopened for public since 2011. There is a giant statue of Lord Shiva, a musical fountain along with the great scenery.
Situated 8 km away from central Gangtok, Tashi Viewpoint is a scenic beauty from where travellers can get a view of the magnificent Mount Sinilochu and Mount Kanchenjunga. It was built by Tashi Namgyal who was the king of Sikkim between 1914 and 1963, and that is how the place got its name. Developed by the tourism department of Sikkim and nestled in a perfect location, one can get a beautiful view of the snow-capped mountains from here. This spot also serves as a fabulous picnic place for local as well as foreign tourists due to the presence of a cafeteria and sheds bordering the site of the viewpoint.
Sikkim has numerous hot springs, but the Reshi Hot Spring is the most famous one due to its strategic location and the religious significance that it holds. These hot water springs or Cha-chu present in Reshi are winter spas from the ancient period where pilgrims along with visitors spend a week or more soaking themselves in the springs which are believed to contain medicinal properties. Easily accessible, the spring is present right after a downhill drive of an hour towards the Rangit River valley.
At a magical altitude of 6,800 feet, the Happy Valley Tea Estate is a fine land expanse of about 437 acres, growing some of the finest shrubs of this delightful drink in the world. It is the second oldest tea estate in the tea-rich town of Darjeeling, with its origins being closely connected to the history of cultivating and producing the world-famous Darjeeling Tea. The endless expanse of lush plantations situated on a hilly slope combines well with the captivating aroma ensuing from within, mesmerising travellers as they are treated to the charming nuances of producing tea.
Nestled in the exquisite Yumthang Valley in North Sikkim, the Shingba Rhododendron Sanctuary is surrounded by Chuba-Sagochen mountain range on the East and by Chomzomei Tso on the West which expands all the way up to the Lava Pass. Sprawling over an area of 43 square kilometres and comprising of several species of rhododendrons, the sanctuary is situated at an elevation of 3,048 to 4,575 meters. The azaleas bloom to their full capacity and turn the sanctuary into a riot of colours during April to July thereby making it the best time to visit the place. The sanctuary gets its picturesque look from the Yumthang Chhu meandering through it.
At a grand elevation of 8,000 feet, the Yiga Choeling or old Ghoom Monastery is the oldest Tibetan Buddhist Monastery of Darjeeling. Established in 1850 by Lama Sherab Gyatso, this shrine is part of the Yellow Hat sect known as Gelupka who worship the 'Coming Buddha' or 'Maitreyi Buddha'. A 15-foot high statue of Maitreyi Buddha is seen in the central hall, made entirely of clay brought from Tibet. Visitors are treated to a beautiful view of the majestic Kanchenjunga outside the monastery. Prayer flags are flown by the resident monks in typical Tibetan tradition.
Like most other hill stations in India, Darjeeling also has a Mall Road and atop the Mall is the Observatory hill. The hill hosts the famous Mahakal temple and the original shrine of Bhutia Busty monastery, making the place of religious significance for Hindus and Buddhists alike.
A new sightseeing destination for the tourists and spread over an area of two acres of land, the Banjhakri Falls is situated at a distance of 10-12 kilometres from Gangtok on the way to Ranka monastery. The waterfall which falls from a rocky height of about 40 feet and cascades down with a lot of force is the main attraction of the Energy Park present here. Beautifully landscaped gardens abound the waterfall along with beautiful statues of Lyam Lymay, Mangpas, Lepcha, and Ban Jhakri ancestors. The entrance of the park also comprises of several recreational activities and refreshment stalls. In addition to several resting places, there is a swimming pool present for the visitors as well.
The popular Yumthang Valley in North Sikkim is located 140 km North of Gangtok. Famous as the "Valley of flowers", this is a rare and exotic valley where the tree line ends. Yumthang Valley is a must visit on your holiday to Sikkim and the nearby beautiful town of Lachung is the base station for an expedition of Yumthang. The Yumthang Valley is a paradise for nature lovers with a spectacular blend of flora and fauna and splendid picturesque beauty. Unique wildflowers such as primulas and Rhododendrons cover the entire valley in rich colours every spring, making it a great tourist attraction.