Tucked amidst the Himalayas, Sikkim is packed with fabled peaks, pristine hamlets, picturesque landscapes and dense forests. The pine-scented air infused in Tibetan flavour never fails to woo travellers. The intimidating sight of the steep valleys, rhododendron groves and subtropical woodlands makes Sikkim a treasure trove for nature lovers. It is a land of wonders; a beautiful harmony of different cultures can be seen here. The traditional Buddhist monasteries co-exist with the Hindu temples. Grandeur should be expected, and there are exquisite sculptures that adorn the skyline.
How to reach Sikkim
- Air: The nearest is the Pakyong Airport near Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim. As this airport is newly opened there are flight services from Guwahati and Kolkata. The Bagdogra International Airport at an estimated distance of 150 kilometres connects Sikkim to the rest of India and outside. There are daily helicopter services available from the airport to Gangtok.
- Rail: Sikkim does not have a proper rail network. The nearest railway station is New Jalpaiguri that is located at an estimated distance of 130 kilometres from Gangtok. There are shared cabs and buses available for the onward journey.
- Road: The roads leading to Sikkim are well maintained except a few. Sikkim can be directly reached from Kalimpong, Bagdogra, Darjeeling and Kolkata.
Best time to visit
The unmatched beauty of Sikkim draws a horde of tourists throughout the year. If you love adventure and willing to embrace the blissful snow, winter is the best time to plan a trip. Winter lasts from October to March, and the temperature drops below 5 degrees Celsius.
The weather in summer is cool and salubrious. Summers are perfect for trekking and excursions. April to June constitutes the warmer months, and the temperature varies from 5 degrees Celsius to 25 degrees Celsius. Nights are chilly, and it is advisable to carry light woollens.
During the monsoon, Sikkim receives heavy downpours, and the weather is pleasant yet chilly. There are landslides during this time of the year. However, the tourist spots are less crowded, and you can get good deals on accommodation and transportation. Monsoon lasts from July to September with an average temperature between 4 degrees Celsius and 15 degrees Celsius.
12 Exhilarating Hill Stations in Sikkim
Hill stations in Sikkim are a paradise for visitors searching for peace and tranquillity amidst the lush surrounding. Every destination is a melange of pretty sights and takes you to the world of charm. The sylvan hill stations with the Kanchenjunga in the backdrop conjure wonderful memories. With the luxuriant panorama, these mesmerising Himalayan destinations let travellers bask in its glory.
Here is a rundown of the 12 jaw-dropping Sikkim hill stations that you must visit to satisfy your wanderlust soul.
The sluggish town of Mangan is the capital of North Sikkim. It is a charming hill station in Sikkim. The captivating assortment of green expanses of rolling hills, scattered settlements and gushing streams soothes the mind and the soul. Apart from scenic vistas, Mangan is a melange of heritage sites and historical structures.
For a mesmeric cultural immersion, visit this place in December and witness the biggest musical event where favorite bands perform. This is a three day festival with lots of food, local handicrafts and of course musical band performance. Mountain, music and the chill in the air adds to the rare beauty of Mangan and has an unusual way of making a connection.
- Labrang Monastery
- Rong Lungten Lee
- Phodong Monastery
- Shingba Sanctuary
Also See: 10 Sacred monasteries in Sikkim
At an altitude of 5200 feet, Singhik is an offbeat Sikkim Hill Station. This little-known village is enriched with natural treasures that evoke euphoria. If you are smitten by the wanderlust, the mesmerising sight will let you drift in oblivion. Meandering through the narrow alleys and basking in the sheer magnificence of Mount Kanchenjunga will engrave an everlasting frame in mind. Live your dreams by savouring the changing colours of the fabled peak. If you are an intrepid traveller, go for a nature trek amidst the towering trees and iced mountain.
- Singhik View Point
- Tingchim Monastery
- Phodong Monastery
The quaint little town of Aritar in East Sikkim is a haven for photographers and nature enthusiasts. Tucked amidst the Mount Kanchenjunga, this region is blessed with dramatic sights. This region is known for the remarkable Gumpa and the tranquil Aritar Lake. Aritar Gumpa is one of the most ancient monasteries in Sikkim. If you want to soak up the cultural side, consider visiting Aritar in the month of March or April. It hosts the Lampokhari Tourism Festival that showcases the cultural heritage of Sikkim. Whether you are a culture-seeker, gastronome, or an adventure lover, there is something for everyone during this grand carnival.
- Aritar Gumpa
- Aritar Lake
- Kali Khola Falls
- Lungchok Valley
Also See: 18 Top places to see in North Sikkim
Perched at an elevation of 10,000 feet, Zuluk is a pristine hamlet on the rugged terrain of Lower Himalaya. This is the base from where tourists start exploring the high altitude mountain destinations. Due to its close proximity to the Indo-China border, Zuluk has a sizeable military settlement. Carpeted by blooming rhododendron, the area becomes a chameleonic theatre of pretty colours during summer.
The wild forest around Zuluk is the home to the Himalayan Bear, Wild Dog, Deer as well as unique exotic birds. A trip to Zuluk requires a special permit that can be easily issued from Rangli. This is not a typical tourist hub, but a place for explorers who seek pleasure in the calmness of nature.
- Thambi View Point
- Tukla Valley
- Old Baba Mandir
- Memenchu Lake
An ancient hill station in India, Yuksom is the historical starting point of Sikkim. It was the first capital of the Chogyal King in the year 1641and has a religious connotation attached to it. The kaleidoscopic blend of jaw-dropping landscapes, snow-dusted Himalaya and the remarkable monasteries leave a lasting impression in the heart. Yuksom boasts the main trailhead towards the third highest peak. It is also perfect for short treks, monastery visits and watching the local life. This area does not promise the panoramic view of the big mountains. But the peaceful forest paths give an opportunity to unwind and explore.
- Norbugang Park
- Tashi Tenka viewpoint
- Mani Hill
- Kartok Monastery
Enjoy every moment of your stay in this idyllic village of Uttarey on the slope of Singalila Range. At an altitude of 6600 feet, this less-explored hill station offers a spectacular view of the prominent peaks. Blanketed by lush greenery and cascading waterfalls, Uttarey is a slice of heaven on earth. The majestic sight of the verdant landscape enclosed in snow-covered mountains will leave you longing for more. On the way to this intoxicating land, you can witness the Singshore Bridge, the second highest in Asia. No wonder, it is a breathtaking Sikkim hill station that can ignite the imagination.
- Kagyu Monastery
- Tenzing Hillary Memorial Park
- Trout Farm
- Mainebass Waterfall
Located in North Sikkim, Dzongu hosts the native Lepcha population. This fantastic locale is contoured by the gushing Teesta River. The area witnesses fewer visitors and is one of the least explored hill stations in India. The rugged terrain of Dzongu is unique yet mesmerising. There are hot water springs that can be entered only after crossing the icy cold streams. The dense forests are gifted with diverse flora and fauna. Here you can also marvel at the sight of natural waterfalls that look straight out of the postcard. Try visiting Dzongu in December and experience the Namsoong Festival. Savour delicious food, sit on rugs made from yak wool and immerse in the culture, this event has it all.
- Hot Springs
- Tholung Monastery
- Lepcha Museum
- Lingzey Waterfalls
The capital of West Sikkim is known for its surreal beauty. This region has a historical significance dating back to the 18th century. Gyalshing means the King’s garden which was believed to be the royal garden of the Rabdentse Palace. This bustling town is the transit point to various other tourist destinations around Sikkim. The Gyalshing Bazaar is more than100 years old, and this destination is one of the oldest hill stations in India. Explorers can visit this historic town and unravel the culture that has an old world charm.
- Gyalshing Bazar
- Rebdentse Palace
Barsey is a Rhododendron forest that lies in Western Sikkim. The pretty pink colour hypnotises travellers and adds vibrancy to everything. The area is also teeming with wildlife and offer immense photographic opportunities. While trekking through Barsey, you might spot the rare Red Panda wandering freely. Enjoy the warm hospitality of the locals and relish the bright sun rays while sipping a hot cup of tea. The feeling is heavenly and cannot be expressed in words. Spring is the best time to sink in the mountain views and enjoy the wonderfully dramatic blooms.
- Rhododendron Sanctuary
Kaluk is a serene Himalayan hamlet away from the hustle of the city. This quaint settlement in West Sikkim is the best place to find solitude in a tranquil environment. Snuggled at an elevation of 5600 feet, Kaluk is also a less travelled Sikkim hill station. It is one of the eco-tourism destinations coupled with rich history and religious ethics.
The Buddhist flavoured land enriched in gorgeous monasteries adds to the peaceful vibe of the ambience. To top it all the mighty Kanchenjunga casts a mystic spell that satisfies the soul. Kaluk is not a major tourist destination; here you can relax and absorb the panoramic views. This can be covered along with Rinchenpong which is well known among visitors.
- Rinchenpong Monastery
- Reesum Monastery
Sumbuk is an untouched hamlet known for its abundant flora and fauna. It is another least explored Sikkim hill station and is a treasure trove for bird watchers. Unlike other hill stations, Sumbuk boasts a wealth of ancient architectural gems. It is divided into two parts namely Lower and Upper Sumbuk.
The lower region is covered with vast stretches of Temperate Forest, and the upper area is gifted with endless Pine and Fir trees. One of the unique places to visit here is the peacock breeding forest. You can also pick up wild strawberries at the Mungram Village that is located at the height of 7200 feet above sea level.
- Kitam Bird Sanctuary
- Tarey Bhir at Sadam Village
- Rangit River
- Mungram Village
Pelling is the most popular among all other Sikkim hill stations. Located at the height of 7200 feet above sea level, this small town is in the heart of Sikkim. Peppered with the glistening lakes, shimmering monasteries and the roaring waterfalls, this region is ideal for plotting an escape.
Embrace solitude and let the raw beauty of this place seep into the soul. Catch the first ray of the sun painting the mountain with golden yellow colour. Pelling also allows you to witness the beautiful harmony between the Hindu and the Buddhist culture. Explore the rustic villages and get lost in the wilderness. Pelling will never fail to amaze you.
- Sewaro Rock Garden
- Rimbi Waterfall
- Khecheopalri Lake
- Sanga Choeling Monastery
Sikkim is a land of natural wonders. If you are thrilled after knowing about these Himalayan destinations, it’s time to plan a trip soon!