Why Should I Go
As you enter the valley of Thangu, be prepared to witness the blood pheasant in all its glory. The state bird of Sikkim is hard to miss what with the bright red feathers crowning its throat, breast and forehead. These majestic creatures inhabit regions of higher elevation, and Thangu situated at an elevation of 13,500ft is a birdwatcher’s paradise in the summer months.
Four rivers flow through this picturesque valley. The main one being the River Teesta whose waters shimmer in the sunlight as you stroll past alpine meadows. Lassur, Chopta and Thangu rivers make their way through here and if you’re looking for a perfect short trek, Thangu Valley is the place for you.
How Do I Get There
In order to get to Thangu, you first need to travel to the northern town of Lachen, around 110kms from Gangtok. From Lachen, it is a 30km ride to the village of Thangu. Make sure you hire a vehicle well in advance, preferably in Gangtok, since Thangu doesn’t have jeep hiring options.
Thangu doubles up as the rest point for those interested in treks to Chopta valley, Muguthang and Green Lake. Make sure you spend some time at Thangu acclimatizing to the high altitudes. The village of Thangu is well connected to Gangtok and getting there shouldn’t be too much of a hassle.
Since Thangu is a restricted area you need a special permit from the tourism office. This pass can be arranged from the North District Headquarters at Mangan, or Gangtok.
When Should I Land Up
If you’re planning a trip between October and March, be prepared to witness Thangu covered in white. This valley, because of its high altitude, is nearly always covered in snow and as you drive down towards it, the view is bright and pristine. While this is not the usual time to visit Thangu, it certainly is the most peaceful and you can have the place all to yourself.
However, the best time to visit Thangu Valley is between March and June. That’s when the snow begins to melt and lush green vegetation sprouts up from the ground. Thangu is magically transformed into a summer dream. If you want to explore the birds and animals of Thangu, the summer months are ideal.
The Finer Details
The village of Thangu is home to a number of Nomadic tribes and their tents and hunts dot the valley adding to its beauty. Alpine vegetation is spread across the slopes making Thangu a must-visit region.
Make sure you carry snacks and water if you’re doing a short trek in Thangu Valley. Also, respect the privacy of the locals and do not harass them for photographs. They’re friendly people and you should extend the same courtesy as you pass their settlements.