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Lachung

Lachung is one of the most sought after destination in North Sikkim District. It’s a tourist hotspot and a scenic destination. It is a small settlement with sublime beauty due to its ideal location and surrounding. This hamlet is frequented by tourists because of the closeness to snow-capped mountains and as an ideal place to spend beautiful moments in solitude. The road from Gangtok passes through Mangan & Chungthang, a stop on the way for refreshment is necessary near Chungthang. Then till Lachung, the road is isolated with quaint villages, scenic spots, waterfalls, army installation, and Rhododendron forest. 

Lachung is at a distance of 124 kilometers from Gangtok. The village has a self-governing body called the Dzumsa, which is similar to the modern Gram Panchayat. This hamlet is spread out on either side of Lachung Chu (river here called the Chu). On the way from Gangtok is the settlement called Chungthang which is nearly 95 kilometers from Gangtok. Chungthang is a religious place and one can find Gurudwara and a legendary rock that bears the hand and footprints of Padmasambhava. Chungthang is also the place of convergence of Lachen Chu and Lachung Chu (Tributaries of River Teesta). From Chungthang the road bifurcates, the one to the west leads to Lachen and the one to the east goes to Lachung.

At an elevation of 11800 feet, the valley of Yumthang is known as the 'Valley of Flowers'. Lachung is your base for travel to Yumthang valley and around. It is a fascinating blend of flora and fauna and breathtaking scenic beauty that attracts tourists in hoards. During the spring, wildflowers such as primulas and Rhododendrons beautify the landscape in rich colors. One of the major attractions on the way to Lachung is the Rhododendron trees. The wayside is lined by the Rhododendrons of the Shingba Rhododendron Sanctuary with nearly 20 species of Rhododendron which bloom from Mid March to April end makes the journey soothing with its colorful feast for eyes.

Three popular spot at Yumthang is Yumthang Valley, Hot Water Spring, Yumesamdong and Katao. These are far-flung place where one can see the yaks grazing with nomadic shepherds. Yumesamdong, popularly known as the Zero Point is situated at an elevation of nearly 15300 feet. It is quite close to the Chinese border. It is approximately 26 kilometers i.e. an hour’s drive beyond Yumthang. Yumesamdong is covered with snow almost throughout the year. The drive-by vehicle is through the rugged mountain road. 

Next stop around Yumthang is Katao. It is a Valley just 24 kilometers from Lachung at an altitude of above 15,000 feet. The best view can be enjoyed from here. Snowcapped peaks of Himalaya & beautiful valleys covered with rhododendron. It is covered with snow most of the year. A special permit is required even after ILP to go here.

The people at Lachung are mostly Buddhists. Not much is known about the origin of inhabitants of the village. Locals of Lachen & Lachung are popularly known as the Lachungpas and Lachenpas. They still retain their age-old village administrative system with the help of government support and is called the Dzumsa. The village chief is called the Pipen. Lachung being remote the place retains its unique culture and tradition.

Foreign Nationals can visit Lachung but has to have a local guide and special permit. Inner Line Permit is required for Indians too.

Lachung Tour Operator

If you are a travel agent and looking for a partner for your North Sikkim tour, Tripsy is your best bet. With about two decades of experience in conducting tours to Lachung and Yumthang valley, we bring unmatched experience and expertise as a ground handler and consolidator.

The first point to remember about North Sikkim tour is the limitation of vehicles. Not all vehicles are permitted to drive to North Sikkim, hence during peak season, there is always a shortage of vehicle. This coupled with the difficult terrain means the vehicles allocated for Lachung are different from other areas. Guests should be informed about the change in the vehicle in advance. Although the same vehicle can tour in North Sikkim along with other parts of Sikkim, the cost of transport in such cases are normally higher.

The permit for North Sikkim tour is issued on the same day or one day in advance, depending on the present policy of the government. When the permit is issued on the same day, there is a huge cue for permits in front of the permit office in the morning. This often leads to a delay in starting the tour for North Sikkim. Tourists who are not educated about this constraint may get impatient as they have often submitted their documents month in advance. Hence it is the job of the travel agent to educate their guests about this issue.

First altitude gain can often become a problem if your guests have not acclimatised properly before visiting these high altitude destinations. Tourists should spend minimum 2 to 3 days in the hills before venturing into North Sikkim to avoid sudden gain of height and related physical complications. Elderly people, children and people with a major illness should take medical advice before traveling to Lachung and beyond.

Getting There

The nearest Major Airport is Bagdogra Airport (IXB) and is nearly 250 kilometers and requires one night stay in Gangtok to reach there. The newly built airport at Pakyong is approximately 32 kilometers from Gangtok and became operational from October 2018. Lachung is 127 kilometers from Gangtok and is a tough 05 - 06 hours drive. The roads are rough but the scenic beauty makes the ride enjoyable. A stop for Lunch after Mangan near Chungthang is necessary to freshen up. Visiting North Sikkim require an additional two-night stay at Gangtok i.e. a night stop prior and after visiting North Sikkim.

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