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 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).
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.
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.
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.
Dense forest Pelling Sikkim
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 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 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 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).
Breathtaking view from Pelling Sikkim
Must see places in Pelling
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
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.
Sangachoeling Monastery Pelling Sikkim
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
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.
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.
100 INR for 150 walnuts – Ha Ha so cheap
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
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.
- Gangtok, Sikkim – A slice of heaven in the lower Himalayas
- Darjeeling – Hidden Town in the Himalayan Beauty
- Zero Point, Sikkim – Where Civilians Road Ends to Heaven
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.
Are you looking for some essential travel gear? Check out my blog post on What’s in my Backpack.
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