From tranquillity to adventure, from spirituality to activities, Gangtok has a lot to quench your thirst of wander. Here a list of exciting things to do in Gangtok is given below.
1. Kanchenjunga Trek
A Gangtok tour remains incomplete without the Kanchenjunga trek through Goecha La pass. This is basically a trek through the Kanchenjunga National Park, starting from Yuksom and ending at Goecha La. The picturesque scenery of flora and fauna is sufficient to drive nature lovers crazy. The Rhododendron flowers and Oak trees will never fail to mesmerize you. You will find three major viewpoints, named Dzongri top, Thansing, and Goecha La, during the trek to please your eyes with the aesthetic view of the snow-capped peaks of the mountains.
The peaks, you shall meet during the trek, are Jupono (5650 meters), Tenchenkhang (6010 meters), Pandim (6691 meters), Kabru Forked (6100 meters), Kabru Dome (6600 meters), Kabru S (7318 meters), Simvo (6812 meters), Koktang (6147 meters), Kabru N (7353 meters), Rathong (6679 meters), Talung (7349 meters) and Kanchenjunga (8586 meters). The ambiance of Samiti lake, on the way to the trek, may stop your legs from moving further.
This trek may appear to be challenging, depending on the weather. You will get clear weather if you plan to participate in the trek during winter. At monsoon, the trek remains closed due to heavy showers.
2. Teesta River Rafting
The river Teesta has always played a crucial role in the lifestyle of the people of Sikkim. As the rivers flow over a number of terrains, it attracts tourists for river rafting. Gangtok offers professional rafting guides and safety jackets for rent during the session. At Triveni, near Teesta Bazaar, multiple organizers are there to organize these activities and to provide rafting guides. After the water sports have been launched, Triveni, where Rangeet meets Teesta, has become a major spot of attraction for a picnic. Melli is the most popular spot there for rafting. Most of the tourists include river rafting into the schedule as a part of camping as the landscape of the valley is quite adored among nature lovers.
December to June is the best time to experience rafting there. It generally costs around 900 INR per person.
You can turn your Gangtok trip into the most adventurous trip ever, with paragliding over the mountains. It will be an exciting experience to fly like a kite over the snow-peaked mountains and the spectacular lakes. Gangtok tourism offers professional paraglide pilots also for amateur paragliders.
Checking for physical fitness will be done at first and only eligible people will be allowed there for the adventurous sport. People weighing more than 90 kg or having respiratory problems are instructed not to participate there. Generally, the paragliding is done at an altitude of 1440 meters to 2000 meters.
The period of May to October is the best time for paragliding. The sport costs around 2550 INR to 4500 INR per person.
4. Cable Ride
Unlike paragliding, if you want to get a close top view of Gangtok city, then you must experience a cable ride over the city once. This is basically an arrangement of a two-way ride in a cable carriage carrying 24 passengers at a time. You will come across three stations, named Deorali, Namnang, and Tashiling in the 1 km long journey. Deorali is the lowest point and Tashiling is the topmost point. You will experience two completely different views while experiencing this two-way ride.
The ride costs 110 INR for tourists over the age of 6 years and 70 INR for tourists below the age of 6 years. For kids below 3 years, Gangtok tourism has kept the ride totally free. It remains open from 9:30 AM to 4:30 PM every day.
5. Helicopter Ride
If you want to have an aerial view of Gangtok city from a mid-range altitude, then a helicopter ride will be perfect for you. You can experience the amazing scenic beauty of the Himalayan ranges, lakes, woods, and Buddhist monasteries from the sky. Since the helicopter flies over some restricted areas also, the Ministry of Defence does not allow photography while having the helicopter ride.
The ride will be confirmed over prior booking on the official website of Sikkim Tourism Development Corporation (STDC). The charges are different for different services.
6. Hang Gliding
For sports lovers, the Gangtok tour remains incomplete without hang gliding activity. This is the newest one among the sporting activities in Gangtok. Just like an eagle, you can fly over the mountains and the valleys and you shall be spellbound by the aerial view of the city. Necessary gears are generally provided from the gliding points. The gliding points are located at Yumthang and Jorethang.
Starting from the middle of May up to the month of October, the sport remains open. It costs around 7500 INR per person. You can rent a Go-Pro camera with 1000 INR to record the precious moment of your adventurous experience.
7. Mountain Biking
The idea of biking over the terrains of the Himalayan Mountains is never skipped by adventure lovers. Riding on the bends of hill-cut roads amidst the woods, tribal villages, rocky streams, and cardamom fields will make you spellbound and this will be something you can never forget in your entire life. The most popular mountain biking routes among tourists are Gangtok-Ranka-Martam (29 km), Yuksom-Kheochepari (25 km), Sirwani-Temi (27 km), Temi-Rabongla (28 km), Pemayanstse-Rinchenpong (45 km), Maenam-Borong (12 km), Tashiding-Yuksom (32 km).
8. Cycling on Silk Route
This is a thing that mountain lovers never want to miss on their Gangtok trip. The 900 km long silk route is a part of the 10,000 km long ancient trade route that establishes a connection between Central Asia and the Mediterranean Sea. Until Tibet became an autonomous region of China, it was used not only to trade horses, tea, and wool but also to set up a cultural bridge between India and China. Cycling over this ancient road, built on the mountains, remains at the top of the bucket list of adventure lovers. 32 hairpin bends in your whole journey will definitely thrill you.
If you are a nature lover and want to see the vibrant flowers of rhododendrons and primroses, then April to June will be the best season for you to explore the silk route. But the ideal time to experience the thrill of cycling on the zigzag path of the silk route is October to March as the weather remains safe and pleasant that time. It takes around 7 days to complete the cycling. Cheap accommodations are available on the way to take rest and boost the energy for the next day. It costs around 20,000 INR per person.
9. Yak Safari
A trip to Gangtok may offer you an experience of yak safari that can inject sonorous enthusiasm and pure essence of joy into you. Around 40 kilometers away from Gangtok city, Tsomgo Lake, also known as Changu Lake is one of the most important tourist attractions in Gangtok. During the winter season, when the lake remains frozen, yak safari is offered to tourists to provide an exclusive experience to them. This calm animal of the cow family is covered by long hair to protect the body from cold. The yaks, trained for tourism purposes, are generally decorated with rugs and ribbons. Every tourist, willing to ride on a yak, is given a trainer also while riding.
The cost for a yak ride to the bridge is around 40 INR. If you want to go up to the viewpoint it will cost around 80 INR, and up to Kemang, it will cost 250 INR. An additional amount of 10 INR is charged for photography.
10. Exploring Nathu La Pass
Nathu La is a Himalayan mountain pass connecting the Indian state of Sikkim and the Chinese autonomous region of Tibet. At an altitude of 14,140 ft from sea level, a journey through the pass will not fail to mesmerize you. Nathu La is an important trade border between India and China. In 1962, as a consequence of the Sino-Indian war, the pass was closed. In 2006, following several bilateral trade contracts between the two nations, the pass was reopened as a restricted region. Only Indian citizens with proper inner line permits can visit there. During winter the pass remains closed due to heavy snowfall. On Monday and Tuesday, the pass remains closed.
11. Click Photos of the Vibrant Flowers
Gangtok, the land of Rhododendrons, is known for the picturesque beauty of the blossoms. Shingba Rhododendron Sanctuary, in Yumthang, has become popular as the ‘Valley of Flowers’ as more than 24 types of Rhododendrons are found there. It has become the favorite destination for the flora-lovers. The backdrop of mountains and the blue sky make the valley more aesthetic.
12. Dip your leg into a hot water spring
Never forget to taste the unique experience of taking a dip in the Yume Samdong’s hot spring, located at Yumthang. This place is widely popular among visitors for a steam bath at freezing temperatures. This hot spring is known to have the power to heal joint pain, arthritis, and some other orthopedic problems also. Gangtok tourism has made two separate pools also there for men and women. If you want a day to relax with chilling activity, you should include this into your bucket list.
13. Taste Sikkimese Dishes
Gangtok can be considered a heaven for foodies as Gangtok tourism offers plenty of mouth-watering traditional dishes of Sikkim. Sikkimese traditional dishes are the perfect fusion of Nepalese, Bhutanese, and Tibetan recipes. Although vegetarian options are also available there, this is heaven for non-vegetarian people. The most delicious dishes that Gangtok offers to its tourists are gundruk soup, sinki soup, sael roti, momos, paneer cheese, thukpa, Tibetan bread, yak cheese, etc. “Chaang“, a locally brewed alcoholic beverage, is must try for alcohol lovers. It is generally served in a bamboo vessel.
14. Spend a night at Zuluk
Zuluk is a small hamlet 90 km away from Gangtok, situated at an altitude of 9,400 ft. Although the night stay at Zuluk is quite an offbeat thing to do during the Gangtok trip, its craze among tourists is increasing every day due to the jaw-dropping view of the Eastern Himalayan range and Kanchenjunga from here. Once the village was treated as the transit point to the Silk route. Only Indian citizens are allowed to visit there with an inner line permit.
15. Shopping at M G Marg
M G Marg is the biggest shopping destination in Sikkim. The marketplace impresses tourists with Chinese and Tibetan goods and handlooms. Traditional clothes, cups, artworks, Feng Shui, rugs, jackets, and lamps are the major attractions here. Also, plenty of restaurants, pubs, and street food corners are present there to impress the foodies. It is a pedestrian-only area. All the buildings here are painted green to spread awareness about environmental issues. The high concern of the Government for Gangtok keeps the place totally clean and litter-free.
So, whenever you will plan your trip to Gangtok, include these in your bucket list and make your trip adventurous and exciting.