The primary means of communication within Sikkim is by road. However Sikkim is well connected to rest of the country by rail(New Jalpaiguri railway station) and air(Bagdogra airport) both in Siliguri in West Bengal which is about 115 kilometres from Gangtok. To get to Sikkim you must reach Siliguri first. Siliguri incidentally is an important nerve centre also for Bhutan, the eastern part of Nepal and Darjeeling, another picturesque hill station 80 kms away.
(Click the Entry and permit icon above for formalities espeically for foreigners and rules governing visiting restricted areas)
From New Jalpaiguri Railway Station you can hire a shared taxis (Rs 150 person) or reserve the entire vehicle which range from 5 seater to 8 seater and cost between Rs 2000 to Rs 3000 to Gangtok. At the Bagdogra Airport prepaid taxis 5 seater to 8 seater are available between Rs 2500 to Rs 3500. You can also book your seat online on wizzride.com.
Buses to Gangtok are available from 6.30 am to 3.30 pm from bus stands of the Sikkim Nationalised Transport (SNT), and the Tenzing Norgay Bus Terminal in Silguri about 6 km from New Jalpaiguri Railway Station and 12 kilometers from Bagdogra airport.
From Siliguri, Darjeeling falls on a different route than Gangtok. From Darjeeling the usual two routes to Gangtok are the shorter and steep road via Peshoke and the longer one via Mongpoo.
There are no direct routes from Sikkim to Nepal or Bhutan by road: one has to travel via Siliguri. Kathmandu is an overnight journey from Siliguri through Kakribitta on the Nepal border. One has to reach Kakribitta first by local bus from where long distance buses for Kathmandu are available. Phunsoling on the Bhutan border is about four hours away enroute to Thimphu the capital of Bhutan. The road journey from Siliguri to Gangtok is a wonderful experience. (Click here to read about it)
During the monsoons, due to heavy rainfall, road communication is frequently disrupted because of landslides and it is always safe to first check up with the Tourist Information Centre or Sikkim Nationalised Transport about the condition of the road before making a move. Taxis abound in Gangtok although distances within the town are rather short. Unfortunately, Gangtok does not have a city bus service worth the name.
You can also fly from Bagdogra to Gangtok by the five seater helicopter. Only 10 kg of luggage is permitted per passenger as handbaggage: no checkbaggage is allowed. So prohibited articles like knives, liquids etc are not allowed. The fare one way per person is Rs 3700/- Avoid taking the helicopter, if you have to catch a flight or a train the same day. If the chopper flight is cancelled because of bad weather, you may miss your onward connection.
Taking your own Vehicles
In Sikkim, leaving aside restricted areas like Changu and Yumthang, you can take your own private vehicles to all parts of Sikkim like Rumtek, Yoksum Pemayanste etc. The roads are generally good and even a dainty Maruti Car can negotiate most of the roads in Sikkim. But there are some stretches that are really bad and could give you a feeling of riding a horse that has gone berserk. Besides approved Taxis, only private vehicles bearing Sikkim number plates are permitted to go to restricted areas like Changu and Yumthang. There are no regular bus services to Changu and Yumthang. You have to avail of conducted tours or government approved taxis.