Sikkim is one of the smallest state in India, located in the eastern-Himalayan foothills of north-east India. It is enclosed by three foreign countries to its three boundaries namely, Bhutan to the east, Nepal to the west and China to the North. So, it has a high importunacy to the Indian politics, economy and foreign policies. West Bengal is the only state to the south of Sikkim, connect the state to the other parts of India. Day by day Sikkim has become a most emerging tourist destination to the visitors. Sometimes it is refer as the "Switzerland of the East". Sikkim is accessible only by passing through West Bengal lies to the southern borderlines of the state. All types of transportation – road, air and rail, are available to visit Sikkim. Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim is directly connected by road with Darjeeling, Siliguri and Kalimpong in West Bengal. And all major town within Sikkim are well connected with Gangtok by road.
However there are some restrictions for the visitors, who come to Sikkim from the outside of India. They must fulfil certain formalities for visiting Sikkim.
Pack your luggage : If you plan to visit Sikkim on summer then you should take Light Woolen Cloths and for winter season you should take Heavy Woolens Cloths.
By Air: Sikkim does not has any airport. The nearest airport is at Bagdogra near to the Siliguri, West Bengal, about 124 km road distance from Gangtok, the capital city of Sikkim. Previously it was used as an Indian Air Force base, but now it is also used as civil aerodrome for domestic and international flights. Some regular flights of Air India, GoAir, IndiGo, Jet Airways, Pinnacle Air, SpiceJet and Vistara connect it with other Indian cities, Delhi, Kolkata, Bangalore, Chennai, Mumbai, Guwahati, Cooch Behar and Hyderabad. Druk Air flies between Bangkok and Paro in Bhutan, stopping in Bagdogra before leave for Paro.
Helicopter Service: STDC (Sikkim Tourism Development Corporation) operates a helicopter service in between Gangtok and Bagdogra, which takes near about 35 minutes to go. It is a five-seated helicopter, which offers an exclusive mode of transport as well as a magnificent view of the way. Service time are 10:00 am and 11:35 am from Gangtok to Bagdogra and at 11:00 am and 2:30 pm from Bagdogra to Gangtok daily with a fare of INR Rs. 3,500/- per person.
Except the regular transportation service between Gangtok and Bagdogra, STDC offers a numerous numbers of Special Mountain Helicopter services on demand to explore the beauty of the Himalaya including snow-capped Mount Kanchenjunga, the third highest peak in the World. Special helicopter services are also conducted over Gangtok, West Sikkim and North Sikkim for a bird's eye-view of the town, the monasteries and the exotic Valley of Flowers, Yumthang. All helicopter services are subject to change based on the weather conditions.
Helicopter Service Schedule and Fare Chart:
|Journey||Departure Time||Duration||Price (INR)|
|Bagdogra to Gangtok||11:00 am and 2:30 pm||35 minute||3,500 per head|
|Gangtok to Bagdogra||10:00 am and 11:35 am||35 minute||3,500 per head|
|Joy Ride Gangtok Aerial View||On demand||15 minute||9,500 (4 pax)|
|Kanchendzonga Mountain View||On demand||80 minute||96,000 (4 pax)|
|Pilgrimage View (Char Dham, Tathangata Tsal, Samdruptse and Sai Mandir)||On demand||-||25,000 (4 pax)|
|Tsomgo Aerial View||On demand||-||18,990 (4 pax)|
|Gangtok to Bagdogra||Emergency Medical Service||35 minute||22,000 (full reserved)|
By Rail: Sikkim doesn’t have any railway station in its boundary. New Jalpaiguri (NJP) and Siliguri are two major railway stations nearby Sikkim, located in West Bengal having a driving distance around 120 km and 116 km from Gangtok, the capital city of Sikkim respectively. All major cities in India are well connected with the both railway stations. Buses, cabs, taxis are easily available from the outside of the stations to reach in Gangtok or some other parts of Sikkim. It is about 4 hour’s road journey.
By Road : Gangtok is at a distance of 116 km from Siliguri and will take 3.5 hours from Siliguri to reach Gangtok. You can get Tata Sumo or Bolero with a cost range around 2,500 to 3,500, depends on the tour session. Or you can get jeep to come Gangtok on share with others and fare is near about 200 to 250 a person.
You can come from Darjeeling with a 4 hours journey by road. And there is another option to come Gangtak from Phuntsholing, Bhutan that is a 6 hours journey by road.
Foreigners must obtain Inner Line Permit (ILP) to visit Sikkim. You can get this permit from all Indian missions, Tourism Office, New Delhi, Sikkim Tourism Office, Kolkata (Calcutta) and Sikkim Tourism Office, Siliguri on the strength of a valid Indian Visa. Initially a 15 days Permit will be issued on the spot without any delay provided photocopies of passport and visa details along with 2 passport size photos of the applicants are made available. It can be extend addition 30 days (twice with 15 days each). The extension of permits can be obtained from FRO at Gangtok and Superintendent of Police of the North, West & South Districts.
A Protected Area Permit (PAP) is issued for whom they are interested to trekking in the interior regions of the states. You can collect it from Police Check Post and Department of Tourism in Gangtak which is available for certain specified area for groups consisting of 2 or more foreigners subject to the condition that the trekking program is arranged through a registered travel agency.
Check Sikkim Tourism Office :-
M G Marg, Gangtok
East Sikkim, Phone: 03592 - 209090
Fax: 03592 - 205647
Snt colony, Hill Cart Road
Siliguri, West Bengal
Phone: 0353 - 2512646
New Sikkim House
14, Panchsheel Marg, Chanakyapuri
New Delhi - 110021
Phone: 011 - 26115346/26115171
NJP Railway Station, New Jalpaiguri
Phone: 0353 - 2690475
Bagdogra Airport, Bagdogra
Darjeeling, West Bengal
Phone: 0353 - 2698030
New Sikkim House
4/1 Middleton Street, Kolkata
Phone: 033 - 22817905
LA-4, SECTOR-III, Salt Lake City
Kolkata - 700 098
Phone: 033 - 23358757
Old Bellevue Hotel, Chowrasta, Darjeeling
Upper Pelling, Near Pelling Girl's Hostel
Jorethang Bazar, Opposite Snt
Ravangla Bazar, On way to Chozo Lake
Dak Banglow Alley Road, Namchi
Opposite Police Check Post, Melli
Near Tourist Lodge, Rangpo
Phone: 03592 - 240818
Lachen, North Sikkim
Mangan, North Sikkim