Zuluk – The historic Silk Route
Travel to Zuluk for exploring the historic silk route where the trades used to happen between India and Tibet a few decades ago. A small hamlet nestled in the eastern himalaya of Sikkim in Pakyong district, previously East Sikkim is a popular offbeat destination. It is at an altitude of 10,100 feet from sea level. It is an emerging detaination and it has become quite popular recently. Excellent panoramic view of Kanchendzonga adds up the spark to the place. The twisted and excessively curved roads to beat the height with minimum distance is one of the most attracting feature of Zuluk. It has become tremendously alluring for the tourists recently.
The place has an historial importance. Zuluk was once a transit point. The trade route between Kalimpong and Tibet few decades ago used to run through this place. It was the main way for the traders traveeling to tibet for trade via Jeelep La. Jelep La is the local version for mountain pass. Jelep La pass is also a popular tourist destination. The route started from Kalimppong and ran all the way to Tibet via, Pedong, Aritar, Zuluk, Jelep La and Chumbi valley.
Travel to Zuluk via Air
The only nearest airport is Bagdogra Airport in Siliguri, West Bengal which is roughly 200 kms away from Zuluk. The time to reach zuluk from airport varies with the climate and weather in the area. It may take somewhere around 5 to 8 hours to safely reach Zuluk from Bagdogra Airport. Bagdogra Airport is connected to the country with almost all the major airlines. Regular flights to Bagdogra are available from major cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Kolkata or Chennai. From Bagdogra one can directly get a cab to Zuluk or one can also opt to go to Gangtok for a day before visiting the place. From Gangtok You can hire a taxi via any good travel agency and grab a copy of the permit for the area.
Sikkim recently has opened an airport at Pakyong. The Greenfield Airport of Pakyong though operation, has very few flights. Howevere the future of aviation in Sikkim is through Pakyong Greenfield airport only. There are only few flights available weekly and it would be hard to match the schedule with the flight availability date. We highly recomend to avoid Pakyong airport for now.
Travel to Zuluk via Train
When you travel to Zuluk via train, the nearest option available is the New Jalpaiguri Railway station. It is the only available nearest railway station. The New Jalpaiguri railway station is situated at siliguri, West Bengal. It is roughly around 180 kilometers away from Zuluk. It takes around 6 to 8 hours to travel to Zuluk from New Jalpaiguri Railway Station. Major cities of India are well connected with New Jalpaiguri railway station. Highly renowned trains like Rajdhani, Garib Rath, Sampark Kranti, Darjeeling Mail, Kanchenjunga Express and many others trains travelling to northeast India pass via New Jalpaiguri railway station.
From New Jalpaiguri railway station, one can grab a taxi or hire a cab to go to Zuluk. But we do recommend you to make plans before jumping to the destination. The Zuluk permit is necessary and you will not be able to visit the area without a permit. Hence it is recommended to travel to Gangtok instead of directly travelling to Zuluk. Once you are in Gangtok you can arrange the permit through any travel agency and grab a vehicle of your choice for the trip.
Travel to Zuluk via Road
Zuluk is a well connected destination. The road network connects it to major cities in Sikkim and West Bengal. The nearest town is Rongli about only 15 kilometers away from Zuluk. You can travel to Rongli in a normal cab and then hire a taxi or shared cab to travel to Zuluk.
There are two ways to reach Zuluk via road. One is directly to Zuluk from Siliguri. This may not be a good option if you are not familiar with how the permits are issued. But if you can arrange a permit then you can probably take this route. Also the altitude sickness may barge in, so we recommend to acclimatize at Gangtok before travelling to Zuluk.
The second way is to travel to Gangtok first. You can spend a day or two in Gangtok. You can check out our Guide on How to reach Gangtok for better clarity. Get acclimatized with the climate. In the mean time you can arrange for permit and make arrangement for the cabs preferred. You can either opt for a shared taxi as offered by travel agents or also booked the full cab for your personal comfort.