Post Covid19 induced lockdowns in India, almost all domestic travel has been restarted now. Tourism and adventure sports activities are also being reopened gradually. Sikkim was a little slow and conservative in opening up its borders again for domestic travel and tourism. But now finally we have this great news that Sikkim is also open for tourism starting from October 10th, 2020.
There are some minor restrictions and guidelines to be followed by tourists in the current Unlock phase. So current travel guidelines have been given by the government of Sikkim which are effective from October 10th, 2020 as a part of Sikkim Tourism Unlock 1.0. Here are the details:
For tourists coming to Sikkim
- Currently only Indian tourists and foreign nationals already staying in India are allowed to visit Sikkim for tourism purposes.
- Although it is not mandatory but still, all tourists are strongly 'advised' to bring a Covid19 negative test report (RT-PCR or TrueNat test) issued within 72 hours prior to time of arrival in Sikkim.
- Visitors maybe subjected to a thermal scanning and general health screening at the state borders or while checking-in into a hotel/resort/guest house/homestay etc.
- Visitors/tourists must ensure that they don't have any flu-like symptoms when traveling to Sikkim.
- All visitors/tourists must use Aarogya Setu application on their mobile phones.
- All tourists must register themselves on the Sikkim tourism web portal before coming to Sikkim. After registration, tourists will be issued a 'Travel Card' based on their information. This travel card must be carried by all tourists at all times while they are visiting Sikkim. Travel card can be applied here: Apply for Sikkim Tourist Travel Card
- It is required to update the Travel Card on a daily basis. Either tourists should do it or their tour organizer should update their travel cards everyday. Travel card can be updated here: Update Sikkim Travel Card
- All tourists travelling to Sikkim must carry a valid proof of identification.
- Persons above 65 years of age, persons with co morbidities, pregnant women and children below the age of 10 years are advised to either avoid completely or limit their travel. While travelling, they are advised to take extra precautions.
- All Tourists travelling to Sikkim should carry their own set of protective gears such as face mask, face shield, gloves and hand sanitizers and thermometers.
- Tourists are recommended to pre-book their accommodation and tours with only those tour operators, organizers or service providers which are health & safety compliant as per Govt. of Sikkim guidelines. Same applies for transportation too. Tourists should book only those taxis and vehicles which are health and safety compliant.
- Tourists should not travel if they are currently staying in a containment zone and they must not enter a containment zone when they are traveling in Sikkim.
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Beyond and above all the mentioned guidelines here, there is another most important thing. It is the sensitivities of the local people of Sikkim. Living in remote places far away from medical infrastructure like big cities, local people here are a little extra sensitive towards the Covid situation. It is totally justified and understandable too. So despite following all the govt. guidelines and making all advance bookings for your travel, it also depends on the will of the local people of that area to a large extent if you'll be able to travel or not. When tourists visit any area in Sikkim, in a way they are visiting the home of the local people of that area. So it is imperative to respect the wish of these people. Hence, before going to Sikkim, tourists must contact the local contacts of their accommodation/hotel, tour operator, service provider etc. and must ensure that the local people will allow them to come and support them fully in their trip and tourism activities.
For Trekkers and Trekking tour organizers
- All trekking tours must be booked in advance by trekkers before coming to Sikkim.
- Trekking tours must be booked only with health & safety compliant tour operators and organizers.
- Trek organizer should brief the trekkers over Do's & Don'ts, safety practices and their standard operating procedures.
- Trekkers are advised to undergo a health screening in the nearest PHC before starting their trek.
- While trekking, social distancing must be maintained by trekkers at all times.
- Trek organizers should prefer providing individual tents to all trekkers for accommodation during the trek.
- At any trek base or during the trek, if trekkers are staying in a trekkers hut or lodge, maximum 3 persons should be accommodated in 1 room.
- If a trekker begins to experience any Covid symptoms during the trek, he/she must return immediately to the nearest base and local district authorities must be informed.
- At all the camp sites and trekkers huts, sufficient arrangement of hand wash and sanitizers must be made by the trek organizers.
- All staff and local resources must wear face mask and hand gloves specially in kitchen and while serving food to trekkers.
- A basic first aid kit and supplemental oxygen must be carried by the trek organizer with the group.
- Trek organizer must have an isolation room/tent at all places during the trek and must be prepared for any emergency rescue and evacuation. District authorities must be informed after evacuation.
For Hotels, Tour operators and other service providers
- All hotels, accommodation units, service providers, taxi operators, tour & travel organizers are requested to compulsorily register their basic profile details on this portal: Registration of tourism related services for Sikkim. Following verification, details would be sent for login in to web portal of the Tourism Department for completing other entries required for consideration for health & safety compliance.
- Photographic evidences of the following areas required to be uploaded.
- For Hotels
- Reception area with markings for social distancing
- Baggage sanitization/ disinfection area
- Lobby near reception
- Rooms with sanitizers, soaps etc
- Dining area with social distancing seating
- For vehicles/ Travel Agency/Tour Operators
- Social distancing & seating arrangement
- Sanitizers for use by passengers
- Portable cleaning /sanitizing equipment
- Display of emergency numbers, Driver ID & License in the vehicle
- Date of training given on SOP/Protocol to the employees/ staff is also to be entered.
- A stakeholder group representing all associations who underwent Training of Trainers workshop organized by Department of Tourism & Civil Aviation, would then recommend health & safety compliance of those accommodation units , travel / tour operators and service providers.
Please note that despite the government reopening tourism and domestic travel for all visitors and tourists, everyone must ensure that they strictly follow the safety guidelines related to Covid19. Never forget to wear a face mask at a public place and while traveling. Please maintain adequate social distance from others and maintain very good hand hygiene at all times. It is our collective responsibility to keep the people living in remote Himalayan state of Sikkim safe.
Disclaimer: These guidelines have just been extracted from publicly available sources and compiled for the sole purpose of informing the Tourists. If you need more information, please read the official guidelines given by the Tourism department, Government of Sikkim. Himalayan High will not be responsible for your safe travel in any way.
Tourism Department, Govt of Sikkim website
Tourism and Travel guidelines for Sikkim
Read Detailed guidelines and SOP for Sikkim Tourism Unlock 1.0 PDF