Elevation - 9500 ft +
Latitude - N 27° 15'
Longitude - E 88° 46'
Zuluk is about 3 hours from Gangtok. You need to pre arrange special permit for visiting this restricted area that is issued from a place called Rangli.
The famous silk route that connected Lhasa (Tibet) to Kalimpong was in use even a few decades ago until the Chinese invasion in Tibet. Zuluk / Dzuluk, located in East Sikkim, used to be a small village on this route. It was commonly used by traders traveling to Tibet through Jelep-la ("La" stands for mountain pass) as an overnight base.
Today it is fast emerging as a new tourist destination in East Sikkim. Zuluk derives its tourism importance due to the excellent view of the eastern Himalayan mountain range including the Kanchenjunga that it offers. A trip to the area requires special permits. The permits though would be arranged by naturebeyond, and as a guest you would only need to provide your id proof and photograph.
Zuluk is a small village with population of about 700 people. There is an army base which is used as a transit camp for the army movement to the Chinese boarder a few kilometers away.
During the summer months, the area and its surrounding hills are covered with thousands of blooming rhododendron. Zuluk during these months, is a riot of colors due to the variety of rhododendron that can be seen here.
Sight Seeing around Zuluk
This is a place which you would visit for the beauty of the mountain and the forests rather than going for typical sight seeing tours. A few kilometers drive would take the tourists through a winding road to the Thambi view point; at an altitude of 11,200 ft provides excellent sunrise view. The entire eastern Himalaya can be viewed from this spot.
On the way to Thambi view point you can also stop over to the spot where a group of local people have reportedly seen the Yeti. The story of "Yeti", "Bonzhakri" and other folklore seems very plausible sitting besides the small fire in the night under the open moonlit sky. Listing to those stories from the locals may itself turn out to be a good reason to visit Zuluk.
Normally visitors sight seeing is limited to going to the Thumbi view point, if you are the adventurous type, and dont mind a little bit of physical challange, naturebeyond may arrange special permits for going much beyond. Further ahead you will reach Lungtung at an altitude of 13,000 ft.. You may continue till you visit the Adi baba mandir and the Kalpokhri lake. Further one may go up to Kupup and Memenchu lake. Kupup is another army base and is known for the highest golf course in the world at an altitude of 13,500 ft. The Memenchu lake is also known as the hati lake (Elephant lake) as the contours of the lake looks like an elephant from up the hills.
The road further ahead connects with the famous Tsongo lake near Gangtok. Other places that can be reached in this area include the Tukla valley, where there is a war memorial in remembrance of the battle of Tukla. The Jelep la pass can also be reached from here. However special permits are required to travel to this area.
Zuluk at an altitude of about 7,000 ft offers pleasant weather during most of the year. The rainy season is a little protracted and heavy to very heavy showers are common. The winter may see snowfall in the area. The summer temperature would be varying near 20 degree Celsius with substantial difference between the day and night temperature. Tourists visiting the area are advised to carry worm clothing and umbrella.
Zuluk is surrounded by wild forest, some of the forests are completely virgin. Sighting of Deer, Wild Dog, Himalayan Bear the red panda is not very uncommon. Some tigers have also reportedly been sighted in the area. A variety of birds can also be seen such as Monal Pheasant, Blood Pheasant, Khaleez Pheasant, Snow Pheasant and others.
Where to Stay
There is no hotel around here. The only option is to stay at the home stay accommodations. The facilities are basic. Mr. Gopal Pradhan is a local who has taken great initiatives to put Zuluk in the tourism map. Most of naturebeyond guests stay at his house. Mr. Pradhan has a hands-on approach towards satisfying the guests. He also often drives his own vehicle to take tourists for local sight seeing.
How to reach
Zuluk can be reached directly from Bagdogra airport or NJP railhead. The drive takes about 6 hours (depending on road condition). You can also visit Zuluk from Kalimpong (4 hours) or Gangtok (3 hours).