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

 

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? 

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.

Dear Vishnu,                 

Dear Vishnu,

                 We are planning to visit north east for 10 to 11 days during May, kindly suggest itenerary and also any 3 stat or 4 star hotels/lodges to stay. We would like to visit gangtok, nathula pass, yamtang,pelling,kaziranga,etc, etc. Your early reply shall be highly solicited. Thanks.

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?

Hello

Hello everybody,

                         If anybody or any group want to plan a tour...you can plant and book everything sitting in kolkata. Car, Fooding, Lodging everything will be ready there at your doorstep...Plz contact if you are planning to go there.. Train & Flight tickets are alse done from here.

Thanks & Regards,

Tamal Paul

Mobile: +91-9477457663

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

Hello. I am planning to

Hello.

I am planning to gantok on10th jan 2015.

it is the time to visit nathula pass, changu lake, yamtham valley .

 

Changu lake will be possible.

Changu lake will be possible. Nathula pass and Yumthang will depend on accessibilty and snow-condition.

+- Vishnu

Hello......as we r plannig to

Hello......as we r plannig to visit gangtok by mid of March......can u suggest how many days will it take to visit gangtok along with Nathula & Long chaung

North Sikkim, Nathula and

North Sikkim, Nathula and Gangtok will take 6 days.

+- Vishnu

We are planning to visit

We are planning to visit gangtok on mid of april 2015.  I would like to know that all points will be accessible  at that time or not. Where can I get snow?

Snow can be seen near Nathula

Snow can be seen near Nathula pass and Zero point in April. I think you can also reach Gurudongmar lake in April so you can see around that.

By April-mid, most of the tourist spots will be accessible.

+- Vishnu

Hi Vishnu, we are planning to

Hi Vishnu, we are planning to visit gangtok in 2nd week of January. We will arrive gangtok after visiting Darjeeling on 7th January early morning. We have two days in gangtok. Could you please suggest were all to go and how to plan my trip. I am interested in visiting nathula and changu lake. Is it possible to visit these places in such weather?

Changu lake will be possible

Changu lake will be possible but i am not sure about Nathula pass. Road gets blocked often due to snow.

+- Vishnu

Hi Vishnu, We are planning a

Hi Vishnu,

We are planning a trip to Old Silk Route in last week of March. The itinerary I would like is NJP-Pedong-Gnathang-Gangtok-NJP. What are the chances that I won't be able to reach Gangtok from Gnathang due to road blockage? One travel agebt is saying end-March the roads are clear, another is hustling me to a different destination saying road may well be blocked. Wondering and hence thought I'll check with experts.

Chances are half-half. If

Chances are half-half. If snow season extended late like last year then cances will be low. else you may find the route open by mid-march. To be on the safer side, consider extending your trip by 2 weeks.

+- Vishnu

hi vishnu, may i planed to go

hi vishnu,

may i planed to go gangtok and palling dated at 20th Feb 2015 me and my wife. My planing detailsh given below:-

21st feb 2015-reach in palling

22 nd feb- stay in palling

23rd feb - stay in palling

24th feb - stay in palling.

25th feb- come down in gangtok and stay.

26th feb-stay in gantok.

27th return back from gangtok to kolkata.

can you please suggested to me can i see all the buithful place in this time like nathula pass and other places. May requested to you please suggested give a tour program for sight seen.

 

regards

subhasish

Hi Subhasish, I don't see any

Hi Subhasish,

I don't see any problem with your itinerary. Pelling and Gangtok are very much do-able the way you mentioned.

+- Vishnu

Hi we,6 friends are planing

Hi we,6 friends are planing to visit nathula and yumthang valley on 4-7th january 2015. Can we get the pass for visit the places? And what should be the temp?

Permits for Nathula pass are

Permits for Nathula pass are issued through out the year. However there are chances to find road blocked due to excessive snow. January will be very cold. Temperature will definitely drop below zero at and around Nathuls pass.

+- Vishnu

Hi Vishnu,   I am planning

Hi Vishnu,

 

I am planning Gangtok (Sikkim) on 10th Feb till 13th Feb 2015, how about Changu lake and other sight seeing in mid Feb 2015.

Changu lake should be

Changu lake should be possible but reaching Nathula will depend on snow condition. Chances are 50-50 in the month of February.

Dear We are planing tour in

Dear

We are planing tour in jan -23 to 26 can we are. Visit chanju lake nathula pass.

Chances are 50-50 for Nathula

Chances are 50-50 for Nathula Pass. Generally road is open and sometimes it is blocked due to Snow-fall. Changu lake is however remains accessible more or less.

+- Vishnu

Hi Vishnu,   I have booked 7

Hi Vishnu,

 

I have booked 7 nights tour for Sikkim from 21st March 2015 to 28th March. I am travelling with my wife and 4 year old daughter.

I have booking in Gangtok - 4 nights and in baiguney 3 nights. I have prepared below itenary. Does it look doable or not?

 

21 arrive @ gangtok ..rest day
22 tsomgo lake, nathula,Gnathang Valley/zuluk
23 gangtok local site seeing, tashi pt
24 Gnathang Valley/ North Sikkim
25 arrive @ Baiguney ..rest day
26 Darjeeling
27 Kanchenjunga Mountain/ Pelling

 

Only Nathula pass would be

Only Nathula pass would be possible on 22nd.

North Sikkim can not be done in single day that is 24th.

again Pelling is not suggested as a one day trip.

+- Vishnu

Hi Vishnu,   I'm going to

Hi Vishnu,

 

I'm going to gangtok on 22nd December with my family including 3 yrs daughter. I'm planning to visit changu lake and nathula..Is it the correct time to visit with my daughter. Specially I'm thinking on her health perspective. Your suggestion is required on this.

 

Regards,

Rwitik 

December is very cold. Visit

December is very cold. Visit to Nathula will depend a lot on snow-condition on the road. You need to consider cold and altitude part. Rest is OK. Many families visit Nathula every day.

+- Vishnu

We recently made a trip to

We recently made a trip to Darjeeling, Gangtok & then Nathula Pass from here on 27th Nov 2014.
Most of us in a group of six are Sr. Citizens but were able to go right upto the top after climbing the steps. Climbing was done very slowly but was not difficult. It had become a bit cold at minus 4 Deg C after little bit of snowfall a day earlier. One has to be prepared with the woollens especially for the feet and the head besides other normal wear.There is an excellent Cafe maintained by Army personnel which can be used for taking a break while climbing up or coming down.

Unfortunately, photography is no longer permitted at Nathula Pass.
Photos can be taken at Baba Temple or at Changu Lake.

Good to hear back from you. I

Good to hear back from you. I admire your dedication and inner strength for withstanding harsh climating conditions at Nathula pass.

+-Vishnu

hi vishnu, we are from kanpur

hi vishnu,

we are from kanpur planning to tour gangtok in the month of january . we are making the tour for almost about 8 to 9 days , from 8 jan 15 to 18 jan 15.

please tell us how can we organise our tour , whether it is possible for us to travell lachung and changu lake and please also let us know what are the other places around that we can travel.

Changu lake will be possible

Changu lake will be possible and i think you can also reach Lachung and Yumthang. However Reaching Gurudongmar lake will not be possible.

As far as itinerary goes, you can browse many in the website for the duratoin of 8-9 days.

+- Vishnu

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