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


Hi Vishnu,   I am planning

Hi Vishnu,


I am planning Gangtok (Sikkim) on 10th Feb till 13th Feb 2015, how about Changu lake and other sight seeing in mid Feb 2015.

Dear We are planing tour in


We are planing tour in jan -23 to 26 can we are. Visit chanju lake nathula pass.

Chances are 50-50 for Nathula

Chances are 50-50 for Nathula Pass. Generally road is open and sometimes it is blocked due to Snow-fall. Changu lake is however remains accessible more or less.

+- Vishnu

Hi Vishnu,   I have booked 7

Hi Vishnu,


I have booked 7 nights tour for Sikkim from 21st March 2015 to 28th March. I am travelling with my wife and 4 year old daughter.

I have booking in Gangtok - 4 nights and in baiguney 3 nights. I have prepared below itenary. Does it look doable or not?


21 arrive @ gangtok day
22 tsomgo lake, nathula,Gnathang Valley/zuluk
23 gangtok local site seeing, tashi pt
24 Gnathang Valley/ North Sikkim
25 arrive @ Baiguney day
26 Darjeeling
27 Kanchenjunga Mountain/ Pelling


Only Nathula pass would be

Only Nathula pass would be possible on 22nd.

North Sikkim can not be done in single day that is 24th.

again Pelling is not suggested as a one day trip.

+- Vishnu

Hi Vishnu,   I'm going to

Hi Vishnu,


I'm going to gangtok on 22nd December with my family including 3 yrs daughter. I'm planning to visit changu lake and nathula..Is it the correct time to visit with my daughter. Specially I'm thinking on her health perspective. Your suggestion is required on this.




December is very cold. Visit

December is very cold. Visit to Nathula will depend a lot on snow-condition on the road. You need to consider cold and altitude part. Rest is OK. Many families visit Nathula every day.

+- Vishnu

We recently made a trip to

We recently made a trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & then Nathula Pass from here on 27th Nov 2014.
Most of us in a group of six are Sr. Citizens but were able to go right upto the top after climbing the steps. Climbing was done very slowly but was not difficult. It had become a bit cold at minus 4 Deg C after little bit of snowfall a day earlier. One has to be prepared with the woollens especially for the feet and the head besides other normal wear.There is an excellent Cafe maintained by Army personnel which can be used for taking a break while climbing up or coming down.

Unfortunately, photography is no longer permitted at Nathula Pass.
Photos can be taken at Baba Temple or at Changu Lake.

Good to hear back from you. I

Good to hear back from you. I admire your dedication and inner strength for withstanding harsh climating conditions at Nathula pass.


hi vishnu, we are from kanpur

hi vishnu,

we are from kanpur planning to tour gangtok in the month of january . we are making the tour for almost about 8 to 9 days , from 8 jan 15 to 18 jan 15.

please tell us how can we organise our tour , whether it is possible for us to travell lachung and changu lake and please also let us know what are the other places around that we can travel.

Changu lake will be possible

Changu lake will be possible and i think you can also reach Lachung and Yumthang. However Reaching Gurudongmar lake will not be possible.

As far as itinerary goes, you can browse many in the website for the duratoin of 8-9 days.

+- Vishnu

Is there any chances of

Is there any chances of snowfall in 26-27Dec'14??


Yes, there are chances but

Yes, there are chances but can not guaurantee.. Snow has already started in some parts of Sikkim so chances are bright.

Yes I m coming on 1st Feb

Yes I m coming on 1st Feb 2015 is the actual time to visit nathula pass and changu lake and gurudamba and yungtamng And zero point can I visit there with my family then suggest me the actual time to that I can visit all places with my family and see snow son in 3 years he want to play with snow pls suggest me when the actual month

After 15th march if I visit

After 15th march if I visit nathula pass and gurudamba and yungtam zero point there is no problem my son is 3yrs on that time I can get snow at changu and nathulapass I heard that 3yrs my son cant go to gurudhamba pls suggest me that time can I visit there

If you visit after 15th of

If you visit after 15th of March, Yumthang and Nathula pass will be accessible however chances of reaching Gurudongmar lake will be still poor. Yes, at times army does not allow infant and kids to go further due to high altitude.

+- Vishnu

Feb is not the best time if

Feb is not the best time if you want to visit North Sikkim places such as Yumthang valley, Zero Point etc.  You will not be able to reach Gurudongmar lake. However for seeing snow-fall and playing with snow, February is the best time. you can see lots of snow around Nathula pass and all.

We made a trip to Gangtok

We made a trip to Gangtok from 25th to 29th Nov 2014 including a trip to Nathula Pass on 27th. The weather became a bit foggy and was cold at around -4deg C but was manageable with normal woollens, jackets & inners.
Our group mostly of Sr. Citizens could go right upto the top close to the fence marking the international border after climbing the stairs slowly.
There is an excellent Cafe on the way which can be used for taking a break while going up or down the stairs.
N C Jain

Thanks for sharing your

Thanks for sharing your experience Mr Jain... Good to hear that you had fun time in Sikkim

+- Vishnu

Hello sir, I want to make a

Hello sir, I want to make a tour in 23jan to 29jan 2014, can I visit north sikkim, can I visit yumtham, peling, zero point, changu lake etc. Plz suggest me, I have already book my train ticket..

Visiting North Sikkim (Zero

Visiting North Sikkim (Zero point, Yumthang) may not be possible due to snow. Pelling would be possible.. Changu lake should also be possible..

Hi, I am planning to visit


I am planning to visit gangtok with my family and my daughter (8 yrs) in March first week. My main attraction is to see snow fall. Please advice will it be good time to see snow fall? Also is it ok for my daughter to visit Nathula/Changu at that time? Please advice.

There are thin chances to see

There are thin chances to see snow-fall in the first week of march. I would suggest to go  North Sikkim towards Zero point and Thangu.

Chances are good at Changu lake and Nathula pass as well. It's OK to visit with 8 years old daughter. No problem with that.

+- Vishnu

Hi I have planned to visit


I have planned to visit darjeeling and gangtok for 04 days from 23 dec. Kindly suggest me what precautions should take for my family with 5 yrs aged son to play with snow. And is it possible?

Kindly reply

Thanls in advance

I don't think there is any

I don't think there is any problem if your 5 year old want to play with snow. All you need to carry proper woolens etc.  You may find snow in and around Nathula pass in the last week of December.

+- Vishnu

Hi vishnu I with my 7 friends

Hi vishnu

I with my 7 friends wants to make a tour of sikkim for approx 8 days in the month. Of January around, 8 Jan to 17 Jan 15. 

I just want to know which places we can visit or which we can not. Also let us know is this a good time to visit there, or we extend our tour for the next month. 

January is the coldest month

January is the coldest month of the year. Most of the remote places in Sikkim would be inaccessible during winters. I don't think its advisable to visit North Sikkim in January. You should however be able to visit Nathula pass, Changu lake, Lachung (if road is open) etc.

If you want to visit North Sikkim then March is the better time to go.

+- Vishnu



What help do you need from my

What help do you need from my end ?

+- Vishnu

Hi...I am planning to go to

Hi...I am planning to go to Sikkim in the month of April15, is it advisable that I can take my 8 yr old daughter & how about the vehicles available for a family of 3.

Yes, there is no problem

Yes, there is no problem traveling with your 8 year old daughter. Except North Sikkim stretch and Nathula leg, everything else can be done in a small vehicle.

+- Vishnu

Hi Vishnu,   I would be

Hi Vishnu,


I would be visting Sikkim from 19th Dec-27-Dec'14. Would Nathula Pass be open during this time? How would the weather conditions be?

Weather will be very cold but

Weather will be very cold but I feel Nathula should remain open in december. However at times, if it snows excessively then road gets closed for few hours.

+- Vishnu

Is it possible to go Nathula

Is it possible to go Nathula in february 2nd week.......??

Yes, it should be possible.

Yes, it should be possible. Nathula remains open through out the year (more or less).

We are planning to visit

We are planning to visit Gangtok in the 2nd week of feb. Would like to ask whether Nathula Pass & Changu Lake will be accessible?

For this time went to Yumthang '0' Point is it possible??? please rply

Nathula and Changu pass

Nathula and Changu pass remain open more or less.

Zero point would not be possible but if there is not much snow then you can make upto Yumthang valley.

+- Vishnu

Hi Vishnu ,  This is kotty

Hi Vishnu , 

This is kotty from chennai. 

Im planning to do a Motorcycle trip to BHUTAN , covering NATHULA PASS. 

i have about 8 days of yearend vacation , ( Dec 26 TO Jan 3 )  , JAN 4th Morning i Need to be back in chennai. 

Kindly suggest me the best possible way to explore the PASSES and Hilly terrains , monasteries  in and around bhutan. 

also suggest me where i need to get my bike transferred from chennai. 


Thanks in advance 




I think you can get the bike

I think you can get the bike on trains till Siliguri.. 8 days not long for Bhutan and Sikkim both. You can visit Nathula pass but i doubt outside Sikkim vehicle are allowed till Nathula. you can check it after reaching Gangtok.

2 days in Gangtok are sufficient and then move to Bhutan...

+- Vishnu

Hi, I want to visit nathula


I want to visit nathula on jan 10th, 2015. can u tell me if i'll get a chance to visit nathula?

10th January is Sunday.

10th January is Sunday. Nathula will be open. Yes, you will have a chance.

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. 


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.

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