Tucked away in the Himalayan Mountains, far from the hustle and bustle of urban India, Gangtok is a popular hill station in the state of Sikkim. Erstwhile, an important Buddhist pilgrimage today, this town serves as an important tourist destination. This picturesque hill station comprises of serene vistas, learning institutions on Tibetology and other cultural centers of Tibet Buddhism. Apart from this, Gangtok has an interesting mix of spirituality and ecotourism. From challenging trekking opportunities to mouth-watering eateries and from shopping centers to a wild night out at discotheques, there are quite a lot of things to do in the town of Gangtok. Although the town does not boast of a great infrastructure, a visit to Gangtok is worth all the fatigue you are about to experience and you couldn't agree more once you are in Gangtok. Scroll through the following sections to know how to reach Gangtok and the best transport options available.
Traveling To Gangtok
If you prefer to travel by air, then the closest airport is the Bagdogra airport located in West Bengal. The distance between Gangtok and Bagdogra airport is about 124 km. The airport is well connected to the cities of Kolkata, Patna, Delhi, Imphal and Guwahati. There are regular buses and taxis that ply between Gangtok and Bagdogra. However, make sure to leave a little early just to be in time for your check-in at the airport.
Besides travelling by domestic air flights, you can also use helicopter services provided by the local tourism board. To avail the use of this service, you would have to contact your local travel agent much in advance to confirm the bookings. This service is restricted to only one time in a day and allows only four passengers at a time. The helicopter ride from Bagdogra to Gangtok is a short 20 minutes journey.
This hill station does not have a railway junction. People travelling by train use the nearest railway station located at Siliguri and New Jalpaiguri. Siliguri is positioned 114 km away from Gangtok, while New Jalpaiguri is 126 km from the city. There is no need for concern on how to reach the place, as there are several taxis, buses and coaches to take you to the hill station.
Gangtok has reasonably good roads and is well-connected to its neighboring towns of Siliguri, Darjeeling and Kalimpong. You can take the NH 31A as this is the best route to reach Gangtok. If you are a first time traveler, do keep in mind the weather as it can get quite foggy. It is therefore best to avoid traveling during evening or night.
Sikkim lies close to the borders of Nepal on the west Tibet and controlled by the Republic China in the north east and Bhutan on the east. Due to this, foreigners are required to obtain the 'Inner Line of Permit' (ILP) along with their Indian visa. The ILP can be acquired from respective Indian Embassies situated abroad. You can also contact the 'Sikkim Tourism Board Bureau', which is located in Siliguri, Delhi and Kolkata to obtain the permit. If you are an Indian national travelling to this place, do make sure to carry your identification documents for verification purposes.