Sikkim is a paradise of natural beauty, cultural richness, and serene landscapes And Located in the northeast of India. Sikkim attracts travelers from all over the world with its lush greenery, snow-capped peaks, and vibrant local culture. However, due to the geographical location and topography of the region, a trip to Sikkim requires careful planning and consideration. In this detailed guide, we will see how to reach Sikkim with the various transport options and routes available to those wishing to visit this enchanting state. Make your trip better with our curated Sikkim tour packages for any issues.
Best Way to Reach Sikkim
1. Bagdogra Airport (IXB): The nearest airport to Sikkim is Bagdogra Airport in West Bengal, about 124 km from Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim. Bagdogra Airport is well-connected to major Indian cities like Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, and Guwahati. Travelers can book direct flights to Bagdogra from these cities and then travel to Sikkim by road, which is a convenient and efficient route how to reach Sikkim.
2. Pakyong Airport (PYG): Sikkim also has its own Pakyong airport which is about 35 kilometers from Gangtok. This airport is relatively new and provides a convenient option for those wishing to fly directly to Sikkim. However, flight availability to Pakyong may be limited compared to Bagdogra.
Upon reaching Bagdogra or Pakyong, one can hire a taxi or use shared cab services to reach Gangtok, the gateway to Sikkim. The journey from Bagdogra Airport to Gangtok takes approximately 4-5 hours, offering breathtaking views of the Teesta River and the surrounding mountains.
Sikkim does not have a railway station and the nearest major railway station is New Jalpaiguri (NJP) in Siliguri West Bengal. New Jalpaiguri is well connected to various cities across India and trains run regularly.
1. New Jalpaiguri (NJP) to Gangtok: Once you reach New Jalpaiguri, you can take a scenic drive to Gangtok as part of your how to reach Sikkim plan. Taxis and shuttles are available at NJP station. The journey takes approximately 4-5 hours and covers a distance of approximately 120 kilometers. The road passes through picturesque landscapes including tea plantations and the Teesta River.
2. Toy Train from New Jalpaiguri: Another attractive option is to ride the famous Darjeeling Himalayan Railway also known as the toy train from New Jalpaiguri to Darjeeling. From Darjeeling you can reach Gangtok by road. Although the toy train does not have a direct connection to Gangtok this narrow gauge railway experience through the hills is a fun trip for railway enthusiasts.
Sikkim is well connected and traveling through the winding roads of the Himalayas is an adventure in itself. The road network is efficient and offers both private and shared transportation options.
1. Siliguri to Gangtok: Situated in the foothills of the Himalayas, Siliguri is an important transit point for travelers to Sikkim. The distance from Siliguri to Gangtok is approximately 114 km and buses, shared taxis, and private taxis are easily available. The journey takes approximately 4 to 5 hours depending on road and traffic conditions.
2. Shared Taxis and Private Cars: Shared taxis are a common means of transportation in Sikkim. They are used by many passengers and follow fixed routes. For a more comfortable and flexible journey, you can also rent a private car. It is advisable to book them in advance, especially during peak tourist season.
3. Nathula Pass: For those who want to see the famous Nathula Pass bordering China the journey starts from Gangtok. Tourists are not allowed to visit nature alone. You should hire a registered local taxi through a reputable travel agency. Permits are required and passes are usually only open for limited periods depending on weather conditions.
Permits and Documentation:
Before planning a trip to Sikkim, it is important to know the permit requirements. Foreign nationals require a Restricted Area Permit (RAP) to visit Sikkim, while Indian citizens from other states require an Inner Line Permit (ILP). These permits can be obtained online or from designated offices in major cities like Siliguri, Kolkata, and Gangtok. You should become familiar with the existing regulations and obtain the necessary permits well in advance of your trip.
Tips for Traveling to Sikkim:
Weather Considerations: Different regions of Sikkim have varying climates ranging from subtropical to alpine. Weather conditions may change. Therefore it is important to check the weather of the particular place you are planning to visit. Landslides occur during the monsoon season which can affect road traffic.
Altitude Sickness: Some areas of Sikkim are at high altitude and visitors may experience symptoms of altitude sickness. It is advisable to adapt slowly drink enough fluids and seek medical help if symptoms persist.
Transportation Options within Sikkim: Although taxis and shared taxis are readily available, Sikkim also has an excellent public transport system. National buses and shared jeeps connect various towns and villages providing cost-effective transportation options.
Local Cuisine: Don’t miss the local Sikkim dishes including momos (dumplings), thukpa (noodle soup), and gundruk (fermented leafy vegetables). Each dish reflects the rich culinary diversity of the region.
Explore Local Culture: Sikkim has a diverse ethnic community each with its traditions and festivals. Take time to explore the local markets interact with the locals watch cultural programs and get a real taste of the living heritage of Sikkim.
Q 1: What is the Nearest Airport to Sikkim, and How Far is It?
The nearest airport to Sikkim is Bagdogra Airport in West Bengal. It is approximately 124 kilometers away from Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim. Another option is Pakyong Airport, which is around 35 kilometers from Gangtok. Bagdogra Airport is well-connected to major Indian cities, making it a convenient entry point for air travelers.
Q 2: Are There Direct Flights to Sikkim, or Do I Need to Connect via Another City?
There are direct flights to Bagdogra Airport, but flights to Pakyong Airport are limited. Travelers often reach Bagdogra via major cities like Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, and Guwahati and then have to plan how to reach Sikkim by land. From Bagdogra, travelers traveling to Sikkim have convenient ground transportation options available ensuring a seamless transition from air to road transportation.
Q 3: What is the Closest Railway Station to Sikkim, and How Can I Reach Sikkim from There?
The nearest major railway station to Sikkim is New Jalpaiguri (NJP) in Siliguri, West Bengal. Travelers can reach Sikkim by road from NJP. Shared and private taxis are available in NJP for the scenic drive to Gangtok which takes 4 to 5 hours.
Q 4: Can I Drive to Sikkim, and What Are the Road Conditions Like?
Yes, you can drive to Sikkim, and traveling by car is very popular. The roads leading to Sikkim are well-developed and offer beautiful views of the Himalayas. However, the terrain includes winding roads, steep hills, and sometimes narrow sections. It is important to drive carefully and be aware of the permits required to enter.
Q 5: What Permits Do I Need to Visit Sikkim, and How Can I Obtain Them?
To travel to Sikkim, Indian citizens from other states require an Inner Line Permit (ILP) and foreign nationals require a Restricted Area Permit (RAP). These permits can be obtained online or from designated offices in major cities like Siliguri, Kolkata, and Gangtok. You should become familiar with the existing regulations and obtain the necessary permits well in advance of your trip.
Visiting Sikkim is an adventure in itself and there are many options to suit different tastes and travel styles. Whether you hop on a plane, ride a toy train, or drive on winding mountain roads, a trip to Sikkim is as rewarding as the destination. When you set out on this How to Reach Sikkim adventure, prepare to be mesmerized by the breathtaking landscapes, warm hospitality, and cultural richness that define the enchanting state of Sikkim.