Sikkim, located in the northeast of India, is a small but stunning state that is often referred to as the Jewel of Northeast India. This Himalayan wonderland is known for its natural beauty, unique culture, and breathtaking landscapes. In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about traveling to Sikkim, from where to go and what to do, to where to stay and how to get there.
When to Visit Sikkim
Sikkim has a unique climate due to its location in the Himalayan mountain range. The best time to visit Sikkim is during the months of March to June and September to November. During these months, the weather is pleasant, and the skies are clear, making it the perfect time for outdoor activities and sightseeing. The monsoon season in Sikkim is from June to August, and the winter season lasts from December to February. The winter season is known for its chilly weather and occasional snowfall, which makes it an excellent time for winter sports enthusiasts.
Getting to Sikkim
By Air: The nearest airport to Sikkim is the Bagdogra Airport, which is located in West Bengal, about 124 kilometers away from Gangtok, the capital city of Sikkim. Several domestic airlines operate flights to Bagdogra from major Indian cities like Kolkata, Delhi, and Mumbai.
By Road: Sikkim is well-connected by road to major Indian cities like Kolkata, Darjeeling, and Siliguri. The state also has several bus services that run from cities like Kolkata, Siliguri, and Darjeeling to Gangtok and other major towns in Sikkim.
By Rail: The nearest railway station to Sikkim is New Jalpaiguri Railway Station in Siliguri, West Bengal. The station is well-connected to major cities in India like Kolkata, Delhi, and Mumbai.
Where to Stay in Sikkim
Sikkim offers a wide range of accommodation options, from budget guesthouses to luxury resorts. Here are some popular options to consider:
Budget Accommodation: For those traveling on a budget, Sikkim has several guesthouses and budget hotels that offer basic amenities. Some popular options include the Hotel Sher-e-Punjab, the Golden Pagoda Hotel, and the Hotel Hungry Jack.
Mid-Range Accommodation: Sikkim has several mid-range hotels that offer comfortable rooms and amenities at reasonable prices. Some popular options include the Summit Namnang Courtyard and Spa, the Mayfair Spa Resort, and the Denzong Regency Hotel.
Luxury Accommodation: For those looking for a luxurious stay in Sikkim, there are several options to choose from. Some popular options include the Elgin Mount Pandim, the Tamarind Residency, and the Hotel Nor-Khill.
What to Do in Sikkim
Sikkim is known for its natural beauty, unique culture, and adventure activities. Here are some things to do during your trip to Sikkim:
Visit the Monasteries: Sikkim is home to several ancient monasteries that are worth a visit. Some popular ones include the Rumtek Monastery, the Pemayangtse Monastery, and the Tashiding Monastery.
Explore the National Parks: Sikkim has several national parks that offer breathtaking views of the Himalayas and a chance to spot rare wildlife. Some popular options include the Khangchendzonga National Park, the Singalila National Park, and the Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary.
Trekking and Hiking: Sikkim is a popular destination for trekking and hiking enthusiasts. Some popular trekking routes in Sikkim include the Goechala Trek, the Singalila Trek, and the Green Lake Trek.
River Rafting: Sikkim is also known for its river rafting adventures, with the Teesta and Rangeet rivers offering some of the best rapids in the region.
Visit the Hot Springs: Sikkim has several hot springs that are believed to have healing properties. Some popular ones include the Yumthang Hot Springs, the Reshi Hot Springs, and the Ralong Hot Springs.
Experience the Culture: Sikkim is a melting pot of different cultures and ethnicities. Visitors can experience the local culture by attending festivals like the Losar Festival, the Bumchu Festival, and the Saga Dawa Festival. Visitors can also explore local markets and try traditional Sikkimese cuisine.
Places to Visit in Sikkim
Sikkim has several scenic and cultural attractions that are worth a visit. Here are some popular places to visit in Sikkim:
Gangtok: The capital city of Sikkim, Gangtok, is a bustling town known for its stunning views of the Himalayas, monasteries, and adventure activities.
Tsomgo Lake: This stunning high-altitude lake is located about 38 kilometers from Gangtok and is a popular destination for tourists.
Nathu La Pass: This mountain pass connects Sikkim with Tibet and offers stunning views of the Himalayan mountain range.
Ravangla: This small town in Sikkim is known for its breathtaking views of the Himalayas and is a popular destination for trekking and hiking enthusiasts.
Yuksom: This historic town in Sikkim was the first capital of the Kingdom of Sikkim and is known for its ancient monasteries and trekking trails.
Tips for Traveling to Sikkim
Here are some tips to keep in mind while traveling to Sikkim:
Permits: Visitors need to obtain Inner Line Permit (ILP) to enter Sikkim. The permit can be obtained online or from designated offices in Sikkim.
Altitude Sickness: Sikkim is located at a high altitude, and visitors may experience altitude sickness. It is advisable to take it slow and acclimatize gradually.
Weather: Sikkim has a unique climate, and visitors should be prepared for sudden changes in weather. It is advisable to carry warm clothes, raincoats, and umbrellas.
Transportation: Sikkim has a good network of roads, but visitors should be prepared for long journeys and winding roads. It is advisable to hire a reliable driver or take a bus tour.
Sikkim is a hidden gem in the northeast of India, with stunning landscapes, unique culture, and adventure activities. Visitors can explore ancient monasteries, trek through the Himalayan mountains, and experience local culture and cuisine. With its friendly people, stunning scenery, and unique attractions, Sikkim is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to India. Plan your trip to Sikkim today and experience the beauty and culture of the Jewel of Northeast India.