When you plan a trip to Sikkim, places like Gangtok, Tsomgo Lake, Nathula, etc. instantly come in your mind. But a trip to Sikkim without exploring the beauty of the northern region is a trip incomplete. And Lachung, Gurudongmar, Katao, etc. are just a few places to visit in North Sikkim for a kick-ass vacation.
Exploring North Sikkim is every nature lover and traveler’s dream. The landscape changes dramatically as you gain elevation, allowing you to admire the view. And the villages beyond Mangan have a rejuvenating and calming effect on everyone who visits here. With thick mossy trees, rushing streams, colorful flowers and birds, wide valley view and snow peaks visible in the distance, North Sikkim is a magical place. And it is the perfect way to escape from your city, fast-paced life.
In this article, we will be discussing the basic things you need to know for an amazing holiday. This includes the best time to visit North Sikkim and a few places that you should explore here.
Best Time to Visit North Sikkim
The best time to visit North Sikkim is in the summer and winter months. So, you can plan a trip anytime between April to July and October to December.
Although the weather remains cold in North Sikkim for the most part of the year, it becomes freezing in the winter months. Also, there are chances of the roads getting blocked due to excessive snowfall as well. So, usually, it is advised to stay away from North Sikkim in the months of December, January, and February. Similarly, the monsoon is not a good time to visit as well because there are frequent landslides here. So, it can become quite dangerous to visit North Sikkim in the monsoon season.
Summertime is one of the best time to visit North Sikkim as the temperature stays around 28-30 degree Celsius. So, people who are looking for some relief from the heat, summer is the perfect time for a North Sikkim trip.
In case you want to experience snowfall, then you can visit just before December end. And if you want to explore the Gurudongmar lake then the best time to visit North Sikkim are the months of October and November. Basically, your itinerary and activities decide the perfect time for your trip.
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Places to Visit in North Sikkim
For people planning a trip to this beautiful state, here are a few places to visit in North Sikkim. Make sure that you include a few in your itinerary to have a blast here.
One of the top places to visit in North Sikkim, Lachung is a small and peaceful village. Located on the banks of Lachung river, this tiny, quaint village offers a gorgeous mountain view to the visitors. But the best part is that this small haven transforms into a Christmas village when it snows here.
Lachung Gompa, known for its architecture, is one of the top attractions here. Also, you can make your way to the nearby Shingba Rhododendron Sanctuary to observe the colors and rhododendrons variety here. So make sure you make a stop here and don’t miss out on these awesome places.
Another prominent place to explore in the North Sikkim is the Lachen village which is famous for its natural beauty. One can go for Lachen sightseeing and observe the lofty snow-capped mountains while admiring the beautiful landscape on the way.
The Lachen Gompa is one of the top attractions here so make sure you don’t skip it. And you can also go to the nearby places like Yumthang Valley, Chopta Valley, etc. as a part of the Lachen sightseeing trip. So, if you love snow clad mountains and thick forests then Lachen should definitely be in your itinerary.
Another gorgeous place in North Sikkim, Yumthang Valley is best known for its hot sulfur springs and rhododendron forests. As a result, you would find a lot of nature lovers and tourists visiting this valley. You will find around 24 species of rhododendrons here which makes this valley really colorful and bright to look at.
With its large meadows and passing Teesta river, this valley is a paradise for travelers. And it makes as the perfect summer getaway for mountain lovers.
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Gurudongmar lake is located at a height of 17,800 ft. and holds religious importance for both Hindus and Buddhists. This high-altitude lake will take your breath away with its beauty and is a top spot to visit in North Sikkim. It looks even more enchanting in the winters when it is completely frozen and sparkly. And it is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places to visit in North Sikkim
In Sikkim, you just can’t skip on the famous Gurudongmar Lake and the best time to visit it is during summers so that you can enjoy its cool, fresh water.
A place which is completely different from the rest of the North Sikkim, make sure you visit Chopta Valley in North Sikkim. This valley is also the base for the Gurudongmar lake and offers some amazing panoramic mountain views to the visitors. The best time to visit this place is during the spring season when the entire valley bursts with colors and looks extremely magical.
With barren mountains and pasture lands, this valley looks like a place straight out of the movies.
A historical town which is located at the meeting point of Lachen and Lachung River, Chungthang is another amazing place that you should definitely explore in North Sikkim. This place makes a perfect base camp for nearby places like Yumthang Valley, Katao, Lachung, and so on.
Due to its rich diversity, this place is really gorgeous to look at and is perfect for all the nature lovers out there.
With its sparse population and peaceful surrounding, Thangu village is another great place to add to your North Sikkim itinerary and can also be used as a base for a trek to the Chopta Valley.
This is a military base so people find it safe to get acclimatized here and can enjoy some peace and quiet before heading to other parts of North Sikkim.
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Known as the capital of the northern Sikkim, Mangan is last known village before you head to lesser known places in North Sikkim. This village is also the entry point to Lachung and Lachen and is the major market for the northern region.
And one can observe the most dazzling view of the Khangchendzonga range so make sure you don’t forget to stop at this beautiful village on the way.
Yume Samdong (Zero Point)
One of the most famous attractions in North Sikkim is the Zero Point which lies in the Yumthang Valley. Also known as the Yume Samdong, this place requires a special permit for visit and offers a scintillating view to anyone who comes here.
North Sikkim’s Zero Point is the last place where the civilians can enter. This is because the China’s international border is located just a few km away. From here, you can observe the snow clad mountains along with the convergence of the three Rivers which makes it such a popular place to visit in North Sikkim. You can also watch the Yaks graze here and can visit it anytime as it stays covered with snow for the most part of the year.
Said to be the highest lake in India, Cholamu lake is located at a height of 5330m and is one of the most beautiful places to visit in North Sikkim. This lake is just near the Indo-Tibet border and requires a special permit for reaching here. Hidden from the tourists, Cholamu lake is a lesser explored destination in Sikkim and so, it looks pristine and magical.
Perfect for nature lovers, this lake is a paradise for photography enthusiasts as well. And since it is situated near the famous Gurudongmar Lake, you can explore both the lakes together. Also known as the Tso Lhamo Lake, it is sourced by the Zemu Glacier and is a great place for camping as well.
An Offbeat place to visit in North Sikkim, Katao is a small village near Lachung which is covered with snow for the most part of the year. One can head to the Mt. Katao which is a gorgeous snow-covered peak perfect for skiing, snowboarding, stone grinding, and so on.
Surrounded by majestic waterfalls and abundance of Flora, Katao offers the most scintillating views to the visitors. So, if you are looking for a more real Sikkim experience then stay at Katao. You can be sure to have an amazing time and would have a beautiful memory of the most surreal landscape ever.
An Alpine lake which is located at a height of 5000m, Green Lake is found near the Zemu Glacier. It is an offbeat destination in North Sikkim and makes for an exciting trekking adventure as well. The trek winds through thick rhododendron forest and Poppy forests which will be loved by nature lovers.
And since this is also the base camp for Khangchendzonga mountain, you can witness the magnificent view of the Khangchendzonga here.
A perfect getaway for trekking and hiking enthusiasts, Singhik is another perfect place to visit in North Sikkim. This tiny village is located near the confluence of the three rivers and resembles a small paradise on Earth.
You can witness beautiful views of the Khangchendzonga range here along with the Mount Siniolchu. So, if you want to experience some beautiful trails at a less crowded location then Singhik is the place for you.
Seven Sisters Waterfall
A gorgeous waterfall, Seven Sisters waterfall comes on the way when you are traveling from Gangtok to Mangani village. And it definitely one of the top attractions in North Sikkim because of its beauty and surroundings.. You will see the water cascading down on steps here which makes it really magical to watch. And a footbridge over the waterfall allows a better view to anyone who loves waterfalls.
You can also trek a little to get a better view of the waterfall and can enjoy a nice, quiet picnic here with your friends or family.
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Close to Gangtok, Phensang Monastery is another popular place to visit in North Sikkim. This monastery is perfect for people who want some quiet and peaceful time and learn about the monk life. Previously destroyed in a fire, this monastery was restored in 1948. And since it is surrounded by beautiful landscapes, it is extremely popular among the visitors here. Also, this monastery is known for its architectural design and will certainly interest people who love art and architecture.
And if you visit this monastery in December then you can also witness the annual festival which is celebrated in the monastery here.
Located at an elevation of 4000m, Tosar Lake is another beautiful place to explore in North Sikkim for adventurous travelers. One can trek to this lake which lies between the Mangan village and Chola range. And also includes a giant cliff which is deemed to be sacred by the local villagers.
You can also admire the Khangchendzonga Mountain views from here which is mesmerizing to watch. Also, the trek through the rhododendrons, bamboo, and pine forests makes this place even more exciting to visit.
Khangchendzonga National Park
For wildlife lovers out there, Khangchendzonga National Park is the perfect place to visit in North Sikkim. Sikkim’s largest wildlife reserve, this national park is also the home to the third highest peak in the world.
This UNESCO world heritage site allows you to get a glimpse of some majestic animals like snow leopard, barking deer, Himalayan black bear, and so on. There is also a popular monastery here, Tholung Monastery, which attracts tourists exploring this national park.
A small town which is located at a distance of just 38km from Gangtok, Phodong is another place that you can check out on your North Sikkim trip. This place is famous for the Phodong monastery and Labrang monastery which are famous for their architectural design and frescoes.
Built in the 18th century, Phodong monastery has been rebuilt but still preserves the original frescoes and mural paintings. And the Labrang monastery has a great interior detailing which makes it a popular tourist attraction.
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