From Kolkata to Gangtok: Your Complete Travel Guide

Starting a journey from the bustling city of Kolkata to the peaceful town of Gangtok is an adventure that offers a mix of cultural experiences and natural beauty. Whether you’re looking for exciting mountain trails or the calm of Buddhist monasteries, Gangtok has something for every traveler. This detailed guide will help you choose the best transportation options, ensuring a smooth trip from the plains of West Bengal to the beautiful hills of Sikkim.

1. By Air:

The fastest and easiest way to get to Gangtok from Kolkata is by air. While Gangtok has its own airport (Pakyong Airport), flights there are limited and can be costly. Most travelers fly to Bagdogra Airport (IXB) in West Bengal, which has many flights from Kolkata.

Step-by-Step Guide:

  • Book Your Flight: Many airlines have daily flights from Kolkata to Bagdogra. Look online for deals or ask travel agents for help.
  • Airport Transfer: From Bagdogra Airport, hire a taxi or shared cab for the 4-5 hour drive to Gangtok. Prepaid taxis at the airport have fixed prices.
  • Alternative: You can take a bus from Siliguri, a nearby city, to Gangtok. Buses are cheaper but take longer (5-6 hours).

2. By Train:

There is no direct train to Gangtok. You can take a train from Kolkata to New Jalpaiguri (NJP) station, the closest major station to Gangtok. This option is cheaper than flying but takes more time.

Step-by-Step Guide:

  • Book Your Train Ticket: Many trains go from Kolkata to New Jalpaiguri. Book your tickets on the Indian Railways website or at the station.
  • Train Transfer: From New Jalpaiguri, take a taxi, shared cab, or bus to Gangtok. The drive takes about 4-5 hours.

3. By Road:

Traveling by road from Kolkata to Gangtok is scenic but long. You can take a direct bus or break the trip into two parts by taking a bus to Siliguri first and then another bus or taxi to Gangtok.

Step-by-Step Guide:

  • Direct Bus: Private bus companies offer overnight buses from Kolkata to Gangtok, taking about 18-20 hours.
  • Two-Leg Journey: Take a bus from Kolkata to Siliguri (10-12 hours), then a bus or taxi to Gangtok (4-5 hours).

4. By Shared Cab or Taxi:

Shared cabs and taxis are options for those who want comfort and flexibility. You can book a shared cab or a private taxi from Kolkata to Gangtok through travel agencies or online.

Step-by-Step Guide:

  • Book Your Cab: Check and compare prices from different cab companies or travel agencies.
  • Shared Cab: Share the ride with other passengers for a cheaper trip.
  • Private Taxi: More comfortable but can be more expensive.

Choosing the Best Option for You:

  • Budget: Buses or trains are the cheapest options.
  • Time: Flying is the quickest way to Gangtok.
  • Comfort: Shared cabs, private taxis, or deluxe buses are more comfortable.
  • Adventure: Road trips offer beautiful scenery and a memorable experience.

Additional Tips:

  • Permits: Indian citizens don’t need a permit to enter Sikkim, but foreigners need a Restricted Area Permit (RAP), available on arrival in Gangtok.
  • Accommodation: Book your stay in Gangtok in advance, especially during busy seasons.
  • Weather: Check Gangtok’s weather before packing. Mountain weather can change quickly.
  • Altitude Sickness: Gangtok is at a high altitude. If you get altitude sickness easily, take your time to adjust and bring necessary medications.