Things to do in Gangtok: Go for river rafting, try paragliding, Goicha La trek, cycle on the Silk Route, enjoy the Seven Sisters Waterfall, visit Nathu La Pass, visit Tsomgo Lake, and many more.
Tourism is a big deal in Gangtok as there is so much to see and do in Gangtok that you can enjoy to the fullest. Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim is a city that is known for its beauty and wonderful weather. Overlooking the majestic Kangchenjunga and the surrounding mountains, the city provides rest to your eyes and your mind. The traditional society, influenced by an old and colorful culture, adds to the splendid charm of Gangtok. This is one of the reasons why travelers from home and abroad visit this travel destination in large numbers every year.
From adventure to sightseeing, there are so many activities to do in Gangtok that every tourist dreams of. The urban life in Gangtok has a very gentle presence, which allows you to find everything you need, from trendy shops to hospitals. They have good roads and an excellent transport system. Your trip to Gangtok will surely be comfortable as well as enjoyable.
Gangtok means hilltop, which is fitting because this is exactly where the city is located. This makes the capital of Sikkim one of the most beautiful hill stations in India. This northeastern paradise will surely blow all your senses.
Gangtok is surrounded by the Teesta River, beautiful mountains, forests, and a magnificent sky. If you are looking for a tourist destination that is known for diversity then Gangtok is the place you need to be. With so much to do there, the city will not let you down.
Here are some of the best things to do in Gangtok:
- Goecha La Trek
This is one of the romantic treks in the Himalayas where you really get to romance the high mountains, valleys, and resplendent atmospheric conditions! The ecosystem, including the culture of the people here, is the exact opposite of what you see in the rest of the country.
You are constantly enchanted as you walk through forests dotted with rhododendron trees that echo divine antiquity. Be it walking through the vast Dzongri and Thansing meadows or just enjoying the beautiful views of Samiti Lake, there is a feeling of ecstasy when you are here. You are all seen by the Kangchenjunga and Pandim ranges. Trekking through such an enchanting land is inexplicably surreal and magical, to say the least!
- Go For River Rafting
The Teesta River is the most important river not only in Gangtok but also in the entire state of Sikkim. The stretch of the river is long, and some of its areas offer the best opportunities for rafting. Due to the variety of twists and turns due to the constantly changing terrain, the Teesta is perfect for both experienced and new rafters. There are some areas that are challenging when there are even parts where you can raft in peace. In all the patches on the river, where rafting is possible, you can find professional rafting organizers. They provide you with a raft, safety jacket, and expert rafters who will guide you through the session.
Once you decide whether you are comfortable with the smaller waves or if you want to challenge the bigger waves, you can get a ticket and go on a crazy adventure. Adults and kids alike can enjoy river rafting in Gangtok. It starts with a small beach area which is also suitable for a family picnic. You can then put on the jacket and helmet, and get on board the raft.
- Location: Triveni, Near Teesta Bazar.
- Price: Rs. 900 per person.
- Timing: December to June is the best time for rafting there.
- Try Paragliding
Of all the things to do in Gangtok, one of the most thrilling is definitely paragliding. This is becoming the most popular adventure activity in Gangtok and is absolutely right. Imagine that you have wings and you are flying over a breathtaking landscape of snow-capped mountains, rivers, meadows, and forests. This is exactly what you get when you are paragliding in Gangtok. You don’t need to be an expert to enjoy paragliding in Gangtok. The operation centers have trained paraglider pilots who will ride with you and control the flight for you. All you have to do is relax and enjoy the stunning view.
The ride is not suitable for people who weigh more than 90 kg or are physically unfit to take off and disembark. Those are the two times when you have to follow your pilot’s instructions and get to work. However, it’s fairly simple once you know what to do. You can either opt for a medium flight where you paraglide at an altitude of 1400 m, or you can take a high flight that takes you up to 2000 m.
- Location: Baliman Dara.
- Price: Rs. 4500 for High Altitude Fly and Rs. 2500 per person flight for medium altitude.
- Timings: May to October.
- Cycling on Silk Route
This is definitely one of the things to do in Gangtok that adventure lovers can go crazy for. The Kangchenjunga and Himalayan ranges will accompany you throughout the journey, which is certainly one aspect that makes this cycling trip indispensable. Silk Route tours are organized by several tour operators who will provide you with the necessary bicycles, helmets, and other gear that you need. They organize excursions which include camping and sightseeing. It starts from Sileri village. You can reach there by car from New Jalpaiguri Railway Station. There are famous places like Rishikhola, Zuluk, Nathang Valley, and many more where you can relax.
You will be accompanied by experts during the trip who arrange all necessary permits and help you with the technical understanding of long-distance cycling. Make sure you carry your own water, food, and essential medicines that you may need during the trip. If you are planning to go on a cycling tour on the Silk Route, it is recommended that you practice cycling before your trip. This will prepare you to enjoy the tour in good health.
- Location: Old Silk Road, East Sikkim.
- Price: Rs. 20,800 per person.
- Time: It takes 7 days.
- Enjoy at Seven Sisters Waterfall
One of the must things to do in Gangtok is to visit the gorgeous Seven Sisters Waterfall. As the name suggests, there are seven waterfalls of different sizes that flow together. This scene is very charming. During the monsoon, all the seven waterfalls come to life and descend fiercely from the mountain and create huge waves below. This alarming event is a sight that you should not miss during your trip to Gangtok. This has made the place a popular destination for tourists and locals, especially those with cameras. It’s absolutely a matter of catching up.
Flowing down from the forest-covered mountains, the seven waterfalls create perfect harmony and you can spend hours gazing at them. The destination is a perfect place to relax and enjoy the view. As the sun begins to set, the tall shadows of the mountains and the orange sky reflect on the Seven Sisters waterfall, making them even more magical. You can arrange a small picnic with your family and friends to spend a lovely day surrounded by nature.
- Location: National Highway, 32 km from Gangtok.
- Price: Free.
- Timings: May to July is the best time when the waterfalls are in their full glory.
- Visit Nathu La Pass
If you are looking for adventure in Gangtok then a visit to the famous Nathu La Pass can definitely be the best thing for you. Situated at an altitude of 14150 feet, the Nathu La Pass was a route for the Silk Route at the time of its operation. The area offers a spectacular view of the White Mountains, and the trip itself is an adventure to remember. The India-China border is just a few feet away from the Nathu La pass and you can see soldiers from both the countries guarding the border. You can visit Sherthang Market and the cloud-covered Kuppa on your trip.
Due to its altitude, the Nathu La pass has low oxygen levels. This does not stop you from enjoying Gangtok adventure activities as you can easily carry a small oxygen cylinder with you. Apart from a Protected Area Permit issued by the Sikkim Tourism Department, you will also need to carry ID proof and two passport size photographs with you. Without them, you will not be allowed to enter Nathu La Pass.
- Location: 52 KM from Gangtok.
- Price: The cost of a protected area permit is Rs. 200 per person.
- Timings: 8 am to 9 am, Wednesday to Sunday.
- Visit Tsomgo Lake
Situated at an altitude of 3,780 meters in East Sikkim, Tsomgo Lake is also known as ‘Changku Lake’. Connected to many myths and beliefs, this charming lake is located on the Gangtok Nathu La Highway and close to the Chinese border.
During winter or summer, the climatic conditions around this stunning reservoir are mild to cold. Stunning views of the surrounding snow-capped mountains, a reflection of loft clouds on the surface of the clear blue waters, and enchanting views of the surrounding make this lake a spectacular sight to behold in Gangtok.
However, due to its proximity to the India-China International Border, non-Indian nationals may have to seek special permission to visit this lake.
- Enjoy Yak Safari
Yak safaris are one of the most serene activities to do in Gangtok when you visit Changu Lake, also known as Tsomgo Lake. The lake is at a distance of 40 km from Gangtok city. The area has a market on one side and snow-capped mountains on the other. Yak Safari is undoubtedly a unique experience that you should definitely not miss. These calm and gentle animals are covered in long hair to protect them from the cold regions. Here yaks are decorated with colorful rugs and ribbons tied to their horns. Every yak has a trainer who will control the animal while riding.
Experiencing the beautiful mountains and lake from the back of a yak is surely something you will never forget. You can rent a yak from the market area and go on the safari tour of a lifetime.
- Location: Songo Lake is located about 40 km from Gangtok.
- Price: It costs Rs 40 to go from Yak to Pul, 80 to View Point, 100 to Village, and 250 to Kemang. For taking a picture you will get Rs. 10.
- Timing: Winter season is the best time.
- Go For Cable Ride
Riding the cable cars carrying 24 passengers in Gangtok is one of the things that you must take part in. This double cable ropeway is the perfect place to see the city. It offers an amazing view of the valleys below. During the tourist season, cable cars are always fully booked and there are always long queues to run. So, if you want to enjoy the ride to the fullest make sure you are one of the first to enter the car. The entire ride is 1 km long with three stations. You can get a ticket from any of these and then board the cable car.
You can also get down at any of the three stations, Deorali, Namnang, and Tashiling. However, it is recommended that you do the full two-way ride. This is already included in the ticket price and you will get two completely different views on travel. This is definitely the best way to get your money’s worth.
- Location: Deorali is the lowest point in Gangtok to take a cable car ride.
- Price: It is priced at Rs. 110 per adult, Rs. 70 for children under 6, and free for children under 3.
- Timings: 9:30 am to 4:30 pm every day.
- Mountain Biking
Biking over rugged terrain is a real experience with the behind-the-scenes experience of biking! Gangtok offers some of the most beautiful biking trails in the world. On a bicycle tour in this hill town, witness the beauty of the landscape, the beauty of the flora and fauna, the lush green hills, and the quaint villages. Experience and embrace the natural beauty of Gangtok, stop by and click pictures and watch the locals whose heartwarming smiles make your trip worthwhile!
Take a ride through the cardamom fields and smell the fragrance. Get a breathtaking view of the city from the top of the mountain. Refresh yourself with crystal clear mountain streams. Unaffected and free-spirited bike through pine and pine forests. Become one with nature and let its abundant energy manifest through this exciting outdoor activity on your Gangtok trip.
- Helicopter Ride in Sikkim
A helicopter ride in Sikkim offers an aerial view of the Himalayan ranges and is one of the top things to do in Gangtok. It is time to feast your eyes on the magnificence of this place. Be mesmerized by the towering mountains, valleys, rivers, and forests as you watch them from the sky. Explore the city of Gangtok and get a sweeping eagle’s view of its landscape. You can also go on a helicopter ride over the monasteries and explore their spirituality and devotion.
The best would be a helicopter tour over the Valley of Flowers. There may be some rules related to photography; According to the Defense Ministry, photography may not be allowed in some areas. However, despite such restrictions, a helicopter ride is a must when visiting the healthiest hill town in Sikkim.
- Visit Rumtek Monastery
Also called Dharmachakra Centre, Rumtek Monastery is a famous pilgrimage center for Buddhists. Built-in the 16th century, this monastery is situated atop a hill, from where you can have a panoramic view of the city during your visit to Gangtok.
Being the largest monastery in the region, people also visit this place for the picturesque views and surroundings. A short path leads from the monastery and passes through the terrace rice fields. You can follow this path to see slow currents and rare plants that make up a unique ecosystem. The monastery is surrounded by mountains, rivers, and forests. It is perfectly nestled amidst such alluring beauty to make your visit to this place a memorable one.
Above are some of the things to do in Gangtok. Boasting of many opportunities for entertainment and adventure, this capital of Sikkim has its own glory and charm. Be it sprawling meadows to sunset views from the cliffs, everything about Gangtok is packed with nature’s finest features.
- View Sunset At Tashi Viewpoint
If you have ever wanted to see the Kangchenjunga mountain range up close, then Tashi Viewpoint is the ideal place for you! Located just a few miles from the main city, it is easily accessible. Furthermore, one of the most sought-after destinations for nature photographers and admirers, the mystical appeal of the viewpoint is a must-see for all.
Mostly during the early hours of the day, the rays of the rising sun create a magical charm around the point. Illuminating the atmosphere with golden sunshine, it offers panoramic views of Khanchendzonga and Siniolchu peaks. Circular in shape, it allows four people at a time and this viewpoint tour is one of the real things to do in Gangtok.
- Hang Gliding
If you are looking for things to do in Gangtok then you should consider hanging gliding. Imagine yourself as a bird, floating on the beautiful snowy Himalayan range with colorful cities and valleys below. If that interests you then hang gliding is something you will definitely enjoy. This adventure game is one of the latest additions to the adventure sports culture of Gangtok. It’s like paragliding, but in its case, you hold onto a bar attached to the wings and hang. However, you will of course be tied to the top of the bar with a belt for safety purposes.
Hang gliding points provide you with the necessary gear you need to participate in the activity. You can pay extra Rs. You can also rent a GoPro camera in 1000 to record your entire flight. It will surely be a great memory to keep forever. If you have done hang gliding before and can manage it well then opt for a solo flight. However, for first-timers, there are pilot flights available that are safe.
- Location: Yumthang and Jorethang.
- Price: Rs. 2500 per person. Video recording will cost you extra.
- Timings: Mid-May to October, morning to noon.
- Discover Lal Bazaar
Lal Bazaar is an open market area in Gangtok known for its wide variety of stores and products. The market was established in 1956 and has only grown in proportion since then. The place is always full of locals and tourists. It creates a wonderful lively atmosphere. It is something that every traveler must experience to their own uniqueness. However, this is only half of it. If you love to bargain then Lal Bazaar is also an ideal place for shopping. Locals mostly come here to shop for vegetables but you should look out for the variety of cheeses you can find here. Cheese made from yak’s milk is a special thing in this market.
Although the market is now named the Kangchenjunga Shopping Complex, locals still recognize it from its original form. There are stores where you can find traditional items such as pottery, flags, knives, and more. Even if you have nothing to buy, visit Lal Bazaar to experience the local lifestyle.
- Location: Vishal Village, Gangtok.
- Price: Varies from store to store and product to product.
- Timings: It is open throughout the year. However, Sunday is the best day to experience the lively atmosphere.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Gangtok
Q. Can we go to Gangtok in 3 days?
A – Day-wise Itinerary:
Day 1 – Arrival, Gangtok City. Day 2 – Approach attractions and waterfalls. Day 3 – Long Drive, Tsomgo Lake. Day 4 – Souvenir shopping, departure.
Q. What is Gangtok famous for?
A – The capital of Sikkim, Gangtok is a hill resort and one of the most popular places to visit in North-East India. It is known for its natural beauty and the alluring views of Mount Kangchenjunga, the third-highest peak in the world.
Q. Is one day enough for Gangtok?
A – Gangtok can be visited in a day, but if you are planning to go north, enjoy 3 nights and 4 days to its fullest.
Q. Which is better Darjeeling or Gangtok?
A – On a personal note, I would suggest Darjeeling over Gangtok, mainly because of the scenic beauty and spectacular view of the Kangchenjunga ranges that it offers. More of a colorful life can be enjoyed in a hill station in Darjeeling. It also offers excellent options for dining and shopping.
Q. Is Gangtok expensive?
A – An important pilgrimage site, Gangtok is also a major center of tourism in the state. Due to a lack of budget transport options, hilly terrain, and many other factors, a trip to Gangtok can be costly for budget travelers.
Q. Is Gangtok safe for travelers?
A – Yes, Gangtok is safe for travellers. But due to the road leading to Gangtok, it is better to be cautious during the journey.
Q. Is Nathula Pass open now?
A – First of all, you should note that Nathula is open only from Wednesday to Sunday of the week. It is closed to the public on Mondays and Tuesdays. The best time to visit is from May to October when the daytime temperature ranges between 10 to 15 degrees Celsius.
Q. Which transport is used in Sikkim?
A – The Sikkim government has fixed-rate buses; Sikkim Nationalized Transport (SNT) operates between Siliguri and Gangtok from its bus terminal in Siliguri. There are buses from New Jalpaiguri (NJP) to Gangtok. To reach Gangtok many tourists get off by train and New Jalpaiguri, which is at a distance of 124 km.
Q. Is Sikkim an Indian state?
A – Sikkim is a state in Northeast India. It is one of the fastest-growing, multi-ethnic, and multilingual Indian states. It is bordered by Tibet to the north and northeast, Bhutan to the east, Nepal to the west, and West Bengal to the south. Sikkim is also located close to the Siliguri Corridor of India near Bangladesh.