Are you looking for tips on things to do in Lachen?
As part of our Travel Guide: Offbeat destinations series, we share with you our insider tips on the best things to do in Lachen, including advice on where to eat, sleep, and explore.
Why visit Lachen ?
If you are going to visit Sikkim then go a little further and explore North Sikkim, a virtually unexplored region of India. Besides being at the furthest edge of India at 8838ft ( almost touching the China/Tibet border), there are many reasons this town comes high on our list of Offbeat destinations to explore in India.
It has postcard perfect landscapes of snow filled mountains and colorful little houses making quaint stays for the traveler who wants to experience something different. From picturesque lakes and valleys to yak races; from touching the gushing ice cold rivers to waking up to the snow tipped mountains…Lachen has it all.
Don’t just go to Gangtok and Yumthang Valley and end your Sikkim holiday, go a little further to experience heaven on earth, literally!
Things to Do in Lachen
Visit Gurudongmar and Tso Lhamu Lakes:
Situated at a height of 17,100 feet on the Tibetan plateau, this is a lake truly different from all others you may have seen! Apart from being the largest lake in Sikkim it is locally known to be a very holy one for the Sikkimese and Buddhists alike. The lake is supposed to have many healing powers and it is also believed that the lake shows the future of person if he is pure and sincere. No visit to North Sikkim can be complete without visiting Gurudongmar Lake.
Walk around the town to see how locals live
Trek to Chopta Valley:
Very few places come close to the virgin appeal of Chopta Valley ( 13,200 ft ). Just a 10 minutes drive from Thangu, this valley provides one with pleasures in every season! It is one of the few accessible places in Sikkim where you can actually walk over the frozen river in winter.
The riot of colors during spring season is unbelievable! As the spring starts the whole valley becomes carpeted with beautiful alpine flowers which gives flowers from early April and beautifies the valley up to July.
Visit Lachen Monastery: Built in 1858, Lachen monastery is one of the best places where you can not only interact with the locals monks but also learn more about the Buddhist community of Sikkim. Its intricate architecture will inspire you!
Where to Stay in Lachen
Lachen has a very small number of guest house and homestays as well as hotels. Most of the guest houses are very basic, with just basic amenities but good VFM. If you want to stay in hotels, we recommend choosing between Hotel Grand Lachen and Himalayan Residency. Apart from these, we have some very classy Eco friendly stays in the middle of nature. Contact us to know more.
Events & Festivals in Lachen
Lampokhari Tourism Festival: This colourful festival is celebrated in the month of March and April and includes boating in the Lampokhari Lake, horse Equestrian activity around the Lake and archery contests . The festival offers visitors number of cultural shows, exotic flowers and a chance to taste local cuisine.
Chaam: Celebrated on 28th and 29th of November, Chaam is a religious dance performance by the Lamas. The whole of Lachen comes alive during this religious festival.
Thangu: This is the festival in which you will enjoy the energetic and exhilarating Yak race.
Getting to and Around Lachen
Lachen is located 121 km from Gangtok through the North Sikkim Highway. It might take you around 6 hrs from Gangtok to reach Lachen. Being a remote destination, Lachen does not have access to a railway station or airport( nearest airport is Bagdodra which can be a good 10-12 hour drive) hence can be seen as a part of a package including other destinations like Lachung and Yumthang Valley from Gangtok.
Best Time to Visit Lachen
The best time to visit Sikkim for clear views is October November. For enjoying the spring colors and warmer climate, head to Sikkim in March to May. June onward until September it gets rainy and cloudy, which can sometimes cause landslides etc.
All foreigners must obtain Inner Line Permit (ILP) to visit Sikkim which can be obtained from all Indian Missions, Sikkim Tourism Offices at New Delhi, Kolkata, District Magistrates Office of Darjeeling, Siliguri, and Rangpo on the strength of an Indian Visa. The 30 days duration Permit is issued on the spot without any delay provided photocopies of the passport and visa along with two pass port photos of the applicants are made available. The permissible duration of the stay for foreign tourists is 30 days initially.
If you are interested in trekking, the Tourism and Civil Aviation issues Protected Area Permit (PAP) at Gangtok which is available for certain specified area for groups consisting of two or more foreigners subject to condition that the trekking programme is arranged through a registered travel agency.
Best ” insiders” tip for Lachen
If you are curious about the making of Yak and Sheep wool; Lachen village is the best place to be in.
While going to Gurudongmar, make sure to make a pit stop in small roadside shops selling and serving Maggi and hot tea! Nothing can beat eating Maggi with sound of gushing river and view of snow tipped mountains!
Do you have any tips on things to do in Lachen?
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