We visited almost whole of Sikkim in 2006 April. I will write in parts. This is about North Sikkim. While traveling through this area of Sikkim, the feeling was, there cannot be anything beautiful than this in this world. We were dumb stuck!
Also known as Valley of flower of the East is a fabulous place to travel. In March and April the valley is full of different colors of Rhododendrons, Primula and in winter the valley is fully ice covered. We had a car with us to travel all the parts of Sikkim and was sponsored by one of my friends in Sikkim, he also arranged the accommodation for us :) But a car can also be hired from Gangtok on daily basis to travel Sikkim. Permits, where required will be arranged by the travel agents. See at the end of the post the package tariffs and other information.
Started early in the morning from Gangtok we crossed Fodong, Mangan, Singik to reach 135 Kms from Gangtok, Chungthang, where to streams Lachung chu from Lachung and Lachen chu from Lachen meets and make the famous Teesta. Chu means river streams in the local language. The scenic beauty of the route was awesome and the road is extemely well maintained. Usually tourists don't stop at Chungthang. They proceed further to Lachung to stay overnight before Yumthang. But my friend managed our accomodation at Chungthang, so we stayed there. Chungthang is a very small place with few shops and houses and some restaurants. From here two roads, one goes to Yumthang to Lachung and the other via Lachen to Gurudongmar Lake.
Next day morning we start from Chungthang for Yumthang, our next destination. The first halt was Lachung. I fell in love at first sight! What a place to stay! A picturesque natural village having a river, snow peak mountains, A water falls, plenty of colorful
flowers...what more one can ask for a landscape! We had our lunch in a
a local home. In fact most the residential
houses there are convreted hotels and restaurants at one part of it. The lady and the daughters quickly cooked food for all of us. We relished the fresh hot rice and the egg curry they made. It is the warmth and affection that matters how the food will taste!
After lunch we proceeded for Yumthang 24 kms from Lachung at 11800 ft. It is very difficult to describe the beauty of Yumthang. The time we went It was full of flowers. Colorful flowers were there even in between the grasses. The valley, river, snowpeaks, flowers even a hot spring is there! Enjoy the photos of Yumthang here.
Interested tourists can proceed further 24 Kms at 15300 Ft to Yumesemdong near Tibet Border.
24 Kms From Lachung, another place of interest is Katao at 12600 Ft, is famous for the glacier.
Again came back to Chungthang to go to our next destination Gurudongmar lake. We halted at Lachen 29 kms from Chungthang for the night. We had to start very early in the next morning, otherwise the driver told the weather will be bad. From Lachen in 3 hours we rached another beautiful village, the last village in this route, Thangu at 14400ft. Interested tourists can tek to Chopta valley from Thangu. The character of the mountains change abruptly to barren and rocky after Thangu. The whole road through the ice is mainatained by Indian Army. There are many check posts on the route.
The road ends at Gurudongmar Lake at 17800 Ft. This lake is very sacred for both hindus and Budhhists.We were mesmerized by the divine beauty! The whole lake is surrouded by icy mountains. The color of the water is turquish blue to greenish at places. The migratory birds floating here and there inthe lake...I don't have words to describe the place. Please visit it will be your lifetime memory.
There are many travel agents in Gangtok to choose from.
The package cost includes food, stay and travel. There will be 8 to 10 tourists per car.
- 1 night 2 days package to Yumthang and Katao INR 1200 - 1500 per head.
- 2 nights 3 days package to Yumthang and Gurudongmar INR 2500 - 3000 per head.
Important points to note while you travel:
- Take enough heavy woolen garments. These places are vey cold.
- If babies are with you take their tinned milk from Gangtok.
- Carry common medicines, antiemetics may be required any time.
- Keep stock of enough mineral water in your car.
- Though rare, high altitude sickness may occur. If someone develop breathing trouble don't panic just bring him down to lower altitude as fast as you can.
- Electricity is absent or irregular in most of these places. keep the batteries of you gadgets properly charged.