Travelling north past Phodong, the highway reaches the town of Mangan, 67km north of Gangtok, the district capital of North Sikkim and perched high above the Teesta Valley. Recovering after the devastating earthquake of 2011 which all but demolished the bazaar and destroyed Rinzing Gompa, Mangan is nevertheless a convenient stop on an arduous route to the north (note that it’s the furthest you can go without a Protected Area Permit). The town itself has little interest other than its busy bazaar, a handful of hotels and the District Collector’s office, which is a relatively easy place to get a permit if you haven’t already picked one up in Gangtok.

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