Sikkim Travel FAQ and Do’s & Don’ts
Sikkim is one of the most beautiful destinations to travel to in India. Sikkim is located in the north eastern part of India. Sikkim shares its border with Bhutan, Tibet, Nepal, and the Indian state West Bengal. Sikkim is full of natural beauty to explore. Visiting Sikkim is totally a different experience than any other part of India. Sikkim has a very diverse culture. Sikkim is the only 100% organic state of India. Sikkim is full of flora and fauna. If you plan for a Sikkim trip, these Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) will definitely help you for a smoother travel experience.
How to reach Sikkim?
There are several modes of transportation to reach Sikkim i.e. Flight, Train, or Bus. Almost every trip to Sikkim starts from Gangtok which is the Capital City of Sikkim as well.
Reach Sikkim by Flight
The nearest major airport to Gangtok is Bagdogra Airport (IXB) also known as Siliguri Airport. Distance from Bagdogra Airport to Gangtok is approx 120 KM which will take roughly 4-5 hours of road journey. Sikkim has its own airport as well which is only 30 KM away from Gangtok. This airport’s name is Pakyong Airport located in Pakyong Town but this airport has very little connectivity of flights with major cities like Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Bangalore etc.
Reach Sikkim by Train or Bus
If you are planning to come by train then you can book your tickets to New Jalpaiguri Junction (NJP) or Siliguri Junction (SGUJ). NJP to Gangtok is around 118 KM while from Siliguri Junction it will be around 112 KM away. You can reach Siliguri by bus as well which is well connected to nearby cities like Kolkata.
Is there any permit required to visit Sikkim for Indian Tourists?
No! You can enter and visit Sikkim without any permit. However, you need to get a permit to visit specific places which are near the border area. You are required to get a permit to visit Nathula Pass, Changu Lake & Baba Mandir in the Eastern Part of Sikkim and North Sikkim (Lachen & Lachung) which will be arranged by authorized tour operator only. There is no permit required to visit Gangtok, West Sikkim (Pelling) & South Sikkim (Namchi, Ravangla, Buddha Park, etc).
What is special about Sikkim?
Sikkim is a paradise for every nature lover and it is a lifetime experience for everyone. Sikkim is in the lap of the Himalayas and has many beautiful Waterfalls, sky-piercing Himalayas, Lakes, Rivers. Sikkim is known for its biodiversity and it is the only 100% organic state of India. You can experience the Kangchenjunga, the highest peak in India and the third highest on Earth.
What is the best time to visit Sikkim?
Sikkim is one of that destination where you can visit at any time of the year though we don’t advise you to travel Sikkim in the monsoon season of the year i.e. July and August. Sikkim has its own charm in every period of the year. If you want to experience the snowfall then you should plan between January to March. If you want a clear sunny sky and mountain range view then you can plan for April to June and September to December.
Is Sikkim safe for couples?
Yes, Sikkim is one the safest places to travel in India, you can plan a trip without any worries.
What is famous in Sikkim for shopping?
We know shopping on a trip is a great joy and must-do for most travellers. If you are a shopping freak then you should definitely explore MG Marg of Gangtok. Lal Bazar and New Market are also some markets where you can buy cool stuff at a very good price. These markets are just a few steps away from MG Marg.
Souvenirs, Prayer Flags, Prayer Wheels, Fridge Magnets, Handicrafts are a few of those things which people buy most. Handmade pickles are also a good buy as Sikkim has 100% organic farming. If you want something traditional then you may consider buying traditional Sikkimese dresses, traditional teacups, tea packets from the Temi tea garden, singing bowls, and traditional jewellery.
How much does a trip to Sikkim cost?
The cost for a comfortable 8-day budget Sikkim trip for 2 people will be approx 30,000 per head. However, this cost totally depends upon the property you are staying in, places you are visiting, the vehicle used in traveling. You can check out some affordable Sikkim packages offered by TripHawker here.
Which part of Sikkim is most beautiful?
When you are planning a Sikkim trip, you should definitely visit Nathula Pass, Changu Lake, and North Sikkim (Lachen & Lachung). Gurudongmar Lake and Yumthang Valley located in North Sikkim are one of the best places to visit in Sikkim.
Does Sikkim have snow?
Yes! You can experience snow in Sikkim during winters. December to February is the best time to visit Sikkim to experience snow.
How can I plan a trip to Sikkim?
In most cases, you have to start your Sikkim trip from Bagdogra Airport (IXB) or New Jalpaiguri Junction (NJP). Your first destination will be Gangtok which is 120 KM from Siliguri. If you have 8 to 9 days for your trip then you may include Gangtok, Lachen, Lachung & Pelling in your itinerary. You need to get inner line permits to visit specific places in Sikkim. For more assistance in planning your Sikkim trip, feel free to contact us.
Is a passport required for Sikkim?
Passport is not compulsory for Indian Nationals to visit Sikkim. You can present a Voter card or driving license to get a permit.
How many days are enough to visit Sikkim?
Sikkim is divided into 4 districts i.e. East Sikkim, West Sikkim, North Sikkim and South Sikkim. We would suggest 7 nights and 8 days itinerary to visit the most beautiful places in Sikkim. You can visit Gangtok, Tsomgo Lake (Changu Lake), Baba Mandir, Nathula Pass, Lachen, Lachung, Gurudongmar Lake, Yumthang Valley and Pelling in this itinerary.
Is Nathula Pass open now?
Nathula Pass is a mountain pass that connects Sikkim with Tibet. Nathula Pass remains closed on Monday and Tuesday. However, it often gets closed due to security issues, Indo-China tension and landslides. You should always check for the latest information before planning to visit Nathula Pass. You need a permit to visit Nathula Pass.
How many tourist places are there in Sikkim?
Sikkim is a great tourist destination and has many beautiful and mesmerizing places to visit. Major tourist destinations are Gangtok, Changu Lake, Baba Mandir, Nathula Pass, Lachen, Lachung, Pelling, Namchi and Ravangla.
Is Sikkim good for Honeymoon?
Yes, Sikkim is a beautiful honeymoon destination with a lot of romantic places to visit. Sikkim has beautiful waterfalls, lakes, tea gardens and joy rides. Sikkim has various good hotels for Honeymoon couples.
Which food is famous in Sikkim?
Sikkim has a vast variety of dishes and it has a mix of the cultures of India, Tibet, Nepal and Bhutan. Some of the popular dishes of Sikkim are Sel Roti, Momos, Chhurpi Soup, Bamboo Shoot Curry, Gundruk etc.
Is smoking allowed in Sikkim?
Smoking in public areas is not allowed in Sikkim. If caught smoking in a public place then you will be fined. However, you can smoke in private places.
Is alcohol allowed in Sikkim?
This would surely be very good news for alcohol lovers. Alcohol is allowed in Sikkim in fact Sikkim is known for producing a wide variety of liquors.
Is alcohol cheap in Sikkim?
Yes, Alcohol is cheaper in Sikkim than in other parts of India because of less custom duty on liquor.
Is Sikkim safe for solo travellers?
Yes, Sikkim is one of the safest places to visit for Solo travellers. However, travelling solo could cost a little high due to less bus connectivity and for some of the places, no sharing taxi are available. Also, there is not much hostel culture in Sikkim, most of the places have hotels only so single occupancy rooms can rocket high your trip budget. It is better to travel in a group to reduce the cost of travelling and accommodation. You can check out our Sikkim Group Trips where you can join as a solo traveller.
What documents will be required to get a permit to travel to Sikkim for Indian Tourists?
- For tourists above 18 years of age either a Passport with a minimum of 6 months of validity or a Voter ID card or Driving License is required.
- For tourists below 18 years, a Passport or a birth certificate along with a school/college ID would be valid for a permit.
- You must carry at least 5 passport sized photographs with a plain background for each traveller.
- Note: Aadhaar card is not valid for a travel permit to visit Sikkim.
Is a Travel Card mandatory for Sikkim?
Yes, a Travel Card is mandatory for every traveller to enter Sikkim.
How can I get a Sikkim Travel Card?
You can obtain a Sikkim Travel Card from the Tourism and Civil Aviation Department, Govt. of Sikkim. Click here to apply for the Sikkim Travel Card.
You need to upload scanned copies of passport-sized photograph and 1 ID Proof (Passport or Voter Card or Driving License). Sikkim Travel Card will be issued instantaneously after completing the procedure online.
What is the cost of the Sikkim Travel Card?
Sikkim Travel Card can be obtained for free of cost.
Is a permit required to visit North Sikkim?
Yes, you have to get a permit to visit the North Sikkim region i.e. Lachen & Lachung.
Is a permit required to visit Tsomgo Lake?
Yes, you are required to get a permit to visit Tsomgo Lake, also known as Changu Lake.
How can I get a Nathula Pass permit?
You can get the Nathula Pass permit from the Tourism and Civil Aviation Department, Govt. of Sikkim. Your tour operator will arrange the Nathula Pass permit.
How can I get a Nathula Pass permit online?
The online permit facility is not available in Sikkim. Permits can be issued only through the offline procedure.
What languages are spoken in Sikkim?
Sikkim is a multilingual state, where people from many religions and communities live together. Nepali is the most spoken language by locals. However, Hindi & English are also spoken widely in Sikkim. Tibetan, Lepcha & Bhutia are the other languages which are spoken significantly.
What should I pack for the Sikkim trip?
The answer to this totally depends upon the season and places you are visiting. However, here is a list of things you should definitely pack.
- A rucksack bag would be preferred over trolley bags.
- A day backpack
- A backpack rain cover
- A Sun Cap and Winter cap
- 2 Pair of inner thermals
- Down jackets
- 1 Pair of gloves
- Long pants
- A pair of shoes with good grip and enough socks
- A Raincoat or poncho
- A small towel
- Sunscreen lotion
- Toothpaste & toothbrush
- Soap, sanitizer & shampoo
- Lip balm & moisturizer
- Body spray
- Power Bank & Bluetooth Speaker
- A refillable water bottle
What is the altitude of Gurudongmar Lake?
Gurudongmar lake is a holy lake and one of the highest lakes in the world. It is located at an altitude of 17,800 ft (5,430 m) in Northern Sikkim.
What is the altitude of Nathula Pass?
Nathula pass is located at an altitude of 4,310 m (14,140 ft) above sea level in East Sikkim.
What is the altitude of Tsomgo Lake?
Tsomgo lake is also known as Changu Lake, located at an altitude of 12,313 ft (3,753 m) in East Sikkim.
What is the altitude of Yumthang Valley?
Yumthang Valley is located at an elevation of 11,693 ft (3,564 metres) in North Sikkim.
How can I get to zero points from Gangtok?
Zero point is in North Sikkim. You can go to Zero point if you are travelling to Yumthang Valley from Lachung. Zero point is 25KM away from Yumthang Valley which will take around 1.5 hours.
Why is it called Zero Point in Sikkim?
Zero point is very close to the India-China Border. There are no civilian roads beyond this place that is why it is called Zero Point.
Is Travel Insurance mandatory for travelling to Sikkim?
No, Travel Insurance is not mandatory for travelling to Sikkim.
Which network is best in Sikkim?
Get an Airtel or BSNL sim card for North Sikkim (Lachen and Lachung). They are the only service providers that have connectivity in North Sikkim. JIO doesn’t work in North Sikkim. Vodafone also has connectivity but not that great. Other regions of Sikkim like Gangtok, Namchi & Pelling have no connectivity issues and Jio also works well. Check with your service provider for more details. At Nathula Pass & Changu Lake there will be no network connectivity.
Is Jio network available in Sikkim?
Jio works well in Sikkim, you will get 4G internet connectivity and a calling network except in some regions. Jio doesn’t work in North Sikkim (Lachen & Lachung) and Changu Lake & Nathula Pass.
P.S. There is no network connectivity at Changu Lake and Nathula Pass.
- Always ask for permission if you are photographing a person.
- Respect Sikkimese cultures and learn about local customs. Locals are very sensitive, you may don’t want to sound rude.
- Do not take any single-use plastic bottle in North Sikkim. It’s strictly not allowed in the region.
- Do not smoke in public places.
Here we tried to answer all the FAQ that will help you when you will plan to travel to Sikkim. In case you did not find the answer to your query for Sikkim travel please feel free to contact us.