Do you prefer traveling high up in the mountains for an ideal vacation? If you take a look at the top places to visit in North Sikkim, you’ll end up planning 1 or 2 for your upcoming trip. Here is a list of Top 23 Places to Visit in North Sikkim.
North-East India is known for its lush green valleys& hills, clear waterfalls & lakes and snow-covered mountains. You’ll get to see the latter in all these places in Sikkim I’ll mention about.
Which Are the Top Places to Visit in North Sikkim?
Sikkim is popular for trekkers as well as bike travelers. Whether you love a relaxing trip in the silence of the mountains or an adventure in the snow, this place has it all. Let’s take a look at the diversity one by one.
This eye candy is located 3-4 hours from Lachen and Thangu. Located at a height of 17,100 feet or 5,430 meters, this is among the highest lakes in the world. The crystal-clear water reflects the beautiful snow-covered mountains surrounding it.
Named after Guru Padmasambhava, this lake is a holy place, known to have water with miraculous healing powers. According to legend, his hands melted the lake which was always frozen.
What to Do: Apart from being a beautiful sight-seeing spot, this place is a base for trekkers. If you’re on a usual road trip, you can visit Thangu or Lachen from here.
Best Time to Visit: You can see the actual lake between November and June. However, if you want a frozen view of the lake, you can go during winter, which over there is between July to October.
Also known as the “Valley of Flowers” this place is known for its bed of Rhododendron flowers. Apart from that, you’ll find yaks, hot springs and the young Teesta river with the backdrop of mountains.
Apart from these, you can visit a Shiva temple which is 7 km from the hot spring and the Zero Point, which is 23 km from the valley. They are beautiful destinations for trekkers as well as travelers.
What to Do: If you come here during Feb-March, you can enjoy the Losar festival celebrated here. Otherwise, the breath-taking view of the Shingba Rhododendron Sanctuary is the most popularly visited site.
Best Time to Visit: The actual time to visit the “Valley of flowers” is between February and June. However, if you want to take a look at the snow-capped Pauhunri and Shundu Tsenpa behind the Teesta, you can visit between September-December.
Located at a height of 8,600 feet on both sides of the Lachung River, this town is full of beautiful orchards and streams. If you live in a city where winter doesn’t go below 10°C, believe me, that’s summer for the locals there!
The word “Lachung” means close pass and gets its name because it is very close to the Tibet border. It is also very close to the Zero Point.
What to Do: The place is famous for the Lachung Gompa or Buddhist monastery. The mask dance there is very famous that takes place in winters. You can also go trekking to nearby places like Mt Katao or Zero Point from here.
Best Time to Visit: Both summer and winter have their own beauty here. So, you can come between March to May or October to February.
The word “Lachen” means big pass and gets the name as it is a base for trekkers going to Chopta Valley, Gurudongmar Lake or Tso Lhamu. It is also famous for Buddhist pilgrims for the monastery here.
Whether you’re an adventurer, a nature photographer or a peace lover, this place has everything in your interest.
What to Do: You can go trekking from here or do rafting in the gushing Teesta river. If you’re here during summer, you can enjoy the famous yak race called Thangu. You can even shop for some really creative handicrafts in the market.
Best Time to Visit: If you want to enjoy the culture, you can come here during May-June. However, if you want to take a view of frozen lakes, you can come in winter, anytime between October and February.
Also known as Tso Lhamu, this lake is at a height of 18,000 feet. It is the highest lake in India and the 14th highest in the world. It remains frozen for most of the year and has a mesmerizing beauty.
This is more of a serene place for nature lovers and photographers. Being at a great height and close to the border, you need permits to visit this place.
What to Do:This high-altitude lake is surrounded by mountains more than 20,000 feet high. You can spend hours gazing at their reflection in the clear water, taking pictures and stroll around.
Best Time to Visit: Due to extreme weather conditions, you’ll get permits to visit this lake during October and November, when the sky is clear.
Yume Samdong (Zero Point)
Yume Samdong is more popularly known as the Zero Point because it is a dead-end in the mountains. There is no road ahead, only scenery surrounding you – green valleys and snow-capped mountains.
Located at a height of 4,724 meters or 15,300 feet, you’ll have to pass through rough roads to get here. However, more importantly you’ll need special permits to enter this place as it’s close to the Indo-China border.
What to Do:It is indeed a question when you’re at a place that doesn’t have a road ahead. It is true for nature lovers and photographers who can take the rough roads and cold weather.
Best Time to Visit: You need the roads to be clear to get here, which is why the best time is between March and May.
Seven Sisters Waterfall
As the name suggests, it is a combination of 7 waterfalls in the middle of lush green mountains. Together, they form a beautiful light blue stream below.
You should spend your evening here as the sunset has a breath-taking view too. The day might end, but you won’t stop taking pictures here!
What to Do: There’s a café here where you can chill and take photos. For peace and spirituality lovers, there’s a Hanuman temple as well as a Buddhist monastery nearby.
Best Time to Visit: This is the only place I’ll recommend visiting in the monsoon as the water will be most voluminous at that time. So, May-July or just after winter when the snow melts are ideal to visit this place.
At a height of 13,200 feet, this valley is known for the colorful flowers blooming in summer. Despite its popularity, the place is quiet and untapped.
The most mesmerizing part of this place is that you can see lush greenery on one side and snow-covered mountains on the other – both at the same time.
What to Do: This place is close to the Gurudongmar Lake, Cholamu Lake, and Thangu Valley. You can enjoy the yak race if you come during summer.
Best Time to Visit: The time between March and May is most recommended to look at the colorful flowers. If you want a frozen view of the valley, you can come to the winters too.
The word “Chungthang” means good place. The town derived this name when Guru Nanak visited this place on his way to China.
However, the interesting legend about this place is that Guru Padmasambhava once sat on a rock here which still has his footprints. This rock also has water coming out of it. Moreover, you have paddy growing in this town, which was first sprinkled by this saint.
What to Do: This is a holy place that will interest tourists interested in stories and mythologies. Moreover, it is the base from where you can visit Lachen, Lachung, Yumthang, Zero Point, Gurudongmar Lake and Cholamu Lake.
Best Time to Visit: You can visit this at any time of the year. It totally depends on where you wish to go ahead from here. Summer would be good if you wish to see greenery and winter is good for looking at frozen lakes and valleys.
If you’re trekking in North Sikkim, you shouldn’t miss out on this place. Located at a height of 15,000 feet, this place is covered in snow for most of the year.
However, you’ll need permits to visit this place too as it is a military base. You’ll find the poppy, rhododendron and primula where you start and get to the snow as you climb up. That’s when the fun begins!
What to Do: Adventure lovers and young hearts, get ready for some snow-boarding, skiing, snow-tubing and grinding here. Of course, you’ll end-up snow-fighting in such a place too.
Best Time to Visit: You’ll get the maximum snow between December and February here. However, if you want a pleasant climate, this place is also beautiful between March and June.
Located close to the China border, this village is also a military base. It looks completely different in summer and winter – both beautiful in their own way.
You’ll find the colorful alpine meadow here in the summer along with yaks. In winter, the greenery and purple flowers are covered with a blanket of snow.
What to Do: This place is a base for trekkers willing to go to Gurudongmar Lake, Cholamu Lake or Chopta Valley. There are 3 rivers flowing here – Teesta, Thangu and Lassur. If you come in the summer, you can go river rafting as well as enjoy the famous yak race.
Best Time to Visit: If you wish to look at the Alpine meadows, yak races and do some river rafting, May and June are the right months for you. For frozen views and snow fights, you can come in winter after November.
A paradise for peace lovers, photographers, adventurers and spiritual hearts – the diversity of this place will leave you awe-struck. The beauty lies in the colorful meadows, sparling streams and sweet birds here.
At a height of 4,000 feet, this place is a base for trekking to Lachen, Lachung, and Chungthang. You shouldn’t come to this place without a good camera – irrespective of whether you’re a photographer or not.
What to Do: This place is apt for trekking, hiking, paragliding, rock-climbing, bike riding and camping in the forests. If you’re a spiritual seeker, there are 2 monasteries for you – the Labrang Gompa and the Phadong Monastery.
Best Time to Visit: If you specifically come in the month of December, you’ll enjoy some amazing traditional music along with the natural beauty, adventure and the monasteries.
Shingba Rhododendron Sanctuary
Rhododendron is a family of pink flowers that has a lot of species. About 43 square kilometers huge, this sanctuary is home to more than 40 species of these trees. Moreover, you’ll also find some rear birds such as wood snipe and hoary-throated brewing.
To see the maximum bloom, you should come here during spring. If you’re a nature lover and photographer, you cannot miss out this place, especially if you’re planning for Lachen, Lachung or Yumthang.
What to Do: This is a place for peace lovers, photographers, and trekkers. Apart from enjoying the sweet smell of the flowers and chirping of the birds, you can enjoy the view of the Yumthang Chu river and trek ahead in the nearby places.
Best Time to Visit: It is spring between April and July when you’ll get to see a pink blanket on the lush green hill.
Built initially in 1721, this beautiful monastery has gone through multiple damages and repairs. Yet, the divine atmosphere, architectural beauty and the scenic surroundings are worth the visit.
One of the largest monasteries in Sikkim, it is home to 300 lamas of the Nyingmapa Buddhism. The current structure that you see was last repaired in 1983.
What to Do: Irrespective of the kind of person you are, you will love the vibes in this tranquil place. If you visit during Sikkimese new year, you’ll get to see a dance performance by the monks living here too.
Best Time to Visit: Their new year is in December when you get the most out of the place. Else, you can come between March and May or during October and November.
Khangchendzonga National Park
Established in 1977, this UNESCO site was expanded to cover an area of 178,400 ha in 1997. It covers 25% of Sikkim and has the highest number of plants and mammals in the Asian Himalayas.
It is home to snow leopards, Himalayan black bear, barking deer, flying squirrel and a large variety of birds. Surrounded by the backdrop of Mt Khangchendzonga& other peaks and the Zemu glacier, this place is a paradise for nature and wildlife photographers.
What to Do: Apart from safari and photography, you can visit the Tholung monastery which is close to this place. You can also visit the Zemu glacier, a part of which is visible from the forest below.
Best Time to Visit: The forest is open all year long, but summer is likely to give you a greener view of the forest. It is also the time when animals come out in the open.
About 26 km long, this is the largest glacier in the eastern Himalayas. Located at the base of Mt Kanchenjunga, it is a source of the River Teesta as well as several lakes in Sikkim.
This area is more than just ice that melts to water the rivers from time to time. The clear blue sky, surrounding forests and waterfalls are a mesmerizing sight to capture.
What to Do:This area is meant for regular trekkers, who can take-up difficult routes uphill and downhill. The sight of snow animals and forests, sparkling waterfalls and the all-time snow-covered mountains will take you aback.
Best Time to Visit: The routes are clearer during March-June and so is the sky. You pass through clear, flowing water, colorful rhododendron forests along with snow-covered mountains to get there.
Green Lake Trek
This is a tough trek of 92 km. You need to climb up to a height of 16,186 feet. However, all your exercise is worth it because both the journey as well as the destination are so beautiful.
You pass through alpine and rhododendron forests, along with some more pretty flowers and greenery. Close to the Zemu glacier and Mt Kanchenjunga lies the crystal-clear Green Lake.
What to Do: This place is not really meant for regular trips. You can only trek here and take pictures. There is no habitat, but it is mesmerizingly silent and serene. You can go up till Zemu glacier from here if you have permits.
Best Time to Visit: Since this place is really high, taking care of the weather, you should visit in the summer between March-May. However, if you can take rough conditions and want a frozen view of the place, go anytime till October.
Tosar Lake Trek
Located between the Chola range and Mangan, this lake is 4,000 meters high. Your trek begins from an altitude of 1,800 meters at Naksuk.
Passing through beautiful forests, streams, springs and yak trails, you’ll reach a destination from where the view of Mt Khangchendzonga looks spectacular.
What to Do: This is also a place for trekking only. There is a cliff to the south-east of the lake where you can worship like the locals of Sikkim. As a nature lover, you can spend your day in the tranquillity of the surroundings here.
Best Time to Visit:You’ll see the blooming flowers under a clear sky between March-June. Else, you can also visit between September and November.
Away from the over-crowded tourist spots, this place is a complete retreat for a peace seeker. Not only do you get a splendid view of Mt Khangchendzonga and Mt Siniolchu, you’ll get routes to go trekking or hiking further from here too.
You can choose to make this place a stop, or it can be your final destination. It is a quiet village where you can rest for as long as you want.
What to Do:You can go to Jhandi viewpoint or Tosha lake trek from here. If you wish to spend more time here, you can visit the Singhik monastery and the villagers living here too.
Best Time to Visit: You can either go on summer (March-may) or in the winter (Sept-Oct). Both the seasons have their own beauty here. However, it is risky in monsoon to come here.
Rong Lungten Lee
Situated between 2 rivers – Teesta and Kanaka, this beautiful little village displays the culture of Sikkim. You can interact with the Lepcha tribe here.
Since it is not so close to the border, you don’t need any special permits to get here – whether you’re a domestic traveler or a foreigner.
What to Do: Take a look at the houses and artifacts of the Lepcha tribe. You will have a very pleasant time interacting with the locals here.
Best Time to Visit: It is pleasant and green in summer here, between March and June. That is the best time to enjoy a culturally rich place.
This is a historical destination where the formation of the state of Sikkim started. The Bhutia King and the Lepcha chief had signed the blood brotherhood treaty in the 13th century here.
You will feel a lot of warmth here between the tribes and the greenery of the place. The Seven Sister Waterfalls are also close to Kabi Lungchok.
What to Do: You can take a look at the Sacred Groove where the treaty was signed. The Phodong Monastery, Phensang monastery, Seven Sister Waterfalls, and Tingchim Lake.
Best Time to Visit: If you look up the Bhutia calendar, you can check for the Sekhiuk Puja and Pang Lhabsol. That is the best time to enjoy a cultural place like Kabi Lungchok.
Sirijonga Yuma Mangheem
Very close to Rong Lungten Lee, you can see a panoramic view of Mt Khangchendzonga and Mt Siniolchu too. During the festival of Maghey Sakranti, it is very jolly and pleasant to be here.
This is a Nepalese festival that is celebrated full-fledged every year. If you really want to take a close look at life in Sikkim, this is a perfect spot to go to.
What to Do: The Singhik view point, Singhik monastery, Tosha lake, and Jhandi viewpoint are all nearby from here. You can also visit Dzongu and Tingchim villages nearby which are very serene.
Best Time to Visit: You can come here at any time of the year, but the festive season is in January. Otherwise, the weather is pleasant between March-May.
This high-altitude lake is in the north-east of the Kanchenjunga range. The beauty of this place lies in the reflection of the mountains surrounding this clear, blue lake.
If you come here in the winter, the view will be somewhat different. You must have guessed why by now – this lake too freezes in the cold weather. That is also an eye candy for you to enjoy.
What to Do: This is a calm and serene place where you can relax for a while. Gurudongmar Lake is not very far from here. So, you can treat this place as a stop until you get there.
Best Time to Visit: That entirely depends on the kind of view you want. If you want to see the clear blue water reflecting the mountains, summer is pleasant. Else, you can come in the winter to take a glacial view of the lake.
Which is the Best Time to Visit North Sikkim?
It all depends on how much cold you can take. If pleasant weather suits you, summer is a better option. If you love snow or want to experience it, winter is the time. However, you should be tough enough to take rough weather in the winter.
I can mention one time when you shouldn’t be coming – monsoon. The mountains here are all very steep. In monsoon, not only will the rain disturb your plans, but the steep rocks will get slippery.
Summer is safe as winters get foggy and too chilly for a city-person to bear. There are places like the Zemu glacier where you’ll find snow almost all year round. That’s when you can get a clear route and snow to enjoy.
Road Trip to North Sikkim
North Sikkim is a bit more popular and appropriate for trekking. However, you can equally enjoy a road trip, provided you come in summer.
This is because it gets difficult moving around in a car if it’s too foggy outside or there’s a snowfall. If you’re walking, you ma still be able to manage better.
If you’re planning to cover more places, a road trip can be a lot of fun. If you’re coming with your friends, you can get a bike too.
Motorcycle Permit for North Sikkim
Oh yes – getting a bike here isn’t as casual as any other place. These are cold and steep mountains, that face a lot of fog and snow every year. Moreover, it is very close to the border of China.
Thus, you don’t get it so easily. You need to qualify for the following:
- You as well as your co-rider need to be an Indian citizen.
- Having a valid driving license.
- Your vehicle needs to have insurance as well as pollution certificate.
- Either you need to have your registration certificate of the vehicle or authorization from the agency from where you rent it.
Again, it is recommended to ride a bike here only if you have experience in riding in the mountains. Else, it can be very risky for you.
It doesn’t matter how you go to Sikkim. However, if you live in India, you shouldn’t miss visiting this heaven on earth.
You now know the top places to visit in North Sikkim. Which one do you choose to try first?