Darjeeling AND Gangtok -- YUMTHANG

Yumthang Valley is a grazing pasture surrounded by the Himalayan mountains in the North Sikkim district of Sikkim, India. It is at an elevation of 3,575 metres (14,000) above msl at a distance of 150 km from the state capital Gangtok. It is also home to the Shingba Rhododendron Sanctuary, and has over twenty-four species of the rhododendron, the state flower. A tributary of the river Teesta flows past the valley and the town of Lachung, the nearest inhabited centre. Yumthang is closed between December and March due to heavy snowfall.

A forest rest house is the only permanent residence in the valley. During the spring months, the area blooms with rhododendrons, primulas, poppies, iris and other flora. During the summer months, villagers take their cattle to these heights to graze (a practice known as yaylag pastoralism). In view of increasing number of tourists, there is possibility of environmental degradation in near future.
How to reach: General practice is that, tourists travel from Gangtok to Lachung (the nearest village where accommodation is available) by booking a full vehicle or shared one and stay over night. Direct journey to Yumthang is not feasible as roads will be foggy and it becomes dark very early around 5.30 pm. It takes around 2 hrs from Lachung and people leave in morning after tea/snacks around 7am. Return journey will start from Yumthang after 2-3 hrs of visiting and can reach hotel back by 1pm. Generally return journey to Gangtok starts on same day and can be reached at 8 p.m.