Darjeeling to Gangtok – How to Reach & A Kickass Itinerary

by Jun 11, 2020Destination Guides2 comments

Darjeeling and Gangtok are the two most coveted hill stations in Eastern India for travellers. Both Darjeeling and Gangtok are blessed with magnificent views of the Kanchenjunga ranges, pleasant weather and some wonderful tourist attractions. The distance between Darjeeling to Gangtok is about 100 km and these two destinations are often visited together. Every year a lot of tourists visit Gangtok and Darjeeling, especially in summer to experience the beauty of the hill stations and to enjoy the salubrious climate. We usually get a lot of questions from our readers about Darjeeling to Gangtok trip. So in this blog, we decided to write an article on Darjeeling and Gangtok itinerary.

This post will help you in planning a trip to both Darjeeling and Gangtok. You can also go through the other resources in our blog about Sikkim and Darjeeling to get a clear idea about these places.

Siliguri to Darjeeling

Where are Darjeeling and Gangtok Located?

Darjeeling is located in Darjeeling district of West Bengal at an altitude of 6710 feet. Also known as the Queen of Hills, the breathtaking beauty of Darjeeling is magnified by the towering Kanchenjunga ranges and the lush green tea gardens surrounding it. Darjeeling had served as British settlement before Indian independence and the mark of colonial architecture can still be found in this picturesque hill station.

Gangtok is the capital of one of the most pleasant states of India, Sikkim. Located at an altitude of 5410 feet this hill station in East Sikkim is spread over a forested mountain that faces the snow-clad Himalayan peaks. There are several vantage points from where you can get the majestic view of the Kanchenjunga ranges. Sikkim is one of the states where smoking in public is prohibited and Gangtok adheres to this rule strictly.

Both Gangtok and Darjeeling has a plethora of attractions and activities to entice their visitors. Though similar, both these hilly towns have their distinct charm and beauty. Gangtok is the main town of Sikkim from where you can visit the other tourist destinations in Sikkim.

Darjeeling to Gangtok – Where should I visit first?

This is one of the most important as well as a confusing question that comes while planning a Darjeeling to Gangtok trip. Both the hill stations lie in different states. So shall I visit Darjeeling first or Gangtok? The time taken from Darjeeling to Gangtok and vice versa is about 4 hours by car (not shared ones). It takes 3 hours to reach Darjeeling from Bagdogra/NJP by car under normal traffic conditions and about 4.5 hours to reach Gangtok. While you can practically visit any of the two at first, visiting Gangtok (Sikkim) has a few distinct advantages.

This question comes only if you are arriving and leaving from Bagdogra or NJP. If you are directly flying in or out of Pakyong Airport in Sikkim, then you have to plan accordingly.

The distance between Gangtok to Bagdogra is 126 km and that from Gangtok to Siliguri is 122 km. From NJP/Bagdogra, you have to take the National Highway NH10. There is no other route towards Gangtok. Usually, the route faces a lot of traffic jam in several places like Matigara, Darjeeling More, Kalijhora and Ranipool. So if you are returning from Gangtok to NJP/Bagdogra, you have to start quite early in order to not miss your train or flight. There have been instances where trains have been missed because of the traffic jam faced just before entering Siliguri town area and in Siliguri itself.

We had been once stuck in one such traffic jam while returning from Gangtok. Thankfully we had started early. Even then, we had to leave our car and hop on to a rickshaw that took us through the lanes and narrow alleys to NJP Railway Station.

Darjeeling, on the other hand, is nearer to NJP and Bagdogra and you have to take another route. Infact there are three routes from Darjeeling to the NJP and Bagdogra. So you can have a little more time in your hand if you are coming down from Darjeeling on your return.

If you decide to return from Gangtok, then we advise you to keep sufficient time in hand for the journey.

Secondly, there are some vehicle restrictions in Sikkim. West Bengal registered vehicles are not permitted beyond the Deorali Taxi Stand. Deorali is located about 2 km from Gangtok city and you have to take another local taxi to get to your hotel or hostel. You might think that you can walk this distance. But an uphill walk with your luggage will not be a good idea. However, there are no such restrictions in Darjeeling and any vehicle from Sikkim can enter the town.

If you are planning to rent a car for the entire trip, then ask your rental company about the vehicle restriction in Sikkim.

Distance between Darjeeling to Gangtok

The distance between Darjeeling to Gangtok is 100 km and it takes about 4 hours to reach from one place to the other under normal traffic conditions.

How to reach Gangtok?

From Bagdogra/NJP/Siliguri

The roads from Bagdogra Airport, NJP Railway Station and Siliguri town all meet at Sevoke Road that further leads to NH10. After reaching Tessta Bazar, you have to cross the Teesta Bridge and then continue up to Rangpo, a small bordering town. Rangpo is the entry point to Sikkim and has a checkpost. Until 1975, Rangpo used to be the international border between India and Sikkim.  Gangtok is another 39 km from Rangpo.

From both Bagdogra airport and New Jalpaiguri Station (NJP), you will get a reserved car for Gangtok. Prepaid counters are available at both Bagdogra Airport and NJP Station. Private taxis are also available at Pakyong Airport in case you are flying into Gangtok.

Darjeeling to Gangtok

You can book a cab from Darjeeling stand to travel to Gangtok. From Darjeeling, you have to come down Teesta Bazar, cross the Teesta Bridge and continue the journey to Gangtok.

Tentative Fare for Gangtok for reserved cars (as on January 2020):

  • Bagdogra to Gangtok: Rs 3000 – 3500
  • NJP to Gangtok: Rs. 2800 – Rs. 3300
  • Darjeeling to Gangtok: Rs. 3000 – 3500
  • Kalimpong to Gangtok: Rs. 2700 – Rs. 3200
  • Pakyong Airport to Gangtok: Rs. 1200 – 1500

By shared cabs

Shared jeeps are available from NJP Station. These jeeps are usually available from 7.00 am to 3.00 pm. From Bagdogra Airport, you will not get any shared vehicles to Gangtok. You have to come to Siliguri Stand to get a shared jeep to Gangtok. These shared jeeps take 10 passengers and start their journey only when the vehicle if full. So you might have to wait for some time before starting the journey. These shared jeeps drop you at fixed places, either the Deorali Stand or the Vajra Cinema Hall Stand in Gangtok.

Shared jeeps from Darjeeling to Gangtok are also available from Chowk Bazar Stand at lower Darjeeling.

Tentative fare for a shared vehicle to Gangtok (as on January 2020):

  • NJP to Gangtok: Rs. 200 per person
  • Siliguri to Gangtok: Rs. 200 per person
  • Darjeeling to Gangtok: Rs. 200 per person
  • Kalimpong to Gangtok: Rs. 175 per person

Siliguri to Gangtok Buses

Buses to Gangtok are available from Siliguri SNT Stand (Sikkim Nationalised Transport). There are only a few buses plying in the route.

Winding roads towards Chungthang in North Sikkim

How to reach Darjeeling?

You will get both shared and reserved taxis for Darjeeling from Bagdogra, NJP and Siliguri. Reserved cars are available from NJP and Bagdogra Airport. Prepaid booking counters are present in both places.

By Cars

Tentative Fare for reserved cars to Darjeeling (as on January 2020):

  • NJP/Bagdogra to Darjeeling: Rs 1800 – 2400
  • NJP/Bagdogra to Darjeeling via Mirik: Rs 3000 – 3500

Here, you can stop at Mirik and spend some time at the Mirik Lake.

Shared jeeps are available from NJP Station and Siliguri Stand. Once you come out of the station, you will be accosted by a large number of people. Some people will approach you that they will take only RS 150.00 per head for Darjeeling. But do not fall in that trap. These people will take you to a fixed hotel from where they get a commission. If you do not stay in that hotel, then they try to create a lot of fuss and you end up paying more to avoid unnecessary trouble. Come out of the railway station. You will see a lot of sumos, boleros and such cars at the stand. Approach them and ask a few people before deciding.

Tentative Fare of a shared jeep to Darjeeling (as on January 2020):

  • NJP Station to Darjeeling: Rs 200.00
  • Siliguri Bus Stand to Darjeeling: Rs 175.00

Buses to Darjeeling

Several buses ply from Siliguri to Darjeeling in the day. The first bus is at 7.00 am and the rest all through the day. Night buses are not available.

Darjeeling to Gangtok Itinerary for 6D/5N

Day 1: NJP/ Bagdorga to Gangtok

After reaching NJP or Bagdogra, take a prepaid taxi or shared jeep to Gangtok. It will take about 4.5 hours in a reserved car and about 5.5-6 hours in  a shared jeep. Check in to your hotel and relax.

Day 2: Gangtok

Go for a full day sightseeing tour in Gangtok. local taxis and cars are available for sightseeing tours in Gangtok. usually, there are 3-point, 7ipount and 10-points sightseeing tours available in Gangtok.

3-point Tour: you will visit Tashi viewpoint, Hanuman Tok and Ganesh Tok.

Taxi Rate: Rs 1000.00 – 1200.00 (in peak season)

7-point Tour: Along with the 3 mentioned above, you will also visit Bakthang Waterfall, Enchey Monastery, Flower Exhibition Centre and Handicraft Centre.

Taxi Rate: Rs 1500.00 – 1800.00 (In peak season)

10-point Tour: This tour is the most exhaustive one and takes full day. You will visit Ranka Monastery, Ban Jhakri Waterfall, Rumtek Monastery, Nehru Botanical Gardens, Shanti Viewpoint, Enchey Monastery, Ganesh Tok, Ropeway, Insitute of Tibetology and Tashi Viewpoint.

Taxi Rate: Rs 2500.00 – 3000.00 (in peak season)

These are indicative rates for small cars. You can also ask the taxi drivers to take you as per your choice. They will charge you according to the places you visit.

Day 3: Gangtok – Tsomgo Lake – Baba Mandir – Nathula Pass – Gangtok

The next day, start early for an excursion to Tsomgo Lake, Baba Mandir and Nathula Pass. This is a full day tour and you will reach back in Gangtok at late afternoon. If you visit only Tsomgo Lake and Baba Mandir, then the trip can be done within 6-7 hours.

For this trip, you would need large vehicles like Scorpio, Jeep etc. Also, these are restricted areas and you need a permit to visit them. Get you permit done on the previous day itself through a travel agent. Shared cars are also available for these trips.

Tentative car fare for Nathula Pass day Trip

  • Tsomgo Lake and Baba Mandir: Rs 4000.00 in Sumo/ Max
  • Tsomgo, Baba Mandir and Nathula: Rs 5500.00 in Sumo/Max
  • Tsomgo, Baba Mandir and Nathula: Rs. 7000.00 in Innova/Scorpio
  • Shared Jeep for Tsomgo (from Gangtok stand): Rs 500.00 per person including a permit.
  • Shared Jeep for Tsomgo, Baba Mandir, Nathula (from Gangtok stand): Rs 800.00 per person including a permit.
Day 4: Gangtok to Darjeeling

Start from Gangtok towards Darjeeling. You will reach within 3-4 hours if you are taking a reserved car. Otherwise, it is going to take a little more time. you will probably reach Darjeeling by noon. In the afternoon, you can stroll around the Darjeeling Mall, visit the Mahakal Temple and the Observatory and do some shopping.

If you can start early from Gangtok and reach Darjeeling early, then you can take the 2 hours Joy Ride in the Darjeeling tow train. But the tickets need to be booked in advance

Day 5: Darjeeling

Early in the morning, go to Tiger Hill to watch the sunrise. The trip starts at about 4.00 am and goes on till 7.30 am. After you watch the sunrise at Tiger Hill, you will also visit the Ghoom Monastery and Batasia Loop and War Memorial.

Rate for reserved Taxi: Rs 1200.00 – 1500.00

After that return to Darjeeling and have breakfast at Keventers or Glenarys. They serve a delicious English breakfast. Then you can go for Darjeeling sightseeing tours. Like Gangtok, Darjeeling also has 5-point and 7-point sightseeing tours.

5-point Tour: This includes Japanese Temple and Peace Pagoda, Lal Kuthi, Dhirdham Temple, Ava Art Gallery and Darjeeling Zoo. This takes about 3 hours.

Rate of reserved car: Rs 1200.00 – 1500.00

7-point tour: This covers most of the famous attractions of Darjeeling like the Darjeeling Zoo and HMI, Darjeeling Ropeway, Tenzing and Gombu Rock, Happy Valley Tea Estate, Tibetan Refugee Centre, Lebong Race Course.

Rate of reserved car: Rs 1500.00 – 1700.00

You can also hire a car and visit the places of your choice. You will find many private cars offering sightseeing tours. You will find them at Club side taxi Stand and also at Chowk Bazar. Before taking a car, ask the driver on what places he will be taking. In Darjeeling, the rates of taxis depend on the demand and on the type of vehicle.

Taxi rate for a full-day tour in Darjeeling (usually 7 hours): Rs 2500.00 – 3000.00

Half-day trip to Rock Garden and Ganga Maya Park: Rs 1600.00 – Rs 1800.00

After your sightseeing trip, you can roam around the Mall in the evening. Have dinner at any place of your choice.

Day 6: Darjeeling to NJP/ Bagdogra

Start from Darjeeling and return to NJP/ Bagdogra to catch your train or flight back home.

This Darjeeling Gangtok itinerary is just a tentative one. If you have more time in hand, you can explore more places in Sikkim and Darjeeling. For example, you can go for a day trip to Mirik from Darjeeling. And in Sikkim, you can include a trip to North Sikkim.

I will give here another itinerary for those who have more days in hand. Please note that the itinerary is just a tentative one and you can change it as per your requirement.

View of Kanchenjunga range from Darjeeling -

Tentative Darjeeling to Gangtok Itinerary for 9N/10D

  • Day 1: NJP/ Bagdogra to Gangtok
  • Day 2: Gangtok sightseeing
  • Day 3: Gangtok – Tsomgo Lake – Nathula Pass – Gangtok
  • Day 4: Gangtok – Lachen
  • Day 5: Lachen – Gurudongmar Lake – Lachung
  • Day 6: Lachung – Yumthang Valley – Gangtok
  • Day 7: Gangtok to Darjeeling
  • Day 8: Darjeeling sightseeing
  • Day 9: Darjeeling – Mirik sightseeing
  • Day 10: Darjeeling to NJP/Bagdogra
Detailed Darjeeling – Gangtok Itinerary for 9N/10D
Day 1: NJP/ Bagdogra to Gangtok

After reaching NJP or Bagdogra, take a prepaid taxi or shared jeep to Gangtok. It will take about 4.5 hours in a reserved car and about 5.5-6 hours in  a shared jeep. Check in to your hotel and relax.

Day 2: Gangtok sightseeing

Do a full day sightseeing of Gangtok. Local taxis and cars are available for sightseeing tours in Gangtok. usually there are 3-point, 7ipount and 10-points sightseeing tours available in Gangtok.

Day 3: Gangtok – Tsomgo Lake – Nathula Pass – Gangtok

The next day, start early for an excursion to Tsomgo Lake, Baba Mandir and Nathula Pass. This is a full day tour and you will reach back in Gangtok at late afternoon. If you visit only Tsomgo Lake and Baba Mandir, then the trip can be done within 6-7 hours.

Day 4: Gangtok – Lachen

Start early and drive to Lachen in North Sikkim. Stop at Seven Sister Waterfall, Phodong Monastery, Singhik Viewpoint and Chungthang Gurudwara enroute.

Day 5: Lachen – Gurudongmar Lake – Lachung

Start as early as possible to visit Gurudongmar Lake. After the trip, drive to Lachung. Explore Lachung in the afternoon.

Gurudongmar Lake
Day 6: Lachung – Yumthang Valley – Gangtok

Visit Yumthang Valley and Zero-Point and then return back to Gangtok.

Day 7: Gangtok to Darjeeling

Start from Gangtok towards Darjeeling. You will reach within 3-4 hours if you are taking a reserved car. Otherwise it is going to take a little more time. You will probably reach Darjeeling by noon. In the afternoon, you can stroll around the Darjeeling Mall, visit the Mahakal Temple and the Observatory and do some shopping.

Day 8: Darjeeling sightseeing

If you do not have another extra day, then either go to see the sunrise at Tiger Hill or go for the Darjeeling toy train Joy Ride in the morning. Later, go for a sightseeing tour of Darjeeling.

Day 9: Darjeeling – Mirik sightseeing

You can go for a sightseeing tour to Mirik. It is a beautiful place known for the peaceful Mirik Lake. On return, you can stop at Pashupati Market at India-Nepal border.

Day 10: Darjeeling to NJP/Bagdogra

Return back to NJP or Bagdogra for your return journey home.

snow covered hut - Sikkim tourism

So if you want to plan a trip to Darjeeling and Gangtok, you can take these itineraries as a guide and plan your trip. You can also see the other resources in your blog on Darjeeling and Sikkim to plan your trip. These itineraries are designed under ideal conditions taking into the fact that you are getting a reserved car for the transfers and sightseeing tours. If you wish to take shared vehicles for the transfers, then that is also possible. And in most cases, shared sightseeing tours are also available in peak seasons. Hope this article will help you in planning a perfect Darjeeling to Gangtok trip.

Do you think planning trip is a hassle? Do you just want to enjoy your vacation and leave the headache of booking accommodations and logistics to the specialists? Then you can simply book your tour with us. We will connect you to the right people at the right place so that you have a great trip without any hassles.

Agni & Amrita

Agni & Amrita

Travel Experts

We are Agni and Amrita, the story-telling team behind Tale of 2 Backpackers and partners in crime in travel and (mis)adventures of life. We have been travelling together for more than a decade looking for immersive experiences while enjoying the little beauties of life. We are intrigued by heritage, culture, festivals and people and that is reflected in our travel. And yes, we love the Himalayas too.

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2 Comments

  1. Quite an interesting itinerary you have here. The last time i was in the area, i decided to head to Kalimpong for 2 days from Bagdogra, before my Bhutan Trip last year. Should’ve gone to Darjeeling instead. But then again, would have been disappointed as I would have had to head back soon. Definitely going to be planning a trip exclusively around this itinerary, once travel resumes.

    Reply
    • Thanks Arnav. There is always a next time and whenever you come to visit Darjeeling, we will tag along!

      Reply

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