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Yumthang Valley Tourism And Travel Guide
15.3° C / 59.6° F
March to June
1 to 2 Days
Bagdogra Airport, West Bengal (220 kms)
Darjeeling Railway Station (193 kms)
Yumthang Valley is an exotic location situated in the northern regions of Sikkim, around 140 km away from Gangtok. It figures as a natural haven for lush green meadows, streaming rivers, and colourful blossoms that feature as an essential highlight of the valley. Moreover, with towering hillside views and snowy landscapes, it is an alluring region that forms an intrinsic part of tourism in Sikkim.
Colloquially known as the ‘Valley Of Flowers’, Yumthang is situated at what is known as the ‘tree-line’; the height above which there are no trees. While it paradoxically abounds in trees and greens at this level, one can also observe numerous low-growing native Himalayan flowers.
Lachung is the nearest village from Yumthang, which is the seat for all accommodation options for people visiting the area, and is located about two hours worth of drive away. Here is a comprehensive travel guide to help you on your tourism outing to Yumthang Valley.
How to Reach
The Pakyong Airport in Gangtok is the closest domestic airport from Yumthang Valley. However, it currently connects Gangtok to only Guwahati and Kolkata. The next closest option for those flying in from other cities is the Bagdogra Airport in West Bengal, which is around 120 km away from Gangtok.
The closest railway station from Yumthang Valley is the Darjeeling Railway Station located around 98 km away from Gangtok. Regular buses and private taxis are available to Gangtok from Darjeeling, followed by a cab change at Gangtok to proceed towards Lachung. Tourists also use the New Jaipalguri Railway Station in West Bengal as a means of connecting via train to Gangtok.
Getting to Yumthang Valley involves mostly road travel from Gangtok onwards. A number of bus and cab services can be availed to the nearest village of Lachung, from where Yumthang is around 110 km away and takes around 2 hours to cover via road.
Weather & Best Time to Visit
With a strategic location surrounded by mountains that maintains cool weather almost all year long, summertime is the best season to visit Yumthang Valley. It is the time when the valley is covered with Rhododendron blossoms, along with pleasant temperatures in the range of 14ᴼC-20ᴼC.
Monsoons are not a good time to travel to Yumthang Valley. The region witnesses heavy rainfall with strong winds all through June to September, which occasionally leads to landslides and may cause disruption of travel through the perilous terrain.
The pleasant weather of autumn is one of the best times to visit Yumthang Valley if you are looking to enjoy some spectacular views of the Eastern Himalayas. The clear skies and cool weather favor sightseeing activities and allow uninterrupted panoramas of the rolling mountainside.
Winters in Yumthang Valley are quite extreme, with nighttime temperatures that can go as low as -17ᴼC. While exploring the snow-clad landscapes and hills is a fascinating aspect of winters here, it is probably best left for adventure enthusiasts who can face the chill.
Things to Do
Visit Shingba Rhododendron Sanctuary:
Without question, the Shingba Sanctuary will form the highlight of your visit to Yumthang Valley. During the peak summer season when the flowers are in bloom, the valley appears like a collage of different colors with over 24 species of Rhododendron spread over its meadows. Apart from that, it is also home to number of rare bird species, along with the Himalayan native Red Panda and Musk Deer, making it a haven for bird and animal lovers as well.
Travel to Zero Point:
The area that begins where the road ends, at 4500 m, Zero Point is the highest location in Yumthang Valley. It is a snow clad region of white landscapes, with fascinating views that can be enjoyed with a piping hot cup of tea and a warm bowl of Maggi; both of which you will find being sold in little stalls in the area.
Visit Lachung Monastery:
With a predominantly Buddhist population, Sikkim houses a number of monasteries. The Lachung Gompa, as it is locally known, stands out for the breathtaking views of the mountains it offers from around its location. With painted murals and ancient statues within its walls, it is a monument worthy of a visit for all those who travel to Yumthang.
During the winters when the valley is blanketed under a thick layer of vibrant snow, skiing becomes a popular sport for all adrenaline junkies to try out in Yumthang. The Sikkim Mountaineering Association is responsible for introducing the fascinating winter sport in the region, and has steadily made Yumthang Valley a much sought after ski location.
Food & Festival
The local food in this part of Sikkim mostly consists of rice and dal along with local vegetables. While the region of Yumthang doesn’t hold a lot of options with eateries, except for small stalls that sell tea and Maggi, the nearby village of Lachung has a variety of local restaurants; including those that can be found en route to Yumthang.
Apart from that, those visiting in the month of February-March should definitely find the opportunity to celebrate the festival of Losar with the locals. It signifies the Tibetan Buddhist New Year, and is marked by natives dressing up in traditional attire and putting up cultural shows.