Must Visit

Nathu La Pass

4.2 / 5 70 votes


Ideal Time: 1 hour


Wednesday - Sunday: 8:00 AM - 3:30 PM (For Indian Nationals)

Entry Fee:

No entry fees, but permit is necessary

Nathu La Pass, Gangtok Overview

Nathu La, one of the highest motorable 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 Nathu La. It also offers an opportunity to see beautiful snow peaks encircling the area.

Situated on the Indo-Tibetan border 14450 ft. above sea level, Nathu La is one of the most important Himalayan passes in the country. Nathu means 'listening ears', and La means 'pass'. Nathu La is one of the three open trading border posts between India and China and is famous for its picturesque beauty and beautiful environment. The temperature here remains low for most parts of the year, and it becomes a hotspot for tourists during summer. The cold wind blowing across at great speed is a phenomenon worth experiencing.

Some enchanting waterfalls are present on the way from Gangtok to Nathu La. Tsomgo Lake is a popular tourist destination in the region, and though it does not have human inhabitation, the place is a home for birds like a black eagle, blue whistling thrush, redstarts, folk tails, Tit-babblers, etc. The region also supports Himalayan wildlife like Tibetan gazelle, snow leopard, yaks, Tibetan wolves, etc. Nathu La Pass has a rich variety of flora apart from a spectacular wildlife range.

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A unique samadhi, somewhere in the middle of Kupup Valley, 60 km from Gangtok and 20 km from Nathu La Pass, has to be visited to be believed. It is the local belief that every person visiting the Nathang Valley and crossing through this enchantingly beautiful terrain has to pay their respects to Baba Harbhajan Singh. Don't think of it as an ordinary temple, for you'll be mistaken! As you climb the stairs to the concrete construction, flanked with bells on both side, you'll be rewarded with the most ineffable samadhi you'd have ever visited.

Baba Harbhajan Singh Temple, or the Baba Mandir (as it is popularly called), is a small space consisting of two rooms and is a soldier's bunker. One room has a desk and a chair with a placard requesting people not to sit on Babaji's chair. The other room has a single bed, a thick blanket and an altar for the worshippers to place offerings. There is also an army uniform and a pair of polished boots kept under the bed. The person who comes to clean the samadhi sometimes finds the uniform crinkled or the boots muddy. Yes, eerie isn't it?!

Read more about Baba Harbhajan Singh Mandir

Nathula Pass experiences heavy snowfall during winter. The temperature of this area may drop down to -25 degrees Celcius. If you really love snow, you can visit Nathula Pass in winter with thick woollen garments. May to mid-November is the summer season when the temperature ranges around 10 degrees Celcius.

You have to travel on foot at Nathula Pass. You can hire taxis to go see nearby places.

There is no accommodation option at Nathula Pass for tourists, so you have to reside at the hotels in Gangtok. Mayfair Spa Resort, Hotel Norkhil, Royal Plaza, Chumbi Residency, Hotel Rendezvous, Sidlon Residency, etc. are some of the hotels close to Nathula pass.

The Gangtok - Nathula Highway is one of the most beautiful mountain roads in the world and is great for sightseeing. About 70 kms from Gangtok, across the Tsomgo Lake and the new Baba Harbhajan Mandir, the road is an adventurous one. On a clear day, you can also enjoy spectacular views of Mt. Chomolhari from Nathula Pass.

Many tourists come here every year for trekking in the valley.

There are no shopping places here. However, there are several shopping arcades in Gangtok famous for the woollen carpets and local handicrafts. You can also buy paintings, artwork, etc. from here.

The place does not have any culture or population as it a border pass. To experience the culture to Sikkim, one has to visit Gangtok.

The place does not have a nightlife. You can experience the nightlife of Sikkim at Gangtok though which has many clubs.

A few tea stalls and food corners are present at Nathula. To enjoy the local cuisine you have to see Gangtok which includes Gya Thuk or Thukpam, Phagshapa, Momo, Ningro along with Churpi, Sael Roti and Gundruk. These are dishes one must try while visiting Gangtok. Chaang is the popular drink of the place.

Nathula has no restaurants. Some of the good restaurants you can find at Gangtok are Gangtalk, 9'INE, Taste of Tiber, Tangerine among others.

Nathula is best seen on a trip to Gangtok, just 24 kms away. Reach Gangtok and leave early for Nathula at 8am. Have your breakfast at a nearby restaurant on the way. Reach Nathula Pass and enjoy the beauty of the place. You can trek in the valley too if you want. After visiting the pass, take a tour to the Tsomgo Lake. Return to Gangtok in the evening and have your dinner at a nearby good restaurant. The next day you can see Gangtok.

During the years Nathu La remained closed, the only people permitted to cross it was a Chinese postman with an Indian military escort to handover letters from either side of the border. The reopening of Nathu la Pass coincided with the 71st birthday of the 14th Dalai Lama.

It is advised not to rush up the stairs, as you may go out of breath after some time.
Carry woollen clothes with you.
Take permit before itself from the authorities to visit Nathula Pass.

  • Air: The closest airport to Nathula is Bagdogra airport and it is connected to cities like Delhi and Kolkata. From there you can hire a taxi to reach Gangtok, which is well connected to Nathula by road.

  • Rail: The nearest railway station is in Jalpaiguri, 98 kilometers from Gangtok. You can take a taxi from here to reach Gangtok.

  • Road: Nathula is well connected by road to Gangtok. You can take a taxi from Gangtok to reach Nathula.

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Top Hotels near Nathu La Pass

  • Hotel Noryang

    Starting from INR 800

  • Enchanted Forest Farmstay

    Starting from INR 3,500

  • Tagalong Backpackers

    Starting from INR 800

Nathu La Pass Reviews

3 months ago by Wasim Akram

It is nearest part to reach or see China.

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Latest questions by travellers on Nathu La Pass

Whether child age of 7 months is safe to visit nathula in the end of April.

Answer: End of April is a very good time to visit Nathula, as the weather is quite pleasant. However, the higher altitude might not be good for a child that young and there may be breathing difficulties. It is best to consult a doctor regarding the physical fitness of the child to be in this atmosphere.

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