About Sikkim

Located in the Himalayan Mountains Sikkim is the a landlocked state of India sharing its borders with Nepal in the west, China's Tibet Autonomous Region in the north and east, and Bhutan in the southeast, while the state of West Bengal in the south. With around 607,000 inhabitants as of 2011, Sikkim is the least populous state in India and the second-smallest state after Goa in total area, covering approximately 7,096 km2 (2,740 sq mi). Sikkim is nonetheless geographically diverse due to its location in the Himalayas; the climate ranges from subtropical to high alpine, and Kangchenjunga, the world's third-highest peak, is located on Sikkim's border with Nepal. Sikkim is a popular tourist destination, owing to its culture, scenery and biodiversity. It also has the only open land border between India and China. Sikkim's capital and largest city is Gangtok. According to legend, the Buddhist saint Guru Rinpoche visited Sikkim in the 9th century AD, introduced Buddhism and foretold the era of the monarchy. Sikkim's Namgyal dynasty was established in 1642. Over the next 150 years, the kingdom witnessed frequent raids and territorial losses to Nepalese invaders. It allied itself with the British rulers of India, but was soon annexed by them. Later, Sikkim became a British protectorate, before merging with India following a referendum in 1975.

VISA AND PERMITS : In addition to an Indian visa, foreigners must obtain Sikkim inner line permit (ILP) to visit Sikkim, the permits can be obtained from all Indian missions, Tourism Office, New Delhi, Sikkim Tourism office, Calcutta and Sikkim Tourism Office, Siliguri on the strength of an Indian Visa.

Foreigners are first issued a permit for initial period of 15 days duration on the spot without any delay provided photocopies of Passport and Visa details along with two passport photos of applicants are made available then and there. It can be extended for further 30 days of 15 days each. The extension of permits can be obtained from FRO at Gangtok, Superintendent of Police of North, South and West Districts.

If you are visiting the interior or restricted regions of sikkim, you also require a Restricted Area Permit (RAP) OR Protected Area Permit(PAP) which is obtainable in Gangtok from the Police Check Post and Department of Tourism. It is most if you are planning or thinking of going for a high altitude trekking and expedition in sikkim. NOTE# This permit is issued to LOCAL GOVT. REGISTERED TRAVEL AGENTS ONLY. Mounatin Tours, Treks & Travels, will handle all the official formalities for you.ACCESS

Almost All the modes of transportations are available to visit Sikkim. This Paradise on Earth is well connected by airways, railways and roadways. In spite of being a hilly state, transportation of Sikkim is comfortable and more frequent to enjoy the ride on the world’s most beautiful valley.

AIRWAYS:

The airport located nearest to Sikkim is Bagdogra Airport of West Bengal which is only 124 Kms away from Gangtok. India’s national carrier, Indian Airlines including almost all other domestic airlines such as Jet Airlines, Air Deccan run regular flights from the important cities of India such as Kolkata, Delhi etc. Bagdogra is also connected with Gangtok by daily helicopter service operated by Sikkim Tourism development Corporation and it will take only 20 minutes to reach Gangtok from Bagdogra. This helicopter service is subjected to the weather conditions.

RAILWAYS

New Jalpaiguri and Siliguri are the two rail stations nearest to Sikkim located in West Bengal. NJP is 125 Kms and Siliguri is 114 Kms from Gangtok and is well connected to all the major cities of India.

ROADWAYS

The lifeline of Sikkim, National Highway 31A connects gangtok and other parts of sikkim with Siliguri and this picturesque highway runs through the lush green forests along the bank of river Teesta on one side and sky touching mountain ranges of Eastern Himalaya on other side. This unique ride of almost two hours to gangtok will gives you the opportunity to enjoy the valley carpeted with numerous wild flowers. Regular bus service operated by S.N.T. and adequate number of private buses, jeeps and taxies are available from morning to evening at reasonable rate and you can have a very comfortable journey. From Siliguri you can catch jeeps and taxies to reach almost all the important tourist destinations located in both South and West Sikkim. You can also hire taxies and jeeps to travel to your destination of choice at reasonable rate. Most of the reputed destinations of siikim are interlinked by motor able all seasons roads.

SIKKIM SPECIAL HELICOPTER SERVICE

For the more discerning travelers, Sikkim is proud to present the Sikkim Helicopter Service from Gangtok to Bagdogra Airport and back. The five-seater Helicopter offers an exclusive mode of transport not merely enabling connecting flights, but also to see Sikkim from an entirely new view.

Sikkim Helicopter Service also conducts, besides the regular runs to Bagdogra Airport and back, special mountain flights. To see the majesty of the Himalayan peaks from close up like never before, Feast your eyes on the grandeur and the sheer size of the great Mount Khanchendzonga, the third highest peak in the world, or check out the symmetrical beauty of Mount Siniolchu, considered by many as the most beautiful peak in the entire Himalayan range, or fly over Gangtok and get a comprehensive view of the layout of the town with its winding roads and many alleys.

Special flights are also conducted over West Sikkim and North Sikkim for a bird's eye-view of the monasteries and the exotic Valley of Flowers, Yumthang.

All passengers on these sight-seeing flights are awarded official Certificates of Participation by the Sikkim Tourism Development Corporation (STDC) as Souvenirs.

BEST SEASON TO VISIT FOR TOURS,TREKS & LEISURE HOLIDAYS IN AND AROUND SIKKIM & DARJEELING:

March to June and September to December

ADVENTURE SPORTS :

Trekking, mountaineering, hiking, rafting , Paragliding and Traditional and typical home stay.

ACCOMMODATION :

There are modern hotels and restaurants in all parts of sikkim. Comfortable resort lodges are also available. Beautiful Home Stays are also available in most of the Villlages which are famous for Low Altitude Hiking. In some of the remote areas you need to have a cash for all sorts of paying and buying. Only in town areas one has access to credit card, Debit card & other source of modern payment facilities.

TRANSPORTATION :

All sorts of Vehicles are available in and around sikkim, however the cheapest mode of transportation is by Bus. luxury as well as normal taxis are available 24/7 both on private and sharing basis in almost all parts of sikkim. Sikkim helicopter service also operates sight-seeing flights to different points in Sikkim.

Most of the beautiful tourist destination in Sikkim falls in high altitude areas. Bring in warm clothes.

Do not bring large number of luggages.

If you are visiting for trekking purposes, warm down jacket, good hiking shoes, pairs of warm shocks, woolen cap, sun glasses, walking pole, water bottle, down feather sleeping bag, rain gears are some of the items one should bring.

Bring along copies of passport size photos, copies of passport. Domestic must carry one of the photo identity documents: voter ID/Passport/Government issued photo identity proof/driving licence/school identity card.

Hotels provide room heater at an extra cost.

Numerous ATMS are available in Gangtok, Darjeeling, Kalimpong. But Yuksom, Lachung, Lachen, Uttarey do not have ATM Machines.

Exchange of currencies can be done in banks or private money exchanger.

Most home stays are located in rural areas, sleep timing is early.

Specially in Sikkim, government run health centers are available throughout the state.

Rangpo and Melli are two entry and exit points for the foreigners.

Gurudogmar Lake, Babamandir and Nathula are not opened for foreigners.

Nathula is opened on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sundays in a week. Permit is issued through registered travel agents of Sikkim.

Smoking is not allowed in all public places in Sikkim.

Most monasteries in Sikkim do not permit photography.

Always remove your shoes while entering religious places.

Do not photograph army installation.

Restaurant in Gangtok serves all types of cuisine. Indian, Chinese, Continental, Local.

Most of the offbeat destination has family home stays for accommodation.

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