Nathula Pass is a mountain pass in the Eastern Himalayas in Sikkim. The high-altitude pass doubles up as the Indo-Chinese border, which serves as the trade link between India and China. Nestled at an elevation of 14,140 feet, Nathula Pass ranks amongst the highest passes accessible by tourists via motorable roads.
This mountainous pass is one of the oldest trading border posts connecting Tibet and India. The silk route, an ancient trade route, used to pass through here. Currently, the Nathula Pass is marked by entrance gates of both countries (India and China) and military bunkers on both sides of the gates. It is one of the unmissable attractions in Sikkim.
Yes, Indians require a Protected Area Permit (PAP) to visit Nathula Pass. This can be obtained from the Sikkim Tourism, Govt. of Sikkim. For this, you need two passport-size photographs and a valid photo id issued by the State Government or Govt. of India.
The Nathula Pass is one of the most beautiful mountain roads in the world. Here are the top places to see here.
The Nathula Pass stays fully closed for tourists usually on Mondays and Tuesdays. However, on other days of the week, the pass is closed by 1:30 pm. Leave in the early morning hours for a comfortable trip.
May to October is the best time to visit Nathula Pass. The temperatures are around 10 °C. The winters here experience heavy snowfall with temperatures dropping to -25 °C. For snow lovers, Nathula Pass is at its best this winter but with proper garments. The sight of the snow-capped mountains and valleys is simply unexplainable.
Nathula Pass is a border post and is occupied by the army. Thus, you will find no accommodation here. However, if you are stranded, the Indian Army can accommodate you for one night.
Nathula Pass shares a border with China. It is a highly-sensitive area but you can visit here to see the beauty of nature. The pass is connected well with Gangtok, a town around 54 km away.
Take a flight to Bagdogra Airport, 178 km from Gangtok. It connects to major cities like Delhi, Bangalore, Kolkata, and Chennai. From there hire a jeep or cab to Nathula Pass.
If you wish to come by train (which is a more inexpensive mode of transportation), get off at New Jalpaiguri Station in Siliguri, around 98 km from Gangtok. Private or shared cabs and buses are available from here to Gangtok. From there, you can get cabs to Nathula Pass.
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