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

 

WE A GROUP OF 8 ADULTS WILL

WE A GROUP OF 8 ADULTS WILL BE REACHING KOLKATTA AT 11PM ON JULY 17 AND WILL HAVE TO BE AT KOLKATTA AIRPORT AT 1AM ON 22 JULY -  PLEASE SUGGEST US ROUTE ,MODE OF TRANSPORT, STAY N COMPLETE ITENARY FOR VISITING GANGTOK  -  ALSO LET US KNOW ABT HELIPAD SERVICES FROM BAGDOGRA TO GANGTOK -  SCHEDULE, BOOKING AND FARE

Hi Anil... Please go through

Hi Anil... Please go through other threads and let me know if you are not able to make an itinerary for you.. i will help you with detailing..

Mode of transport is mostly scorpio, shared jeeps sort of vehicles... routw

Here is information on chopper service..

Booking:

Sikkim Tourism Development Corporation (STDC)
        Mr. Tejpal Pradhan(Manager Ops)        9647883992
        Ms. Deo Maya –                               9775901379
        Mrs. Tshering Wangmo –                  9475011220

        Gangtok Booking Office :                  03592 - 203960
        Head Office.:                                  03592 - 201372
        Fax No.:                                         03592 - 200325
        Email: stdcsikkim@yahoo.com

       
        BAGDOGRA
                Mr. Nima Yolmo                          77979-30380
                Mr. Rewaz Sharma                     74072-22157

        BAGDOGRA OFFICE                           0353-2698030

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Fare          : Rs.2500/- Per Passenger. (Please confirm it by calling them once)

Timing:        Currently there are two flights a day:

                    Bagdogra - Gangtok at 11.45 am and 2.30 pm
                    Gangtok - Bagdogra at 11.00 am and 12.15 pm

Duration    : 35 minutes - one way flight.

Luggage Limitation: 10 Kg per passenger. No excess baggage is allowed.

Hi Vishnu We, myself, husband

Hi Vishnu

We, myself, husband and daughter are planning to visit Gangtok from 10 May until 14 May 2014.  Since Nathula Pass is closed on Monday and Tuesday we have to complete that tour on Sunday, 11 May 2014.  We will be arriving from Darjeeling to Gangtok in the evening on 10 May 2014.  Not sure if the permit for Nathula pass can be arranged for next morning.  Can this be arranged in Darjeeling or Calcutta before arrival.  

I heard that they issue the pass dependant on the weather, also we have to leave early on 11 May morning.  Any assistance from you would be welcome.  We will go to Yamthang on 12 or 13 May that permit could be arranged while we are in Gangtok.  

 

Thanks

Hi Cynthia..If you are

Hi Cynthia..
If you are arriving at Gangtok around 6-7 PM then arranging Nathula permit for the next morning should not be a problem.. Contact any tour agent at Mall road soon after reaching Gangtok, provide documents and arrange vehicle, you should be able to make it to Nathula on 11th...

YES, Weather plays an important role but May should not be a problem... Road should be accessible all the way to Nathula pass..

YES, Permit for North Sikkim can also be arranged from Gangtok itself..

Regards
Vishnu Kumar

WE A GROUP OF 8 ADULTS WILL

WE A GROUP OF 8 ADULTS WILL BE REACHING KOLKATTA AT 11PM ON JULY 17 AND WILL HAVE TO BE AT KOLKATTA AIRPORT AT 1PM ON 22 JULY -  PLEASE SUGGEST US ROUTE ,MODE OF TRANSPORT, STAY N COMPLETE ITENARY FOR VISITING GANGTOK

sorry we will have to be in

sorry we will have to be in kolkatta airport at 1am on 22 july 

pls suggest route n itenary

pls reply sir also let us

pls reply sir

also let us know abt the helipad services rate n departure timings n booking procedure

There are plenty of

There are plenty of itineraries for Sikkim on our forum... please read those and let me know if you still have any doubt... seems like you have nearly 10 days in hand those are sufficient to cover most of Sikkim.... I mean standard sightseeing...

Namaskar, I would like to go

Namaskar, I would like to go to gangtok and 2D/3N tour of North sikkim starting from 8th june 2014. I have 5-6 days. What will be position of weather during say 1st or 2nd week of june.

June is usually considered as

June is usually considered as monsoon season in Sikkim but still things are fine with Mid-June... if you have these 2 weeks to pick then i would recommend first week of June... overcast weather will hinder the views of snow-clad mountains..

Dear VishnuI have booked the

Dear VishnuI have booked the tickets yo bagdogra on 28th april 2014 from delhi and returning on 2nd may 2014.I will come with my wife.Kindly help how can we plan the tour which include nathula and the lake.also refer the hotels at Gangtok my budget is 15k.Kindly advise..and help us.also tell about that shall we book package from operators or self making is cheaper..

Self making is cheaper

Self making is cheaper ofcourse.. for Nathula tour along with Changu lake, you can avail seats in shared taxi.... 15K is a decent budget for the tour when you are skipping north sikkim entirely... hotels can also be arrange after arriving at Gangtok... Nathula tour can be booked through any tour agent at Mall road, Gangtok...

Dear Vishnu Many Thanks for

Dear Vishnu

Many Thanks for your Prompt Reply.

I had called hotel tthendup and they had offered me Rs. 1600 per day stay for 2 person.

Kindly tell is it good rates or can be bargained for 28April to 30 April.

I want to visit pelling also..

What you say Shall I go to Pelling first or Gangtok.My journey dates are 28April up and 2nd may.

Also tell us whether we will watch Snow there? 

 

1600 INR for 2 person is

1600 INR for 2 person is standard price...  you can get better deal after arriving at Gangtok but lodging charges vary a lot with hotel type... will depend a lot on your style of  travel..

Pelling is do-able... Gangtok-Pelling-Gangtok can be done in 1night/2 days...

You can see snow around Nathula pass..

Regards
Vishnu Kumar

we 2 adults r planning 2

we 2 adults r planning 2 visit gangtok on 30th may 2014 with a budget of rs.11,000.is it possible 2 visit d main tourist spots(nathula pass,changu lake,zero point,gurudongmar lake,lachun,lachen,pelling,etc) in dis budget?if no den how many spots can we visit? n wat is d maximum budget 2 visit dese places?

11000 for 2 people will be

11000 for 2 people will be little on lower side.. specially North Sikkim tour is  little expensive for budget travelers..  you don't get public transport for the lake so you will have to hire taxi from tour operators... even if you club with other fellow travelers then also total tour cost will shoot above 11K for sure...

you have also included pelling which is another 2 days from Gangtok..

you can save money on accommodation, food but transport will be expensive specially for north sikkim...if you exclude north sikkim then you can do remaining places in 11K budget...

Dear sir, We ve planned to

Dear sir,
We ve planned to visit Gangtok on 9th may 2014.trip is organised by make my trip. 10thmay is for baba mandir and lake.,but we want to do nathula pass,which is not included in the plan.is it ok if we travelled next day or there will be high altitude sickness.?

I am surprised by they have

I am surprised by they have not included Nathula pass in the tour.. Baba Mandir, Changu lake and Nathula pass are usually included together... there is no point taking the same road just for visiting Nathula pass.. you should ask your tour operator to include it..

AMS should not be a problem while visiting Nathula pass as you hardly stay for long at that altitude..

Hi Vishnu, Thanks for your

Hi Vishnu,

Thanks for your prompt reply.

I would like to know  the name and contact no of Drivers and taxi rates.

Further please let me know the list of budget hotels in sikkim and their tarrif and contact no.

 

Thanks and regards.

Divyesh

Hi, I need some help. We are

Hi,

I need some help. We are going on to Kolkata- NJP - Gangtok and back from 3rd Jun to 7th Jun 2014. We will reach on 4th Jun Morning 10:00Am at NJP. And back on 7 Jun at night 7:00PM from NJP. Our team member 6A + 2C =8

It would be great if someone could help us with below queries.

4th Jun - Can we go direct to Lachung and stay.

5th Jun - Morning trip to Yumthang valley - Zero point - back to Gangtok and stay

6th Jun - Tour to Nathula Pass, Changu lake, Baba Mandir 

7th Jun - Gangtok siteseeing and back to NJP at 5:00PM.

Please advice is it possible? Also give an expected expenditure for this tour.

Is it possible in this time to see and play with snow in the way.

Any kind of information would be great.

Regards,

Rajib 

Hi Rajib...My take on queries

Hi Rajib...My take on queries raised..

1) YES, you can reach Lachung if you start from NJP at 10:00 AM but how will you arrange permits, vehicles for this trip and more over it will be very very hectic so i would not suggest to cover this distance soon after arriving at NJP.. I would rather suggest you to stay overnight at Gangtok and then proceed.

5th June: you should start for Lachung today and stay overnight. on 6th June you can do whatever you planned for 5th.

you will need one extra day for this tour or cut the part planned for 7th June..

Total expenses will depend on the  nature of your travel style... Huge difference comes with the type of accommodation you avail... for your group, you can hire a private vehicle for entire tour...

June is however not the best time to play with snow... there are chances to see snow around Nathula pass, Yumthang valley...

Regards
Vishnu Kumar

I am planning to visit

I am planning to visit Gangtok- Changu lake Nathulla pass. Yumthang, Lachung, pelling and darjiling along with my two family members in the end of May,2014 for eigth to ten days. I would like to know the best itenery for the route for nine days and budget/standard hotels at Gangtok/yumthang/dargiling and pelling. Please also suggest Which vehicle will suit for three people to take this journey. If possible suggest Driver name and phone no along with hotel list. Whether veg food is easily available or not?

 

Thanks.

Nine days are sufficient to

Nine days are sufficient to cover the places you outlined... Scorpio, Sumo are the best vehicle for such terrain... will mail you contact details of driver etc... Veg food is not a problem anywhere in Sikkim, Darjeeling..

Hi me and my friend planning

Hi me and my friend planning to go to Gangtok andDarjeeling.we will reach airport by 12 o'clock by 20th April and return flight is by 25th april by 4.55in the afternoon .please suggest itinerary so that we can cover most of the places

20th April: Reach Darjeeling,

20th April: Reach Darjeeling, overnight stay in Darjeeling
21st April: Darjeeling sightseeing including Tiger hill, overnight stay in Darjeeling
22nd April: Drive to Gangtok, River rafting in between, overnight stay in Gangtok
23rd April: Day tour to Nathula pass, changu lake etc, Overnight stay in Gangtok
24th April: Gangtok sightseeing, overnight stay in Gangtok
25th April: Back to Bagdogra

Regards
Vishnu Kumar

Hi. I am going in first week

Hi. I am going in first week of May to Gangtok ,Pelling ,Lachung , kalimpong, Darjeeling . I have 12 days in hand. We are couple along with 2 children of 6 and 10 years. As it a prime session do I have to book a vehicle in advance or can I get locally . In this mountain region what could I prefer a Innova, Scorpio , sumo . Pre booked Innova is charging me 55000 RS for 12 days this including Natula pass and accommodation in Lachung for I nights. What should I do.

If you want to book the

If you want to book the vehilce for your entire tour then i will recommend you to go for Scorpio or Sumo instead of Innova.... Booking can be done after arriving at Gangtok despite its the peak season... You can do the hotel booking in advance for your convenience.. Rates for Innova or any other vehicle are standard for various routes. you can get this rate list once you are in Gangtok...

in may i want to visit

in may i want to visit nathula ,tsangu lake,yamthang...bt in may if i visit  nathula.yamthang can i see dis places coverd with snow...i like snow very much..or which date will b better to visit in may ???1st or 2nd week??

This year, snow fall span

This year, snow fall span shifted little later.. I have witnessed heavy snow-fall in March-end so you can expect snow around Nathula pass and Yumthang valley in the beginning of May... sooner is better if  you want to see snow...

Dear Sir i reach darjeeling

Dear Sir

i reach darjeeling on 16th april 06:00 pm

my hotel booked at darjeeling from 16 to 19 april

i leave darjeeling on 19 april 9:00 am

So plz tell me how i can visit nathula pass and chhangu Lake and other great places

plz advice me for tour plan, passes and texis process.

i cant change dates as my return train ticket is confirmed

Mahesh

Are you not planning to stay

Are you not planning to stay in Gangtok... Nathula pass, Changu lake etc can only be visited via Gangtok...what are your plans after 19th April..

Regards
Vishnu Kumar

Sir  My hotel booked at

Sir 

My hotel booked at darjeeling frm 16 may to 19 may

But if required i will stay at gangtok 1 night

SO plz give me idea about planning of nathula pass and other main attractions

i reach to new jalpaiguri on 16 may at 01:00 Pm

and my return train is from New Jalpaiguri on 19 may 06:00 pm

plz reply

I would suggest you to stay

I would suggest you to stay 16th Night in Gangtok, visit Nathula on 17th Morning, drive to Darjeeling after Nathula tour and stay overnight in Darjeeling on 17th. On 18th you can do Darjeeling sightseeing and same can go on 19th before taking the road back to New Jalpaiguri...

2 days are sufficient for Dajreeling sightseeing.

Regards
Vishnu Kumar

I am planing to Gangtok in

I am planing to Gangtok in May 17 - 20th. Can i see snow in month of may in Nathu La Pass.......

you might see around the

you might see around the peaks near Nathula pass....

Hi, Thank you very much for

Hi, Thank you very much for the information it is very useful. We are planning to be in Gangtok on 26, 27 of March and would like to know the varius places to visit. Given that is we have two days, is it possible to get the permission to visit the pass before hand? If yes, whom should we be contacting? 

Hi Sasidhar... 2 days are

Hi Sasidhar... 2 days are very less to visit Sikkim... Permits can be arranged beforehand with the help of agents....

Hello friends, I wanted to

Hello friends,

I wanted to travel Darjiling, gangtok (sikkam) from 3rd May14 to 10th may 14 and 11th is my departure from Bagdugra air port.

Could you please give me a very good and nice itinary to see all places comfertably. And can you please suggest some good hotels in Pelling, Gangtok, Darjiling and anyother places which you thing a great place to stay.

Thanks a lot in advance.

Debasis

Hi Debasis... you have nearly

Hi Debasis... you have nearly 7-8 days in hand.. I would suggest you to spend 2 nights in Darjeeling, 1 day tour in Gangtok, 1  day tour to Nathula pass... 2 nights/3 days tour to North Sikkim (Gurudongmar lake, Yumthang and all).... In the end you have time then you should spend a night in Pelling...

You can get a wide range of hotels in Darjeeling, Gangtok and pelling... a lot will depend on your budget..

Please put the first version of your itinerary, we may be able to help more..

Regards
Vishnu Kumar

I am planning a visit ot

I am planning a visit ot sikkim from 8th June for 8 days. Plan is to visit Darjeeling , (2 nights) , Gangtok (3 nights) and Lachung. Is it a good time to visit. we are a family of 3.

Will it be cheaper to come to Bagdogra and take vehicle to Darjeeling. Or for that matter should local transport be booked or it is cheaper to have local guide.

Can i do Nathula pass on the days when we are in Gangtok . IS is half day journey ??

Kindly advise.

 

Hi Avani.. if you are

Hi Avani..

if you are planning to visit early june then its fine otherwise monsoon may spoil your trip...

From Bagdogra you can either book a private taxi to Darjeeling or book a shared one... shared one will be cheaper of course...

YES, Nathula can be done when you are in Gangtok... Nathula, Changu lake and Baba mandir  is a day tour..

Regards
Vishnu Kumar

Hi, This is of great help!

Hi, This is of great help! Would you mind clarifying a few things? We were planning a trip between 19th-22nd april 2014. We are Indian nationals but are uncertain about what documents we need to procure a permit for Nathula and Changu lake. Are these permits people specific or vehicle specific? If we are arriving in Bagdogra on 19th (Sat), can we reasonably expect to procure a permit on Saturday itself so that we take the trip on Sunday to these places? Would you recommend any affordable quarters in Gangtok for these days? How much should we budget for such a trip? Would you also have any recommendations regarding other places to visit on such a short trip? Thanks!

For permits, you need to

For permits, you need to carry ID card (Voter ID, Passport) and passport size photograph of all the members in the group.... This permit is people specific but does include vehicle number in which you will commute... Any tour agent at Mall road, Gangtok can arrange this permit...

If you are reaching Gangtok by 6-7 PM then it should be possible to get permit by next morning for your Nathula tour... contact any tour agent at Mall road soon after arriving at Gangtok...

Gangtok offers all sort of accommodation options... there are high end resorts and cheap nasty hotels as well... budget will depend a lot on your style of travel... same goes with food... there are all sort of restaurants... some people go by with momos...

I don't  think you can really pitch North Sikkim for such a short tour... If you still find sometime then try to visit West Sikkim (Robong and all)....

Regards
Vishnu Kumar

We were planning a trip to

We were planning a trip to Gangtok from 19th (Sat) -22nd April (Tuesday) 2014 with the intention to visit Tsomgo lake and Nathula pass. We all are Indian nationals so could you help us out with the details of procuring a permit for these areas? Is it only a vehicle permit or even individual permits? What are the relevant documents needed?If we approach the authorities on Saturday can we procure it by Sunday so that we can visit these places on Sunday itself? Also, would you recommend any other nearby places to visit on Monday? Also, are there any recommendations regarding affordable quarters to stay in? In all what would be a reasonable budget to keep in mind for a trip like this? Thank you! P.S. Some of these questions may seem repititive in light of your post but I wanted to clarify in light of any possible recent changes in procedure.  

I think i have answered all

I think i have answered all of the questions under another comment... you will need to carry the ID card which can validate your Indian citizenship... PAN card won't work.... I missed it i guess...

Hi,   I am planning to visit

Hi,

 

I am planning to visit Sikkim-Darjeling along with 2 other frnds from 11th April 2014(Reaching Bagdora by 1PM) and returning 18th April (have flight from Bagdora for 4PM)....can u suggest an itinerary that covers the most of Sikkim....

 

Thanks in advance!

 

 

Hi Dipen,             11th

Hi Dipen,
             11th April to 18th April... you guys have got good number of days in hand...  here is a sample itinerary..

Bagdogra to Darjeeling on Day 1 via Aritar

2 days in Darjeeling and hit Gangtok.. enroute, you guys can try river rafting on Teesta..

1 day sightseeing in Gangtokand then one day tour to East sikkim (Nathula pass, Changu lake, etc)

3 days and 2night tour to North Sikkim (Gurudongmar lake, zero point and all)

If you still have days in hand then you can try to visit Pelling in West sikkim...

let me know if you have any query... put the itinerary in detail, I may be able to help more.

Regards
Vishnu Kumar

HI We are planning to visit

HI

We are planning to visit sikkim and nathula...we are going by our two wheelers...5 bikes..we are starting from kolkata on 22nd march..can you guide me how to get permission to go to nathula pass? We have done many sucessful ride outs like in last year to vijag and arunachal pradesh from kolkata...so adding this up in our kitty...please help us out for the permission and please say that if we can visit zero point?

Ranit Majumdar

Nathula permissions are easy

Nathula permissions are easy to get... you can get it after reaching Gangtok, Contact any tour operator in Gangtok...

I am not sure if Authorities will allow bikes but you guys can reach Nathula on shared taxi...  Zero point should be motorable in the month of March...

Me and my wife are planning a

Me and my wife are planning a trip to Sikkim in 2nd week of March. will reach Bagdogra ard 3pm on 6th March.. and return from Bagdogra on 14th March ard 12pm. Please suggest a suitable itinerary for the trip. We plan to visit Gurudongmar also. Is it possible during 2nd week of March. We are not willing to go to crowded tourist places. Please Help. 

 

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