Sikkim is one of the most attractive tourist hubs in the eastern part of India. It is well connected with the rest of the country, even though it does not have its own airport or railhead as of yet. But there are ample ways to reach Sikkim and all of them are quite affordable. You can reach there by your preferable mode of transportation. Let us go through the options in detail.
How to reach Sikkim by Airway
The airway is the fastest mode of transport to reach Sikkim even though it does not have an operational airport at the moment. Bagdogra Airport in Siliguri is the closest airhead to Sikkim. Located 125 km away from Gangtok, the airport has many direct and connecting flights to Kolkata, Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai, and other famous Indian states. Almost every airline company runs flights from different corners of India to Sikkim, such as SpiceJet, IndiGo, Air India, Air Asia, and Vistara. Not only the cities or states of India but the Bagdogra airport connects you with International airports like Bhutan, Nepal, and Thailand.
You can also avail of helipad services to reach Gangtok. However, the service is subjected to atmospheric conditions and is available only once a day with a passenger limit of four people.
Sikkim has got its very own airport named Pakyong but due to infrastructural and geographical issues, it is closed now for over a year since June 2019. Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim, is approximately 31 km away from the Pakyong town
How to reach Sikkim by Railway
If you don’t want to waste a hefty amount in transportation then railway is the preferable mode and the best choice. To be very true there is no such dedicated railway station for Sikkim but there are railway stations which are located nearby. Sikkim finds its way to the rest of India with two major Railway Stations. Siliguri Junction with a distance of 114km from Sikkim is the most availed railway route.
Jalpaiguri Junction located 125 km away is another vital railroad to Sikkim. There are many cabs available outside the railway stations which you can hire and you’ll also find buses to Gangtok from Siliguri and Jalpaiguri. The 114km distance from Siliguri to Gangtok will consume approximately 4 to 5 hours and 125km distance from Jalpaiguri Junction to Sikkim will take 5 to 6 hours.
Rangpo Station is all set to have the first railway station in Sikkim connecting it to Sevoke, West Bengal. The New Sikkim Railway Project in Rangpo is on a momentary hold.
How to reach Sikkim by Roadway
The National Highway 10, formerly NH 31A, is the primary connector of Sikkim to Siliguri, other parts of West Bengal like Darjeeling, Kalimpong, and Kurseong. The different parts of Sikkim are interconnected via the NH10 as well. The major influx of incoming and outgoing vehicles – both for trade and tourism – are through this route.
You can enjoy every bit of the stunning Himalayan drive if you choose to travel by car which can be a rented cab or your own vehicle. The view of the sparkling Teesta River and the magnificent ranges make the roadway journey all the more rewarding. You can also book a taxi from Siliguri or Jalpaiguri Junction by which you can easily reach Gangtok in 5-6 hours maximum. You can travel by bus from your city by availing of inter-city buses as well. There are a lot of state buses available which you have to book well in advance of your date of arrival to get a confirmed reservation. Volvo AC buses also run from Kolkata, Siliguri, and Bagdogra – all you have to do is find the time table and book the bus according to your arrival schedule.
No matter which mode you avail to arrive at Sikkim, a land of wonderful culture, cuisine, and hospitality awaits you on the other side. Some people prefer flying to save time, others love to savour the road trip through the hamlets and hills. Either way, you have to keep in mind your other reservations, such as hotel booking or if you have booked a package with a trekking company. Plan well ahead and decide the one that would best fit your budget and bucket list.