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How To Reach Changu Lake

How To Reach Changu Lake

Changu Lake, also known as Tsomgo Lake, is a jewel in Sikkim’s crown. This glacial lake, perched at an altitude of 3,753 meters, is a popular tourist destination, captivating visitors with its serene beauty, colorful prayer flags, and spiritual significance.

We will equip you with all the necessary information to plan a memorable trip to Changu Lake. We’ll delve into the various routes, explore travel modes, provide estimated distances and travel times, and equip you with valuable travel tips to ensure a smooth and enriching experience.

Unveiling the Routes to Changu Lake

Your journey to Changu Lake begins in Gangtok, Sikkim’s capital city. From there, you can embark on your adventure via two main routes:

Route 1: Gangtok – Mandakini Falls – Changu Lake (Distance: Approx. 40 km, Time: Approx. 2 hours)

This is the most popular route, offering scenic vistas and a chance to witness the cascading beauty of Mandakini Falls. The drive takes you through winding roads lined with lush greenery and quaint villages.

Route 2: Rongli – Zuluk Valley – Gnathang Valley – Kupup Lake – Baba Harbhajan Singh Mandir – Changu Lake (Distance: Approx. 160 km, Time: Approx. 7-8 hours)

This less-travelled route caters to the more adventurous soul. It traverses through the offbeat Zuluk Valley and Gnathang Valley, offering breathtaking panoramic views of the Himalayas. You’ll encounter Kupup Lake, another scenic marvel, and pay respects at the Baba Harbhajan Singh Mandir, a revered shrine dedicated to an Indian soldier.

Important Note:  Permits are mandatory to visit Changu Lake due to its location in a restricted area. You can obtain permits through travel agents in Gangtok or directly from the Sikkim Tourism Department.

Choosing Your Chariot: Exploring Travel Modes

Here’s a breakdown of the commonly used travel modes to reach Changu Lake, each with its own advantages:

Shared Taxis:

An economical option, shared taxis operate from Gangtok and follow Route 1. They depart early in the morning and return by evening, allowing you ample time to explore the lake.

Private Taxi:  

This offers greater flexibility and comfort. You can negotiate the price with taxi drivers and customize your itinerary to include stops at other attractions along the way. Both routes are accessible via private taxi.


For the adventure enthusiasts, renting a motorbike in Gangtok allows you to explore the scenic routes at your own pace. Ensure you have a valid driving license for a geared motorbike and proper riding gear. Remember, altitude sickness can be a concern, so ride responsibly.

Travel Tip: Regardless of the chosen mode, ensure the vehicle is in good condition and equipped to handle mountain terrain. Brief your driver about the route and permit requirements beforehand.

Demystifying Distances and Travel Times

While the actual travel time can vary depending on traffic and road conditions, here’s a general estimation for each route:

Route 1: This route is the most direct and takes approximately 2 hours to cover 40 km.

Route 2: This longer route, stretching across 160 km, can take anywhere between 7-8 hours, depending on road conditions and the number of stopovers. Factor in additional time for visiting attractions like Zuluk Valley and Baba Harbhajan Singh Mandir.

Important Points to Remember 

  • Start your journey early in the morning to avoid peak traffic and to make the most of daylight hours at the lake.
  • Packing Like a Pro: Essential Travel Tips
  • Here are some key pointers to ensure your trip to Changu Lake is a smooth and enjoyable experience:
  • Clothing: Pack warm clothes, including woolen socks, a jacket, and a scarf. Even during summers, the temperature at the lake can dip significantly.
  • Footwear: Opt for sturdy shoes with good grip to navigate the uneven terrain around the lake.
  • Sunscreen and Sunglasses:  The high altitude makes you more susceptible to sunburn. Pack sunscreen with a high SPF and sunglasses to protect your eyes from the glare.
  • Hydration:  Carry plenty of water to stay hydrated throughout the journey. Dehydration can worsen at high altitudes.
  • Snacks: Pack some light snacks to keep your energy levels up, especially if you choose the longer Route 2.
  • Camera:  Capture the mesmerizing beauty of Changu Lake and its surrounding landscapes.
  • Cash:  While some vendors might accept digital payments, carrying cash is recommended for smaller purchases and convenience.
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