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How To Reach Pelling

How to Reach Pelling, Sikkim

Pelling, a mesmerizing town nestled amidst the majestic Himalayas in Sikkim, beckons travelers with its breathtaking beauty, serene monasteries, and rich cultural tapestry. To embark on this captivating journey, planning your route and transportation is crucial. This comprehensive guide will equip you with all the essential information to reach Pelling seamlessly, covering travel modes, distances, estimated travel times, and insightful tips.

Available Travel Option to Reach Pelling

Pelling doesn’t boast its own airport or railway station. However, fret not! The town enjoys excellent connectivity by road, making it accessible from various parts of India. Here’s a breakdown of the prevalent travel options:

1. By Air: Soaring into the Himalayas

The nearest airport to Pelling is Bagdogra Airport (IXB) in Darjeeling, West Bengal, situated approximately 160 kilometers away. This airport caters to several domestic airlines, offering flights from major Indian cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, and Guwahati.

Travel Time: Connecting flights from your origin city to Bagdogra could take anywhere between 2-5 hours, depending on layovers.

Onward Journey to Pelling: Upon landing at Bagdogra, you have multiple options to reach Pelling:

Private Taxi: This is the most convenient and time-saving option. You can pre-book a taxi online or hire one upon arrival at the airport. The ride to Pelling takes roughly 4-5 hours, traversing scenic mountain roads. Expect to pay between ₹3,000-₹5,000 depending on the car type and distance traveled.

Shared Taxi: A budget-friendly alternative, shared taxis operate from Bagdogra to various destinations in Sikkim, including Pelling. Inquire at the airport or explore online cab aggregator services to find shared taxi options. The travel time remains around 4-5 hours, with costs ranging from ₹500-₹1,000 per person.

Helicopter Service (Limited Availability): For an exclusive and time-efficient experience, consider a helicopter service from Bagdogra to Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim. This option is subject to availability and weather conditions. Budget around ₹3,000-₹5,000 per person for a 20-minute ride. From Gangtok, you can then hire a taxi or shared jeep to Pelling (approximately 114 kilometers, 3-4 hours).

Travel Tip:  While booking flights, consider the time of day. Opt for morning arrivals to avoid encountering darkness on your onward journey, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the mountain roads.

2. By Train: A Scenic Train Journey (with a Road Trip)

If you enjoy train journeys amidst scenic landscapes, consider reaching New Jalpaiguri (NJP) Railway Station in Siliguri, West Bengal. NJP, approximately 136 kilometers from Pelling, is well-connected to major Indian cities by rail network.

Travel Time: Train travel time varies depending on the train you choose and the city you’re originating from. Generally, expect a journey of 10-14 hours from major cities.

Onward Journey to Pelling: From NJP, you can opt for:

Private Taxi: Similar to the option from Bagdogra, hire a private taxi for a comfortable ride to Pelling (4-5 hours, ₹2,500-₹4,000).

Shared Taxi: Shared taxis are readily available at NJP, offering a budget-friendly way to reach Pelling. The travel duration remains around 4-5 hours, with costs ranging from ₹400-₹800 per person.

Travel Tip: While NJP offers beautiful train journeys, be prepared for a longer overall travel time compared to flying.

3. By Road: Unveiling the Beauty of Sikkim

For the adventurous traveler, a road trip to Pelling promises captivating vistas and a chance to experience the essence of Sikkim. Pelling enjoys excellent road connectivity from various prominent destinations in the region.

From Gangtok (Capital of Sikkim): This is the most popular route, offering a comfortable and scenic journey (114 kilometers, 3-4 hours). Taxis and shared jeeps readily ply between Gangtok and Pelling. Taxis cost approximately ₹2,000-₹3,000, while shared jeeps are a more economical option (around ₹300-₹500 per person).

From Siliguri: If you’re already in Siliguri, you can hire a taxi or shared jeep to reach Pelling (approximately 160 kilometers, 5-6 hours). Taxis cost around ₹3,500-₹4,500, while shared jeeps offer a budget-friendly alternative (around ₹500-₹800 per person).

From Darjeeling: Nestled amidst the hills, Darjeeling offers another scenic route to Pelling (approximately 180 kilometers, 6-7 hours). Taxis cost around ₹4,000-₹5,000, while shared jeeps are a more economical option (around ₹600-₹1,000 per person).

Travel Tip: Regardless of the route you choose, consider road conditions, especially during the monsoon season (June-September) when landslides might occur. Check weather forecasts and road closures before embarking on your journey.

Important Considerations for Road Travel:

Permits: Sikkim requires an Inner Line Permit (ILP) for all Indian citizens except those from the state itself. You can obtain an ILP online or at designated entry points.

Vehicle Condition: Ensure your vehicle is in good working condition, especially if undertaking a self-drive journey. Mountain roads require well-maintained brakes, tires, and a robust engine.

Altitude Sickness: Pelling is situated at an altitude of approximately 2,100 meters. If you’re not accustomed to high altitudes, take it slow upon arrival and allow your body to acclimatize. Drink plenty of fluids and avoid strenuous activity for the first 24-48 hours.

Additional Travel Tips:

  • Time of Year: The best time to visit Pelling depends on your preferences. Spring (March-May) offers pleasant weather with blooming flowers. Monsoon (June-September) presents lush greenery, but landslides might occur. Autumn (October-November) boasts stunning fall foliage and comfortable temperatures. Winter (December-February) can be quite cold with occasional snowfall, but offers clear skies and breathtaking mountain vistas.
  • Accommodation: Pelling offers a variety of accommodation options, from budget-friendly guesthouses to luxurious hotels. Book your stay in advance, especially during peak tourist season (April-May and October-November).

Packing Essentials: Pack comfortable walking shoes, warm clothes (even in summer due to the altitude), sunscreen, sunglasses, a hat, and a raincoat (if traveling during the monsoon). Binoculars are a great addition for birdwatching and enjoying the panoramic views.

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