Sikkim, a small Himalayan State lying between 27 to 28 degrees North latitude and 88 to 89 degrees East longitude is the second smallest state in India. It is barely 7,096 sq km in size yet has an elevation ranging from 300 m to 8585 m above sea level. Its Geography is dominated by the most majestic mountain chain in the world which includes the Khangchendzonga, the world's third highest mountain and is worshipped as the guardian deity to their land.
Best time to visit
Due to its location and altitude, there is an immense variation in climate and vegetation in Sikkim. In the state, the climate is tropical up to 1,624 m, temperate between 1,624 m-4,222 m, alpine above 4,222 m, and snowbound at 5,248 m.
The best time to visit Sikkim is between mid-March and June but especially, April and May, when the rhododendrons and orchids are in full bloom. However, temperatures can be high, especially in the valleys. During monsoons, from the end of June till early September, rivers and roads become impassable, though plants damaged by the incessant rain spring back to life again and bloom towards the end of August. October, when orchids bloom once again, and November tend to have the clearest weather of all. As December approaches, it gets bitterly cold in the high altitude areas, and remains that way until early March, though interspersed with spells of clear weather.
How to reach
BY AIR - The busiest route in and out of Sikkim is the road between Gangtok and Siliguri. The town of Bagdogra at a distance of 124 km from Gangtok has the nearest airport. There are flight connected from Delhi and Calcutta. The best way is probably fly from Kathmandu to Bhardapur and then drive from there to Gangtok.
BY RAIL- Take flight or drive from kathmandu.
Visa & Permits
In addition to an Indian visa, foreigners must obtain Inner Line Permit (ILP) to visit Sikkim. For an individual, 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. Those who are traveling with Trekking Team package, visa will be taken care by Trekking Team.
Foreigners are 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 Foreigners Registration Office (FRO), Gangtok and Superintendent of Police of North, South and West Districts.
The FRO is located at Kazi Road, Gangtok. Phone no 223041
For those interested in going for trekking in the interior regions of the state, 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 which is available for certain specified area for groups consisting of 4 or more foreigners subject to the condition that the trekking program is arranged through a registered travel agency.
NOTE: This permit is issued to LOCAL GOVERNMENT REGISTERED TRAVEL AGENTS ONLY. While travelling in Sikkim don't forget to get your passport stamped at all check posts.