Sunita Gupta (November 2019)
Dear Raj, Thank you for such an informative and updated site. We are planning a trip in end December to Gangtok. We want to visit Tsomgo where the kids can play in the snow. I want to know if we need any permit to visit it and also if we can take an infant and a 3 three year old with us. We are Indians. It will be a great help if you can guide us. Thank you.
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) November 2019
Hello, permits are not issued for kids below 5 years of age because officially children below 5 are not allowed to visit Tsomgo/Nathula. You might be stopped at a check post along the way if you have a 3 years old kid with you. This is because of high altitude problems. Secondly in December, the route is sometimes closed due to heavy snowfall.
Jing Jing (October 2019)
Hi! I am a foreign solo traveler that would like to visit the Tsomgo Lake. I was wondering if the transport fares to visit the restricted areas apply to foreigners too? You mention that to get the Protected Area Permit, I would have to go through a tour. Is getting a shared jeep considered being in a tour? Since the fares written are "including permit"? Otherwise, how would you suggest I join a shared tour? Most tour operators are doing multiple day tour, but I would only like to do one day. Thanks!
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) October 2019
Hi, firstly all foreigners need to be in a group of minimum two of their own to visit protected areas. Secondly, while you can join a group tour in a shared jeep (assuming you combine with another foreign national), most such group tours will also cover Nathula where foreigners are not allowed. So to visit only Tsomgo, first you need to find another foreign national and then book a reserved vehicle through a tour operator who can also arrange for the permits.
Arohi (April 2019)
Hey, I am planning to visit Gangtok this June. I wanted to ask as to how long do shared vehicles usually stop at Tsomgo lake before moving to Nathula pass. Do they not stay for long? I want to have a yak ride and enjoy the surroundings of this place before moving on with my travels but a reserved taxi would be too expensive. What should I do?
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) April 2019
You can manage a short Yak ride at Tsomgo while visiting on a shared group tour... they usually stop for 40 - 45 minutes at each place.
Megha (March 2019)
Will my 4 year old daughter be allowed for Tsomgo Lake and Nathula pass... Please reply... We are planning a trip in mid June.
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) March 2019
Kids below 5 years are not issued permits and often stopped at the check posts for proceeding to Tsomgo / Nathula.
Ravinder Mittal (November 2018)
Dear Raj, Is it advisable to travel to Tsomgo lake, Baba mandir in December 21 with child of age 8 years for snowfall. I have heard about the problem of low level of oxygen and very low temperature there. Kindly advise me. It will be of great help. Thanks.
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) November 2018
Hello, children over 5 years are allowed in that route. However you need to take adequate winter precautions. Sometimes the route could be closed due to heavy snow.
Cecilia (October 2017)
Me and my friend from UK are planning to visit Sikkim and someone told me that foreigners are not allowed to visit the lake ... please advise if this is true ? Is there anyway at all we are allowed? I appreciate your response.
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) October 2017
Foreigners are allowed to visit Changu (Tsomgo) lake with required permits.
Suman (September 2017)
Hi Raj, thanks for such a detailed information. Best part is that you have provided month wise details. I am travelling to Gangtok & Pelling with my 1 year old daughter on 29th Sept till 3rd Oct. Please suggest, is it advisable to go to Changu lake with her. And what precautions do we need to take with her?
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) September 2017
Hi, it is not advisable to take an infant to such altitude... other than excessive cold, it can cause breathing problems.
Devin Bhattacharya (January 2017)
Hello Raj, Thank you for all your useful information, it's been great. Quick question: I know foreigners are required to get Sikkim ILP (permit) to travel into Sikkim. I also know that foreigners are not allowed at the Nathula pass and border, but can a foreigner do a day trip from Gangtok just to visit Tsomgo Lake and then return back to Gangtok? Thank you.
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) January 2017
Yes, with Protected Area Permit (in addition to ILP).
Ershad Rashid (October 2016)
Hi, I will be going to darjeeling then gangtok. planning to visit CHangu lake on 3rd Nov,16. if I take a shared jeep from Gnagtok to Changu lake, will the same jeep take us back to Gangtok or will there be more jeep available on shared basis from there. Thanks
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) October 2016
Hi, it's a group tour to Changu lake on per person rate and not a point-to-point transfer by shared vehicle. So the same vehicle will get you back to Gangtok and complete the tour.
Ajay Agrawal (October 2015)
Hi Raj, We are planning to travel to Gangtok in mid Nov. I heard of lack of oxygen in Nathula pass but what about Tsomgo lake and Baba mandir? Is it safe to take an infant along to visit Tsomgo lake and baba mandir considering low oxygen. Also I heard that taxi drivers keep ACs off when driving to Tsomgo lake. I heard of suffocation on the route to Tsomgo lake from fog and absence of AC. Is that right?
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) October 2015
Hi, high altitude problems from lack of oxygen is known to occur roughly from 8,000-ft onwards. Infants (above 3 months) are known to have similar tolerance as adults in such cases. And all these places (Tsomgo, Baba Mandir, Nathula) are well over 12,000 ft. So if you are concerned, you should definitely consult a doctor before visiting these places. About 25% of visitors do have breathing problems no matter what (but seldom serious). There are medicines known to retain body-oxygen and help in such situations. But most of those who have such problems do not acclimatize themselves in high altitude and rather get into high energy activities immediately.
Taxis and private cab drivers would normally switch off their car ACs in the hills here because of high gradient. The gradient exerts high load on the engine. They also do so because of the myth that AC means only cooling and therefore why should one need cooling in overly cold mountains. Having said that, ACs can't maintain the oxygen level anyway. You can carry portable oxygen cylinders from Gangtok, if you want.