Lachen North Sikkim


The Land of the Nomads
A small monastery, rare alpine flowers, a small community of cardamom planters and yak herders, Shades, snow and sunshine, combines the landscape of Lachen. A picturesque village in North Sikkim, Lachen is the base for exploring high altitude plateaus, glaciers, and the breathtaking alpine lake of Gurudongmar (16500ft). On the way to the lake is Thangu – the highest village in Sikkim – home to the nomadic Tibeto-Bhutias.
"Far to the northward of the snowy Himalaya on a lofty plateau, whose plants and animals are different from anything I had previously seen." Described Joseph Dalton Hooker, a British Naturalist-cum-Explorer, who was the pioneer to undertake an extensive study in Lachen Plateau during the mid-nineteenth century. According to Dr Hooker, Lachen is "An incredibly limited area buried in the depths of the Himalayas presents nearly all the types of the flora of the north temperate zone".
Lachen – a remote village in North Sikkim and a winter home for Tibetan nomadic tribes set against the backdrop of towering snow peaks, alpine flower valleys, a vast plateau, and a base for exploring the high altitude Gurudongmar Lake and trekking to Green lake.
With a staggering elevation extending from 2000 Meters to above 7000 Meters, running across the trans-Himalayan belt and finally leading to the Tibetan plateau, Lachen possesses a vast and rich bio-diversity, apart from its stunning and magical landscape. A small village with a few thousand Lachen-pa people and a Tibeto-Nomadic tribe called Dokpa, Lachen displays a kaleidoscopic array of cultural traditions, beliefs and knowledge systems which is not only unique this is also exemplary to any modern society. Pastoral cultivation and yak herding are their main occupation for generations.
The inclusion of Lachen in the travel circuit is very recent. This remote North Sikkim village was not known to the travellers even before 2000. But it remained an attraction for some extraordinary explorers even during 1850 – as Dr Hooker and Dr Sanders visited these areas for their tremendous discovery of flora and fauna in these extreme climatic zones. Alexandra David Neel, a Belgian–French explorer, was the first woman to enter Tibet in 1942 through Lachen.

Activities in Lachen

Hike to David Neel's Cave 
  • Hike to David Neel's Cave  - An exciting day hike to Alexandra David Neel's Cave originates from Lachen. Start your walk from Kalep – a small hamlet in Lachen and continue for a 2-hours uphill hike to Dewthang. The stunning array of colours of the alpine flowers - primula and rare Blue Poppy is so captivating, and you forget the fatigue of the strenuous trek after reaching the cave. The dark, moist cave, which has sections for meditating and cooking, transport you back to 1914. MORE

Birding in Lachen
  • Birding in Lachen - The rich and varied vegetation type ranging from sub-tropical to sub-alpine forests under the Kanchenjunga Biosphere forest conservation zone has made Lachen and its surroundings an Important Bird Area (IBA). You can see many critically endangered and endemic bird species in different altitude levels and forests areas. MORE

Village Experience
  • Village Experience - Lachen is a restricted area in Sikkim which forbids any outsider to come and settle here. Lachen's uniqueness lies in its traditional operating system, which is exemplary. All the villages in Lachen and its surrounding areas are governed by Dzumsa – a traditional Tribal body preserving their cultural identity through tribal self-governance. Predominant by Lachen-Pa Tribe, the Dzumsa Body in Lachen practices their unique traditions, aiming to retain their social, cultural, economic, and political characteristics distinct from the other dominant societies in different cities and villages in Sikkim. MORE

  • Excursions - Bestowed with immense natural beauty, Lachen is an ideal base for many exciting excursions. A stunning journey to High Altitude Gurudongmar Lake at 5150 Meters, the last village of Nomad Yak Herders in the Tibetan Frontier, Thangu at 4000 metres, the colourful Chopta Valley are some of the day excursions originate from Lachen. A combined excursion with all these three places can be a memorable experience. However, Gurudongmar Lake, being a highly sensitive area, is still restricted for foreigners' visit, who may limit their journey to Thangu and Chopta Valley at this moment. MORE

Trekking and day walk
  • Trekking and day walk - Several long & short duration impressive treks, which lead to the higher mountains and plateau of Trans-Himalaya, originate from Lachen. A fascinating Green Lake trek to Mt Kanchenjunga's base – the third highest mountain in the world is the most important one, which takes about ten days. MORE

Attractions in Lachen

  • Alexandra David Neel's Cave

    Alexandra David Neel's Cave has an important link with early history and spiritual journey in Sikkim. Perched atop a steep mountain slope, which is only accessible by an uphill trek from Lachen, this cave remains hidden from the area's main tourist spots.

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  • Lachen Monastery

    A small Buddhist Monastery belonging to the Nyingma Sect of Tibetan Buddhism was constructed in the year 1854 and is the most important religious centre for the people of Lachen. This small building of mud and stone structure was built by Gelong Gonpu, who came from Solo Khombu in Nepal and stayed here for three years before returning to Nepal.

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Hotels and Stays






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Lachen is mainly accessible by road. However, a special arrangement for helicopter charter is also possible. Gangtok – the capital of Sikkim, is 125kilometers from here and takes about 5 hours. The headquarter of Lachen is Mangan, which lies at a distance of 50 kilometres south of Gangtok. The journey by the deep grudge of Tista River, with densely forested hills and valleys, is fascinating.

Location of Lachen

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