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Best time to visit Gangtok and Darjeeling


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Both Gangtok and Darjeeling are picturesque hill stations that draw an endless number of tourists from various places far and wide around the year. The hills of the eastern part of India present a pleasing climate to its visitors around the year. But you seek opinion on the best time of the year to visit Gangtok and Darjeeling with all its crystal-clear sky, clarified view of the great Himalayan peaks then summer is the best time.

 

Gangtok Weather and The Best Time to Visit

Winter (December to February): Winter has its own charm in Sikkim but however the temperature can go down below the freezing point between December and February. Most of the tourists and local tour operators and guides believe that visiting Gangtok during the monsoon could be a little tricky and risky because of heavy rainfall and slippery road conditions and landslides. The Winter temperature in the district lies between 4 °C (39 °F) and 7 °C (45 °F). Snowfall is very uncommon in the locale, and freezing is likewise uncommon. In winters, the temperature achieves least at 4°C. It is likewise considered the best time to visit Gangtok. 

Spring (April to June): Spring is the populist choice of visiting Gangtok. In this season you will get a moderate climate with the advent of spring in March and it ends in June. The average temperature during this time remains around 22 degrees Celsius. So, you can understand that you can plan a nice family vacation during this period when the Gangtok weather remains pleasant. Gangtok for the most part appreciates a moderate sort of atmosphere all around the year. 

Autumn (October to November): Between October to November first week is the time when you feel the slight chill in the air but still a very pleasant atmosphere to schedule your visits to all the tourist attractions in Sikkim and Gangtok. The temperature starts falling further from November's end. So, you can easily visit this northeastern hill state during autumn and avoid the extreme chill.

Monsoon (July to September): Monsoon in Gangtok sets in July and ends in the month of September. In this time, the place, including several tourist spots, witnesses heavy rainfall triggering landslides in many places. As a result, roads remain blocked for days, causing a complete shutdown of the transportation and tourism business. Sometimes, a complete area remains cut off for days because of such weather-related issues. Hence, it is advisable that you do not plan to visit Gangtok during the monsoon. The general Gangtok weather remains misty and dull during this time.

 

Best places to visit in Gangtok

Serene lakes, snow-laden islands, appealing valleys, and stunning landscapes, are what Gangtok offers to its visitors. The capital of Sikkim is a mesmerizing hill station that is nestled in the lap of the eastern Himalayas. With the huge natural beauty and resources, it becomes almost irresistible for tourists not to visit Gangtok.

Top 10 places, a must-see in Gangtok: Gangtok has such a bounty of natural beauty that it is almost impossible to zero down on one or two places. Nevertheless, here are some top 10 tourist attractions in Gangtok that you must cover while visiting this enthralling Himalayan hill station.

  1. Rumtek Monastery: This is the place for Nirvana seekers, nature lovers, and photo fanatics. Just 24km from central Sikkim, this beautiful Tibetan monastery is surrounded by calm and green hills.
  2. Nathula Pass: One of the must-see places in Gangtok. But make sure you know about the entry fees, timings, etc. before making a visit here.
  3. Tsomgo Lake: You will find this lake, also known as Changu Lake, is a glacial lake in the East Sikkim district. The entire lake remains frozen during winter. 
  4. Hanuman Tok: It is a Hindu temple complex located in the upper reaches of Gangtok. The temple, maintained by the Indian Army, is a nice place to visit.
  5. Kanchenjunga Biosphere Reserve: It is the highest biosphere reserve in the country. The third highest mountain peak in the world, the famous Kanchenjunga, is located in this biosphere. This site has been included in the UNESCO world network of biosphere reserves. 
  6. Namchi: This is the capital district of south Sikkim where you get to visit several attractive locations. 
  7. Do Drul Chorten Stupa: This is a very pious place in Sikkim where you see the traditional Buddhist stupa built by Trulshik Rinpoche. 
  8. Kabi town: This is a small town in the Mangan subdivision. If you want to enjoy the flavor of the local village culture, this is the place you want to be in Sikkim.
  9. Saramsa Garden: Located 14 km east of Gangtok this public garden is truly a treat to your senses. Various medicinal plants and local fruit trees are located here. An evening stroll in the garden is a must once you visit Gangtok.
  10. Banjhakri Falls: Banjhakri falls and the local energy park is a popular tourist destination and recreation center in Sikkim. This is a perfect site to visit with your children.   

 

Mode of Reach to Sikkim:

Sikkim Helicopter Service: Bagdogra is also connected with Gangtok by daily helicopter service operated by Sikkim Tourism Development Corporation, and it takes only 20 minutes to reach Gangtok from Bagdogra. The 5-seater helicopter makes traveling to Sikkim easier, along with being an incredible way of witnessing the majestic state, like never before. The passengers on this helicopter are awarded a Certificate of Participation by the Sikkim Tourism Development Corporation.

Road: Siliguri is more or less the main gateway to Sikkim. National Highway 31A connects Gangtok to Siliguri. The scenic lush green forests on the banks of river Teesta on one side and the Eastern Himalayan range on the other side make the drive worthwhile. As stated earlier, public vehicles including buses, shared jeeps and auto-rickshaws are available from Siliguri to Gangtok, Kalimpong, Kurseong, etc. at frequent intervals. You can also opt for a private cab from Siliguri to travel further.

 

Railway: Sikkim does not have a proper train network. The nearest major railway station is New Jalpaiguri (NJP) which is about 6-7kms from Siliguri and 130 km from Gangtok. Very few selective trains pass through Siliguri, which is approximately 114 km from Gangtok. Onward journey from Siliguri or New Jalpaiguri railway station is possible by road.

 

Air: The nearest accessible airport to Sikkim is in Bagdogra which is approximately 124 km from Gangtok, the capital city of Sikkim. Bagdogra airport has both public and private transport options for the onward journey. 50 meters away from the terminal building, the local taxi stand has both shared and private jeeps for Darjeeling, Siliguri, Gangtok, etc. Further down, around 700-800 m from the taxi stand there is good availability of public buses and shared autos for the same.



 

Darjeeling Weather and The Best Time for Visit

The emerald green hill station of Darjeeling is nestled in the far north-eastern corner of India. Sitting 2590 meters above sea level, Darjeeling is a melting pot of varied cultures, including Sikkim, Nepal, Bhutan, and Tibet. Not just a steaming cup of world-famous Darjeeling tea, this place has a bounty to offer to its curious travelers.

When to visit: Before you make an ideal plan to visit this part of the world, you should know that for tourists, there are two best seasons to visit Darjeeling. The first season is between March and May, which is between spring and summer. And the other one is between October and November which is the autumn season. These are the two perfect times of the year when the weather is pleasantly cool, and the sky remains clear and therefore gives you the best opportunity to view the majestic Kanchenjunga peak.

When not to visit: When the summer ends up in June middle, the overall weather here starts to gather moisture. Monsoon sets in the month of July. Sometimes it lingers till October first half. December to February is winter in Darjeeling. It is advisable that you don’t visit Darjeeling during monsoon as you will not be able to see and enjoy much and face a lot of transportation hassle because of risky road conditions.

 

Weather conditions and scenarios on tourists’ visit

If you want to enjoy Darjeeling with its best resources, then these are phases you can select from as per your convenience and plan your visit accordingly.

Spring (March to May): This is one of the best and finest periods to visit Darjeeling. Though it is one of those short and elusive periods, this time various hilly flowers bloom in their prettiest colors, making the entire hill station look surreal. You will also find different garden flowers blooming. During springtime weather in Darjeeling remains absolutely lovable & the sky remains mostly clear but you may also have to face some sudden hail storms or strong winds. But this is actually fine if you compare the overall atmosphere.

During springtime, the temperature at night generally remains at 6 degrees Celsius and it reaches up to 17 degrees Celsius during the day. Overall this is a great time to visit Darjeeling and view the mountains all around. But if you really want to visit the hill station during this time you will have to plan much in advance. Due to peak season, the tourists rush and all hotels remain occupied. Particularly in the month of April people from all over the globe flock to Darjeeling to cherish its scenic beauty when they are at best, so better to plan well in advance. 

Summer (May to July): Here the warm season starts in the month of May and lasts till July. The average temperature generally varies anything between 11 degrees Celsius and 19 degrees Celsius. May is also another famous time to visit Darjeeling. But there are good chances of hailstorms and showers during this time. Barring the sudden spell of rain, this is a nice time to visit the hills.

Monsoon (June to September): The monsoon in Darjeeling starts in June. When the atmosphere starts getting misty quite frequently, you will know that monsoon is about to set in in the hills. The proper monsoon remains here from June to September and sometimes it also stretches to October first half. There can be frequent showers during this time. During monsoon time the weather in Darjeeling remains dull. The sky here can hardly be seen for more than 10 days. Sometimes it rains incessantly and cripples daily life. Forget about taking a trip to Darjeeling, even the local trade and business run with a lot of difficulties because of risky roads that often remain closed because of landslides.

Autumn (October to November): Darjeeling turns into a paradise again during this time. Unless the rains are stretched, the months of October and November remain mostly rain-free and delightful for tourists. With the fog and mist clearing, this is a great time to view all the mountain ranges here. The temperature ranges from 6 degrees Celsius to 18 degrees Celsius during this period. So, you can easily surmise why tourists pour in Darjeeling this time and all hotels, homestays remain almost full and thriving with business.

Winter (December to February): The winter in the hills begins in December and it lasts for at least three months. During this time the sky remains mostly clear unless there is any sudden change in the weather system that triggers occasional showers in the valleys. The view of almost all the hills here remains clear adding to the joys of visitors. The early mornings here are very cold, but it is utterly enjoyable. During the entire day, the temperature remains around 22 degrees Celsius, making it ideal weather for tourists to roam around, involve themselves in various fun-filled activities, group trek long walks, etc.

The charm of Christmas: The flavor of Darjeeling is altogether different during Christmas. If you are willing to relish the feel of the old colonial-style festivities, then you must plan to come to Darjeeling during the period of Christmas and New Year. The entire town here along with its neighborhoods remain nicely lit and decorated during this time, while hotels offer several lucrative deals with stay and food and wine. The local pubs and hangout places thrive with the melody of beautiful festive music and laughter. This is altogether a different kind of ambiance that not only makes your brief stay in the hills exciting and fulfilling but also gives you a long-lasting memory of the land of the Kanchenjunga.

Fantastic weather of the hills: But it is difficult to reply to Darjeeling weather. You can see perfectly nice and clear weather, but soon fog and mist can make your vision grey. The fog rises from the deep, humid valleys here and puts a white blank across the district. Sometimes you can see flakes of white clouds in the sky above you and sometimes below you in the valley.

Weather conditions in Darjeeling do not follow any specific pattern. Also, it varies widely in different places across the district. Kalimpong, Terai, Dooars, and even Gangtok all these neighboring areas have different weather.

 

Best places to visit in Darjeeling

Now let’s find out the best summer gateways of Darjeeling.

Tiger hills: It is the complete package for nature lovers. If you love the adventure of chilling cold and climb up the hills to witness the charismatic Kanchenjunga when the first rays of the sun come, then don’t skip Tiger hills and fix your cameras before the sunrise.

Batasia Loop: The elevated area around the Ghum station has a beautifully decorated garden. This is a pure treat to your eyes. You get a panoramic view of the entire town from the place. The wide expanse of greenery and the majestic view of the hills will make you feel like visiting Darjeeling time and again.

Padmaja zoo: If you are an animal lover, this place is for you. You can experience the local flora and fauna here. Located downward Jawahar Road, this zoo is the home of the largest number of snow leopards in India. The zoo opens at 8.30 in the morning and closes at 4 pm. You have to pay Rs 20 if you are a domestic tourist; the charge is Rs 50 for international visitors.

Peace Pagoda: The pagoda represents different avatars of Lord Buddha. It attracts people from all religions. It is a beautiful serene place that makes you feel calm and composed.

Other places to visit: Besides, Ghoom monastery, rock garden, Nightingale park are famous among tourists. You can also visit the Himalayan Mountaineering Park where you get basic knowledge about trekking and mountaineering. Amateur and also professional mountaineers come here and get the lessons of various trekking courses. If you are one of these people, then you must visit the institute. St Andrews Church is also a very famous location here that draws hundreds of visitors during Christmas and New Year. The Happy Valley tea estate is the place for tea lovers. Acres of verdant tea gardens and the blue hills in the background make your visit to this place an unforgettable one. The tea lovers can collect their souvenirs from various small-town shops here that are mostly run by local people, though you can also opt for the branded varieties at the traditional shops. The price range differs and also quality. But in terms of local food and beverages, visit the small shacks, they look rickety but sell excellent momos and thukpas.

 

Mode of Reach to Darjeeling

Road: There is a regular bus service from Siliguri to Darjeeling which is approximately 70 km away. Bus services are also available from nearby towns like Kurseong and Kalimpong. Alternatively, you can also drive down to Darjeeling from nearby cities like Siliguri, Kalimpong, and Kurseong. The road network is quite good with stunning mountain landscapes.

Railway: The nearest railway station is New Jalpaiguri Railway Station (NJP) in Siliguri, 62 km from the main town. It connects all the major Indian cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangalore, Cochin, Chennai, etc. The Darjeeling Himalayan Railways' famous toy train service starts at New Jalpaiguri and will get you to Darjeeling in about 7 hours.

Air: Bagdogra Airport is the nearest air connection in Siliguri. The local carriers like Air India, Jet Airways, Indigo, SpiceJet, and others have direct flights from Delhi, Guwahati, and Kolkata. On reaching the airport, you can hire a taxi to get to Darjeeling, which will take you around 3 hours. BAGDOGRA AIRPORT - 38 km from Darjeeling

 

If you are planning to visit these two famous places of the eastern Indian territory, then plan accordingly. Now you have a decent idea about the weather conditions and overall scenario regarding activities and offers. Plan your schedule depending on the things you want to see and do during your visit. Consider some factors that suit your family members. The best of the natural beauty and food and scenic locales can be enjoyed only when you are fully planned in advance.

 

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