Sikkim is a beautiful destination for nature lovers and adventure seekers, with many amazing places and attractions to explore. Its capital, Gangtok, is equally impressive and appealing to travelers.
It offers something for everyone and promises a unique and memorable experience. There are several things that you can do while in Gangtok that will truly make your trip an exciting one.
In this article, you will get to know about the following things to do in and around Gangtok,
- River Rafting
- Exploring nearby attractions
- Shopping at Mall Road
- Savor the local cuisine
Let’s see each of these points in detail.
1. River Rafting
Gangtok is a hub of different adventure sports. The pristine yet wild River Teesta flows through the place, making the location much more stunning. The river gushes down the Himalayan ranges and offers a fantastic and exciting experience not just for the experts but also the beginners.
As you navigate through the rapids, you will witness the enchanting scenery of mystical dense woodlands, rugged mountain slopes, and so much more.
If you are thinking of the difficulty levels, there are four grades. Grade 1 is done on flat calm waters of the river with a few riffles and is the easiest of all. The most difficult is Grade 4 which is absolutely for the experts. The grades vary depending on the intensity and current in the river.
The best time to go river rafting is between March and May when the weather is pleasant and not too cold. The temperature varies from 8-20 ̊C and is ideal for enjoying the activity. Speaking of the cost, it is around ₹3000 to ₹5500 per person. However, the cost generally depends on the type of rafting, its duration, together with the location.
Locations: Makha to Rangpo; Dikchu to Teesta Bridge; Dikchu to Kali Jhora, etc.
Being in the mountains and not exploring Gangtok’s trekking trails is never justifiable. Get on your thrill seeker mode and traverse the wilderness through trekking. Being a mountain paradise, Gangtok will give you the experience of a lifetime.
If you are searching for the best trails, here is a list of a few.
Varsey Trek: This is an easy trek that takes you through scenic paths and villages. It starts from Bagdogra and goes all the way to Varsey while crossing Gangtok. It takes about 7 days to complete this trek.
Yuksom-Dzongri Trek: This is a moderate trek that offers you a stunning view of some of the famous peaks like Ratang, Kabru, etc. You will also see amazing waterfalls, sunset points, and other attractions on the way. The duration of this trek will be around 11 days.
Various other trekking trails are there that will satisfy your adrenaline rush. The perfect time will be around spring and summer months. This is when nature is in its full spirit and keeps the capability of making you fall in love with it.
If you are feeling like flying, then paragliding is your option. It is for the ones who would love to get a bird’s eye view of the mountains and the valleys while being surrounded by clouds. Gangtok will offer you this adventurous experience and be certain to fall in love with paragliding after one try.
While you soar up in the air, the verdant nature along with the remarkable terrain of Sikkim comes into sight. As you go further up, the entire outlook for the world changes. So, this is a must-try if you are in Gangtok.
There are a number of paragliding companies that will provide you with professionally trained pilots besides tandem gliding. If you are trying it for the first time, just relax and let the pilot handle everything.
The best time to go paragliding is between March and June or September and November when the weather is clear and pleasant. You will also see nature in full bloom.
In Gangtok, the cost of paragliding ranges anywhere between ₹2000 and ₹6500. This hinges on the type of flight.
Locations: Ani Gompa (for short fly rides); Baliman Dara (for medium fly rides); Bulbuley Dara (for high fly rides).
4. Exploring nearby attractions
Plenty of attractive sites are there in and around Gangtok where you can experience and explore so many factors. You will find nature, monasteries, viewpoints and so much more. The beauty of each of them is spell-binding together with calmness and serenity.
You must make a journey towards Tsomgo Lake which is just 40 kilometers away from Gangtok. The lake looks like a piece of art that has come to life. Rugged terrain and snow-capped mountains envelop the lake imparting its beauty.
The next location would be the Rumtek Monastery, which is one of the most significant and largest monasteries in the state. It preserves ancient Buddhist manuscripts, thangkas, and a lot more.
If you are interested in Tibet, culture, religion, language, and other interesting things about the place, then visit the Namgyal Institute of Tibetology. It also houses a museum that contains collections of manuscripts, coins, Tibetan artifacts, etc.
Then there is the Hanuman talk, Banjhakri waterfall, Phodong Monastery, and the list is endless. The evenings are also very interesting, as the marketplaces get illuminated with light and the pathways are bustling with all types of beautiful people.
5. Shopping at Mall Road
Shopping is not just about buying anything and everything. It is about taking back a part and essence of that particular place. So, to all the shopaholics, you can go to Mall Road to shop to your heart’s content.
Mall Road is located in the heart of Gangtok and is a habitat to a diverse number of shops. It is a paradise for shopping enthusiasts. You can stroll around and browse through the different items on display.
Check out all the handicrafts and handlooms, winter clothing, and semi-precious stones. Do not miss out on the authentic Tibetan carpets and all the other items indigenous to the region. If you look properly, you will also find alpine cheese and different types of exotic spices from the region.
Buy whatever you want along with something traditional for yourself as well as for your loved ones. A lot of the items showcase the local culture. Also, take back some Temi tea that is grown in Sikkim.
6. Savor the local cuisine
Gangtok is famed for its rich and diverse cuisine. The local food at this place is a flawless blend of Tibetan, Nepalese, and Sikkimese cuisines. You can enjoy different delicacies and flavor profiles here.
There are cafes, bakeries, restaurants, and local stalls from where you can try various items. To start with, you can go for Phagshapa. It is a mixture and healthy and spicy dishes made out of pork, radish, and chilis. Chow down with steamed rice or roti and tantalize your taste buds.
Next, try some Churrpi. It is basically a soup that is prepared with cotton cheese. It is one of the traditional street foods that is adored by both the natives and tourists.
Craving some noodles? Go for the Thenthuk. This warm and yummy dish is a noodle soup, made with chicken or any other meat and veggies. The steaming soup with the chewy noodles and the other elements becomes a perfect comfort food item. Various other delicacies are there such as Sel Roti, Sha Phaley, etc.
While strolling through the area, try some food at the Baker’s Café, Roll House, The Coffee Shop Restaurant, and others as well.
Now that you have learned so much about the things to do in Gangtok, quickly plan a trip to the city with your friends and family and start your journey.
Every moment will be worth your wait and effort. Pack all the necessities and of course, a camera and get going.
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