Chopta Valley

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Chopta Valley, North Sikkim Overview

Chopta Valley is a very famous tourist hotspot in North Sikkim known for its varying hues. Famous as the valley of flowers, the Chopta Valley is popular for its riot of colors during summer months. On your way to the valley, you can see the tall trees of Lachen area slowly disappearing and smaller shrubs becoming more prominent and wadding the area. This valley is unexplored and untouched, as a very few tourists travel to this destination despite its popularity. Nature lovers and wildlife lovers will enjoy travelling to this splendid valley and spotting many rare species of animals, plants and birds.

Chopta Valley or the valley of flowers lying near Lachen is a very picturesque destination situated in the northern part of Sikkim, which is cut off from the mainland. Several trekking enthusiasts also travel to Chopta Valley, as the place is the perfect spot for trekking. The valley is positioned at an altitude of 13200 feet and there are many activities like hiking and angling that you can try here. Several water sports by the river are also enjoyed by adventurous tourists every year.

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Chopta Valley experiences very mild summers and chilly winters. The best time to visit Chopta Valley would be during early summer that is from March- June as the weather is delightful at this time.

You can hire taxis to go around the place. Do hire a guide to show you around.

You will have to stay at Lachen before seeing the Chopta Valley. Lachen has several deluxe and medium to budget accommodation choices. Some of the exotic and comfy hotels include Apple Orchard the (Lachen), Himalayan Residency (Lachen), Sonam Palgey Lachen (Lachen), Hiden Hill Lodge (Lachen) and Blue Pine Hotel (Lachen).

You can also opt to stay at Thangu, but it does not have proper tourist accommodation, and the facility available here is very basic. Homestays are also available at both the places wherein the locals offer rooms to stay for the tourists. This is a good option to experience the local culture.

Apart from the valley itself, the two main tourist attractions in Lachen are Thangu Valley and Gurdongmar Lake. A freshwater lake, it is one of the highest water bodies in the world as it is situated at an altitude of 5,210 m. The lake is positioned towards the North East of Kanchenjunga range which freezes completely during winters. About 5 km ahead of this lake is the Tso Lhsmo Lake. With prior permission from the army, you can trek from the Gurdongmar Lake to Tso Lhsmo Lake.

Thangu is an old and beautiful town in the North of Lachen which is a place where most tourists prefer to stop at, before travelling to sight-seeing places like the Gurdongmar Lake and Cho Lhamu. The place is becoming a tourist hotspot.

Bird watching and wildlife spotting are the popular activities in Chopta Valley along with sightseeing. You can also go for trekking here. An exciting trek through Chopta valley leads to Muguthang valley at an altitude of 15500ft, another unseen spot in the greater Himalayas. You will be captivated by the lush meadow crisscrossed by numerous snow-fed streams. The high alpine valley of Muguthang is only inhabitable for unique high altitude ruminants and their predators. The Chopta Valley would be best seen with an expedition to this place.

The nearby town of Lachen may not be a shopper's paradise in its real sense, but the hill town offers an enriching shopping experience to tourists. You can buy fabulous handicrafts and handloom products from here. You can fill your shopping bags with carpet, handbags, shawls, blankets made from Sheep and Yak wool along with amazing wooden articles. Go to the Handicraft Centre and the Angora Rabbit Farm (Rabom) to shop for fabulous woollen clothes and unique handicrafts.

In Lachen, a traditional administrative system is in practice to follow rules and regulation and is known as Dzumsa. In summers, the interesting annual Yak Race called the Thangu takes place at Lachen. The population of Lachen is very less and goes up to just about a 1000 people altogether.

The place does not have much of a nightlife as there are hardly any clubs in this town.

Most of the guesthouses here provide simple Nepali, Indian and Tibetan food. Tibetan momos are quite popular and easily available here. The hotels at Lachen serve simple and good food. Noodles are the most common dish here. Do try the delicious Lopchu, a sweet dish made from milk and sugar. The local millet beer known as Tongba or Chang is also a must try.

The Fortuna, Apple Orchard Resort, etc. are some resorts which have great restaurants. Several fast food joints can be tried too in Lachen.

Reach Lachen via any mode of transport and the places of interest on the way are Tashi View Point, the historic Kabi Lungtsok, Phodong Monastery. Check into a hotel in Lachen and after an early breakfast and drive to Chopta Valley. Enjoy the scenic beauty of this untouched tourist destination. After this take a trip to the Gurudongmar Lake. Have a quick lunch at Lachen and drive to Lachung and enjoy that beautiful town. From there, you can go to Gangtok.

1. It is best to always travel with a guide.
2. Since the vegetation is fragile, it is best to walk on designated trails.
3. Do not litter and deposit garbage at selected places. Keep all kinds of pollutants away from streams and lakes.
4. It is customary to leave a donation at a monastery and to circle shrines in a clockwise direction. 5. Avoid smoking, drinking and talking loudly near sacred places.

When visiting Chopta Valley, it is best to stay overnight at Lachen and start early morning to Chopta and Gurudongmar Lake. 
  • Air: The nearest Domestic Airport is Bagdogra Airport which is around four and half hour drive from Lachen. You will have to hire a taxi from the airport to reach Lachen. From Lachen, taxis and jeeps are available to visit the Chopta Valley. 

  • Rail: The nearest Railway Station to Lachen is Darjeeling Railway Station which is connected to most of the cities of Sikkim and is at a distance of 171 Kms from Lachen. Siliguri, Sukna, Tindharia, Mahanadi, Dilaram, Sonada, Jorebungalow and Ghum are the cities it is well connected with. 

  • Road: You will have to take a taxi from Lachen to the Chopta Valley. Lachen is connected through Sikkim State Road Transport Corporation (SSRTC) and some private travel services to all the major cities of Sikkim. Regular buses ply from Lachen to these states.

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