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 have a query

Hi Vishnu,

 

I have a query regarding visit to Natu La Pass

 

This is our honeymoon trip and we are planning to visit Natu La Pass in Sept, ie on 5th Sept 2014 and our travel agent has quoted it 6000 per Sumo. Can you let me know how much it would cost to reach Natula Pass from Gangtok?

 

Wherein we are travelling to nearby destinations of Natu La Pass, Tsomgo Lake and Baba Mandir(included in package) but not Natu La Pass (excluded in package) 

 

Can you assist us with suggestions as we are really interested to visit Natu La Pass, but we find the itinerary too costly. I have come across some posts wherein it costs 700-800 per person on sharing including the permit. 

 

Please suggest us something economical,

i am visiting gangtak in 1st

i am visiting gangtak in 1st weak of october where can i find snow to play

Hi Vishnu , Am planing to

Hi Vishnu ,

Am planing to book the Honeymoon trip to Darjeeling - Gangtok between 1st Sep to 8th Sep 2014. When i checked the weather forecast for those days , it has mentioned as rains possible . So in this context will it be  agood idea to travel during that time. Please suggest as its a special occasion and donot want that to get spoiled.

Regards

Sriram

 

I don't think September is

I don't think September is peak time for monsoon in Sikkim however one can never predict weather on the hills... it can swing any time of the year...

Going by previous years I don't think you will encounter excessive rain in the first week of September.. there can be intermittent drizzing but weather would otherwise should be clear..

As stated earlier, it is just my opinion based on my experience... none can guarantee you clear weather.. Smile

=== Vishnu

Hi Vijay, We (4 senior but

Hi Vijay,

We (4 senior but fit citizens around 60 years) are planning to visit Sikkim in Feb-2014. We intend to do it without any travel agent and our plan is as under.

Reach New Mal by train

Visit Rishop (hired car) (Stay for 2 days)

Lava to Lungthung (hired car)  (overnight stay)

Lungthung to Gangtok (hired car)  vis baba mandir, nathula & change (stay at gangtok)

Gangtok to Verseyn (hired car)  (stay at Gurash Kunj for 2 days)

Versey to NJP (hired car)

 Please let us know from where we can collect our permission?

If we don’t visit Nathula – is permission necessary?

 

Please reply.

 

Hello Sir... I admire the

Hello Sir... I admire the research done for outlining such an off-beat itinerary... all of these are lesser known gems of Sikkim and West Bengal's hills...

Permit is only required for visit Nathula pass and Changu lake.. You can get this permit at Sikkim (Sikkim tourism department), Charges are nominal and you can obtain it with the help of any tour agent at MG road...

let me know if you need further information with respect to planning your trip..

Cheers
Vishnu Kumar

Hello Sir, I am from

Hello Sir,

I am from Maharashtra.Actually my friends and I am planning our class tour for darjeelig and gangtok.We are nearly about 55-60 students. We are planing around to visit there in last week of november.So sir please suggest me the best tour iritary for 5-6 days.

Also we all want to see any snow sight so is nathula pass and changu lake will open in that season and are they cover with snow ?

Also tell me the best places to visit in darjeeling and Gangtok.And what are the adventurous things to do in gangtok and darjeeling.

 

Regards,

Ashwin Fale

Hi Ashwin, November is indeed

Hi Ashwin,

November is indeed one of the best months to travel to Sikkim.. you will find most of the routes open and can even visit high altitude lake of Gurudongmar... here is what i will recommend for the duration of 5-6 days.

Day 1: From Siliguri, reach Darjeeling and stay overnight
Day 2: Darjeeling sightseeing with morning trip to Tiger hills.
Day 3: Darjeeling to Gangtok . enroute, you can try river rafting.
Day 4: Gangtok to Nathula tour.
Day 5-6: You can move to Pelling side..

let me know if you need more details.

Regards
Vishnu Kumar

Hello Vishnu we are a group

Hello Vishnu we are a group of 13 People. we are reaching new jalpaiguri on 14th august 10 in morning and departin from here on 22th august 5.30 P.M. We want to explore the true himalya in sikkim and beauty of sikkim. So can you please suggest some of the places we should visite also advice us about the time to stay there and about halts. It would be great If you help us..

Hi Rajan... Here is a plan

Hi Rajan... Here is a plan you can follow..

14th Evening: Reach Darjeeling (Overnight stay)
15th: Darjeelign sightseeing, overnight stay
16th: Transfer to Gangtok
17th: Day tour to Nathula
18th: Transfer to Lachen (Overnight in Lachen)
19th: Visit Gurudongmar lake in the morning and transfer to Lachung (Overnight stay)
20th: Visit Yumthang valley in the morning..Drive back to pelling (overnight in pelling)
21st: Stay in Pelling and sightseeing.
22nd: Back to Siliguri

Cheers
Vishnu Kumar

We ,19 persons proposed to

We ,19 persons proposed to visit gangtok & darjeeling on 7 to 10. sep2014. On 9th and 10 th we will be at gangtok. Can we visit Nathula pass on 10(WEDNESDAY) and then catch our train from NJP at 21.00 hrs.

YES, you can visit Nathula in

YES, you can visit Nathula in the first half of the day on 10th of September and later get the taxi to NJP... you will comfortably reach before 21:00...

Thanks a lot for your kind

Thanks a lot for your kind information

with regards

SUNDER RAJ

KERALA

Dear Vishnu We a group of 6

Dear Vishnu

We a group of 6 people are plnning to visit yumthang between 23 oct to 26 oct....will you please suggest us good tour program where we can cover most of the places. Also we would like to see snow...will there be any chance for the same.

Also please let us know what should be the budget for the entire trip including mid budget hotel, transport etc. We all will be coming from Kolkata by train to NJP and would like to book a private vehicle from there itself.....

Plz help....

Thanks

Subhasish

Chances to see snow are bleak

Chances to see snow are bleak in the month of October however you can see snow on the mountain peaks near Nathula pass and Yumthang valley...

In the duration of 5 days, you can visit Nathula pass (as day tour from Gangtok), Gangtok sightseeing, Lached (Overnight stay for Gurudongmar Lake), Lachung (Overnight stay for Yumthang)...

budget will depend a lot on your travel style... there are all sort of accommodation options...

You can book a private vehicle from NJP (Siliguri) however Gangtok will be a better place to book tours and all...

Regards
Vishnu Kumar

Dear Vishnu,   We are 15

Dear Vishnu,

 

We are 15 person family group. (10 adult + 5 kids) kindly sugest best option for travel in sikkim. we planned to travel in 1st week of november,2014

we have our own facility for stay.

You can either hire 2 taxis

You can either hire 2 taxis or one tempo traveler from Gangtok... read our forums to chalk out an itinerary..

Would u like to suggest any

Would u like to suggest any tempo traveller name or contact no pls.

 

Snehal, I don't have any

Snehal, I don't have any number of any agent who particularly deal in tempo travelers but i guess it should not be a problem after reaching Gangtok....meanwhile, i will try to use my contacts to get some information..

Hi we r planning to visit

Hi we r planning to visit darjeeling and sikkim around 26 February or 2 February for 5 or 6 days . Can you send me which r best places . Is this right time to visit there to enjoy natural beauty. Can we visit nathula paas during the time and toy train. What is the temperature during 10th march. Please send all details.reply soon, we have to plan.

YES, Nathula tour and Toy

YES, Nathula tour and Toy train should be possible... March would be better time than February... In the beginning of Springs, temperature will be pleasant (not severally cold)...

for 5-6 days... i would suggest you to spend 2 nights in Gangtok...2 nights in Dajeeling... 1night in Pelling...

Cheers
Vishnu Kumar

I would like to know whether

I would like to know whether we will encounter snowfall at nathula during july. Is it open at that time ?

No chance... There is no

No chance... There is no chance to witness Snow-fall in the month of July at Nathula... although global warming stunned me in recent years with string of odd events... for your second question, YES, Nathula will be open...

Can we visit Nathula with my

Can we visit Nathula with my bike from Odisha...?

Is October or November'll be better or what....?

I doubt that...

I doubt that... Outside-Sikkim vehicles are not allowed for Nathula and North Sikkim tour...This is the rule with four wheelers but i am not sure about two-wheelers..... About timing, October or November is good month to go...

Dear Vishnu I m planning for

Dear Vishnu

I m planning for a visit to Darjeeling and Gangtok on 24th August. Would like to know from you whether we can plan for Nathu la day trip keeping in mind the rain season in August last week. Also I have heared that roads conditions are not very good. Can you please suggest me whether I should visit there or not, if we are coming with 2 kids below 2 years. Also, can you please share with me any specific preparation required (Cloth - wise) for the trip in August last week. Thanks a lot in advance. We are coming from Delhi.

 

Rain should not be major

Rain should not be major concern in August-last week... July to Mid-August is generally considered as high time for monsoon...

I would suggest you can go ahead with your plan... Roads are bad but that should not be a reason to drop your trip...

August won't be very cold but still carry woolens, proper shoes and stuff to deal with rain... rest, there is nothing you need to worry about..

=== Vishnu Kumar

Dear Vishnu Bhai Thanks a lot

Dear Vishnu Bhai

Thanks a lot for your valueable reply. It is really helpful. One more thing I would like to know. I have read in one of your post that Heights of moutains can be a problem for some people. Is it really so? I have never been on so much height. My wife gets vomiting sensations on hills. Also I am accompanied with  two 2 years old kids. Please suggest me if its okay to visit. 

 

Yaa... its called Acute

Yaa... its called Acute mountain sickness which hit if you gain high elevation (Generally beyond 10000 feet)... Nathula pass and other high altitude areas of North Sikkim would not be recommend with 2 years old Kid...

Thanks a lot Vishnu for your

Thanks a lot Vishnu for your valueable suggestions.

Hi V r planning trip to

Hi V r planning trip to Gangtok from 21sep2014 to 27sep 2014. V ll reach kal on 21 sep. V want to visit Darjling and Gangtok . In Gangtok v want to do local sight seeing and want to go to North Sikkim and Nathula pass and chandu . Pl tell us how to go abt it. V don't mind flights also. For Gangtok flight is there but how to go to Darjling . V want to save time. Thanks in advance for help

For Gangtok, there is chopper

For Gangtok, there is chopper from Bagdogra airport.... Here is more information on the same..

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

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.

you have total 6 days... can spend 2 nights in Darjeeling, 2 in Gangtok (including one day tour to Nathula), one night in Lachen (for Gurudongmar lake) and one night in Lachung (For Yumthang valley)...

I hope it answers most of your queries...

=== Vishnu

Hi Vishnu We are planning to

Hi Vishnu

We are planning to visit Gantok in the first week of October(Somewhere around Durga Puja). We are 4 people and planning for 3-4 days of trip. Can you please give some idea as to how to plan the itinerary.

 

Thanks

Srishti

for a time span of 3-4 days,

for a time span of 3-4 days, I would recommend you 2 days in Gangtok (One day tour to Nathula pass, Changu lake etc) and 2 days in Pelling (West Sikkim)

Regards
Vishnu Kumar

Hello Vishnu. I am going to

Hello Vishnu. I am going to gangtok on 16th June and will visit nathula and Changu on 17th. I want to know the charge for share car from NJP to Gangtok, Gangtok to Nathula and Changu, Gangtok Sight seeing. Please provide me the details. Also tell me what is chance of Heavy monsoon shower or other risks due to monsoon? 

17th June is tuesday so

17th June is tuesday so Nathula won't be open... Don't know the exact fare on these routes.. Nathula one should be 500-600 per person.. Gangtok-Siliguri should be less..

Chances of encountering rain is there but still its the beginning of monsoon season...

hello vishnu, I am planning

hello vishnu, I am planning darhelling _ gangtok trip from 13th sept to 18th sept

my flight reaches bagdogra on 13th at 2.40 pm,

and return journey 19th at 12.45 pm

(traveling from pune) family of 4 adults

what would you suggest traveling gangtok 1st or darjelling

can you give itinerary for same?

we have hotel bookings, need other related information for travel

and does nathula pass requires special permit?

how to get it? like if u have any local's no who can arrange the same?

also can u give me ant local transport agents no? so i can arrange my tour accordingly.

Hi.. it does not matter much

Hi.. it does not matter much if you start from Gangtok or from Darjeeling...

You can find plenty of itineraries on our forum for the duration you specified.. seemingly you have some 6 days.. you can visit Darjeeling, Gangtok, North Sikkim (Lachen, Lachung, Yumthang, Gurudongmar lake)...

YES, Visit to Nathula pass requires ILP which can be obtained with the help of any tour agent at Sikkim or at Sikkim Tourism board office, MG road.

I will email you numbers..

Regards
Vishnu Kumar

Dear Vishnu, We are reaching

Dear Vishnu,

We are reaching Darjeeling on 8th June.
We want to tour Darjeeling, Gangtok and nearby places like Pelling, Lachung and Nathula Pass etc.
We are there till 18th so tell me the best we can do in this time.

Thanks

You have around 10 days in

You have around 10 days in hand.. I would suggest you to spend 2 nights in Darjeeling, 2 nights in Gangtok (One day tour to Nathula pass), 1 night in Lachen (For Gurudomgmar lake), one night in Lachung (For Yumthang Valley), one night at gangtok while coming back... if you still have days left then head to Pelling for West Sikkim...

Bon Voyage..

Hi Vishnu,    This is Suresh

Hi Vishnu, 

 

This is Suresh from hyderabad. We are a group of 4 people (2 couples) newly married. booked our tickets on June 28th 2014 to Bagdogra for honeymoon. We would like to spend a whole week in gangtok visiting some other places. Is that a right time to visit ? 

Can we travel to Lacheng, Lachen Yumthang and Gurudongmar Lake around this time?  also please suggest the best way to reach gangtok from Bagdogra airport. 

 

Awaiting your response. 

June is considered as monsoon

June is considered as monsoon time so it is not the best time to travel Sikkim....

Yes, you can definitely reach Lachen, Lachung, Yumthang, Gurudongmar lake... Roads will be open (provided there is no landslide enroute)...

From Bagdogra, you can either hire a private taxi to Gangtok else go to Siliguri and board any Gangtok bound taxi, these depart on regular basis......

=== Vishnu

Dear Vishnu,How about for non

Dear Vishnu,How about for non Indian national, is it possible to get permits to Nathula Pass, I am an Indian Malaysian.

Nope... Only Indian Nationals

Nope... Only Indian Nationals are allowed to visit Nathula pass.

  hi,   we are 3 member group

 

hi,

 

we are 3 member group planning to visit gangtok and darjeeling around a budget of 15000.

 

1). we wil b ther by 8th june i.e Monday and return by 10th i.e wednesday evening.

 

2). pls suggest best plan in our budget but nathula pass and gangtok mandatory. 

You are having just 3-4 days

You are having just 3-4 days thus you should not venture towards North Sikkim... I will recommend you to do Gangtok sightseeing (One day), Darjeeling sightseeing (One day), Nathula pass tour (one day from Gangtok)... that is it..

Start from Darjeeling..

I am.thinking of going to

I am.thinking of going to nathula pass n the other sight seeing places in September . Will it be possible at that tym of the or will the weather b not gilood for the sightseeing the travel

 

September is good time to

September is good time to visit Sikkim... weather will be pleasant and you will witness clear sky most probably...

Hi,vishnu my plan is to visit

Hi,vishnu

my plan is to visit nathula pass on 8th june and yumthang(zero point) on 10th june will i get snowfall at that time or on ground...

Least likely to encounter

Least likely to encounter snow-fall at this of the year...

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