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The Gorgeous State of Sikkim in East Himalayas

Sikkim, located in northeast India, was once ruled by a 17th-century Buddhist dynasty and has strong Tibetan influences. It is a well-preserved natural state and one of the richest in India, with stunning views of the Himalayas that are hard to leave behind. 

The Gorgeous State of Sikkim in East Himalayas

Foreign tourists require an India e-Tourist Visa or India e-Business Visa to visit the state and enjoy its attractions. The Indian Immigration Authority recommends applying for an Indian Visa Online (India e-Visa) instead of visiting the Indian Consulate or Embassy.

15 Must-Visit Destinations in the Gorgeous State of Sikkim

Sikkim, a small Indian state located in the northeast near the Himalayas, boasts diverse geography and climate, ranging from subtropical to high alpine. The state has a population of only 6.13 lakhs and is renowned for its cultural and natural resources. Sikkim shares the only open land border between India and China and is rich in flora and fauna, making it a must-visit destination.

Here are the top 15 places to visit in Sikkim for a captivating vacation in this charming state:

1. Gangtok, the Capital City

Gangtok, the capital city of Sikkim, is a stunning hill station nestled amidst the clouds and surrounded by the majestic Mount Kanchenjunga. Here are some of the highlights of Gangtok:

Gangtok, the Capital City

Natural Beauty

  • Ban Jhakri Waterfalls
  • Tsomgo Lake
  • Tashi Lookout
  • Teesta River (rafting spot)

Cultural Diversity

  • Ganesh Tok
  • Enchey Monastery
  • Rumtek Monastery
  • Do Drul Chorten

Gangtok offers a perfect blend of urbanization and natural beauty, making it a dynamic and captivating paradise. It serves as an excellent base for treks in the Himalayas and features a picturesque cable car ride that offers a bird's eye view of the hills. Come and experience the charm of Gangtok for yourself!

2. Yuksom, the Historical Town

Yuksom is a picturesque village nestled in the western region of Sikkim. The town's natural beauty and greenery make it a popular base camp for treks to some of Sikkim's most adventurous destinations. The Kanchenjunga National Park is also located in the vicinity of Yuksom.

A Historic Destination

Yuksom holds immense historical significance as it was the place where the first Chogyal was crowned in 1642. Tourists can explore several religious and historical sites such as the Dubdi and Sangachoeling monasteries, the first to be built in Sikkim.

Major Attractions

Apart from the historical sites, the Khecheopalri Lake is another major attraction in the area. The lake is considered sacred by the locals and is surrounded by lush greenery.

Final Thoughts

While Yuksom does not offer a clear view of high mountains, it remains a fascinating and historic destination for tourists who want to explore the cultural and natural beauty of Sikkim.

3. Tsomgo Lake, the Serene Lake

At an elevation of 12,400 feet, Tsomgo Lake, also known as Lake Changu, is a mesmerizing high-altitude glacial lake situated amidst steep snowy mountains and alpine forests in Sikkim, India.

The lake is fed by melting snow and its color-changing waters are truly breathtaking. During summers, the periphery of the lake is adorned with blooming flowers, creating a spectacular display of vibrant colors.

Locals consider the lake to be sacred and it is steeped in myths and legends, adding to its cultural significance. Visiting Tsomgo Lake is a must-do activity for those visiting Sikkim, as it is a stunning sight to behold.

Things to do:

  • Enjoy the mesmerizing view of the lake and the surrounding mountains
  • Take a yak ride along the periphery of the lake
  • Visit the nearby Nathu La Pass, a historic trade route between India and China.

4. Nathu La Pass, the Mountain Pass

Nathu La Pass is a high-altitude mountain pass located on the Indo-Tibetan border, connecting India and China. It is one of the highest highways in the world, situated at an elevation of 14,450 feet above sea level. The pass is renowned for its picturesque beauty and magnificent surroundings, despite heavy snowfall in the winter.

Visiting Nathu La Pass

Tourists can visit Nathu La Pass during the summer when the temperature is around 10 degrees Celsius. It is one of the most important Himalayan passes in India, and its name, Nathu, means "to listen to the ears."

Nathu La Pass, the Mountain Pass

Attractions at Nathu La Pass

Apart from its stunning natural beauty, Nathu La Pass offers many attractions, including the famous Silk Route, Baba Harbhajan Singh Memorial Temple, and a stunning view of the Chumbi Valley.

Things to do at Nathu La Pass

  • Explore the Silk Route, a historical trade route connecting China and India.
  • Visit the Baba Harbhajan Singh Memorial Temple, dedicated to an Indian army soldier who died near the pass.
  • Enjoy the stunning view of the Chumbi Valley.

Plan a trip to Nathu La Pass to experience the breathtaking beauty of the Himalayas and witness the rich history of the Silk Route.

5. Pelling, the Scenic Hill Station

Pelling is a charming town situated in western Sikkim, offering breathtaking views of Khangchendzonga and other nearby peaks. It is the second most popular tourist destination in Sikkim, following Gangtok.

Attractions in Pelling

One of the must-see attractions in Pelling is the Pemayangste monastery, located just a kilometer away. In addition to that, the town offers opportunities for rock climbing, village trips, mountain biking, and meditation. Pelling also serves as a base for various excursions in the area.

Natural Beauty

The town is nestled at an altitude of 6,800 feet, and it was once covered by dense forests and home to wild animals. Today, it has become a popular destination for nature lovers and adventure seekers, with its stunning landscapes and scenic views.

In conclusion, Pelling is an ideal destination for those who seek to escape the hustle and bustle of city life and enjoy nature at its finest.

6. Lachung, the Picturesque Village

Lachung is a charming tourist destination located in northern Sikkim, India, where two rivers, Lachung and Lachen, converge. This small town is renowned for its mesmerizing waterfalls and offers breathtaking views of snow-capped mountains, making it a haven for nature enthusiasts.

What to see and do

Lachung serves as a perfect base for exploring the stunning Yumthang Valley, a must-visit destination for travelers seeking adventure and natural beauty. Apart from this, the town is surrounded by lush apple, peach, and apricot orchards, providing ample opportunities for leisurely walks and relaxing amidst nature.

Shopping in Lachung

For avid shoppers, the Lachung market is a paradise for exquisite handicrafts such as intricately woven rugs and blankets, and traditional Sikkimese attire.

The meaning behind the name

Lachung, as the name suggests, means "small mountain" and rightly justifies its location nestled in the lap of majestic mountains.

In summary, Lachung is a perfect destination for travelers seeking serenity, adventure, and a chance to experience the local culture amidst stunning natural beauty.

7. Ravangla, the Buddhist Pilgrimage Site

Ravangla, a serene town situated in the southern region of Sikkim, is a perfect destination for a peaceful getaway. It is known for its picturesque views of snow-clad Kanchenjunga and other peaks, tea gardens, waterfalls, diverse flora, and fauna.

Tourist Attractions

  • Bonn Monastery
  • Rayong Monastery
  • Kewzing Market
  • Mysterious Caves


One of the major festivals celebrated here is the Pang Lhabsol, which is held every year between August and September.

Nearby Places to Visit

  • Rayong Sunrise Lookout for beautiful views of the sunrise over the mountains
  • Yangang, Kewzing, and Tinkitam for short visits to nearby villages.

Ravangla is a perfect amalgamation of natural beauty, cultural richness, and spiritual sanctity, making it an ideal destination for nature lovers, adventure seekers, and pilgrims alike.

8. Rumtek Monastery, the Largest Monastery

Rumtek Monastery is one of the most significant monasteries in Sikkim, belonging to the Kargyu Buddhist sect. It is located 23 km from Gangtok and offers a breathtaking view of the city from its hilltop location.

Magnificent Architecture

The monastery's architecture is magnificent, with a temple and monastery for monks dedicated to spreading Buddhist teachings. Visitors can walk the Kora circuit around the monastery and see a golden stupa and other sculptures belonging to the XVI Karmapa.

Artistic Treasures

The prayer hall inside the monastery is adorned with beautiful murals, statues, and thangka. It is also a repository for unique religious scriptures and items.

A Must-Visit Destination

If you're visiting Sikkim, Rumtek Monastery is a must-visit destination. You can explore the rich cultural heritage of the Kargyu sect, learn about Buddhism, and enjoy the breathtaking view of Gangtok.

9. Namchi, the Cultural Hub

Namchi, the capital of the southern district of Sikkim, is a popular tourist destination known for its cultural attractions and stunning views. Here are some highlights of what Namchi has to offer:

Namchi is famous for its two giant statues, located on opposite slopes, that offer panoramic views of the Khangchendzonga mountain range and the Rangit valley. The city is also home to the largest statue in the world. Visitors can explore the Dichen Choeling monastery and Sherdup Choeling monastery, which are among the most important religious sites in the region.

  • The Ngadak monastery is just two kilometers away from Namchi and is a must-see attraction.
  • Namchi boasts several luxury hotels, spas, and bars for those seeking a more indulgent vacation.
  • The Rock Garden, located on a hill above the Ngadak monastery, is a major tourist attraction known for its unique spring flowers and plants.

Overall, Namchi is a cultural hub that offers a mix of natural beauty and religious significance, making it a must-visit destination for tourists traveling to Sikkim.

10. Do-Drul Chorten, the Stupa of Enlightenment

Do-Drul Chorten, located in Gangtok, Sikkim, is a significant stupa associated with the Vajra Kilaya regime. It was constructed in 1945 under the guidance of Trulshik Rinpoche and has 108 prayer wheels engraved with sacred mantras.

Features and Attractions

Apart from the prayer wheels, Do-Drul Chorten also houses the complete set of Dorjee Phurba and other religious artifacts. Visitors can also find a Dharma preaching center within the stupa's premises.

The stupa is surrounded by Chorten Lakhang, which contains two huge statues of Guru Padmasambhava. This peaceful hill town is an ideal spot for those seeking solace and spiritual enlightenment.

Key Points:

  • Do-Drul Chorten is located in Gangtok, Sikkim.
  • It was constructed in 1945 under the guidance of Trulshik Rinpoche.
  • The stupa has 108 prayer wheels and is associated with the Vajra Kilaya regime.
  • Visitors can find a Dharma preaching center and other religious artifacts in its premises.
  • Chorten Lakhang, surrounding the stupa, contains two huge statues of Guru Padmasambhava.

11. Zuluk, the Offbeat Destination

Located in the eastern Himalayas of Sikkim, Zuluk (also known as Dzuluk or Jhuluk or Juluk) is a serene village that offers breathtaking views of snow-capped mountains, deep gorges, lush forests, and sparkling waterways. Situated at an altitude of 10,000 feet above sea level, Zuluk is often referred to as an untouched destination as it is not frequently visited by tourists.

Why Visit Zuluk?

Zuluk is a hidden gem that is perfect for those who are looking for an offbeat destination. The village offers a unique experience that can't be found anywhere else. If you want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and get in touch with nature, Zuluk is the place for you.

Local Host Families

Staying with local host families is recommended for a more authentic experience rather than in commercial hotels. This way, you'll get to experience the local culture and way of life. Along the way, you may come across army jawans, jeeps, and tents which adds to the adventurous experience.

Leave with an Indelible Mark

Visiting Zuluk will undoubtedly leave an indelible mark in your heart. The breathtaking scenery, local culture, and unique experience make Zuluk a must-visit destination. Don't miss out on the opportunity to experience the beauty of this hidden gem.

12. Yumthang Valley, the Valley of Flowers

Yumthang valley, located in northern Sikkim, is a rare and exotic place known as the "Valley of Flowers." The valley is situated 140 km north of Gangtok and boasts of thermal springs, rivers, yaks, and green meadows at an altitude of 3,564 meters.

 Yumthang Valley, the Valley of Flowers

Shingba Rhododendron Sanctuary

The Shingba rhododendron sanctuary, which houses more than 24 species of rhododendron flowers (the state flower), is a major attraction here. Tourists can witness the beauty of these flowers in full bloom during the spring season.

Weather Conditions

Due to heavy snowfall, the valley is closed to tourists between December and March. However, the lush green forest full of pine and silver fir trees adds to the natural beauty of the region throughout the year.

In summary, Yumthang Valley is a must-visit destination for nature lovers and travelers seeking a peaceful retreat in the lap of Himalayas.

13. Gurudongmar Lake, the Sacred Lake

Gurudongmar Lake is a high-altitude lake situated at an elevation of 17,100 feet in Sikkim, India. This breathtaking natural wonder is the second-highest lake in Sikkim and among the top fifteen highest lakes in the world.

Features and Attractions

The lake offers panoramic views of the majestic Mount Siniolchu and Kanchenjunga, making it a sought-after tourist destination in Sikkim. Besides its stunning scenery, the lake is also believed to have healing powers, and visitors often take the water with them.

Surrounded by snow-capped mountains and crystal-clear waters, Gurudongmar Lake is one of the primary sources of the Teesta River, which flows through Sikkim. Near the lake, there is also a popular place of worship for people of all faiths called "Sarva Dharma Sthal."

Why Visit Gurudongmar Lake?

  • Breathtaking views of Mount Siniolchu and Kanchenjunga
  • Believed to have healing powers
  • Crystal-clear waters surrounded by snow-capped mountains
  • Source of the Teesta River
  • Sarva Dharma Sthal- A place of worship for all religions.

In conclusion, Gurudongmar Lake is a must-visit destination for nature lovers, adventure enthusiasts, and spiritual seekers alike.

14. Cholamu Lake, the Highest Lake

Located in northern Sikkim, Cholamu Lake is the highest lake in India and the 14th highest lake in the world, with an altitude of 18,000 feet above sea level. It is also known as Tso Lhamo Lake and is situated near the Tibetan border.

Visiting Cholamu Lake

Visiting Cholamu Lake requires special permits, and it is recommended to avoid the monsoon and winter seasons. While obtaining permission to visit can be challenging, the stunning beauty of the serene waters and surrounding mountains make it a must-visit destination for adventurous travelers. However, it is advised to avoid visiting with family and instead consider Gurudongmar Lake as an alternative.

Things to Keep in Mind

  • Cholamu Lake is the highest lake in India and the 14th highest lake in the world
  • It is located in northern Sikkim, near the Tibetan border
  • Special permits are required to visit the lake
  • Avoid visiting during the monsoon and winter seasons
  • The sublime beauty of the lake makes it a worthwhile destination for adventurous travelers
  • Consider Gurudongmar Lake as an alternative for family visits.

15. Geyzing, the Gateway to Western Sikkim

Geyzing, also known as Gyalshing, is the capital of West Sikkim district. Situated at an altitude of 6,500 feet above sea level, the city is surrounded by the majestic Himalayan mountains, and the Rangeet River originates in its western part.

Popular Tourist Attraction

The presence of several monasteries in Geyzing makes it a popular tourist attraction. As the district headquarters and a commercial hub, Geyzing has also become a tourist resort, with a growing number of visitors each year.

Stunning Panoramic View

The nearby hill of Yancey offers a stunning panoramic view of the Rangeet River and the Kanchenjunga mountains, making Geyzing one of the best places to visit in Sikkim.

Key Information

  • Altitude: 6,500 feet above sea level
  • Location: Western Sikkim district
  • Tourist attractions: Monasteries, Yancey hill
  • Notable feature: Rangeet River originates in the city's western part

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