Heaven remains a dream for many, but Nepal, a nation known for its beauty, is not far from being a very close second. Wandering through luscious green forests and trekking through beautiful rivers and gorgeous mountain circuits of Nepal can be a godsend for many adventurers and hikers alike. In addition, if you’re seeking out excellent treks in Nepal that you’ll look back on with pride at any stage of your life, then I’ve got the place for you. As one of my personal favorites, I could not endorse more highly the Kanchenjunga Trek for my fellow adventurers.
The summit, first climbed by George Band and Joe Band in 1955, has an elevation of 8,586 meters and is the third-highest mountain in the world. And the trekking route of one of Nepal’s finest Himalayas, Kanchenjunga, follows Nepal’s mountainous border with India and Tibet.
Our group of close friends took on this mountain of a task with almost no information about the place and stopped along the circuit trek. However, we made a guide based on our experiences and mistakes that will help you along your trek. Hopefully, when you decide to do the trek yourself, you won’t face similar problems we faced.
The Kanchenjunga Trek includes places with aesthetic landscapes, beautiful yak pastures, and glaciers. Technically, the trip throughout the trek contains locations from an altitude of 91 meters to 5,143 meters. So, adapting to this difference might be a bit difficult for some people.
Altitude sickness and breathlessness can result from this extreme elevation. Therefore, people with lung ailments should avoid such activities or take all precautions necessary before attempting such adventures.
Since this trek is around the third highest mountain in the world, the temperature can be a factor and a feature of the expedition. However, proper preparation in this cold climate is imperative. So, be sure to bring along the following materials with you.
The materials mentioned above are all quite necessary; however, they are not all a must. Kanchenjunga Trek is quite popular among frequent travelers, so many hotels and home stays supply these materials but at a higher price than normal. Similarly, you can opt to get your food at any place during your stay there as per your liking.
Initially, foreigners need a Nepali visa and need to arrive in Kathmandu. Once you arrive there, or even if you are already in Kathmandu, you must book a flight to Bhadrapur Airport in Jhapa.
Upon arriving in Jhapa, we drive or take a bus to Ilam. After visiting the famous tea gardens of Ilam, we rest for the night. Afterward, we drive four hours to Taplejung, where your trek will begin. There are the same steps our own group prefers during the trek.
In Taplejung, we need to drive through the cardamom farms in the morning until we get a first clear view of Mount Kanchenjunga while on the way to the starting point. During noon, we follow a steep trail down to Tamur River o begin the trek. The trail can be difficult and slippery, so we recommend using two trekking poles or sturdy boots to maintain stability. During the evening, we rest at Mitlung.
On the second day, we would hike for more than five hours. Trek to Chirwa contains big upward and downward trails, so be ready for it.
The trek goes through the Tamur River with several villages and rice, millet, and potatoes farms along the way. Finally, the village of Chirwa would provide a great resting place for the night.
Today would be the day we arrive at Taplechowk. When we check in with our Trekking Permit at the park gate of the suspension bridge, we can hike for the next four hours until we get lunch at Phembu.
Our camp is at Sekathum, where your first glimpse of the high Himalayas can be seen.
After the night at Sekathum, we pass through a thick forest along the way through a steep path towards Solima. There, we get our lunch. Walking through a narrow path up above a gorge, we reach Amjilossa, where we take a rest for the night.
Enjoy the walk through oak, bamboo, and rhododendron forest on your fifth day while ascending towards a place called Thyanyani. On the way, there is a walk downwards near Ghunsa Khola. Furthermore, after passing through a waterfall and a steep path for about four hours, I reached the destination of the day, Kyabla.
About a five-hour hike along the forest and the rocky paths would take you to Ghynsa village from Dybala. Located at three thousand meters in height, you need to adapt your body to the conditions of Ghunsa and the rest of the trek. Thus, you need to take a rest for the seventh day.
During your rest day, you can visit Tibetan villages near Ghunsa. Similarly, treks to a few local villages would be a great way to spend the day.
Leaving Ghunsa means we'll get to see Ghunsa Khola as well as chortens along the way to Rampuk Kharka at an altitude of 3,720 meters. The next road might be dangerous due to its susceptibility to landslides near Khambachen. When we finally reach Khambachen, the trek for the day ends.
As earlier, the ninth day is another rest day at an altitude of 4,100 meters. However, you can opt to hike to Jannu Shrine, which is a five-hour walk there and back.
Enjoy the view along the way to Lhonak, which is about five hours walk from Khambachen.
On the eleventh day, you'll reach the highest point on your circuit at 5,143 meters in Pangpema. You'll have to walk for about 7 to 8 hours on this day and finally reach Khonak passing through the north side base camp of Kanchenjunga. You'll rest at Lhonak for the night but be sure to enjoy the view during the day.
On this day, our trek will be mostly on our way back from the summit. At the end of an 8-hour trek, we will reach Ghunsa village mostly by hiking downwards.
We continue our Journey through a rocky forest near Sele La Pass at 4,290 meters. Furthermore, we'll reach High Camp at the end of the hike to view Mount Makalu in the distance.
On this day, the trek passes through places such as High Camp, Sinon LaMirgin La Pass, and Sinelapche La Pass at an altitude of 4,840 meters. Finally, a 1,000-meter walk downwards takes you to a village near Simba River, Tseram.
After enjoying the gorgeous view of Yalung Glacier, hike along the India-Nepal border and watch the peaks of Koktang, Rathong, and Kabrus. After a long day, you need to camp at Ramche.
Our Journey back to Tseram continues as we follow the trail along the river, passing through rhododendron forests to Tortoni. We stay at Tortong for the night.
On this day, you'll get to experience the mixed culture of Yamphudin. The diverse community of Limbu, Gurung, Rai, and Sherpa would provide you with exceptional hospitality that's surely rare anywhere else.
On our way to Mamankhe, we take a path high above Yamphudin.
We hike from Mamanke towards many small villages leading to Kande Bajhang to rest for the night.
We'll traverse a mountain ridge to Khunjari before descending to Pha Khola. We'll climb through Pokhara and Shimu villages to Thenbewa and then through the forest to Lali Kharka, where we'll spend the night.
Our trek of the Kanchenjunga circuit will conclude on the twenty-first day when we reach the Suketar airfield. From there, we will drive back to Bhadrapur, where we will fly to Kathmandu or your home city.
The itinerary mentioned above is the general plan arranged by Pokhara Info. The above itinerary is only a guideline; it might change due to availability of lodging and campsites, fluctuating weather conditions, unforeseen political, trail, and environmental, or any other factors beyond our control. After consulting with the group, your trek leader will decide the best way to reach a final decision if this occurs.
If the itinerary is unsuitable for you, please let us know, and we will customize it. We will be able to make changes to the itinerary if clients want to do so.
Finally, the trek to the Kanchenjunga circuit can be an extraordinary, once-in-a-lifetime experience because of the stunning scenery and stellar views as well as the thrilling Journey, along with the warm hospitality of the locals. We hope you enjoy and take in every moment that you spend there.