If you’re looking to fly to Gangtok, your best option is to land at the Bagdogra Airport in Siliguri, West Bengal. From there, it’s about a 125 km journey by road, that takes about four hours to complete. The airport itself is connected to all prime cities like Mumbai, New Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai, Guwahati and Kolkata, with flights services by top domestic airlines like Air India, GoAir, IndiGo, Spice Jet and Vistara. Taxis and private vehicles are available for hire right outside the terminal.
If you’ve always wanted to ride in a helicopter, you can pre book a ticket for the 30 minute air adventure that’s run by the Sikkim Tourism Development Corporation out of Bagdogra Airport.
Recently, the Pakyong Airport was built in the town located about 31 km from Gangtok, offering flights from Kolkata. This dramatic and scenic flight isn’t functional throughout the year because of climatic conditions, so do check for availability around the time of your visit.
The nearest railway station to Gangtok is New Jalpaiguri, once again situated in the neighbouring state of West Bengal. Even though the station is 117 km away, it is a fairly popular way to get to Gangtok since it is very well connected to the rest of the country, not just Kolkata and New Delhi. Trains from Chennai, Bengaluru, Mumbai, Kochi and more, all have routes ending here. Some of the prominent trains run on this line include Brahmaputra Mail, Udaipur City-New Jalpaiguri Weekly Express, North East Express and Sikkim Mahananda Express.
Once you alight, there are taxis waiting right outside the station that can be hired for the remainder of the journey to Gangtok. Be sure to set a price with the driver before you start moving.
There is no sea route to Gangtok.
A great way to get to Gangtok is by road, as it offers not just a smooth and comfortable journey, but some of the most beautiful panoramas and views along the way. Whether you drive down from Bagdogra, New Jalpaiguri or some other nearby city, you’ll eventually have to reach the Sevoke Road that leads on to NH10. From here, your path follows alongside the picturesque Teesta River going all the way to the its confluence with the Rangeet River and the town of Rangpo — at the border of West Bengal and Sikkim. Once you cross state lines, it is only another 40 km to Gangtok but be prepared for the climb in altitude. It’s a similar route if you’re taking the road from Darjeeling, which eventually brings you to NH10 and the rest.
Road journeys to Gangtok can be made with private taxis available outside the airport or train station. It is advisable to get a taxi that’s Sikkim registered so it can take you all the way to your hotel. West Bengal taxis must stop at Deorali stand from where one has to switch to a local cab. Do note that return fares can be more expensive as many times the cabs travel back empty.
Private Taxi Fares (Subject to change)
|Bagdogra to Gangtok||INR 3000 - INR 3500|
|New Jalpaiguri to Gangtok||INR 2700 - INR 3200|
|Darjeeling to Gangtok||INR 2700 - INR 3000|
|Kalimpong to Gangtok||INR 2500 - INR 2900|
|Pakyong Airport to Gangtok||INR 1200 - INR 1500|
A cheaper alternative is taking a shared taxi, offering rides on a per seat basis. They cost anywhere between INR 170 - INR 220 for a person, depending on the route.
Buses are another means of reaching Gangtok by road, with the Sikkim Nationalised Transport (SNT) operating services between the city and Siliguri. These daily buses run every hour between 8 am to 3 pm. Additionally, privately run buses are available from 2 pm onwards. There are also buses from Kalimpong and most recently, Kolkata.
One of the great ways to get around Gangtok is on foot, as it is one of the cleanest and most welcoming cities in India. Whether it’s the markets, cafés or parks, you can easily get from one to the other by walking — especially across MG Street which allows no vehicles. Other exploring on foot is done by taking on treks and hikes, of which there are plenty around the city and region.
To go sightseeing in and around Gangtok, the best option is to hire a taxi or jeep that can be private or shared. There are multiple taxi stands across the town, including Deorali Taxi Stand and Vajra Taxi Stand. Here you can negotiate a fare for your intended excursion and go in comfort. Private tour operators can help arrange for personalised vehicles.
The Deorali Bus Stand also offers SNT serviced routes to certain nearby villages and towns.