The Best Things To Do In Sikkim When The Hills Call You (6D/ 5N)

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Guarded by the colossal Kanchenjunga, the third highest mountain in the world, Sikkim is the idyllic Himalayan escape. Finding inner peace in Sikkim's ethereal monasteries (with their ornate prayer wheels) and charming landscapes is inevitable. With flower-clad mountain valleys and waterfalls, snow-fed lakes and hot springs, forests teeming with wildlife, stupendous religious and cultural centres, the state is a perfect destination to explore with your family.

Unarguably one of the most beautiful places in India, travelling to Sikkim is a delight because the people are sweet and warm and the monasteries and ropeways are a delight for the kids. So here's a six day and five night Sikkim itinerary to help you discover its many magical wonders. The hills here are always alive with the sound of music!

Photo of Sikkim, India by Tripoto

Getting around in Sikkim

Most travel in Sikkim is either by bus or shared jeep. Trekking around the state is also a popular option. While Indians need permits for protected areas only, if in case you are a foreigner, you would require permits for the entire state. Make sure you have your identity proof and passport sized photographs for the same.

Getting there

Gangtok, for obvious reasons tops the list of things to do in Sikkim. The city does not have a commercial airport or a railway station and the nearest airport, as a matter of fact is 124 kilometres away in Bagdogra, West Bengal. The nearest railway station is in Siliguri and you would have to hire a pre-paid taxi to Gangtok from both places. Additionally, government buses run between Siliguri to Gangtok and are a lot cheaper.

Itinerary

Day 1

What has basically morphed into a concrete jungle, Gangtok retains most of its charm in the form of its many culturally significant sights, outstanding hotels and friendly locals. Sikkim's capital serves as the perfect base for exploring the rest of the state and travellers therefore can't stop gushing about it. Excellent views of the Kanchenjunga and perhaps the best momos in the country are additional incentives.

Things to do in Gangtok

Wonderfully exuberant, there is no dearth of things to do in Sikkim's capital and we have hand-picked just the right places for you:

1. Explore the impossibly beautiful interiors of the Rumtek Monastery and let the kids try their hand at run at giving the prayer wheels a spin or two.

Credit: Wasin Waeosri

Photo of Gangtok, Sikkim, India by Tripoto

2. Immerse yourself in the glorious culture of Tibet at the Namgyal Institute of Tibetology. Your Sikkim itinerary is incomplete without a visit to this place.

Credit: Amitra Kar

Photo of The Best Things To Do In Sikkim When The Hills Call You (6D/ 5N) by Tripoto

3. Climb aboard the cable-car that embarks on a zig-zag ride overlooking the Gangtok city.

4. Catch a spectacular sunset at the Tashi View Point

5. Hop from one monastery to the next – Tsuk La Khang, Pemayangtse and many other lesser-known ones.

Best rated places to stay in Gangtok

Credits: Booking

Photo of Gangtok - Delisso Abode, A Sterling Holidays Resort, Gangtok, Sikkim, India by Tripoto

Credits: Booking

Photo of The Golden Crest Hotel, Gangtok, Sikkim, India by Tripoto

Best rated places to eat in Gangtok

1. Baker's Cafe - Perhaps the most popular name on MG Road, Baker's Cafe has great desserts and comes with a view. Make sure you grab a window-side table.

2. 9'INE - If in case you want to try some authentic Sikkimese food, this is where you should be. The host provides excellent recommendations.

Day 2

Located at a staggering altitude of 12,300 feet, Tsongmo or Changu Lake is undoubtedly one of the prettiest attractions in Sikkim. The name of this glacial lake roughly translates into "source of water" and it transforms into a glorious snowfield during winters. Spring on the other hand is a different story altogether as alpine flowers paint the landscape in an array of colours. When in Tsongmo, yak rides are imperative.

Lake Tsongmo is a 2 hour drive from Gangtok and it would be wise to book a jeep or an SUV in advance. A round trip should cost you around Rs. 3000 and you should ideally leave early in the morning. Since this is a protected area, make sure you have a permit from your hotel, your travel agent or the Sikkim Tourism Information Center in Gangtok.

Things to do in Lake Tsongmo

1. Ride a yak and immerse yourself in the beauty of Lake Tsongmo and then go right up to Nathu La.

2. Beat the chill and hunger pangs by gorging on soupy maggi. And later, click a few hundred epic pictures by the lake.

3. At 7,200ft, visit the temple of Hanuman Tok, on your way back to Gangtok.

Credit: Pranav Bhasin

Photo of Tsongmo Lake, East Sikkim, Sikkim, India by Tripoto

Day 3

Lachung is nothing but a utopian fantasy. With snow capped peaks, milky cascades, apple orchards, babbling brooks and an idiosyncratic form of self governance, this mountain village is as close to perfection as one could possibly get. Travellers are smitten by Lachung not only because of its pristine beauty but also for its handicrafts and monasteries.

In order to get to Lachung, which is a good 3 hours way from Gangtok, book an SUV or a jeep from a reliable travel agency for around Rs. 3000. You could even ask your hotel to do the same for you. A Sikkim Tourism permit is imperative.

Things to do in Lachung

Discover the apple orchards, monasteries and handicraft centres of the fairy-tale mountain village of Lachung.

Credit: Amol Hatwar

Photo of Lachung, Sikkim, India by Tripoto

Credits: Booking

Photo of Yarlam Resort, Lachung, Sikkim, India by Tripoto

Credits: Booking

Photo of Magellan's Apple Valley Inn, Lachung, Sikkim, India by Tripoto

Best rated places to eat in Lachung

While Lachung does not have any dedicated restaurants, all hotels dotting the village have traditional Tibetan kitchens and serve delicious, no fuss food.

Day 4

Yumthang, also known as the 'Valley of Flowers' stands tall and pretty at 1800 feet. The meadows are dotted with colourful rhododendrons while imposing pines and firs skirt the rest of the breath-taking landscape. The river flows with all the grace and tranquility in the world. For those who love being in the warm embrace of nature, Yumthang is an ideal destination.

Take a day trip up to Yumthang Valley, an inherent part of things to do in Sikkim, from Lachung rakes roughly 2 hours. Book an SUV in advance (approximately Rs. 2000 for a round trip) and leave early in the morning. Permits are essential.

Things to do in Yumthang Valley

1. Soak in the surreal beauty of Yumthang and go back with the realisation that paradise is real! Make sure to engage in a snow-fight or two.

Credit: Sayan Bhattacharya

Photo of Yumthang Valley, North Sikkim, Sikkim, India by Tripoto

2. Drive up to Zero Point and slurp on piping hot maggi and momos.

Credit: Dietmar

Photo of The Best Things To Do In Sikkim When The Hills Call You (6D/ 5N) by Tripoto
Day 5

Perhaps the most popular name in Sikkim right after Gangtok, Pelling abounds in travellers because it offers the most brilliant views of Mount Kanchenjunga. The vast number of hotels this hill station is home to are proof of its fame. With its monasteries, cultural festivals and a multitude of nature trails, a trip to Pelling is almost therapeutic; it rejuvenates you in ways like no other.

Pelling is a 6 hour drive from Lachung and you need to book a car in advance. Leave early in the morning. Indians do not require Sikkim Tourism permits for Pelling.

Things to do in Pelling

1. The best views of Mount Kanchenjunga are from Pelling and you absolutely can't get enough of it.

Credit: Pranav Bhasin

Photo of Pelling, Sikkim, India by Tripoto

2. When in Pelling, the Sewaro Rock Garden is a great picnic spot and is staggeringly pretty.

Credit: Atanu De

Photo of The Best Things To Do In Sikkim When The Hills Call You (6D/ 5N) by Tripoto

3. Find peace in the Pemayangtse Monastery because silence is often therapeutic.

Credit: Ethical Photography

Photo of The Best Things To Do In Sikkim When The Hills Call You (6D/ 5N) by Tripoto

Credits: Booking

Photo of Chumbi Mountain Retreat & Spa, Pelling, Sikkim, India by Tripoto
Photo of Norbu Ghang Resort, Pelling City, Sikkim, India by Tripoto

Best rated places to eat in Pelling

1. Melting Point Restaurant - Perpetually crowded for all the right reasons, this place serves excellent Chinese and Western food.

2. Lotus Bakery - Run by Buddhist monks, all money raised at the Lotus Bakery goes to underprivileged children. They have a fine selection of freshly baked breads and tea.

Day 6

Drive down to the airport at Bagdogra or the railway station at New Jalpaiguri, to head back home.

You will leave Sikkim with a heavy heart and a box full of happy memories, we can vouch for that fact!

Travelled to Sikkim recently? Share your travel journey on Tripoto to take your story places and inspire millions to travel!

10 Comment(s)
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PERFECT! I aws so confused while msking itinerary for Sikkim. This post covers it all. So far I have only booked flights. Did not book hotels. s it possible I can book hotel in Lachung and get a travel permit from there itself?
Tue 06 26 18, 01:03 · Reply · Report
Nice blog! All the places covered in the tour plan of Sikkim are nicely explained. Also, the information for every place in Sikkim is really helpful.
Sun 06 24 18, 23:18 · Reply · Report
what would be approx budget per head?
Sat 04 28 18, 01:48 · Reply · Report
Really helpful article. Cheers Mate.
Fri 11 17 17, 00:03 · Reply · Report
This one is indeed a great Itinerary! Can you please share the approx budget of this trip?
Mon 10 23 17, 22:56 · Reply · Report
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