The district of South Sikkim is known to be the countryside of the land locked state Sikkim. South Sikkim is blessed with verdant forested area and astounding trekking routes. There are many destinations in South Sikkim like Borong, Ravangla which encourages village tourism, Namchi the district capital and Sandruptse. The altitude of South Sikkim ranges between 1300 ft to 11000 ft that is the reason that most of the destinations of southern Sikkim are blessed with temperate weather. The rolling agricultural field on the terraced slopes encircled by the meandering streams and luxuriant forests are the marker of South Sikkim. If travellers are looking for destination unscathed by the modernized society South Sikkim is the ideal location. South Sikkim has its own pace of life which makes its distinct from other districts. The only tea garden of Sikkim is Temi tea garden situated in South Sikkim.
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Maenam means ‘treasure house of medicines’ is a wildlife sanctuary above the Tendong Hill of South Sikkim. It is located at a distance of 65 km from Gangtok. Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary is known for being treasure house of exotic medicinal plants making it a paradise for botany enthusiast. The dense forested area of Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary is the safe haven for many animal species like Red Panda, Goral, Serow, Barking Deer, and Marbled-Cat. Visitors can also spot birds like Blood Pheasant, Common Hill Partridge, Magpies, Black Eagle, Blue necked Pitta, and Sunbirds. For its astounding trekking routes Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary has been famous among the adventurer. One can trek towards the ancient Maenam Gompa with a commanding view of Kanchenjungha snow peaks sited atop the hill of Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary. The crunching of dried leaves with the occasional chirping of exotic birds is the only sound heard while trekking through the woods of Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary. Blessed with scenic mountain stream, rich flora and fauna and the view of Kanchenjungha range, Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary is a must visit destination of South Sikkim.
The word ‘Ravong’ means cotton and La means pass suggests that Ravangla comes under the ancient cotton route with China. Ravangla is one of the most popular tourist destinations in South Sikkim situated at the elevation of 7000 ft midst the ridge between Maenam and Tendong Hills. Ravangla is located at a distance of 69 km from Gangtok. Ravangla is famous for offering the views of Mt. Kanchenjunga (28,169 ft), Mt. Pandim (21,952 ft), Mt Siniolchu (22,598 ft) and Mt. Kabru (24,318 ft). The beauty of its landscape and its location as a transit point to nearby destinations has made Ravangla a must visit place in South Sikkim. The famous Buddha Park an eco-garden with a large statue of Lord Buddha (130 ft) is a must visit site of Ravangla. The park area is beautifully landscaped creating ample walkway, gardens and space for visitors to enjoy the serene surroundings. You can visit Ralong cha-Chhu a hot spring with medicinal quality which will leave you feeling rejuvenated. The forest enclosing Ravangla offers several trekking routes where visitor can engage themselves in bird watching. Located at a distance of 8 km from Ravangla is Ralong Sunrise view point where tourist can witness a surreal sunrise over Mt Kanchenjungha. Ralong Monastery with its serene ambiance and colourful exterior is another favored destination of Ravangla. Tourists can buy hand woven carpet from Kheunpheling Carpet Centre situated above the Ravangla market as a souvenir. The best time to visit Ravangla is considered during October to December when the sky remains clear and tourist can catch an unhindered view of snow-capped Mt Kanchenjungha.
At an altitude of 5800 ft Borong a serene hamlet in South Sikkim is situated. Borong is located at a distance of 17 km from Ravangla and well connected with other travelling routes making it an easily approachable destination of South Sikkim. Situated close to Maenam Hill, Borong is blessed with abundance of flora and fauna. Hidden amidst the emerald forest Borong has recently caught the attention of travellers with its village tourism. The rustic style and serene ambiance has made Borong a sojourn for nature lovers. Borong also acts as a base for the travellers who want to trek through the dense alpine forest of Maenam hill. At a distance of 3 km from Borong is the river bank of Rangeet, where tourist can partake in angling. Offering an unparalleled view of Mt Kanchenjungha and its surrounding ranges, Borong has become the traveller’s paradise.
The district headquarter of South Sikkim is Namchi, located at a distance of 78 km from Gangtok. The word Namchi is derived from Sikkimese language where the word ‘Nam’ stands for ‘Sky’ and ‘Chi’ stands for ‘High’. Namchi is situated at an altitude of 5,495 ft. The unmatched view of Kanchenjunga range and Rangit Valley from Namchi make this place as emerging tourist destination of Sikkim. South Sikkim has become a cultural and religious hub after Char Dham, the replica of four major pilgrim centres of India, was built atop the Solophok hill near the main town of Namchi. Char Dham is located at a distance of 5 km from main town of Namchi. On a clear day tourists can catch an mesmerising view of Mt Kanchenjungha from Char Dham. Let yourself be swayed by the serene ambiance of Char Dham whilst relishing in the unparalleled vista of adjacent valleys and snow clad mountain ranges. Namchi is one of the destinations of Sikkim which is worth a visit while travelling to the southern region of Sikkim.
Sprawled on the slope below Tendong hill is the only tea estate of Sikkim called Temi Tea Garden. It is situated on the highway between Western Sikkim and Gangtok. Temi Tea Garden is located at a distance of 19 km from Ravangla and covers an area of 177 hectares. Established in 1969 the original saplings of Temi Tea Garden were brought from Darjeeling. Temi Tea Garden is renowned in whole world for producing some of the finest tea leaves using organic method. Take some aromatic tea leaves produced in Temi as a souvenir of South Sikkim. The view of undulating lush tea garden seen from the vicinity of Tendong hill has mesmerised many tourists making Temi Tea Garden a must visit destination of South Sikkim.
For their curative and medicinal values hot springs or the natural spring water of Himalayan valley have been renowned since ancient time. At a distance of 7 km from Borong on the river bank of Rangeet is Ralong Cha Chu or Ralong Hot Spring. Hot spring of Ralong is believed to have spiritual and religious power as it is located in one of the hallowed caves of Sikkim. Surrounded with pristine nature, Ralong Cha Chu is an ideal destination for bird and butterfly watching. Soak yourself in the warm water enriched with sulphur while listening to the alluring sound of gushing water of River Rangeet and chirping of exotic birds in Ralong Cha Chu. With its serene ambiance and astounding legend Ralong Cha Chu has become a place worth visiting.
Sandruptse also spelled as Samdruptse is 20 km and 50 minutes drive from Ravangla. Sam-Drup-Tse means the hilltop of wish fulfilment. Sandruptse is located at an elevation of 7,000 ft and only 5 km away from Namchi the capital town of South Sikkim district. 147 ft tall sitting statue of Guru Padmasambava (Guru Rimpoche) is the main attraction of this sacred hill. Legend says that this hill is a sleeping volcano and only prayers can stop it from erupting. Breathtaking view of Mt. Kanchenjungha is another additional aspect of this place. While on your way towards Namchi from Ravangla or Gangtok don’t miss the chance to visit this sacred place.