HOW TO REACH SIKKIM
Sikkim is daunting, incredibly beautiful, and tempting enough to lure its admirers into a visit around the year. But unlike other Himalayan terrains that are difficult to access, Sikkim is easily approachable for most of the year from any part of the country. There are plenty of options to reach Sikkim, with the most convenient one being the flight to Bagdogra, and the most exciting one being a road trip to Sikkim via NH 31A.
Travelers have to choose a viable mode of transport to reach Gangtok from the nearest and most accessible location i.e. Bagdogra, New Jalpaiguri, and Siliguri. Air, road, and rail are the 3 different mediums of transport to reach Gangtok.
Bagdogra Airport in West Bengal is the nearest airstrip to Gangtok which is located approximately 124 km far. Jet Airways, Go Air, Air India, AirAsia, and Indigo are the most popular flight carriers operating from Bagdogra to major cities across India. Once you reach Bagdogra Airport, you can book a private vehicle or get into a shared cab for an onward 2-hour journey to Gangtok. As already mentioned, the drive on these roads is absolutely breathtaking with the mighty Himalayas and Teesta making the backdrop during most of the journey.
Sikkim is not just well-connected with the rest of the country by road network but also the wider rail network. About 148 km from the capital city Gangtok, the New Jalpaiguri Railway Station in Siliguri district is perfectly connected by rail network with major cities like Kolkata and New Delhi. From the railway station, one can get on a state roadways bus or hire a taxi to reach Gangtok.
From the government-run buses to private taxis, everything is available to help you reach the beautiful Himalayan paradise. Local buses are available from Siliguri Bus Station also known as Tenzing Norgay Bus Terminus. The road journey from NJP to Gangtok takes around 5-6 hours in normal conditions.
Road trip to Sikkim on a bike or a car is the most preferable option for an adventurer or a road trip enthusiast. Reason being, this route encompasses the best of the Himalayas, and views all along are worth living for. For most of the stretch, NH 31A is well-maintained except for a few patches.
The duration and fun of road journey depend on the destination you are traveling from. So most of the people travel to Sikkim from West Bengal, which means the highway via Siliguri, Bagdogra, or NJP must be taken. Shared jeeps and private taxis are available from Siliguri to most of the important parts of Sikkim, especially South as well as West Sikkim.
Depending on the season you are traveling a road journey from these places take close to 6 hours. The conditions in winter make traveling by road even more difficult as Sikkim experiences heavy snowfall. It makes traveling without proper guidance extremely vulnerable. It is therefore suggested to get in touch with a local tour operator for proper assistance and also take cognizance of the situation.