If you are looking for winter destinations in India for your vacation, then do not miss out on North East India. Sikkim in winter is a wonderland and a paradise for nature lovers. Think of those picturesque postcards of winter and they come to life in Sikkim. The cold season comes with low temperatures.
Snowfall is common, the landscapes turn white with a pristine cover of snow. The mountain peaks look wonderful, frozen lakes, acres of forests, and a chance to drench in pretty snowflakes descending from heaven tempt you for a vacation.
The charm of Sikkim is such that it earns a place among the top winter holiday destinations in India, enticing travelers from around the globe!
Look at the Best Places to Visit and Things to Do in Sikkim in Winter
From pristine lakes to high-altitude passes, there are many places in Sikkim in winter you must visit. Here are some of the top ones –
- Gurudongmar Lake
- Tsomgo Lake or Changu Lake
- Nathula Pass
- Yumthang Valley
- Teesta River
- Visit Monasteries
- Trek to Dzongri La
- Yak Safari
- Enjoy the Sikkimese Nightlife
- Shopping on MG Road
- Attend Colorful festivals
1. Gurudongmar Lake
Beauty in the Sikkim winter, Gurudongmar Lake is a popular tourist attraction in Sikkim. One of the highest alpine lakes in the world, it is not only known for its spectacular beauty but is also revered as a sacred lake by Buddhists, Hindus, and Sikhs.
After an arduous journey through rugged terrain with little vegetation and human population, get to the azure lake. Why you must visit this lake in winter is, that no matter how low the temperatures fall, a part of the water never freezes completely. The lake is a vision in winter one that you can’t afford to miss!
Located in close proximity to the China border, a visit to the lake is not allowed for foreign tourists and even Indian nationals require special permission from the Indian Army.
2. Tsomgo Lake or Changu Lake
Located at an altitude of 12,310 feet, Tsogmo Lake also known as Changu Lake is one of the famous high-altitude lakes in India. Come winter and the lake is all the more breathtaking. The most amazing winter experience in Sikkim brings you to the lake. The water body freezes up in the cold season and the thrill is that you can walk on the frozen surface.
Even in its frozen glory, the lake is a beauty as you can easily look through the ice to the water below. The deep blue sheet of ice acts as a mirror, reflecting the ever-changing colors and moods of the sky. Acquire a permit from the Tourism and Civil Aviation Department of Sikkim for visiting Tsomgo Lake. Gear up for the cold winds before making your trip.
3. Nathula Pass
Nathu La is one of the high-altitude mountain passes in India, the highest in Sikkim. It is the border post between India and China. A breathtaking beauty, the mountain pass is one of the must-visit tourist sites in Sikkim in winter. A land of perpetual cold, it’s the winter months that make it all the more exhilarating.
Draped in the snow the mountain pass looks out of the world. Marvel at the exquisite scenery and pay a visit to the actual border that separates the two countries. The mountain pass may be closed in case of snowfall, therefore get permission from Gangtok before you travel to the exciting and treacherous route to the mountain pass.
4. Yumthang Valley
A spectacular beauty, Yumthang, the ‘Valley of Flowers’ of Lachung in North Sikkim is one of the best places to visit in winter in India. Set at an altitude of 8,800 ft above sea level, in the cold season the valley is covered in snow.
The beauty is unrivaled in the sunrise and sunset as the entire valley turns into a riot of colors during sunrise. Adventure sports also abound in the valley. Yumthang is one of the best places for skiing in North East India.
A very lesser known fact, the Yumthang Hot Springs also draws tourists in the winter season. Said to have therapeutic value, the lukewarm water soothes the body, mind, and soul. The valley is also one of the favored winter destinations for honeymoon couples.
5. Teesta River
Teesta River is the lifeline of Sikkim, one of the places to not miss in the North East winter. It’s the hub of watersport adventures like river rafting. The river is full from the recently passed monsoon, the river has a strong flow in winter. The cold season is a good time to plan for a visit coupled with adventure.
The river has a series of rapids of varying intensity of flow. There are rapids in grades 2 to 4. Rafting is provided by many organizers offering an experience for both swimmers and non-swimmers.
The point of Sangam, the confluence of Teesta and its tributary Rangeet River remains frozen in winter. It is among the favorite spots for travel and landscape photographers as the frozen realms are quite enchanting.
Also check out: 10 Best Places to Visit in Sikkim in December
One of the must-visit Sikkim winter places that lure travelers throughout the year is the beautiful town of Pelling. Located at a height of 7200 ft above sea level, snowfall is guaranteed in the cold season. The entire town looks straight out of a fairytale.
Marvel at the frozen waterfalls and the breathtaking views of the snow-covered panorama especially the Kanchenjunga Peak. Try out the thrilling adventure options like trekking and mountain biking. Forget the worries of daily life and escape to the pure bliss of the mountains. It’s truly a refreshing experience of a holiday in North Sikkim.
7. Visit Monasteries
With the serenity of the weather coupled with the serene monasteries, a winter holiday in Sikkim is not complete without a visit to monasteries. Pay a visit to the Rumtek Monastery, counted amongst the largest and oldest monasteries in Sikkim. An ode to the Buddhist cultures and traditions, this monastery is also known as the ‘Dharma Chakra Center’. It is a perfect place to attain mental peace and know more about Buddhism.
The other popular monasteries to explore in the cold season include Pemayangste, Phodong, Phensang, Dubdi, Enchey, and Ralang among many others. Learn about the vast history and heritage of Buddhism. Winter is also a great time for many celebrations that you must not miss.
8. Trek to Dzongri La
The Yuksom Dzongri La trek is an exhilarating trek not just in Sikkim but in the North East and especially at the peak of winter. The trek commences from the Dzongri in the Kanchenjunga National Park following the route to HMI (Himalayan Mountaineering Institute) base camp.
Named among the best winter treks in India, trek through dense forests of the Himalayas proceeding towards snow-covered landscapes finally reaching the most mesmerizing vistas at an altitude of 4,170 m.
The view of 16 Himalayan peaks from Dzongri peak, including Mt Kanchenjunga, Oklathang Valley, and many more, is the reason why you should not miss this winter trek. Not just the adventure and the view, the trek is special because of its opportunity to experience the cultures of Lepchas, Bhutias, Subbas, and Limboos.
Also Read: Trekking in Sikkim.
Adventure abounds in North East and paragliding in Sikkim is one of them. Fly like a bird in the clear blue skies, it’s one of the best things to do in Gangtok. The view of the spectacular surroundings, snow-covered mountain peaks, cities and hamlets, and prayer flags fluttering in the wind tempt you to take up the adventure.
Even in winter, it’s possible to embark on this adventure. You have the choice of tandem flying or trying the adventure by yourself. There are quite a number of organizers offering the adventure to try.
10. Yak Safari
Yak ride in Sikkim is an activity you must try. The huge and gentle yaks are the mode of transport here. Slowly and steadily, the yaks cover the tough terrain exposed to natural extremities and even in areas when there are no roads. A yak ride is exciting as the gentle beast makes its way through the tough terrain at a steady pace.
The adventurous activity is available even in winter. Yaks are dressed in woolen knitwear over the horns and forehead and strings of bells. Yak rides in Sikkim are available near Tsongmo Lake and the Dzongri trek.
11. Enjoy the Sikkimese Nightlife
The peaceful ambiance of Sikkim hides a secret and exciting nightlife. The capital city Gangtok is a popular place to spend the night in. From pubs, bars, casinos, and nightclubs to live casinos, there are quite a number of pleasures.
The celebratory nightlife is made all the more special with the winter festivals, especially Christmas and New Year. The fun factor of the parties is the local drink of the mountain state, Chaang which is quite tempting and has a low price. Enjoy the nightlife in Gangtok, it is actually one of the best things to do in Sikkim.
12. Shopping on MG Road
MG Road is one of the best places to visit in Gangtok in winter. Shopping here is truly exciting as it is full of amazing wares. Have a look at the Chinese Feng Shui items like laughing Buddha, Dragons, New Year Lamps, and dresses worn during Tibetan festivals. Also check out the hand-woven blanket, carpet, wooden, and bamboo items. Hunt for bargains and good souvenirs.
The handicrafts are especially of note but do check out for authenticity. Shop till your drop filling your bags with fond remembrances of Sikkim.
If you are planning to Sikkim in the Summer, look at the 18 best places to visit in Sikkim in Summer
13. Attend Colorful festivals
Festivals are a part of Sikkim’s culture. Winter welcomes a number of celebrations in the mountain state. Rituals, traditions, dance, music, performances, prayers, and many such celebrations are a part of the festivals in Sikkim.
Some popular winter festivals in Sikkim you must attend are
- The Gangtok Winter Festival is organized by the Tourism Department of Sikkim.
- Mangan Music Festival is a three-day music festival from 12th to 14th December every year.
- Losoong, the Sikkimese New Year celebrated inside the Phodong and Rumtek monasteries. To know more Losoong festival click here!
- Losar – the Tibetan New Year, a three-day celebration with prayers, chanting, folk music, dance drama, and many more performances.
- Kayged Festival is an excellent opportunity to witness the famous ‘Cham’ dance of masked monks in the monasteries.
Winter Temperature in Sikkim
The average temperature in winter in Sikkim ranges from 10 degrees Celsius to 4 degrees Celsius, even dropping as low as 0 degrees Celsius. The cold season arrives in November and continues till March. The high-altitude areas of this North East mountainous state are draped in snow and snowfall is a common occurrence. In fact, winter is the best time to visit Gangtok.
Check out complete details of Sikkim Climate and Temperature
Accommodation in Sikkim
A winter holiday in Sikkim is truly amazing but it comes with a lot of preparation. Pre-book your hotels and accommodations to avoid being stranded in the cold season. The favored winter holiday destination in India is visited by families, adventure lovers, honeymoon couples, and even solo backpackers. North East India has some of the best tourist facilities. Accommodation is available in options of 5, 4 & 3-star hotels, homestays, hostels, and many others.
Food & Drinks in Sikkim
Sikkim has a blend of Tibetan, Nepalese, Bhutanese, and Indian cultures which reflects in the food. The lip-smacking delicacies of Sikkim not only tantalize your taste buds but helps you sustain the cold temperatures.
The most popular food items include momos (dumplings), thukpa, phagshapa, sha phaley, gundruk, singpi, instant maggi noodles, etc.
Chaanga is a local drink of Sikkim. Brewed locally, the drink is used at parties and almost every celebration. Cheap and quite a delight, have a sip of the drink of your holiday in Sikkim.
Now, you have a list of the popular places to visit in Sikkim and the best things to do during the Sikkim trip. Pack your bags to embark on a trip of a lifetime with your loved ones. You can contact us to book your Sikkim tour packages, which are customizable.
With our travel experts, you can explore the breathtaking beauty of this scenic hill town and indulge in memorable activities. Contact us for information and to design the itinerary according to your requirements. Also, do not forget to share your experiences with us!
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