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How To Reach Pelling
Pelling is located in the north east of India in the state of Sikkim. The town lies in the foothills of Mount Kangchenjunga, the third highest mountain peak in the world. It is a place of great beauty, beckoning all kinds of tourists. It is not very crowded or highly frequented. However, reaching Pelling is not too difficult. There are bus and jeep services from various towns and cities of Sikkim.
Pelling does not have an airport of its own. The best you can do is reach the nearest airport, which in this case happens to be Bagdogra Airport, which is 160 km away. Bagdogra is a town in the Darjeeling district of West Bengal. The airport has regular helicopter flights to Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim, from where jeep services to Pelling are available. You can also hire a private taxi on an individual or shared basis from the airport.
The nearest railhead is Siliguri, a city which spans the Darjeeling and Jalpaiguri districts of West Bengal. The New Jalpaiguri (NJP) Railway Station is also almost equally close, at a distance of 152 km from Pelling. NJP is connected by trains starting from major Indian cities such as Delhi, Mumbai, and Kolkata. There is a regular cab service just outside the railway station. You can also travel by a shared cab or bus, for which you would have to go to Siliguri, which is 6 km away.
A regular bus service connects Pelling with Gyalshing. There is also Jeep service from Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim, starting at 7 a.m. and going on till 12:30 p.m. Besides Gangtok, there are regular jeeps connecting Pelling to the towns of Siliguri, Kalimpong, Namchi, and Jorethang. The all-weather, metalled roads are well-maintained. The state transport department also operates buses to Pelling which is perfect for budget travelers.
Getting around in Pelling
Once you are in Pelling, it would be best to rest a day. The roads are steep, and you will go uphill a lot. You can enjoy nature walks and visits to the monasteries. The main mode of transport for local sightseeing is taxis. It is better to hire a guide. The state government has conducted training programs for young men to work as guides, and they are fairly well-informed and helpful. You will have to seek this service from the tourism office, as they can be hired only from there.
The local people are quite fond of music and dance. You can attend some of the traditional cultural programs and watch popular traditional dances such as Chabrung and Dhaan Naach. As for monastery treks, Pelling is the starting point. You will have to negotiate small, local paths, most of which are not often frequented. Do not forget to visit the Darap village, go fishing in Rimbi and visit the Yuma Meditation Centre for a complete experience.