Yuksom – A small village in West Sikkim where metal road ends and trekking route for Kanchenchunga starts. With a population of ~2,000, Yuksom can be covered walking from one end to another in about three hours including all viewpoints and more at leisurely pace. But this is not why you would come here after ~4hr drive. Yuksom is the perfect place to cut off from the world, and relax in the lap of nature. Internet is available but only through mobile towers, and not to in abundance either. With no ATM either, you can very easily forget the rest of the world. Here, life is a true rural and authentic life comforted by development minus its distractions. Everyone knows everyone, kids run and laugh on the streets while coming back from school. No one laughs while going there! Life starts early, and ends the day early too.
The main reason of visiting Yuksom is to trek. From day-trekking routes to longer 3 – 10 day treks exists which can be trekked on your own (only day) or with a porter. For overnight treks, porter is compulsory. Going in groups of five is best in terms of cost and comfort though four and six member groups are also popular. If you are alone or two, you can join a group or make your own group with fellow travelers having tea at Gupta restaurant. Also, going on the unmetal roads will lead you to small remote villages and help you understand how difficult life can be in remote regions of the world. You are also rewarded with some serenity and beautiful scenery to compensate for your trek. If you are keen on trekking, then I will recommend atleast five day trek, if not more, going till Dzongri with night halt at Tshoka. Doing five day trek will allow you to see magnificent scenery and view of snow clad Khangchendzonga peak. Please be advised that trekking route of Khangchendzonga is regarded as one of the more toughest routes, hence better than average fitness is highly helpful.
Historically, when monarchy reigned, Yuksom was the old capital of Sikkim. Old palace and lake from where water for coronation ceremony came still exist and so does the modern practice of recycling through the conservation center to maintain ecology of Sikkim. A recycling center of garbage from trekking is located right at the entry point of trekking route. It strictly monitors amount of plastic and cans going up and then coming back at the end of trek. There are no ATMs in this village, and the nearest is in Pelling which is usually out of order. Going down to Geyzing (1hr from Yuksom) might be required.
There are few hotels – budget and mid-tier but only one independent restaurant operates in the village known as Gupta restaurant. However it will be advisable to stay in homestay to experience the local life and enjoy comforts of home. More details and bookings can be found / done on Sikkim tourism website
Pelling, nearby popular tourist spot, offers breathtaking views but noise and traffic too. The most advisable way to see Pelling, which is also frequented by local tourists, is to stay in Yuksom, and do a day trip to Pelling. Get down at the scenic spots / waterfall and explore on foot. Else, spend a night in Pelling and charge your batteries, and trek to Yuksom through the various trekking trails and seeing the monasteries on the way.