You can take cheap flights to Gangtok, the capital city of Sikkim, and arrive at the Bagdogra Airport. Not many international flights are served by this airport, so you might need to book a connecting flight from a major Indian city like Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Guwahati, Kolkata or Mumbai. Gangtok lies a little ways away from the Bagdogra Airport; hire a taxi outside the airport to get to your destination. You can also hire the daily helicopter service that departs from the airport’s aerodrome, taking passengers who arrive on Gangtok flights to the city within 20 minutes. This mode of transportation is a great way to get a unique first glimpse of the city from above.
Taxis are the most widely available means of public transport within Gangtok. There are very few public buses, so the best option for long-distance journeys are four-wheel drives sturdy enough to navigate Gangtok’s hilly terrain. These vehicles are usually hired on a shared basis with other passengers. Besides booking cheap tickets to Gangtok, this is another way to enjoy a budget holiday in the city. Also, a cable car connects the lower, central and upper suburbs of Gangtok. Locals use their privately-owned cars and two-wheelers to travel from the residential suburbs to the city centre.
Cheap flights to Gangtok allow you to explore their intriguing religious practices at one of the many Buddhist monasteries around the city. Among these, the 200-year old Enchey Monastery is the most scenic place to visit, being situated high on a hill overlooking the city centre. You can stand here and admire the wooden houses of Gangtok with their pagoda tops. Kanchenjunga, the third-highest mountain in the world, stands tall in the distance. The Fambong La Wildlife Sanctuary in Gangtok makes for an interesting visit. You will see some exotic flora and fauna typical to this geographical region. Travel a short distance away from the city to see the Tsomgo Lake, which the people of Sikkim consider very holy; they have built a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva beside the lake.
Mahatma Gandhi (M.G.) Marg is the one place in Gangtok where you can do all your shopping. This tiled street is lined by makeshift shops that are divided into the Old Bazar (old market), Naya Bazar (new market) and Lall Market. Pick up traditional handicrafts like masks, Tibetan carpets, wooden folding tables, Sikkim tea powder and jeweled dragon sets to take home as souvenirs and gifts for friends and family. If you want to get the best deals and guaranteed quality for your purchases just as with your cheap airfares, shop at the Directorate of Handicrafts and Heirloom Emporium instead of the roadside stalls.
After a long day of shopping, you won’t have to travel far to get a decent meal. There are many restaurants along M.G. Marg serving combo meals consisting of an assortment of curries and vegetables accompanied by rice or Indian bread. Another culinary speciality of Gangtok is its steamed dumplings called momos; they can be stuffed with chicken or vegetables, and are usually served with a bowl of soup. Don’t expect much nightlife when booking your Gangtok flights.
Partying after dark is limited to the bars and pubs along M.G. Marg and the dance club called X’cape. Café Live & Loud is the only club in north-eastern India that hosts live music performances. Note that all these venues shut down by midnight.