Gangtok Weather & Best Time to Visit
Gangtok like Darjeeling follows similar trends in weather through the year. Although there are some differences in temperature and rainfall between the two places, the overall weather change takes place in tandem in both these two places. So a good season in Gangtok is also a good season in Darjeeling. And this is one main reason why most tourists combine a visit of Gangtok with Darjeeling.
Winter (December to February) is extreme in Gangtok and it can be very cold out there particularly early in the mornings and at nights. The average temperature hovers around 4°C.
Although snowfall in Gangtok town itself is not common, the routes to high altitude places from Gangtok like Tsomgo lake and Nathula Pass often get closed due to heavy snow. Another problem during winter (particularly in February) is the fog. You will often find white blankets of mist blocking the views.
During Monsoon (July - September) you may see continuous rains or cloudy sky. This is the time when landslides also take place cutting off routes. However the entire area becomes lush green and looks so serene without tourists. The month of July sees heaviest rains. Some of the best festivals take place in monsoon.
Most tourists avoid Gangtok during winter and monsoon. Since the demand falls, the hotel and tour rates also get slashed during these periods.
So which is the best time to visit Gangtok?
There are several seasons or time when you can visit and enjoy Gangtok.
Spring (March to April) is a great time. This is when there will be chill in the air but still very pleasant through out the day. Most importantly the sky remains clear and you can usually get great views of Kanchenjunga and the snow mountains. This is a great time for sightseeing and adventure activities.
Another great time is the Summer (May - June). The average temperature hovers around 22°C. Sometimes during the day time it can get quite warm but overall it remains quite comfortable. You will need to wear a light sweater only at night.
Tourists pour in during the summer school vacation time. So expect lots of tourist rush around this time. This is a great time for sightseeing tours as well as activities like white water rafting. Due to rise in demand, the hotel & taxi tour rates also soar. However in summer you may not always get clear sky and great views of now peaks. There can also be short showers at times.
One of the best times to visit Gangtok is during Autumn (October to November). Weather is extremely pleasant although it starts getting a bit cold in November and you will need warm clothes if you visit in November. But a big plus is the clear sky and the beautiful views. Excellent time for sightseeing and fun activities.
Akhiles Malladi (February 2017)
Hi. I have read through blog and its wonderfull info you provide. I am planning to visit Sikkim in June 3rd week. As mentioned in your blogs, June is a monsoon season in Darjeeling. But if I am going to Gangtok and Lachung which are at higher elevation, will rains still be abundant in those areas ? Please guide me if June is a good season to visit or else I shall plan in October. Thank you.
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) February 2017
Hi, plan in October. June end is monsoon time in Sikkim and prone to landslides.