PERMITS AND GENERAL INFORMATION
Indian nationals do not require any permit to visit unrestricted areas in Sikkim, like Gangtok, Rumtek, Pemayanste, Yoksum, Phodong etc. However to visit restricted areas under army control, like Changu, Nathula and Yumthang, Indian Nationals are required to obtain an Restricted Area Permit from the Sikkim Police at Gangtok. The travel agent can arrange thepermit for you within a few hours. Besides Changu, Nathula and Yumthang, Indian Nationals are not normally permitted to visit other restricted places in Sikkim. Only under special circumstances visits to other restricted places in Sikkim is permitted but permission is required to be sought from the Home Department, Government of Sikkim. Although the Dzongu area of Sikkim does not fall in the restricted area, a permit from the Home Secretary, Government of Sikkim is required to visit it.
The Government has also levied Environmental Fees and Entry Fees for trekkers, the details of which have been spelt out in a different chapter.
Foreign nationals would require an Inner Line Permit besides their visa to visit any part of Sikkim. Indian Embassies abroad, representatives of Government of Sikkim at Delhi, Calcutta and Siliguri and some other offices have been authorised to issue these permits to foreigners. Foreign nationals are permitted to visit Gangtok, Rumtek, Phodong and Pemayanste and other specified areas on the basis of their visas for a period totalling fifteen days that can further be extended till sixty days. Foreigners are also permitted to trek to many areas in Sikkim provided they are in a group of two or more. They are also permitted to visit the Changu Lake and the Yumthang valley provided they are in groups. Foreigners are not permitted to visit Nathula pass. For details of entry formalities and the trekking routes that have been opened to foreigners, the relevant section towards the end of this book may be referred to.
The Tourist Information Centre (( 03592-204408, 203425, 207720, 202825, 221634) can always be contacted for any clarifications.
ENTRY FORMALITIES AND PERMIT DETAILS
Foreigners can now visit many parts of Sikkim for a period of 15 days after obtaining a Inner Line Permit (ILP), without which a foreigner is not permitted to enter any part of Sikkim as the entire state is under the Foreigners (Restricted Areas )Order and Foreigners (Protected Area) Order. The State Government may extend the permit for a further period of 45 days in 3 spells of fifteen days. The following offices have been authorised to issue permits to foreigners:
- All Indian Missions and Posts abroad
- F.F.R.O s Delhi, Bombay, Calcutta and C.T.O. Madras
- Immigrations Officers at the Airports at Bombay, Calcutta, Madras and New Delhi
- Chief Secretary, Government of Sikkim, Gangtok((03592-202315)
- Home Secretary, Government of Sikkim, Gangtok (03592-204290/203450)
- Inspector General of Police, Government of Sikkim, Gangtok ( ( 03592-202747)
- Assistant Director (Tourism), Government of Sikkim, Siliguri ((0353-2432646)
- Deputy Director (Tourism), Government of Sikkim, New Delhi((011-26115346)
- Resident Commissioner, Government of Sikkim, New Sikkim House,14 Panchseel Marg, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi (( 011-26883026; 26113747)
- Asst. Resident Commissioner, Government of Sikkim, 4C,Poonam, 5,Russel Street, Calcutta((033-2468983)
- Deputy Commissioner,((0354-2254266) Darjeeling
- Deputy Secretary, Home Department, Government of West Bengal, Calcutta
- Tourist Officer, Rangpo (Border between Sikkim and West Bengal)
Individual foreign tourists may visit the following places for a period of 60 days:
Gangtok, Rumtek, Pakyong, Barapathing, Rongli, Rhenock, Aritar and Rorothang
Gyalshing, Soreng, Pemayanste, Khecopalri, Tashiding and Yoksum
Namchi and Ravangla
Phodong, Mangan and Singhik
For the purpose of extension of permits for individual foreign tourists in the Restricted Areas specified above, the powers have been degelated to the FRO, Gangtok and Superintendents of Police of North, West and South Districts for a further period of 30 days in 2 spells of 15 days each. This is being done for the convenience of foreign tourist who while visiting the outlying districts decide to stay on for sometime. Henceforth the foreigners will not be required to approach the Home Department for grant of such extensions. This delegation does not extend to permits for entry into Protected areas. Entry into the Protected areas like the Green Lake by individual foreign tourist is not allowed and they must form groups of 2 or more and travel through a Travel agent.
Group of two foreigners can also visit the Tsomgo (Changu) lake for one day. However they cannot visit Nathula.
Organised foreign tourist groups consisting of not less than two persons, sponsored by recognised Indian travel agencies will be issued permits upto a period totalling fifteen days for routes in the following areas:
Gangtok – Penlong -Tinjure – Rumtek
- i) Gangtok – Chungthang – Lachen -Thangu
- ii) Mangan – Lingzey – Sabrung – Talung Monastery – Kisong (except Yabuk)
iii) Mangan – Lingzia – Sakyong – Royot Patam (except Gochala) – Dzongri – Yoksum
- iv) Yumthang – Phuni Punichoka – Tarum Cha chu – Chungthang
- v) Dikchu – Phodong – Labrang – Namptham – Mangan – Maling – Singhik – Samartek – Chungthang
- vi) Lachung – Yumthang – Yumey Samdong
- i) Sirwani – Temi – Damthang – Tendong – Namchi –
- ii) Damthang – Tendong – Damthong – Rabongla – Maenam – Yangyang – Singchuthang – Sirwani
iii) Rabongla – Maenam – Borong/Polot – Tashiding
- iv) Kewzing- Rayong- Tinkitam- Legship
- i) Yoksum -Dzongri (except Gechala)
- ii) Yoksum – Dzongri – Thansing – Lampokhri
iii) Uttery – Chiwabhanjang- Dhond- Garakhet- Boktak- Dzongri
- iv) Hilley – Varsey- Dentam- Singelila- Chiwabhanjang
- v) Hilley – via Sombarey – Varsey – Soreng
- vi) Hilley – Varsay-Dentam (except Pelling)
vii) Pelling – Sangacholing- Khechoperi – Yolsum – Dubdi- Sinon – Tashiding
Besides these, some mountain biking and white water sport routes have been authorised.
Areas other than those mentioned above can also be visited, for which a special permit, which is relatively difficult to get, has to be obtained from the Ministry of Home Affairs, New Delhi. The travel agents can help.
The routes which fall in protected areas for Indian Nationals for instance Yumthang – Phuni – Taramchu – Chungthang can be visited by them by obtaining a permit from the Sikkim Police on the same lines as visiting Changu or Yumthang. This permit is called a Protected/Restricted Area Permit(PAP or RAP). For routes falling in unrestricted areas for Indian Nationals like Hilley-Varsey-Dentam no permit would be required by them. If you as a foreigner and would like to visit any other protected place in Sikkim (which has not been specified above), like the Green Lake apply to the Home Secretary, Government of Sikkim, Tashiling, Gangtok, Sikkim or Joint Secretary (Foreigners), Ministry of Home Affairs, North Block, New Delhi at least one month in advance giving details about yourself, purpose and the dates of visit. After obtaining permission make it a point to be in Gangtok two to three days prior to your date of departure so that you can pay the environmental fees; the Government of Sikkim and the banks observes a lot of holidays so ensure that you are in Gangtok during working days.
Nationals of Pakistan, Bangladesh, China and Myanmar will not be issued permits without the prior approval of the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, New Delhi.
Domestic tourists now require to be in possession of photo ID to enter restricted areas in Sikkim like Yumthang, Changu lake etc.
ENVIRONMENTAL AND SANCTUARY ENTRY FEES
Royalty has been imposed on mountaineering expeditions within Sikkim as per the rates and the conditions given below with the amendment that the local Sikkimese trekkers are to be exempted from payment of the fees on production of their valid identity card/certificate. The fee is to be imposed as an environmental fee with immediate effect under Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972
(a) Climbing of Peaks-
Peaks above 8000 metres US Dollar 8000
Peaks between 7501-8000 metres US Dollar 7000
Peaks between 7001-7500 metres US Dollar 6000
Peaks between6501-7000metres US Dollar 5500
Peaks below 6500 metres US Dollar 5000
(b) All mountaineering expeditions booked through registered travel agency located in Sikkim shall be eligible for a 20% rebate of the fees prescribed in (a) above. Expeditions sponsored by the Sonam Gyatso Mountaineering Institute at Gangtok and the Himalayan Mountainering Institute at Darjeeling shall also be given the same concession.
(c)For Indian expedition only 50%of the fee referred to (a) above shall be charged.
(i)For trekkers, the Environmental Fee is as follows:-
(a)For Foreign Groups –
For group of 5-10 members US Dollar 300
For group of 11-15 members US Dollar 400
For group of 16-20 members US Dollar 500
(b)For domestic Groups-
For individual Rs. 1000/-
For group of 5 to 10 Rs. 4,500/-
For group of 11 to 15 members Rs. 6,000/-
For group of 16 to 20 members Rs. 7,500/-
(The fee is for duration of the trek which is usually 10 days on the average).
In addition to the environmental fee, entry fees for Wildlife sanctuaries and national parks and other related fees like camera fees etc as prescribed by the Forest Department (( 281261,281724) situated in the Forest Secretariat, Gangtok will be charged.
- ENTRY FEES IN THE KHANGCHENDZONGA (HIGH ALTITUDE) NATIONAL PARKS:
- a) Rs. 180/- per head for first 7 days
- b) Rs. 50/- per head per day for additional days
- Rs 25/- per head for first 7 days
- Rs. 10/- per head per day for additional days
II ENTRY FEES IN THE WILDLIFE SANCTUARIES (WLS):
- a) Rs. 90/- per head for first 7 days
- b) Rs. 15/- per head per day for additional days
- Guide & Porter with team Rs. 5/- per head per day
- Pack animal Rs. 5/- per animal per day
- Tent pitching charge Rs. 25/- per tent per day
III. CAMERA OPERATION IN THE NATIONAL PARK AND WILDLIFE SANCTUARIES:
- Still camera Rs. 10/- per camera per visit
- Video camera Rs. 500/- – do –
- Movie camera Rs. 2000/- – do –
IV FILM MAKING CHARGES FOREIGNER INDIAN
- a) Feature Film KNP WLS KNP WLS
(one film at a time) 50,000/- 25,000/- 25,000/- 10,000/-
- b) Documentary Film
(one film at a time) 20,000/- 15,000/- 15,000/- 5,000/-
(Film making fee is in addition to camera operating fee).
- ACCOMMODATION IN THE WILDLIFE LOG HUT (SUBJECT TO AVAILABILITY)
- Rs 150/- per head per night.
- a) Rs. 50/- per head per night
- The team shall enter the National Park and the Wildlife Sanctuary with an appropriate ENTRY PERMIT obtainable in the Wildlife Circle of the Department or in Wildlife Check Post in each entry point.
- The team shall also ensure that necessary clearance for expedition in the restricted areas of Defence is obtained from the Ministers of Home Affairs and Defence of the Government of India and the State Home Department.
- The team shall carry sufficient quantity of Kerosene oil and LPG for heating and cooking purposes and discourage use of firewood by members including porters.
- The team members shall keep to the permitted route and places. The pack animals being used should be free from any cattle disease.
5 The team should ensure proper retrieval of garbages, poly bags, used tins etc. from the camping sites and route and abstain from polluting rivers and streams with human and kitchen wastes.
- The team shall can enter with weapons which can decoy, injure or kill an animal, indulge in hunting and poaching of wild animals, kindle fire or leave any fire burning, destroy or remove any wildlife, trees, signposts etc. in the protected area.
- The team shall have to apply in the form (supplied) and obtain permit for entry and other activity after paying necessary fees and shall also strictly adhere to the DOs and DONTs printed in the PERMIT.
- The team shall also respect the mountains, lakes and the rocks which are sacred to the local people and shall abide by the law of the land.