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Gangtok


Gangtok – Capital of Sikkim, is located at low altitude and does not receives snowfall.  It is fast becoming concrete jungle like Shimla in Himachal Pradesh.  However, it still has plenty to offer making two to three days visit justifiable.

One day tours take you around the Buddhist monasteries and nearby view points and attractions.  If you are holding Indian Passport then one day visit to the Nathula pass (China Border) should not be missed.  There is nothing special about the pass, but the scenic beauty on the way and the lake are what one needs to be on lookout for.  Third day can be used to simply walk around and enjoy the town and the cable ride offering great views.  Being a hilly area, it is the weather and local / town atmosphere which needs to be enjoyed.  If you are staying on the upper ridge, then your window should be offering you fabulous views 24×7.  In one of the evenings, you can try your luck at striking a jackpot in the Mayfair Casino.

Gangtok Attractions:

Mall Road:  Mall Road is nice cute road in the middle of town.  It is the main shopping and eating area and pubs and bars are on the road adjacent to it.  This road is reserved for walking / pedestrians only. Take a stroll around this road and explore Gangtok on foot.

Rumtek Monastery:  About 30 – 40 min drive from Gangtok, this monastery is one of the most important and active monasteries in the state.  It is a large Monastery with …

Ganesh Tok:  On the upper side of town, this temple sits on top of the hill offering glorious views of Gangtok.  Hanuman Tok, 4km ahead of Ganesh Tok, is also an impressive viewpoint

Tashi Viewpoint:  Located 4km outside Gangtok besides main route of Phodong, it offers best views of Khangchendzonga from Gangtok.

Nathulla Pass:  Good day trip which I missed as I overslept.  Favorite spot of locals (Indian Passport Holders) and open only for locals.  It is located at higher altitude than Gangtok and light wollens are always recommended even in June if in doubt.  This pass leads to China border.  Here you can play in snow, visit the nearby lake, and enjoy the natural beauty.  Border is open for Indians with permits to cross over to China, to trade and return on the same day and vice versa.

Museum / Cable Car Ride:  Cable car ride can be taken from upper ridge to the lower and back, if desired.  It is a 10 minute ride one way and offers gorgeous views of the town.  Also, do not miss visiting the large and elaborate Namgyal Institute of Tibetology on the lower end of Cable car station.  It is a fantastic museum of Buddhism and Tibetan culture

Adventure Sports and Helicopter Ride:  Para-gliding, helicopter ride for different durations are also available.  Caveat – Para-gliding has weight restriction of 80kgs of body weight of the glider.

Enchey Gompa:  Located on the northern outskirts of Gangtok, it is one of the most impressive monastery in Gangtok.  It is some of the most decent murals and statues of Tantric deities.  If you are in Gangtok during 11th Tibetan lunar month do not miss to see the Detor Chaam – the masked dance.

Casino – The unexpected attraction.  Located about 20min drive downhill from Gangtok in the five star hotel – Mayfair, it is very good place to have dinner and try your luck at striking jackpot. It is relatively inexpensive compared to many other casinos with minimum single bet amount being Rs. 100 and one bet sufficient to play.  The entry ticket / cover charge of Rs. 1,000 includes three drinks and dinner plus drop back conveyance.  Drop back conveyance is not available between 1am – 3am.  If re-visiting within 24hrs then you get 50% discount on the cover charge.

Hotel and Stay:

Plenty of options are available however I will recommend staying in upper ridge in budget to mid budget hotels.  Views from here of the town are excellent. However, you will have to walk a little for about 10mins to reach the main town / MG road.

Food & Eating:

Small eating joints offering snacks are available everywhere.  Main restaurants are available on MG Road.

Commuting within Gangtok:

Walking is the best way to commute.  Distances are small but with elevation.  Town is not very big and shortcuts available further reduce the distance.  Average fitness is sufficient to explore on foot.

Tourism Office:

Website: www.sikkimtourism.gov.in

Office Location:  MG Road (Close to overhead bridge)

 

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