Lachen (meaning ‘big pass’) in North Sikkim will stun you with its beauty. Start your stay with a tour of the quaint Lachen village with old wooden homes built on stone bases and decorated with multi-hued, Tibetan-styled window frames. Use this time to get acclimatised to Lachen’s height of 9,000 ft. At Thangu Valley, revel in the sight of alpine meadows dotted with marigolds, orchids and rhododendrons; flanked by the shimmering water of River Teesta and wooden houses with colourful roofs. A little over 2 kms from Thangu lies Chopta Valley. Lose yourself in the majestic views of the snowy peaks. An ideal place for trekkers and explorers, the valley is also a safe haven for rare species of birds and animals. About 30 km north of Chopta on the Tibetan border, lies the stunning Gurudongmar Lake, one of the highest lakes (17000 ft) that will leave you breathless (also literally so!). The lake is a pilgrimage site for both Buddhists and Sikhs. There is a part of the lake that never freezes even in extreme winters, which according to legend, is the spot where Guru Dongmar bathed in while on his way to Tibet. The altitude can be dizzying so stay hydrated and warm.
Although not fancy, the accommodation options in Lachen will provide you with quality comforts, great food and warm hospitality. Apart from several deluxe and medium hotels in Lachen, you can also choose to stay in lodges and PWD bungalows of the Forest Department.
Located in the district of North Sikkim, Lachen lies at a distance of 117 km from Gangtok. You can fly from Kolkata to Gangtok and hire a car to take you from Gangtok to Lachen, which is a 4-hour drive. Alternatively, you could fly to Bagdogra and drive from Siliguri to Lachen, which is a longer drive of 7 hours. Driving is pretty much the only way to explore North Sikkim.