NOTE : This article covers information only about Shared Vehicles in Sikkim.
Also Read: My Experiences Throughout Sikkim for detailed explanations.
Anyway, before you choose to travel by shared vehicles, you must first consider the following points.
- It’s not as easy to drive in shared vehicles as hiring a point-to – point cab or getting an exclusive car at your disposal. When driving in shared cars you will be able to bear the discomfort.
- You have to get a basic idea of Sikkim’s road map. I’m not asking you to memorize the entire map, that isn’t even possible, but it definitely helps a basic idea of the routes. To grasp the roads, link to Google Maps, too.
- You would be lucky to find direct Shared Vehicles, not all of the time. In that case, the above point will help you decide where to break to find a Shared Vehicle Connection. This is true in all of South & West Sikkim.
- Most importantly, for Sightseeing, Shared Vehicles will not stop en-route. So if you are looking to hire a private vehicle for the Sightseeing en-route. Shared vehicles may not be available for every destination throughout the day, so you need to plan the same accordingly.
- Shared Vehicles do not have fixed timings in most cases, and only leaves when it gets full.
So especially if you are in a hurry or when the sun is about to go down, you also have to take this time into consideration.
- If you are in doubt, don’t hesitate to ask the locals.
NOTE : Please note that throughout Sikkim, Shared Vehicles puts in 10 pax with the driver with seating arrangements such as 2 max in front (Beside Driver), 4 in middle and 4 in back row. If you wish to travel easily you can book more than one seat. Most Shared Cabs have no set timings and leave only once the cab is complete.
In case of regular availability of shared cabs, if you can not find your preferred seat, you may be able to book a seat on next cab. But don’t try this where the numbers of cabs aren’t regular and less frequent.
Below are the entry points to Sikkim
Nearest Airport : Bagdogra (IXB)
Nearest Railway Station : New Jalpaiguri (NJP)
Nearest Town / City : Siliguri
Wherever possible I will try to mention the cost. Prices for Shared Vehicles are largely fixed, so there is not much room for negotiation out there. But sometimes depending on the rush and the season, they go up and down a bit. The common rates for shared vehicles are about Rs. 100/- – Rs. 300/- per person, unless explicitly mentioned.
Gangtok & North Sikkim :
NJP / Siliguri – Gangtok : Siliguri – Gangtok Bus Service is available at regular intervals,so if you plan to take the bus then first you have to come SNT Bus Stand for that you have to take a car from NJP that costs about Rs. 40/- – Rs. 100/- (depending on your bargaining skill and season) to reach SNT Bus Stand. From Siliguri it generally costs Rs. 200/- per head and from NJP it generally costs Rs. 250/- per head. Shared cabs are readily accessible just outside the NJP Station near Prepaid Cab Stand and from Siliguri there are plenty of places from which the Shared Cab leaves, the most popular being Tenzing Norgay Bus Stand.
Bagdogra – Gangtok : There are no local shared cabs available at Bagdogra. Wizzride runs luxury vehicles from Bagdogra to Darjeeling, Gangtok, Kalimpong and various other shared mode destinations such as Innova / Xylo. You can book Bagdogra Shared Cabs through their web portal. Additionally, for Rs. 300/- – Rs. 400/- you can take a point-to-point vehicle to Siliguri and take Shared Vehicles to Darjeeling.
NOTE : If you’re traveling with WB Registered Car, you’ll be dropped at the Deorali Taxi Stand. You need to rent a private taxi or a shared cab to your hotel from there. You will be approached by private cab drivers as soon as you get off at the Deorali Taxi Stand and cost about Rs. 200/–Rs. 300/- depending on the distance from your hotel. If you are traveling with luggage, this is the most comfortable route. Otherwise, just ignore them and get out of the Taxi Stand and opt for Rs. 10/- – Rs. 20/- common drop points per person for Shared Vehicles.
Nathulla Pass, Baba Mandir & Tsongmo Lake Tour : This tour must be booked from approved tour operators in Gangtok, because these are restricted areas. They ‘d give you a vehicle and arrange for you to get permits. All you have to do is show the papers.
Shared Vehicles will cost ₹800/- per person for this tour. During peak season the price mayl rise a little.
North Sikkim Tour (Lachen, Gurudongmar, Lachung, Yumthang, Zero Point) : Such regions are also small areas where you need to opt for packages from Gangtok ‘s approved tour operators. The tour operator will offer you a package that includes lodging, meals, transportation and permits. For 2N/3D North Sikkim Tour and Rs. 4500/- per head (including everything). Again, the price can go up a little during peak season.
NOTE : Book these above packaged tours after you reach Gangtok.
West & South Sikkim :
Unfortunately, there are very less Shared Vehicles to West & South Sikkim destinations and sometimes even they are only available at peak season. So in most cases, if you’re planning to travel to this region by Shared Vehicle, you should be prepared to make various break journeys. So to travel through West & South Sikkim, you have to memorize the name of important places.
Jorethang is the most popular place to get in anywhere in South & West Sikkim. Jorethang has a multi-level taxi stand from which various cabs depart at regular intervals to different destinations. Geyzing & Legship are next most important points.
NJP / Siliguri – Jorethang : NJP and Siliguri also have direct shared vehicles to Jorethang. From Siliguri, shared cabs are available at Tenzing Norgay Bus Stand and at Payel Cinema for around Rs. 120/- per passenger. If you are unable to locate NJP ‘s Shared Vehicles to Jorethang, travel to Siliguri via an Auto which will cost you Rs. 40/- – Rs. 100/- (depending on your negotiating skills). Another way to get to Darjeeling is by taking a shared car. From Darjeeling to Jorethang Shared Vehicles are readily available on Chowk Bazaar for Rs. 120/- per person.
NJP / Siliguri – Pelling : Direct shared vehicles from NJP and Siliguri, too, to Pelling are very rare and are not accessible most of the time. It’s nice to find one, otherwise jump to Jorethang in a taxi. Tenzing Norgay Bus Stand and Payel Cinema also deliver shared Cabs to Jorethang. From Jorethang, for Rs. 150/- per head you can find a direct Shared Vehicles to Pelling. Such vehicles typically arrive in Jorethang in the morning and return to Pelling at about 11 a.m.–1 p.m. Otherwise, you have to go to Geyzing for around Rs. 120/- per person for a Shared Car, which is frequent in numbers and accessible throughout the day. There are daily shared Pelling vehicles accessible from Geyzing at frequent intervals during the day.
Gangtok – Pelling : From Gangtok, there are very less direct shared vehicles to Pelling, but there is a lot available during the peak season that costs around Rs. 300/- per pax. You have two choices, if you don’t like one. The first and easiest is finding a very common Shared Vehicle for Ravangla. From Ravangla you will most of the time get shared vehicles to Pelling, otherwise you might break at Legship and optionally to Geyzing to get to Pelling. Otherwise, you have to hop into a Singtam Shared Vehicle and you can easily get direct shared vehicles to Pelling from there.
Gangtok – Ravangla : Gangtok-Ravangla shared cabs are very regular and often available. Still, if you’re unlucky to find one, at Singtam, you need to break.
Gangtok – Namchi : Gangtok – There are direct shared Namchi vehicles available, but less in number. Break at Singtam unless found.
East Sikkim – Silk Route :
Although Gangtok and Tsongmo Lake also come under East Sikkim, Baba Mandir & Nathulla Pass has already been covered under separate header above, but those being key destinations. Sadly, tourists are not allowed to travel along Silk Route in Shared Vehicles, so please consider hiring an exclusive vehicle for the entire tour. You may check out My Experiences of Travelling Through East Sikkim.
Hope this article covers most of Sikkim’s tourist destinations, and may be helpful to anyone planning to travel by shared vehicles. Please let me know if I missed any routes in the comments!!
You must also have realized by now that direct shared vehicles are not always very popular across destinations in South & West Sikkim and you have to split at several junctions accordingly depending on the situation. And don’t forget to consider the same time consumption.
NOTE: This article only covers Shared Vehicle details throughout Sikkim. For detailed explanations kindly check My Experiences In Sikkim.