Tourism in the state
Tourism in Sikkim gained popularity during
the last decade with increasing number of tourists visiting
this hilly region for its natural beauty. Till the early 90’s
few tourists would visit this landlocked state. Even those
who visited hardly went beyond Gangtok, the state capital.
During the last two decades tourism has seen major boost in
the state with close to a million tourists visiting Sikkim
(120 km from Gangtok) is the major airport of the region.
Regular flights connects Bagdogra to major airports in the
country. New Jalpaiguri Rail Station (115 km from Gangtok)
also known as NJP is the major rail head. All trains travelling
to the North East passes through NJP. Siliguri
(110 km from Gangtok) is the main junction where Road, Air
and Rail traveller gets down before travelling to Sikkim.
There are two main entry points. Tourists
visiting East and North districts including capital Gangtok,
enter into Sikkim through Rangpo. The other major entry point
is through Malli which is the entry point for West and South
and entry rules
Indian tourists do not require any permit
to enter the state. However some of the tourist destinations
are known as ‘Restricted Area’ and Indian tourists also require
permit to visit these 'restricted' places. These places include
Nathula - Tsongo Lake – Zuluk – Memenchu area in East, entire
North district, Dzongri – Goechala area in West district etc.
Foreign visitors must first get tourist
permit before entering into Sikkim. This Inner Line Permit
(ILP) is issued at a number of places but most tourists collect
it on arrival at Siliguri or at entry check post. Double check
your ILP details with our executive if you are travelling
during a holiday or arriving late in the evening as the issuing
offices does not remain open 24 hours.
Further details about entry rules
can be found here
Gangtok is the
most important town and the capital of the state. It lies
on a ridge with fine views of the Kanchenjunga. This is the
most common tourist destination in the state. You can easily
spend 2 to 3 days sightseeing around Gangtok. If you intend
to travel to North Sikkim, you must spend two nights in Gangtok
on your way and back.
is the second most popular tourist destination. It is
the original capital of Sikkim and ruins of the erstwhile
capital is still well preserved. Pelling also offers excellent
views of the Kanchenjunga range of mountain.
North Sikkim offers
natural beauty at its best. Lachen
and Lachung are the two main tourist
towns; Lachen acting as a base for trip to Gurudongmar and
Lachung as the base for visiting the Yumthang valley area.
To really see this Himalayan state, it is
necessary to leave the hamlets and travel to the remote areas.
It is impossible not to be awed by Sikkim's sharp, lush hills,
leaping waterfalls, thundering rivers, and placid lakes.
The people, sculpted by lives of low-tech
farming and mountainous travel, have behind them generations
of communal intermixing.
Sikkim is divided into 4 districts, South,
North, East and West.
The South District has lower altitude and Namchi is the district
capital. The Samdruptse monastery and Char Dham have brought
Namchi into the tourism landscape. The other important tourist
destination here is Ravangla. Gangtok
is located in the East District. West District offers destinations
such as Pelling and Yuksom as well
as beautiful treks such as the one to Dzongri.
The North district bordering China offers excellent high altitude
destinations such as Yumthang Valley
Most tourists visit the common tourist destinations
on a leisure tour. These packages are often combined with
Darjeeling. If you are interested in Leisure tours, please
visit our leisure
tours section for Darjeeling and Sikkim.
There is substantial interest to combine
adventure with your tour. In Sikkim we offer Mountain Biking,
Rafting and Trekking as part of your tour. Special interest
tours include village tours, monastic tours and others.
and nature based tourism
The mountain state is rich with wide variety
of flora and fauna. About 450 varieties of orchids, over 600
species of butterflies, 500 species of birds along with red
pandas, snow leopards and other animals can be seen in Sikkim.
The largest collection can be seen at the Kanchenjunga National
Park which covers an area of 850 square kilometres. As a result
ornithology tourism is also gaining in prominence in Sikkim.
The National Parks in Sikkim include Kyongnosia
Alpine Sanctuary in East district. You will pass through these
forests on your visit to Tsongo lake or Nathula from Gangtok.
Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary in South Sikkim can be visited based
in Ravangla. Small treks in the area are also organised. Shingba
Rhododendron Sanctuary in North Sikkim is located near Yumthang
valley and can be visited during North Sikkim tour. Varsey
Rhododendron Sanctuary in West can be accessed either from
Rinchenpong Kaluk area or from Hilley area. There are nice
treks inside the Sanctuary where trekkers huts are also available.
Sikkim was an independent state till very
recently. It was annexed into India only in 1975. Till now
people from the state enjoy a host of special privileges due
to this reason. The original capital of the state was at Rabdantse
near Pelling. The ruins of the erstwhile capital is well preserved
and can be visited by tourists during their tour to Pelling.
The cultural life of the people is related
to Tibetan traditions. The Namgyal Institute of Tibetology
in Gangtok has one of the largest collections of Tibetan books
in the world. Many Buddhist monasteries are repositories of
artistic treasures, including wall paintings, tankas, and
Travel and Tourism and agriculture is the
basis of the local economy. Sikkim is India's major producers
of cardamom. The local forests have great economic value in
timber and wood pulp. The states cotton and wool weaving,
carpets, rugs, blankets, and bamboo work is also well known.
Although it was historically a Buddhist
kingdom, the Hindus currently represent the majority. Sikkim
has close links with Tibet and it's the home of over 250 monasteries
of mostly the Nyingma-pa sect.
Buddhism is an integral part of the people and their culture,
and many of the recommended trips around Gangtok have a monastery
as their ultimate destination. The monasteries that are closest
to Gangtok are Enchey, Rumtek and Phodong. Click here to see
a list of monasteries of Sikkim.
Nepali is spoken by vast majority of the
population, Tibetan and Lepcha languages are spoken by specific
communities. Hindi is understood and spoken throughout Sikkim,
English and Bengali is spoken in tourist centers.
The annual rainfall varies from 50-200 inches
(mostly during June - September), and perennial snow in the
upper levels often accumulates to a thickness of few meters.
The best times to see orchids in bloom are April - May, July
- August, and November.
Temperature varies with altitude. The lower altitude South
Sikkim is relatively hotter. In North district the temperature
is much lower and may remain below freezing point for most
of the year.
Map of Sikkim
Services that we offer
Tour - naturebeyond organises regular package tours to
Sikkim. All our tours are customized according to guest preferences.
You can check our Leisure tours section for ideas about package
Sikkim - The best hotel options are available at Gangtok.
But other major destinations also have good accommodations.
Check our list of hotels in Gangtok and other destinations
Tours - Whether you want to go for a trek to Dzongri -
Goechala or a biking tour through east and west, we have unmatched
expertise in this region.
Car Rental -
naturebeyond owns its own transport car and lends them on