The cheerful and bustling capital city of Sikkim in the Himalayan Mountains (until 1975 an independent Kingdom), Gangtok looks down from atop a mountain ridge and cascades down the steep hillsides. This modern town is a bit of a concrete jungle, but features magnificent views of Kanchenjunga and some interesting architectural marvels to take in. Use Gangtok as a convenient base for trips to Martam, Rumtek, and other destinations in this mountainous region of India.
There is a colourful cultural mix here as Gangtok is inhabited by Nepali, Bhutia, and Lepchas ethnicities. Originally a Buddhist pilgrimage site, Gangtok retains its Tibetan Buddhist culture and feel, and there are plenty of monasteries and Tibetology centres in the area. Visitors to Gangtok are mostly enthusiastic hikers setting out for destinations like Rumtek Monastery, Lachung, Chomgo Lake, and the Yumthang Valley. Many tourists enjoy the laid-back vibe here and choose to stay a few extra days. Along the pleasant main street, there is a decent selection of boutiques and restaurants with good food and interesting arts and crafts to purchase.