North Sikkim Travel Guide: Unraveling the Charms of the Himalayan Wonderland

North Sikkim, a mesmerizing region in India’s northeast, boasts stunning landscapes, serene villages, and majestic mountains. From the picturesque villages of Lachen and Lachung to the breathtaking Gurudongmar Lake and Yumthang Valley, it’s a paradise for nature lovers and adventure seekers alike.
How to reach North Sikkim

Reaching North Sikkim, a mesmerizing region in the northeastern part of India, involves a journey through stunning landscapes and enchanting vistas. Here’s how to get there:

  1. By Air: The nearest airport to North Sikkim is Bagdogra Airport (IXB) in West Bengal. From Bagdogra, you can take a domestic flight from major Indian cities like Delhi, Kolkata, or Mumbai. After arriving at Bagdogra, you’ll need to travel by road to reach North Sikkim.
  1. By Train: The nearest major railway station to North Sikkim is New Jalpaiguri (NJP) in West Bengal. Several trains connect NJP to major Indian cities. Once you reach NJP, you’ll continue your journey to North Sikkim by road.
  1. By Road: The road journey to North Sikkim is a significant part of the adventure. After arriving at Bagdogra Airport or New Jalpaiguri Railway Station, you’ll need to hire a taxi or take a shared cab to Gangtok, the capital city of Sikkim.
  1. Gangtok to North Sikkim: Gangtok serves as the gateway to North Sikkim. From Gangtok, you’ll travel to the beautiful town of Lachen or Lachung, which act as the base for exploring North Sikkim’s breathtaking destinations.
  1. Permits: It’s essential to obtain permits before entering North Sikkim, as certain areas are restricted to non-Indian nationals. Indian tourists also require permits for protected areas like Gurudongmar Lake and Yumthang Valley. These permits can be obtained through registered tour operators or the Sikkim Tourism office in Gangtok.
  1. Weather and Road Conditions: North Sikkim experiences harsh weather conditions, particularly during winter. The roads may be closed due to snowfall and landslides, so it’s essential to check weather updates and road conditions before embarking on your journey.
  1. Travel Time: The journey from Gangtok to Lachen or Lachung takes around 6 to 7 hours, depending on road conditions and weather. From there, further exploration of North Sikkim’s scenic spots, such as Gurudongmar Lake and Yumthang Valley, may require additional travel time.
  1. Accommodation: It’s advisable to book accommodation in advance, especially during peak tourist seasons, as North Sikkim offers limited lodging options.
  1. Local Transport: In North Sikkim, due to the challenging terrain and remote locations, local sightseeing is typically done using shared jeeps organized by tour operators. These shared jeeps follow fixed itineraries, ensuring a safe and convenient travel experience.
  1. Respect Nature: During your journey to North Sikkim, always respect the local culture and environment. Avoid littering and follow sustainable travel practices to help preserve the natural beauty of this pristine region.

As you traverse the rugged terrains of North Sikkim, you’ll be rewarded with awe-inspiring views, majestic mountains, and a sense of tranquility that only nature can offer. Prepare yourself for a journey of a lifetime as you explore the enchanting wonders of this captivating Himalayan destination.

A men on RE Himalayan bike in Yumthang Valley of North Sikkim
Itinerary for visiting North Sikkim from Gangtok

This itinerary covers some of the most popular and breathtaking destinations in the region:

Day 1: Gangtok to Lachen

– Depart from Gangtok early in the morning towards Lachen, a picturesque village nestled in the mountains.

– En route, stop at Singhik Viewpoint for panoramic views of Mount Khangchendzonga and other snow-capped peaks.

– Continue your journey to Chungthang, where the Lachen and Lachung rivers converge, offering a serene landscape.

– Arrive in Lachen and check into your hotel. Spend the evening exploring the village and acclimatizing to the high altitude.

Day 2: Lachen to Gurudongmar Lake and back to Lachung

– Start early in the morning for an adventurous drive to Gurudongmar Lake, one of the highest lakes in the world.

– Marvel at the breathtaking views of the pristine lake surrounded by majestic mountains. Note that the altitude here is quite high, so take it slow and drink plenty of water.

– Return to Lachen for lunch and then proceed towards Lachung, another beautiful village in North Sikkim.

– Overnight stay in Lachung.

Day 3: Yumthang Valley and Zero Point Excursion

– After breakfast, head to Yumthang Valley, also known as the “Valley of Flowers,” famous for its stunning meadows and vibrant blooms.

– If you’re visiting during spring (March to April), you’ll be treated to a spectacular display of rhododendrons in full bloom.

– Continue your journey to Yumesamdong, also known as Zero Point, where the tree line ends, offering a surreal landscape of snow and mountains.

– Return to Lachung for an overnight stay.

Day 4: Lachung to Gangtok

– Enjoy a leisurely breakfast in Lachung and bid farewell to the beautiful village.

– On your way back to Gangtok, visit the Seven Sisters Waterfalls, the Naga Waterfalls, and the Bhim Nala Waterfalls.

– Reach Gangtok by late afternoon or evening, and check into your hotel for a well-deserved rest.

Day 5: Gangtok Local Sightseeing

– Spend a day exploring the capital city of Gangtok and its nearby attractions.

– Visit the Enchey Monastery, Rumtek Monastery, and the Namgyal Institute of Tibetology to learn about the region’s rich culture and heritage.

– Take a stroll along the MG Marg, Gangtok’s bustling market street, where you can indulge in shopping and savor local delicacies.

– Optional: Visit the Hanuman Tok and Ganesh Tok viewpoints for stunning panoramic views of the surrounding mountains.

Day 6: Departure

– After breakfast, check out from your hotel in Gangtok and depart for your onward journey.

Please note that this itinerary is subject to change based on weather conditions and road accessibility. Additionally, North Sikkim is a high-altitude region, so it’s essential to acclimatize and stay hydrated. Be prepared for varying weather conditions, especially during winter, and ensure you have the necessary permits for visiting restricted areas. Lastly, booking a reliable tour operator for your North Sikkim trip can ensure a safe and memorable experience.

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