Gangtok is the glory of Sikkim. It is its capital, the most populated city and is blessed with marvelous nature and wildlife. Speaking of marvelous, Gangtok is located in the Himalayan ranges. This is why this city is beautiful by default! Once here you’re 1,650 m above sea level and yes, this means the weather never gets uncomfortably hot and the views are delightful anywhere you go. Let's take a better look at what exactly this city has to offer. So for this list, we have focused on some of the best places to visit in Gangtok.
A great way to make your trip to Gangtok more interesting is to learn about the cultures that exist here. The museum located on the ground floor of the prestigious Namgyal Institute of Tibetology is a perfect place for this. Here you can find a huge collection of significant things like statues, thangkas, objects of traditional art and more, all belonging to the Tibetan culture. Thangkas are paintings about a Buddhist deity or mandala which are made on silk or cotton.
You also get to see manuscripts from ancient times written in Chinese, Sanskrit, Lepcha and Tibetan, some of which are from the 11th and 12th centuries! One of the most cherished pieces of history here is the image of Manjushri that's brought all the way from Tibet. Manjushri was considered the most prominent and oldest bodhisattva- a person who has decided to become a Buddha and has received an intimation from a living Buddha.
Also Read: A Guide To Exploring Gangtok
Some places are so beautiful that they make us pause and just be grateful for the gift of life and Tashi viewpoint is one of them. You will have to deal with climbing more than 100 steps to get to the top. Which may or may not seem difficult depending on your age, but if the going gets tough, you can always comfort yourself with some delicious food. The steps here are lined with stalls selling coconuts, fruits, chips and various snacks. Once you get to the top, you will realize why it is one of the most visited places in this city.
Several little shops, roads, and monasteries can be seen from here along with the famous Siniolchu and Kanchenjunga peaks. Rent a telescope to take a closer look at the things that grab your attention. Don’t forget to shop for souvenirs from the little shops here as a memory. If possible, try to catch the sunrise or the sunset, because the shift of hues in the sky during these times is pure bliss.
If you’re wondering, “Enchey” actually means ‘solitary.’ This monastery offers every visitor a beautiful slice of solitude that they didn’t even know they needed. They say peace of mind makes you feel elevated, here, you are literally elevated. The temple is built high up on a hill overlooking Gangtok city and the views from here are splendid. Not only can you see the picturesque city, but also the Kanchendzonga peak.
This serene monastery is dedicated to Vajrayana Buddhism’s Nyingma order. It was rebuilt in 1909, the original structure looked very different from the current one as it was built back in the 1840s. But the real beauty lies on the inside as Enchey is laden with murals, paintings, and carvings of religious kings and Buddhist deities. It’s really a profound experience to visit here.
Do not leave Sikkim without visiting this lake, it is a real treat for the eyes and soul. Tsomgo lake is surrounded by majestic hills, pine trees and silver firs and it looks like an art piece from heaven. The lake is also called "Changgu" and is located at an elevation of 2,753 meters above sea level. This is why during the winter months, it's completely frozen. When it's not the winter season, the lake borrows all of its colors from the wide open sky and it looks more beautiful than you can imagine.
It is located in the East Sikkim district and is just around an hour's drive away from Gangtok. Do remember that you will be required to take a permit to visit here. You can get it from the Sikkim Tourist Information Centre situated at M.G. Road, Gangtok. Do ask a local driver for more information.
Waterfalls are a natural phenomenon that is loved by everyone. It is something so simple, yet it manages to captivate us so easily. But the one near the Gangtok-Lachung Highway is a notch above others. Here, the water spills over the majestic tall mountains and makes its journey through seven stops before it finally reaches the end. Hence, the name.
The glorious sound of the water when it slams the limestones at the bottom echoes in the area. It is loud, but like the sound of waves at the beach, this one is also soothing. Just like every other waterfall, this one too comes alive during the rains. If you are one of the lucky ones, you might even spot a rainbow here.
It is given that Gangtok is blessed with lush greenery, but you need to see the best of it at the Fambong lho Wildlife Sanctuary. It is spread over 52 square km and it is located just a short drive of 35 mins away from Gangtok. Keep walking around in the sanctuary and you will come across vivid little birds that reside here. If you are someone who lives in the city, this is going to be an even bigger deal for you.
But know that there are no jeep safaris here, all the exploration has to be done on foot. Because the terrain here is uneven, this in turn makes it a great place for trekking. You will have to keep climbing for 3 km to reach Tinjure, which is the highest point of this sanctuary. Don’t be disheartened by the distance, it is going to be worth it. Because the view above is of the dreamy Himalayas, especially the Kangchenjunga mountain. Gangtok is full of breathtaking sights which will stay with you for a long time and this is one of them.
Also Read: Best Homestays In Gangtok
One cannot write about Gangtok without mentioning the Gonjang Monastery. Just a 20-minute ride will bring you here from Gangtok. The monastery was built back in 1981 and just like the Enchey Monastery, this one is made like a piece of art from inside and outside. The architecture of the building is simple and it is accentuated beautifully by colors. The vividity multiplies once you venture inside. The intricate wall paintings and several little touches make it look like a kaleidoscope.
The center of attention here is the massive figure of Buddha. The aura here tends to drive off negative thoughts and fills you with relaxation and peace. This monastery is also home to several monks. They learn various subjects here in English and Tibetan languages. It is also home to the Thadrol Dorjee Memorial Community Health Care Centre which treats the monks and the local population.
You know the happy place we see in our dreams sometimes? A beautiful blur that brings a smile to our faces? Gangtok will remind you of that place. It is not just about the beauty of it. It’s the cool air, peaceful monasteries, intriguing animals and mountains that invite you to trek. All of this wrapped together makes for a vacation that you will never forget.
What Is The Best Time To Visit Gangtok?
The months of summer and winter are the best time to visit Gangtok. This is when the beauty of the city is at its best.
Is One Day Enough For Gangtok?
No. You will not be able to cover all of the main attractions. Try to keep at least two days for Gangtok.
What Clothes To Wear In Gangtok?
During summer mornings, the weather is chill and comfortable, so you don’t have to wear thick layers, even shorts are fine. But the mercury falls around 11 degrees and you will need to get into some warm clothes. By now you can guess that the temperature is going to be even lower in winter. So pack in enough warm clothes if you are planning to travel here in winter.
What Is The Famous Food Of Gangtok?
Thukpa, momos, thenthuk, phagshapa, churrpi and gundruk are just some of the many culinary delights available here.
Does Gangtok Have Snowfall?
Yes, but only in certain areas. You can travel to Tsomgo Lake, Zero Point, Kupup Lake, Lachung, Lachen and Yumthang to experience the snowfall.
Is Alcohol Allowed In Gangtok?
Yes. Anyone above the age of 21 years can drink alcohol in the state of Sikkim.
Is Gangtok Safe At Night?
Yes, it is very safe. But you should still take basic safety measures and be aware of your surroundings. If you’re traveling alone, we suggest you keep someone updated about your whereabouts.