Mt. Kachenjunga (28,198ft & treasures of the snow) is the third highest mountain in the world and was first climbed by the British in 1956. Lying on the Nepal – Sikkim borders, the lush landscape of the Kanchenjunga area is an ideal environment for musk deer, blue sheep and the infamous yeti. Few westerners have traveled to this remote area.
This region offers an endless variety of culture and changing countryside as it proceeds from terraced fields, forests of birch, bamboo and rhododendron that eventually turn to stands of fir and hemlock as one climbs higher into the mountains. Himalayan bear, barking deer and the lesser panda are among the rich animal and bird life that fill the area. Kanchanjunga, Makalu and the spectacular Jannu are among the peaks at the outset of the trek. Passing through villages of Brahmins and Chhetries, you enter almost exclusive Limbu territory with a scatter of Gurung and Sherpa settlements.
The trek to Kanchenjunga is a long course and offers one of the best high altitude trekking trips, leading the famous peaks of eastern Nepal as Kanchenjunga and mysterious Jannu via the enormous Yalung Glacier. It also allows a trip to Lamsang La and Kanchenjunga glacier. The view of Kanchenjunga range and Kanchenjunga (8,556m) the third highest in the world, from the north base camp is simply breathtaking and unforgettable, as is the north face of Jannu, a worthy destination itself. The trail goes from the Sub Tropical lowlands up to the Yalung Glacier 5000m; enable the trekkers to experience a diverse cross section of topography, people, culture, fauna and flora. Set in a remote wilderness, inhabited by a few nomadic yak herders, this region has much to offer the adventurous trekkers who are looking for something different.
We will fly from KTM to Suketar, 45 min flight (optional to Bhadrapur) and right after necessary arrangement of the porters, we will began our trek following a route alone a ridge top towards the TamourRiver where we will enjoy panoramic views of the Makalu (27,825’) and Chamlung(24,000’) peaks. We will continue through forests and rhododendron thickets and soon the Kanchenjunga range will appear. Trekking through the Limbu villages to the terraced mountainside village of Amji-lhasa, we will get to the legendry Sherpa village of Ghunsa (11,400ft). We will visit the monastery there and soon have our first glimpse of a sea of unclimbed peaks including the Jannu(25,289ft) known as a “mystery peak” or “Terror “. We will trek to the edge of the Kanchenjunga glacier and after crossing the lateral moraine; we will cut across at this junction and arrive at our campsite at Lhonak, an undisturbed landscape of unspeakable beauty.
After a couple of days rest and exploration at Lhonak including a day trip to Pangpema (16900ft) to see the north face of Kanchenjunga, your dream of seeing one of the most remote lands in the world will be fulfilled and then we retrace step to Ghunsa, and continue our return trek through few Sherpa villages and Limbu villages, and finally to Suketar/Taplejung once again where we end our trek, and get ready for fly to Kathmandu.
Arrival, transfer to hotel & briefing
After you arrive at Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu, you will have to go through custom form
alities. You will be greeted by our representative who will be anxiously waiting for you with a placard displaying your name in his hand. You will be transferred to the 3-Star category hotel in a private vehicle. Once you get refreshed, you will get briefing regarding the itinerary. Enjoy welcome dinner in the evening where you can taste authentic Nepali dinner. Stay overnight in a hotel.
City sight seen tours, packing and preparations
You will be transferred to our office for documentation work. You will also be introduced with your crew members and other trekkers who are going to join you on the trip. In the afternoon, half day sightseeing tour will be organized during which you will be taken on memorable UNESCO Heritage Tour. Tour begins with visit to Nepal’s holiest Pashupatinath Temple Complex and takes us through Nepal’s largest Bouddhanath Stupa and 2500 years old Swoyambhunath Stupa. We will return to hotel for overnight stay.
Fly to Suketar (2420m) and trek to Mitlung (920m), 3 hours, or Fly to Bhadrapur (40 min), and drive to Phedim (5 hrs)
Nepal Airlines Corporation (NOC) is operating three weekly direct flights in between Kathmandu and Taplejung. Since the flight is infrequent, the flight is scenic with close-up views of Jugal Mountain, Langtang Mountain, Makalu Mountain, Kanchenjunga Mountain and other peaks and mountains. After assembling the crew, we will follow the levelled path for almost two hours to reach Taplejung from where we will walk past few dispersed villages to reach Hangdewa River. Crossing the small Hangdewa River, we will follow the bank of Tamor River for another couple of hours before descending through a muddy path to Mitlung village where we will stay overnight.
Our alternative is to catch flight from Kathmandu to Bhadrapur, the flight is about 40 minutes only. Form Bhadrapur we take jeep drive to Phedim, this will take about 5 hours and we stay over night in guesthouse in Phedim.
Trek to Chirwa (1336m), 4 hours or drive to Phedim - Taplejung - Chirwa
Leaving Mitlung village early in the morning, we will follow the trail through series of ups and downs to the pretty village of Sinwa village from where we will descend to Tawa village. From Tawa, the trail stretches up till we reach to the suspension bridge that links Tawa with Thiwa. We will continue walking through terraced farmland to the village of Chirwa. Chirwa is the culturally rich village of Limbu ethnic with proper facility of tea houses and lodges. In almost 5 hours, we will arrive at Chirwa where we will stay overnight.
Alternative plan: If we take flight from KTM to Bhadrapur then, we drive from Phedim to Taplejung (4 hrs) early in the morning, and stop in Taplejung for Lunch and continue jeep drive to Chirwa the same day, Taplejung to Chirwa drive is on dirt road about 5 hrs.
Trek to Sekathum (1648m), 5 hours
The trail stretches uphill and downhill through terraced fields of cardamom and forest of pine and oaks to lead us to Sekathum. After pursuing the escalating trail for almost an hour, we will lower down to the Tamor River via green field. This is a short journey where we will gain almost 300m altitude in mere six hours. From Tamor River, we will continue walking till we reach Ghunsa River which we will cross to arrive at Sekathum. Stay overnight in Sekathum.
Trek to Amjilhasa (2360m), 5 hours
This is going to be a bit tough day as we will be walking through slippery gorge. Crossing the suspension bridge, we will enter the forest area from where the trail stretches up and down to the river. Crossing the river via bridge, we will walk uphill to Solima Village. From Solima village, the trail lowers down to yet another river. We need to walk for almost seven hours on this day. Caution is required to walk through slippery gorges to take us finally to Amji Lhasa. Amji Lhasa is the point where we will leave lower section of Kanchenjunga region and enter Upper Section. There will be differences in vegetation, culture and local life in lower and upper section. Stay overnight in Amji Lhasa.
Trek to Gyabla (2690m), 5 hours
Leaving Amjilosa/ Amji Lhasa early in the morning after breakfast, we will take seven hours of long walk to Gyabla. We will witness many Tibetan refugee settlements on our way, mostly near Phale village. The trail continues along riverbank and traverses bamboo, fir and rhododendron forest to take us to the tiny stone house existing near to the river. We will follow the uphill trail and cross bridges at few points. We will also enjoy the views of cascading waterfall at few points. A short uphill climb will take us to the Tibetan settlement of Gyabla. Tibetan Handmade products like beads, carpet and other souvenir items are for sale on Gyabla. Stay overnight in Gyabla.
Visit Phele-gompa (monastery), Trek to GhunsaGaon (3472m), 4 hours
Leaving our camp in Gyabla, we will take the downhill trek to the river from where the valley opens wide to PhaleGompa Monastery which is also the Tibetan Refugee Settlement area. One can buy gift items like handmade rugs on Phale. We can see monks dressed in red robes chanting mantras at PheleGompa. We need to cross conifer and pine forest to reach Ghunsa that is inhabited by Sherpa ethnics who have different culture than Rais and Limbus who are found in Lower Section of Kanchenjunga Region. This is the place where helicopter carrying more than twenty remarkable environment conservationists including Dr.HarkaGurung had crashed. Stay overnight in Ghunsa.
Rest Day at Ghunsa
Since Ghunsa is located at an altitude of more than 3500m, it is wise to take a day of rest for proper acclimatization. There are many comfortable teahouses for accommodation in Ghunsa. Ghunsa is considered as the headquarters of Kanchenjunga North. We can explore Ghunsa or climb to the nearby ridge for better views of surrounding mountains and peaks. Another alternative is to visit the Lpasan La Monastery for which we need to walk through the forest area. We will return back to Ghunsa from the Monastery for overnight stay.
Trek to Khambachen (4130m), 4 hours
The path from Ghunsa to Khambachen continues through the landslide area that takes us through off the beaten section of Kanchenjunga North. Leaving Ghunsa, we will follow the scenic path with views of surrounding mountains and peaks. We will walk along the edge of river towards northern territory. We will be greetd with the pleasant aura of pasture land full of lush green vegetation and rhododendron and pine forest. The trail leads us to RampukKharka from where we will walk along the cascading waterfall and arrive at yet another landslide prone area. We can get close-up view of northern face of Mount Jannu once we walk past the landslide prone area. Kambachen, Lhonak and Pangpema are temporary settlements where we can find small stone teahouses for shepherd’s settlement during summer. Stay overnight in Khambachen.
Layover Day at Khambachen
Located at an altitude of 4130m, Kambachen is a high alpine area of grass land with absence of forest. Khambachen is the perfect place for taking rest from trek as it will help us to get acclimatized to the high alpine region of northern hemisphere. This will also prepare us and refill our energy that we will require for next two days to make it to the north base camp of Kanchenjunga. We can explore the Nupchu River Valley or move further to NupchuPokhari (lake) in the afternoon. Report to the guide immediately if you are feeling unwell. Evacuation from Pangpema is difficult than from Khambachen. Stay overnight in Khambachen.
Trek to Lhonak (4,792m), 4 hours
This is going to be a long and tiring day as we need to trek for around seven hours to reach Lhonak from Khambachen. We will begin our trek early in the morning. We will walk past the field of rocks and boulders and enter Ramtang Valley as we pass through the Ramtang Monastery. This Monastery exists near to the bridge which we will arrive after passing through the cascading waterfall. We will visit the Monastery and take brief rest before continuing our journey through the landslide prone area. Keep your eyes open for loose rocks that make the path tricky. We will lower down to the river and follow the path that greets us with the first view of Lhonak settlement. There are very few small stone teahouses in Lhonak. These teahouses are a summer settlement of shepherds. Accommodation in these teahouses will not be comfortable. We might prefer accommodation in tent in Lhonak and Pangpema. Lhonak is a pasture land that is surrounded with hills and mountains. Stay overnight in Lhonak.
Day trip Pang Pema base camp (5,140m) & retrace steps to Lhonak, 6 hours
Pang Pema is the North Base Camp of Kanchenjunga. We will walk through the landslide prone area and fields of rocks and boulders to reach the grassy plain land of North Base Camp. We will climb to the nearby ridge for the close-up views of Mount Jannu, Chang Mountain and an incredible view of North Face of Kanchenjunga. We can meet with climbers who are on their way or have returned from climbing Peak 5950 which takes extra four days from Pangpema. Climbing Peak 5950 does not require climbing permit. After enjoying the stupefying views of Mountains and Peaks, we will retrace our route back to Lhonak where we will stay overnight.
Lhonak to Ghunsa (3,415m), 6 hours
Continuing our return trip, we will leave Lhonak and lower down to Ramtang Monastery. After taking brief rest in Ramtang Valley, we will walk past the landslide area to arrive at the bridge which we will cross and walk past waterfall to arrive at Khambachen. Descending trail is easier. So we can easily make it to Lhonak from Ghunsa in a single day without having to take a day of rest in Khambachen. The trail is scenic with views of Kanchenjunga, Gimmigela Peak, Mera Peak and other peaks and mountains at the backdrop. Following the descending trail from Kambachen, we will reach Ghunsa from where we can find the permanent settlements. We can meet with trekkers from Selele who are on Kanchenjunga South Base Camp Trek. Stay overnight in Ghunsa.
Trek to Thyanyani (2,400m), 5 hours
The trek begins along the small Kanchenjunga Conservation Area Office.We will walk past pretty Tibetan houses that are decorated with colourful flags. In couple of hours, we will reach Phole Village. We will visit the local monastery and walk along the winter village to rhododendron forest. We will reach Gyabla from where we will lower down to waterfall. We will follow the trail to stone shelters and continue walking to Thyanyani where we will stay overnight.
Trek to Sekathum (1,576m), 4 hours
Leaving Thyanyani early in the morning, we will crossGhunsa River over bridge and walk past rhododendron and bamboo forest to Gyabla. Lowering down to Amji Lhasa, we will traverse the oak forest to reach small Solima village. We will follow the tapered path that leads us to suspension bridge over Ghunsa River. Crossing the river, we will reach the Tibetan village of Sekathum. Stay overnight in Sekathum.
Trek to Ranipul (4 hrs) and drive to Taplejung same day, 6 hours
From Sekathum, we will follow the trail along green field to the collection of teahouses. Advancing further, we will reach Ranipul. This is a short yet pleasant trek. From Ranipul we take local jeep to Taplejung about 5-6 hours drive on dirt road, we reach Taplejung in the late evening only. Stay in Guesthouse in Taplejung
Fly to KTM or Drive to Bhadrapur (8hrs) and Fly to KTM (40min)
We will try to catch an early morning flight from Suketar to Kathmandu directly. If this flight is not available, then we take drive to Bhadrapur (8 hrs) and take later afternoon flight to KTM the same day. You will be transferred to hotel for overnight stay.
Free day, shopping and celebration meals in the evening
This is rest day. Spend the day as you like. You can go for shopping in Thamel where you can buy souvenir items. Upon your interest, we can also arrange for guided sightseeing tour. Farewell dinner will be served in the evening.
Int’l departure to home
You will be transferred to the Airport three hours before your scheduled flight. Safe journey. We hope to see you soon.