Kanchenjunga Circuit Trek

Trekking and Walking

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  • Experience of a More than 10 Years
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US$ 2,475 US$ 2,351 P/P

5% off

Trip Info

  • Duration

    26 Days

  • Max. Altitude

    KNBC 5143 m

  • Difficulty

    difficult

  • Starts From

    Kathmandu

  • Trip Ends At

    Kathmandu

  • Transport

    Private Car & Flight

  • Region/Type

    Kanchenjunga Treks
  • Best Season:

    • Spring (Mar, Apr)
    • Autumn (Mid-Sep - Mid November)

Kanchenjunga Circuit Trek Overview

Kanchenjunga Circuit Trek is an adventurous journey in a region that has received little attention lately. This little-known trail leads to both the bases, south, and north of the third highest mountain in the world, Mount Kanchenjunga (8586 m). Joe Brown and George Band with a team of British mountaineers were the first to make it to the top in 1955. In 1977, an Indian Army squad from Sikkim on the Indian side achieved the second ascent of the northeast ridge.

The trekking journey on Kanchenjunga’s lonely routes is incredible. Exotic forests, colorful communities, cascading waterfalls, and beautiful natural joy are all part of the undiscovered trekking trail of Kanchenjunga. 

Kanchenjunga is located in Nepal's far eastern region, on the border with Sikkim, a small Himalayan state in India's north-eastern region. Kanchenjunga was regarded to be the world's tallest peak until the mid-1800s. And, until the mid-1980s, this area was off-limits to hikers.

Exploring and savoring the outdoors in this area is an unparalleled pleasure. Kanchenjunga region has a diverse range of vegetation, as well as some of the best mountain vistas in the Himalayas. Fascinating detail about Kanchenjunga is that it is the home of “Yeti”, a legendary beast from the Himalayas. 

Many species of flora and fauna, as well as several endangered natural animals, including the red panda, black bear, musk deer, blue sheep, and snow leopard, live in the area where you will be trekking. The scenery is replete with rivers, waterfalls, lush meadows, rhododendron, birch, and pine woods, the Yalung Glacier, and, of course, stunning mountains that accompany travelers on their journey. It is home to a mixed community of Sherpa, and Kirat, providing trekkers with an opportunity to learn about their culture and way of life. 

Despite being the third highest in the world, it is not one of Nepal's most popular treks. The reason for this is due to its remote location and the fact that it is a relatively long walk. Also, or perhaps because of scarce information regarding this expedition on the internet.

As a result, there are fewer trekkers in the Kanchenjunga region. However, throughout the journey, you will be mesmerized by the natural heritage with little human interference. This tough adventure will provide you with a wealth of exciting and unforgettable memories to last a lifetime.

Major highlights of Kanchenjunga Circuit Trek

  • Explore Nepal's less-traveled Eastern mountainous region
  • Opportunity to trek to both Kanchenjunga North Base Camp and Kanchenjunga South Base Camp at once
  • Walking among the different plants and fauna & some elusive wildlife, such as the snow leopard, blue sheep, and red panda
  • Explore Ghunsa, a traditional Tibetan community and one of the largest in the Kanchenjunga region
  • The warmth and hospitality of the Kirati people
  • Crossing some of the high passes, such as Sele La, Mirgin La, and Sinion La
  • Enjoy the expansive verdant alpine meadows, flowing waterfalls, and other natural wonders
  • Enjoy the spectacular beauty of the Kanchenjunga Range, Januu Himal, Wedge Peak, Mera Peak, and other Himalayan peaks
  • After exhausting walks, meditate at the Ramtang and Oktalung/Oktang Monasteries

How difficult is Kanchenjunga Circuit Trek?

Kanchenjunga Circuit Trek is a long and difficult trek but isn’t impossible. The Trek difficulty level is determined by several significant characteristics such as high altitude, extended duration, unpredictable weather, off-beaten paths, and lovely scenery. And, this multiday journey takes place in the high Himalayas, following a rough terrain with multiple ascents and descents. This trek is also challenging due to the amount of time you must devote to it. For more than three weeks, you will be walking through rural settlements that require high physical and mental fitness. 

The trek begins in Taplejung at 2000 meters and then progressively climbs in height until it reaches the highest point, Pangpema Base Camp, at 5,143m. You'll cross through numerous difficult high mountain passes on the way. So, proper acclimatization should be included in the itinerary to prevent Altitude Sickness, the major challenging factor in the Himalayas. 

Each day, you'll need to walk for about 7 to 8 hours to cover a distance of about 10-11 kilometers. If you are not physically fit, the climb in the high Himalayas may be difficult owing to thin air and harsh temperatures. So, it is best to start exercising at least a month before your expedition. Running, jogging, trekking, long walks, cycling, climbing stairs, and swimming are all good cardio activities. Similarly, going to the gym and working out can be an excellent way to prepare for the walk. 

What is the Best Time to do Kanchenjunga Circuit Trek?

Kanchenjunga Circuit Trek can be done at any time of year, but the best and most popular seasons for trekking in Kanchenjunga are spring and fall. These two are also the main trekking seasons in Nepal. Early March to mid-May and October to late November are the finest months to hike in this area. We advise against visiting during the monsoon season, which lasts from late May to mid/late September. Many locals will go to lower elevations during the winter, and teahouses will close, leaving camping as the sole option, which will be exceedingly chilly.

Kanchenjunga in spring 

Spring (March-May) is one of the best seasons for traveling purposes. It's that time of year when the trails in the Himalayan regions are surrounded by lush woodlands and vibrant rhododendrons and greenery aplenty. You can relax and enjoy the tranquility of the mountains, the clear sky, and the ideal weather and temperature. The trails will be drier, and the temperature is pleasant throughout these months, as are the vistas. The Kanchenjunga Circuit trail is made more romantic and pleasurable by the gorgeous flowering settings. 

Kanchenjunga in summer/monsoon

Summer (June-August/Early September) is a wet season, thus trekking to the Kanchenjunga region at this time is risky. The amount of landslides between Ghunsa and Pangpema makes walking difficult during the monsoon season, as the rain exacerbates the problem. Hiking in the rain and on a slick trail is tough and perhaps dangerous. The walk becomes difficult when landslide exits, plus fresh landslides can occur at any time.

Kanchenjunga in autumn 

Autumn (September – November) ushers in a great setting for hiking as the monsoon door closes and winter draws to a close. The weather is good, and the mountain vistas are spectacular. Wildlife can also be seen enjoying the warmth of the sun during this time. The monsoon rain washes off the Kanchenjunga region clean, revealing the most stunning scenery and fresh air during the post-monsoon/autumn/pre-winter. 

Kanchenjunga in winter 

The trails are covered in snow during the harsh winter months (December-February/early March), making the walk dangerous. In the Kanchenjunga region, winter is bitterly cold and Sele Le Pass along the trail is impassable. Due to significant snowfall, the KBC track becomes slick and unsuitable for trekking. In addition to that, teahouses in the region remain closed.

Itinerary in Details

Day 1: Arrival in Kathmandu

🕑 30 Min Drive to Hotel

Max Altitude: 1350 M

You will land at the Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu after your fantastic flight above the high hills and mountains. Our airport representative will greet you at the arrival terminal, transfer you to your designated hotel and help you to check-in. You are then free to rest and relax. 

We will proceed for a pre-discussion session about your Kanchenjunga Circuit Trek, either at your hotel lobby or our office if your arrival is early. Later in the evening, you can stroll around your hotel area i.e. the Thamel, the top tourist hub of Nepal. You will notice small monuments at each corner of the Thamel area and Tahiti.

Accommodation: Standard Hotel in KTM

Day 2: Kathmandu Sightseeing & Trek Preparation

🕑 Full Day

Max Altitude: 1350 M

After a warm breakfast at the hotel, we will discuss our trip if we could not make it on the previous day. After that, you can spend the morning, exploring some of Kathmandu's World Heritage Sites. We will explore some of the famous and important places of Nepal like Pashupatinath Temple which is one of the most important Hindu sites in the world, Boudhanath Stupa, the Mahayana Buddhism center of Nepal, and if time permits, Patan Durbar Square at Patan or Lalitpur, the city of Beauty.

In the afternoon, you can go shopping for the trek in the Thamel area where all types of gear and equipment for the treks, climbs, and hikes can be found. In the evening, go for dinner at one of the restaurants there or order in your hotel room.

Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation: Standard Hotel in KTM

Day 3: Fly to Bhadrapur & Drive to Taplejung

🕑 1 Hour Flight & 8/9 Hours Drive

Max Altitude: 2000 M

We will take the earliest flight to Bhadrapur from Kathmandu today. After a 45 minutes flight above the diverse hills and terrains, we land at Bhadrapur Airport where you will meet your supporting crew. From the airport, we will drive directly to Taplejung for the night. The drive on the blacktop road goes past the vast landscapes, high hills, and small mountains passing via the beautiful lush tea garden of Kanyan and Fikkal in Ilam. As we approach our guesthouse in Taplejung we are welcomed by the black/big cardamom forests. Taplejung is the biggest producer of the spice called black/big cardamom in the world. Once at our lodging, we rest and look forward to the trip.

(Note: If the flight gets delayed, we will stop at Bhadrapur for the night. If so, our Taplejung drive will be scheduled tomorrow morning extending the trip days.)

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Accommodation: Tea House

Day 4: Trek To Chiruwa

🕑 7/8 Hours Walk

Max Altitude: 1290 M

We start the trekking journey today from Taplejung to Chiruwa. We begin our downhill walking along the Tamor River and into the vast black Cardamom forest. We take a break for tea or coffee along the way, then continue walking on a flat road. The vegetation changes from alpine to tropical in the second phase and the steep slopes and mountains begin to melt away, leaving nothing but vast flats. Along our walk today, we get to observe the Kirat people’s small communities and their way of lifestyle. Kirats are the major farming ethnic group in this region with other communities like Tamangs and Gurungs. We drive till we reach the small settlement of Chiruwa.

OR,
Drive Taplejung – Ranipul (6-7hrs) & walk to Sermanthang (45mins). Driving to Ranipul and a short walk would be the alternative today. The drive on the mountain road with several bumps is the option to skip a day of trekking.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Accommodation: Teahouse

Day 5: Trek to Sermanthang

🕑 6/7 Hours Walk

Max Altitude: 2150 M

After our delightful breakfast at Chiruwa, we begin our walk via a suspension bridge over the river entering the conservation area. Once our permits are checked at the park’s office, we will walk along the bank of Tamor River into the cardamom garden. We come across beautiful traditional villages, terraced farms and fields, and numerous waterfalls and streams. The Kirati peoples’ culture and lifestyle will be the highlight of today’s walk. Upon reaching our destination, we check in at our teahouse and relax.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Accommodation: Teahouse

Day 6: Trek to Amjilosa

🕑 4/5 Hours Walk

Max Altitude: 2308 M

We will be hiking through the man-made stone steps trail today. The first half consists primarily of uphill treks, while the second segment consists of difficult and steep climbs. Our trail ascends from the Kirati communities in the lower region to the Sherpa settlements. We take lunch on the riverbank at Lamatar before continuing uphill to Amjilosa, which has a few Sherpa residences and yak pasturelands.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Accommodation: Teahouse

Day 7: Trek Amjilosa – Gyabla – Ghunsa

🕑 8/9 Hours Walk

Max Altitude: 3550 M

We begin our journey early in the morning on rocky stone steps, passing past landslides, small streams, and spectacular waterfalls. Our difficult ascent continues through a thickly forested zone of dense rhododendron and old oak trees, past small communities buried in the calm valley below the mountains, and a quick lunch stop at Gyabla. We will get the first mountain view of Kumbhakarna/Jannu Peak from here. The steep ascending stone steps continue until we reach Faley. The mountain walking track begins here and carries us uphill along the Ghunsa River till we reach Ghunsa.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Accommodation: Tea House

Day 8: Acclimatization Day in Ghunsa

🕑 Full Day

Max Altitude: 3800 M

We spend an extra day in Ghunsa to allow us to rest and acclimate to the high altitude. For the acclimatization purpose, we hike over the river above the settlement, which takes about 4 hours round trip. We'll spend the rest of the day wandering around this Tibetan village, interacting with the inhabitants and learning about their rich culture. One can buy some local handmade Tibetan handicrafts and souvenirs before heading further ahead

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Accommodation: Tea House

Day 9: Trek to Khambachen

🕑 5/6 Hours Walk

Max Altitude: 4000 M

We leave Ghunsa and start our trek through a pine and rhododendron forest. Walking along the Ghunsa Khola's east bank, we pass Buddhist mani walls and chortens and colorful prayer flags.  The mountain scenery becomes more intense today with the north face of Jannu. We cross the landslide with caution following the slopes of the hillside before descending to Khambachen. This is a Tibetan village with dwellings tucked on a green plain surrounded by mountains.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Accommodation: Teahouse

Day 10: Acclimatization Day (Optional trek to Kumbakarna/Janu Base Camp)

🕑 5/6 Hours to Janu BC

Max Altitude: 4400 M

Khambachen is our second acclimatization point on this Kanchenjunga Circuit Trek. The spectacular vistas of Mount Jannu are well worth the hike up Nupchu Khola from Khambachen. We head up to the Jannu shrine at 4,400m for a lengthier hike. It will take us 5 to 6 hours to walk there and return.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Accommodation: Teahouse

Day 11: Trek to Lhonak

🕑 5 Hours Walk

Max Altitude: 4770 M

With a challenging day ahead, we will start our trek quite early in the morning. First, we will be passing through an impressive rocky field with large boulders that are scattered across a beautiful landscape. Next, we will reach a waterfall and a river. As we approach another landslide zone, we will be taking some rest in Ramtang Monastery. We will then have to cross the landslide section at a fast and steady pace, before descending to another river and arriving at Lhonak, where we will be spending the night. Today, we get the first glimpse of our major target, Mount Kanchenjunga, as well as other gorgeous mountains such as Wedge Peak (6750m), Mera Peak (6476m), Nepal Peak (6910m), and Twins Peak (6750m) along the trail.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Accommodation: Teahouse

Day 12: Trek Lhonak – Pangpema – Lhonak

🕑 7 Hours Walk

Max Altitude: 5143 M

An early start for the walk to Pangpema (5143m), the Kanchenjunga North Base Camp, for magnificent views of view Kanchenjunga's main peak with Wedge Peak, Tent Peak, Nepal Peak, Cross Peak, and the Twins. The stony slight uphill trail follows moraine for much of its length and is quite in poor shape due to its ever-changing nature and occasional use. After exploring the main destination of this journey, we will return to Lhonak for the night.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Accommodation: Teahouse

Day 13: Trek Lhonak – Khambachen

🕑 5 Hours Walk

Max Altitude: 4000 M

We return to Khambachen, following back along the same path for around 5 hours. We will be steadily descending to a lower elevation and it will be much easier to trek. On our way down we will enjoy a different view of Mount Kanchenjunga and several other peaks, including Taple Shikhar (6,510m) and Chang Himal (Wedge Peak) until we reach Khambachen and spend a night there.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Accommodation: Teahouse

Day 14: Trek Khambachen – Ghunsa

🕑 5/6 Hours Walk

Max Altitude: 3800 M

Continuing our descent, we will trace our steps back by following the trail from Khambachen all the way to Ghunsa, where we will be spending the night. This time we will be enjoying magnificent views that were previously behind us and have more opportunities to stop for pictures.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Accommodation: Teahouse

Day 15: Trek Ghunsa – Sele La Base Camp

🕑 6/7 Hours Walk

Max Altitude: 4480 M

After breakfast, we set out on our journey. Leaving Ghunsa, we follow the step-stone steps and ascend through rhododendron, birch, and pine forests. Then we come to a chorten with prayer flags, which marks the beginning of a steep trail. Our walk goes through natural stone steps, mountain views, and mountain vegetation with numerous waterfalls. Then we gradually ascend to the camp via a beautiful pass from where the peaks like Sarphu III (5,865 m), Khabur, Bokton (6,143 m), and others are seen.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Accommodation: Teahouse

Day 16: Trek Sele La to Tserum

🕑 8/9 Hours Walk

Max Altitude: 4646 M

Today's hike takes us on a hard roller-coaster ride, passing via three passes: Sirion La (4646m), Mirgin La (4470m), and Sirelapche Bhanjyang (4,530m). Mirgin La offers the best view of Mounta Kanchenjunga. En route, we come across yak grazing, sheds, pastures, rare medicinal herbs, waterfalls, and small glacier lakes. The descent after the last pass is steep but brief, passing through the Jor Pokhari Lake and juniper woodland. From here, we can view Kabru and the Yalung glacier. As we climb through the region till the path gradually slopes down on a super steep mountain trail to our rest stop at Tserum, Everest and Makalu contribute to the incredible view before us. There is a high chance of snowfall here.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Accommodation: Teahouse

Day 17: Trek Tserum – Ramzher

🕑 5 Hours Walk

Max Altitude: 4580 M

After breakfast, we begin our short trek to Ramzher. We climb through jungles on the Stone Mountain trail for a while before reaching the Yalung Glacier's snout. The views of various Himalayan peaks are also something we treasure along with Glacier Lake, yak sheds, and pastures. Before arriving in Ramche, we travel past Lapsang La and walk on a completely flat trail. Once we reach Ramche, we rest for a bit and visit a small monastery there.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Accommodation: Teahouse

Day 18: Trek Ramzher – Oktang (KSBC) – Ramzher

🕑 5/6 Hours Walk

Max Altitude: 4610 M

Early in the morning, we follow the flat trail across the valley, yak pastures, and reach the Oktang Glacier which is also the south base camp of Mount Kanchenjunga. The views of the Himalayas from Oktang are breathtaking; the entire cirque is above 7500 meters. The vantage point also offers a beautiful view of the glacier. We visit the Okthalung temple there. After spending some time there, we trek back to Ramzher for the night.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Accommodation: Teahouse

Day 19: Trek Ramzher – Torengthen

🕑 5/6 Hours Walk

Max Altitude: 2995 M

After breakfast at Ramzher, we return to Tseram by retracing the track with the stunning Mountain View along the route. This will be a rather easy walk, with the majority of it being downhill. We continue walking to Torengthen along the river on a stony mountain trail, passing through a rhododendron forest. Torengthen is located amid farm areas with a tiny cattle herders’ settlement surrounded by woods, red panda habitat. We'll spend the night in this quaint place.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Accommodation: Teahouse

Day 20: Trek Torengthen- Yamphudin

🕑 7 Hours Walk

Max Altitude: 2080 M

We leave Torengthen after breakfast and follow the trail ascending via a forest of rhododendron and pine tree lines and a landslide zone. It takes roughly 3 hours to get to Lamite Bhanjang for lunch. After lunch, the track descends for about 2 hours on a decent path before crossing the Imja Khola. Before plunging into Yamphudin, the trail contours around the slope passing some streams, entering a gorge, and then into an open broad terrain. Sherpas, Rais, Limbus, and Tamangs make up the population of this village. The locals call this small village Sherpa Gaun. The Kanchenjunga Conservation Area office is also located here.

Or, Day 20: Trek Torengthen – Ranipul (8-9hrs)

We can also choose to trek from Torengthen to Ranpiul and save a day. This is an adventure trekking tail and is not suggested to beginners. This route on a stony path with numerous landslides goes through the jungle and the national park area. We also come across the red panda habitat if we follow this route. This will be the last day of trekking in this Kanchenjunga South Base Camp Trek journey. On reaching Ranipul, we will check in and rest. Ranipul is a small settlement located close to the Tamor River.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Accommodation: Teahouse

Day 21: Trek Yamphudin – Kebang – Happukhola

🕑 8/9 Hours Walk

Max Altitude: 1915 M

Today will be the last day of trekking in the Kanchenjunga region where we will continue our journey from Yamohudin to Happukhola via Kebang. This is mostly a jungle trek through an undulating path high above the river. After the excitement of the alpine heights, the lower ranges' terraced farms, calm communities, and vibrant colors provide for a soothing trip as we slowly wind our way down to the end. We hike through Limbu towns and a steady patchwork of agriculture and meadows on our final day of trekking, with the smiling faces of the ever-curious people welcoming us as we pass by. 

Our arrival in Happukhola allows us to unwind and reflect on an incredible adventure across Nepal's most remote districts. It is also the village bus park to Taplejung.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Accommodation: Teahouse

Day 22: Drive Happukhola – Taplejung

🕑 5/6 Hours Drive

Max Altitude: 2000 M

Leaving Happukhola, we set on for the drive on the bumpy mountain road towards Taplejung.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Accommodation: Teahouse

Day 23: Drive to Jhapa

🕑 8/9 Hours Drive

Max Altitude: 500 M

From Taplejung, we drive to Jhapa for the night.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Accommodation: Guest House

Day 24: Fly to Kathmandu

🕑 1 Hour Flight and Transfer to Hotel

Max Altitude: 1350 M

Early in the morning, we transfer you to the airport in Bhadrapur for the flight to Kathmandu. On arrival in Kathmandu, you will be escorted to the respective hotel. 
Once you are checked in, you are on your own for the remainder of the day. 

Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation: Standard Hotel in KTM

Day 25: Free Day in Kathmandu

🕑 Free in Kathmandu

Max Altitude: 1350 M

This is a leisure day to relax and rest your tired and sore legs due to the trek. You can visit the spa and get relax. You can also go souvenir shopping in the markets of Thamel, Ason, Indrachowk, and Newroad.

In the evening, you will be picked up for the farewell meal organized by Himalayan Trekkers at a Nepali restaurant where we will share our experiences, eat our delicious Nepalese meal and enjoy the cultural program.  After dinner, you will be driven back to your hotel. 

Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation: Standard Hotel in KTM

Day 26: Final Departure from Kathmandu

🕑 30 Min Drive to Airport

Your Kanchenjunga Circuit Trek ends today. 3 hours before your scheduled flight, you will be transferred to the airport by our representative. We wish you a safe journey and hope to assist you again. 

Meals: Breakfast

Includes

  • TIMS
  • Permit
  • Transportation
  • Guide and Porter
  • Meals (Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner with Tea)
  • Accommodation
  • First-Aid Kit
  • Welcome/Farewell Dinner
  • All Taxes

Excludes

  • International airfares and airport tax
  • Nepal Visa fees USD 25 Cash on arrival
  • Trekking Equipment
  • Personal expenses such as laundry, liquor, room service, and others
  • Beverage expenses
  • Tips to Guide, Porter, and Driver
  • Your travel Insurance
  • Any cost occurs from an unfavorable condition such as landslide, bad weather, flight cancellation, etc.

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