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Gangtok Tourism And Travel Guide
6.6° C / 43.8° F
March to June
3 to 6 Days
Bagdogra Airport (126 kms)
New Jalpaiguri (124 kms)
Gangtok is a beautiful city, nestled in the lap of the lower Himalayas. What was once a Monarch’s capital, still retains the charm that had enticed its rulers. Accompanied by the display of a rare variety of fauna and flora, this city gives a truly memorable experience. Of all the hill stations, only Gangtok offers a mesmerizing view of the majestic Kanchenjunga. The tourism in Gangtok is prevalent through its summers and makes for some great sightseeing, adventure and leisure exploration. To know more about this place, read this concise travel guide to Gangtok.
How To Reach
Travelling to Gangtok by road can prove to be a wonderful journey. The view is amazing, with the Teesta river marking the way through NH31A. There are many routes that lead to Gangtok. The common ones are from New Jalpaiguri (124 km), Bagdogra (126 km) and the one from Darjeeling (98 km).
For people who don’t want to drive, there is a bus service to Gangtok from all these places besides taxi and shared jeep services from New Jalpaiguri, Bagdogra, and Siliguri.
New Jalpaiguri is the nearest railway junction that serves as a gateway to the rest of Sikkim. Lots of trains from across the country pass through New Jalpaiguri. Taxi services and shared jeep services are available from here to get to Gangtok.
The Bagdogra airport in the state of West Bengal is the closest operating airport to Gangtok, approximately 126 km away. There are regular flights from and to Bagdogra from most major cities in India. The Sikkim Tourism Department also provides Helicopter services to Gangtok that operate daily unless weather conditions are not too bad. This ride will take only 20 minutes to Gangtok.
Best Time To Visit
The typical tourist season in Gangtok ranges from March to June. During Summers and Spring, the temperatures are pleasant and Gangtok lays open beautiful views of lush green hills to those who seek resort from the heat of the Indian Plains.
The monsoon serves as a perfect getaway for a romantic trip. Usually, tourists don't prefer Gangtok much during this season, leaving the town quiet and serene. Although transport does get a bit tricky with landslides, Gangtok presents a completely different experience during this season.
Autumn or winter is the time to visit if you want to catch the breath-taking views of the Kanchenjunga. Autumn is not cold and allows you good accessibility across and around town. The prices of hotels and other services drop too since fewer tourists are willing to brave the cold. Winters is when quite a few high pass treks are organized in the region.
Things To Do
There is much to see in Gangtok. The Teesta River, the Yumthang Valley and the Tsongmo Lake will make you feel enthralled. The rich variety of flora and fauna of the Kanchenjunga Biosphere will awe you as you spot the Snow Leopard, the Musk Deer, and the Himalayan Tahr here. You can also learn about different wild varieties of orchids that grow at the Deorali Orchid Sanctuary.
Buddhism is tied to the history of Gangtok. Amongst the many Monarchs that ruled this place, Buddhists are notable. There is the Namgyal Institute of Tibetology named after the famous king Namgyal who also ruled over Ladakh. The library here allows readers to get a grasp of the interesting and rich heritage of Buddhism and the many proponents of the religion. There are also monasteries that one can visit to really get a sense of the divinity that Buddhism speaks off.
Being so close to the Kanchenjunga and numerous high passes, Gangtok is home to some of the most interesting treks. The winter season kicks off a series of treks for amateurs and professionals that are sure to get your adrenaline levels going. There are also numerous bike rides that one can participate in, with the beautiful and majestic mountains making the perfect backdrop for these rides. The Teesta River with its rapids also makes for a unique rafting experience.
Gangtok offers a diverse set of cuisines to the connoisseur - from Tibetan to Indo-Chinese and even the authentic local Sikkimese cuisine. Savor the mouthwatering Momos, Thupka, Wonton, and Thenthuk while you are in Gangtok. Also, try not to miss the Sikkim style meat patty Shah Phaley. If you care for intoxication, ask for the local alcoholic beverage Chang before meals.
Shopping in Gangtok can be a lot of fun. Choose from a wide range of clothing and souvenirs items if you wish to take a piece of this hill station home with you.
The New Market in M.G. Road is one of the most visited shopping venues in Gangtok. The roads are lined with shops selling exquisite Sikkimese Cups. These cups are made out of porcelain and have traditional Sikkimese patterns. Perfect for drinking the warm butter tea.