Yumthang Valley & Shingba Rhododendron Sanctuary
At a distance of 26 km from Lachung, Yumthang Valley is a picturesque valley situated near Lachung, Sikkim. Popularly known as 'Valley of Flowers', it is one of the top places to experience Sikkim Tourism and among the most popular places to visit in Lachung.
Situated at an altitude of 3,500 meters, Yumthang is a distinct place where the tree line ends. Yumthang Valley is extremely picturesque with green slopes covered with trees, hot spring, yaks grazing in the flower-spangled grassy plains below and a river flowing right through the valley. The Yumthang Valley is a paradise for nature lovers with a spectacular blend of flora and fauna and splendid picturesque beauty. The Yumthang Chu River flows through the Yumthang Valley and the entire valley witness long winters as it is close to Tibetan Plateau. Unique wildflowers such as primulas and Rhododendrons cover the entire valley in rich colours every spring, making it a great tourist attraction.
The Shingba Rhododendron Sanctuary is also situated here, which spreads in an area of around 34 sq. km and has a collection of more than 24 diverse varieties of the rhododendron flower. Some of the great species of this flower include the Arboretum, Grande, Nivale, the state flower, etc. The International Rhododendron Festival has been organized annually from March to May, when the flowering season is on the peak, by the Sikkim Forest Department.
Apart from a cosmic green meadow, plush green forest abundant in Pine and silver fir trees fill the area. One can also visit a hot spring situated on the right side of Yumthang River. Visitors can see gushing waterfalls and streams on the way to Yumthung Valley. It also offers a spectacular sight of a splendid row of peaks with Pauhunri and Shundu Tsenpa. A few kilometers away further north is Shiv Mandir and a trek to this temple is a very refreshing experience. Zero Point which is around 25 km away from the Yumthang valley is another very popular destination among the visitors because of its immense scenic charm and unobstructed view of the snowy peaks.
It is advisable to travel from Gangtok to Lachung and stay overnight and make the journey to Yumthang the next morning. A direct journey to Yumthang is not very feasible as it becomes dark very early around 5.30 PM and the roads are also very foggy. The road from Lachung to Yumthang is not in good condition.
Since the valley is a protected area, the whole area is under the army control. Tourists require Protected Area Permits to visit Yumthang. It can be made at Gangtok Tourism Office, District Administrative Center at Mangan, or at Chungthang Sub-Divisional Magistrate's Office. Visitors need to get it done through a registered tour operator of Sikkim and can be done one day before. Foreigners need to be in a group of two or more in order to visit Lachung/Yumthang.
The best time to visit Yumthang Valley is from late February to June. Mid-June is the time when several colourful flowers blossom. However, if you want to enjoy a clear sky and brilliant view of snow-capped mountains, then the time of September - December would be an ideal time to visit this place. Yumthang valley is closed between December and March due to heavy snowfall.