Shared Vehicles are the most commonly used public transport throughout Sikkim. As buses are not common there, for most budget travellers this is the key information they tend to look for. And believe me, I keep getting a lot of such questions, here on my blog, Trip Advisor Forums, emails etc. Though one can find such information scattered through my other related posts about Sikkim, but I thought of coming up with a dedicated post to help every budget travellers out there, by jotting down all the information of travelling in Shared Vehicles throughout Sikkim at a single place. Not only the Budget Travellers, but this can also be helpful for a family of 2 or 3 who can’t afford to hire a private vehicle and looking forward to travelling through shared vehicles. And it leaves no room for me to explain that travelling in Shared Vehicles is not only economical but also gives you a taste of the local way of travelling and get to experience their daily life.
NOTE : This article only covers information about Shared Vehicles throughout Sikkim. Please check My Experiences Throughout Sikkim for detailed explanations.
Anyway, so first things first, you must understand the below points first, before deciding to travel by Shared Vehicles
- Travelling in Shared Vehicles is not as easy as hiring a point to point cab or having an exclusive vehicle at your disposal. You should be ready to take the pain by travelling in Shared Vehicles.
- You must have a basic idea of the road map of Sikkim. I’m not asking you to memorize the whole map, that’s not even possible, but a basic idea of routes definitely helps. Refer to Google Maps too, to understand the routes.
- Not all the time, you’d be lucky to find direct Shared Vehicles. In that case, the above point will help you decide where you need to break to find a connecting Shared Vehicles. This is very true throughout South &
- Most importantly, Shared Vehicles won’t stop en-route for Sightseeing. So if you are planning for Sightseeings en-route, you must hire a private vehicle.
- For every destination, Shared Vehicles may not be available throughout the day, you need to plan the same accordingly.
- In most of the cases, Shared Vehicles don’t have any fixed timings and only leaves when it gets full.
So you must also take this time into account specially if you are in a hurry or when the sun is about to go down.
- Do not hesitate to ask the locals when in doubt.
NOTE : Please note that Shared Vehicles throughout Sikkim, puts in 10 pax with the driver with seating arrangements like 2 Pax in Front (Beside Driver) + 4 Pax in Middle Row + 4 Pax in Back Row. You may book more than one seat if you wish to travel comfortably. Most Shared Cabs don’t have fix timings and only leaves once the cab gets full.
In case of regular availability of shared cabs, you might book a seat on next cab if you are unable to find your preferred seat. But do not try this where the cabs are not regular and less frequent in numbers.
Below are the entry points to Sikkim
Nearest Airport : Bagdogra (IXB)
Nearest Railway Station : New Jalpaiguri (NJP)
Nearest Town / City : Siliguri
I’ll try to cover most of the tourist routes here, but if I miss anything, please let me know in comments. I’ll definitely try to help you out!!
NOTE : I’ll try to mention the price wherever applicable. Prices are mostly fixed for Shared Vehicles and there’s not much scope for bargaining out there. But they sometimes goes up and down a bit depending on the rush and season. Also, all the prices mentioned are for per person, unless explicitly specified. The generic prices for Shared Vehicles are around Rs. 100/- – Rs. 300/- per head.
NOTE : Sightseeing in shared vehicles are not possible, so you must hire an exclusive vehicle for the same. Please refer to my other specific posts about the destination for the charges and points to see.
Darjeeling & Kalimpong :
Yes I know, that Darjeeling & Kalimpong doesn’t comes under Sikkim, but most tourists tends to combine Darjeeling along with Sikkim and sometimes Kalimpong too. So I thought of putting this information here for sake of simplicity and ease of finding information.
NJP / Siliguri – Darjeeling : Shared Cabs to Darjeeling are readily available at frequent intervals from both NJP and Siliguri. Shared Cabs are readily available just outside the NJP Station near Prepaid Cab Stand for around Rs. 200/- per head and from Siliguri it costs around Rs. 150/- per head. In Siliguri, there are lots of places from where the Shared Cab leaves, the most famous being Tenzing Norgay Bus Stand and other frequent common areas includes Darjeeling More, Mahananda Bridge, Payel Cinema, Vishal Cinema etc. If you are unable to find a Shared Vehicles from NJP, you may transfer to Siliguri in an Auto for Rs. 40 – Rs. 100/- (depending on your bargaining power).
Bagdogra – Darjeeling : Local Shared Cabs are not available from Bagdogra. Wizzride runs luxury vehicles such as Innova / Xylo from Bagdogra to Darjeeling, Gangtok, Kalimpong and various other destinations on shared mode. You can book Shared Cabs from Bagdogra through their online portal. Alternatively, you can take a point-to-point vehicle to Siliguri for Rs. 300/- – Rs. 400/- and take Shared Vehicles to Darjeeling as stated above.
NJP / Siliguri – Kalimpong : Shared Cabs to Kalimpong are readily available at frequent intervals from both NJP and Siliguri. From NJP it costs around Rs. 150/- per pax and from Siliguri, it’s around Rs. 100/- per head. In Siliguri, there are lots of places from where the Shared Cab leaves, the most famous being Tenzing Norgay Bus Stand and other frequent common areas includes Darjeeling More, Mahananda Bridge, Vishal Cinema etc. If you are unable to find a Shared Vehicles from NJP, you may transfer to Siliguri in an Auto for Rs. 40 – Rs. 100/- (depending on your bargaining power).
Bagdogra – Kalimpong : Local Shared Cabs are not available from Bagdogra. Wizzride runs luxury vehicles such as Innova / Xylo from Bagdogra to Darjeeling, Gangtok, Kalimpong and various other destinations on shared mode. You can book Shared Cabs from Bagdogra through their online portal. Alternatively, you can take a point-to-point vehicle to Siliguri for Rs. 300/- – Rs. 400/- and take Shared Vehicles to Darjeeling as stated above.
Darjeeling – Kalimpong : Shared Cabs from Darjeeling to Kalimpong are highly frequent and costs around Rs. 150/- per head.
Gangtok & North Sikkim :
NJP / Siliguri – Gangtok : There is Bus Service from Siliguri – Gangtok at regular intervals, which leaves from SNT Bus Stand. So you might take an Auto from NJP which costs around Rs. 40/- – Rs. 100/- (depending on your bargaining power and season) to reach SNT Bus Stand if you are planning to take the Bus. Shared Cabs to Gangtok are readily available from Siliguri and NJP. From Siliguri it generally costs Rs. 200/- per head and from NJP it generally costs Rs. 250/- per head. Shared Cabs are readily available just outside the NJP Station near Prepaid Cab Stand and from Siliguri, there are lots of places from where the Shared Cab leaves, the most famous being Tenzing Norgay Bus Stand. Other frequent common areas include Mahananda Bridge, Payel Cinema, Vishal Cinema etc.
Bagdogra – Gangtok : Local Shared Cabs are not available from Bagdogra. Wizzride runs luxury vehicles such as Innova / Xylo from Bagdogra to Darjeeling, Gangtok, Kalimpong and various other destinations on shared mode. You can book Shared Cabs from Bagdogra through their online portal. Alternatively, you can take a point-to-point vehicle to Siliguri for Rs. 300/- – Rs. 400/- and take Shared Vehicles to Darjeeling as stated above.
NOTE : If you are travelling by WB Registered Vehicle, they will drop you at Deorali Taxi Stand. From there you need to hire a private cab or shared cab to your hotel. Private cabs will approach you as soon as you get down at Deorali Taxi Stand and costs around Rs. 200/- – Rs. 300/- depending on the distance to your hotel. This is the most convenient way if you are travelling with lots of luggage. Otherwise, just ignore them and come out of the Deorali Taxi Stand and opt for Shared Vehicles to common drop points for Rs. 10/- – Rs. 20/- per person.
Tsongmo Lake, Baba Mandir & Nathulla Pass Tour : These being restricted areas, this tour needs to be booked from authorized Tour Operators in Gangtok. They would provide you a vehicle and arrange the permits too. You just need to submit the documents. Please refer Experience From My Trip To Gangtok and North Sikkim for details. Shared Vehicles for this tour costs Rs. 800/- per person. The price can go up a bit during peak season.
North Sikkim Tour (Lachen, Gurudongmar, Lachung, Yumthang, Zero Point) : These regions too being restricted zones you need to opt for packages from authorized Tour Operators in Gangtok. The Tour Operator would provide you a package with accommodation, meals, transport and permits. This costs Rs. 3000/- per head (including everything) for 2N/3D North Sikkim Tour and Rs. 1500/- per head (including everything) for 1N/2D North Sikkim Tour. Again, the price can go up a bit during peak season. Please refer Experience From My Trip To Gangtok and North Sikkim for details.
NOTE : The above-packaged tours can be booked after reaching Gangtok.
West & South Sikkim :
Unfortunately, there are very less number of Shared Vehicles to destinations in West & South Sikkim and sometimes even they are only available at peak season. So in most of the cases, if you are planning to travel by Shared Vehicle to this region, you should be ready to do various break journeys. So you must memorize the name of important junctions, in order to travel through West & South Sikkim.
The most important place to get anywhere in South & West Sikkim is Jorethang. Jorethang has multi-level Taxi Stand from where various cabs leave to various destinations at regular intervals. The next most important points are Geyzing & Legship.
NJP / Siliguri – Jorethang : There are direct shared vehicles to Jorethang from NJP and Siliguri as well. From Siliguri, Shared Cabs are available from Tenzing Norgay Bus Stand and from Payel Cinema as well for around Rs. 120/- per head. If you aren’t able to find Shared Vehicles to Jorethang from NJP, transfer to Siliguri via an Auto which would cost you Rs. 40/- – Rs. 100/- (depending on your bargaining skills). Another way is to take a Shared Vehicles to Darjeeling as stated above. From Darjeeling, Shared Vehicles to Jorethang are readily available at Chowk Bazaar for Rs. 120/- per person.
Jorethang – Geyzing / Legship : You might not always find direct vehicles to your destination from Jorethang throughout the day, and in that case you need to break again at Geyzing / Legship.
NOTE : Give priority to Geyzing more than Legship wherever applicable as availability of Shared Vehicles at Geyzing is more frequent. Else you may need to transfer to Legship first and then to Geyzing if you can’t find direct shared vehicles from Geyzing which is highly unlikely.
NJP / Siliguri – Pelling : Direct Shared Vehicles from NJP and Siliguri as well, to Pelling are very rare and most of the time it’s not available. It’s great if you can find one, else hop into a cab to Jorethang. Shared Cabs to Jorethang are available from Tenzing Norgay Bus Stand and Payel Cinema as well. From Jorethang, you’ll find a direct Shared Vehicles to Pelling for Rs. 150/- per head. Generally, these vehicles comes to Jorethang in the morning and goes back to Pelling at around 11 AM – 1 PM. Otherwise, you have to go for a Shared Vehicles to Geyzing for around Rs. 120/- per person which are frequent in numbers and available throughout the day. There are regular Shared Vehicles for Pelling at frequent intervals throughout the day from Geyzing.
Gangtok – Pelling : From Gangtok, direct Shared Vehicles to Pelling are very less in numbers, but available a lot during Peak Season which costs around Rs. 300/- per pax. If you do not find one, you have two options. The first and easiest one is to find a Shared Vehicles for Ravangla which is very common. From Ravangla you’ll get shared vehicles to Pelling most of the time, else you may break at Legship and optionally to Geyzing to reach Pelling. Otherwise, you have to hop into a Shared Vehicles to Singtam and from there you can easily get direct shared vehicles to Pelling. But the issue is, if due to any reason, there’s no direct Shared Vehicle to Pelling from Singtam, you might need to break at Ravangla – Legship – Geyzing – Pelling or Jorethang – Geyzing – Pelling whichever applicable.
NJP / Siliguri – Ravangla : Shared Cabs to Ravangla are readily available from Jorethang and/or Legship throughout the day. Please follow the above routes to reach Jorethang and/or Legship accordingly.
Gangtok – Ravangla : Truely speaking Gangtok – Ravangla shared cabs are very frequent and always available. Still, if you are unlucky to find one, you need to break at Singtam.
NJP / Siliguri – Namchi : Direct Shared Cabs to Namchi are readily available from Siliguri. But if you are unable to find one break at Jorethang.
Gangtok – Namchi : Gangtok – Namchi direct shared vehicles are available but less in numbers. If not found, break at Singtam.
Yuksom : I must say, reaching Yuksom can be a bit complicated depending on your luck. Shared Cabs to Yuksom are available from Jorethang, Geyzing, Legship, Pelling, Tashiding and Gerethang. From Jorethang, if you are unable to find a direct vehicle be prepared to break at Geyzing and/or Legship and/or Tashiding. So wherever you are located, try to get to these points. From Pelling, Shared Vehicles to Tashiding and Gerethang is very common, so you can opt for that to reach Yuksom from Pelling. From Gangtok, I haven’t seen any shared vehicles to Yuksom, so you have to break at Singtam and then follow the same instructions as of Gangtok – Pelling and then to Yuksom wherever applicable.
Okhrey – Hilley – Barsey : Okhrey is the halt point for Barsey Rhododendron Trek. One needs to hire a private vehicle to drop you at Hilley, from where the trek starts and may collect the driver’s phone number to pick you up again from Hilley while returning. The car to Hilley can be arranged by the homestays at Okhrey. There are direct shared vehicles available for Okhrey from Jorethang at regular intervals. Please check the above to reach Jorethang. You may check out Trekking Through Barsey Rhododendron Sanctuary to read about my experiences.
NOTE : Throughout my trip to Sikkim, I never noticed shared vehicles for Kaluk, Rinchenpong, Uttarey so you have to rely on private cabs if you are planning to visit this region. Although I have noticed shared cabs to Dentam a lot which you can use to reach Hee Bazaar, Bermiok and Dentam itself. But to reach Chaya Taal, you have to hire private vehicles, as that’s a diversion from Hee Bazaar and I have not noticed any shared vehicles plying on that route.
East Sikkim – Silk Route : Even though Gangtok and Tsongmo Lake, Baba Mandir & Nathulla Pass too comes under East Sikkim, but those being key destinations have already been covered above under separate header. Unfortunately, tourists are not allowed to travel in Shared Vehicles throughout Silk Route, so please consider hiring an exclusive vehicle for throughout the tour. You may check out My Experiences of Travelling Through Silk Route
Hope this article covers most of the tourist destinations throughout Sikkim and might be helpful for anyone planning to travel by shared vehicles. Please let me know in comments if I have missed out any routes!!
Also, by now, you must have noticed that direct shared vehicles throughout destinations in South & West Sikkim are not very common always and you must break at multiple junctions accordingly depending on the situation. Do not forget to consider the time consumption regarding the same.
NOTE : This article only covers information about Shared Vehicles throughout Sikkim. Please check My Experiences Throughout Sikkim for detailed explanations.