Yuksom, a town that was the first capital of Sikkim, is the base point of the much-coveted Goecha La trek.
A largely non-commercial settlement located in the west of Sikkim, this town is beautiful and extremely well maintained. From lush green pastures, tall trees, a magnificent lake, to an ancient monastery, there are a number of places to visit in Yuksom that make it a popular destination among tourists.
Here's How to reach Yuksom, Sikkim
If you are travelling from outside of Sikkim:
The best way to reach Yuksom is by taking a shared cab from Siliguri Junction, a point central to Yuksom’s nearest airport, railway station and bus stand.
1)The Siliguri Junction is usually referred to as “Junction” locally. It is the area close to the Tenzing Norgay Bus Stand (TNBS).
2)It is hard to find shared cabs that go directly to Yuksom from Siliguri Junction. A more preferred route is to take a shared cab to Jorethang from Siliguri Junction. From Jorethang, you will get plenty of shared cabs to Yuksom.
The nearest airport is in Bagdogra, 12 km west of Siliguri and about 170 km from Yuksom. From here, you can take a cab to the Siliguri Junction.
Alternatively, you can also fly or take a train to Kolkata (if the tickets are cheaper) and then take a bus/train to Siliguri (Tenzing Norgay Bus Stand / New Jalpaiguri Railway Station).
The nearest railway station is New Jalpaiguri (NJP) which's 150 km away from Yuksom. From the NJP station, you will get autos to Siliguri junction for INR 40-60.
By Bikat Adventures Transport:
Bikat Adventures also arranges transportation to Yuksom from Siliguri.
You can find more details regarding cost, timings and pick up location, in the ad-on section on the itinerary page of the Goecha La Trek.
Some handy pointers when travelling by taxi from Siliguri
One should always leave NJP/Siliguri* by 8 am (latest) as it takes around 7-8 hrs to reach Yuksom via Jorethang. The road to Yuksom is poorly lit and it is not advisable to travel at night. This is irrespective of whether you come in a shared or reserved taxi.
*NJP and Siliguri are very close, only 20 km apart. One can always move to Siliguri from NJP & vice versa quite easily using auto-rickshaws, buses, or shared tempos.
2) Reserved Taxi
If you are opting for a reserved taxi from Siliguri, preferably book a taxi from Sikkim and avoid the WB number cabs. Sikkim taxi drivers are more used to the roads towards Sikkim since they are regulars on the route.
There is a taxi stand near SNT in Siliguri (close to Tenzing Norgay Bus Stand, Siliguri) where one can find the Sikkim taxis easily.
Alternatively, one can get Sikkim taxis from a taxi stand near Payal cinema in Siliguri. Here one can find taxis coming from Yuksom or Jorethang (a town between Siliguri & Yuksom that is much better connected compared to Yuksom).
Commuting from Tenzing Norgay Bus Stand (TNBS)* to Payal Cinema stand is easy and one can use shared tempos, reserved autos, or even cycle-rickshaws.
From Siliguri, one could book a taxi to Yuksom for around INR 4000 to 5000.
3) Shared Taxi
Most shared taxis that leave from Siliguri would require you to get off at a place mid-way and take another connecting taxi from there to Yuksom. There are very few options to take a shared taxi directly to Yuksom from Siliguri.
There is one regular taxi that starts from Siliguri at around 12 noon (sometimes even by 2 pm). This one starts from Yuksom every morning for Siliguri and goes back to Yuksom in the afternoon. Using this option is a bit risky since the taxi travels mostly through the dark and the road conditions are not so good. Having said that it's not a complete no-no as well! One can use this option if money or time is a big constraint.
One should also check out the Payal Cinema taxi stand for a shared taxi directly for Yuksom. Sometimes there are taxis coming to Siliguri for a drop on a reserved basis but don't have a reservation for the back journey.
The fare for a direct taxi would be in the range of 400 to 500 per person in a Sumo / Bolero (or similar 10 seater vehicles).
This is a better, faster and more reliable way to reach Yuksom from Siliguri. The first taxi that starts from Siliguri to Jorethang is the guy carrying newspapers. This guy starts from the Junction area at 5 am sharp. Post that there are 2-3 taxis more that go to Jorethang from the Junction area. Taxis are available for Jorethang from Payal Cinema stand as well starting around 7 am onward. The fare would be around 150 to 250 per person in a 10 seater vehicle.
From Jorethang, one can move towards Yuksom in another taxi from the taxi stand. The taxi stand of Jorethang is a very well built 3-floor building. Taxis for Yuksom are available from the 2nd floor. The areas in the stand are well marked and easy to locate. The last taxi from Jorethang to Yuksom leaves at around 1 pm to 2 pm. The fare would be around 250 to 350 per person in a 10 seater vehicle.
If you are travelling from within Sikkim:
There are no buses to Yuksom. However, shared cabs are available from Jorethang, Geyzing, Tashiding, Pelling and Gangtok.
Please note that these cabs leave at fixed timings and usually before noontime.
So, do ensure you make your enquiries a day ahead when planning your journey.
Return Journey from Yuksom
This is comparatively easier to plan and implement. One can reserve a taxi from Yuksom to Bagdogra/NJP/Siliguri as required. The only advice is to start as early as possible.
As far as shared taxi options are concerned, the first one (and the only direct option) starts at around 5/6 am. One should come to the area in front of the Gupta Store in Yuksom and capture a seat as early as possible in this taxi because there can be many wanting to travel to Siliguri sometimes. Fare would be around INR 500 per person. Post this, there are 2-3 more taxis coming to Jorethang and the last one can be taken by around 8 or 9 am.
There may be some going to Jorethang after that as well but then the onward journey from Jorethang to Siliguri / NJP / Bagdogra would become impossible on the same day. Fare would be around INR 250 to 300.
From Jorethang, one can get a taxi to Siliguri till 4 pm from the Jorethang bus stand. Take a ticket (with seat number and taxi number) from the counter in the taxi stand and board your taxi to Siliguri.
These taxis would drop you at Payal cinema stand from where you can take a reserved auto or cycle rickshaw to move to Junction (TNBS) or NJP. Shared tempos can also be taken but none goes directly from Payal Cinemas to Junction, one needs to change the tempo from a place in between. The fare would be around INR 150 to 200.
In case you have a flight from Bagdogra, you can get a bus from TNBS or junction till Bagdogra but the point where it drops is around 3-4 Kms away from the airport. One can take a taxi or auto-rickshaw from here till the airport for around Rs. 50 to 150.
We hope you found the information above useful for the Goecha La Trek. Now, all you need to do is figure out the best season to do the Goechala Trek, as this trek can be done in various seasons depending on how you want to see the trail - green or snow-laden.
A route map to Yuksom, Sikkim