The world’s third highest mountain, Kanchenjunga (8,586m), lies in the far east of Nepal, bordering the Indian state of Sikkim. It is standing almost complete isolation from the other major peaks of the Himalayas. This region was considered as a restricted area, but since 1988, the restricted area has only been open for exploration.
The Kanchenjunga trek is now considered amongst the premier routes for those seeking a highly challenging adventure, and it is one of the last unspoiled wilderness regions of Nepal. The Kanchenjunga region is protected by the Kanchenjunga Conservation Area, due to which the beautiful and unique flora and fauna of this area is still in pristine condition today.
Kanchenjunga area, is home to elusive snow leopards, the Assamese macaque, the Himalayan black bear, as well as a magnificent landscape of towering peaks, cascading waterfalls, flourishing forests of rhododendron and bamboo. The sparse population scattered throughout the Kanchenjunga Mountains is made up of the warm-hearted Rai and Limbu people. The culture of these people traces back to Tibetan origins and a unique belief system based on a combination of Buddhist, and Hindu principles.
The trek start with a flight or drive to Bhadrapur/Suketar, from where we will climbs through the scenic and cultivated foothills into the great mountain tower of peaks i.e. Jannu, Rathong, Kumbhakarna, and of course Kanchenjunga. The routes to South Base Camp (5,143m) offer some of the Himalaya’s most awe-inspiring and majestic scenery. Until recently the trek was only possible through the considerable effort of carrying food and camping equipment. But nowadays, due to the increase in tea houses along the trail, the logistics of the exercise have become considerably easier.
The Kanchenjunga trek are for those trekker who have a desire to explore less traveled trails, with a sense of adventure. The trekkers who have a determination and wants to tackle the physical challenges in one of Nepal’s most remote regions, it is suitable for them.
In addition, there are numerous peaks over 6,000m, amongst this impressive collection of peaks are five major glacial systems. The Kanchenjunga and Yalung glaciers flow into the mighty Tamor River of Nepal whereas the Zumu, Talung, and Rathong flow into Sikkim.
The tourism is being promoted in this region, due to which there is opening up of more teahouses on the route, which is positive for the local communities. Now, it would be a good time to go to Kanchenjunga before more trekkers ‘discover’ the area!
Day 1: Kathmandu to Bhadrapur to Ilam (1,677m) – 5 hrs.
Day 2: Ilam to Taplejung (1,820m) – 5 hrs.
Day 3: Taplejung to Chirwa (1,270m) – 6 hrs.
Day 4: Chirwa to Lelep (1,860m) – 7 hrs.
Day 5: Lelep to Amjilosa (2,510m) – 5 hrs.
Day 6: Amjilosa to Gyabla (2,730m) – 4 hrs.
Day 7: Gyabla to Ghunsa (3,595m) – 4 hrs.
Day 8: Acclimatization Day
Day 9: Ghunsa to Kambachen (4,100m) – 4 hrs.
Day 10: Acclimatization Day
Day 11: Kambachen to Lhonak(4,785m) – 4 hrs.
Day 12: Day Trip to Kanchenjunga North Base Camp – 8 hrs.
Day 13: Lhonak to Ghunsa (3,595m) – 7 hrs.
Day 14: Ghunsa to Sele Le (4,390m) – 5 hrs.
Day 15: Sele Le to Cheram (3,870m) – 8 hrs.
Day 16: Day trip to Kanchenjunga South Base Camp – 6 hrs.
Day 17: Cheram to Torongding (2,080m) – 4 hrs.
Day 18: Torongding to Yamphuding (1,980m) – 8 hrs.
Day 19: Yamphuding to Khebang (1,910m) – 4 hrs.
Day 20: Khebang to Khamdime (1,500m) – 4 hrs.
Day 21: Khamdime to Bhadrapur (93 m) – 10 hrs.
Day 22: Bhadrapur to Kathmandu (1,300m) – 50 min.
Our guide will pick you up from your hotel, after breakfast, and accompany you to the airport. The short flight to Bhadrapur takes us over the Kathmandu valley and surrounding hills. The scenic flight offers the stunning views of the some of the mountains Nepal is famous for. On arrival in Bhadrapur, we will drive to Illam. Ilaam is famous for the tea plantation of the country. Overnight at Hotel.
After breakfast, we will head towards Taplejung from Ilam. We take a drive of about 4 hrs. through terraced fields and hills to reach Taplejung. We will explore the town after we do our lunch, and we have enough time for it. Taplejung is an interesting place with many Buddhist gompas.
At one of the gompa, there is a butter lamp which have been burning continuously for 400 years. A stream outside the gompa turns prayer wheels which send the mantra “om mani padme hum” to the world. Overnight at Taplejung.
Our trek starts today with a hike through layered landscapes and lush jungle. You will have a distant views of the ever-present Himalayas, passing by the riverside village of Siwan. You will pass the suspension bridge that leads us to Chirwa, the day’s destination. Overnight stay at teahouse.
First, we checked our permits, at the regional park office and head towards the conservation area that protects the Kanchenjunga region. Until we reach Lelep, we walk gradually ahead over a bridge and through the scenic sub-tropical landscape. Overnight stay at Lelep.
Across the Ghunsa Khola to Jaubari, a series of impressive suspension bridges leads us back and forth. Then, we cross another bridge to the narrow trail leading up the steeply sided slopes to Amjilosa. The village of Amjilosa is mainly used during the time when the yaks and sheep’s are in the pastures. Overnight at Amjilosa.
Today, we will pass through the thickly forested region of dense rhododendron and venerable oak trees, and myriad waterfalls. The scattered villages lying quietly below the mountains in their peaceful valley. As we slowly make our way towards Gyabla, eagles soar lazily above us, yaks graze solemnly in green pastures, and occasional signs of wildlife come into view among the trees. Overnight at Gyabla.
We continue our walk through forests and passed Phale village. Phale village was a Tibetan refugee camp started decades ago when Tibetans started fleeing from the China. Today it is a winter settlement village. We will explore the village where there are some craftwork for sale. Next, we follow the trail to Ghunsa, the largest village of the area. This village has a police station, health post and a Kanchenjunga Conservation Office. Internet services and telephone are available here.
Today is a acclimatize day where we will take rest and relax because we are now at higher altitude and aiming to go higher! In Ghunsa, there is a ridge to climb and a monastery to explore. You can see a beautiful views of Jannu peak from the ridge, which is worth the 5 hours plus round trip. We recommend you to climb the ridge, as it helps to acclimatize our bodies. Overnight at Ghunsa.
From Ghunsa, we head towards Kambachen, after our breakfast. As we climb steadily to the upper glacial valleys, we passed through emerald green forests concede to the frost-browned vegetation of the alpine regions of the Kanchenjunga region. On our path, we have a beautiful views of Jannu peak, standing before us in all its glory. We will trek through the scenic landscape towards Khambachen. Overnight stay at Kambachen.
Today is another acclimatize day to resist our body in higher altitude and in preparation for our visit to the North Base Camp. We climb another ridge today from where we get wonderful views of mount Kanchenjunga.
As we trek into the heartland of the towering Kanchenjunga massif, the day can be considered as a day of amazing views. We will gradually ascend to the base of the mountain’s forbidding glacier. We will pass through snow-fed waterfalls and occasionally we may have glimpses of highland wildlife i.e. blue sheep rest high on the slopes. If we are lucky enough and if there is snow about then we might even sight the light footprints of the region’s most mysterious creature, the enigmatic snow leopard.
Early morning, we begin our trek, the steady climb to the lofty and isolated outpost of Pangpema. We will do our lunch at Pangpema before heading to the trek’s ultimate goal of Kanchenjunga Base Camp. The fluttering colors of the prayer flags eventually guide us into the site at the very doorway of the towering peak. The surrounding region’s provides the magnificent views of the snow-capped peaks. After enjoying the moment and capturing the moment in camera at the base camp, we head back down to Lhonak. Overnight stay at Lhonak.
Today, we will return back to Ghunsa from Lhonak through the same route. We gain a refreshing and different perspective of the region’s wonderful scenery. Overnight at Ghunsa.
A steep trail leads us through forest towards a trailhead of wonderful mountain views. You can see mysterious Makalu sitting in isolation on the far horizon. Overnight at Sele Le.
Today, we will cross a two passes, firstly Sinion La (4,646m) then Mirgin La (4,470m). The route takes us on a challenging roller coaster trek today. As we hike through the region, we see an extraordinary panorama of Mount Everest and mount Makalu before us. The path gradually leads down to our rest stop at Cheram. Overnight at Cheram.
Ultimately, today we will explore the Kanchenjunga South Base Camp. The trail pass through forest until we clear the tree line and follow the moraine field of Yarlung glacier, with Jannu, Kanchenjunga and other peaks in the region striking high above us in the valley. We will descend to Ramche for overnight stay, after we explore the South Base Camp.
Today hike takes us to the trail that is mostly downhill through a gorge. Next, we pass through forests, and a final section trail is a steep uphill over an area prone to landslides. Until we reach Torongding, there are no settlements but a few teahouses. Overnight at Torongding.
After breakfast, we hike to downhill and then it turns to a steep and long uphill hike. The trail leads us to Lasiya Bhanjyang, passing behind a landslide-prone area. At Lasiya Bhanjyang, there is one teashop where we stop for a lunch. Then, we walk steep downhill through more forests, till we reach at today’s destination, Yamphuding. Overnight stay at Yamphuding.
Today hike will be a relaxing hike, as we slowly wind our trek down to its conclusion. The experience and thrill of the alpine heights, the terraced fields, peaceful villages and vivid colors of the lower ranges make a relaxing hike. Overnight stay at Khebang.
This is the final day of our hiking, for tomorrow we will hire a vehicle to the airport.
From Khamdime, we will hire a vehicle and today we have a long drove in front of us. We spend a time to reflect on the wonderful sights we have seen during the trek. We rest our tired legs and body. In the evening, at Bhadrapur, we can enjoy a hearty dinner and relax in a comfortable hotel for the night.
From Bhadrapur, we will take a flight to Kathmandu, which takes about 50 min. to reach Kathmandu. We will memorize and sum up our trekking journey with our friends.
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