Located in the Himalayan mountains, the state is bordered by Nepal to the west, China's Tibet Autonomous Region to the north and east, and Bhutan to the east.
Sikkim is nonetheless geographically diverse due to its location in the Himalayas; the climate ranges from subtropical to high alpine, and Kangchenjunga, the world's third-highest peak, is located on Sikkim's border with Nepal. Sikkim is a popular tourist destination, owing to its culture, scenery and biodiversity. It also has the only open land border between India and China. Sikkim's capital and largest city is Gangtok. Almost 25% of the state is covered by the Khangchendzonga National Park.
The best time to visit Sikkim is during the months of March to June and from September to December. Summer from April to June is a fine time to enjoy the blooming rhododendrons and orchids that grow in the region. It is ideal time to grab the opportunity for trekking in Sikkim. Also various Sikkim Adventure Tours are available in Summer.
Wreathed in clouds, Gangtok, the capital city of Sikkim is located on a ridge at a height of 5500 feet. With a spectacular view of the Khangchendzonga, the town provides the perfect base for travel through the state. Once an important transit point for traders traveling between Tibet and India, it is today a busy administrative and business centre and presents an interesting mix of cultures and communities.
Gangtok is a cosmopolitan town which offers the tourist all possible amenities. Hotels are available in a range of prices along with a variety of eateries serving cuisine for all tastes. Shopping complexes, cyber cafes, night clubs and pool parlours abound for those so inclined.
Nathula Pass was a major corridor of passage between India and Tibet before it was closed in 1962. Located around 56 kms from Gangtok at an altitude of 14450 ft, the road to Nathula passes through the Tsomgo lake. It is one of the highest motorable roads in the world and is richly surrounded by alpine flora. On a clear day you can even see the road winding down the Chumbi valley. Tourists are allowed to go close to the international border from where you can see Chinese soldiers on the other side of the barbed wire.
Nathula Nathula is open for Indian nationals on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sundays.
Around 10 kms from Gyalshing (District Headquarter), Pelling is today emerging as the second biggest tourist destination in the state after Gangtok. Although in itself it is little more than a strip of road lined with hotels, its main USP is the breathtaking view it offers of the Khangchendzonga and surrounding ranges, as well as the easy access it provides to tourist spots in the area.
Pelling’s serene environment and picturesque setting is perfect for nice nature walks and small treks. A destination for all seasons, Pelling has hotels and resorts catering to all budgets.
33 kms from Pelling, Yuksom, literally meaning the ‘meeting place of three lamas’ is of great historical importance to the Sikkimese. It was here that the first Chogyal was crowned in 1642. The throne made of stones is even today considered sacred as is the footprint of Lhatsun Chenpo, which can be seen close to the throne. 2 km uphill from Yuksum is Dubdi monastery, the oldest in Sikkim. The monastery has now been declared a National Monument and is under the protection of the Archaeological Survey of India Yuksum today is an attractive tourist destination offering various stay options for the visitors including village home stays, where you can stay as part of a local family and imbibe the real Sikkimese way of life. Also available is a trekkers hut plus many lodges.
Yuksom is also the gateway to the Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve, the base for some of the most fascinating treks through high mountain region with the route to Dzongri being the most frequented.
Rinchenpong in sikkim has a magnificent command over the mountain views, sunrise and sunset, flora and fauna, village tourism ,historical sites and heritage of Resum Monastery, rich forests and ample area for short treks.
The place is famous for the beautiful view of the Kanchenjunga range of mountains. Apart from the natural beauty of the surroundings, the place is also quite significant from historical point of view.
The picturesque mountain village of Lachung, at a height of 8610 ft, embraced by snow capped mountain peaks, breathtaking waterfalls, sparkling streams and apple orchards is the perfect holiday destination. Sprawled across the banks of the Lachung Chu river which slices the village in two, Lachung is famous for its apples, peaches and apricots.
Various hotels and lodges including a Dak Bungalow are available for accommodation in Lachung Sikkim.
Situated at a height of 17,800 feet, it is considered one the most sacred lakes by the Buddhists and Hindus alike. The beautiful and awe inspiring lake (190 kms from Gangtok) remains milky in colour throughout the year. According to a legend, since the lake used to remain frozen most of the year, it was not possible to use its water for drinking purposes. When the Guru Padmasambhava passed by, while returning from Tibet, the local residents are reported to have approached him for providing source of water.
The Guru obliged. A portion of the lake touched by him does not freeze in extreme winter. Since water of the lake is considered sacred, visitors carry the 'blessed' water in bottles.
Yumthang, situated at a height of 11800 feet is popularly known as 'Valley of Flowers', Located at a distance of 148 kms from Gangtok, it is a paradise for nature lovers with a fascinating blend of flora and fauna and breathtaking scenic beauty. In spring season, wild flowers such as primulas and Rhododendrons bathe the landscape in rich colours, making it a tourist hot spot.
Hot spring located on the right side of Yumthang river is a popular tourist attraction. In addition to a vast green meadow, lush green forest abounding in Pine and silver fir trees throngs the place. While driving towards the valley, one can see cascading waterfalls and streams.
Six kms away further North is Shiv Mandir. A drive or trek to this place can be very refreshing and exhilerating. Situated further up at a distance of 16 kms, at an altitude of about 16,000 feet is Yumesamdong. The rugged vegetation- free mountains, especially in the months of November-December and February¬March over here present a breathtaking scenario. The approach to Yumthang is from Lachung valley, situated at a height of 8000 feet. It is at a distance of 120 kms from Gangtok. It has a unique self-governing body called the Dzumsa, which substitutes the modern Gram Panchyat. The village, spread out on the either side of Lachung Chu, has managed to retain its unique culture and tradition.