South Sikkim is located at an altitude that ranges from 400m to 2000m and Namchi is the district headquarters. Namchi is located 90 km from Gangtok and 100 km from Siliguri.
South Sikkim is blessed with a profusion of rhododendrons, orchids and primulas; excellent view of the Himalayas and unique handicrafts. It is an ideal place for trekkers, religious tourists, bird watchers and nature lovers. South Sikkim is the only district that produces the Sikkim Tea cultivated in the Temi Tea Garden.
The population in the South district of the state consists of mainly Nepali communities and Nepali is widely spoken by the people of the region. The district enjoys a temperate climate throughout the year. Other important towns in South Sikkim are Teesta Bazar and Melli, both of these places can be reached directly by road from Siliguri.
Places of Interest around South Sikkim
Namchi, which literally means ‘sky-high’, is the district headquarters of South Sikkim. It is fast growing tourist destination because it acts as a transit point for tours to other parts of the state; infrastructure for transportation, communication including food and accommodation facilities is readily available in the small town.
The ‘wish-fulfilling hill’ or Samdruptse is near Namchi, at a distance of 72 km from Gangtok. The Samdruptse is famous for the world’s tallest statue of Guru Padmasambhava.
Ravangla, a small town in South Sikkim and a popular tourist destination, lies at the base of Mainam Hill. It is also a gateway to other tourist destinations in West and South Sikkim. It is also a transit point for trekkers to Mainam Hill and Borong. Interesting places include the Ravangla Monastery and a trek down the sacred cave of ‘Shar Chok Bephu’.
Tendong Hill is located above Damthang, overlooking Namchi town at an altitude of 8530 feet. It is a hilly area surrounded by a verdant landscape made of lush green forests that adds serenity, beauty and peace to the atmosphere – Buddhist Lamas prefer the place for meditation because of the silence, seclusion and greenery that the beautiful hill provides.
Temi Tea Estate is the only garden that produces good quality tea which has great demand in the international market.
Mainam overlooks the Ravangla Bazaar and is situated at an altitude of 10,300 feet. The panoramic view from the hill is one of the most rich and beautiful.
Singchu-Thang is an ideal place for white-water rafting including a great spot for picnic. It is located 45 km from Gangtok at an altitude of 3,500 ft. It houses a dense overgrowth of shrubs and other vegetation.
Borong can be reached via trek from Mainam or by a motorable road from Ravangla. Borong is a small picturesque hamlet and famous for the hot water spring called the ‘Borong-Tsa Chu’.
Sikip can be reached from Gangtok via Legship in five hours through a motorable road. It lies in the bank of the Rangeet River in South Sikkim. Sikip can also be reached directly from Siliguri and Darjeeling via Jorethang. It is an ideal place for anglers and rafters in the rapids of the Rangeet River.
The Phur-Tsa-Chu, a hot water spring is also located in the banks of the Rangeet River. The drive from Legship to Phur-Tsa-Chu takes half and hour while it can be reached within an hour from Jorethang. It is also a popular place for pilgrimage where large number of devotees flock for a holy dip in the spring during the months of Janurary – March.