Are you planning an adventure in Sikkim?
Have questions like the tour packages for Sikkim, Sikkim tourism guidelines and is Sikkim worth visiting or not?
Worry no more. Yes Tourism India is here to help.
In this blog we will discuss a number of adventurous activities you can enjoy in Sikkim, which places to visit, the festivals and fairs and a lot more.
So keep on reading!
Celebrate The Rich Culture Of Sikkim
Sikkim entails a rich cultural heritage, predominantly Buddhist. It is a land of festivals and fairs as the people here believe in celebrating life and nature. There is a lot of enthusiasm and zeal filled in the atmosphere when any festivities take place. Tourism is also at an all time boom during celebrations.
Here are some of Sikkim's most vibrant celebrations and festivals that you can add to your list while paying a visit:
Sikkim International Flower Festival:
The Sikkim International Flower Festival takes place during the months of April and May. As the name suggests, it is a festival where a large variety of flowers are showcased including: roses, rhododendrons, rare orchids, magnolias and many more. This festival is a must visit if you are planning a trip in these months.
In the month of December, the Tourism Department organizes the Gangtok Winter Festival. There are folk dances, local cuisine stalls and music. It is an engaging experience and an absolute must visit if you are traveling to Sikkim in December.
The vibrant Namchi Mahotsav is organized in the month of October. It is a 3 day celebration where there are cultural performances, flower exhibitions, ethnic food stalls and a lot more. You will also find a taste of Sikkim's rich handicrafts and textiles.
Kanchenjunga Tourist Festival:
In Pelling, the Kanchenjunga Tourist Festival is hosted from December 24th to 26th. The festival is named after the renowned Mt. Kanchenjunga. It offers a truly delightful way to end the year with vibrant flower exhibits, adventure sports like kayaking, white water rafting, mountain biking, etc.
Khecheopalri Lake Festival:
In the month of March, the Khecheopalri Lake Festival is hosted in Sikkim. It is a religious festival celebrated by Buddhists on the banks of the lake Khecheopalri. It is believed to be a sacred lake in Pelling. It is the perfect atmosphere of calm and spirituality.
The Losoong Festival welcomes the Sikkimese New Year and celebrates the harvest season in the month of December. It is predominantly celebrated among the Lepchas and Bhutias with vibrant costumes, cheerful dances and merry music.
Lachen - The Crown Jewel Of North Sikkim
Lachen, situated at a distance of about 125 kms from Gangtok, is situated on the northern outskirts of Sikkim.
Here are some of the must visit attractions and activities to enjoy when in Lachen:
The calm and quaint valley is enroute to the Gurudongmar Lake. This place is filled with lush alpines which gives it a scenic view, perfect for nature lovers. The crystal clear lakes and snow capped mountains make it the perfect spot for your next vacation.
The Cholamu Lake, also popularly known as the Tso Lhamu Lake, is located at a distance of 6 kms from the Gurudongmar Lake. It is the highest lake of India. To reach this lake you can trek through the surrounding mountain terrains. Although the trek is cold and harsh, it can be a refreshing experience for someone who loves to be around nature.
The Gurudongmar Lake holds religious importance for Buddhists, Hindus as well as Sikhs. It is believed to be a sacred lake. It is located among lush high alpines and the water is a crystal clear emerald blue hue. However, since it is located so close to the China border, international tourists are not allowed to visit this lake for security reasons. Indian nationals too have to get special permission from the Indian Army to visit the lake.
Lachung - The Snow Capped Town
Lachung is located at an approximate distance of 120 kms from Gangtok. It is a small yet bustling town in Sikkim.
Here are some of the must visit attractions and activities to enjoy when in Lachung:
Yumesamdong (Zero Point):
The trek to Zero Point is a snow filled experience. The area is covered in snow throughout the year. If you are lucky, you may even get a chance to witness fresh snowfalls in the month of June. This snow covered landscape is a major tourist attraction however a permit from the Indian Army is required to visit this location.
One of the most beautiful and scenic Buddhist monasteries in North Sikkim, Lachung Gompa is a beloved tourist attraction. Situated on the top of a hill, the serene and tranquil surroundings are filled with orchards of juicy peaches and apples.
The Katao Valley is located at a distance of about 28 kms from Lachung town. People who are on the look out for adventure activities love to visit Katao as there are a number of adventure sports and activities available here. These include: snowboarding, skiing, snow tubing and many more. Although if you wish to visit this snow filled valley, you require to obtain army permissions in advance.
Pelling - Heaven In Sikkim
Many Sikkim tour packages offer a visit to Pelling. It is a small, tranquil village situated at a distance of 115 kms from Gangtok. The best travel guide to Sikkim will always encourage you to visit this small village. So do we.
Here are some of the must visit attractions and activities to enjoy when in Pelling:
Dentam Valley is located 20 kms from Pelling and is a scenic valley filled with forests of lush rhododendron. The peaks of mount Kanchenjunga seem as if you could almost touch them. It is a favorite place for nature enthusiasts and trekkers. Bird watchers also prefer to visit this valley often due to the abundance of flora and fauna. You can also make a stop along the way at the Sangay Waterfalls which fall enroute of Dentam Valley.
Rabdentse once used to be the capital of Sikkim. It was destroyed by invaders from Nepal in the 18th century. It is situated among thick forests and lies as ruins that offer a peek into the past of Sikkim. It is located near the Pemayangtse Monastery which is also one of the major tourist attractions of Sikkim.
The Pemayangtse Monastery is located at a distance of just 2 kms from Peling. It is a magnificent sight to behold. You can enjoy a beautiful view of the river Rangit from this monastery as it is situated at the top of a hill. There are ancient scriptures and sculptures that are of great significance to the Buddhists.
Gangtok - The Beauty Of East Sikkim
Gangtok is the quaint and charming capital of the state of Sikkim. It is famously known as the land of Monasteries. Any Sikkim tour package that you may book, it will likely include a visit to Gangtok.
Here are some of the must visit attractions and activities to enjoy when in Gangtok:
When going towards Nathu La, the Tsomgo or Changu Lake catches your attention with its crystal clear waters with the snowy Himalayan ranges in the backdrop. The lake is frozen in winter and becomes a beloved tourist spot. The Tsomgo Lake also offers visitors an opportunity to enjoy the piping hot tea made with special Yak milk, which is a local delicacy and enjoy the famous Maggi in the mountains or delicious momos. The Yak ride is an absolute must try activity but make sure that you have an inner line permit in advance.
As the largest monastery in Sikkim, Rumtek Monastery has always captivated visitors' attention with its traditional Tibetan architecture and vibrant murals. It is located 23 kms away from Gangtok. The monastery's tranquil environment and the monks' chanting mantras gives visitors a sense of inner peace and comfort.
An absolutely breathtaking spot located at a distance of approximately 55 kms from Gangtok, the Nathu La Pass is situated at an altitude of 14,500 ft. It serves as an important trade link between India and China. Visiting this area requires special permissions due to its significance as an Indian Army post. It is open to visitors for a limited time period per year which is why you should plan your trip in advance. Small kids and people with respiratory issues are not advised to visit.
Tips For Your Safe Travels In Sikkim
- Obtain permits for any places that require them, well in advance so that you do not face any issues during your trip.
- Respect the customs and traditions of the places you visit. This especially includes monasteries and temples.
- The weather is unpredictable and it is a cold area so it is always a smart choice to keep warm, woolen clothes with you.
- When going for an adventure sport or activity always choose a licensed operator and check if you have all the safety gear and equipment required for a safe and secure experience.
- Do not litter. When visiting lakes, rivers, trekking in forests, strolling in parks or even while walking on the roads, do not litter and throw the garbage in designated garbage cans only.
- Avoid engaging in adventure sports, such as mountain biking, trekking, etc, alone. Always try to go as a group.