Top 8 places to visit in Gangtok in 1 day - Voyage with Vrinda

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Photo of Top 8 places to visit in Gangtok in 1 day - Voyage with Vrinda by Vrinda Dujari

If you're an admirer of the northeastern states of India, then I'm sure; the state of Sikkim must have been on your travel bucket list and you must be preparing a list of places to visit in Gangtok. Your trip to northeast India cannot be complete without visiting Gangtok. Read this post to plan your trip to cover the top places to visit in Gangtok.

I covered east Sikkim, west Sikkim, and south Sikkim in 4 days and headed to Darjeeling on the fifth day. I could not do north Sikkim because of the landslides that occurred in the region a week ago.

In this post, I have covered the first day of the trip which was spent exploring the capital of the state - Gangtok.

About Sikkim

Sikkim is a state in northeast India, bordered by Bhutan, Tibet and Nepal. It is home to India's highest and world's third highest mountain peak, Kanchenjunga.

It is also home to tremendous biological diversity; including a plethora of varieties of wildflowers in the flower valleys and some rare wild animals. If you decide to wander around and explore on your own; you'll find steep paths leading to beautiful hilltop monasteries too.

Lhasa waterfall, Gangtok, Sikkim

Photo of Lhasa Waterfall, Gangtok, Sikkim, India by Vrinda Dujari

How to reach Gangtok?

I traveled to Sikkim with my friend Sumita in September 2018, when the state did not have its own airport. So we had to take a flight from Delhi to Bagdogra, which is in the neighboring state of West Bengal, 124 km from Gangtok.

And from Bagdogra, we took a taxi which dropped us to our hotel in Gangtok.

The ride from Bagdogra to Gangtok is a bit expensive (cost us INR 2400); but it will offer you the most splendid views of the state. But now Sikkim has its own airport in Pakyong town near Gangtok.

Prior to the construction of Pakyong airport, Sikkim had been the only Indian state possessing no functional airport. Also, Pakyong airport was inaugurated by India's Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi on the very same day we had to return to New Delhi. πŸ™‚

We had decided to keep our Day 1 to explore the local markets at MG Marg, but unfortunately, we reached our hotel - Juniper Tree, at around 10 pm (6 hours late), due to the blocked roads caused by landslides.

Anyhow, we were happy that we managed to reach our hotel safely. πŸ™‚

Teesta river ( on the way to Gangtok from Bagdogra, West Bengal)

Photo of Pakyong Airport, Dikling Road, Pakyong, Sikkim, India by Vrinda Dujari

Top places to visit in Gangtok

We started our second day at around 9 am and booked a taxi to do Gangtok sightseeing for INR 1500 (excluding the parking fee). Pro tip - Take out at least a day or two to cover the complete town of Gangtok.

First Stop - Ganesh Tok (6 km from Gangtok)

It's a small and quaint temple of Lord Ganesha, situated at an altitude of 6500 ft., 6 km from Gangtok town; from where you can see the whole town of Gangtok, snow-capped mountains, and also the mighty Kanchenjunga.

You will have to climb a staircase to reach the temple and all around the temple; is a balcony from where you can enjoy the stunning views of the entire town of Gangtok.

View from Ganesh Tok Temple

Photo of Top 8 places to visit in Gangtok in 1 day - Voyage with Vrinda by Vrinda Dujari

Ganesh Tok Temple, Gangtok

Photo of Top 8 places to visit in Gangtok in 1 day - Voyage with Vrinda by Vrinda Dujari

Second stop- Himalayan zoological park (3 km from Gangtok)

If you happen to be a person who likes to watch rare and wild animals while hiking through a park-cum-forest, then this is certainly the place for you.

You can very easily spot snow leopard, red panda* (state animal of Sikkim), Himalayan bear, and civet cat inside the park which aren't typically seen in other parts of India.

Himalayan Zoological Park, Gangtok

Photo of Sikkim Himalayan Zoological Park, Jawaharlal Nehru Road, Sungava, Gangtok, Sikkim, India by Vrinda Dujari

The best part is that you have to hike through the park and find your way out to see the animal that you want to see - as if you're lost in a forest and keep running into rare animal species; which makes the whole experience adventurous and worthwhile.

*Fun facts about red pandas

1. A red panda is not a red-colored panda. Lol.

2. They look very similar to a raccoon (well, a red-colored raccoon).

3. In Nepal, they're also called Firefox.

So is it a panda, a fox, or a raccoon? Let me know in the comments if you find out πŸ˜‰

Photo of Top 8 places to visit in Gangtok in 1 day - Voyage with Vrinda by Vrinda Dujari
Photo of Top 8 places to visit in Gangtok in 1 day - Voyage with Vrinda by Vrinda Dujari

Third stop- Tashi viewpoint ( 8 km from Gangtok)

This is a must-visit place if you are in Gangtok. It is in Tashi, about 8 km from Gangtok.

As the name suggests- it is a viewpoint, so I would recommend carrying a pair of binoculars with you if you can or you can pay INR 10 to view from the telescope mounted there under the guidance of a local guide.

You will get to witness the most spectacular views of some monasteries, Kanchenjunga peak, Seven sister waterfalls, and even a few animals on the opposite mountain chain. Your guide will keep briefing you about each place.

Fourth stop- Ban Jhakri Waterfall ( 7 km from Gangtok)

One of the most beautiful waterfalls πŸ™‚

Photo of Top 8 places to visit in Gangtok in 1 day - Voyage with Vrinda by Vrinda Dujari

This is a popular picnic spot with a 100 ft. high natural waterfall. There is an entry fee of INR 50 per person.

' Ban' literally means forest and ' Jhakri' means a healer or a priest. Legend has it that a Ban Jhakri can cure a person who has been affected by some evil spirits using his/her powers.

You'll see sculptures of these Jhakris all around the park along with other Jhakri cultures. Apart from the waterfall, you can also swim in a pool or enjoy boating at a man-made lake around.

Jhakri culture in the garden near Ban Jhakri falls

Photo of Top 8 places to visit in Gangtok in 1 day - Voyage with Vrinda by Vrinda Dujari

We also stopped at various monasteries and waterfalls along the way like Lingdum monastery (5th stop), Gonjang monastery (6th stop), Lhasa waterfall, (7th stop) and Bakthang waterfall (8th stop).

We decided to call it a day after visiting Lingdum monastery. After having some food and rest, we loitered around our hotel and explored MG Marg.

This is how our first day went. I would call it a short Gangtok tour! πŸ™‚

Photo of Top 8 places to visit in Gangtok in 1 day - Voyage with Vrinda by Vrinda Dujari

Visit voyage with vrinda to read next part of the sikkim series - Nathu La