Sikkim is arguably the little package that all good things come in.
It’s where nature’s bounty comes together with a gracious people to give its guests a memorable experience.
Here we bring you a collection of things to do in this small state; things that make Sikkim as unforgettable as it is unique.
1. Get spiritual
The Sikkimese are spiritual in nature and their secular faith is reflected by the presence of countless monasteries that co-exist with temples. While the majestic Rumtek monastery, home of the Golden Stupa, is one the most revered monasteries in India, the Enchay monastery is Sikkim’s oldest. Amongst Hindu temples, the Hanuman Tok and Ganesh Tok are frequented by visitors and locals. They’re also popular amongst tourists because of their locations, which offer splendid views of the Kanchenjunga range and the city below. But for a truly rare and unforgettable spiritual encounter take a two-day expedition towards North Sikkim. There, you will come across the revered Gurudongmar Lake, which is considered sacred by both Buddhists and Hindus. It is one of the highest lakes in the world and is believed to have mystical and curative powers. Parts of it remain unfrozen, even in the harshest winters.
2. Make a wish
A two-hour drive from the capital will take you to the famed Khecheopalri Lake. Originally known as Sho Dzo Sho, meaning “Oh lady, sit here,” the lake is venerated as a wish-fulfilling lake. While Lake Khecheopalri is in East Sikkim, in the Southern district you’ll find Samdruptse, which means ‘Wish Fulfilling Hill’ in the Bhutia language. Here stands the 135 feet high statue of Guru Padmasambhava, made of concrete and copper.
3. Have coffee up high
En-route to the Nathu-La Pass you will come across one of the most splendid landscapes in the world. The popular destination is famous for its enchanting drive as well as its snowy carpet. The picturesque Lake Tsomgo offers a short stop for those heading for Nathu-La. Between posing with yaks, travelers can also grab a bite to eat or shop for local handicrafts.
4. Eat well
From food stalls set on pavements to five star dining halls, Sikkim is a virtual smorgasbord of remarkable dishes, which are not only unique and delectable but also easy to master. If you are staying in a local homestay then it’s a strong possibility that your hosts will eagerly teach you the basics. Otherwise easily available cookbooks can guide you though the process.
5. Be adventurous
Laid-back Sikkim isn’t all about rest and recuperation. It is also popular for adventure sports like white water rafting on the River Teesta, mountain biking through testing but negotiable terrain, and mountaineering on the snow-clad Himalayas. Campers and bikers are known too bump into groups of ‘Bulletwalas’ quite frequently – the name given to motorcycle tourists.
6. Have a sing-along
India’s North-East is famous for its musical young people. You’ll frequently come across friendly college students who are inseparable from their guitars. Gangtok’s pubs, restaurants and cafes are a good place to find these passionate and talented youngsters playing live.
7. Hover above it all
While the four hour drive from the Baghdogra airport to Gangtok offers a splendid view of the Sikkimese landscapes, it is a truly spectacular experience to soak in the scenery from a helicopter. At a meager Rs. 1,500 (approx. $30) per person, the daily helicopter service gives you a bird’s eye view of the region and takes you to your destination in just 45 minutes.
8. Join the celebrations
In Sikkim there is a festival almost every month. The celebrations for each year begin with Losoong in December/January and conclude in October/November with Teohar. April and July are the only times when people take a break from the festivities, perhaps to rejuvenate themselves for the following months of feasts and revelry.
To find out more about staying in Sikkim and book accommodation, take a look at our Sikkim Homestays.
Find out about the homestay experience and don't forget to check out our ideas on things to do in India or browse our India homestays.