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 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?

 

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.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

  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

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

i am visiting gangtak in 1st

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

Chances are very less to find

Chances are very less to find snow in the first week of October...

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.

 

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