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Sikkim Tourism And Travel Guide
18° C / 64.5° F
March to June
5 to 10 Days
Bagdogra Airport (125 kms)
New Jalpaiguri (NJP) (120 kms)
The state of Sikkim sits in the lap of the Himalayas and is home to India’s highest peak, the Kanchenjunga. The scenery of Sikkim has glaciers and ice cap Mountains at higher altitudes, meadows and wild flowers in the lower plains, and further along the slopes are thick pine forests. Everything about tourism in Sikkim will remind you of the beautiful lands of fairy tales! Read this short travel guide of Sikkim to plan a trip and get lost in this fairy tale.
How To Reach
Sikkim has a mountainous terrain, but it has very well established roads. In fact the journey up to Gangtok through all the small towns and villages, and through the Himalayan vegetation will be as fun as any part of the holiday. Sikkim borders Bhutan, Nepal and the northern part of West Bengal. Below are the best ways to get to the state:
The closest airport to Sikkim is the Bagdora Airport in West Bengal, which has frequent flights coming in from Delhi, Kolkata and other important cities. Gangtok is about 120 kilometres from there; you should be able to find taxi services easily and if you are lucky you can even use the helicopter services offered by the Sikkim tourism department! They are reasonably priced services that take you to different locations in Sikkim.
You have two options, New Jalpaiguri and Siliguri, both approximately 120 kilometres from Gangtok. From here you can avail taxi services to Gangtok.
NH 31 connects Sikkim to Siliguri. There are plenty of travel options along this route. You can hire a cab or use the public or private transport bus services, then sit back and enjoy the ride.
Best Time To Visit
The summer months from March to July have the most pleasant weather conditions. Sikkim is pleasantly warm, the mountains are clear, and dotted with orchids and wild flowers and the mountainous terrain is quite accessible with tourism at its peak. With the monsoon behind, the winter months from September to December are also a common tourist time. The nights can get nippy but the skies will be clear and the days cool. Then again it is important to remember the temperature varies within the state depending on the altitude; the state experiences a sub-tropic climate in the south and it slowly changes towards the north. However during Monsoons, Sikkim is quite landslide prone so the state is best avoided during that season.
Things To Do
With about one-third of the state covered with forest and with a terrain dotted with glaciers and rivers, Sikkim is pretty much awaiting to mesmerise tourists with its natural beauty.
Home to the Kanchenjunga and many other ranges, you can expect Sikkim to give you some very challenging treks, at the same time there are terrains that even casual walkers can tread on without much difficulty. One all-time favourite is the Goecha La trail. This trail begins at a high altitude and makes its way through the alpine forests. Other popular trek routes are the Dzongri trail and the Lhaba Tarum Tsachu trail. The latter is a high altitude trek that pretty much takes you to the famous Kanchenjunga peak!
Sikkim offers numerous opportunities for thrill seekers; try river rafting in the waters of the Teesta River or the cable car ride in Gangtok, or try biking the rugged roads connecting Gangtok to Rangpo. For those with nerves of steel, don't miss out on Paragliding off the mountain and enjoy the captivating view of the valley below!
Picnic Spots in the Lap of Nature:
With so much green area, Sikkim is full of places to visit. If you are interested in spotting all the wild and exotic varieties of birds in the Himalayan region then take a stroll in Kewzing. The Tsomgo lake is known for freezing up in the winters and you can even hire a yak to ride on here! Then there is the Gurudongmar Lake, one of the highest lakes in the world! Any part of Sikkim you stay in will have an atmosphere that encourages a casual stroll while breathing the cool fresh air of the mountains.
In Sikkim you get to taste the local traditional cuisines with some influence from neighbouring Nepal and West Bengal. Try the thupka (a noodle based soup) and also the momos (a form of dumpling with minced veggies or meat) that are quite exciting for the palate. Phagshapas (a stew of pork with chillies), Sha Phaley (bread that is stuffed with meat and cabbage), Sisnoo (string beans), and Gundruk ka Jhol (a pickled leafy vegetable preparation) are among numerous other dishes you could try.
If you are looking for local handicraft items like a hand-woven shawls or some wooden wind chimes, this is your place. The markets here are filled with shops selling everything from the Laughing Buddha to Tibetan traditional clothes and beautiful hand-made souvenirs. While you hit the shops, make sure you stack up on your cardamom supplies as Sikkim is not only one of the major exporters of the spice but is also all organic.