The Enchanting Beauty of Lachen, Sikkim: Like Never Before!

Unveiling the Enchanting Beauty of Lachen, Sikkim: A Himalayan Escape Like Never Before!

Welcome to Lachen, Sikkim’s best-kept secret and the ultimate offbeat destination for nature lovers. Nestled in the lap of the Himalayas, Lachen is a paradise waiting to be explored. In this article, we, as seasoned travelers, will take you on a virtual journey through this enchanting destination, providing you with a comprehensive guide that will satisfy your wanderlust.Sikkim's Enchanting Lachen: The Ultimate Offbeat Destination for Nature Lovers

Choosing Between Lachen and Lachung: Deciphering Sikkim’s Geographic Trident

A lot of tourists planning a trip to Sikkim often get confused: Lachen or Lachung? The internet is full of such questions, and everyone answers them in their own way. There is a reason. Gangtok, Lachen, and Lachung are geographically arranged like a trident. Proceeding north from Gangtok, there is a split left-right like the two prongs of a trident at a place called Changthang. On one side is Lachen; on the other is Lachung. This two-pole geographical arrangement makes many tourists wrongly bewildered to choose between Lachen and Lachung. In fact, both places are fun in their own way. Hence, one can visit both of them if it is possible.

 

Discover Lachen, Sikkim

Category Information
Location Lachen, Sikkim, India
Google Location Lachen on Google Maps
Best Time to Visit Visit from March to June for pleasant weather and blooming landscapes
Climate Experience a cool, alpine climate with chilly winters
Attractions Explore Gurudongmar Lake, Thangu Valley, and the Lachen Monastery
Accommodation Choose from cozy homestays to comfortable hotels
Local Cuisine Savor traditional Sikkimese dishes like Thukpa and Momos
Transportation Nearest airport: Bagdogra Airport (approx. 200 km away)
Nearest railway station: New Jalpaiguri (approx. 195 km away)
Language Locals speak Nepali, Bhutia, and Hindi
Currency Indian Rupee (INR)
Safety Tips Be prepared for altitude-related challenges and carry essentials
Local Etiquette Respect local customs and traditions; be a responsible traveler
Emergency Numbers Police: 100, Medical Emergency: 108

Lachen: A Tranquil Himalayan Haven at 8,500 FeetSikkim's Enchanting Lachen: The Ultimate Offbeat Destination for Nature Lover

The height of Lachen is about 2,600 meters (8,500 feet) above sea level. The livelihood of the residents of this small village depends largely on tourism. Tourists are offered home-stay facilities here by locals in their houses for some income. Apart from this, there are some hotels and guest houses as well. As soon as you enter Lachen, the very first feature that can be noticed is ‘cleanliness’. The roads of the village were not dirty, even at the corners. The Himalayan peaks visible in the background of the wooden houses of the village were especially snow-capped. Hence, the grandeur of the mountains seemed to increase. After sunset, the atmosphere gets colder.

Navigating the Scenic Route to Gangtok: A Fork in the Road at Changthang

Sikkim's Enchanting Lachen: The Ultimate Offbeat Destination for Nature Lovers

There are three main villages on the way to Gangtok. They are Foding, Mangan, and Changthang. As noted above, the routes from Changthang to Lachan and Lachung diverge. Some travelers feel confused at that point about whether to turn left or right towards Lachung. In the Himalayas, road washouts are common due to rain and snowfall. Landslides often also cause significant damage to roads. Hence, a team of the Border Road Organization (BRO) is deployed to repair damaged roads.

Unveiling the Beauty of Lachen Chopta Valley:

Sikkim's Enchanting Lachen: The Ultimate Offbeat Destination for Nature Lover

On the way from Lachen to Gurudongmar, there is a valley called Chopta at an altitude of about 4,000 meters (13,120 feet). Its distance from Lachen is about 40 kilometers. After reaching Thangu, Chopta Valley is reached within twenty minutes. In spring, the valley looks colorful due to the lush green meadows and wild flowers growing in it. However, in other seasons, the greenery is not seen like in other regions of Sikkim. On the contrary, some places in the valley seem completely barren. In winter, the Chopta valley is covered with a white sheet of snow. The rivers flowing here also freeze.

Lachen Buddhist Monastery:Sikkim's Enchanting Lachen: The Ultimate Offbeat Destination for Nature Lovers

The monastery, which stands today as a building of brick and mortar, was a simple wooden hut in the mid-nineteenth century. Eight Buddhist lamas used to live in it. Today, the monastery, built in Tibetan architecture, is a sight to behold from the outside and worth a visit inside. A visit can be taken to the main bazaar, where sweaters, socks, hats, etc. made of yak wool are available. Lachen is also a cultural delight, with its Buddhist monasteries being a testament to the town’s spirituality. Lachen Monastery, also known as Ngodub Choling Monastery, is a serene place for meditation and exploration of Buddhist culture.

Gurudongmar LakeSikkim's Enchanting Lachen: The Ultimate Offbeat Destination for Nature Lovers

Gurudongmar Lake, situated at an altitude of 5,430 meters (17,815 feet), is one of the highest freshwater lakes in the world. The crystal-clear waters, surrounded by snow-capped peaks, make it a must-visit destination. Legends say that even in extreme winters, a portion of the lake never freezes.

Gurudongmar Lake: A Sacred Himalayan Oasis at 17,815 FeetSikkim's Enchanting Lachen: The Ultimate Offbeat Destination for Nature Lover

At an altitude of 17,815 feet, this freshwater lake is spread over about 290 acres. This lake is the main source of water for the Teesta River. Since the Chinese border is only five kilometers from here, it is mandatory to get a permit to visit Gurudongmar. Surrounded by snowy mountains on all sides, the lake is sacred to Buddhists, Sikhs, and Hindus. According to one belief, the lake is named after Guru Nanak. Around 1516 AD, Guru Nanak was passing through here on his way to Bhutan. The locals requested Guru Nanak to suggest some remedy so that the water of the lake, which remained frozen for many years, could be used. It is said that Guru Nanak then miraculously touched a portion of the frozen surface of the lake with a stick in his hand. So much surface snow melted, and the locals got potable water. Even if the surface of Gurudongmar Lake freezes today, the water of the place where Guru Nanak touched is said to remain in liquid form.

Gurudongmar Lake: Where Folklore and Serenity Meet at the Himalayan Altitude

Sikkim's Enchanting Lachen: The Ultimate Offbeat Destination for Nature Lovers

A similar folklore is also prevalent among Buddhists, according to which it was not Guru Nanak who touched the icy surface but the Buddhist monk Rinpoche. Hence, Buddhists consider this lake sacred and the abode of deities. However,  after reaching the lake, the scenery is not without an ethereal feeling. The brown sky, the white snow on the grayish mountains, and the blue of the lake make a beautiful contrast of colors. Freshness in the air and calmness in the atmosphere here are the icing on the cake. Sitting comfortably on the banks of the lake, it is obvious that anyone can feel comfortable camping here for a couple of days with food and a tent for sleeping. However, being a border area, no such activity can be done near Gurdongmar Lake. There are also no accommodation facilities in the vicinity, so tourists are forced to travel back to Lachen.

A Pristine Himalayan Retreat

Sikkim's Enchanting Lachen: The Ultimate Offbeat Destination for Nature Lovers

Lachen, a quaint little town located at an altitude of 2,750 meters (9,022 feet), offers a unique and untouched experience for travelers seeking solace in the lap of nature. This hidden jewel, surrounded by snow-capped peaks and lush green valleys, is a retreat for people who long to get away from the bustle of city life.

 

Flora and FaunaSikkim's Enchanting Lachen: The Ultimate Offbeat Destination for Nature Lovers

One of Lachen’s most remarkable attributes is its rich biodiversity. The town is a gateway to the famous Kanchenjunga National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here, you can spot rare and endangered species like the snow leopard, red panda, and Himalayan blue sheep. Birdwatchers will also be in for a treat with the wide variety of avian species that call this region home.

How to Reach LachenSikkim's Enchanting Lachen: The Ultimate Offbeat Destination for Nature Lovers

Reaching this remote paradise can be an adventure in itself. The nearest major airport is Bagdogra Airport in West Bengal, while the closest railway station is New Jalpaiguri Railway Station. From there, you’ll embark on a scenic road trip that takes you through picturesque landscapes, passing by charming villages, until you reach Lachen.

Where to Stay

Sikkim's Enchanting Lachen: The Ultimate Offbeat Destination for Nature Lovers

Accommodation options in Lachen range from cozy guesthouses to charming homestays. Some popular choices include the Lachen View Home Stay, the Apple Orchard Resort, and the Lachen Retreat. Be sure to book in advance, especially during the peak tourist season, to secure your spot in this Himalayan paradise.

 

Trekking and Hiking

For adventure enthusiasts, Lachen offers numerous trekking trails that will challenge and reward you in equal measure. The Goecha La Trek and the Green Lake Trek are two popular options, offering panoramic views of the Himalayan giants.

Here are some key points to keep in mind while visiting Lachen:

When visiting Lachung in Sikkim, there are several essential points to keep in mind to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip:

Right time of the year:

The weather at Lachung is pleasant from April to June. In this season, the natural scenery looks absolutely beautiful due to the profusion of flowers. Avoid visiting during the monsoon season. In winter, one can go to Lachen-Lachung to enjoy the snow-capped peaks and the cold, but the roads are often closed when there is heavy snowfall.

Transportation:

Sikkim's Enchanting Lachen: The Ultimate Offbeat Destination for Nature Lovers

To travel to these two stations, one has to come to Gangtok first. The nearest airports to Gangtok are Pakyong and Bagdogra. There are flights from Kolkata to Paekyong, but the flight depends on the number of passengers and the weather. A better option for air travel is to take a flight to Bagdogra. Gangtok can be reached in six to seven hours by taxi bus from Bagdogra. From Gujarat-Maharashtra to Kolkata by train and from Kolkata to New Jalpaiguri Darjeeling Mail Pedestrian Access Kanchanakanya actress Shatabdi can be reached by any train; from New Jalpaiguri to Gangtok, a bus taxi will be available.

Permit Requirement:

Lachung is in a restricted area of Sikkim, so you’ll need an Inner Line Permit (ILP) to visit. Make sure to obtain this permit well in advance.

Weather Awareness:

Lachung experiences varying weather conditions throughout the year. Pack accordingly, whether you’re visiting in winter or summer, and be prepared for sudden changes in weather.

Altitude Sickness:

Due to its high altitude, some visitors may experience altitude sickness. Take it easy on the first day, stay hydrated, and consult a doctor if symptoms persist.

Transportation:

The road to Lachung can be challenging, especially during the monsoon season. Hire a local driver who is familiar with the terrain and road conditions.

Accommodation:

Hotel facilities are available in both cities according to budget. A home-stay facility is also available. Sikkim Tourism Website: www.sikkimstdc.com

Local Culture:

Respect the local culture and customs. When visiting monasteries or interacting with the locals, dress modestly and be mindful of photography restrictions.

Garbage Disposal:

Lachung is pristine, and it’s essential to maintain its natural beauty. Dispose of your trash responsibly and refrain from littering.

Cash Availability:

Limited ATM facilities are available in Lachung, so carry enough cash with you for your trip.

Food Choices:

The local cuisine is delicious, but options may be limited. If you have dietary restrictions, consider carrying some snacks or special dietary items with you.

Medication:

Bring any necessary medications with you, as finding specific medicines can be challenging in remote areas.

Travel Insurance:

It’s always a good idea to have travel insurance that covers unexpected events like flight cancellations, medical emergencies, or trip interruptions. Lachung Sikkim: A Paradise in the Himalayas

Local Guided Tours:

Consider hiring a local guide to explore the area. They can provide valuable insights into the culture, history, and hidden gems of Lachung.

Also Know:

Sikkim's Enchanting Lachen: The Ultimate Offbeat Destination for Nature Lovers

Certain places in Sikkim cannot be visited without an Inner Line Permit. Carry a photo of your identity card and a passport-size photo for issuing such a permit.

Lachung handicrafts are highly appreciated. Carpets, shawls, handbags, and wooden artifacts are quite unique.

* There are some places in Sikkim at an altitude of more than 12,000 feet, which can lead to high-altitude sickness. Hence, take the necessary medicines. Whatever the season of travel, always carry warm clothes

By keeping these points in mind, you can make the most of your trip to Lachung and ensure a memorable and safe experience in this Himalayan paradise.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Lachen is the embodiment of natural beauty, adventure, and serenity. This offbeat destination has something to offer every traveler, whether you’re a nature enthusiast, an adventure seeker, or a culture lover. With its untouched landscapes and rich biodiversity, Lachen stands as a testament to the incredible beauty of the Himalayas.

So, if you’re planning your next escape and want to experience the magic of Sikkim’s Lachen, pack your bags and get ready for an unforgettable journey. It’s time to explore this enchanting paradise that has remained hidden from the masses for far too long.


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