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In the foothills of Eastern Himalayan range with breath-taking locations and warm-hearted people, Sikkim is nothing less than a dreamland. It is the second smallest and least populated state of India. Being a part of Himalayan Range, Sikkim is a bio-diverse state and also India’s first completely organic state.

Sikkim is also one of the Seven Sister states of Northeast India and no doubt most popular tourist destination. Sikkim shares its border with Tibet Autonomous Region of China in the north and northeast, Bhutan in the east, Nepal in the west and the Indian state of West Bengal in the south. So, Sikkim is very popular among the tourists from not only just India but also among the people of Bhutan, Nepal, China.

The third highest peak in the world and the highest peak in India – Kanchenjunga is also situated in Sikkim. All the four corners of Sikkim has an abundant number of beautiful location, hence covering the entire state in one go is quite difficult. A major portion of the revenue of the state is contributed by Tourism only.

During the 17th-century Namgyal dynasty, founded Sikkim on the silk route solely for trade purpose. Till 1975, Sikkim has its own mountain kingdom before submitting itself into the Republic of India. Gangtok is the capital of Sikkim and the base of all administrative offices or businesses.

Gangtok city is situated at an altitude of 5500 feet and is also the base of all transport for Sikkim. The state largely comprises of people belonging to Buddhism or Hinduism. A major part of its population is contributed by the Nepali community, who is now a permanent resident of India.

Best Season to Visit Sikkim:
It is best to visit Sikkim either during the spring or autumn. Being situated in Eastern Himalayan range, the temperature during the winters slips to negative. It is not only too cold during the winters but due to heavy snowfall, the connectivity towards many locations is severely affected.
For witnessing the natural flora and enjoying the beautiful weather, it is advised to visit Sikkim between February end to May end. For enjoying the snowfall and cold weather, it is best to visit Sikkim during September end till mid-December

Read more: Top 25 Tourist Attractions In Ladakh

Top 16 Places to visit in sikkim:

To cover the most popular tourist destinations of Sikkim, the Sikkim Tour can be divided into 4 regions: Places to visit in East Sikkim, Places to visit in West Sikkim, Places to visit in North Sikkim and Places to visit in South Sikkim which comprises of the below places:

  1. 1. Rumtek Monastery
  2. 2. Nathula Pass
  3. 3. Lake Tsomgo
  4. 4. Hanuman Tok
  5. 5. Pemayangtse Gompa
  6. 6. Khecheopalri Lake
  7. 7. Kanchenjunga Falls
  8. 8. Tashiding monastery
  9. 9. Gurudongmar Lake
  10. 10. Yume Samdong
  11. 11. Yumthang Valley
  12. 12. Khangchendzonga National Park
  13. 13. Buddha Park of Ravangla
  14. 14. Ralang Monastery
  15. 15. Kitam Bird Sanctuary
  16. 16. Samdruptse

Places to visit in East Sikkim:

Places to visit in East Sikkim includes the below:

  1. 1. Rumtek Monastery
  2. 2. Nathula Pass
  3. 3. Lake Tsomgo
  4. 4. Hanuman Tok

1. Rumtek Monastery:

Rumtek Monastery sikkim
The Rumtek Monastery, Sikkim | Photo by Amar (CC BY- SA 2.5)

It is most important and largest Monastery in Sikkim and is called the Dharma Chakra Centre that represents The Gyalwa Karmapa of Kargyu sect of Buddhists who originated in Tibet in the 12th century. The route towards the Monastery is through typical Sikkim villages with enormous paddy fields.

Being an important Tibetan Buddhism learning centre, you can witness the monks practicing and reading Buddhism all around. The monastery is a representation of best Tibetan architecture and collects some of the rarest Buddhist art objects of religious value and beautiful murals, statues, books etc.

Entry Time: Everyday 10:00 am – 05:00 pm (in winter)
08:00 am – 05:00 pm (in summer)
Entry Fees: INR 10/- per person
Best Season to Visit: Throughout the Year

2. Nathula Pass:

Nathula pass Sikkim
On the way to Nathula pass | Photo by Nagarajupingali (CC BY- SA 4.)

This Himalayan mountain pass between Sikkim and China’s Tibet Autonomous Region is situated at an altitude of 14,140 ft. It is one of the three open trading borders between India and China. Nathula is situated on the ancient silk route and in an important trade route for India and China.
This route was sealed by Indian Government in 1962 but was reopened again in 2006. This is a beautiful location on the Himalayan range which is covered with dense Alpine forest and snow for most of the year. Only Indian citizen is allowed to visit this pass from where the China Border and the Chinese camp with soldiers are quite visible.

Entry Time: Everyday 10:00 am – 04:00 pm
Entry Fees: Nil
Permit Requirement: collect a permit from Sikkim Tourism Department
Best Season to Visit: April – early November

3. Lake Tsomgo:

Lake Tsomgo/ Changu is one of the sacred lakes among the Tibetian Buddhism and among the Sikkimese. Situated at a height of 12313 ft towards the Nathula Pass, this lake remains frozen during the winters. The lake is approximately 1 kilometer in length. This Lake is a glacier lake and also very much popular among the Buddhist Monks who use to study the changing colour of the lake to know about the season.

The lake is surrounded by snow during the winters while during the summer it is surrounded by the bed of wildflowers. You can take a Yak ride near the Lake at a very reasonable price.

changu lake Sikkim Tsongmo Lake

Entry Time: Everyday 09:00 am – 04:00 pm
Entry Fees: Nil
Permit Requirement: collect permit from Sikkim Tourism Department
Best Season to Visit: November – mid-March

4. Hanuman Tok:

Changu lake | Photo by Vinay. Vaars (CC BY- SA 3.0)

It is the most popular temple of Lord Hanuman in Gangtok. This temple is situated at an altitude of 7200 feet and has a great religious value. Being situated at such a height, its common to feel a little less of oxygen in the air. From the top of the temple, you can witness the beauty of the whole Kanchenjunga range and entire Gangtok city.

Entry Time: Everyday 06:00 am – 07:00 pm
Entry Fees: Nil
Best Season to Visit: Throughout the Year

Place to visit in West Sikkim:

Places to visit in West Sikkim includes the below:

  1. 5. Pemayangtse Gompa
  2. 6. Khecheopalri Lake
  3. 7. Kanchenjunga Falls
  4. 8. Tashiding monastery

5. Pemayangtse Gompa:

No image available

It is one of the oldest monasteries in Sikkim and it is about a kilometer away from Pelling. This monastery was initiated by Lama Lhatsun Chempo in 1705. The present size and structure of the monastery is achieved by the many developments done by kings and local authorities of this area. It is a three-storied building and decorated with various mulars and statues etc.

Though this monastery remains open during the entire year but it is best to visit this prime location during February and March, when the Losar Festival is celebrated with traditional Chaam Dance.

Entry Time: Everyday 07:00 am – 05:00 pm
Entry Fees: Nil
Best Season to Visit: February & March

6. Khecheopalri Lake:

Foot bridge to Khecheolpalri Lake
Khecheopalri lake | Photo by Kothanda Srinivasan (CC BY- SA 2.0)

Another scared lake among the Tibetan Buddhist and even Hindus, Khecheopalri Lake is located 34 kilometers away from Pelling town. The lake is hidden between the dense forest of West Sikkim and is very popular among the tourists and pilgrims.

The most interesting thing about the lake is that, even though the lake is located on the mountain hills and surrounded by trees, you cannot find a single leave on floating on this lake. As soon as any leaf falls in the lake, the nearby birds quickly pick it up and keep the lake clean. It is one of its kind in the world. Being an important religious spot, there are many budget rest house and hotels near Khecheopalri lake.

Entry Time: Everyday 06:00 am – 06:00 pm
Entry Fees: Nil
Best Season to Visit: February – April

7. Kanchenjunga Falls:

Kanchenjunga waterfalls Pelling
Kanchenjunga Falls. | Photo by Sujay25 (CC BY- SA 4.0)

This perennial waterfall, that has originated from a glacier at Kanchenjunga, is a prime tourist spot in Pelling. This natural waterfall is about 25 kilometers from Pelling and it remains a major tourist attraction in Pelling.

This fall was first discovered by a local tour operator in the early 90s and since then it became quite famous in this region. As the fall remains the same throughout the year, therefore many nearby small café and resorts are enjoying their ample tourist throughout the year.

Entry Time: 24X7 (No Restrictions)
Preferred Timing: Everyday 09:00 am – 03:00 pm
Entry Fees: Nil
Best Season to Visit: Throughout the Year

8. Tashiding monastery:

Tashiding Gompa
Tashiding Gompa | Photo by Akuppa John Wigham (CC BY- SA 2.0)

Situated on a hilltop of the small village Tashiding, this monastery is another important religious center in Pelling. This monastery belongs to the Nyingmapa order of Buddhism and is a must visit tourist place in Sikkim.

The monastery has been established on Rathong and Rangit river in the 17th century, hence it is quite visible from distance. The surrounding of the Tashiding Monastery is covered with oranges orchards and cardamoms plantations which makes the atmosphere pleasantly fragrant.

Inside the monastery, a pot of holy water is kept sealed only to be revealed and its droplets are given to devotees once every year at the Bumchu Festival during the 14th and 15th day of the first month of the Tibetan calendar.

Entry Time: Everyday 07:00 am – 07:00 pm
Entry Fees: Nil
Best Season to Visit: Throughout the Year

Place to visit in North Sikkim:

Places to visit in North Sikkim includes the below:

  1. 9. Gurudongmar Lake
  2. 10. Yume Samdong
  3. 11. Yumthang Valley
  4. 12. Khangchendzonga National Park

9. Gurudongmar Lake:

Gurudongmar Lake Sikkim
Gurudongmar Lake, 2nd highest lake in India | Photo by Rajbhaskar227 (CC BY- SA 4.0)

Being located at an altitude of 17,800 ft, Gurudongmar Lake is the highest lake in India and one of the highest lakes in the world. It is also called the frozen lake and is surrounded by the hills covered in snow.

It is considered as a sacred lake in North East among the Buddhist, Hindus, and Sikhs. The lake is named after Guru Padmasambhava, the founder of Tibetan Buddhism in the 8th century.

Entry Time: Everyday 09:00 am – 05:00 pm
Entry Fees: Nil
Best Season to Visit: April – October

10. Yume Samdong:

Zero Point in North Sikkim | Photo by Indrajit Dast (CC BY 3.0)

Also known as Zero Point, is a valley with green gracing patches at an altitude of 15300 ft. This location is pretty close to the International border with China. The specialty of this location is the fragrant atmosphere due to Azalea, flowering shrub. Due to a strong fragrance, Azalea flowers are widely used for making instant sticks, scented candles, local perfumes etc. Hence, these flowers are an important source of income among the locals.

The fraganance of these wildflowers is so strong that you can smell them from miles away. Apart from that, there are 14-15 hot springs in Samdong which are rich in sulfur and have great medicinal properties. This location is also very popular among the trekkers, who can start the trek at Yume Samdong towards Yumthang.

Entry Time: Everyday 07:00 am – 06:00 pm
Entry Fees: Nil
Permit Requirement: Require permit from Sikkim State Tourism department
or Tourist Information Centre
Best Season to Visit: mid-February – May end

11. Yumthang Valley:

Yumthang valley Lachung Sikkim
Yumthang valley (near Lachung)| Photo by Joginder Pathak (CC BY- SA 2.0)

Lachung is a famous destination in the North Sikkim and has a lot to give to its tourists. Lachung is located at 8610 ft and has snow-capped mountain peaks, waterfalls, apple gardens, and monasteries.

Yumthang Valley and popularly was known as the valley of flowers among the local is situated at 11800 ft is blessed with enough Himalayan flora and fauna. During spring, the entire valley is covered with lush green meadows and wildflowers. There are 24 species of Rhododendron has been recognized in this valley making a colorful landscape in this area. Yumthang valley is also rich with fruit orchards, apples, peaches, and apricot.

Entry Time: Everyday 08:00 am – 05:00 pm
Entry Fees: Nil
Best Season to Visit: March end – May end

12. Khangchendzonga National Park:

Kangch-Goechala National Park
Picture of Kangchenjunga taken by author from Goecha La pass | Photo by Ashinpt (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Khangchendzonga National Park, also known as Kanchenjunga Biosphere Reserve is spread over an area of 849.5 square kilometers. This national park is situated on the Kanchenjunga Range and is a Biosphere Reserve. On July 17th, 2016, this national park gained the status of UNESCO World Heritage site and it is India’s first Mixed Heritage site.

The National Park has ample amount of Flora and Fauna, including few glaciers, like the 26 kilometers long Zemu Glacier. It is the home of a few rare wild animals like musk deer, snow leopard, Clouded Leopard and Himalayan Tahr. It is also the home of many medicinal plants and herbs.

Entry Time: 24X7 (No Restrictions)
Entry Fees (Indian): INR 200/-
Entry Fees (Foreigner): INR 400/-
Still Camera: INR 30/-
Best Season to Visit: March – May end & mid-September – mid-December

Place to visit in South Sikkim:

Places to visit in south Sikkim includes the below:

  1. 13. Buddha Park of Ravangla
  2. 14. Ralang Monastery
  3. 15. Kitam Bird Sanctuary
  4. 16. Samdruptse

13. Buddha Park of Ravangla:

Ralong Monastry Sikkim
Buddha Park of Ravangla | Photo by Jhilik (CC BY- SA 4.0)

With the aim to observe and celebrate the Birth Anniversary of Gautam Buddha in the entire state, Buddha Park at Ravangla is established. This park at Ravangla has been constructed and developed at a range of 7000 ft and is dedicated to Lord Buddha.

The centerpiece of the park is a 130ft golden Buddha statue and it marks the 2550th birth anniversary of Gautam Buddha. Being established at such height this statue of Sakyamuni Buddha is quite visible from all direction of South Sikkim. The park is also developed for recreational activities hence quite fascinating among the tourists.

Entry Time: Everyday 09:00 am – 05:00 pm
Entry Fees: INR 50/-
Best Season to Visit: April – October

14. Ralang Monastery:

Buddhapark Ravangla Sikkim
Ralong Monastery ,Near Barfung Village,Sikkim | Photo by PrabhaRA (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Ralang Monastery or Ralong Palchen Choling belongs to the Kagyu sect of Tibetan Buddhism. This monastery was built by the 4th Chogyal of Tibet in 1768. It is believed that 9th Karmapa, head of the Kagyupa sect, blessed the site From Tibet had thrown grains of rice. The region is also rich in paddy.

Though this monastery remains open during the entire year but it is best to visit this monastery during August – September. Or during December when the Pang Lhabso Festival is celebrated with traditional Chaam Dance and local fair.

Entry Time: Everyday 08:00 am – 05:00 pm
Entry Fees: Nil
Best Season to Visit: August – mid-December

15. Kitam Bird Sanctuary:

No image available

Kitam bird sanctuary established in the Kittam village is the best bird habitat in Sikkim. This sanctuary is situated at a height between 1200- 3200 ft, hence is the home of almost 50 and more species of birds. The River Rangit and Manpur River flows through the sanctuary and on the bank of the river many beautiful birds can be seen near the river.

The major inhabitants of this sanctuary are Rufous-necked Hornbill, Grey-crowned Prinia, Rufous-throated Wren-babbler, Yellow-vented Warbler, Wedge-billed Wren-babbler and many more. The sanctuary is also famous for being the host of many migrant birds during the winter season.

Entry Time: Everyday 08:00 am – 05:00 pm
Entry Fees: INR 500/- per person
Best Season to Visit: October – March

16. Samdruptse:

Guru Padmaasambhava statue Samdruptse Hill Namchi
Statue of Guru Padmasambhava at Samdruptse | by Chitta.crb (CC BY- SA 3.0)

A 135 feet high statue of Guru Padamasambhava has been established at the hill top of Namchi. This location has been developed in order to pay the respect and observe the deeds of Guru Padamasambhava towards the development of Sikkim. This location being at the hill top gives a beautiful view of the Namchi town and agricultural fields towards the route of Samdruptse.

Entry Time: Everyday 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Entry Fees: INR 30/- per person
Best Season to Visit: October – March

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