Located on a hillock, Gangtok is best for a long lazy holiday. It is a friendly tourist town, abuzz with chatter of locals and travellers. It is your entry point to explore Sikkim, the 2nd smallest state in India. The mighty Kanchenjunga towers over Gangtok and on a clear day you can see the peak and the rest of the range in its fully glory. The charm of visiting Gangtok lies in its languorous outlook. It is laidback and you should explore Gangtok in a relaxed pace.
Places to See in Gangtok
There are so many places to see and things to do in Gangtok. However, the best way enjoy the city is to explore it on foot. Take long leisurely walks and you will be rewarded with scenes that change dramatically. Ganesh Tok, Hanuman Tok and Tashi View Point offer scenic views. And so does the Enchey Monastery, perched high up on the ridge of a peak overlooking the city.
If you want to take in the buzz of the city, take a walk along the MG Road, a vehicle free promenade. The area brims with curio shops, Internet cafes, banks and modern restaurants. It is where you’ll see locals and tourists mingling with a cup of tea or a hot plate of momos.
Just downhill from the market is Namgyal Institute of Tibetology, which houses Buddhist manuscripts, antiques and colourful thangkas. It is open for visitors from 10 am to 4 pm and remains closed on Sunday. Adjacent to Namgyal Institute of Tibetology is Gangtok’s Orchid Sanctuary, which houses 200 of 454 species of orchids known to exist in the world. A visit, especially during the blooming season, is a feast for the eyes. The blooming season is from April to May, July to August and October to November.
No trip to Gangtok is complete without a visit to Rumtek Monastery, which is 24 km away from the city. Rumtek is the largest monastery in Sikkim and it is believed to be close to 300 years old.
Outside Gangtok, you may take a day trip to Tsongmo Lake or Changu Lake as it is popularly known. Located some 40 km from Sikkim, the Changu is a glacial lake, which remains frozen for most part of the year.
There are plenty of Sikkim tour packages you can choose from. You may visit the popular tourist places like Pelling and Yumthang Valley or explore Solophok Chardham (Namchi), which many tourists may not have heard of. Besides being a pilgrimage centre, Solophok has other interesting tourist spots such as Temi Tea Garden and Tendong Biodiversity Park that you can explore.
How to Reach Gangtok
To reach Gangtok, you may take a flight to Bagdogra from Kolkata or New Delhi or take a train from any of the major cities to New Jalpaiguri and a bus or cab further on to Gangtok (3.5 hrs by road).