13 Reason Why You Should Visit Gangtok for the Ultimate Weekend Getaway

Sikkim, as we know, is a landlocked state, with the capital being Gangtok. With its explicit homeliness and cleanliness as well, it is not only a great choice for family long weekends, but for solo travelers as well, especially for the females. 

    Itinerary to Follow

    Day 1: NJP/ Bagdogra-Singtam-Gangtok

    Day 2: Saramsa Garden- Rumtek Monastery- Ranka Monastery- Banjhakri Falls and Park- Hanuman Tok- Ganesh Tok- Sikkim Himalayan Zoo- Namgyal Institute of Tibetology- Do Drul Chorten- Deorali Ropeway- M. G. Marg

    Day 3: Tashi view point- Tsomgo Lake (Changu Lake) – Nathu La- Baba Mandir- Gangtok

    Day 4: Back to NJP

    M. G. Marg in the evening

    Pro Tip: It is suggested that you reach Gangtok first and from there get a local sightseeing package. For a whole day trip they would charge 1800 for small vehicle. And yes, start early.

    Current rates and fares for Luxury Vehicles

    Current rates and fares for Normal Vehicles

    Saramsa Garden

    Start with Saramsa garden, it is nearest to the Pakyong Airport. It is a perfect example of gardening. Many garden sculptures are made out of different vegetables; all-in-all a nature-themed park. It also holds a convention center and cafeteria. There is also a showcasing of vegetables from all four districts of Sikkim. It opens at 10 am.

    Garden Statue of Red Panda

    Rumtek Monastery  

    It is said to be one of the oldest monasteries in Sikkim. It has a large campus along with a training institute. It’s more of like Tibetan residential school and the dress code is of lamas. As for the location, the car will leave you at the gate wherefrom you need to walk-on uphill along with the prayer wheels. There are quite a few articrafts shops in between with merchandise of affordable prices.

    Rumtek Monastery

    Rumtek Premises

    Ranka Monastery  

    This is on the way to Banjhakri Falls (Ranka). Surrounded by mountains, this colorful monastery is vivid besides being quintessential. It is said that the entire range of Kanchendzonga is visible from here, however, we were not lucky enough. The aura of the place will simply etch it onto your mind. In case you are hungry, the cafeteria on the terrace will be a relief to your appetite.

    Ranka Monastery

    Inner Premises of Ranka Monastery

    The inside idols
    Pro Tip: Ranka is also known as the adventure spot of Sikkim, as it is the place hosting the paragliding. Fly Sikkim Adventure is having its office here. Although the flying ground is a little uphill, the landing ground is nearby. So on the way to Banjhakri, you can give this a try. In total, you need to deliver 1 hr of your schedule here. Medium height fly is for 5-10min with INR 2500 as the charges and an extra INR 500 for GoPro.

    Banjhakri Falls and Park  

    The park is purely dedicated to the conservation of energy and nature. A micro hydel plant is set up here and lots of solar panels are here exemplifying energy conservation. The central attraction is the falls here. The park has all amenities like the cafeteria and also holds activities like tree walking.

    The Main Falls

    Renewable Energy sources

    The falls with the Adventure Sports

    Hanuman Tok 

    A well maintained Hindu temple with a magnificent view from the neat and clean temple premises; you can have one or two cups of tea here to give you the boost in the cold.

    Hanuman Tok

    Sikkim Himalayan Zoo  

    The zoo is located just opposite to Ganesh Tok. The closing time is 4.00 pm. So you can have a quick trek through the zoo and then visit Ganesh Tok. It has a varied fauna comprising of red panda and snow leopard as its main attractions.

    Ganesh Tok  

    It is another temple dedicated to Lord Ganesha; it has a number of souvenir shops and teashop. The local dressing is also available here for INR 50 right at the doorsteps of the temple.

    Ganesh Tok

    Namgyal Institute of Tibetology and Do Drul Chorten

    The Namgyal Institute of Tibetology and Do Drul Chorten. The former is a center of Tibetan culture and you would find samples of coins, scriptures etc; the latter is a relic stupa. Both are in the same way, the car will drop you at the base and you have to walk uphill. The hillock gets steeper nearing Do Drul Chorten. (By the time you reach here it will be closed. So to view the relics inside the institute you can cover this on the very first day itself.)

    Namgyal Institute of Tibetology

    Do Drul Chorten
    Pro Tip: Leave your taxi here for the day and go for the ropeway at the Deorali More, get the tickets and hop in. Though the tickets are for a to and fro journey, get down at the M. G. Marg stop and walk down to the Mal and enjoy your evening at the lit up marketplace.

    View of Gangtok from Ropeway

    Mahatma Gandhi Marg or M. G. Marg

    The evening could be well spent in the M. G. Marg. Unlike other parts of Sikkim, M. G. Marg is a busy one even in the evening. You can have a stroll here, or be seated on the walkway benches, or get into an urbane café and have your lone time. In all ways, the time is bound to be well spent.

    Pro Tip: Next day hire a taxi for visiting Nathula, the charge is 3500 for small vehicle. Provide all the necessary documents to the driver on the preceding day so that he can get the permits in time. Get out early in the morning to have a sunrise view at Tashi view point and head for Nathula.

    Tashi View Point

     The Tashi View Point is right on the way to Nathula; it is known for sunrise. It has a shop tower above which there is a resting area from where the view of the valley is resplendent. The Kanchenjunga range is visible here provided the day is not cloudy which was in our case.

    Dragon Statue

    Tashi View Point

    Nathu La

     Off to Nathu La. On the way you would find snow. Well that's the first sight of it. The road abuts through the sloping retaining walls topped with snow; a baked cake with cream toppings.

    Pine and firs dipped in snow

    A Home alone scene!!!! Office of Kailash Mansarovar Yatra

    The roadway skirting through the snow.
    Pro Tip: Since photography is not allowed as it is a vulnerable border area (Indo- China border), you get only one picture. The wind is strong here and there might be a little breathing problem. Walk slowly to the top if you feel out of breath.

    Nathu La

    Baba Mandir

    The next visit was to Baba Mandir. This is indeed a place which would give goosebumps and this is no normal temple. The temple is in memory of an Indian Soldier named Harbhajan Singh. This is the new temple though, the old temple is on the way to Kupup.

    Baba Mandir

    Changu Lake

    Return journey was on the same way through Changu Lake. On the way to Changu we had a little snow play by the roadside.

    That's me in Snow

    Tsomgo or Changu Lake was frozen when we visited (February). The snow-clad mountain and the frozen lake is worth the trip. Yak rides are available here for INR500. Watch out your steps here, every chance is there to fall; at places it’s quite slippery.

    Frozen Lake

    Brahminy duck in stone cold water

    The trip ends with the drop at Gangtok in the evening.

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    1. It has been in my bucket-list for a while. Your post reinforced my motivation for a future trip.


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