Village Tourism in Sikkim

Hee Bermiok

Hee Bermiok village is located in West Sikkim and is bounded by Hee River in the West, Kalez River in the North, Rangeet River in the East and Samdong Reserve Forest in the South. Other than being the perfect place for some good collection of plant life, the place is also the home to over 65 species of birds. Hee and Bermiok are two separate villages located some 150 km from New Jalpaiguri with Bagdogra being the nearest airport, Hee Bermiok offers great opportunities to its tourists to witness a variety of nature at its best and excellent views of Mt. Kanchenjungha. Journey to Hee Bermiok takes about four and a half hours from Gangtok. One can also reach here from Pelling, the journey taking one and a half hours. The main attractions are mountain biking, nature walk, visit to villages, Sirijonga Yuma Mangheem, Sirijonga Holy Cave at Martam etc. The adventure lovers can enjoy two and a half hour trek to Varsey. Apart from having an annual tourist festival, village home stay facilities are available. These are being further developed and upgraded with the help of INTACH, New Delhi. Places to see at Hee Bermiok: The Sirijunga Falls or Sirijunga Vadhan is one of the prime attractions of the place and is located about an hour's walk downward from Bermiok Bazaar. Besides, there is the mysterious holy box and the Sirijunga Cave or Sirijunga Phuku. All these are located at the point of meeting of Reshi Khola and Kalej. There is also a village foot trail that leads to these places via Martam village and Phagudara. Other places worth a visit include Yuma Samyo Mangheem, and the beautiful lake of Chaaya Taal located at Hee-Kyangbari where tourists can enjoy facilities like boating. Tourists can also witness the world's largest prayer wheel and a water park in nearby Hee Gaon with swimming pools and gazebos. Nearby attractions from Hee Bermiok: You can go for short trips to the nearby Varsey Rhododendron Sanctuary that is located very close to Hee Bermiok. Other destinations of West Sikkim like Pelling, Rinchenpong, Borong and Uttarey can be reached from Hee Bermiok within a couple of hour's journey. Things to do in Hee Bermiok: You can take part in mountain biking, visit different villages and nature walks. People, who love adventure, can also take part in the two and half hour trek to Varsey. The annual tourist festival is also a very important activity that tourists can take part in. How to reach Hee Bermiok: From Gangtok, you need to travel for four and half hours to reach Hee Bermiok. Besides, you can also reach from Pelling and the journey takes one and half hours to complete. Best time to visit Hee Bermiok: You can visit Hee Bermiok any time of the year. However, if you want to see the Tourist Festival by the Hee Bermiok Tourism Development & Heritage Conservation Society, then you must come during the month of May. Lodging and dining facilities at Hee Bermiok: You can stay at village homes with local families and local hotels. These hotels also offer dining facilities as well.


Nathang Valley

Nathang Valley located at an altitude of 13,500 feet, this lush valley was the home to traditional yak herders who came from Tibet. Few streams crisscross the valley, and prayer flags flutter on the mountain edges on this vast plain of nothingness. Nathang Valley appears in different colours in different times of the year. In autumn it looks golden when the grass dries up, in rainy season it's covered in flowers and in winter it is buried in 5 feet of snow. Nathang Valley is also visited by migratory birds just before the onset of winter. There's a monastery, a temple and a small bridge over a small stream in the distance dotting the valley. There are some nice newly-built, well equipped modern homestays at Nathang Valley, which offer basic but comfortable accommodation with the very essentials like hot meals, hot water, comfy beds, room heaters, attached western bathrooms, 24-hr electricity and endless supplies of blankets. Nathan falls in the middle of the Silk Route circuit and is the most scenic place to stay. It is also nearest (just 20 mins) to the bestsunrise view points like Lungthung and Eagle's Nest Bunker. There are numerous trek routes from Nathang too. You would find a Hindu temple and a small Buddhist Monastery in the valley on the fringes of a small village. You would also find few streams snaking through the valley and makeshift bridges built on the stream. And there is nothing more except endless stretches of grassland, surrounded by high mountains. The valley is devoid of any trees and it seems out of this world. Just 5 kms away, you would find the famous Eagle's Nest Bunker from where you can get a 360 degree view of the whole range of Mt. Kanchenjungha, West Bhutan, plains of Bengal, China, Tibet and the beautiful River Bramhaputra meandering across in the horizon. Sunrise over Mt. Kanchenjungha from Eagle's Nest Bunker is beyond human description. Another nearby sunrise point Lungthung village is just 20 mins away from Nathang Valley. While staying at Nathang you can cover Padamchen, Genmochen, Thambi View Point, Kupup Lake, Tukla Valley, Baba Mandir and all other spots in the Silk Route circuit in day trips. Zuluk has high diversity of Himalayan fauna. Other beautiful lakes like Jorepokri, Green Lake, Changu Lake and Menmecho Lake are only 25 km away from Nathang Valley. For more sightseeing, you can move ahead to Nathula Pass situated at a height of 14,400 ft above sea level. You will be able to see the border gate of China and India here. Interestingly, you will also find a café at this high altitude offering you piping hot tea and coffee. Nathang Valley looks beautiful in every season, so you can visit the place from June to September when the valley is veiled behind wild flowers. From September to January, the valley gains back a golden hue after the snow thaws from the grassland. From January to April the valley remains under the cover of snow, so if you are looking forward to experience snowfall in winter, this is the ideal time for you. Recently, local villagers have made a few homestays with the help of Government aids. There are two distinct types of homestays at Nathang – the Traditional Type and the Modern Type. Government aided homestays are concrete in structure, having 24 hour electricity supply in every room. Cushioned beds, room heaters, water heaters powered by solar energy and quilts are provided in every room to make the stay very comfortable. Bathrooms are western in style and attached to the rooms for better accessibility. Traditional homestays are made of wood and have Bukharis (traditional wood burners) installed in every room to keep the chill at bay. The traditional homestays also come with very cosy cushioned beds, endless supplies of blankets and attached Western Bathrooms.Food is basic but served hot and home-cooked. The usual menu includes Chapatis and puri-sabjis in the breakfast, egg meals in the afternoon, snacks in the evening and chicken meals in the night. Momos and traditional Sikkimese dishes are mostly available in the evenings. Tea is served throughout the day.


Yumthang Valley

Yumthang Valley is a grazing pasture surrounded by the Himalayan mountains in the North Sikkim district of Sikkim, India. It is at an elevation of 3,564 metres (11,800) above msl at a distance of 150 km from the state capital Gangtok. It is popularly known as 'Valley of Flowers' of Sikkim. It is also home to the Shingba Rhododendron Sanctuary, and has over twenty-four species of the rhododendron, the state flower. A tributary of the river Teesta flows past the valley and the town of Lachung, the nearest inhabited centre. Yumthang is closed between December and March due to heavy snowfall. A forest rest house is the only permanent residence in the valley. During the spring months, the area blooms with rhododendrons, primulas, poppies, iris and other flora. During the summer months, villagers take their cattle to these heights to graze (a practice known as yaylag pastoralism). In view of increasing number of tourists, there is possibility of environmental degradation in near future. Skiing is conducted in the valley. Tourists may travel from Gangtok to Lachung (the nearest village where accommodation is available) by booking a full vehicle or shared one and stay over night. A direct journey to Yumthang is not feasible as roads are commonly foggy and it becomes dark very early around 5:30 pm. A trip to the Valley takes around two hours from Lachung, which is about 125 km from Gangtok.


Yumesamdong - Zero Point

Yumesamdong - Zero Point situated at an altitude of 15500 feet in the Indian state Sikkim. Yumesamdong is very close to the Chinese border. An hour drive beyond Yumthang (26 kms), Yumesamdong is the land of perennial snow. The journey from Yumthang trudges up through the rugged mountain road to Yumesamdong, an area where the sweet fragrance of Ezilia permeates the air. Ezilia is a plant used by the locals as incense. Yumesamdong is a valley grazed by yaks and their nomadic shepherds. Heady, invigorating and exhilarating, words still fail to explain the experience of being at Yumesamdong. Yumesamdong is well known for its hot springs. There are about 14 sulpher hot springs around Yumesamdong.


Muguthang Valley

The Muguthang Valley forms the end part of the trek route from Chopta Valley and is situated in its east. This Valley is situated at an altitude of 15500 ft. Its surroundings provide a view of flat pastures, criss-crossed by a number of snow-fed streams and mountains. The place is primarily liberal from habitations however; certain Tibetan nomadic settlements are still seen here. It is also home to rare species of high altitude ruminants and their predators. The valley is home to the Tibetan community. This the last out post of Indian Army in the eastern part of extreme north Sikim.From here they monitor the Nepal-Tibet boarder.It is also alternative way to green lake, Kanchenjungha base camp.


Tshoka

Tshoka is a small village in the Kanchenjunga National Park in West Sikkim. Few houses perch on a ridge with the valley dropping down from three sides. Basically it's a overnight halt for trekkers going upto Kanchenjunga base. Tshoka  situated at an altitude of 3400 meters above sea level is one of the perfect place to watch the sunrise over Mt. Pandim. Settlement is sparse but cultivation of various crops in summer is a common practice. Tshoka is about 2 kms from Bakhim. The mountain slopes are covered with thick dense forest and exploration off the path is very difficult because of thick vegetation, steep slopes and abundance of leeches. This place is one of the bio-diversity hot-spots in the world, home to several  foreign east-Himalayan birds.


Lachung

Lachung is a town and hill station in northeast Sikkim, India. It is located in the North Sikkim district near the border with Tibet. Lachung is at an elevation of about 9,600 feet (2,900 m) and at the confluence of the Lachen and Lachung Rivers, both tributaries of the River Teesta. The word Lachung means ″small pass″. The town is approximately 125 kilometres (78 mi) from the capital Gangtok. The Indian Army has a forward base in the town. Before the Chinese 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. Tourists 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 Tibetan descent. Languages spoken here are Nepali, Lepcha and Bhutia. During winter the town is usually covered in snow. Lachung is also the base camp for Rhododendron Valley Trek which starts from Yumthang Valley and ends at Lachen Valley. Lachung has been described as the ″most picturesque village of Sikkim″ by British explorer Joseph Dalton Hooker in his definitive, The Himalayan Journal (1855). Skiing is conducted in Phuni near this town.

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