In the eastern Himalayas, lies an enigmatic paradise where you can attain spiritual solace away from the confines of the mundane. The first organic state of India and a state with magical charm. Its Sikkim. Out of all the places in the northeast, Sikkim is where you are sure to feel the divine touch of nature’s goodness. Its enchanting and beautiful. It is where clouds are dancing by amid the silky skies, nights are glowing with heavenly bodies, ancient monasteries are reverberating the holy chants, lakebeds are glistening with sunshine, mountains are calling for the beholders, and adventure is summoning the adrenaline junkies. Sikkim is where you experience the marvels of a lifetime tour in the lap of the mighty Himalayas. The paradisiacal land is a treasure of scenic beauty bearing the most famous places to visit in Sikkim. Sikkim offers great adventure and sightseeing in places like Lachen, Pelling, Gangtok, Gurudongmar, and so on.
Amid this magical Himalayan kingdom is Yumthang, a quaint little flower valley of Sikkim brimming with magnificent beauty, striking landscape, mollifying flower meadows, rhododendrons, and snow-clad mountains. Yumthang Valley is situated at a whopping elevation of 3564 m in the northern region of Sikkim. It is a picturesque valley nicknamed as the ‘Valley of Flowers’ at a distance of 150 km from the state capital, Gangtok.
Yumthang is undoubtedly one of the best tourist places in Sikkim. It is a place true to its name and fosters unparalleled array of flowering species of the Himalayas across its green bed. Yumthang has a striking location above where the tree line comes to an end. The verdant valley also features ethereal lakes and hot springs with scintillating mountain peaks on all sides and the sublime Teesta flowing through the sprawling valley forming a crystal-like ribbon.
Lachung provides the base for Yumthang Valley trek. The valley welcomes you with a blooming carpet of primulas and rhododendrons. You can also catch a glimpse of the dramatic peaks of Pauhunri and Shundu Tsenpa. The hot springs are scattered throughout the region giving the tourists a feel of warmth in the bitter cold weather. The hot springs are also believed to be rich in sulphur and have miraculous curative power. Yumthang also houses Shingba Rhododendron Sanctuary which attracts thousands of tourists every year to witness its rare and exotic collection of over 24 species of Rhododendron blooms from late February to the mid of June.
Apart from the green meadow blooming with floral gems, the valley of flowers is also abundant in Pine and silver fir trees, gushing waterfalls and splendid views of mountains.
Best Time to Visit Yumthang Valley
Yumthang is closed between the cold months of December, January and mid of February due to snow-clogged roads. The best time to visit Yumthang is between late February and mid-June, also known as the Yumthang Valley flowering season. It is this time when the weather is pleasant, and the valley is colored in the vibrant blooms of flowers against the enigmatic blues of the sky and towering peaks. Yumthang in April and May is covered with a multicolored blanket of Rhododendrons and the temperature is between 20 degrees Celsius to 7 degrees Celsius. During April and May, Zero Point in Yumthang experiences a colder weather than Yumthang or Lachung.
To experience clear skies and the best of nature’s splendor, September-December would be the ideal time to visit Yumthang. The Yumthang Valley temperature is between 15 degrees Celsius and 7 degrees Celsius during these months.
For the tourists who wish to experience the rich culture and tradition of Sikkim, February to March is the best time to visit as the festival of Losar is celebrated during this time. The festival is a delightful sight of authentic beauty where locals adorn themselves in traditional attires and celebrate the festival with great fervor, food, drinks, music and dance. Undoubtedly, you shall experience the cultural touch of the Himalayas in this region of Sikkim.
Permits & Travel Essentials to Visit Yumthang
Yumthang Valley is situated in close vicinity to the Indo-Chinese border and the area falls under a protected army control area. It is mandatory for tourists to acquire a special permit or the Protected Area Permit to visit Yumthang. Permits can be obtained through registered tour operators under Sikkim government.
Travelers who are not acclimatized with dizzying heights are advised to consult doctor before the trip. To avoid height sickness, carrying of medicines are a must. Since the region falls under a great height and the temperature may go down at any time during the year, tourists must carry warm clothes to cope up with the bitter cold.
And do not forget to carry enough cash before travelling as there are no ATMs at hand in Yumthang.
Your journey to Yumthang begins at Gangtok. You can book or share cabs, taxis or jeeps. It is a 150km ride from Gangtok. It is advisable to stay overnight at Lachung (113 km from Gangtok), the nearest inhabited area, wherefrom, Yumthang is at a distance of 125 km. Direct and one-way journey from Gangtok to Yumthang Valley is not feasible as the region is prone to weather extremities and evenings fall early. You will find abundant travel facilities available from Lachung.
From Lachung to Yumthang, it is just an hour away and the road drive is smoothing and one of a kind amid nature’s bounty. The trail to Yumthang also crosses by a gorge over Rang Rang suspension bridge which offers a spectacular sight to behold.
You can reach Gangtok by booking or sharing cabs or taxis from Bagdogra Airport or NJP (New Jalpaiguri Station in Siliguri) or from Tenzing Norgay Bus Terminus from Siliguri.
If you wish to explore more of Yumthang Valley, you can stay at the various resorts and hotels available in Lachung. There are no accommodation facilities in Yumthang. The accommodation and food are customizable and are decent in budget.
February to June is the best time to visit Yumthang Valley as the flowers dip the place in hues of rainbow.
Yumthang Valley is located at an elevation of 3,700 m in the northern district of Sikkim, 150 km from Gangtok.
There are no direct ways to reach Yumthang. However, cabs and taxis are available from NJP station, Bagdogra Airport and Tenzing Norgay Bus Terminus in Siliguri. You can start your journey by reaching Gangtok. Shared or personal cabs and jeeps to Yumthang are available from the state capital.
From Kolkata, one can reach Siliguri via air, rail or road. Cabs, taxis and buses are available from NJP station, Bagdogra Airport and Tenzing Norgay Bus Terminus in Siliguri to reach Gangtok. Shared or personal cabs and jeeps to Yumthang are available from the state capital.
Yumthang is open on weekdays between 8 am to 4 pm.
From Delhi, one can reach Siliguri via air or rail. Cabs, taxis and buses are available from NJP station, Bagdogra Airport and Tenzing Norgay Bus Terminus in Siliguri to reach Gangtok. Shared or personal cabs and jeeps to Yumthang are available from the state capital.
Among a variety of things to do at this exotic location, some of the best things to do are: a) spending time near Yumthang Chu, a river that flows through the valley, surrounded by vibrant blooms, b) skiing c) sightseeing at Lachen and Lachung d) visiting the dainty village of Chungthang located at the juncture of Lachen and Lachung, e) trying authentic local cuisines, f) visiting Shingba Rhododendron Sanctuary, and so on.