India is a land of hidden gems, beauty in unexpected places yet people end up visiting the same places. If you are an offbeat traveler, adventure lover, and sportsman or just like trying something new, we have something great in store for you. Nathang Valley, a serene and picturesque valley nestled in east Sikkim. Looking like straight out of a wallpaper or calendar, Nathang Valley is perfect. Untouched and at a mind boggling altitude of 13,000 feet about sea level. Nathang Valley stands out among Sikkim’s myriad wonders. With its snow capped mountains, offering you expansive views of flowers, lush greenery and streams. Or snow laden streams and grounds if you visit during winter season.
Photo by Saran Chamling
Eagle’s Nest Bunker
Eagle’s Nest Bunker lies 5 km away from Nathang Valley, offering tourists and travelers a 360 degree sweeping view of the Kanchenjunga range, Brahmaputra River, Bhutan, China and Tibet. Create an indelible memory by watching the sunrise from Eagle’s Nest.
The remote location of it allows a holiday of tranquility. Being one with nature also tests your limits by biking on one of the difficult roads in India. You can find a Buddhist monastery, a small Hindu temple here. Some relatively new home stays dot the area. You can enjoy local, hot food and drink in the home stays which are simple. You can have a glimpse in the lives of these villagers still untouched by the taints of modern day living. Savor local food and delicacies prepared by residents in their house and offered to guests at home stays. There are no hotels or lodges or resorts in Nathang Valley for tourists since the terrain and connectivity remains an issue.
Photo by aloshbennett
You can also visit the top-most point in east Sikkim i.e. Nathula Pass, and also the India and China border. Tourists will have to take permits in advance and they are only available in Gangtok. Nathula Pass is closed to visitors and tourists on Mondays and Tuesdays so schedule your trip keeping that in mind.
Best Time to Visit Nathang
To enjoy spring in its full bloom, visit Nathang Valley during April-May and watch flowers blossom all across. Or spend some time there in October when the weather is clear, crisp and cool but not cold. The adventurous ones or winter lovers can always give Nathang Valley in Sikkim a whirl during the months of November-January when the valley is covered in white. Fair warning, the routes and roads to Nathang Valley are closed from January-April due to heavy snowfall.
Routes to take-
You can access Nathang Valley from Siliguri or Gangtok. Nathang is also a protected stretch of land since it shares the border with China occupied Tibet. Permit needs to taken by the tourists from the Rongli check post if they are visiting from Siliguri or from Gangtok if they are coming from that side.
Photo by Rajib Ghosh
Altitude- Nathang’s altitude is the reason for its temperature, beauty but it is also risky for tourists and travelers with breathing problems, lung troubles, children and senior citizens. You need to be prepared for harsh winters and unpredictable weather. Pack the right clothing, gloves, shoes, leggings, body warmers and caps. Layer enough clothing because frostbite and cold can seep in without a warning. Carry sunscreen, moisturizer and oil and apply it religiously when you are in Nathang Valley.
Bikers and adventure travelers often plan to bike or ride along the Leh-Ladakh stretch. But Nathang Valley is a magical stretch to try doing something new and different too. You will have to bring your private bike since rented bikes are not allowed. Local agents and travel consultants can help you in arranging permits and supplies.
Photo by Rajib Ghosh
Nathang Valley can be a test of your health if you aren’t used to difficult terrains and tempestuous weather. It also lacks modern amenities and comforts that one usually takes for granted. But the trade off is incomparable. Stunning views and panoramas, an unruffled and peaceful stay that can’t be replicated in any modern resort or setting. What are you waiting for? Book your holiday to Nathang Valley now!
Photo by tirthankargupta