Yumthang Valley is the hidden paradise of natural beauty in the mountains of north Sikkim. Also known as Himalayan Valley of Flowers, the gorgeous Yumthang Valley houses a unique fusion of flora, fauna and nature’s various spectacles. This mountainous region is rare and exotic in nature. Its a place where the tree line ends.It is one of the favourite tourist spots for those who prefer a serene surrounding in the lap of snow clad mountains and serenity.
Travlers who’ve been to Yumthang Valley are of the opinion that it changes in geographic character every season. Its beauty transforms constantly with the passing months. No wonder its terrain is capable of forming some of the most splendid backdrops for professional photographers and artists.
If Yumthang Valley is to be described in one word, I’d say – Breathtaking!!
Yumthang Valley: An Overview
|Famous For||Rhododendron Flowers|
|Mode of Travel||Road|
|Best Time to Visit||March to June|
|Nearest Airport||Bagdogra Airport, West Bengal|
How to Reach Yumthang Valley ?
The only way to reach Yumthang is via road. The nearest airport is Bagdogra Airport in West Bengal. You need to reach Gangtok from airport which is around 150 km away from Yumthang. After reaching, you can rent a vehicle to Gangtok for 1500-2000 rupees. You can also reach via train till New Jalpaiguri railway station and continue to Gangtok by taking a taxi which is available outside the railway station.
You need to take another taxi from Gangtok, which is available on sharing basis, to reach the valley. It is advisable to contact a local travel agency in Gangtok for your travel & stay in Yumthang as they know the roads better and the roads are quite narrow and meandering.
Best Time to Visit the Yumthang Valley
Yumthang Valley sees the highest number of visitors during the months of March to June. I visited the place in the month of April when the temperature was not very low and I was lucky enough to see the valley painted in colourful rhododendrons. The valley is closed from December to February due to snowfall and road blockage. So make sure you don’t plan a trip during that time of the year. Else, a beautiful chance to witness nature will be lost.
Accommodation Options in Yumthang Valley
Hotels and accommodation are not available in Yumthang. The nearest place for accommodation is Lachung which is 26 km and an hour drive from Yumthang. It is a small village in the grand valley and lies between Gangtok and Yumthang.
Homestays and hotels are available in Lachung where both food and accommodation is provided along with decent facilities. Some famous names include Le Coxy Hotel, Yarlum Resort etc. Le Coxy is a good place to be with a home-like environment and a community gathering of the guests around the bonfire happens every evening.
Exploring Yumthang Valley: A Personal Experience
I started from Lachung to Yumthang early in the morning and the breathtaking Rhododendron forests on both sides of the road is so exhilarating that for a moment I felt like I never want to go back. After the Rhododendron trail, I proceeded towards the Zero point beyond which vehicles are not allowed and you have to continue on foot. Trekking up the snow-clad mountain at 14,562 feet is one experience which one shouldn’t miss while at Zero Point.
Shingba Rhododendron Sanctuary of 24 Species
Shingba Rhododendron Sanctuary lies within the Yumthang Valley. It is extremely rich in natural vegetation and consists of various species of plants . The chief attraction, however is the Rhododendron trees that are found here in plenty. There are around twenty four different species of Rhododendrons here. Due to these rhododendrons, the entire valley looks absolutely stunning. There are also trees like like Potentillas, Saxifrages, Primulas, Aconites, Poppies, Gentians etc.
Zero Point, in Yumthang Valley is the last region before beginning of the snowline. It is located at an altitude of 17500 feet and is a 6 hour journey from Gangtok. So it is recommended that you acclimatize yourself before getting here. Else, you might feel a shortness of breath as well as altitude sickness.
The journey to the zero point is enriching with a lovely view. Zero Point point itself doesn’t have much landscape views except small frozen pieces of stream but the overall journey definitely beautiful.
Why Should Every Traveler Visit Yumthang Valley at least Once ?
The snow covered peaks and the greenery itself is reason enough to be in Yumthang Valley. The region is spectacular when it comes to landscapes. On one side there is partially snow covered mountains while on the other side a river is flowing with lush green pine trees growing on its banks. The locals say that it is one of the tributaries of the mighty Teesta river. Go there as there is nothing like Yumthang! This place has its own unique essence and aura.
Before I visited Yumthang, I thought only Uttarakhand has the famous Valley of Flowers. But, I would suggest you to make your travel plan to Yumthang too if you want to witness a valley full of blooming Rhododendrons of around 24 species and other varieties of exquisite wildflowers.
Eating Options Near Yumthang Valley
Once you reach Yumthang valley, eating at the local dhabas on the parking junction is a must. I took thukpa and momos, then went on to explore the souvenir shops around and bought some take-back-home gifts
Important Things to Carry on your Yumthang Valley Trip
Remember to carry warm clothing in the form of jackets, hoodies, pullovers, snow boots and gloves as Yumthang Valley remains partially covered with snow throughout the year. Make sure to keep yourself hydrated at all times. Carry water with you which has previously been boiled.
Travel Advice for First Time Visitors to Yumthang Valley
Reaching Yumthang will require break journeys and you might encounter bad road condition during rainy season but then to witness such heavenly beauty, such endurance is worth it. Try planning a trip for at least 2 nights to explore the place throughout. Depending on your budget you can plan. The package for 2 nights including food starts from 7000 rupees. Do not forget to carry plenty of cash as there are no ATMs around. Also, carry enough warm clothes, it is cold over there even during summer. Never ever plan a trip during winter. The temperature will be very low, sometimes below zero degree centigrade and the Yumthang Valley is usually closed during winter due to heavy snowfall and low temperature.
Yumthang Valley in Pictures
Happy Wayfaring 🙂
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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