Where Is It?
Located at an elevation of more than 9000 ft above sea level, this tiny town is a visual delight. Lachung, which means “small pass”, comes under the Protected Area of North Sikkim. Apart from being a picturesque location, it is the base camp to head to Yumthang valley and Zero Point.
How To Get There?
Lachung can be reached by road from Gangtok by a 5-hour drive. Located in the Protected Area means requiring a permit, which the local tour operator in Gangtok should be able to take care of. Do carry your ID’s and passport size photos to get the permit. We made our journey to Lachung from Lachen.
We arrived at Lachung just before sundown. There are very limited restaurants but lack of streetlights and with most of them offering just Maggi, you have a better chance of sleeping with a filled belly at your hotel.
Zero Point: Yume Samdong or Zero Point is about an hour and a half’s drive from Lachung. On the way to Zero Point, we stopped near Yumthang Valley where rows of shops were renting out boots and gloves to walk and play in the snow ahead. We rented some boots and cherished some hot Maggi around a fireplace before heading there. Along the way we could see the roads covered in frost and the glaciers almost frozen. To be honest, I was a tad bit dissapointed. I expected a lot more snow but most of it was just ice.
The frozen valleys are a delight to the eyes and they are a lot of fun to play too. The surface can be slippery and some caution is advised. There are a couple of stalls selling your favorite brand of liquor too. The altitude, 15000 ft, can be tiring with the air being thin.
Yumthang Valley: The road to Zero Point runs across Yumthang Valley with the glacier of the Lachung river in parallel for most of the distance. A short distance ahead of the place where we rented our snow boots, we got down to the Yumthang Valley. Coniferous trees grow on either side of the Lachung river. The boots helped us wade along the ice cold glacier without getting wet. The stunning scenery seems like it right out of a postcard.
Additional Places to see: You can opt for the Rhododendron trek in the flowering seasons.
Best to visit here between December and March if you want to see more of the snow. Do get some heavy woolens and you have wonderful photos and memories to take back home.