West Sikkim is a destination with rich historical heritage and sacred landscape. The Khangchendzonga National Park lies in this area and it is regarded as one of the most important hotspot of biodiversity in India.
The West Sikkim spans varying ecological zones from temperate to alpine and the visitor will be stunned by diverse altitude variation in landscape, flora and fauna offering a range of tourism activities which include trekking,mountaineering,paragliding,villagetourism, birdswatching,pilgrimage tours and local sightseeing.
Around 10 kms from Gyalshing (District Headquarter),Pelling is today emerging as the second biggest tourist destination in the state after Gangtok. Although in itself it is little more than a strip of road lined with hotels, its main USP is the breathtaking view it offers of the Khangchendzongaandsurrounding ranges, as well as the easy access it provides to tourist spots in the area.
33 kms from Pelling, Yuksom, literally meaning the ‘meeting place of three lamas’ is of great historical importance to the Sikkimese. It was here that the first Chogyal was crowned in 1642. The throne made of stones is even today considered sacred as is the footprint of Lhatsun Chenpo, which can be seen close to the throne. 2 km uphill from Yuksum is Dubdi monastery, the oldest in Sikkim. The monastery has now been declared a National Monument and is under the protection of the Archaeological Survey of India Yuksum today is an attractive tourist destination offering various stay options for the visitors including village home stays, where you can stay as part of a local family and imbibe the real Sikkimese way of life. Also available is a trekkers hut plus many lodges.Yuksom is also the gateway to the Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve, the base for some of the most fascinating treks through high mountain region with the route to Dzongri being the most frequented.
A four hour drive from Pelling in west Sikkim takes you to the picturesque village of Soreng. Surrounded by lush green hills, Soreng is located amidst scenic splendour. The area is famous for the wide variety of flowers and birds available here. A trip to Jhandi Danra is highly recommended for nature lovers.
Near Hilley, in West Sikkim is the Varsey Rhododendron Sanctuary. Sandwiched between the Singalila National Park in the south and Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve in the north, this small 104-sq-km sanctuary is at an altitude of 10,000 ft and supports a wide variety of bio-diversity. But the main attractions of the sanctuary are the rhododendrons which bloom in April-May coloring the Sanctuary in wild abandon. Hilley is the last motorable point before Varsey. A four-km walk through beautiful pine forests takes you to the Sanctuary. You can stay at the Gurash Kunj Lodge here.
Journey to Hee Bermiok takes about four and a half hours from Gangtok. One can also reach here from Pelling, the journey taking one and a half hours. The main attractions are mountain biking, nature walk, visit to villages, Sirijonga Yuma Mangheem, Sirijonga Holy Cave at Martam etc. The adventure lovers can enjoy two and a half hour trek to Varsey. Apart from having an annual tourist festival, village home stay facilities are available. These are being further developed and upgraded with the help of INTACH, New Delhi.
Situated in the west district of Sikkim, you can reach Uttarey from Pelling, Gezing or Dentum. On your way you will pass Singsor bridge, said to be the second highest bridge in Asia. The height of Uttarey is about 6600ft. Uttarey is famous for its tranquility and natural beauty. The place provides beautiful view to the Himalayan mountains and is yet relatively less traveled by tourists. This allows a more serene atmosphere to be enjoyed. During winter the mountains around here are covered with snow allowing heavenly views. The Kagju Gumpha (Gumpha is the local for monastery) in Uttarey is a highly revered place of worship for the locals and a good place for sight seeing. The monastery is set amidst dense forests. The wall paintings in the monastery might be of interest to you. The Dentam peak and the river is also visible from the monastery. Other important tourist spots around Uttare include the Mainbus Waterfall and the Chewyabhang Pass. This pass is about 10 km of Uttarey and is the gateway to Nepal.
Tashiding is a small village on a hilltop near Pelling. The Tashiding monastery belongs to the Nyingmapa order and is highly revered among the people of Sikkim. Build on the top of the hill and looming over the Rathong and Rangit river, the monastery can be seen from far and wide. It is believed that even a slight glimpse of the monastery can cleanse mortals of all sins. The monastery was built during the 17th Century. There are a large number of oranges orchards and cardamoms plantations around Tashiding which can be visited from here.
Situated at an altitude of 3,700 feet, Sombaria, a small village is full of vegetation of temperate type and is located remotely in the extreme Western Sikkim. Sombaria is close to the Indo-Nepal border and border region of Darjeeling Hills. At a distance of 115 km away from Siliguri and 112 km from the capital city of Sikkim, Gangtok, it is an ideal place for Bird Watching.
The headquarters of the West district, Gyalshing, which means the King’s Garden, is believed to have once been the royal gardens attached to the Palace at Rabdentse, Sikkim’s capital till the late 18th century. Today it is a bustling town and the main transit point to various tourist destinations of the region. Close by is Rabdentse as well as Pemayangste, Sikkim’s premier monastery. Opposite Gyalshing bazaar is the longest and believed to be the holiest, Mendang or Holy Wall, constructed by the third king, Chogyal Chador Namgyal. About 10kms away from Pelling or a town before one arrives to Pelling is Gyalshing also known as Gyalshing Bazar, one of the oldest market established approximately about 100 years ago. This establishment was said to have been done under the initiative of the monk body of Pemayangtyse monastery for the shopping comfort of the monks and public residing in the villages around Pemayangtse. Ever since Gyalshing market was established and first few shops were opened monks could do their monastic shopping and villagers could sell their village products like crops, dairy products, vegetables in the market and buy clothing and other house hold needs. Such trends sustains till today and as usual villagers gather every Sunday to do shopping or sell their products in Gyalshing Bazar. Today the market is well equipped with shops of all kind, multipurpose community hall, library, post office, banks, police stations, eating places, lodges, internet centers, taxi terminus and foot ball ground. There is worshipping places for the people of all faith ‘Manilhagang’ where the meditation session for mostly the Buddhist women organized every year during the holy occasion called Saga Dawa that falls in the month of June and Devithan for the Hindus, church and Masjid.
The upcoming tourist spot in the western part of Sikkim, has a magnificent command over the mountain views, sunrise and sunset, flora and fauna, village tourism ,historical sites and heritage of Resum Monastery, rich forests and ample area for short treks. At an altitude of about 5576ft, Rinchenpong is the latest addition to the tourist map of West Sikkim. The place is famous for the beautiful view of the Kanchenjunga range of mountains. Apart from the natural beauty of the surroundings, the place is also quite significant from historical point of view.
Dentam is a scenic village located 10 km from Varsey in West Sikkim District. It lies at an elevation of around 1,500 m. Dentam commands a constant view of the Kanchenjunga. The entire area is surrounded by forest of rhododendrons. Pemayangtse Monastery (10 km), Ravangla (69 km) and Hilley are nearby interesting destinations to visit. The village is an ideal spot for bird watchers and nature lovers. Trekking and mountaineering are arranged here. Accommodation is available at Pelling and Pemayangtse.