Sikkim Tourism - A Complete Travel Guide

A journey to Sikkim India means awakening the senses and discovering the pristine beauty of the land. What one will find most fascinating is the journey itself-a continuum of sights, sounds, and feelings. Sikkim is a dream that one can realize and enjoy now that the area is open to all. It is a state cloaked in the mystery of remoteness and far away from the din and bustle of the modern world.

To know about the state’s best time to visit, how to reach, and top attractions, we’ve put together a travel guide for Sikkim.


Located in the eastern Himalayas, Sikkim is bound by Tibet (China) in the north, West Bengal in the south, Tibet and Bhutan in the east, and Nepal in the west. The state is spread below Mount Kanchenjunga (8,534 m), the third-highest peak in the world. It is cut into steep escarpments in the north, except in the Lachung and Lachen valleys, which are thinly populated. The Rangeet and the Teesta are the state's major river systems that cut through the valleys. Many hot water springs like Phur-Cha, Ralang Sachu, Yumthang, and Momay are also available in Sikkim. The snowline starts at around 5,248 meters in Sikkim.

History of Sikkim

Buddhism, the major religion in Sikkim, arrived from Tibet in the 13th century. It took its distinctive Sikkimese form four centuries later, when three Tibetan monks of the old Nyingamapa order, dissatisfied with the rise of the reformist Gelupas, migrated to Yuksom in western Sikkim. Having consulted an oracle, they went to Gangtok looking for a certain Phuntsong Namgyal, whom they crowned as the first Chogyal or 'Righteous King' of Denzong in 1642. He was soon recognized by Tibet and brought sweeping reforms. His kingdom was far larger than today's Sikkim and included Kalimpong and parts of western Bhutan.

Over the centuries, the territory was lost to the Bhutanese, the Nepalese, and the British. The British policy to diminish the strong Tibetan influence resulted in the import of workers from Nepal to work in the tea plantations of Sikkim, Darjeeling, and Kalimpong, and these soon outnumbered the indigenous population.

After India's Independence, the eleventh Chogyal, Tashi Namgyal, strove hard to prevent the dissolution of his kingdom. Officially, Sikkim was a protectorate of India. However, India's role became increasingly crucial with the Chinese military build-up along the northern borders, culminating in an invasion early in the 1960s. The next king Palden Thondup was a weak ruler and, in 1975, succumbed to the demands of the Nepalese majority of becoming a part of India.

Fairs & Festivals of Sikkim

The people of Sikkim celebrate the anniversaries relating to birth, enlightenment, and nirvana of the Buddha, besides the Buddhist New Year and the harvest festivals. In addition, several festivals are celebrated in Gangtok and its adjoining areas.

The Buddhist festival of Bumchu is held in the Tashiding Gompa during January and also in the Dubdi Gompa.

The festival of Chaam is held in the Enchey Gompa during January-February and is marked by dancing. This dance is a mask dance held every month at Gangtok, Pemayangtse, and Phodong.

Losar marks the Tibetan New Year and is celebrated during February-March at Pemayangtse and Rumtek. Tse Chu is a Buddhist dance held in May at Rumtek. Saga Dawa (held in Gangtok during May) and Drukpa Teshi (celebrated statewide during July) mark the Buddha's first teaching anniversary. Phang Lhabsol is a mask dance celebrated statewide during August. Dasain celebrated during September-October, is marked by the exchange of gifts and animal sacrifice.

Best Time to Visit Sikkim

Due to its location and altitude, there is an immense variation in climate and vegetation in Sikkim. In the state, the climate is tropical up to 1,624 m, temperate between 1,624 m-4,222 m, alpine above 4,222 m, and snowbound at 5,248 m. 

Summer - The  best time to visit Sikkim is between mid-March and June but especially April and May when the rhododendrons and orchids are in full bloom. However, temperatures can be high, especially in the valleys. 

Monsoon - During monsoons (June to September), rivers and roads become impassable, though plants damaged by the constant rain spring back to life again and bloom towards the end of August. October, when orchids bloom once again, and November tend to have the clearest weather of all. 

Winter - As December approaches, it gets bitterly cold in the high altitude areas and remains that way until early March, though interspersed with spells of clear weather.

How to Reach Sikkim

By Air


The town of Bagdogra has the nearest airport at a distance of 124 km from Gangtok. There are regular flights to Guwahati, Calcutta, and Delhi from Bagdogra. You can book flights from Bagdogra at the Indian Airlines office on Tibet Road in Gangtok or choose the Sikkim tour package by Tourism of India, which will include all your flights, road transfers, meals, and stays.

By Train


The nearest railway stations from Gangtok are New Jalpaiguri (125 km) and Siliguri (144 km) connected to Delhi, Calcutta, Guwahati, and other important cities in India.

By Road


Daily bus services are available to Siliguri (5 hours), Darjeeling (7 hours), Kalimpong (3 hours), and Bagdogra (4½ hours). Shared jeeps and taxis are a faster alternative to commute. If you want to self-drive, you can get a vehicle with a permit for intercity drives.

Tourist Attractions in Sikkim

One of the best destinations in North East India, Sikkim is dotted with several natural and artificial wonders. All the Sikkim tourist places are worth visiting and allure travelers from all around the globe. Consisting of high-altitude passes, monasteries, glaciers, lakes, flora & fauna, temples, colorful markets, and more, here is a list of some of the best places to see in Sikkim -

  • Gangtok
  • Tsomgo Lake 
  • Yumthang Valley
  • Teesta River 
  • Pelling 
  • Rumtek Monastery 
  • Lachung 
  • Zero Point 
  • Kanchenjunga Falls

More Tourist Destinations in Sikkim

Faqs About Tourism of Sikkim

Q: Where is Sikkim located?

Ans. Sikkim is located in the northeast region of India and is easily accessible by road, train, and air. One of the fastest-growing, multilingual states, it borders Tibet (north and northeast), Bhutan (east), Nepal (west), and West Bengal (south). Sikkim is also located near India’s Siliguri Corridor near Bangladesh.

Q: Is Sikkim safe to travel?

Ans. Yes, Sikkim is safe to travel with friends, family, beloved, or even solo. It is, in fact, among India’s safest travel destinations. Solo female travelers can visit Sikkim to explore the beauty and culture worry-free and have a great time. 

Q: How is the weather in Sikkim India?

Ans. Sikkim’s weather tends to change from subtropical in the south to tundra in the north. Many inhabited parts of the state experience a temperate climate, with temperatures exceeding 28°C in summer. On average, the temperature in Sikkim remains around 18°C, making your visit a pleasant affair. 

Q: Which language is spoken in Sikkim?

Ans. A large part of Sikkim speaks English, Nepali, and Hindi. If you visit the village areas, you will find the locals talking in regional languages, including Lepcha, Sikkimese, Gurung, Limbu, Mukhia, and more. 

Q: How many days are enough to visit Sikkim?

Ans. You need at least 15 days to explore the best of Sikkim’s monasteries, lakes, glaciers, villagers, viewpoints, markets, and more. 

Q: What is the famous food of Gangtok?

Ans. Thukpa is the major dish consumed in Gangtok, Sikkim. Other than this, momos, Phagshapa, Churrpi, Sel Roti, Masauyra Curry, and Thenthuk are served at many restaurants throughout the city. 

Q: What are the best hotels in Sikkim?

Ans. Sikkim hotels offer stays for families, couples, solo travelers, and friends at various price ranges. From luxury to budget, you can choose the hotel in Sikkim as per your idea of a holiday. Whether you want to stay amidst nature and enjoy the Himalayan views or live the life of a local at a guesthouse, it’s totally up to you. Here are some best hotels in Sikkim we recommended -

  • Mayfair Spa Resort and Casino
  • WelcomHeritage Resort Denzong Regency
  • Orange Village Resort
  • Summit Norling Resort And Spa
  • Chumbi Mountain Retreat and Spa
Q: Is a passport required for traveling to Sikkim?

Ans. Yes, you need a valid passport to visit India. Further, as Sikkim is close to the international border, an Inner Line Permit is required for Sikkim India travel. This can be obtained from all Indian Missions, Sikkim Tourism Offices at Kolkata, New Delhi, District Magistrate's Office of Darjeeling, Rangpo Siliguri on the basis of a valid Indian Visa.

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