Gangtok is the capital of Himalayan state Sikkim in north-east India. Sikkim is small but a beautiful state, full of tourist attractions. It being a city and better connected by road to Bagdogra airport is the preferred destination for travelers. Places to visit in Gangtok are many and diverse. Look at the variety it offers – Flower-shows, Monasteries, Himalayan Zoological Park, Tibetology Institute, Waterfalls, and of course bustling MG Marg.

Places to visit in Gangtok City

We have put together this post for you to explore the popular destinations in and around the capital city of Sikkim. Some of these places are within the city, a few nearby and can be visited by hiring a day cab. Distant places of interests can be explored by conducted tours of the city.

Flower Shows in Gangtok City

Floral treat at Gangtok Flower show
Floral treat at the city’s Flower show

The city residences and roads are full of beautiful flowering plants grown in pots. The weather seems to be suitable for gardening. The city hosts flower shows bang in the heart of the city. Visit the flower show and you will find beautiful colorful flowers. You can not miss the wide variety of orchid flowers. Photography is allowed. A very nominal entry fee is charged for entry.

Orchid flower at Gangtok flower show
Orchid flower at the flower show

MG Marg or Mahatma Gandhi Marg

View of Gangtok MG Marg during the day
View of MG Marg during the day

The city center is known as M G Marg is a nice hangout area. If the weather is clear you can see the Kanchenjunga Peaks of Himalayas.

Kanchenjunga Peaks of Himalayas
Kanchenjunga Peaks of Himalayas

Food joints, souvenir shopping, hang out with crowds on vehicle free stretch of road is a nice experience. You can do some planning and inquiries with Tour operators for off-the-city destinations travel.

Gangtok MG Marg in the evening
MG Marg in the evening

Namgyal Institute of Tibetology

Namgyal Institute of Tibetology, Gangtok
Namgyal Institute of Tibetology

Several original Thangka paintings, Buddhist prayer items, Buddhism related articles are on display at the institute. No photography is allowed inside the building. Nominal entry fee is charged.

Display of artifacts at Namgyal Institute of Tibetology, Gangtok
Display of artifacts at Namgyal Institute of Tibetology

Do Drul Chorten Stupa

Prayer Wheels at Do Drul Chorten at Gangtok
Prayer Wheels at Do Drul Chorten

Make your wishes at the prayer wheels at Do-Drul Chorten. It is very close to the Tibetology Institute. Perhaps the biggest Stupa in Sikkim, it has the Gold plated spire. Do Drul Chorten is circled by Chorten Lhakhang and Guru Lhakhang.

Places to visit near Gangtok

The city is on a hillside. Surrounding areas including hills have several interesting places to visit. You require a cab to visit these tourist attractions, as the public transport is poor. Following are a list of tourist attractions near the state capital city.

Bakthang Waterfalls

It is a relatively small waterfall en route to Banjhakri Falls. About 3-4 km’s from the city Bakthang waterfalls is on the main road. There are some adventure activities like rope climbing, rappelling, etc. Tourists can also dress up in Sikkimese traditional attire for photo opportunities here.

Bakthang Waterfalls - Places to visit in Gangtok
Bakthang Waterfalls

Being a hilly state, the views from the waterfall area is also a nice subject to weather conditions. In local language ‘Bak’ means forest and ‘thang’ means meadow or place. The natural spring water source of this falls originates from the dense vegetation above this site which is preserved as a Smriti Ban by the Forest Department. You can stop by for 15-20 minutes here to enjoy nature.

Banjhakri Falls

It is also known as Ban Jhakri waterfalls. Banjhakri Falls is a perennial Waterfalls. The water cascades down in stages over the rocks from the springs in the higher reaches. The height of the waterfall is estimated to be about 100 ft. The direct plunge fall appears to be about 40 to 50 ft. It is located in a landscaped park about 7 km’s from the city.

Banjhakri Falls - Places to visit in Gangtok
Banjhakri Falls Popular with the tourists

Around the waterfalls, gardens have been beautifully landscaped and adorned with ethnic sculptures and figurines depicting Jhakri culture. The figurines in the park illustrate rituals, some healing ceremonies, and others the induction process in the life of a shaman.

Ban literally means forest or jungle, and Jhakri means traditional healer. A Ban Jhakri is a mythical man, who exists only in folktales within the Nepali Community in Sikkim.

Himalayan Zoological Park

Golden Pheasant bird at Himalayan Zoological Park - Places to visit in Gangtok
Golden Pheasant bird at Himalayan Zoological Park

Himalayan Zoological Park near the capital city is a good place to visit to meet the wildlife of Himalayas. The campus has Himalayan flora, fauna, and local forest trees.

Masked Palm Civet at Himalayan Zoological Park - Places to visit in Gangtok
Masked Palm Civet

Wildlife enthusiasts can find several Himalayan animals housed in large enclosures here. One of the main attractions is the Red Panda.

Curious Red Panda at Himalayan Zoological Park, Gangtok
Curious Red Panda at Himalayan Zoological Park

You can easily spend an hour in this vast lush green campus enjoying the chilly weather. Nominal entry fee is charged for entrance to the park.

Himalayan Mountain Cat
Himalayan Mountain Cat

We enjoyed a long walk in the hilly terrain of Himalayan Zoo Park. On a clear day, you can see a lot of birds. Incidentally, when we visited it was raining and we missed the birds.

Rumtek Monastery

Rumtek Monastery - Places to visit in Gangtok
Rumtek Monastery

One of the oldest and largest monasteries, the Rumtek Monastery is about 20 km from the capital city. Rumtek Dharma Chakra Centre houses many sacred objects within the complex, magnificent one is the about 13 foot high Golden Stupa. The Beautiful landscape is also a highlight of the place.

Day Trips from the city

Chardham, Namchi

Chardham at Namchi is a re-creation of the revered Char Dham’s of India on a hilltop. You can easily spend 2-3 hours admiring the Temples and the giant Shiva Murti here. The weather is lovely as the clouds and the sunshine keeps on playing hide & seek on the hilltop.

Read our detailed travel blog on Chardham Namchi

Chardham, Namchi near Gangtok capital of Sikkim
Chardham, Namchi

Temi Tea Estate

Temi Tea estate is the largest tea estate in Sikkim. It is en route Gangtok to Namchi. You will like the vast green landscape of tea gardens amidst the clouds. Driving along the rolling hills with fresh green leaves of tea is a treat for the eyes.

Temi Tea estate landscape view - Places to visit near Gangtok
Temi Tea estate landscape view

Buddha Park of Ravangla, Samdruptse Hill

Giant statue of Padmasambhava at Samdruptse - Places to visit in Gangtok
Giant statue of Padmasambhava at Samdruptse

World’s largest statue of the Buddhist Padmasambhava at about 120 feet towers over the Samdruptse hill. It is one of the Buddhist pilgrimage centers. Padmasambhava known as Guru Rinpoche is the patron saint of Sikkim. A rock garden is also nearby.

Adventure Trips – Places to visit near Gangtok

Surrounded by the Himalayas, the adventure cannot be too far from the capital city. Here are some of the popular options:

Nathula Pass and Tsomgo Lake

Frozen Tsomgo Lake

Nathula pass is about 60 km east of the capital city on one of the highest motorable roads. A visit to Nathu La Pass requires a permit and you must take a conducted tour from the city.  The conducted tours also are subject to weather conditions. The route passes through the Tsomgo Lake which freezes during winters. The frozen lake, snowfall, landscapes are the attractions for the visitors.

Snow clad mountains en route Nathu La Pass
Snow clad mountains en route Nathu La Pass
Locals and Yak on snow clad mountains en route to Nathu La Pass
Locals and Yak on snow clad mountains en route to Nathu La Pass

Other interesting places to visit in Sikkim are Gurudongmar lake in north Sikkim, Kanchenjunga Waterfalls and Rabdentse ruins at Pelling in West Sikkim.

Choose the places to visit in the capital of Sikkim based on your interests.