Nathula – The mountain covered with Snow
You can travel to Nathula in a certain period only. It is a very beautiful place to visit in the border of Indian territory and comes under the state of Sikkim. Nathula pass is situated in Nathula region. Nathula Pass is a mountain pass in the himalayas. It is in the Dongkya Range between China’s Yadong County in Tibet and the himalayan State of Sikkim in India. It is at an altitude of 114140 feet or 4310 metres.
In ancient times, Nathula Pass was used by the Tibetans for trade. Nathula Pass is now a corridor for trade between India and China. Another pass named Jelep La Pass is mere 3miles or 4.4 kilometers away from Nathula Pass. The Nathula pass is open for around 4 to five months only. Rest of the time it is under the thick snow. Heavy snowfall are a common phenomena at Nathula and the Border is closed for 7 to 8 months in a year. Due to low oxygen content, children and elderly people are not recommended to visit Nathula. You can check out our guide for visiting high altitude areas in Sikkim.
Nathula is properly connected with a road circuit. The road on the chinese side are far better than the one on the Indian part. However the route is quite favourable for the tourist and it is teeming with people during the tourist season.
Nathula is a border area and is quite sensitive. Hence one need a proper permit to go to Nathula. Nathula falls under Restricted area and Restricted area permit(RAP) is needed to visit Nathula.
Travel to Nathula by Air
Travel to Nathula by train is possible only to Bagdogra in West Bengal. Nathula is the other end of Sikkim as compared to the place nearest airport, Bagdogra in Siliguri, West Bengal. The distance between the airport and Nathula is around 200 Kilometres and takes around 7-9 hours to reach Nathula from the Airport. It is thus not recommended to reach Nathula directly from the airport. Private Cab or Taxi are readily available which can take one to Gangtok from airport. From there you can go to Nathula in another trip.
Also climate acclimatization is necessary. The Oxygen Level at Nathula is very low. Tourist are requested to acclimatize for a day or two in Gangtok before proceeding to Nathula. After couple of days in Gangtok, one can grab a taxi through any certified travel agency and reach Nathula.
Travel to Nathula by Air will be open till Sikkim after the Pakyong Greenfield Airport starts its operation. Currently it has very few flights and there are no daily flights from this airport as well. One is better off with Bagdogra Airport in West Bengal
Travel to Nathula by Train
To travel to Nathula by Train, You have to get a train to New Jalpaiguri station in Siliguri West Bengal. New Jalpaiguri station is properly connected to all the railway stations in India. Regardless of the location of the traveller, if the traveller is in India, he will be properly connected to New jalpaiguri railway station in siliguri from their own nearby railway station.
Once one reaches NJP Railway Station, one can book a cab or take a shared taxi from Siliguri to Gangtok. Here one cannot travel to nathula directly from Siliguri. Also climate acclimatization is necessary. So one needs to reach Gangtok first.
Travel to Nathula by Road
Nathula is well connected with roads to every corner of the country. Reaching Siliguri would be easy for any traveller as there is East west corridor running through Siliguri. From Siliguri, numerous taxi services and Cabs are present to take you from there to Gangtok. Also the Government Bus Service called Sikkim Nationalized Transport is present. Few private bus service are also present for Siliguri to Gangtok.
Reaching Gangtok is important so that you can stay at Gangtok for couple of days for climate acclimatization. One needs the vehicle document properly updated before taking your private vehicle to Sikkim. Police here are quite strict. You would need to pass through the Rangpo checkpost to reach Gangtok.
Once you are in Gangtok and ready to visit Nathula Pass, then you would need to contact a good travel agent who will arrange every thing for you. You will need your documents for identifiction