Eka Experiences

Gurudongmar Lake and yumthang Valley

“A thrilling road trip into North Sikkim's cold desert wilderness”

North Sikkim, a forbidden land for all without proper permits, is one of the most pristine and untouched places in India. The charm of this rugged, desolate piece of land is inescapable and every moment here across its raw landscapes enthralls and fascinates the traveller. With its soaring snow-clad peaks, aquamarine sacred lakes like Gurudongmar, colourful fields of Yumthang Valley of Flowers and high cascading waterfalls everywhere, this spellbinding region will leave you awe-struck. Join this exhilarating road trip to discover its varied natural biodiversity as well as experience the rich cultural traditions of remote local communities.

  • Experience some of the most awe-inspiring, borderline mountain routes in the country
  • Visit Gurudongmar at 17200 feet: Sikkim’s most sacred lake and one of the world’s highest
  • Explore the local Buddhist culture in remote mountain villages bordering Southern Tibet
  • Have delicious noodles at 13000 feet in Thangu, which is also the world’s highest Dosa point 
  • Discover the enchanting Yumthang: the ‘Valley of Flowers’ and a remote natural wonder 
  • Travel through the uniquely beautiful Shingba Rhododendron Sanctuary

EXPERIENCE Itinerary

Day 1-2: The Beginning: Gangtok and Lachen

On the Road:

  • Day 1: 120 Kms/4-5 hours
  • Day 2: 125 Kms/5-6 hours

Destinations and Altitude:

  • Day 1 Overnight Stay – Gangtok: 5410 feet
  • Day 2 Overnight Stay – Lachen: 8600 feet

The journey begins with a drive from the plains of Siliguri to the hills of Gangtok on Day 1. After the arrival here, the rest of the evening is spent at leisure exploring around the main market area and mall road. Later, an overnight stay at a fine hotel wraps up the day. 

Next day, we kick off our road trip to the North and proceed towards the remote little village of Lachen, our first main destination of the North District. The meandering Teesta river gives us company along the way and en route, we visit a few curated places of interest including the Kabi Lungchok Historical Site, the Naga Waterfalls and the picturesque Chungthang confluence area. 

Day 3: Gurudongmar Lake and The Wild Wild North

On the Road:

  • Day 3: 180 Kms/8-9 hours

Destinations and Altitude:

  • Gurudongmar Lake: 17200 feet
  • Thangu Valley: 13000 feet
  • Day 3 Overnight Stay – Lachung: 8860 feet

Lachen in North Sikkim, a tiny village of about 250 local houses, is nestled in a grassy valley spotted with forests of conifers and Rhododendrons. The river Lachen Chu cuts through the valley flanked by giant imposing mountains

On the third day of our North Sikkim tour, we head out early in the morning from Lachen to experience the breathtaking beauty of Gurudongmar Lake. The spectacular alpine lake is located at an elevation of 17200 feet and is among the highest lakes on earth. Named after Guru Padmasambhava-the founder of Tibetan Buddhism, the lake is considered sacred by Buddhists, Sikhs and Hindus. Situated amidst the cold desert wilderness of North Sikkim, the lake remains completely frozen in the winter months and also provides one of the main source streams of the Teesta River. 

Today on the tour we experience dramatic changes in landscape. Moving through verdant alpine pastures as well as some harsh rugged terrain, we pass by the amazing high-altitude valleys of Thangu and Chopta. Due to a gradual ascent to such high elevations, the air slowly gets thinner as we approach the lake and it also starts getting colder. We arrive at the lake in about 2-3 hours from Lachen. Set amidst the picturesque barren surroundings of a cold desert, the alluring beauty of this alpine lake keeps up enthralled throughout.

After exploring the lake we later return to Lachen to break briefly for lunch and then carry on towards Lachung, another alpine village tucked away on the other side of the North Sikkim district.

Day 4: Lachung - Yumthang Valley Of Flowers: A Visual Feast

On the Road:

  • Day 4: 60-70 Kms/5-7 hours

Destinations and Altitude:

  • Yumthang Valley: 11800 feet
  • Yume Samdong/Zero Point: 15,300 feet
  • Day 4 Overnight Stay – Lachung: 8860 feet

Considered by many travelers to be more majestic, open and impressive than the Lachen area, the splendid village of Lachung is where we spend 2 nights of our road trip. Set near the Lachung Chu river and surrounded by resplendent snow-clad mountains, dazzling waterfalls and sparkling streams, the village looks exquisite throughout the year. The grand mountainous vistas aside, its unique culture and the remote lifestyle of its inhabitants makes the place even more fascinating.

Our plan for the day includes an early-morning start from Lachung towards Yumthang Valley. A vast riverbed and an expansive valley lapped by mighty mountains on either side, Yumthang Valley is a place full of natural wonders. During the spring-summer months, a variety of colourful alpine flowers are in full bloom which makes this stark wilderness beautifully come alive. The valley also houses the Shingba Rhododendron Sanctuary which turns into a riot of colours at that time. Because of its enchanting beauty during these months, Yumthang has aptly been nicknamed the ‘Valley of Flowers’. 

From here, the curvy road climbs further up through thrilling hairpin bends to reach a place called Yume Samdong or the Zero Point. It is the last outpost of civilization and stands at an altitude of 15300 feet. In the winter months, the entire valleys of Yumthang and Yume Samdong get a completely different look as they find themselves hidden in a lush blanket of snow. The whole landscape turns white and creates a dreamy setting for its travellers.

From the Yumthang area, a few kilometers down the road towards Lachung is another highlight of the day-a soothing hot spring. We reach the place crossing a hiker’s pathway. A small pedestrian bridge over the Lachung river and beautifully lined with prayer flags leads us to the spring. The water here, locals believe, has medicinal properties and is a great healer because of its rich sulphur content. After exploring the area for a bit, we hit the road again to return back to Lachung where we spend the rest of our day.

Day 5-6: Farewell Sikkim

On the Road:

  • Day 5: 110 Kms/4-5 hours
  • Day 6: 120 Kms/4-5 hours

Destinations and Altitude:

  • Day 5 Overnight Stay – Gangtok: 5410 feet

After experiencing North Sikkim’s unspoiled wilderness and virgin landscapes, it is finally time to head back to the city. The first half of Day 5 is covered on the road travelling back to Gangtok. The latter half of the day is spent at leisure: scanning the markets for some shopping, visiting local monasteries and temples, and exploring its vibrant cafes and authentic restaurants. 

Next day, the final leg of our Sikkim journey begins. After a hearty breakfast we hop on to our vehicle to hit the road for one last time. Bidding farewell to this magnificent wonderland, we drive back to Siliguri where our action-packed tour of North Sikkim comes to an end.

For Trip Booking, Costs and More Details, Please Contact Us:

A personalized itinerary can be crafted based on your group’s interests, expectations, and preferred dates and time duration. For tailoring a suitable Sikkim travel plan just for you, please call/whatsapp: +91 8951064013 or mail at contact@ekaxp.in