Nathu la Pass is one of the highest motorable roads in the world that lies at a distance of 56 km from Gangtok. During the 20th century, the pass acted as the primary route for the trade of fur, wool and spice between Sikkim and Tibet.


Today, it is also considered as the Indo-China border, and serves as one of the primary trade routes between India and China. There are military bunkers on either side, with an entrance gate to both countries. Just across the barbed wire at the pass, one can see the Chinese soldiers guarding their border. At the border check-post, a war memorial has been erected, along with an exhibition centre of the Indian Army.


At an elevation of 4,404 m, the pass has the world's highest ATM installed in the vicinity. The road from Gangtok to Nathu la passes by the Tsomgo Lake, and the entire area, including the pass, has a beautiful cover of alpine flora. The road to the pass is dotted with army settlements, and allows visitors an unparalleled view of the Chumbi Valley. You can also explore the recently constructed Baba Harbhajan Mandir on the way. If the weather clears up, you can see an excellent view of Mt Chomolhari, the second-highest peak of Bhutan, from the pass.


Indian tourists can go visit Nathu la Pass with a special permission from the Tourism and Civil Aviation Department with a registered and recognised travel agency, but foreign nationals are not allowed to visit it. The pass is open for tourist viewing from Wednesday through Sunday, but closes by 1:30 pm. Since the altitude is so high, be ready to adapt to the receding level of oxygen. The temperature dips to as low as 25 degrees Celsius, and the area receives heavy snowfall in winter. Remember that photography is strictly prohibited in certain areas.

Other Attractions in Gangtok