Lachen was once a quaint village of old wooden homes on sturdy stone bases with ornate Tibetan-style window frames. These days, however, it's largely a mass of concrete box hotels serving streams of Indian tourists heading for Gurudongmar Lake. The scene is more attractive up by the Lachen (Nyudrup Choeling) Gompa, a 15-minute walk above the town.
Lachen can also be used as the trailhead for eight-day expeditionary treks to Green Lake (5050m) towards Khangchendzonga’s northeast face. The trek is partly along the Zemu Glacier, considered the legendary home of the yeti (aka 'the abominable snowman'). Until 2015, permits had to be applied for in Delhi and could take months. But that's changed – at least for a trial period – and the paperwork can now be sorted in a week or so. Contact Namgyal Treks & Tours in Gangtok for information and assistance.