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Gangtok

4.4 /5 267 votes

Weather:

Best Time: Throughout the year Read More

Ideal duration: 2-4 days

Nearest Airport: Bagdogra Check Flights

"The Gateway to Sikkim"

Gangtok Tourism

Incredibly alluring, pleasantly boisterous and wreathed in clouds - Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim, is one of the most popular hill stations in India. Lying at the height of 1650 m above sea level, the town during its bright sunny days offers spectacular views of Mt. Kanchenjunga. Gangtok is a base for adventure enthusiasts comprising of trekkers and campers to the Himalayan mountain ranges. During the months of March to Mid-May, blooming of wild Rhododendrons transform the surrounding regions in vast fields of colourful carpets.

Its name meaning hill-top, Gangtok can be safely said to be one of the most beautiful hill stations in the country. With everything in just the right amount from a blend of cultural identities to urbanisation, Gangtok is a breathing and dynamic bit of paradise of the northeast. Gangtok and its surrounding regions are abundant in natural beauty and have various natural attractions such as the Tsomgo Lake, Ban Jhakri falls, Tashi viewpoint and more. Other places to visit include many famous religious sites such as the Enchey Monastery, Ganesh Tok, Do Drul Chorten Rumtek Monastery, etc. Also, river Teesta is one of the best spots for white water rafting in North East India.

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Nathula Pass- Indo-China Border

This is one place you just cannot miss if you visit Gangtok. This international Indo-China border requires you to have a permit which can be obtained easily in Gangtok. However, only Indian tourists are allowed till this point, foreigners are not allowed. The border is such that you can actually see the Chinese soldiers as well as the trucks passing from India to China or the other way round. On the way to the border, you can have a good glance at Tsongmo lake on the way. There's another temple on the way which is considered to be very holy by the locals. To reach this point, shared cabs and private cabs are easily accessible from taxi stand in Gangtok.

History

Much like the rest of Sikkim, not much is known about the history of the town. It remained a small boondock until after the construction of Enchey Monastery of Buddhist teachings in 1840 which made it a pilgrimage centre. It became a prominent town after the British invasion and then became the centre for trade between Tibet and British India. Most of the roads were built during this time, the infrastructure was improved, and the telegraph system was modified.

Following India’s independence in 1947. Gangtok remained an independent monarchy, and a treaty was signed between King Chogyal and the then Prime Minister of India- Jawaharlal Nehru, to follow the monarch rule. The state and its capital did not follow the democratic rule.

Finally in 1975, after decades of political uncertainties, struggles and riots, the monarchy was abrogated, and Sikkim became the twenty-second state of India with Gangtok as its official capital.

Shopping In Gangtok

The exotic hill station also has numerous souvenir shops for tourists and the locals. Few of the most important things you should take back from here are-
  • Canvas paintings and wall hangings give you a taste of the traditional day Gangtok and is sure to make your living room extremely appealing like a chunk from one of the travel magazines.
  • Gangtok is famous for handicrafts and Tibetan carpets which reflect the arts and culture of the city. Hand-woven jackets are extremely exquisite and pretty and a must-have souvenir.
  • Sikkim is popular worldwide for its most delicious tea. You can try a couple of varieties of ‘Sikkim Tea’ from any of the local stores.
  • Black cardamom is exclusively farmed here and is famous for making any dish aromatic and better tasting.
  • Hand carved wooden tables are another popular work of the city.
  • The locally produced wine and hard liquor is of premium quality. You must take a bottle or two of Wine for your next hang-out with friends.
The best places for shoppers are MC Marg for dress material, trinkets, shoes, souvenirs etc. with traditional Sikkimese designs. You can also get books on Buddhism, porcelain cups and other gifting items. The Tibet Road has a line of shops and emporiums for handicrafts and handloom products. There is also Lal Bazaar famous for all kinds of everyday things like cheese, incense sticks and electronic gadgets.

Riding In Cable Car

One of the most significant attractions of Gangtok is the Ropeway- a to and fro cable car ride. It gives you a bird’s eye view of the entire Gangtok township. Each ride can carry upto 24 passengers and has three stations in the 1 km ride. The boarding point is Deorali, the next stop being Namnang and the destination- Tashiling. You can stop at any of these but it is advisable to take a ride back. Gangtok Ropeway operates between 8 AM to 4:30 PM every day. The ticket price is INR 60 for adults and INR 30 for kids below 6 years. Camera charges are additional.

Culture

Gangtok is inhabited by people from different ethnicities including Nepalese, Bhutias, and Lepchas. These various religious groups and communities keep the traditional culture and identity of the city alive. Buddhism and Hinduism are the two majorly followed religion. Gangtok has several monasteries and religious institutions. Different festivals celebrated in Gangtok are a mark of the rich cultural heritage. Other than Diwali, Holi and Christmas; Saga Dawa is a famous Buddhist festival. There is also Phang Lhabsol, celebrated in the honour of Mount Kanchenjunga among other religious festivals. Annual Gangtok Food and Cultural Festival is also organised by the government every year. Music is a much- loved form of entertainment in Gangtok. The Sikkimese cuisine is served in local restaurants which include momos, thukpas, noodles etc.

Nightlife in Gangtok

Apart from the venturesome activities to the tranquil atmosphere, shopping paradises to finger licking food, nightlife in Gangtok is something you can call as an icing on the cake. Exploring Gangtok under the stars is an amazing and the safest experience.

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Restaurants and Local Food in Gangtok

Gangtok is home to almost everything that the cuisine of this area has to offer in its most rich, splendid, authentic form with a flattering variety of options. What is impossible to miss in Gangtok includes Momos, Thukpa, Wonton, Gyathuk, Thenthuk and more, along with a Sikkim style meat patty called Shah-Phaley.
Along with this you get to choose from a huge variety of authentic soups almost unique to the area. Chang is a locally made alcoholic beverage and is a must try while here. Authentic Tibetan and Indo-Chinese cuisines are also available in the restaurants and must also be tried.
View Top Restaurants in Gangtok

Suggested Itinerary

Day 1: Reach by afternoon or evening, settle into your room and relax. Enjoy the scenic beauty around you. Take a stroll on the M.G. Road and enjoy some shopping and local dishes. Have a good evening sitting in a pub or a restaurant with some music going on.
Day 2: Have some delightful breakfast and start your city tour. Visit Hanuman Tok, Rumtek Monastery, Namgyal Institute of Tibetology. Have lunch in the main market and experience the Ropeway. In the evening, enjoy some shopping in the local markets. Also, don't forget to obtain a pass to visit the Nathula Pass the next day.
Day 3: You will find a number of taxis available to take you up to Nathula Pass, but it is always better to book one in advance. Visit the Baba Harbhajan Singh Memorial Temple and go to Nathula Pass. You can also enjoy some Yak rides there. You can have a small stopover at Tsongmo lake on the way. Return to Gangtok and spend some time in the Flower Exhibition Centre. Spend the evening at the M.G Marg for some shopping.
Day 4: Have your breakfast and leave for Bagdogra/ New Jalpaiguri for your Flight/ Train. On the way, you can enjoy the white-water rafting at Teesta. Make sure you choose the Train/ Flight timings carefully.

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FAQs on Gangtok

What is the local food in Gangtok?

Gangtok is home to almost everything that the cuisine of this area has to offer in its most rich, splendid, authentic form with a flattering variety of options. What is impossible to miss in Gangtok includes Momos, Thukpa, Wonton, Gyathuk, Thenthuk and more, along with a Sikkim style meat patty called Shah-Phaley.
Along with this you get to choose from a huge variety of authentic soups almost unique to the area. Chang is a locally made alcoholic beverage and is a must try while here. Authentic Tibetan and Indo-Chinese cuisines are also available in the restaurants and must also be tried.
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What is famous about Gangtok?

The capital of Sikkim and base for exploring other parts of Sikkim. One of the cleanest places in India. Availability of good food and music in pubs and restaurants. Good weather with spectacular views all around. Culture and heritage. Pilgrim site for Buddhists.

What are the top hotels in Gangtok?

There are 286 in Gangtok which can be booked through Holidify. The most popular hotels in Gangtok are Capital O 36069 Hotel Chitrakoot Residency, Twin Spring, Mustard Seed Farm Cottages, Gesar Homestay, Hotel Kaarlo, Gangtok View Villa. You can see all the hotels in Gangtok here

What are the places near Gangtok?

The top places near to Gangtok are Darjeeling which is 47 km from Gangtok, North sikkim which is located 19 km from Gangtok, Kalimpong which is located 33 km from Gangtok, South sikkim which is located 30 km from Gangtok, West sikkim which is located 36 km from Gangtok

Who should visit Gangtok?

Newly-wed couples, trekking enthusiasts, people seeking a break from city life, nature lovers.

How much does a package cost for Gangtok?

The packages for Gangtok start at INR 11934 which can be further customized based on number of people, days, hotel category, vehicle type and customizations. You can have a look at all packages here

What is the best time to visit Gangtok?

The best time to visit Gangtok is from late September to November and March to June. These autumn and spring-summer months experience a pleasant climate which is ideal for sightseeing. Between October and February, although the temperatures go below 0-degree Celcius, Gangtok takes on a surreal charm, opening a whole wide world of amazing activities.  It is best to avoid a visit to this place during the monsoon months of July to early September since the heavy rainfall leads to landslides which may cause a lot of inconveniences.
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What is the best way to reach Gangtok?

The nearest airport to Gangtok is in Bagdogra and one can hail a cab or taxi from there to Gangtok. The nearest railway station from Gangtok is in Siliguri, which is directly connected to the major cities of the country. Taxi and state bus services are available from Siliguri to Gangtok.
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What is not so good about Gangtok?

Slightly difficult to access as the nearest airport and railway station are around 4 hours away.

What are the things to do in Gangtok?

The top things to do in Gangtok are Nathula Pass, MG Road, Gangtok, Rumtek Monastery, Tsomgo Lake, Ganesh Tok, Namgyal Institute of Tibetology. You can see all the places to visit in Gangtok here

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Gangtok Reviews

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Sandip Pal 6 months ago
Gangtok is a very good travel destination if you are looking for the same amount of fun that you get after visiting Shimla or Manali. It has a lot of tourist spots and adventure activities to offer along with comfortable hotels and quality food! "Link Hidden"
Rajeshwari Krishnaswamy 8 months ago
Gangtok is a great place to visit. the journey to gangtok from Darjeeling is breathtaking. Please visit once in lifetime. MG Road is the most happening place.
raju singh 2 years ago
I must mention there are many place to visit in sikkim that are 32turn zuluk ,kupup valleg,nathang valley. The best thing to do is start from rangpo through rongli and you will be covering all this and come to gangtok as a roundwise.
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