Sikkim is magical and we are not kidding. The place is home to mystical landscapes and the charm of it is inescapable. However, North Sikkim being not as popular still has that rawness to it and has managed to retain its uniqueness. You might have heard about places like Gangtok, Tsomgo Lake, Nathula, etc. However, one should not miss exploring North Sikkim with places like Lachung, Gurudongmar, Katao, etc. to keep their vacation to Sikkim complete. Here is a list of few not to miss places to visit in North Sikkim that are a must when you are there. As soon as you enter north Sikkim, you start to view snow-capped ranges are if you are here during not so cold weather you will also witness blooming colorful flowers and rushing cold stream of water. So, let’s explore top places that you must visit in North Sikkim and at what season you should plan to explore them to keep your vacation adventurous.
Top 12 Places To Visit In North Sikkim
If Tsomgo Lake, Nathula Pass and Gangtok are the only places in Sikkim that you have heard about then let’s take you for a ride. Here are some of the best places to visit in North Sikkim that you must explore.
- Lachung: Offbeat Place In North Sikkim
- Yumthang Valley: See Species Of Rhododendrons
- Gurudongmar Lake: Watch Sky’s Reflection
- Lachen: Heaven On Earth
- Cholamu Lake: Photographer’s Paradise
- Chopta Valley: Magical Paradise Out Of Movies
- Thangu: Barren Yet Beautiful Place
- Yume Samdong: The Zero Point
- Shingba Rhododendron Sanctuary: Treat Your Senses
- Phensang Monastery: Gape At The Architecture
- Khangchendzonga National Park: Haven For Animal Lovers
- Chungthang: A Quaint Town
1. Lachung: Offbeat Place In North Sikkim
This is a must-visit and one of the top places to visit in North Sikkim. The place is also known for its offbeat nature. Lachung is a small village that has its river and a gompa. Mostly you will find apple orchard and pear vegetation in this place. The village is self-sustainable and offers a magnificent view of snow-capped mountains. The best way to explore Lachung is to take a homestay. Amongst other festivals, Christmas is very well celebrated here. Another major extraction is Gompa. You must visit this Gompa if you are here. The place has colorful architecture and makes its way to Shingba Rhododendron Sanctuary. The name Lachung means ” a small pass” that is because this village is located on the borders of Tibet. You must also visit the weaver’s society here for exotic handwoven blankets and shawls.
How to reach: The best way to reach Lachung is via a drive from Gangtok to Lachung via Singhik view point, Seven Sisters Waterfall and Naga Waterfalls.
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2. Yumthang Valley: See Species Of Rhododendrons
This is another one of the blissful places to visit in North Sikkim, full of picturesque places. The place is crowded with thick rhododendron trees and have some hot Sulphur springs. Here you can locate around 24 different species of Rhododendrons and brings the name ‘valley of flowers’ for the place. The place is full of vast meadows and river Teesta flowing through it. This is a nature lover paradise in true sense. This place is a perfect summer getaway and you could spot a lot many tourists sitting in the valley during peak season. Some of the mountains that famous for their view in this Valley are Oanhuri and Shundu Tanpa which form the backdrop for gushing Teesta river. This place is around 150 km from Gangtok and would take around 8 hours to reach if you hire a jeep. Jeep is the most comfortable and affordable mode of transport to reach this place as it would take all the shocks coming from the highs and lows of the route.
How to reach: To reach here you need to drive from Gangtok which is the nearest connected place. You can opt for an overnight stay at Lachung and the next day early morning you could leave for Yumthang Valley. A direct journey to this place from Gangtok may get you there in the dark and the place doesn’t have many road lights to keep the area lit during night hours.
3. Gurudongmar Lake: Watch Sky’s Reflection
This lake is sacred for Buddhists and is one of the most popular tourist places to visit in North Sikkim. It is located at a height of 17,800 feet. The mere view of this lake would take you to another world. It’s so serene and magical like someone has opened an entirely new world for you. You can stay in a resort in Sikkim and relish the local cuisines. Also, North Indian food is available here in abundance if you are not so particular about tasting new cuisines. The place is known for its majestic landscape, but people also visit the temple nearby to get the blessings of local gods. The place is around 175 km from Gangtok and takes around 9 hours to reach here. The best mode of transport if a jeep for irregular roads in some places.
How to reach: One can drive from Gangtok to Lachen and get a night stay. The next day if you leave early morning you can drive to Gurudongmar for a small stay and then drive your way to Chopta Valley.
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4. Lachen: Heaven On Earth
This place is known for its majestic green pastures. Also, you can experience living in wooden huts here. The place is somewhat like romantic places in Indian movies with a similar magical air. Merely the view of it would leave you spell-bound and you would never like your journey to end. You would wish to live here forever which makes it one of the most popular places to visit in North Sikkim. There are other attractions in this place to enjoy like Lachen Monastery, Green Lake and Chopta Valley. Lachen is one of the most alluring places in North Sikkim. Lachen is one of those serene villages which stands as a perfect place to enjoy with your loved ones. The natural beauty of this place would leave you mesmerized in its simplistic setting and offers a perfect getaway from the city hustle. It is a treat for nature lovers and birdwatchers.
How to reach: One can drive down to Lachen from Gangtok on a jeep. Most people cover Lachen and Yumthang Valley on a single day as it at a short distance from each other.
5. Cholamu Lake: Photographer’s Paradise
This is a perfect getaway in North Sikkim if you are looking for something that is still not adulterated by commercialization. This lake is often part of every visitor to North Sikkim. It is located at 5000 meters height above sea level and boasts of serenity which is why it is one of the popular tourist places to visit in North Sikkim. However, you can only visit this place after obtaining a permit from the Army and Sikkim Police. This place is best for photographers because of its spectacular landscape and is one of the highest lakes in India. You can view the snow-capped mountains at the end of this lake which is both pleasing and soothing to your eyes. Though it is difficult to get permission to visit this place, it is not advisable to visit it during monsoons. It is mostly a place for backpackers and experienced travelers because it could be dangerous to be here if the weather is not favorable. The most magical part of its landscape is when you see clouds resting almost at the surface of the lake.
How to reach: Nearest airport is Bagdogra which is around five hours’ drive from Lachen. Then you need to hire jeeps to reach the lake from Lachen. If you wish to take the rail route, then it is at Darjeeling at 171 km from Lachen.
6. Chopta Valley: Magical Paradise Out Of Movies
This valley acts as a base for most of the tourists visiting Gurudongmar Lake and again have picturesque mountain view to offer to its visitors. Especially during the spring season, the entire valley bursts with colors and it is extremely magical. The place is full of barren mountains and has featured in many Bollywood movies. The place also has some historical importance and known for ancient temples located here. The place is yet not so much explored and known for its beauty in most raw form which is why it is one of the best places to visit in North Sikkim. It is located at around 13000 feet’ height above sea level and offers several adventure activities like hiking, angling, and some water sports as well. One can witness the rhododendrons scattered everywhere and birds calling and chirping in this valley. You can park your car and go down on a nature walk in this valley to gulp the place inside you. Take a simple stroll around the river or just sit on the rocks there to admire the yet another masterpiece of mother nature.
How to reach: There are two routes via road. You can start from Gangtok and reach Lachen via Mangan for an overnight stay. Then the next day early morning you can reach Gurudongmar Lake via Thangu. While returning from Gurudongmar people often stay at Chopta Valley via a mud track.
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7. Thangu: Barren Yet Beautiful Place
The place is sparsely populated and is known for its peaceful vibes. This place is administered by the military and is one of the safest and most beautiful places to visit in North Sikkim. It also acts as a base stay to head towards exploring other parts of North Sikkim. The place is around 150 km away from Gangtok and takes around 7 hours to reach here. The best mode of transport is a Jeep. This place is the perfect place to stay and chill for people who love to stay close to nature. You can also get a bonfire arranged with the help of local people and sip hot tea at night while chirping around with your friends. The place is not so comfortable for very old people and they may feel breathless at a height of 14000 feet where the temperature may drop up to 5 degrees during nights even in summers. Hence in case you suffer from any kind of breathing problems please take proper precautions. The stay is perfect to bring back everlasting memories, the breathtaking moments that can only be experienced and cannot be delved into words.
How to reach: the Closest domestic airport is Bagdogra and from there you can hire jeeps and buses. The nearest railhead is in Jalpaiguri which is at 147 km. One can very easily drive through from Lachen to Thangu. The distance is only 30 km.
8. Yume Samdong: The Zero Point
One of the most beautiful tourist places in North Sikkim is Yume Samdong that is located at a height of 15,300 feet. This valley is just an hour away from Yumthang. People love to drive through the curvy roads and explore the rugged terrains here. Photographers travel to this place to capture the beauty of green valleys. The place has bagged the title of Zero Point which is why it is now one of the top places to see in North Sikkim.
How to reach: You will have to hire a taxi from Yumthang to reach this place in an hour.
9. Shingba Rhododendron Sanctuary: Treat Your Senses
Shingba Rhododendron Sanctuary is a treat to both your eyes and nose. Wherever you see, the greenery is dotted with pink little flowers and the surroundings are full of blossoming flowers which makes it one of the the must-visit tourist places in North Sikkim. If you want to see the true magical paradise then head to this sanctuary between April and July.
How to reach: You can opt for trekking to this sanctuary from Yumthang Valley. If you are in Gangtok then you will need to hire a taxi and cover the distance in around 7 hours to reach the valley.
10. Phensang Monastery: Gape At The Architecture
North Sikkim destination is full of tourist attractions which has lured travelers and nature lovers not only from India but also from all over the world. So, the next one on the list of the best North Sikkim tourist places is Phensang Monastery. The monastery is known for its architecture and it boasts of natural extravaganza. If you want to witness something amazing then you must visit this place during Sikkimese New Year when a mask dance (Chaam) is performed.
How to reach: You can take a taxi from Gangtok to reach this monastery.
11. Khangchendzonga National Park: Haven For Animal Lovers
If you are an animal lover then there cannot be a better place than Khangchendzonga National Park in North Sikkim. It is the third-highest peak in the world and the largest Sikkim wildlife reserve. People from all around the world head to this place for nature and wildlife photography. When exploring this place, you might get to see Himalayan black bear, snow leopard, flying squirrel, etc.
How to reach: The place is just 46 km away from Gangtok which can be covered by hiring a cab.
12. Chungthang: A Quaint Town
Chungthang is famous for its biodiversity which is why it is one of the top places to see in North Sikkim. The most fantastic part about this place is that it is located at the merging point of two rivers – Lachen chu and Lachung chu. The place holds a sacred spot in the hearts of the locals due to the blessing of a popular Buddhist legend, Guru Padmasambhava. It is also famous because Guru Nanak Dev took a pit stop here on his way to China and Tibet.
How to reach: The town is well-connected with any city of Sikkim so one can take a cab ride to this place easily.
Well, now that you know about the places to visit in North Sikkim you should also know what the best time to visit this place. The best time to visit North Sikkim is during summers from April to July and winters from October to December. The rest of the time is not appropriate as either its monsoon or the land is covered in snow. In case you deliberately want to see snow, then the place is only motorable up till the end of December. It’s one of the best destinations to get relief from the scorching sun in summers. So, what are you waiting for? Plan your trip to Sikkim and have fun.
Frequently Asked Questions About Places To Visit In North Sikkim
A. The best way to route to North Sikkim is to take flight up to Gangtok and hire a jeep to drive towards various locations in North Sikkim.
A. There are many more places where you can have a different experience than the one mentioned above. And you can cover all of them in a single route. Some of the places of interest not mentioned above are Chunthang, Seven Sisters Waterfalls, Mangan and many more.
A. Mangan often acts as a base location for travelers and is an offbeat place when you see it from a tourist point of view. The place is yet not so much explored and lies in its very raw form.
A. Cholamu Lake is best in its form, but it’s not so much visited so it could be one dangerous to visit this lake, second, it is restricted so you may not get permission to visit it.
A. Green Lake trek is one of the most popular treks in Sikkim. For this people often drive their way to Lachen and start their trek from there to Green Lake. It’s a 30 km trek and full of breathtaking views.
A. The best and most comfortable way to stay in North Sikkim is a homestay. Lodgings are scarce and not so much developed.
A. The first masterpiece that you get to explore is Sighik. Which is at just two hours’ drive from Gangtok and you can reach here via bus, taxi or jeep.
A. Yes, you must visit Phensang which is situated just 9 km from Gangtok. It is known for its architectural marvel and was constricted in the year 1721.
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