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Gangtok

Irreverent, cheerful and pleasantly boisterous, Sikkim’s modern capital is layered along a precipitous mountain ridge, descending the hillside in steep tiers. Viewpoints survey plunging green valleys that remain beautiful even when partly shrouded in mist. If the weather plays ball, look for glimpses of snow-topped Khangchendzonga on the distant skyline. More than specific sights, Gangtok is appealing as a place for post-trek R & R or for meeting fellow travelers to organise group tours and permits. The city's mostly pedestrianised social-commercial heart is Mahatma Gandhi (MG) Marg, packed with restaurants, shops, travel agents and a bustling early-evening passeggiata of relaxed wanderers. High above, the contrastingly calm central ridgetop links manicured gardens and an almost jungle-like area around the Chogyal Palace (former royal residence).

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