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Fly Into Sikkim Via Their Brand New Airport

Sikkim (2)

For the past few decades, the Indian state of Sikkim has been left out in the cold. With airports being constructed and opened in almost every other state in India, tourists have been able to access these places with ease. With an increase in tourists comes an increase in tourism revenue. Unfortunately, mountainous Sikkim was ruled too rugged and remote for air travel — travellers have to get on a hour-hour jeep ride from the airport at Bagdogra located in West Bengal in order to get to Sikkim.

As of September 2018, the India prime minister Narendra Modi has declared the brand new Pakyong Airport open for business. Situated 1,400m above sea level, this is Sikkim’s first ever airport. It also happens to be a remarkable engineering feat as it is built atop an artificial plateau on the edge of a rugged hillside and is supported by a retaining wall standing 71m in height.

Sikkim (1)

Flights have commenced on 4th October and passengers flying into Sikkim will be treated to an incredible panoramic vista. The rocky wall of Khangchendzongda, the third-highest mountain on earth, welcomes incoming planes and on either end of the runway, the landscape consists of plunging valleys. This puts visitors right in the heart of the Himalayan hills. Pakyong will most probably be listed on the list of the world’s most exciting and challenging flight routes, alongside Lukla in Nepal and Leh in Ladakh.

Residents of Sikkim can now expect a big influx of visitors with the availability of air travel. They can also expect convenient road transfers to the state capital of Gangtok and fast access to the Tibetan Buddhist monasteries and mountain trekking routes.

Travellers should keep in mind that they will require an Inner-Line Permit (a colonial-era document which allows travel to the disputed border area between India and Tibet). The government of China does not recognise India’s claim to Sikkim and the countries have had disagreements over the territory as recently as 2017.

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