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 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 would be easily one of the most cleanest cities you would ever come across, highly organised and beautifully maintained it the switzerland of the east. Tourists are of paramount of importance, hence rules have been laid in order to prevent tourists from being cheated. Fares of Cabs are mostly fixed for such reason.
A really nice place to unwind. Quite a few places for vegetarians to eat since it is mostly dominated by Buddhist culture. The city resembles the Bhutanese capital. Devoid of large stores, book shops this place is an nice break away from typical city lives. Still, 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,from there you need to hire a cab or taxi to go up there.A lovely highway with beautiful landscapes,twists and turns and loads of waterfalls and also you'll find River Teesta always running along.Many direct flights are there for Bagdogra and after reaching there its just the mountains and you.
The nearest train station to Gangtok is New Jalpaiguri in Siliguri which has direct connections to New Delhi, Kolkata, 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, roughly a 5-6 hour journey. State bus is operated by Sikkim National Transport. The fare on March 2013 for 1 seat was Rs.135. 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 compared to rushing Sumo/Safari/Jeeps.
Dozens of jeeps travel to Gangtok daily from Siliguri, Darjeeling, Kalimpong, and other mountain locales.
Fare of the shared cabs is generally fixed, it is around Rs. 155 to Gangtok from NJP station. Drivers might try to charge high so check for the fare with other cabs before taking one. Approx. 95 kms distance gets covered between 2-3 hours.
Taxis ply routes around the city, and there are standard charges within the main areas: 40rs for a private service and 8rs for a shared. NB: Taxis can only be hailed from designated taxi stands.
- The scenery - there are beautiful views of the surrounding hills from the town itself, but the best views - dominated by Kanchenjunga, the world's third-highest mountain - are from Enchey Monastery and Ganesh Tok, both high above the town.
- Enchey Monastery - a two hundred year old monastery in the Nyingma tradition of Tibetan Buddhism - located above the town.
- Do-drul Chorten - a large and impressive stupa complex constructed in 1945.
- Dodrupchen Monastery. A large monastery in the Nyingma tradition. Famous for its large chorten. When in residence, Dodrupchen Rinpoche receives devotees to offer blessings from around 8AM to 9:30AM.
- Flower show (1818 mtr), Ridge Park (Ridge Park Complex). 10 am -5pm. Near the White-Hall, flower show is at its best during the flowering season which is mid March to end of May in spring and October to mid December in autumn. But by far the annual Cymbidium Orchid Show wnich commences invariably from mid March to mid April is the best and the finest in the entire south Asian region. Rs. 10.
- Namgyal Institute of Tibetology. An excellent collection of artifacts and manuscripts connected to Tibetan Buddhism.
- Banjhakri Falls. Its a lovely waterfall,surrounded by gardens and stairwells.Many beautiful sculptures can be seen there.A good picnic spot and a must watch for every Gangtok visitor.
- Ropeways Cable Car, Deorali market. Daylight. Can close due to weather. A cable car whose lowest point is Deorali Market, with three stops of varying altitude. Fantastic views of the town. This isn't included in official tours, so you'll have to make your way to Deorali Market to board. around 15 mins ride. Rs 70, children Rs 40.
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.
- 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.
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.
- 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 protected], fax: +91(0)3592-222707), . Stunning food, some unusual options and far cheaper than it ought to be.
- 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 good
- Porky's, Deorali (10 mins from downtown gangtok). Amazing Sizzlers and Momos.
- House of Bamboo, MG Marg. Authentic Tibetan and Indo-Chinese fusion cuisine. The Beef/ Pork chilli , the momos and the tea momos are recommended.
- 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.
- Taste of tibet, MG Marg. Serves tibetan food, thupkas, gyathuk and thentuk. It includes a bar too
- Cafe Tibet. On the way up towards the Zero point, left side. Run by a tibetan, serves very good coffee. Eatables are just decent.
- 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.
- 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 sandwitches.
- 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 staff
- 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)
- Sri Mangalam Residency, link title, Email - [email protected] Contact - Phone - +91 - 03592 - 208090 Mobile - +91 - 97344 - 80116. 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: hotelpand[email protected]), . 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 protected]), . 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.
- Green Hotel, Mahatama Gandhi Road. Rs. 200-500.
- Hotel Nirvana, Namang Road, ☎ +91 63914473. checkin: 0504201; checkout: 10042013. Colour TV, carpeted rooms. R 700-1500.
- Hotel Susantaawas, (beside mall), ☎ +91 9051 115 228. R 800-1200.
- 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.
- 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), [email protected] . Website-www.ktcranka.com
- Mayfair Gangtok Spa Resort & Casino, ☎ +91 3592 250 888 / 999 ([email protected]), . Five star deluxe resort, spread over 15 acres of lush forest, some of the villas with temperature controlled dip pools.
- Le Primula, ☎ +91 3592 203044/ 6044 ([email protected]), . 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 pricing
- The Nor-Khill, Gangtok, . Unit of Elgin Hotels and Resorts. Colonial decor and luxury at its best. Rs.6000 +.
- 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.
Littering and spitting are fineable offenses.
No Plastics carry bags sold or used .
There are no internet cafes along the main thoroughfares and the rate is compatible with other centers of commerce in India. However, the infrastructure is weak, and the mantra of most internet cafes is 'server down.' Travelers who need to work extensively on the internet are advised to do so in Siliguri, where the server connection is much more reliable.
- Softect Enterprises, tucked away just after the first pedestrian bridge up from the old taxi station, this internet cafe offers two rooms filled with computers with fast connections.
- 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.