from Gangtok up to Tsomgo Lake at 3780m altitude.
The distance is 38 km and
the difference in altitude from Gangtok (at
1547 m) is about 2000 m. It's indeed
two-hour drive, climbing all the way and passing by a seemingly
number of Indian army
bases. Of course there was no end of army trucks since this is
the way that goes to Nathula, the Tibet border - so China.
didn't make the driving any easier but the driver was good and we also
had a guide since the driver didn't speak any English. The car was also
a pretty big and sturdy 4-wheel drive.
Himalayan mountain sides
winding road on the hillside
There were plenty of yaks for tourists to go for a ride on, accompanied
by a handler.
handler and tourists bargaining
for the price for a ride
bazaar and one western tourist -
practically no other Occidentals up here
We didn't find much to eat here and facilities are better not
mentioned. But there were cute little metal Buddhist temples to
buy and all sorts of things. An amazingly soft and fluffy yak
cost about 30€, so we didn't get one. Most of the tourists
were Asians, probably Indians who, like us, had a hard time
themselves understood, since they don't speak Nepali.
that goes on to Nathula and China,
closed to non-Indian tourists
around the pavilion back to
the way we had come
We took a walk around a big part of the lake, to a pavilion surrounded
by prayer flags that sits on a spit of land sticking out into
lake on the far side from the touristy side. There are
enormous numbers of rhododendron bushes above the hillside form the pavilion. They are said to
bloom in February, which sounds strange, since that is the month when
the snow starts. You can barely make out the pavilion in the
Siv next to the pavilion -
temperature about 5°C
dressed John by the pavilion.
Prayer flags were seen in great numbers all
over. The order of the colors is important,
always blue, white, red, green and yellow.
taking a ride on a yak. The boy
spoke English well but the handler didn't.
stands on the tourist side of the
lake - and, actually, one other western
|A final view of bazaar, tourists and yaks
The lake itself wasn't really worth the trip but the drive up was. The yaks
and the bazaars were quite an experience as well and the highly
primitive conditions in general. We did find some chowmein to eat, but
I wouldn't call the place a restaurant. A room inside the bazaar that was out in the
front. One hard bench, one table and the very young daughter serving
our food. Mineral water is always available though. And of course Coca Cola.