Sikkim’s First Airport at Pakyong: A Detailed Guide for Visitors

Sikkim is a state where natural beauty meets Buddhist culture and heritage. The only problem is that reaching Sikkim can become a huge task in itself, as it is located in a remote and hilly area. There were no railway stations or airports in Sikkim until 2018.

In 2018, the first airport of Sikkim and the 100th operational airport of India, the Pakyong Airport, was started by the Government of India. It is the first airport in the entire Northeast, and cost about $68.7 million!

The 201-acre airport is situated at a height of 4,646 feet, making it one of the five highest airports in India. If you want to know more about it, then read on.

Where is the Pakyong Airport Located?

The Pakyong Airport, the first domestic airport in India, is located in Pakyong, Sikkim. Pakyong is a city in Sikkim, 27 kilometers away from Gangtok, the state’s capital.

However, note that the Pakyong Airport is situated on Dikling Road in Pakyong, which is 31 kilometers south of Gangtok. Therefore, it takes about two hours to reach the airport from Gangtok via car.

Fun Fact: The airport is just 60 kilometers away from the Indo-China border.

How to Reach Pakyong Airport?

Sikkim doesn’t have many transportation options because of its mountainous and rocky terrain. You won’t find regular trains or inter-city flights here. Hence, there are only two options to reach the Pakyong Airport.

Option 1: By Car or Taxi

The most common option to reach Pakyong Airport from wherever you are located in Sikkim is by car or taxi.

Major Sikkim towns and cities are connected through roads. Here’s a breakdown of how far the main towns are from the Pakyong Airport and how much time it takes to reach.

City/TownDistance from Pakyong AirportTime Taken (approx)Charges (approx.)
Gangtok31 kilometers2 hoursINR 1500 – INR 2000
Namchi64 kilometers2 to 2.5 hoursINR 2850 – INR 4000
Rangpo20 kilometers50 minutes to 1 hourINR 1700 – INR 2400
Jorethang83 kilometers3 hoursINR 2850 – INR 4000
Mangan82 kilometers3 hoursINR 3000 – INR 4200
Singtam62 kilometers2 to 2.5 hoursINR 1600 – INR 2000
Pelling110 kilometers3.5 to 4 hoursINR 4300 – INR 5500
Lachen137 kilometers6 to 7 hoursINR 4000 – INR 5500

Note: Many towns in West Bengal such as Siliguri, Kalimpong, Darjeeling, and Kurseong are located pretty close to Pakyong Airport in Sikkim. It may take you anywhere between two to four hours to drive there from the airport. This way, you can cover both Sikkim and West Bengal.

Option 2: By Bus

Sikkim has its own bus service, SNT (Sikkim Nationalised Transport), that aims to provide to-and-fro services in many districts. It is also relatively inexpensive than private taxis. SNT buses are most useful for traveling between Gangtok and towns of West Bengal (Siliguri, Darjeeling, and Kalimpong).

However, you need to check the bus schedule, and if it is available in the district where you are located.

Airport Facilities and Services

As the Pakyong Airport was opened to the public in 2018, it has just a few necessary general facilities and passenger facilities. Let’s take a look at them.

General Facilities

The general facilities for the Pakyong airport include a 1.75-kilometer long and 30-meter wide runaway, a 116-meter long taxiway, and high-intensity runway lights.

Passenger Amenities

You won’t find a lot of passenger amenities at the Pakyong airport. Some of these include:

  • Cafe or Snack Bar: There are no restaurants at the airport. There’s only one tiny cafe or snack bar where you can get sandwiches and similar items.
  • Prepaid Taxi Counter: You can find a taxi counter at the airport to travel to the nearby towns or cities in Sikkim or West Bengal. These taxis are generally cheaper than the rest.
  • Free WiFi: You can avail free WiFi as long as you have a valid phone number (Indian or International).
  • Free Parking Space: It can accommodate over 50 vehicles.
  • Clean Washrooms: The airport is quite clean and offers clean washrooms with the required amenities.

Which Flights Operate at the Pakyong Airport?

Due to the challenging location of the Pakyong Airport, there is only one domestic airline company, Spicejet, that operates in Pakyong Airport.

Spicejet offers flight services to two main cities in India – Delhi and Kolkata. It takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes to reach Kolkata from Pakyong Airport, and 3 hours to reach Delhi.

Generally, there is one flight each day to Kolkata from the Pakyong Airport, and five flights to Delhi in a week (except Monday and Friday).

Note that the flights may be canceled due to harsh weather conditions. Spicejet had paused its operations at the airport for about five months between November 2022 and March 2023. They resumed the flights in March 2023.

What to See Around Pakyong Airport?

If your flight at the Pakyong Airport is late and you’ve some extra time to spare, there are many surrounding places to check out. Here’s a list of them.

1. Dikling Monastery

The Dikling Monastery is situated just 1 kilometer away from Pakyong Airport. So, it shouldn’t take you more than five minutes to reach the airport.

This monastery is tiny but offers a place for you to meditate and sit right in the lap of nature. You can also take part in, or take a look at the various Buddhist practices being conducted by the Buddhist priests.

Dikling Monastery also gives you a glimpse into the culture, heritage, and people of Sikkim.

2. Kartok Monastery

Apart from Dikling Monastery, you can also visit Kartok Monastery. This one is located 5.5 kilometers away from the airport. It takes about 15 to 20 minutes to reach the airport from here.

Kartok Monastery is the sixth-oldest monastery in Sikkim and has a majestic architecture. You can also find a lake, Lake Kartok, near the monastery.

You can explore the true culture of Sikkim through Buddhist rituals or even interact with the locals to learn more about the state’s history. Hence, this is one of the best places near the airport to spend your day.

3. Jawaharlal Nehru Botanical Garden

If you don’t wish to visit a monastery, you can also try going to the Jawaharlal Nehru Botanical Garden. It is a little bit far from Pakyong Airport – about 29 kilometers.

Therefore, it can take at least an hour to get to the airport. I only recommend it if you have a lot of extra time before your flight’s departure.

The botanical garden showcases more than 50 unique varieties of flowers and trees. Its location is also quite pretty, as it is nestled in the foothills of the Himalayas. You’ll find a lake there too, along with beautiful coniferous trees like oak and fir.

The park is open all seven days between 8 AM and 6:30 PM. It is best to visit the garden around March and May. 

4. Rumtek Monastery

The largest monastery in Sikkim, Rumtek Monastery, is also 29 kilometers or an hour away from the Pakyong airport. So, it is another excellent monastery to visit if you’re on the way to the airport.

Apart from the usual stuff, this monastery also houses some of the rarest Buddhist religious art objects in the world.  It is also well-known for its Kargyu teachings, an important tradition of Buddhism.

The monastery is relatively small but is a must-visit place if you’re seeking knowledge about Buddhism in Sikkim.

5. Saramsa Garden

Saramsa Garden, a public garden in Sikkim, is 15 kilometers or 40 minutes away from the Pakyong airport. It is best for adorable picnics because of its chill and peaceful environment.

You can have your meal there, amidst the greenery, and leave for the airport.

6. Sikkim Science Center

The Sikkim Science Centre is also just 15 kilometers or 40 minutes from the airport. It is one of the best options if you also have kids.

The Science Center aims to provide an educational and scientific environment. Moreover, it has many galleries like Taramandal, Unique Humankind Gallery, Gallery for Students’ Activities, and many more.

It is right near Sarmasa Garden, so you can plan a visit accordingly. 

Accommodation Options Near Pakyong Airport

Pakyong Airport has a great location in terms of accommodation. You’ll find hotels of all budgets within 2 to 10 kilometers of the airport. Here are some that you can check.

1. Hotel Khimsika Residency

Address: NOAP GAON DUGALAKHA ROAD, Pakyong, Sikkim

This hotel is located just 3 kilometers away from the Pakyong Airport. It has four types of rooms, the cheapest one costing around Rs. 1000 or $12. The hotel has usual amenities like a restaurant, bar, parking, and ATM.

Note that guests below 18 years, unmarried couples, or a group of just men aren’t allowed at the hotel.

2. Kazi Retreat

Address: Chalamthang, Pakyong, Sikkim

Kazi Retreat is 5 kilometers away from the Pakyong airport. Hence, you can reach the airport within 10 minutes!

The place offers a cozy stay with a balcony, a free parking area, one kitchen, and an outdoor seating area. It is best for families with kids. It charges about Rs. 2000 to Rs. 2500 (around $30) for a single room of two.

Kazi Retreat has basic amenities, but no Internet services as such.

3. Seema Home Stay

Address: Pachey Samsing, Pakyong, Sikkim

This homestay is just 3 kilometers from the Pakyong airport. Unlike a hotel, it is a homestay with various basic facilities like parking, shuttle services, television, room service, and many more.

It also has a convenience store and a bicycle rental if you want to explore the surrounding areas. The charges are around Rs. 1500 or $18 per night.

4. Prapti Lodge

Address: Pakyong, Sikkim

Another lodging accommodation which is just 3 kilometers away from the Pakyong airport is Prapti Lodge.

The lodge charges around Rs. 1200 or $15 for one night and provides comfortable services. The best part is that the hotel also has free WiFi and housekeeping services.

5. Vivanta Sikkim

Address: Bassnett Gaon, Namcheybong, Pakyong, Sikkim

Pakyong has one of the best hotel chains in India, the Taj Vivanta. If you are looking for a luxurious hotel near the airport, then you can plan your stay here.

Vivanta Sikkim is almost 9 kilometers or 25 minutes away from the airport. Yet, you can easily find taxis and get the best customer service here. The hotel has free WiFi, a pool, a spa, a gym, and almost every other amenity. The view from the hotel is also breathtaking!

The charges are variable, but they start from Rs. 10,000 or $120 per night.

6. Orchid Homestay

Address: Pakyong Forest Block, Sikkim

This homestay is decent, clean, and 10 kilometers (about 30 minutes) away from the airport.

You’ll find spacious rooms with many important amenities available, including free WiFi and television. Each room comes with a patio offering a mountain view too!

The prices of this hotel range between Rs. 5000 to Rs. 7000 or about $80.

Other Ways to Reach Sikkim


If the Pakyong Airport is non-operational, there are other popular ways to reach Gangtok, Sikkim. These are listed below.

  • Through Air (Other than Pakyong Airport)

You can take a flight to Bagdogra Airport in West Bengal. It is 124 kilometers away from Gangtok, and the whole journey takes 4 to 5 hours.

  • Through Bus Services

You can find many SNT buses to and from Gangtok. There are bus services available from Siliguri, New Jalpaiguri, Darjeeling, and Kalimpong to Gangtok, Sikkim. The buses from Siliguri to Gangtok run every hour between 5 AM and 4 PM.

  • Through Railway

There are no railway stations in Sikkim. Therefore, you’ll need to take a train to New Jalpaiguri in West Bengal. This station is the busiest in the northeast and is located 130 kilometers from Gangtok. It may take 5 to 6 hours to reach Gangtok by car.

Final Thoughts

Pakyong Airport is one of the best things to happen to Sikkim and its tourism industry. It can save you and the other travelers a lot of traveling time if you hop on a plane to Pakyong.

However, don’t forget to check, if the flights are operational. Many flights get canceled due to harsh weather conditions in Pakyong. So, always keep a backup option, such as a train, a bus, or a car.