It’s incredible to think that the second smallest state of India…Sikkim can boast of so many wonderful destinations. Tourists have been visiting Sikkim for decades but so many of its lovelier places are yet hidden and unexplored. It’s difficult compiling a list of the ten best places to visit in this lovely little Himalayan Kingdom but the ones mentioned on this list below simply cannot be missed.
Ravangla – Ravangla is considered to be a good base for trekking….the Mainam peak trek is 12km long and comprises of long walks through rhodendron forests. 15 km uphill trek will take you to Valedunga that’s a hill offering gorgeous mountain views. There is a trek route passing through the Mainam sanctuary and you can glimpse the Himalayan Black Bear, red panda, black pheasant cat etc there. Another popular trek goes up to Tendong that’s preceded by a 13 km drive to Damthang…the ultimate destination is Tendong peak that offers 360 degree view of Sikkim and the plains of North Bengal.
Lachen, Chopta valley, Gurudongmar Lake – Gurudongmar Lake is Sikkim’s largest lake and is also its holiest water body (both Hindus and Buddhists revere it). It will take you around 4 hours to reach Gurudongmar Lake from Lachen as the roads are rough and steep. It’s interesting to observe the rapid landscape changes from Lachen to Gurudongmar. Once you reach the lake …its delightful to see the snowy mountains all around…this is a huge lake that’s about 290 acres large. Incidentally in winters the whole lake freezes over apart from a small part (this area is considered to be holy). The waters of the take are considered to possess healing properties. Don’t forget to visit the Padmasambhava temple on the banks of the lake.
Rinchenpong and Kaluk – Standing at an altitude of about 5576 feet, Kaluk and Rinchenpong villages are not very old on tourist maps. Recently visitors to west Sikkim have started making these two places as an important part of their schedule. These areas are the buffer zone of the rhodenderon sanctuary. Incidentally these two places are just 3 km apart and there are multiple roads leading to the area… all of them lead to the main market of Kaluk. One road starts from Jorethong and reaches Kaluk via Soreng.