Yumthang is a matchless destination. It is the a spot where we see the union of snow capped peaks, crystal clear glacial rivers, green meadows and valleys full of blooming rhododendron flowers.
Yumthang Valley is a serene and a somewhat isolated spot situated in North Sikkim. Sitting in the lap of the majestic Himalayan Mountains, it is a truly magical place. It is situated at a height of 11,693 ft from sea level and is the perfect spot for thousands of Himalayan flowers. Shingba Rhododendron Sanctuary is situated in Yumthang Valley which is also the home of some rare birds.
The flower which literally covers the valley in its various colours is the marvellous rhododendron. It is rare to find such a transcendent sight like this anywhere else on earth where you can see thirty-eight types of rhododendrons blooming together. Furthermore, you can see many other types of flowers like primrose, poppy, cinquefoil, iris, lousewort and the cobra-lily.
The village folks take their cattle to the valley graze on the fresh green grass. While you lie lazily on the green grass under the sparkling sun, watch the yaks grazing and feel the cool refreshing wind blowing from the mountains. The river that flows right through the valley is the purest Himalayan water from the glaciers.
While the flowers dance merrily in the wind, you might have thoughts to spending your life there. Even when you come back from Yumthang Valley you will carry the fragrance of the experience for the rest of your life.
Yumthang Valley has also been called the Valley of Flowers by some referring to the same in Uttarakhand. You can also ski in the snowy mountains there.
The Yumthang River also has a spot of hot springs. A dip there in the warm and pure waters will refresh your mind and body like nothing else. It is the best travel experience one could ask for.
There are also many waterfalls in the valley that will take your breath away.
There are some other places that you can visit during your trip to Yumthang. You can visit the nearest town Lachung and the The Lachung Monastery. You can also pay a visit to Zero Point and Gurudongmar Lake. If you have a long holiday you can also include Thangu, Chopta Valley and Phodong Monastery.
It will be good not to miss Zero Point. The place is truly astonishing. It is at a height of 5,000 m plus and you can see snow all throughout the year. From Zero Point you can also see the flat Tibetan plateau.
How to go
- Due to heavy snowfall Yamthung is inaccessible during the winter period from December to March. The best time to visit is April to May. From June the monsoon starts and you may not get the flowers.
- Come to Gangtok. Yumthang is 125 km from Gangtok. You have to take a car from Gangtok. However after the evening sets in, it is not safe to travel by road due to the foggy weather.
- Bagdogra is the nearest airport to Gangtok at 124 km away. From there you can hire a car for about Rs.2000 to take you to Gangtok. It will take about four hours.
- The nearest railway station is New Jalpaiguri (NJP). Gangtok is 148 km from here.
- In Gangtok, you have to go to Yumthang through a travel agent. The agent will get you the permission to enter Yumthang Valley. The reason is as the valley is very near to the Indo China border, you would have to get permit. You have to fill a form and give two passport sized photographs and photocopy of your voter card. Getting the permission is easy provided there is no landslide on the way.
- On the way you will feel great to sip a cup of hot tea at a roadside dhaba. With that accompany a steaming pot of Maggi or an egg poach.
Where to stay
- You can stay at Lachung. Otherwise, there is only one staying option in Yumthang so ask your agent to book for you beforehand.
- There are two packages for tourists – 1N 2D and 2N 3D. The packages include accommodation and meals. The 1N 2D costs about Rs.1200 and 2N 3D costs Rs 2200 per head (prices may change).
- When you get a vehicle ask for a Sumo or a Xylo. The journey is full of bad roads so a better car will make the discomfort less. Generally these are shared vehicles. You can also hire a full car but the cost will consequently get higher.
- From Gangtok it will take you around 6 – 7 hours to reach Lachung. From Lachung it is a one hour drive to Yumthang.
- Oxygen level are lower in Yumthang due to the height. Thus asthmatic patients and children may have problems.
- The people of the place are extremely innocent and good-hearted. Treat them with kindness.
- Keep the valley clean and pure as possible. Do not throw any garbage or plastic there. Carry it back to the hotel dustbin where you can dispose it off.
Image credits: flowersofindia.net/yumthang, jyotirane.blogspot.com, nativeplanet.com, allbeautifulplaces.in, travel.paintedstork.com, mygola.com, indiamarks.com