Raman Gulati (January 2019)
Dear Mr Raj, A small query. I am confused a little bit. I have read the details of hiring a private taxi for Gangtok from Bagdogra. 1. there is a pre-paid taxi counter for booking. This will be WB registered taxi and thus there will be change of cars before reaching Gangtok. 2. I want to avoid this hassle. 3. Should I therefore, step out of the airport and find a taxi with a Sikkim registration? Please advise, how I should go about this. Thank you. Best regards
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) January 2019
There is no assurance that you can find a Sikkim registered taxi outside the airport. The small taxis are usually allowed to go up to Deorali where you need to change to a local taxi up to your hotel in Gangtok. There are several ways you can avoid this change. You can ask your hotel to arrange for a pickup. Alternatively you can book seats online in a shared luxury cab like Innova (Wizzride.com is a good option)... you can book multiple seats if you are traveling with your family and it can be an economical yet a comfortable transfer. Although they have several drop points within Gangtok, you need to check out with them which would be nearest to your hotel. As a third option, you can book a pick up through a travel agency in Gangtok.
Shiladitya Senbarat (December 2018)
Dear Sir, We are planning to visit Pelling in the second half of Jan '19. Though the climate is expected to be freezing cold, our objective is to see the snow-capped peaks in their full glory, as we have been told the skies generally remain clear in winter. (Last summer we visited Kalimpong and Darjeeling, but the skies remained clouded for all the 4 days, and the mountains, elusive!).
Given that we have a 8 year old daughter, would it be advisable to stay over at Namchi enroute from Bagdogra, as the distance and time is too long for a direct drive to Pelling? Besides, we have been informed that the road from Melli to Jorethang is under repairs currently. So, we may have to take the Ravangla-Namchi-Jorethang route. Please advise.
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) December 2018
You can stay overnight at Namchi and proceed to Pelling next day via Ravangla. That way you can avoid Melli-Jorthang route and instead take the route to Namchi via Melli.
Sujoy Kumar Batabyal (July 2018)
Hi Raj, We will visit to Gangtok on 20th October 2018. we are six adults, one ten years and two Four Years child from NJP to Gangtok. So we are planing to hire a Innova 7+1 seater from Gantok only. Some tour operators are telling that for 7 person will not be allowed by police in Innova/Xylo. Can I know the reason behind this rule. What other options are left for us. Thanks.
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) July 2018
Hi, there are six adults and three children in your group plus the driver plus luggage. That would clearly overload a vehicle of that type and jeopardize safety. I would be surprised if any tour operator agrees to such load. Police too may not allow. You should take two smaller vehicles instead of trying to save money in that manner.
Sunil (April 2018)
Hi Raj, your information about Sikkim is valuable. Can you help me in deciding what route shall I take from NJP to visit places at Namchi and Gangtok, in such a way to take a circular route?
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) April 2018
To take a full circular route you need to approach Namchi via Darjeeling, and that will be a long detour. Practically you can take this route: NJP - Sevoke road - Melli - Namchi - Temi Tea Gardens - Singtam - Ranipool - Gangtok - Rangpo - Sevoke - NJP
Karan Raj Singh (May 2016)
Hi Raj, Can I enter Gangtok and Darjeeling in a Bihar registered SUV and use it for local sightseeing please? I'll be landing at Bagdogra from Delhi and my friend who lives near Bengal Bihar border area has a private Inova that he also uses for commercial hire purposes. Our (we are 7 people) plan is to drive from Bagdogra to Gangtok, stay there for 3 days and then come to Darjeeling and stay there for 2 days before coming back to Bagdogra. But reading in your blog that West Bengal registered vehicles are not allowed after Deorali checkpoint in Gangtok, I am concerned that we too may not be able to use our Bihar registered vehicle to reach the hotels (provided there is parking) and use it for local sightseeing? Is there any restrictions on entering Darjeeling in a Bihar registered vehicle too? We are planning to book Darjeeling tourist lodge as it has parking space. It'll be very helpful if you could kindly share any information on this. Also, if we are to face any entry restrictions, is there any secured parking space near Deorali checkpoint or in Darjeeling (if above scenario is true), so we can park our car there and use local taxis for hotel transfers and sightseeing? Regards.
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) May 2016
Hi, if you use a car with Bihar commercial registration (similar to yellow plated car of WB), then you are likely to be intercepted by the taxi association at both places. It won't be allowed. If you use a car with private registration, there is no problem. The idea is simple... they don't want the taxi business to go elsewhere irrespective of where the car is from. And no, there are no such secured parking areas at Deorali or entry to Darjeeling.
Amit Sen (March 2016)
Dear Sir, Me (61yrs) and my wife (57yrs) have planned to visit Darjeeling and Gangtok between 27.03.2016 and 02.04.2016. Darjeeling for 3 days and Gangtok for 4 days. I would request you to kindly advise 1. our return flight is on 03.04.2016 @3pm from Bagdogra, then at what time we should check out from Gangtok. 2. will it be comfortable to travel by Bus from Gangtok to Siliguri.
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) March 2016
It can easily take over 4 hours from Gangtok to Bagdogra, plus often road work goes on along the way near Kalijhora which results in hours of traffic jam. So ask the hotel depending on the situation. You should start early (ideally by 7am and cross the traffic prone zone). Bus won't be right if you have such time constraints. If you came down a day earlier, then bus would be okay.
P Jain (December 2015)
Sir I was planning to visit Gangtok by my friends car. I want to know is it possible to do sightseeing in Gangtok and visit Nathula by my friends car. A driver would drive the car and the owner of the would not be with us. Please tell what all papers is required. And if car is not allowed in the city where i will have to keep the car for 2 days.
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) December 2015
Private (not a commercial) car is allowed in Gangtok, but note that vehicles are not allowed in areas like MG Marg in Gangtok. Also you can not take your own car to Nathula, Tsomgo etc, these are restricted areas and vehicles only from operators registered with Sikkim Tourism are allowed. You should choose a hotel in Gangtok with parking facility.
Paramvir Singh (August 2014)
I'm coming to Bagdogra in September. I am going to Gangtok first. I want to know that can I book the prepaid taxi when I reach there or I have to pre book a cab and should I get the cab of Sikkim number plate from prepaid counter. I want to know the fare from bagdogra to gangtok for a small car
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) August 2014
You can book and avail a pre-paid taxi at Bagdogra airport on arrival. The pre-paid counter usually allocates only a local taxi which can take you up to the Deorali stand (2kms from Gangtok town) where you will need to transfer to a local Sikkim taxi to reach your hotel. Small taxi pre-paid fare from Bagdogra to Gangtok is roughly Rs. 2,500/-
Parmjit Singh (September 2014)
This is in response to Paramvir. Today I reached Bagdogra airport pre paid taxi counter and took a taxi for Kalimpong. Only a small taxi was available for Rs.1563/. I was surprised when my taxi wala asked me to follow him to outside stand & he put my luggage in a Xylo & requested me to go with that driver. 1st driver paid Rs. 1000/ to xylo Driver & made a quick money. This same story one of friends had already mentioned on FB but I couldn't believe that it happens with me . So Mr. Paramvir you can also try this... come out from airport & you will find taxis standing outside parking & you might be lucky to get Sikkim no. taxi at 60-70% price. God bless you and enjoy your trip.
R. Singh (March 2014)
Hi Raj, Great thanks for the good work you are doing. Your blogs are extremely informative, covering a great range of detail and hence probably the best blog available on the web for the region.
I am planning to travel to Gangtok as well as Darjeeling in a friend's car (as he has a 7 seater) from Bagdogra. I read somewhere that only the vehicles having Sikkim Number plates are allowed for local sightseeing as well as traveling across the state of Sikkim. My car will be a West Bengal registered vehicle. As I am staying for 2 nights in Gangtok, am I allowed to bring this car into the city, park at the hotel (probably on Tibet Road) and use this for local sightseeing? I have the same query for Darjeeling as well. Also, how is the weather generally during mid March there? Kind regards,
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) March 2014
Hi, In Gangtok the vehicle restriction applies only to commercial vehicles like a taxi. The issue is with the local taxi association in Gangtok who claim that tourists bring taxis from Darjeeling, do local sightseeing in Gangtok and depart. Therefore the local taxi drivers in Gangtok get deprived. Darjeeling also allows only drop from Sikkim and not local sightseeing by Sikkim taxi. But if you have a private car, there is no problem in any of these two places. You can take it to your hotel in Gangtok and park there (at the hotel's parking), and also use it for local sightseeing. You can do the same in Darjeeling. Weather is quite pleasant now during the day time. You will need a jacket in the evenings. Regards,
Rajesh Gupta (December 2013)
Hi Raj, How is the road condition from Bagdogra/NJP to Gangtok? Is it bearable?
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) December 2013
Unfortunately, much part of the road is quite bad at present. From Bagdogra or NJP, initially the road is good up to Teesta. However from there about 40% of the road is quite bad and bumpy, and full of potholes. About 2 hours before Gangtok, there is road widening and constructions taking place. As a result they often block one side of the motor traffic while allowing the other. This sometimes results in massive traffic jam. If one is unlucky, one may get stuck there for an hour. So while returning from Gangtok, keep at least 2-3 hours of cushion. From Rangpo onwards (i.e. after you enter Sikkim), the road is better, although patchy at places.