Area : 7290sq km
Population : 420, 000
Capital : Gangtok
Chief Language : Nepali
Best Time to Visit : March to August
¤ Sikkim At A Glance
The tiny state of Sikkim is cradled by Bhutan on the east, Nepal on
the west and Tibet on the north. Sikkim is situated amongst the
highest peaks of the
Sikkim is an enchanting and tiny state lying in the eastern end of
the mighty Himalayas flanked by Bhutan on the east, Nepal on the west
and Tibet on the north. The magic of the land is the elevation which
ranges from 224 mts to over 8590 mts above sea level that gives the
place an infinite range of flora and fauna. The lush green fields, the
clear and frothing rivers, dense forests and its picturesque mountain
peaks make Sikkim one of the beautiful travel destinations of the
country. Sikkim is under the protective shadow of its guardian diety,
Mount Kangchendzonga (8598 mts).
¤ Places of Interest
Gangtok - The Capital of Sikkim
Situated in the south-east area of Sikkim, it is the capital and
center of trade in the state. Here, the people consisting mainly of
the Lepcha, the Bhutia and the Nepali can be seen. Though the city has
risen in the number of population, it still has mysterious ways to
charm and surprise the visitors.
The drive from Siliguri to Gangtok is a thrilling experience with the
highway running next to the Teesta River and also passing through the
thick forests. If the tourist wants to go for a picnic or a short trip
to and from Gangtok, he can pick a bright day and enjoy the sunshine
and the spots. Further down the Rangpo town, there is Singtam( 11 kms)
famous for its oranges. Then after 17 kms comes the Ranipool where the
highway takes on a 12 kms climb to Gangtok. Night-out on the highway:
There is also a tourist lodge along the border town of Rangpo with a
restaurant and a bar. One of the things Rangpo is famous for is its
liquours and liquers.
Sikkim's only tea garden, the Temi Tea Estate is flanked between
Namchi and Singtam. The garden covers a large area and is at altitude
between 4000 ft and 6000 ft. The tea has a fragrance and belong to the
group of Darjeeling.
Just a 2-hour drive from Gangtok, the tranquil lake lies at the
altitude of 12,400 feet. The water is derived from the melting snows
off the surrounding mountains. The tourist also can visit Kyongnosla
Alpine Sanctuary which is located on the route to this lake for seeing
the Red Panda and the Blood Pheasant. The lake is in the East district
Sangtok-Palri, a wooden carving depicting the various realms of
Buddhism inside the monastery is one of the tourist attraction.
Pemayangtse Monastery is situated in the West District.
Situated in the North District(17 kms from Gangtok), there is a stone
on the shadows of a dense wooded area. This 'Statue of Unity' was
built in memory of the Tibetan chieftain, Khey-Bumsar who signed a
blood brotherhood with the Lepcha shaman te-kung-tek.
A sleepy hamlet at an altitude of 7000 feet is a must-visit for its
festival. The festival, 'Pang Lhabsol' is a festival when the
spectacular Warrior Dance is performed at the Revang Monastery.
One of the most favourite travel destination is Pelling situated
between the Monasteries of Pemayyangtse and Sanga-Choling. It can
reached by bus or jeep services from Gangtok which is 125 kms away and
from Siliguri , 133 kms away. Most of the tourist visit during the
months of March-June and September-December. From here one can visit
the Khechopari Lake, Rimbi Waterfalls, Kanchenjunga Waterfalls,
Changay Waterfalls, Sigshore Bridge, Dentam Bazaar and Yuksam which
was the first capital of Sikkim.
Gangtok has an wide choice of restaurants starting from the Sikkimese
food to the Indian food. Some of the famous located in the M.G. Marg
are Blue Sheep, Khoochi, House of Bamboo and Coks Inn. Porky's on
National Highway, Yak's Restaurant & Bar on Tibet Road and Snow
Lion in Hotel Tibet are some worth visiting. The local drinks known as
'Thongba' which is a hot drink from fermented millets and
'Chhang'(rice-beer) are quite common in the state.
For the tourist who are thrill-seekers and adrenaline-junkie, the
state has lot to offer starting from the trekking, water sports,
mountain biking, yak safari, hang gliding and browsing through the
wildlife of the area.
Treks in Sikkim
Some of the trekkers huts that can be named are located at
Pemayangtse, Khecopalri, Yuksam, Tsokha, Dzongri, Thangshing,
Zemagthang, Chaurigang, Tashiding, Varsey, Yangang, Rabongla, Sang and
Sikip. Small hotels have started coming up on the route to the
trekkers hut and at many base-stations.
Availability of the equipments
Since these trekking are more interesting and thrilling as the
trekker climb higher like from 6,000 ft to 14,000 ft, having a proper
equipment is a must. Equipment are available at reasonable rates from
Sikkim Tourism or recognised travel agents/tour operators.
¤ Important Treks
The Monastic Trek :
It is favourable within the months from March to May and from October
The Rhododendron Trek : Naya Bazar-Hilley/Soreng-Varsey-Dentam
Pemayangtse. The trek is best to travel during March and May.
The Khanchendzonga Trek :
Glacier and back. It is favourable for the period from mid-March till
mid-June and October till December.
The Coronation Trek :
Rumtek-Sang-Yangang-Rabongla-Tashiding-Yuksam. It should be travelled
within the months of October through December.
Sikkim Helicopter Service organises these mountain flights which
is one of the most exciting experience for its spectacular view and
¤ Water Sports
White Water Rafting and kayaking is organised on the Teesta and the
Rangeet Rivers. The two rivers in the West District offers a roller
coaster ride over the frothing and white waters leaving you breathless
and wanting for more.
¤ Permit to Visit
Inner Line Permit is required for foreigners visiting Sikkim and it
is valid for 15 days. It is issued by the Indian Ministry for Home
Affairs, or Govt. of Sikkim, New Sikkim House, New Delhi.
Another Protected Area Permit had to be obtained for visiting the
interior areas which can be obtained from the Department of Tourism,
M.G. Marg, Gangtok.
Rangpo Checkpost which is on the West Bengal and Sikkim border point
issues a permit of two days. By taking this permit, one can reach
Gangtok and take a regular permit from there.
¤ Exciting Helicopter Rides
West Sikkim Flight : The
route is Gangtok-Singtam-Geyzing-Yuksom-Dikchu-Gangtok and it takes
around 60 minutes. You can see Rumtek Monastery, Temi Tea Estate,
Rabang/Meenam Hill, Tashiding, Pemayangtse Monasteries, Waterfall near
Yuksom and Kanchenjunga Range from the helicopter.
Yumthang Flight : Route-
Lake-Lachen-Gangtok. You can see the landmarks of Teesta Valley
between Mangen and Lanchen, Lanchen Monastery, Zemu Glacier, Green
lake, views of Kanchenjungand close-ups. It takes around 70 minutes.
Gangtok Flight : The route is around Gangtok and it takes
about 20 minutes. Landmarks that can be seen are Kanchenjunga Range,
Rumtek Monastery and Gangtok Range. All the flights fare differ
according to their respective journeys and flights are subject to
¤ Accessibility to Sikkim
The nearest airport is Bagdogra(North Bengal) which is 124 kms away
and about 4 hours drive from Gangtok. There are Indian Airlines and
other private Airline services operating from Bagdogra linking
Kolkata, Guwahati and New Delhi.
The two nearest railway station are Siliguri (114 kms) and New
Jalpaiguri (125 kms) where access to Kolkata, Delhi, Guwahati, Lucknow
and other important cities in India is easy. Booking facility in
Gangtok is located at the SNT Bus Terminus.
Gangtok is well connected by road to Darjeeling, Kalimpong and
Siliguri. The route through Darjeeling is 90 kms, through Kalimpong is
70 kms and through Siliguri is 110 kms.
The modest way of commuting, on foot is the best in Gangtok. Though
un-metered taxis are there for local transport. Every taxi carries a
chart for all major points in the city. There are points within the
city where the taxis ply and from there to other places, fares are