Pelling Sikkim – A peaceful town at the foothills of the Kanchenjunga

Mt Kanchenjunga from Pelling Sikkim

You would not believe me if I say that, there exists a town in India, where it does not matter which hotel/lodge you stay in, just open a window and you will be blessed with astonishing views of snow-capped Mount Kanchenjunga and other Himalayan peaks. I am talking about Pelling Sikkim – A nature’s paradise.

on route to Pelling Sikkim

On way to Pelling Sikkim

The name Pelling is quite unheard of and may sound foreign, but it is right there in Sikkim state of our country India. It is situated at an altitude of 2,150 m (7,200 feet) and offers a breathtaking view of Mt. Kanchenjunga (3rd highest peak on planet Earth).

Himalayan range from Pelling Sikkim

Mt Kanchenjunga from Pelling Sikkim

Pelling is as close as you can get to Mt. Kanchenjunga without leaving the comfort of hotels. From almost all hotel rooms, you can witness outstanding view of Himalayan range. What adds more to the delight is the sunrise and sunset, which gives a shining orange color to the snow-capped mountains. Also, the greenery you find here is beautiful and the landscapes are just unbelievable.

on route pemayangtse monastery Pelling Sikkim

 How to reach Pelling

The cheapest and most preferred way to reach Pelling is via railways and shared taxis. The nearest railhead is New Jalpaiguri (NJP) which is nearly 137 kms from Pelling. NJP is well connected to major Indian cities (New Delhi, Guwahati, Kolkata etc.) via railways. For train bookings, visit IRCTC.

Shared jeeps to Pelling are not directly available from the NJP station but they are available from SNT (Sikkim National Transport) stand at Siliguri. SNT stand is 9.3 kms from NJP station and can be reached by a shared auto. From Siliguri, it takes around 6-7 hours to reach Pelling. SNT buses are also available, but owing to a higher elevation, Pelling is better visited in shared jeeps.

Note: For those traveling to Pelling from Gangtok (like I did), shared taxis are available (INR 300) from West Sikkim taxi jeep stand near the Gangtok police headquarters. Pelling is 112 kms from Gangtok and it takes around 5 hours to reach.

how to reach Pelling Sikkim

Getting around Pelling Sikkim

Pelling town is divided into three parts – Upper Pelling, Middle Pelling and Lower Pelling. Upper Pelling has most no’s of hotels among the three, so you can find most of the other backpackers and tourist roaming around. Also, the views from Upper Pelling are the best due to its location. Middle and Lower Pelling consist of the local brewery shops and marketplace. You can simply walk to places of interest, as Pelling is a small town.

Thick forest cover Pelling Sikkim

Dense forest Pelling Sikkim

Visiting Pelling was one of the best decisions on my entire journey to North East India. The route from Gangtok to Pelling was quite agonizing, but it is all worth it in the end.

Pelling is such a peaceful town that you can even hear the baby birds chirping. What adds to the beauty of this town is the splendid view of the mighty Kanchenjunga. But you need to be really lucky for that as the weather at Pelling is quite unpredictable.

Mt Kanchenjunga view from Pelling Sikkim

Mt Kanchenjunga as seen from Pelling Sikkim

Compared to other touristy places of Sikkim, Pelling is still not so crowded. This leaves some space for you to spend some calm and soothing days. Just you, a cup of tea and the breathtaking surroundings!!

Landscape view Pelling Sikkim

Landscape view from Pelling Sikkim

I had heard a lot on the view of the Himalayan range from Pelling. But to believe, I needed to experience it. It was around 5:10 AM, as I opened the window of my guest house room, and what I saw couldn’t be described in words. Kanchenjunga, Koktang, Kumbhakaran, Pandim, Siniolchu, Rathong, and other mountains ranges were all shining orange.

view from ladhakh guest house Pelling Sikkim

View from my guest house room at Pelling Sikkim

Farming is the major source of income for the residence of Pelling. The tribes that dominate in this small town are Limbu and Lepcha. Along with Yuksom, Pelling also forms a base for trekkers who are heading for the famous Goechala trek (Base camp of Mt. Kanchenjunga).

view from Pelling Sikkim

Breathtaking view from Pelling Sikkim

Must see places in Pelling

  1. Pemayangtse Monastery

It is one of the oldest and most famous monasteries in West Sikkim. Less than a kilometer walk from Pelling, the 3 – storied building of the monastery has a great collection of sculptures and wall paintings. The two-sided scenic backdrop of Snow Mountains adds to the beauty of the monastery.

Pemayangtse monastery Pelling Sikkim

Pemayangtse Monastery Pelling Sikkim

  1. Sangachoeling Monastery

Located exactly opposite side of Pemayangtse Monastery, Sangachoeling Monastery can be accessed by walking the steep hilly slope of 4 Kms through the forest. It is considered as the second oldest monastery of Sikkim.

Sanga Choeling Monastery Pelling Sikkim

Sangachoeling Monastery Pelling Sikkim

  1. Kanchenjunga Waterfalls

It is about 30 kms from the Pelling town on the way to Yuksom. The path to the falls is difficult, but you can enjoy the drizzle from a distance. My advice would be to visit the waterfall only if you are going to Yuksom; it’s just another waterfall in Sikkim.

Sadly, I couldn’t visit the famous Khecheopalri Lake as there was no public transport available.

Kanchenjunga waterfall Pelling Sikkim

Kanchenjunga Waterfall Pelling Sikkim

Best time to visit Pelling 

The weather at Pelling is quite unpredictable in nature, which is almost true for the entire state of Sikkim. For a moment, it may be shining bright and sunny, and the other moment it might turn gloomy and clouded.

People trying to avoid the excessive heat of the plains can visit Pelling from April to May. During the monsoon season, there are frequent landslides due to hilly terrain; hence June to September isn’t the best time to plan your travel. If you want to experience snowfall, December to February is the best time.

My take on this would be to visit from October to November as the weather is clear and visibility is far better than other months, hence you can enjoy some spectacular views of Mt Kanchenjunga and other Himalayan peaks.

must see places Pelling Sikkim

 

Where to Stay in Pelling

After Gangtok, Pelling has become the second most important tourist destination in Sikkim. Because of this many hotels and lodges have come up of late. Upper Pelling has most no’s of hotels and lodges as it offers the best view of Mt Kanchenjunga. Standard hotel rates at Upper Pelling vary between 500 – 2000 INR.

I stayed at Ladakh Guest House (opposite to Police station) which is run by a family. Charges are 300 INR/night for a complete room which can accommodate 2 people. The guest house is very clean and also has a nice library. The family is super friendly and I loved every bit of my stay over there.

150 walnuts 100 INR Pelling Sikkim

100 INR for 150 walnuts – Ha Ha so cheap

Cash Alert

Carry enough cash as there is only one Bank and ATM (State Bank of India) in Pelling which might be either cashless or out of service. Also, it does not exchange foreign currency or traveler’s cheques.

Food options at Pelling 

Due to increase in tourism at Pelling, many restaurants, and fast-food corners have come up of late. You can find almost all variety of food here. Sikkim Tourist Centre, Norbugang, Melting Point are the popular hotels to dine. I would suggest you definitely try the traditional Momos and Thukpa, which are available on most roadside stalls.

Cute kid at Pelling Sikkim

Cute kid at Pelling Sikkim

On your trip to Pelling, you can explore the nearby Darjeeling, Gangtok and Zero Point as well. You can check out my earlier posts on these places.

After spending two peaceful days at Pelling, it was time to pack my bags and head for Yuksom. I didn’t want leave but time didn’t allow a longer stay!!! Pelling has undoubtedly earned a special place in my heart.

Onacheaptrip at Pelling Sikkim

Are you looking for some essential travel gear? Check out my blog post on What’s in my Backpack.

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15 thoughts on “Pelling Sikkim – A peaceful town at the foothills of the Kanchenjunga

  1. Ladakh Guest House where you spent Rs.300 a night, now costs Rs.4,500 a night. Not sure if you are responsible for this. LOL! Could you please suggest other cheap hotels for backpackers in upper Pelling? Thanks!

      1. Abhishek, thanks for your prompt response! I tried again with more specific keywords, I googled “Ladakh guest house, pelling, opposite police station” and these are the cheapest rates I found. Screenshot >> https://prnt.sc/l8zaj4 Maybe there are multiple properties called Ladakh Guest House, and the one you stayed in is so modest that it’s probably not even listed online. But no problem, I will seek it out in person when I am there. Thanks once again for an awesome travelogue (y)

        1. The one I am talking about is just next to the police station and it was just mentioned in Wikitravel and not listed anywhere on the internet. I am just a bit confused as booking.com is showing the location of the Hotel Ladakh house very next to the one I stayed. Hopefully, the old Ladakh guest house is still there and they haven’t reconstructed it. When are you going to Pelling and please let me know if it’s still there? Happy journey buddy!! 🙂

  2. I am visiting pelling in oct end,3nights in pelling &2 nights in yoksum,can I get shared jeep to yoksum from pelling? From yoksum where is the last motorable road before goechela pass?its altitude?

    1. Hey yes, you will get a shared taxi from Pelling for Yuksom. In case if you don’t find a taxi directly for Yuksom, you can take a shared taxi for Geyzing( 10 kms-50 INR) and from Geyzing you will get a direct taxi for Yuksom. Yuksom(1780 m)is the place where the road ends, so you have to trek all the way to Goechala.

      1. Thanks .is there any govt tourist lodge in pelling & yoksum.I HAVE tried with STDC portal but it’s not responding

  3. Great article on in this beautiful Himalayan Paradise. Thank you so much Abhishek for explaining everything in so detail here. I would highly recommend you as a top travel blogger

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