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Sikkim in India (disputed hatched).svg
Flag of Sikkim (1967-1975).svg
Quick Facts
Capital Gangtok
Government Indian State
Currency Indian rupee (INR)
Area 7,096 km2
Population 610,577(2011 est.)
Language Official:Nepali, English, Sikkimese, Lepcha, Limbu, Newari, Gurung, Magar, Sherpa, Tamang, Sunwar
Regionally Spoken:Dzongkha, Groma, Magar, Majhi, Majhwar, Nepal Bhasa, Rai, Thulung, Tibetan, and Yakha
Religion Hinduism 60.9%, Buddhism 28.1%, Christianity 6.6%, Islam 1%, Other 3.4%
Electricity 230V/50Hz, Indian (Old British)/European plugs
Time Zone UTC +5:30

Sikkim is a state in East India in the Himalayan foot hills also bordering China (Tibet), Nepal and Bhutan.The name has been coined from the words 'Su','Him'i.e. beautiful home.Though it should be better named by abode of nature.The snow covered mountains & lush green valleys not only invigorates one's soul,it also leaves the spectators bewildered by the extravaganza of its natural beauty. Nearly 40% of the total area is forested.

Crows Lake in North Sikkim



Gangtok ropeway
  • Dzongu - In North Sikkim, region reserved for the Lepcha People.
  • Gangtok – the district in the east and the capital of Sikkim.
  • Geyzing – the district in West Sikkim
  • Mangan – the district in North Sikkim
  • Namchi – the district in South Sikkim
  • Pelling- the district in West Sikkim
  • Ravangla-the district in South Sikkim
  • Yuksom-the district in West Sikkim


The state official language of Sikkim is Nepali, which is also the primary language of most locals. Many other languages such as Dzongkha and Tibetan are also spoken by smaller numbers. However, Hindi is also widely spoken as a second language, and all educated people are able to speak English.

Get in[edit]

There are no railway stations in Sikkim. The ways to enter Sikkim from rest of India is by road using bus or jeep from West Bengal, or by flight at Sikkim's only airport at Pakyong. Nearest Railway Station is New Jalpaiguri (West Bengal). One can reach Gangtok capital of Sikkim from New Jalpaiguri in 04 hours by taking a shared taxi or Individual Taxi.

Entry permits[edit]

As of April 2017, it is still necessary to obtain a Restricted Area Permit (also known as Inner Line Permit) for foreigners to travel in Sikkim. The permit is a piece of paper containing your passport data and dates you are permitted to travel (typically, 15 days). When entering and exiting Sikkim, your passport will be stamped much in the same manner as when crossing state borders. Obtaining a permit is a pure bureaucratic formality and usually takes a few minutes. You will need to fill in an application form and provide a few passport photos (1 and 2 have been reported).

The permit can be obtained when crossing the Sikkim state border by road in Rangpo or Melli. It is also available from Sikkim permit desk in Darjeeling located at the District Magistrate office after first securing the stamped application form from the Foreigner Registration (FRO) office next to the clock tower, and from Sikkim Tourism Center in Siliguri located at the S.N.T. bus stand (the place from which government buses depart for Sikkim, S.N.T. means "Sikkim Nationalized Transport") in the vicinity of Siliguri Junction railway station (different from New Jalpaiguri station, and can be reached from there by taxi/public shared taxi), the area is known as Pradhan Nagar. The web-site of Ministry of Home affairs states that permits can also be obtained at large international airports (Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata), but locating the relevant facilities proved difficult due to incompetence of the personnel. Permits can also be applied for at the time of Indian visa application, or at 14 Panchsheel Marg, New Delhi 110021 (011 26115346) and 4/1 Middleton Street, Kolkata 700071 (033 22817905)

For rented bikes, you need to get permits for your vehicles and the driver/co-drivers from the Secretariat office in Gangtok. This office opens at 10 AM and closes by 4 PM. It takes around 3-5 hours to issue the permits from the time of application. You need to submit the bike rental agreement on a stamp paper along with the RC, insurance, Emission certificates of the vehicle. Plus the Passport size photo, ID & Address proofs of the drivers and pillions. On the application form, you need to mention the number of days of travel and the route that you will be taking. Submit these documents along with the application form that is available from nearby photocopy shops. The office will issue 4 copies of the permit letters. One of them is to be submitted to the Police permit office located near MG Marg. One is for your reference. And the remaining 2 copies are to be submitted at the police check posts at the entry and exit points. Make sure you make 3 photocopies of the permit letters which will be collected at the check posts.

The police permit office near MG Marg open at 5 AM and closes at 8 AM. You need to submit the permit letter along with the documents mentioned in the above paragraph with a passport size photo and application form. Once they issue the permit you are free to go.

So, basically, you will need to spend 2 days in Gangtok for the permits. First get the permits from the Secretariat office and the next day from the Police department.

By Taxi[edit]

To experience the serene beauty of Sikkim, it is suggested to take a taxi. Multiple option of cab are readily available which include vehicles like Tata Sumo, Mahindra Bolero, Toyota Innova are available from both Bagdogra Airport( IXB ) or New Jalpaiguri Junction railway station( NJP ) which is located in Siliguri Town of West Bengal. All the taxi services for Sikkim ply from this town. Not many taxi providers are available in Sikkim who are trustworthy and provide comfortable transportation. Local taxi providers are also an option, however, you need to bargain well with them and judge the right taxi provider to ensure your safety and avoid being cheated by them.

By plane[edit]

The first airport in Sikkim was inaugurated in September 2018. It is situated in Pakyong, around 33 kms from the state capital, Gangtok. The airport is situated at a height of 4500 feet above sea level, which makes it one of the highest airports in the world. SpiceJet announced that they would operate 78 seater Bombardier aircraft to and fro Delhi, Kolkata and Guwahati daily.

By train[edit]

Construction of a 50-km rail link from Sevoke, West Bengal to Rangpo, Sikkim started in 2009, but is not expected to be ready until 2015, and it'll take another few years until it reaches another 40 km to Gangtok.

Meanwhile, the nearest railway stations are Siliguri and New Jalpaiguri. Both of these have a number of trains connecting them to Kolkata. You should be able to get pre-paid taxis to Gangtok outside the railway stations easily.

By bus[edit]

The Sikkim government has fixed rate (and fixed schedule) buses plying between Siliguri and Gangtok.

After 44 years of closure, the Nathu La pass to Tibet, China – a part of the historic Silk Road – opened again in July 2006. There are plans for a Gangtok-Lhasa bus service.

Get around[edit]

Most travel in Sikkim is done by bus or jeep on road. Trekking is also a popular option. It is better to contact a travel agent in NJP or Siliguri who will provide food, lodging, travelling, permits, but beware of the touts roaming in the station or bus stand. They will lead you to a travel agent and will obtain a commission of 15% of your whole travel package. As a result your package rate will be increased. Instead after reaching NJP or Siliguri, try to contact a travel agent by yourself. Many agencies are there and the hospitality is quite the same. Don't forget to bargain. The travel agent at first demands a very high price. If you are not satisfied with his package, don´t hesitate to step out and look for another agent.It is always advisable to contact tour operators who are registered with the Department of Tourism, Government of Sikkim and members of Travel Agents Association of Sikkim (TAAS). An economic package including Lachen, Lachung, Yamthang, Nathula, Baba Mandir, Tsomgo Lake, Gangtok local site seeing will cost around 3000 rupees.

See[edit][add listing]

  • Rumtek Monastery [1] – 24 km from Gangtok in East Sikkim – the main seat of the Karma Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism in Sikkim. Originally built by the 9th Karmapa Wangchuk Dorje in 1740, but fell into disrepair. The current structure dates from 1959.
  • Tsongmo Lake – 40 km from Gangtok in East Sikkim on Nathula route – Tsongmo Lake (also called Changu Lake or Tsomgo Lake) is a large lake in the East Sikkim district of India. It is oval-shaped, with a length of about one kilometre and has an average depth of fifteen metres. It is also a home of Brahminy Ducks besides being a stopover for various migratory birds. Etymologically "Tso" means lake and "Mgo" means head, thus literally meaning "source of the lake" in the Bhutia language. Tsongmo lake is considered sacred by the local Buddhist and Hindu population. The lake remains hidden in the rich forest cover. It is believed that the birds do not permit even a single leaf to float on the lake surface. There is a motorable road from Pemayangtse right up to the lake area. It falls in the restricted area and hence an inner line permit is required by Indians to visit this place. Foreign nationals are not permitted to visit this lake without special permission. A little distance from the lake is a beautiful natural three-storied cave, the Tseten Tashi Cave is a worth to visit.
  • Nathu la pass - The Nathu la pass lies on the Indo-Chinese border and is only open for Indian tourists. People who wish to visit Nathu la should get special permission one day in advance. Closed on Monday & Tuesday. It closes in the winter and opens in May.
  • Baba mandir - 8 km from Nathu la pass is the original Harbajan Singh Baba Temple from which the Indo-Bhutan border is approximately 6 km and the India-China border is around 5 km.
  • Kabi Lungstok - Kabi Lungtsok is a historic place, located on North Sikkim Highway, 17 km away from Gangtok. This is the where a treaty between Lepcha Chief Te-Kung-Tek and the Bhutia Chief Khey-Bum-Sar was signed.
  • Chungthang - Chungthang is in the northern part of Sikkim. It is located at the confluence of Lachen and Lachung Chu and is the starting point of the river Teesta. It is claimed that Chungthang was blessed by a guru called Rimpoche.
  • Gurudongmar Lake [2]- Gurudongmar lake is at an altitude of 5,150 metres. The lake is pristine and is considered sacred. The lake is frozen during in the winter, except for a small part which is considered to be touched by Guru Padmasambhava. Visits to the lake are allowed after obtaining a permit from the government. Foreign nationals are not allowed to go there. The whole area is controlled by the army, due to its proximity to China. The air pressure is only 55 % compared to sea level, making altitude sickness a certain outcome for any longer stay without lengthy acclimatization. For day trip visitors a night halt at Lachen is advised for minimal altitude acclimatization. It is advisable not to run or speak loudly. Just sit by the lake enjoying its beauty and the surrounding mountains. Tourists are generally asked to leave the place by 13:00-14:00, after which the wind speeds pick up and are enough to carry small stones.
  • Dzongri trek: Dzongri trek is possible in the west part of the Sikkim. It is suitable for those who wish to go for a short and easy trek. This trek provides a beautiful view of a unique landscape.
  • Yumthang Valley A visit to Yumthang Valleys it truly a colourful affair. Located at an elevation of 3,500m, this scenic valley is the home to several exotic, rare and wildflowers.
  • Do Drul Chorten Dro-dul Chorten is a stupa in Gangtok in the Indian state of Sikkim. The stupa was built by Trulshik Rinpoche, head of the Nyingma order of Tibetan Buddhism in 1945. Inside this stupa, a complete set of Dorjee Phurba, Kangyur and other religious objects.
  • Khangchendzonga Tourist Villa Spread over 16 acre and carved out of seven hill terraces, KTC Ranka is also home to an amusement park that has become the fancy of both locals and cross-border tourists. With a simulator, a laser show-cum-musical fountain, a water chute and many such heady rides, the park is the cynosure of all eyes. Timings: 0930 hours to 1900 hours.
  • Lingdum Monastery Lingdum Monastery (also Ranka Lingdum or Pal Zurmang Kagyud Monastery) is a Buddhist monastery near Ranka in Sikkim, North East India, about an hour's drive from Gangtok.
  • Enchey Monastery It was established in 1909 above Gangtok.It belongs to the Nyingma order of Vajrayana Buddhism. The monastery built around the then small hamlet of Gangtok became a religious center.According to a legend, Guru Padmasambhava had subdued the spirits of the Khangchendzonga, Yabdean and Mahākāla here. In view of this legend, the religious significance of Enchey Monastery is deeply ingrained in every household in Gangtok. It is also believed that these powerful deities always fulfill the wishes of the devotees.
  • Goecha La Trek It is the most popular trek to the foot of Mount Kanchenjunga the 3rd highest peak in the world. While the route falls completely within the boundaries of the Kanchenjunga national park. So the forest you will experience here is denser and greener than what you will get to see on most other routes. There is a lot of scopes to see different species of flora and fauna. Particularly the region is known for the Himalayan Black Bear, the Blue sheep, Thar, Snow Leopard, Foxes, Red Panda apart from several bird species including a few critically endangered ones like the Blood Pheasant. The region has a very high density of rhododendrons. Likewise pink, white, red and yellow rhododendrons abound in the region. It is one of the challenging but most exciting and fulfilling trekking trails in Sikkim.

Do[edit][add listing]

There are many adventure activities possible to do in Sikkim. Tourists can go for Trekking, Rafting and Kayaking, Mountain Biking, Mountaineering, Yak Safari and much more

Eat[edit][add listing]

Plateful of Momo

You must eat delicious momo stuffed with meat (also known as 'Dumpling'). For vegetarians, veg momo is also available along with Thukpas (noodle soup). Phagshapa is a strip of pork fat stewed with radishes and dried chillies.

Drink[edit][add listing]

  • Chhang/ Thumba/ Chee - Locally brewed millet beer, sometimes served in bamboo glass with a wooden straw. A must try. Available almost everywhere in Sikkim.
  • HIT Beer - This local favorite is manufactured by a brewery owned by the Bollywood Actor Danny Denzongpa. This brand is available almost everywhere in Sikkim.
  • Liquor - Liquor like whiskey, brandy, rum etc is very cheap in Sikkim as compared to other parts of India.

Get out[edit]

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