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 m planning to go

Hi vishnu I m planning to go nathula pass on 24 sep14 with my parents 60 plus and kid of 4 and half year..do there wil b any medical complications .wht precautions to b taken for kid n parent..also do thr wil b ice at tsongo lake ifbnot den whr..? Pls reply

Hi Vishnu Is there any

Hi Vishnu

Is there any possibility of seeing half frozen Gurudongmar lake around 21st of Sept.

Nope.. Lake will not be

Nope.. Lake will not be frozen in September..

HI, i and my friends are

HI,

i and my friends are plannig to go for trek to sandakphu, darjeeling, Wb. in mid of December, we are also planning to visit nathula pass. 

what would you advise:

1) should we visit it before trek or after it?

2)if before, can arrangements for passes, for nathula pass, be done in one day or one the same day of visit? because we are planning for one day trip to nathula pass. (no night stay in between) and we will be reaching darjeeling from caulcata early in morning and on same day planing to visit nathula pass. (from darjeeling to darjeeling)

3) What sites can we visit in this one day? including nathula pass.

4) we are 10 people in this odyssey, can we get tempo traveller or tata winger for transport? or what are the mode of transport from darjeeling? (please state fare, if known)

5) How much distance and time will it take from darjeeling?

6) can passes be done from darjeeling?

please suggest more better options.

Anurag

Hi Anurag, 1) You can visit

Hi Anurag,

1) You can visit Nathula based as per your convenience.. Nathula remains closed on Monday, Tuesday...

2) Generally Nathula permits are arranged day before the trip.. these permits are arranged in Gangtok.. It would not be possible to visit Nathula as a day trip from Darjeeling..

3) Darjeeling-Gangtok-Nathula will be quite hectic.. you can also visit Changu lake enroute..

4) i don't know rental of Tempo traveler... sumos are the main public transport however you can hire a winger from Siliguri/Darjeeling..

5) till Nathula, it should take 6 hours from Nathula..

6) as mentioned before, passes are generally done from Gangtok...

Better to visit Nathula as a day trip from Gangtok instead from Darjeeling..

==== Vishnu

HI VISHNU,               

HI VISHNU, 

              This is sangita from kolkata,i m planning to visit darjeeling n gangtok with my hubby n a 10yrs old son on 26thsep till 3rdoct.please

suggest us sum gud plans n wht to visit n where to stay.v wanna c maximum places.so please kindly suggest.

 

 

Thanking You,

SANGITA

PLEASE DO REPLY

Hi Sangita.. There are plenty

Hi Sangita.. There are plenty of itineraries discussed on this forum about 6-7 days in Darjeeling and Sikkim.. plese read those and let me know if you still have any query..

=== Vishnu

Hi Vishnu, I will be going

Hi Vishnu,

I will be going Sikkim from 20th - 27th Oct. with my family.

03 Nights Gangtok  +  01 Night Lachen + 02 Night Lachung + 01 Night Gangtok

Day 1: New Jalpaiguri Railway Station(NJP) to Gangtok

Day 2: Gangtok ( Full day local sightseeing)

Day 3: Gangtok ( Tsomgo Lake Excursion)

Day 4: Gangtok – Lachen

Day 5: Lachen – GuruDongmar- Lachung

Day 6: Lachung to Yumthang Valley to Lachung

Day 7: Lachung to Gangtok

Day 8: Gangtok to Bagdogra Airport(IXB)

Could you suggest a itinerary for us during this time, We want to visit Nathula Pass and other scenic places. What will the weather be like end of October, especially at Nathula pass, will we be able to see snow/ICE cap mountain ?

Looking forward to your tips and suggestions

Regards,

Sumit & Family

Hi Sumit, Itinerary is

Hi Sumit,

Itinerary is already well defined by you... it's doable... I don't think there will be much snow around Nathula pass in the end of October... There might be snow on the peaks of the mountains but will not be accessible..

=== Vishnu

Hi Vishnu,   We are group of

Hi Vishnu,

 

We are group of 5-6 boys and planning to visit Nathula in last week of December(around 26-27). Can you please tell if road to Nathula will be open during that time as I assume it receives snowfall during that time.

 

Thanks

Akshay

I think road to Nathuls would

I think road to Nathuls would be snow in the last week of December.. Road generally gets blocked in Jan and Feb...

=== Vishnu

Hello Vishnu I like to know

Hello Vishnu

I like to know that can i find snow at nathula pass at the 1st week of october?

Chances are slim to see snow

Chances are slim to see snow at Nathula in the first week of October..

Hi i am Bagdogra on

Hi i am Bagdogra on 29/09/2014 & will back on 03/10/2014 evening. Pls sent on good tour plan. Winter dress is needed for nathula pass or not?

 

October is not likely to be

October is not likely to be very cold so there is no need to carry winter clothing... You only have 4-5 days so there is no point heading to North Sikkim.. I will recommend you to cover Nathula, Pelling, Gangtok etc... that would be pretty much...

=== Vishnu

Hi, I am planning to visit

Hi, I am planning to visit Gangtok in the last week of September. I have a kid of 1 year 10 months old. Will it be safe to visit Nathula? Also, if you could advise as to which all places should be avoided with kid in Gangtok, it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

 

I don't think you will be

I don't think you will be allowed to go with your kid beyond Army check post... However it will be possible to visit till Changu lake... I think visiting Changu lake with the kid should not be a problem...

There is no need to go till Gurudongmar lake with the kid...rest is fine..

=== Vishnu

Hi Vishnu, I had a question,

Hi Vishnu,

I had a question, we will be going to Sikkim from 18 - 24th Oct. 

18 (1 night) in Gangtok

19th -22nd (3 nights) Pelling

22-24th (2 nights)  in Gangtok again

Could you suggest a itinerary for us during this time, We want to visit Nathula Pass and other scenic places, also some monasteries. What will the weather be like end of October, especially at Nathula pass, and does the altitude at the pass affect breathing?

Looking forward to your tips and suggestions

best wishes

Tina

 

 

 

 

 

Itinerary seems fine to me

Itinerary seems fine to me however 3 nights in Pelling would be little longer.... can consider to cover following circuit of West Sikkim...

http://thinkingparticle.com/forum/travel-west-sikkim-uttarey-rinchenpong...

Anyways will recommend to take a day tour to Nathula pass while you are in Gangtok... Monasteries around Gangtok can be covered in a day trip...

Altitude should not be a problem at Nathula pass... can expect chilly weather at the end of October..

=== Vishnu

  Dear Vishnu, We are Car

 

Dear Vishnu,

We are Car fanatic & we will be travelling to Sikkim from 12th to 19th Oct. We have a plan to travel to Zero Point on 15th (Wednesday) from Mangan and stay at Lachung. We also like to travel from Gangtok to Nathula to Zuluk on 17th (Friday).

Details of cars Travelling: Indica Vista, Fiat Punto, Alto K10, Mahindar Scorpio.

 

Please share Information regarding following:

1.  Can we get permit for our cars for this two route. (All cars are having West Bengal Registration)

2.  Can these cars take the abuse of these routes. (All Drivers are experianced in Land & Hill)

3.  Are there any day restriction for permits.

4.  Where we can contact for Permits & contact person who can help us for the permits.

 

Thanks in advance for the help.

Souradeep

 

Hi Souradeep 1) I don't think

Hi Souradeep

1) I don't think outside Sikkim cars are allowed for Nathula or North Sikkim. Few months back one of my friend tried to get permit for vehicle but he could not so i think its bit difficult.

2) I would not recommend cars with low clearance to go beyond Thangu. Scorpio will not be a problem but rest other cars might have problem while going to Gurudongmar.

3) Yes, there is date restriction for Inner line permit. And it will

4) Inner line Permits can be either arranged by any tour agent at Gangtok or with the help of Sikkim tourism department. This is for tourists not for the vehicles.

I am not sure how to procure permits for vehicles..

=== Vishnu

Dear Vishnu,   We are

Dear Vishnu,

 

We are planning to visit Silk Route in nd Week of November.I already visited Gangtok 3 times along with Gurudambhar, Youmthang & Pelling. Please give me a shortest Silk Route tour plan along with budget. we r mostly interested on photography so pls plan with the same.

 

Please Reply ASAP.

 

Here is an itinerary for silk

Here is an itinerary for silk route..

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

Silk Route is generally done in 1-2 days starting from Aritar however you can stay overnight at other places as well... Silk route will give plenty of photography opportunities...some nice vantage points and untouched lakes...
you can do Aritar to Gangtok in single day if starting early..

== Vishnu

  Hi Vishnu, We are visiting

 

Hi Vishnu,

We are visiting Gangok from 30th Aug=5th Sep 2014

Is it safe to travel here by women/ladies only in gantok, pelling and surrounding places. 

How do I decide a good travel agent. How safe is it to take sharing vehicles to visit places around Gangtok and Darjeeling

Can I Visit Natula immediately next day after I reach Gangotk. Do I need to acclamtise couple of days before going to Nathula pass

Do I need to carry thermals and heavy jackets during this time if I visit Nathula and Pelling etc. What is kind of clothing and shoes I should carry. Can I buy reasonable prices rain ware at Gangtok itself

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sikkim is one the safest

Sikkim is one the safest states in India to travel... There is no problem for solo female travelers...

Sharing taxis/Sumos are in plenty for Darjeeling and other sightseeing but for North Sikkim, you will have to hire a private sumo...

Nathula can be visited immediately next day...

It will not be very cold.. however you should carry a woolen jacket... no need to carry heavy jackets etc... Nathula will  be colder but you won't be staying much time there so it should be fine.. Pelling should be pleasant at this time of the year...

Yes, you can buy rainwear from Gangtok itself..

Sports shoes would be fine... don't wear brand new shoes..

=== Vishnu

Hi vishnu I am planning to

Hi vishnu I am planning to reach Darjeeling on 10 sep till 10am and will leave on 14th.on 11 and 12 I have booked holiday home from my company.so can you guide me for tour.also please guide whether I should book hotel in advance in Darjeeling or after reaching there.can you tell roughly cost of staying for 5 in darjeeling

 

You can get hotel in

You can get hotel in Darjeeling after arrival as well...  Accommodation expenses depend on the option type.. Generally you can get a decent room in 1500 INR ( for 2) in Darjeeling... rest 3 days are sufficient to do sightseeing in Darjeeling...

=== Vishnu

Hi Vishnu, We are 2 guys from

Hi Vishnu,

We are 2 guys from Andhra Pradesh and we will be reaching Kolkatha on 28th Sept and leaving Kolkatha on 5th October. We want to hit Sikkim in the meanwhile. Is there any chance of experiencing snowfall?. Please suggest us some sensible and Economic travel Itenerary.Our budget is 15k.

And is there any trek which is easy to moderate in difficulty which offers great views and can be completed in the 4-5 days?

 

Thanks in Advance,

Abhishek.

Hi Abhishek, In September,

Hi Abhishek,

In September, there are no chance to witness snowfall....

for 4-5 days, you can consider Sandakpu or some part of Goecha la... Treks will be expensive..

in the available time frame, you can have a trip including Gangtok, Darjeeling, Nathula pass and North Sikkim (Provided you are not doing any trek)....

=== Vishnu

Thanks Vishnu. We've finally

Thanks Vishnu. We've finally zeroed in on Sandakphu. Can we hire a couple of mountain bikes and complete this trek. I've heard that the roads are ok, but people won't prefer cycles. Is there any logical reason for it??

Thanks in Advance,

Abhishek

 

I am not sure if there is any

I am not sure if there is any place to hire mountain bikes or cycles...  I have no idea on road on this stretch...

sir, we will go to gangtok on

sir, we will go to gangtok on 18/9/2014. we basically want ice on nathula pass.. is it possible on that time? can we get hotels in very low tariff such as 500/- per day(per room for two or three members). our budget is maximum 3500/- per person. we want to stay to gangtok in 2 days. is it possible in that price? please give me a travel plan also a side seeing plan.. Thank You Sir. please Help

Hi Sujit, Chances to see snow

Hi Sujit,

Chances to see snow is rare in the month of september...you can see snow on higher peaks.. 500 will be tight budget for Gangtok for 3 however possible but you need to search a lot.. there are some cheap and nasty options...

3500 per person for 2 days is decent budget... about sightseeing, you can see many comments with Day wise plan...that would help..

=== Vishnu Kumar

Hi Vishnu, Felt good to read

Hi Vishnu,

Felt good to read all your informative replies to varoius queries regarding sikkim tour.

I am coming to Bagdogra with my wife on 2/9/14 to visit gangtok and darjeeling.

My return flight is on 7/9/14. Pls suggest should we cover both places or just gangtok would be good to stay.

pls suggest good places in gangtok to visit and stay.

Rohit

you have around 5 days to

you have around 5 days to spend which is not much for covering entire Sikkim..

I will suggest you to spend 2 nights in Darjeeling and 2 nights in Gangtok (do one day tour to Nathula) and one night in Pelling...

Last night, stay either in Gangtok or Darjeeling so that you return back to Bagdogra on time on 7th September..

==== Vishnu

sir your cell no pls  

sir your cell no pls

 

Hi, Nathula pass is opened on

Hi,
Nathula pass is opened on Friday???
Sikkim tourism website says it's opened from Wednesday to Sunday

Yes, it would be open on

Yes, it would be open on Friday..

Plaing to visit darjeeling

Plaing to visit darjeeling and gangtok between 16 and 17th aug. will reach siluguri by 15th aug 3 pm, from there we will start to gangtok. 16th one day will be enough to roam aroung gangtok?? then will move down to darjeeling. If nothing is special in darjeeling then will stay back gangtok for another half day also. We have return train by sunday night if ticket is confirm else monday morning (18th aug).

Kindly sugges me an intinerary for those two days

Sorry for the late reponse..

Sorry for the late reponse.. your trip would have been over by now... but 3 days are too less...

better stay in Gangtok for all the days and do nathula tour and Gangtok sightseeing.. no need to include Darjeeling..

Dear sir               I m

Dear sir         

     I m geography lect. in 12th standerd college. I want a geographic tour of students in sikkim. I hv own camp. So sir plz tell me camping site near gangtok.

                 Thanks

there is a lot of open space

there is a lot of open space where you can do camping but not sure whether its allowed or not..

Dear Vishnu, We will be

Dear Vishnu,

We will be reaching Gangtok on 28th Sept 2 pm and return back on 1st Oct as we have train in the evening at NJP,please suggest which day we can visit Nathula pass .
We will stay these days in Gangtok only.

Thanks

Sorry.. you can not visit

Sorry.. you can not visit Nathula.. it won't be open on the days (Monday, Tuesday) you are staying in Gangtok.. it opens from Wednesday to Sunday..

=== Vishnu

i am visiting gangtak in 1st

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

Snow will be only at the

Snow will be only at the peaks.. Chances to play with snow are rare..

Dear Sir,   I and my wife are

Dear Sir,

 

I and my wife are planing our Honeymoon at Darjeeling and Gangtok from 23.01.15 to 31.01.15 and I want to Visit the following places

 

Nathula Pass, Gurudongmar Lake, Changu Lake, Yumthang Valley, Namchi (If possible Lachen, Lachung)

 

Can you plese suggest me the possible Itinerary and approx costing from NJP to NJP.

 

If you suggest that the timing of our travel is not proper then please also suggest about the proper timing.

 

Thanks in advance.

 

Regards

 

Pintu

Gurudongmar lake will not be

Gurudongmar lake will not be possible to visit in the month of January.... rest everything will be accessible... you have a week time and that's enough to visit the places your shortlisted...

Costing is very difficult to calculate as it entirely depends on your travel style...

January is going to be very cold and you might see snow-fall on the way to North Sikkim (Lachen, Lachung)... Timing is not bad, just get yourself prepare for Snow and cold weather... rest is going to be awesome..

=== Vishnu

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,

Hi Divya, If you are availing

Hi Divya,

If you are availing sharing taxi between Gangtok and Nathula then its 800 INR per person... it also include the permit charges... can be arranged by any tour agent at MG road.. private vehicle is going to cost 5000-6000 INR only...

800 INR tour include all the destinations like Changu lake, Baba Mandir and Nathula pass..

Nathula pass can easily be visited... all the tour agents at MG road, Gangtok arrange this tour... they arrange vehicles, permits etc...

=== Vishnu

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