Gangtok Travel guide

powered by WikiTravel

Gangtok is a bustling, friendly hill station, and the capital of the Himalayan state of Sikkim. The name Gangtok is derived from the Tibetan word for 'hillside,' and the city currently has a population of around 80,000 - a mixture of indigenous Sikkimese and people of Nepalese and Tibetan ancestry.


Gangtok is a popular place with tourists heading on treks, though the facilities do not reflect the number of international visitors. However, efforts are being made by the government to improve the conditions. Gangtok could easily be one of the cleanest cities you've ever come across. Highly organised and beautifully maintained, it used to be the Switzerland of the east, now it looks like it was sold to cement and construction companies, alcohol stores are plentiful with plenty of clientele from the locals. Tourists are of paramount importance, hence rules have been laid in order to prevent tourists from being cheated. Cab fares are mostly fixed for such a reason. Gangtok is a really nice place to unwind. There are quite a few places for vegetarians to eat, since it is mostly dominated by Buddhist culture. The city resembles the Bhutanese capital, Thimphu. Devoid of large stores and book shops, this place is a nice break from typical city lives. The city is a fascinating place to spend a few nights, the winding side alleys hide some unexpected gems, and the main street (MG Marg) is pedestrianized and a pleasant place to take a stroll.

The city sleeps by 9pm mostly, except for a few pubs which are open till 11pm.

Beware that Sikkim has banned all forms of tobacco. It is illegal to smoke anywhere in Sikkim or buy/sell cigarettes. Gangtok also has strictly enforced traffic and littering laws among others.

Inner Line Permit Extension - The location of the office that grants Sikkim ILP extensions has changed and most online information is outdated and incorrect, even on official sites. It is now necessary to visit the Foreigners Registration Office (FRO) located behind the large Department of Tourism building in Tadong, 5kms below Gangtok. The easiest way to arrive here is to descend the steps beside the big tourism office at the start of MG Marg, where shared taxis leave going down the mountain. Ask for M.P. Golai, Tadong, ride is 20rps. Extension is easy, once you find the office. FRO officials can extend Sikkim ILP up to 60 days total stay, though they may or may not grant the maximum in one extension.

Get In

By plane

The nearest airport is at Bagdogra (IXB)situated about 40 mins drive to Siliguri.Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport, Guwahati is a much better connected airport but it's 550KM from Gangtok. If you are flying to Guwahati you have to take a overnite train to reach New Jalpaiguri and from there you can hire taxis for Gangtok

From Bagdogra Airport vehicles/taxis can be hired from the pre-paid taxi counter to reach Gangtok.

As per March 2014,charges for a reserved Innova/Xylo (Luxury) will cost approx Rs 2500/- -3000/- for drop to Gangtok.Also smaller vehicles can also be hired costing Approx Rs 1800/- - Rs 2200/-.

If one wishes to go via sharing taxis,then outside the airport there are many local taxis plying towards Siliguri.In Siliguri (Junction area)there are many taxi plying towards Sikkim.

By train

The nearest train station to Gangtok is New Jalpaiguri in Siliguri all trains originating from Guwahati to rest of the country passes through New Jalpaiguri and hence has direct connections to New Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Mumbai, Bangalore, Trivandrum, Ahmedabad, Jammu, Secunderabad, Ranchi, Kanniyakumari, Jodhpur, Jodhpur, Puri, Bhubaneswar,Amritsar, Chandigarh, Pune, and other major cities in India. It is a 10-12 hour journey from Kolkata.

By Road

Once you arrive in New Jalpaiguri, you can either hire a taxi from the station itself or take an auto-rickshaw to the Siliguri bus stand. From there, you have the option of travelling to Gangtok by state bus or taxis outside, roughly a 4 hour journey. State bus is operated by Sikkim National Transport. The fare on January 2016 for 1 seat was Rs.135. All seats are reserved from the counter. Last bus starts from Siliguri at 11am and reaches in evening in Gangtok. Bus ride is most comfortable but slower compared to faster Sumo/Safari/Jeeps which cost Rs 200 per seat.The Ashok Leyland buses of SNT has larger windows facilitating better views.

Dozens of Vehicles travel to Gangtok daily from Siliguri.Be it Luxury (Innova/Xylo) or Sumos/Maxx.

Fare of the shared cabs is generally fixed, it is around Rs. 200 - 250 to Gangtok from NJP station. Drivers might try to charge high so check for the fare with other cabs before taking one. Distance gets covered between 3-4 hours.

Reserved vehicles are available from Bagdogra Airport (IXB) at the prepaid counter.From NJP one you step outside there are many taxis available either on sharing/Reserved basis .The cost of reserving a vehicle varies from 2200 to 2700 based on number of persons. Prices can be bargained.

Avoid any tour packages at NJP railway station. They will provide you lowest standard hotel.

Get around


Taxis play routes around the city, and there are standard charges within the main areas: For a private service/drops will cost according to the distance and Rs 150 for a shared taxi(Per Seat) from Point A - B. Share taxis are available within the city and costs 15-20 INR per person

NB: Taxis can only be hailed from designated taxi stands which are generally after each km within city limits.

Sightseeing places in and around Gangtok.

There are a number of beautiful views of the surrounding hills from Gangtok itself, but the best views of Mt Kanchenjunga " the world's third-highest mountain can be viewed from Tashi View point on a clear day.

In and around Gangtok

State Handicrafts & Handlooms (Govt Run )Open 10Am - 4Pm /

Tashi View Point for Khanchendzonga view /

Ganesh tok for Gangtok View /

Enchay Monastery /

Flower Show /Ticket Rs. 10/

Ridge Park /

Ropeway / Cost Rs. 80 round trip./

Tibetology Museum (Open 10am - 4pm) /

Dro-Drul Chorten /

Himalayan zoological park (Open 10am - 4pm) /

Ex Gangtok /

Rumtek Monastery / Rs. 10/

Shanti View point (View of Gangtok from Opposite hill) /

Lingdum Monastery /

1 Day Tour /

Tsomgo Lake/Baba Mandir/Nathula pass (2 Passport size photographs and Xerox of valid Photo id necessary)

Cost is around Rs. 4000 to 6500. No small vehicles are allowed. Cars like Sumo, Max, Innova, Bolero available.

Permit needed to visit these places can be obtained from travel operators one day in advance. Nathu La Is closed for tourists on Mondays and Tuesdays.



Sikkim is famous for its fruit processing and tea aside from the local handicraft.Passion fruit Squash, Alpine Cheese, Temi Tea & Maha Gurudev Tea are some of the local products.


There are many great and cheap places to eat in Gangtok.







Littering and spitting are fineable offenses. Plastic bags are banned here. All public areas are No Smoking zones.

Most Hotels are equipped with Wi-Fi and there are a number of Internet cafes spread around town.

Get out

To reach Rumtek one can hire an taxi. There are share taxi's which run from MG Marg taxi stand to Rumtek. One way fare is around Rs. 30 per person. It is a cheaper alternative but you need to return from the Rumtek Monastery before 4pm to get shared taxi to MG Marg again.123456

Powered by WikiTravel. A list of contributors is available at the original article on WikiTravel. Content on this page is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 license.