How to Plan Sikkim Tour in January

The North-East state of India, Sikkim is a Winter Wonderland in January. January for Sikkim surely comes with spine-chilling cold but if you look beyond that there are breathtaking icy landscapes and scenic delights that will brighten your trip and you will cherish this experience for a lifetime. Most of the state witnesses snowy peaks, frozen lakes, and charcoal forests. The pretty flakes of ice drifting down from heaven enhance the charm of Sikkim during January and nature is at its best form during this month. In fact, it is best to say that we can compare Sikkim to the paradise of Kashmir during January. But Sikkim during this time is underrated and it becomes secluded as compared to the other destinations in India.

If you are planning a trip to Sikkim in January, here are a few points that you should read about which will help you plan your Sikkim trip in January much better.

Weather

January is the time of winter in Sikkim. In January, the weather is extreme in Gangtok and places like Pelling, Lachen and even Lachung. It can be cold in Sikkim and especially in the mornings and at night. During the day the climate is average. The average temperature hovers around 4°C during January.

Road Conditions

The road conditions in Sikkim totally depend on the amount of snowfall it witnesses. Usually, in January, not many roads are shut and it is safe to visit the attraction points in the state. However, some of the high altitude areas get affected easily because they witness heavy snowfall.

Major Attractions

In Sikkim, there are many attractions that will blow your mind away but here are a few crowd-pleasers that are a must-visit for every globetrotter.

Nathu-La Pass

This pass is the highest motorable pass in the world and during January it offers some of the best views of the surrounding hills. It overlooks heavy snowfall and due to bad weather the place is completely covered in snow but most of the times the routes to this pass are open.

Baba Harbhajan Singh Mandir

During January, the Baba Mandir is covered in snow. In January the temperature there drops to below 0°C and sometimes goes as low as – 25°C. But if you are a fan of snow and enjoy such conditions then you are in for a treat and there is no other best time to visit the shrine than in January.

Changu Lake

Well again, it’s the month of January so you must be prepared for some snow and if you enjoy the snow Changu Lake also known as the Tsomgo Lake is a treat for the eyes. During January, the surrounding hills are covered in snow and the lake is frozen. The temperature goes as low as -20°C and during this time the lake looks like a shiny carpet of snow.

Lachen and Lachung

January in Lachen and Lachung overlooks a temperature of around -5°C to 15°C. The temperature at times drops close to the freezing point but the overall beauty of the place will greet you with roads, lands and fields are covered in sheets of snow and the snow-capped mountains will be your background companions.

Pelling

January is a great time to witness Pelling. During this time the place remains decked with fresh snowfall and it looks like paradise on earth. The place is worth a visit and it will be worth your time and money.

Travelling Tips

It is best to be familiar with a few travelling tips that will help you plan your trip to Sikkim in January wisely.

Rainproof your luggage, the snowfall and at times unexpected rainfall could cause damage to your bags and personal belongings inside the bag.

Prepare for the cold in advance and carry woollen clothes that include gloves and beanies too.

During January, it becomes quite cold at night and hence the market places of renowned destinations like Gangtok, Pelling, Lachen and even Lachung shut down by 8 PM.

If you have forgotten to carry boots and overcoats that help during the snowfall then you can rent them from the stores at the market.

Some places in North and East Sikkim, require valid permits to enter a few attractions. Make sure you get them sorted with the help of your tour operator.

Best Suggested Itinerary For The Month Of January

To plan a trip to Sikkim in January another important factor that you must keep in mind is of the itineraries. Only an itinerary that helps you with visiting the popular and well-known places of Sikkim in January will be an appropriate one. So to make things easier, here is a list of itineraries and tour packages that you can pick from.

4N5D: (2N GANGTOK + 2N DARJEELING) / (2N GANGTOK + 2N PELLING)

If you plan for a 4 nights 5 days Sikkim itinerary, you may consider visiting Gangtok and Darjeeling for 2 nights each, respectively. On your stay in Gangtok, you can visit some beautiful attractions such as; Goecha La Trek, the Ropeway Ride over Gangtok City, Pemayangtse and Rumtek Monastery, Nathu-La Pass and the Seven Sisters Waterfalls. You can also visit the Teesta River for the thrilling river rafting activity.

When you are in Darjeeling you can tour attractions like; Tiger Hill, Batasia Loop and Ghoom Station and you can also enjoy the Toy Train Ride, Darjeeling Zoo, Peace Pagoda, Ghoom Monastery and the Rock Garden.

You can also opt to visit Pelling instead of Darjeeling and in Pelling, you can take a look at; Pemayangtse Monastery, Sangachoeling Monastery Kanchenjunga Falls, Rabdentse Ruins, Tashiding Monastery, Rimbi Waterfall, Darap Village and Singshore Bridge.

5N6D: (3N GANGTOK + 2N DARJEELING) / (3N GANGTOK + 2N PELLING) / (2N GANGTOK + 1N PELLING + 2N DARJEELING)

If you plan for a 5 nights 6 days Sikkim itinerary in January, you may consider visiting Gangtok, Darjeeling and even Pelling.

3N GANGTOK + 2N DARJEELING / 3N GANGTOK + 2N PELLING

In Gangtok can visit the Rumtek Monastery, Nathula Pass and in the evening you can spend time at the Tashi Viewpoint in Gangtok, you can also take a tour of the Pemayangtse Monastery, Nathu-La Pass, Seven Sisters Waterfalls, Tsomgo Lake, Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve, Hanuman Tok, and Flower Exhibition Centre.

When you reach Darjeeling, via a road trip from Gangtok, you can visit places like; Happy Valley Tea Estate, St. Andrew’s Church, Nightingale Park, Himalayan Railway Station, Ghoom Monastery, Peace Pagoda and Batasia Loop.

Then you can head to Pelling and there you can visit places like Changey Waterfall, Tashiding Monastery, Rabdentse Ruins, Singshore Bridge, Kanchenjunga National Park and Khecheopalri Lake.

OR

2N GANGTOK + 1N PELLING + 2N DARJEELING

For the 5 nights 6 days itinerary, there is another set of the itinerary that can take you through Gangtok, Pelling and Darjeeling.

In Gangtok, you can take a tour of some admirable attractions such as the Tsuk La Khang Monastery, Do Drul Chorten Stupa, Khangchendzonga, Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve, Hanuman Tok, Tsomgo Lake and M.G Road.

On your stay in Pelling for 1 night, you can visit places like; Kanchenjunga Fall, Rimbi Waterfall, Singshore Bridge, Sewaro Rock Garden and Darap Village.

You can then take a road trip to Darjeeling and enjoy your 2 nights stay there. In Darjeeling, you can visit the Tiger Hill, Batasia Loop, Peace Pagoda, Padmaja Naidu Zoological Park, Ghoom Monastery, Rock Garden and Himalayan Railway Station.

6N7D: 2N GANGTOK + 2N PELLING + 2N DARJEELING

If you plan for a 6 nights 7 days Sikkim itinerary in January, you may consider visiting three destinations Gangtok, Pelling and Darjeeling. In each of these places, you can spend 2 nights each.

On your first day in Gangtok you can visit; Tsomgo Lake, Nathula Pass and Rumtek Monastery. On the next day you can continue your sightseeing tour and visit the Hanuman Tok, Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve, Do Drul Chorten Stupa and Tsuk La Khang Monastery.

The next day you can head to Pelling and visit the Sangachoeling Monastery, Sewaro Rock Garden, Singshore Bridge, Rimbi Waterfall, Khecheopalri Lake, Pemayangtse Monastery and Rabdentse Ruins in your stay for 2 nights.

On your last destination, Darjeeling, you can take a tour of the Himalayan Railway Station, Rock Garden and Ghoom Monastery, on the first day. On the next day, you can check out the Nightingale Park, Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, St. Andrew’s Church and Happy Valley Tea Estate.

Now that we know of the different itineraries for some of the well-known and popular places in Sikkim, let us also talk about the advantages and disadvantages of visiting Sikkim in January.

Advantages

The biggest and most worthwhile advantage of being in Sikkim during January is its admirable weather. There is snowfall that covers all the surroundings and you will feel like you have stepped on a white blanket. The snow-capped mountains and the beautiful scenery is bliss to witness.

This also brings up the fact that the month of January is off-season and during this time you will not witness lots of crowd at the popular destinations like Gangtok, Pelling, Lachen or even Lachung in Sikkim. You can enjoy some private time and there won’t be many people to disturb you, especially asking to click a picture for them.

Also, because it is the off-season the tour packages are comparatively cheaper in January. In fact, the attractions that are chargeable in Sikkim are also cheaper than in the other months.

In addition to that, January looks at a number of festivals that you can experience and be a part of if you visit during this month. Some of the festivals that are celebrated in the month of January include Bumchu Festival, The annual Gangtok Winter Festiva, Namsoong Festival and Red Panda Winter Festival.

Disadvantages

As compared to the advantages there are very few disadvantages of visiting Sikkim during January. In fact, all of the disadvantages depend from person to person and their suitability to the climate.

There might be a few places that are shut for tourists during January but if you are a fan of snowfall you will enjoy Sikkim to its fullest. There is no other season when Sikkim looks more mesmerizing.

There is also excess cold in Sikkim and some people cannot bare such an extreme climate. But if you take proper precautions by wearing woollen clothes and avoid high altitudes then you can make the most of your time in Sikkim in January.

So, what are you waiting for? All you have to do now is book your tickets and be ready to explore Sikkim in the month of January.

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