Nathula Pass Gangtok | Temperature Permit How to reach
Nathula is an important mountain pass in Sikkim which connects India & China. It is one of the highest mountain passes at an altitude of over 14,000 ft or 4,300 meter.  Nathula Pass is 56 km away from Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim. The road runs on steep Himalayan Mountain & reaches 14,000ft from 5,500ft. Due to the high altitude the temperature remains low throughout the year. Temperature ranges from -20oC to 18oC in various months of the year. The pass connects Sikkim in India with Chumbi Valley in China.  The trade route was used to transfer silk, gold & many other important materials.  Nathula Pass is a major tourist attraction for the tourist visiting Sikkim. You can see a gate at the border with Indian & Chinese soldiers deployed at each side.

Nathula Pass in Gangtok, Sikkim

DSC 3690.1.800 - Nathula Pass (Gangtok)

Nathula Pass – Gangtok

Driving from Gangtok to Nathula Pass will be charming experience for any tourist. On the way you can visit Tsomgo Lake. It is an oval shape mountain lake at an altitude of 12,000ft. The lake created by glacial eater & a prime attraction in Sikkim. Another 5 km drive will take you to Baba Mandir. On a clear day you might Mt.  Chomolhari (Bhutan) from Nathula Pass. You can also find the highest Automated Teller Machine (ATM) of the world. There is also an Indian Army exhibition centre.

Nathula Pass permit & regulations

Only Indian tourists are allowed to visit Nathula Pass. Foreigners or OCI card holders are not allowed. They can visit up to Tsomgo Lake accompanied by a local guide.

To Visit the pass Indian tourists need to produce photo copy Voter Id/ Passport along passport size photographs. Limited no of permits are available for Nathu La & issued one day before the tour. You need to submit your documents well in advance.

Visiting days – Nathu La is open 6 days a week i.e. from Wuesday to Sunday. It remains closed Monday.

Best time to visit Nathula Pass in Gangtok

Just after the monsoon October & November will be the best time to visit Nathula Pass. You can have a clear view of the pass & surrounding hills.  Nathu La remains covered with snow during winter. The temperature may reduce to as low as -20oC. This will be a good to see snow. But there will be chance road block due to heavy snowfall. May & June is the summer season. It is also a good time to visit. But there will be a chance of occasional rain & road blocks. Monsoon is not at all a good time. Sikkim gets a huge amount of rainfall during monsoon. Landslides are very common during this period.

Nathula Weather & Temperature

Winter – December January & February are the coolest months. Temperature ranges from -20oC to 0oC. The pass remains covered with snow during this period. This is a good time if you want to have snow.

Spring – In March & April temperature ranges from -10oC to 10oC. This is the time for various flowers like orchid & rhododendron.

Summer – Summer is not at all hot in Nathula. In May & June temperature ranges from -2oC to 15oC. This is not good time to visit. There will be chances of occasional rainfall & land slide. Due a excess flow of tourist during the summer vacation season you might face the problem of over charging.

Monsoon – July August & September are the monsoon season. The area gets maximum amount of rainfall during this period. There will be an increasing chance of landslide & road blocks during this period.

Autumn – October & November are considered to be the best time to visit Nathula Pass. Just after the moon it provides a clear view of the pass & surrounding hills.

How to reach

By Road

Reaching Nathula Pass by road involves traveling from Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim. The pass is situated approximately 56 kilometers east of Gangtok. The journey by road typically starts from Gangtok, and you can hire a taxi or a shared jeep to cover the distance. The route takes you through picturesque landscapes and winding mountain roads, passing by places like Tsomgo Lake and Baba Harbhajan Singh Mandir. The drive, although challenging due to steep and narrow roads, is breathtakingly beautiful. Travelers must obtain a special permit, as it is a restricted area near the India-China border.

By Rail

Nathula Pass does not have direct rail connectivity due to its high altitude and remote location. The nearest major railway station is New Jalpaiguri (NJP) in Siliguri, West Bengal, which is about 148 kilometers from Gangtok. From NJP, you can take a taxi or a shared vehicle to Gangtok. The journey from NJP to Gangtok by road takes approximately 4-5 hours, offering scenic views of the Teesta River and the surrounding hills. Once in Gangtok, you can proceed to the Pass by road, as described earlier.

By Air

The nearest airport to Nathula Pass is Pakyong Airport, located around 30 kilometers from Gangtok. However, Pakyong Airport has limited flight operations. Alternatively, Bagdogra Airport near Siliguri, West Bengal, is a more commonly used airport and is approximately 125 kilometers from Gangtok. From Bagdogra Airport, you can hire a taxi or take a shared vehicle to Gangtok, which takes about 4-5 hours by road. Once in Gangtok, you need to travel by road to reach the pass, ensuring you have the necessary permits. The drive from Gangtok offers stunning views of the Eastern Himalayas and requires navigating through mountainous terrain.


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