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

========
 
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 are coming to NJP on

we are coming to NJP on 20-04-15 9.15am. .  20 and 21st at Darjeeling. 22nd darjeeling to gangtok and gangtok to .nauthala pass 23rd gangtok local sight seeing to NJP . 23rd train at NJP at 19.00hrs we need to visit nauthala pass on Wednesday. we are 5 adults and 3 kids( total Cool kindly advise.

Pretty much do-able. i do not

Pretty much do-able. i do not see any problem with the plan.

+- Vishnu

Hi a want to go nathula pass

Hi a want to go nathula pass with my 4 years old daughter..... But I have don't have any proper I'd off my daughter... What can I do...

 

And how's weather 18 June for my dauther heath...

i do not think there is any

i do not think there is any problem visiting nathula with 4 year old kid. you can visit till Changu lake and if everything is ok then head to Nathula. June will be hot in Gangtok but evening will be pleasant.

Hi, I am visiting Gangtok

Hi, I am visiting Gangtok ,Pheeling & Nathula Pass From 05 May to 09 may.Pls advice on wheather conditions,wollens to carried etc.

you can expect cold evenings

you can expect cold evenings in the month of May. Days would be warmer.

+- Vishnu

Hi, Day 1 Njp morning 6:00am

Hi, Day 1 Njp morning 6:00am direct to nathu la pass Babamandir - tsmong lake - night Gangtok Day 2 Gangtok to Lachung water flow ,river, bhim nala water flow night lachung Day 3 Lachung- Yumthang valley-Gangtok night Day 4 Gangtok to Pelling SS - night Pelling Day 5 Pelling toChardham Darjlling on way to Njp 17:00 pm This my itineary...is easy to my family ?Apart from above mentioned queries, please suggest or re-route(16th may to 20th may) Can you please send me the taxi operator's number Thanks

you can not visit Nathula on

you can not visit Nathula on the same day from NJP if you do not have permits. you will need to procure permits upfront.

rest seems do-able but very very hectic. you are just spending an evening in Darjeeling.

+- Vishnu

Hi there,   Please can you

Hi there,

 

Please can you advise if Nathula PASS permit can be obtained online?

Also please advise if 8N/9D are suffecient to nicely cover Darjileeing-Ganbgtok-Pelling-Lachung?

Thanks, 

No Permit can be procured

No Permit can be procured online. Yes, 8 days and 9 nights are sufficient.

+- Vishnu

Hi Dear Vishnu, We are from

Hi Dear Vishnu,

We are from Kerala. I along with my wife and daughter (18 yrs age) plan to visit during  Darjeeling and Gangtok form Kolkota 17 to 22 may.  (I am reaching Kolkota after a six day visit to Andaman Islands. Could you suggest an itinery for our visit to Darjeeling and Gangtok (with Nathula Pass) on the above dates?

for 6 days, i will recommend

for 6 days, i will recommend you to stay 2 nights in Darjeeling, 2 nights in Gangtok (Including 1 day tour to Nathula) and 2 nights in Pelling.

+- Vishnu

I am visiting Gangatok on 4th

I am visiting Gangatok on 4th May and visting Tsomgo Lake and Baba Mandir but I also want to visit Nathula Pass, is this on the way? Also can we visit it all 7 days a wekk or there are any specific days on which I can visit Nathula Pass?

Can I get permit to visit through tour operator once I land in Sikkim ? (I am coming from Mumbai)

Also please advise where I can see authenctic traditional dance and cultural activities

Any help is highly appreciated

Please read the article

Please read the article above. it has information about days when Nathula is closed and open. Yes, Nathula can be visited with Changu lake and Baba mandir.

Permits for Nathula can be arranged with the help of any tour agent at MG road Gangtok.

Please check Sikkim Tourism website to see the schedule for upcoming cultual events.

+- Vishnu

Hi, We are planning to visit

Hi,

We are planning to visit sikkim in the 2nd week of June. I have few questions.

1... Are foreign nationals allowed to visit tsango lake without permit? Do Indian Nationals need permit to visit Tsango Lake ?

2... Natualla pass and Babar Mandir --> My kids (4 and 9) are not indian nationals but have PIO card. We are all Indian citizens. Is it possible to visit these 2 places with kids ? If so how can I get permits for them?

 

Thanks

- No, Foreign Nationals are

- No, Foreign Nationals are now allowed to visit Changu lake, Nathula pass

- Yes, it is possible to visit Nathula pass with 4 year old kid but for getting inner line permit, you need to submit an ID proof which can validate that you are an indian national. otherwise it would not be possible.

+- Vishnu

Thanks for the information

Thanks for the information Vishnu. Should I take any other permits to visit Gangtok, Pelling and Darjeeling for my 2 kids (foreign Nationals?) for visiting any other places other than Changu, Natula and Baba Mandir.

 

Thanks,
Ramya

Permits are not required for

Permits are not required for foreign nationals for visiting Darjeeling, Gangtok and Pelling. Besides places falling in Inner line permit, there is a lot in Sikkim to cover so i would not discourage you visiting Sikkim with kids.

+- Vishnu

Hi, We are planning to visit

Hi,

We are planning to visit sikkim in the month of June. I'm a little confused with the permits. I want to visit Tshangu lake , Natualla Pass and Baba Mandir. Which one of these would require permits. Our kids (4 years and 9 years) are not of Indian national but have PIO card is it possible to get a permit for them to visit all the 3 places?

PIO card might not work in

PIO card might not work in getting Inner line permit.

Hi Vishnu I have planned a

Hi Vishnu

I have planned a trip to Gangtok and Darjeeling from 8-12 April, 2015. Below is the itinerary for my trip.

8 April : Bagdogra to Gangtok

9 April : Baba mandir and Tsomogo Lake,Local Bazar visit

10 April: Tashi View Point, Ganesh Tok, Flower Show, Gungang Monastery, Handicraft & Handloom and then Transfer to Darjeeling Hotel.

11 April : Darjeeling

12 April : Darjeeling to Bagdogra

I have few queries :

1. I am travelling with my 1 year 3 months old daughter, so pls let me know if i need to carry any additional things for her.

2. Is it possible to visit Nathula pass in this seasoon with her.

3. I have booked an Innova for my trip and we are only 2 people (me and my wife).. I wanna share the cab for my trip as i have already booked for 5 people. So pls suggest if someone is also lookiing for this option.

 

Regards

Sachin 

 

1- I would not suggest to

1- I would not suggest to take you 1 year old to Nathula pass. will suggest to carry proper woolen clothing.

2- No to Nathula pass

3- this one is for fellow travelers.

+- Vishnu

day 1:Arrival at NJP and

day 1:Arrival at NJP and depart to Gangtok.

day 2:Nathula pass, Changu lake, Alpine sanctuary, Saramsa flower Pavilion- Stay ay Gangtok

day 3:Phodong-Chumthang-Lachen-Thangu. Night stay in Thangu.

day 4:Thangu to Gurudongmar lake, then to Lachung for stay. 

day 5:From Lachung to Yumthang valley, hot spring and zero point, then same day back to Gangtok.

day 6:Gangtok to NJP

 

please suggest tour opeartor/ packege for this itoineary ,

thanks.

Itinerary seems do-able. this

Itinerary seems do-able. this is the standard itinerary. which month are you planning this trip ?

+- Vishnu

Hi Vishnu, We will be

Hi Vishnu,

We will be travelling to Sikkim from 5th April - 10 th April. Currently, planned itinerary is as follows:

1) 5th - Arrive at Bagdogra and proceed to Baiguney

2) 6th - Namchi and Samdruptse

3) 7th - Contemplating between Kalimpong & Pelling. Which do you think would be better?

4) 8th - Heading to Gangtok and doing some local sight seeing

5) 9th - Nathula, Changu Lake, Baba Mandir

6) 10th - Head to Bagdogra from Gangtok

Kindly let me know if this itinerary is good enough. Also, would request you to send me a good and reasonable tour operator for sightseeing and airport transfers. I have spoken to a few of them and charges seem quite high, quoted about 4000 oer day and 9000 for Nathula. Thought it is quite on the higher side! Request you to help me out with cab services.

 

Thanks,

Shashi

 

 

Pelling is better. rest seems

Pelling is better. rest seems well planned so do-able. I will send you few details in this regards. However i am little late .Sorry for that.

+- Vishnu

Hi Vishnu... I am planning to

Hi Vishnu...

I am planning to visit Gangtok & Darjeeling on 31.12.2015

My schedule are as follows:

31.12.2015-Train from Sealdah/Howrah to NJP

01.01.2016-NJP to Gangtok.

02.01.2016-Local view on MG road,RopeWay or some sightseeing.

03.01.2016-Cab for Nathula Pass,Changu lake & Baba mandir.

04.01.2016-Checkout from Gangtok & enter Darjeeling.

05.01.2016-Some sightseeing.

06.01.2016-Some sightseeing.

07.01.2016-Some sightseeing.

08.01.2016-Return To NJP,back to kolkata.

 

Vishnu My Question is,My wife had never seen snowfall till date...So is there any chances of getting snow?

If Yes,then where????As because my purpose for visit is for the snowfall only?

Yes, Chances are very bright

Yes, Chances are very bright to see snow in the time-window you have choosen. For 5,6,7 you can try to move to North Sikkim. You will most probably get snow in Lachen, Lachung, Yumthang etc. For Snow, you should plan to go North Sikkim. Chances will be very high.

+- Vishnu

Hi Vishnu, I would really

Hi Vishnu,

I would really apprecaite if you could let me know if my below itienary is doable, i am planning to visit Darjeeling, Gangtok and Lachung from April 10th To April 21st. Below is the tour plan,

10th to 14th Apr in Baiguney (ClubMahindra resort)  - See Darjeeling, Namchi, Pelling, Chakung (any other places..?)

14th Apr morning leave to Gangtok

14 to 17th Apr in Gangtok (3 days) - See Ganesh Tok, Nathula Pass, HImalaya Zoological park (any other places..?)

17th Apr Morning leaving to Lachung 

18th April  in Lachung  

19th morning checkout Lachung and reach Gangtok 

19th Night stay at Gangtok 

20th morning leaving from Gangtok to New Jalpaiguri

Please let me know if the above itienary looks fine, Also, please let me know in April 2015, 2nd and 3rd week, will winter woolen cloths will do or any Jackets are required, will it be too cold..??

Also, i am looking to hire a cab for the entire trip, if you know anyone, please do pass on the information whom i can contact. Typically how much do they charge per day if i hire a Sumo.

I would deeply appreciate if you could respond. Thanks very much in advance.

Looking forward to hear from  you.

 

I will suggest you to carry

I will suggest you to carry woolen cloths as well jackets. Temperature will dip sharpely in the evening specially when you are in North Sikkim, I am wondering why have you not included Gurudongmar lake in the itinerary. Route will be open and you will be able to reach Gurudongmar. Besides, I will also recommend to add Pelling in the itinerary.

I will send you details about hiring the Sumo or other private vehicle. There is no point staying 3 days in Gangtok. i will suggest to add 1 day for Pelling.

2 weeks are sufficient for a comprehensive tour to Sikkim and Darjeeling.

+- Vishnu

Hi Vishnu, Thanks very much

Hi Vishnu,

Thanks very much for your response. Infact i forgot to specify Pelling, it is in my itinerary. Infact, i have booked ClubMahindra resort in Baiguney for 4 days and plan to stay in the resort and then see all the surrounding places. I have planned two days for Darjeeling, one day for Pelling (leave from Baiguney in the morning and back to resort by evening) and one more day for other places near by.

Same way, i have booked ClubMahindra resort in Gangtok for 3 days and plan to visit near by places keeping resort as my base camp and see all the surrounding places like one day trip to Nathula (leave in the morning and back to resort by night). SImilarly to see other near by places by keeping resort as the base camp for Gangtok.

I am not sure how this will workout, please let me know if there is any better way of utilizing my time. Also, i am not aware of some places to be seen like Yuksom, Yumthang Valley, Gurudongmar lake, i learnt about this places only when i read your blog in this site.

Also, let me know if i can cover these three places (Yuksom, Yumthang Valley, Gurudongmar lake) along with Pelling in one day or i need to have separate one day to see these three places.

Please do let me know the prevailing rates for private cab booking like Innova / Scorpio / Bolero for the entire 12 days trip. How much will it cost if i book a private cab to see all these places, how much is the per day cost for hiring a private cab.

I plan to hire private cab on 10th Apr morning from New Jalpaiguri till 20th Apr night to New Jalpaiguri. If  you know any cab rentals ,please do pass on the information.

I would really appreciate your help and advise on providing above clarifications.

Thanks once again for providing all the required information. 

Looking forward to hear from you.

Thanks and Regards,

Prashant.

 

 

Yuksom is closer to Pelling.

Yuksom is closer to Pelling. but still Yuksom is one day trip from Pelling thus i recommend an overnight stay at Pelling. Gurudongmar lake/Yumthang valley is 2 night/3 days tour from Gangtok. I will send you details about taxi on email.

+- Vishnu

Can you please send me the

Can you please send me the taxi operator's number for north sikkim tour of 7 days. Here is my itinery...

day 1:Arrival at NJP and depart to Gangtok.

day 2:Nathula pass, Changu lake, Alpine sanctuary, Saramsa flower Pavilion- Stay ay Gangtok

day 3:Phodong-Chumthang-Lachen-Thangu. Night stay in Thangu.

day 4:Thangu to Gurudongmar lake, then to Lachung for stay. 

day 5:From Lachung to Yumthang valley, hot spring and zero point, then same day back to Gangtok.

day 6:Gangtok to NJP

Your itinerary seems do-able.

Your itinerary seems do-able. I will send you some pointers over the email.

+- Vishnu

please suggest the tour

please suggest the tour operator , more information for the same itinerary ; i am planning to go for honeymonn in north sikkim  for 5 nights ; thanks ;

thanks  

Mailed you the information.

Mailed you the information.

Hi!! We are a group of 11

Hi!! We are a group of 11 coming from South India to Sikkim, from 19th April - 24th April, with kids. We are planning to cover Pelling, Gangtok & Nathulla. Have we missed out on anything? Will we get to see snow @ Nathulla? Also what will the weather be like during this time? Will we require heavy woolens? Thank you!

5 days are not sufficient to

5 days are not sufficient to include North Sikkim (Yumthang, Zero point, Gurudongmar lake) in the itinerary so it will be ok to keep pelling, Gangtok and Nathula in the plan.

Yes. There are chances to see snow at Nathula pass.  Weather will not be very cold in mid-april however evenings will be chilly. You should carry heavy woolens.

+- Vishnu

Is it possible to visit East

Is it possible to visit East & North Sikkim by 135 CC Pulsar.

Also please tell me the procedure(from where and how) to get the permission.

Outside Sikkim vehicles are

Outside Sikkim vehicles are not allowed in North Sikkim. you will have to obtain special permissions.

Im travelling to gangtok

Im travelling to gangtok tomorrow. Howz the weather der nd in changu lake and nathula pass. Will hv to carry wollen clothes. And is gurudongmar lake accessible now

I am sorry to respond little

I am sorry to respond little late. i guess you are already in Sikkim

+- Vishnu

Hello, Sikkim Trip - I am

Hello,

Sikkim Trip -

I am planning to visit places around Gangtok during Mid april 16 - 23rd April. We are two adults and my kid - 4.5 years old. Below is my itinerary. I would really apriciate if experienced people of this forum and help me check if the itinerary is correct.

Day 1 - Bagdodgra - Gangtok - Rest at Gangtok
Day 2 - Visit places in Gangtok
Day 3 - Nathula Pass, Baba Mandir, Tsomgo Lake, back to Gangtok ( Are there any other places that I am mising here)
Day 4 - Start for North Sikkim trip - Gangtok to Lachen
Day 5 - Lachen to Gurudongmar, back to Lachen and then move to Lachung
Day 6 - Lachung to Yumthang to Zero Point and then back to Gangtok
Day 7 - ** I am not sure what to do here ***
*** Also, I am not sure if I should spend below 2 days in Darjelling itself or should cover something else also***
Day 8 - Gangtok to Darjelling - Sightseeing in Darjelling
Day 9 - Darjelling - JoyRide and Darjelling SightSeeting
Day 10 - Darjelling to Bagdogra

Queries - Apart from above mentioned queries, please suggest
- Will I be able to go with my 4.5 years old kid to North Sikkim ?
- In case my kid wouldn't be allowed for North Sikkim then whole plan gets dropped or it would be only Gurudongmaar that is dropped? Can we still go to Zero Point and Yungthang valley ?
- In case North Sikkim plan is dropped - In those 3 days what other plan can I make or should look out for?

I will really appriciate help on this. Thanks very much.

On Day 6 evening, you can

On Day 6 evening, you can reach Pelling and stay in Pelling on Day 6 and Day 7 evening. Rest seems pretty much OK to me.

- visiting with 4.5 year old kid should not be a problem but still will suggest to check with doctor. Gurudongmar lake is really high altitude.

- Only Gurudongmar will be dropped. you can still visit Lachen, Lachung, Yumthangm Zero point. You should not drop north Sikkim. Yumthang, Lachen, Lachung are no less than Gurudongmar lake.

+- Vishnu

We are planing to go on the 3

We are planing to go on the 3 week of may. 

21/5 we start from Howrah to Lataguri

22/5 we start from Lataguri to Rishi Khola

23/5 Rishi Khola to Zuluk 

24/5 rest/side seen

25/5 Zuluk go Gangtok Via Adi Baba Mandir /Nathula Pass

26/5 rest/side seen

27/5 Gangtok to Howrah

my question ARE 1. CAN WE DO THIS WITH OUR MOTOR BIKE ?

2. DO WE NEED ANY PERMIT IF YES FROM WHERE ?

3. IF WE CANNOT TAKE MOTOR BIKE CAN WE DO THIS WITH OUR OWN XUV 500 CAR

WHAT ARE THE PROSIDURE ?

4. WHAT ARE THE ROAD CONDISION...(VERY IMP)

 

PLEASE HELP US .

 

Yes. you will need permits

Yes. you will need permits and permits can be arranged from Rangoi police station

Folloing URL can be helpful

http://www.myriadtrails.com/destinations/off-the-beaten-track-of-sikkim-...

Outside Sikkim vehicles are not allowed on this route.

Yes, you can do it on motorbike provided you have permissions.

Road is not in very bad shape.

+- Vishnu

We are planning to visit

We are planning to visit Gangtok in June 2015. Is there any chances to  get snow? 

Chances are very bleak to see

Chances are very bleak to see snow in June.

+- Vishnu

can I visit to sikkim in

can I visit to sikkim in between 29th march to 6th april this year. Will I get there snow so much??? And what clothes should be packed for this days?

Yes. you can visit sikkim in

Yes. you can visit sikkim in this period. Yes, you can see snow at Nathula pass, North Sikkim (Yumthang valley, Gurudongmar lake etc). You should carry proper woolen clothings, jackets etc.

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