Budget Trips & Treks Sikkim Travel Hacks

Things to know before planning Sikkim Trip

Planning Sikkim Trip justwravel
Written by Just Wravel

Trip Planning is one of the most interesting thing that one does, it is the first step towards Happiness. Whenever we are planning trips there are alot of questions that pops in our mind relating to the destination for which we are planning for. Depending upon the answers we get is where our decision revolves!

‘Happiness is researching places for your upcoming holiday’

Here the place which will be talked about is Sikkim. In this, you will get to know all the relevant information that is required before you pack your bags for Sikkim Trip. The first five information will be relating to 4A’s of Sikkim Tourism then some specific information about the Permits. 

Sikkim being one of the most beautiful place in North-eastern part of India witnessed approx 14 lacs tourists in the year 2017. The picturesque landscape in every corner of Sikkim is what makes it different from others. The unique festival, the adventure activities and the peaceful monasteries will let you get soaked in the vibes. 

Let us see the things to know before planning your Sikkim Road Trip. But before starting with major ones, first, let’s get into some basic information About Sikkim

About Sikkim-
  • Location- North-Eastern Part of India
  • Capital- Gangtok 
  • Largest City- Gangtok 
  • Major Cities- Gangtok, Namchi, Jorethang, Rangpo. 

Borders- The Tibet Autonomous Region of China to the north and northeast, by Bhutan to the southeast, by the Indian state of West Bengal to the south, and by Nepal to the west.

Literacy Rate- 81.42% 

Religion- Hinduism and Buddhism 

Flora and Fauna- 5000 species of flora and 1500 fauna species 

Major Tribes- Lepchas, Bhutias and Nepalese

1- Accommodation-

The first and the foremost thing that is being talked about is Where will you make your stay once you arrive? Some demand Luxury where some demands Budgeted, Well Sikkim serves both types of tourists. Sikkim is not so developed in some areas like Nathang and Zuluk you are required to take Homestay. Whereas places like Gangtok, Lachen, Lachung, Namchi, Pelling you can expect Luxury stays. 

List of top 5 luxury stays in Sikkim:
  1. The Elgin Nor-Khill – A Heritage Hotel & Spa- Gangtok
  2. Mayfair Spa Resort & Casino- Gangtok
  3. Summit Sobralia Resort & Spa- Namchi
  4. Norbu Ghang Retreat and Spa- Pelling
  5. The Elgin Mount Pandim – A Heritage Resort & Spa- Pelling
List of top five (budgeted) Homestays in Sikkim:
  1. Kashyap Kunj Homestay- Gangtok
  2. Gohills Gangtok Homestay
  3. Limboo Homestay- Yuksom 
  4. Pakyong Homestay
  5. The Himalayan View Homestay- Ravangla, West Sikkim
2- Accessibility-

The second thing that is important to know for your Sikkim Trip is How do you get there? Along with it, How to get around the city (inter-intra)? Some of the cities are very well connected with other corners whereas some are not due to the remoteness of that place.  Majorly all the tourists hot-spots are well connected with the main center i.e Gangtok. 

It is advisable to book your transfer with the travel company, pre in advance to save on money.

So let’s know all the things about accessibility, before planning the Sikkim Trip. 

First lets see How to reach Sikkim:

  1. Air- Bagdogra Airport, Siliguri (15 kms)
  2. Train- New Jalpaiguri (NJP) 7 kms from Siliguri
  3. Road- Siliguri Corridor, connect with part of India

How to get around in Sikkim? 

There are three ways to get around in Sikkim-

  1. Get around in your own car
  2. Book a Private Transfer (Cab/Taxi) 
  3. Hop on Bus, Public Transport

Companies/ Operators for booking Cabs/Taxis in Sikkim

  • Sikkim Taxis (www.sikkimtaxis.com)
  • Book My Cab
  • Cab In Sikkim 
  • Taxi In Sikkim 
  • Sikkim Darjeeling Taxis 
  • FabCab 

Points to remember –

-You cannot rent a car and drive yourself in Sikkim

-There is no Ola and Uber in Sikkim

3- Attractions-

Here attractions means the sightseeing that you will cover while on a trip. Attractions, is the heart of every Destination. It could be in the form of historical, cultural, spiritual or natural. Every destination has  many attractions So, it is important to filter the ones which has to be mandatorily covered on your trip. 

Attractions in Sikkim that can’t be left:
  1. Rumtek monastery
  2. Nathula Pass
  3. Tsomgo Lake 
  4. Phodong monastery
  5. Pelling 
  6. Lachen and Lachung
  7. Ravangla 
  8. Namchi
  9. Do-Drul Chorten(Stupa)
  10. Zuluk 
  11. Yumthang Valley of flower 
  12. Gurudongmar Lake
  13. Teesta River for Rafting
  14. Kanchenjunga Base Camp for Trek
  15. Singalila National Park

Places out of the above mentioned which require permissions-

  • Tsomgo Lake 
  • Nathu La
  • Singalila (If you want to trek) 
  • Yumthang
  • Gurudongmar Lake

Places which does not require permission,out of the above mentioned-

  • Namchi
  • Ravangla

So these are the information about attractions that you need to know before you plan for the Sikkim Trip. To get more details about attractions/must visit places in Sikkim refer to this blog- (link mention) 

4- Activities-

Activities on Destinations is like Cherry on the Cake. Gone are the days when tourists used to visit a place, see and then come back. Today’s tourists want to indulge in activities be it local or adventurous to have the better experience. Keeping this in mind, Now Tour operators draft an itinerary which includes activities at major sights. For example if a person is visiting Gangtok he/she is offered or advised to take up the Cable Car ride. 

Let’s see the things that you need to know about the activities offered in Sikkim:

First lets see what all adventure activities are offered by Sikkim- 
  1. River Rafting 
  2. Trekking 
  3. Mountaineering 
  4. Hiking
  5. Paragliding 
  6. Hand gliding
  7. Mountain Biking 
  8. Bungee Jumping 
  9. Caving
  10. Yak Safari 
  11. Cable Car Ride

To get the detailed information about Adventure activities refer to this blog (mention) 

Which of the above Adventure activities require permissions-

  • Trekking – If your trail lies in either the Protected Area or Restricted area, you require a permit. For example – Goechala Trek,  Singalila Trek, Kanchenjunga base camp trek. For more information you can visit the official website of Sikkim Tourism Board. 
  • Mountaineering – Expedition require prior permit from the State Tourism Governing body. 
  • Hang gliding- Requires permissions if the Area falls under Protected or Restricted category. Since Yumthang  Valley is a known spot for Hang gliding, there it requires permissions.

Some of the other activities in which you can indulge yourself is the Festivals of Sikkim-

  1. Losar- Is the Tibetan New Year which falls in the month of February
  1. Saga Dawa- Is a month for the Sikkimese Buddhists. Celebrated on April 15 of Tibetan calendar.
  1. Pang-Lhabsol- This festival is celebrated to give respect to Mt.  Kanchenjunga, they believe it as ‘the guardian deity of Sikkim’. Celebrated on 15th day of the 7th month of the Tibetan calendar.
  1. Drukpa Tsheshi– Is celebrated on the 4th day of the 6th month of the Tibetan Calendar. According to the English Calendar, it falls somewhere around July or August each year.
  1. Deepawali (Laxmi Puja)– It corresponds to the festival of Diwali, the festival of lights. 
5- Permits-

Sikkim being surrounded by three International borders calls for Permits. There are two types of permits-

  1. Restricted Area Permit – Popularly known as Inner Line Permit, is mandatorily required by the foreign nationals. 
  2. Protected Area Permit- Some areas of Sikkim being close to international borders requires permits for both indian and foreign citizens to visit close by attractions.

Where you can get Inner Line Permit

This can be obtained  from all Indian Mission,  Sikkim Tourism Board Office at:

  1. New Delhi
  2. Kolkata
  3. Siliguri
  4. Rangpo Check Post
  5. Melli Check Post
  6. Pakyong Airport
  7. Bagdogra Airport 
  8. Darjeeling 

Where can you get Protected Area Permit-

The Sikkim Tourism and Civil Aviation issues PAP at Gangtok.

You can opt to directly go to their Tour Operators to arrange with PAP for you. Make sure they are registered one’s.

Areas which are protected-

  1. Tsomgo Lake
  2. Nathu La 
  3. Baba mandir
  4. Dzongri Trek
  5. Goechala Trek 
  6. Singalila Trek 
  7. Gurudongmar Lake
  8. Yumthang valley 
  9. Chopta Valley

Documents required for Permits-

  • Two passport size photo
  • Photo Id proof, it could be Passport, Voter ID card, Driving License etc

Aadhar Card and PAN Card are not accepted as ID proof

Point to note- Nationals of Pakistan, China and Myanmar need to get prior approval from the Ministry of Home Affairs,Govt of India in New Delhi before applying for ILP. 

Sikkim is one of the most beautiful states of India, Since now you’ve read all the things that require to be known before planning the Sikkim Trip, make sure to add this destination in your bucket list.

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