Tsomgo Lake – The holy lake of Sikkim
Travel to Tsomgo Lake or commonly pronounced as Changu Lake, one of the holy lake of Sikkim via different mediums. It is situated in Gangtok District previously known as East District of Sikkim. The glacial lake is at an altitude of 3753 meters or 12313 feet above sea level. It is around 40 kms away from the capital of Sikkim, Gangtok.
This is a holy lake considered sacred by the local community. It is one of the most important pilgrimage site in Sikkim. This place is a popular tourist destination with huge number of visitors round the year. It is famous for its scenic beauty. Summer and the autumn months are the most favourable time to visit Tsomgo lake. The lake is covered by mountains on all side. Those mountains are covered with snow most of the time in a year. The lake is frozen during the winter time. The lake is alive with rainbow trout and brown trout. These species are native to this place.
Travel to Tsomgo lake via Air
Sadly, there is no any airport near Tsomgo lake. You cannot reach Tsomgo lake directly by air. The nearest airport to Tsomgo lake is Pakyong Greenfield Airport. Though it has recently been constructed and made operational, hence there are very few flights here. Your schedule may not work according to the flights available. Hence it is not receommended. The next nearest airport is Bagdogra airport in Siliguri around 120+ kilometers in west Bengal. You can check out our Guide to on How to reach Gangtok by air.
From Bagdogra, you can hire a taxi or take a bus to Gangtok. From Gangtok you can book a taxi, shared or full, to Tsomgo lake via a travel agent. You will need a pass for travelling to Tsomgo lake from the Sikkim Tourism Department. The Travel agent will arrange the pass for you on providing the necessary documents.
Travel to Tsomgo lake by Train
The nearest railway station is over 120 kilometers aways. The nearest railway station is New Jalpaiguri Railway station at Siliguri, West Bengal. You will have to reach siliguri before travelling to Tsomgo lake via Gangtok.
You can get a taxi or a bus from siliguri to go to Gangtok. The availability of the public transport if frequent in this route. Once you reach Gangtok, you can book a private car, taxi or shared one to travel to Tsomgo Lake. Also remember to grab a permit to Tsomgo Lake. There are other destination around Tsomgo lake for which permit is necessary. So it is better to get a permit for all the places that you are planning to visit at one go. It is advised to read our guide for obtaining permit before proceeding.
Travel to Tsomgo lake by Road
Tsomgo lake is around 38 kilometers from Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim. Tsoomgo lake is well connected by roads with every corner of the country. It can be easily reached by road.
Any one travelling to Tsomgo lake first need to reach gangtok. You can check out our guide on how to reach Gangtok to know the details. Once you are at Gangtok, you may need to acclimatize with the local environment. Since the Tsomgo Lage is situated at high altitude, hence there is very low concentration of Oxygen. Children and elderly are not advised to visit Tsomgo lake. Other visitors are advised to stay at Gangtok for coouple of days so you can get acclimatized with the altitude. You can check our Guide for visiting high altitude areas in Sikkim. Then you are ready to visit Tsomgo lake.
The most convenient way to reach Tsomgo lake through road is by hiring a taxi. One can take a shared taxi from the main taxi stand in Gangtok. Also you if you are under the tight budget then you would probably want to get a shared taxi via any suitable travel agents operating for Tsomgo lake. Round trip is possible from Gangtok and you can reach back gangtok after visiting the lake.
Winding mountain road with an spectacular views lead to Tsomgo lake. It is very challenging to those drivers who have no prior experience driving in hilly terrain. You are advised to take local taxi rather than using private vehicle. The curves are very sharp which may lead to motion sickness. Motion sickness pills are advised before taking the trip.
Things to Remember
There are few key things thate needs to be taken care of before or while visiting Tsomgo lake
- Permits are necessary : Tsomgo lake falls under protected area, hence it is mandatory to get a protected area permit before visiting the place or before even starting the journey. You will be stopped at the checkpost for verification. It is absolutely not possible to go to Tsomgo lake without a permit.
- Climate acclimatization : Climate acclimatization is necessary due to high altitude. The presence of low level of oxygen makes it very difficult to breath. It is advised to consult the doctor before taking the trip. Children and elderly are not advised for this trip.
- Motion Sickness : Motion sickness is very common due to the windling roads. The sharp curves makes it very likely to catch a motion sickness. Over the counter medicines are available for motion sickness. We strongly advised you to grab some before the trip.
- Respect local culture : It is advised to take extra care on not hurting the local sentiment. The place is sacred and a pilgrimage site for the local. It is thus advised to take extra precaution on any activities that you may do.