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

 

Hi Vishnu, I m planning to

Hi Vishnu,
I m planning to have a short trip to Sikkim from 16 to 19 march 2015. Unfortunately, I do not have passport or driving lice or ration card or voter id.. All I have is pan card + school leaving certificate + birth certificate.
Plz suggest if I can still manage to get a permit to visit at yumthang valley or gurudongmar lake or changu lake

hello... i am visiting

hello... i am visiting gangtok on 28th feb 2015(saturday).. we are a group of 5 people. we would like to visit Nathula pass-Changu lake- baba mandir on 1rst march 2015(sunday).. can u please give us an estimate cost during this period ?? do i have to book a whole car or can we share ?? Thank You in advance

Hi Vishnu, We are planning an

Hi Vishnu,

We are planning an office trip to Gantok on 15th April'15 with family.Our plan is to visit the changu lake-baba mandir-nathula pass on a single day.Please suggest will it be to heavy to plan the visit on a single day as we will be having kids with us.

Hi,  We have planned an

Hi,

 We have planned an office trip wtih almost 60 heads with family to Gantok on 15th April'15.Our plan is to visit the changu lake-baba mandir-nathula pass on a single day.We wiil be having kids with us.What do you suggest on this plan? Will it be too heavy on a single day? Please sugest.

hi vishnu,

hi vishnu,
me & my wife coming to Gangtok on 19 April.we will. stay there till 24 th April. Would u pls plan a tour programme for us? also provide some descent hotel info (range btwn 500- 600)to stay there.
pls give me idea about the expenditure for the whole tour also.

It is difficult to estimate

It is difficult to estimate the tour cost. it depends on the travel style. for 5 days in April, you can visit Gangtok, Pelling and Nathula pass.

Hi.. I am planning a trip

Hi.. I am planning a trip with college friends. 20 30 of us in mid June . is it safe to travel and what our the weather conditions ? Thank you ! 

Yes. June is perfect time to

Yes. June is perfect time to visit Sikkim. Try to visit pre monsoon before mid-june. Everything will be excellent.

+- Vishnu

Hi gonna travel with friends

Hi gonna travel with friends on the 21st feb' 15 from patna bihar. I would like to know that will i be allowed to travel to nathu la pass in my own car if the weather allows. Thanx in advance.

Vinay

 

Nope. Outside Sikkim vehicles

Nope. Outside Sikkim vehicles are not allowed towards Nathula pass.

+- Vishnu

Sir I want to visit Sikkim

Sir I want to visit Sikkim from 11.03.2015 Is it possible to visit Gurudangmar and Yumthang in middle of March with my two daughter whose age are 6+ and 5+.

I highly doubt Gurudongmar

I highly doubt Gurudongmar lake will be accessible by mid-march. you should at least wait till April first week. I do not think any problem with going kids older than 5 years however you must take altitude into consideration.

+- Vishnu

Hi Vishnu, We are planning

Hi Vishnu,

We are planning trip to Sikkim from 28th March 2015 to 4 April 2015. We are four adults, one kid of 8 years and one kid of 6 months. The itinerary is as under:

28.03.2015 - Arrival at Gantok

29.03.2015 - Visit to Nathula and back on same day.

30.03.2015 - Local Gangtok and nearby places

31.03.2015 and 01.04.2015 - Visit to Yumthung Valley and Zero Point (back to Gangtok)

02.04.2015 - Proceed to Darjeling

03.04.2015 - At Darjeling and nearby places

04.04.2015 - Back to Bagdogara to cath plane.

Please suggest any modification required.

Our major concern is 6 month kid. Is it OK to travel to Lumthung Valley and Nathula with the 6 month kid.

Thanks in advance.

Hi Amit, Your itinerary seems

Hi Amit,

Your itinerary seems do-able to me.  6 month old is too little for Yumthang, Zero point and Nathula pass. These are really high altitude sites. rest everything is fine.

+- Vishnu Kumar

Helllo Vishnu...we are

Helllo Vishnu...we are planning to visit northeast sikkim in the coming may month.kids are also accompanying us.thot of visiting gangtok..darjelling. .lqchung...nathula pass etc...suggest the correct trip plan for 7-10 days n places where our kids n njoy playing in the snow?

7-10 days be easily spend in

7-10 days be easily spend in Sikkim and Darjeeling. I will recommend 2 nights in Darjeeling, 2 nights in Gangtok. 3-4 nights in North sikkim and remaining in West Sikkim (Pelling).

For Snow, Nathula, Zero point and Gurudongmar lake would be your best bet.

+- Vishnu

Hi  Vishnu,   I have already

Hi  Vishnu,

 

I have already booked ticket from Delhi to Bagdogra on 26th Mar 2015 and return 30th Mar 2015. would you please tell me where to go for enjoying snow and senic beauty nature. I am prefering to go inGangto, darjeeling, Nathula pass, changu lake.

Can you help me plan this trip.

Thanks in advance.

Regards

 

Ajay

You will definitely see near

You will definitely see near and around Nathula pass. rest everywhere, it would be dry.

+- Vishnu

Hi Vishnu,   I have booked

Hi Vishnu,

 

I have booked tickets for gangtok and darjeeling tour from 26th March 2015 to 30th March. I am travelling with my wife and 2 kids.

I have not prepared any itenary. Can you help me plan this trip?

Delhi flight reaches around 12.30 noon on 26th march and 30th flight is also around noon 1 PM

 

Ajay

 

I think you can spend 2 days

I think you can spend 2 days in Darjeeling. 2-3 days in Gangtok and plan to do Nathula pass, Changu lake, Baba Mandir as day tour from Gangtok.

+- Vishnu

Are there any shared taxis?

Are there any shared taxis? how much it would cost for single person in shared taxi?

Yes. There are shared taxis

Yes. There are shared taxis to Nathula. It is arranged by tour agent only. I guess it should be 800-1000 for the whole day tour.

Hi Vishnu, I am going to

Hi Vishnu,

I am going to Gantok at 19th February 2015 in that time tsmogo lake & Nathula pass are comfortable to go & how much temparature in that time in there?, please reply...........

Visiting Nathula will depend

Visiting Nathula will depend on snow-condition. Road gets blocked very often in Jan-Febb. Temperature will be quite low at Nathula pass.

+- Vishnu

I am also planning. To go in

I am also planning. To go in mid March Do share ur experience 

Hey, Are Indians with

Hey,

Are Indians with International passports allowed to go to Nathula Pass and Changu Lake? 
For NathuLa, if not till the top, are they allowed to go to a certain point from where we can enjoy the view of the Himalayas?

Or, can we get any special passes? 

Nope. You need to have an ID

Nope. You need to have an ID which can prove that you are indian national. You can however go till Changu lake i guess. No idea about special passes.

+- Vishnu

Dear

Dear Vishnu,

                   We are planning to visit northeast from ahmedabad during May, please suggest itenerary and also any 3 star or 4 star hotels to stay. We panning to stay for 10 to 11 days.We would like to visit gangtok,pelling kaziranga,nathula pass,changu lake,yamgthang, etc.etc. Kindly reply. Thanks.

10-11 days are good time but

10-11 days are good time but Kaziranga would be little far from Sikkim. You should spend a week in Sikkim visiting Gangtok, Pelling, North Sikkim and then head to Assam for Kaziranga National Park.

+- Vishnu

What places in Sikkim, me and

What places in Sikkim, me and my little one will be able to play in SNOW in the month of MAY?

I think Nathula and Yumthang

I think Nathula and Yumthang would be places to see snow in May. You can also find snow around Gurudongmar lake.

Hi  Bishnu,   I have already

Hi  Bishnu,

 

I have already booked ticket from kolkata to NJP on 24 th Jan and return 29th Jan. would you please tell me where to go for enjoying snow and senic beauty nature. I am prefering to go in sikkim, Nathula pass, changu lake and yum thang. Please reply me.  I am looking forward your response. Thanks in advance.

 

Arup Saha

I think there will be lots of

I think there will be lots of snow in and around Nathula pass. if lucky you might even see snow in Gangtok.

+- Vishnu

Hello we 3 of us have planned

Hello we 3 of us have planned a trip to sikkim for sikkim on 11 april 2015.how we must plan the itenary for a 3 day tour including the gangtok and nathula pass.2 among us are above 18 but doesnot possess passport or driving liscence or voting id, 1 has a PAN card and other has an adhar card.the 3rd among us doesnt possess any of this since he is 16y old.what documents are required in this case of us.and what will be the temperature of nathula when we visit, will we be able to exprince snow

i think the ID card from

i think the ID card from school will work for the third one. but PAN card would not work in your case. They need a document which can prove that you are Indian national. Yes, you might see snow around Nathula pass in April.

Dera Vishnu,     Could you

Dera Vishnu,

 

 

Could you let me know that  i AM A DOCTOR WORKING IN mINISTRY OF DEFENCE. iS THERE AN EXEMPTION FOR DEFENCE PERSSONELS VISITIG NATHULA, DO i NEED A PERMIT?

i AM REACHING ON 10 fEB.wILL NATHULA WILL BE POSSIBLE?

I do not have any idea on the

I do not have any idea on the same. I am not sure if Defence personal are exempted from the permits.

Accessibility to Nathula pass will depende on snow-condition in the month of Feb. sometimes its open and sometimes not.

+- Vishnu

Hi,   I am planning to go to

Hi,

 

I am planning to go to gangtok on 15 Jan 2015, is it possible to go nathula pass, chango lake, and baba mandir on 16 jan 2015.

can i get the pass for nathula pass for that day.

Changu lake should be

Changu lake should be possible i guess. I am not sure about Nathula pass. Yes, You can get the pass. if there is lot of snow then you might not be able to reach Nathula pass.

Regards
Vishnu Kumar

Me and my friends are

Me and my friends are planning for nathula on 25th jan 2015 permit will available on this day.

 

Awaiting fro your reply

Yes, permits will be

Yes, permits will be available but its subjected to snow situation.

Hi,vishnu..how is it to plan

Hi,vishnu..how is it to plan sikkim in march end.i'm with 16yr old daughter.Name gud tourism that could cover gud areas of sikkim,with lakes and china border.i can devote 10days to sikkim tour..i need a planned itinery to cover,north ,east and south sikkim.

Hi Rina, March end is good

Hi Rina,

March end is good time to visit Sikkim. you can easily consume 10 days visiting Sikkim. There is a lot to see. I have dropped you an email with information you requested.

Regards
Vishnu Kumar

We will be heading towards

We will be heading towards sikkim on 26th of january 2015 and will be there till 30th january 2015 so in this mean time what all places should we definitely visit in sikkim..... mostly we are planning for gangtok,zero point and pelling and kanchanjunga valley is it possible to cover all this places...?

Hi Vishnu,   We are arriving

Hi Vishnu,

 

We are arriving in Gangtok on 7 Mar'15 (morning) and will be leaving on 13th (morning). Will it be possible to cover Nathu La, Tsomog Lake, North Sikkim (Zero point, yumthang), Pelling and  Gurudongmar lake during this time?

If not (either due to accessibility or limited time), what would you recommend as must visit?

 

Thanks for your help.

 

Gurudongmar lake will not be

Gurudongmar lake will not be possible. You can reach Yumthang. Zero point will depend on snow-situation. Nathula and Changu lake should be accessible.

+- Vishnu

Thanks for you prompt reply.

Thanks for you prompt reply. Here is rough draft of our itinerary - how does this look?

 

7th Sat: arrival in gangtok and local sightseeing

8th sun: rest in city (have kept a day to relax/acclimatise - please advise if it better to have a rest day later during the below itinerary)

9th: Tsomogo and Nathu La

10th: move to West Sikkim (overnight in Pelling)

11th: ??? other places to visit in West Sikkim (Rabong, Yuksom?) and night stay (?) - not sure

12th: move to North Sikkim (not sure where to stay)

13th: visit zero point + yumthang

14th: leave (can we reach siliguri directly from north sikkim or a night stop is a must in gangtok?)

 

Thanks a ton!

 

Hi Aman, On 11th, you can

Hi Aman,

On 11th, you can visit Yuksom and stay overnight at Pelling. Here is more information about various tourist destinations in West Sikkim.

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

 

In North Sikkim, one night you can stay in Lachen and another night in Lachung.

In you start very early in the morning from North Sikkim then you can reach Siliguri by night.

let me know if you have more queries.

+- Vishnu

Hi Vishnu, Would visit

Hi Vishnu,

Would visit Gangtok from 23rd Jan - 26th Jan 2015. Since Nathula Paas wud nt be possible do we still have to take permit for changu lake? Also if u could suggest any other snow point near gangtok...during that period.

Changu lake is the best

Changu lake is the best snow-point for the month of January.

+- Vishnu

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