Kanchenjunga Circuit Trek

Kanchenjunga Circuit Trek

TripGrade: Strenuous
Strenuous Trekking Grade is both moderate and difficult. Even in this grade, treks reach around 5000-5500 meters. You will have to walk generally for 6-7 hours each day. Strenuous treks require good physical condition and acclimatization. If some problems seem to appear, you have to walk down and take some hot drinks or soup ( + rest). You may be affected rapidly if you have high blood pressure, asthma, heart disease or complicated medical conditions. Advise is required from your doctor before starting these kinds of treks.

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Duration:

27 Days

Country:
Max Altitude:

Kanchenjunga North Base Camp (5,388m).

Group Size

2 - 12 pax

Trial Access:

Private and comfortable drive with domestic flight.

Best Season:

Oct - Dec & Feb - Apr

One of the most popular treks among adventure enthusiasts, Kanchenjunga towers at a bewildering height of 8585 meters above sea level, consequently being number three among the world’s highest mountains. Summiting its peak is simultaneously enigmatic as well as life-endangering.

Breath-taking as it is, its avalanches are the worst of its kind. This is why, probably, its local name, ‘Kang-Chen-Zod-Nga’ translates into ‘Five Treasures of Snow’ signifying the snowy cascade. However, according to the locals, it is regarded as a heavenly seat from where the Gods watch over their families and their land.

It is because of this holy belief that way back in 1955, the then Maharaja of Sikkim had asked the first mountaineering team for a word of honor. That if they are able to climb successfully, they will avoid standing on the peak itself. Hence, all treks from then onwards finished a little way before the ultimate point.

Kanchenjunga has 7 peaks in a total of which 5 are most prominent, resulting in another theory about the name ‘Kangchenzodnga’, referring to the five peaks as the ‘Five Treasures of Snow.’ For anyone interested in witnessing these ‘Five Treasures of Snow’, proper planning, training, and acclimatization are required.

The trek commences from the Northside of the mountain, revealing glimpses of Cross peak, Nepal peak, and Tent peak, finally culminating in Kanchenjunga Base Camp, where the mountain itself comes into view. Once, at Pangpema, trekkers need to reroute back to Ghunsa from where the crossing from the Northside to the Southside will be made via the Mirgin La pass.

On crossing Mirgin La, the trek will give way to Ramche and Oktang. These are mainly grazing areas for Yak but at the same time exhibiting spectacular vistas of the South-western side of Kanchenjunga. The trek can also be planned from the southern side to the northern side. In either case, it will end in Birtamod after passing through Taplejung or Khebang (Thorpu). 

Even after all the planning, assessing and researching the northern and southern routes as well as complete preparation, a certain amount of unflinching will power is mandatory for anyone gearing up for this trek. It is a place where time stands still, preserving several years of old traditions and culture.

It is not an easy feat to rest on its snow-clad peaks, in the purview of the ‘White Ghost’, breathing under an array of constellations with the warmth of a crackling fire nearby. An experience aptly documented by English mountaineers like Eric Shipton, Bill Tillman, and Tom Longstaff. They were so mesmerized by the journey that they even started learning the local tongue and had immense respect for the age-old traditions and culture of the region.

These are the popular options:

Kathmandu to Bhadrapur by air

The fastest way is to catch the 1.5 hours flight from Kathmandu to Bhadrapur, followed by a 45minutes drive (by Nepal standards) via Birtamod and Phidim to the starting point of the trek at Taplejung. The afternoon flight takes off from Kathmandu at 3.00 pm to land at Bhadrapur at about 4.20 pm.

Flights are usually regular unless unprecedented strikes take place. However, it is advised to book beforehand during the festive season to avoid the last-minute rush.

It is best to spend the night at Birtamod and board the bus for Taplejung. The bus journey is approximately 10 hours on a smooth road.

Kathmandu to Biratnagar by air

In case flight tickets for Bhadrapur are unavailable, the Biratnagar route is a second option. This route was used due to some political activity in India. After reaching Biratnagar, it is a two days journey to Taplejung on a jeep. 

Alternatively, the jeep can be hired till Ilam or Phidim from where a bus ride can be taken to Taplejung, the next day. While at Ilam, the tea gardens are a must-visit.

Suketar Airport

A third option is Suketar airport that is located midway between Biratnagar and Taplejung. However, there is no fixed schedule so flight bookings may be uncertain. On the contrary, flights can be chartered here but it is not a very viable option.

Khebang (Thorpu) to Taplejung

In case the trek finishes at Thorpu, two things can be done. The first option is to trek from Yamphuding to Taplejung while the second is to trek to Khebang. It is important to keep in mind that Taplejung takes two more days than Khebang. Taplejung is a 15 hours road journey from Khebang (Thorpu) side with the first few miles being treacherously rough dirt tracks.

Some Highlights of This Amazing Trek

  • The third highest mountain in the world at 8,586m.
  • The least busy trekking trails with a picturesque view of mountains.
  • Holiest mountain, as each of its five summits, corresponds to five treasures of snow in the form of gold, silver, gem, grain and holy books.
  • Most wild and unspoiled conservation areas in the country.
  • A wide variety of ethnic minority groups.
  • Enjoy a truly genuine Nepali hospitality in remote picturesque villages.

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Starting Price

USD 2475 per person

Group Discount : Available

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Itinerary

Arrival on: Kathmandu

Departure from: Kathmandu

Day 1

Arrival in city of temples; Kathmandu.

Meals included: BB

Upon arrival in Kathmandu Airport, you will need to fulfill the customs formalities on the visa desk, after which you can escape from the hustle and bustle of the arrival terminal. When you exit the terminal building, lookout for someone who is holding a display board of Himalayan Trekkers with your name. You will then be taken by private vehicle to your hotel in Thamel. Depending on your flight schedule, you will have the afternoon or evening free, when you can walk around the streets of Thamel and immerse yourself in the heart of Kathmandu.

 

Accommodation: Hotel Estimated Walking Distance: 30 min private drive.

Day 2

Kathmandu sightseeing and trek preparation.

Meals included: BB

This second day is allocated for sightseeing in Kathmandu, as we will need your passport to have your trek permit issued. You will explore five different places of Kathmandu Valley, all of which are listed World Heritage sites. Sightseeing is expected to end at approximately 5 pm, after which a free hour will be provided, followed by a gathering with the rest of the team and a welcome dinner. This will take place in an authentic Nepali restaurant, complete with a live cultural show. This will be the perfect time for an informal pre-trek meeting during which you will be all things will be briefed about the Kanchenjunga Circuit Trek. Your guide, who will also be joining us for dinner, will be happy to answer questions you may have about any details regarding the trek.

Accommodation: Hotel

Day 3

Scenic flight to Biratnagar and Drive to Phidim.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

The team will fly from Kathmandu to Biratnagar. As soon as we arrive we would expect to find very hot weather, as Biratnagar lies at the Indian border with an elevation of just 81m from sea level. Soon we will drive out by minibus to Phidim, where we will spend our first night.

Accommodation: Tea house Estimated Walking Distance: An hour flight & 4-5 hrs drive.

Day 4

Scenic drive to Suketar.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

We will be driving on the main road from Phidim to Suketar via Taplejung, where we will stop to explore one of the major market areas of eastern Nepal. This village is mostly inhabited by Limbus and Rais (Mongolian Race). Approximately two hours later, we will arrive at Suketar (2,840m altitude), well-known for its very friendly and cheerful people. On the way, we will be passing by Suketar airport, one of the smallest in Nepal.

Accommodation: Tea house Estimated Walking Distance: 7-8 hrs drive.

Day 5

Trek to Mitlung.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

The areas where we are starting our trek from belonging to the lower Kanchenjunga Section, which holds sufficient fertile terrain as well as beautiful villages in scenic landscapes. From Suketar we will be trekking downhill to Mitlung, descending to an altitude of 921m. At the last part of today’s trek, we will be walking along Tamor River, heading towards its northern ridge, where we will be descending a further 350m down to Mitlung.

Accommodation: Tea house Estimated Walking Distance: 5-6 hrs

Day 6

Trek to Chirwa.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Rai, Limbu, and Magar dominate Taplejung as well as the eastern part of Nepal. Chirwa is not the exception; it is a beautiful village inhabited by Limbu people. Right from the start of today’s trek we will be ascending and descending continuously up to Tawa village, which is half-way through, after which we will follow a minor ascend and cross a suspension bridge next to Thiwa. Here we will find some small retail stores and a few lodges, where we will spend another beautiful night.

Accommodation: Tea house Estimated Walking Distance: 6-7 hrs

Day 7

Trek to Sekathum.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

We will be trekking there for our next overnight stay, which is at an elevation of 1578m from sea level. Today’s trek is a perfect blend of gentle uphill as well as downhill trails through lush green fields while heading towards Sekathum.

Accommodation: Tea house Estimated Walking Distance: 5-6 hrs

Day 8

Trek to Amjilosa. (Challenging trail).

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

During today’s trail, we will be traversing through dense forests, steep trails, as well as climbing a gorge that includes a tricky section. Slow and steady wins the race; take great care and follow your guide’s instructions, especially on the last leg of the trail before reaching Amjilosa, which has a steep section near the gorge.

Accommodation: Tented camp/ Tea house Estimated Walking Distance: 6-7 hrs

Day 9

Trek to Gyabla.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Before reaching Gyabla, where a Tibetan Settlement can be found, we will be crossing dense forests of bamboo, fir, and rhododendron (the National flower of Nepal). Another highlight in today’s trail that will undoubtedly make the entire day even more memorable and enjoyable is a stunning waterfall flowing straight down from a tall mountain.

Accommodation: Tented camp/ Tea house. Estimated Walking Distance: 5-6 hrs

Day 10

Trek to Ghunsa, (Kanchenjunga Trek’s Capital).

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Ghunsa is mostly inhabited by Sherpas, which is also the case for Namche Bazar in the Everest Base Camp Trek. It is a big valley, which starts near Phale, where Tibetan Refugees are settled. One can buy some local handmade Tibetan handicrafts and souvenirs before heading further ahead towards Ghunsa (3,595m).

Accommodation: Tented camp/ Tea house Estimated Walking Distance: 5-6 hrs

Day 11

Acclimatization day in preparation for Kanchenjunga Base Camp.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

This may be officially a ‘rest day’, however one still needs to be physically active in order to best adapt to high altitudes. In the morning we will be hiking slightly higher to Laspsan La Monastery and by the afternoon we will return to Ghunsa.

Accommodation: Tented camp/ Tea house

Day 12

Trek to Kambachen.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

To begin with, we will head from Ghunsa towards Kambachen along mountain ranges piercing dense pine and rhododendron forests, while further ahead we will encounter a waterfall and a tricky landslide section. This trail may change from day to day because of landslides which are quite frequent in this area. Further ahead, another difficult trail will test your fitness level for the Kanchenjunga Trek, however, we will be rewarded by a spectacular view of Mt. Jannu shortly before reaching Kambachen (4,050m). The Mountain View from here is commonly known as one of the best in the world!

Accommodation: Tea house/ Tented camp Estimated Walking Distance: 6-7 hrs

Day 13

Acclimatization day in Kambachen.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

As we will already be on 4,050m altitude, it is necessary to spend another day in Kambachen to avoid altitude sickness. This morning is a good opportunity to rest in and around our guesthouse. You can relax, take in the breathtaking views and the beautiful village atmosphere, or you may choose to read or practice your photography skills. In the afternoon we will explore the Nupchu river valley area, situated only a short hike up from Kambachen and we will returning to spend one more night in the village.

Accommodation: Tented camp/ Tea house

Day 14

Trek to Lhonak.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

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 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 with a fast and steady pace, before descending to another river and arriving at Lhonak, where we will be spending the night.

Accommodation: Tented camp/ Tea house Estimated Walking Distance: 8-9 hrs

Day 15

Trek to Pangpema and hike up to Kanchenjunga North Base camp.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

We will be trekking along the Kanchenjunga Glacier all the way up to Pangpema, taking care as rocky parts here are prone to landslide. After having our packed lunch in Pangpema we will hike further up to Kanchenjunga North Base Camp (KBC) at 5,388m and admire the beauty of Mount Kanchenjunga (8,586m) and surrounding peaks. At this point, if the weather allows and you are interested to go up further to Corner Camp and Glacier Camp, you will need to consult your guide, as you should be technically experienced and extra fit to follow this challenging route. It may well be very cold to explore outside until late afternoon so we will have to head back to lodge in Pangpema before sunset.

Accommodation: Tea house/ Tented camp Estimated Walking Distance: 5-6 hrs

Day 16

Trek back to Kambachen.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Previously on our way up, we had to spend a night in Lhonak on the way to KBC to adjust to higher altitudes, but today we will be steadily descending down to lower elevation and it will be much easier to trek for a long time all the way to Kambachen. 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’, 6,802m) until we reach Kambachen and spend a night there before heading back to Ghunsa.

Accommodation: Tented camp/ Tea house Estimated Walking Distance: 5-6 hrs

Day 17

Trek back to Ghunsa.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Continuing our descent, we will trace our steps back by following the trail from Kambachen 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.

Accommodation: Tea house/ tented camp Estimated Walking Distance: 6-7 hrs

Day 18

Trek to sinion La via sele La Pass (4,290m).

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

From Ghunsa, instead of going back to Phale, we follow a different route gradually ascending to Sele La Pass (4,290m). This route is quite famous for spotting snow leopards, as many locals and trekkers have claimed to see them here. With a bit of luck, you may be able to capture a shot of this magnificent endangered animal. We will be passing through forests of juniper, moss, and rhododendron through uphill and downhill trails and set camp at Sinion La (4,440m), situated about half-way between Ghunsa and Cheram.

Accommodation: Tented camp/ Tea house Estimated Walking Distance: 6-7 hrs

Day 19

Trek to Cheram.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Expect a strenuous day ahead, as we will cross several passes including Mirgin La (4,480m) and Sinelapche (4,646m). Our efforts will be compensated with the chance to see the south face of Mount Makalu, the 6th highest mountain in the world. The last leg of today’s trek gets easier, as we will descend steeply and spend the night in Cheram.

Accommodation: Tea house/ tented camp Estimated Walking Distance: 6-7 hrs

Day 20

Hike to Ramche and return back to Cheram.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

We will be starting quite early in the morning and will be passing along Yalung Glacier and Simbuwa River, then go through Lapsang Village until we will reach Ramche, where we can see the Blue Sheep Sightings stone hut. Next, we will trek further up from the valley towards a moraine top for a marvelous view of Mount Kanchenjunga’s southern face. Depending on weather and circumstances, we may get a chance to hike up to Oktang Monastery before returning back to Cheram for one more overnight stay.

Accommodation: Tented camp/ Tea house Estimated Walking Distance: 5-6 hrs hike

Day 21

Trek to Tortong.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Heading towards Tortong, we will encounter a Y-junction trail where right would lead back to Sele La Pass; instead, we take the left trail to descend further down towards Tortong, passing lush rhododendron forests along Simbuwa River before reaching Tortong to spend the night.

Accommodation: Tented camp/ Tea house Estimated Walking Distance: 6-7 hrs

Day 22

Trek to Yamphuding.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

After a warm and good breakfast, we will be heading towards Yamphuding for today's overnight stay.

Accommodation: Tented camp/ Tea house Estimated Walking Distance: 5-6 hrs

Day 23

Trek to Yangpang.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Hiking 1,000m sharply downhill, we will notice a considerable increase in oxygen levels. On the way down we will pass through Mamangkhe to visit its Culture Center and Limbu Museum, before crossing the bridge over Khesewa River. Trekking through several villages and a lush cardamom forest, we will descend down to Yangpang for tonight’s stay.

Accommodation: Tented camp/ Tea house Estimated Walking Distance: 5-6 hrs

Day 24

Trek to Torpu.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Instead of heading toward the hustle and bustle of Taplejung market area, we will descend toward Thorpu, which will also allow for more time to marvel at views of beautifully terraced fields and villages. Thorpu’s inhabitants are amazingly hospitable, making it the perfect spot to get together and enjoy the last night of our trek.

Accommodation: Tea house Estimated Walking Distance: 6-7 hrs

Day 25

Drive to Birtamod.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

As we are approaching a flat part of Nepal, which is connected by major highways, we will drive all the way from Thorpu to Birtamod. One can feel the change in altitude and higher temperatures in lower elevations, as well as a drastic change in landscape from the hill, terrace to the valley. Birtamod town, where we will spend the night, is one of the main urban centers of Eastern Nepal and has a good selection of hotels and guesthouses.

Accommodation: Tea house Estimated Walking Distance: 6 hrs drive

Day 26

Drive to Bhadrapur and fly back to Kathmandu.

Meals included: BB

After a short drive from Birtamod to Bhadrapur, we will be flying back to Kathmandu. From the airport, you will be transferred back to your hotel in Thamel, where you can enjoy a free afternoon to take rest or do some last-minute shopping.

In the evening, we will get together for a traditional Nepali meal to celebrate our successful Kanchenjunga Circuit Trek.

Accommodation: Hotel Estimated Walking Distance: 30 min private drive and 45 mn flight

Day 27

Departure from Kathmandu.

As per your international departure itinerary, we will transfer you to Kathmandu airport. Although it will be sad to see you go, we hope your experience of this truly extraordinary trek with Himalayan trekkers brings you back again to explore more of its spectacular landscapes and immerse yourself further in Nepali hospitality.

Last, but not least, please share your treasured stories, memories, and pictures to let others know about the “Kanchenjunga Circuit Trek.

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Accommodation

Himalayan Trekkers promises to manage the best, most comfortable and preferred accommodation.

In general we arrange a 3-star hotel with all facilities in cities. If available, you can opt for a more budget-friendly option or upgrade to a more luxurious hotel by paying a little extra.

Although all places during your trek do not have all modern facilities (especially at higher altitudes), we ensure that it is arranged safely and comfortably. Mostly hygienic and safe tea houses / local lodges / home stays are arranged & please feel free to personalize according to your preference.

If your travel schedule includes camping or if you choose to experience it, a correct campsite will be determined in advance and everything will be taken care of. If required, we also provide equipment such as a tent, cookware, etc. Check the equipment lists and equipment lists for more information.

Meals

Breakfast is usually included with your B&B accommodation within the costs. Meals in the city must be paid separately. Often in the cities, you can choose from many different cuisines and varied food services. We can always help you find the right place.

Remote areas don't have that many options, but hygienic and well-prepared food is always served. Moreover, most meals are included in the costs during your trek. We can help you make changes according to your preference and budget, but only if choices are available! Moreover, Himalayan Trekkers also organizes Welcome of Farewell Dinners as a symbol of warm greetings.

Follow the detailed route description or itinerary for more information. We are always there to help you to your heart's content.


Inclusion

Whats Included

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

Whats Not Included

  • 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.


GearList

Gears required for the trek vary upon destination and season. Trekking shoes, down jacket, sleeping bag, hiking poles are the essential ones. Besides these – the following list is suggested:

Head

  • Sun hat or scarf
  • Sun glasses
  • Sunscream
  • Lip Balm.

Feet

  • Thin & Warm Socks - 2 pairs
  • Sandals
  • Trekking Shoes on the trek
  • Comfortable Shoes in cities

Body

  • Warm gloves
  • T-shirts
  • Light jackets and pullovers
  • Wind – stopper jacket
  • Undergarments
  • Hiking shorts
  • Cotton/woolen pants or trousers

Accessories

  • Earplug
  • Electronics gadgets of your choice
  • Spare Battery
  • Notebook, pen, guidebook and map
  • Tour/Trekking Bag
  • Hiking Poles
  • Sleeping Bag
  • Down jacket
  • Toiletries (toilet paper, toothbrush/paste, nail cutter, anti-bacterial hand wash

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Regardless of any kind of adventure tour or treks, whether it be a tailor-made multi-country tour, luxury vacation, or even an adventure day trips — we ensure that it will be exactly the way you imagined. With our tailor-made itinerary or your customized trip, we guarantee a service that you will never forget. Please feel free to email us any time at info@himalayantrekkers.com

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