Day 2 : Gangtok - Chungthang - Lachung – 116 kms/5 hrs
A fascinating drive to Lachung. We stop briefly en route at Chungthang, which is at the confluence of Lachen and Lachung valleys. The spot worth visiting at Chungthang is the rock on which legend has it, Guru Padmasambhava rested and the imprint on it is said to be his footmark. There is a small opening in the rock which remains filled with spring water. Adjacent to the rock there is a small stretch of land where paddy grows, defying the conditions which are not conducive to the growth of this crop here. It is said that while here, Guru Padmasambhava had sprinkled a handful of grain on this spot and paddy has been growing here ever since.
Lachen and Lachung are the most beautiful valleys of Sikkim region. A day’s rest amidst beautiful surroundings at either one of these is highly recommended.
Day 3 : Lachung- Yumthang- Lachen - 96 kms/4-5 hrs
After a leisurely breakfast, drive up to Yumthang. Yumthang is a beautiful valley in the upper most reaches of Sikkim. A short hike in the valley is rewarding and much recommended.
Drive back to Lachung. Drive on to Lachen after lunch. Lachen is a small tribal village ruled by the Dzumsa. The main site to visit is the Lachen monastery. A number of villagers are still yak herders and keep migrating. Day at leisure in Lachen. Stay in a guesthouse.
Day 4 :Lachen - Gurudongmar Lake - Lachen - 120 kms/6 hrs
A visit to Gurudongmar Lake is a must while in Sikkim. It is a full day excursion through one of the most picturesque drives.
The drive to this lake is one of the most picturesque in Sikkim where the landscape changes from lush green till Thangu to barren landscape as you climb higher and tree line disappears. The legend of Gurudongmar Lake is attributed to both Guru Nanak and Guru Rinpoche who are said to have visited this region. The lake is frozen for most part of the year. Guru Nanak/ Rinpoche is said to have helped the locals with sourcing water from this lake. While the whole lake freezes, the place where the guru took bath is never frozen and is considered ‘amrit’.
Beyond the lake we have the armed forces stationed and some of these bunkers are at 22000 ft. which is higher than even Siachen glacier. Truly amazing is the site of small tanks stationed here. The area being a plateau, this is probably the only place where tanks can be used at such high altitude.
Evening at leisure in guesthouse in Lachen.
Day 5 : Lachen - Ravangla – 170 kms/5-6 hrs
Drive to Ravangla after breakfast. Stay the night in a resort.
Day 6 : Ravangla- Yuksom- 58 kms/ 2 hrs
Drive to Yuksom- the ancient capital of Sikkim via Samdoupche; the holy spot where the tallest statue of Guru Rinpoche has been built. Reach Yuksom and check into the guesthouse. A short hike and preparation for the trek.
Yuksom is a scenic spot set amidst the backdrop of the Himalayas. It is a historical place, for in 1641 Buddhism was introduced here.
Day 7 : Yuksom - Bakhim (3005m) - 12kms/07hrs
Begin trek after breakfast in hotel. Today is a 12 kms walk to Bakhim situated among beautiful alpine plants and Sikkim's famous orchids. Several Himalayan fauna are found and Bakhim itself has many rare varieties of birds and butterflies. The trail undulates continuously as you constantly cross small side valleys, following the Rathang river gorge through dense mixed jungles. Packed lunch en-route. Camping overnight.
Day 8 : Bakhim - Dzongri (4030m) - 8kms/04hr
After breakfast, we head towards Dzongri. This is a short day's walk to give you enough time to acclimatize. Contour for two hours through dwindling amounts of rhododendrons, berries and the haunt of the red panda, before a steep half-hour takes you to the easy section adding to some prayer flags on a rise. The magnificent panorama of the Kanchenjunga massif lies before you - 'gilded at dawn, inflamed at sunset'. The dwarf rhododendron adds a romantic touch to the magical world of Dzongri. Reach Dzongri by noon. Camp overnight at Dzongri.
Day 9 : Dzongri - Thangsing (4030m) - 07kms/05hrs
Trek to Thangsing with packed lunch. It is a gradual ascent over open hillside with views of Kanchendzonga and Pandim and then a descent through rhododendron forests. Cross the river and walk uphill through pinewoods to reach Thangsing beneath the unclimbed peak of Pandim.
Day 10 : Thangsing - Samati Lake (4280m) - 08kms/03-04hrs
Today is a very gentle, leisurely stroll up the Prek Chu valley amidst spectacular scenery. Majestic Pandim towers above you on your right and huge rock walls flank the other side of the river. Pass ruined shrines, mani walls inscribed with Tibetan prayers and a yak-herder's hut, used only in the summer. Cresting a small rise the beautiful sacred turquoise Samati Lake appears below you. We camp for the night by the lake.
Day 11 : Samati Lake -Goechala - Thangsing (4940m) - 06kms/08-09hrs An alpine start today, when you set off before first light- climbing the hill behind the lake before traversing the moraine and then descending to the sandy bed of an empty lake. The whole area above Samati Lake is called the Chemithang Plateau. Cross this under the shadow of Pandim and then ascend moraine to a height of about 4710m. Rest and lunch above a frozen lake, which is dotted with snow and ice pinnacles. Walk along a well-trodden path to the Goecha La, which is an hour away from the lake. Stupendous views of the east flank of Kanchenjunga and the distant mountains and valleys. Walk back to Thangsing to the camp.
Day 12 : Thangsing - Tsoka - 15kms/07hrs
We descend via the village of Rinam and then on to Pishu village. The end of
It is worth getting up early to undertake the short hike to the ridge behind the camp. From here you get a fantastic view of the Kanchenjunga and can look back up to the Goecha La. Leaving Thangsing, we take a different route back, avoiding the long climb to the Dzongri plateau. Descending to the Prek Chu River, contour round through the jungle with some ups and downs to emerge at Phedung again. From here it is a steep walk down to Tsoka where we camp for the night.
Day 13:Tsoka - Yuksom – Pemayangtse- 32 kms/ 1.5 hrs.
After breakfast trek to Yuksom. It is a steep descent back to the Prek Chu River following the route you took up on the first day. The vehicle meets us at Yuksom from where we drive to Pemayangtse. Visit Kecheopalri Lake en route. Night stay in a guesthouse.
Day 14: Pemayangtse to Darjeeling - 110 kms
Drive to Darjeeling via Singla bazaar route through the tea gardens with magnificent views of the Rangit valley and the Kanchendzonga range. Evening walk around Darjeeling to explore the old world charm. You could also drive to Ghoom and take evening train ride (narrow gauge, steam engine train) from Ghoom to Darjeeling.
Day 15: Darjeeling- New Jalpaiguri
Morning at leisure. Drive back to Bagdogra to fly back home.
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