Best Things to do in Sikkim
The Top Things to do in Sikkim
Nature has given Sikkim lush forested hills, snow-clad Himalayan peaks, deep valleys with raging rivers, and fresh air. The top activities in Sikkim include shopping, sightseeing, whitewater rafting, paragliding, and trekking. It is distant from metropolitan cities’ complications, making this Himalayan state a fascinating place to visit.
These are the activities worth considering to make the most of your travel to Sikkim.
Cable Car Ride Gangtok
A ride in the Gangtok cable car is one of the fun things to do in Sikkim. Enjoy the picturesque scenery from onboard the Gondola. The 1km cable ride begins at Deorali Bazaar near the Institute of Tibetology and goes on to Tashiling, net to the Secretariat. On clear days one gets to admire Mount Kanchenjunga and Gangtok town from the height of 3500 m. The cable car operates from 8 am to 4.30 pm for a small fee.
The Rumtek monastery is one of the most popular attractions of Sikkim. It is located 24 km from the city of Gangtok at an altitude of 6000 feet. This monastery is of the Kagyu sect of Tibetan Buddhism. The Kagyu sect is one of the six primary schools of thought of Tibetan Buddhism. It originated in Tibet in the 12th century. The Rumtek monastery is also known as the centre for Dharma Chakra.
The previous incarnation of Karmapa used to reside here before being reincarnated in Tibet. The relics from the Tsurphu monastery are used to decorate Rumtek. Two important festivals take place here every summer and winter. You can enjoy a peaceful walk around the vicinity while enjoying the rich history, culture, and spiritual bliss.
Riding a Yak is one unique experience in Sikkim. The animal is an inhabitant of the harsh climate and inaccessible terrain. The Yaks for riding are tamed and pretty well-groomed for tourists. They are decorated with colourful woollen knitwear over their horns, foreheads, and bells tied on their necks. It can be a thrilling ride that comes with a memory to last you a lifetime.
The Yaks are available for riding during the busy tourist season from March to May and September to December. Yak rides are possible in Dzongri and Tsomgo Lake areas.
Nightlife in Sikkim
You might not have heard of Sikkim as a place to party. It is one of the Indian states where alcohol is tax-free, making it inexpensive. Gangtok is a favourite place to spend evenings. There are numerous options for a night out in Gangtok, including multiple bars, pubs with live bands, Karaoke bars, nightclubs, and even casinos. Sikkim is the only state in India that has in-land casinos. The other casinos in India are in boats where you are taken offshore for gambling.
The mountain state’s local drinks are Chiang, Tongba, and Rakshi, which can be tempting and inexpensive. Dining out is another fun thing to do in Gangtok. Again, you can go for some international fare or try out local delights.
Ganesh Tok is a temple that is dedicated to Lord Ganesh. This small temple can accommodate only a few persons at any one time. It would help if you went on all fours to enter the temple. Despite its small size, the temple is a favourite pilgrim spot visited by domestic travellers with much devotion. Devotees plant saplings on the compound of the temple on behalf of loved ones.
The view from a high point can be breathtaking. It offers scintillating views of the city and the great Khangchendzonga. Spend time here to enjoy the sights and the beautiful ambience.
Bird Watching in Kewzing
Kewzing is one of the better spots for bird watching in Sikkim. Whether you are a hobby birdwatcher or a serious ornithologist, the thick forest of Kewzing is a haven for birdlife. It is home to about 200 birds with a mixture of resident and migratory birds. For example, Satyr Tragopan, a rare species of pheasants in the Eastern Himalayas, can be spotted here. In addition, the Fire-tailed Myzornis, Puff-throated Babbler, Streaked Spiderhunter, and Sultantit are common species found here.
Get hold of a pair of binoculars, sturdy walking shoes, a bird guidebook, or an expert and set off to partake in one of the best activities in Sikkim.
Mountain biking is another adrenaline rush activity to do in Sikkim. The numerous mountain bike trails provide a rush for the riders. The beautiful scenery is an added feature for mountain bikers from all over the world.
Mountain biking is an activity that can be enjoyed throughout the year, but the best months are March, April, and May and from mid-September to December. There are more than seven intriguing tracks to embark on, depending on your experience and fitness levels. Most trails start from Gangtok, Rumtek, Temi, Yumthang, and other remote locations.
Paragliding in Sikkim
Paragliding in Sikkim is a new adventure sport and one of the fastest-growing activities. The Himalayan topography is ideal for soaring the skies. Gangtok offers paragliding adventures with certified pilots. In addition, Tandem flights are offered, where an experienced and certified pilot will accompany you on your flight. Short-haul flights are available for 15-20 minutes. Longer flights of an hour maximum are also possible.
Feel the air rush through your hair while gawking at the views of the Himalayan Vista.
A trip to Sikkim is incomplete if you do not go shopping at Gangtok’s MG Road. The vibrant road is full of interesting shops and stalls. Check out Feng Shui items like The laughing Buddha, Dragons, New Year Lamp, or dresses worn during Tibetan festivals. You can easily find incredible bargains. The favourite souvenirs are handwoven blankets, carpets, and wooden and bamboo items. The handicrafts are especially of note but do check out for authenticity.
Temi Tea Garden
Temi Garden is another one of the most beautiful tourist attractions in Sikkim. The only Tea Estate in Sikkim has located a short 18 km from Ravangla at 1200-1800m. It was established in 1969, employs about 450 people and produces 100 metric tons of organic tea annually.
Temi Tea gardens are renowned for producing some of the best organic tea in the world. The factory can be visited to have an educational lesson on tea processing. You can also stay in the British colonial-style Bungalow in the tea estate.
The Sikkim Zoo is an attraction not to be missed, especially if you are travelling with children. The Himalayan Zoological Park is undoubtedly a place for wildlife enthusiasts. The zoo was established to preserve the wildlife in their natural habitat. The zoo is located at Bulbuley, 3 km from Gangtok, at an altitude of 1,780 m. It is spread over an area of 205 hectares of hilly terrain.
Some species found only in the Himalayas are kept at the park. For example, the Himalayan Monal Pheasant, Red Panda, Snow Leopard, Ghoral, Himalayan Palm Civet, Himalayan Black Bear, and Crimson-Horned Pheasant can be seen.
Goecha La Trek
The Goecha La trek is one of the famous treks in Sikkim and the North East Himalayas. The trek’s length is approximately 90 km, and trekkers can get up to 5000 meters in altitude. It is one of the most popular trekking trails in the Indian Himalayas. The trail passes through the scenic Rhododendron forests, the meadows of Dzongri and Thangsing, and the Samiti Lake, all under Mount Kanchenjunga and Mount Pandim.
The glacial Goecha La trek trail is quite challenging and is on the list of adventure enthusiasts. The months from April to June and October and November are ideal for the mountain expedition.
Whitewater rafting in Sikkim
The Teesta and Rangit Rivers are the venues for whitewater rafting in Sikkim. The Teesta River is a grade 4 river on an international scale. The chilly water of the Teesta river provides a series of rapids with some intensity. Simultaneously, the narrow and steeper gradient of the Rangit has more whitewater rapids and is challenging even to the most experienced rafters. However, for the first-timer, this could be the beginning of the many rafting trips to come in the future.
Another one of the attractions of Sikkim. Khecheopalri Lake is located in the Western corner of Sikkim; It is sacred to Hindus and Buddhists.
The Khecheopalri hill, lake, and valley are said to have been blessed by Guru Padmasambhava. The locals revere them as a land of hidden treasure. Khecheopalri Lake is an essential stop on the Buddhist pilgrimage in Sikkim. It is believed that every leaf that drops on the lake is picked up by birds leaving it clean. A crucial religious fair is held every March/April. A harvest festival, Cho-Tsho, takes place in October after the harvesting of cardamom.
Khangchendzongnga waterfalls are 46 km via Pelling and 5 km before Yuksom. It is located on a different street corner, which hid the waterfalls. Now better facilities have been made so visitors can look at the waterfalls.