Sikkim has a number of monasteries and Gompas. These monasteries hold festivals throughout the year. When in Sikkim do visit at least one of the monasteries. You will see Lamas robed in red and chanting mantras. A drive of 24 kilometers from Gangtok through beautiful countryside takes you to the Rumtek Monastery. You will find rare and unique manuscripts, icons and art objects there.
Nathu La Pass
Nathu La Pass is on the Chinese border. It takes about three hours to reach there from Gangtok. As you reach up, you see Chinese soldiers guarding their side.
Changu Lake is sure to mesmerize, the beholder. It is at 12,400 feet. It is a glacier lake and remains frozen until May. You can take a Yak ride. A white blanket that surrounds the tourists amazes them. The locals too reach up along with you and sell piping hot tea. That is the only way you can warm yourself from within.
A visit to the Flora and Fauna Sanctuaries is astounding for here you see 450 species of birds, abundant colorful butterflies, orchids and rhododendron. Do visit the Kyongnosia Alpine Sanctuary. It takes an hour to reach from Gangtok. The sanctuary is best visited from June to October.
Sikkim is a place which the hikers love to visit. They trek the most popular one, from Yuksom to Dzongri Peak, and further go up to Goecha Peak. The eyes behold the beauty of forests, brightly colored rhododendrons and the swift rivers of Kanchenjunga.
Teesta River is famous for its rafting adventure and the tourists look forward to this water sport. The River rafting route is Makha-Sirwani-Bardang-Rongpa. The rafters pass through, white sandy beaches. They pitch their tents and take an overnight halt at the beaches. It is exciting to maneuver through high cliffs, gorges, and River beds strewn with boulders.
It is interesting for the tourists to see all types of different vegetation. The lowlands, which have a tropical climate, is full of sal trees, bamboos, figs, laurel etc. the temperate area has trees, like birch, alder, silver fur, chestnut, oak and magnolia. The alpine zone lies above 13000 feet where the forests are full of rhododendrons, juniper, and cypresses. From May to August the hillsides look colorful and awesome. You will find nothing but perpetual snow at 16000 feet.
These Dense forests are home to the rare Himalayan deer, bear, red panda, blue sheep, musk deer and the snow leopard. The chirping of birds is unending. The 500 species of bird life include bulbuls, pheasants, vultures, eagles, minivets, whistling thrush, giant lammergeier etc.
Sikkim has a number of hotels. You can check into one that your budget permits. The best time to visit Sikkim is from March to June, and September to December. Every summer Sikkim holds the International Flower Festival. It is popular with tourists.
Pelling is worth visiting, for it is nearest town to Mt. Kanchenjunga. You get breathtaking views of this magnificent mountain. In this town on a hilltop, you will find the Dubdi Monastery. It is one of the oldest monastery. Do visit it. You could also stroll along the famous Khencheopalri Lake.
The tourists can go to Sikkim by road via Siliguri. Regular buses and taxis are available. By rail, you reach New Jalpaiguri near Siliguri and then go ahead by road to Sikkim. Bagdogra is the nearest airport near Siliguri. The flights come in from Kolkata Airport.
The traveler can shop for souvenirs at the Government Institute of Cottage Industry. Colorful carpets and handcrafted tables are also sold here. You will find many a wayside shop. The tourists can buy what they wish to for family, friends and themselves.
If you have the time, then do visit Darjeeling which is about 3 hours from Sikkim by road.