A Himalayan wonderland, Sikkim is nestled in the foothills of the eastern Himalayas and nature has gifted this state with unique beauty. The state is bestowed with a greater variety of vegetation and undisturbed valleys, five climatic zones, total sanitation, peaceful environment, hospitable and humble people and a rich cultural heritage – which is unmatched and would be hard to find anywhere else. Among its mountains is the fabulous Kanchenjunga is the third highest mountain in the world. Sikkim is also the least populous state in the Indian union. Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim is situated at a height of over five thousand feet above sea level.
Sikkim was once a remote mountain kingdom, ruled by Chogyals (Kings) until 1975; Sikkim is today opening up and proving to be an enchanting new world of friendly, socialite people, exotic flora and fauna, fabulous vistas and serene monastic settlements. Sikkim Tourism India offers several treks that lead through pine forests and picturesque valleys. The state is also the base for mountaineering expeditions and excellent river rafting. In the past few years the state has become one of the most sought after tourist destination.
General Information About Sikkim Tour
Small but paradise on earth, Sikkim is engulfed by the main Himalayan Ranges which run southwards and forms the natural boundaries of the state. The Singalia mountain range separating it from Nepal in the west with the Greater Himalayan range while the Chola range is bifurcating it from Tibet in the Northeast and Bhutan in the Southeast.
Snuggled between these high peak mountain ranges, Sikkim is a great adventure vacation destination in India. Passes like Jelep-la, Cho-la, Nathu-la and many others which were once important corridors of passage between Sikkim and Tibet. Floating high over the cloud-covered lower Himalaya, Mt. Kachenjunga dominates the landscape of Sikkim. At 28,208 ft it is the third highest mountain in the world and the highest in India.
- Best Time to visit: From March – June and September – December
- Cold Weather Season: December – February
- Spring Season: March – May
- South-West Monsoon: June – September
- Period of Retreating Monsoon: October – November
How to Reach Sikkim
By Air:Sikkim does not have any airports due to its uneven land topography and rough terrain. The airport located nearest so Sikkim is the Bagdogra Airport which falls in West Bengal and it is only 124 km away from Gangtok. It receives Flights at regular intervals from the important cities of India Such as Delhi and Kolkata etc. Almost all other domestic airlines like Jet airways and Indian airlines lands at Bagdogra airport. Gangtok is also connected by daily helicopter service which is operated by Sikkim Tourism Development Corporation and it takes only 20 minutes to reach.
By Train:Siliguri and Jalpaiguri are the two major Indian Railway stations located nearest to Gangtok. Siliguri is 114 kms and New Jalpaiguri is 125 kms from Gangtok and well connected to all major Indian cities.
Major Tourist Attractions in Sikkim
Beautiful Sikkim is blessed with plethora of tourist attractions including old monasteries and religious places. Gifted with abundant natural resources, Sikkim has become the most popular destination in India. The state is well known for its rich biodiversity, lakes, mountain ranges – giving shelter to 600 species of birds and 4000 species of flowering plants. Check out the list here:
Gangtok: Emerging mountain ranges, crystal clear lakes and floating high over the cloud and amazing hills of the Gangtok is enough to rejuvenate your mind and body. This beautiful land is the capital of Sikkim since 1894, is adorned with the best of scenic beauty. Its large area is bounded by lush green forests located on the Shivalik hills. Gangtok is a Buddhist pilgrimage center where large numbers of pilgrimage come to visit this place every year. After the construction of the Enchey monastery at the end of the 18th century the place has gained greater importance amongst Buddhist community.
Lachung: Lachung is a small hamlet which is gifted with picturesque mountain all around that fascinates travelers to travel here. If you are willing to enjoy the sluggish holidays for wholesome relaxation and rejuvenation then Lachung is a place to be. Lachung has more to offer from snow capped mountains, peaks, breathtaking waterfalls, streams and much more to list. The place offers trekking and skiing treks for all those want to get adventurous holiday.
Lachen: Lachen is a small village in Sikkim offers panoramic vistas of the stunning landscape and snow covered mountains. Situated at an altitude of around 2750 meters, Lachen is a wonderful hill station and hence is a great destination to soak in the natural beauty. Located at an approximate distance of about 129 km from Gangtok, this tranquil little town is extremely scenic and effluent ion wildlife. Must visit place in Lachen is Chopta valley, which is a small paradise on earth and the Gurodongmar Lake which is the most sacred lake in Sikkim and open only to Hindus and Buddhist.
Pelling: Pelling has emerged as the second biggest tourist destination in Sikkim after Gangtok. Snuggled between the carpeted green mountains, Pelling is the most appealing hill station with beauty of its own. There are numerous hot destinations that one can visit in Pelling like old monasteries, Khecheopalri Lake and Singhsore Bridge.
Entry Protocol to Sikkim
Travelers to Sikkim need to follow some rules and regulation as the state has few entry restrictions that falls under the restricted area regime due to proximity with neighboring country China. So in order to promote smooth tourism in the state, constraints on the entry protocols have been relaxed by the government for foreign nationals. They can visit the famous tourism spot like Gangtok, Rumtek, Pemayangste, Phodong, and the Yuksom only after obtaining the restricted area permit from any of the concerned departmental offices in India. Inner Line Permit is issued from Sikkim Tourism Offices at New Delhi and District Magistrate office of Darjeeling, Siliguri and Rangpo after you produce Indian Visa.
Information For Foreign Nationals
- Foreign nationals intending to visit Sikkim for tourism can obtain a permit for an initial period of 15 days that is further extendable up to 30 days. Foreign tourist has to be in the group of two or more to visit restricted and protected areas of Sikkim like Yumthang Valley (for five days) as they are not allowed to club and go with Indian tourist.
- A two days Inner Line Permit is also available at Rangpo. The same permit can be further extended from Home Ministry Gangtok.
Foreigners can visit Rumtek, Gangtok, Phodong and Pemayangtse for a period of fifteen days after obtaining the restricted area permit. If they are intending to visit Yumthang Valley, Zongri the rules are slightly tight.
Note: Re-entry in to Sikkim is not allowed within 03 months after you leave the Sikkim. The gap of 90 days is necessary as per the instruction of Ministry of Home Affairs.
For Indians Nationals: Indian nationals willing to visit Sikkim do not require any special permit. They can visit some of the unrestricted areas of Sikkim like Gangtok, Yuksom, Rumtek, Pemayangtse, Phodong etc. But for the following restricted areas in North Sikkim, Inner Line Permit is necessary to enter. Areas of north Sikkim like Yumthang Valley, Chungthang, Lachung, Yumesamdong, Lachen, Thangu, Chopta and Gurudongmar Lake. It is mandatory for Indian nationals also to obtain the permit.