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, Fridays, 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

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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, we are planning to visit

Hi, we are planning to visit sikkim from 26th feb 2016 to 2nd march 2016. We are four adults . Can you help us to plan our trip keeping gangtok as a center point ? how is nathula pass weather in february end ? is it possible to include north sikkim or darjiling in it ?

Hello, I am visiting Gantok

Hello,

I am visiting Gantok on 26th February.

DOes it rain at that time if I plan for nathula Changu visit?...chances to see snow.

We're two students. We'll be

We're two students. We'll be reaching Gangtok at around 6 pm on 17th March. And we have a train from NJP at 9:50 pm on 19th March. We want to cover Rumtek Monastery, Tsomgo lake, cable car ride and hanuman tok viewpoints. we don't have a problem with hectic travelling. also, will visiting nathu la be possible? And when should we leave gangtok to reach NJP in time for the train?

I have 10 nights to visit

I have 10 nights to visit Sikkim and Darjeeling. I will be travelling on 18th May 2016 from Kolkjata to reac NJP on 19th May my return ticket is on 29th May 2016 from NJP.

We are 4 sr citizens, 1 7 years old child & 4 adults in 30s. I would like to get help from you to plan some relaxing and memorable vaccation.

Hi Somu.. May is good time to

Hi Somu.. May is good time to travel to Sikkim. You have almost 11 days in hand. As you are coming with Senior citizens so i would not recommend you to go to Gurudongmar lake.

I will suggest 2 nights in Darjeeling, 3 nights in Gangtok ( one day tour to Changu lake), 2 nights in Pelling. 1 night in Lachung, 1 night in Lachen.

For remaining 2 nights, you can spend wherever you feel most comfortable.

Have an awesome trip.

+- Vishnu

Hi,   We are planning to

Hi,

 

We are planning to visit Gangtok in the month of May - 3 nights and 4 days ( agroup of 25 people - 7 families) We were planning to include nathula pass and tsongmo lake in our itinerary. However, i do see reviews such as summer months, these places are not very impressive as the lake would not be frozen. Is that true. 

What are the best things to do in sikkim during May. Will a visit to Northern sikkim be better than Nathula and Tsongmo?

 

thanks

 

Yes, Lake would not be frozen

Yes, Lake would not be frozen in May but view is spendid nevertheless. May is clearsky and end of spring. 3 nights and 4 days would be little hectic if you are planning to visit North Sikkim.

+- Vishnu

Hi, I want to visit Gangtok

Hi,

I want to visit Gangtok from 3rd June to 7th June along with one sr. Citizen and two kids. Is it the good time to visit Gangtok knowing the raining and can we able to visit Nathula pass & changy lake. Any issue with Sr. citizen due to height problem at Nathula pass

Or

Can I plan for Darjleening this time.

Yes. Thin Air at Nathula can

Yes. Thin Air at Nathula can be problematic for senior citizen and that's why infacts and senior citizens are generally not recommended. that being said, it all depends on individual's reaction to condition so i can not comment much on that. First week of June is not considered monsoon so rain should not be a problem.

+- Vishnu

Hi There,   I have planned to

Hi There,

 

I have planned to visit Darjeeling and Gangtok starting Sat, 7th - Wed 10th Feb. When do you suggest is a good time to visit Nathula Pass during this time and how will be the weather confitions?

 

Regards

Deepika

In February, accessibility to

In February, accessibility to Nathula depends on snow condition. More or less it remains open for tourist but if it snows a lot then road gets blocked.  you should expect chilly weather in the month of February.

+- Vishnu

Hi,   I am planning trip to

Hi,

 

I am planning trip to sikkimg during 26th Feb to 06th March. I have 5 year kid, is this ok to travel in sikkim with kid. could you please suggest some itenerary and also if any permit required to visit Tongo lake and how to get that. 

 

thanks

You have almost 10 days in

You have almost 10 days in hand which is sufficient for a comprehensive trip to Sikkim. I will recommend you to spend 3 nights in Gangtok ( with one day tour to Nathula pass, Changu lake). 5 year old kid should not have any problem at Nathula in my opinion but still keep close watch.

2 nights in Pelling would be nice. You can visit North Sikkim and spend 2 nights in Lachung, Lachen, Yumthang. It will be very cold so you should carry proper woolen cloths and shoes to negotiate with snow.

Besides Nathula pass, all other places are fine to visit with kids.

+- Vishnu

We are planning to visit

We are planning to visit SIKKIM FROM 8TH APRIL TO 17TH APRIL . CONVEY WHETHER THE TIME IS SUFFICIENT TO COVER /SEE ENTIRE SIKKIM ( INCLUDING NORTH SIKKIM ) SHALL WE GOT THE SNOW IN SIKKIM IN THIS PERIOD ?? PL. CONVEY BEST ITINERARY FOR EFFECTIVE UTILISATION OF TIME . REGARDS 

Yes. 9 days are sufficient.

Yes. 9 days are sufficient. you can see snow around Nathula pass and at Yumthang. you can also visit Gurudongmar lake where you can witness a lot of snow.

3 nights in Gangtok (with one day tour to nathula pass), 1 night in Lachen (tour to Gurudongmar), 1 at Lachung and then 2 nights in Pelling.

+- Vishnu Kumar

can i find snow on this month

can i find snow on this month feabruary ?

David, you can find snow till

David,

you can find snow till april first week in changu lake and north sikkim areas

Yes. Chances are very high.

Yes. Chances are very high.

Hi, I June end bad time to

Hi, I June end bad time to visit lachung lachen? In terms if rains and landslides? And road blockage? Is is too hazy atmosphere to click photos at this time?

June mid to July end is not

June mid to July end is not considered good due to monsoon. it will be very hazy and you would not be able to take good photographs.

+- Vishnu

we have planned for

we have planned for Darjeeling 3 nights ( 15/5 to 17/5), pelling 2 nights ( 18/5 to 19/5) and Gangtok 2 Nights on 20/5/2016, In group 3 senior citzens and 2 chile above 9 years, is it possible us to see snow at Nathula Pass or at Changu Lake? 

It is possible by changing  our programme dates.

 

Eagrly awaiting your reply

 

Priya

Mumbai

Yes. there are chances to see

Yes. there are chances to see snow near Nathula pass till May end.

+- Vishnu

I would like to visit Sikim

I would like to visit Sikim from 26th feb to 5 th MArch 2016. We are family of 4. 2 Adult and 2 children 9 years and 2 years. I have plan to visit Pelling from 26th to 29th and then come to Ganktok on 29 and stay there till 5 th. I have plan to cover Luchen, Yumthang and Tshangu, baba mandir, Nathula pass.

Please let me know if those places will be accessible that time. Also please let me know is it safe to go Yumthang and Nathula pass with 2.5 years old baby.

February is bit unpredictable

February is bit unpredictable when it comes at snow situation on the road. most of the times, road to North sikkim is open but sometimes there is intermittent blockage. There is no problem to go to Lachen, Lachung, Yumthang with 2.5 years old baby however Nathula is not recommended.

+- Vishnu

I am planning for darjeeling

I am planning for darjeeling 3N pelling 2N and gangtok 2 N in group of 11 adult 2child in 3rd week of May. can we see snow in gangtok? Is there anr trouble for senior citizen ? If we plan for lachen or lachung is it possible in this schedule or stay shold be extended. Is it possible us to visit lachung during gangtok stay 

Chances to see snow in May

Chances to see snow in May are very low. you can not see it at Gangtok but you can see it at Nathula pass. If you want to visit Lachen, Lachung then you need extra 3 days and 2 nights. Lachung can not done as a single day trip from Gangtok.

+- Vishnu

Hi, My family(4members) is

Hi,

My family(4members) is planning a 7D/6N stay in Sikkim from 19th February 2016 till 25th February 2016. We want to include Pelling, North Sikkim and Gangtok in our plan. Can you suggest an itinerary to cover these places keeping in mind the weather conditions? Also, my father is 60 yrs of age and mother is 50 years of age. We will reach Rhenock on 18th February to meet relatives. Will start our tour from 19th January. Our places of interest: Kanchenjunga falls & khecheopalri lake and sight seeing in Pelling, Gurudongmar Lake, Lachen, Lachung, Yumthang and zero point in North Sikkim, Nathula pass and tsomgo(changu) lake in Gangtok. We have booked return flight on 26th February from Bagdogra airport. Look forward for your reply.

 

Gurudongmar lake will not be

Gurudongmar lake will not be accessible in February and same goes with Zero Point. You can visit Lachen, Lachung if roads are open. I will not suggest you to go to Nathula pass with old age parents. Weather will be chilly. prepare yourself for cold and snow.

Days are sufficient to visit the places mentioned.

+- Vishnu

Hi We are planning a trip to

Hi

We are planning a trip to Sikim in the last week of March 2016. We have 6 days in hand including flying from Delhi. We are keen to cover Nathula Pass, Changu Lake for sure. Darjelling Toy Train and Kelinpong are also in our mind. 

Please suggets how can we plan our trip and what all other places we can cover. 

Regards

 

 

6 days are sufficient to

6 days are sufficient to visit Darjeeling, Gangtok, Baba Mandir, Kellinpong. I would not recommend to go to North Sikkim as it would require additional 3 days. Nathula pass, Change lake can be done as a single day tour from Gangtok.

+- Vishnu

Hello! I can visit Nathula

Hello! I can visit Nathula Pass from Sillery goan? I will going to stay in sillery goan from 21st to 25th Feb 2016. And planning to visit it on 24th Feb 2016. So is it possible to visit? And would also like to know approx. cost of vehicle is possible.

Thank You.

For Sillery Gaon, you can

For Sillery Gaon, you can visit Nathula via Gangtok or via Old Silk Route. Via Gangtok is more convient as you can get permits easily. Cost of vehicle from Gangtok is 8-10K

+- Vishnu

We (me, my wife and my kid of

We (me, my wife and my kid of 3.5 years)want to visit Nathula Pass and Changu Lake on 24th January 2016. Is this possible..

Will depend on snow

Will depend on snow situation. Nathula gets closed often due to snow.

+- Vishnu

Hi Vishnu, I and one of my

Hi Vishnu,

I and one of my friend are planning to vist north east in 2nd week of Feb. Could you help in preapring the itinary?
Till now I have prepared this:  

Day 1: Reaching Guwahati in morng andd Exploring Guwahati, stay in Guwahati

Day 2: Leave early for Kaziranga and spend one night there

Day 3: Start from kaziranga to Shillong and enjoy one night in shillong

Day 4: Go to Cherapunjee and stay one night in Living root bridges

Day 5: Start early to reach Guwahati and the head towards to Gangtok and spend one day in Gangtok

Day 6: Head towards to Nathula pass and enjoy the day there and evening and come back to gangtok for the night

Day 7: Head towards Railway station to jalpaiguri and journey ends here.

Please provide your valuable suggestion for my trip.

Hi Aarush, It is very hectic

Hi Aarush,

It is very hectic plan. For examplen, From Day 4 to Day 5, you are trying to reach Gangtok from Living root bridges of Cherrapunji which is not possible. similarly few other days are also pretty hectic.  I would suggest to add one extra day between Cherrapunji to Gangtok.

+- Vishnu

Hi, I with my wife & 3.5 yrs

Hi,

I with my wife & 3.5 yrs of kids along with some other persons (total 8 to 10) planning to visit Dargiling & North Sikkim in the mid of April 2016. I have make a tour plan below, can anyone help me if itinerary is correct and informed me about cost /head.

 

Also please suggest if 3.5 yrs of kids is ok for this tripp. I want to visit all this places clearly and also like to play with snow so I have decided the journey date will be 14th April. I can change it to early or after also as nothing is booked till now.

 

Day 1: NJP -> Darjeeling (via toytrain)

Day 2: Darjeeling Sight Scene (including sunrise @Tigerhill)

Day 3: Darjeeling -> GANGTOK (By Booked Car)

Day 4: GANGTOK -> LACHEN 

Day 5: LACHEN -> CHOPTA -> GORUDONGMAR -> LACHUNG 

Day 6: LACHUNG -> YUMTHANG -> YUMESAMDONG -> GANGTOK 

Day 7: GANGTOK -> BABA MANDIR,TSONGO LAKE, NATHULA PASS -> GANGTOK

Day 8: GANGTOK to NJP 

 

Waiting for earliest response & advice.

 

 

 

April is not the best time to

April is not the best time to play with snow however you will get this chance at Nathula pass. Itinerary seems do-able to me. accessibility to Gurudongmar will depend on road condition but most probably it will be open and you will get to see a lot of snow at Gurudongmar lake.

+- Vishnu

I am planning to visit Sikkim

I am planning to visit Sikkim between April to june and want to know weather i would be able to see snow. If yes then when and where should i go during April to June for snow 

For Snow, you should try to

For Snow, you should try to visit in April. June is too late to see snow. Even in April, you would not see snow fall but can see snow at Nathula pass and Yumthang valley/Gurudongmar lake.

+- Vishnu

We are planning Sikkim trip

We are planning Sikkim trip from 20 March to 26 March,I want know whether we will get snow that time. ........ Thanks

Yes. Chances are bright to

Yes. Chances are bright to see snow in March end.

+- Vishnu

Hi Vishnu, Me and my husband

Hi Vishnu,

Me and my husband are planning to visit Nathula Pass on 26th March 2016 .Please advise if the Nathula Pass will be open around March 26th and is it safe to visit ?

Our Travel agent is somehow not very sure and is telling it is dangerous and risky:) Please let me know

Thank you

Regards,

Sowmya Raj

I am very hopeful that

I am very hopeful that Nathula will be accessible by March end. Travel agents say many things. It is accessible through out the year barring periods of heavy snow or land slides.

+- Vishnu

We are  interested in going

We are  interested in going to Mt Kailash from Lhasa. We are  US citizens and Indian OCI card holders, ids it possible to go thru Natula Pass and and if so how do we plan. Thanks

I think OCI would not help

I think OCI would not help you getting the permit to Nathula pass. they need passport or Voter ID card.

+- Vishnu

Hi.. I and my wife are

Hi.. I and my wife are planning to visit Darjeeling and Gangtok from 4th March to 11th March 16. Could you please help us in preparing the itenerary. Also the packages which include accomodation.

you have 7 days in hand. I

you have 7 days in hand. I would suggest you to spend 2 nights in Gangtok, 2 nights in Darjeeling, 2 nights in North Sikkim (try to visit Lachen, Lachung, Yumthang). and If you still have time then go to Pelling.

+- Vishnu

Hi, I am planning to visit

Hi,

I am planning to visit Darjeeling , Gangtok and Pelling from April 09th Untill 16th april 2016. I checked for NAthula Pass but am not sure about this. I wanted to know if snow would be available between these days and if its advisable to visit nathula pass during these days.

Thanks,

Arun

I am sure Nathula will remain

I am sure Nathula will remain open in April second week. Snow would be cleared by then. About dates, please check the post again, you will find the information.

+- Vishnu

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