Sikkim and Darjeeling: Travel Information and Travel Guide
Sikkim offers the magical feel of a Himalayan fairytale land. It is an amazing place of hidden valleys, mystical monasteries, snow-fed lakes and a mountain setting covered with flowers and forests. This former kingdom is home to three major population groups - the Lepchas, Bhutias and Nepalese - providing a colorful composite of cultures.
Mt Kanchenjunga, the third highest peak in the world at 8,586 m, dominates the landscape and is revered as Sikkim's guardian deity. Sikkim is a state of India tucked in the Himalaya across Nepal's eastern frontier. It is crammed in between Tibet (China) to the north, Bhutan to the east and Darjeeling to the south.
Darjeeling (Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council) in northeast India provides the perfect ambience of a hill resort with its mild climate and laid-back charm. Its verdant hills and valleys are steeped in color, and are interspersed with vast stretches of lush green tea gardens. Presiding over all these is the 8,586-m Mt. Kanchenjunga looming over the northern horizon, giving a magical aura to the land that entices thousands to its environs and leaves all the senses intoxicated.
Darjeeling is hemmed in by Sikkim in the north, Nepal in the west and Bhutan in the east. Darjeeling town, Kalimpong and Kurseong are the major urban centers. Heavily influenced by British India, Darjeeling still retains legacies of its colonial past. The toy train is one of the most striking examples of Darjeeling's British Raj influence.
From Kathmandu, fly to Bhadrapur in the east Nepal (1 hour), then drive to Kakarbhitta (Nepal-India border, 34 km), to Siliguri (36 km) and to Gangtok (110 km, 3 hours 30 minutes). Gangtok is also connected by road with Darjeeling (5 hours) and Bhutan (7 hours). The closest Indian airport is at Bagdogra, 124 km from Gangtok, where scheduled flights operate from Kolkata, new Delhi and Guwahati. Taxis for Gangtok (4 hours) are available at the airport. Sikkim Tourism development Corporation also operates daily helicopter flights from Bagdogra airport to Gangtok (20 minutes).The closest railway stations are Siliguri and New Jalpaiguri (121 km) which are connected to Kolkata,New delhi, Guwahati and other major Indian cities. Taxis and buses for Gangtok are available at Siliguri.
March-May and October-December are the best times to visit. Bring light woolen clothing during summer ( maximum temperature 20.7 degrees Celsius) and heavy woolen during winter (minimum 7.7 degrees).
Tours, Trekking, Mountaineering, Rafting and Yak safari.
There are modern hotels and restaurants in Gangtok. Comfortable resort lodges are available in the Sikking / Darjeeling areas.