The state capital situated in East Sikkim is a sizzling modern town, perched on a ridge at a height of 5300 ft. Being the capital of Sikkim and set amidst the typical Himalayan landscape, Gangtok is the prime tourism destination in the state. The identity of this town is largely depended upon natural beauty and ethnic people, which combine with the modern city life. The brightly painted pagoda-like wooden houses, whipping prayer flags, Lamas spinning wheels, views of snow-capped peaks and the smiling faces of local people will make you understand that you have entered into the mystic town.
The cool and calm lifestyle of Sikkimese, the monasteries and the enormous Kunchenjunga have always attracted the tourists from all over India as well as from other countries. The scenic beauty of the town is spectacular. There is excellent view of the entire Kanchanjangha snow range from many points of the city. Within the city and its immediate environs are some fascinating places to visit. Rich with culture and natural beauties these places are the prime tourism attractions for the traveler.
Gangtok has the best tourism infrastructure in the state including some very good hotels. The people of the town are also largely dependent on tourism. A number of good hotels are available to cater to the increasing demand of tourists. Many of them luxuriously built and decorated and offer services which is a mixture of traditional hospitality and modern professionalism. Most of the hotels have their own restaurant serving local, Indian, Chinese and Continental cuisine.
There are also a number of good food counters and bar around, where all types of packed and cooked food are available. Sikkim is a heaven for the wine lovers. Gangtok, being a capital town, holds the maximum number of bar counters, where all types of drinks are available at a relatively cheaper price, due to lesser govt tax compared to neighboring states.
A number of foreign exchange counters and ATM counters have come up for the convenience of tourists.
Gangtok is also the transport hub of the state. There are several taxi stands all over the town catering to people travelling to different destinations. Inside the town, tourist taxi vehicles are not allowed to ply to reduce congestion. There are smaller Maruti Van taxis available for travelling within the town.
The Deorali mainline taxi stand caters to people travelling to Bengal, West or South Sikkim. On the North of the town a separate taxi stands take tourists to North Sikkim. There are other stands in the town of relatively lesser importance.
Things to buy:
Shopping is another prime attraction in Gangtok. The most favored shopping destination is perhaps the government run handicraft center near Zero point. There is a cottage industry cum training center cum selling counter, which is a specialist in making of Tibetan handicrafts like carpets, blankets, shawls, masks and other traditional crafts.
Due to its altitude Gangtok enjoys a neither-hot-nor-too-cold climate throughout the year. The temperature does not rise more than 25 degrees centigrade in the summer. The winter can be cold during January. The temperature may go down close to freezing point, but snow fall does not take place in the town.
In the upper ridges of the town occasional snowfalls occurs during December to February. The monsoon arrives in the region in the mid July and continues till mid September. Gangtok can be visited throughout the year.
Getting There: The capital town can be conveniently reached by National Highway 31A from Siliguri, in West Bengal. The distance from Siliguri is 120kms. The nearest railhead NJP that connects all the important Indian cities by regular train service is in Siliguri and the Bagdogra Airport having several daily flights to different parts of India and abroad is 12 kms from Siliguri town.