Cholamu Lake: Source of Teesta River
Zadong - Cholamu trek route
Image Courtesy: Regina Joseph
Sir. We r going to Sikkim from 15-17thMay.Will stay at Gangtok. Two families with adult children. Can you tell us if we cannnot visit Cholamu lake then any other similar lake to enjoy the nature's beauty.we r planning a visit to Nathula pass. What time should we leave for Nathula pass and what all is to be covered on the way to Nathula pass. what type of clothes do we need.
Thanks for taking the trouble of answeringf all the questions.
I see that you have written it many times that "Cholamu lake" is out of bound for Civilians.
But I have access to few senior officers from Indian Army and I believ that they can help to get a permit.
Now my question is,
a) What kind of permit is required to visit Cholamu Lake? Is it called Restricted Area Permit (RAP)?
What is the process to apply for permit to visit Cholamu? Which office grant that?
c) If I get a permit to visit CHolamu Lake, can I hire any Sikkim registered vehicle and go there? Or we need to mention the registration no. of the vehicle during application?
Thanks a lot
I hope i would have been in the position to answer these queries. I do not know if there is really any process to get the permit. I do not think its RAP. I know some people had visited the Lake through connection but No one had shared the details so wish you best of luck.
Sorry could not address your queries.
1. if i am driving from gangtok to gurudongmar lake, what is the last point till where we are allowed to drive our own vehicle ?
i mean apart from permit, is there any precisr rule of hiring their car after a certain point enroute gurudongmar ?
2. which is the nearest point/village to stay overnight near gurudongmar lake, so we can reach the lake early morning ?
3. How much time the permits procedures take ? is it quicky accessible or we have to do permit work a day prior ?
4. if i am starting my journey from gangtok, how many days should i keep to visit
* nathula paas
* gurudongmare lake ( with one day prior over night stay )
and back to gangtok ?
Only Sikkim Registered vehicles are allowed to places where ILP is requred.
3- it should be taken one day prior
4- 5 days (2 full day travel time from Gangtok/North Sikkim)
CAn i ride a scooty from siliguri to gantok , gangtok to nathula ?????
Chances are less. you will need special permission.
I am going to visit north sikkim on april third week
I am interesting to visit dzongu too
Whats your opinion
How many days need to stay there for
Cholamo is still out of bound for civiliance
Yes. Cholamu is out of bound for civilance.
But my driver offered us the permission for cholamu on april third week
There is no road till Cholamu. He will take you till Gurudongmar and will take money saying it is Cholamu lake. It is very common among drivers in Sikkim to promise anything.
Thanks for the images and information. Do you know if Zadong and Yumesamdong are the names for the same place? On the signboard at Yumthang the altitude of zero point is stated as 14,540 feet while Zadong is supposed to be at an altitude of around 16,000 feet. Could you please clarify this? Up to what point can civilians trek from Zero Point towards Dongkha La pass? Is it also possible to visit Yumey Samdong hot springs?
Also is it true that after reaching Gurudongmar lake via Thangu, one can set on foot to visit Tso Lhamo lake without any special permits?
Zadong and Yumesamdong are the names for the same place? --- Not Sure.
Up to what point can civilians trek from Zero Point towards Dongkha La pass? -- Civilians are not allowed to go beyond Zero point.
Also is it true that after reaching Gurudongmar lake via Thangu, one can set on foot to visit Tso Lhamo lake without any special permits? -- Not at all True. You need a special permit to visit Lhamo lake and I do not think it is easily issued. with ILP, you can only visit till Gurudongmar lake.
I will ask someone else to get answer of your remaining questions.
Lovely pictures there. Could you pls help me with places to stay in North Sikkim or travel agents who are trustworthy. Thanks a ton!
Sure. you will get an email soon.
Can I visit Gurudongmar lake and zero point on April 1st week or will the road be blocked due to snowfall at that time??
Yes, you can vvisit Gurudongmar lake and zero point in first week of April. road gets cleared by then.
You done a good work to all mountain lovers. Well done
Me and three friends are planning to visit north Sikkim on second week of November
Shall we able to see snow and snowfall
We are going to gnathang also. What about the stay in dafter bungalow
What about the weather in November
Shall we able to get budget accommodation in Lachen and lachung without prior booking
Please guide me
You can get accommodation in Lachen and Lachung after arrival as well. Chances to see snow in November are not very low specially in North Sikkim. I am positive that you can see fresh snow at Yumthang and if lucky then snow-fall as well.
I need one info.
I, along with other 6 frinds want to travel Gurudangmar Lake in the month of October 2016. I am planning to start my journey from mangan instead of Gangtok. Rather than staying in lachen (crowded, most of the travellers used to stay at lachen ) I want stay in a secluded hi-altitude place like Thangu vally. I can assure you I/we do not have any physical problem with cold and altitude.
To do so, what to do?
A) A) Is there any accommodation available in Thangu, North sikkim? If yes how to contact?
If no, can i stay in a tent? plz advise me how to book a tent?
B) B) I came to know permission required from Indian army to stay in Thangu vally. If yes, can you advise me how to proceed for the same?
C) C) Though I am planning to go by jeep though I am interested/looking for a short trekking rout (in between 3-4km +/-, I will start from mangan by jeep and want to get down some place lum-sum3 to 4 km before the destination and want to enjoy the trekking experience) to reach Thangu as rest of the members will go by jeep and I will join them at thangue.
Yes, there is accommodation available in Thangu but you can not contact or book in advance. generally available
I don't think you need any explicit permit to stay in Thangu. not sure though
there are milestones everywhere so you can get down 3-4 km before Thangu...
Can you guide me best time to visit Cholamu Lake,
Cholamu lake is out of bound for tourists now.
Hey Vishnu...very well discussed, just a sipmle question are we allowed to take our private vehicles till the Gurudongmar?
i have a jeep so would love to drive it till there
Yes if its a sikkim registration. otherwise No..
Me along with my 4 friends are going to North Sikkim tour during 2nd week of May 2016, after a gap of 2 years. We had already covered Gurudongmar and Yumthang valley.
Can you provide some info about some other places where we should go to be close to nature and far from rush. Dont mind visting the gurudonmar lake.
Would we find snow during 2nd week of May?
Would we find flowers in Yumthang valley?
Chances to see snow are high around Gurudongmar Lake and Yumthang valley in second week of May. I am not sure if its flowering season in Yumthang. Autumn and Spring are generally very coloful in the valley. Unfortunately North Sikkim is not entirely open for tourists. Most of the places are out of bound for tourists so you can not go beyond places you already visited.
I came across this page while searching our North Sikkim tour.
I have few questions.
# Is Gurudongmer Lake must-visit place?
# Is the following itiniary good for 6 days North Sikkim Tour?
Day1 Mumbai to Gangtok
Yes, Gurudongmar is indeed a must visit attraction of Sikkim. Itinerary looks doable to me.
I and some of friends want to visit Sikkim in the month of october,please suggest by visiting where we can get snow.
Chances to see snow are very less in October. You can try your luck in North Sikkim. specifically around Gurudongmar lake and zero point.
I am planning to visit Sikkim during 20-26 March. It'd be great if you could answer a few queries I have pertaining to his.
1. Can these 2 lakes be visited during this period?
2. What about Nathu La pass, Pelling and Zero point? Would these roads be open during this time?
3. Is the RAP needed if we decide to trek to Cholamu Lake from Zadong? Also, is this a day-trek?
Cholamu is out of bound but tourists but Gurudongmar can be visited in March this year as there is not much snow.
Yes, Nathula, Zero point and Pelling would also be accessible.
Permits are not issued for Cholamu any longer.
Could you please recommend homestays, campsites or budget hotels in Lachung, Yumthang, Lachen & Thangu/Chopta Valley?
Please contact travel agent, he will easily arrange accommodation at Thangu Valley, Lachung, Yumthang, Lachen & Chopta Valley.
I dropped you an email, please check and revert back. its about travel agents
I wish i can but i had visited it long back when there were very limited accommodation options. I am sure now there are many homestays available.
Let me first thank you for replying to everyone's query very patiently. I really appreciate it.
I along with my family (including parents who are above 60) is planning to visit Sikkim in mid/end May and have decided to visit Namchi, pelling and Gangtok. I am really fascinated to visit Lachen and Gurudongmar lake. I have few queries in this regard.
1. How advisable will be it to travel to Gurudongmar lake along with elderly people and kids (1 year to 5 years)?
2. What is the average temperature during mid/end May?
3. Do we need any permit for Lachen or Gurudongmar lake?
4. Do we need to trek for Gurudongmar lake? If yes, how long and how harsh is the trek?
5. Any other information I need to know.
Thanks in advance.
I think kids below 4 would not be allowed to Gurudongmar but there is no problem visiting with elder people. Be mindful that Gurudongmar is really high altitude and people get hit by AMS. if your parents are having any health issue then there is no point.
May is hot month. can not comment on temperature.
Yes, you will need permit and can be procured very easily in Gangtok.
There is no trek for Gurudongmar lake. Vehicles go till the lake bed.
Enjoy the captivating landscape.
Trekking can be done from yumsdong via Donkiala pass tp gurudongmer and till cholamu(ofcourse currently not allowed)
Thanks for adding your inputs.. really valuable.. keep dropping by
Hey, I'm going to visit north-sikkim at the end of March 2016 (more precisely 23-28 th March). Can you tell whether Gurudongmar Lake will be accessible that time or not?
Chances are very bleak to reach Gurudongmar lake in March. You can visit Lachen, Lachung and Yumthang though.
Hi Vishnu , Best article that I have read till date on North Sikkim travel. Please help me with your expert advice as I am planning a trip to Sikkim in May 1st week . We are 2 couples & the itinerary is as follows. Day 1. Arrive at Bagdogra & then leave for Darjeeling. Day 2. Full day sightseeing at Darjeeling . Day 3. Leave from Darjeeling to Gangtok.Evening at Gangtok. Day 4. Full day sight seeing in Gangtok . Day 5 ~Day 7 – North Sikkim including Lanchen , Lanchung , Gurudongmor , Yumthang valley etc . Day 8. Back to Gangtok Day 9. Back to bagdogra
Should i include pelling also ? Should i choose pelling over darjeeling ? Should I modify my itinerary ? Will i find snow on any of the above places ? Will I have to take prior permissions to visit any of the places ?
Thanks in advance .
While looking at your itinerary i do not see any space where you can add pelling. Darjeeling has its own charm so i would not recommend to skip Darjeeling over Pelling. May is not the best time to see snow but you can find it near Gurudongmar lake, Yumthang and Nathula pass. Yes, ILP would be needed and you can obtain it from Gangtok.
Can we get cholamu lake (RAP) in the middle of April'16?
Cholamu is out of bound for tourists. permits are no longer issued.
Vishnu, you are doing awesome job. Keep it up.
We (me + wife + 13 yr old kid) are planning to visit Sikkim in April/May 2016 by our own car Renault Duster (non-AWD), we will be driving from Mumbai.
You said outside vehicles are not allowed in north Sikkim? I was very keen on driving to these places on my own with family.
Can you please confirm? I will want to drive my car as far as possible and if absolutely required will go for tourist vehicle.
I am confused about permits and all as well. We are Indian citizen, kid is US citizen.
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