Eat, Roam, Live & Fall in Love with Gangtok Sikkim

Some bonds are built by chance and cannot be explained in words. They just happen and leave a direct mark on your soul. Such is the bond we have formed with Gangtok Sikkim in India.

On the first look, Gangtok City located in Northeast India looked like another uber hill town of Himachal or Uttarakhand but after spending a few days there, we realized how unique and advance it is. Locals absolutely love their city, like to keep it CLEAN and also abide by every single rule and regulations set up by the government. The Tangible Goals to end Tuberculosis by 2020, to make state completely organic and plastic-free clearly shows the high vision of state Sikkim. Just imagine, if the whole of India follows this, where we can head to. The Gangtok Town is flanked by the Himalayas on all side and has traditional monasteries hidden in between them, just like the Hemis Monastery in Ladakh.

Eat Roam Live and Fall in Love with Gangtok Sikkim

During our Darjeeling Sikkim Trip, the plan was to spend 2 days in Gangtok, Sikkim whereas we ended up spending up 4 days here. Gangtok acts as a base for trips to East, West, South or North Sikkim. So, even we made it our base and explored all zones from here itself. Also, we got surplus time to imbibe its culture and aura into our souls.

So, here is a brief travel guide from our experience on Gangtok City.

Eat- Places to enjoy food in Gangtok Sikkim, India

Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim, is a city of Nepalese, Tibetans’, and Sikkimese.  So, on MG Marg (Mahatma Gandhi Marg) the heart of Gangtok; one can find plenty of cafes and restaurants serving all the specialties to satiate your taste buds. Here are the recommendations of cafes and restaurants from the ones we tried.

Osm Restro & Lounge- Let’s Get Social

The Osm Restro & Lounge located on the first floor has great interiors and gives a feel of fine dining. The seating is comfortable and the corner seats offer the direct view of MG Marg. Their motto to “Let’s Get Social”SMILE, ENJOY, LAUGH, EAT, DRINK, SHOUT is what this place truly lives too. After a long hectic walk, we relaxed, enjoyed some cocktails and munched on thin-crust pizza here. And the experience was great enough to make us hit back the streets .

Osm Lounge & Bar at MG Marg, Gangtok
Osm Lounge & Bar at MG Marg, Gangtok Sikkim India

Nimtho- Authentic Local Cuisines of Himalayas

Nimtho, located on the first floor in the middle of MG Marg is known for authentic local cuisines of Himalayas. They serve Sikkimese, Nepali and Tibetan food, cooked in the old style with aromatic herb and spices.

Chicken Achar Momos at Nimtho in Gangtok
Chicken Achar Momos at Nimtho in Gangtok

The place has a cozy warmth and a rustic feel of the traditions with a display of traditional cooking styles throughout the sitting area. We tried Mula Chursi Salad (Raddish spunned with herbs and Sikkim Cheese) and Chicken Achar Momos. The salad was average because we didn’t like the Cheese taste much but Momos were to die for. They were absolutely soupy, juicy and spicy. Although we ordered a plain bread after that to pacify the chilliness.

Golden Dragon Bar & Restaurant

The Golden Dragon Bar and restaurant located near the Tourist Information Center on the first floor is a center of attraction of MG Marg. The loud music and two huge dragons on its exteriors make the place easily recognizable and quite distinct from others. But honestly, we didn’t like it much. The place interiors were gloomy and dingy. We wanted to rush out immediately but after the backache from the North Sikkim trip, we had no energy. So, took a chance and seated ourselves. We ordered here pizza, salad, and HIT, the local beer of Sikkim.

Hit- The Local Beer of Sikkim at Gangtok Sikkim India
Hit- The Local Beer of Sikkim at Gangtok Sikkim India

Pizza and Salad both were good but the best was chilled HIT, and it really took away all our pain.  They also have an open terrace opening towards, MG Marg.

Bakers Café

Good breakfast is what helps us to start our day well. So, we directly headed to the Bakers Café, located on MG Marg.

Bakers Cafe on MG Marg Gangtok India
Bakers Cafe on MG Marg Gangtok India

The first look of Bakers Cafe was WoW! The place has a cool ambiance and it looked like heaven for Bakery lovers. We choose a place next to the window opening up to the Himalayas and ordered a quick breakfast with cappuccino and ginger drink. The food taste and presentation were a treat to eyes. Overall, we loved this cafe and will recommend it to every traveler.

Views from Bakers Cafe in Gangtok Sikkim
Views from Bakers Cafe in Gangtok Sikkim

Our stomach was full after the scrumptious breakfast but taste buds still had the cravings of sweet so before leaving, we got some cakes, muffins, and munchies packed for ourselves.

Breakfast at Bakers Cafe in Gangtok India.
Breakfast at Bakers Cafe in Gangtok India.

Hotel Tashi Delek – Rooftop Restaurant

The Hotel Tashi Delek, hidden in one of the lanes of MG Marg is another favorite of all the places. The place has a blend of traditional and modern design and its classy rooftop with an open bar is what makes this place super special. We loved spending our evenings here, admiring the landscapes and densely spread Gangtok. The advise is to occupy a corner seat in the open for the perfect view.  

Rooftop of Hotel Tashi Delek at MG Marg Gangtok
The Rooftop of Hotel Tashi Delek at MG Marg Gangtok

The service at Tashi Delek is good but their menu has very limited food options. In food, we ate fish and egg fried rice with Local Beer “Dansberg” repeatedly and it was absolutely worth the price.

The Tangerine in Chumbi Residency

The Tangerine, restaurant in the Chumbi residency is another hyped place in Gangtok town. We were staying at Chumbi residency, so didn’t pay much attention to its restaurant but definitely, the food we ordered for breakfast and Dinner was yum and value for money.

Tangerine at Chumbi Residency, Gangtok Sikkim
Tangerine at Chumbi Residency, Gangtok Sikkim

Note: The restaurants and café in Gangtok are not overly expensive. Two people’s meal on average costs around Rs. 1000- Rs.1500/-.

Roam – Attractions in Gangtok Sikkim

Gangtok the capital of Sikkim; proves big things come in small packages. The place is a wonderland and there is some or other place of interest for every tourist or traveler. Gangtok is soaked in the beauty of Himalayas, has unlimited waterfalls, nature trails, monasteries, temples and also boasts one of the highest peaks of the world i.e. Kanchenjunga. Indeed, Gangtok is known as a “Land of Monasteries” and has some of the oldest and largest monasteries. So, here are the places of interest we would like to recommend you.

MG Marg (Mahatma Gandhi Marg)

Mahatma Gandhi Marg, the heart and most happening place of Gangtok is famous among tourists as well as locals. The marg is well paved, maintained, clean, green, and litter-free. It is absolutely full of colors and positive vibes. Also, it houses all the beautiful cafes, lounges, and traditional eateries.

MG Marg Gangtok Sikkim India
MG Marg Gangtok Sikkim India in August

Monasteries

Gangtok has around 100 small monasteries in and around its vicinity -like Enchey Monastery, Tusklakhang Palace Monastery, Lingdum monastery, Rumtek monastery, etc. But if you want to visit only one then do visit Rumtek Monastery.

Entry Gate To Rumtek Monastery
Entry Gate To Rumtek Monastery

The Rumtek Monastery, largest in Sikkim and mother of all monasteries, lies on an opposite hill in the Rumtek town, 23 kilometers away from the Gangtok city. At the main gate, there is a check post and from here one needs to walk for a Kilometer to reach Monastery. The path is lined with trees, colorful shops and rows of prayer wheels. The grind of prayer wheels and chirping of birds throughout the walk keep the atmosphere quite lively.

Prayer Wheels on the way to Rumtek Monastery in Sikkim
Prayer Wheels on the way to Rumtek Monastery in Sikkim

As you enter the main Monastery gate, 4 storied colorful building stands in front against a calm, green, beautiful mountainous backdrop. The colors and the aura of this place automatically pull you towards it.

Rumtek Monastery - Largest Monastery of Sikkim
Rumtek Monastery – Largest Monastery of Sikkim

Its beautiful architecture, Thangka, and the years-old artifacts clearly state its importance in Sikkim.  Also, there are several vantage points around Monastery, from where you get the entire sprawling view of Gangtok city.

Colorful Rumtek Monastery in Sikkim
Colorful Rumtek Monastery in Sikkim

Timings: 8:00 am -5:00 pm

Entry TicketRs. 10/-

View of Gangtok Town from Rumtek Monastery
View of Gangtok Town from Rumtek Monastery

Karma Shri Nalanda Institute / Rumtek Dharma Chakra Center

Keep circumambulating around the Rumtek Monastery and from behind climb the steps to reach Karma Shri Nalanda Institute, an institute for higher Buddhist studies.

Way to Golden Stupa, Karma Shri Nalanda Institute
Way to Golden Stupa, Karma Shri Nalanda Institute

The main shrine of the institute houses the 13-foot-high Golden Stupa (also known as Lhabab Chodteen) made of Gold and copper, bejeweled with ancient stones and corals. Inside the Stupa are the precious relics and holy remains of His Holiness the Sixteenth Gyalwa Karmapa Rangjung Rigpe Dorje. Photography is strictly prohibited inside the shrine.

Karma Shri Nalanda Institute in Sikkim
Karma Shri Nalanda Institute in Sikkim

Temples

Gangtok has plenty of grandeur Temples and each one is known for its peaceful environment and divine atmosphere. If you have ample time then do visit one or two of them. We checked out Hanuman Tok and Ganesha Tok, both located on the Hilltop offering an amazing view of Himalayas and Kanchenjunga Peak. But during our visit, it was monsoon time and clouds had completely engulfed the ranges, so we didn’t even get a glimpse of them.

On the way to Hanuman Top
On the way to Hanuman Top in Gangtok Sikkim India

Hanuman Tok, located at 7200 feet is dedicated to Lord Hanuman and is one of the main shrines in Gangtok. It lies 11 Kilometers from Gangtok city, on the branch road of Gangtok Nathula Highway. The drive to the temple is breathtaking especially during monsoons when every inch looks green and serene. But be carefully with the Leeches, if you are walking down.

The Hanuman Temple has a mythical story- it is believed that Lord Hanuman rested here for a while, during his return trip from Sri Lanka, while carrying Sanjeevani Bhuti (Herbs) from the Himalayas to cure Lord Laxman. And today this temple is known as wish-fulfilling Temple by locals.

Ganesh Tok I
Ganesh Tok In Gangtok Sikkim India

Ganesha Tok, the shrine dedicated to Lord Ganesha lies on the way to Hanuman Tok. The temple can be identified easily from a distance because of its vibrant colors and the colorful flags decorating the pathway. The entrance to the Temple is quite narrow and only one person can enter at a time.

Kanchenjunga View Point /Tashi View Point

The Kanchenjunga viewpoint, also known as Tashi viewpoint lies 8 Kilometers from the Gangtok city. The place is known for the panoramic views it offers of Gangtok city, and of Mount Kanchenjunga and Mount Sinolchu.

Tashi View Point in Gangtok
Tashi View Point in Gangtok

Tashi View Point is an irregular structure built on the hilltop and can be reached only via a climbing few steps. In the center of this structure is installed a beautiful dragon art, at the front are the viewpoints built with railing to get the clear panoramic views whereas at back stands the multi-floor hexagonal building. For reaching this building’s top, climb more stairs and pay a nominal fee. And it is all worth after seeing the views from the top. Clouds were floating among the mountains and we could see the specs of Gangtok city in between. The whole scene looked imaginary and completely out of the world.

View from Tashi View Point
View from Tashi View Point

Here you will also see the tourists getting themselves draped and clicked in traditional Sikkimese dresses.

Dragon art at Tashi View Point in Gangtok
Dragon art at Tashi View Point in Gangtok

Bakthang waterfall – Gangtok Sikkim

Bakthang waterfall lies 3 kilometers from Gangtok city on the North Sikkim Highway. The fall looks absolutely magnificent because of its spread and the way it falls on the green canopy of creepers.

Bakthang Waterfall
Bakthang Waterfall in Gangtok Sikkim India

In front of the Bakthang waterfall is a green bridge where one can climb up for better views and pictures. Also, do enjoy juicy and delicious momos from a local vendor standing in the car parking lot.

Lal Market

The Lal Bazaar very close to MG Marg truly represents the vibrant colors of Sikkim. The local farmers congregate here to sell their local produce and interestingly the majority of vendors are women. On Sunday, the market is super full and it looks like a melody of colors.

Mushroom at Lal Market in Gangtok
Mushroom at Lal Market in Gangtok

Lal Market has 3 floors, where the 1st and 2nd floors are dedicated to vegetable and fruit vendors and part of the 2nd and complete 3rd floor, are for purchasing clothes of every variety and range. We went here to purchase Dalle – the spiciest Chilli in the world and some local mushrooms.

Dalle- The spiciest chilli in the world
Dalle- The spiciest chili in the world

Dalle, the chili of a cherry size was a rare commodity in the market and was available in red and green. We brought 500 grams each to prepare Dalle Khursani.

Ropeway Ride for bird’s eye view of Gangtok Sikkim

The ropeway cable car ride is one of the topmost tourist attraction of Gangtok. It is a kilometer-long ride, which starts from Deorali near the Institute of Tibetology and goes up to Tashiling. The Cable car operates daily between 9:30 am to 4:30 pm continuously and the ticket price is Rs. 110/- per adult and Rs. 70/- for child below 6 years. Also, video camera charges are additional Rs. 100/-. 

Deorali Butterfly Bridge in Gangtok
Deorali Butterfly Bridge in Gangtok

Attractions Nearby Gangtok

Nathula Pass

The Nathula Pass located at 14,140 feet lies 56 kilometers from Gangtok town and can be visited as a day trip. The route was once the main silk trade route between India and China but today only limited trade takes place here. For more details on Nathula Pass and permit check here.

Tsomgo/ Changu Lake

The Tsomgo or Changu Lake is a glacial oval-shaped lake at 12,310 feet. It lies 40 Kilometers from Gangtok and can also be visited as a day trip destination. The Changu Lake Lake too is considered as one of the highest glacial lakes of India like Gurudongmar Lake and Chandratal Lake.

Tsongmo Lake or Changu Lake
Tsongmo Lake or Changu Lake (Source)

Note: Nathula Pass and Tsomgo Lake both need an inner line permit for a visit and can be visited via local cabs only. We skipped visiting both these places for two reasons. First, as we already visited another high altitude Lake i.e. Gurudongmar Lake in North Sikkim and second we never wanted to travel anymore in the cabs.

Live – Accomodation in Gangtok Sikkim India

There are plenty of accommodation options in Gangtok from guest houses to budget hotels to luxurious hotels. The only criteria we had set up for choosing a hotel for ourselves was to find a good place near to the MG Marg. So, we choose to stay at Hotel Chumbi Residency, located on the Tibet Road, at just 5 minutes’ walk away from the main market M.G. Marg.

The Lobby of Hotel Chumbi Residency in Gangtok
The Lobby of Hotel Chumbi Residency in Gangtok

The first look of the hotel lobby was impressive. It was well decorated with artifacts reflecting the Sikkim culture and the huge glass on one end gave the complete view of landscapes around Gangtok.

View from Hotel Lobby of Chumbi Residency
View from Hotel Lobby of Chumbi Residency

We opted for the Jade room at Rs. 2500 per night. The room was super comfortable, cozy, well furnished and had the feel of the bedroom, which we needed for the coming 4-5 days. Moreover, the huge window on one end was enough to have Gangtok feel.

Jade room at Hotel Chumbi Residency in Gangtok
Jade room at Hotel Chumbi Residency in Gangtok

The hotel Chumbi Residency has its own parking space and a wonderful restaurant Tangerine, which serves Continental, Oriental, Indian and Sikkimese cuisine. The other plus of the place is that they let you leave your vehicle while going for a North Sikkim tour.

Fall in Love with Gangtok Sikkim

Gangtok truly represents the beauty and serenity. It is a place which takes you through rolling hills, lush green misty valleys, beautiful monasteries and makes you fall in love. Here are some reasons why we say that

  1. Gangtok is the friendliest walking city with proper pathways
  2. Is absolutely pollution and dirt free
  3. The “N” number of cafeterias, serve the yummiest cuisines without robbing your pockets. So, the city is a gastronomical delight
  4. Has well-aligned policies for the safety and growth of state & Citizens
  5. Weather is excellent throughout the year
  6. And there are multiple options of day trips from the city

How to reach Gangtok

The closest airport to Gangtok was Bagdogra airport near Siliguri in West Bengal. From there one could opt for shared cabs, private taxis, local bus or Zoomcar. We took Zoomcar from Siliguri to Gangtok and it took us around 5 hours to reach there. However, on 4 October 2019, the new airport has opened up at Pakyong in Sikkim which is about 33 km from Gangtok and this will cut downtime to reach Gangtok to 1-hour form 5 hours.

Weather at Gangtok Sikkim, India

Gangtok has mild comfortable temperature weather throughout the year and it never crosses 25 degrees Celsius. Here, Summers are from April end to June and the temperature ranges between 22° to 14 degrees Celsius. Monsoon starts in June and continues till September. During this time Gangtok receives heavy downpour and one can witness multiple landslides too. Autumn lasts in September and October. Winter starts in November and continues until March. The temperature ranges between 7° to 4 degrees Celsius and sometimes even dip to 1 degree Celsius. Spring lasts in April and the weather starts getting warm.

We visited Gangtok in Monsoons and it is a trip to remember forever. The valley was beautifully covered in clouds. The rain continued for days but we didn’t mind getting wet anywhere. Landscapes too looked lush green and misty. So, if you are a rain lover and sucker of natural beauty than visit Gangtok during monsoon i.e. in off season.

 



9 thoughts on “Eat, Roam, Live & Fall in Love with Gangtok Sikkim”

  • The further more I go into your blog posts in this region of India, the more and more I want to go here. The food and drink look great and so does the accommodation, but I can see myself hiking in those mountains and along the rivers. I am a sucker for nature.

  • I’ll admit, I have never heard of Gangtok City. Rumtek Monastery looks like an incredible place to visit – all those greens and golds – so majestic. Changu Lake looks like the lakes around the Icefields Parkway in Canada – so turquoise and beautiful. Those Momos at Nimtho look so yummy – I could eat many bowls!

  • Even though I’ve never heard of Gangtok Sikkim , I’m quite impressed with their ambitious goals. Organic and plastic-free by 2020…I love it!.
    Regardless, your article and pictures are amazing. You have me curious and very interested in visiting this part of India. I love that it is pollution-free as well. Thanks for the introduction to this well-kept gem or secret 🙂

  • Love these posts on the hills towns of India, so green and not what immediately comes to mind when I think of India. They’re a great introduction to new cities. ROFL, love the “super strong” beer. 🙂

  • It looks lovely there! I never expected the temperatures to be so mild. The food and scenery look amazing too; I look forward to someday making it to this area.

  • I’ll have to admit that I’ve never heard of Gangtok Sikkim, but that’s because I’ve never been in India. I’m sure those who travel to this country know how beautiful Gangtok Sikkim really is. I am already sold on it, just by looking at your pictures. It has something of everything: beautiful scenery, local culture and especially authentic Himalayan food, which I’d love to try someday.

  • What a place! The clouds make Gangtok Sikkim look even more mysterious and dramatic. I would love the Rumtek Monastery – and, of course, the good food: The chicken looks sooo good!

  • I like to try authentic local food on my travels. So, Nimtho would be my choice. Sikkimese, Nepali and Tibetan food prepared in the traditional style with aromatic herbs and spices can be nothing less than delicious!

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