Rinchenpong Monastery is popular with tourists visiting West Sikkim for its scenic beauty and singular Buddha statue. It is situated on a mountain trail above the village of Rinchenpong. The villages of Kaluk and Rinchenpong are located at 5,500 ft. and about 5 hours by road from Siliguri. From the main Rinchenpong bazaar, a mountainous trail originates which leads to a bifurcated junction. Towards the left of this junction lies the Poison Pokhri, the famous poisoned lake, a symbol of resistance against foreign invasion. Further up from the Poison Pokhri, the trail continues amidst maize fields to a series of stony steps. The final climb of the stone staircase brings one to the Rinchenpong Monastery, situated amidst lush green mountains and floating clouds. A breathtaking view is one of the attractions of the place.
The entrance to the monastery is lined with colorful prayer flags. Housed in a traditional hut, the outer periphery is decorated with prayer wheels. Child lamas can be seen in and around the monastery as the place also serves as a training center for lamas. The main door and windows have intricate detailing in a myriad of colors. Inside, the Buddha statue is placed on a platform. Visitor entry is allowed in the sanctum but photography has recently been prohibited.
Kaluk is the small village located in the Himalayan foothills of West Sikkim, near the West Sikkim capital of Gyalshing. It is a tourist destination due to the natural beauty of the village and its surroundings, such as the town of Rinchenpong. Kangchenjunga, the world's third highest peak, is visible from Kaluk. It is one of the most windiest places in Sikkim and is famous for destinations like the Durga Mandir, Rinchenpong Gumba and Megi Dara. The people of this area are dependent on agriculture and horticulture for their livelihood. Of late, tourism is playing a role in this region and many are now dependant on tourism.
Dentam is a scenic village located 10 km from Varsey in West Sikkim District. It lies at an elevation of around 1,500 m. Dentam commands a constant view of the Kanchenjunga. The entire area is surrounded by forest of rhododendrons. Pemayangtse Monastery (10 km), Ravangla (69 km) and Hilley are nearby interesting destinations to visit. The village is an ideal spot for bird watchers and nature lovers. Trekking and mountaineering are arranged here. Accommodation is available at Pelling and Pemayangtse.
Barsey Rhododendron Sanctuary:-
To reach Barsey, one first drives 60 km from Bermiok via Soreng, upto Hilley. From Hilley, it is four-kilometer trek. The sanctuary is west of National Highway 31A and Bermiok is connected to the National Highway by state roads via Melli-Nayabazar. The Barsey (altitude of 10,000ft,) Rhododendron Sanctuary lies in the south west corner of the West Sikkim district. Spreading over 104 sq. km, across the razor sharp Singalila Range, which forms the natural international border with Nepal. In the South the Rambong Khola separates it from West Bengal. Among the other points of entry, tourists generally prefer Hilley since it is approachable by road. The bridle path from Hilley to Barsey ( 4 Kms ) already exists and is a favourite amongst tourists specially during the Rhododendron flowering season.
The Barsey Rhododendron Sanctuary spans over the razor sharp Singalila Range. The climate is wet and cold favouring the spread of the dominant genus Rhododendron. July is the wettest month, with the average annual precipitation being in excess of 250 cm. The reaches above 2500m receive regular snowfall in winter. Clear skies can be experienced only from November to May. From the months of November to May, the flowers appear in their best form and it is also regarded as the best time to visit this sanctuary.During spring time, Rhododendrons blossom here covering the whole terrain with colors and lovely fragrance. It's surprising to know that you can find 600 varieties of rhododendrons, out of 1000 (varieties known) in Sikkim. Sprawled in an area of 104 sq. km, the sanctuary is a domicile to numerous species of Rhododendron, Primula, Magnolia, oaks and pine. Not only this, Barsey is rich in both flora and fauna. Barsey Rhododendron Sanctuary is also renowned for embracing rare Himalayan species of Red Panda and Black Bear. Leopard, Leopard Cat, Marbled Cat, Himalayan Yellow Throated Marten, Himalayan Palm Civet, Cannidae Wild dog, Indian Fox, Jackal, Himalayan Black Bear, Wild Boar, Red Panda, Barking Deer, Assamese Macaque, Rhesus Macaque, Himalayan Langur, Crimson Horned Pheasant, Monal Pheasant and Kaleej Pheasant, Crestless Porcupine, Rufous Tailed Hare, Chinese Pangolin, Flying Squirrel, Giant Squirrel and Himalayan Mouse Hare are some of the faunal values of Barsey Sanctuary. Some of the species of Rhododendron that can be easily seen in the sanctuary are arboreum, cinnabarinum, falconeri, barbatum, campanulatum hodgsoni, Acer caudatum, Betula utilis, Pieris ovalifolia, Prunus rufa, Pyrus foliolosa and P. macrophylla. Here, Bamboo and varieties of shrubs are also traceable. The vegetation in the area is dense and sometimes, you can see layers of a variety of plants.