Lachung is a town in northeast Sikkim, India. It is located in
the North Sikkim district and is near the border with Tibet.
Lachung is at an altitude of about 9,600 ft or 3,000 m and at
the convergence of the Lachen River and Lachung Rivers,
tributaries of the River Teesta. The word Lachung means "small
pass". The town is about 125 km from the capital Gangtok.
Lachung provides a base for the travellers bound to Yumthang
Valley, popularly known as the `Switzerland of the East'.
One of the two main tributaries of Teesta, the Lachung Chu
(Chu=river) flows through the valley. This picture, shot
downstream overlooks the village and travellers' huts, while
the river flows below. Villagers cultivate fruits, wheat and
paddy in the valley. Spring and summer are the best seasons to
visit, when the valley attains wonderful colors due to the
blossom of flowers like Rhododendron, Primula, Potentilla,
Lachung (8610 ft) is one of the most beautiful villages in the
valleys of North Sikkim. Surrounded by snow-capped mountains,
amazing waterfalls and sparkling streams. A small monastery
decorating a solitary hilltop is a perfect place for
meditation. The whole valley gets a completely different look
in winter when wrapped by thick layer of snow. Lachung has a
small market but due to tourist influx several small and
medium hotels have come up with basic facilities.
Lachung has been described as the "most scenic village of
Sikkim" by British explorer Joseph Dalton Hooker in his
definitive, The Himalayan Journal (1855). Skiing is conducted
in Phuni near this town. Languages spoken here are Nepali,
Lepcha and Bhutia. During winter the town is generally covered
with snow. Lachung is also the base camp for Rhododendron
Valley Trek which starts from Yumthang Valley and ends at
The Indian Army has a forward base in the town. Before the
annexation of Tibet in 1950, Lachung was a trading post
between Sikkim and Tibet, after which it was closed down. The
town's economy has been boosted by tourism in recent years as
the region has been opened up by the Indian government.
Tourist come from all over the world to visit the town between
October and May, mostly on their way to the Yumthang Valley
and the Lachung Monastery. Most of Lachung's inhabitants are
of Lepcha and Tibetandescent.