With the wedding season around the corner, and only 50 days to the New Year, trips and destination honeymoons are happening all around the world. We are here to help you choose an adventurous destination – Tso Lhamo Lake.
We all know Northeast is the blessed part of India. Talking particularly of North Sikkim, the beauty and charm are irresistible. The calming scenic sights are therapy for the soul. You will have ample opportunities to click pictures once you reach Sikkim.
Only seventy four km from Lachen city in North Sikkim, Tso Lhamo Lake is one adventurous but a must-visit destination. It is located at an altitude of 5098 meters, which makes it the highest lake in India and one of the highest in the world. It is also known as Cholamus Lake.
Best Time To Visit Tso Lhamo Lake
The Tso Lhamo Lake in Sikkim is beautiful throughout the year, except for monsoons, which are the heaviest in the country and disturb all roads and connectivity. Hence, the best time to visit Tso Lhamo Lake is any time of the year, as per your preference. Each time of the year offers a different sight. For example, the spring season starting from March and ending in April offers a flora rich experience.
This is the time when the area is filled with orchids, rhododendrons and other flowers. And a slight snowfall can also be seen at times. For nature lovers, this is the most appropriate time to visit the valley and the Tso Lhamo Lake. However, for Photographers and travel bloggers, the best time is the autumn season, which spreads over mid-September to November. The sky is very clear with moderate temperatures and predictable weather.
But if you are a snow lover, then the months of December, January and February are ideal for you. In fact, the whole of Chopta Valley is covered with snow during this time. Ideally, September and October come out to be the best suited months to visit the Tso Lhamo Lake in North Sikkim. The sky is clear during this time and the weather is more predictable. Trekking to this height is easier during these months. You can plan your trip accordingly to avoid any chaos later.
How To Get The Permit
The tourists visiting Tso Lhamo Lake in North Sikkim require a special Protected Area Permit. For this, they need 2 copies of coloured, recent passport-sized photographs and a valid ID proof such as Aadhar Card/ Passport/Voter ID or Driving license.
In case of family trips, every individual will have to produce their own ID. Students may carry their School/college ID with photographs. Foreign tourists need to get the same by showing the Restricted Area Permit and 2 copies of passport size photographs.
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Places To Visit Near Tso Lhamo Lake
The immensely blessed and eye-pleasing Tso Lhamo Lake in Sikkim has numerous worth watching sights nearby. You can explore the beauty of Chopta valley, Thangu Valley and Gurudongmar Lake along the way. Likewise, there are many places near Tso Lhamo Lake to visit once you reach there.
1. Tso Lhamo Lake Valley
At the top of the list of places near Tso Lhamo Lake, you have the Tso Lhamo Lake valley with eye-pleasing and jaw-dropping sceneries. The Kangchenjunga range and the Tibetan Plateau add more to its beauty. You will cherish the picturesque location amidst mountains and extreme biodiversity.
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If you wish to admire nature, you can visit Chungthang. The place is home to a variety of flora and fauna and is situated on the confluence of Lachen and Lachung Chu. Also, it is about 95 km from Gangtok city. The river Teesta is also starting from this very point.
3. Zero Point Yumthang Valley
Another place near Tso Lhamo Lake, which gives you unforgettable memories, is the Zero Point Yumthang Valley. It is almost 140 km from Gangtok, surrounded by snow-capped peaks throughout the year. Also, it is home to around 24 varieties of rhododendrons flowers.
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4. Gurudongmar Lake
Another lake situated at a height is Gurudongmar Lake. The lake is filled by the surrounding glaciers and is about 175 km from Gangtok, and 67 km from Lachen. Due to a popular folklore, the lake is considered sacred and devotees carry the sacred drinking water home while visiting the lake.
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Places To Stay Near Tso Lhamo Lake
Since the lake is situated at a very high altitude, staying really close to the lake is neither advisable nor possible. You can stay in Lachen or Gangtok, depending on your plan to visit Tso Lhamo Lake. Given below are some hotels which will give you great deals if you book your room in advance.
1. Hotel Eco Nest: It is just 500 m from the Lachen. You can easily travel to Tso Lhamo Lake in North Sikkim from here.
2. Summit Panghen Metok Hotel: If the nearest one is full do not worry another one is here. It’s about 2 km from the centre.
3. Delight Royal Lachen: This hotel is another nearby option and is within 500 m from the centre.
4. Hotel Queen’s Heart: Just about 650m from the center, this is an affordable option with a great ambiance.
5. Mount Himalayan Hotel and Spa: Who would deny getting a spa done when you are in the land of medicinal herbs? If you too want to get a spa then this is a comfy option for you.
Places To Eat Near Tso Lhamo Lake
Any place becomes heavenly if the food of that place is as good as the place itself. Also, the food in the mountains is as humble as the people there. And almost the whole of MG Marg in Gangtok is a foodie’s paradise where you’ll find every variety of food.
So the top places to eat in Gangtok are:
1. Taste of Tibet
2. Roll House
3. Mu Kimchi
5. Osm Restro
Restaurants which serve great Sikkim cuisine in Lachen are:
1. Hotel Lachen retreat
2. Ingredient restro and bar
3. Hotel Phangen Metok
4. Must carry things on your trip to Lachen
Tips To Visit Tso Lhamo Lake
- As it never gets hot in the valley, you must carry light woollens like shawls, jackets, etc. Another must carry thing is a good pair of sneakers because don’t forget you have might have to walk on mountain roads.
- Carrying good moisturizer is a must because you don’t know how your skin might react to the chilly windy weather of the place.
- Also to be on the safe side make a small travel-friendly first aid kit because you are going to stay on the mountains so you must have necessary medications in case of emergency so that you don’t panic.
Festivals To Attend In North Sikkim
India is a land of customs and cultures and festivals are an eternal part of every culture. Few such festivals celebrated in the blessed land of Sikkim are:
1. Saga Dawa: As we know, people in North East India follow Buddhism and so this festival is a blessing for them. This festival marks the birth of their disciple Lord Buddha. So if you are traveling to Tso Lhamo Lake at the end of May and beginning of June you’ll definitely find the city of Gangtok celebrating this festival with full enthusiasm.
2. Losar: Tibetan New Year usually falls in February and is called Losar. If you want to celebrate Tibetan New Year Plan your trip to Tso Lhamo Lake in February.
3. Losoong: This festival marks the harvesting time and is the New Year for the Bhutia Tribe. It is a very colourful festival which falls around December.
How To Reach Tso Lhamo Lake
Due to the height, the unpredictable weather conditions, the slightly improper road, and the need for approvals from Sikkim police, reaching Tso Lhamo Lake is challenging. Those who are lucky enough to get permission, they enjoy one of nature’s finest scenes.
The question, how to reach Tso Lhamo Lake must be arising in your mind. There are different ways available as per your convenience. The nearest airport, Bagdogra Airport is four and a half-hour drive away from Lachen. You can take a flight from your place to Bagdogra Airport for easy travel. As you check out, taxies are available. You can hire taxis from the airport for Lachen, and if you are lucky enough then for Lake as well.
Railways via Darjeeling are also a good option to reach Tso Lhamo Lake in Sikkim. The Darjeeling railway station connects most of the major cities of Sikkim such as Siliguri, Sukna, Tindharia, Mahanadi, Dilaram, Sonada, Jorebungalow and Ghum. Taxies are again available from these Railway stations.
Sikkim State Road Transport has provided with ample of buses to reach Lachen and certain private agencies also provide with taxies. If you are hiring a taxi to reach Tso Lhamo Lake, then the permission part will be done by them.
If you’ve read this far then you must have made up your mind whether to visit Tso Lhamo Lake or not. But trust us, the Tso Lhamo Lake situated in North Sikkim as well as the whole of North Sikkim is worth a visit at least once in a lifetime because you might go there for 2-3 days but the memories and the scenery of this place will never leave your heart.
Frequently Asked Questions About Tso Lhamo Lake
A. Sikkim is a small state, but in terms of experiencing the beauty and culture, even a months’ time is not sufficient. The minimum time required to cover all the main tourist attractions of North Sikkim is 4days and 3 nights. In this duration, you will be able to cover Lachung, Gangtok, and Yumthang well. However, staying for a week will give you a satisfying experience.
A. Sikkim as a whole is very beautiful but the northern area is a bit more blessed because of the Tso Lhamo Lake and valley situated here. At so many meters above sea level, where no trees grow, you have flowers, a river, and mountains captivating you with their charm.
A. Depending on the kind of person you are and the people you are traveling with, there are two famous hiking trails or you to choose from. The first one is Siliguri – Pelling – Hilley- Barsey Hike(rhododendron sanctuary) – Hee Bermiok – Gangtok – Rumtek – Siliguri and the second one is Siliguri – Gangtok – Tinjurey hike/ Khedi trek – Namchi-Kitam ( Bird sanctuary) – Kaluk- Siliguri.
A. Lachen is at a height of about 2750 m above sea level and is being developed as a tourist destination by Sikkim Government. The name Lachen means “big pass” and is hence, the gateway to the Paradise of Sikkim.
A. Consumption of alcohol is strictly not allowed and unavailable without a licence in Sikkim. You will not find any alcohol serving place on the highways especially. Only licensed hotels, restaurants, and bars can serve liquor in Sikkim. Carrying alcohol from other states is also not allowed.
A. For safety reasons, kids below the age of 8 years are not allowed near the lake area. One of the reasons for such a rule is the extreme climate at such a high altitude and the second one is lack of medical facilities in the region. If your child/senior family member falls ill, you will have to backtrack to your place of stay for treatment.