Yumthang Valley Skiing

Yumthang Valley Skiing

The popular Yumthang Valley in North Sikkim is located 140 km north of Gangtok. Famous as the "Valley of flowers", this is a rare and exotic location with hot springs, rivers, yaks and lush green meadows. Situated at an elevation on 3564 metres, this stunning valley is a paradise for nature lovers as it houses the Shingba Rhododendron Sanctuary which has over 24 species of Rhododendron flowers (the state flower) blooming from late February to mid-June.

Yumthang Valley is closed to tourists between December and March due to the heavy snowfall in the region. A few hot springs are situated in Yumthang Valley, which is often visited by tourists as they are believed to have miraculous healing power. Apart from a cosmic green meadow, plush green forest abundant in Pine and silver fir trees fills the area. On your way towards Yumthang Valley, you can see gushing waterfalls and streams along with a splendid view of peaks with Pauhunri and ShunduTsenpa.


Yumthang Valley is snuggled in the lap of the Eastern Himalayas and is among the best ski destinations in India. Located in the northeastern state of Sikkim, the bottomless valley is known as the “Valley of Flowers’.

The sanctuary of Shingba Rhododendron in summers becomes a winter wonderland. In the warm weather, a tributary of River Teesta flows through here. At 12000 ft. in the high mountains, the slope gradient is perfect for the thrilling sport of skiing. The powdered snow covering the mountains is tempting. Adventure spirits soar at the very sight of the magnetizing beauty. The ski slopes quench the thirst of every skier.


  • Ski Resorts and Ski schools – Yumthang Valley hotels do not exist. It is not allowed to stay overnight due to lack of infrastructure, proximity to Tibet in China and extremely cold weather conditions.There are not any places in Yumthang valley where you can stay. While you can-not stay in a homestay in Yumthang, you can do that in Lachung.
  • Safety Measures and First Aids – Learn about the slopes which suit for skill level and ski on those. If it gets too tricky, sidestep down the hill. Never ski alone. Ski on marked paths only. Do not cross the boundary and pay attention to warning signs like ‘Slow Skiing Area’ or ‘Caution’.Keep control of your movements if a skier is in front of you. Do not stop in the middle of a trail, especially where you cannot be seen from above.
  • Accommodation and Amenities –Not as popular as the Yumthang Valley Resort (which is now closed), the Yarlam Resort is equally a luxury worth experiencing in the mountains. Situated amidst the beauty of nature, it offers a cozy stay and a homelike ambience. Apart from this, another beautiful resort nestled in Lachung, is the Apple Valley Inn. This place is surrounded with apple in the orchards and mesmerizing views. It offers secluded and serene accommodation, and the utmost convenience with all the popular attractions in its proximity.
  • Skiing Gear – Skis, boots, poles, and bindings fitted by a professional.Helmet made for skiing and make sure it fits you properly.Choose goggles that fit your face and are tinted for sun protection. Of course, you can also wear sunglasses, but goggles are much better if it snows or rains.Carry warm clothes like gloves, hat, snow pants, winter jacket. Also, have a neck gaiter that will keep your face warm, Thermal is a must, Sunscreen (SPF 40+), moisturizer, and lip balm.
  • Clothing – While skiing, looking fashionable takes a back seat and the priority is to keep oneself warm and comfortable. The clothing items that must be worn while skiing in Sikkim include:
    1. Woolen Thermals – To begin with, you need to put on a pair of thermals.
    2. Long-Sleeve Woolen Top – above your thermals, wear a warm woolen top.
    3. Breathable Jacket – The third and most important layer of clothing that goes on you is your jacket. Make sure the jacket is waterproof and can withstand the chilling wind.
    4. Full-Length Pants – Pants you choose to wear must be waterproof and extremely comfortable. Don’t wear tight pants as you will not be able to bend your knees with tight clothing.

The cost of skiing at Yumthang: Varies from Rs. 2000 to Rs. 20,000. View of snow mountain in Sikkim, India.

  • Lachen – Situated in the northern district of Sikkim, Lachen is one of the most beautiful towns an attractive tourist spot which is well known for its Lachung monastery. Its natural beauty and serene vegetation are worth commending and it is believed to be one of the most noteworthy and popular places for Buddhist pilgrims and tourists. Lachen is a less-populated beautiful holiday destination, also famous as the gateway to the sacred Gurudongmar and Tso Lhamu lakes.
    The most prevailing area in Lachen is the Nyingma order of Himalayan Buddhism and the Lachen Monastery, Lachen Chu and the alpine covers. The quaint Sikkim town is known for its lush vegetation that contains mainly grasslands and shrubs along with apple orchards.
  • Cholamu Lake – 14th highest lake in the world and the highest lake in India, the Cholamu Lake in North Sikkim is situated at an altitude of 18000 feet from the sea level. While coming down the slope around 300 feet from Donkiala pass (18300 feet), you can get the first sight of this moderately sized, almost frozen lake. Cholamu Lake is only a few kms away from the Tibet border and is off limits for commonplace tourists. One needs special permits, from Army and Sikkim police/administration to visit the Cholamu Lake.Also known as Tso Lhamo Lake, it is difficult to get permission to visit this lake and it is advisable not to visit this place in monsoons or winters.
  • Gurudongmar Lake – Located at the height of 17,100 feet above the sea level, Gurudongmar Lake, located in Sikkim, is one of the fifteen highest lakes in the world. It is also the second highest lake in Sikkim, after the Cholamu Lake located at the height of 18,000 feet. The splendid and scenic beauty of the place is breathtaking and attracts tourists from all across the world. Gurudongmar Lake also has great religious significance attached to it, and the beautiful view of Mount Siniolchu and Kanchenjunga from the lake is a sight to behold and cherish. The water of Gurudongmar Lake is believed to have healing powers, and many tourists carry the water with them on their way back.Encircled by snow-capped mountains and crystal-clear icy water, Gurudongmar is considered to be a very holy lake. It is one of the sources of River Teesta, which flows through Sikkim, West Bengal and Bangladesh, to finally merge with the Bay of Bengal.
  • Thangu Valley – Thangu, situated at an altitude of around 3900 m, is a beautiful village which is about two hours' drive from Lachen. It is a comfortable village where the tourists usually choose to relax before they proceed to trek to Gurugongmar Lake, Muguthang or Cho Lhamu Lake. In Thangu Valley, one can catch a glimpse of the rows of trees and as one goes more upwards, the beautiful view of Tibetan Plateau begins. For nature lovers, this quaint town is a perfect gateway.
    The ideal time to travel to mesmerisingThangu Valley would be between May and June, during which, the entire valley gets decorated with vibrant alpine flowers, and the heavy snow covers up these beautiful beds of flowers in the cold months between October and March. The spectacular hiking trails from Thangu to places like Chopta Valley and Muguthang enhance the beauty of the village. Since Thangu is near the border between India and China, there is also a big military base present here.
  • Mt Katao – Nestled in the northern part of Sikkim, at a distance of 144 km from Gangtok and 28 km from Lachung, Mt Katao is one of the most stunning sights imaginable. Perfect for adventure lovers who like skiing, snow tubing, snowboarding, and grinding during the winter season, the surreal mountain provides a splendid view to its onlookers. However, to enter this area, a permit is required from the army since the place where Mt Katao is located at a military base.
    Covered with natural vegetation including poppy, rhododendron, and primula, the base ground of Mount Katao comprises of numerous adventure sports activities. This amazing place is situated at an elevation of 15000 feet and remains covered in snow almost throughout the year. There is a zero-point situated nearby which provides some spectacular views.

The best season for visiting Yumthang valley starts in late February and continues up to mid-June, when thousands of colorful flowers are in full bloom. However, to enjoy a clear sky and brilliant view of snow-capped mountains, the September to December season would be ideal.

How to Reach
  • By Air: One can book a flight to Bagdogra. Gangtok is 124 kilometers from Bagdogra Airport and it takes around 4 hours to reach. Taxis are available to reach Gangtok from Bagdogra airport. The taxi costs around INR 2000.
  • By Rail: If travelling by train, the nearest railway station is New Jalpaiguri, West Bengal. All major trains going towards Guwahati pass through New Jalpaiguri. Gangtok is located at around 148 kilometers from New Jalpaiguri by road. The road connectivity from New Jalpaiguri to Gangtok is good with buses as well as taxis available for the tourists to choose from.
  • By Road: The town of Lachung is well connected by road and is at around 113 kilometers from Gangtok. Road transport facilities are available from Lachung to Yumthang Valley.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is the best time to visit the Yumthang valley?

The best season for visiting Yumthang valley starts in late February and continues up to mid-June.

How much does skiing cost in the Yumthang Valley?

The cost of skiing at Yumthang: Varies from Rs. 2000 to Rs. 20,000. View of snow mountain in Sikkim, India.

Is permit required for Yumthang Valley?

Permit is issued to both Indians and Foreigners by the Tourism Department and Police Check Post. Gurudongmar Lake: Indians can get the permits at Police Check Post while foreigners can get it from Sikkim Tourism Department but only up to Thangu.

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