Gangtok is the original capital of Sikkim and the last capital before you reach Tibet. The city rests at a height of 1,625 metres above sea level with a pleasant climate throughout the year. As Gangtok is so close to one of the major trade routes between India, Tibet and China, it remains an attractive destination for tourists who want to explore this amazing area. This article will give you the answers to questions about the best time to visit Gangtok, popular seasons for travelling and the weather conditions.
Best Time to Visit Gangtok
Gangtok falls under a sub-tropical zone in northeast India and experiences similar weather to that of Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong. There is plenty of rainfall during this region’s wet season, which falls between May and September every year.
The summer (April to May) is a pleasant season for visiting Gangtok as the temperature is comfortable and rainfall is minimal, with temperatures generally ranging from 18°C to 25°C. This season brings heavy rains and lots of clouds to Gangtok. The winter (October to December) has such low temperatures that weekends will be freezing cold and cloudy, with temperatures generally ranging from 3°C and 9°C.
The monsoon season (June to September) is a very best time to visit Gangtok as the temperature ranges from 28°C to 32°C. This is the perfect season to enjoy the best weather combined with stunning views of Mount Kanchenjunga. Prices of accommodation and food will be lower during this time and you can enjoy an exciting walk through scenic routes with heavy rainfall, or even a snowfall.
Location of Gangtok
Gangtok is located on the eastern slopes of Mount Kanchenjunga – one of the major Himalayan peaks of the world. It lies in the Sikkim Himalayas, which form a part of the Greater Himalayas. The snow-capped peak is prominently visible from Gangtok and is visible from any location in Gangtok with clear weather.
The town has a population of around 70,000 while there are some 85,000 inhabitants in the vicinity. The major languages spoken in this area are Nepali, Hindustani and English. The Indian Rupee is the official currency of Gangtok, though you may also find currency exchange at the tourist information centre.
Getting to Gangtok
Gangtok is well connected to the rest of India and there are frequent bus services from Siliguri. There are also flights that connect Kolkata with Bagdogra airport, which is only 30 kilometres away from Gangtok.
Getting Around Gangtok
The city has a few good bus services, though the Sikkim State Transport Corporation and Garam Gurung Travels do not operate any buses that travel to other destinations outside Gangtok. Buses are available only between 6:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m., and purchasing your ticket in advance is highly recommended as seats are limited and the drive is long and tiring (you can get around approximately 30 kilometres per hour on average).
You can also hire a taxi to go between Gangtok and nearby destinations such as Bongling, and more. The taxi meter system is used in Gangtok (the fares are set based on distance) but you can negotiate with the driver, as some drivers will not use the meter.
Housing in Gangtok
Gangtok has a range of budget accommodation options that offer dormitory accommodation while they are being cleaned or renovated, though some of these may not be available at all times.
These budget hotels are simple, with amenities such as warm showers, hot water and blankets. The most basic accommodation is available at around 100 to 200 Indian Rupees per night. The mid-range hotels in Gangtok are very good and offer great service in addition to features like Wi-Fi access, satellite TV and reliable hot water supply. The cost of these hotels ranges from 500 to 1,500 Indian Rupees per night.
Gangtok is a great place for travelers who want to explore the area and experience the best of Sikkim. The two major attractions in this city are the Nathula Pass, which leads to Tibet, and Kanchenjunga National Park. If you are planning a trip to Gangtok, it will be best to contact one of the tour operators or travel agents in Gangtok so that you can choose a trip that is perfectly suited for your interests.