This is the last leg of our journey during our tour of North Sikkim, we have already covered Lachen, Gurudongmar Lake & Lachung. Out last stop was at Yumthang Valley and then finally at Zero Point. From Lachung there is also another option that of Katao but it’s not a common tourist trail and would require a separate military permit as it’s a high altitude training camp and not always open to tourists. We were informed by the hotel staff that in order to visit all these places we had to start early and breakfast will be packed so that we can have them on the way. Hotels insist on taking snow boots since most time of the year Zero Point is covered in snow and unprotected footwear should be avoided. However, I would suggest that you go to Zero Point and hire them there since it would be much cheaper out there.
We were ready by 6 AM in the morning and with food packets ready we set out towards Yumthang Valley first. All our travel documents were already checked at the check post after which only you are allowed to proceed. For breakfast it was just some cold slices of bread with a thin layer of jam thus would suggest making your own arrangements instead of banking on the hotel menu.
It was a bright sunny day and with blue skies, it was picture postcard perfect for photographing. Our vehicle slowly climbed up the slopes with pine trees covering on both the sides of the road. This drive was one of the best in this tour, pine trees, snowy mountains, blue skies and white clouds, you couldn’t ask for anything better.
After climbing to around 11,500 feet above sea level we finally reached Yumthang Valley. During the month of April – June this valley comes to life with Rhododendron. Rest of the year the greenery takes cover creating a visual pleasure beyond words.
You have the option of spending time here first and then proceeding towards Zero Point or first reaching Zero Point and then while returning spending time at Yumthang Valley.
Moving on from there we proceed to our ultimate destination of the tour Zero Point. The actual name of this place is Yumesamdong but it’s more popular as Zero Point. The word Zero Point is a generic geographic reference thus you will find many places especially hill stations to have a Zero Point.
As we climb up the air becomes thinner so does the vegetation, from pine forest the scenery changes to light shrubs and after sometimes completely disappears. By now you are above the snow line and slowly you will be able to see snow clad peaks all around you.
We were one of the first batches of vehicles going towards Zero Point and closely following us were a band of bikers. It was nice seeing them in their Royal Enfield’s but later I learnt that they had to abandon their attempt half the way as one of their teammates were having some trouble with his bike.
By now there was snow all around us and most of the other vehicles were stopping to let the tourist enjoy playing in the snow but Suraj our driver drove on. He insisted that the real Zero Point is further and most drivers drop off their tourists at the first sight of snow to save fuel. He was absolutely right when we actually reached the Zero Point it was indeed a slice of heaven here on earth.
It was white fluffy snow all around whichever direction I looked into. There are some makeshift shops here who rent out snow boots, sell boiled peanuts and other snacks for tourists. If you don’t have snow boots then make sure to rent them from here else be ready to have swollen feet later.
Due to the high altitude, it’s advised to enjoy playing in the snow but avoid jumping around much as these would drain out the individual much faster. There is a small stream which is a feeder to Teesta that runs through the Zero Point and a small stone and log bridge lets people cross over and enjoy fields of snow.
After spending around forty-five minutes we started our journey back towards Lachung. We had a long drive back to Gangtok thus wanted to reach back have our lunch and then proceed. We were really tired after all the travelling and were now desperately missing a warm shower and a cozy bed.
Hope you have enjoyed travelling across North Sikkim along with my blog, see you soon with another new and exciting destination.
Destinations covered on this trip:-
Other locations around Sikkim covered in my blog:-
Nathula Pass Day Trip: https://indianvagabond.com/2016/07/19/nathula-pass-day-trip/
Lachen – Lachung Driver: Suraj Lama – 94749 81411
Bagdorgra / New Jalpai Guri to Gangtok Driver: Glorious Minj – 96792 77580
Kolkata tour operator: Endeavour Tours (Mr. S. K. Bhaumik) 98303 06159, 84204 96704
Gangtok tour operator (for Lachen / Lachung local coordination): Mystic Himalayan World Travels 94347 22166
Gangtok Hotel: Hotel Norbu Gang 99330 04494
Approximate Cost: – (as on October 2014)
Bagdogra to Gangtok = Rs. 2,200* (Toyota Innova) * Return will also be the same
Lachen & Lachung Tour Package = Rs. 18,000* (2 nights and 3 days inclusive of food / transportation / lodging) * Rs. 2,500 will be charged additionally for Zero Point or Katao (this needs to be paid directly to the driver)