Changu Lake

Located at a height of 12400 ft. from the sea level, Changu Lake offers a panoramic sight that few other places can parallel. The glacial ice melts into crystal clear water, forming the body of Lake Tsongmo, or Changu Lake. The lake is located in the state of Sikkim in India, cradled by the Himalayan Mountain Range. Just few kilometers away from the India-China border, the lake is near one of the well-known passes in the Himalaya, Nathula Pass. ‘The source of the lake’ as the name Tsongmo means, is indeed the source of unique natural beauty.

Changu Lake also knwn as Tsongmo lake or Tsomgo lake. It is a glacial lake in the east Sikkim district.

Within some minutes of drive taking off, Gangtok is left behind and the matur beauty of a we t temperature forest takes over. Slopes laden with oaks, pines and ash begin. The wind gets colder. You get a stop at hte tiny settlement of Kyongnosla for tea, a picture-postcard alpine village beside the Rongchu stream, where unprepared travellers can buy glove and woollen socks. Then mountains near the tree line start losing their greenery. Glacial frozen streams define solid, shining white trajectoris down the mountains. The fog shines silver. Greenery gives way to red or brown thorny shrubs. Then, they all give way to snow.

Language spoken is Tsomgo.


Travel Tips

The best time to visit Changu is during the months between May and August. Winter is extremely cold here and the road gets frozen completely.

Also, you will need to obtain pass beforehand as the place is located in a sensitive area.

The lake gets frozen in winters and it is the time when tourists can best enjoy a Yak safari on snow. Weather is often pretty unpredictable at Changu Lake and the best time to visit the lake is 

When to visit

  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • July
  • Aug
  • Sept
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec
sprinkles Very Cold
  • 8.4° Max
  • 3.0° Min
  • 15.0 mm
  • Carry Heavy woollen
Things to do

The main attraction of the place is of course the lake itself. Depending on what time of year it is, you may find the lake sporting a frozen top, or reflecting the surrounding mountains in its crystal clear water. The lake is also famous for its changing colour. In fact, in earlier days, Buddhist monks used to read the changing colour of the lake to predict the future. You can also take a ride on one of the many colourfully yaks. If you do not want to ride a yak, you have the choice of taking a ride atop a mule, which is equally colourfully decorated. And if all this riding makes you hungry, do not worry. The place has a number of food stalls which sell the local delicacies. The food also forms part of the to-do list while making a trip to Lake Tsongmo. There is also a small temple dedicated to Lord Shiva which you can pay a visit to. While the lake itself is very beautiful, the landscape is equally so. There are many flowering trees which when in full bloom transform the entire landscape. Some of the trees that you can see here are primulas, rhododendrons, iris, and blue and yellow poppies. The lake is also a known place where the Brahmini ducks reside. Several other species of migratory ducks come here to stop on their way to warmer locations. If you are lucky, you can spot a red panda, an animal which is now endangered.

Getting Around

There are not too many buses that ply near Lake Changu. You will need to take long walks around the place to get from one place to another. There are shared taxis which operate within a fixed area. You can also rent cycles from some of the locals in Gangtok and use these to explore the locality. If you need to go somewhere a bit far away, you can arrange for a private car or cab in advance.

Places to Stay

As the place is a major tourist spot, there are a number of hotels that can be found in this region. Hotels are all based in Gangtok. Depending on how much you want to spend on lodging, you can splurge by booking your rooms in a luxury hotel, or go light on your pocket by staying at a budget hotel. There are several paying guest situations as well. If you are interested in that, the local tourist bureau can help you find the right one.

How to Reach

  • You can also go to the Lake Tsongmo by booking your seats on a plane. The nearest airport is at Bagdogra. From the airport, the distance to Changu is around 150 km. You can cover the remaining portion of the journey by taking a shared taxi or bus. Cars for rent are also available.
  • The nearest rail station to Changu is located at New Jalpaiguri. The station there is connected to the major stations in West Bengal, and via that to the rest of the country. Train fare to New Jalpaiguri should fall in the region between Rs.500 and Rs.2200 depending on which class you are travelling in. You can book your tickets from,, and From the station, buses and taxis can be obtained to reach Changu. From New Jalpaiguri station its a two and a half hours journey to Changu Lake. The cab charge falls within 1200 to 1500 INR.
  • Changu is well connected to Siliguri and Gangtok. Buses leave for Changu from both these places. You will also get shared taxis and private cars. While private cars will cost you around Rs.1000, shared taxis ply for around Rs.80 per passenger.

Surrounding Attractions

There are a number of places that you can go to after you have been to Changu. Ranka Monastery is quite nearby and attracts a lot of tourists. You can also go to Saramsa Garden. The place is noted for its beautiful flowers and colourful butterflies. Shingba Rhododendron Sanctuary is another place to go.

Less than 3 hours away lies the city of Gangtok in all its grandness. Further two and a half hours from Gangtok you will find the famous Baba Mandir, a temple dedicated to a brave soldier. This has turned into a major crowd puller in the area.

Emergency No.

Police: 222033

Fire brigade: 222001

Hospital: 222944