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SIKKIM: How to Reach

Top travel sites in Sikkim: Gangtok (East Sikkim), Tsomgo Lake (East Sikkim), Nathu La Pass (East Sikkim), Baba Mandir (East Sikkim), Khangchendzonga (West Sikkim)

Sikkim Govt Tourist Information Centres:- Sikkim Tourist Information Centre, Gangtok: MG Road, Gangtok Ph: 03592-221634/227720; Sikkim Tourist Information Centre, New Delhi: 14 Panchsheel Marg, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi PIN 110021, Ph:011-26115346, 26115171; Sikkim Tourist Information Centre, Kolkata: 4/1, Middletown Street, Kolkata-16 Ph: 22817905; Sikkim Tourist Information Centre, Siliguri: SNT Colony, Pradhan Nagar, Siliguri, West Bengal Ph: 2512646; Sikkim Tourist Information Centre, Bagdogra: Bagdogra airport Ph: 2698030; 2698036

No air, train service to Gangtok

There is regular air service to Bagdogra, near Siliguri, in north Bengal, from Delhi, Kolkata and Guwahati. Gangtok is 124 km from Bagdogra, nearly five hours drive. There is no airport or raiiway in Sikkim. However, there is a helicopter service from Bagdogra to Gangtok. The nearest railway stations are in Siliguri and New Jalpaiguri, in north Bengal, which are well-connected with other cities.

Foreigners must take an Inner Line Permit (ILP) to visit Sikkim. This permit can be had from any Indian mission abroad. Sikkim Tourism offices in New Delhi, Kolkata and Siliguri will also issue the permit to foreigners on production of their passport and visa. The permit is valid for 15 days. It is issued on the spot if photo copies of passport and visa alongwith two passport size photos of the applicant are made available. For those interested in going for trekking in the interior regions of the State, the Department of Tourism issues another Protected Area Permit (PAP) at Gangtok which is available for certain specified areas for groups consisting of four or more foreigners subject to the conditions that the trekking programme is arranged through a registered travel agency.

How to reach: The nearest airport is Bagdogra in North Bengal, 124 km from Gangtok, or nearly five hours drive. Bagdogra has regular flights from Kolkata, Delhi and Guwahati. There is a helicopter service available from Bagdogra to Gangtok. The two closest railway stations are Siliguri (114 km) and New Jalpaiguri (125 km) connecting to Kolkata, Delhi, Guwahati, Lucknow and other important cities in India. Gangtok is connected by road with Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Siliguri and other centres and also with all the district headquarters within Sikkim.

Air Fare (old rates): Bagdogra - Kolkata: Rs 4065 /- Rs 4310 /- Bagdogra - Delhi: Rs. 8570 /- Bagdogra - Guwahati: Rs. 2445-

From Kathmandu, fly to Bhadrapur in the east Nepal (1 hour), then drive to Kakarbhitta (Nepal-India border, 35 km), to Siliguri (37 km) and to Gangtok (110 km, 4 hrs). Or fly to Biratnagar, also in east Nepal.

Helicopter Service: The Bagdogra airport is connected to Gangtok by a helicopter service which takes approx. 30 minutes to reach Gangtok. Sikkim Tourism Development Corporation operates the service at a fare of Rs1500/- per person. It is a five-seater chopper and mountain flights and other such tours to North Sikkim are also conducted.

By Rail: The closest railheads are Siliguri (114 km) and New Jalpaiguri (148 km), from Gangtok. They are connected to Kolkata, New Delhi, Guwahati and other major Indian cities. From the railway station a taxi to Gangtok costs around Rs1500/-. A jeep on sharing basis cost you Rs120/- per person.

By Road: Gangtok is at a distance of 114 km from Siliguri and will take 4 hours from Siliguri to reach Gangtok. Gangtok is connected by road with Darjeeling (4 hrs), Kalimpomg and all other cities in Bengal, and with Phuntsholing, Bhutan (6 hrs). Travel time from Bagdogra airport to Gangtok is nearly 5 hours by road. Bagdogra airport is 11 km west of Siliguri. A taxi from airport to Siliguri is about Rs150. Else, from the airport taxi available to Bagdogra Bazaar (Rs 40, 3 km) and from there, local bus to Siliguri.

Transport: The State Department of Tourism provides cars, luxury coaches and jeeps for hire to the tourists at reasonable rates. The Sikkim Govt transport buses also ply regular services within the state as well as to other cities outside in Bengal like Siliguri, Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Bagdogra, to and fro Gangtok, the Sikkim capital. Private buses and taxis are also available. No three-wheeler autos. Sikkim Tourism offers conducted tours.

Fuel: Fuel is available on the highway from Siliguri to Gangtok at Rangpo (74 km), Singtam (85 km), Tadong (100 km) and Deorali (113 km). The roads from Siliguri, Darjeeling and Kalimpong to Gangtok usually remain motorable all the year round, except at times during the monsoon.

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