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

Iam planning to visit Nathula

Iam planning to visit Nathula pass and Changu lake on june 13th/14th 2015.

Kindly help me with the following:

1) So kindly provide me a travel agent number so that we can make a prior arrangement for permission without any hazle.

2) I have checked the hotel travel desk and they are charging close to Rs 7000. So is it a fixed price or is there a nominal fare for the travel.

3) Any chance of snow in nathula pass during the time of our visit.

Kindly share the details.

Thanks,

Iam planning to visit Nathula

Iam planning to visit Nathula pass and Changu lake on june 13th/14th 2015.

Kindly help me with the following:

1) So kindly provide me a travel agent number so that we can make a prior arrangement for permission without any hazle.

2) I have checked the hotel travel desk and they are charging close to Rs 7000. So is it a fixed price or is there a nominal fare for the travel.

3) Any chance of snow in nathula pass during the time of our visit.

Kindly share the details.

Thanks,

We friends r planning for

We friends r planning for gangtok trip..
so will there b snow in march?? Tsangu lake nathula pass yamthung and zero point.this mention place we wanna go.
so plzz inform wheather there will b snow or not..
thank u..

Hi.. we r planning to visit

Hi..

we r planning to visit gangtok in march.

so can u Plzz tell wheather we can get snow or not..??

we r planning shangu lake baba mandir zero point and yumthang.will there b snow at that tym.dat is in march 2nd week..

yes there will be snow in

yes there will be snow in march n the places you've mentioned

Hii I m planning to visit

Hii I m planning to visit Gangtok in September 1.how much is the possibility of seeing snow.also want to know the highest possibility of seeing the snowing area

Chances are very less to see

Chances are very less to see snow in September.

Self with wife r reaching

Self with wife r reaching Bagdogra on 25th june afternoon and will return from BGD on  afternoon of 2nd July Is it possible to visit Mansarovar through new route in China via Nathula.Also keen to see tourist spots in and around Gangtok and Darjeeling out of which prominents are Nathula, Changu lake,,Baba Mandir,Tiger hills etc.Also interested in returning from Darjeeling to siliguri by toy/mountain train and then by taxi to reach Airport by 13 hrs on 2nd July.Pl note that we are Sr.Citizens but with good health and will like to have shared taxi or bus wherever possible for Budgetry reasons. Pl advise-

 (1) whether Mansarovar visit is possible and advisable? If not,should I include another night stop at Kalimpong or other place

2) whether shared taxi is possible.if not can Bus be used for long distance say Gangtok -Darjeeling and so on?

 (3) wheter return trip from Darjeeling by Mountain train is possible

What will be suggested itinery for this trip of 7Night/8days

Thanking you.

Pandey

 

dear pandey, visit to

dear pandey,

visit to mansarovar is not possible..shared taxis are available to all major destinations.

return trip from Darjeeling by Mountain train is  not possible

day1:to gangtok

day2:tsongmo lake baba mandir and nathula pass

day3:gangtok ss

day4:gangtok to pelling via namchi

day5:pelling ss

day6:pelling to darjeeling

day7:darjeeling ss

day8:darjeeling to bagdogra.



Hi, I will visit gangtok on

Hi,
I will visit gangtok on june 12. please guide me how to travel as i want to visit both Zero point, and Nathula pass as must also Yangtham and other sight scene .

For Visiting Zero Point, you

For Visiting Zero Point, you need to visit Lachung and Yumthang. Nathula pass is a one day tour from Gangtok. Yumthang, Zero point, North Sikkim is generally 2 nights and 3 days.

Hi! Am planning to visit

Hi! Am planning to visit Gangtok/Darjeeling on May 18, 2015. With the latest earthquake yesterday, will it be safe to travel to these parts? If anyone else was going to travel during this period, are you still planning to go ahead?

no damages in sikkim..you can

no damages in sikkim..you can go ahead with your plan.

I and my friends are planning

I and my friends are planning a trip to sikkim from 8th june, 2015 to 12th june, 2015. We will reach gangtok on 8th afternoon. and we want to cover nathula, lachung -lachen, gurudongmar and kalimpong for paragliding and are also hoping to see some snow. Can you kindly suggest the best way possible to do that? 

8th:to gangtok and

8th:to gangtok and paragliding

9th:to lachen 

10th:gurudongmar and then to lachung

11th:lachung yumthang gangtok

12th:to nathula and evening to njp for return journey(possible if train after 8-9 pm)

Hi! I am planning to visit

Hi!

I am planning to visit Gangtok in 1st week of june 2015. Please tell me weather condition that time . Will we be able to see snow at changu or nathula pass or else any where.

weatrher should be fine

weatrher should be fine then...very less chances of finding snow

I & my family will go to

I & my family will go to Gangtok on 17.05.2015 (Sunday). Stay upto 20.05.2015. we want to visit Changu, Baba Mandir and Nathulapass. Can it possible? Please advise.

nathula pass closed on

nathula pass closed on mondays and tuesdays..

Hello,   I am planning a trip

Hello,

 

I am planning a trip to Sikkim this June end. .

We would be stationed in Sikim for 7 days. We intend to cover 

1. Nathula, Changu Lake and Baba Mandir.

2. Lachen, Gurudongmar

3. lachung, Yumthang (if tiem permits)

I have a few queries

1. I am reaching Bagdogra at ~13:00 Hrs on Friday. Would it be possible to travel to Gangtok the very same day?

2. Would it be possible to get the Inner Line Permits doen on Saturday/Sunday? We wish not to waste 2 days in Gongtok until Monday. Would it be possible to get these permits done well in advance if we courier the required documents to the travel agent?

3. Your comments on travel to the above 3 destinations in June, please.

4. Worst case if we are stuck in Gangtok due to heavy rains, could you please suggest some destination closeby. We prefer hilly regions away from city lights and noise and homestays.

 

Regards,

Adkuv

 

adkuv, you can travel to

adkuv,

you can travel to gangtok on the same day..the roadsa are good and it will hardly be a 3.5hr drive if no traffic jams.

you will need to get the permits well in advance through a govt  registered travel agent in sikkim

for homestays and basic stays you can plan as

day1:to gangtok

day2:to lachen

day3:lachen gurudongmar lachung

day4:lachung-yumthang gangtok

day5:gangtok ss

day6:gangtok nathula pass tsongmo lake and then to dzuluk/lungthung

day7:dzuluk to reshi khola

day8:reshi khola to bagdogra

Hii.we 4 adults r planning

Hii.we 4 adults r planning for 7day/6 nyt  trip to darjeeling, gangtok and peeling/ lachun. M cnfused between peeling and lachung. In lachung we r planning to cover yumthung valley only due to shoratge f days. Plz suggest me to choose between peeling and lachung .  is there any chances f finding snow anywhere? My trip is from 2nd june to 8th jine 2015

yoy may probably find snow in

yoy may probably find snow in and aroudn yumesamdong during that time..i would suggest you to visit pelling rathen then lachung-yumesamdong in june..

Hi, can you please say why

Hi, can you please say why Pelling is prefered during june 1st week? I have planned a trip to Lachung during June 1st week, hence the question.. 

I do not see there is any

I do not see there is any problem visiting Lachung in the month of June.

I am planning to visit

I am planning to visit Gangtok in 1st week of june. Please tell me weather condition that time . Will we be able to see snow at nathula pass and rain will not spoil our tour. Thanks Vansh

vansh, the weather will be

vansh,

the weather will be fine with occassional rains on some evenings...50:50 chances of seeing snow at nathula pass

Hi,   I am planning to visit

Hi,

 

I am planning to visit Sikkim in the month of May (from 23rd to 31st May). What are the chances of seeing snow in Changu lake, nathula pass and zero point.

 

Thanks

Arpita

dear arpita, you may see snow

dear arpita,

you may see snow at that time..today the road beyond changu lake was closed due to excess snow..

I am planning to visit

I am planning to visit Darjeeling-Gangtok in jun2015 first week.  We are 6 adults and 4 children (3 year, 7 year, 8 year, 11 year) - 3 families.   Please suggest if following itinerary will be fine. Kindly suggest changes. Is it a good idea to plan for Zero point and Nathula pass both? Or only one should be planeed? Thanks in advance.

 

Itinerary:

31/5 SUN-DAY 01           NJP RAILWAY STATION – Darjeeling

Start from NJP station at 12PM. Reach Darjeeling and visit Mall and shopping.

1/6 Mon-DAY2           Darjeeling

Early Morning at 0400 AM visit Tiger Hill ,famous for sunrise over Mt. Kanchendzonga, on way back visit Ghoom Monastery, Batasia Loop and back to hotel. After breakfast proceed for visit Mix points, covering The Himalayan  Mountaineering Institute, PNZ Zoological Park (closed on Thursday) Tenzing Rock, Tibetans Refuge Centre (closed on Sunday), Tea Garden (outer view), Rope way, Japanese Temple, Ava Art Gallary & Peace pagoda. Overnight stay at hotel.+

2/6 Tues-DAY3  Darjeeling - Gangtok

After breakfast start at 8AM go to Gangtok followed by half day local tour covering Jhakri Water Falls, Ranka Monastery, Research Institute of Tibetology (Closed on Sunday & govt.Holidays), Do-Drul Chorten, Directorate of Handicrafts & Handloom (Closed on Sunday & Govt. Holidays) & Flower Show. Overnight at Hotel

3/6 Wed-Day4 Gangtok - Lachung

Pick- up from hotel at Gangtok at about 10 a.m. proceed to Lachung (115 Kms / 06 hrs) at an altitude of 8,600 ft. On the way stop and enjoy a few  wonderful  locations like  Tashi  Viewpoint, Kabi Lungstok, Naga Waterfalls, the confluence of Lachen-Chu and Lachung-Chu at Chungthang, Twin Waterfalls and Bhim Nala Waterfalls. You are likely to reach Lachung at late afternoon / in the evening and will check in our hotel.

4/6 Thr-Day5 LACHUNG-YUMTHANG-ZERO POINT -LACHUNG

After breakfast leave for Yumthang (11800 ft / 43 kms / 02 hrs) On the way you may visit the famous hot spring and Zero poent. Yumthang is a large valley surrounded by mountains where the tree line ends. In April / May / June the valley erupts in a riot of colours as Rhododendrons, Primulae and many other Alpine Flowers are in full bloom. Back to Gangtok, see attractions on the way as time permits.

5/6 Fri – Day6 12/5-DAY 03 TSANGU LAKE, BABA MANDIR AND NATHULA PASS

A day excursion to Tsangu Lake (departure at 0900 to 0930 AM hrs ) - situated at a height of 3,780 Mts. with an average  depth of 50 ft,  Baba Mandir and Nathula Pass - The shrine maid in memory of sepoy Harbahajan Singh, Back to Gangtok. Evening free. Over night stay at hotel.

6/6 Sat-DAY 07     DARJELLING – NJP RAILWAY STATION

After breakfast leave Darjeeling and proceed towards – NJP railway station (110 kms / 03 hrs) for your onward journey.

 

the better itinerary would

the better itinerary would be

day1:njp to gangtok

day2:gangtok tsongmo lake baba mandir nathula pass

day3:to lachung

day4:yumthang valley zero point and then to mangan

day5:mangan to darjeeling

day6 darjeeling ss full day

day7:darjeeling to njp drop via mirik lake visit

Hi,I am planning to visit

Hi,I am planning to visit Gangtok,Nathula , Darjeeling from 3rd June to 7th June 2015 with family. please tell me is it right time to visit or there will be chance of rain at that time. Also help me to plan my trip in 4 days so that i can see maximum places in 4 days time.thanks in advanceSandeep Jain

yes you can plan for sikkim

yes you can plan for sikkim trip during that time.very slight chances of rain..

3rd june:to gangtok

4th:tsongmo lake baba mandir nathula 

5th:gangtok ss and then to darjeeling

6th:darjeeling ss

7th:darjeeling to bagdogra/njp

Hi,I am planning to visit

Hi,I am planning to visit Gangtok,Nathula , Darjeeling from 3rd June to 7th June 2015 with family. please tell me is it right time to visit or there will be chance of rain at that time. Also help me to plan my trip in 4 days so that i can see maximum places in 4 days time.thanks in advanceSandeep Jain

Till 15th June, chances are

Till 15th June, chances are less to witness the rain so its good time.  In 4 days, you can visit Darjeeling (2 nights) and 2 nights Gangtok. While in Gangtok, i will suggest you a day tour to Nathula pass.

+- Vishnu

will there be snow in moth of

will there be snow in moth of may at nathula pass. and my kid is 7 years old will school id card work for nathula pass.

there is surplus snow in

there is surplus snow in nathula pass and tsongmo lake as of today.

Hi Vishnu, I am planning to

Hi Vishnu,

I am planning to visit Gangtok in October 2015. My qestion is whether we could witness any amount of snow at Tsongmo Lake & Nathula Pass. 

Also please let me know two full days are enough for gangtok & how much is the cost if we hire a vehicle??

 

Please let me know....Thnaks

Chances are less to see snow

Chances are less to see snow in the month of October.  If lucky, you may see some fresh now but chances are less. Yes, 2 full days are sufficient for Gangtok sightseeing.

I am planning to visit

I am planning to visit nathula early june 20115. what are the chances to get snow then? Please reply

very bleak chances..

very bleak chances..

we were to drive through

we were to drive through Nepal to Mansarovar lake and from there to Kyrgistan and then Russia. After the recent Earthquake the route seems to be doubtful and we are looking for alternate routes. Can we drive through the Nathula pass to get to Mansarovar Lake in Tibet and if so what will we need to work on. We are planning to start end May 2015. Any help will be highly appreciated as we are now in a fix.

non sikkim registration

non sikkim registration plates vehicles are not allowed to go to nathula/changu lake till now..

I am not sure if Route to

I am not sure if Route to Nathula is open for public vehicles. There were talks to keep it open for Mansarovar yatra but not sure if you will allowed to take your vehicle through this route. I will suggest you to check with Chinese Embassy regarding the same.

we want to visit gangtok on 

we want to visit gangtok on  21st october 2015. is there any chances of getting snow at nathula pass or baba mandir that time.

Chances are less to see snow

Chances are less to see snow in October. If you are lucky then you may witness fresh snow at Nathula pass or Baba Mandir.

+- Vishnu

Hi Vishnu: Thanks for

Hi Vishnu: Thanks for wonderful information in the article.

Following is my itinirary starting from May 9th. Hope weather would be fine in this period. Can we see snow?

Pl let me know:

1) Is Itinerary fine? From travel time point of view and doability without much of exertion?? OR shall I drop some from this schedule?

2) How is oxygen levels at nathula pass or any othet higher eleveated locations in the following schedule? Is there any special care to be taken?

THANKS IN ADVANCE !!

9/5-DAY 01           NJP RAILWAY STATION / IXB (BAGDOGRA AIRPORT) - GANGTOK      

Arrival at NJP Railway Station / Bagdogra Airport. Transfer to Gangtok (5500 ft /130 kms / 04 hrs). Over night at Hotel at Gangtok.

10/5-DAY 02 GANGTOK-LACHUNG

Pick- up from hotel at Gangtok at about 10 a.m. proceed to Lachung (115 Kms / 06 hrs) at an altitude of 8,600 ft. On the way stop and enjoy a few  wonderful  locations like  Tashi  Viewpoint, Kabi Lungstok, Naga Waterfalls, the confluence of Lachen-Chu and Lachung-Chu at Chungthang, Twin Waterfalls and Bhim Nala Waterfalls. You are likely to reach Lachung at late afternoon / in the evening and will check in our hotel.

11/5-DAY 03 LACHUNG-YUMTHANG-ZERO POENT -LACHUNG

After breakfast leave for Yumthang (11800 ft / 43 kms / 02 hrs) On the way you may visit the famous hot spring and Zero poent. Yumthang is a large valley surrounded by mountains where the tree line ends. In April / May / June the valley erupts in a riot of colours as Rhododendrons, Primulae and many other Alpine Flowers are in full bloom. In the winter months, Yumthang is somber with snow all around, and the anow clad mountains adding to the ethereal beauty. Return to Lachung for Lunch. After lunch visit Lachung Monastery, Cottage Industry and Waterfalls. Dinner will be served at about 8 p.m.

12/5-DAY 03 LACHUNG-GANGTOK

After breakfast leave for Gangtok. On the way stops between singhik, Mangan and if the weather is clear you may get to see the Khangchendzonga Range. This location offers a   majestic view of Mt. Pandim, Mt. Kabru, Mt. Simvo, Mt. Jopuno, Mt. Khangchendzonga and Mt. Siniolchu on the way. O/n at Gangtok.

13/5-DAY 04     TSANGU LAKE, BABA MANDIR AND NATHULA PASS

A day excursion to Tsangu Lake (departure at 0900 to 0930 AM hrs ) - situated at a height of 3,780 Mts. with an average  depth of 50 ft,  Baba Mandir and Nathula Pass - The shrine maid in memory of sepoy Harbahajan Singh, Back to Gangtok. Evening free. Over night stay at hotel.

14/5-DAY 05     GANGTOK- DARJELLING

After breakfast go for half day local tour covering Jhakri Water Falls, Ranka Monastery, Research Institute of Tibetology (Closed on Sunday & govt.Holidays), Do-Drul Chorten, Directorate of Handicrafts & Handloom (Closed on Sunday & Govt. Holidays) & Flower Show. Afternoon transfer to Darjeeling (7100 ft / 115 kms / 4½ hrs). Check in hotel. Evening free for leisure. Overnight at Hotel.

15/5-DAY 06     DARJEELING

Early Morning at 0400 AM visit Tiger Hill ,famous for sunrise over Mt. Kanchendzonga, on way back visit Ghoom Monastery, Batasia Loop and back to hotel. After breakfast proceed for visit Mix points, covering The Himalayan  Mountaineering Institute, PNZ Zoological Park (closed on Thursday) Tenzing Rock, Tibetans Refuge Centre (closed on Sunday), Tea Garden (outer view), Rope way, Japanese Temple, Ava Art Gallary & Peace pagoda. Overnight stay at hotel.

16/5-DAY 07     DARJELLING – NJP RAILWAY STATION / IXB AIRPORT

After breakfast leave Darjeeling and proceed towards – NJP railway station / Bagdogra Airport (110 kms / 03 hrs) for your onward journey.

 

Sorry. I realized that

Sorry. I realized that nathula is on 13th so its all OK

Hi, You are planning nathula

Hi,

You are planning nathula on 11th May which is monday. Nathula pass will be closed.

I do not see any other problem with the itinerary. very much do-able. Nevertheless i am surprised that you had not included Gurudongmar lake in your itinerary.

Oxygen level at Nathula is low however it is not very concerning because you will be staying at Nathula pass for very short time.

+- Vishnu

Hi Vishnu,Good morning! Me

Hi Vishnu,Good morning! Me and my wife are planning to visit Gangtok in the mid-month of May around 13th May.We are planning for a four or a five days vacation. Can you please suggest some good places to visit.We would like to visit Gurudongmar lake.Will there be snow during that time in Sikkim?Thanks!

Regards,

Rohit

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