Lachung, North Sikkim
The picturesque mountain village of Lachung, at a height of 8610 ft, embraced by snow capped mountain peaks, breathtaking waterfalls, sparkling streams and apple orchards is the perfect holiday destination. Sprawled across the banks of the Lachung Chu [river] which slices the village in two, Lachung is famous for its apples, peaches and apricots. At Lachung you can visit the Lachung Gompa, built around 1880, the monastery is situated amidst apple orchards across the river from the town centre. Also go see the handicraft centre which has exquisitely woven rugs and blankets.
Accommodation is no problem in Lachung which has many hotels and lodges including a Dak Bungalow. But despite throwing its doors open to tourists Lachung still retains its distinctive culture and tradition, including the unique system of self governance called the Zumsa where all local disputes are settled by a totally representative body of the village which is headed by an elected Pipon.
You can also visit the Shingba Rhododendron sanctuary through which flows the Yumthang Chu. The sanctuary is known for its abundance of Rhododendron trees and shrubs. Lachung is perfect for an overnight halt before you visit the spectacular Yumthang valley.
BEST TIME TO VISIT
Best time to visit Lachung is October to June as the weather is quite pleasant at that time of the year and also you can play with snow and see the Rhododendrons blooming on the hills nearby. Monsoon season starts from July and ends by September. Heavy rains are expected in this places during these days due to the South-West monsoons. The heavy rains during this time will play a spoilsport with sightseeing plans so it is advisable to void travelling during these seasons.
HOW TO GET THERE
Airways: The nearest airport is in Bagdogra, West Bengal about 5 hrs drive from Gangtok, and about 196 km from Lachung. Sikkim also has got its first commercial airport at Pakyong, East Sikkim but weather hampers the operation of this airport most of the time. If you are lucky enough you can get a flight directly to Pakyong.
Railways: The nearest railway station is New Jalpaiguri (NJP) in West Bengal which is about 190 km from Lachung.
Roadways: Lachung is about 102 km from Gangtok, the capital city. You have to halt at Gangtok and start your journey to Lachen the next day early morning after getting the necessary permits. Then on the next day you will head to Lachung visiting Gurudongmar Lake.