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West Sikkim

Tucked in the lap of the Himalayas, West Sikkim is a paradise for nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts owing to high elevations. The capital city of this magnificent region is Geyzing, which is also known as Gyalshing. Blessed with the gurgling waterfalls, rich wildlife, majestic high peaks, serene lakes, and varied variety of flora and fauna, West Sikkim shares a boundary with Nepal. The tour to West Sikkim offers deep insight into the bountiful nature and enriching cultural heritage. There is no dearth of wonderful destinations in West Sikkim where travelers can spend quality time and enjoy their vacations.

This trekkers’ heaven is home to some of the outlandish trails, which leave everyone in awe. Explore the rich biodiversity of the region while trekking and hiking, also spot some intriguing vegetation species. Witness the wildlife, admire the magnificence of natural beauty, and enjoy the luxuries in the renowned places of West Sikkim. Some of the popular tourist attractions of this region are Pelling, Geyzing, Ravangla, Rinchenpong, Legship, Darap, and Yuksom. Home to some of the holiest Buddhist sites across the country, West Sikkim is thrived by a large number of pilgrims. There are a plethora of adventure activities in which tourists can partake such as zip-lining, trekking, hiking, camping, rock climbing, rafting, and boating. Here is the detailed West Sikkim travel guide which provides information about how to reach, the best time to visit, things to do, popular tourist places, and tips about the region, which allows tourists to plan a trip in the best way. Take a look at the West Sikkim tourist guide to gather comprehensive information about the region.

History

The erstwhile capital of the Sikkim beginning in 1642, West Sikkim remains the capital city for almost 50 years until it shifted to Rabdentse. The region was under the ownership of Nepalese for almost 30 years in the 18th and 19th centuries. It comes under Sikkim after the Anglo-Nepalese war from 1814 to 1816. Spread over 1,166 sq. km., West Sikkim has a large Nepali population owing to their possession for three decades. Also, Nepali is the predominant language along with the Bhutia, Lepcha, Limbu, etc. Now, Geyzing is the capital of West Sikkim, which is also recognized as Gyalshing.

Why visit West Sikkim?

This is a perfect holiday retreat in the Northeastern part of India where travelers can rejuvenate and enjoy leisure vacations amidst the tranquil environs. Dotted with renowned trekking trails, placid lakes, ancient monasteries, marvelous structures, and dense forests, West Sikkim is a paradise for nature lovers, adventure enthusiasts, and peace seekers. Some treks offer panoramic views of Mount Kanchenjunga and Talung Glacier along with the mesmerizing views of the gorgeous valleys. The soothing aura of the monasteries calm the senses and lures the tourists to spend more time there in the peaceful surroundings. There are some offbeat destinations in the region such as Uttarey, which is located on the Indo-Nepal border. There is another town named Legship, which is famous for the revered temple of Lord Shiva that locates beside the Rangit River. Rinchenpong is also an unexplored place that offers a majestic view of the Kanchenjunga range. Some of the unexplored gems of West Sikkim make the trip memorable and add charm to the vacations.

How to reach West Sikkim?

West Sikkim is well-accessible by road, rail, and flight from the major cities and towns of the country. Reaching West Sikkim from anywhere in the world is not a problem. Here is the detailed information about how to reach West Sikkim.

By Air:

The nearest airport from Pelling is Bagdogra Airport, which is the major airport in the region. The Bagdogra Airport is situated 133 km away from Siliguri and 125 km from Gangtok. It is well-connected with the major cities of the country including Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad, and Guwahati by direct and connecting flights. Several airlines serve on this route and tourists can reach there without hassle. From the airport, travelers can hire a private taxi or board a bus for Pelling.

By Rail:

New Jalpaiguri railway station is the nearest railhead, which connects Pelling from the rest of the country. New Jalpaiguri is situated approximately 134 km from Pelling, which takes almost 5 hours to reach. Book your train in advance as the chances of availability of tickets at the last moment is fewer. From the railway station, tourists can board a bus or hire a private taxi from the railway station to Pelling.

By Road:

The nearest major town is Siliguri and New Jalpaiguri, which is well-connected with the major towns and cities of the nearby states. There are regular buses ply from Siliguri, Kurseong, and Gangtok to Pelling.

How to get around in West Sikkim?

In West Sikkim, the most convenient option to travel within the city is by private taxi, which are easily available. Shared taxis are also available at some places and it is recommendable to confirm the timings in advance. Otherwise, trekking is also a good option to get around in West Sikkim.

Best time to visit West Sikkim

The best time to visit West Sikkim is in the summer season. From April to June, the weather of the region remains soothing and pleasant which makes the sightseeing tour comfortable. Here is the detailed season-wise information about the region.

Summers (April to June)

In summers, West Sikkim experiences soothing weather and salubrious climatic conditions, which make the outdoor activities comfortable. The average temperature ranges from 10⁰ C to 28° C. This is the peak season of trekking in the region and the most popular trek is the Goecha La trek from where tourists can witness the enchanting view of Mount Kanchenjunga.

Monsoon (July to September)

West Sikkim receives torrential rain during the monsoon season due to which this is the least favored time to visit here. The road becomes slippery and the chances of landslides in the region increases. The heavy rain disrupts the outdoor activities in tourist places.

Winters (October to March)

The winter season starts in October till March and the average temperature hovers around 8⁰ C to 18°C. October and November months experience pleasant weather, which is ideal to explore West Sikkim as the weather remains calm and soothing, which is perfect for a sightseeing tour. However, in December, the temperature drop below zero, and roads get blocked due to the heavy snowfall. It is not recommendable to visit West Sikkim in extreme winters as the region experiences harmful climatic conditions.

Tourist Places to visit in West Sikkim

West Sikkim is a captivating hill town, which houses several tourist attractions. It is home to ancient monasteries, quaint villages, breathtaking towns, wildlife sanctuaries, placid lakes, and jaw-dropping trekking trails. Blessed with the bountiful nature along with the spiritual centers, West Sikkim is a paradise for pilgrims, nature lovers, and adventure enthusiasts.

Some of the popular tourist places of West Sikkim are Rabdentse Ruins, Kanchenjunga National Park, Pelling, Rinchenpong, Geyzing, Yuksom, Pemayangtse Monastery, Barsey Rhododendron Sanctuary, Yangtey, Darap, Goecha La, Tashiding Monastery, Dubdi Monastery, Sangachoeling Monastery, and Dzongri.

Things to do in West Sikkim

Popular for its breathtaking beauty, high mountain peaks, and its paradisiacal beauty. It is a haven for nature lovers, adventure enthusiasts, and shutterbugs. There are a plethora of activities in which you can involve during the West Sikkim tour. Take a look at the best things to do in West Sikkim are:

Hiking

Trekking

Rock Climbing

Bike Riding

Boating

Bird Watching

Camping

River Rafting

How many days are enough for West Sikkim trip?

3-4 days are enough to explore West Sikkim. This is an ideal duration to explore the popular attractions of West Sikkim. However, the duration can vary as per the activities in which tourists wish to indulge in.

Average West Sikkim trip cost

The average cost of a West Sikkim trip is from INR 20,000 to INR 25,000 for one week tour. However, the cost of the trip depends on several factors including the type of accommodation, mode of transport, duration of the trip, and sightseeing places.

Accommodation in West Sikkim

West Sikkim boasts of so many amazing options to stay where you can get glimpses of scenic vistas and enchanting landscapes. Here are some of the best resort options to stay in West Sikkim:

Summit Tashi Gang Resort, Pelling

The Elgin Mount Pandim, Pelling

Vamoose Chungdah Homestay, Pemayangtse

Vamoose Orchid Villa Homestay, Rinchenpong

Vamoose Mandrin Village Resort, Rinchenpong

Chaayatal Heritage Home by StayApart, Dentam

Bon Farmhouse by Vista Rooms, Sosing

Zhang Zhung Homestay, Ravangla

Summit Kha-Choe Farm, Ravangla

Where to eat in West Sikkim?

The rich cultural heritage of Sikkim can be seen in the diversity of their cuisines. The ingredients and flavor of this region are influenced by Nepal, Bhutan, and Tibet. The staple items of this region are Momos, Thukpa, and a local beer 'Chang', fermented foods are popular given the natural conditions. Rice is almost essential in each meal. Also, authentic and splendid soups, pickles, and a handful of meat and vegetable delicacies added charm to the delectable meals. Some of the best restaurants and eateries in West Sikkim to tantalize your taste buds are:

Melting Point, Upper Pelling

Anjali Restaurant, Pelling

Taatopani Bar and Restaurant, Middle Pelling

Gupta Restaurant, Pelling

Lotus Bakery, Pemayangtse Monastery

Evergreen Restaurant & Bakery, Pelling

Waachipa Bar & Restaurant, Geyzing

Ramblers Café, Legship

Gurung Hotel, Legship

Roll House, Ravangla

Shopping in West Sikkim

There are plenty of markets and shops in Hampi from where you can enjoy street shopping and buy some souvenirs for your loved ones. Some of the best shopping places in Hampi are:

Geyzing Market

Lal Market, Ravangla

Ravangla New Market

Virgo Square, Rinchenpong

Useful Tips for West Sikkim

West Sikkim is a quaint place and is being thrived by a large number of tourists with limited accommodation facilities. So it is advisable to book your accommodation in advance to avoid the last moment hassles.

With its unique charm, West Sikkim is a treasure trove of beauty and spirituality. Get yourself a certified guide so that you will not miss important information about the region. •

Taxis are the most convenient option to get around the town. However, you can also trek to some of the places.

Maintain the decorum of the shrines and the tourist places.

Wear decent clothes and cover yourself properly while visiting religious places. Cover your shoulders and knees.

Nearby tourist Places to West Sikkim

There are many places around West Sikkim that are worth visiting. Some of the popular nearby tourist places to West Sikkim where you can visit during your tour:

Gangtok

Pakyong

Namchi

Rumtek

Rangpo

Fairs & Festivals in West Sikkim

Dentam Rhododendron Festival, Hee-Bermiok Heritage & Tourism Festival, and Kanchendzonga Tourist Festival are major festivals of West Sikkim, which are celebrated here with great zeal and vigor. These annual festivals are aimed at promoting the diverse aspects of the area to produce a holistic package showcasing its potential for tourism. They provide the tourists with opportunities to get glimpses of the rich cultural heritage of the region. There are other festivals that are celebrated all over the Sikkim such as Maghe Sankranti, Losar, Bumchu, Dasain, and Loosong.