Places to visit in Sikkim by Road

posted in: Asia, India, Nature, Sikkim | 28

Peacefully tucked away in the north east, Sikkim is one of the most beautiful states in India. The beauty and serenity encapsulated in its natural landscape can be a perfect retreat for you, away from the worries of daily life. Moreover, if you’re a nature lover and a travel enthusiast, then Sikkim should most certainly find a destination on your list of places to travel. To make the most of your trip, and to see the best of Sikkim, you should choose to explore it by road.  The breathtaking views along the way and the misty blanket of air will make you feel refreshed as you set out to see all these places to visit in Sikkim.

Sikkim - a beautiful destination in India
Sikkim – a beautiful destination in India

Sikkim is well connected to Siliguri, which is the gateway to North-east India when one is driving through National Highway 31. A 4-hour drive through this route will take you through dense greenery and carpeted hills. Sikkim can also be reached through other picturesque ways, from places like Darjeeling (126km), Bagdogra (153km) and Kalimpong (104km). However, irrespective of the route you take, you will witness the beauty of the river Teesta on one side and majestic peaks along the other side.  This is why a journey through the state becomes one of the most memorable road trips in India.

Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim, is also the starting point for most travelers as here you’ll be able to book your hotels and cab/taxi very easily. When in Gangtok, make sure that you keep enough time to explore the MG-road, which is a European style street, and a major attraction in Sikkim. Stay a while and enjoy yourself before you embark on the most fascinating journey  – one that takes you to the best of places to see in Sikkim.

Places to visit in Sikkim

Tsomgo Lake

Tsomgo Lake, also called Changu Lake
Tsomgo Lake, also called Changu Lake                                                                             Image Credits: Indrajit Das via Wikimedia Commons under CC by 3.0

One of the most popular tourist sites in Sikkim, this beautiful lake is 38 km away from Gangtok. Driving through the snaky roads and mountainous terrains leading to this enchanting water body is an adventure in itself. Here, you will witness migratory ducks like Brahminy ducks, along with flowers like Primulas and Blue and Yellow Poppies. Moreover, pulling your car along the sides, you can also enjoy yak and pony rides for some fun. However, start early so that you do not face challenges driving on the meandering roads when it gets dark.

Nathula Pass

Nathula pass is another must-see place in Sikkim. Located in the Himalayas, it connects India with Tibet. The pass, at 4,310 m above sea level also shares some link to a part of a side-shoot of the prehistoric Silk Road. Here at this pass, you can enjoy yak safari with your family or friends and can witness border gates of India and China.

Nathu La Pass along the Indo-China Border in Sikkim
Nathu La Pass along the Indo-China Border in Sikkim                                      Image Credits: Indrajit Das via Wikimedia Commons under CC by SA 3.0

There are also places like a beautiful war memorial and Exhibition Centre of the Indian army just close to Nathula pass, which you may include in your itinerary of Sikkim sightseeing places. You can also view Mt Chomolhari here, which offers spectacular views to travelers.

Incidentally, the other place that you can enjoy the magnificent views of the Bride of Kanchenjunga – Mt. Chomolhari is when you head to the placid Haa Valley in Bhutan. As you cross the highest pass of Bhutan – Chelela Pass, on a bright and clear day, you will see this peak lording over its snowy neighbors. Discover what that feels like and how you can experience it through this post on Haa Valley. 

River Teesta – one of the places to see in Sikkim

When in Sikkim, there is no escape from soaking in the beauty of River Teesta that flows through the state into West Bengal. During spring, the scene of the shimmering river and the colorful flowers blooming around are a treat to the eyes. While in winters, the lake turns into frozen white sheets that look both stunning and serene.

River Rafting on Teesta in North Sikkim
River Rafting on Teesta in North Sikkim

During summer and spring, you can enjoy river rafting, kayaking and bird spotting here. You can even witness the confluence of River Teesta with its tributary, River Rangeet.

Lachung, Lachen and Yumthang Valley

Places to visit in Sikkim - Gurudogmar Lake
Places to visit in Sikkim – Gurudogmar Lake

Lachen and Lachung are both distant villages located at high altitudes, preserving the great natural beauty and local culture.  You can also take the journey from Lachen to Gurudongmar Lake in Sikkim, which is one journey that will make you feel heavenly. Also, if you love the idea of visiting monasteries, buying handicrafts and seeing snow fall, then you must visit Lachung. You should also see the largest Buddhist monastery by the name Lachung Gompa here.

Yumthang Valley in Sikkim
Yumthang Valley in Sikkim                                                                                Image Credits: Soumyajit Pramanick via Wikimedia Commons under CC by SA 2.0

Yumthang, on the other hand, is a beautiful valley locked within snowcapped mountains – that makes it absolutely unmissable for nature lovers. You can also see ranges like Mt. Pandim, Mt Simvo, Mt Jopuno along with Gangtok’s Rhododendron Sanctuary here.

Zuluk – an offbeat Sikkim Attraction

An offbeat destination in Sikkim, Zuluk is a pretty village located at a high altitude. Having connections with the Silk Route, this village has a fascinating history. As you drive up the mountainous roads, great views of the snowcapped mountain ranges will embrace you in their beauty.

The old Silk Route in Zuluk
The old Silk Route in Zuluk                                                                              Image Credits: Madhumita Das via Wikimedia Commons under CC by SA 4.0

Zuluk is a great place to visit if you’re looking for snowfall in Sikkim. It also has many attractions like the Nag temple, the Thambi View Point, and the Mt. Kanchenjunga.

A few other must-see tourist places in Sikkim include Yuksom, an old historic town in West Sikkim and a gateway to Kanchenjunga National Park, Rumtek Monastery – the oldest one in Sikkim, Ravangla, a place furrowed by dense forests and beautiful mountain views and the small town of Pelling that is rich in flora and fauna both.

So, if the sweltering summer heat or hectic daily routine is getting too much to handle, plan a trip to this beautiful place soon.  However, avoid traveling during monsoon season as the place experiences frequent landslides and floods during rains. This may not be ideal for you and your vehicle, both. Even otherwise, when traveling through road, and that too through your car, it is vital that you have the right motor insurance policy. This policy will cover for any loss to the vehicle insured, any third-party liability that may arise or against personal accident. Moreover, Tata AIG also offers 13 add-on covers which can provide your vehicle with enhanced coverage, taking many financial worries off your back.

So, before you get your vehicle’s tanker full and set out for the journey, always make sure that you have an active motor insurance policy. This cover will have your back and will ensure that you enjoy your trip in a carefree manner. With this, you are now well prepped to head to your must-visit places in Sikkim. Just pin this up as a ready reckoner and get, set and go!

Places to visit in Sikkim

 

This post has been written by Anisha Arora.  She is an aspiring writer, literature geek and author. She has several journals, articles, and papers to her name. Writing is her passion. She writes about mostly all genres.

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28 Responses

  1. Vimal Bhatia

    Nicely written and presented post and is very inspiring, Ami and Anisha. The pictures are simply amazing. I am sure you would like to add Pelling and Darap village to the above list simply for their beauty and tranquility.

  2. Emily

    Sikkim natural beauty astounds me. Each picture was more beautiful than the last. In regards to places, Tsomgo Lake and River Teesta would be at the top of my list. Both are picturesque and I love being on the water.

    • Ami

      It is one pristine and gorgeous place in India. Hope you can plan to get there. Thanks for stopping by

  3. Vanessa Ball

    I’ve heard of Sikkim but not much until I read this blog! I was blown away by the beauty of Tsomgo Lake. The yak safari sounds like fun at Nathula Pass and would be great to learn more about the place at the Exhibition Centre and war memorial. I’m a big fan of adventure sports so the rafting and kayaking on the River Teesta would be perfect for me. Again, I couldn’t believe how stunning Lachun, Lachen and Yumthang Valley is and it’s good to hear they have preserved their culture there. This has most definitely been bookmarked!

    • Ami

      It is a very different part of India. One that not many foreigners visit. If you get a chance, don’t miss getting here. Thanks for stopping by

  4. Leah

    Sikkim looks incredible! I am hoping to visit India for the first time soon, and I will keep Sikkim in mind as a must-see destination. We love kayaking, so the river looks perfect for us. Zuluk would also be a fun adventure.

    • Ami

      Good to know that you are getting here. I highly recommend Sikkim then – will give you a very different perspective of our country.

  5. Pooja

    Wow. I am in the process of planning a road-trip to North East India and this post is just what I need. I have bookmarked it for future reference. How were the locals there?

    • Ami

      Very helpful – the locals will be able to guide you well. Also, recommend that you take a local taxi service as the roads here are narrow and the locals do know their way around.

  6. Emmanuel Damian

    Tsomgo Lake looks so amazing! I would like to have a selfie there. Zuluk looks great on winter. I hope I can go there during winter time.The Thambi View Point must be one of the greatest spot there. I hope there are guided tours that I can join there.

    • Ami

      It is best to hire a guide from Gangtok and have him along with you on the road trip. Alternately, some of the drivers also take up the role of guides. Hope you can visit Sikkim soon. Cheers

  7. Hailey

    Wow Sikkim looks BEAUTIFUL! I’m not very familiar with different parts of India so this was inlightening for me! Yumthang looks like an incredibly beautiful place, I could see myself handing out there all day just sitting and relaxing.

    • Ami

      It is one of our most unexplored destinations. Hope you can see this different vista of India

  8. chetan Yamger

    Amazing article and amazing pictures .its look like your life dream traveller life .You are ture brand ambassador of india truism .Very positive pictures..

  9. amar singh

    I was born and brought up in Calcutta and was lucky enough to visit Sikkim on more than one ocasion and must admit this post brought back loads of memories. I remember travelling by road from Siliguri on more than one ocassion and yes the journey is just stunning and one you only have to experience to find out what it is. There is so much to see and do in this part of India and one of my favourites would be Tsomgo Lake and Nathula Pass. I love the culinary delights as well of Sikkim. Thanks for a great post

    • Ami

      Thanks Amar. I can only say that you are really lucky to have visited this more than once.

  10. Shaily

    Sikkim is bestowed with heavenly beauty. From the blue waters and migratory ducks of Tsomgo Lake to the serene beauty of Teesta Lake and the breathtaking views of Lachung, Lachen and Yumthang valley – everything looks so stunning and pristine. I agree with you that the best way to enjoy such spectacular views is to take a road trip. Sikkim is high up on my bucket list. I’ll keep these places in my itinerary on my trip to this piece of paradise

    • Ami

      Am sure the road trip will treat you to a lot more than just the final destination. Thanks for the lovely comment, Shaily

  11. FS Page

    The northeast states are so neglected yet so much beautiful. I am in love with this region of India. The Tsomgo lake looks so appealing with the bright blue color surrounded by snow-covered hills. I am hearing about Zuluk for the first time and am sure it is worth visiting. Thanks for such a comprehensive listicle. Would help a lot while charting out an itinerary for Sikkim.

    • Ami

      I still have to cover so much of this region. Anisha reminded me to plan for it soon!

  12. Cordelia

    Hi Anisha! Great post on Sikkim, was not aware that this place has so many breathtaking locations to visit! The Gurudongmar Lake looks amazing, also the mountain view at Zuluk looks awesome! I think Sikkim is a must visit place for nature lovers.

  13. Jyoti

    I must say Sikkim is a beautiful region of India. The photos that you have clicked are awesome with mesmerizing views. Nice description of the place. I am also planning to visit Sikkim with friends in mid of December. Thanks for sharing the information.

  14. Danial

    This is quite incredible to think that the second smallest state of india. Sikkim can boast of so many wonderful destination. Last year I had visited some places to Sikkim with my friends and enjoyed a lot.

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