Nathula Pass was a major corridor of passage between India and Tibet before it was closed in 1962. The road to Nathula passes through the Tsomgo Lake. It is located around 56 kilometers from Gangtok, at an altitude of 14450 feet. It is one of the highest motor able roads in the world and is richly surrounded by alpine flora. On a clear day you can even see the road winding down the Chumbi valley. Tourists are allowed to go close to the international border from where you can see Chinese soldiers on the other side of the barbed wire.
Nathula is a half day sightseeing excursion from Gangtok. The distance from Gangtok is about 56 km. Most tourists start the tour in the morning between 8 to 10 AM and return to Gangtok by 2 to 3 PM. Late evening drive is not suggested as the road is very hostile and often gets blocked by landslide etc. There is no tourist accommodation after Gangtok town. In case the tourists are stuck here, the Indian army provides them accommodation for the night. There is an alternative route for visiting Nathula through Zuluk, Memenchu road. But tourist permits are not given through this route.
Nathula has witnessed heightened tourist interest in the last few years. On the other hand the restrictions on visiting the border are quite strict. This has resulted in a demand supply mismatch especially during high season. More tourists are interested to visit the border than the number of passes available. Also tourists are allowed to visit Nathula only on specific days of the week. There is restriction on the number of vehicles that can visit Nathula on a given day. Tourists are advised to make reservation for the tour well in advance to avoid disappointment. Foreign tourists are allowed to travel only up to Tsomgo Lake.
Visit the Line of Actual Control (LAC), Nathula Pass, with Royal House – Travel Agent, Sikkim.