The third highest mountain in the world, Mount Kanchenjunga is located in eastern Nepal,  bordering Sikkim in India. Despite the fact that it is surrounded by beautiful nature and Buddhist culture, the Kanchenjunga Base Camp Trek remains off the beaten track, so to speak. Only about 2,000 tourists hike Kanchenjunga annually compared to the 30,000 tourists that head to Everest Base Camp Trek every year. In this article,. we will show you some of the Kanchenjunga Base Camp Trek Itinerary.

Why is the Kanchenjunga Base Camp Trek Route Confusing?

There has been a lot of confusion regarding the Kanchenjunga Base Camp Trek itinerary. If you look on the internet, it offers a different opinion from each company.  The most confusing and frustrating part is new changes to the route and area are not even updated. Mostly there are simply re-writes from old information. However, in this article, I am keen to clear up all confusion and provide you with real information, along with my recommendation, based on recent changes.

If you look at the map of Kanchenjunga, you will quickly understand where the trail goes. A single path; with two base camps, North and South. Making a loop, the Sele La (4,720m) pass connects them both. Now, here is the important part you really need to understand: which Kanchenjunga Base Camp itinerary and route should you choose?  South to North (anti-clockwise) or North to South (clockwise)? Kanchenjunga Base Camp Circuit itinerary can be designed for a minimum of 3 weeks to maximum up to 27 days.

Kanchenjunga Base Camp Trek Itinerary

22 Days North to South Kanchenjunga Itinerary

Ideally, you can cover Kanchenjunga trek Itinerary in 22 days. This is the most beautiful upper part of the trail. It follows the circuit trail, starting from the North and ending in the South. As a matter of fact, this itinerary is commonly followed by hikers for many reasons.

Gradually increasing elevation makes the walk easier for hikers

There is less chance of suffering from mountain/ altitude sickness if you follow the route north to south (clockwise).  The length of time it takes to reach higher altitudes gives your body plenty of time to acclimatize.

Better access to telecommunications in case of emergency on the North to South route. Until Amjilosa (which is 5 days trek from Taplejung) the guide’s own phone will work fine. Being this area is under 3,000m, there is no altitude sickness expected at this height. Before the North Base Camp, both Lhnok and Kambachenvillages have satellite phones in the settlements. However, the settlements along the South to North (anti-clockwise) route does not have telecommunication facilities.

The northern part of the Kanchenjunga Trek is the most beautiful of all.  So even, due to some reason, you cannot make it over the high pass and have to return the same way, you would not be disappointed in your trek.  Because you have seen the most beautiful scenery in the area.

Based on the experience of our guides, the Sele-La, Mrigen-La andSinen-La passes are easier from the Ghusha (North to South clockwise) side.

Days                                Day to Day Itinerary         Elevation       Everyday trek hour
   Meter     Feet
1 Kathmandu to Bhadrapur flight and drive to Ilam 3,636 m 11,929 ft 45min flight & 4 hr drive
2 Ilam to Taplejung drive 1,820 m 5,971 ft 4-5 hour drive
3 Taplejung to Chirwa 1,250 m 4,101 ft 6-7 hour hike
4 Chirwa to Sukethum Japantar 1500 m 4,921 ft 5-6 hour hike
5 Sukhethum, Japantar to Aamjilasa 2,400 m 7,874 ft 4-5 hour hike
6 Aamjilasa to Gyabla 2,750 m 9,022 ft 5-6 hour hike
7 Gyabla to Ghunsa 3,430 m 11,253 ft 4-5 hour hike
8 Acclimatization day in Ghunsa and side trip 3,430 m 11,253 ft 4-5 hour hike
9 Ghunsa to Khambachen 4,050 m 13,287 ft 5-6 hour hike
10 Khambachen to Lonak 4,800 m 15,748 ft 5-6 hour hike
11 Lonak to Pangpema/ North Base Camp and back to Lonak 5,200 m 17,060 ft 3-4 hours of hike
12 Lonak to Ghunsa 3,430 m 11,253 ft 5-6 hour hike
13 Ghunsa to Selele La 4,480 m 14,698 ft 5-6 hour hike
14 Selele La to Cheram via 2 high passes Mrigen-La & Sinen-La 3,870 m 12,696 ft 7-8 hours hike
15 Cheram to Ramche 4,580 m 15,026 ft 4-5 hour hike
16 Ramche to Yalung South Base Camp back to Cheram 3,870 m 12,696 ft 2-3 hours hike
17 Cheram to Trotong 3,000 m 9,842 ft 4-5 hour hike
18 Trotong to Yampudin 2,080 m 6,824 ft 7-8 hours hike
19 Yampudin to Khebang 1,915 m 6,282 ft 5-6 hour hike
20 Khebang to Khandime 1,500 m 4,921 ft 6-7 hour hike
21 Khandime to Birtamod by a local bus 300 m 1,000 ft 9-10 hour drive
22 Fly back to Kathmandu from Bhadrapur 1,300 m 4,265 ft 45 minute

Kanchenjunga

24 Days North to South Kanchenjunga Itinerary

The 24-day itinerary is an extended version of the 22 days one. Both itineraries follow a circuit route. Making a loop from North to South, the 24 days itinerary starts from Taplejung and ends at Taplejung, while the 22 days itinerary starts from Taplejung and ends at Khandime. If you choose to follow the North to South 24 days itinerary, from Yampudin you hike the next day to Mamanke instead of Khebang. The trail after Mamanke follows an elevation between 1,500 to 3,000m and involves a lot of ups and downs.  You will pass through villages offering an insight into the unique lifestyle of Rai and Limbu people living high up in the mountain. While some tourist prefers to reduce the number of days by ending in Khadime some prefer to continue through along the beautiful village trails (you will have a better understanding if you look at the map).  It is completely up to you whether you choose the high elevation remote trail (22 days) or extend the number of days through the village trail (24 days). In our experience, most trekkers take the decision to go north to south (22 days) and this is the route we recommend.  For those who take the decision to go south to north (24 days), this is still doable and the starting point remains the same: Taplejung.
⇒ Based on the experience of our guide, Sele-La, Mrigen-La & Sinen-La pass is easier from Ghusha (North to South clockwise route).

Days                                Day to Day Itinerary         Elevation       Trekking Hour
   Meter     Feet
1 Kathmandu to Bhadrapur flight and drive to Ilam 3,636 m 11,929 ft 45min flight & 4 hr drive
2 Ilam to Taplejung drive 1,820 m 5,971 ft 4-5 hour drive
3 Taplejung to Chirwa 1,250 m 4,101 ft 6-7 hour hike
4 Chirwa to Sukethum Japantar 1500 m 4,921 ft 5-6 hour hike
5 Sukhethum, Japantar to Aamjilasa 2,400 m 7,874 ft 4-5 hour hike
6 Aamjilasa to Gyabla 2,750 m 9,022 ft 5-6 hour hike
7 Gyabla to Ghunsa 3,430 m 11,253 ft 4-5 hour hike
8 Acclimatization day in Ghunsa and side trip 3,430 m 11,253 ft 4-5 hour hike
9 Ghunsa to Khambachen 4,050 m 13,287 ft 5-6 hour hike
10 Khambachen to Lonak 4,800 m 15,748 ft 5-6 hour hike
11 Lonak to Pangpema/ North Base Camp and back to Lonak 5,200 m 17,060 ft 3-4 hours of hike
12 Lonak to Ghunsa 3,430 m 11,253 ft 5-6 hour hike
13 Ghunsa to Selele La 4,480 m 14,698 ft 5-6 hour hike
14 Selele La to Cheram via 2 high passes Mrigen-La & Sinen-La 3,870 m 12,696 ft 7-8 hours hike
15 Cheram to Ramche 4,580 m 15,026 ft 4-5 hour hike
16 Ramche to Yalung South Base Camp back to Cheram 3,870 m 12,696 ft 2-3 hours hike
17 Cheram to Trotong 3,000 m 9,842 ft 4-5 hour hike
18 Trotong to Yampudin 2,080 m 6,824 ft 7-8 hours hike
19 Yampudin to Khebang 1,915 m 6,282 ft 5-6 hour hike
20 Khebang to Khandime 1,500 m 4,921 ft 6-7 hour hike
21 Khandime to Birtamod by a local bus 300 m 1,000 ft 9-10 hour drive
22 Fly back to Kathmandu from Bhadrapur 1,300 m 4,265 ft 45 minute

24 days North to South Itinerary

25 days itinerary is an extended version of 22 days. Both itineraries follow a circuit route. Making a loop from north to south, 24 days itinerary starts from Taplejung and ends at Taplejung. While 22 days itinerary Starts from Taplejung and ends at Khandime. If you choose to follow North to South 24 days itinerary, from Yampudin you will follow the next day to Mamanke Instead of Khebang. The trail after Mamanke follows the elevation between 1,500 to 3,000m involves a lot of up and down.  Mostly throughout the Nepali village, the trail offers a unique lifestyle of Rai, Limbu people leaving high up in the mountain. While some tourist prefers to make it shortcut ending up in Khadime some would still prefer to continue through the beautiful village trail (You have a better understanding if you look at the map).

It is completely up to you whether you choose only a high elevation remote trail (which is 22 days) or extended village trail making it to 24 days. In our experience, from the hiker’s choice, the majority of them would prefer either anti-clockwise south to north through Taplejung to Mamanke route for 24 days or clockwise north to south in 22 days starts from Taplejung and ending the trek in Khadime.

Days Day to Day Itinerary      Elevation   Trekking Hour
 Meter     Feet
1 Kathmandu to Bhadrapur flight and drive to Ilam 3,636m 11,929 ft 45 min flight & 4 hr drive
2 Ilam to Taplejung drive 1,820 m 5,971 ft 4-5 hour drive
3 Taplejung to Chirwa 1,250 m 4,101 ft 6-7 hour hike
4 Chirwa to Sukethum Japantar 1500 m 4,921 ft 5-6 hour hike
5 Sukhethum, Japantar to Aamjilasa 2,400 m 7,874 ft 4-5 hour hike
6 Aamjilasa to Gyabla 2,750 m 9,022 ft 5-6 hour hike
7 Gyabla to Ghunsa 3,430 m 11,253 ft 4-5 hour hike
8 Acclimatization day in Ghunsa and side trip 3,430 m 11,253 ft 4-5 hour hike
9 Ghunsa to Khambachen 4,050 m 13,287 ft 5-6 hour hike
10 Khambachen to Lonak 4,800 m 15,748 ft 5-6 hour hike
11 Lonak to Pangpema/ North Base Camp and back to Lonak 5,200 m 17,060 ft 3-4 hours of hike
12 Lonak to Ghunsa 3,430 m 11,253 ft 5-6 hour hike
13 Ghunsa to Selele La 4,480 m 14,698 ft 5-6 hour hike
14 Selele La to Cheram via 2 passes Mrigen-La & Sinen-La 3,870 m 12,696 ft 7-8 hours hike
15 Cheram to Ramche 4,580 m 15,026 ft 4-5 hour hike
16 Ramche to Yalung / South Base Camp back to Cheram 3,870 m 12,696 ft 2-3 hours hike
17 Cheram to Trotong 3,000 m 9,842 ft 4-5 hour hike
18 Trotong to Yampudin 2,080 m 6,824 ft 7-8 hours hike
19 Yamphuding to Mamanke 2,000 m 6,561 ft 6-7 hour hike
20 Mamanke to Kesuwa 2,100 m 6,889 ft 6-7 hour hike
21 Kesuwa to Lalikharka 2,220 m 7,283 ft 7-8 hours hike
22 Lalikharka to Taplejung 1,820 m 5,971 ft 4-5 hour drive
23 Taplejung to Birthamod 300 m 1,000 ft 9-10 hour drive
24 Birthamod to Kathmandu 1,300 m 4,265 ft 45 minute

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Rajendra Khanal (Raj)

Born and raised in Gorkha, Nepal, I am proud to call the Manaslu region my home! I have been in the travel business for over a decade from being assistance guide, leader, to being a manager. And finally today I am the founder of NEST Adventure. So you could say I know my way well enough in the Himalayas, especially in some of the off-the-beaten-trails in Nepal like Manaslu, Kanchenjunga and Mustang!

I am passionate about travelling and I strongly believe that seeing the world shouldn't break the bank (at least not too much!). I have backpacked to over 15 countries in Asia, Central America, USA, Canada, one-third of Europe, the Caribbean Islands, and Latin America.

I studied in the UK and moved to the United States. During that period, I had the opportunity of working with multinational companies which taught me how to deliver quality customer service in the business. As a world travelling backpacker myself, and travel expert for the Nepalese Himalayas, I started writing about my own country. Which I would love to share with you. In case you required free information about Nepal or join a group with our existing departure, (particularly If you are a solo hiker for the restricted area) please do not hesitate to visit my office in Thamel. We are located in the centre of Kathmandu called Thamel. I am happy to share a cup of Nepali tea and free information.

Our team at NEST has earned 5/5 star ratings on TripAdvisor. Don't forget to visit our customer feedback page on TripAdvisor. If you believe our expert team can be helpful in planning your next trip to Nepal, then please do not hesitate to contact me at nestadventure@gmail.com. I am also available 24x7 on WhatsApp  +977- 9851052042. If you are interested to know more about my travel journey follow me on  FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

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