Nepal opened the Kanchenjunga are to trekkers in 1988. Kanchenjunga is a long way from Kathmandu and the nearest roads and airports are a long way from the mountain. We can trek either to the north or south Kanchenjunga base camp. The northern side is very remote. Kanchenjunga is on the border of three countries - Nepal, Tibet and the Indian state of Sikkim. The lowland portion of this region is culturally intriguing, but there are few food mountain views. The Kanchenjunga region is home of the Limbus. Relatives of the Rais, Limbus dominate the region east of the Arun, Koshi and few live elsewhere. Kanchenjunga (8598m) is third highest peak in the world and the second highest in Nepal. In addition to the main peak, four subsidiary summits exceed 8000m, the most important being Kanchenjunga West, also known as Yalung Kang (8505m). We have wonderful views of many snowy peaks which are above 7000m and 6000m. This great cluster of peaks is highly glaciated and cradles five major glacial systems. The Kanchenjunga and Yalung glaciers form the major sources of the Tamor River. In this trek we get opportunity to see lots of floras and faunas too.
This outstanding trek begins and ends at the small airstrip at Suketar-Taplejung, in the remote north east corner of Nepal. It takes you through fascinating Rai and Limbu villages and pristine forests to the awe-inspiring South Face Base Camp at Ramche, before crossing the Mirgin La (pass) to the north side of Kanchenjunga and the Pang Pema Base Camp.
Duration: 27 days
Grade: Medium to hard
Best season: October to December, February to May
Maximum elevation: 5140 (Pang Pema)
*A long walk in the lowlands eventually leads to spectacular high altitude.
*Walk through several Limbu villages lead to glacial valley.
*Wonderful views of Kanchenjunga and many other peaks.
Day 1: Arrive in Kathmandu (1350m)
Our representative will meet you outside the customs and immigration area at the airport. He or She will brief you on the immediate arrangements and escort you to your hotel. The trip leader will hold a short briefing in the hotel regarding trek arrangements and general orientation to Kathmandu.
Day 2: Sightseeing in Kathmandu Valley
Today, we visit the most historical and Spiritual attractions in Kathmandu which are also listed in world heritage sites. We visit Durbar Square, Swayambhunath (Monkey temple), Bouddhanath, which is one of the largest Stupa in the world and the sacred Hindu temple of Pashupatinath.
Day 3: Fly to Biratnagar
This morning we fly to Biratnagar in the eastern Terai. It is one of the largest, an energetic and bustling place. We have very exiting flight over the foothills of the Nepal Himalaya with views of the main peaks to the north. We stay at local hotel.
Day 4: Fly to Taplejung / Suketar (2420m), Trek to Lali Kharka (2265m / 3 hrs)
We take the short (30 min), another exiting flight over the Himalayan foothills to the airstrip at Suketar on the top of a ridge in Suketar village. Here, we meet our trekking crew. After short break and short out everything we start trek. From the airport the trail climbs gradually along a rhododendron forested ridge. The trail crosses the ridge and past the Deurali Khola and some other streams to the pass. From here, we descend through forest to Lali Kharka (summer grazing pasture), here are few houses.
Day 5: Trek to Keswa (2120m / 5 – 6 hrs)
From Lali Kharka we walk through fields to the Limbu village of Thembewa, the trail descends to a ridge then drops steeply through Shimu and Pokara villages to a suspension bridge across the Phawa Khola. After the bridge we climb steeply to Kunjari, a Limbu village, turn left just beyond the school and climb through wheat fields to a saddle. From here, we make a long, looping traverse to Bhanjyang, a Gurung village with several hotels, on a pass at 2129m. We have views of the mountains, Yalung Kang on the left, the main summit appears as a small pyramid and the south summit as a ridge to the right. Jannu is to the left and slightly in front of the main group. Now, we entered the Kabeli Khola valley. We turn left from Bhanjyang and head north just below the top of the ridge and descend to Keswa. The mountain views gradually disappear behind the ridges as altitude is lost.
Day 6: Trek to Mamanke (1810m / 6 hrs)
We cross several streams and landslide to reach Phun Phun, cross a saddle, where is a rest place, traverse to Yangpang then head generally upwards through forests past a large waterfall. Descend through a serious of side valleys on a ridge then drop little bit to Phonpe village, great view of Jannu. We descend steeply through rice terraces into a side canyon, cross a stream on a long suspension bridge then climb to Mamanke, a prosperous Limbu village with several local hotels, shops and a large school.
Day 7: Trek to Yamphudin (2080m / 6 hrs)
From Mamanke, climb to a ridge and then descend gradually to the Tenguwa khola, cross the stream. Switchback steeply up to another ridge marked by a Chhorten and prayer flags, descend then cross another stream and gently descend down to the Kabeli Khola. We stay on the west side of the Kabeli Khola and climb gently to Yamphudin. Yamphudin is the last permanent settlement, there is a police check post, a school and some shops.
Day 8: Trek to Lamite Jungle camp (2340m / 4–5 hrs)
Beyond Yamphudin the trail ascends a steep spur before dropping again to cross the Omja Khola. There are excellent views. The route up the spur leads to a high valley and broad grassy meadows. Reaching the Col reveals the forest of the upper Omja Khola valley. We follow a wonderful and steady descend through birch and fir forest, cross the river on a small log bridge. There are camp sites in a clearing forest.
Day 9: Trek to Torongtan / Thorongdin (2995m / 5-6 hrs)
From the stream the trail makes a steep climb through bamboo to Chitre (Kharka); continue to ascend through a forest of pine and rhododendrons to pond at Lamite Bhanjyang (3410m). From here we can see Jannu. From this ridge stay on the ridge and follow it east along its top until well beyond the landslide, then follow a steep switchbacks leading downhill. After the steep descend the trail become more gentle, generally level and wide, few short steep descend. It passes through forests, crossing streams and isolated clearings used by herders. Stay above the river and follow it upstream, on a series of ascents and descents to a bridge (Thorongdin). There are camp sites near the river and also in a clearing beyond Thorongdin.
Day 10: Trek to Tseram (3870m / 5 hrs)
We walk through the forest of rhododendrons. The deeply forested is dotted with clearings meadows and streams. About an hour beyond there is Buddhist shrine decorated with cairns and prayer flags. The shrine is in a cave that has a streak of dark stone along it, which is thought to be the image of a snake. Peaks begin to appear in the distance as we climb further. The trail follows the ever widening riverbed and becomes very easy. Eventually the terminal moraine of the Yalung Glacier comes into view, overlooked by the peaks of Talung, Kabru and Rathong. Tseram is a large, flat meadow.
Day 11: Trek to Ramche (4580m / 3-4 hrs)
Climb through forests to a landslide area, the junction with the trail to the Mirgin La is nearby. Stumble across a stream on a loose, rocky path and climb to some Mani walls near the tree line. The peaks Rathong and Kabru loom at the head of the valley. The trail climbs into the valley alongside the moraine of the Yalung Glacier, the valley opens up as we approach Yalung, a pasture area. Climb alongside the moraine through scrub junipers up a stream to a lake at Lapsang (4432m). We keep climbing to another lake and a big meadow at Ramche. There are two stone huts. The view is dominated by the Rathong.
Day 12: Hike to Oktang (4730m) and return to Lapsang (4432m)
From Ramche we make further day excursion to get views of the south face of Kanchenjunga. Beyond Ramche the glacier turns north, it is fairly level and easy going around (1 hr). A small track leads onto the lateral moraine of the Yalung Glacier to a Chhorten (1 hr). From here we have views of Kanchenjunga main summit, Yalung Kang and Kanbachen (7802m) peak at the head of the valley. We descend to the small clearing at Oktang. In the afternoon we retrace to Labsang (about 2 hrs from Oktang).
Day 13: Cross Mirgin La (4480m), camp in meadow (8 hrs)
From Labsang situated close to the snout of the Yalung Glacier a path traverses around a wooded hillside to the tree line, from where there is a rough and long steep climb. At the top there is a spectacular overlook across the lower reaches of the Yalung Glacier towards the peaks on the Sikkim frontier. From top the trail contours around a craggy hillside to reach the Sinelapcha La (4550m). The wide saddle leads to the Mirgin La from where there are extensive views stretching from Jannu to Makalu. The path descends from the narrow saddle and then leads round a grassy part below small rocky peaks to an excellent camp site in a meadow at boulder Kharka. Jannu is particularly impressive from here.
Day 14: Trek to Ghunsa (3595m / 6 hrs)
We cross the Sinion La (4440m) and follow the southern flank of the ridge on a good trail to the Sele La (4290m) then long descend through beautiful forest to a clearing on the lip of the Yamatori valley. Continue descending through pine and rhododendron forest to Ghunsa (which means "winter settlement"). There is a small Tibetan monastery, several houses and a police post. Ghunsa is slowly developing into a trekking village and has teahouse and shop.
Day 15: Trek to Khambachen (4040m / 5 hrs)
The trail makes a gradual ascent along the south bank of the Gunsa Khola through scrub rhododendron and juniper. The terminal moraines of the Jannu glacier can be seen clearly ahead, as the moraine is reached we cross the stream by small bridge then arrive in Rambuk Kharka. Once on the opposite side the trail passes a waterfall then makes a short, steep ascent to a very unstable scree slope. The views to the north and east gradually open out include the peaks of Phole (6645m), Sobi Thongje (6670m) and Kumbhakarna / Jannu (7711m) rising majestically above the moraines of the Jannu Glacier. Beyond the slide the trail drops to Lakep then traverses to the small summer settlement of Khambachen. We can't see Jannu but the Sarphu group is visible at the head of the valley. There are lots of places for camping and huts for porters.
Day 16: Rest Day
It is again time to stop and acclimatize. There are views of the high peaks near Kanchenjunga: Ghabur / Temachuunngi (6044m), Phole (6645m), Sobi Thangje (6670m) and Jannu (7711m). We climb a ridge above the village for more views or take a day hike towards Jannu base camp.
Day 17: Trek to Lhonak (4790m / 6 hrs)
The rough but easy trail continues up the west bank of the river, first across a small boulder field and then up a short, easy snow slope to the Kharka of Ramtang (4370m). The view ahead becomes increasingly impressive. About an hour level walking leads to the snout of the Kanchenjunga glacier across whose moraines rises pyramid peak (7140m), Tent peak (7362m) and Nepal peak (7177m) at the head of the valley. The terminal moraine and the river from the Lhonak glacier enter from the north but present only a minor obstruction to access onto the level sandy and grassy plains at Lhonak. This is windy place. There are wonderful mountain views all around.
Day 18: Trek to Pang Pema (5140m / 4-5 hrs)
From Lhonak the trail ascends gradually across the plain then gets a bit steeper as it follows the moraine. We can drop off the moraine and follows the bottom of the valley to avoid the steeper section. The views are dramatic: Nepal peak, Tent peak and Pyramid Peak, along with the Sharphu peaks dominating the horizon down the valley. As Pang Pema is reached the view to the south open up to reveal the Twins peak (7350m), and the great north face of Kanchenjunga (8586m) and Yalung Kang (8505m). Pang Pema is situated on small grassy shelf above the glacier. The surrounding mountain views are spectacular.
Day 19: Trek back to Khambachen (6 hrs)
We make a morning hike up the ridge north of Pang Pema, a climb about 200m to 300m. We have magnificent views of Kanchenjunga, Wedge Peak / Chang Peak (6802m), the Twin Peaks (7350m), Pyramid Peak (7140m) and Tent Peak (7362m). Descend down to Khambachen is easy and faster.
Day 20: Trek to Kyapra (2730m / 7 hrs)
We back down through the strong mountain scenery past Gunsa and on for another three quarters of an hour to the Yak pastures and potato fields of Phere (Tibetan village), where the valley narrows. Now it becomes forested (bamboo, oak and rhododendron) and the trail keeps to the west bank of the Ghunsa Khola. There is a good campsite at a small clearing at Kyapra beside a cluster of Buddhist stone huts.
Day 21: Trek to Tangep (2308m / 4-5 hrs)
Today, we walk many ups and downs. The trail stays close to the bed of the Ghunsa khola with its many waterfalls and pools. The vegetation slowly changes as the altitude decreases and the trail pass through dense forests of fir, rhododendron and bamboo. Arrive at some clearings locally known as Tangep, we make camp here.
Day 22: Trek to Sakathum (1576m / 4 hrs)
We follow along a steep and twisting trail around the corner in the valley to the small Tibetan settlement of Amjilassa (2308m). The steepness of the hillside has relented here enough to allow some cultivation. The view down the valley now is stunning, the distance Ghunsa Khola snakes like a silver ribbon against the backdrop cliffs. There is a spectacular traverse past several waterfalls on a narrow path. From the rocky traverse a steep descent is made into the deep, narrow and steep sided valley. There is a small campsite on a grassy ground above the river. Sakathum is Tibetan village; there is a helipad, tea shop and vegetable garden.
Day 23: Trek to Sinwa (980m / 5 hrs)
After half an hour, we cross a bridge and reach the confluence of the Ghunsa Khola. The valley sides are steep and the path traverses high above the Tamor River. The small village of Hellok is located at the confluence of the Tamor River with the Simbuwa Khola and there is a good bridge across the north bank. We continue through the beautiful rock gorges across steep forested hillsides, past the village of Chirwa to camp on grassy ground beside the river near the village of Sinwa.
Day 24: Trek to Dobhan (800m / 4 hrs)
Today is very easy day, we walk along the Tamor River through many rice fields. We cross the large suspension bridge to the village of Dobhan. There is a large campsite at Dobhan beside the bridge. The village is fairly busy with a line of well stocked shops.
Day 25: Trek to Taplejung / Suketar
Beyond the bridge over the Tamor River, the path splits. We follow the right hand path, begins a long zigzag courses up the hillside to Taplejung and the airstrip above the town at Suketar. This is our final camp.
Day 26: Fly to Kathmandu via Biratnagar
We fly back to Biratnagar and then take a connecting flight to Kathmandu. In the afternoon we visit around Thamel for shopping and we have farewell dinner at typical Nepali restaurant with cultural program.
Day 27: Departure to your home
We transfer you to international airport for your international flight.