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Yumthang valley is a beautiful unique valley located in northern Sikkim, 140 km north of the capital of the state Gangtok, situated at a height of almost 3500 m, an altitude over which the “tree line” ends or no trees can be found. It is especially known for that reason and also for the beautiful colours the valley dresses itself in during spring, also giving it the name “Valley of Flowers”, which is not to be confused with a place by the same name in Uttarakhand. The place also offers beautiful views of the peaks of Pauhunri and Shundu Tsenpa. Rhododendrons and primulas bloom in full fervour in the place and there are also tall pines and silver fir trees bejewelling it like a natural gem. The nearest town to the valley is Lachung, which is almost an hour’s drive from the place. The valley is also known for its magical hot springs spread throughout the valley believed to be having miraculous healing properties. On the way to Yamthung from Lachung, one can also find a lot of small waterfalls and streams flowing through. A tributary of river Teesta flows through the valley. The valley can be best visited starting from late February when the flowers start to bloom until June mid, by when it is completely covered in the surreal shades of pink and white. If you want to rather have a view of the snow- capped mountains which is another treat offered by the valley, you can visit here from September to December. There is a facility in the place for skiing, although it is closed between December an March due to heavy snowfall.
How to reach:
By road: There are taxis, buses and jeeps available to reach this place. Gangtok (125 km) is well connected to Lachung by road and there are facilities available for road transport. From Lachung, there are transport facilities available till Yumthang. The roads however get foggy and it gets dark very early at around 5:30 PM after which no travelling is possible, so this must also be kept in mind. By rail: There is Lachung railway station that is well connected too and is quite comfortable in terms of travel options. It is near to the city and reachable by road. Public transport from the station is also available easily. From Lachung, one can reach the Yumthang valley at proper time. By air: Gangtok is the nearest airport to Lachung. There are regular flights available till Gangtok from various destinations. There are public transport facilities available to travel from Gangtok to Lachung and from there, Yumthang valley can be accessed by the same, keeping the time considerations. Note: 1) Yumthang is situated very close to the Indo-China border and a lot of area is protected under the army control. Thus, a Protected Area permit is required to visit Yumthang which can be obtained from the Gangtok Tourism Office, District Administrative Centre at Mangan or at Chungthang Sub-Divisional Magistrate’s Office. You may also ask for your tour operator to arrange for the same.
2) There are no ATMs in Yumthang. So you must arrange for your expenses accordingly. Accommodation: No stay facilities are available in the Yumthang valley. However there are guest houses and lodges and several hotels and resorts available in Lachung, from where Yumthang can be accessed easily via road. Yarlam Resort, Modern Residency, Le Cozy Resort, Fortuna Resort, Cliff View Residency Season House and Golden Valley are few of the notable accommodations in the area where the services are good and neat. Food is decent too.
Things to do:
You can never get enough of sightseeing at Yumthang. In fact, merely being at the place is sheer enjoyable and there is always beauty in view. However, there still are designated spots that are known to be the popular attractions, so you can imagine how heavenly will be the views from there. Just on the right side of the Yumthang river is a famous hot spring which is a popular tourist attraction. Six km north from there is a Shiv Mandir which can be reached either by trek or even via drive. Apart from the Yumthang valley itself, Lachung has many notable locations to visit. Lachung Chu is a river that flows through Lachung and has a very calm environment around it. It melts the snow above which is a beautiful phenomenon when observed in itself. There is also the Lachung monastery which is a famous religious centre of the place and a great spot for sightseeing and also connecting with the local culture and heritage. Yumesamdong (Zero Point) is a point where the two rivers meet, and is extremely close to the China border and vehicles charge some extra amount to take you to this place and also, only Sikkim registered vehicles can go till here. It is as close to heaven as you can get on Earth with a view of both the colourful flowers and the white majestic peaks of the Himalayas. Shingba Rhododendron century is a must visit for anyone travelling to this place. It houses more than 24 species of rhododendrons alone and a variety of other flowers including poppies, primulas, saxifrages, gentians and iris. Spotted linsangs and tigers might also be spotted here if you are lucky. There are also a lot of adventure sports available at Lachen valley, which is a small trek from the place, but soaking in the natural aura of the place is itself sufficient and you can never have enough of just the view.
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