A Seamless Itinerary for North Sikkim

North Sikkim: A piece of heaven

Sikkim, the jewel of North East, is a small state yet has so much to offer. Explore more about North Sikkim with the best itinerary right here.

Things you need to know when planning your North Sikkim trip 

  • A non-resident of the state cannot travel to the northern part of Sikkim independently. To enter the borders of North Sikkim, you need a permit, which would be obtained by your travel agent or driver.
  • In case you are a biker, you must arrange for your permits through an authorized travel agency.
  • Carrying plastic water bottles in North Sikkim is not allowed. Hence get your own sipper or water bottles. A surprise check may lead to a penalty of Rs. 5000. 
  • Being close to China, security threats are high, and being in a rough terrain, chances of mis-happenings too are high.
  • (See the rough broken roads that look scary)
risky routes of North Sikkim
Negotiating the risky roads in North Sikkim

Cost of traveling to North Sikkim

  • In case you are traveling solo in a group package, the cost would be between 3-4k. (May go higher in peak season.) This cost includes food, accommodation, and site seeing for 3 days, 2 nights.
  • If you are traveling as a group/couple, the package cost would range from 19-25k for 3 days and 2 nights (May vary depending on the number of days and season).
  • Traveling solo and booking a full car for yourself would be a costly affair. (Might cost 20-25k)

Places usually included in North Sikkim itinerary-

Lachen- Gurodongmar Lake- Chopta Valley- Thangu- Kaala Pathhar
Lachung- Yumthang Valley- Hot Water Springs- Zero Point

For your convenience, have a look at the map of Sikkim to understand the location and Geography.

Map to plan your North Sikkim itinerary
Map to plan your North Sikkim itinerary

The itinerary for North Sikkim 

Usually, visitors are picked from Gangtok. However, if you have booked your stay in some other place, do let your travel agent know about it (the cost of the package may vary thereafter) 

Day 1- Gangtok to Lachen (Overnight stay in Lachen)

This is a 7-8 hours journey by road. Narrow curvy roads with potholes and landslides in between may slow you down at times. Nevertheless, the journey to a green paradise is sunning.

On the way, you would see Seven Sisters Waterfall (The waterfall that falls through seven steps), Singhik Village for the view of the enormous Kanchendzonga range and the gorgeous Chungthang confluence.

Seven Sisters Waterfall Sikkin
Seven Sisters Waterfall enroute North Sikkim

Lachen Accommodation

Lachen speaks of many homesstays and small-budget hotels. Your travel agent would have made your booking in advance. Our stay was a nightmare, so I would skip talking about it. Ask your agent the name of your accommodation and search for reviews online. Also, if you find your stay pathetic, call your agent and protest.  

Somewhere in North Sikkim
Somewhere in North Sikkim

Day 2- Lachen to Gurudongmar, Chopta, Thangu Kala Pathhar, back to Lachen (Stay overnight)

An early morning drive from Lachen will take you to Gurudongmar Lake, a breathtaking fresh-water lake at an altitude of 17375Ft / 5225M. 

Your hotel/homestay will provide you with a packed breakfast (usually bread and butter/jam). You can also make a pit stop at the check-post in the village where you can enjoy Maggi, thupka, and tea. Further, the first check post opens at 7:00 am where your documents are checked and approved for entry. The next stop is fifteen kilometers further where the final checking is done. Since washroom facilities are limited, it is advisable to get relieved wherever you stop. The same goes for eating joints. 

Making a Sikkim itinerary is not easy as food joints are limited in numbera
Breakfast in Lachen

The entire journey from Lachen to Gurodongmar is bumpy and quite rugged. Only the last few kilometers before Gurodongmar is smooth. Nevertheless all the pains taken would seem worth when you look at the sparkling blue water of the beautiful lake. As the legend goes, the lake in the 15th century was blessed by the Sikh leader Guru Nanak and stopped a part of the lake from freezing in order to provide drinking water to villagers in Winters.

Sbow capped mountains of Gurudongmar Lake in Sikkim
Gurudongmar- The jewel of North Sikkim

P.S– Do not run or do strenuous activity since lack of oxygen would make you feel breathless, nausea,  tired, weak.

While returning from the Lake, visit Chopta Valley or Kala Pathhar for the beautiful mountains. In Feb-March Chopta Valley blooms with colorful flowers and feels like paradise. Thangu Village is the name of the settlement across the Chopta Valley. Further Kala Pathhar (the black mountain) awaits you with lush green landscape and snow in season. An early morning departure and a super-bumpy ride would leave you exhausted as you return to your hotel in Lachen for Lunch. Get some rest and depart for Lachung. (2-3 hours journey). Spend the day at leisure exploring the local culture or just letting the wind caress your face.

Day 3- Lachen to Zero Point, Yumthang Valley, Hot Spring, and back to Gangtok. 

Wake up early to catch the morning beauty. Leave from your hotel with your packed breakfast around 6:30 am and head to Yumthang Valley. (A 25 km stretch). The serene river flowing through the green pasture land with the snow capped mountains in the background is a view to die for. No kidding!  Further, the drive through Yumthang Valley seems straight out of a postcard.

Picture perfect Yumthang Valley- A must visit destination in North Sikkim
Postcard from the dreamy Yumthang Valley

Throughout the beautiful journey on the curvy roads you will spot snow capped tree tops and foggy horizons. Wave to the army personnel and they happily wave back. Also, make a pit stop at the Army canteen named “Jalebi Point”, for hot jalebis and samosas. Zero Point, the last outpost before China Border offers you an out-of-the-world feeling and if lucky you might experience snowfall. It just feels amazing how you made it to the last border post of India with China on the other side. 

Zero Point is a must addition to your north Sikkim itinerary
Zero Point- Must visit in North Sikkim

Return to Lachung for lunch. Soon after drive to Gangtok and end your memorable road trip as you check in to your hotel in Gangtok. 

Lachung Accommodation

There are several homestays in Lachung. Don’t expect royal hotels in this remote part of Sikkim. Moreover, homestays are cozy, neat, and beautiful. We recommend Kalden Residency, run by two friendly sisters. The rooms are bright and pretty, the view from the tiny balcony opens to infinite lines of sky touching the mountains and rivers. It’s one undeniably amazing place to stay in.

While booking your trip, do keep in mind

  •  Your package cost must include food, lodging, and permissions. At any point in time should the driver ask you to pay for anything, simply deny it.
  • Usually, Zero Point and Kaala Pathar are not included in the itinerary and they charge Rs 3000 extra for each point.
  • Negotiate well and they might include the above in your travel plan. It is hence advisable to skip Chopta Valley and Thangu. (They are just viewpoints and are included in the itinerary for the sake of it)
  • Your package cost will not include anything extra. Not even a bottle of water and plastic bottles are not sold in North Sikkim. So don’t forget to carry your sipper.

Be prepared for the following in North Sikkim

  • Shops sell products at high prices (as they get things from Gangtok). So stock up with popcorn, dark chocolates. and light snacks to beat nausea and hunger pangs.
  • Even in May or June, the weather remains cold.
  • Additionally, carry your original documents and a copy with you all the time. You might be asked to prove your identity by the armed forces. 
  • Do not take pictures of Army establishments or artillery. Failing to adhere to these might get your phone/camera confiscated. 

Please feel free to get in touch in case you have queries related to North Sikkim itinerary. We would be more than happy to help. 

P.S- This trip of ours was in October 2018. Also, the post made it to the top post of the day on Indiblogger homepage.