Sikkim, now a Northeastern Himalayan State in India, was an independent Buddhist kingdom until 1975. It borders Nepal in the northwest along the world’s third highest peak Mountain Kanchenjunga, China in the north, and Bhutan in the east, covering an area of 7,300 square kilometers. The altitude ranges from 800 ft. to 28,169 ft. (the top of Mt. Kanchenjunga).
The population is estimated to be somewhere over 500,000 people comprised of three major ethnic groups. The Lepchas are the original inhabitants of the land; Nepalese are the largest ethnic group, and the Bhutias are immigrants from Tibet. In the highlands shepherds still live nomadic lifestyles raising livestock such as Yaks and Naks.
Sikkim’s national religion is Buddhism and there are many vividly colored and beautiful monasteries spread throughout the country. Religious mask dances and cultural festivals are some of the superb highlights here.
In addition to its scenic valleys, clear blue lakes, beautifully terraced fields, and rich cultural heritage, Sikkim also has unique faunas and floras such as the Snow Leopard, Red Panda, Blue sheep, Goral and Himalayan Tahr, over 600 species of orchids, Rhododendrons and diverse other species complementing its natural beauty. If the discovery of nature and culture in its purest state is your wish, then it is better now than later.
Attractions of Sikkim:
Sikkim is home to extraordinary faunas and floras; the common faunas include the Snow Leopard, Red Panda, Blue sheep, Goral, and Himalayan Tahr while its diverse floras include over 600 species of orchids, Rhododendrons, and many others. Sikkim’s towering mountains, scenic valleys, clear blue lakes, beautifully terraced fields, and rich cultural heritage makes it a unique cultural and adventure travel destination. Our tours will take you to some of the best and most attractive places in this wonderful country.
Best Season to Visit:
February through May & September through November. The general tour season here is September through May. December to January is quite cold.
Road Connections to Sikkim:
Drive into Sikkim from West Bengal State to India,
Kathmandu-Kakarvitta (Nepal-India border)
Phuntsoling-India (Bhutan-India border of West Bengal)
Road travel into Gangtok is convenient and is a scenic drive that takes 16-18 hours from Kathmandu.
Tourist Visa to India:
Tourist visas to India are issued for six months and can take one day to several days to process depending on the documents you submitted at the time of visa application. An Indian visa fee for American and European people is US$50 per person and for Thai people is US$41 per person. Documents to submit are an application form, passport (original and a copy), two pieces of recent pictures of yourself, and the required visa fee.
Inner Line Permit:
Sikkim in northeastern India is a restricted area and requires special permits to travel there. The group size to qualify for a permit in some areas is a minimum of four people. Upon our confirmation, please get your visas from the nearest Indian Embassy or Consulate before entering India. An Inner Line Permit for Sikkim can be obtained along with visas from some Indian missions abroad or can obtain from Sikkimese Tourism Offices at Darjeeling, Delhi, Calcutta, Siliguri, and Gangtok. The Inner Line Permits are free of charge. Should you need our help, please do not hesitate to tell us.
Discover Asia Travel:
Discover Asia Travel specializes in organizing cultural tours and treks in the Sikkim Himalayas. We are also capable of integrating tours in Nepal and Bhutan in the neighboring destinations. We can deliver fast information, provide quality service with experienced staff, and assure your safety while you are on our tours.