Nathula Pass | Sikkim's most popular tourist destination

 56 Km east of Gangtok, state capital of sikkim,Nathula  pass in Himalayas is located on China-India border.It connects Indian state Sikkim to Tibet Autonomous Region in China. Nathula was once an ancient silk route connecting Lhasa in Tibet to plains of Bengal.

way to nathula pass

On the Way to Nathula Pass

 

 After Indo-China war in 1962 Nathula pass was closed but after 44 years this pass has been opened in 2006. Since then, Nathula pass sees a huge number of tourist visiting the pass everyday.The best part of traveling to Nathula pass is the travel itself.

Best time to visit Nathula Pass is from March to mid-Nov . During winters  Nathula pass gets heavy snowfall ,leaving it not navigable during that time.Temperature drops to as low as -25 C in Nathula pass during winter season.

Only Indian nationals can visit Nathula pass on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Friday, Saturdays and Sundays.One needs special permit to visit this high altitude pass.This permit can easily be arranged by any local travel agent.

Nathula pass along with Jelpa pass and Donkiala pass is the connecting route for Tibet (now China occupied) , and is the only pass used extensively for goods transport between china and India . China is planning to connect Nathula pass directly to Lhasa.

Nathula pass | Proposed new route for Lhasa

Proposed new route to Lhasa passes through Nathula Pass

Nathula pass business channel china india border north sikkim

Nathula Pass Business Channel | Indo - China Border

 Nathula pass, even though a border area, does not has a "no mans land" normally found in border areas.Here border consists of just a barbed wire and two armies guarding their side of the land.

baba mandir near nathula pass east sikkim india

 Once you reach Nathula Pass you see army settlements on both side of border. You have to leave your vehicle few paces away from Nathula pass. From there you have to climb steps to reach Nathula Pass. It is advised that you don't rush up these stairs, as at 14000 feet, you can get really out of breath. At Nathula, you will get to meet not only Indian soldiers, but Chinese counterparts as well. Don't forget to get a photo clicked with a Chinese soldiers.

 

 

Indian flag at nathula pass india

Our 'Tiranga' at Nathula Pass

 

nathula pass east sikkim china india trade border

 

on the way to changu lake (tsongmo)

On The Way to Changu Lake (way to Nathula pass)

 

How to reach Nathula Pass
 
Nathula pass remains open only to Indian nationals on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays. A Ristricted area permit is required to visit Nathula Pass; this permit can be easily arranged by any authorized “Sikkim Tourism” agent. You need to submit one ID proof (driving license, passport, family ration card,voter id,school leaving certificate) and two passport size photograph of each person. One can also get the permit by oneself by requesting for a permission to visit Nathula pass with your id proof and two photographs through Armed forces authorities and Sikkim Tourism authorities (Go to MG Marg and visit  tourist information center right at the entrance of the road.From this place you can get latest information about Nathula pass and rest of the tourist spots). It is suggested that you take some Sikkim Tourism’s agent help. If you submit your ID proof and photographs in evening,you will get your permit ready by next morning. Nathula pass along with Changu lake can be covered in a day trip , If you opt for a reserved taxi upto Nathula pass (Tata Sumo , or Mahindra one) , it will cost you around 3000 rps – 3500 rps , depending upon your negotiation skills.

========
Nathula Permit issuing officer:
Mrs. Nima Choden
Asst. Director
Mobile: 9775423684

========
 
When to visit Nathula pass 
 
Nathula pass is not navigable in winters as it receives heavy snowfall. Temperatures in Nathula regularly dip to -25 °C in winters.But it is possible to visit Nathula pass in winters too , depends upon your luck , and mostly on weather conditions. If you love snow and can withstand harsh weather conditions , do visit Nathula pass in winters with proper planning , you will get snow capped mountains and a completely frozen changu lake.

 Changu Lake ( Tsongmo )

 From Nathula Pass, one can see deep into Chinese territory, which is dotted with sky touching peaks covered with show. After a 2000 feet downhill, there is a splendid blue water lake called Changu Lake

 It is literally known as "source of the lake " in Bhutia language. Just about 40 kms. away from Gangtok, the capital of the state, this serene lake is situated at an altitude of 12,000 ft on the Gangtok Nathu La highway. It falls in the restricted area and hence an inner line permit is required by Indians to visit this place. Foreign nationals are not permitted to visit this lake without special permission. The lake is about 1 km. Long, oval in shape, 15 meters deep and is considered sacred by the local people.

 

changu lake completely frozen

Changu Lake ...Completely frozen

 

Looking for useful

Looking for useful information for trip to Nathula pass & Changu Lake in last week of Nov 2014.

What information you want ?,

What information you want ?, Both, Nathula pass and Changu lake will be accessible in the last week of November. Rest everything is documented in the blogpost.

+- Vishnu

we are planning a trip from

we are planning a trip from chennai to gangtok, darjeeling and nathula pass between 29th nov and 5th Dec. with a kid aged 2.5yrs. is it ok to go to nathula pas during this time with a small kid?

 

many people suffer acute

many people suffer acute mountain at Nathula pass and Army generally does not allow kids to go further than a check post. that said, Nathula pass should be accessible the time you are planning to visit.

We are Group of nine persons

We are Group of nine persons travelling to Gangtok on Morning 16th Jan 2014 till 19th Jan afternoon, say three days. My daugter (age 9) want to see snow, so my question is that, suggest me a point, there my daugter can play with snow and different visiting point, that can be covered in 3 days. Suggest me some economical budget hotels. 

Regards

K G Pathak

For the duration for 3 days,

For the duration for 3 days, i would personally suggest a day tour to Nathula where you can see lots of snow in the month of January. Rest 2 days can be spent in Gangtok sightseeing.

+- Vishnu

Hi, I have planned to visit

Hi, I have planned to visit Nathula on 28-11-2014 which is a Friday.

 

Please guide if this is open on Fri and if not then which other days?

Every other website mentions different days.

Also, people are telling that roads will be blocked, is that so?

Nathula remains open on

Nathula remains open on Friday and road should not be blocked at this time of the year.

i am going gangtok on 4th dec

i am going gangtok on 4th dec and will be thr till 9, pl tell me whr i get snow or is any changes to see snow fall?

Chances are good. you can try

Chances are good. you can try your luck at Nathula pass.

+- Vishnu

Is it possible to visit

Is it possible to visit Gantok from Siliguri within a day?

We want to do it in one day. How are the road conditions around Jan. 1 ?

Thanks

 

Yes, its possible. Road is

Yes, its possible. Road is decent

+- Vishnu

Hi Vishnu, Am visiting

Hi Vishnu,

Am visiting Gangtok from 21-25 Dec'14 with wife & 7 yr old daughter ; Planning on a soft and easy trip bçoz of the child. Have plans to visit Changu Lake during the stay.

a. Can we make a trip to Nathula during this period ? How long would the round-trip take from Gtk? Will there be snow? - Daughter wants to build snowmen !

b. How much time would it take to reach Bagdogra A/p from Gangtok ? Have to catch 12:15 flt. to Delhi

regards,

Saswat

Hi Saswat, a) Nathula might

Hi Saswat,

a) Nathula might be open but roads get intermittently blocked if it snows a lot. Possibilities of visiting Nathula is however good at that time.  Yes, There would be snow around Nathula and it's kind of a whole day tour from Gangtok.

Cool 3 hours from Gangtok to Bagdogra.

+- Vishnu

Hey Vishnu, Am visiting

Hey Vishnu, Am visiting Gangtok from 12 to 17 Dec. I want to visit Tsomgo and Nathula on 14.12.2014. Will the roads be closed during this time because of snowfall??

I don't think there would be

I don't think there would be any problem reaching Changu lake and Nathula pass till Mid-December. Yes, at times road get closed if it snows a lot.

Hai Iam from siliguri and

Hai

Iam from siliguri and planning to visit Gangtok, Nathula pass, changu lake etc on Dec 21 - jan-2. Iam planning to take my company vehicle (West Bengal reg.), is there any problm with that?  I know there will be snow fall but want to know whether we can see all the places there. Also please sugest me what are the other places to visit. Thanks in advance for your information.

Yes, i don't think outside

Yes, i don't think outside Sikkim vehicles are allowed towards Changu lake and Nathula pass. There would be snow around Nathula pass, Changu lake and no wonder if you get snow-fall on the way.

you have good number of days in hand but north sikkim might not be accessible at that. you can reach till Lachen, Lachung, Yumthang and can also visit Pelling in West Sikkim.

+- Vishnu

dear Akshay, dec 20th to 5th

dear Akshay,

dec 20th to 5th jan is usually high season in sikkim..so prebook your accomodations ..road to nathula is usually open in last week of december..army vehicle keep on plying on that route so in case thre road is closed then the snow woill be cleared off the roads...but if there is no army movement on that day then .."its tough"

Hello Vishnu I like to know

Hello Vishnu

I like to know that can i find snow at nathula pass at the 1st week of December

Chances are bright. It would

Chances are bright. It would be fresh snow.

+- Vishnu

Hi We are planning to visit

Hi

We are planning to visit Gangtok and Darjeeling from 20th March 15 for 10 days. Request your advise on the following:

1. Will Nathula Pass be accessible during this period?

2. What are the chances of seeing snow?

3. Will May be a better month to visit than March?

4. Is Aadhar card a valid ID proof?

Hi Vikas, Here is my take on

Hi Vikas,

Here is my take on your queries.

1) Yes, Chances are bright to find the road open till Nathula.

2) Yes, there would be lots of snow around Nathula.

3) March is a good time but you would not be able to reach Gurudongmar lake and other remote part  of North Sikkim. Spring and Autumn both are considered the best time to visit Sikkim.

4) Yes, Aadhar Card is a Valid ID proof.

+- Vishnu

Hi Vishnu I am planning a

Hi Vishnu

I am planning a trip to Gangtok in mid of nov with my husband and 18 months old baby...We are taking a flight from kolkata to bagdogra on 16th afternoon and have a return flight from bagdogra to Delhi on 21st afternoon.. Can you please plan a suitable itinerary for me according to the baby and the kind of clothes that we need to carry with us.. 

awaiting your reply

Thanks

With your 18th month old

With your 18th month old baby, i would not recommend visiting Nathula pass and North Sikkim. I would suggest you to stay in Gangtok, Darjeeling and Pelling. November is cold month so you should carry all the woolen clothings etc.

you can find plenty of itineraries for the duration of 4-5 days.

+- Vishnu

I am planing to visit gangtok

I am planing to visit gangtok for honeymoon in 23rd jan 2015,please suggest me will it be ok to visit this place?Can i visit changu lake this time?

Yes, Jan is good time to

Yes, Jan is good time to visit Gangtok and hopefully you will be able to make till January but not considered the best time to visit North Sikkim.

+- Vishnu

Dear Vishnu .....we r going

Dear Vishnu .....we r going to gangtok club mahindra on14-jan2015 will be there upto 17 ; is it possible to visit nadula pass? Give some idea......

3 days are too short a trip

3 days are too short a trip for Sikkim but Gangtok and Nathula pass can be covered. Road to Nathula gets blocked very often during January so you might not be able to reach there.

+- Vishnu

Hi'we are planing to visit

Hi'we are planing to visit gangtok in december 2nd weak.and visit to nathula.in this time snow is available ? And temperature of nathula? Changu lake condition ? Plz tell me

Yes, there are chances to see

Yes, there are chances to see snow around Nathula in 2nd week of December. Temperature will be very low at Nathula and same will be at Changu lake. Changu lake and Nathula pass are close by.

+- Vishnu

I want to travel nathula pass

I want to travel nathula pass in 2 week of november this year...........so i want to know that...can we see the snow over there at that time and what will be the rate of the vechiles.... and what should we have to do to get the permit over there???   reply me in my mail-id...thank you..

Chances to see snow in the

Chances to see snow in the second week of November is not high. However if lucky you might snow fresh snow-fall.

Permits can be easily obtained with the help of any tour agent at MG road. You can hire a private sumo or get a seat in any Sumo. I think Sumo charges 800 INR per seat for the whole day Sikkim tour.

For getting the permit, you need photos and valid ID.

+- Vishnu

Hey Vishnu.I was Planning to

Hey Vishnu.I was Planning to visit Nathula Pass around 28th December.Is the pass open during that time? What are the chances of the pass being blocked due to snowfall during december?

Chances are 50-50 to find

Chances are 50-50 to find Nathula open. at times, road gets closed due to heavy snow-fall...

Hi vishnu, We are planning to

Hi vishnu,

We are planning to visit Gangtok in the 2nd week of feb. Would like to ask whether Nathula Pass will be accessible? Is is good idea to go to lanchung from Gangtok for a day.

 

Chances are 50-50. somedays

Chances are 50-50. somedays it snows a lot and road gets blocked.

Nope, Lachung is not a day trip from Gangtok.

+- Vishnu

Hi, I am planning to visit in

Hi,

I am planning to visit in early November and planned for 2N in Gangtok, 2N in Darjeeling and please help me choose between Lachung anf Pilling,

I wish to experience a little snow. I read that Zero point in Lachung will have snow at this time too.

 

Thank you

I would suggest to visit

I would suggest to visit Lachung.

Yes, chances to see snow are more near Zero point.

+- Vishnu

we want see yamthang,

we want see yamthang, gurudongmarg & Zero Point ......we arrived at gangtok on 2-12-14....what is the best tour plan...and also we want to play with snow.... plz suggest   .... and approx budge for yamthang, gurudongmarg & Zero Point.

hmmm.. can not help much with

hmmm.. can not help much with the budget. It depends a lot on your travel style.

Trip to Gurudongmar, Yumthang and zero point generally take 3 days from Gangtok.

Dear Sir I wish to visit the

Dear Sir

I wish to visit the Sikkim as fallowing program

31.10.14 Arr at NJP from Guwahati tour at 08.00 am

05.10.14 Dep from Bagdogra 10.15 am & any other imp place I don't know.

Please suggest the detailed program

Whether there is snow in Nathula, what kind of clothes we should have I have a 7 yr child with me.

Please suggest must visit places only so that it would not be hectic, is Mirik, Kalingpong is worth visit.

Please suggest also where I should staty and what kind of vehicle I have to so as the tour be not so expensive.

THANK YOU VERY MUCH IN ADVANCE.

 

Hi Sunil, there are plenty of

Hi Sunil,

there are plenty of sample itineraries on the forum as reference. Please read those already discussed programs and make your itinerary. If you still have any query, feel free to post.

For 5 days, you can visit Nathula pass, Yumthang valley, Zero point etc.

I am not sure if there is snow at Nathula.

Mirik and Kalimpong are ordinary. you can easily skip these if time is limited.

You will mostly find Sumo/Scorpio sort of vehicle for all the tours around Sikkim.

+- Vishnu

Hi ,  We are planning to go

Hi , 

We are planning to go gangtok on 9th november. Please tell me the tell me the temperature of nathula pass in that time.

Please check weather forecast

Please check weather forecast at accuweather, you might get a fair idea... I don't think it will be very cold at Nathula during November..

+ - Vishnu

Hi,We are planning visit

Hi,We are planning visit nathula by our motorbike on 5th to 8th oct 14. What type of problems we will be faced if we visit nathula by our motorbike. Plz give your valueable suggestion.

I don't think bikes are

I don't think bikes are permitted for Nathula pass.. even Outside sikkim vehicles are not allowed. you can check with Sikkim Tourism department their office is in MG road...

hi sir we are planning to

hi sir

we are planning to visit Darjeeling and Gangtok from 1st Oct to 5th Oct.we'll reach njp at 1pm on 1st Oct and we have return ticket on 6th Oct 7:45am from njp.can you please help us with a good travel plan?

Hi Chandrama... There are

Hi Chandrama... There are plenty of itineraries to look for on this website...

for 4 days, you can only visit Darjeeling (2 nights) and Sikkim (2 nights)...

Hi vishnu is it advisable to

Hi vishnu
is it advisable to visit gangtok and darjeeling in january last week??
Will we.be able to see.nathula pass and yumthang zero point during this time??

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