north sikkim

north sikkim tour plan decoded

by Clinical Crossroads

North Sikkim is a much acclaimed tourist destination, and millions flock every year to witness its unparalleled beauty.
With famous names like Yumthang Valley and Gurudongmar Lake included, it is not surprising that the tourism in Sikkim thrives largely on this Northern District of the state.

Unlike the Silk Route, there are several guides and websites that will help you plan a tour to North Sikkim. My blog is one of them, but is perhaps more comprehensive than most others. I believe giving this a good read will help you with your plans.
North Sikkim Map
A map of North Sikkim, seen at Chungthang
Season of choice

Autumns offer blue sky and clear view of the mountains, while the winter is very cold and sometimes result in absolute closure of the circuit. Spring again is a very good time to visit.

Booking place of stay

Travel websites like Makemytrip, GoIbibo, Expedia and Agoda have many hotels listed. The hotel industry is very well developed here and so, it should not be a problem.

Booking your vehicle and Travel Permit

You can book your preferred vehicle and driver separately. However, do ensure that the vehicle has legitimate permit for the circuit. The driver arranges for the permits of the tourists, the day before scheduled departure for North Sikkim. Be ready with your valid ID proofs and passport sized photographs. 
A scene from the mountanous roads

How to reach

You have to start from Siliguri, West Bengal. The city is well connected to cities like Kolkata, Patna and Guwahati by railway and bus service. It also has an airport (Bagdogra) for flights from all over India. Air Vistara, GoAir and others operate regular flights. You can check MakeMyTrip as well!
From here, you need to reach Gangtok, Sikkim’s capital city. Plenty of buses and taxis are available. One can also hire a full cab, if felt so.

Book through a Travel Agent or not

I booked my trips on my own, but it required a time consuming research.
If you wish not to take that trouble, many travel agents are available, who can arrange customised tours or group tours for you.
Route and halts (itinerary)
Important places are Chungthang, Lachung, Yumthang, Zero Point, Lachen and Gurudongmar Lake.

Tourists usually travel to Lachen and Gurudongmar first and then to Lachung and Yumthang. However, I preferred to do it the other way, since it allowed us enough time for acclimatization before reaching the 17000 ft Gurudongmar Lake.

Rhododendrons in full bloom
A comfortable itinerary looks like this:
D1: Siliguri to Gangtok
D2: Gangtok to Lachung
D3: Lachung to Yumthang Valley & Zero Point and back to Lachung (may include Katao)
D4: Lachung to Lachen

D5: Lachen to Gurudongmar Lake and back to Lachen
D6: Back to Gangtok
D7: Gangtok to Siliguri

However if you are short of time, you may skip the extra days stay at Lachung and Lachen. But it will be very very hectic.
In that case, the itinerary looks like this:

D1: Siliguri to Gangtok
D2: Gangtok to Lachung
D3: Lachung to Yumthang Valley & Zero Point to Lachen
D4: Lachen to Gurudongmar Lake and back to Gangtok

D5: Gangtok to Siliguri

The Gurudongmar Lake
Weather and Clothings

Be prepared with your jackets, wooly cots, monkey caps, gloves, socks and shoes. Yumthang, Zero Point, Gurudongmar are extremely cold.


Problems due to altitude sickness and the biting cold can occur.
If you are not properly acclimatized before reaching Gurudongmar, you are bound to have respiratory distress. Portable Oxygen capsules can come to assistance. The Indian Army posted here is very helpful as well.

Like East Sikkim’s Silk Route, the elderly and those with morbidities like Cardiovascular diseases should refrain from this tour, specially Gurudongmar. Pregnant ladies, babies and very young children might face difficulties and hence should avoid. 


Depends on your preferences. This place is costlier than East Sikkim.
If you choose shared accommodations and shared vehicle, the budget can be cut down to around Rs. 2500-3000/day. However, if you opt for a more comfortable way to travel, your expenses would certainly rise. 

I believe that is all that I had to say, for now.
Happy tripping!

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