A leisurely walk on MG road, admiring the breathtaking landscapes and enjoying the local food is one of the things every one must do.
Indian Citizens have to take permits from the tourist office in MG Road. If you are travelling with a local taxi, make your booking at least one day prior so that they arrange the permits for you. Self-driven cars are not allowed in this region beyond a point. Only Sikkim-registered taxis are permitted. People on two wheelers may proceed with their own permits processed directly. Aadhar is not considered as a proof of citizenship, only of residency. Hence voting ID or passport is required to apply for the permission. It is important to have all your vehicle documents covering the dates for the vehicle you will be taking there (applicable only for bikes). There is very little information available online on this and the information changes frequently. The office also works on timings for receipt of documents and issue of permits. So allow one or two day leisure time in the city if you have to process your permits yourself.
Foreign Nationals are not allowed to visit Nathula pass. A permission may be required from the ministry of Home Affairs in Delhi if required and cannot be granted by local authorities.
Suggested tourist circuit (either with your own vehicle or by taxi): NJP/Siliguri - Teesta - Gangtok - Lachen - Gurudongmar - Gangtok - Nathu La - Gangtok - Kalimpong - Darjeeling - Ghoom - Pasupati - Mirik - Siliguri/NJP
Tips to remember
As Gangtok only permits SK01, i.e Gangtok registered tourist taxis to ply, it is better to do prior booking. Published rates for cab for fixed destination trips are available. Ask for the tarriff sheet before you book. As these restrictive practices have severely affected tourist taxi business in Darjeeling, they have also resorted to controlling taxis coming from Sikkim. This has been a point of contention with the local taxi drivers and have often left the tourists caught cold between these arrangements.
Both hill towns are severely dependent on the tourists for their bread and butter, so you may expect a lot of these information to change dynamically. So unless you are planning a self-driven trip , go with a person who understands the local dynamics and can handle them well.
Gangtok is the easiest-to-access city in all of north-east India and the transport options have never been better than now. Gangtok is also a fast-expanding city with plenty of options for tourists. Roads around Gangtok are being ramped up by the Indian Army and soon the driving experience will be better. If you haven't visited Gangtok yet, plan your trip this year. after the lockdown.
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