Sikkim possesses a captivating enchantment that cannot be overstated. Its mystical landscapes are truly awe-inspiring. However, while places like Gangtok, Tsomgo Lake, and Nathula are well-known, the untouched beauty of North Sikkim retains its raw authenticity and distinctiveness. To fully experience a vacation in Sikkim, one must not overlook the exploration of North Sikkim, with its captivating destinations like Lachung, Gurudongmar, and Katao.
Here is a comprehensive list of remarkable destinations in North Sikkim that should not be missed. As soon as you enter North Sikkim, you will be greeted by snow-capped mountains. If you happen to visit in a slightly warmer season, you will also be treated to a vibrant display of blooming flowers and cascading streams. Let us now embark on a journey and discover the top places you must visit in North Sikkim, and the ideal seasons to plan your adventurous vacation.
Top 19 Places to Explore in North Sikkim
If you are only familiar with Tsomgo Lake, Nathula Pass, and Gangtok in Sikkim, prepare to be amazed. There is much more to this magnificent state than meets the eye, and we are here to guide you through the unexplored wonders of North Sikkim. Below, you will find some of the most breathtaking sights that deserve your attention.
– Lachung: A Hidden Gem in North Sikkim
– Yumthang Valley: Witness the Abundance of Rhododendrons
– Gurudongmar Lake: Gaze at the Reflection of the Sky
– Lachen: A Heavenly Escape on Earth
– Cholamu Lake: A Paradise for Photographers
– Chopta Valley: Step into a Magical Paradise Straight Out of Movies
– Thangu: A Barren, Yet Surprisingly Beautiful Place
– Yume Samdong: Reaching the Zero Point
– Shingba Rhododendron Sanctuary: A Delight for the Senses
– Phensang Monastery: Marvel at the Architectural Splendor
– Khangchendzonga National Park: A Haven for Nature Enthusiasts
– Chungthang: Discover the Charms of a Quaint Town
– Seven Sisters Waterfall: Majestic Cascades
– Mt. Katao: A Nature Lover’s Haven
– Mangan: Marvelous Landscapes Await
– Lachung Monastery: Discover Tranquility Amidst Quaint Surroundings
– Bhim Nala Falls: Experience the Beauty of a Breathtaking Waterfall
– Green Lake Trek: Uncover Nature’s Hidden Bounty
– Singhik: Find Solace in Serenity
1. Lachung: A Hidden Gem in North Sikkim
Lachung is an absolute must-visit and one of the top highlights of North Sikkim. This place is celebrated for its offbeat charm. Nestled within a small village, Lachung is blessed with its own river and a serene gompa. The area is primarily adorned with apple orchards and pear vegetation, painting a picturesque scene. Immerse yourself in the tranquil beauty of Lachung by opting for a homestay.
In addition to its natural allure, Lachung is famous for its vibrant Christmas celebrations. A visit to the local gompa is highly recommended, as its colorful architecture leads the way to the spectacular Shingba Rhododendron Sanctuary. The name “Lachung” translates to “small pass” in reference to its location near the Tibetan border. To complete your experience, do not miss the opportunity to explore the weaver’s society, known for its exquisite handwoven blankets and shawls.
Directions: The optimal method to arrive at Lachung is by driving from Gangtok to Lachung via Singhik viewpoint, Seven Sisters Waterfall, and Naga Waterfalls.
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2. Yumthang Valley: Observe Various Species Of Rhododendrons
This is another captivating destination to explore in North Sikkim, brimming with picturesque spots. The area is teeming with lush rhododendron trees and is home to several hot Sulphur springs. You will be delighted to discover approximately 24 different species of Rhododendrons, earning the title of the “valley of flowers” for this location. Vast meadows and the flowing Teesta River further enhance the natural beauty of this haven for nature enthusiasts.
During peak season, this place becomes an ideal summer getaway, attracting a multitude of tourists. The breathtaking view of Oanhuri and Shundu Tanpa mountains, forming the backdrop for the gushing Teesta River, adds to the charm of this valley. Located approximately 150 km from Gangtok, reaching this destination by hiring a jeep takes around 8 hours. A jeep is the most comfortable and economical mode of transportation as it can handle the highs and lows of the route.
Directions: To reach Yumthang Valley, drive from Gangtok, which is the nearest accessible location. Consider an overnight stay in Lachung and leave for Yumthang Valley early the next morning. Directly traveling to this place from Gangtok may result in arriving after dark, as the area lacks sufficient road lighting during nighttime hours.
3. Gurudongmar Lake: Witness the Reflection of the Sky
This lake holds great significance for Buddhists and is one of the most renowned tourist destinations in North Sikkim. Sitting at an elevation of 17,800 feet, the mere sight of this lake will transport you to another realm. Its serenity and magic make you feel like someone has unveiled an entirely new world before your eyes. Stay in a resort in Sikkim and indulge in delectable local cuisine. For those who prefer North Indian food, it is abundantly available here. Apart from the awe-inspiring landscape, visitors also seek blessings from the local gods by visiting the nearby temple. Gurudongmar Lake is approximately 175 km from Gangtok and takes around 9 hours to reach. The best mode of transportation is a jeep due to the uneven roads in certain areas.
Directions: Drive from Gangtok to Lachen and stay overnight. The following day, depart early in the morning for Gurudongmar Lake, allowing a brief stay before continuing the journey to Chopta Valley.
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4. Lachen: A Slice of Heaven
This extraordinary destination is renowned for its breathtaking green meadows. Moreover, here you can relish in the experience of residing in charming wooden cabins. Lachen exudes an air of magic and romance reminiscent of Indian film settings. Its captivating vistas alone will leave you transfixed, never wanting your journey to end. The desire to remain here forever is inevitable, making it one of the most sought-after destinations in North Sikkim. Apart from its natural allure, Lachen offers other attractions to savor, including the Lachen Monastery, Green Lake, and the mesmerizing Chopta Valley.
Lachen stands as an alluring village in the heart of North Sikkim. Its simplistic setting and tranquil beauty will captivate your senses, offering an ideal escape from the urban hustle. A genuine treat for nature enthusiasts and avid birdwatchers alike.
How to reach: Embark on a scenic jeep ride from Gangtok to reach Lachen. Many visitors opt to explore both Lachen and Yumthang Valley in a single day, as they are located in close proximity to each other.
5. Cholamu Lake: Paradise for Photographers
If you seek an unspoiled retreat in North Sikkim untainted by commercialism, Cholamu Lake is the ultimate destination. This pristine lake is a must-visit for every traveler in North Sikkim. Situated at an altitude of 5000 meters above sea level, its serenity is unmatched, making it a popular choice among tourists. However, before venturing to this ethereal place, one must obtain a permit from the Army and Sikkim Police. Intrepid photographers are especially drawn to this location due to its awe-inspiring landscape. As one of the highest lakes in India, Cholamu Lake provides breathtaking views of snow-capped mountains.
Gazing at the majestic mountains from the lake’s edge brings immense pleasure and tranquility to the soul. While acquiring permission to visit this area may prove challenging, it is not advisable to journey here during the monsoon season. This destination is primarily cherished by backpackers and seasoned travelers, as unfavorable weather conditions can pose risks. The most enchanting aspect of the landscape is witnessing fluffy clouds nestling just above the lake’s surface.
How to reach: The nearest airport is Bagdogra, approximately a five-hour drive from Lachen. From Lachen, you will need to hire jeeps to reach the lake. Alternatively, if you prefer a rail journey, the closest railway station is in Darjeeling, located 171 km away from Lachen.
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6. Chopta Valley: Unveiling a Paradisiacal Haven Straight Out of Cinematic Dreams
This particular valley serves as a primary destination for most tourists who visit Gurudongmar Lake and once again provides a captivating view of the mountains for its visitors. Specifically during the spring season, the entire valley comes alive with vibrant colors, creating an enchanting experience. The place is adorned with desolate mountains and has been showcased in numerous Bollywood films. Additionally, the area holds historical significance and is known for its ancient temples. Being relatively unexplored, the place offers its beauty in its most authentic form, making it one of the top attractions in North Sikkim.
Situated at an elevation of approximately 13,000 feet above sea level, this location offers various adventure activities such as hiking, angling, and even some water sports. The valley is filled with scattered rhododendrons and the melodious calls of birds, creating a serene environment. Visitors can park their vehicles and embark on a nature walk to truly immerse themselves in the surroundings. Whether strolling alongside the river or simply sitting on the rocks, one can appreciate yet another masterpiece created by Mother Nature.
How to get there: There are two road routes available. Starting from Gangtok, you can reach Lachen via Mangan and spend the night there. The following morning, you can proceed to Gurudongmar Lake through Thangu. When returning from Gurudongmar, many people choose to stay at Chopta Valley via a mud track.
7. Thangu: A Barren Yet Exquisite Destination
This sparsely populated place is renowned for its tranquil atmosphere. Administered by the military, Thangu is considered one of the safest and most captivating locations to visit in North Sikkim. It also serves as a base for exploring other parts of North Sikkim. Situated approximately 150 km away from Gangtok, it takes around 7 hours to reach this destination, with jeeps being the recommended mode of transportation. Thangu is perfect for individuals who seek solace in nature, providing an ideal space to relax and unwind. Additionally, locals can help arrange a bonfire, allowing visitors to enjoy hot tea while engaging in conversations with friends.
Please note that this location may not be suitable for elderly individuals, as they might experience breathlessness at an altitude of 14,000 feet. Even in the summertime, temperatures can drop as low as 5 degrees during the night. Therefore, individuals with respiratory issues should take proper precautions. A stay here guarantees unforgettable memories and breathtaking experiences that cannot be adequately described in words.
How to get there: The nearest domestic airport is Bagdogra, from where jeeps and buses can be hired. The closest railhead is located in Jalpaiguri, approximately 147 km away. Driving from Lachen to Thangu is a convenient option, as the distance is only 30 km.
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8. Yume Samdong: The Nucleus
Yume Samdong is an exquisite destination in North Sikkim, situated at an astounding altitude of 15,300 feet. This valley is merely an hour away from Yumthang, and it entices travelers with its winding roads and rugged landscapes. This is a haven for photographers who are captivated by the allure of the lush green valleys. If you seek remarkable experiences in North Sikkim, a visit to Zero Point must undoubtedly be a part of your itinerary.
How to get there: In order to reach this place, you must hire a taxi from Yumthang, and the journey will take approximately an hour.
9. Shingba Rhododendron Sanctuary: A Treat for the Senses
The Shingba Rhododendron Sanctuary is a sensory delight, captivating both your eyes and your sense of smell. Every corner is adorned with delicate pink flowers amidst the lush greenery, rendering it one of the most exhilarating destinations in North Sikkim. To witness this enchanting paradise in its full glory, visit the sanctuary between April and July.
How to get there: You can choose to trek to the sanctuary from Yumthang Valley. If you are in Gangtok, a taxi ride of approximately 7 hours will be needed to reach the valley.
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10. Phensang Monastery: Marvel at the Architecture
North Sikkim is a treasure trove of tourist attractions that have captivated travelers and nature enthusiasts not just from India, but from all corners of the globe. Thus, the next destination on our list of the finest tourist spots in North Sikkim is Phensang Monastery. This architectural marvel is complemented by the surrounding natural beauty. To witness something truly incredible, visit during the Sikkimese New Year when the monastery comes alive with the mesmerizing mask dance, known as Chaam.
How to get there: To reach the monastery, you can take a taxi from Gangtok.
11. Khangchendzonga National Park: A Paradise for Wildlife Enthusiasts
For animal lovers, there is no better place than Khangchendzonga National Park in North Sikkim. With its towering peaks, it is the third-highest mountain in the world and home to the largest Sikkim wildlife reserve. Travelers from around the globe flock to this sanctuary for nature and wildlife photography. While exploring this extraordinary place, you may encounter magnificent creatures such as the Himalayan black bear, snow leopard, and flying squirrel, among others.
How to Get There: The destination is a mere 46 km away from Gangtok and can be easily reached by hiring a taxi.
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12. Chungthang: A Charming Town
Chungthang is well-known for its rich biodiversity, cementing its position as one of the premier destinations to explore in North Sikkim. What sets this place apart is its location at the confluence of two rivers – Lachen chu and Lachung chu. The locals hold this place in high reverence due to the blessings it received from the revered Buddhist legend, Guru Padmasambhava. It also gained fame as a pit stop for Guru Nanak Dev during his journey to China and Tibet.
How to Get There: The town is easily accessible from any city in Sikkim, making it convenient to reach by taxi.
13. Seven Sisters Waterfall: Majestic Cascades
The captivating ambiance of the Seven Sisters Waterfall in Sikkim is a must-visit attraction in North Sikkim. Sikkim is renowned for its diverse landscapes, and this collection of seven distinct waterfalls is no exception. It offers unparalleled and awe-inspiring views, making it an ideal spot for a leisurely picnic with family and friends. The waterfall is also famous for providing picturesque settings for photography enthusiasts and an ideal vantage point to witness the breathtaking sunset.
How to Get There: Located 32 km from Gangtok, the waterfall can be reached within a 40-minute drive. Hiring a taxi or a private car is recommended for reaching this location.
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14. Mt. Katao: A Paradise for Nature Enthusiasts
Mt. Katao is an awe-inspiring and marvelous destination in North Sikkim that should not be overlooked by nature lovers visiting Sikkim. To witness the enchanting and breathtaking landscapes here, one must obtain permission from the army, but the experience is truly worthwhile. Mt. Katao is renowned for a plethora of activities, including skiing, snow tubing, snow grinding, and snowboarding. It is a paradise for adventure enthusiasts. The snow-covered mountains, thundering waterfalls, and vibrant flora create an unforgettable sight. This is undoubtedly one of the top tourist attractions in North Sikkim.
How to reach: To reach Mt. Katao, you can easily cover a distance of 28kms from Lachung by using your private vehicle or hiring a taxi.
15. Mangan: Astonishing Scenery
If you are searching for a destination where you can find solace and enjoy your own company, Mangan is a surreal gateway in the North Sikkim region. Mangan is renowned for its vast meadows, lush verdant hills, enchanting streams, and isolated settlements, all of which offer breathtaking scenery. It is an ideal location for those who yearn to witness nature in its most unrefined form and unwind and rejuvenate. The awe-inspiring beauty of this place will leave you mesmerized.
How to reach: To reach Mangan, you can either hire a private taxi or use your own vehicle.
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16. Lachung Monastery: Serene and Quaint Atmosphere
One of the most popular tourist destinations in North Sikkim is the Lachung Monastery. This place is not only revered by the locals, but also draws in a large number of tourists. Nestled amidst splendid orchards, captivating waterfalls, and picturesque streams, the Lachung Monastery emanates an aura of tranquility and purity. The monastery is renowned for hosting the annual mask dance, a sight not to be missed.
How to reach: The most convenient way to reach Lachung Monastery is by road from Gangtok, which takes approximately 4 hours. You can use your own vehicle for the journey.
17. Bhim Nala Falls: Breathtaking Cascades
For those who admire the magnificence of waterfalls, the Bhim Nala Falls on the Chungthang – Lachung road is a must-visit destination. This is one of the top tourist spots in North Sikkim, famous for its impressive height and stunning beauty. It is the tallest waterfall in Sikkim, offering mesmerizing views of the surrounding mountains.
How to reach: The waterfall is located 13 km away from Lachung and is easily accessible by road.
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18. Green Lake Trek: Nature’s Untouched Treasure
Explore the uncharted paths and embark on the extraordinary Green Lake Trek in Sikkim. This trek remains undiscovered, offering a thrilling experience for adventure enthusiasts. The awe-inspiring natural beauty and majestic mountains create a paradise for avid trekkers in Sikkim. The trail is adorned with Rhododendrons, BluePoppies, and Primulas, providing an enchanting spectacle. It is a must-visit destination among the North Sikkim tourist spots.
Getting There: The Green Lake Trek is nestled at the base of Mt. Khangchendzonga and can be easily accessed by road. You can opt for a cab or travel in your private vehicle.
19. Singhik: Discovering Tranquility
Discover the serene town of Singhik, one of the most picturesque and peaceful North Sikkim tourist attractions. Escape from the chaos of urban life and embrace the tranquility offered by this place. Singhik is an ideal destination for those seeking solitude. Don’t miss out on visiting the Phodong Monastery, Tingchim Monastery, Jhandi viewpoint, and Losha Lake Trek.
Getting There: Singhik is located approximately 56 kilometers away from Gangtok. You can hire a taxi or use a private vehicle to reach this serene town.
Explore the best Sikkim trip options.
Now that you are aware of the top places to visit in North Sikkim, it is essential to know the best time to explore this region. The ideal time to visit North Sikkim is during the summer months from April to July and winter months from October to December. It is not advisable to visit during the rest of the year due to heavy rainfall and snowfall. If you specifically wish to witness snow, the place remains accessible only until the end of December. North Sikkim provides a perfect escape from the scorching summer sun. So, plan your trip to Sikkim now and create unforgettable memories.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Places To Visit In North Sikkim
Which is the recommended route to travel to North Sikkim?
To reach North Sikkim, it is advisable to take a flight to Gangtok and then hire a jeep to explore the various locations in North Sikkim.
Are there any other attractions in Sikkim apart from those mentioned above?
Certainly! There are numerous other captivating places to explore in Sikkim that offer unique experiences. These places can be covered within a single itinerary. Some notable attractions not mentioned above include Chunthang, Seven Sisters Waterfalls, and Mangan.
What makes Mangan special?
Mangan serves as a base location for travelers and remains relatively unexplored. It retains its raw and untouched beauty, providing a distinct experience.
Which lake is a must-visit in North Sikkim?
Cholamu Lake is a captivating lake, but it is not frequently visited and requires permission for entry due to restrictions.
What is the most recommended trekking route in North Sikkim?
The Green Lake trek is highly popular among trekkers in Sikkim. Many trekkers drive to Lachen and commence their journey from there, enjoying breathtaking views along the 30-kilometer trail.
Are there accommodation options available at various destinations?
The best and most comfortable accommodation option in North Sikkim is homestays. Lodging facilities are limited and in the early stages of development.
Which is the first place to visit when driving to North Sikkim?
The first gem to explore on your way to North Sikkim is Singhik, which is just a two-hour drive from Gangtok. You can reach Singhik by bus, taxi, or jeep.
Are there any monasteries worth visiting during a trip to North Sikkim?
Yes, Phensang Monastery is a must-visit attraction located just 9 kilometers from Gangtok. This architectural marvel was constructed in 1721.
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