Blessed with the breathtaking landscapes, ancient monasteries, alpine meadows, and scintillating hill towns, Sikkim boasts verdant green valleys and snow-clad mountains. The landlocked north-eastern state of Sikkim shares its borders with China, Nepal, Bhutan, and West Bengal. It is a popular travel destination and famed for its rich culture and biodiversity.
Tucked in the lap of the Himalayas, Sikkim is one of the cleanest and the second smallest states of India. It is home to majestic mountain ranges, captivating flower valleys, dense forest reserves, dazzling waterfalls, and tranquil lakes. Sikkim is renowned for its jaw-dropping locales and scenic vistas. It is a perfect destination for holidaymakers, shutterbugs, wildlife enthusiasts, nature lovers, and adventure fanatics.
Offering a wonderful visual treat with its surreal panorama, Sikkim is an ideal spot to satiate your adventure-loving soul. This scenic hill station is culture enriched and renowned for Tibetan-style Buddhist Gompas, temples, and monasteries.
The mystic state of Sikkim is still a place to be explored by inquisitive tourists who wish to visit places that fall into the category of ‘offbeat'. At the same time, its uncountable scenic locations and pleasant weather attract peace-loving laid-back vacationers. The travel guide of Sikkim offers insight about things to do, a list of tourist attractions to be visited, cuisine, traditions, culture, the people, and more.
Language Spoken in Sikkim
Sikkimese or Bhotia, Lepcha, and Nepali
Where is Sikkim Located?
Sikkim is a northeastern state of India borders the Tibet Autonomous Region of China in the north and northeast, Bhutan in the east, Nepal in the west, and West Bengal in the south.
Why should you visit Sikkim?
Sikkim is a beautiful state and is rich in natural splendors. From the mighty Himalayan ranges to the grand monasteries, and from dazzling waterfalls to the lush valleys, Sikkim is a paradise for nature lovers. It is also home to Mount Kanchenjunga, which has an altitude of 8,586 m above sea level and is the third highest mountain peak in the world.
Pleasant weather, adventure activities, scenic vistas, and sprawling meadows make Sikkim a popular tourist destination. It has something for everyone including families, friends, pilgrims, nature lovers, wildlife lovers, couples, solo travelers, and honeymooners.
Some of the finest monasteries of Sikkim are Rumtek Monastery, Tashiding Monastery, Yiga Choeling Monastery, Rinchenpong Monastery, Dubdi Monastery, Enchey Monastery, Phodong Monastery, Pemayangtse Monastery, and Ralang Monastery.
Kanchendzonga National Park, Fambong Lho Sanctuary, Varsey Rhododendron Sanctuary, Kyongnosla Alpine Sanctuary, Maenam Sanctuary,
Gangtok, Lachung, Lachen, Pelling, Yuksom, Geyzing, Namchi, Ravangla, Yumthang Valley
Trekking, Hiking, Paragliding, River Rafting, Skiing, Camping, Mountain Biking, Fishing and Angling, Jeep Safari, Boating, Rock Climbing, Bungee Jumping, Yak Ride, Cable Car Ride, Hand Gliding, Helicopter Ride, Caving
Ban Jhakri Falls, Bakthang Waterfall, Kyongnosla Waterfall, Seven Sister Waterfalls, Bhim Nala Falls, Kanchenjunga Waterfall, Rimbi Waterfall, Changey Waterfall
Gurdongmar Lake, Lake Tsomgo, Menmecho Lake, Bidan Chu Lake, Cholamu Lake, Green Lake, Lakshmi Pokhari Lake, Khecheopalri Lake, Tso Lhamo Lake Rivers Teesta River, Rangeet River, Lachen River, Rangpo Chu, Lachung River
Tibetan carpets, Semi Precious stones & silver jewelry, Thangkas, Clothes, Hand Carved Wooden Products, Sikkim Tea
Popular Local Food
Dumplings (momos), Thupka, Phagshapa (pork dish), Sha Phaley (deep-fried bread stuffed with beef and cabbage), Gundruk (staple
Nepalese food made using leafy vegetables), and Sinki soup (made of radish tap roots).
How to Reach Sikkim?
Sikkim is well-connected from the major cities of the country by air, road, and rail. Here is the detailed information about how to reach Sikkim by different modes of transports.
By Air: Pakyong Airport is the primary airport of Sikkim. It is also the only airport located in the state. Situated at 31 km from Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim, the Pakyong Airport is one of the highest airports in the country. There are direct flights from Delhi, Kolkata, and Guwahati to Pakyong Airport. The other nearest airport from Sikkim is Bagdogra International Airport, which has several flights from Indian cities and many international destinations.
By Rail: Siliguri railway station and New Jalpaiguri railway stations are the two nearest major railheads from Sikkim, which are located at 146 km and 187 km away. Numerous trains are connecting to these railway stations from Kolkata, Guwahati, Mumbai, and Delhi. From these railway stations, you can easily get a shared taxi or private cab to reach Gangtok.
By Road: Sikkim is easily accessible by road from the nearest major cities and towns. Traveling by road is one of the most convenient and scenic ways to travel to Sikkim. You can opt for public buses, private buses, taxis, and jeeps for your inter and intrastate travel. The National Highway 31A connects the state from other neighboring states such as Darjeeling, New Jalpaiguri, Siliguri, and Kalimpong.
How to get around in Sikkim?
There are a few local buses ply from Gangtok. However, the service is very limited and the frequency of buses is low. If you are planning to travel by local buses then look for the timetable of the buses on the bus stand and then plan accordingly. You can also travel by shared jeeps or hire a private taxi to travel around in Sikkim.
Best time to visit Sikkim
March to May and October to December is the best time to visit Sikkim due to the fresh blooms and crystal-clear views of the surroundings. In these months, the weather remains favorable and allows you to enjoy the vacations at its best. Those who wish to enjoy the snowfall can visit Sikkim in January and February. Here is the detailed information on season-wise climatic conditions in Sikkim.
Summer (April to June)
In Sikkim, the summer season starts in April and lasts till June. Unlike, most of the states in India the weather remains extremely pleasant and soothing in Sikkim in this season. The temperature hovers around 5⁰ C to 24⁰ C. During the daytime, the weather remains calm and the temperature dips in the night. This is an ideal time to visit Sikkim and to enjoy the vacations.
Monsoon (July to September)
The monsoon season marks its beginning in the state from July till September. The temperature dips during this season and most of Sikkim receives moderate rainfall. The rain adds beauty to the region and the temperature ranges from 4⁰ C to 15⁰ C. However, the downpour increases the chances of landslide in the state.
Winters (October to March)
This is the perfect time to visit for snow lovers and adventure enthusiasts. The winter season starts in October and lasts till March. Sikkim receives snowfall in January and February when the temperature dips as low as -5⁰ C. Sikkim transforms into a wonderland in this season.
Places to visit in Sikkim
There are a plethora of places in Sikkim to explore and marvel at the bounties of nature. Some of the popular lakes of Sikkim are Tsomgo Lake, Gurudongmar Lake, Menmecho Lake, and Cholamu Lake. Lachung, Lachen, and Yumthang are distant villages that are bounded by snow-capped mountains. Yuksom, Ravangla, Namchi, and Zuluk are quaint hamlets that offer a perfect escape to nature lovers amidst serene environs.
Singalila National Park, Kanchenjunga National Park, and Sikkim Himalayan Zoological Park offer impeccable sights of flora and fauna. The monasteries of Sikkim are the architectural marvels where you can witness the exquisite and rare artwork of Buddhist culture. Some of the popular monasteries of Sikkim are Phodong Monastery, Enchey Monastery, Rumtek Monastery, and Tashiding Monastery.
Things to do in Sikkim
Sikkim is a heaven for nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts. It has something for every kind of traveler from families, couples, friends, solo travelers, kids, wildlife lovers, and honeymooners. There is a wide range of activities in which you can indulge such as trekking, river rafting, paragliding, cycling, and ropeway ride. Bungee Jumping, Yak Safari ride, hand gliding, helicopter ride, and caving are among the best activities to do in Sikkim.
Where to stay in Sikkim?
There is a wide range of accommodation options available in Sikkim including hotels, resorts, lodges, guesthouses, and homestays. Some of the best places to stay in Sikkim are:
- Lemon Tree Hotel, Gangtok
- Treebo Trend Orchid, Gangtok
- Summit Norling Resort and Spa, Gangtok
- Hotel Cloud’s End, Ravangla
- The Elgin Mount Pandim, Pelling
- Dungmali Heritage Resort, Namchi
- Summit Pangen Metok Hotel, Lachen
- Zuluk Arjastik Homestay, Zuluk
- Summit Alpine Resort, Lachung
Where to eat in Sikkim?
Sikkim is an amalgamation of different ethnic groups of Bhutias, Lepchas, and Nepalese. The food in Sikkim has a strong influence on this cultural diversity. Some of the must-try traditional dishes of Sikkim are momos, Thupks, Sel Roti, Mesu, Pakku, Sishnu, Kinema Curry, and a special soup of Gundruk and Sinki Soup. Here are some of the best places where you can try these cuisines in Sikkim are:
- Thakali, Gangtok
- Mu Kimchi, Gangtok
- Tatopani Bar and Restaurant, Pelling
- Adonai Family Restaurant, Namchi
- Café Culture, Gangtok
- Big Mountain Resort, Lachung
- Tangerine Lounge and Bar, Gangtok
Festivals and Fairs in Sikkim
Sikkim is predominated with Buddhist culture and most of the festivals revolve around Buddhist cultures and traditions. Some of the popular religious festivals and fairs in Sikkim that are celebrated with great zeal and enthusiasm are:
- Sikkim International Flower festival
- Khecheopalri Lake Festival
- Gangtok Winter Festival
- Namchi Mahotsav
- Kanchenjunga Tourist Festival
Nightlife in Sikkim
The capital of Sikkim, Gangtok is popular for its nightlife. You can enjoy some thrilling nights in Gangtok. Visit the nightclubs and bars in Gangtok where all partyholics can enjoy their time. You can also take a stroll on the vibrant streets of the capital city and have delicious cuisines at the local eateries. Gangtok is home to some fancy casinos where you can visit to enjoy the nightlife of Sikkim.
Is it safe to visit Sikkim?
Yes, Sikkim is one of the safest places to visit in India. You need not worry about the safety of yourself and your loved ones. However, know about the places you wish to visit to avoid any scams. Also, make sure that you will read reviews about that particular hotel while booking the accommodation for a better holiday experience.
How to save money on a Sikkim trip?
- Travel through local buses and shared jeeps.
- Book the accommodations in advance and stay at budget places
- Eat in small restaurants and try local dishes.
- Avoid unnecessary shopping.
Sikkim travel tips
- Most of the tourist destinations are situated in the restricted zones in Sikkim. It is advisable to check for the permits required to visit these areas. You may require permission from the tourism department, forest department, and Army authorities depending on the type of area you plan to visit. Make sure you will apply for the permits well in advance.
- Respect cultural traditions and customs while visiting monasteries or temples. Wear decent clothes while visiting religious places.
- Check the weather in advance and pack the clothes accordingly as Sikkim experiences cool climatic conditions throughout the year.
- Always consider a licensed tour operator for adventure activities. Make sure they will provide you with all the necessary safety gear and equipment.
- Do not litter and respect cleanliness while visiting parks, wildlife sanctuaries, and national parks.
- For activities like trekking and mountain biking, it is always advisable to do it as part of groups rather than individually.