This small itinerary is perhaps one of the most interesting to try the experience of a camping trek through the Sikkim mountains. The views are, as usual in the country, amazing, and we travel both through rhododendron, fir, magnolia and bamboo forests as well as through alpine terrain, with the bonus of starting and ending with a good bath in hot springs.
5 days’ trek
Highest altitude 4300m
Highest altitude overnight 3800m
Local mountain guide English-speaking
Meals and overnight in camping tent during the trek
Accommodation in hotel in Lachung and Lachen
This small trek is a very good option for a short itinerary through the Sikkim mountain area. The route crosses the mountains that separates the Yumthang valley with the Lachen valley. With a beginning and ending in hot springs, the itinerary passes through forests of different kinds of rhododendrons and crosses the Lhabha-La mountain pass, already in alpine terrain, at an altitude of around 4300 meters.
The starting point of the itinerary is Lachung, which we will have reached from Gangtok or any other origin in Sikkim. The road trip from Gangtok to Lachung usually takes about 6 hours, so it takes almost a full day. Lachung is a small town located in a beautiful setting next to the river with the same name and with the peaks of the Himalayas nearby. Its monastery is worth to visit. From Lachung, the first day is done by vehicle and we visit the Yumthang Valley and the “Zero Point”, to spend the first night camping in the Yumthang Hot Springs. The route on foot begins by gradually gaining height but decidedly until the climax of the trek at the Lhabha-La pass. The landscape is spectacular and the view from the mountain pass encompasses a large part of the peaks of the northern part of Sikkim. Descending on the other side we will reach the thermal waters of Tarum and, a little further on, the road to Lachen, which would be our natural destination, although you can continue the trip to some other place. It must be said that we propose to trek the itinerary in this sense, but that it can also be done perfectly in the opposite direction.
Located, together with Darjeeling, on this small wedge between Nepal, Tibet and Bhutan, Sikkim was the last state to become part of the Indian confederation and still maintains a strong personality. It is considered part of what is known as “Great Tibet”, that is, those territories that share the same Tibetan culture, with Buddhism being its main religion. The oldest population group is the Lepchas, followed by the Tibetan Bhutias, however, from the 19th century there were migratory movements from Nepal, becoming the majority population group and Nepalese being the main and official language of Sikkim.
The villages are located at a certain altitude, often in passes between two valleys, far from the mighty and unpredictable rivers, so they all have impressive views. Winding roads, but in good condition, make their way through these valleys and mountains, where sometimes you must descend into the deep valley to cross to the other side of the river and climb again until you find that destination you saw so close from your starting point. As you have already guessed, the orography of Sikkim and Darjeeling is complicated, marked by two great rivers, the Teesta and the Rangit, the latter also being the one that marks the border with West Bengal before joining the Teesta at Rongpu.
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