Exploring Gangtok and Pelling: A 5-Day Itinerary for the Perfect Sikkim Vacation (2023)
Gangtok, the Hamlet town, stands amongst the mighty Kanchenjunga range and has a massive footfall of tourists from far and wide. The “Lost Kingdom” city has a panoramic landscape, peaceful atmosphere, rich historical background, and robust cultural heritage. This capital city of Sikkim helps you escape the humdrum and challenging routine of the cities.
Planning an excursion trip for five days and five nights in Sikkim by making Gangtok and Pelling your base is a great idea. Not only does this allow you to see the two towns thoroughly, but it also offers an opportunity to see the beauty of the surrounding area, the Kanchenjunga range, lush green tea plantations, expansive, opulent estates, and magnificent nature from up close. Go for it!
Exploring Gangtok and Pelling: A 5-Day Itinerary for the Perfect Sikkim Vacation
Day 1 in Gangtok, Sikkim
A new day awaits us. Are you excited to climb up to the hills, take a cable car ride, visit a monastery or sit next to the gushing waterfalls? After your lip-smacking breakfast and a full stomach, start your scenic explorations of the lush green vegetation of Gangtok.
Shuffle Momos and Café Fiction are a few fantastic cafes serving the best cuisine in the region. Besides great food, the town offers impressive nightclubs, souvenir shops, shopping complexes, and pool parlors that can keep you busy for hours.
MG marg is where you need to start your holiday. Mahatma Gandhi marg, or MG marg in short, is a beautiful marketplace with plenty of fun and excitement. Shop to your heart’s content and pick souvenirs, handlooms, handicrafts, or anything you feel like. Many people buy liquor from the shops here to have extra excitement and savor the beverages.
If you want to see the real Gangtok, the eye-striking mountains, valleys, and the best sunrise and sunset sights, then go to the Tashi viewpoint, 8 kms from the main town. The changing hues of the sun’s rays on the Kanchenjunga and Siniolchu mountain peaks are breathtakingly exquisite. The enthralling surroundings ring with the serene sound of the whishing winds and the birds. In fact, panoramic view of the Labrang, Gangtok, and Phodong monasteries mesmerizes nature lovers. Brace yourself because to see all these sights, you have to climb up 120 steps!
The Enchey Monastery:
The 200 years old Enchey monastery, also called “the solitary temple,” reverberates with the history and traditions of Buddhist culture. The sanctuary, located about 3 kms northeast of Gangtok, showcases religious objects and images of many Gods and Goddesses. There are nearly 90 monks living here.
Viewing the Buddhism prayers can be fascinating for the onlooker, and you get to see these in plenty. The monastery is famous for its masked religious dance called the Chaam. The excitement will usurp your day, but you need to end the day with some delicious foodie delights from Nimtho or the Taste of Tibet. Sleepover this fabulous meal and prepare for the next day!
Day 2 –Places to Cover In and Around Gangtok, Sikkim:
Start your day with a fabulous breakfast at 2 Bhukkads or Café Infinity. Food is the most excellent satisfaction that can rejuvenate and revitalize your body into action. After that, drive towards the Sikkim Himalayan Zoological Park.
Sikkim Himalayan Zoological Park:
Wildlife enthusiasts can’t resist visiting the Himalayan Zoological Park, 3 kms from Gangtok. The main goal here is the protection of wildlife and preserving animal-life so they flourish in their natural habitat. The Park is spread over 205 hectares in the mountains at the height of 1780 meters.
Visit here, and you may get a chance to see the Himalayan Red Panda, Himalayan Monal Pheasant, Snow Leopard Cat, Goral, Himalayan Black Bear, Himalayan Palm Civet, and the bright, colorful Crimson-Horned Pheasant, etc. Within the zoo premises, there is a restaurant serving tasty refreshments. Take a break here and enjoy nature to its fullest!
About 7 kms from Gangtok flows the enthralling Banjakhri falls, situated in a park spread over 2 acres. The Park is a forested area beautified with flowering plants and thick tree growth. An excellent place for a picnic, the Park gets its name from a mythical man called Ban Jhakri, who worships spirits and resides in rock caves. This energy park uses non-conventional energy sources such as solar energy to run the swings and slides.
Pick up some goodies from the gift shop and eat at the café to enjoy a relaxed and peaceful time. Besides this, if you have the time, you can also stop by the Bakthang waterfalls, Do Drul Chorten Stupa, the ropeway, Ganesh Tok, the Institute of Tibetology, etc. There are plenty of things to do here, but as the day ends, get your grub at Café Live and Loud or the OSM restro and lounge. Then retire for the night to snuggle and relax.
Day 3: Cover Nathula Pass
Day 3 promises a lot of adventure and scenic splendor as we move towards the Nathula pass. We leave behind Gangtok with a smile and look on to more adventurous activities and fabulous sightseeing. Let us start with a visit to the Holy Hanuman Tok Temple.
Hanuman Tok Temple:
In Upper Gangtok, around 11 kms away from the capital, on the road to Nathula Pass, lies the divine shrine called Hanuman Tok temple, which is devoted to the Hindu monkey God, Hanuman. Devotees from different parts of India and abroad gather in the complex to offer their prayers to Lord Hanuman. You can easily hear the religious music and the distant prayers offered to the divine when you tread down the steps to the complex. You can see enchanting valleys, hills, and a particular part of Gangtok from the temple.
The Tsongmo Lake:
Tsongmo Lake is about 3750 meters above sea level and 3 hours from town. With eye-striking glory and stunning scenery to view throughout the way and at the lake, the tourist can be surprised at the region’s scenic beauty. Unwind, relax in the calm and serene atmosphere, and eat goodies from the Himalayan restaurant or the Tsongmo Lake.
The tranquil atmosphere of the café situated in the middle of natural beauty can be very therapeutic for the senses. Buddhists and Hindus come here to pay their respects to the Gods at the sacred lake.
Baba Harbhajan Singh Mandir:
Nearly 52 kms from Gangtok, sandwiched between the Nathula and Jelepla pass, lies the Baba Harbhajan Singh Mandir. Standing proudly at about 13,123 feet, this unique temple mesmerizes travelers with its spiritual ambiance and religious legacy—the place’s peaceful and calm vibes- just the right location to meditate with the Gods.
The Nathula Pass:
About 53 kms from Gangtok, at a height of 4310 meters, lies a passage-like corridor between India and Tibet surrounded by Alpine flora. While traveling to this spot through the world’s highest motorable road, you can see a clear view of Tsomgo Lake. The Chinese soldiers march on the international border from the Nathula Pass. To be able to visit this area, you need to get a pass.
Only Indian citizens get official government permission from the Tourism and Civil Aviation Department to see this region. You can also see a clear view of the Chumbi Valley if the weather and days are clear. The Nathula Pass is closed on Monday and Tuesday, and your visit will be futile if you go here during those days. As evening approaches, it is better to start back to Gangtok and rest at the hotel to greet the next day and its picturesque sightseeing spots.
Breathe in the fresh air of the Nathula Pass, grab a rejuvenating quiet meal, and spend a relaxed night at Gangtok. You have visited the region’s best sights, and it’s time to let the enamoring places sink in as you plan your trip to Pelling the next day! As a tired “you” grabs a dinner, nightfall and a warm bed sound very inviting. Get ready to greet the 4th day in Pelling, another beautiful place in the eye-striking Sikkim.
Day 4: Start For Pelling and Cover a Few Places Enroute.
As you wake up to Day 4, prepare to unfurl another exciting day. After finishing your breakfast, get ready for a lot of excitement in Pelling. As you drive toward a new destination, eye-striking beauty greets the senses.
Pelling, a tiny and quaint hamlet, is about five and a half hours away from Gangtok. Please make this a base for the night and day and see the fertile valleys, gushing waterfalls, mystical monasteries, and lakes that can leave the visitor spellbound with their beauty.
En route to Pelling, stop and pay your respects at the Samdruptse Statue, Namchi Char Dam, and Sikkim’s numerous other religious and cultural centers.
Siddheshwar Dham (Char Dham):
Siddheshwar Dham is a fantastic sacred place to visit that is known for its 108 feet high Lord Shiva Statue, four dhams, and 12 Jyotirlingas. Pray, offer your prayers and worship at this religious abode, and connect to the divine for peace and serenity.
It’s a blissful experience to see the water falling and the sound resounding in the environment, and this is the Kanchenjunga falls greeting the visitor. The size of waterfall may be small, and you may have to climb up 100 steps to reach here. Don’t try to jump into the pool. The water is freezing. But Masala tea, Maggi, and chips are a hot favorite here.
About 36 kms from Pelling and within walking distance from the pious Pemayangtse Monastry lie the exciting and historical Rabdentse ruins surrounded by lakes and beautiful thick woods. With awe-inspiring scenic glory, these ruins add a strange attraction to the area during the daytime. You may have to walk a certain distance to reach here, but it’s worth seeing the ruined remains of the first palace of the king of Sikkim. You can see the Bird park as you move back towards the town.
Pelling demands this stopover, only then can the visitor do justice to this beautiful area in Sikkim. Nature is at its full glory here, and you can see nuances of Buddhist culture at every nook and corner of the region. As evening approaches, you must drive back towards your hotel and have a yummy Sikkimese meal. Your holiday is ending, and you must make the best of the holiday time left in Pelling.
Day 5 –Cover Popular Tourist Places Nearby Pelling :
Pelling is a cosmopolitan town that offers hotels and homestays with all the latest amenities for every budget. Probably Sikkim is the best area to be in to relax and unwind amongst the glory of nature! So, after your breakfast, start your day 5 with exuberance.
The 200-meter-long Singshore bridge hanging nearly 100 meters from the ground is the highest in Sikkim and Asia’s second-highest suspension bridge, lying between Kaluk and Pelling. Take out the cameras, click away at the gorgeous locales, and enjoy the scenic spots. There is plenty to see in Pelling including Rimbi waterfalls, Darap Valley, Khecheopalri, the Temi tea gardens, and Buddha Park at Ravangla etc.
Move back towards Gangtok to relax or shop to boast of an adventure and exciting vacation to your friends. On the last day, gather a few glimpses of the town and shop for souvenirs to take home. Enjoy the last vacation day, collecting trinkets and taking a walk in the capital’s streets. It’s a treat to see the cloud-covered Gangtok with its radiant communities, beautiful lakes, mountain peaks, greenery, business centers, administrative offices, quaint residences’ and plenty of flora and fauna.
Sikkim promises memories of a lifetime and is a great place to spend a few days. Let those happy emotions flow for a few memorable days, and bid Gangtok goodbye as you head home from the Bagdogra airport or the New Jalpaiguri railway station in Siliguri!
People travel worldwide unaware that the ethereal Gangtok and Pelling have unexplored and mesmerizing beauty. Take a few days to experience the rich cultural heritage and glorious scenic spots and book a holiday package to Sikkim.