Nathula Tourism

Nathula Tourism

Rank 10
Ranked 10 of 21
Sikkim Tourism Destinations
Destination Rating
6.1 / 7
8 Ratings & 25 Reviews

Nathula Info

  • State: Sikkim
  • Famous for/as: Hill
  • District: East Sikkim
Nathula, one of the highest drive roads in the world, is a mountain pass in the Himalayan peaks that co-joins Sikkim and China. Nathula Pass is located on the Indo-Chinese border and is one of the major tourist attractions in India.

The name of the place was derived from Nathu (meaning listening ears) and La (meaning pass), it is also spelled as Natula or Ntula. An important trading border post, it was sealed after the Sino-Indian War in 1962, and was re-opened in 2006 after many bilateral agreements. Nathula was once an offshoot of the ancient silk route connecting Lhasa and Bengal.

Many tourists come here every year for trekking in the valley. The destination is located at a height of 14000 feet above sea level. Nathula lies 54 kilometres east of the Gangtok and 430 kilometres from Lhasa, the capital of Tibet. In winter the place experiences heavy snowfall and the pass is blocked with snow. The region of Nathula pass has sinking zones and this area and surrounding areas are prone to landslide.

The area of Nathula Pass is spotted with army settlements. Private vehicles and taxis are forbidden to access the pass, they need to be parked few paces away from the pass. There are stairs which straight away go to Nathula pass, which is guarded by Indian and Chinese soldiers. Tourists come here and get their photos clicked and communicate with the soldiers of both the countries. The pass also facilitates not only the traders but also pilgrims of India and China to visit Hindu and Buddhist sites.

There are many waterfalls that come between the routes from Gangtok to Nathula. It also provides a chance to view snow peaks on the way. Baba Harbhajan Singh site in the Chinese side is a popular attraction. He is a revered Indian soldier, who died in the 1962 war. It is believed by many that his soul still patrols the site and there is a ritual to keep a spare chair for him during every flag meeting. Near the pass, there is a lake called Tsomgo Lake, also known as Changu, which is another tourist attraction of the destination.

The closest airport to Nathula is Bagdogra airport and it is connected to cities like Delhi and Kolkata. From there taxis are available for Gangtok, which is well connected to the place by road .The nearest railway station is situated in Jalpaiguri, 98 kilometres from Gangtok. The best time to visit this place is summer (March to May) when the average temperature is 15⁰ Celsius.

Best time to visit Nathula in the next six months

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Nathula Traveller Reviews

Read 12 destination reviews
with average rating of 6.1/7, 1
out of 25 Nathula reviews 12
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Biswajeet Mishra

  • Tourist
  • Biswajeet Mishra
  • Lives in Bhubaneswar
  • 232 photos
  • 31 Reviews
  •  12 helpful votes
  •  43615 readers

"Nathula Pass,destination must go!"

  • 7.0/7
  • Posted Mar 2, 2016
Nathula pass is one of the most visiting place of Sikkim. The temperature is very less there so you should carry heavy woollen with you else you may suffer. The best place in earth for enjoying with friends or couples. Its the Indochina border and china is also seen right there.
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Fenal Shah

  • Explorer
  • Fenal Shah
  • 6 Reviews
  •  1 helpful vote
  •  2798 readers

"Overall it was good trip"

  • 6.0/7
  • Posted Jan 27, 2016
Beautiful place to visit, its Indo-China border. We can easily see Chinese & Indian military with one step closer to each other, two countries were connected with only single wire. Though china's first city is 500km away from Nathula but beautiful scene to watch nd amazing place.
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Wriddhi Majumder

  • Connoisseur
  • Wriddhi Majumder
  • 1 photo
  • 13 Reviews
  •  31 helpful votes
  •  4755 readers

"The border will thrill you!"

  • 6.0/7
  • Posted Dec 19, 2015
Nathula pass gives you a spine chilling feelings when you see the border wires just by your side. Yes, the land next to you is in China!! We couldn't believe that the building next to us is an another country, that too China. Almost 15000 ft above sea level, the Indo-China border is a beautiful place. The scenic beauty is aided by the political importance. The Chinese bunkers, Indian bunkers are clearly visible. The tourists were talking to both the Indian and Chinese armies. Cameras are not allowed at the border region. Also, please don't smoke or run as there can be chances breathing problem due to lack of oxygen.
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  • 3 votes

Seema Kale

  • Scout
  • Seema Kale
  • Lives in Pune
  • 6 Reviews
  •  3 helpful votes
  •  3945 readers

"An amazing place"

  • 6.5/7
  • Posted May 14, 2015
It was an amazing experience. The winding and treacherous roads was an adventure in itself. Due to continuous land slides be prepared for a roller coaster ride. On the way to Nathu La, we can stop at changu lake and take jackets and gumboots on rent. There is also a small market at changu where one can purchase jackets and winter wear which is from china. At the baba ji ka Mandir one can buy souvenirs at very cheap price at the army run shop. Small purses, crockery, wood craft which is cheaper than the market. A must do is yak ride at changu and playing in the snow on the way to Nathu La where it is permitted. Cell phones will not work from army check post till you are back.
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  • Scout
  • Ravi
  • Lives in Bangalore
  • 3 Reviews
  •  1 helpful vote
  •  2095 readers

"Lovely sights"

  • 5.5/7
  • Posted Apr 28, 2015
We had a good time peeking into China and also their side of the pass. The bunkers on both sides as a defence against each other, the country flags, the border guards, were great sights at this high altitude destination. The Indian Side has built a grand place for border flag meeting.
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Rita Dave

  • Explorer
  • Rita Dave
  • Highlander
  • Lives in Ahmedabad
  • 16 photos
  • 7 Reviews
  •  52 helpful votes
  •  11294 readers

"Pride of Nation - Beauty, History and Gallantry"

  • 6.5/7
  • Posted Jan 31, 2014
On the trip we first covered Gangtok and then the next day we toured Nathula, Changu lake and Baba Mandir. Sikkimi driver was young and courteous. It was a memorable trip, one of the finest destinations we ever had visited. This place are wonderful, could see lakes on the way, snow covered peaks and beauty of untouched Himalayas. You can see large chunks of snow on the road side like you get at Manali to Rohtang. Nathula is at 14150 feet, located on the old silk route cold desert, snow covered almost throughout the year and chilling wind blowing at great speed. Meaning of Nathu La is Pass with Roaring Wind. It was the only way for China to get in touch with rest of the world between 2nd century BC and 10th century AD. It has great historical importance as it was the only trade route, though large section of the Silk Route now lies buried in the cold sand deserts. The route was also used by His Holiness, The Dalai Lama, when he visited and sheltered in India in 1956. As the only entry into Bhutan via this route, the Nathula pass was used by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi while on their way to Thimphu, Bhutan in Sept 1958. After the fierce and bitter war of 1962, the trade route over Nathula was abruptly closed putting an end to the thriving trade. It was reopened on 6th July 2006 for border trade and has become a popular tourist destination.

It has strategic importance; right on the peak has Shahid Memorial, border post/chowky of both India and China, observation points of army and visitor's gallery. Having visited Nathula we felt proud of Indian Army, also realized how they protect the nation in such an extreme climatic conditions. There is Army canteen at top, serving hot tea/coffee and snacks. We can get Certificate of Visit to Nathula signed by Garrison Commander with our name and space for photograph to be fixed later. It charges rs. 50/- for certificate which goes to An Army Wives Welfare Association Venture.

If weather is fine and route is open then it is must go destination for every Indian. Govt. permission is required, travel agent will do needful, please carry extra photo IDs and photographs. And most important is don't forget to carry pack food and water.
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  • 11 votes

Pradeep Kumar

  • Explorer
  • Pradeep Kumar
  • Heritage seeker
  • Lives in Delhi
  • 25 photos
  • 21 Reviews
  •  26 helpful votes
  •  16950 readers

"Visit to Nathu La is must see for every Indian"

  • 7.0/7
  • Posted Dec 19, 2013
I had visited Nathu La Pass during my visit to Sikkim last year. We reach there with great difficulty. Less oxygen creates problem there, but when we reach the top and see the Indian soldiers braving the extreme cold there, we feel proud of our soldiers. Every Indian who reaches there shouts "Jai Hind" without fail. That is the atmosphere created there for Indians.
Contrary to Indian visitors, we do not see Chinese visitors on the other side. The Chinese soldiers also help us in clicking our pictures from that side of the border.
We can also see rapid development, wide roads and infrastructure facilities on the other side of the border, that is a dampening factor for Indians.
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  • 8 votes

Parthiv Shah

  • Scout
  • Parthiv Shah
  • Highlander
  • Lives in Ahmedabad
  • 9 photos
  • 2 Reviews
  •  13 helpful votes
  •  5554 readers

"God Created beauty"

  • Posted Jul 11, 2012
Really wonderful place to visit. Soldiers are working reallyhard at such height & find with weather & enemy to protect us. Really we all indians must proud of them.

Food, sight-seeing and shopping: Extremely beautiful nature & find beautiful nature during journey to Nathula from gangtok. Beautiful landscap, snow cliff mountain.

Activities & things to do: Enjoy the nature & forget everthing behind. We feel that we are in Heaven.

Travel tips, How to reach, travel warnings etc: Be prepare for extreme cold. Must wear woolen cloths. Also cover your body particularly face during breezing air.
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  • 13 votes

Lipsa  Mohanty

  • Scout
  • Lipsa Mohanty
  • Highlander
  • Lives in Bhubaneswar
  • 3 Reviews
  •  13 helpful votes
  •  5606 readers

"Mesmerising wonders of nature"

  • Posted Jun 28, 2012
We had a chance to visit this place on 12.05.2012. Our hotel travel desk has arranged everything for this tour , right from arranging permit to hiring vehicle. Though the driver was very young, but he was a expert in maneuverability the steep and narrow roads with perfection and even we faced land slide while coming back from Nathula as there was heavy rain. The nature which seemed so beautiful while going turned to very dangerous when it rains. With no visibility and heavy rain the roads was very dangerous. but thanks to the driver we managed to reach Gangtok safely. Apart from this The NAthulla journey is an experience in itself, one has to visit to believe , the scenery could hardly be explained. Seeing the soldiers so closely at 14,150ft above sea level is an experience of a life time. Hats off to these soldiers who fought this tough conditions to protect our lands from enemy. Coffee and Magie at the army canteen was so helpful at a temperature of zero degree. Long live the army...... Paid our tribute Baba Harbhajan Singh at his temple and bowed our head with respect to the person who still believe to guard the Border and protect from Chinese invasion.

Food, sight-seeing and shopping: You can have hot stimulating coffee along with Maggie, Momos at an altitude of 14,150ft at the Army Canteen for the visitors.

Activities & things to do: Watch The Chineese Soldiers and Indian Soldiers guarding the border , pay a homage to Baba Harbhajan Singh and enjoy the magnificiant view of Tsango Lake.

Travel tips, How to reach, travel warnings etc: To visit this place you need to have travel permits which one needs to get before oneday and start as early as possible and try to return before Noon as the weather sometimes becomes too rough and during heavy rain there can be land slide and being at such a high altitude, people may feel breathlessness . So acclimatised yourself with Gangtok first and then proceed to Nathula.
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  • 12 votes

Mahesh B

  • Scout
  • Mahesh B
  • Highlander
  • Lives in Bangalore
  • 2 Reviews
  •  22 helpful votes
  •  7162 readers

"Nathula Pass - Heaven on Earth"

  • Posted Aug 9, 2011
Its around 4 hrs journey (depends on snow, fog etc..) from Gangtok city. All through the journey you get to view the army camps, vehicles etc.. and see the Chinese border. Awesome view, place & people.

Food, sight-seeing and shopping: Original Baba Mandir (a bunker converted to a temple) with the late Harbhajan Singh's an army personnel things like diary, clothes, watches kept inside..
The market, view of Mt Kanchejunga, snow, Changu lake.

Activities & things to do: Shopping for winter clothes in the market, food, play in the snow and enjoy the view of Himalayas, Changu lake.

Travel tips, How to reach, travel warnings etc: Hire a taxi from Gangtok which goes to Nathula.Bargain and see that the driver can take you till then original Baba mandir at around 15000 feet else catch your hotel guy and arrange for the trip.. Be sure to carry lot of photo copies of your ID card. The journey is very bumpy and climb to the temple might cause you some breathing problems because of altitude. Carry warm clothing as it extremely cold during winters.
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  • 12 votes

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