How to Reach Sikkim by Air, Rail and Road

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Sikkim is a small slice of paradise tucked away in the north-eastern part of India and it is the go-to place for mountain lovers and enthusiastic trekkers. In this article, we cover the various ways that travelers can answer the questions: How to Reach Sikkim? Sikkim not only boasts of mesmeric natural charm and prismatic beauty, but it also has myriad adventure activities. So, if you like hills, and you like good vibes, and you love nature, head up to Sikkim.

How to Reach Sikkim by Air

Bagdogra Airport (Source)
The nearest accessible airport to Sikkim is in Bagdogra which is approximately 124 km from Gangtok, the capital city of Sikkim. Bagdogra airport has both public and private transport options for the onward journey. 50 meters away from the terminal building, the local taxi stand has both shared and private jeeps for Darjeeling, Siliguri, Gangtok etc. Further down, around 700-800 km from the taxi stand, there is good availability of public buses and shared autos for the same.

Upon arrival at Bagdogra Airport, travelers can opt for pre-booked taxis or private cars to Siliguri Junction, which serves as a major transportation hub connecting Bagdogra to various destinations in Sikkim. The journey from Bagdogra Airport to Siliguri Junction takes approximately 30-45 minutes by road.

Sikkim Helicopter Service

For travelers seeking a unique and convenient way to explore the enchanting landscapes of Sikkim, the Sikkim Tourism Development Corporation Ltd (STDC) offers helicopter services. Whether you're embarking on a pilgrimage, seeking adventure, or simply wishing to witness the breathtaking vistas from above, here's a guide to seat reservation and fare information for these memorable flights:

Seat Reservation Procedure

  • Call the ticket reservation counter between 10 AM to 5 PM at the following numbers:Landline: 03592-203960 (GANGTOK)
  • Duty Mobile: 7318906677
  • Check for ticket availability based on your travel date and seat requirement.
  • Upon confirmation, the total amount as per the headcount must be deposited into the STDC's Bandhan Bank account (details provided below).
  • Scan the bank deposit slip and email it to [email protected] and [email protected].
  • Reconfirm your reservation with the reservation staff before depositing the amount and after emailing the bank deposit slip.

Flight Schedule

  • Gangtok to Bagdogra sortie: Daily service at 11 am (duration: 35 minutes)
  • Bagdogra to Gangtok sortie: Daily service at 2:30 pm (duration: 35 minutes)

Fare Information

  • Joy Ride Gangtok Aerial View (15 minutes): Rs. 9,500 per flight
  • North Sikkim Kanchendzonga Mountain Flight (75 minutes): Rs. 90,000 for 4 seats (Camera Not Allowed)
  • West Sikkim Kanchendzonga Mountain Flight (55 minutes): Rs. 66,000 for 5 seats (Camera Not Allowed)
  • Medical Flight: Gangtok to Bagdogra: Rs. 22,000 for 5 seats
  • Pilgrimage Flights: Char Dham-Tathangata Tsal-Samdruptse-Sai Mandir (40 minutes): Rs. 48,000 per flight for 5 seats (Camera Not Allowed)
  • Tsomgo Aerial Flights: Rs. 18,990 for 4 people (Camera Not Allowed)
  • Bagdogra to Gangtok (Daily) and Gangtok to Bagdogra (Daily): Rs. 3,500 per person (duration: 30 - 35 minutes)

 

How to Reach Sikkim by Train

The nearest major railway station is New Jalpaiguri (NJP) which is about 6-7kms from Siliguri and 130 km from Gangtok. Very few trains pass directly through Siliguri, which is approximately 114 km from Gangtok. Onward journeys from Siliguri or New Jalpaiguri railway station are possible by road.

Ticket Reservation Facilities

Ticket reservation facilities are readily available at the Sikkim Nationalized Transport office on all working days. 

How to Reach Sikkim by Road

Roads in Sikkim, How to reach Sikkim
Layered roads in SikkimSource
Siliguri is the main gateway to Sikkim. National Highway 31A connects Gangtok to Siliguri. The scenic lush green forests on the banks of river Teesta on one side and the Eastern Himalayan range on the other side make the drive worthwhile. Public vehicles including buses, shared jeeps and auto-rickshaws are available from Siliguri to Gangtok, Kalimpong, Kurseong, etc. at frequent intervals. One can also opt to hire a private cab from Siliguri to travel further.

Siliguri to West Sikkim

  • Siliguri to Darjeeling
Right outside the Siliguri Railway Station, buses and shared jeeps are available for West Sikkim. The best route considered is usually through Darjeeling (journey time - 3 hours).
  • Darjeeling to Jorethang
The jeep stand is located in front of the Old Super Market, almost a kilometer away from Mall Road. The journey takes approx. 1.5 hours that is filled with beautiful views of the hilly terrain. Frequent buses also pass from the jeep stand that can drop travelers at Jorethang for a lower price.
  • Jorethang to Peling-Yuksom
Jeep stands in Jorethang also have shared jeeps for the onward travel to Peling and Yaksom and Gangtok.

Siliguri to South Sikkim

Shared jeeps and public buses are available right outside the Siliguri Railway Station for the journey to Namchi in South Sikkim (journey time - 1 hour)

Siliguri to East and North Sikkim

Shared jeeps are available from Siliguri to Gangtok at frequent intervals till sundown. Buses and jeeps are occasionally available after sunset too, but it is recommended not to travel post-sunset due to the hilly terrain and steep valley.

Traveling between North and East Sikkim

The northern and the eastern part of Sikkim usually don't provide any independent travel opportunities but if you are lucky enough, you might get a shared ride/jeep to your destination. However, the best way to travel is with one of the group tours offered by numerous travel agents, on a sharing basis.

Sikkim Entry Permits

Foreigners (except citizens of Bhutan) are required to have a valid Protected Area Permit (PAP) and Restricted Area Permit (RAP) to enter Sikkim. Individual tourists are only allowed to visit Gangtok, Rumtek Monastery, Phodong, Pemaytangtse Monastery, Kechoperi, Tashiding, Yuksum, Mangan, Singhik.  For entry into other areas, foreign tourists are required to travel in groups with a travel agency. The permits are issued for a 15 days period which can be extended to a maximum of 30 days in two splits of 15 days each. In most cases, the validity is not extended beyond that period.

Indians are required to get a permit issued to visit North Sikkim - beyond Singhik towards Gurudongmar Lake, Yumthang Valley, Lachung, Zero Point, etc. and parts of East Sikkim - Chhangu Lake, Nathu La and Baba Temple. No permit is required to visit places like Namchi, Pelling, Yuksom, Ravangala, etc.

Army checkpost on way to Gurudongmar Lake, How to reach Sikkim
Army check post on the way to Gurudongmar Lake
Source

Where to Apply for the Permits

New Delhi
Location: Sikkim House, 14 Panchsheel Marg, Block F, Diplomatic Enclave, Chanakyapuri.Contact: 011-2611517

Kolkata
Location: Sikkim House, 4/1 Middleton Street.Contact: 033-2281790

Siliguri
Location: Sikkim Tourist Information, 2nd, Sevoke Road, Ward 10, Dasrath Pally, Janta Nagar

Rangpo Check Post
Location: On the way to Gangtok or East Sikkim.Timing: Permit issuance between 8 am to 8 pm

Melli Check Post
Location: On the way to Jorethang/Namchi/Pelling/Yuksom, etc.Timing: Permit issuance between 8 am to 8 pm

Pakyong Airport near Gangtok
Approach the Tourist Office in the arrival hall for assistance in obtaining the permit

Burtuk Helipad near Gangtok
If arriving by helicopter from Bagdogra, approach the office at the helipad area for permit assistance

Bagdogra Airport
Visit the Sikkim Tourism Counter on arrival at Bagdogra Airport for permit issuance

Darjeeling
While it's possible to obtain the permit (ILP) in Darjeeling, the process may be cumbersome at times. Visitors are advised to inquire locally for details and assistance.

There is also a slightly complicated two-step process in Darjeeling
Step 1- Applying at the Foreigners' Registration Office (FRO)
Step 2- Applying and obtaining the permit from the District Commissioner's Office (DCO) across town.
Other than that, you can also ask for a 15 days Sikkim permit at Indian embassies abroad when applying for your visa.

Special Permits

Special Trekking permits are required for high altitude trekking organised by trekking agents (in all cases, you must be accompanied by a guide) for a trekking tour in Yukson or Utterey. The application for such permits is made in Gangtok, and it takes at least a day for the documents to be delivered to the capital and back.

For further treks up the Lachen and Lachung valleys (up to the Tsopta and Yumthang) in North Sikkim, foreigners need Restricted Area Permits.

Indians need a police permit to travel north of Singhik but can venture up the Thanggu valley to Gurugongmar Lake, Zero Point and Yumthang. Permits can be procured in Gangtok through registered agencies.

Read more about Protected Area Permit & Restricted Area Permit

Documents needed for the Permit
  • Fill the application form with necessary details.
  • Submit a copy of a valid passport, visa, and a passport-sized photo.
  • Permit is issued for 30 days after successful verification.
  • A copy is submitted to the Foreigners Registration Office for record.
  • Foreigners can stay for the permit duration, with an option for extension.
  • While exiting, present at the Foreigners Registration Office for recording exit details.
We hope your questions regarding how to reach Sikkim have been answered and if there are any other doubts you might have, let us know in the comments below!

This post was published by Alma Rosina

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FAQs on Sikkim

What is the best way to travel in Sikkim?

If you own a vehicle it's best to take the road, or for a faster option catch a flight.

How can I go to Sikkim from flight?

If you're wondering how to go to Sikkim by flight, you'll need to go to Bagdogra in West Bengal, which is the closest airport because there isn't one in Sikkim. This airport is approximately 124 kilometres from Gangtok and can be reached from Bagdogra in around 5 hours by bus or taxi.

Which airport to reach Sikkim?

Bagdogra Airport

Who needs to obtain a Sikkim Protected Area Permit?

Both Indian nationals from outside Sikkim and foreign tourists are required to obtain a Protected Area Permit before visiting the restricted areas of Sikkim.

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