3 Offbeat Destinations in Sikkim—Ravangla, Zuluk, and Gnathang
Vacationing in the Lap of Nature
If the lesser known roads beckon you or the thrill of unknowns fascinate you, head out to Sikkim that has many offbeat vacation destinations.
These locations are ideal for spending a few days amidst lakes and mountains far away from the fast-paced city life and reviving the soul.
Sikkim is a northeastern state in India blessed with abundance of nature. Bordering with Tibet in the north and northeast, Bhutan in the east, Nepal in the west, and the state of West Bengal in the south, it is also close to India's Siliguri Corridor near Bangladesh.
The thrill of getting a glimpse of Mount Kangchenjunga, the third highest peak on Earth, and the highest peak in India, is indescribable.
Offbeat Destinations in Sikkim
Whether you would intend to meditate, indulge in spirituality, or explore the land, these destinations in Sikkim would not disappoint you.
These three offbeat destinations boast breathtaking views and are dominated by serenity and tranquility:
3. Gnathang Valley
If you prefer to escape to mountains, listen to the whispers of the lush greenery, soak in the nature, and rekindle your spirit, Namchi and Ravangla in South Sikkim must be in your wish list.
These places are away from the hustle and bustle of the city and the perfect choice for unwinding. If you are yearning to spend some quiet moments with nature, these places help you fulfill your wishes.
My wish is to stay always like this, living quietly in a corner of nature.— Claude Monet
Places to Visit in Ravangla
1. Buddha Park
The park is also known as Tathagata Tsal and leaves a long lasting impression because of its location amidst the mountains and greenery and the serenity.
The park has a 130 feet high statue of Buddha in the sitting position, seven bowls of water, a conclave, and a museum meditation center with a meditation hall.
The museum has a spiral gallery that depicts the life of Lord Gautama Buddha.
The carvings on the platform on which Lord Buddha's statue is placed is an artistic marvel.
Ravangla or Rabong is a small township in South Sikkim located at an altitude of around 7,000 feet above the sea level.
More About Buddha Park
While strolling in the park, enjoy the mesmerizing view of the idyllic surrounding and the calm ambience that add to the beauty of the place. The lush green park is quite spacious and has designated walkways. The snow-peaked mountains can be viewed from the park on a clear day.
Travelers can opt for the EV (electric vehicle) service to enter the park from the ticket counter. An additional payment is charged for opting this service. It is a one-time payment for both ways (to and fro).
2. Ralang Monastery
New Ralang Monastery or Ralong Palchen Choling is a must visit point. Near to this monastery is the old Ralong “Karma Rabtenling” Monastery (a monastery of Kagyupa lineage) built by the fourth ruler Chogyal (King) Gyurmed Namgyal in 1730 AD. It is considered to be one of the important and sacred monasteries of the state.
During 1975 and 1981, the old monastery was reconstructed. The new monastery was built by the 12th Gyatsalb Rimpoche and has precious paintings and thangkas.
Distance and Time to Reach Ravangla from Various Places by Road
Distance (approximately in kilometers)
Time (approximately in hours)
2. Dzuluk or Zuluk or Jhuluk or Jaluk
Zuluk is a picturesque destination in the lower Himalayas in East Sikkim and located at an elevation of 10,000 feet above the sea level. A high altitude, beautiful, small, quiet hamlet on Old Silk Route is ideal for unwinding and connecting with nature.
Along with beauty, the place is also important historically. Both India and Tibet traders in the past used this route (starting from Pedong in India to Lhasa in Tibet) for trading silks, wool, and other materials.
Even though the trade has stopped long ago, but Zuluk has remained popular among the tourists for the mesmerizing beauty it offers.
Road to Zuluk—32 Hairpin Bends
The road to Zuluk is an astounding spectacle and an absolute masterpiece of engineering. The road has 32 hairpin bends and the zigzag pattern can be clearly viewed from the vantage points.
Imagine how exciting it would be to have an ocean of clouds and Mount Kanchenjunga as constant companions all the way to Zuluk? The place remains covered by snow during the winter, but various rhododendrons adorn the place during the summer.
The road remains closed during the winter, so plan your tour accordingly. Trips during monsoon are not at all advisable.
Zuluk—Thambi View Point
Before entering the road to Zuluk, there is an army check post to check the permits and other papers.
Next stop was Thambi View Point (around 11,000 ft) from where Mount Kanchenjunga can be viewed better. There were eateries as well. The point is close to Zuluk and well known for sunrise views.
Zuluk—a Restricted Area
The area is restricted for its vicinity to the Chinese border. Domestic tourists approaching from Kalimpong can get the permit from Rongli through the registered tour operator.
Documentation for adults include Passport, Driving License, or Voter Card and for minors include the birth certificate, the photocopies of the concerned original document, and recent photographs of each member traveling.
However, the place is not opened for foreign nationals owing to security reasons.
3. Gnathang Valley
Ascending further is the beautiful Gnathang Valley situated at an altitude of about 13,000 feet that remains covered with snow in winter and with flowers in summer.
The road further goes up to Old Baba Mandir.
Gangtok to Zuluk via Tsomgo Lake
Travelers can choose the route from Gangtok to reach Zuluk via Tsomgo Lake, New Baba Mandir, and Gnathang Valley depending on the month of traveling. The road may be closed during winter and rainy season due to snowfall or landslides.
Kalimpong to Zuluk via Rongli Bazar
Travelers can also reach Zuluk via Kalimpong, Algarah, Pedong, Reshikhola, Aritar, and Rongli Bazaar.
Travelers can stay overnight at Algarah and Aritar before heading to Zuluk for acclimatizing themselves to avoid altitude sickness owing to higher altitude and low oxygen levels.
Distance and Time to Reach Zuluk from Other Places
Distance (approximately in km)
Time (approximately in hours)
NJP Station/Bagdogra Airport
We wanted to make the most of our vacation and keep stress at bay. So, we did the following:
- Hired a dedicated private car from a registered tour operator to visit these idyllic destinations
- Consulted a tour expert who designed our tour plan and suggested us the following:
- Ideal time to visit these destinations
- Appropriate routes
- Budget hotels with desired amenities
- Trip duration
- Best eateries
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2019 Prantika Samanta