Whenever I think of Sikkim, I think of prayer flags against an azure sky. The state (the second-smallest after Goa and the least populous in India) – seems relatively uncorrupted by tourism.
That also means getting there is hard if you don’t have money for jet fuel (see box: Getting There). A friend and I took a small tempo, which squeezed four people into a back seat meant for two. Four hours later, when we reached Sikkim’s capital, Gangtok, we were only glad that our backs and legs had survived. Note: It’s worth paying for an extra seat in the tempo just for the space.
* The nearest airport is Bagdogra, only 124km from Gangtok. Several domestic carriers operate from Kolkata, Delhi and other cities.
* If the weather and your budget permits, there are daily helicopter flights from Bagdogra to Gangtok.
* Or take the road. NH31A from Siliguri to Gangtok is a slow but picturesque two-hour ride.