Yumthang Valley : The valley of flowers of Sikkim

Yumthang Valley : The valley of flowers of Sikkim
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Yumthang Valley: All things to know before visiting the magical valley of flowers of Sikkim.

Yumthang Valley is situated in the northern part of Sikkim. In local language ‘Yumthang ‘means ‘Valley of flowers’, so this place is also called valley of flowers of Sikkim.

 

Yumthang valley is situated at an altitude of 13800 feet on a harsh terrain. One may feel high altitude sleekness there.
Every year many people visit this valley but sometimes they visit this place without knowing weather condition thus they had to visit different place without going Yumthang Valley.

 

So through our guide we will try to give all the details related to Yumthang Valley so that you can visit this place without any hesitation.

Where is this Yumthang Valley is Located

Yumthang Valley is located at North Sikkim. One has to reach Lachung to reach Yumthang Valley. Lachung is the base point of this valley. Yumthang Valley is surrounded by Katao Hills, Chombu Hills and Pauhunri Hills and a tributary of Teesta river flows through the valley.

 

How to reach Yumthang Valley

Yumthang Valley is approximately 190 km away from the capital city Gangtok. There is no staying option at Yumthang valley so one has to reach Lachung and spend one night there before going to Yumthang Valley. Lachung is 150km away from Gangtok. It will take nearly 5-6 hours to reach Lachung from Gangtok.

 

Yumthang Valley is 30km away from Lachung. It will take nearly 2 hours to reach Yumthang Valley as the roads are in a bad shape.

 

How to reach Gangtok

Gangtok is the capital city of Sikkim. The nearest airport of Gangtok is Paykong which is 30km away from Gangtok.

 

The nearest rail head of gangtok is New Jalpaiguri Rail Way Station of West Bengal and Gangtok is 120Km away from NJP andit will take nearly 4 hours to reach Gangtok from NJP.

 

There is another airport named as Bagdogra of West Bengal which is also 115km away from Gangtok and well connected to all over India. It will take nearly 4hours to reach Gangtok from Bagdogra.

 

Best time to visit Yumthang Valley

I personally visited Yumthang Valley four times in different seasons and I love all seasons there. The valley looks different in different seasons.

 

As the name represented Valley of flowers, if you wish to watch colourful valley covered with different flower species then February end to July is the ideal time but keep in mind May to June is the rainy season in hills of Sikkim and then the connecting roads get blocked occasionally. So keep some buffer day in your itinerary.

 

If you want to enjoy the green valley with clear sky then August to November is the ideal time. If you want to enjoy snow capped peaks and snow covered valley then December to February is the best time to visit but keep in mind due to heavy snow fall some time roads to the valley get blocked. So plan accordingly before going there in winter.

 

In short if you want to know the best time to visit this valley then September-October is the best time as you can see blue sky, green valley and flowing rivers and if you wish to go there only for watching flowers then April to June is the best time to visit Yumthang Valley.

yumthang valley

View of the Valley

Where to stay at Yumthang Valley

There is no such staying option is available in Yumthang Valley but few years back a forest rest house opened there. One has to take proper permission from forest department for staying there.

 

The nearest last town of Yumthang Valley is Lachung which is occasionally called base point of Yumthang Valley; here you will get lots of hotels, home stays and resorts.

 

Permit for Yumthang Valley

One needs to have a permit to visit Yumthang Valley. As the entire region is situated near Indo-China border one needs to take protected area permit (PAP permit) to visit the valley which can be obtained from Gangtok tourism office or District administrative office of Mangan or Sub Divisional magistrate office of Chungthang.

 

One has to fill up a form and submit two passport size photographs along with photocopy of an identity card to obtain permit.

 

Local travel agents, hotel operators and drivers can arrange the permit with very minimal cost. So the easiest way to get the permit is to contact local travel agent or hotel owners or car driver.

 

What to see and do at Yumthang Valley?

Yumthang Valley is really beautiful. You will get to see many flowers here.

1. Enjoy the beauty of nature with Rohdodendron and other flowers

Yumthang Valley may also be considered as Valley of Rohdodendrons as there are more than 24 species of rohdodendrons bloom here. April to May is the blooming time of rhododendron. If you don’t know about rhododendron I must say please read about rhododendron from here, in one word rhododendron is small shrubs and plants that grow on Himalayas and bearing bright colourful flowers. During blooming seasons the entire Yumthang Valley painted with Red, Pink, Yellow, White and Purple Rohdodendrons.

 

After the end of Rohdodendron blooming it’s time for other Himalayan flowers in monsoon. During the month of June-August one will find many Himalayan flowers like Louseworts, Primroses, Cobra-Lilies, and Cinquefoils.

 

2. A hot spring in the middle of mountains

In Yumthang Valley there is a small hot spring in the middle of mountains. You have to cross one wooden bridge to reach there and you may step into this hot spring. Local people believe that the water of the hot spring has some medicinal properties and the water is rich in sulfur.

 

3. Explore Singba Rohdodendron Sanctuary

On the way to Yumthang Valley there is a beautiful rhododendron sanctuary named as Singba Rohdodendron Sanctuary. This sanctuary is full of nearly 40 species of radodendron and other trees. In the month of April-May this sanctuary becomes more colourful as this is the blooming season of Rohdodendron.

 

4. Explore Yumthang Chu river

Yumthang chu river flows through the middle of Yumthang Valley. You may seat aside the river and can enjoy the beauty of the nature. You may go for fishing in the river but for that you have to stay another night at Lachung.

 

5. Visit Zero point

When you are visiting Yumthang Valley it is advisable to visit Zero point. You will find that tourists of Sikkim occasionally tell about zero point for its beauty. After going to Zero point you can also realize why people mostly talk about this place. Zero point is 23km away from Yumthang Valley and this place is generally covered by snow throughout the year.

 

Why this place is called Zero point?

This place is called Zero point as the road ends here and there is no way to move forward. Few kilometers from here there is Indo-China border.

What to see at zero point?

As this place is mostly covered by snow you will find snow covered mountains all around you. You will find a hot spring in the middle of nowhere.

 

Is there any shop at Zero point?

No you will not find any shop there, so bring dry foods with you but please don’t litter this place.

 

Keep in mind as this place is situated at an altitude 15000ft. you may feel some high altitude sickness here. So be careful and keep prepare for that.

 

6. Experience Losar festival in the month of February- March

Every year a local festival called Losar festival held at Yumthang Valley, in this festival you may experience local culture, local foods and traditional dress of Sikkim.

 

7. Lachung lake

Just before Yumthung Valley there you will find a lake. This natural lake was made just 2014 due to natural calamity. A big hill just one side of the road smashed due to pressure and thus the broken rock(moraine) blocked a part of river and made a beautiful serene lake. Don’t forget to watch reflection of surrounding hills in to the lake.

lachung lake

Temperature of Yumthang Valley

Yumthang Valley remains pretty cold throughout the year. You will find snow capped mountains all around.

December to March: Literally this is the winter seasons here; all the places remain under snow this time so you may not reach up to Yumthang Valley this season. You may experience snowfall throughout the road as well as at Lachung Village. This time temperature varies from subzero to 5°C.

April to May: This is the main flowering season of Yumthang Valley. The temperature will be cold. This time temperature varies from 8-10°C.

June to July: This is the time of rain and you will find lots of Himlayan flowers at that time here but due to heavy rain and landslide sometimes the roads become blocked thus this is less visited season here. This time temperature varies from 10-15°C.

August to November: This is the ideal time for watching blue sky and green hills here. This time temperature varies from subzero to 8-10°C.

yumthang valley moon rise

What to pack for Yumthang Valley trip

Try to carry heavy woolen with you, in rainy season rain coat or umbrella is must to carry with. Try to bring few dry foods with you and as there is no ATM try to keep some cash.

 

What to eat at Yumthang Valley

You will find few shops at Yumthang Valley; here you will get some local foods like Momo, Thukpa, Maggie, Tea.

 

What to buy at Yumthang Valley

You will get some traditional dress here; you will get some woolens also but keep in mind the cost will be on higher side.

 

What other things you can do from Lachung

Lachung is a beautiful small town. You may do many activities from here.

1. Visit Katao: Katao is another beautiful mountain which can be visited from Lachung. You don’t need to have any special pass for that. Generally a car will cost some additional amount to visit Katao. It will take nearly 3 hours to return back to Lahung from Katao. One will find a beautiful waterfall on the way to Katao.

 

2. Pitch your tent at Khedum: Khedum is another beautiful offbeat destination near Lachung. One may pitch his tent here with the guidance of local authority. There is a beautiful waterfall situated just end of the village.

khedum north sikkim

Khedum

3. Experience local Ginger wine: Lachung is famous for local ginger wine. You may ask the home stay owner about local wine.

 

4. Pay a visit to Lachung Waterfall: There is a beautiful waterfall situated just before entering Lachung town. You can go there and can spend some time.

 

lachung waterfall

 

Where to stay at Lachung?

There are many hotels, resorts and home stays are at Lachung town. You may book it directly by contacting them or may book it from any travel agent of Gangtok. Generally for north Sikkim trip a combo pack of hotel, food and car is available at most of the travel agencies.

 

When I visit Yumthang Valley I always stay at Hotel Golden Fish, Lachung. This is a fantastic hotel with a superb location. From this hotel you will have a glimpse view of snow covered Katao Hills. Lachung nala is flowing few away from the hotel.

 

You can always hear the gorgeous sound of Lachung Nala from this hotel. Rooms are specious, well decorated and well maintained. Room service is very good. Bath rooms are good and clean.
Read more about Hotel golden Fish here.

 

Gangtok to Lachung : What to see on the way

Tintek Waterfall:

A beautiful waterfall on the way. This huge waterfall is coming down through three steps. You can have a superb view from top the view point.
Distance : 30km from Gangtok
What you will get here: You will get Tea, biscuits and simple breakfast from nearby shops. There is a pay and use toilet.

 

Seven sister Waterfall:

In earlier day it was a must visit place on the way to North Sikkim. Now a days the road id bifurcated just near to Gangtok and one go through Seven sister and other through Tintek. Due to bad condition of the road people are avoiding the road which goes through seven sister. This is also a beautiful waterfall.

 

In 2008 when I went Sikkim for the first time I was amazed by this waterfall then it was flowing through seven steps but after tragic earthquake of 2012 it changes its path and flowing only through three steps.

 

Distance : 32km from Gangtok
What you will get here: You will get Tea, biscuits and simple breakfast from nearby shops. There is a pay and use toilet.

 

Tashi View Point:

You will find Kanchenjunga at its best from here.
Phodong Monastery :
Here you will find three monasteries. Phodong, Phensang and Labrang. All three are close to each other on the North Sikkim Highway.
Distance : 38km from Gangtok.

 

Mangan:

This is the head quarter of North Sikkim. This small town is also the entry point of North Sikkim. What you will get here: You will get Veg/Non veg restaurants. Take your lunch here. You will also get liquor shop.
Distance : 66km from Gangtok. Limited Staying option is available here.

 

Namok:

A small and beautiful village of North Sikkim. This village is situated just near to Mangan. From here you will have a fantastic view of Dikchu NHPC Dam.
Distance : 70km from Gangtok.

 

Naga Waterfall:

This is another beautiful waterfall near Mangan. At the time of rain the water level of this waterfall rises heavily then it flows over the road.
Distance : 72km from Gangtok.

On the way to Yumthang Valley

Naga Waterfall

Chungthang:

A small town of North Sikkim. Here is a hydral project going on.
What you will find here: Limited Staying options. Restaurants.
Distance : 82km from Gangtok. From Chungthung the main road is devided. One goes towards Lachen(the base point of Gurudongmar Lake) and other goes towards Lachung(the base point of Yumthung Valley)

 

Lachung Jhora:

Just 2km before Lachung,a beautiful waterfall will invite you. This is Lachung fall. Stand in front of the waterfall you will be amazed by the smoky water drops. In day time you can find rainbow forming here. Don’t forget to climb up to view point. You will get best view of surroundings from here.

 

How to book car for Yumthang Valley trip?

I-For North Sikkim you may book full car. Here your car owner will bring permit for you.

Or

II-You may book a shuttle. In that case the driver of the car will arrange everything for you. You have to pay a per head basis cost in which car fare, hotel tariff, Food(Lunch+dinner+break fast+snacks) cost of your total journey are included. But here is a disadvantage read Tips section of this post.

 

Do you need a travel agent for Yumthang Valley trip?

I-Yes you need, if you are travelling with your family then you need a travel agent for a hassle free journey.

II-In North Sikkim telephone/mobile network is very poor. So for booking hotel or guest house you have to contact a travel agent from Gangtok. If you want to book by yourself you have to contact with the hotel or homestay owner who will direct you to book from their travel agent of Gangtok.

III-For permit you have to go to the office of the respective departments have to fill up all formalities then officers will ask you lots of questions which is little bit painful work. Travel agent will do it for you without a single word.

IV-Now think if you can handle all this matters then you don’t need any help from travel agents.

 

What is the cost of Yumthang Valley trip?

Generally a full car will cost around Rs 4000 to 6000 depending on the seasons. A hotel price of Lachung will be around Rs1500-2000 per night.

 

A share car will cost around Rs 1500-2000 per head depending on the seasons but keep in mind that in share car price Car, Meals and staying options are included.

 

I will suggest you if you are couple or traveling solo then try to book Yumthang Valley trip by share car instead of going through a travel agent. It will cut down your traveling cost.

Frequently Asked Questions About Yumthang Valley

1. How do I get to Yumthang Valley?
The only way to go to Yumthang valley is by car.

2. Is there any staying option at Yumthang Valley?
No there is no staying option at Yumthang Valley; you have to stay at Lachung.

 

3. Is there any ATM at Yumthang Valley?
No there is no ATM.

 

4. When will I get flowers at Yumthang Valley?
To watch flower April-May is the best time.

 

5. Is there any public toilet at Yumthang Valley?
Yes pay and use toilet is available there.

 

6. Can we travel Yumthang Valley at night.
Strictly no, as this part is under observation of Indian army it is advisable not to visit this place at night.

 

7. Can I travel Yumthang Valley without a permit?
No, you need a proper PAP permit to visit Yumthang.

 

8. Can foreigners travel to Yumthang Valley?
No, foreigners can’t visit Yumthang Valley but they can visit upto Lachung (except citizen of Bangladesh, China and Pakistan).

 

9. How many days require for Yumthang Valley trip?
For only Yumthang trip one requires two days.

 

10. What are the other places I can combine with Yumthang Valley trip?
Try to combine Gurudongmar lake trip with Yumthang trip.

 

11. How many days require for Yumthang Valley and Gurudongmar Lake trip together?
For these two places you need minimum 2nights and 3days.

 

Want to visit Yumthang Valley and Gurudongmar Lake together? Then don’t forget to read my travel guide on North Sikkim.

 

You may read travel experience on North Sikkim here.

 

Conclusion: This is a detail travel guide on Yumthang Valley of North Sikkim. Many people often ask me how to visit, what is the best time to visit and what is the cost of visit Yumthang Valley. I have written this complete travel guide so that if anyone wants to visit Yumthang Valley and read this travel guide he will get each and every detail from here. 

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