Yumthang Valley: Everything you need to know for this magical experience!
Yumthang Valley name brings one thing in mind, Flowers. ‘Yumthang’ means “Valley of flowers’ in the local language. It is not for nothing that this Valley is labelled like that. It is nothing short of being exotic. Whether you are a Nature lover or not, you are bound to fall in love with the incredible blend of flora and fauna in this valley.
While there are several tourists who line up to visit this valley every year, a majority of them end up going somewhere else because of weather conditions.
This is primarily because they are unaware of a few things, like how to go? When to go? what to see? etc very basic knowledge about the place.
Yumthang valley is situated at an altitude of 11800 feet or 3575 meters and has almost no medical facilities available nearby. Hence, some precautions must be taken.
We have experience of sending thousands of tourists every year to Yumthang Valley and overall North Sikkim Tour. This is why we are here to hold your hand through the journey and ensure only memorable moments in this spectacular valley!
How to go to Yumthang Valley?
Unfortunately, there is no direct way to reach Yumthang Valley. One has to come via Gangtok Lachung to reach here.
Gangtok has got a new airport ( Pakyong Airport Code: PYG) a few months back making it much more accessible to broader India. However, it has just started and not too many airlines have a flight coming in here. Spicejet has its operations here.
The other way or older way to reach Gangtok is to take a flight till Bagdogra Airport ( Code IXB) and then 4-5 hours drive brings you to Gangtok. Bagdogra airport is well connected with the rest of the Indian cities.
Bagdogra to Gangtok distance is around 123 Kms and it takes around 4-5 hours in the car to reach Gangtok.
If you want to come by train, you got to take a train to New Jalpaiguri (station Code: NJP) and then take a car till Gangtok. You can hire both an exclusive car for yourself or you can use the shared ones.
NJP to Gangtok distance is around 120 km and it takes around 4-5 hours to reach Gangtok.
Lots of local cars available at both Bagdogra airport and NJP station. Try your hand at bargaining here, as sometimes the car drivers ask for exorbitant charges.
Gangtok to Lachung
Gangtok to Lachung is around 102 km, but due to hilly roads, it takes almost 6 hours to reach Lachung. The journey is awesome with exotic landscapes and snows will be all around you after a certain point. Lachung is a beautiful hilly town. You got to stay in Lachung overnight.
Lachung now becomes your base point for your Yumthang Valley and Zero Point trip. Generally, both are done in a day trip for Lachung.
Lachung to Yumthang Valley
On your way down from Lachung, you will have to travel for 25 Km to reach this Valley. This distance takes about 1.5 hours to cover. You should start your journey in early the morning after the overnight stay at Lachung. Upon reaching the Yumthang Valley, you will see the miles of stretched Valley, as far as you can see, there are beds of vibrant multi-coloured flowers everywhere.
Where to stay in Yumthang Valley?
You cannot really put up for the night at the valley. It is majorly a tourist spot that can be covered during the day. The only place to stay the night is a forest resort house that requires permits to put up at. The nearest hotels are in Lachung where you could stay the night.
There are a number of resorts in Lachung where you could put up for the night.
Apart from one or two standard options, all hotels of Lachung are quite basic if you compare it with the standards of city hotels. However, you will get all the basic amenities like clean bed, clean water, hot water supply etc.
When Is The Best Time To Visit The Valley?
There are places that need seasons to look good but Yumthang Valley looks stunning in almost all the seasons, round the year. However, it remains inaccessible during the monsoon months because of road blockages and unfavourable weather conditions.
The best time to visit Yumthang Valley is from months of September to December. You will be able to enjoy clear blue skies and the mountain ranges will float by majestically. Also, from Apr to mid-weeks of June are also good to take a tour of the valley because the flowers are in full bloom these months.
Do I Need Permits To Visit The Valley?
Yes indeed. Yumthang Valley is situated close to the Indo-China border. This is why security is very strict in the area. However, that should not be a reason to deter you from visiting the Valley. For our clients, we do all the work for you beforehand and also on the way.
You will have to fill out a form and submit two passport size photographs along with it. These will be needed for your permit that we will arrange on your behalf. As we go very frequently and we are known to the security forces here, we arrange it for you on the go towards your Journey to Yumthang Valley.
Once you receive your permit, you are good to go!
How is the Yumthang Valley Weather and Temperature?
Yumthang Valley remains very cold throughout the year. Its a valley and snowcapped mountains surround it. So, the air generally stays clod after colliding with mountain snows.
One can experience summer, monsoon, autumn, winter, and spring as seasons here.
Weather and Temperature across Months:
March to June is the summer time in Yumthang Valley. During summer or these month maximum and minimum temperature varies between 18°C to 12°C respectively. A sudden shower is very common here and showers can bring down the temperature considerably. Yumthang Valley looks at its best due to blooms in these months.
Late June to September is the monsoon season here. Monsoon with heavy rain, thunderstorms, and frequent landslides should be avoided. Monsson brings down the minimum temperature to 8°C. The maximum temperature in the monsoon goes up to 15°C.
October to November is the autumn season here. Monsoon drenched Yumthang Valley decks up again with flowers in this season. The maximum temperature and minimum temperature varies between 15°C and the minimum is 10°C in autumn.
Winter in Yumthang Valley begins in December and extends till March. The maximum temperature during winter in Yumthang Valley doesn’t generally go up to 10°C. Winter nights are freezing and minimum temperature can even go down till 15°C. The valley gets completely covered in snow during winters.
For kids below 6 years and elderly people, it is better to avoid going to Yumthang Valley during peak winters.
What Do I Pack For The Trip?
It is essential to travel with as less luggage as possible while in the hills. This could be slightly difficult since colder climate requires layers of clothing. The best option is to carry a backpack and wear as many layers as possible while travelling.
The best part about these places is the fact that you can rent clothes and not have to carry your own. You can rent gloves, overcoats, and even snow boots from the market in Yumthang. Carry cash since there are no ATMs around.
What to Do and See in Yumthang Valley?
Yumthang Valley is so beautiful that wherever you look at that becomes a place to see. Jokes apart its really is awesome and here are a few things that needs require special mention.
Rhododendrons, Flowers and more Flowers
Yumthang should be labelled the Valley of Rhododendrons because of the abundance of these flowers in various hues all over the place. As soon as the tree line comes to an end, the long stretch of the valley gets denser with beds of rhododendrons that spread out for miles.
There are over 24 species of Rhododendrons in the Valley and they paint the place in colours of red, yellow, pink and purple. Rhododendrons are quintessentially small shrubs and plants that grow in small forests and bear brightly coloured flowers.
It has got a faint sweet smell. These flowers are in full bloom in the months of April and May and by the end of May, the plants stop flowering.
Rhododendrons Give Way to Pretty Himalayan Flowers in Monsson. Monsoons commence in the month of June and although Rhododendrons are not found in this season, there is an abundance of Himalayan flowers like Louseworts, Primroses, Cobra-Lilies, and Cinquefoils.
A Hot Spring In The Middle Of Nowhere!
Before you enter the Yumthang Valley, you will have to cross a small wooden bridge that leads you to the Yumthang Hot Spring. It is a thousand yards away or so. You will be greeted with soothing warm water if you choose to step inside this hot spring.
It will be a huge relief to your frozen limbs and stiff body after having travelled for long stretched in the car. The water of this hot spring is said to have medicinal properties and is rich in sulfur.
Shingba Rhododendron Sanctuary
A lot of tourists wonder if there are other places in and around Yumthang Valley apart from the valley of flowers. You will be mighty pleased to know that there are plenty of sightseeing options around and they are not far off at all. Shingba Rhododendron Sanctuary deserves special mention here.
Shingba Rhododendron Sanctuary is situated just near Yumthang Chu river. It attracts a majority of tourists every year. There are 24 different varieties of Rhododendron shrubs in this sanctuary and it makes for a beautiful spectacle in the spring and summer months.
Cultural Shows and Local Celebrations
Yumthang Valley receives a good amount of footfall in the months of February to March because that happens to be the peak holiday season and also because the Valley hosts the Losar Festival. If you want to experience the real essence of the festival, you could join in the celebration, put on their traditional attire, eat, drink and be merry with the locals.
There are a number of cultural shows that also accompany this festival.
Go Fish in a River
Yumthang Valley adorns a few small rivers, that adds up to both the beauty and fertility of the landscape. You will be amazed to know that you can even go on a fishing spree in the rivers of Yumthang Chu and Puniya Chu.
If you can plan to stay for three days and two nights in Lachung, you could accomplish your dream of fishing in the rivers of the hills.
After these few attractions, you must plan to add Zero Point to your tour plan. It doesn’t make any sense not to see Zero Point when you have already come so far.
Zero Point: A Quintessential Part Of Your Yumthang Tour
You might wonder what the hype is all about. You will realize the beauty of the place when you experience it all by yourself. Zero Point is located at an altitude of 15,000 feet and is at a distance of 23 Km from Yumthang Valley.
It will take you around one and a half hours from Yumthang Valley and three and a half hours from Lachung.
Why Is It Called Zero Point?
The Place is called Zero Point because it is the end point of all civilian roads. A few kilometres ahead lay the Indo-China border and thus, you cannot go beyond this point until and unless you are in the Army.
What To Expect At Zero Point?
While the roads leading up to Zero Point are nothing less than challenging, the rewards you reap after crossing these roads are worth the troubles. Zero Point is the place that forms the confluence of three rivers and the view is absolutely stunning.
The snow-covered backdrop, the majestic mountain ranges, the mighty rivers and the wild yaks grazing away come together to give you a scene out of the movies. There is absolutely no vegetation around the place.
Since snow covers most of the areas, the scarce grassy lands that grow in patches are hardly ever visible.
Some of you might experience dizzy spells and breathing troubles. The oxygen levels drop significantly at this altitude and the air becomes thinner and difficult to breathe in.
When Should I Plan A Trip To Zero Point?
Zero Point does not have a very friendly environment almost all year round. The best time to plan a trip to Zero Point would be the summer months of April to June and the autumnal months of September to November.
That’s is why you should always club Zero point with Yumthang Valley tour package. You will still witness a lot of snowfall during these months.
Is Food Available At Zero Point?
There are not many options as far as food is concerned. However, if you prefer a quick fix then you have options like boiled eggs, Maggi, tea, coffee and biscuits that are available at temporary food stalls. You might even find a bottle or two of local brands of rum and brandy at a couple of stalls.
Planning your Yumthang Valley Trip:
It makes a lot of sense to Club Yumthang Valley trip with the whole North Sikkim trip. That way generally this can be covered in 3N4D short trips to larger trips like 7N8D days.
The main places that this trip will cover is the two beautiful hilly cities Lachen and Lachung along with Gurudongmar Lake ( One of the highest altitude natural lakes in the world), Chopta Valley, Yumthang valley and Zero Point. Generally, tourists cover these in a 4N5D trip.
We at Nomadic specialize on trips in the North Eastern parts of India. We send thousands of people to Noth Sikkim Trp every year. You can get a quotation and free consultancy from us.
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