December is one of the best months to visit Sikkim! The weather in Sikkim in December is suitable for your trip as the average temperature during this time ranges from 10 degree Celsius to 4 degree Celsius, even dropping as low as 0 degrees Celsius in the high altitude areas, most of which remain closed in winters. December may also bring never-ending snowfall covering almost everything.
18 Best Places To Visit In Sikkim In December 2021
Sikkim during December is nothing less than the Shangri La of North-East with thick layers of ice covering almost all areas of the state. Though there are numerous tourist attractions in Sikkim at this time, we have put together some of the best ones.
- Gurudongmar Lake: The Partially Frozen Wonder
- Yumthang: A Sunrise Over Snow-Capped Peaks
- Zuluk: The Winding Roads To Heaven Itself
- Teesta River: A Soothing Blend Of Blue And White
- Kaluk: Undiscovered Paradise Of Peace
- Kecholpheri: An Offbeat Location
- Tashiding: The Famous Tashiding Monastery
- Rumtek Monastery: Find Peace And Spirituality
- Rabdentse Ruins: Take A Step Back In Time
- Pemayangtse Monastery: Revel In Buddhist Architecture
- Ravangla: Gaze At Snowy Views
- Nathang Valley: Embrace Tranquility
- Tsomgo Lake: A Glance At The Crystal-Clear Water
- Dzongri Trek: Experience Some Adventure
- Mangan Music Festival: Tap Your Feet To Awesome Music
- Yume Samdog: A Hot Spring
- Yuksom: Witness Alluring Landscapes
- Namgyal Institute Of Tibetology: Unravel History And Culture
1. Gurudongmar Lake: The Partially Frozen Wonder
Located at an elevation of 17,800 ft above sea level, the holy lake of Gurudongmar is among the highest freshwater lakes in the world. Though it’s a sight to behold in summers, it turns all the more enchanting in winters. What draws travelers to this lake in winter is the fact that part of the deep blue water never freezes completely even in sub-zero temperatures. The combination of white and blue on the surface of the lake is a vision you can’t afford to miss. It is a remote area and one of the best places to visit in Sikkim in December during Coronavirus.
Where: Near Indo-Tibet border, Lachen
Average temperature in December: Between -5 to 7 degree Celsius
How to reach: Drive to Lachen from Gangtok (7-8 hours) and from there to the lake (3-4 hours)
2. Yumthang: A Sunrise Over Snow-Capped Peaks
At an altitude of 8,800 ft above sea level, Yumthang is the ‘Valley of Flowers’ of Lachung in North Sikkim. If you don’t find snow at Yumthang itself, go a little higher up till Zero Point which is always covered with layers of crisp snow in December. Here, you’ll be greeted with overwhelming white landscapes till where the eyes can see, which turn into a riot of colours during sunrise. Zero Point is also popular for experiencing snowfall in sikkim in December.
Other than the Yumthang Valley, the tiny hamlet of Lachung itself is a delight. If you visit in late December, you may get to see this mesmerising town covered in deep snow with the bright colours of huts, cottages, frozen streams, and bare trees popping out of the soft mounds of white. A trip to Lachung in December may make you feel like stepping into the magical land of Narnia from a rustic old wardrobe. So, head here if you want to experience snowfall in Sikkim in December.
Where: Yumthang Valley, Lachen
Temperature in December: -6 to 13 degree Celsius
How to reach: Drive to Yumthang from Gangtok (7 hours) and then further up till Zero Point
3. Zuluk: The Winding Roads To Heaven Itself
Located at an elevation of 14,500 ft above sea level, Zuluk is a small village located in a valley with eye-catching landscapes. Apart from the scenic beauty of the village, travelers also enjoy driving to this hamlet since it is accessible through the Old Silk Route, a remarkable icon representing the Indo-China border. Driving over the serpentine roads of Silk Route is nothing less than a roller coaster ride. The valley of Zuluk, apart from having alluring landscapes, friendly people, and a delightful culture indicating an empowering history, also gifts travelers breathtakingly closer views of the snowy Kanchenjunga peaks. The views of the sunrise and sunset from Thambi Viewpoint here at this valley are absolutely breathtaking. One can obtain permits for visiting Zuluk from the Tourism And Civil Aviation Department of Sikkim.
Where: East of Gangtok on the border of Sikkim and Tibet Autonomous Region (China)
Temperature in December: -6 to 10 degree Celsius
How to reach: Take a cab ride from Jalpaiguri Railway Station to cover the 91 km distance
Warning: Don’t drive in case of fog.
4. Teesta River: A Soothing Blend Of Blue And White
Teesta is the lifeline of Sikkim and one of the best spots in the state to try adventure sports like river rafting. Though this shimmering river invites a great influx of rafters with its ferociously gushing water in Summer and Spring, it turns into a stunning spectacle of Nature in Winters. The point of Sangam between Teesta and its tributary Rangeet river in December is among the favourite spots for travel and landscape photographers. One must explore the frozen realms near this river while visiting Sikkim in December.
Where: Teesta, Chumthang
Temperature in December: 4 to 13 degree Celsius
5. Kaluk: Undiscovered Paradise Of Peace
Inhabited by the Lepcha tribe of Sikkim, Kaluk is an unexplored village located 2 km from Rinchenpong at an elevation of 5,300 ft above sea level. Kaluk is ideal for people who wish to take a break from the otherwise freezing temperatures of Sikkim. It is among the offbeat places to visit in Sikkim where one can luxuriate in peaceful and absolutely eco-friendly surroundings while also banking on majestic views of Kanchenjunga. While here, you can also embark on a scenic trek to the adjoining village of Rinchenpong through picturesque forests and meadows covered in snow.
Where: Hee Bermiok, Pelling, West Sikkim
Temperature in December: 2 to 16 degree Celsius
How to reach: Drive to Pelling from Bagdogra Airport / New Jalpaiguri Railway Station towards, and then to Hee Bermiok (1.5 hours)
Tip: Don’t forget to visit Gurung Monastery, a beautiful sanctum located on top of a hill in Kaluk offering stunning views of the village and surrounding mountains.
5. Darap Village: Alluring Beauty
Darap Village is one of the less explored stations in the state. It will mesmerize you with its scenic beauty and wonderful atmosphere. It is surely one of the best places to visit in Sikkim in December. There are many activities which you can engage yourself in like early morning village walks, sitting by streams, admiring the beauty of nature or hiking to nearby places. Your trip to Sikkim will surely be incomplete without visiting this place which offers cultural as well as natural extravaganza experience.
Where: 8 km from Pelling towards the road to Yuksom
Temperature in December: 7 to -10 degree Celsius
6. Kecholpheri: An Offbeat Location
If you like to explore offbeat locations, head to Kecholpheri. This place is not known to many tourists and but popular among backpackers and photographers. You can find the high altitude lake at its best in December, making Kecholpheri one of the best places to visit in Sikkim in December. Don’t forget to include this site, if you are planning to visit Yuksom and Pelling.
Where: Yuksom, Sikkim
7. Tashiding: The Famous Tashiding Monastery
Tashiding is a small Himalayan village and serves as the most famous religious sites in Sikkim. The place is visited by a lot of local devotees as well as foreign tourists visits the village throughout the year. Tashiding Monastery is one of the major attractions in the city founded in the year 1641. Cardamom plantations and orange orchards are popular places of interest.
Where: 25 km from Gyalzing, West Sikkim
Temperature in December: 7 to -10 degree Celsius
8. Rumtek Monastery: Find Peace And Spirituality
Famous for its brilliant architecture, this stunning Buddhist Monastery is among the finest places to visit in Sikkim in the month of December. The highlight of this entire monastery complex is its three-storeyed building that is home to some rare relics as well as religious Buddhist artwork on display. Tucked on a hilltop, Rumtek Monastery is an incredibly important tourist spot and serves as a vantage point for gazing at alluring views of the beautiful town of Gangtok below.
Where: 23 km from Gangtok in Rumtek Dharma Chakra Centre
Timings: 6 AM – 6 PM
Entry fee: INR 10 per person
9. Rabdentse Ruins: Take A Step Back In Time
Had enough of the snow and monasteries? Want to explore something mysterious and somber next? Head to the famous former capital city of the kingdom of Sikkim that now lies in ruins – Rabdentse. It’s an extremely important avenue in the history of Sikkim that was found in 1670 by the then king of Sikkim – Tensung Namgyal. You will find the timeless ruins of his palace as well as the chortens that once exuded an unmatched glory situated right next to the popular Pemayangtse Monastery. All you have to do is climb the hilltop from the monastery to gaze at these splendid ruins as well as the snowy views of the city from this height.
Where: 2 km from Pemayangtse Monastery, West Sikkim
Timings: 8 AM – 5 PM
Entry fee: Entry is free
10. Pemayangtse Monastery: Revel In Buddhist Architecture
This is amongst the most prominent as well as the most beautiful Buddhist monasteries in all of Sikkim. It is situated at a distance of 110 km from Gangtok and just 2 km away from Pelling. This 300-year spiritual sanctum is a great place to visit in the winter season when it looks absolutely stunning and will teach you loads about the Buddhist culture along with imbibing in you a sense of peace. You’ll also find numerous paintings, ancient manuscripts, as well as old scriptures that have been preserved and stored here.
Where: Pemayangtse, 110 km from Gangtok
Timings: 9 AM – 6 PM
Entry fee: INR 20 per person
11. Ravangla: Gaze At Snowy Views
Ravangla is a rather famous tourist destination tucked in South Sikkim and full of endless surprises for travelers coming in from different corners of the world! Nestled at an elevation of 7,000 feet above sea level in the foothills of Maenam Hills, Ravangla is a year-round destination with the most blissful and soothing weather. And on top of that – it turns into a breathtaking winter wonderland in December when the views of snow-capped mountains all around you will leave you speechless for sure! Some of the best places you can explore here in winter include Shar Chok Bephu Cave, Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary, Ralong Monastery, and Ravangla Monastery.
Where: South Sikkim
12. Nathang Valley: Embrace Tranquility
Nathang Valley is an absolute delight for travelers who have an unconditional love for mountains and enjoy being in high altitude areas that are still untouched by commercialization. Set at a whopping elevation of 13,500 feet, Nathang Valley is situated along the Silk Route and is often called the ‘Ladakh of Sikkim’. This quaint and dreamy town in Sikkim was once the abode of yak herders who had come here all the way from Tibet and sought refuge in this tiny yet charming town offering tranquillity in its purest form.
Where: East Sikkim
13. Tsomgo Lake: A Glance At The Crystal-Clear Water
Tsomgo lake is one of the glacial lakes in Sikkim situated at a height of more than 12,300 feet. If you are planning to visit Sikkim then you must surely add this to your itinerary. Tsomgo lake is considered to be one of the popular places to visit in December and will surely amaze you with its splendid and breath-taking views.
Where: 40 km from Gangtok on the way to Nathu La Pass
Timings: Open 24 hours
Entry Fee: Entry is free
Things To Do: Visit Jawaharlal Nehru Botanical Garden and MG Marg
14. Dzongri Trek: Experience Some Adventure
If you are an adventurous person then Dzongri trek is for you. The trek is one of the worth-remembering experiences especially in the month of December. The trek will let you witness the beauty of Himalayan forests which are blooming with a wide variety of trees namely pine, oak, rhododendron, maple, and chestnut to name a few.
Where: Yuksom Village to Dzongri View Point
Things To Do: Trekking, Hiking
15. Mangan Music Festival: Tap Your Feet To Awesome Music
One of the biggest musical festivals in Sikkim is the Mangan Music Festival which exhibits a combination of culture and art. You will get an insight into the culture and traditions of Sikkim. You will even get to groove your feet on the music performances by local artists of Sikkim. There are beautiful dance performances, handicraft exhibitions, and superb food at the event.
Where: Distance of 52 km from the capital city Gangtok
16. Yume Samdog: A Hot Spring
Relax by taking a bath in the hot spring named Yume Samdog. This is one of the must-have experiences when you are in Sikkim and in the month of December. You can get to witness the snow if you are visiting the spring in December. The chilly winters along with the bath in the hot spring will be an everlasting experience for you.
Where: Yume Samdong, Near Yumthang Valley
Timings: 7 AM to 6 PM
Entry Fee: Entry is free
17. Yuksom: Witness Alluring Landscapes
If you are coming in the month of December in Sikkim then Yuksom must be a sure shot visit for you. You can enjoy the beauty of the snow-capped peaks along with many of the tourist spots here which will mesmerize you completely.
Where: Gyalzing, West Sikkim
18. Namgyal Institute Of Tibetology: Unravel History And Culture
You must add Namgyal Institute of Tibetology to your itinerary if you are planning to explore Sikkim. If you want to enhance your knowledge in art and language then the Namgyal Institute will give you an insight into Sikkim and Tibetan culture. The institute has collections of Tibetan works such as paintings, trumpets, coins, library and is one of the key tourist attractions in Sikkim.
Where: Gangtok, Sikkim
Timings: 10 AM to 4 PM
Best Things To Do In Sikkim In December
December brings with itself a plethora of experiences for travelers to indulge in while at Sikkim. Some of the best ones are:
1. Dzongri La – Embark On A Stimulating Trek
The Yuksom – Dzongri La trek is a power-package of trekking in Sikkim in December for adrenaline junkies. The trek commences from the Dzongri in the Kanchenjunga National Park following the route to HMI base camp. It takes one through the densest forest cover in the Himalayas and the snow covered landscapes of Tsokha and rewards one with the most mesmerising vistas once the trek ends at an elevation of 4,170 meters above sea level.
The panoramas of 16 Himalayan peaks from Dzongri top, including Kanchenjunga, the gorgeous views of Oklathang Valley, and the enormous spiritual presence of Black Kabru up there, all make this trek an unmissable part of Sikkim tour in December for hard-core trekkers. Adding to the excitement is the opportunity to experience rich and vivid cultures of Lepchas, Bhutias, Subbas and Limboos on the way. The trek can be carried out in Summers, but its true essence and thrill lies in Winters, especially December.
Where: Starts and ends at Yuksom, Chungthang
Duration: 5 Days
How to reach: Drive to Yuksom from New Jalpaiguri railway station (150 km away) or Bagdogra airport (170 km away). Hire a taxi for the rest of the way
Temperature in December: -2 to 4 degree Celsius
2. Chhaang – Sip On To Keep Away The Cold
Chhaang is a popular Tibetan alcoholic beverage made from barley, rice or millet and is traditionally sipped via a narrow-bore bamboo tube called pipsing. No Sikkim tour in December is complete without experiencing a taste of this charging local drink. While it is usually consumed during festivals in Sikkim, one can also find them in local alcohol stores to beat the heat or take few bottles home as tokens of a delightful Sikkim holiday.
Where: Restaurants, bars, and local alcohol stores across Sikkim
3. Festivals – Feel The Vibe
December is the month of merry-making in Sikkim. And no, we are not talking about Christmas! Sikkim plays host to a myriad of festivals and cultural events at this time. Those visiting in December will come across a plethora of engaging sights on the streets every day after 5 PM – traditional food stalls with local alcoholic beverages like Chhaang being distributed like water, magic shows, bike stunts by professional bikers, and dancers performing freestyle numbers next to loud DJ setups.
Some of the prominent festivals of Sikkim during December include-
- Gangtok Winter Festival: Cultural folk dance and song performances are the highlight of this festival organized by the Tourism Department of Sikkim. It’s the best time to taste some of the most delicious local Sikkimese cuisine
- Mangan Music Festival: This is a three day music festival held at Mangan from 12th to 14th December every year. Bands from all over North-East come together to entertain the massive music-loving crowds of locals and travelers alike
- Losoong: This is the Sikkimese New Year celebrated inside the Phodong and Rumtek monasteries. The highlight of the carnival is the Black Hat dance
- Losar: The Tibetan New Year, or Losar, is a three day celebration with prayers, chanting, folk music, dance drama, and many more performances
- Kayged Festival: This is an excellent opportunity for travelers to witness the famous ‘Cham’ dance of masked monks in the monasteries
4. Yumthang Hot Springs – Take An Intoxicating Dip
The Yume Samdong Hot Spring at Yumthang Valley is believed to possess healing powers and is a favourite spot for couples celebrating their honeymoon in Sikkim in December. Yume Samdong Hot Spring is located near the Yumthang village and requires one to cross the pedestrian bridge on River Lachung to reach it.
The water from the natural spring is diverted into two pools here where travelers can soak in the natural jacuzzi and rejuvenate their senses. Visitors can also bathe in the flowing hot water (though carefully).
Where: Donkia-la Pass base, near Yumthang village, Lachen
5. Tsomgo Lake – Walk Over The Frozen Land
The deep blue sheet of ice of Tsomgo acts like a mirror in winters, reflecting the ever-changing faces of the sky. You can acquire a permit from the Tourism And Civil Aviation Department of Sikkim for visiting Tsomgo Lake.
Tip: While here, you can take a ride on the recently inaugurated and India’s highest altitude passenger ropeway!
Warning: Be extremely careful and slow while treading on the thin layer of ice.
Places To Stay In Sikkim During December
There is a range of budget to luxury accommodation options in Sikkim in all the major cities. Check some of the popular ones here:
1. Hotel New Castle In Gangtok
Tucked amidst a sea of lush greenery, the New Castle Hotel offers luxury and premium hospitality services to its guests, along with panoramic views of the hills. The hotel is conveniently located with some of the best Sikkim sightseeing points nearby, like the Do-Drul Chorten, Namgyal Institute of Tibetology, and the Cable Car ride. Some of the services provided by the hotel include free WiFi, free parking, restaurant, bar & lounge, and more. Do stay at the hotel, if you are visiting Sikkim in December as it is located perfectly amidst hills.
2. Norbu Ghang Resort In Pelling
Where: West Sikkim, Pelling 737113
Prices starting from: INR 6,602/- per night per person
Google Rating: 4.4 | TripAdvisor Rating: 4
Website | TripAdvisor Reviews
3. Etho Metho Hotel In Lachung
A warm and cosy ambiance is what greets every guest at Etho Metho, an elegant example of fine architecture, luxury, comfort, and style. The hospitable staff of the hotel provides services like fishing and hiking tours, business center, bar, restaurant, banquet facility, free WiFi, a gift shop, and a cosy shared lounge area.
Where: Faka, Near SBI Bank, Shingring, Lachung
Prices starting from: INR 5,897/- per night per person
Google Rating: 4.2 | TripAdvisor Rating: 4
Website | TripAdvisor Reviews
Tips For Visiting Sikkim In December
Though full of mind blowing scenic views, Sikkim during December can be a mess for travelers who do not prepare for the extreme weather conditions of the place. So, here are some guidelines for visiting Sikkim in winter to make your tour smooth and hassle-free:
- Make sure you wear heavy woolens or layers in all areas of Sikkim during December, and snow boots in specific areas that require it
- Do proper research on the weather conditions of Sikkim before booking a Sikkim tour in December. And when you are here, keep a regular watch on the weather forecast and road conditions of the places you’re visiting
- Do not venture out on the roads or drive in case of fog
- Instead of hiring cabs for commuting, opt for shared taxis or jeeps wherever possible
- Many places in Sikkim require special permits from state forest department, army authorities, and the Tourism And Civil Aviation Department of Sikkim owing to the close proximity of the state to the Chinese border. Make sure you acquire these permits before beginning your tour well in advance
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