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.
After resting for a couple of hours I was finally back on my feet after the mammoth journey to Gurudongmar Lake. Suraj our driver had asked us to be ready by 1 PM for our journey from Lachen to Lachung so that we could reach Lachung before nightfall and that we could look around the village. We had light lunch and packed our luggage for our next leg of the journey.
We were told to sleep early by our driver since we planned to start our journey towards Gurudongmar Lake as early as possible. Starting early is important since there is a very short window of opportunity within which tourists need to visit Gurudongmar Lake and return. Usually, at this altitude of 17,000 feet deep within the Himalayan range the weather can dramatically change and the best bet would be to start early and return early. The entire movement of tourists is carefully controlled and monitored by the Indian Army since its close proximity to China border and also the high altitude requires them to double check on all visiting tourists.
It was in the year 2014 and I still had not decided where to go along with my family for Puja vacations. “Gurudongmar” my colleague whispered in my year, “have you been there?” he asked. Honestly, I had been thinking about it for quite some time but the thought of climbing up to an altitude of 17,800 feet gave me cold feet knowing that during my Nathula Pass trip which was at around 14,000 feet I had acute altitude sickness. After a lot of convincing I finally booked a trip to North Sikkim covering Lachen –>Gurudongmar Lake –>Lachung –>Zero Point.
It all started on the 28th of August 2014, I was busy surfing the net when I suddenly found out that SpiceJet was giving special discounted tickets. I quickly logged on to the SpiceJet website and found that it was only providing discounts to only a few particular cities only. Lucky for me I saw that Kolkata to Bagdogra was included in this discounted promotions. After a quick consultation with my Smita (wife), it was frozen that we will travel to somewhere in the North East. The tickets were purchased and now it was the time to narrow down the choices.
After much discussion, it was decided that this vacation we will travel to North Sikkim. Bagdogra Airport is like a one-stop destination to Darjeeling and Sikkim so we would have to take a car from Bagdogra to Gangtok. And from there we would proceed with our package tour for North Sikkim. I did some quick Google search to find some tour operators but most of them were highly overpriced.