Sikkim in Winter's

No marks for guessing that a lot of people like visiting tropical places during winters and the opposite in winters. However, some free and wild souls do like the chilly winter breeze, snow-clad mountains and the silence of short days and long nights. If you are one of those people, then Sikkim has to be your sure-shot destination in the winter season.

Why? Because, this North-East state offers a wintry-experience like no other territory in India. It is not as crowded as the other winter destinations, is affordable and gives a better and holistic travel vibe that you will remember years after having been there.

So, let’s get started.

Weather in Sikkim in winters

Sikkim receives snow from October to March, and January is undoubtedly the coldest month of the year there. The mean temperature in December at the time of writing this piece stands at -5 °C and in January, the average temperature drops to -7 °C and lower in other parts of Sikkim.

Why Sikkim in winters?

Because, besides the frozen lakes, snowy landscape and delicious food, there are some exclusive winter experiences that you will only witness in winters in Sikkim.

Gangtok Winter Festival

Organized by the Tourism Department of Sikkim, this festive extravaganza includes celebrating the local culture with folk songs and dances, and eating delicious Sikkimese food.

 Loosong Festival at Phodong and Rumtek Monasteries

Organized by the Tribal Youth Association of Gangtok, this festival is celebrated to mark the end of the harvest season. Masked dances and local sporting events like archery are quite some crowd-catchers.

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This is more of a family festival that celebrates the Tibetan New Year by inviting friends and family for gatherings. Losar usually happens in February but the festive vibe begins two days earlier in Rumtek monastery where Gutor Chaam is performed- a battle between good and evil forces and the ultimate victory of the former.

 Jorethang Maghe Mela

Held in South Sikkim, Jorethang, this is the biggest fair and a major tourist attraction in January. This fair is part of the Makar Sankranti celebrations that take place throughout the state and other parts of India.

Sikkimese people also celebrate this occasion with a bathing festival called Makkar in which people take a dip at the Teesta and Rangeet rivers.

Besides the ones listed here, numerous small and important community festivals are celebrated throughout the year. Perhaps, you can help highlight some more on your next visit there.

So, other than these local folk festive experiences, there are numerous other reasons to visit Sikkim in winters.

Let’s take a look at some of the best places you can check out.

  1. Gangtok
  2. Zuluk
  3. Tsomgo Lake
  4. Pelling
  5. Teesta River
  6. Nathula Pass
  7. Lachen, Lachung and Yumthang valley
  8. Gurudongmar Lake
  9. Goechala
  10. Kanchenjunga Base Camp


Gangtok is the capital of Sikkim and one of the most liveliest, colourful and busiest places of the state. Gangtok during Christmas and New Year is a sight to behold. Mt. Kanchenjunga is easily visible to the eye as are the silver fur trees, friendly people and a cuisines to cheat on every day.

All major tourist spots can be reached from Gangtok, as cab services are easily available. But, even if you are someone short on time and want a quick Sikkim getaway experience, visiting Gangtok alone can be worth it. And, don't forget to visit the many monasteries that can be found in the city.

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Zuluk is a small village that can be driven through the serpentine roads of the Old Silk Route. Located at 14,500 ft. above sea level, this village boasts of some beautiful landscape views of Mt. Kanchenjunga and Thambi view point. Another popular attraction for tourists here is the Nag Devta temple which has an idol of King Cobra. Besides this, there are other sites of cultural and historical importance that one can visit in the valley of Zuluk. To visit, one can get permit from the Tourism and Civil Aviation Department of Sikkim.

Zuluk can be a stop for someone wanting some quiet time. It is about 91 km from Gangtok. One can take a cab from the city or from the Jalpaiguri Railway station to Zuluk. However, it is best to avoid driving to Zuluk during heavy fog in winters.

 Tsomgo Lake

Tsomgo Lake, also known as Changu Lake, is a sight to behold in winters. Completely frozen amidst snow-covered mountains, Tsomgo offers a surreal experience to travellers on their way to Nathu La Pass from Gangtok. Tsomgo is also India's highest altitude lake and is a must-visit during winters; but be sure to visit the lake during the day as it gets dark early in winters.

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The second-most popular spot in Sikkim after Gangtok, Pelling is located at a distance of 131 km from Gangtok and 73km from Darjeeling. Located at an elevation of 6800 feet above sea level, Pelling boasts of major tourist spots like Changey and Khanchendzonga falls, Sanga Choling Monastery, Pemayangtse Monastery and an overview of Rabdentse Palace.

 Teesta River

Teesta and Rangeet River are considered holy by most Sikkimese people. In fact, Teesta is also called the lifeline of Sikkim. Many adventure sports geeks can be found kayaking and river rafting here. In winters, parts of the river freeze creating a beautiful mix of a blue-white landscape in the Chumthang region. For those looking for a quiet yet adventurous spot, Teesta is the right place for you.

 Nathula Pass

Nathula Pass is a mountain pass between Tibet and the Indian states of Sikkim and West Bengal. Located at an elevation of 14,140 ft. above sea level, Nathula Pass connects Kalimpong and Gangtok to the lower Chumbi Valley. Besides its political significance, Nathula Pass also holds religious significance. It provides and alternate route to Mount Kailash and Lake Manasarovar. One of the rightly hyped-tourist places, Nathula Pass is a must visit for anyone on a visit to Sikkim.

 Lachen, Lachung and Yumthang valley

Yumthang Valley is the flower valley of Sikkim, Lachung is the perfect-sightseeing hamlet with handicrafts markets worth visiting while Lachen is a lesser-known village to see nomadic Tibetan tribes settlements. Lachen also forms the base to the Chopta Valley and Gurudongmar Lake. Three of these quiet villages have a surreal out of time and place aura about them. They also offer unique local cultural experience, fairs and festivals,  a wide variety of flora, lakes and snow-clad mountains.

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 Gurudongmar Lake

The clear blue waters of this freshwater lake are not just an attraction in summers but also in winters. The deep blue water of the Gurudongmar Lake never completely freezes even in sub-zero temperatures. This lake is also considered holy and is located at an elevation of 17,800 ft. above sea level near the Indo-Tibet border, Lachen.

It takes about 10-12 hours to reach the lake from Gangtok.

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As a base camp to Kanchenjunga, the world's third highest mountain peak, Goechala is quite a popular trekking destination. Many holiday tour packages include Goechala in their winter itinerary which offers excellent winter landscape experience for anyone travelling to Sikkim in winters.

 Kanchenjunga Base Camp

The Kanchenjunga Base Camp trek is a completely different tour experience in itself. Many adventure seekers visit Sikkim only for this specific expedition. Generally an 8-10 day expedition, the K2 base camp trek is a treat for those who love and seek adventure. Doing a winter trek has its own difficulties and benefits. Be sure to check out the treks that best suits your interest.

While these are some popular places to visit Sikkim in winter, we understand that every traveler has one's own preferences. If you are planning a winter trip to Sikkim or have already done one, connect with us to let us know some places you would suggest should be part of this list.

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