Things to do in Sikkim for an Adventurous cum Leisure Vacay


Top things to do in Sikkim

Sikkim is considered to be one of the most gorgeous states of the country owing to its beautiful environment, rich wildlife and a picture perfect setting. There is also no dearth of adventure activities and several exciting things to do in Sikkim that attract a large influx of tourists all through the year. Home to a number of wildlife sanctuaries, pristine lakes and vantage points, the place is a hotspot among adventure enthusiasts, nature lovers and photographers. You can undertake the amazing treks or bike along the narrow trails, or you just can relax and soak in the serenity of the place. Take a look at the top list of things to do in Sikkim given below.

Here is the list of 39 Things to do in Sikkim for an Adventurous cum Leisure Vacay

1. 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.

2. Trek to Nathu La Pass in Gangtok- The Ancient Silk Route

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One of the prime things to do in Sikkim 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.

3. Trek Up to the Beauteous Gurudongmar Lake

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Located at the height of 17,100 feet above the sea level, the Gurudongmar Lake is one of the fifteen highest lakes in the world that is located in Sikkim in India. The lake is also the second highest lake in Sikkim, after the Cholamu Lake which is located at the height of 18,000 feet. The splendid and scenic beauty of the place is breathtaking and attracts tourists from all across the world who visit the lake to spend some quality time in the lap of nature. Visiting here is one of the top things to do in Sikkim.

4. River Rafting in Teesta

White Water Rafting in the River Teesta is one of the most exciting things to do in Sikkim. 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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5. Marvel at the Architecture of the Rumtek Monastery in Gangtok

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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. Originally called as the Dharma Chakra Centre, it belongs to the Kargyu sect of Buddhists who originated in Tibet in the 12th century. Verdant green mountains surround the monastery 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.

6. Admire the Charm of Tsomgo Lake in Gangtok

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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.

7. Yak Safari in Gangtok

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.

8. Cable Car Ropeway in Gangtok

A cable car ropeway ride is one of the prime things to do in Sikkim which you can try out 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.

9. Trek to Tashi View Point in Gangtok

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 Tashi Viewpoint. 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.

10. Explore Sikkimese History at the Hamlet of Kabi Longstok

Situated at a distance of 17 km from the northern capital of Gangtok, is Kabi Longstok, the quaint little tow 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, Kabi Longstok is surely going to captivate you with its wonderful beauty.

11. Paragliding in Gangtok

Paragliding is one of the thrilling things to do in Sikkim 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 high adrenaline rush, the activity lets you have a bird's eye view of the beautiful city.

12. Spot Snow Leopards at Kanchenjunga National Park

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Named after the third highest mountain peak in the world, and nestled in the lap of the mighty Himalayas in North of Sikkim is the Kanchenjunga National Park. Included recently in UNESCO's world heritage sites, it is a rare high altitude national park and the first "Mixed-Heritage" site of the country. At an elevation of 8586 meters, Kanchenjunga lies partly in Nepal and partly in Sikkim. The area is home to most endemic and rare species of flora and fauna including the Snow Leopard and Himalayan Tahr.

13. 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 Sikkim.

14. Mountain Biking on the Gorgeous Hilly Terrain

Another one of the thrilling activities and things to do in Sikkim 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.

15. Visit the Picturesque Town of Lachung

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Lachung, a tourist hotspot situated in North Sikkim is a splendid destination that is sited at the spot where two tributaries Lachung and Lachen meet. This town is a popular tourist attraction because of the many waterfalls that gush in this area. Glimpses of snow covered mountains can also be caught from this place and offer a spectacular sight. Lachung is also a preferred base to visit the famous Yumthang Valley, quite a landmark in Sikkim's tourism scene.

16. Snowboarding and Snow Tubing at Mt Katao

Nestled in the northern part of Sikkim at a distance of 144 km from Gangtok and 28 km from Lachung, Mount Katao is one of the most stunning sights imaginable. Perfect for adventure lovers who like skiing, snow tubing, snowboarding, and grinding during the winter season, the surreal mountain provides a splendid view to its onlookers. You can also get a scenic view of the snow-covered peaks from Mount Katao and witness a stunning waterfall mid-way to this place. However, to enter this area, a permit is required from the army since the place where this majestic peak is located at a military base.

17. Take a Tour of the Flower Valley of Yumthang

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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.

18. Climb Up to Goecha La

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This is a high mountain pass located at a height of 4,940 m and acts as the base camp for southeast face of Kanchenjunga. This place can only be accessed by trekking from Yuksom and it roughly takes 7-8 days for a person to reach Goecha La and come back to Yuksom. The area is accessible only after proper permits are granted.

19. Interact with the Local Tribes at Lachen

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Situated in the northern district of Sikkim, Lachen is one of the most beautiful towns in Sikkim and is an attractive tourist spot which is well known for its Lachung monastery. Its natural beauty and serene vegetation are worth commending and it is believed to be one of the most noteworthy and popular places for Buddhist pilgrims and tourists. Lachen is a less-populated beautiful holiday destination, also famous as the gateway to the sacred Guru Dongmar and Tso Lhamu lakes. Lachen is a small quiet town which is the home to Bhutia tribes and Tibetans and there are about only 150 houses there.

20. Visit the Highest Lake in India- Cholamu Lake

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14th highest lake in the world and the highest lake in India, the Cholamu Lake in North Sikkim is situated at an altitude of 18000 feet from the sea level. While coming down the slope around 300 feet from Donkiala pass ( 18300 feet ), you can get the first sight of this moderately sized, almost frozen lake. Cholamu Lake is only a few kms away from the Tibet border and is off limits for commonplace tourists. One needs special permits, from Army and Sikkim police/administration to visit the Cholamu Lake.

21. Natural Retreat at Chopta Valley

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Chopta is a very famous tourist hotspot in North Sikkim known for its varying hues. Famous as the "Valley of flowers", the Chopta Valley is popular for its riot of colours during summer months. This valley is unexplored and untouched, as a very few tourists travel to this destination despite its popularity. Nature lovers and wildlife lovers will enjoy travelling to this splendid valley and spotting many rare species of animals, plants and birds.

22. Watch the Breathtaking Mountain Views from Pelling

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Pelling, a beautiful town in the West district of Sikkim, is becoming the second biggest tourist destination in Sikkim after Gangtok. The main attraction of the place is the breath-taking sight of the Khangchendzonga and the neighbouring peaks. The famous Pemayangste monastery is less than a kilometre from here and is a major tourist hotspot. It also provides sites for mountain biking, rock climbing, village tours, meditations, educational studies and several other activities. The scenic town of Pelling is a perfect holiday destination for all nature lovers.

23. Trek to Barsey Rhododendron Sanctuary

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Varsey or Barsey is a small town in West Sikkim and is famous for its Barsey Rhododendron Sanctuary. This place is not accessible by road, but one has to trek from a nearby town called Hilley to reach here. Perched at an altitude of 10,000 ft, Barsey is best known for the Barsey Rhododendron Sanctuary, a paradise for nature lovers. The sanctuary itself is a part of the West Sikkim and quite easy to access through road via Hilley, Dentam/Soreng from Geyzing. However, if you are planning a nice trekking trip, the idea is simple spectacular.

24. Experience the Thrilling Dzongri Trek

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Nestled at an altitude of 4,200 m, Dzongri Trek serves as one of the most popular high altitude trek destination in Sikkim that can be completed in a short time. The trek offers some enchanting sights while hiking through the fascinating trail comprising of varied terrains, from patches of land streaked with green and gold and lush green meadows to dense forest and mighty peaks covered in snow.

25. Enjoy the Panoramic Vistas after an Exciting Kasturi Trek

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Kasturi trek is a round trek passing Goecha la pass and offers extraordinary panaromic mountain views. The Trek starts from Yuksom and goes up to Goecha La, the highest point of this trek. From here, you can see the stunning view of Talung Glacier and Mt Kanchenjunga. The views are simply amazing and captivating. From green meadows to shiny glaciers, this journey takes the trekkers to a paradise no one can imagine.

26. Eco-tourism at Borong

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Borong is a small beautiful village near Ravangla in South Sikkim which has recently gained fame due to increasing popularity of village tourism and eco-tourism activities. With Himalayan Mountains sited at the backdrop, Borong is an ideal place for those looking for some peace and tranquility. Borong, a scenic village at an altitude of 5800 feet in South Sikkim, is the perfect tourist spot for nature lovers. You can enjoy a comfortable stay at Borong in cottages that are surrounded by hilly trees on each side and catch a beautiful view of the snow-covered Himalayan Mountains.

27. Visit the Statue of Guru Rinpoche in Namchi

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This giant statue of Guru Rinpoche is located in Namchi and is 118 ft. in height. Guru Rinpoche's actual name was Padmasambhava and is also known as Second Buddha. He is said to have transmitted Vajrayana Buddhism to Tibet, Bhutan and surrounding area in the 8th century AD. He is also considered to be the emanation of Buddha Amitaha, Shakyamuni Buddha and Kuan Yin Bodhisattva.

28. Be Awed by the Mesmerizing Views from Tendong Hill

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Tendong Hill is a destination that offers you a marvelous view of the valley in Sikkim. Situated at an altitude of 8530 ft above Damthang, Tendong Hill is a very famous tourist attraction in the southern part of Sikkim. Due to its serenity and tranquility, Tendong had been the residence of Buddhist Lamas, who have spent years in meditation in the quiet and peaceful environment of the place. From the peak of Tendong Hill, the sight appears to be unbelievable. It seems phenomenally perfect and you will definitely not want to miss this on your trip to Sikkim.

29. Take a Rejuvenating Walk at Temi Tea Garden

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One of the most picturesque tea gardens in North-Eastern India is the Temi Garden that finds itself in the state of Sikkim. Located in Ravangla, it is the best tea estates not only in our home country but the world. The Government of Sikkim brought this tea garden into existence during the year 1969. It covers an area of about 440 acres and employs around 450 people. 100 metric ton of organic tea is produced annually by the dedicated hard work of the employees. The top quality tea of the Temi Tea garden has earned fame even in the international market. This plantation provides a beautiful scenic getaway for the tourists.

30. Wildlife Safari at Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary

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Established back in the year 1987, Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary is a small wildlife sanctuary spanning an area of just 35 sq. km. This sanctuary is famous for its variety of flora, especially for the medicinal plants. Government of Sikkim has proposed to build a 22 km ropeway in this area to create the first wildlife skywalk of India which will be something similar to the skywalk in the Grand Canyon in USA. This project is supposed to be completed by 2015 and would cost around Rs. 500 crores.

31. Shop for Local Handicrafts at MG Road in Gangtok

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MG Road is the heart of Gangtok and its most happening place. It is the central shopping hub of this beautiful state capital with various shops, restaurants, and hotels lined up along both sides. MG Road is an open mall or boulevard square which is widely regarded to be the town centre and is the best shopping destination for tourists. From everything Tibetan to traditional Sikkimese teacups, you'll be spoilt for choice. The Thangkas and unique Choksee table designs in Tibetan style are quite the rage.

32. Visit the Magnificent 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. These 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.

33. Indulge in Traditional Sikkimese Cuisine at 9’ine Native in Gangtok

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.

34. Visit the Tranquil Hamlet of Tinkitam

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Tinkitam Rayong is a petite village in Sikip Tehsil in South District of Sikkim State. Mount Kanchenjunga can be seen in the backdrop of this town and its natural habitat supports a rare species of orchid, Paphiopedilum Faireanum or lady's slipper. Unlike most wild orchids which grow on trees, this orchid is terrestrial and flowers in the months of October-November which is the ideal time to visit this beautiful place. Tinkitam also provides a sight of a dormant volcano that one can come across during the trek from Dentham to Tendong National Park.

35. Embrace Local Culture at the Cozy Village of Thangu

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Thangu, situated at an altitude of 13,500 ft. is a beautiful village which is about two hours ' drive from Lachen. It is a comfortable village where the tourists usually choose to relax before they proceed to Guru-Dongmar Lake, Muguthang or Cho Lhamu Lake. You can interact with the locals and experience the local culture of the region. There is a beautiful Guest House at Chopta Valley which overlooks Thangu and this place is a perfect holiday destination for soothing and pampering yourself in the lap of nature.

36. Visit the Buddhist Pilgrimage Site of Pemayangtse Monastery

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The Buddhist monastery of Pemayangtse stands tall on a hilltop overlooking the historical Rabdentse ruins, the former capital of the Kingdom of Sikkim. Pemayangtse translates to 'perfect, sublime lotus' and is said to represent one of the four network of nerves (vessels) in the human body. Dedicated to Padmasambhava (Guru Rinpoche who revived Buddhism in Tibet), the striking feature of this monastery are the statues of him and his consorts. The reverberating chants of the monks and the sound of ringing bells vibrate through every inch of the monastery, manifesting an unparalleled tranquil atmosphere.

37. Stay at the Quaint Honeymoon Town of Yangtey

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At an altitude of 6000 ft, Yangtey is a small village and an instance of paradise by monsoons, lying very close to the town of Pelling, famous for the amazing views of Mt. Kanchenjungha that it offers. The sceneries here are marked by magnificent peaks of the Eastern Himalayas, under an occasional cover of clouds. The ancient monasteries located here are a great example of an ancient art culture and quite a specimen to the past.

38. Taste the Local Drink 'Tongba'

Sikkim is a subtle and natural blend of everything in and around. It gives birth to a unique culture which is colourful and twinkling and with which a huge part of the North-East is identified. While staple items of the cuisine are Momos, Thukpa and a local beer 'Chang', fermented foods are popular given the natural conditions. Just like the Feni of Goa, 'Tongba' is another local drink here which is pretty popular among the locals. This is made after cooking and fermenting whole grain millets.

39. Stroll Down the Resplendent Gardens of Rinchenpong

Rinchenpong is a gorgeous village in West Sikkim, 40 kms away from Gangtok. The place is a perfect place for a leisure vacation amidst lush greenery and snow clad mountains. A walk down the resplendent meadows is one of the best things to do in Sikkim. Besides relishing a cup of tea enveloped in bounteous nature, you can also enjoy a beauteous view of the mountains outside the window.

This post was published by Aqsa Aleem

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