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iXiGOers Dec 09 2012

Which are the popular places to explore around Gangtok?

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Well, if you are already in Gangtok, then why not take a little leap ahead and explore a few places around? Excited ? Well read on about the few amazing places that you can visit on your trip:

  • Darjeeling

    About 94 km away from Gangtok is this charming city of Darjeeling nestling in the lap of the mighty Himalayas. Darjeeling is often seen as being synonymous with large, green and picturesque tea-estates. Tea production in Darjeeling is a legacy of the British, who developed the place as a hill-station to escape the summer heat. Located in the 'lesser' Himalayan area, it proudly plays host to the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, which is recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
    Come to Darjeeling to explore some delicious
    Sikkimese and Tibetan cuisines, experience the Tibetan Buddhist culture and take home some beautiful handicrafts that you'll find hard to part with. Hire a Jeep to maneuver its steep and narrow roads and envelop yourself in the refreshing, moist air and awe-inspiring views.

    The best way to access the way to Darjeeling from Gangtok is through roadways because there is no airport or train station. You can easily hire private taxis that would cost you around INR 2000 to INR 3500 for a round trip.

  • Pelling

    Offering great views of the majestic Himalayan mountains and specifically Kanchenjunga, Pelling is essentially a laid back town of quiet monasteries. To soak in the tranquility of this atmosphere, one should visit the Pemayangtse Monastery and the Sangachoeling Monastery. Tourists also undertake excursions to the nearby Sangay Waterfall and the Khecheopalri Lake which is hidden in dense forest cover and is sacred to Buddhists. The Rabdentse Ruins are those of an erstwhile kingdom and worth checking out. Pelling also serves as a base camp to mountain climbers and trekkers who undertake the arduous journey into the Himalayan ranges. The town has been undergoing the process of development lately, providing good roads and better hotels to travellers.

    Pelling is situated 125 km away from Gangtok city. It is easily accessible through roadways. The nearest train station is
    New Jalpaiguri, however it is not a very good idea to go there by train because that will be a much longer and time consuming way. You can hire cabs for INR 2500 to INR 3500 for a round trip from Gangtok to Pelling.

  • Kalimpong

    Another beautiful hill destination near Gangtok, Kalimpong is a mesmerising place that you must visit. Being located only 80 km away you cannot possibly miss this vibrant place once you are in Gangtok. Erstwhile a part of Bhutan, the place has many Buddhist monasteries, ancient churches and exquisite temples. The panoramic view of the Teesta Rangit Valley from the spot known as 7th Mile Viewpoint is just breathtaking. The town is laden with flower markets where you can spot some rare orchids found only in the Northeastern region of India.

    The place can be easily reached from Gangtok and the best way is by roadways. Cabs can be booked for INR 2500 to INR 3500.

  • Nathula Pass

    It connects the Indian state of Sikkim with China's Tibet Autonomous Region and forms a part of an offshoot of the ancient Silk Road. It is around 56 kilometres from Gangtok city. The pass was closed after the Indochina war in 1962, but was reopened in 2006 following numerous bilateral trade agreements. The pass, at 4,310 m (14,140 ft) above mean sea level has very low temperature, so make sure you carry heavy woolens. It is better to make the trip early in the day as the weather worsens in the evening. Even though the road to the pass is a roller coaster ride but its beauty is sure to mesmerize you. Although there is no fee but you need to get a permit in advance. You can find survival food like momos/maggie, boiled eggs. The oxygen level is low so this place is not recommended for people with breathing problems. Nathula pass remains open only to Indian nationals on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays.

    Since it is quite close to Gangtok, there is no point for opting for any other means of transportation other than hiring a cab. You can get a round trip for INR 2000 from Gangtok to Nathu La Pass.

  • Siliguri

    Famous for its tea estates, Siliguri is the Gateway to Northeast India as it lies on the thin strip of land connecting the mainland and the latter. Tourism is one of the capital industries here, others being Timber, Tea and Transport. Offering scenic views of the lofty Kanchenjunga mountain, the landscape of Siliguri is perhaps the most refreshing in all of India. The Mahananda Weir Wildlife Sanctuary is located nearby and is a haven of flora and fauna. TheScience City makes for an interesting educational excursion, as it displays various scientific experiments and equipments. The Coronation Bridge is a must visit, for it is a fine example of architecture and can be called art in steel itself. Apart from the local artifacts and handicrafts, one can also buy cheap China-made electronics here. The Salagura and Kalachakra Monastery are important Buddhists centers here.

    Siliguri is accessible through both roadways and railways. The nearest train station is New Jalpaiguri train station and Siliguri is very close from there. You can also hire cabs for INR 3000 from Gangtok and reach the place.

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