Yumthang is a famous valley in North Sikkim, about 140km north of Gangtok. Situated at an altitude of 11800 feet with a close proximity to Tibet, Yumthang is a unique place where the tree line ends. Lachung provides as the base for those who want to explore Yumthang, the Valley of Flowers. You must stay overnight at Lachung, and then start early the next morning. Yumthang Valley is about 25km from Lachung and takes about 1.5 hour of drive.
Although it is the valley of flowers; it could have more appropriately been called the ‘Valley of Rhododendrons’. That’s because it’s unbelievable how this vast stretch of flowering valley exposes a dense bed of rhododendron flowers for miles and miles, in many different colours such as purple, blue, red, and pink. The best time to catch them in bloom is between March to May.
You could put the Shingba Rhododendron Sanctuary on your itinerary because it alone is home to over 38 different varieties of rhododendrons. The sanctuary beats its competitors like Dzongro, Barsey, Zema in Lachen to the game because of its sheer variety and spread of colours. Remember to spot some great species such as arboretum, grande, nivale, and state flower.
Other than the wonderful view of the vast valley of flowers, Yumthang is also known for its surreal mountain peaks such as Pauhunri and Shundu Tsenpa against the backdrop of the river Teesta. To enjoy a clear and brilliant view of these snow-capped mountains, consider visiting between September and December. A number of hot springs are scattered in the valley as well, that provide an opportunity to feel warm water even in freezing temperature. Rich in sulphur these springs are believed to have miraculous healing power. Then there rivers such as Yumthang chu and Puniya chu which are great for fishing if you have time.