Located in the Eastern Himalayas, Sikkim is one of the most pristine and unexplored regions of India. It boasts of a magnificent landscape and is home to serene lakes and hot springs, gushing rivers, sky-piercing mountain peaks and crawling glaciers, and dense alpine forests - making it a perfect place for trekkers and adventure seekers. Trekking in Sikkim is a truly unique and thrilling experience. Some of the top treks in India can be found in the Himalayas of Sikkim.
On your Sikkim treks, you get to see some of the highest mountains of the world like Mt. Kanchenjunga, Mt. Makalu, Mt. Lhotse and even Mt. Everest while trekking, along with crossing high altitude glaciers, quaint villages bustling with rich Tibetan culture and colourful rhododendron forests.
Some of the best trekking routes in Sikkim are:
This is a moderately challenging trek in Sikkim that is known for its breathtaking views. On the Dzongri Goechala trek, you get to see the mighty Kanchenjunga, the Three Sisters peaks along with Thingchingkhang, Jopuno and Pandim peaks. Along with this magnificent view, you also get to cross the high altitude pass of Goechala at 16,000 feet and enjoy the panoramic views of the Eastern Himalayas from Dzongri summit.
The trek goes through the Kanchenjunga National Park, showcasing the gorgeous natural beauty of the subtropical, tropical and alpine forests of magnolias, rhododendrons, orchids and ferns along with patches of lush meadows along the trail. You also cross various small villages where you get to interact with the locals and explore their lifestyle. The Dzongri Goechala trek is also one of the best snow treks in India.
This moderate level trek takes you to the highest peak of Ilam district of Nepal and the highest point of West Bengal, to the village of Sandakphu. The trail cuts through the Singalila National Park, across thick subalpine forests on the Indo-Nepal border and crosses into Nepal to reach Sandakphu.
The trek is popular as one of the most scenic treks in Sikkim as it offers splendid views of four of the five tallest towers in the world: Everest, Kanchenjunga, Lhotse and Makalu. You get to enjoy the panoramic views of the Himalayas of Nepal, Tibet, Sikkim, Bhutan and even Arunachal Pradesh is the weather is clear.
This is one of the most colourful treks in Nepal that can be done by beginners. The easy trail cuts through blooming rhododendron and conifer forests showcasing a striking riot of pink and white flowers. At the same time, you get to enjoy the grand panorama of Mt. Kanchenjunga from the trail.
This is the perfect trek for photographers and nature lovers as you get to explore a variety of rhododendron species on the trek. Even bird watchers will have fun on this gorgeous trek as the forests are home to some rare bird species like black-breasted parrotbill, blood pheasant and flycatchers.
Looking for more adventure? Check-out the adventure activities you can do in Sikkim here.
The best season to visit Sikkim is March to mid-May, or in the Sep-Nov months. During summer, the flowers are in full bloom, and the trails are covered with crimson blossoms from the rhododendron trees. While the weather is cool, you’ll have pleasant sunny days to enjoy. From September onwards, the weather becomes cold, but there is excellent visibility, so your views will improve.
Due to the mountainous topography of Sikkim, there are no airports or railways in the state itself, but reaching there is still easy even if you want to fly or take a train.
If you want to fly to Sikkim, then you need to book your flight tickets to Bagdogra Airport of West Bengal. It is 124 km from Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim. The airport is connected by regular flights from most major cities of the country.
Similarly, the closest railway stations to Sikkim are at New Jalpaiguri and Siliguri. NJP is 125 km from Gangtok and Siliguri is 114 km from Gangtok. Both the stations are well connected to most major cities of India by regular express trains.
From NJP, Siliguri and Bagdogra along with the major cities of North India are connected to Sikkim via a network of roads. You can either drive your own car to the starting point of the trekking routes in Sikkim, or you can hail state or privately run bus services.
For trekking in Sikkim, you need to wear quick-dry apparel like a full sleeve t-shirt and trek pants along with inner thermals, down and fleece jackets. You also need to wear sunglasses and suncap.
The most important thing you need to wear is a good pair of trekking shoes that are comfortable and well-broken in.
For your trek in Sikkim, you need to start with a sturdy backpack that will carry all your essentials and clothes. Make sure the bag is strong and comfortable. Additionally, you need to carry all your personal essentials like sanitizer, toilet paper, toothbrush, etc. along with a personal medical kit. You should also carry sunglasses, suncap, gloves, etc. for your trek in Sikkim.
There are various trekking routes in Sikkim that range from easy to difficult. If you’re going for one of the easier treks in Sikkim, then you don’t need any prior experience but you do need to have good fitness levels. You can start preparing for such treks a few weeks prior by starting a light workout routine of cycling, running or swimming.
If you are going for a challenging trek that takes you into the upper reaches of the Himalayas, then you need prior experience of trekking in the Himalayas. To prepare for such treks, you need to begin a workout routine a few months prior. You can do cycling, running or swimming along with some strength training
Altitude sickness is the effect of high altitude and low oxygen concentration in the air on the human body. This usually sets in above 8,000 feet. Symptoms of altitude sickness include nausea, headache, dehydration, dizziness, etc.
In order to avoid getting altitude sickness, you need to ascend slowly and acclimatize en route. And if you do feel altitude sickness setting in, you need to stop ascending and rest. If the symptoms don’t improve, then you need to descend to a safer altitude as soon as possible.
Rest assured all the itineraries are designed with acclimatizing in mind and tour operators take special care to make sure you are acclimatized properly.
Sikkim has various treks for both beginners as well as experienced trekkers. If you are a beginner trekker looking to explore the pristine landscape of Sikkim and get your foot into the world of trekking, then you should go for the Barsey Rhododendron trek.
The Barsey Rhododendron trek consists of an easy trail that cuts through lush forests of rhododendron and fir while offering the majestic views of the Himalayan peaks including the imposing Kanchenjunga Massif.
The many trekking routes in Sikkim run through the gorgeous landscape of Eastern Himalayas and en route, you are treated to some breathtaking views of the Himalayas. For example, on the Dzongri Goechala trek, you get to see the magnificent Kanchenjunga along with the peaks of Three Sisters, Thingchingkhang, Jopuno and Pandim. On the Sandakphu trek, you get to see four of the five highest mountains in the world, Everest, Kanchenjunga, Makalu and Lhotse. You are also treated to the panoramic views of the Himalayan peaks of Nepal, Tibet, Bhutan, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh on this trek.