Sikkim’s transformation into the Shangri-La of the north-east in December is nothing short of breathtaking. The foggy mountains and trees are blanketed with snow, and the lakes are elegantly frozen in place, creating a crystal-like sight for visitors.
The temperature at Gangtok (5,840ft) varies between 0° and 15° C in December. The sun shines during the day, but the temperature lowers at night. Furthermore, Sikkim is less busy in December, allowing visitors to experience the scenery without the crowds.
The Kagyed Dance Festival, which takes place in early December in the monasteries of Rumtek, Phodang, and Tsuklakhang, is a historic Buddhist event in which monks and lamas in full regalia conduct masked dances reenacting scenes from Buddhist legend. The Losoong Festival is held in Phodong and Rumtek in mid-December to commemorate the conclusion of the harvesting season. Sikkimese culture is best experienced through traditional folk dances, historic religious rites, and regional gastronomic delicacies. Both Rumtek and Phodang are less than 30 kilometres from Gangtok and give spectacular views of the city. Tsuklakhang, a majestic monastery, located 3 kilometres from Gangtok’s SNT Bus Stand. These three places should be on your list if you’re spending the last month of the year in Gangtok.
This mountain pass, located at an elevation of 14,140 feet and 57 kilometres from Gangtok, was formerly part of the old Silk Route that connected India and Tibet. Set aside a day for this journey, since you’ll also see Tsomgo/Changu Lake (12,310 feet) and Baba Mandir (13,123ft). On the road to Nathu La, the former is a glacier lake 40 kilometres from Gangtok. Snow-capped mountains, a half frozen waterbody, and yak safaris are all on the itinerary. Beyond Tsomgo lies the well-known Baba Mandir, which gives expansive views of the eastern Sikkim highlands. This temple honours Harbhajan Singh, a former Indian soldier who is claimed to guard the army against bodily injury.
Because of the significant snowfall, many first-time visitors are hesitant to visit north Sikkim in December. The days, on the other hand, will provide bright skies and heavenly viewing sites, with temperatures ranging from sub-zero to 13°C.
Lachen, in North Sikkim, is around 109 kilometres from Gangtok. A journey to Gurudongmar Lake from here will take you by stunning glacier formations. In December, one of India’s highest lakes is half frozen, creating a blue-and-white landscape that will make you fall in love with wintery Sikkim. Make your Gurudongmar journey in the first week of December, as winter weather will prevent you from visiting this beautiful destination after that. If you’re staying in Lachen, make a point of visiting the Lachen Gompa, which is located 4 kilometres from the market. Lachen (8800ft) is converted into a lovely hamlet with its vividly coloured cottages and frozen streams. Lachen, which is naturally whitewashed in December, is difficult not to fall in love with.
A mountain village on the India-Tibet border, while you’re in the north. In December, the temperature in this hill station, which is roughly 9,000 feet above sea level, ranges from -5°C to 14°C. Those hunting snowfall at Zero Point through Yumthang Valley should base themselves at Lachung. With elevations of 14,600 feet, it’s no surprise that both of these beautiful places have been likened to Switzerland. A December daybreak bathes the snow-capped summits in a magnificent hue, so don’t miss it. Lachung Monastery’s antique sculptures and wall murals will enchant you, and if you visit around the beginning of December, you’ll see masked dances performed by the monks as part of a religious celebration.
West Sikkim is well connected to Gangtok, and Pelling (7,200ft) should be your starting point for exploring. In December, the town’s alpine vegetation is entirely covered in snow, and getting here from the capital shouldn’t take more than 5 hours. Expect temperatures to range from 5 to 17 degrees Celsius. Pelling is around 40 minutes away from Pemayangtse Monastery, one of Sikkim’s oldest and most prominent Buddhist gompas, and hosts the Kanchenjunga Winter Tourism Festival (from December 25th onwards). Pelling is around 32 kilometres from the tremendously sacred Khecheopalri Lake. Take in the historical ruins of Rabdentse, the old capital of the kingdom of Sikkim, which is 9 kilometres from Pelling.
Sign up for an early December trip from Yuksom to Goechla if you’re looking for a rush. You’ll get stunning views of the Kanchenjunga, Kabru, Pandim, and other peaks along the way. Yuksom, at nearly 6000ft, is the ‘gateway to the Kanchenjunga’ and is a two-hour drive from Pelling.
A large number of travellers arrive at Ravangla (7,000ft). This tourist town in south Sikkim is 69 kilometres from Gangtok and offers a breathtaking view of the snow-capped mountains. The lovely town of Borong in Ravangla is known for its hot springs; Maenam Hill, at a height of 10,300ft, is a great place to go to see the majestic Kanchenjunga, Pandim, Kabru, and Siniolchu. Ravangla’s higher elevations get snow, so your December trip can turn out better than you thought. The Ralang Monastery, located 8-10 kilometres from Ravangla, is a Buddhist art and antiques museum. The monks participate in traditional, energetic chaam and Mahakala dances in December.
less than 30 kilometres from Ravangla, is a must-do. Your journey begins at 10,600 feet amid Ravangla’s alpine woodlands. On a bright December day, Mount Kanchenjunga may be seen along the route; keep a look out for blood pheasant, barking deer, leopard-cats, and other wildlife. A variety of medicinal plants and herbs may be found at Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary. The Maenam Monastery and a Shiva shrine are located on the sanctuary’s highest elevation. The partially frozen streams join the Teesta River as you explore the sanctuary’s eastern side.
It goes without saying that adequate woollens should be carried to keep warm. To get through the night, make sure you have a quilted sleeping bag with you.
Do not hesitage to give us a call. We are an expert team and we are happy to talk to you.