Dzongri Trek - 8 Days
For those pressed with time and less inclined to undertake the rigours of hard mountain trekking, trekking up to the meadows of Dzongri will offer the benefits of having experienced a truly spectacular Himalayan trek in a span of one week (or maybe even less).
The trail runs through moss-laden forests of oak, chestnut, pine,
maple, magnolia and rhododendron culminating in the meadows of Dzongri
at 4,000 meters with exceptional mountain views. It is a naturalist’s
paradise. These forests harbor hundreds of varieties of wild plants,
exotic orchids vie for attention with equally spectacular varieties
of birds and butterflies.
The program described below is for 8 days but the same can be done in 5 days - depends upon your fitness and inclination.
Day 01: Yuksam : 1,780 m.
Arrive Yuksam from Pemayangtse or Gangtok
Overnight in Hotel
Yuksam is the base of West Sikkim’s most popular trekking region,
Dzongri and is also of historical importance to the Sikkimese.
Yuksam literally means ‘meeting place of the three lamas’.
In the beginning of seventeenth century a rift between different factions
of Buddhist sects in Tibet forced the Red Hat Sect to seek refuge in
Sikkim. Lama Lhatsun Chempo, on his journey to Sikkim, arrived at Norbugang
in Yuksam, where he met two other lamas, Sempa Chempo and Rinzing Chempo
and began converting the people into their faith. Sacred texts had revealed
that the ruler designate of Sikkim would be a man named Phuntsog of
Gangtok, so the lamas sent an envoy in search of him. The party returned
with Phuntsog Namgyal, whose ancestry could be traced to the legendary
prince Guru Tashi, founder of the Kingdom of Miyang in the Chumbi Valley.
In 1641 Phuntsog Namgyal was crowned as Sikkim’s first king, the
Day 02: Bakkhim : 3,005 m.
Trek Yuksam to Bakkhim - 16 km /
5 hours. Camp 2,744 m.
Overnight in Tourist Bungalow or Camp
We walk gently uphill, following the Rathong River's gorge, through
dense mixed jungle with magnolia, rhododendron, ferns and several varieties
of orchids, brightly colored birds, and the occasional monkey. After
an hour or so we cross the Paha Khola bridge, (1,733m. /5,685ft.). There
is a swimming spot by a waterfall (for those who dare!) after two hours,
and we can stop for lunch by a bridge over stream. Passing by sweet
smelling viburnum we cross the Prek Chu River and then ascend steeply
for two or three hours to arrive at the lodge at Bakhim. We will either
stay in the Tourist Hostel, or sleep in our tents. This hostel is often
occupied by Himalayan Mountain Institute students on rock-climbing courses.
This is a long trekking day and you should expect to be pretty tired
by the time you arrive at Bakkhim.
Day 03: Phedang: 3,483 m.
Trek Bakkhim to Phedang - 5 km / 4 hours. Camp
We begin today’s walk by trekking for about one hour up to the
picturesque village of Tshoka. Tshoka is home to a colony of Tibetan
refugees who have erected a small monastery by a small lake. A fairly
steep climb above Tshoka takes you into beautiful rhododendron forests,
and you continue along a well-defined uphill path to Phedang (approx.
2/3 hours from Tshoka). Today we will be doing a shorter trail since
we will be gaining much altitude.
Day 04: Dzongri: 4,030 m.
Trek Phedang to Dzongri : 4 km / 3 hours. Camp
Another short day’s walking today as we are now treading above
the 4,000-meter mark. We will be setting up camp by lunchtime and suggest
that you spend a relaxed afternoon acclimatizing. A brief climb beyond
brings you to a meadow where we can pitch our tents in a campsite with
views of Koktang, Rathong, Kabru, Khangchendzonga, Simvo and Pandim.
As usual on trek the choice of campsite depends on many variables, one
of the most important is the close supply of water. Camp overnight.
Day 05: Dzongri: 4,030 m.
Excursion to Laxmi Pokhari
Early risers can get up before dawn to climb to a vantage point on
a ridge above the campsite to watch the sunrise on Khangchendzonga,
Kabru, Pandim, Rathong, and many other peaks of the Khangchendzonga
Full day excursion to Laxmi Pokhari. The trial first goes through
rhododendron bushes and pasture land for about an hour to Chamaray.
From here it is a gradual ascent to Laxmi Pokhari, a big lake cupped
in a deep crater. Here you will get good view of Khangchendzonga range,
Pandim, Narsing, Kabur, Kabur dome, Koktang etc. If you reach Laxmi
Pokhari early and feeling physically fit, an excursion towards Kabur
rock will be a rewarding experience. Back to Dzongri.
Day 06: Bakkhim: 3,005 m.
Excursion around Dzongri and trek back to Bakkhim
Day 07: Yuksam: 1,780 m.
Trek back to Yuksom
Overnight in Hotel
After lunch trek to Dubdi monastery, ‘the hermits cell’,
which is situated on the top of a lofty hill one thousand feet above
Yuksam. The fir-clad mountains behind provide a dramatic background.
Founded by Lhatsun Chempo in 1701, it is the oldest monastery in Sikkim.
After visiting the monastery descend to the site where the first King
of Sikkim was crowned in 1641 by three lamas.
Day 08: Departure Transfer
After breakfast drive to your next point of the tour.