Gangtok is a bustling, friendly hill station, and the capital of the Himalayan state of Sikkim. The name Gangtok is derived from the Tibetan word for 'hillside,' and the city currently has a population of around 80,000 - a mixture of indigenous Sikkimese and people of Nepalese and Tibetan ancestry.
Gangtok is a popular place with tourists heading on treks, though the facilities do not reflect the number of international visitors. However, efforts are being made by the government to improve the conditions. Gangtok could easily be one of the cleanest cities you've ever come across. Highly organised and beautifully maintained, it is the Switzerland of the east. Tourists are of paramount importance, hence rules have been laid in order to prevent tourists from being cheated. Cab fares are mostly fixed for such a reason.
Gangtok is a really nice place to unwind. There are quite a few places for vegetarians to eat, since it is mostly dominated by Buddhist culture. The city resembles the Bhutanese capital, Thimphu. Devoid of large stores and book shops, this place is a nice break from typical city lives. The city is a fascinating place to spend a few nights, the winding side alleys hide some unexpected gems, and the main street (MG Marg) is pedestrianized and a pleasant place to take a stroll.
The city sleeps by 9pm mostly, except for a few pubs which are open till 11pm.
Beware that Sikkim has banned all forms of tobacco. It is illegal to smoke anywhere in Sikkim or buy/sell cigarets. Gangtok also has strictly enforced traffic and littering laws among others.
The nearest airport is at Bagdogra (IXB)situated about 40 mins drive to Siliguri.From Bagdogra Airport vehicles/taxis can be hired from the pre-paid taxi counter to reach Gangtok.
As per March 2014,charges for a reserved Innova/Xylo (Luxury) will cost approx Rs 2500/- -3000/- for drop to Gangtok.Also smaller vehicles can also be hired costing Approx Rs 1800/- - Rs 2200/-.
If one wishes to go via sharing taxis,then outside the airport there are many local taxis plying towards Siliguri.In Siliguri (Junction area)there are many taxi plying towards Sikkim.
The nearest train station to Gangtok is New Jalpaiguri in Siliguri all trains originating from Guwahati to rest of the country passes through New Jalpaiguri and hence has direct connections to New Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Mumbai, Bangalore and other major cities in India. It is a 10-12 hour journey from Kolkata.
Once you arrive in New Jalpaiguri, you can either hire a taxi from the station itself or take an auto-rickshaw to the Siliguri bus stand. From there, you have the option of travelling to Gangtok by state bus or taxi's outside, roughly a 4 hour journey. State bus is operated by Sikkim National Transport. The fare on March 2014 for 1 seat was Rs.150. All seats are reserved from the counter. Last bus starts from Siliguri at 11am and reaches in evening in Gangtok. Bus ride is most comfortable but slower compared to faster Sumo/Safari/Jeeps which cost Rs 200 per seat.
Dozens of Vehicles travel to Gangtok daily from Siliguri.Be it Luxury (Innova/Xylo) or Sumos/Maxx.
Fare of the shared cabs is generally fixed, it is around Rs. 250 to Gangtok from NJP station. Drivers might try to charge high so check for the fare with other cabs before taking one.Distance gets covered between 3-4 hours.
Reserved vehicles are available from Bagdogra Airport (IXB) at the prepaid counter.From NJP one you step outside there are many taxis available either on sharing/Reserved basis .
Reserve cars are available from Kings Travels,dial-093319-39486/098304-28401.
Avoid any tour packages at NJP railway station. They will provide you lowest standard hotel.
Taxis play routes around the city, and there are standard charges within the main areas:For a private service/drops will cost according to the distance and Rs 150 for a shared taxi(Per Seat) from Point A - B.Share taxis are available within the city and costs 15-20 INR per person
NB: Taxis can only be hailed from designated taxi stands which are generally after each km within city limits.
Sightseeing places in and around Gangtok.
There are a number of beautiful views of the surrounding hills from Gangtok itself, but the best views of Mt Kanchenjunga " the world's third-highest mountain can be viewed from Tashi View point on a clear day.
In and around Gangtok
State Handicrafts & Handlooms (Govt Run )Open 10Am - 4Pm /
Tashi View Point for Khanchendzonga view /
Ganesh tok for Gangtok View /
Enchay Monastery /
Flower Show /
Ridge Park /
Tibetology Museum (Open 10am - 4pm) /
Himalayan zoological park (Open 10am - 4pm) /
Ex Gangtok /
Rumtek Monastery /
Shanti View point (View of Gangtok from Opposite hill) /
Lingdum Monastery /
1 Day Tour /
Tsngmo Lake/Baba Mandir/Nathula pass (2 Passport size photographs and Xerox of valid Photo id necessary)
Reserve cars are available from Kings Travels,dial-093319-39486/098304-28401
Sikkim is famous for its fruit processing and tea aside from the local handicraft.Passion fruit Squash, Alpine Cheese, Temi Tea & Maha Gurudev Tea are some of the local products.
Rachna, Development Area. Tel: 91 3592 204-336 (www.rachnabooks.com). Also organises events and exhibitions on The First Floor upstairs. By far the best bookstore in town. A wide selection of titles and knowledgable owner. Rachna is located about a ten minute walk from the main bazaar.
Curio Craft Gallery Curio City, below Hotel Mayur, PS Road (just above the main hospital). Tel: 91 3592 220-551. One of the better quality handicraft stores in town. Excellent selection of Buddhist artwork.
Souveneir, MG Marg. Good place to buy prayer wheels, flags and other handicraft. edit
The Wayside Gardens & Nurseries Pvt. Ltd. (1060 mtr), Sixth Mile, Tadong (Near Sikkim University), ☎ 9832060555. 9am to 4pm. Well known House of exotic plants including Orchids. Azaleas and Cattleya hybrid orchids, besides range of Citrus, are their specialities. A must visit place for any plant lover. Run by illustrious Pradhan family. Visit stricty by prior appointment. Conducted tour in the well spread out Garden for groups conducted by Travel Agents and interactions about Himalayan flora with Sr. Pradhan, authority on Himalayan flora and environment, over cup of tea on payment of nominal fee, possible. Contact person: Sailesh Pradhan. Mobile: 98320 60555.Entry Free. edit
There are many great and cheap places to eat in Gangtok.
Thalung (Mahatma Gandhi Marg, about 3/4 of the walk away from the Tourist Information Center to the far end of the central pedestrian promenade, on the right side). A cultural relic not to be missed, this fast food outlet located in a wooden hut (perhaps the last traditional building surviving in the remodelled central area) serves a rigorous menu consisting of 2 items: beef momos (Tibetan dumplings) and beef noodle soup. The food is completely devoid of spices and salt. Chili paste, soy sauce and salt are provided as side condiments. The building is somewhat skewed and may present safety hazards, but it appears to have survived generations of customers, and the upper floor offers an agreeable view. An antique portrait of Dalai Lama XIV around the age of 30 graces the front counter. Visit this one before it has been replaced by another McDonald's, or (better still) try to do something to save it from impending destruction.
9'INE Native Cuisine, New Market | M G Marg, Gangtok 737101, ☎ +91-3592-205061. Awesome Local Sikkimese food. A must visit place in Gangtok.edit
Parivar's, on MG Marg down a short flight of stairs, serves some of the best food in town, and is very popular with locals.
The Roll House, tucked on the side of a stairway between MG Marg and the main market, serves up Veg Momos & hot chapatis (Roll)with various fillings (paneer, egg, veggies). This place is always packed with both tourists and locals and deservedly so.
Quick Bite, and numerous other sweet shops up and down MG Marg, serve up everything from samosas to momos
Tangerine Restaurant, Chumbi Residency, Tibet Road, Gangtok-737101, Sikkim., ☎ +91(0)3592-226618/226619/226620 (email@example.com, fax: +91(0)3592-222707), . Stunning food, some unusual options and far cheaper than it ought to be.edit
Agarwal's, MG Marg. Serves south indian and north indian snacks n sweets. Good place to have break fast. There are two outlets, one on MG Marg and other on the way near Taxi stand. Dosas are not so goodedit
Porky's, Deorali (10 mins from downtown gangtok). Amazing Sizzlers and Momos. edit
House of Bamboo, MG Marg. Authentic Tibetan and Indo-Chinese fusion cuisine. The Beef/ Pork chilli , the momos and the tea momos are recommended.edit
dynasty, ropeway building nam-nang (5-10 mins from M G road). Amazing prawns and Momos. edit
Pub 25, MG Road, Gangtok. Till 11PM. An upscale pub right in the heart of MG Road. Great drinks, tasty food (especially the Malai Tikka and Sauted Mushrooms), and an amazing ambience. The price is higher than other pubs on the street, but its definitely worth it.High. edit
Taste of tibet, MG Marg. Serves tibetan food, thupkas, gyathuk and thentuk. It includes a bar tooedit
Cafe Tibet. On the way up towards the Zero point, left side. Run by a tibetan, serves very good coffee. Eatables are just decent. edit
Baker's Cafe, MG Marg. The only place in town to sell cappuccino, latte and offer a wide selection of Western-style pastries. Check out the pizzas.edit
Cafe Culture, Ground Floor, Hotel Pandim, Secretariat Road (Below Royal Palace), ☎ 9832615236. Located at the ridge which is an ideal location for walk and best view of the mountain, the cafe offers fresh himalayan cuisine like phale( local bread), shiafale ( local bread filled with meat and deep fried), momos and grilled sandwiches. edit
Le Primula, Church Road (Near Police HQ), ☎ +91-3592-206044, . checkin: 1200; checkout: 1200. Centrally located three star property offering all modern amenities and spacious rooms. Clean and well maintained rooms with courteous staffedit
Club Mahindra Gangtok Resort (Club Mahindra Gangtok Resort), GRBA Road, Chongeyk, P.O. Raj Bhawan, Gangtok, Sikkim, ☎ +91-3592-649040, . Situated on an area, facing the legendary Chola range and surrounded by lush green valleys with amazing views from every room of the majestic mountains. At Club Mahindra Gangtok, the traditional charms of Sikkimese hospitality blend exquisitely with modern amenities.(27.33894,88.60650)edit
Modern Central Lodge, Tibet Road. Helpful owners, free wifi in the downstairs restaurant. Private rooms, single rooms and dorms available.Dorms - 120; Singles from 250. (27.329742,88.612823)edit
The shire, Tshugshing House,Arithang Road,Below All India Radio Qtrs,Arithang,Gangtok, ☎ 9647872371, . checkin: 12:00; checkout: 12:00. Within a five-minute drive from the hustle and bustle of Gangtok town, the quiet stillness and tranquility pervades the idyllic location of The Shire, where you can sip tea in the garden amidst flowers blooming, and with the quiet companionship of the flutter of butterfly wings. flowers The mighty Khangchendzonga, the guardian deity of Sikkim lies resplendent in all its glory showering munificence on all who gaze at her. The tradition of Sikkimese hospitality is evident from the fact that The Shire is a home away from home.INR 1500/-. edit
Hotel Chalet Orchid - Gangtok, link title, Email - firstname.lastname@example.org Contact - Phone - +91 - 9330965839 Mobile - +91 - 9330965839. The Chalet Orchid Hotel At Rongyek is ideally located in the east of the Capital City Gangtok, 3 Kms From M.G.Marg.One Can Enjoy the Breath Taking View of the snow capped lushed green forest Kyongnosla Alpine Sanctuary Tourist view Points like Gnor Gumpha , Chamkhang Meditation center , Enchey Monastrey, Ganesh Top, Changu Nathula Road & Pick up & dropping point of Changu , Baba Mandir Nathula , Zuluk , Kupp all are nearby from the Hotel Price - Rs 1500 - 2000 per night. $ 25 approx
Sri Mangalam Residency, link title, Email - email@example.com Contact - Phone - +91 - 03592 - 208090 Mobile - +91 - 94340 33301. Located in the heart of the city MG Marg, Gangtok. 24x7 Hot Water supply, Laundry on call, travel desk, doctor on call, great food available, LCD TV in all rooms, All hill view rooms face MT. KANCHENDZONGA. Price - Rs 1800 - 2000 per night. $ 40 approx
Hotel Pandim , Phone: (03592) 207540 (Cell: +91 98320 80172, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org), . A family run guest house with the best location, just above the Mall Road and below the Royal Palace offering the best mountain view. Also has a nice cafe called Cafe Culture offering fresh Himalayan cuisine
Hotel Sonali International, Phone: (033) 2552 3432 / 2584 0080 (Cell: +91 98302 87429, E-mail: email@example.com), . A nice place for budget tourists and a good base to meet other travellers - recently relocated to the main town near the Tourist Information Centre. It also organizes tours throughout Sikkim.
Hotel Palbheu, (Cell: +91 98323 48837), A nice place for budget tourists and just above the popular MG Marg. Fair rooms and nice good food. Wise to book in per person per day format inclusive of fooding & loadging. It also organizes tours throughout Sikkim.
Hotel Susantaawas, (beside mall), ☎ +91 9051 115 228. R 800-1200. edit
Central Lodge. A nice place for Budget tourists and a good base to meet other travellers - recently relocated to the main town near the Tourist Information Centre. It also organizes tours throughout Sikkim.edit
Bamboo Grove Retreat Bamboo Grove , Kazi Road. A Boutique 2 star hotel. Theme = Sikkimese design with modern amenities. Available = Car Parking, Peaceful Environment, Internet, Mountain View from Rooms, Mountain Biking,Bar & Restaurant.
Hotel Tibet, Paljor Stadium Road. Clean and comfortable rooms with an excellent restaurant. Rs.1500-2500.
Hotel Rigwa International Libing Complex, M.G.Marg & Nam Nam Crossing, above Star Cinema Hall.
Hotel Delamare, Church Road, . Conveniently located, warm, elegant decor and excellent service. 1,200rs+ per night
Hotel Golden nest & Hotel Hill View ' Near mall 600 to 1500
Sonam Delek, Tibet Road. An awesome hotel for the money. The facilities are best of Gangtok. The standard room (Rs 1100) is spartan; the super-deluxe (Rs 2200) is well-furnished and has an excellent view of the hillside. All facilities are very neatly maintained. The staff's knowledge of English is poor, but you can get by. No south-Indian food, though.
KHANGCHENDZONGA TOURIST COMPLEX cum Entertainment Park in Ranka, East Sikkim (M-9434196805), firstname.lastname@example.org . Website-www.ktcranka.com
Akshma's Homestay PNGS Road , A Boutique homestay/hotel. Theme = Contemporary design with modern amenities. Available = Peaceful Environment, Mountain View from Rooms,
Gangtok Tara's Urban Homestay Greendale School Road Tadong Daragaon , Mid Range homestay - Run by family. Available = Far from town , Clean and Comfortable Rooms, Home Food.
Mayfair Gangtok Spa Resort & Casino, ☎ +91 3592 250 888 / 999 (Gangtok@mayfairhotels.com), . Five star deluxe resort, spread over 15 acres of lush forest, some of the villas with temperature controlled dip pools.edit
Le Primula, ☎ +91 3592 203044/ 6044 (email@example.com), . Three star deluxe hotel, located in the heart of town, offering spacious rooms with all modern amenities. Good rooms available at great deal. Five Star rooms at three star pricingedit
The Nor-Khill, Gangtok, . Unit of Elgin Hotels and Resorts. Colonial decor and luxury at its best.Rs.6000 +. edit
Teen Taley Eco Resort, Rumtek, Gangtok, ☎ 9832052995, . Situated near the Rumtek Monastery about 20 km from the town. Spread over 6 acres with its own garden and organic farming. 12 rooms spread over 5 cottages. 4 Suite Rooms and 8 Deluxe Cottages, with Ethnic Nepali style.edit
Gangtok serves as an excellent base for visiting places like Chomgo Lake, Lachung, and the Yumthang Valley.
Rumtek Monastery, located 22 km from the town, . One of the most important Tibetan Buddhist monasteries, and head seat of the Karma Kagyu school in Sikkim. Originally built in 1740, it fell into disrepair. The current structure dates from 1959. Sangye Guest House, (near Rumtek) is a small, friendly, family run hotel.
To reach Rumtek one can hire an taxi. There are share taxi's which run from MG Marg taxi stand to Rumtek. One way fare is around Rs. 30 per person. It is a cheaper alternative but you need to return from the Rumtek Monastery before 4pm to get shared taxi to MG Marg again.123456
ranka monastery is a newly built monastery and a treat to watch out for
Ask around travel agents as they sometimes field requests from travelers looking to share jeeps to cut costs. It's an excellent way to meet people too.