My recent trip to Gangtok was really amazing. The place is clean, green and picturesque. It can turn anyone into a photographer. It has beautiful mountains, waterfalls, monasteries, temples, vantage points, rivers, and the list just goes on.
The ideal time to visit: March to May.
If you wanna see snow-clad mountains, the ideal time to visit would be December to February. I went with my colleagues in October 2016. It was raining in October, so I would suggest you avoid visiting between June and October.
I would like to share the itinerary of my trip to Gangtok and Kalimpong. Hope you like it and find it useful. :1
I have also made a video of the ’10 Most Beautiful Places in Gangtok’ and you can watch it.
Day 1: Arrival at Kalimpong
We took the Guwahati Express and disembarked at New Jalpaiguri station. Hailed a taxi from New Jalpaiguri to Kalimpong. You get plenty of them at the station. You can even arrive by air at Bagdogra Airport and take a taxi from the airport.
We stayed at Ronak Guest House (12th Mile) in Kalimpong. They don’t have a restaurant. But we have friends in Kalimpong so didn’t have to worry much about food. 🙂 It cost us Rs 400 per person for a night’s stay at Ronak.
After an afternoon nap, we went sightseeing in Deolo Village. We went to Lord Buddha Statue and Park, Hanuman Temple and Deolo Village. The ride to Deolo is spectacular. As we went in the off-season, the place was less crowded and I felt really peaceful.
Day 2: Towards Gangtok
Durga Puja in Kalimpong is really special. It is celebrated with great enthusiasm and grandeur. After celebrating Dusshera with our friends, we took a bus to Gangtok. The bus ride cost us Rs 105 per person. The bus ride left me awestruck; the views of the mountains and the valley are fantastic. It took us around 4 hours to reach Gangtok. After reaching Gangtok, we took a short trip to M.G. Marg Market for some quick shopping.
We had to go to Nathula the next day. So we had to submit an address proof and 2 Passport size photos to the tour operator. So a trip to the market was needed to get our documents xeroxed and our photographs were taken. Also, buy some thermal wear as we had to go 14,000 feet above sea level. 😀
Day 3: Excursion to Tsomgo Lake, Nathula Pass, and Baba Mandir
After a hearty breakfast of Chowmein and Momos, we head off for our trip to Nathula. We booked a shared taxi which would cover Tsomgo Lake (also called Changu Lake), Nathula Pass, and Baba Mandir. Make sure you have plenty of woollen and thermal wear. If not, you can buy some on the way. I bought a topi and gloves for Rs 300. You can take a jacket on rent for Rs 100.
The reason I came to Gangtok was Tsomgo Lake. The journey all the way up is wonderful. I went mad with my phone, taking pictures and videos everywhere. The lake gets frozen in winter. Since we went in October, it looked like a surface of crystal-clear water. There are yaks all around the place. You can ride one; they are so cute!
They have prohibited photography at Nathula Pass. I was shivering, it’s damn cold. You get to see the China border and army memorials up here. Since we can’t take photos, you can take a certificate for Rs 60 as a token of your visit.
Then we came down to Baba Mandir. There is a temple below and a bigger one is even higher. I could only go in the lower one as our driver said he would halt for only 30 mins. The temple is built to honour the brave soldier Major Harbhajan Singh who lost his life in the Indo-China war. There is a shop selling souvenirs just opposite the temple.
Day 4: Local Sightseeing
Since we were a little tired after the Nathula excursion, we left after lunch for local sightseeing. We went to the Ropeway. It costs Rs 110 for an adult and Rs 50 for children. You can see the entire city from the Ropeway.
After disembarking, you can go to visit the Chorten Monastery which is nearby. Instead of going shopping, we took a taxi to Bakthang Falls and Tashi View Point.
Day 5: More Sightseeing and Shopping
After breakfast, we covered a few places we missed viz. Ganesh Tok, Enchey Monastery, and Tashi View Point. Since it was dark at Tashi View Point the day before, we went there again. Came back to our hotel for lunch and rest in the afternoon.
In the evening, a visit to Banjhakri Falls was beckoning. After spending a few hours at Banjhakri, we went on a shopping spree buying tea, sweaters, handbags, souvenirs, and what not at Lal Bazaar. M.G. Marg market is shut on Saturdays.
Day 6: Going to Siliguri
We left for Siliguri a day before our flight from Bagdogra. The Siliguri market is huge. You can buy anything you want at wholesale rates. The entire town is full of shops and sellers. We stayed at Tiana Lodge in Siliguri which is near the S.T. Bus Stand.
Day 7: Back home
We took our morning flight from Bagdogra back home. With my heart fuller and pockets lighter, my trip to Gangtok has been life-changing and serene. I learned so many new things, made so many new friends and visited so many new places. I’d recommend Gangtok to anyone looking for a quiet and peaceful holiday.
I know I could not cover a lot of places. But what’s important is to have fun and go off the beaten track. Please try to cover Hanuman Tok, Rumtek Monastery, Ranka Monastery, and the Cottage Industries along with the places in my itinerary. Hope you have a great day. 🙂
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