Friday 18 April 2014

Sikkim and Darjeeling, Summer 2014, Day 5 of 9, Road Trip to Yumthang Valley, Zero Point, Back to Gangtok

Lachung is the base to visit Yumthang valley and Zero point. Our plan for the day was to visit both Yumthang Valley and Zero Point and travel back to Sikkim.
8:00 AM We leave towards Yumthang Valley and Zero Point. The quality of roads is again mixture of good road and bad roads. But roads here are definitely better than Lachen to Gurudongmar Lake section. One very quickly notices that Lachung region has more flat surfaces compared to lachen area.
9:00 AM We reach Yumthang valley. This is where one needs to rent snow shoes and can have some refreshment if needed. The climb after this place is again very steep and very quickly one gains altitude.
Unlike Gurudongmar Lake, this area seems more crowded with many vehicles parked on the side of the road as one reaches the Zero Point.

10:10 AM We reach Zero Point. This place is full of people. This is also at an altitude of almost 15,000 ft. so one needs to be careful not to over-exert himself. We stay at this place for around 45 minutes and leave.

11:55 AM We reach back to Yumthang Valley. We return the rented snow gear and have a tea/coffee. Normally one could spend some time here because this also known as Valley of Flowers, but to our disappointment, we realize that flowers have not started blooming yet.
We wait here for 10 minutes and leave for the hotel.
1:00 PM We reach the hotel, have a quick dinner and checkout from the hotel. We have a long journey ahead of us. Our night stay is planned at Gangtok.
2:00 PM We leave the hotel and start our journey back to Gangtok. Chungtang is the last place where one sees cellular connectivity when one drives towards north sikkim.
3:20 PM We cross Chungtang.
4:35 PM We cross Manul
5:35 PM We cross Mangan, We stop for a tea and car needs refueling here.
We had booked different hotels in Gangtok on our return trip, hence we needed to go to our old hotel to pick up luggage that we had left there. In hindsight, it is just more convenient if one has same hotel in both the journeys.
7:30 PM We reach our hotel and check-in. This time we had planned on staying in Hotel Tamarind. My review of the hotel is here.

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