Explore the Kanchenjunga Conservation Area at the far eastern end of Nepal Himalaya by joining our Kanchenjunga Base Camp trek program. Kanchenjunga (8598m), the world’s third-highest mountain, is certainly one of the most impressive massifs in the Himalayan range, rising majestically from the borders of Nepal and Sikkim and the network of villages inhabited by Rai, Limbus are the cultural pictures painted on the mountainous canvas.
Cascading waterfalls into gorges, lush rhododendron forests, dramatic mountain vistas, communities that abound in folklore, white snow peaks which rise majestically along with the third highest peak in the world, Mt Kanchenjunga, all combine to make Kanchenjunga Base Camp trek trail a paradise for trekkers who love to trek off the beaten path.
We fly to Suketar from Kathmandu. Sometimes in the unavailability of flights, we journey through Nepal’s tea country, Illam embarking on a scenic drive to Taplejung, one of the gateways to the Kanchenjunga Conservation region.
Trekking through lively Rai and Limbu villages, lush rain forests, fields of cardamom, and patchworks of farmland with traditional mud-brick houses, we head south into an alpine world of forests, Himalayan peaks, sparkling streams, and mountain lakes. Beyond the tree line, the landscape changes again as the Kanchenjunga (8598m) and Jannu (7711 m) massifs exhibit some of the most impressive high mountain scenery on earth.
From Tseram, after a courageous conquest over the Sinelapcha, Mirgin, Sinion La, and Selele La, we penetrate the northeast through remote seasonal Tibetan settlements of Ghunsa and Khangpachen. We follow the Kanchenjunga glacier to the spectacular north Kanchenjunga base camp at Pang Pema.
We retrace through the village of Ghunsa, Phale, and Gyabla, Amjilosa, and Chiruwa (Thiwa). Finally, we divert from the major trail to pay homage to the Hindu Goddess Pativara. After two days of walk through forests, villages lined with cardamom, and rice paddies, we reach Pativara temple. Finally, we drop down to Talplejung, Skuketar airport, and fly back to Kathmandu.
Icicles Adventure Treks & Tours representative will meet you at Kathmandu Airport (Tribhuvan International Airport). Finish your custom formalities (visa, etc.) and get to the airport waiting terminal, you will find our representative waiting to greet you. He/she will be holding Icicles Adventure Treks and Tour signboard. You will be then transferred to your respective hotel in our private vehicle. You can either rest in your hotel or shop around Thamel for any gears for your trek. Accommodation: City Hotel.
We start a guided tour to several medieval and spiritual sites in Kathmandu, also listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Kathmandu valley is a synthesis of Hindu and Buddhist temples, stupas and statues, and is often the site of festivals and other ceremonies.
We visit Pashupatinath, a very sacred temple complex for Hindus worldwide on the banks of the holy Bagmati river. Here, monkeys run up and down the steps of the burning ghats, and saddhus draped orange and saffron sit serenely meditating. Next, we visit historic Durbar Square, a compound of temples, ancient palaces, and architecture.
Next, we walk the stone steps up to a hilltop where the famous ‘Monkey Temple’ (Swayambhunath) with its whitewashed stupas and its unique fusion of Buddhism and Hinduism exist for centuries. Next, we visit the Buddhist shrine (BouddhaNath), one of the large Stupas in the world.
The prominent Buddha eyes of Boudhanath Stupa attract Buddhist pilgrims from all over the world. Later after the sightseeing program, we will introduce you to your trekking guide and have a small pre-trip meeting. You can also take an opportunity to hire/buy any last-minute trekking equipment or bargain for your souvenirs at the many stores.
You are advised to pack your things and be set up for your Kanchenjunga Base Camp Trekking adventure that will begin tomorrow. Accommodation: City Hotel. Included Meal: B
We fly to Suketar airport. However, there are few scheduled flights to Suketar each week, which is highly affected by the weather. So in case of unavailability, we may need to fly to Bhadrapur and drive to Taplejung from Bhadrapur (that will be a two-day schedule if flying to Bhadrapur then taking a jeep to Ilam, we stay the night in Illam and then the drive to Taplejung takes the morning, barring breakdowns.
It is also possible to drive from Bhadrapur to Taplejung in around 9 hours, but we do not prefer driving late evening/night). So, we will keep a contingency during the trip, which could be used in such cases.
If we arrive late at Suketar due to flight delays, etc., we stay in Suketar. Otherwise, we trek to Simbu, which takes about 5 hours. After that, we start walking east up the airstrip onto a disused tractor road to the right and continue up to Deurali with its tea shops.
We take the right fork when a road veers left to the sacred Pathibhara Devi Temple (3794m), a day’s walk away. We continue through the rhododendron-covered ridge to Lali Kharka (2266m). We descend and circle through the scrubby forest to Tembewa, then we reach Simbu.
We continue down a hot steep path, cross the suspension bridge over Phawa Khola (1430m), and climb up steeply to the scattered bamboo and bananas hamlet of Kunjari. Accommodation: Local basic teahouse. Included Meals: B, L,D
After breakfast in the teahouse where we sheltered, and after a long pull and climbing on steps we reach the crest of the ridge which is known as Kande Banjyang. We get first view of Kangchenjunga from here. We can clearly make out the south and main summits along with Yalung Kang.
A steepish climb on steps to Gurung Kande Bhanjyang (2130m, Sinchebu, Sinchewa Bhanjyang) with a friendly 5-bed inn. Enjoy the views of Kangchenjunga and a forest walk on steps down through hot and steamy but very prosperous hamlets growing millet, maize and rice to Khesewa (2125m) for lunch.
We drop steeply to a lovely waterfall (0:40hrs) under Khesewa, from here the path traverses the steep mountainside, negotiating terraced field systems high above the Kabeli Khola. Some ups and downs as we cross several side valleys. Amazing scenery including views of Mt. Ratong and Mt. Kabru and a first peek at the awesome south face of Jannu. Finally we come to small hamlet of Phungphung Danda lined with neat houses. Accommodation: Local basic teahouse. Included Meals: B,L,D.
After breakfast, we descend steeply to the Khesewa Khola and cross the river on a suspension bridge. We climb again through terraced fields to the village of Mamankhe. From here the walk to Yamphudin is along a trail which contours the hillside above the Kabeli Khola.
The path has several ups and downs as we cross the ridges and stream beds that make up the valley sides before finally descending to the river and at Yamphudin. We get our TIMS and KCAP permits checked at the police checkpost as soon as we are at Yamphudin. Its now 1.5 hrs to Sherpagoan from Yamphudin, we trek up to Sherpagoan. Accommodation: Local basic teahouse. Included Meals: B,L,D.
Better to start early. First climbing up through some shady areas, crossing a steep spur, we have fine views of the valley beyond Yamphudin to the south and of the Amji Khola Valley and Deurali Danda (ridge) to the north.
Dropping down to Omje Khola we cross the stream, take a zigzag trail through pleasant farmland to Darachok, then we keep climbing north through meadows to the low pass at Dhupi Bhanjyang (2620m). We then descend through tree, ferns and forest to reach the Amji Khola’s suspension bridge at 2340m then up right to Amji Kharka.
From here, it is an pounding but pretty climb on good steps past a chautara, where the track comes in from the left from Sherpagaon, then 20mins later through a paddock marked as Chitre (2925m). We fill our water bottles water here, and no chance of finding water until the pass.
We continue climbing on a stepped track in good condition through ancient rhododendrons to Lasiya Bhanjyang (3415m). If we are too tired, we may choose to stay at the very basic bhatti at Lasiya Bhanjying overnight and climb through silver pines up the hill behind the bhatti for extensive views of our onward route. If we still have energy we trek 2.5 hours ahead to Tortong.
We drop to grassy pass overlooking an immense landslide area with a view of Mt. Jannu (7711m, Kumbakarna) to the northeast, then we climb about 150m above it and descend on a zigzag trail through lovely coniferous alpine forest with maples and deciduous larch, a feature of the Kanchenjunga area. We cross the Simbuwa Khola and make a short climb to Tortong (2980m). Accommodation: Local basic teahouse. Included Meals: B,L,D.
Today is tiring but it’s a blissful day’s walk through pine and rhododendron forests. Its one of the beautiful day trekking in Nepal: the changing sounds of the river, moss-hung forests with huge pines and larches giving way to a huge range of rhododendrons.
We start the ascent being at the right bank of the river. The valley floor climbs fairly steeply and as we trek higher the trees become more stunted and sparse, giving us glimpses of the snow-capped giants ahead and of the enormous snout of the Yalung Glacier.
Just before Tseram, the towering heights of Mt. Kabru and Mt. Rathong start to peep over the moraine. It will still be warm in the sunshine but when the sun drops the temperature falls down to remind us about our altitude gain. Accommodation: Local basic teahouse. Included Meals: B,L,D.
Today we have the option to have total rest at Tseram or do acclimatization walk to the area that is known as south Kanchenjunga base camp (but actually it is Yalung Base Camp). The scenery is magnificent as we ascend past the snout of the Yalung Glacier into a series of ablation valleys.
A frozen lake, clear streams and views of Mt. Koktang, Mt. Rathong and Mt. Kabru are the highlights of the walk up to Ramche – a broad, flat grassy ablation zone at 4580 metres. If we are lucky, we may see blue sheep grazing on the slopes above.
After soaking up the situation of standing beside a Himalayan glacier with soaring peaks all around, we either make the return journey or if tempted by the views and want to do further exploration we can get to Okhordung (Oktang) which would be really hard work.
The round trip should take around 7 – 8 hours (Tseram to Okhordung) and two more hours if we decide to go further along the ablation valley up to Yalung Base Camp. Trek up to Ramche and return to Tseram is about 4 hours. Accommodation: Local basic teahouse. Included Meals: B,L,D.
One of the longest days of our Kanchenjunga base camp trekking as we cross a series of passes on Kanchenjunga’s long south-west ridge to access its northern side. There are superb views throughout this day and it is one of the highlights of the trek.
Today walk is remote and exposed to weather we may consider a rest day in Tseram if the weather may spoil the views. We will take packed lunches today as there are no shops until we reach Selele Khola camp. The day begins with a steady, about 800m climb for about 2 – 3 hours to Chhuchung Pokhari where there are two tarns (small lakes) with a superb retrospect of the valley.
Now we 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. More one hour left descending takes us to blue lakes (Anda Pokhari) and further down from here we reach Anda Phedi where there is a teahouse. We eat lunch, buy/refill our bottles.
A short climb then takes us to prayer flags swathed pass called Missiay La pass (we have about 1 hour of steep climbing to the first pass, the Sinelapcha La (4730m) where we cross the main watershed between the valleys of the Simbuwa and Ghunsa Kholas.
The trail then undulates for at least 1 hour to the second, slightly lower pass, the Mirgin La (4480 m). Continue traversing, noting Lion Rock on the ridge above, and reach the windy and prayerflag-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. This is a profoundly beautiful place, particularly towards evening as the valley clouds rise from below. There are small basic teahouses where we send the night. Accommodation: Local basic teahouse. Included Meals: B,L,D
Yesterday was a long day and we are very tired. We can take time to wake up as today’s trek is going to be short and we need not start early although there are two more passes to cross today. The day is relatively short and we may opt to go all the way to camp for lunch. Not much way of climbing today.
We begin taking northern narrow rocky trail contouring the hillside for 2 hours enjoying incredible views. We reach top of Selele La (4200m) enveloped in cairns and flags. Eventually again we reach next pass with a chorten and prayer flags called Tamo La locally that mark the start of a steeper descent through old rhododendrons trees, silver birch, silver pine and larches below towards Ghunsa (3415m), a large clean village of traditional wooden houses set in larch and pine forest.
Ghunsa is where the trek from the south crosses to the more popular north route, and it is also the first real village since Yamphudin. Most trekkers on the northern trek take a rest day here, and sleeping in since the sun arrives late and leaves early, so get your washing done early.
In winter most of the villagers move down to a sunnier climes, the lower part of Phale. After lunch we will have the opportunity to visit the Ghunsa Gompa which is beautiful inside and well worth the effort. There are a few shops in the town and this is the place to buy a Tibetan rug, as there is a Tibetan Refugee Camp nearby.
Ghunsa is where the trek from the south crosses to the more popular north route, and it is also the first real village since Yamphudin. Most trekkers on the northern trek take a rest day here, and sleeping in since the sun arrives late and leaves early, so get your washing done early. In winter most of the villagers move down to a sunnier regions, the lower part of Phale.
Ghunsa is also the best place to taste tungba, the traditional Tibetan wine made from millet. Accommodation: Local basic teahouse. Included Meals: B,L,D
This is a contingency day to be used at the leader’s discretion in case of any delays to our schedule or to adjust the stages of the trek depending on the conditions. If it has not been needed at this point, we may opt to use it as a well earned rest day in Ghunsa.
We take the obvious trail up through the bridge that becomes icy in the mornings. Its then gentle pleasant walking through larch, rhododendron, silver pine and cedar forest, mani walls and chortens. After about three hours we cross a plank bridge to the right, circle two big landslide areas with significant rockfall danger and striking views of Jannu (7711m, alsok known as Mt. Kumbhakarna) and climb steeply.
The path rises through the last of the trees until we come to a moraine at the end of a glacier falling from the amazing Mt. Jannu. Of course, we are lured to stop and admire the best views of Jannu! She is like a vast eagle, wings outspread, her sheer northern face in shadow but glowing with the sunshine over its icy surfaces. It was first climbed in 1962 by its south-east ridge.
The stupendous north face resisted many attempts until a strong Russian team in 2004. We traverse and eventually cross a small stream (Nupchu Khola) before entering the village of Khambachen, a small village on a meadow by river with some stone houses. Accommodation: Local basic teahouse. Included Meals: B,L,D.
The trek up to Lhonak via Ramtang is not too strenuous in spite of the increase in altitude. We climb past the chortens above Kambachen then steadily on the right bank with beautiful icy rocky peaks all around, though big areas of sea-buckthorn that fruit prolifically in October.
The views are incredible as one by one the peaks are revealed. Good possibility of seeing flocks of blue sheep enroute today. After 3 hours or so, we reach our lunch stop at Ramtang, from where the incredible fluted summit of Wedge Peak first becomes visible.
Look out for blue sheep on this part of the walk too. During the afternoon’s walk, Nepal Peak, the Twins, Merra and White Wave all come into view. 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) on s grassy plain perched high above the Kangchenjunga Glacier opposite Wedge Peak. Lonak although exposed to the icy wind compensates well with the view for the chilly atmosphere. Accommodation: Local basic teahouse. Included Meals: B,L,D.
It is a walk of around 3 – 4 hours up to Pang Pema from Lhonak. Depending on conditions we may visit Pang Pema as a day hike from Lonak or we may opt to spend anight up at the base camp. The trip leader will make this decision.
From our camp at Lonak the trail climbs steadily negotiating several landslide areas before emerging at a grassy terrace in the ablation zone beside the glacier. We get deep into the Himalayan mountains with time to enjoy 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.
The views of Kangchenjunga and the glacier are stupendous. We can get sights of several types of Himalayan faunas today without effort. Pang Pema generally regarded as north base camp of Kanchenjunga is a relatively sheltered spot right opposite the towering North Face of Kangchenjunga providing complete viow of the north face of Kanchenjunga.
This has to be one of the most spectacular places in the world and a fitting climax to this unique trek. It is possible to go futhter on deteriorating moraine walls, a little way above Pang Pema for a stunning panorama of Kanchenjunga and its glacier if we have energy. We return back to Lonak for overnight. Accommodation: Local basic teahouse. Included Meals: B,L,D.
Once we are rewarded with the heavenly view of sunrise over Kanchenjunga, its time to begin the long walk out from this remote and beautiful place. Today is a very charming walk with full valley views after Lonak. We should be feeling little comfortable with our breaths as we will be descending to lower altitude, and this could be the perfect time to get those fantastic photos that we might have missed on the way up due to tough struggle to walk and breath while gaining altitude. Accommodation: Local basic teahouse. Included Meals: B,L,D.
We have the option this morning to trek along the Khubakarna Glacier to the Jannu base camp. We start by crossing the the Ghunsa Khola on a narrow bridge and then follow the northern moraine of the glacier up to a level area at around 4800 metres which we should reach after approximately 3 hours.
The base camp is marked by a large rock with streams of prayer flags and here we are right below the immense face of Jannu which towers 3000 metres above us and here we are right below the immense face of Jannu which towers 3000 metres above us. Returning to Kambachen in around 2 hours, we then descend in a further 3 hours to our camp at Ghunsa.
Anyone who does not wish to make the detour to Jannu base camp can go directly down to Phale with the porters and enjoy an afternoon’s rest. Its only 4 hours walk from Kambachen to Phale. Leaving Kambachen, we reach Lakep in about an hour which we see stunning views of Jannu.
Further ahead for about an hour we cross Ghunsa Khola over a suspension bridge. Ahead we see a beautiful waterfall. We cross Ghunsa Khola repeatedly today over suspension bridges before Ghunsa. As we reach seasonal settlement of Ghunsa, we see ancient Tashi Choding Gumba.
We walk ahead of Ghunsa and come across the route to Nago La which links the famous village of Olagchung Gola. We are not taking this route in this program. This village is reputed to be the original village settled from Tibet more than 600 years ago but there is no accommodation at present.
If you want to visit, this village, you will need two more days to customize this Kanchenjunga base camp trekking program. Descend through the Tibetan refugee village of Phale (3215m) after 1hr. The lower part of Phale is Ghunsa’s winter village. We spend the night here in basic teahouse as usual. Accommodation: Local basic teahouse. Included Meals: B,L,D.
It is a 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 us to Gyabla (2725m, Gyabru) for lunch. Soon after this beautiful place, the vegetation changes significantly.
The alpine coniferous forest with larches, firs and spruces transition to a dense bamboo forest. Black bears might be in broad daylight across the river. Continuing through everlasting ups and downs, directly next to the river in the gorge, partly on a narrow path high up on steep, rocky terrain, we reach Amjilosa in the early afternoon. Amjilosa is a picturesque village perched on top of a hillside rather bigger village and the lodges offer a wider choice but don’t expect anything big. Accommodation: Local basic teahouse. Included Meals: B,L,D.
A beautiful day’s walking with multiple bridges crossings. The trail remains close to the Ghunsa Khola that drains from the Kangchenjunga and Jannu (Kumbhakarna)glaciers which is the major tributary of the Tamor River.
The trail can be noticed being steadily improved with stone slabs in good order. We cross a bridge to the left and at a big cave look across the river to see monkeys. Shortly thereafter we cross to the true right over a bridge. Eventually we again cross a new bridge to the true left again, pass a landslide and cross again to the right.
The village of Sekathum (1650m) is to our right but not visible and the remote Tibetan village of Olangchunggola is further up the same valley. We cross the Tamor River over a long suspension bridge crosses the Tamor Nadi which drains the valley that contains Olangchunggola and subsumes the Ghunsa 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 checkpost 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 civilised Thiwa with pretty thatched houses, well-stocked shops. Accommodation: Local basic teahouse. Included Meals: B,L,D
We could have trekked down to Mitlung but with an intention of visiting the famous temple of Hindu goddess Pathivara, we trek up to Phedi today. Pathivara temple sight is also a good last viewpoint for Mt. Kanchenjunga on our trek.
We contour along the valley through a network of villages and sometimes on a rough jeep track. Our trek today is not through the major trekking trail but through the network of villages. We trek to Linkhim first, maybe we have our lunch at Linkhim.
We continue to Mayam vai Baisakhe village. We walk through meandering animal tracks. We finally get the main trail to Phedi which is the major the trail to the Pathivara temple and don’t get astonished if we are suddenly amongst crowds of pilgrims, often in family groups. Pathivara is famous temple and piligrims swarm from far way distance to pray homage to the goddess. Overnight in Phedi. Accommodation: Local basic teahouse. Included Meals: B,L,D.
We get up at 4am so that we can arrive on the top in time to see awesome view of Himalayas at sunrise. It is a gut-busting climb of 550 metres on an empty stomach in the dark up steep steps. We thread through the stream of people which seems to have been going all night.
When we finally get to the top the eastern horizon is a band of light and we watch it slowly expand. We can see the full Kanchenjunga massif and realize how much higher it is than anything else. Over to the left Makalu catches the pink sun before we do – and there we also see the tip of Everest behind Makalu. It is a wonderful finale to see all this in a way we never had at the end our trek. We trace our route through the valleys all the way round the back of Kanchenjunga.
Below us in the temple compound very different rites are occurring, including the sacrifice of young goats which we may find very unpleasant. After paying our homage to the goddess, we trace back towards Suketar. We need to take care of our knees with the demanding descent to Phedi and the breakfast at Phedi would be relishing after the morning’s hard effort.
It is a long walk out along the ridge and finally back to Suketar. Last steep descent from the nascent runway at Suketar. We would be elated to have made it and celebrate the trek completion at Suketar with our crew. Accommodation: Local Guesthouse. Included Meals: B,L,D
A further few hours walking this morning brings us full circle on our trekking circuit, to the town of Taplejung where we meet our vehicles and start the drive out of this remote area. We say goodbye to our crew here and retrace our route in, driving the winding roads (approx 7 – 8 hrs) through terraced hills beyond Phidim to the town of Ilam where we stay overnight in a simple hotel (2410m). Accommodation: Local Guesthosue. Included Meals: B,L,D.
We complete our drive, travelling on an ever improving road until we reach the sizzling plains of the plains. Reaching the airport of Bhadrapur we check in for our flight to Kathmandu. Upon arrival in Kathmandu, we get transferred to our hotel for that long awaited good shower. Tonight we will go out to celebrate with dinner in one of Kathmandu’s excellent restaurants. Accommodation: City Hotel. Included Meals: B,L,D.
We are 99% confident that our trek runs super smoothly as scheduled. But its Nepal, better to be prepared for unplanned events to happen on the road. A day we keep as buffer day may be used if we need during the trek or if our trek ran super smoothly we may use this day to rest at out hotel or use for some short adventure sports, such as rafting, bunjee jumping or we can simply tour around the medieval city of Bhaktapur. You may do some last minute optional shopping. Accommodation: City Hotel. Included Meal: B
Your Kanchenjunga Base Camp Trek concludes today after breakfast. If you’re flying home today you will be transferred to the airport. You may opt to choose some of the other trip and adventure in Nepal if you have more days to spend as holiday. Included Meal: B
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