nathang valley, mountain, peak, snow

5 Beautiful Places in Nathang Valley: A Helpful Guide For First-Timers

In this post, we will explore Nathang Valley. This practical guide includes the best time to visit Zuluk, what are the Nathang Valley Hotels. We will also look at the top sights to visit in Nathang Valley.

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Where is Nathang Valley?

Nathang Valley or Gnathang Valley as it is sometimes known as sits at an altitude of 13,500 feet above sea level. This hamlet is known as Ladakh of the East due to its uncanny resemblance to Ladakh. This hamlet has varied hues during the seasons. In summer, the flowers bloom. In winter, the land is covered in snow and during the monsoon season, stormy clouds bring a much-needed respite.

Ladakh and Nathang Valley are similar in that they are both on a high-altitude plateau with scenic views of snow-capped mountains on an isolated valley. This valley is the home to Yak herders and sits on the India-China border. Due to its proximity to the two international borders of China and Nepal, foreigners, and locals require a permit to visit this area. 

How To Get There

By Air

The recommended route to Nathang Valley is via a flight to Bagdogra International Airport. This airport is the gateway to Gangtok, Darjeeling, Kurseong, Kalimpong, and other areas of North Bengal.

Siliguri is the closest city to the airport. It is a 9-kilometer drive from the airport. Gangtok is about 77 miles away. This is a 4-hour drive. Gangtok to Nathang Valley is another 2.5-hour drive.

By Road

The best option would be to stay at Zuluk. Zuluk is 87 miles from Bagdogra Airport. The journey takes about 5-6 hours by road. Zuluk to Nathang Valley is about 15 miles which is an easy 1-hour drive.

By Rail

The closest railway station is the New Jalpaiguri Junction Railway Station (NJP). This station is in Siliguri which is 82 miles from Zuluk. This is an approximate 5-hour drive to Zuluk.

What is the best time to visit Zuluk?

Zuluk is an all-around destination. Different seasons bring out the beauty of this region in many ways. In summer, Zuluk is abundant with wildflowers. Snow falls here during the winter months of January to April.

The best time to visit is from April to October where the weather is just nice to make sightseeing a memorable experience. April to October is also the peak tourist season if you don’t mind the crowds.

Check out the monthly best times to visit before planning your trip.

Where is Silk Route Sikkim?

The Silk Road was an ancient route that connected the East and the West. The road was a gamechanger as it enhanced economic trade, encouraged cultural, political, and religious exchange.

Silk was the main trade commodity, hence the name of the route. It was the Han Dynasty that began and expanded the trade routes to Central Asia. 

Silk Route Sikkim was a strategic and historical route. Strategic because it connected Eastern India to Central Asia. Historically, these routes were once a battleground between the British and Tibetans.

Sir Francis Younghusband wrote “But from Rongli they climbed steeply out of the tropical forest into the zone of flowering rhododendrons… To flower lovers, like Howard Bury, Mallory, and Wollaston, these were a perpetual delight. They were all the more appreciated because they would be almost the last sign of luxuriance and grace they would behold before they to face the austerities and stern realities of rock and ice and snow, and the frosts of Mount Everest.” 

It is best to acclimatize before proceeding further on this route. This route is 4000 meters above sea level and one can be prone to altitude sickness.

What are some Nathang Valley Hotels?

Summit Norling Resort & Spa

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This resort is in Rongtey in Gangtok. The hotel has 27 rooms spread over 3 acres. Each room comes with a television, heater, complimentary toiletries, hairdryer, and free WiFi. 

There are four room types available with the Premium and Deluxe Room starting at $55. The Chalet starts at $83 while the Family Room starts at $121. These rates are inclusive of daily breakfast.

Some activities which can be done are shopping along MG Marg Road, visiting the Research Institute of Tibetology, and taking a trip to Nathula Pass.

Great Eastern Valley Residency

nathang valley, great eastern valley residency, mountain views, clouds over mountains

This hotel is located in Gangtok. This hotel is located near several tourist sites such as Ganesh Tok, Hanuman Tok, Enchey Monastery, and Do-drul Chorten Stupa. There are three types of rooms available here.

The Double Deluxe Room has 1 double bed. This room sleeps two persons. The starting rate for this room is $11. The next room is a single bed in a mixed dormitory style. The rate for this single bed starts at $5. The last room is the standard single room which sleeps one. This rate starts at $7.

Udaan Alpine Village Resort

This hotel is 5 miles from Gangtok. There are 14 well-equipped rooms and modern amenities. All rooms have balcony views of the mountains. Free WiFi is available throughout the resort. The Double Deluxe Room starts at $77.

What are the top sights in Nathang Valley?

Kupup Lake

 Kupup Lake or Bitan Cho is situated 13,000 feet above sea level and is known as the ‘Elephant Lake’. The lake resembles an elephant where the right side is its trunk and the left resembles an elephant’s tail. This lake is featured on Mumbai Mirror.

Tsomgo Lake

Image Credit: Indrajit Das (Wikipedia Commons)

Tsomgo Lake is a glacial lake in East Sikkim. This lake is 12,313 feet above sea level and is frozen during winters. Gangtok is 25 miles from here while the Indo-China Border Crossing at Nathu-La is 3.1 miles from here.

This is one of the 7 Stunning Lakes of Sikkim and is a Hidden Gem in Northeast India. This lake is regarded as one of Sikkim’s sacred lakes. Tsomgo Lake is featured on Outlook India, Times Travel, and the Deccan Herald

Thambi Viewpoint

Image Credit: Travelogy India Blog

This is the must-visit when in Zuluk. After a never-ending road trip of 32 hairpin loops, the view is amazing. This viewpoint is located about 11,000 above sea level and has stunning views of Mount Kanchenjunga as well. The best times to visit are January to April and August to September. 

Lungthung Viewpoint

For stunning sunrise, head to Lungthung Viewpoint. The viewpoint here gives exceptional mountain views of Kanchenjunga and the Himalayan Mountain Ranges. This viewpoint is located 9 miles from Thambi Viewpoint.

Eagle’s Nest Bunker

Image Credit: Devil On Wheels

This abandoned army bunker bears the marks of the Sino-Indian War of the 1960s. This hidden gem sits at an altitude of 13,700 feet above sea level and has a panoramic view of the Eastern Himalayas.

On a clear day, one can see Mount Kanchenjunga, the Tibetan Plateau, China, Western Bhutan, the Plains of Bengal, and the Brahmaputra River.

Is Nathang Valley Worth Visiting?

Yes! Nathang Valley is an unexplored region with many unique experiences. Explore the Silk Route of Sikkim, watch the sunrise over Mount Kanchenjunga or simply relax over a cup of tea. If you are planning a trip there, check out Everything You Need To Know To Plan An Epic Trip to Sikkim and 18 Best Places To Visit In Sikkim In December 2021.

Nathang Valley is a place where Yak herders take their Yaks to graze. For historical buffs, Nathang Valley is the place where the Sikkim Expedition happened. 

What is the Sikkim Expedition?

Sikkim has always had a history with Tibet. However, during the first half of the 19th century, the British expanded their claim to the Himalayan Regions. The Treaty of Tumlong was signed by the British and the Kingdom of Sikkim.

In 1884, the Tibetan Government sent 300 soldiers who crossed the Jelep-La Pass and occupied Lingtu, which is 13 miles into Sikkim Territory. The Convention of Calcutta was signed by Britain and China. 

The Convention states that the British had control over Sikkim. The Sikkim-Tibet borders were demarcated with India having control of Sikkim. A trip here would not only be memorable, but it would also be magical!


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