Used to be a camping trek before 2010. Since a local tea house starts to spring up Kanchenjunga trekking could be complete without camping gears. One of the strenuous nature so the right level of fitness and previous trekking experience is required for this three-week trek. Being that Kanchenjunga lies in the far east of Nepal, close to the border of Sikkim, India, a special trekking permit is required to go here. As a result of fewer numbers of trekkers and the fact it falls within the Kanchenjunga Conservation Area, the area is in pristine condition in terms of flora and fauna. The best time to trek here is September to November and March to May. Also the times more teahouses will be open, providing accommodation to trekkers. Please discuss camp to the teahouse ratio with us!
This trek starts with a flight to the east of the country, then travel by road to the starting point at Taplejung, from where we start walking. In the lower parts of the trek, we meet with Limbu people, and as we climb higher, the people begin to reflect the Tibetan culture in their settlements and practices. Many are indeed Sherpa (having crossed from Tibet centuries ago). By the time we reach Ghunsa, a Sherpa village, we are feeling the effects of the altitude, but are rewarded with stunning views of Mount Jannu. Other mountains we will encounter on this trek are Kanchenjunga with its four subsidiary summits, all over 8,000m, Yalung Kang, also over 8,000m, and around 20 peaks over 7,000m including Kambachen, Janu. Jongsong, Kabru, Tent Peak, and the Twins. Not enough mountains? Because then we have those peaks over 6,000m which include five peaks in a glacial system, some are flowing into Sikkim and the Kanchenjunga and Yalung glacier waters flowing into Nepal’s Tamor River.
The Sele Le Pass connects both Kanchenjunga North Base Camp and its South Base Camp sister. We will go over this pass (4,290m) from where we can see the southern Kanchenjunga Valley before descending and eventually reaching Yalung Glacier and a couple of days later reaching the large Sherpa, Rai and Limbu settlement of Yamphuding. The ending point of this trek is Khandime from where we drive back to Bhadrapur and fly back to Kathmandu.
Highlights of Kanchenjunga Trekking
- Trek in pristine, remote landscapes
- Be stunned by dozens of mountain peaks of between 6,000 and 8,000 meters, with a few over 8,000m
- Reflect on your life in this wild natural beauty
- See Yalung glacier
- Meet interesting ethnic people
- Views of the magnificent Kanchenjunga
- Experience of glacier walks rather than normal walk
- Wildlife species
- Tibetan refugee settlements camp on the way
The Cost Includes
- Domestic Airport transfer in Kathmandu and Bhadrapur
- Kanchenjunga Conservation Area Permit and Restricted Area Permit
- Kathmandu Bhadrapur Kathmandu Flight
- Bhadrapur to Taplejung by private jeep
- Khamdime to Bhadrapur by private jeep
- A government licensed guide during the trek including his salary, food, accommodation, and single trip mountain insurance
- Porter service during the trek (one porter for two clients)
- Accommodation in mountain teahouses during the trek
- Three times meal in a day during the trek (Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner)
- Staff insurance and necessary ground transport for support staff
- Sleeping bag during the trek
- NEST branded water bottle with purification tablets
- A pulse oximeter
The Cost Excludes
- Personal travel insurance
- Any kinds of personal expenses; Battery charging, Wifi, Hot bucket shower
- Food and accommodation in Kathmandu
- Any kinds of hard and soft drinks
Today early in the morning, we will fly to Bhadrapur and drive by a jeep to Illam. After reaching to Illam, we will view the most popular garden which covers a vast space. Stay overnight at Illam.
Early in the morning, we will catch the sunrise from the view tower after we head towards Taplejung by private jeep, which is 5 to 6 hours far from Illam. Upon reaching Taplejung, we will stroll around a quiet and calm bazar after some time. Similarly, early in the morning will view the sunrise and the mountains, from the rooftop of the hotel.
Taplejung is the starting point of trekking to Kanchenjunga. It takes 7 to 8 hours of walk to reach there. From Taplejung we will head towards down to Mitlung(800m ) from (1900m) passing through different villages mostly along off the road. Likewise, we will walk along the bank of the Tamor River. In some places, substantial cardamom garden is cultivated professionally. Walking some few uphills and downhills as well as the flat track, we will reach Chirwa. Also, in the middle, we will have our lunch in a place called Siwa. On the way to, we have to cross some suspension bridges until we get to Chira. Stay overnight there.
Today we will trek to Japantar from Chirwa hiking along Tapethok through off-road and cardamom orchard. Tapethok is the place where we are supposed to buy and register our conservational area (KCAP) permit. Right after crossing Thapethok we will cross the suspension bridge and continue the trek and reach Tamewa walking through cardamom garden which is also our lunch place. Having our lunch, we then walk through the trail, which is sometimes downhill, sometimes uphill and occasionally flat. We will skip the roadway going to Tibet from Olangchunggola before Japantar walk following the Ghunsa Khola. There are only two hotels in Japantar with significant open ground and a big suspension bridge near it. Stay overnight at Japantar.
Today we will walk gradually uphill to Amjilasha. We then hike through the little village called Lamatar, passing small forest covered by rhododendron and bamboos. Reaching upon Aamjilasha, we will have our lunch, dinner at night, and laundry if needed. Aamjilasha is the real place to feel the countryside of Nepal and the taste of the landscape too.
Today we will walk a few uphills and downhills through the cliffs covered by small forest until we reach Thangyam. It is the midpoint of our trek. Right after reaching Thangyam and walking gradually, we will reach Gyabla through the forest of alpine trees. Gyabla is a small village consisting of only two hotels. There are some ideal places of Sherpa people which is worth visiting. Similarly, if the weather favors, we can see Lapsang too. Stay overnight at Gyabla.
Earlier today, we will walk mostly through the dense forest with gradual uphills until we arrive at Phole. In Phole, we will take a short break and have a cup of tea. Also, we will visit the Buddhist monastery and explore the sight. Continuing our walk again, we will trek to Ghunsa through the pine and rhododendron forest. It takes an hour to get an interesting place called Ghunsa from Phole. Ghunsa is aa big valley with a vast settlement of Sherpa's who were migrated from Tibet centuries ago.
Similarly, we then walk around during the day and experience about the culture, tradition, manner and other by meeting in person with them. You will also get the chance to charge you electric gadgets as they have micro hydropower generated from the small river near Ghunsa village that covers two villages, namely Ghunsa and Phole.
Today is the acclimatization day. On this day we will stay at the same place we arrive yesterday and make some side trips. We will go up to Chherpuk Kharka(4,100m) through a dense forest and mak sightseeing around from where lots of mountains can be sen closely. The Landscape is impressive that makes you speechless. After that, we will get back to Ghunsa. Going to the oldest monastery near Ghunsa village, we can see ancient things and get an opportunity to learn about them.
We will trek to Khambachen from Ghunsa today, which is 5-6 hours of walk. Walking through the pine and larch forest up to the middle and then through the big and long landslide area, we will reach Khambachen. On the way, some peaks are seen. If the weather is clear, fascinating mountains like Gauble peak, Kumbhakarna, Mera peak at the right and Sharphu range at the left can be seen. Also, there are some hotels in Khambachen, among them Kanchenjunga white house has an international cook who makes an effort in cooking to make you feel happy for sure.
Walking for 4-5 hours from Khambachen we will reach to Lonak today. We will step up gradually through the small bushes of the Juniper tree and rocky trail up to Lonak. If the weather is good, we can see the Kanchenjunga center (8,585m) from the midpoint. On this day we need to be careful while hiking because we have to move to a higher altitude as compared to before. Taking a lot of water can keep altitude sickness away.
Once we get to Lonak, we will be surrounded by mountains and hills at 360 degrees. Some mountain goat is also seen grazing around with their thick wick, which makes you pay attention to them. Likewise, Lonak is only estabilish for the upliftment of tourism. It is a place having big open space to feel the untouched nature. Here, the accomodation and food are basic. Besides, we will be doing everything here, including lunch, dinner, and others, because there is nothing in the middle of this trek.Walking for 4-5 hours from Khambachen we will reach to Lonak today. We will step up gradually through the small bushes of the Juniper tree and rocky trail up to Lonak. If the weather is good, we can see the Kanchenjunga center (8,585m) from the midpoint. On this day we need to be careful while hiking because we have to move to a higher altitude as compared to before. Taking a lot of water can keep altitude sickness away.
Once we get to Lonak, we will be surrounded by mountains and hills at 360 degrees. Some mountain goat is also seen grazing around with their thick wick, which makes you pay attention to them. Likewise, Lonak is only estabilish for the upliftment of tourism. It is a place having big open space to feel the untouched nature. Here, the accomodation and food are basic. Besides, we will be doing everything here, including lunch, dinner, and others, because there is nothing in the middle of this trek.
After the quick breakfast in the morning, we will start our hike to catch the magnificent views of 360-degree panoramas. It is better to be at the base camp around 8 am for the beautiful view. Due to the slippery trail, rocky way and moraine glacier, we need to be very careful while walking. Today, we will be surrounded by the mountains everywhere once we get to Pangpema, which is also considered as North Base Camp. When you reach there, I bet that you will feel as if you are in Paradise.
Moreover, we will have tea, coffee, or snacks sitting on the ground of the tea house right in front of Kanchenjunga. We can even take pictures of the mountain carefully from there. Also, from the base camp, you can view the main Kanchenjunga. We will get back to Lonak after the fun and stay there overnight.
Today, we will get back to Ghunsa from Lonak which take 6-7 hours of walk. We will return the same way as we came to Lonak before.
In the beginning, we will go up gradually through the pine and rhododendron forest. Later, the trail goes steep up through the rocky way when we will reach near to Selele La.
On the way, we will enjoy the nature natural beauties viz the big hills everywhere and forest en route. Apart from this, we will view some mountains, including Makalu and over 8000m peak from the yard of Selele hotel. We will be surrounded by hills and mountains as well as barren land. The place Selele La has super basic accomodation and food in which we have to adjust.
Today, we will start our hiking with pack lunch because there is nothing in the middle of the trek. This day is the second most significant achievement of our trek. As we have to cross two big passes called Sinen La and Mrigen LaLa near 5,000m in a single day, it is going to be a bit tough. Likewise, we will only walk up gradually, and somewhere little steep up through the rocky trail until we get to Mrigen Lala. From the top of the passes, mountains like Rathon, Kabru 1 to 4, along with a part of Kanchenjunga is seen. Right after Sinen La, we will climb down a bit and up again for 30 minutes. Then we go entirely down to Tseram through small pine and juniper forest. Tseram is a place of having more than four guest houses as well as open space to chill and walk. The accommodation and food here are somewhat good.
Today we will start our trek walking through a small forest covered with Juniper that goes up gradually until the midpoint. Then, we will walk through a little rocky trail for a few minutes and through a prominent open place until we get to Ramche. In Ramche, there are only 2/3 guest houses that seem to be okay. We need to adjust for a single night. Similarly, people here are only running their business related to tourism because when the offseason starts, they move to the lower places to live. This place is also known as the blue sheep sightseeing area. Being surrounded by the mountains at 360 degrees, Ramche is a remarkable place. We can see moraine glacier from near the guest house.
Leaving the hotel early in to catch the excellent view of Kanchenjunga and sunrise, today we will head towards Yalung Base Camp/South Base Camp. Just 1 and half hour walk through the open flat trail from Ramche, we will get to South Base Camp from where we can see the south face of Kanchenjunga and its range that for sure makes us hold our breath. You won't feel like going back to the guest house once you reach there. After exploring, we will get back to the guest house for lunch and right away come down to Cheram and stay overnight.
Early in the morning, we will head towards Trotong from Cheram, which is 3-4 hours walk. We will mostly climb down through the small forest and pass the place called Anda Phedi to arrive in Trotong. There are two hotels in Trotong surrounded by the forest. We will stay overnight there.
This day also falls under one of the longest hiking days of this trek. We will start our trek early in the morning today and walk down for the first 30 to 45 minutes through big forest, crossing the suspension bridge. After that, we will climb up to the top through a big sheep farm which is worth seeing. Likewise, we will start climbing down through the massive forest until we get to Yampudin. If we find the tea house or if the tea house is not closed, we can have a quick lunch in the middle.
Yampudin is a place covered by a vast human settlement with a mixed culture and tradition. Exploring the village, we will get an opportunity to get to know the value, lifestyle, religion of the people living there. The major attraction of today is the cultivated land with different crops.
At the beginning of the walk from Yampudin, we will walk down through a huge cardamom farm, which is the major source of income for people living there. We then climb uo for an hour and get to the top of hill where we can see small village of Limbu community ( one of the ethnic group of Nepal) having distinct culture and tradition that makes you hold in a second to explore.
Finally, we get down to Khandime from the top where we can view a bi village with an open space. Likewise, we will get the chance to visit typically mixed culture and tradition, which could be quite noticeable for trekkers even after the trip. This place also has a vast cardamom farm from which people make good money enough to run their family.
Today we will mostly walk along the motorway. In some cases, we have to go a few downhills and uphills up through the bamboo forest passing villages of Rai and Limbu people. We also cross the suspension bridges too. While trekking, we will have our lunch in the middle of the way. After we stay overnight in Khandime, Khandime is kind of Bazar (market) but the tea houses and food there is not as expected.
Today we will drive to Birtamod from Khandime via local bus. It takes 10-12 hours drive to reach Birtamod.
Waving goodbye to guide and porter today, we will fly back to Kathmandu from Bhadrapur/Birtamod.