Nature has given Sikkim thick forested hills, snow-clad Himalayan peaks, deep valleys with raging rivers and fresh air. The top activities in Sikkim include shopping, sightseeing, whitewater rafting, paragliding, and trekking. It is distant from complications of metropolitan cities; making this Himalayan state a fascinating place to visit.
These are the activities worth considering to make the most of your travel to Sikkim.
Cable Car Ride Gangtok
A ride in the Gangtok cable car is one of the fun things to do in Sikkim. Enjoy the picturesque scenery from on board the Gondola. The 1km cable ride begins at Deorali Bazaar near the Institute of Tibetology and goes on to Tashiling which is net to the Secretariat. On clear days one gets to admire Mount Kanchenjunga and Gangtok town from the height of 3500 m. The cable car is in operation from 8 am to 4.30pm for a small fee.
The Rumtek monastery is one of the most popular attractions of Sikkim. It is located 24 km from the city of Gangtok at an altitude of 6000 feet. This monastery is of the Kagyu Sect of Tibetan Buddhism. The Kagyu sect is one of the six primary school of thought of Tibetan Buddhism. It originated in Tibet in the 12th century. The Rumtek monastery is also known as the center for Dharma Chakra.
The previous incarnation of Karmapa used to reside here before being reincarnated in Tibet. The relics from Tsurphu monastery is used to decorate Rumtek. Two significant festivals take place here every summer and winter. You can enjoy a peaceful walk around the vicinity while enjoying the rich history, culture and spiritual bliss.
Riding a Yak is one unique experience in Sikkim. The animal an inhabitant of the harsh climate and inaccessible terrain. The Yaks for riding are tamed and pretty well groomed for tourists. They are decorated with colorful woolen knitwear over their horns, forehead, and bells are tied on their necks. It can be a thrilling ride which comes with a memory to last you a lifetime.
The Yaks are available for riding during the busy tourist season months from March to May and from September to December. Yak rides are possible at Dzongri and Tsomgo Lake areas.
Nightlife in Sikkim
You might not have heard of Sikkim as a place to party. Well, it is one of the Indian states where alcohol is tax-free which makes it inexpensive. Gangtok is a favorite place to spend evenings. There are numerous options for a night out in Gangtok that include numerous bars, pubs with live bands, Karaoke bars, nightclubs and even casinos. In fact, Sikkim is the only state in India that has in-land casinos. The other casinos in India are in boats where you are taken offshore for gambling.
The local drinks of the mountain state, are Chiang, Tongba, and Rakshi which can be quite tempting and inexpensive. Dining out is another fun thing do in Gangtok. You have the option of going for some international fare or trying out local delights.
Ganesh Tok is a temple, that is dedicated to Lord Ganesh. This small temple can accommodate only a few persons at any one time. You need to go on all fours to enter the temple. Despite its small size, the temple is a favorite pilgrim spot visited by domestic travelers with much devotion. Devotees plant saplings on the compound of the temple on behalf of loved ones.
The view from the high point can be breathtaking. It offers scintillating views of the city and the great Khangchendzonga. Spend time here to enjoy the views and the beautiful ambiance.
Bird Watching in Kewzing
Kewzing is one of the better spots for bird watching in Sikkim. Whether you are a hobby birdwatcher or a serious ornithologist, the thick forest of Kewzing is a haven for birdlife. It is home to about 200 species of birds with a mixture of resident and migratory birds. Satyr Tragopan, a rare species of pheasants in the Eastern Himalaya, can be spotted here. The Fire-tailed Myzornis, Puff-throated Babbler, Streaked Spiderhunter and Sultantit are some common species that are found here.
Get hold of a pair of binoculars, sturdy walking shoes, a bird guidebook or an expert and set off to partake in one of the best activities in Sikkim.
Mountain biking is another adrenaline rush activity to do in Sikkim. The numerous mountain bike trails provide a rush for the riders. The beautiful scenery is an added feature for mountain bikers from all over the world.
Mountain biking is an activity that can be enjoyed throughout the year but the best months are March, April and May and mid-September to December. There are more than seven intriguing tracks to embark on depending on your experience and fitness levels. Most tracks start from Gangtok, Rumtek leading to Temi, Yumthang and other remote locations.
Paragliding in Sikkim
Paragliding in Sikkim is a new adventure sport and one of the fastest growing activities. The Himalayan topography is ideal for soaring the skies. Gangtok offers paragliding adventures with certified pilots. Tandem flights are offered; where an experienced and certified pilot will accompany you on your flight. Short haul flights are available for 15-20 minutes. Longer flights of an hour maximum are also possible.
Feel the air rush through your hair while gawking at the views of the Himalayan Vista.
A trip to Sikkim is incomplete if you do not go shopping at Gangtok's MG Road. The vibrant road is full of interesting shops and stalls. Check out Feng Shui items like The laughing Buddha, Dragons, New Year Lamp or dresses worn during Tibetan festivals. You can easily find incredible bargains. Handwoven blanket, carpet, wooden and bamboo items are amongst the favorite souvenirs. The handicrafts are especially of note but do check out for authenticity.
Temi Tea Garden
Temi Garden is another one of the beautiful tourist attractions in Sikkim. The only Tea Estate in Sikkim is located a short 18 km from Ravangla at an altitude of 1200-1800m. It was established in 1969, and it employs about 450 people and produces 100 metric ton of organic tea annually.
Temi Tea gardens are renowned for producing some of the best organic tea in the world. The factory can be visited to have an educational lesson on tea processing. You can also stay in the British colonial styled Bungalow in the tea estate.
The Sikkim Zoo is an attraction not to be missed especially if you are traveling with children. The Himalayan Zoological Park is undoubtedly a place for wildlife enthusiasts. The zoo was established to preserve the wildlife in their natural habitat. The zoo is Located at Bulbuley, 3 km from Gangtok, at an altitude of 1,780 m. It is spread over an area of 205 hectares of hilly terrain.
Some species found only in the Himalayas are kept at the park. The Himalayan Monal Pheasant, Himalayan Red Panda, Snow Leopard, Ghoral, Himalayan Palm Civet, Himalayan Black Bear and Crimson-Horned Pheasant can be seen.
Goecha La Trek
The Goecha La trek is one of the famous treks in Sikkim and North East Himalaya. The length of the trek is approximately 90 km, and trekkers can get up to 5000 meters in altitude. It is one of the most popular classic trekking trails in the Indian Himalayas. The trail passes through the scenic Rhododendron forests, the meadows of Dzongri and Thangsing, the Samiti Lake all under the shadow of Mount Kanchenjunga and Mount Pandim.
The glacial Goecha La trek trail is quite difficult and is on the list of adventure enthusiasts. The months from April to June and October and November are ideal to set out on the mountain expedition.
Whitewater rafting in Sikkim
The Teesta and Rangit Rivers are the venues for whitewater rafting in Sikkim. The Teesta river is a grade 4 river on the international scale. The chilly water of the Teesta river provides a series of rapids with some intensity while the narrow and steeper gradient of the Rangit has more whitewater rapids and is challenging even to the most experienced of rafters. For the first timer, this could be beginning of the many rafting trips to come in the future.
Another one of the attractions of Sikkim. Khecheopalri Lake is located in the Western corner of Sikkim; It is sacred to both Hindus and Buddhists.
The Khecheopalri hill, lake, and the valley are said to have been blessed by Guru Padmasambhava. The locals revere them as a land of hidden treasure. The Khecheopalri Lake is an essential stop on the Buddhist pilgrimage in Sikkim. It is believed that every leaf that drops on the lake is picked up by birds leaving the lake clean. A crucial religious fair is held every March/April. A harvest festival, Cho-Tsho, takes place in October after the harvesting of cardamom.Kanchendzonga waterfallsKhangchendzongnga waterfalls are 46 km via Pelling and 5 km before Yuksom. It is located on a distinct corner of the street which hid the waterfalls. Now better facilities have been made so visitors can take a look at the waterfalls.
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