12 Things to Do in Sikkim Worth Adding in Your India Itinerary

12 Best Things to Do in Sikkim, Home to the Third Highest Mountain in the World

Hike up gorgeous mountains, chase waterfalls, and admire beautiful architecture unlike anywhere else in the world.

In between Bhutan and Nepal, you’ll find the northeast Indian state of Sikkim — home to the remarkable Kangchenjunga, the third highest peak in the world. Located south of Tibet, it is one of the best-known areas in the Himalayan range. But that’s not all there is to Sikkim — there’s so much more to discover across this breathtaking mountain state. Here are 12 things to do in Sikkim that are definitely worth adding to your itinerary!

Also read: 10 Surprising Reasons Why You Should Travel to India Soon

Top things to do in Sikkim

1. Trek Mt. Kanchenjunga

Trekking Mt. Kanchenjunga is one of the top things to do in Sikkim

Image credit: Soumen Maity

Mt. Kanchenjunga is undoubtedly one of Sikkim’s most awe-inspiring sights. Standing at 8,586 metres, it is the third highest mountain in the world. The Kanchenjunga region spans across Sikkim, Nepal’s Taplejung district, and Tibet. In Tibetan, ‘Kanchenjunga’ means ‘the five treasure houses of snow’ — true to its name, its five peaks are covered in snow even in the summer!

As the trail from Yuksom is known to be wild and strenuous, go only if you’re well-prepared and accompanied by professional guides. Paths are rugged, and there’s also a high chance of encountering Himalayan black bears, Assamese macaques, and snow leopards on your journey.

Tip: A Restricted Area Entry Pass Permit and a Kanchenjunga Conservation Area Permit are required for trekking Mt. Kanchenjunga. You can obtain them from immigration authorities before your hike. Do ensure your documents are in order!

2. Enjoy scenic views from Thambi View Point

If going all the way to Mt. Kanchenjunga’s base camp is too daunting for you, why not admire this natural wonder from afar? Take the opportunity to enjoy other scenic routes and sites like Thambi View Point.

A scenic road trip is one of the things to do in Sikkim

Image credit: Tanmoy Kumar Roy

Alternatively, you may drive along the renowned zigzag road (part of the historic Silk Road), located about 14 kilometres from Zuluk in east Sikkim. Here, you can get sweeping views of Mt. Kanchenjunga, too!

3. Explore Gangtok City

There is much more to Sikkim than its majestic mountains. Gangtok, Sikkim’s capital city, is certainly worth exploring! Located at an altitude of 1,650 metres, it also happens to be the largest town in the state. Since the 1840s, Gangtok has been a popular Buddhist pilgrimage site. Today, it is also a prominent base for hikers to obtain permits and take transport to get around the region.

Gangtok City

Image credit: Subhrajyoti07

There’s never a dull moment in Gangtok! The bustling city boasts of a casino, several viewpoints, and the Namgyal Institute of Tibetology — a museum where you can learn more about Tibetan culture. Go shopping at MG Marg Market and admire colourful varieties of flowers all year round at the Flower Exhibition Centre in Ridge Park!

Gangtok Ropeway

Image credit: Kalyan Neelamraju

In addition, have a thrilling time on the Gangtok Ropeway and snap fabulous overhead pictures of the city!

4. Admire the architecture of Rumtek Monastery

Rumtek Monastery

Image credit: India Tourism

Atop a hill about 23 kilometres from Gangtok, you can witness one of the finest examples of Tibetan architecture. The beautiful Rumtek Monastery is adorned with traditional paintings, and intricate wood carvings decorate its facade. The largest monastery in Gangtok, it holds the remains of the 16th Karmapa (head of the Karma Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism) in a golden stupa, as well as unique religious scriptures and relics.

5. Immerse in the locals’ way of life at Changu Lake

Changu Lake

Image credit: Indrajit Das

Changu Lake is not just one of Sikkim’s most stunning attractions — it’s an interesting place to learn about the locals’ religious practices, too! During ancient times, Buddhist priests would observe the colour of the lake to make predictions about the future. Considered sacred to the Sikkimese, it’s also a site where religious healers come to pray.

Particularly popular for its legendary beauty, Changu Lake is known to sport different looks, depending on the season. During winter, the lake is frozen, and its surrounding areas are covered in snow. In late spring, it is bounded by colourful blooms, and come summertime, birdwatchers will be pleasantly surprised to see Brahminy ducks and other migratory birds!

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6. Drop by the Nathula Pass for an authentic local experience

Nathula Pass

Image credit: Vijayanand7

Get a glimpse into the life of traders and merchants on the old Silk Road by heading over to Nathula Pass. From June to September, markets are set up around the area, and you can shop for winter clothes as well as souvenirs. You may also want to check out Sherathang Trade Mart — home to India’s highest-altitude Internet café!

7. Witness the wonders of Yumthang Valley and Zero Point

To see more of Sikkim’s natural beauty, head to Yumthang Valley or the ‘Valley of Flowers’. It sits at 3,597 metres above sea level and is filled with lovely rhododendrons, woody plants known for their colourful flowers and stunning foliage. To experience the flowers in full bloom, it is best to visit between March and May. At the entrance to the valley, you will find the Yumthang Hot Springs, famous for its healing properties.

Things to do in Sikkim: Visit Yumthang Valley

Image credit: soumyajit pramanick

From Yumthang, Yume Samdong or Zero Point is a 1.5-hour drive away. Civilians are not allowed to drive through the road, as it is near the border shared with China. Still, the three converging rivers and snow-clad mountains in the distance remain an incredible sight to behold.

Tip: You might need to bring supplementary oxygen, as the air can get quite thin at that altitude!

8. Chase the majestic Seven Sister Waterfalls and Banjhakri Falls

Seven Sister Waterfalls in Sikkim, India

Image credit: Subhrajyoti Saha (left); Madhumita Das (right)

If you’ve always admired Norway’s famous Seven Sister Waterfalls, you’ll be glad to know that Sikkim is home to an attraction of the same name that is just as majestic! Sikkim’s very own Seven Sister Waterfalls are located along the Gangtok-Lachung Highway. Due to its popularity as a photo spot, a shed and a cafeteria have been built by the Tourism and Civil Aviation Department.

Image credit: Sikkim Tourism Development Corporation

Why stop at just one waterfall? Sikkim’s gorgeous Banjhakri Falls are also worth a visit! Get some exercise by paddling along on a boat across the manmade lake, which features a dragon statue as its centrepiece.

9. Stroll around the Buddha Park of Ravangla

A trip to the Buddha Park of Ravangla is a must when visiting Sikkim! It’s particularly famous for its large Buddha Statue, which can be clearly seen from anywhere in the area, and even some parts of West Sikkim. This is also where Pang Lhabsol, an annual religious festival, is held every August or September. At the base of the statue, you’ll also find a gallery where you can view murals and holy relics of Buddha derived from 11 different countries.

10. Strike a pose at Singshore Bridge in Pelling

Connecting two gorges in the west of Sikkim, the Singshore Bridge spans approximately 200 metres, and is the second highest bridge in Asia!

Singshore Bridge in Pelling, India

Image credit: @poisedpixel

Upon crossing the bridge, visit the Alpine Cheese Factory and have a taste of their famous gouda. You can also check out nearby sites like the Rabdentse Ruins, which is located just five kilometres from Pelling.

11. Indulge in Sikkim’s local cuisine

Of course, a trip to Sikkim wouldn’t be complete without experiencing the local cuisine. At this mountain state, make sure to treat yourself to unique flavours you won’t be able to enjoy anywhere else in the world!

momos

Image credit: Ritesh Man Tamrakar

If there’s one thing you need to try in Sikkim’s mountainous areas, it’s momos, a type of dumpling originating from Nepal and Tibet.

Also read: 3 Thrifty Eats & 3 Bargain Places to Shop in Mumbai, India

thukpa

Image credit: Rajivkilanashrestha

Warm yourself up with a bowl of thukpa — steaming hot noodles are best enjoyed in cool, high-altitude areas, after all! Also, don’t miss out on sinki, a side dish of fermented radish similar to kimchi in Korea.

12. Visit the sacred Siddheshwar Dham

Siddheshwar Dham

Image credit: India Tourism

Lastly, cap off your visit with a trip to Siddhesvara Dham, which is situated atop Solophok Hill. Here, you’ll find models of the sacred Char Dham Hindu Temples of Jagannath, Badrinath, Dwaraka, and Rameswaram. The site also houses the five-metre statue of Kirateshwar, a hunter incarnation of the Hindu God Shiva.

Lord Shiva at Siddheshwar Dham, Sikkim, India

Image credit: Spandan Pattanayak

Siddhesvara Dham’s biggest attraction is its 33-metre statue of Lord Shiva. The large figure is surrounded by replicas of 12 Jyotirlingas (traditional shrines dedicated to Shiva) — the actual shrines are actually scattered all across India!

To sum it up, Sikkim is one of India’s most picturesque mountain states, with its magnificent landscape views and mountain trails, as well as captivating ancient temples and monasteries. So, on your next visit to India, don’t just skim over Sikkim — take the time to marvel at all its beautiful wonders!

Find out more by visiting India Tourism’s official website and Facebook page.


Brought to you by India Tourism.

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Alicia Chong
Alicia Chong

Besides dreaming of far-fetched locations, Alicia enjoys training herself and others on ice in figure skating.

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