This piece of advice contains the fact of Kanchenjunga Base Camp Trek collecting feedback from our recent client and a guide who explored the region, last season makes perfect reading for 2020. Stay tight and enjoy the readings.
Why Kanchenjunga Trek
It is a remote and off-the-beaten-path in Nepal. Only about 2,000 tourist hikes Kanchenjunga Compear to 30,000 tourists in Everest Base Camp Trek.
Kanchenjunga Trek is surrounded by third the highest mountain in the world, including Kanchenjunga main. Not to mention, that two north and south Basecamp are all above 5,000m. Very few places on this earth will have these combinations!
Magnificent landscape, trail runs through the valley and sceneries of Wedge Peak (6,750 m), Mera (6,344 m), Nepal Peak (6,910 m), and Twins (7,351 m)
Kanchenjunga Base Camp Trek offers a lot more side-trips than any other trail, and You can spend more than three weeks and venture into different places like Ghunsa, Khambachen, Yamphuding, South and Noth Base Camp.
It is part of The Great Himalayan Trail (GHT). The Kanchenjunga trek in is one of the significant components of “The Great Himalayan Trail’ – a single long-distance trekking trail from the east end to the west end of Nepal, includes a total of roughly 1,700 km hiking path.
|Kanchenjunga Base Camp Trek||Quick fact|
|The third highest mountain in the world||8,586 m|
|Trek difficulty||4 of 5 (Strenuous)|
|Best season||March, April, May, October, November, December|
|Accommodation||Tea house / Homestay|
|Trek starting & ending point||Taplejung|
|Mode of transport||Flight / Local bus / Local Jeep|
|Trekking days||Three3 weeks (20-21 days)|
Kanchenjunga Trek is one of the restricted areas in Nepal. This means you are required to have a guide or a registered porter and permit through the local agency in Nepal. You will need two permits for the trek.
|Kanchenjunga Trekking Permit Cost|
|Kanchenjunga Conservation Area Project Permit Cost||NPR 2,000 per person|
|Kanchenjunga Restricted Area Permit||USD 20 per person, per week|
|Minimum required for three weeks permit||USD 20×3 = 60 Per person|
|Total permit cost for one person||USD 80|
Documents and Time to issue a permit
Ir order to get the Kanchenjunga Trek Permit, It is required to have a copy of the passport, ID image, and original passport with the visa stamp. It will take only 3-4 hours to get the permit from Sunday to Friday (10:00 am to 5 PM) Please make sure there is no public holiday. If you don’t have a day to spear in Kathmandu for the permit, some company also offers to expedite permits without an original passport and visa. Please contact us if you want a trekking permit to be issued in advance or check with your company.
Guide and Porter Cost
While Nepal has some trekking trails where tourists can trek even without a guide, this doesn’t apply to Kanchenjunga. It is also required that at least two trekkers should be in a group to get the trek permit. Or trek with “Ghost Permit.” (Paying double an amount of permit cost and travel with real person name) If you are hiking alone, please check with your company if they can pair with you, or they could get you a ghost permit.
Hiring a professional guide for Kanchenjunga is slightly expensive than any other trek in Nepal. On average, the fee is about USD 30 to 35 per day, and this includes the guide’s food, accommodation, and insurance. It is all due to the expensive food cost for the guide. They are also required to pay a similar price as a tourist in Kanchenjunga. Unlike other trekking regions, the guide gets a discount on food.
|Guide and Porter Cost For Kanchenjunga Trek|
|Professional Guide with (Training, Licence, and field experience)||USD 35 per day|
|Professional Porter/ Guide with (Training, Licence, field experience)||USD 33-35 per day|
|Experience Trekking porter||USD 28-30 per day|
We are also often asked by our client if it is possible to only trek with a porter in Kanchenjunga. The answer is Yes, this is possible!!! However, the cost of hiring a porter is not that much different from hiring a guide. But due to the cost of food and insurance, it is a bit costlier. I would say roughly USD 30 to 35 a day inclusive of food, accommodation, and insurance would be the cost of hiring a porter for Kanchenjunga trek.
Similarly, we were often asked to design the itinerary with a porter guide (A learning guide) as well. That would cost roughly USD 32-35 a day. The good things about having a porter guide also helps to share the load and guide you through the trail. Let’s say one person who can do both jobs as a guide and a porter.
However, It is highly recommended that you go with a professional guide for safety reasons, and you could be sure of the experience and rigid training they went through to get their license. Of course, this all depends on you as long as you don’t go trekking on your own in Kanchenjunga without a guide or porter. It is not allowed by the government.
What to expect a Guide from our company?
We take your security and safety seriously, so we ensure all our guides have undergone proper professional training and received a license from the government.
- The majority of the professional guides from NEST Adventure are born and raised in the mountain region and specializes in restricted trekking areas in Nepal (GHT Trail) such as Manaslu, Tsum Valley, Upper Mustang, Kanchenjunga and Narphu. So they know their way very well in these mountains.
- All our guides have been to Kanchenjunga at least 2 to 3 times every year so you can be sure of their experience in this terrain in this area.
- Most of our guide is young but very experienced and well educated. They can converse in English very well, and in some cases, in other languages too.
- Apart from safety, we want to make sure you will enjoy your time with NEST Adventure. All our guides have been received 5 out of a scale of 5 ratings from our previous clients. Please review here.
- Each of our guides has a good relationship with locals and teahouse owners along the way. So there is not an issue with communication with tea houses or finding accommodation.
- To make sure you would have a good rapport with the guide, we arrange for meetings with a guide before the departure or even on the phone before you confirm trek with us. You can ask the guide for questions and test knowledge and experience, and if, for some reason, you are not satisfied, we would be happy to provide another guide that will match your requirements. Please, do hesitate to contact us, if you are looking for someone like I just described (email: email@example.com)
How to find a good company that specialized for Kanchenjunga Trek
Here are some tips on how to find a suitable travel company for your next adventure to Kanchenjunga. Some of my suggestions below could save a couple of hundred dollars but still end up with the best service. At the same time even if you choose to go with big brother (expensive company), you should make sure if the company you want has all of this!
- Look for a company that is not listed on the top advertising section page of Google because these companies would pass on the cost of advertisement to clients.
- Look for a company that has been listed at least on the second or third page of Google, as local companies in Nepal do not have enough resources or finances to compete with large international travel companies on the first page of Google.
- Avoid third party booking agencies as it is likely the local travel companies are required to pay at least 15%-30% commission to these third-party websites.
- Look for a company legal document page to make sure they are registered and appropriately licensed by the Nepal government.
- Check what other travelers say about the company, such as Tripadvisor. These are independent reviews done by clients and verified by Tripadvisor so you can be sure of the type of service these companies are capable of. If they treat 90% of their clients well, chances are, you will experience the same service.
- Check with a local company if their guide has a license, first aid and high altitude training, insurance, and accompanied by the right hiking gear.
- Check with a company if they are concern about your safety. If the local agency has a contract with a helicopter company in case of an emergency. You may not need this service, but in emergencies, this is VERY important.
- Before your guide call to the helicopter, the company makes sure the company provides advice called Plush Oximeter. This device will help to track if your body has acclimatized or not? Do you need to cancel this trip in the middle and go back to the hospital? Which also to prevent altitude sickness that keeps tracks of daily report of Blod oxygen level (SPO2) and Blod pressure BPM.
- Compare prices with at least a few other companies, so you know you are getting a good deal. At the same time, do not go too low or too high. Stay with a medium one.
- A local company would appreciate if you write a positive review or recommendation in other travel forum or websites. You may get a discount for you and your friends!
- Make it a secure and safe payment gateway! Like Paypal e-transfer etc. Do not pay 100% in advance. However, most of the company requires at least some percentage of the total amount as a booking confirmation.
- Agree to meet with a guide before the departure, so you know the level of the guide.
- Bring Cash! Instead of paying by card. You will save 4.2% if you pay in cash
- If you would like to try how we do in our company, please give us a quick inquiry at firstname.lastname@example.org
Transportation and Flight Cost
The only convenient way to reach the trekking starting point for Kanchenjunga is to take the 45-minute flight to Bhadrapur and ride a local bus or jeep again to Taplejung for about 6-7 hour. For someone willing to take a long drive from Kathmandu (11-12 hour), there is also night but to Jhapa, Birtamod, and retake another ride to Taplejung for about 6-7 hours. Traveling to Kanchenjunga trek starting point on a local bus might be a cheaper option but not convenient. It is essential to understand how transportation to trailhead works while planning a Kanchenjunga Base Camp Trek itinerary. A lot of companies didn’t have the right information, as mostly they like to re-write someone’s knowledge. Here I am offering you my first-hand information.
- Do not rely on Suketar airport. Only two flights in a week available, which is very uncertain due to the weather. No major flight companies are available in the Kathmandu Suketar Kathmandu sector. Nepal airlines have the service, but it is well known, their service is the worst of all.
- The earliest flight to Bhadrapur is only after 10:00 am from Kathmandu. Which means you will arrive Bhadrapur in the midday If you managed to catch the earliest flight.
- As soon as you arrive in Bhadrapur, a private jeep is available at the airport. Or if you wish to travel by a local bus/share jeep, you are required to drive to the Birthamood bus station and catch the local Jeep to Taplejung.
- From Bhadrapur to Taplejung, it is roughly 10-11 hours of drive through the windy mountain road. A lot of Kanchenjunga hikers were upset for a long journey on the road. Especially when you start driving in the middle of the day, you will reach Taplejung in the middle of the night, which is not a pleasant experience. If you may have done some research about the itinerary, you will quickly notice some startup company would create a plan from Kathmandu to Taplejung in one day. Or even Kathmandu to Birthamod. But from our client’s feedback, we would highly recommend you to make this journey in two days. It will allow you to be in comfort, and driving during daylight means safe, enjoyable, and panoramic drive.
If you wish to make yourself comfortable, you should follow day 01 from Kathmandu to Bhadrapur and 4-5 hour drive to Ilam. Instead of spending a night in Bhadrapur city, Ilam is much more beautiful and one of the most popular destinations in Nepal due to the tea garden. The last jeep to Ilam from Bhadrapur is available until 3:30 pm.
|Transportation cost list for Kanchenjunga Trek|
|One way flight cost to Bhadrapur||USD 141×2 = 282 per person|
|Bhadrapur to Taplejung local bus or local jeep cost||USD 15×2 = 30 per person|
|Bhadrapur to Taplejung on a private jeep cost||USD 250 – 300 per Jeep|
|Kathmandu to Birtamod distance||440 km Travelling time – 11- 12 hour|
|Birtamod to Taplejung||114 km Travelling time 6-7 hour|
FOOD Cost in Kanchenjunga Trek?
Since Kanchenjunga is one of the remote areas of Nepal, the cost of food is generally more expensive here due to the far proximity of the market, and menu choices are limited. Those who have been to other base camps in Nepal should be familiar with the rule that the cost of food increases as the elevation increases. This is because it becomes harder to transport food. Higher the elevation, harder the food supplies if the area is more remote.
From Taplejung up to Basecamp, supplies are being transported by pure hard work by men and mule, so you could imagine how much effort goes into each soup you will eat in the region. You may want to budget roughly USD 7-8 per meal. So maybe USD 25 to 30 daily. Of course, this would vary how much appetite you might have in each lunch and your beverages. If you have been to Everest Base Camp, the cost is relatively the same or slightly higher. Everest is still more expensive than any other trek in Nepal.
What to expect from food in the Kanchenjunga region
- Each tea house offers a restaurant with continental food, which you can choose from the menu.
- Frequently any vegetables served in tea houses are produced from their field. The vegetable is usually organic, so good for your health.
- Not every camp offers meat (chicken, mutton, and pork. Please note that beef is almost non-existent here.) However, some places Yak meat is available. If they do, you should check with your guide if this is fresh before you placed the order. Because of the altitude and weather, it is sometimes difficult to raise these animals for consumption. Storing the meat over the winter could also be challenging. Better safe than sorry. Please ensure you raise this with your guide so he can check first.
- You won’t find tea houses anytime you are hungry. So when you need that boost, please bring an energy bar or chocolate for the trip, and it could make a lot of difference.
- “Dal Bhat power for 24 hours” The most common Nepali dish allows you to eat rice as much as you can, with no additional cost. Rice is good as you need carbohydrates for that trek!
- While it is generally clean, please take a lot of caution when buying local food or drinking water.
Accommodation in Kanchenjunga Trek
When I trekked Kanchenjunga in 2009, I remember we had to sleep in Yakherd, and dinner was served Yak milk, Yak cheese, and rice pudding made from Yak milk. Since then, it has changed a lot in the Kanchenjunga region. However, talking about this year, I assure you, basic accommodation is not an issue at all in Kanchenjunga as tea houses have started to spring up in each camp. For a small group, up 6 at a time wouldn’t be a problem. The cost for one twin sharing room is roughly USD 6 to USD 9 a night. If you are renting one room with two twin beds so you could sleep on your own, please be reminded that you must pay for the total cost of the room, meaning the price for two people.
What to expect accommodation in the Kanchenjunga region
Next to food, where exactly would you sleep? Usually, there are simple tea houses for accommodation in the Kanchenjunga region, but please be reminded of the following:
- Basic private room with shared toilet is mostly available throughout the trek. However, please expect a couple of nights where you may need to sleep in very basic accommodation share a room with other trekkers during high season, or you may even end up sleeping in the tent.
- Bring a sleeping bag and Sleeping pad with you. Although beds, blankets, pillows, etc. may be provided, you will not be sure that these are cleaned enough like in the city before you use it. Also, the weather could be, so sleeping bags are a must.
- Extra blankets are provided in each camp at no additional cost except maybe one night in Basecamp before the high.pass. In this area, you are required to pay NPR 200-300 per extra blanket.
- Warm heater or bonfire will be provided in the communal area in most of the camp but only during dinner time. Enjoy the time here to mingle with local Nepalis and fellow travelers. Apart from this time, tea houses do not have heaters in rooms or a communal area
- The toilets are very basic, and they usually are outside building so please make sure if you are using toile at night bring someone with you especially if jungle wildlife surrounds the camp and snow leopard is everywhere in Kanchenjunga. Also, bring enough wipes or toilet paper with you (these are also available for purchase tea houses if you run out).
- Do not bargain to fix prices such as the cost of the food which is written on the menu.
- Do not enter into their kitchen without permission.
- Tea houses usually charge additional for hot water for bathing or for charging mobile phones, cameras, etc. You may want to bring a power bank with you or some solar battery.
Cost of the Drinks in Kanchenjunga Trek?
The cost of tea and coffee are relatively the same as in other mountain region but slightly cheaper than in Everest Base Camp.
A cup of tea – USD 1.5- 4
A cup of coffee – USD 2 – 4
A bottle of beer – USD 2 – 5
A bottle of water / soda – USD 0.5 – 4
Drinking water in the Kanchenjunga region
- Bottled water is available to buy in each camp (roughly NPR 200 (USD 2) in the lower elevation and NPR 400 (USD 4) in the higher altitude)
- The majority of trekkers use water purification drops or tablets or water filters to save money.
- You don’t need to carry more than two liters of water during the day. Usually, the water source is available every one to two hours of walking distance where you can refill water. Please make sure with guide water sources are available along the way.
- Carry at least one water bottle which is suitable for hot and cold water.
- Relatively, the water in the mountain is not as polluted as in the city and is usually drinkable. You will see locals and your guide drinking this water with no issues. However, to be safe, please make sure you use the water purification drop.
- Your body needs plenty of water at this elevation, so please drink as much as you can and stay away from dehydration.
How difficult is Kanchenjunga Trek?
Difficulties in trekking in the Himalayas frequently become an altitude sickness. Due to the long days before reaching high altitude, the success rate of Kanchenjunga trek is still much higher than Everest Base Camp or any other trek in Nepal. Based on our experience, around 95% of our groups managed to complete the Kanchenjunga with no altitude sickness issues. Someone who has no previous high altitude hiking experience has done this trek with no problem. However, doesn’t mean it’s as easy as walking in the park. If you precisely ask me Kanchenjunga trek difficulty score, I would give 5 out of 4.5 ratings. Most certainly you need to be physically fit. Be ready to walk at least 6-7 hours a day with 400-500m of elevation gain every day.
Trek essentials (What to pack for Kanchenjunga Trek)
- Climbing Ropes is not needed
- No Ice ax required as you are not ascending ice peak
- Goretex or expedition jacket head to two down is not necessary.
- A tent is not necessary as the basic tea house are available
What you need are:
- Hiking boot (high ankle boot recommended)
- Microspikes (for the ice weather)
- Sleeping bag
- Sleeping mat
- Down Jacket
- Pair of the thermal sweater to keep you warm inside
- Pair of comfortable dry hiking pants
- Hiking socks (woolen socks are recommended)
- Hiking bag (minimum 50l+10)
Additionally, you could consider taking, warm hat/ head cover, scarf, sunglass, lip guard, sun cream, trekking pole, headlamp, windproof gloves, water bottle, water purification drop, camera accessory, first aid kit, etc. A detailed trekking essential list will be provided upon request. Please email us.
Telecommunication and wifi facilities in Kanchenjunga Region
Only 30% of the area in Kanchenjunga has a cell phone signal. However, some of the camps have a satellite phone for emergency contact. Only Some lodges in the Kanchenjunga region offer wi-fi for an extra charge. If you want to bring a 4G sim card with an internet package, we would recommend having Ncell. Less then in USD 10, you can buy an internet package in Kathmandu. Make sure you have one of them before departure.
Just until Amjilosa (which is 5 days trek from Taplejung) personal phone of the guide will work which is less than 3,000m in elevation completely safe zone. No altitude sickness alert.
Before North Base Camp, Lhnok, and Kambachen has a satellite phone in the camp. Before North Basecamp this is where possible help might need. So in case, you need to connect Kathmandu for the support it is possible. If someone becomes sick, this is the altitude line where the satellite phone is available.
No Satellite phone in the South Base Camp, but think about this way! If you survive in North Base Camp, Sele Le pass is lower and easy then south base camp. It is easy because you are already acclimatized to North Basecamp.
Other miscellaneous costs
It is widely known that if something requires extra effort, then please do not expect it to be cheap and you will be charged additionally in the mountain. For any trek in Nepal, the following are additional costs you may want to also factor into your budget:
- Charging your electronic gadgets such as Camera, iPod, mobile phone or anything would definitely cost you a few dollars at a time. The extra cost needs to be paid due to the high investment for the small local hydropower station. As you will be on the mountain for many days and will definitely be requiring to charge at least your phone or camera (as you would want to capture the sceneries for sure!!), you might as well invest in a portable solar battery charger or a portable power bank. Extra batteries for your camera will help as well.
- Bucket shower (i.e. using a pail of water) heated by gas, firewood might cost you a few dollars at a time. In the mountain, please don’t expect that you will have your full bath or shower every day. Yes, as much as we want to do that, it is just not practical and economical. So you should prepare to smell the same as yesterday for several days basically. Instead of bucket water, another option would be to pack some wipes with you and use that instead in the interim, or a small towel that you could use to freshen yourself in the morning or before going to bed.
- Donation; If you visit, monasteries, gumba or stupa, although it is not mandatory, they do expect some small contributions for the maintenance of the area. Costs here could vary.
- Tips for the support staff; After each trek, your guide and porter also expect some tips from you. Of course, this usually reflects your experience during the trek. Usually, USD 100 is on average for 2 weeks trek. USD 5 to 7 per day.
As you probably gathered from your research, different companies offer different costs for Kanchenjunga trek. This is probably very confusing as the cost range is relatively wide and it is difficult to decide which company to trust. If you are planning for Kanchenjunga trek you shouldn’t miss research a bit before you make the decision for example, if you try to look up the cost offered by international travel agencies, the charges could be more than USD 4,000 but if you check with a local travel company in Nepal, the price for the same package could reduce by a third. For first time travelers, you would normally go with the international agencies because of their branding, and you could be sure of your safety.
However, I assure you that local agencies in Nepal could deliver a perfect trek Itinerary and the same level of quality at a fraction of the price. It actually doesn’t matter whether you go with the more expensive or, the cheaper ones, as everyone sleeps in the same category of tea houses. There is no such thing as a 5-star tea house in the mountain region.
As a rough estimate, the Kanchenjunga trek package for 21 days could well range between USD 1,200 and USD 1,800 per person with a full boarding package If you choose to trek with a local agency.
If you think, our GHT (Great Himalayan Trail) special expert team is suitable for your needs, please do not hesitate to contact us (email@example.com). I hope I was able to answer all of the questions that you been searching online. If I have missed something to include, please feel free to write a comment below.
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