If I had to describe beauty in just one word, it would be Gangtok. Gangtok is located in the northeastern state of Sikkim and it is more than a paradise for its visitors. You can see various different colors in this hilly city, making it the most beautiful city to visit. You can go for one of the many leisure experiences, sightseeing places or adventure activities, in Gangtok. From chilling at glorious hotels to sitting by serene lakes, you can enjoy many things in Gangtok.
Here is a list of the best things to do:
1. Goechala Trek
If you love trekking and would like to explore high mountains, then Goechala Trek is one of the best things you can enjoy, in Gangtok. There are, in total, 15 big summits you can view on the trek, including Kanchenjunga. Many trekkers consider Goechala to be the closest to the big mountain trek, near Nepal. The best time to capture the beauty is between October-November. You need to be very fit in order to complete the whole trek. The last place where you will find an ATM and mobile network is in Yuksom.
Address: Sikkim, Gangtok
Website: Goechala Trek
2. Paragliding in Gangtok
God didn’t give us wings, but the desire to fly never left our consciousness and paragliding makes a fine substitute. Paragliding is another popular attraction in Gangtok which gives breathtaking views of the Himalayas. You don’t need to be an expert in paragliding, as there are many tour operators who offer complete safety. You can take a flight over the city and head towards Luing Resithang, which is close to Gangtok’s Khel Gaon. The starting point for a medium flight is Baliman Dara and a high flight is Reshithang village.
Paragliding in Gangtok
Address: Sikkim, Gangtok
Website: Paragliding in Gangtok
3. Tsomgo Lake
Tsomgo Lake, also known as Changu Lake, is situated at an altitude of 12,310 feet (3752 meters). Tsomgo means “source of water” and because hills surround the lake, it makes it more beautiful. In 1962, this was part of an old trade route between India and China. Some parts of the route used to be very treacherous and dangerous. Even though a proper road has been built, the conditions usually remain bad due to snow and foul weather conditions. According to the myth, the spiritual gurus of Sikkim used to study the color of the water of the lake.
Address: Sikkim, Gangtok
Website: Tsomgo Lake
If you're ever in Gangtok, don't miss out on Tsomgo Lake. I stumbled upon this gem during a spontaneous trip, and it's a scene straight out of a postcard – surrounded by majestic snow-capped mountains. It's surprisingly accessible, just a couple of hours' drive from Gangtok, and the journey itself is a visual treat. Do wear something warm, though; it can get pretty chilly. And if you're lucky like I was, you might even catch a glimpse of yaks roaming nearby.
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4. Hanuman Tok
Hanuman Tok is a temple of Lord Hanuman and “tok” means temple. This temple gives you wonderful and serene ambiance and a viewing area that offers a spectacular view of Kanchenjunga. The temple is located at an altitude of 7,200 ft (2194.6 meters). You need to climb stairs to reach the temple and if you get tired along the way, you can rest on benches and take in the greenery. It is believed that Lord Hanuman took a rest for a moment at this place when he was on his way to the Himalayas. People believe that if you wish for something in this temple, then your wish will surely be fulfilled.
Address: Gangtok, Sikkim 737103
Website: Hanuman Tok
5. Ropeway Cable Ride
The Ropeway Cable Ride is one of the greatest attractions in Gangtok and you should not miss it. This double cable ropeway has been operational since December 2003 and during high season, the queue is usually long as the car can take only 24 passengers, at a time. You will go through three stations during the 1 km (.6 mile) long ride. The first stop is Deorali, near the Institute of Tibetology. From this point, you can collect your tickets and await your turn to take the elevator to the cable car station.
Ropeway Cable Ride
Address: Syari Rd, Deorali Bazar, Gangtok
Website: Ropeway Cable Ride
6. Yak Safari
Do you remember the story of the tortoise and the hare you learned during your school days? If not, the moral of the story is: slow and steady wins the race. Embrace a slow and steady experience with a yak safari, in Gangtok. A safari slowly and steadily takes you to places in and around Gangtok and as you move through the craggy terrain, joy will fill your heart. A yak safari can be organized in different parts of Sikkim and is an unforgettable kind of ride. Popular places for the safari are Dzongiri and Tsomgo Lake. Enjoy the ride around Tsomgo Lake and don’t forget to take photos atop the yak! Yak safaris usually come in 3-5 day tours, which can be planned accordingly.
Address: Tsomgo Lake, Gangtok
Website: Yak Safari
7. River rafting on the Teesta River
River rafting on the Teesta River is one of the most adventurous things to do in Gangtok. Making its way to Gangtok, the waves of the Teesta River encourage adrenaline junkies to challenge the waves. While passing through Sikkim’s capital city, this river offers you some of the most enthralling rafting experiences as it travels through gorges and valleys, offering picturesque scenes and making for a memorable experience.
Rafting starts from Makha town which is an 11 km (6.8 mile) circuit and continues till Rangpo. You can also enjoy overnight stays with your friends and bonfires, here.
River rafting in Teesta
Address: Teesta River, Monpong, Sikkim
Website: River rafting in Teesta
8. Tashi View Point
Enjoy the beautiful snow-capped mountains from close quarters at the Tashi View Point. You need to travel 8 km (5 miles) from Gangtok to view this amazing point. The Tashi View Point offers an exceptional view of Kanchenjunga snow peaks, on a clear day. Sunrise and sunset are the most amazing times to enjoy this scene. As the day passes, you will find the peaks illuminated by the changing colors of the sun’s rays.
The best time to reach to point is 5 am. If you are arriving from the road level, you’ll need to climb steep stairs. Be ready with your camera to capture the beautiful sunrise at Tashi View Point, in Gangtok.
Tashi View Point
Address: Tashi View Point, Gangtok, Sikkim.
Website: Tashi view point
9. Lal Bazaar
Lal Bazaar is located in east Sikkim and portrays the true colors of the region. Local farmers from around Gangtok congregate here to sell their products in this market. Especially on Sundays, Gangtok’s Lal Bazaar is a melody of colors where you can find various ethnic groups from different villages. The old market has been reconstructed into a shopping complex named Khangchendzonga shopping plaza. You can easily find dried fish, vegetables and cheese here and it is the ideal place for taking photographs of local vendors who are selling their products.
Address: MG Marg, Vishal Gaon, Gangtok, Sikkim
Website: Lal Bazaar
10. Nathu La Pass
Nathu La Pass is a drive which is included in almost all tour packages of Gangtok and Sikkim. This wonderful place is located at a height of 14,140 feet (4,310 meters) above sea level and is one of the highest mountain passes in the world.
Nathu La Pass
Address: Tsomgo Lake, Gangtok, Sikkim 737101
Website: Nathu La Pass
A lot of the high-altitude passes in the northeastern states are under a cover of snow year-round, with snowfall most of the year. Therefore, access to these depends on weather conditions. This is on the way to Nathu-La Pass in Sikkim, which we unfortunately could not visit during our trip due to snow on the roads. Visitors should be slightly flexible with their itineraries when visiting higher altitude areas.
What an adventurous journey...
So, you can see that Gangtok is a complete package - you can do some adventurous activities and visit some amazing places which will give you peace. At the height of 5500 feet (1691.7 meters), Gangtok offers you surreal and out of the world locations, which are an amazing treat for the eyes. This complete city is extraordinary in its own way.
If you're ever in Gangtok, make sure to visit Tiger Hills for the sunrise. Trust me, it's a game-changer. I remember waking up super early and heading there. The way the first rays of the sun hit the Kanchenjunga snow peaks is something out of a fairy tale. It's chilly up there, so bring a jacket, but the view is worth every shiver. Get there early to grab a good spot; it's popular for a reason.
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