Journey to the heart of North Sikkim
Departure/Arrival @ Gangtok
Experience the unsurpassed beauty of North Sikkim amidst some of the most spectacular high mountain sceneries of snow-clad peaks and alpine meadows that come alive with countless varieties of wildflowers in spring and summer. Enjoy the friendship of the hardy natives of Dzongu and Lachung, two very unique ethnic cultures that can be only found in Sikkim alone. The ever-changing views along the way will enthrall your mind; idyllic villages surrounded by terraced fields, monasteries imposing the outcrop of every hillside settlement, torrential mountain streams ushered by sparkling waterfalls, and lush green forests are everywhere.
Day-01: Gangtok to Tumlong – 45 km
Meet at your hotel after breakfast
Transfer to Tumlong
En-route visit Kabi, Phensong & Phodong Monasteries
Lunch, picnic style
Dinner & Overnight at Chumden-la’s Country Lodge
We drive from Gangtok via the North Sikkim Highway at a leisurely pace as there is not much distance to cover. Along the way, we can get off the vehicle and hike along several stretches where there are trails between switchbacks (commonly used by local villagers). Also several sightseeing spots to visit enroute – Kabi Lungchok, the historical site where blood-brotherhood between the Bhutia and the Lepcha people was solemnized, Phensong Monastery and the Phodong Monastery.
Arriving at Phodong, we leave the main highway and take an uphill turn to Tumlong which was the previous capital of Sikkim till the late 1900’s until a British Expeditionary Force was sent to demolish the king’s palace as punishment for kidnapping the Darjeeling Commissioner, A.C. Campbell and J.D. Hooker the botanist.
At Tumlong, we check in at a lovely country lodge whose owner, a genteel lady and a native of North Sikkim will host you to a delightful evening of local cuisine and provide insight to local customs and traditions.
Day-02: Tumlong to Tingvong – 35 km
After breakfast, check out from Chumden-la’s
Visit Palace ruins and Labrang Monastery
Transfer to Tingvong
Arrive at Sherap’s Home Stay for lunch, dinner & overnight
Cultural Show in the evening
Although Tumlong was Sikkim’s capital since the time of the former kingdom’s third Chogyal till around the early years of Darjeeling’s occupation by the British Empire, the only telltale signs of it are the ruins of the king’s palace. Nevertheless, a site deemed for such a purpose would command a good view, and Tumlong does have it. If you are lucky to be here on a clear day, enjoy the spectacular views into the horizon.
This is another day arranged with less distance to cover, so our journey will combine walks along the way to enjoy the beauty of the countryside, perhaps even meeting and spending time with village folk and farmhands as we travel along.
Prior to leaving Tumlong, we will visit the nearby ruins of the palace and the Labrang Monastery slightly below. Further down and slightly ahead of the main road is the Phodong Monastery which we can also visit if we missed it on the previous day (for lack ot time).
Our Home Stay in Tingvong is at the house of Sherap Lepcha, and here you may if you wish, ask to join in with the family at the daily chores.
Rest of the day will be spent visiting the Tinvong neighbourhood, meeting the local people and learning from them about their way of life.
In the evening you will be hosted to a culture show of folk songs and dances by the local Lepcha youth of Dzongu.
Day-03: At Tingvong
Day Excursion to Sakyong and Pentong
Drive to Lingzya & Beh
Hike to Sakyong-Pentong & return to Tingvong
Picnic lunch enroute
Today, our drive and trek takes further inside the remoteness of the Dzongu area as we head on a north-westerly direction. The vehicular road reaches up till Beh from where we disembark and begin our walk to the village of Sakyong and Pentong and afterwards to backtrack along the same route to return to our dwelling in Tingvong for dinner and overnight. This is good trail for bird-watching and enjoying the beauty of unspoiled nature. Tranquil bliss and idyllic sceneries assured and perhaps a magnificent view of Kanchenjunga to greet you if the clouds are not up to mischief.
Lunch during the day will be in picnic style at the appropriate time.
Day-04: At Tingvong
Day Excursion to the villages of Lingthem, Hee Gyathing and others along the way.
After breakfast, another day of exploration in Dzongu that will be a mix of drives and walks visiting local monasteries and the people of the area. Today we visit more populous areas of Dzongu, larger villages with closer ties to the mainstream, i.e. admin centers, bigger schools and other facilities provided by the state, and here we can take a pulse of modernization underway.
Lunch during the day will be in picnic style at the appropriate time.
We return to Sherap’s house for dinner and overnight.
Day-05: Tingvong to Lachung – 90 km
Breakast & Lunch at Sherap’s House
Check out & transfer to Lachung
Change vehicles at Restricted Area checkpoint
Arrive Lachung & check in at Le Coxy Resort
After lunch, we set off Lachung. During the morning hours you may stay around the house if you wish, or perhaps take a stroll around the village. Departure for Lachung is after lunch.
Lachung at an altitude of 2,500 meters is considered by many Sikkimese as the state’s most beautiful mountain village in the north and indeed has a picturesque and romantic appeal permeating an ethereal alpine glow in its setting amidst apple orchards, waterfalls, a gurgling stream running through its valley, all put against an attractive backdrop of lofty Himalayan peaks.
We proceed on our SUV transport till as far as permissible (by regulations) and then switch over vehicles a little ahead of the Lachung-Lachen Restricted Area point which is at the Toong Bridge (approx 35-40 km ahead of Lachung). Arrive Lachung and check in at the Le Coxy Resort for dinner and overnight.
We should be arriving at Lachung before dusk but a lot depends on how much extra time we spend along the way. If we have arrived well ahead of dusk, you can spend some time on walk around the village.
Day-06: At Lachung
All meals for the day (Breakfast, lunch and dinner)
will be catered by Le Coxy.
Day excursion (drive) to Yumthang and Yumesamdong
After breakfast, you set off for Yumthang through scenic alpine forests overlooking steep rocky mountain on both sides for a distance of approx. 26 km. Set at an elevation of 3575 meters above sea level, the Yumthang Valley is Sikkim’s undisputed natural paradise that is easily accessible via road. In the summertime the attractive scenery of this area reaches its zenith when an immense variety of alpine flora cascade the meadows, hills and the valleys.
The day’s excursion continues a further 21 km beyond Yumthang towards the Tibetan Plateau to a point called Yumesamdong and for most of trip you can expect to view plenty of beautiful alpine scenery.
Return to Le Coxy at the end of day’s excursion.
Day-07: Transfer to Gangtok – 118 km
After breakfast, transfer to Gangtok
Lunch at Phodong
We drop you off at your hotel in Gangtok