Yumthang, Sikkim, India

The main reason to come to Lachung is to continue 24km further north to admire the majestic Yumthang Valley, which starts some 10km past Lachung. This point is also the entry to the Singba Rhododendron Sanctuary, whose network of hiking trails offers a welcome chance to get out of the jeep. From March to early May a host of primulas, 24 species of rhododendrons and other alpine flora burst forth in riotous blossom, carpeting the valley floor.

At the Km24 point, a number of snack shacks and souvenir stalls operate in the high season. There’s also a tiny museum (opening hours are irregular) with a display of Tibetan and Sikkimese relics. From here, you can walk ahead and explore the pretty terrain, which slowly transforms into a montage of jagged peaks, lush pastures and bridges draped with colourful prayer flags. The glacial waters of the Yumthang River gurgle through the scene. Come early in the morning for the best photo-ops, before the clouds roll in.

Visit India Epic India Route © Monika Newbound

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