• Duration 19 Days / 18 Nights
  • Price from $2579 / person
  • Difficulty Level Strenuous
  • Max Altitude 5000 Meter

Kanchenjunga Trek has been ranked by many trekkers as the best trekking route in rural Nepal extensive trek going deep into the remote mountain ranges on Nepal’s border with Sikkim and Tibet. The trail explores the area around Kanchenjunga the third highest mountain in the world. You will see a wide range of scenery from lush, tropical jungle through to rhododendron, chestnut and oak forests and then at higher altitudes into the alpine zone. You will see a range of Nepalese culture and life-style from Rai and Limbus to Tibetan Buddhist villages. Kanchenjunga region offers unbelievable trekking, and now in addition to the traditional full camping trek style, it’s possible to do teahouse trek to the region as well. Here is all you need to know!

The trek around Kanchenjunga Base Camp can be done entirely as a basic lodge or tea-house trek in September-October- November and in March-April-May. Kanchenjunga is the third highest mountain in the world at 8586m/28,169ft and is on the border between Nepal and Sikkim (India). Wilderness Excursion’s trekking itinerary to Kanchenjunga only covers trekking route in Nepal on this site. The usual trekking destinations are the viewpoint near the climbing base camps on the south and north sides of this massive mountain traversing between north and south base camps is also highly enjoyable, making for a very pleasing and wilderness experience. The Kanchenjunga Trekking trail is not formed tracks of the Everest and Annapurna regions, though tracks are being rapidly improved up the north side. If you are grateful for a stone hut, wooden bed, evening Daal bhat and daily rough country, you will greatly enjoy this remote trek.

Only about 1,000 trekkers a year trek this place compared to over 35,000 in the Everest Region of Khumbu, so it is possible to walk blissfully all day and see nobody else. Most people you will meet will be in camping groups but you may meet some small private groups teahouse trekkers with their guides and porters. Note that there is considerable exposure on many of the tracks, so don’t go if you have vertigo or a fear of heights. This matrilineal Limbu (‘the bearer of bows and arrows’) homeland is not highly populated, particularly on the south side, and the people follow animist, Buddhist and some Hindu beliefs. Phale and Ghunsa on the northern side are uniquely Tibetan in architecture and religious practice but surprisingly by the general lack of outward religious signs that characterize the Khumbu region, for instance. There is a focus on tongba, a local drink; warm millet beer served in brass-decorated wooden pots with a straw. The around Kanchenjunga Trek can be done entirely as a lodge trek in September-October- November and in March-April-May. At the start and end of these periods there may be some lodges closed, particularly at higher altitudes. Always enquire before relying on these notes. There are toilets in nearly all places and phone access, limited on the south side. Wilderness Excursion provides tents just in case the lodges are closed with light meal.

Kanchenjunga range consists of five individual peaks where Kanchenjunga II is the highest among those. People from Kanchenjunga Region believe this mountain as sacred mountain as well as five treasures of snow in the form of gold, silver, gem, grain and holy books in each different summit. Joe Brown and George Band part of British expedition team first conquer the summit of Kanchenjunga in 1955. Entire range generates four different glaciers, which result in couple of famous river for Rafting in Nepal. This is basic Kanchenjunga Information now lets discuss a bit about Kanchenjunga Trekking that is conducted on state of Kanchenjunga Nepal. The first thing foreigner need to know is Trekking in Kanchenjunga is declared as restricted area trekking region in Nepal with strict policy of controlled tourism which clearly state that one need to obtain special restricted area permit as well as need to be accompanied by Nepali citizen before Trekking Kanchenjunga. Since trekkers’ posses special permits there is no necessities of Trekkers Information Management System (TIMS) Card although conservation area project entry permit card is mandatory to obtain. If Trekking Kanchenjunga were in one’s to do list then it would be fruitful to obtain Information about Kanchenjunga.

A teahouse basis trek to Kanchenjunga is now encouraged and promoted as government of Nepal is emphasizing on development of infrastructure on Kanchenjunga Nepal to support the local economy in Kanchenjunga for involving in tourism sector. Trekking in Kanchenjunga can be one of the most adventurous treks with close interaction to Tibetan refugee whose settlement is all the way during Kanchenjunga Circuit. 

Itinerary

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After breakfast, we drive to Kathmandu airport and take the flight to Bhadrapur and drive to Phikkal at the elevation of 1468 meter from seas level. It takes about 5 hours. This alternative is best for south to north Kanchenjunga Base Camp Trek as it is fastest and cheapest in our estimation and could be used also for north to south with an extra day’s walk down to Mitlung.

Passing through the major tea manufacturing settlement of Ilam (800m, tea and cardamom elanchai are grown broadly here) after 4hrs, from which you can access Darjeeling, and then Phiddim (1038m) for lunch. The road goes as low as a hot 800m and as high as a cool 2300m. The district headquarter of Taplejung (1870m; ‘fort of King Taple’) was reached after 8hrs. You can walk up to the airstrip at Suketar (2420m) in 1.5hrs or take a jeep for adjoins the airstrip.

Trek east up the airstrip onto the road to the right and continue up to Deurali (2578m, Deurali Bhanjyang, deurali and bhanjyang both meaning pass and saddle!). Take the right fork when a road veers left to the pilgrim-magnet Pathibhara Devi Temple (3794m), a day’s walk away. Stay on the rhododendron-covered ridge to Lali Kharka (2266m) where wonderful classic Daal Bhat may be found. The road now terminates here with tractor-trailers and maybe a jeep. Descend and circle through scrubby forest to Tembewa (1800m) after 1hr, then through Simbu (1700m, Simbuwa) or continue down a hot steep path, cross the Phawa Khola (1430m) and up steeply to the scattered bamboo and bananas hamlet of Kunjari (1800m). Overnight in Kunjari or Kande Bhanjyang. 

A steep walk up to Gurung Kande Bhanjyang (2130m, Sinchebu, Sinchewa Bhanjyang) with a friendly 5-beded lodge. Enjoy the views of Kanchenjunga and a forest walk on steps down through hot and steamy but very prosperous hamlets growing millet, maize and rice to Delok (upper) Khesewa (2125m) for lunch. Drop steeply to a lovely waterfall under Khesewa and make a long climbing traverse, around a ridge and another long traverse lined with clear small waterfalls, to an endless flight of stairs and down to the neat houses of Phungphung Danda (1860m Pumphe, Pumphe Danda). Fresh red cardamom (elanchai) is harvested at this season from the ginger-like plants under shade trees, at the risk of snakebite to the laborers. Very settled and rich countryside that exudes contentment. 

Down stairs through a cardamom plantation to a high bridge and then a gentle climb to the pretty and neat Limbu Mamankhe (1780m) where there are several teahouses with beds. Tea with real milk but no coffee. There is one steep climb afterwards in hot steamy conditions with little shade but welcome small waterfalls. We found lunch in a farmhouse2hrs after Mamankhe. One hour after Mamankhe it is possible to turn left on a higher route to Sherpagoan (2000m, upper Yamphudin), avoiding the descent to Yamphudin and reducing the amount of climbing and descent the next day. This route is on small tracks and includes crossing a grassy cliff at length with an exposed narrow trail where a mis-step would be fatal. If this is a concern govia Yamphudin. See more details on days 15 and 16 of north-to-south. Yamphudin (1692m) is smaller than expected but has several comfortable lodges. There is a TIMS and permit check here. 

Today we trek to Tortong and this day will long. We can stop for overnight stay at Lasiya Bhanjyang but there is very basic accommodation. And we have to check if it is open before we leave Yamphudin if not open, then we will need to continue down another 2-3hrs to Tortong. An early start makes the first climb, some in shade, less hot. Cross the Amji Khola and climb north to Dhupi Bhanjyang (2540m) and enjoy the forest views. Drop through ancient rhododendrons on a muddy track to a new swing bridge across the Amji Khola at 2340m then up the true right to a closed bhatti and camping area at Omje Kharka. From here, it is an unrelenting but pretty climb on good steps past a wooden seat chautaara, where the track comes in from the left from Sherpagaon, then 20mins later through a pasture marked as Chitre (2925m). Continue climbing on a stepped track in good condition through ancient rhododendrons to the welcome bhatti on Lasiya Bhanjyang (3415m; Lassi or Lamite Bhanjyang). If we decide on to stay overnight here we can climb through silver pines up the hill behind the bhatti for extensive views of our onward route. The trail drops to the grassy pass overlooking an immense landslip with a view of Mt Jannu (7711m, Kumbakarna) to the northeast, then climb about 150m above it and descend on a muddy zigzag through lovely ancient forest with maples turning yellow and the deciduous larch, a 9 feature of the Kanchenjunga. Cross the Simbuwa Khola and make a short climb to Tortong (2980m, Torontan) consisting of two good lodges with separate rooms, well-stocked shops with Snickers and Mars and even electricity. These lodges may be open from September-November and often February then March-May inclusive although if demand increases so too may the length of the season.

Today a long way and tiring climb of 900m ascent beside the river, but this is one of the most beautiful walks, the changing sounds of the river, moss hung forests with huge pines and larches giving way to a huge range of rhododendrons, all mixed with various broad leafs turning with autumn. In warm sun with a following breeze there are few better places to be. Watch out for the grazing yaks, some are frisky. About 1hr finds a Yak Kharka where we may get a meal or tea. After another 40mins there is a new basic lodge at Anda Phedi, but closed in winter. Yaks from Yamphudin are taken for grazing by the track that heads up to Anda Pokhari from here. After 30mins there is a be flagged Buddhist and be-trident Hindu shrine with a snake shape in the rock, north of which there is supposed to be a prohibition on the killing. There is electricity and there are well-stocked shops. 

As it is vital to have acclimatization, today we take rest day in Cheram due to the elevation gain the previous days. We can walk towards Ramchaur to a lake with spectacular views and back again in an easy 5 hours and could easily have gone to Ramchaur. 16km on a rest day! You could also climb directly above Cheram, or just rest.

Walk up through moss-hung pines and rhododendrons with a small clear stream, climb and cross a large loose gully and climb again into the seasonal yak pasture at Yalung. There follows a beautiful series of open ablation valleys, juniper, cinnamon-scented dwarf rhododendrons and moraines and lakes with the Kabrus, Rathong and Kokthang hanging above. Care will be needed crossing the many 10 frozen streams and seeps. Watch out for yaks, some are totally wild, and for herds of blue sheep. The hidden stone lodge of Ramchaur (4610m; Ramche) is beautifully located and open March-May and September-November but we ask in Cheram first at each end of these seasons. Climb the nearby moraine wall for Yalung Glacier and mountain views and watch for snow pigeons, flock of blue sheep.

Today we connect our trek with to the north side Kanchenjunga via a wonderful traverse smelling overwhelmingly, at altitude in autumn, of the honey-cinnamon of dwarf rhododendron. The pass is remote and exposed to weather so consider a rest day in Cheram if the weather may spoil the views. The 800m climb above, Cheram has a reputation for steepness gained from those who have descended it. It is steep but firm underfoot and soon overcome. Climb to Sele La (4725m) in about 3 hours past two frozen tarns and one large cairn without flags. Descend a little and traverse right, gently up and down in lovely high pastures and scree with views as far as Makalu and even Everest. After about 1 hour, pass a left-descending track to the blue lakes Anda Pokhari and further down to Anda Phedi where there is now a lodge. Near here you can refill your water bottle from the only flowing stream. A short climb takes you to prayer flags and a stone heap on a distinct pass that people from Ghunsa call the Misisay La (4645m) after the death 20 years ago of a Tibetan and two yaks at this point. Continue traversing, noting Lion Rock on the ridge above, and reach the windy and prayer flag-strewn notch Mirgin La (4645m) after about 1.5hrs, from which the views of Jannu are as good as any available, together with Makalu, the long ridge of Chamlang and even a glimpse of Everest. Drop steeply into a boulder-choked valley with underground flowing water, eventually arriving in a classic cwm with the Selele Khola flowing crystal clear though the middle. Selele camp (4130m, Mani Bhuk). 

A short walk of 4 hours, we continue the northern traverse on a narrow rocky trail to Selele La (4200m) with cairns and flags, continue circling with views down the Selele Khola, up to rocky peaks and rock falls, across to the Nangba La at 4795 meters which can be used to access Olangchunggola. Eventually there is a chorten and prayer flags named Tama La locally that mark the start of a steeper descent through old-growth rhododendrons, silver birch, silver pine and larches below towards Gunsa , a large clean village of traditional wooden houses set in larch and pine forest. In Gunsa; the houses are charming, with rocks holding down shingles on roofs, dark weathered pine walls, a forest of prayer flags and juniper burning in the morning. Yaks, dogs, goats and chickens roam the main street. Fresh milk and dahi (yoghurt) may be obtained in season. There are several lodges in Gunsa, some lodges claim having internet. 

Most people can climb to 3000m without getting altitude illness, but the altitude gain this day is about 750m, double the 300m per day advised for safety. Watch for signs of altitude sickness and be ready to rest if they develop. Consider using Diamox and remember that there are no clinics or easy communications in case of trouble. If you take a rest day in Khangpachen, there is a lovely side trip closer to Jannu. Take the obvious track up through Gunsa and cross a bridge, icy in the mornings. The autumn larches above are like sunlight along the Gunsa Khola in October-November, one of the highlights of many visits to Nepal. Gentle pleasant walking through larch, rhododendron, silver pine and cedar forest, with yaks coming down loaded with potatoes and the valley ahead blocked by the huge Jannu terminal moraine. After 3hrs cross a plank bridge to the true right, circle two big slips with significant rock fall danger and striking views of Jannu (7711m, Kumbhakarna) and climb steeply. Then stop and admire the best views of Jannu! Traverse and eventually cross a small stream into Khangpachen (4145m; Khambachen) with about 10-12 stone houses. 

Walk up passing the chortens above Khangpachen then steadily on the true right bank with beautiful icy rocky peaks all around, though big areas of sea-buckthorn that fruit prolifically in October but are not harvested locally. There are we have chances have spoting large flocks of blue sheep. At times there may be avalanche snow across the track that can make crossing streams difficult sometimes. The last 30mins traverses a loose and exposed gully wall at length, crosses a rude bridge and then a sandy plain to seven scattered huts of Lhonak (4792m). There is basic teahouse with a triple bed room, and two dark twin bed rooms This is a very atmospheric place, mountains walls about a plain of yaks, particularly at night when you seek the ‘open toilet’ – be careful what you shelter behind! Walk up towards the Lhonak Glacier for the afternoon but take your warm clothes. 

It is Kanchenjunga North Base Camp Excursion today taking you deep into the mountains with time to delight and acclimatize but glacial retreat is collapsing the moraine terrace, meaning that some sections require considerable care and there is an ever-present risk of stone fall. About two-thirds of the walk is on grassy terraces. The views of Kanchenjunga and the glacier are surprising. Again we may see more blue sheep, snow partridge and rock rabbits etc. There is a single hut in Pang Pema (5140m) which is open from September to sometimes mid-November and in April to May and sometimes March and serves noodles for lunch. A limited number of people could sleep inside. Pang Pema is generally regarded as the north base camp since it provides a complete view of the north face of Kangchenjunga, but it is possible to go further on deteriorating moraine walls – probably better to spend the time climbing the rocky ridge above Pang Pema for wider and wider views if you have the energy. Retrace your steps for a second night in Lhonak, generally it is windy after 10am into the up-valley. 

A very delightful walk with full valley views of the golden larches in season. Retrace your steps down-valley to Khangpachen in 3-4 hrs taking care on the icy bits. Lunch is available, then on to Gunsa in another 3-4 hours, taking care on the two big slips which are now in the sun. The smell and sights of the forest are enchanting after the barren uplands. It is a 1600m descent today so watch your knees. You recommend taking trekking poles. 

Cross the Gunsa Khola on a swing bridge near the Yak Hotel, turn left, pass the ancient Tashi Choding Gumba (which welcomes visitors but is usually locked) and climb to a memorial to the many wildlife people killed in an horrific helicopter crash near Gunsa in 2006. Look up right at the next bridge to the route to a yak hut just under Nango La (4795m), by which it is possible to reach the ancient village of Olangchunggola (3000m) in two days. This village is reputed to be the original village settled from Tibet more than 600 years ago but there is no accommodation at present. Descend through the Tibetan refugee village of Phale (3215m) after 1hr. This atmospheric village offers a glimpse of authentic Tibetan 13 culture with two active gompas, carpet-weaving and traditional lifestyle. It is pleasant day dominated by the awesome river and beautiful silver pines, blue spruce, rhododendrons and autumn larches. Two short steep climbs separated by a bridge bring you to Gyabla (2725m) for lunch. Make a very messy steep descent into thick bamboo forest, dark as night but reputed to harbour red pandas. Black bears have been sighted in broad daylight across the river. The stony track goes up and down in bamboo until a small farmhouse at 1.5hrs followed by a steep 45mins climb and traverse on a narrow exposed track until finally Amjilosa (2400m) is sighted across a large slip. 

A long swing bridge crosses the Tamor River which drains the valley that contains Olangchunggola and the Gunsa Khola. The shortcut immediately left on leaving the bridge saves the climb through Lelep but is narrow and rough in places and climbs up to rejoin the main trail through Lelep. The cliffs across the valley have native honeycombs hanging in their sheltered places. Don’t cross the next swing bridge below on the left but climb up to regain the track through Lelep and continue on the true right for about 1hr. A broad stone path eventually drops to a flat and beautiful walk through rice, millet and buckwheat fields interspersed with cardamom plantations. Much of the track is in welcome shade. Cross to the true left at Tapethok (1322m) with a Kangchenjunga Conservation Area check post for those entering but not for those leaving the area. Turn right, sidle the river and eventually cross a landslip of truly immense boulders. In 30mins suddenly arrive in busy civilized Chiruwa (1185m) with pretty thatched houses, well-stocked shops and ISD/STD phones.

Follow the tractor road and arrive in Mayam (2000m) where you may score noodle soup. Afterwards, cross a swing bridge below the road and, taking numerous shortcuts steeply up to avoid zigzags, reach another new road and shops on a pass. From here, follow the road direct to Suketar (2420m) in about 2.5hrs, circling and descending in the last stages. You can see Taplejung ahead and below. A tractor-trailer comes along this top road daily from Suketar and returns in the early evening but it is best not to rely on it. Treat it as a bonus if it happens and if you want a rough and dusty ride. Overnight in Suketar. 

After breakfast take flight to Kathmandu. Rest and relax in afternoon in Kathmandu. Wilderness Excursion sends a private car or private van as per group size to pick from domestic airport and transfer to hotel.

Customized Trip

What's Included

  • Airport pick and drop off by private car or van depending on group size.
  • 1 Government registered, experienced, English speaking local friendly guide. 
  • Assistant Sherpa guide to support group and help the potters as per group size.
  • All necessary Sherpa porters to carry your main pack and camping gear.
  • Kathmandu – Biratnagar by domestic flight.
  • Taplejung - Kathmandu by local bus
  • Daily 3 times meal (breakfast, lunch and dinner) during the trek.
  • Hot table drinks: tea, coffee, and hot chocolate during the trek.
  • Tea, coffee, cookies and fresh fruits during the trekking.
  • Lodge and camping accommodation and hot water during the trek.
  • All camping gear, tents, kitchen utensils, cook,
  • Kitchen staffs and necessary porters to carry camping gear and food.
  • Accommodation, food, salary, equipment and insurances for trekking staffs.
  • Kanchenjunga Restricted area permits.
  • Kanchenjunga Conservation Area entrance permit and TIMS Cards.
  • All local tax, vat and airport taxes for domestic flight,
  • Authentic Nepalese and Newari farewell dinner with live culture stage show.

What's Excluded

  • Hotel and Meals in Kathmandu except farewell dinner.
  • All bar bills and beverages such as coke, fanta, mineral water
  • Laundry, toiletries, internet, phone calls and personal nature expenses.
  • Guided sightseeing in Kathmandu (We can arrange it on your guest request)
  • Personal travel insurance, international air ticket, Nepal visa and phone calls
  • Personal trekking equipment and rescue operation charge in case of emergency.
  • Any operating cost which arise due to a change of the tour, because of landslides, political trouble, and strikes etc.
  • Advance deposit transfer fee from your guest's home country to book the trek.
  • Gratitude and tips for your guide, porter and driver.

Availabilities

Wilderness Excursion (P) Ltd is a local tour operator so we guaranty small private groups departures any dates that suits your date and time.

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