Wooden homes, alpine pastures and mesmerizing scenic beauty, this is what Lachen is all about. Lachen is a quaint village located amidst the magnificent Himalayas in North Sikkim and is the gateway to some of the most popular tourist hotspots in Sikkim. At an altitude of 8500 ft, Lachen is alluring because of its simplicity. Not yet as big a tourist destination as Lachung, it retains a freshness which is very appealing. Here are some of the places you must visit on your trip to Lachen –
1. Lachen Monastery
Gompa or Lachen Monastery should be on top of everyone’s list. The premises are embellished with prayer wheels and colorful prayer flags. The Annual Mask Dance here is a must-attend!
2. Shingba Rhododendron Sanctuary
Surrounded by striking Himalayan mountain ranges, the Shingba Rhododendron Sanctuary is home to a spectacular collection of gorgeous Rhododendron species. The best time to visit is from April to July when the flowers are in full bloom. Although you can spot these beautiful flowers all over Northern Sikkim, the collection at the sanctuary is magnificent.
3. Gurudongmar Lake
Gurudongmar lake is a sacred lake located amidst the magnificent Kanchenjunga. It is one of the highest and largest lakes in all of Sikkim. The splendid and scenic beauty of the place is breathtaking and attracts tourists from all across the world. Gurudongmar Lake also has great religious significance attached to it. The water of the lake is believed to have healing powers and is one of the sources of River Teesta.
4. Chopta Valley
This picturesque valley located in Northern Sikkim near Thangu Valley is a popular trekking destination from Lachen. The valley is home to snow-capped peaks, orchids, meandering rivers and its scenic beauty is unparalleled! Trekking trails around the valley attract adventurers from all over the globe while wildlife spotting and bird watching are other activities you can enjoy here.
5. Thangu Valley
Only 5 km away from Chopta Valley, this picturesque valley is a paradise for nature lovers. Due to its high altitude, the valley is blanketed with snow throughout the year and is surrounded by army camps. This valley is perfect for those seeking peace and quiet. You would need a special permission from the tourism office to visit Thangu valley.
6. Lhonak Valley or Muguthang Valley
Lhonak Valley is one of the most popular trekking destinations in Sikkim and one of the most visited places in Lachen. The valley is mostly uninhabited except for rare settlements of Tibetan nomads. The valley is under constant vigil from the Indian Army. Visitors can indulge in birdwatching and wildlife spotting during their trek to the valley.
7. Green Lake
This is one of the untouched treasures of Sikkim. The lake offers stunning views of the magnificent Kanchenjunga mountain ranges. The trekking trails that lead to this breathtaking abode are surrounded by dense forests and beautiful meadows full of blue poppies and a variety of flora and fauna.
And lastly, shop till you drop and try as many local dishes as possible. The locals here craft and sell beautiful handicrafts as well as many pure woven handloom products. When in Lachen, you can buy things like handmade blankets, shawls, handbags, carpets, bags, hats, and wooden articles. And when it comes to food, Sikkim never disappoints. Try Thupka, Phagshapa (Pork Stew with dried chilies and radishes), Sha Phaley (Bread stuffed with cabbage and beef), and Momos.
These are some of our recommendations to help you have an epic time in Lachen. Book your Gangtok taxi here for a comfortable journey. All of these destinations are at comfortable driving distances from Lachen’s city center. Get ready for one of the most surreal experiences of your life!