Things to do in Gangtok: Exploring the 'Gateway to Sikkim'

Top things to do in Gangtok

Gangtok is commonly known as the 'Gateway to Sikkim'. The hill town boasts of beautiful attractions and picturesque landscape. Besides, there are a number of activities and things to do in Gangtok that attract a large footfall of tourist all through the year, every year. From trekking to hiking, camping and boat rides and rafting, there is no dearth of exciting things to do in Gangtok. Replete with Indo-Tibetan Buddhist culture, the place also has a lot of monasteries waiting to be explored. And there are activities like yak safari, paragliding and ropeway rides that are unique in the area and some of the most thrilling things to do in Gangtok. We have compiled an elaborate list of top things to do in Gangtok for you. Have a look!

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Here is the list of 28 Things to do in Gangtok: Exploring the 'Gateway to Sikkim'

1. Trek at the Nathu La Pass

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One of the prime things to do in Gangtok is trekking at the Nathula Pass. 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.

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2. Marvel at the Architecture of Rumtek Monastery

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The Rumtek Monastery is one of the largest and most significant monasteries in Sikkim, perched on top of a hill 23 km from Gangtok. 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. Be sure to include visiting here in your bucket list of things to do in Gangtok.

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3. Revel in the Beauty of Tsomgo Lake

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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. Visiting here is one of the most essential things to do in Gangtok. 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.

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4. Experience a Crazy Yak Safari

Experiencing Yak Ride is one of the most essential activities and unique things to do in Gangtok. You can experience the joyride in any one of the three places where the activity is organized. You can try it at Dzongri area and/or Tsomgo lake. Never forget to leave the saddle or you disbalance and are on the ground in no time. Nevertheless, it is one of the most fun experiences that you will try in your life.

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5. Enjoy an Exciting Cable Car Ropeway Ride

A cable car ropeway ride is one of the prime things to do in Gangtok. Besides offering a spectacular bird's eye view of the valley below, the ride also lets you enjoy brilliant panoramic vistas. There is a provision of a one way ride; however, we recommend you experience a full two ways ride. The 2 kms ride (to and fro) has 3 stations that it stops at both going forward and coming back.

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6. Stroll Down the MG Road

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MG Road is the heart of Gangtok and its most happening place. And visiting here is one of the topmost things to do in Gangtok. It is the central shopping hub of this beautiful state capital with various shops, restaurants, and hotels lined up along both sides. It's an open mall or boulevard square. The area is widely regarded to be the town centre and is the best shopping destination for tourists. This is a great place for the tourists to take a leisurely stroll or just sit on the benches and revel in the eclectic ambience.

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7. Watch the View at the Tashi View Point

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. 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. Visiting here is one of the topmost things to do in Gangtok.

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8. Be Awed by the Seven Sisters Waterfalls

One of the most essential things to do in Gangtok is visiting the Seven Sisters Waterfalls which 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.

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9. Relax by the mesmerizing Ban Jhakri Falls

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. Aside from several other enchanting attractions and things to do in Gangtok, this one tops the charts.

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10. Enjoy Panoramic Vistas from Ganesh Tok

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Ganesh Tok is a loved tourist spot in Gangtok and a small temple dedicated to Lord Ganesha. It is situated on top of a hill thereby giving scenic views to the tourists who come here. The Kanchenjunga hill can be seen in its true form of glory from here and is at its best especially in the morning. The viewpoint is situated at a distance of 6500 m offers stunning views of the mountains covered in snow. The place takes you a step closer to nature with its surreal surroundings and comforting ambience. Visiting here is one of the top things to do in Gangtok, among the pilgrims and tourists alike.

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11. Peek into Buddhist Culture at Enchey Monastery

Enchey Monastery is a 200-year old monastery built on a hilltop situated 3 km away from the main city. This temple was blessed by Lama Dhrupthob Karpo, a renowned saint who was known to have flying powers. It belongs to the Vajrayana Buddhism. The sacredness of Enchey Monastery is attributed to the belief that Khangchedzonga and Yabdean-the protecting deities residing in this monastery. Paintings of Goddesses and other objects of spiritual significance are kept around in the premises. Visiting here is one of the best things to do in Gangtok.

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12. Trek at the Third Highest Mountain in the World- Kanchenjunga

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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. There are a lot of trekking routes in Kanchenjunga which will take you through woody forests and serene countryside. Experiencing a trek here is one of the most thrilling things to do in Gangtok. It is the charm of this place and the spectacular view of the mountain range that will be stored in your mind forever.

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13. Soak in the Warm Waters of Reshi Hot Springs

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. A warm soak in the springs is said to be very good to cure all the skin diseases. Be sure to include visiting here in your topmost things to do in Gangtok.

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14. Explore the Historical Hamlet of Kabi Longstok

Situated at a distance of 17 km from the northern capital of Gangtok is the Kabi Town which is considered to be a historical place due to the initiation of the Sikkimese history here in the early 13th century. There is an exquisite Buddhist monastery situated nearby where you can spot kids and the followers of Buddhism studying about religion and its beliefs. Along with this, there is a library and a garden as well where you can discover more about the place and its past. There are life-size statues of Bhutia and Lepcha, who were the blood-brothers, erected near the stone pillar to pay respect. With the wonderful stories that this place holds, this place is surely going to captivate you with its wonderful beauty.

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15. Revisit Tibetan History at Namgyal Institute of Tibetology

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One of the very few of its kind, Namgyal Institute of Tibetology is an abode of centuries-old Tibetan-Buddhist culture and its history. NIT preserves the glorious past of the country, the religion and its precious culture with utmost dedication and that shows in the excellent collection in the museum and the library. As important as its role is for the pursuers of Asian culture and Buddhist studies, with its quiet and serene charm, it is a paradise for the tourists as well, especially for the occasional history-enthusiast. Making a visit to this place is one of the topmost things to do in Gangtok.

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16. Seek Blessings at Baba Harbhajan Singh Temple

Situated on the road passing between Nathula and Jelepla Pass, at a distance of 64 km at an elevation of 4000 meters, Baba Mandir is the shrine which was built at the Samadhi of Baba Harbhajan Singh. Inside the Baba Mandir, you will come across a large photo of Harbhajan Singh which is worshipped by his devotees. Tourists who come here leave their water bottle for a few days and collect it later for it is believed that by drinking that water all the wishes come true.

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17. River Rafting in Teesta

White Water Rafting in the River Teesta is one of the most exciting things to do in Gangtok. A favourite among the adventure junkees, the rafting has a series of rapids ranging from Grade 1 to 4. However, the difficult rapids are only allowed to the professionals or the seasonal trainers as it is risky. You should definitely try this activity when in Darjeeling.

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18. Have Your Food with a View at Baker's Cafe

Baker's Cafe is one of the most popular and picturesque cafe in Gangtok. The western styled cafe also serves delicious western food. You can gorge on pizza and pasta while sipping super tasty shakes and beverages. Besides, the cafe is done up in shades of brown with tons of cutesy artsy bakery products on display that will compel you to eat twice as much as you're hungry. Plus, the window seats offer mesmerizing views of the majestic hills outside.

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19. Flower Walk at Flower Exhibition Centre

Flower Exhibition Centre, which is situated in Gangtok, showcases flowers from the different parts of Sikkim together under a single roof which makes it a heaven for all the nature lovers. A medium-sized tropical greenhouse, the centre is filled with unusual species of plants including numerous species of fresh orchids namely Anthurium and Lilium. The presence of such different varieties of colourful flowers along with its enchanting fragrance fills up the entire centre making it a very refreshing place for the visitors. Visiting here is one of the best things to do in Gangtok.

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20. Visit the Stupa of Do Drul Chorten

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One of the most important stupas in Sikkim, Do Drul Chorten was built in the year 1945 under the supervision of late Truslshi and Rimpoche. The Stupa has around 108 Mani Lhakor or prayer wheels. The wheels are engraved with important mantras which can be chanted by rotating them. The quaint serenity and calmness of this Monastery has attracted tourists and devotees since years.

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21. Get an Adrenaline Rush by Paragliding

Paragliding is one of the thrilling things to do in Gangtok and one activity that you must definitely experience. The place lets you try your hand at the opportunity with the help of a professional trainer and with complete safety measures. Besides giving you a very amazing adrenaline rush, the activity lets you have a bird's eye view of the beautiful city.

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22. Wildlife Sppotting at Himalayan Zoological Park

Zoological Park is located in Bulbuley, 3 km away from Gangtok and is the place for all the wildlife lovers. With an altitude of 1780 meters, one gets an amazing view of the Mount Khangchendzonga from here. Established in 1991, Himalayan Zoological Park is the first one of its kind situated in the North-Eastern part of India. Spread over 205 hectares of land in the mountainous terrain, the park is home to a variety of fauna including the snow leopard cat, goral, Himalayan palm civet, crimson-horned pheasant, Himalayan black bear etc. Be sure to include visiting here in your list of things to do in Gangtok.

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23. Rejuvenate and Unwind at Saramsa Garden

At a distance of 14 km from Gangtok, Saramsa Garden, also known as Ipecac Garden, is indeed a treat for your senses. The exquisite range of different coloured flowers with the surrounding lush greenery is going to hold your attention. There is a large greenhouse in the garden as well which preserves a range of orchids. The mesmerising garden is also well-developed where you can involve yourself in recreational activities such as volleyball and football. Apart from these facilities, it also has a convention centre next to the nursery where all the functions and meetings are conducted.

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24. Offer Prayers at Hanuman Tok

Hanuman Tok is a very famous temple of Gangtok which is named after Lord Hanuman and is a maintained by the Indian Army. Situated at the height of 7,200 feet the regal temple is juxtaposed against the Kanchenjunga peak which is the third highest peak in the world. One can get off their vehicle while driving to this point and click photographs on the way up to the scenic landscapes. The eclectic beauty of this place makes you enjoy it thoroughly keeping you close to nature.

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25. Make a Visit to Tsuk La Khang Monastery

Situated in the complex of the Royal Palace, Tsuk La Khang Monastery is the royalty of the former royal family of Sikkim. Built in the year 1898 AD under the rule of Thutob Namgyal who was the 9th King, Tsuk La Khang is the prime place of worship for the local Buddhists residing in the region. This beautiful two-storied structure with mural covered interiors also comprises of an extensive collection of scriptures, is decorated with altars and images of Lord Buddha, and tantric deities. This monastery was earlier used as a site where marriages and coronations of the Sikkim royalty took place. Wooden sculptures crafted in the form of a Snow Lion's head are present on every corner of the monastery.

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26. Natural Retreat at Shingba Rhododendron Sanctuary

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. Visiting here is one of the topmost things to do in Gangtok.

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27. Try Delicious Tibetan Food at 9’ine Native Cuisine

9’ine Native Cuisine is a dainty cafe located in the suburbs of Gangtok catering to Asian, Tibetan and Nepalese cuisines. Especially popular for its sumptuous Tibetan food, the cafe is a very famous hangout spot and visiting here is one of the prime things to do in Gangtok. Besides delicious food, the cafe also offers picturesque views of the hills and valleys outside.

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28. Get Thrilled at Mountain Biking

Another one of the thrilling activities and things to do in Gangtok is riding a mountain bike in the hills and valleys. Other than giving you a high adrenaline rush, mountain biking lets you take a peek into the unexplored and un-commercialized part of the city. The thrilling ride takes you through the best of forests and valleys, rivers, waterfalls and lakes.

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Top Hotels in Gangtok

  • Sikkim Villa Tosca - A Boutique Aparthotel

    INR 11,000 /night onwards

  • Hotel Noryang

    INR 900 /night onwards

  • Bamboo Retreat

    INR 4,500 /night onwards


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This post was published by Aqsa Aleem

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