A famous travel quote on the Internet says “Great Things Are Done When Men and Mountains Meet”. True to this quote, Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim, is one of the best hill stations in India that is a must-visit for anyone who loves to head to the mountains to break free from the routine. Incredibly beautiful, blessed with nature’s abundance and shrouded by clouds, Gangtok is one mystique destination worth visiting that will make you fall in love with the place every single time.
There are a number of places to visit in Gangtok. It boasts of a picturesque landscape, cascading waterfalls, numerous magnificent Buddhist monasteries, serene villages and a breath taking view of the Mt Kanchenjunga. No wonder, Gangtok is flocked by innumerable couples, tourists and travel enthusiasts who love to explore this city before visiting other places in Sikkim. Let’s a take a look at the top 15 Gangtok tourist places that you cannot miss while you visit this incredibly beautiful locale.
How to Reach Gangtok?
- By Air: Book a flight till Bagdogra airport. Gangtok is at a distance of 124kms from Bagdogra airport and can be reached in 2 hours via a shared cab of a private one.
- By Train: The nearest railway station to Gangtok is New Jalpaiguri that is located at a distance of 148kms. From here, you can take a local bus or hire a taxi to Gangtok.
- By Road: If you wish to self-drive, you can hire a cab and head to Gangtok on your own.
15 Splendid Places to Visit in Gangtok
1 Rumtek Monastery
Located at a distance of 23kms from Gangtok, Rumtek Monastery is one of the biggest and significant monasteries in Gangtok. It is also known as Dharmachakra Centre and is believed to belong to the Karma Kagyu sect from Tibet. An important Gangtok tourist spot, Rumtek Monastery houses a golden stupa and also has a huge prayer hall where monks carry out elaborate prayers. From the top of this monastery, you get a breathtaking bird’s view of the entire city of Gangtok. The brilliant architecture coupled with an incredible landscape makes it one of the important places to visit in Gangtok.
- Timings: 6 AM to 6 PM
- Entry Fee: Rs10
You can also read about 18 Most Important Buddhist Pilgrimage Places
2 Nathula Pass
Situated at an altitude of 4310m, Nathu La is a high-altitude motorable pass in India present in the Indian state of Sikkim. Nathu La lies approx 54kms from Gangtok and is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Gangtok. This pass connects Sikkim to China-Tibet Autonomous Region and is built amidst the mighty Himalayas. Nathu (which translates to “listening ears”) La (which means “pass” in Tibet) is one among the 3 open trading border posts connecting India and China. Only Indian nationals are allowed to visit this pass that too with a permit. The best time to visit Nathu La is from May to mid-November.
3 Tsomgo Lake
Among many serene places, Tsomgo Lake is one of the most pristine and incredible places to visit in Gangtok. It is a glacial lake located at an unimaginable altitude of 3753m above sea level and must feature on the top of your Gangtok sightseeing itinerary just for one reason – its overwhelming scenic beauty. It has sparkling aquamarine blue waters in the summers that commence in mid-May and the periphery of this lake is dotted by beautiful blossoms that bloom during the season – a picture-perfect moment for all photographers. In the winters, the lake freezes and appears in a translucent colour. Also known as Changu Lake, a visit to this place promises you tranquillity and an impressive view!
4 Namgyal Institute of Tibetology
One of the popular Gangtok tourist places, the Namgyal Institute of Tibetology is an important place of study and research for Tibet and Buddhist culture and history. The museum and the library are the main attractions of NIT that showcase the carefully preserved religious and cultural artefacts that main include statues, paintings, coins, thangkas (embroidery) and Tibet artworks. An incredible example of Tibetan architecture, NIT has a huge facade, huge golden towers and intricately designed frescos. Among the many places to visit in Gangtok, NIT is a must-visit for both history buffs and travel enthusiasts planning a trip to Gangtok.
- Timings: 10 AM to 4 PM, Monday – Saturday
- Entry Fee: Rs 10
5 Tashi Viewpoint
Tashi View Point is the place that offers you the best sunrises and sunsets along with a breathtaking view of the majestic Himalayas. You can literally spend an entire day clicking pictures of the picturesque landscape and enchanting views from here, which makes it one of the most important places to visit in Gangtok. On a clear day, you can also get a glimpse of the snow-covered pristine Mt Sinilochu and Mt Kanchenjunga (the third tallest peak in the world). The clean, unpolluted air, the lush green landscape and the white, snow-clad mountains are enough to convince anyone to visit this place during their Gangtok local sightseeing.
6 Baba Harbhajan Singh Temple
Present at a height of 4000m above sea level, this unique temple is actually built at the Samadhi of a martyred Indian soldier, Harbhajan Singh, who lost his life in the Sino War. As a tribute to this intrepid soldier who died fighting the enemies near the Nathu La Pass, the Indian Army built this shrine. The soldiers patrolling here believe that Baba Harbhajan Singh visits this temple every night and protects them as well. The temple has a huge picture of Baba Harbhajan Singh that is worshipped by many devotees. Baba Harbhajan Singh Temple is undoubtedly one of the most interesting and important places to visit in Gangtok and must feature in your Gangtok local sightseeing list as well!
- Timings: 6 Am to 8 PM
- Entry Fee: None
7 Himalayan Zoological Park
Located just 3kms from the city centre, the Himalayan Zoological Park is a great place and an incredible tourist attraction to include in your Gangtok local sightseeing list. Built on an area of 205 hectares and located at an altitude of 1780m, the Himalayan Zoological Park is an abode to some exotic species of flora and fauna that include the Himalayan red panda, Himalayan palm civet, goral, snow leopard cat, Himalayan Black Bear and others. The park also offers a great view of the Mt Kanchenjunga.
- Timings: 9 AM to 4 PM
- Entry Fee: Indians – Rs 10 and Foreigners – Rs 50
Book comfortable hotels in Gangtok with Treebo and enjoy a pleasant stay here.
8 Seven Sister Waterfalls
The scintillating and awe-inspiring view Seven Sister Waterfalls is definitely one of the incredible places to visit in Gangtok. True to the name, there are 7 waterfalls arranged sideways falling harmoniously from a rugged cliff. One can witness the amazing creativity of nature in the way these falls are created and admire the beauty of the milky white water falling from a great height. The water flows from the falls in 7 stages but only 4 are visible to us. The roaring sound of the gushing water coupled with the scenic beauty of the surroundings is sure to take your breath away! This locale is also famous for its mesmerizing sunsets that give photographers an opportunity to click to their heart’s content. Seven Sisters Falls is located 32kms from Gangtok.
- Timings: 8 AM to 5 PM
- Entry Fee: None
9 Phodong Monastery
Phodong Monastery in Phodong is one among the 6 most important Buddhist monasteries and popular places to visit in Gangtok. Situated at a towering height of 4500m, Phodong Monastery, an abode to more than 250 monks, is a significant religious place near Gangtok. Phodong Monastery boasts of impressive exterior architecture with intricate designs and astounding interiors of awe-inspiring paintings, frescoes and murals that adorn the internal structure of this monastery. If you to stop by a tranquil and serene place, visit Phodong Monastery and enjoy the inner peace and solace that you can feel here.
- Timings: 8 AM to 5 PM
10 Do Drul Chorten
Do-Drul Chorten is an important Buddhist stupa that was built in 1945 by Trulshik Rinpoche, the head of the Nyingma order of Tibet Buddhism, This enormous stupa is believed to have around 108 prayer wheels (Mani Lhakor) engraved with mantras that are chanted by devotees while rotating them. Inside the stupa is the complete set of Dorjee Phurba, religious book and texts and other objects. a quiet and serene locale, Do-Drul Chorten is one of the best places to visit in Gangtok for those who love to explore Buddhist sites and monasteries.
- Timings: 8 AM to 6 PM
11 Hanuman Tok
One of the most famous places in Gangtok, Hanuman Tok is a well-known temple dedicated to Lord Hanuman maintained by the Indian Army. Situated at a height 7200ft, this remarkable temple also gives you a chance to witness the majestic Mt Kanchenjunga peak (the third-highest peak in the world) and undoubtedly is a must-include in your Gangtok local sightseeing itinerary. The captivating beauty of the surrounding hills, lush greenery and the blue sky is a spectacle to behold, which is why Hanuman Tok is must-visit for every local and tourist alike. If you reach this temple before 5 AM, you can also witness the mesmerizing sunrise from here!
- Timings: 5 AM to 7 PM
12 Tsuklakhang Monastery
Tsuklakhang Monastery is a palatial monastery that is worth visiting while you plan your Gangtok local sightseeing. The monastery belonged to the former royal family in Sikkim and is one of the most charming places to visit in Gangtok. This monastery was built by Thutob Namgyal in 1898 AD and is a significant place of worship for the Buddhist local residing nearby. This monastery is also famous for various festivals such as Losoong and Phang Labsol celebrated here. Visit this beautiful Gangtok tourist spot while planning a trip to Gangtok and admire the astounding architecture and breathtaking beauty fo the surroundings.
- Timings: 7 AM to 5 PM
13 Tashiding Monastery
One of the oldest and most sacred monasteries in Gangtok, Tashiding Monastery is an important religious site founded by Ngadak Sempa Chempo Phunshok Rigzing in 1941. This monastery is located close to Yukssom village, one of the famous places to visit in Pelling. Tashiding Monastery is also famous to be a part of the traditional Buddhist pilgrimage that commences from the Yuksom Village with the Dubdi monastery and ends at Khecheopalri Lake. Tashiding Monastery indeed is an important site to visit during your Gangtok local sightseeing.
- Timings: 9 AM to 6 PM
14 Banjhakri Falls
Ban Jhakri Falls is another famous tourist attraction and one of the best places to visit in Gangtok for some fun and recreation. Ban translates to “forest” and jhakri means “healer”, the name of the falls literally means a traditional healer who worships spirits in the cave present on the forest area – a belief that locals trust. This waterfall is situated 10-12kms from Gangtok and it falls from a height of 40feet. The waterfall is surrounded by a park that houses beautiful statues and a large variety of flora which will make you feel relaxed and rejuvenated when you spend some time here.
- Timings: 8 AM to 6 PM
- Entry Fee: Rs 50
15 Shingba Rhododendron Sanctuary
Located close to Gangtok, the exquisite and astounding Shingba Rhododendron Sanctuary is nestled in the calm and serene Yumthang Valley in North Sikkim and is one of the most marvellous places to visit in Gangtok. it houses 40 beautiful varieties colourful rhododendrons, he sight of which is sure take your breath away! The park also has other trees such as Aconites, Saxifrages, Potentillas, and others that bloom into green trees with colourful flowers in the spring season. The picturesque landscape drenched with colourful flowers in this park will make your Gangtok local sightseeing worth your while!
That’s all folks! Here’s our list of 15 of the top places to visit in Gangtok to make your vacation a memorable and cherishable one. Visit Gangtok between October and mid-December to enjoy the cold climate and snowfall or visit it during Spring to witness the nature in its full bloom. Do check in to high-quality hotels in Gangtok and explore the city as long as you like.