Located in the northern part of Sikkim, almost 144 kilometers from the capital, Gangtok, and 28 kms from Lachung, Mt. Katao is amongst the most spectacular sights you can imagine in the state. However, one has to avail permits from the army to enter the area where this majestic peak is located. This surreal mountain offers the onlookers a splendid view. This destination is also a perfect place for adventure lovers as sports like skiing, snowboarding, snow tubing and stone grinding can be enjoyed here during the winter season.
Best Time to Visit :-
The best time to visit Mount Katao is from March to June. However, in order yto enjoy skiing and snowboarding, winter months of December to February are ideal to visit.
Cradled by beautiful apple orchards of the Lachen Valley, Lachung Monastery is an ancient Buddhist monastery. Crafted with brilliant architecture, the monastery is perched atop 2,750 meters, near the confluence of the rivers Lachen and Lachung, two of the several tributaries of the Teesta river. The gompa is also the base for the Green Lake trek. The edifice was installed in 1806 by the Nyingmapa sect of Buddhism and harbors a majestic statue of Guru Padmasambhava. A prayer wheel stands guard near the entrance of the monastery, leading visitors to the resident Handloom and Handicraft Centre. The Lachung Monastery is one of the most tranquil places to visit in Lachung. The word Lachung means "small mountain". The village is 118 km from Gangtok on the North Sikkim Highway and is the last one before the Indo-Chinese border. It was a trading post between India and Tibet before China forcefully annexed Tibet in 1950. Permits are required for visits to North Sikkim. The monastery hosts a famous mask dance each year.
There is a number of waterfalls on the way to North Sikkim and few are really amazing and must-see waterfalls. But then there is another beautiful waterfall on the road to Katao and it is called as Khanda waterfalls. The Khanda waterfalls are on the road to Katao almost halfway to Katau top is the beautiful Khanda waterfall. The milky white water is perfect to stand under the waterfall and have a natural shower. After crossing this waterfall the climb to Katau top starts with the road taking 17 odd bends to gain altitude. This fall is just close to the Katao mid-point.
From Lachung the distance to Katao is around 25 km and a Khanda waterfall is approximately 18 km. Katao is an attraction for the tourists going to Lachung, as it is the closest snow-point to have some fun. If you go there early in the season, then you can also find snow around the waterfalls itself. But since this area is very close to the China border, it is all under army control. So the accessibility to this road is strictly controlled.
About 21 km away from Bhim Nala Falls, the Naga Falls sits somewhere along the Gangtok - Chungthang road and is easily one of the most spectacular places to visit in Lachung. Another one of the tallest waterfalls In Lachung, this multi-tiered cascade is veered a little ways off the beaten tracks and offers wonderful solitude and respite from the most popular sites in Lachung.
Early morning or evening spent here, amidst the wooded hills, listening to a beautiful medley of sounds that blend in with the tumultuous roar of the falls is an experience that lingers in the heart. Surrounded by the panorama of lofty mountain peaks, Naga Falls is an unmissable place to visit during your Sikkim trip.
Yumthang Valley is a beautiful valley situated in north Sikkim. It is rightfully called a valley of flowers. Yumthang Valley is extremely picturesque, with green slopes covered with trees, yaks grazing in the flower-spangled grassy plains below, and a river flowing right through the valley. The serene and tranquil air of the Valley cannot be described in words. A single visit there can leave the visitor in an enchanted state for weeks.
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.