Explore North Sikkim
What To See & Do
North Sikkim hugs the Himalayan Mountains closely and is different from any other place in India. The northern zone of Sikkim is the coldest, prettiest and has a wild celestial beauty that few can resist. Whether you are craving for adventure or on quest for spirituality or simply want to spend some peaceful time in the company of beautiful nature …North Sikkim will give you the ultimate opportunity. Below are the list of top places in North Sikkim that you will really enjoy visiting.
Note that most of higher reaches of North Sikkim are in very high altitude (12,000ft or higher) and the air has rarefied oxygen levels so you need to acclimatize yourself along the way and avoid long stretches of travel that involve drastic shifts in the oxygen levels in air. You also need to travel in a sturdy vehicle like a Jeep or SUV as the roads are bad in several stretches and full of sharp turns.
Several sections of North Sikkim are protected area. In fact, the places beyond Singhik (located shortly after Mangan) are all protected areas and you need a special permit
to visit those places. In your application for permit, you will need to mention the names of all protected places you wish to visit. Permits are issued only for specific number of days (for example, for Lachung/Yumthang, a permit is issued for 2-3 days). You should go through a registered tour operator of Sikkim to visit the protected places... they offer complete packages including permits, transport and lodging.
North Sikkim is best explored from Gangtok. So the places mentioned below are sequenced outward from Gangtok starting with places nearer to further away.
Start from Gangtok
North Sikkim is a district by itself and it starts 11kms north of Gangtok town. From Gangtok you need to take the highway NH10 and drive northwards. You should start early in the morning if you plan to go all the way up to Lachung
Along the way about 4kms from Gangtok town, you will pass by Bakthang Waterfall
. You can stop here for a while and enjoy the lovely fall which is fed by the river Ratey Chu. You can also plan to take your breakfast here... there is a cafeteria run by Sikkim Tourism Department.
Bakthang Waterfall Gangtok, Rope Sliding
Another 3kms ahead is Tashi View Point
which is a wonderful elevated platform to get sweeping views of the mountain range including that of Kanchenjunga. From near Tashi View Point the road is known as North Sikkim Highway (or 'Gangtok Chungthang Road') and continues all the way up to Chungthang town and then bifurcates into two... one going to Lachen and other to Lachung.
Entering North Sikkim
4kms ahead of Tashi View Point (i.e. 11kms from Gangtok), you will come to a bridge going over the mountain stream Ratey Chu, and North Sikkim starts as soon as you cross over. Ratey Chu is the main source of water for the whole of Gangtok Town. The river is tapped for drinking water at an altitude of 8,200ft and then transported to a Water Treatment Plant in Selep about 17kms away.
Ratey Chu River, Sikkim. Photo taken from the bridge.
The river originates from a glacial lake Tamze at an altitude of 12,000ft. It's worth stopping here for a fee minutes and watching the torrent from the bridge gushing down a deep gorge.
Bridge over Ratey Chu connecting North Sikkim
Having crossed river Ratey Chu once you enter North Sikkim, 7kms ahead you will come to the village Kabi. This village is known for the historic spot Kabi Lungchok (or Kabi Longstok). This is the place where the native tribes Bhutia and Lepcha had sworn into blood brotherhood so that both tribes could live harmoniously in this hidden valley. Note that Bhutias here have mostly arrived from Tibet while the Lepchas are considered the original inhabitants of Sikkim.
Kabi Lungchok, North Sikkim
about the Historic event at Kabi Lungchok
to know what eaxactly happened here in 13th century, how can you visit that place and what can you see and do there.
From Kabi, further 7kms ahead is Phensang Monastery. Cars can't go all the way up to the Monastery, you need to get off and walk downhill for about 250 meters. Not many tourists visit this Monastery because it requires a walk and instead prefer to move on. This monastery was built in the year 1721 and it belongs to the Nyingmapa Order of Buddhism. Entry is free.
Phensang Monastery, North Sikkim
The third Chogyal (King) of Sikkim Chakdor Namgyal was in Lhasa (of Tibet) when he was a child because the Bhutanese had captured Sikkim then. However, through mediation of Lhasa, the kingdom of Sikkim was later returned to him. On his return a Lama Jigme Pawo from Tibet arrived in Sikkim. Both together made significant contribution in progressing Buddhism in Sikkim.
The Phensang Monastery was built under the direction of the lama Jigme Pawo. The monastery got ravaged by fire in 1947. However, all the lamas in the monastery worked hard to rebuild the monastery in 1948. Every year, a festival is held at Phensang on the 28th and 29th day of the Tibetan Calendar Year (which usually falls in December and takes place two days before the Sikkimese New Year). Sacred Chaam dances are performed during this festival
Seven Sisters Waterfall
Shortly after Phesang and 11kms from Kabi is the Seven Sisters Waterfall located adjacent to the road. From Gangtok the distance to the waterfall is 31kms along North Sikkim highway. You can see it from a distance. The waterfall comes down through seven stages and hence the name.
Seven Sisters Waterfall, North Sikkim
There are viewing areas at two different elevations to enjoy the scene of gushing water falling down the surface of the tall cliff and falling onto large rocks that are scattered on a river bed. You can however see only three stages of the water fall from the ground level. If you go to the upper viewing area, you can see the 4th stage too. The remaining stages are hidden in the mountain above. There are public toilets and eateries here few yards ahead that are run by Sikkim Tourism Department.
Further 13kms ahead of Phensang Monastery along the North Sikkim Highway and 38kms from Gangtok town is another village settlement known as Phodong, located at an altitude of 4,000ft. It takes about 1 hour 40 minutes to reach Phodong from Gangtok.
While the village itself is nondescript, it is well known for two specific attractions because of which it is often included in local tours of North Sikkim. One is the famous Phodong Monastery
located 1km above the Phodong market. This monastery was built in 1740 and was the most important monastery of Karma Kagyu Sect of Buddhists until Rumtek Monastery came up in 1960.
The other is the palace ruins at Tumlong, at a short distance from Phodong Monastery. Tumlong became the 3rd Capital of Sikkim's Kingdom when the capital was moved from Rabdentse in early 1800s and a royal palace was built here. After about 90 years, the capital was moved to Gangtok. You can still see the ruins of the palace at Tumlong.
Visit Phodong Tourism
to know about Phodong and all its attractions in details.
25kms ahead of Phodong and 65kms from Gangtok along the North Sikkim Highway is Mangan which is the District Capital of North Sikkim, so this is an area of administrative importance. Mangan is located at an altitude of 4,000ft. As you can figure out by now, so far and actually all the way up to Chungthang ahead, the altitude from Gangtok has diminished or remained flat for long stretches. From Mangan, the main road goes alongside Teesta river all along till Chungthang.
Mangan Market, North Sikkim
For tourists, Mangan has a special significance. Firstly, other than its own lovely views of Kanchenjunga peaks, there are several great attractions that you can visit from Mangan including the dreamy Dzongu Valley
which is home to the Lepchas and specially reserved for them. Secondly, many tourists who do not want to waste time visiting Gangtok, come here directly from NJP or Bagdogra airport via Singtam, stay overnight and proceed to places like Lachung and Lachen.
All permit formalities and tour arrangements that can be done at Gangtok for visiting protected places in North Sikkim can also be done easily at Mangan... just ask your hotel in Mangan to make the arrangements and they will do so. And there are some nice hotels available in Mangan. Many exotic treks to uncharted terrains in North Sikkim also originate from Mangan.
This is an area in north Sikkim comprising of several Lepcha villages. It takes less than 3 hours from Gangtok to reach Dzongu. At Mangan a road bifurcates from the main road and veers left and leads to Dzongu about 12kms away. This small mountain area has been preserved for Lepchas to showcase their ethnic & traditional lifestyle which is in perfect harmony with nature. In fact Lepchas believe this place has been blessed by god. There are no commercial hotels here.
Lepchas in Dzongu
Photo: K Nagarjun/flickr
However several local Lepcha villagers have extended their homes to offer cozy homestays to tourists. Other than experiencing the local village culture, you can savor traditional Lepcha as well Sikkimese homemade food and drinks.
Dzongu Valley, North Sikkim
What you get to see here are stunning views of mountains including Kanchenjunga snow peaks, lakes that are considered sacred by the villagers, plenty of gushing waterfalls, landscapes full of vegetation & cardamom plantations, paddy fields etc and of course traditional Lepcha lifestyle that has been followed since ages retaining the old ethnic practices. And you can go for wonderful treks, fishing, bird & butterfly watching, village tours and other nature friendly activities.
Another hamlet in the lap of natural beauty, Singhik has started gaining recognition as an exotic getaway. You can plan treks, nature trails and long walks from Singhik as there are lots of such opportunities. Singhik has great views of the whole Kanchenjungha range. Singhik is located only 4kms from Mangan along the main road that leads to Chungthang.
Singhik View Point
Tourists who pass through Singhik on their way to Lachung/Lachen usually stop over at the roadside View Point from where you can see one of the best views of Kanchenjunga peak along with its sister peaks of Pandim, Kabru and Siniolchu, and Teesta river flowing through the lush valley below.
This multi-tiered waterfall is located about 13kms ahead of Singhik on the main North Sikkim Highway which leads to Chungthang. From Mangan the Naga Falls is 17kms away. This in my view is one of the best waterfalls in North Sikkim. You will surely see a number of tourist vehicles lined up here by the roadside... almost everybody on their way to Lachung or Lachen would make a stop here and soak in the view and the ambience of the falls.
Naga Falls, North Sikkim
From the roadside, you need to go over an iron foot-bridge to get to the rock area which is the base of the water fall. There are numerous large rocks and tourists are often seen climbing and walking over the rocks trying to get closer to the top or source of the waterfall. But the waterfall originates far away and comes down in several stages... it's not possible to see the source.
30kms ahead of Mangan along the main North Sikkim Highway (i.e. Gangtok Chungthang Road) you will reach the quaint and beautiful township of Chungthang. This is where the two streams Lachen Chu and Lachung Chu come down from the higher altitudes and meet with Teesta river. There is a hydro-electric power project set up at the confluence of the rivers.
Photo: Ankur Panchbudhe/flickr
Chungthang also has its own history and locals believe that it s blessed by Guru Padmasambhava as well as Guru Nanak. It is worthwhile spending sometime here before continuing your journey. From Chungthang, the road bifurcates into two... one on the left goes to Lachen and the other to Lachung.
A serene little hamlet nestling on the banks of the Lachung River (Lachung Chu), Lachung is the best possible destination for those who really love nature. Incidentally the name Lachung means small pass. Quiet and serene (though a considerable number of tourists visit it) Lachung doesn’t have any commercial, glitzy attractions and is close to the Tibet border. What it offers are scenic views, a melting pot of culture, ubiquitous handicrafts and wonderful natural flora.
The Lachung Monastery is one of the primary attractions of this small picturesque town. This ancient monastery was built in 1880 and it lies amidst a luscious apple orchard. You can easily recognize the monastery as it has two identical metal dragons and huge prayer wheels. Try walking through the village to the monastery… it’s a short walk and you get to see many sights on the way.
Lachung River (Lachung Chu)
Photo: Jaiprakashsingh / Wikimedia Commons
You can either opt for the main Katao road that leads up to the signed gateway of the monastery or you can take the longer prettier route that forks left after the bridge. There is a handicraft center near the monastery which sells blankets, rugs and wall hangings…. these are locally woven and represent the unique style of north Sikkim.
Lachung is famous for its fruit production... apples, peaches and apricots are found in abundance there. Interestingly this area follows Zumsa that is a system of self-governance wherein all local disputes are looked over by a body of people which is headed by a Pipon who is democratically elected. This is very similar to the Panchayat system in other villages in the Indian heartlands.
From Lachung... you can travel to Phuni, Yumthang Valley and even go for the famous rhododendron valley trek. You can also indulge in fishing and birding here.
Accommodation in Lachung isn’t an issue... you will find a number of hotels (of different categories) along with homestays and even a Dak Bungalow. Some of the best known hotels in this area are Yarlam, Etho Metho, Modern Residency, Tenzing Retreat etc. Since Lachung is a protected area, you need to take a tour package through a registered tour operator, however you can mention your preferred hotel for overnight stay to be included in the package.
Preferred Time to visit: Lachung is quite close to Yumthang and Phuni that are winter sports destinations. If you want to enjoy winter sports then the best time to visit is between Dec to march. Otherwise summers in Lachung are pleasant and the ideal time is between March to June
Location and route: Lachung is 195km away from the Bagdogra airport and 190 km away from the NJP Railway station. Sikkim’s capital Gangtok is 116 km away from Lachung. From Gangtok it takes about 6 hours to reach Lachung by car.
A lovely little place in North Sikkim, the valley of Yumthang is well known for its hot sulphurous springs and valley of beautiful rhododendrons. Home to 24 different species of these beautiful flowers Yumthang is also called the Valley of Flowers. North East India’s loveliest river Teesta flows right through the Yumthang Valley making it a place like the paradise.
Photo: Ajay kumar, cc by sa 4.0
The lovely Singhba Rhodenderon sanctuary that contains more than 24 species of rhododendrons is a part of Yumthang valley. In flowering season you will see primulas, iris, poppies etc in the region. The Chuba Sagochen mountain ranges flank the sanctuary on the east while the Chomzomei flanks the mountains on the west…the total area of this sanctuary is more than 43 sq. km. it’s possible to take day trips in the sanctuary between 8a.m. too 3 p.m. if one takes the help of a trained guide.
A small tributary of Teesta flows besides Yumthang valley and there is a hot spring with alleged medicinal properties in that area. Enroute to Yumthang valley you will see lots of natural streams and waterfalls along with excellent views of peaks of Pauhunri and Shundi.
Go a little more north and you can trek to the Tungabhadra Shiva temple. Another good tourist attraction nearby is Yumesamdong or Zero Point that’s full of fascinating views of the Himalayas.
Preferred Time to visit: it’s almost a sin to visit Yumthang and not see Singhba Rhodenderon sanctuary... the season of flowers is from March to middle of June and the place resembles a rainbow in this period. February to March is also the season of Losar festival and the locals put up amazing cultural shows, food extravaganzas and musical programs in this area. Heavy snowfall tales place during winter (December to February).
Location and route: Yumthang is about 142 km from Gangtok and only 26kms (1 hour drive) from Lachung. Tourists stay at Lachung and make a day visit to Yumthang. Roads are not that pleasant and you need to return from Yumthang by 5.30 p.m. (it gets terribly dark afterwards). You can also explore Yumthang as a part of 3-4 day hihg altitude treks organized by popular travel companies... you will be able to cover Lachen and Lachung too.
One of the loveliest and yet relatively unexplored skiing destinations in India, Phuni is just 20 km away from Lachung. In fact you can use Lachung as a base for exploring Phuni though it deserves a special individual mention. The snow that covers Phuni all winter, lovely gentle slopes and an altitude of 11,500 feet makes it an attractive destination for ski lovers across the globe. The SMA (Sikkim mountaineering association) organizes ice skiing festivals at Phuni every March for 15 days to popularize this sport amongst tourists.
Tourists don’t usually prefer staying in Phuni valley as Lachung is a much more convenient base.
Preferred time to visit: the snow starts in December so if you are interested in skiing and winter sports then the best time to visit is between Decembers to March.
Location and Route: it will take you 45 minutes to reach Phuni valley from Lachung and only 15 minutes to reach Phuni from Yumthang (7 km away).
From Chungthang, a road bifurcates to the left, becomes Lachen Road and leads to the settlement of Lachen in 26kms which takes little over one hour's drive. This is the base location where tourists stay overnight in a hotel before proceeding to Gurudongmar Lake early next morning.
Lachen means big pass in native Sikimese and it (like Lachung) is full of beautiful scenic sights. Lachen has not yet become as big a tourist destination like Lachung so there is an untouched beauty about the place. Less than 250 houses stand in Lachen and some of them offer homestay accommodations for tourists. The people here are mostly herders and call themselves Lachenpas… Sikkim Government is working towards promoting Lachen as a village tourism hub.
The Lachen Gompa presides over this small hamlet and luscious forests form a canopy around the settlement. Snow clad peaks are easily visible here and in the spring many varieties of flowers dot the place. In summers the annual Yak race takes place here and that’s an ideal time to visit. It will take you almost 2 days to explore Lachen and its surroundings fully…many tourists utilise Lachen as a base for exploring Gurudongmar and Lhamu lakes.
Lachen is also used as a base for the Green Lake Trek …this alpine lake is the base camp for Mt Kanchendzonga. The lake is beside the Zhemu glacier and at an altitude of 5,000 meters… it’s an adventurous trekking trail but a lovely one that passes through rhododendron, poppy and primula forests. The trek from Lachen to Green Lake will pass through Talem, Yabuk, Jakthang etc and is a 30 km stretch.
Preferred Time to visit: Summers (April – May… because of the glorious yearly yak race and beautiful flowers).
Location and route: Gangtok is 5 hours away from Lachen (125 km). You can combine a visit to visit Lachen and Lachung as a part of the same travel package.
A sleepy peaceful village, Thangu is also a military base for the Indian army. Many tourists prefer halting in Thangu for a while and getting themselves acclimatized to the rarefied air and sharp cold that the higher altitudes of north Sikkim bring, before proceeding to Gurudongmar. Thangu is located at an altitude of 13,000 feet and it’s 35 kms to the north of Lachen.
Thangu Village, North Sikkim
Photo: Cosimo Roams/flickr
People who trek to Gurudongmar Lake, Mugthang and Chopta Valley often use Thangu as a base to stay. This region is untouched, sparsely populated and time seems to have come to a halt here … all these reasons contribute to its unique charm.
Every year between November to April thangu is snow covered while in the summers the alpine vegetation here covers it with so many colours. There are many streams and mini rivulets that dissect Thangu and you should be able to identify the Chopta Chu, Lassur Chu and Thangu Chu.
Thangu has some basic accommodation options but you need a special permit to stay here. Most tourists do not opt for a night stay in Thangu… they use Lachen for an overnight halt.
Preferred Time to visit: Thangu is snowed over in the winters and conditions can get extreme. It’s better to come here during March to June. However if your sole purpose is travelling to Gurudongmar and Mungthang then you can also choose any time between November to June.
Location and route: Thangu is about 155 km away from Gangtok (about 7 hours by car)... you can either travel directly or opt for a stopover in Lachen.
Gurudongmar is considered to be one of the highest altitude lakes in the world located at 17,800ft. The lake is known after Guru Padmasambhava who had paid a visit here in the 8th century. The revered Guru Nanak had also visited and blessed this lake in the 15th century.
Photo: Ankur Panchbudhe/flickr
The Gurundongmar Lake is sustained by glaciers that lie to the north of Kangchengyao range... this lake also contributes to the formation of Teesta River. The surrounding area is known as Gurudongmar and is populated by blue sheep, yaks and other species of wildlife. Currently a Lama from Lachen Monastery looks after the upkeep of the lake.
This is a lovely picturesque valley located only 3kms from Thangu. You need to take a short detour soon after Thangu village while proceeding towards Gurudongmar Lake. During spring and summer, the valley gets carpeted with numerous flowers of different types including primulas and rhododendrons, and during winter, it gets carpeted with snow.
Chopta Valley, North Sikkim
Photo: Ankur Panchbudhe/flick
You can easily combine a visit to Chopta Valley with that of Lachen and Gurudongmar Lake.
Arundhati (March 2022)
Hi Raj, Is it safe for me to plan for North & East Sikkim with 2 kids (11+, 6+ ages) and 1 sr. citizen (70 age) for a span of 7 days. Any cons you advise. Also if I want to club Darjeeling how many days more do you think will be required.
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) March 2022
Hi, it is not advisable to take a 70-year old to high altitude places like Nathula, Gurudongmar etc. The number of days will depend on your tour coverage... for Darjeeling, you can add another 3 days.
K Manikantan (October 2021)
We are planning to visit Darjeeling, Sikkim, Yumtang, Gurudgomar, Gangtok, Nathulla Pass during last week of October. Can you help us with type of weather, clothing please.
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) October 2021
It can be extremely cold at high altitude places like Lachung, Lachen/Gurudongmar, Nathula etc... so, carry heavy woollens including gloves, caps, socks, good jackets etc.
Avantika (October 2021)
Thanks for this amazing blog! And your social service answering all queries since so many years!! I have 2 questions: I really want to show to my parents Gurudongmar lake who are 59 and 63 years old in 2nd week of November. My mother has mild occasional breathing issues. Is it advisable? If not, should a solo girl travel on her own? How to plan further trip from Gangtok to Lachen/Lachung/Gurudongmar in a safe and budget friendly way?
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) October 2021
Hello, it is not at all advisable to take an elderly lady with breathing disorders to such high altitude places. However, you can certainly visit Gurudongmar/ Yumthang etc yourself. The best way for a solo lady to go is to first get to Gangtok in a high tourist season like the summer or the autumn, and then join a group tour to these places through a reputed operator. Several operators in Gangtok offer group tours combining Lachen/Gurudongmar and Lachung/Yumthang during the high season. You won't usually get such group tours in off seasons when demands are low. This is a safe and budget-friendly way to travel to these places. Best wishes,
Arka (September 2021)
Sir, I want to visit only Gurudongmar and Lachen
in November. In that case, do tour operators arrange that or is it a must to include Yumthang Valley
too? (I want to visit that latter in March-April-May or so). Secondly, Is it possible to visit Gurudongmar in November?
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) September 2021
Hello, yes you can visit only Lachen and Gurudongmar (no need to visit Lachung/Yumthang). Yes, it is possible to visit Gurudongmar in November.
Sana (April 2021)
Hi Raj, reading through your page has provided many important insights. I plan to travel to North Sikkim next week or so, depending on weather and accessibility. I shall go through a tour operator. Is it possible to extend my stay in Lachung/Lachen to a month? Does the Protected Area Permit (PAP) allow it, or can it be arranged?
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) April 2021
Hi, the Protected Area Permits for common tourists are usually issued for up to 5 days for the combined Lachung/Lachen circuit because longer stays are not encouraged in protected areas.
But you can engage an operator at Mangan and get a fresh permit done before your current one expires. Mangan is about 2 hours drive from Lachung or Lachen, and you can come down to collect the new permit. You will of course need to spend on the transport, permit fee and operator's fee. However, this process may not work repeatedly.
Zakiya (November 2020)
Hi Raj, We are a group of two adults (women) and one child (11 years) and are planning to visit Lachen Lachung in the first week of december. Is it feasible to do that given the Covid situation? Also will the roads to Gurudongmar lake etc. be blocked at that time? Also wanted to know if there areas are safe for women travelers? Awaiting on your response. Thank you
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) November 2020
Hi, Lachen/Lachung will open for tourists after 30th November 2020, so the first week of December should be okay to visit the places, but it can be extremely cold. There are no safety issues as such, however, you should always go through a reputed tour operator of Sikkim and stay in good hotels. Road blockage in the winter usually depends on heavy snowing at the higher reaches (i.e. beyond Lachen and Lachung)... you need to take your chances, hopefully, it should be okay.
Arka Bhattacharya (March 2020)
First of all, thank you very much for this wonderful, informative website and related details. I am a travel enthusiast and have travelled to Darjeeling, Sikkim etc. in my younger days. But now with a family of four including two kids things are a tad different :). I am planning to travel to Darjeeling and Sikkim in April end/starting of May. My kids are 8 & 4 years old. What I am not sure is altitude and temperature wise which places in Sikkim are safe to travel (Tsomgo lake, Lachung, Lachen etc. for example)? Many thanks in advance.
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) March 2020
Hello, it is not recommended to visit any high altitude places like Tsomgo, Lachung/Yumthang or Lachen/Gurudongmar etc with a 4-year old. In fact, permits for these places are issued to a child above 5. While some tourists ignore the rules and go ahead, it is advisable not to do it, and there are good possibilities that police/army men might stop you at one of the check posts and not allow to proceed any further.
Medinee Aranke (February 2020)
Hello, We are a family of planning to visit Sikkim in May 2020. We are US citizens with OCI cards. Do we need special permits to visit Baba Mandir, Nathula pass, Zero point and some other points? Are foreign nationals allowed to visit these places. Your answer will help us plan our trip. Thanks
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) February 2020
Hello, foreigners or even OCI cardholders are not allowed to visit Baba Mandir and Nathula. You can however visit Tsomgo lake and Yumthang & Zero Point with Protected Area Permits. You should go through a registered tour operator in Sikkim to get your permits.
Manisha Kale (December 2019)
Hi, I will be travelling in month of May. Planning for 10 days. Planned my itinerary as given below. Please suggest.From Bagdogara airport to Lachung (2 days)… will cover Lachen also. From Lachung to Gangtok (3 or 4 days). Gangtok to Darjeeling (3 days). In most of the discussions I have observed first place of visit is Gangtok. However is it ok if I start my tour from Lachung / Lachen and then come to Gangtok.? Please advice. Also is it safe to travel for 6-year old kid.
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) December 2019
Hi, you can not go to Lachung or Lachen directly from Bagdogra without a Protected Area Permit, moreover, it would take nearly 8 hours if you try to do so (assuming you get a permit in advance through a travel agency). You should rather go to Mangan (about 5 hours 45 minutes), stay overnight, get your permit and then proceed to Lachung. While a permit is issued to a child over 5 years, it is not advisable to take a 6-year old to high altitude places like Yumthang valley and Gurudongmar lake.
Sabyasachi Dey (November 2019)
Hi, I would be visiting Lachen 0n 17th then to Gurudongmar on 18th of March 2020..then to lachung for Yaumthang and zero point. My only query is that ..would this mid of march be a good time to visit these places ? or will it remain closed? Eagerly waiting for your response.
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) November 2019
The routes are usually open in March, however sometimes due to prolonged winter, there can still be snowing around that time which can result in route closure. A better time to visit North Sikkim is April - May.
Hirak Ganguly (November 2019)
Dear Raj, I'm planning a Trip with my Spouse & 6Yr old kid for Nathula Pass with Baba Mandir and Changu Lake on around 23rd March'20. And a would like to travel to North Sikkim with my Family , on around 24th March'20. Will it be possible to visit the following places or will there be Heavy Snow & Road Blocks. Lachen ,Thangu, Chopta Valley, Gurudongmar - Lachung Yumthang.
My Travel plan will be, Gangtok Arrival - 22nd March'20 & Gangtok Departure - 27th March'20.
Request your kind advise for the same, so that I may proceed with my Plan.
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) November 2019
Hello, March-end is usually okay to visit north Sikkim but there can still be snow at the higher reaches and it can be very cold out there. The melting snow may have caused bad road conditions too. However tourists do visit the places around this time.
Ritam Banerjee (August 2019)
Hello, Mr Raj, I've a query. Is it possible to stay at Lachung & Lachen 2 nights each? Can I get permission for two nights accommodation at Lachen? Can I avoid tour operators (because last December I had terrible experience while traveling to Lachung with them)? Can I book hotels & vehicle individually? We are 6 people.
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) August 2019
Hello, yes you can ask for 2 nights each and that would usually be granted. You can go down to Vajra Taxi Stand (you get taxis there who are authorized for north Sikkim). You can talk to the drivers and negotiate rates. They can also help you get your permits from Gangtok or Mangan, but you need a couple of days in your hand to get all this fixed. You can also contact a hotel in Lachung or Lachen and book directly. Do not bank on taxi drivers to find a hotel... you will likely regret.
Pavan (June 2019)
Hi, We are planning to visit Sikkim on Oct 8th 2019. Total 9 adults and 1 child age 4 yrs. We are planning for Lachen and Lachung. Is it feasible with the child. Someone among us with stay with the child and the hotel itself and we will not be taking the kid to Gurudongmar lake and Yumthang valley. Is it advisable? Awating your valuable reply.
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) June 2019
Hi, you can take the child up to Lachen and Lachung, but not beyond that.
Himanshu Agrawal (February 2019)
Hello Mr. Raj, Thanks for writing such a wonderful post on Sikkim. It was very helpful to get some of my questions answered. I am an Indian citizen planning to visit North Sikkim in the last week of April 2019 with my wife and 2 children ( aged 9 years and 3.5 years). Hopefully, the weather would be good to visit North Sikkim at that time. I wanted to know if my children would be given permits and allowed to visit the Tsomgo lake, Yumthang Valley, Zero point, Nathula pass and Gurudongmar lake.
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) February 2019
Child below 5 may not be allowed to visit Nathula and Gurudongmar Lake. Permits are not issued to children below 5 either. So you need to take your younger child at your own risk. Army personnel often check along the way and disallow to proceed further in such cases. I would suggest not to make such attempts.
Amish (February 2019)
Hi Raj, I am traveling by Zoom Car. Since areas beyond Singhik is restricted, Can I get a local rental car to Lachen and Lachung from Singhik with required permits?? or do I need to rent out from Gangtok itself. Thank you
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) February 2019
North Sikkim permits are issued in Gangtok and Mangan. You won't get them at Singhik. Moreover the vehicle number (that of the registered tour operator) is mentioned on the permit. However if you pre-arrange through a registered operator, they can bring the vehicle and the permit and meet you at Singhik.
Deepak Saligram (September 2018)
Dear Mr. Raj, My sincere thanks for sharing this girth of information and beautiful photographs, I have a query, how good is it to plan a visit to North Sikkim in end of November. Plan to do this with wife and 2.5 year old toddler (Is it advisable to take a young child to Gurudongmar? - She has already seen Bhutan (May) and complete Himachal (Jan) and was quite ok in cold weather).
If not in November, which months are best to plan a visit to the same? places we wish to cover are Nathu La, Guru Dongmar, Yumathang, Zero point and anything else you would recommend (have seen Gangtok and around, missed Nathu La). Awaiting your response.
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) September 2018
Hello, it is not at all advisable to take a 2.5 year old infant to altitudes of Nathula, Gurudongmar etc. In fact the guards at the check posts may not allow a child below 5 years to visit. This is not because of cold, but due to lack of adequate oxygen at such places which can cause illness. November is otherwise a good time although it would be biting cold up there.
Prasad (August 2018)
Dear Mr. Raj, Kindly give info. on availability of vehicles from Mangan to Darjeeling. We are four adult males , ready travel even in any shared vehicle- if these are available. Thanks in advance.
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) August 2018
Hello, there are private taxis at Mangan to take a transfer to Gangtok or Darjeeling. Occasional shared jeeps too are available at Mangan for Gangtok (not for Darjeeling though).
Debapriya Roy (May 2018)
I with my husband and father wish to visit Gurudongmar and Yumthang in the last week of October. We will stay at Gangtok for a day before going up and a day after coming down from North Sikkim. In that case, do we carry all our luggage with us to North Sikkim? Or carry just what is needed? What is usually the norm? Please suggest.
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) May 2018
You need to carry all your heaviest woolens to Yumthang and Gurudongmar apart from the essentials. If that comprises majority of your luggage then better to carry everything, else you can leave some part of the luggage at your hotel in Gangtok if they have storage facility.
Purba Bhattacharya (January 2018)
At the beginning I wish to thank and commend you for your extensive and excellent work. It is truly helpful and highly appreciated. My family and I are planning to visit Sikkim in May. I just want to know whether going to Lachung directly from Darjeeling and then Lachen and Gangtok is a good idea. If so, then from where do we get the necessary permits? I'll be really grateful if you could respond and help us out.
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com) January 2018
Hi, you can't visit Lachung or Lachen directly from Darjeeling. You need to get your permits done at Gangtok through a registered tour operator (minimum one day required for this).