Friday 18 April 2014

Sikkim and Darjeeling, Summer 2014, Day 4 of 9, Road Trip to Gurudongmar Lake

Hills have very different character and it takes a while for one to understand the hills. Day 4 into our trip and we realized that we need to adjust our clocks. The best weather in Hills is what you see between 7AM to 12 PM. Just after 12 PM, the places become windy, cloudy and rainy.
Day 4 was for visiting the Gurudongmar Lake. Since the drive to Gurudongmar lake takes atleast 5 hours from Apple Orchard Resort and the best time to reach there is before 9, we had to leave the place at 3:30 AM. I belive we left the place sometime around 3:45 AM. Generally the resort packs the breakfast as a take away that one can eat on the way.
7:15 AM We cross Thangu Valley. Somewhere around this place one needs to cross the final army checkpost. They inquire about the health of everybody in the car specifically respiratory health.
 If you or any of the co-passengers are not feeling well, this is the place to stay back. There is no medical facility available once you cross this point.
We crossed the check post and stopped for a while when one generous Subedar Lakhveer Singh offered us tea. At almost zero degree temperature, we had no options but to accept the invite. We stopped for around 15 minutes there.

There is a small settlement in the Thangu Valley where most vehicle stop for tea, maggi and bio break. People here are extra nice and without their help and generosity this trip would be almost impossible.
7:40 AM We leave this place for onward journey. The whole areas from here onwards is under Army control. There is no other civilization. The only company you would get is from fellow tourists and Army convoys.
9:25 AM We finally pull into the parking for Gurudongmar Lake. The first sight of the place tells you that it is one of a kind, out of the world place. The place is really cold. The lake itself was frozen. but the view is phenomenal.

It is very hard to stick around this place for more than 1 hour. Most people would leave the place within half an hour but one hour is just about outer limit. There is gentleman that provides you with hot water for drinking, tea is also available. As expected, the place is not really crowded.
10:10 AM We start back for our journey back.
11:20 AM We are back at the Thangu Valley, another round of the tea at the place.
3:20 PM We are back at the Apple Orchard Resort in Lachen. We just about have enough time to have lunch and depart for Lachung.
In hindsight, we felt that between Lachen and Lachung, we should have added another day to make the journey less tiresome.
5:10 PM We are back at Chungtang.
7:15 PM We reach Lachung. We had booked Yarlam. This is one of the better places in North Sikkim. Here is my review of the place. 
A good night sleep is what we all needed and after a quick dinner we just opted for that.

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