Nested on the backdrop of Khangchandzonga mountain range, Gangtok is a travellers' delight. It presents an interesting mix of cultures and communities.
Gangtok is a cosmopolitan town which offers the tourist all possible amenities.
The country's first litter and spit free zone, no vehicular traffic is allowed into the M.G.Marg.
How to reach?
The itinerary is you can travel upto Kolkatta by train or flight. Kolkatta to Bagh Dogra there is flight service. From Bagh Dogra to Gangtok by taxi takes around 4 hours covering a distance of 120 kms.
By train : The nearest station to Gangtok is New Jalpaiguri. From Kolkatta, you can board a train from Sealdah Station by Darjeeling Mail or Padatik Express. From Howrah, there are number of trains going upto New Jalpaiguri like Shatabdi Express, Uttar Banga Express, Kanchanjunga Express, Kamrup Express, Saraighat Express etc.
From New Jalpaiguri it is a 3 hours drive by road to Gangtok. Private taxis and shared jeeps are available from New Jalpaiguri Station. Bus service is also available from Siliguri (which is about 8 kms from New Jalpaiguri) to Gangtok covering a distance of 115 kms.
Where to stay?
There are number of hotels in Gangtok from budgeted to luxury hotels. Hotel Sagorika at Upper Aithang Road, the Oriental hotel in M.G.Road and Sikkim Retreat Hotel at Tathangchen Area are some of the hotels with a tariff ranging from Rs.2,000 to 5000. The Mayfair Spa Resort at Ranipool area is one of the luxury hotels with higher tariff.
What to see?
The Ganest Tok - This is a point from where you can have a sprawling view of Gangtok city with the backdrop of snow clad mountains.
Hanuman temple is about 8-9 kms from the main city.This temple is dedicated to Lord Hanuman and is located on a higher plane on the hill. It provides a bird’s eye view of the water works supplying water to the town.
Ropeway Ride -The 1 kms ropeway ride from Deorali to Tahsiling, takes about 8 minutes. The view below during the ride is breath-taking providing a great view of Kanchandzonga range and the city of Gangtok.
Banjhakri falls - located at about 4 kms from Gangtok, this fall is popularly known as Banjhkri Falls and Energy Park. The park is filled with sculptures of the Banjhakri tribes.
Himalayan Zoological Park - which houses a variety of animals from Tiger to Bear to Fox and variety of birds
There are different sight seeing options ranging from 11 kms. per day to 31 kms. per day.
11 Kms per day include Enchey Monestry, White Hall Flower Show, Gangtok Ropeway and Tibetology
21 kms per day include Himalayan Zoological Park and Hanuman Tok and
31 kms per day covers Ganest Tok and Hanuman Tok.
About 35 kms from Gangtok is the Tsomgo Lake also called Changu Lake. There are colourful yaks and mules for going on a ride around the lake. There are number of small joints offering snacks and beverages.
Where to eat?
There are a number of restaurants and eating places on M.G.Road in Gangtok.
Chumbi Residency with Tangerine Lounge Bar and Grill
Parivar Restaurant for South Indian food
Taste of Tibet for Tibetan delicacies
Golden Dragon for North Indian and Chinese items
Other Places to visit near Gangtok
Darjeeling is the nearest hill station to Gangtok at a distance of 108 kms. At Darjeeling visit the Ghum Railway Station, the oldest railway station at Darjeeling and the Tiger Hill to watch the sunrise.
Ghoom Railway Station, Darjeeling
Chowrastha is the central place on Mall Road in Darjeeling where shops and restaurants are located. Brabourne Park adjacent to the Chowrastha houses a musical fountain.Devoid of any vehicular traffic, this area is an ideal place to walk around and good to watch the scenic beauty of the mountain range.
After spending a day or two at Darjeeling, start your journey back to Bag Dogra (covering a distance of 90 kms which takes 4 hours considering the narrow winding and curvy roads.)or New Jalpaiguri station.
When to Visit?
Best time to visit Gangtok is between May to September. During monsoon, landslides are a common feature.
The local art and artifacts are worth giving a try while shopping. Lots of cheap Chinese products are also available at a bargaining price.
An ideal place to visit in the North East with family and friends.