Kanchenjunga Base Camp Trek
- Trip Code: N-OBT-152
- Destination: Nepal
- Season: Oct, Nov, March, April, May
- Max Altitude: Alt 5388 meters/ 17673 feet
- Trip Starts/Ends: Kathmandu/Kathmandu
- Transportation: Private Car. Public Bus & Flight
- Accomodation: Hotel in Kathmandu, best available local hotel in Biratnagar, Phidim, Birtamod & normal tea house in Trekking
- Trip Grade: Stratenous
Kanchenjunga Base Camp Trek is an advisable walking excursion because of its visiting base camps of world’s third tallest mountain ‘Kanchenjunga’ which is elevated 8586 meters/ 28169 feet from sea level. Mount Kanchenjunga is located in the eastern corner of Nepal, borderline with India.
Kanchenjunga Base Camp trekking offers a unique opportunity to explore incredibly varied landscape beneath the Mount Kanchenjunga with following of traditional rural lifestyle untouched by the outside world. This vibrant route has been only opened to travel for foreigners since 1988.
The gateway of Kanchenjunga trek is Suketar can be accessible by road and flight. As the direct flight to Suketar from Kathmandu is infrequent and mostly disturbed by cancel due to weather, it is suggested to take 45 minutes of flight from Kathmandu to Bhadrapur then take a drive to Suketar with one day night halt at Birtamod or at Ilam.
From Suketar the trail follows the glinting Tamor River for the first trekking days that allows plenty of time to visit the village and interact with local people. Then it gradually climbs along the Ghunsa River passing forests. In Ghunsa, a Sherpa village marked with prayer flags and gompa (monastery), the route joins with another trail from Kanchenjunga’s southern flank.
Then the trail moves upward to Pangpema, the northern base camp of Kanchenjunga. Upon reaching base camp the short hike up the ridge offers astonishing views of Mt. Kanchenjunga and its surrounding peaks.
The return trip from Pangpema crosses mountain passes between Yalung Glacier and Kanchenjunga Glacier that takes to visit the southern base camp of Kanchenjunga at Ramche. At Ramche you encounter the gigantic Yalung Glacier enclosed by rocky crags and ice precipice.
Visiting the Yalung Glacier, the following days will be retracing your footsteps to Suketar by passing through rhododendron thickets, mountainside villages, waterfalls, and terrace fields.
In Suketar the trekking ends and you back to Kathmandu firstly by drive from Suketar to Bhadrapur with the one-night stopover at Birtamod then flight from Bhadrapur to Kathmandu.
Kanchenjunga Base Camp Trek- Note:
Kanchenjunga Base Camp Trek- 28 days is the standard trip. However, the itinerary is likely to be customized. Thus, please let us know if you have any request to change the itinerary.
Our tour officer will be receiving you at Tribhuvan International airport, Kathmandu. He/She will be displaying play card with your name written in it outside the airport terminal. He will meet, greet and welcome you with auspicious garland and escort you to your respective hotel by our private tourist vehicle. At the hotel, he will assist you to check in and do a pre-trip meeting with you. You will be briefed about your overall program, introduced your guide and clear your questions/queries if any. During the meeting please clear the due balance and handover a readable copy of your travel insurance policy. Overnight at hotel.
Day 2: Flight from Kathmandu to Bhadrapur. Flight time 45 minutes. Drive from Bhadrapur to Birtamod. Driving 40 minutes.
After breakfast, you have time for few hours for the preparation of trekking. Our trekking guide will meet you at the hotel. Then you will be transferred to the domestic terminal of Kathmandu airport. Then you board a flight from Kathmandu to Bhadrapur. It’s forty-five minutes flight. After you land at Bhadrapur airport you will drive to Birtamod. Birtamod is an eastern city of Nepal on the flat terrain just 300 meters from sea level. Today your night halt will be at the guest house in Birtamod. Overnight at guest house.
Early in the morning, you catch up public bus goes directly to Suketar. This is a long drive. After you reach Ilam it becomes very interesting looking over tea states. The road passes through villages with terraced fields. You will feel an amazing experience of changing the landscape from flat to mountain terrain. In the evening you will arrive at Suketar, the gateway of Kanchenjunga trekking. Overnight guesthouse.
After breakfast, your trekking journey starts to Mitlung. Today the trail is totally downhill to Mitlung. After crossing Hangdewa River the trail follows riverbank of Tamor River. After few hours of walking passing small villages and terraced fields, you will make another descent of approx 400m through the muddy trail that takes you to Mitlung, the beautiful village of Limbu people. Overnight at Tea House.
Leaving Mitlung the trail is up and down until reaching Sinwa village. From Sinwa it is again downhill all the way to Tawa village. Afterward, it ascends uphill and crosses suspension bridge that links Thiwa village. Eventually passing through terraced farms and surrounding ridges you arrive at another beautiful market village of Chirwa. Here you find some teahouses/lodges and retail shops. Overnight at Tea House.
From Chirwa you follow the route that ascends in the beginning then drops down to the Tamur River. The trail crosses on a suspension bridge just above the confluence with the Ghunsa Stream. On the east side of the river, you will see the village of Helok. From the suspension bridge, it’s a short walk along the steep and narrow Ghunsa valley to the Sakathum village. This village has the helipad and some tea shops. Overnight at Tea House.
Today you start on the narrow trail that winds along the north bank of the river. After few ups and downs beside the river, you will reach some stone steps that scramble high above the river to a waterfall and the small village of Ghaiyabari. Here the incline becomes gentler as you follow an exposed and precarious trail above steep grassy slopes to a crest at 2530m. Finally, the trail descends to Amjilosa, Tibetan village with several tea houses and camp sites. Overnight at Tea House.
After breakfast, you continue to climb along the Ghunsa valley. You will feel the mountains are getting closer as you climb to a flat ridge and meander through a forest of bamboo, rhododendron and brown oaks, passing scattered pastures and waterfalls. Then you will come to a large cascade on the Ghunsa Khola. Here the trail begins a grinding climb to the Sherpa village of Gyabla also called Chapla or Kyapra. Overnight at Tea House.
The day starts with a steep drop into a ravine followed by an easy level stage passing through rhododendron and fir forests along the riverbank. It takes all morning to trek to the yak pastures and potato fields of Phole. Here you visit small wooden gompa (monastery) contains several old statues and cloth paintings brought here from Tibet. Above Phole the valley widens and the trail improves as you trek through fields and larch forests dipping down to the riverbed before crossing to Ghunsa, the largest village on the trek which has Buddhist prayer flags flutter over the rooftops. Overnight at Tea House.
Now you have entered high mountain region and you must prepare your body for the increase in altitude. So it is mandatory to stay one more day in Ghunsa to reduce the risk of AMS on later stages of the trek. On a free day at Ghunsa, you can hike along the trail to Lapsang La following the Yamatari stream to a lake at the terminal moraine of the Yamatari glacier or you can stroll up to the fading gompa (monastery) above the village. For the night halt back to the tea house of Ghunsa. Overnight at Tea House.
From Ghunsa heading towards the north, the trail makes a gradual ascent through a forest of larch and juniper along the east bank of the river. After crossing a sandy, boulder-strewn floodplain the path crosses wood and stone bridge to the west side of the river t Rambuk Kharka. The hillsides become increasingly barren as you climb along the valley. Continue north past a waterfall then make a short steep ascent over a very unstable scree slope. Take it slowly here. Beyond the landslide, the trail climbs gradually then drops down to Kambachen village. Overnight at Tea House.
Since you did a steep ascent on previous day you must take another rest day in Kambachen to allow your body to adjust to the elevation. From here you can have views of the peaks of Khabur (6332m) and Phole (6645m). For the best views, you climb the ridge north of the village. From here you find the peaks of Khabur, Phole, and Jannu rise over the valley like three frozen giants. Alternatively, you could try a bit of nature photography- shaggy yaks graze serenely at the bottom of the valley and herds of blue sheep roam the boulder fields on the hillsides above the river. Overnight at Tea House.
Leaving Kambachen the path enters a deserted landscape marked by the icy fingers of glaciers. It climbs gradually across the scree slopes to the antoher area of pasture at Ramtang. Here you are advised to wear your warmest trekking gear to safe from the chill winds. Above Ramtang the trail runs along the lateral moraine of the Kanchenjunga glacier following the north bank of the river to a wooden bridge at the mouth of the Lhonak glacier. Sooner you will arrive at the Lhonak village that sits beside a wide, often dry lakebed, on an open sandy plain. The views from here are awesome in every direction. Overnight at Tea House.
Day 14: Trekking from Lhonak to Pangpema (Kanchenjunga North Base Camp) (Alt 5388mm/ 17673ft). Walking 4 hours.
Today is your important day of trekking to Kanchenjunga North Base Camp at Pangpema. After breakfast, you ascend gradually across the plain and follow the line of the moraine. The most stable trail climbs onto the ridge before dropping to a pair of lonely looking huts at Pang Pema. Pang Pema is the flat grassy north base camp of Kanchenjunga, the world’s third tallest mountain. After reaching Pang Pema you climb ridge of its north direction from where you can have spectacular panoramic views of Kanchenjunga, Table Shikhar, Gimmigela Chuli and also the views of Pyramid Peak and Kirat Chuli to the east. Overnight at Hut/Tea House.
The views are often more clear in the morning so you are advised to rise at dawn and hike up again the ridge for the awesome panoramic views of Kanchenjunga and its surrounding peaks. Then you retrace your path to Lhonak and continue down the valley to Ramtang and eventually to Kambachen. As usual, the descent is faster so you can get back to Kambachen in a single day. Overnight at Tea House.
Today from Kambachen you trek back to Ghunsa following the familiar trail that used earlier for up. You will pass through beautiful forest line on the way with a backdrop of impressive mountain scenery. From Kambachen to Ghunsa it takes you just four hours of walking. Reaching Ghunsa you will check in on the same teahouse where you had spent the night before on the way up. Overnight at Tea House.
The day starts following the route that diverts right hand side leaving trail to Gyabla. It is steep uphill trek to Sele Le. This part is also not inhabited by locals. Trail mostly passes through dense forest of rhododendron and juniper with moss all around. In this route there may find spotting snow leopards so do not trek far from group always trek together. Even after staying at teahouse do not walk far away even in afternoon. In Sele Le there are some small teahouses made up of stones similar to in Lhonak and Pangpema. Overnight at Tea House.
Today’s trekking is a long and somehow challenging too since you going for crossing mountain passes. You start your day crossing the stream and climb the ridge to the Tamo La (3900m), then the Sele La (4115m), further the Sinion La (4660m) and the Mirgin La (4663m) and finally the Sinelapche La (4724m). After finishing crossing these passes you drop down to meet the Kanchenjunga South trail and arrive at village of Tseram for night halt. There is another route to link of north and south trail through Lapsang La (5160m). But this path is a much more serious and tough that the trail of Sele La and Mirgin La. Overnight at Tea House.
This is another important day as you are moving for the south face of Kanchenjunga. Leave your entire backpack at the tea house of Tseram. You are advised to make a small day backpack with essential things for day hike. You will start walking early in the morning. Passing through Yalung Glacier (Kanchenjunga South Glacier), Simbuwa River and Lapsang Village you arrive at Ramche. Onward from Ramche you will hike up bit toward nearby ridgeline that offer you spectacular view of Kanchenjunga South Face. If you walk a little ahead you can also have southern face view of Jannu Peak. If time permits you can hike further to Oktang Monastery. Then you descend to Tseram for night stay. Overnight at Tea House.
From Cheram to Tortong it’s pretty easy trail. After short descending down from Cheram, the trail splits into two directions, you will follow the right-hand side trail as left again lead us back to Sele Le Pass. Then the trail enters on rhododendron forest after passing through Simbuwa Khola and sooner you will reach Tortong. Overnight at Tea House.
Trekking from Tortong to Yamphudin (Alt 2080 m/6822ft). Walking 6 hours.
The day starts following the path along the Kabeli River. The trail climbs little bit crossing suspension bridge and then down to Mamanke village. Leaving this village the trail steep down to Khaksewa Khola (stream) and crosses another suspension bridge. After that, it moves on an upward path passing through beautiful terrace farms and finally reaches at Phumphe. Overnight at Tea House.
After breakfast, you follow the path that ascends to a ridge at 1850m. Then it descends to Yangpang passing through forests and a large water fall. Leaving Yangpang the trail further descends to Nadewa Khola then climbs to Khesewa passing series of small waterfalls. After Kheswa you follow the upward path to Sinchubu Bhanjyang (2240m). Eventually, it goes down all the way to Kundari through wheat fields. Overnight at Tea House.
Today is the final day of trekking and it’s little bit long walking day. From Kunjari the trail follows steeply down to Phawa Khola. Crossing this stream over suspension bridge it climbs the ridge to Tembewa village. The climbing continues through terraced fields to Lali Kharka. After Lali Kharka the trail passes through forests and moves up to Surke Danda at 2580m. From here it follows the dirt road to Suketar then to Taplejung. Overnight at Tea House.
Early morning you go to the bus station and drive to Birtamod, the flat Tarai land passing Phidim and beautiful tea states of Ilam. Reaching Birtamod you are taken to a best available guest house and take a rest. Overnight at guest house.
Day 26: Drive from Birtamod to Bhadrapur Airport. Flight from Bhadrapur to Kathmandu. Flight time 45 minutes.
As per flight schedule, you will drive from Birtamod to Bhadrapur airport. Driving takes 40 minutes. Then you catch your flight to Kathmandu. Upon reaching Kathmandu airport you will be transferred to your respective hotel. The rest of the day at leisure.
Day 27: Sightseeing tour of World Heritage Sites in Kathmandu valley. Evening farewell dinner with Nepali Cultural show.
After breakfast, you will be offered cultural sightseeing of World Heritage Sites in Kathmandu valley accompany with a professional guide. By our private vehicle you will visit Pashupatinath, sacred Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and is located on the banks of the Bagmati River 5 kilometres north-east of Kathmandu city; Boudhanath, the largest Buddhist stupa in Nepal and the holiest Tibetan Buddhist temple outside Tibet which is the center of Tibetan culture; Bhaktapur Durbar Square, medieval royal palace that glimpse you Nepalese authentic art and architecture and unique culture. After sightseeing, you have free time for your last minute shopping. Evening you will be offered farewell dinner with Nepali cuisines and cultural dances at typical Nepali Restaurant. Overnight at hotel.
The trip concludes today. Our tour officer will drop you at Kathmandu International Airport for your flight departure from Nepal.
All foreign nationals except Indian Nationals are required to arrange a visa in order to enter Nepal. A Nepalese Visa can be obtained either prior to your arrival at a Nepalese embassy abroad or on arrival time in Kathmandu at the airport. But nationals from Afghanistan, Iraq, Cameroon, Ghana, Somalia, Swaziland, Palestine, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Ethiopia, and Liberia cannot secure the Nepalese Visa upon arrival. The Visa can be also taken at entry points at Nepalese borders. For Nepalese Visa it requires your passport with at least six months validity, recent digital photo (size: 1.5″ x 1.5″) and the following fees either in USD dollars cash or the equivalent local currency:
|Multiple entry||15 days||US$ 25 or equivalent Nepalese currency|
|Multiple entry||30 days||US$ 40 or equivalent Nepalese currency|
|Multiple entry||90 days||US$ 100 or equivalent Nepalese currency|
We would offer you the meeting and greeting service in Kathmandu International Airport on your arrival time. For this, you need to pass us your International flight details at least 2 days before your arrival date in Kathmandu. After you get down from the aircraft you just pass on the Customs and come out of the Terminal building where you will see our tour officer standing with your name card. He will greet and welcome you with auspicious garland and escort you to the hotel.
In the route of Kanchenjunga trekking, it should have depended on a tented camp for night halt until some years back. Now in most of the places, tea houses are available with basic facilities (lodges built of stones with wooden beds simple mattress or foam pad, a cotton pillow and a blanket or quilt). If you choose camping rather than tea house we would provide you twin sharing tents with mattress and sleeping bag for night stay. In Kathmandu, we would offer you tourist standard hotel under 3-star categories unless it is mentioned otherwise or clients have a special choice. In Birtamod we provide you guest house best available in that place.
In Kanchenjunga route, the culture of tea house trekking has just been developed. For food, you will have authentic Nepali dish ‘Dal Bhat’ that is steamed rice with lentil soup, seasonal vegetables, and spicy pickle. Noodles, omelet (eggs), French fries and chapattis are available in most of the tea houses. Some tea houses also provide porridge, muesli, and pancakes. It is advisable to carry some snack bars or chocolates since there are few shops on the route. Tea is available in every lodge.
The trekking team who will go with you is the most significant thing that makes your Kanchenjunga trekking successful, enjoyable and memorable. We would provide you skilled, experienced, courteous, knowledgeable and helpful trekking guide and porters. The trekking guide leads you on the trail and brief you all the about this route and porters carry your luggage. Our all trekking guides are carefully selected in terms of their appropriate experience, leadership skills and their knowledge about local culture, ecosystem, geography, flora and fauna, and history. With aim of sustaining local communities, we employ locals as your porters.
During the trek, your main luggage will be carried by porters or pack animals (usually yaks or cross-breeds). You simply carry a day pack with water bottle, camera, sunscreen, spare jacket, etc. – a small load that allows full enjoyment of the trek. A trek bag is ideal for your main luggage, plus a small lockable bag for travel clothes or anything that you do not need during trek which you can leave at hotel’s locker room in Kathmandu for free of charge.
Every morning, first of all, packing your bags and then have a hearty breakfast at the lodge restaurant. Then set off on the day’s walk. After walking for 3-4 hours you all stop for lunch in local restaurant. Then continue walking to your destination. After lunch, it’s the only couple of hours walking. You usually arrive at your destination in the time of afternoon tea. Check in at the lodge. The rest of the day is at leisure. At the free time, you may explore surrounding village, do a bit of washing or simply relax by reading books and writing a diary. On some days you will arrive at your destination by lunch time and entire afternoon will be free. Most people also spend free time by playing cards and other games reliving the day’s adventures. Then in the evening have a dinner and you will be briefed by your trekking guide about your next day’s walking and then go to your bed for well-earned sleep.
Kanchenjunga Trekking is fairly strenuous trek suitable for any passionate walkers who able to walk at least 5-7 hours a day with a light day pack. Walking in higher altitudes is more physically demanding than walking in lower altitudes; however, if you are in excellent health with average physical fitness and have a positive attitude, self-confidence, and strong determination, you can do this trek successfully. Exercising and jogging regularly for some weeks prior to the trip is a good idea to enhance your strength and stability. Past hiking experience would be an asset but no compulsorily required for this trip. It is vital for participants with pre-existing medical conditions such as heart, lung, and blood diseases to consult their doctor before taking the trip.
At high elevations, the combination of reduced oxygen and lower atmospheric pressure can produce a variety of unpredictable effects on the body, known collectively as Acute mountain sickness (AMS) is also commonly known as Altitude Sickness. Everyone who treks over 3500 m experiences some mild symptoms of AMS like slowness, dizziness, headache, nausea, loss of appetite, shortness of breath, racing pulse, disturbed sleep and swelling of the hands and feet but serious cases are very rare. The golden rule of prevention from Altitude Sickness doesn’t walk too fast at altitude, drink plenty of liquids, eating well, getting plenty of sleep and avoiding alcohol. If in case you feel any mentioned symptoms the simple cure is to move down (descend) and you shouldn’t ascend further until you start feeling better. To treat AMS there is also available medication Acetazolamide (better known under the brand name Diamox). The dosage is 250 mg every twelve hours. Diamox improves respiration at altitude and can, therefore, accelerate acclimatization. Some doctors recommend a preventive dose (125 mg twice a day) for people trekking at high elevations. At the time of trekking our trekking team always guides you to prevent from Altitude Sickness and they always have Diamox along with first aid kit.
We believe casualty and a serious sickness will not happen on the trip. If it happens we will do everything to transfer you to the nearest hospital. Since all the expenses incurred in evacuation liable to you please make sure that it is covered by your insurance before assigning for it or be prepared to pay on your own after getting back to Kathmandu.
We strongly advise you to take travel insurance before joining a tour which should cover medical expenses, emergency repatriation and helicopter evacuation at high altitude places and loss of your luggage. We would request you to bring your insurance documents when you come to Nepal.
The following list is a guideline to help you pack for your trekking. The weight limit for your luggage is 15 kg or 33 pounds. Remember that your luggage will be carried by our porter. However, you are required to carry a small day- pack with your valuables or anything important. We advise you pack only what is necessary.
Important Items : Airline tickets; Valid passport; 2 extra passport size photos; Photocopy of your passport; Insurance paper; Dollars, Pounds or Euros in cash for purchasing Nepalese visa at Kathmandu airport, for paying at restaurants and hotels, for gratuities, snacks and to purchase your own drinks and gifts; Credit Card (Visa/ Mater Card) for withdrawing cash from cash machines if needs.
For Head: Sun Hat; Bandana or head scarf; Headlamp with extra batteries; Sun Glasses with UV protection.
For Upper Body: Shirts (1 half sleeve and 2 long sleeves); Lightweight thermal tops; Fleece Jacket or Wool Sweater; Wind Cheater jacket; Down Jacket
For Lower Body: 1 pair of lightweight thermal bottoms; 1 pair of fleece or woolen trousers; 1 pair of waterproof shell pants and 1 pair of hiking trousers.
For Hands: 1 pair of lightweight wool or fleece gloves and 1 pair of lightweight poly liner gloves.
For Feet: 2 pairs of thin inner socks; 2 pairs of poly or wool socks; 1 pair of Hiking boots (sturdy soles, water resistant, ankle support); 1 pair of running shoes and/or sandals.
Medical: Your daily taking medicine if any; small personal first aid kit; Aspirin, plasters (band-aids); Sunscreen; lip balms; Anti-diarrhea pills; Anti-headache pills; A cough and/or cold medicine; Anti-altitude sickness pills: Diamox or Acetazolamide; Stomach antibiotic: Ciprofloxacin.
Other Useful Items: 1 sleeping bag (good to -20 degrees C or 28 degrees F); Rucksack and Travel Bags; 1 large duffel bag *; A small daypack/backpack for carrying your valuables; Small padlocks for duffel- bags; 2 large waterproof rucksack covers (optional); Digital camera; 2 water bottles (1 liter each); disposable rubbish sacks; Toiletries: 1 medium-sized quick drying towel; Toothbrush/paste; Multi-purpose soap; Deodorants; Nail clippers; Face and body moisturizer; Tissue /toilet roll; hiking poles, snack food (chocolate/ biscuits); umbrella; reading book or pack of cards (for leisure time during trekking).
Note: * mark item we will provide you in service. If any items are not available in your hometown you can buy in Trekking Store in Kathmandu before you embark for trekking.
The itinerary for each trip should be taken as a guideline only. Depending on the situation, you can modify it to some extent after consulting with your guide. However, the date of trip ending should always coincide with the original itinerary. Kindly keep in mind that sometimes unforeseen events may contribute to the need for a change in itinerary. In such cases, we or your guide will suggest the best alternative similar to your original.
Naturally Kanchenjunga Region is so beautiful but equally, it is fragile as well. Increasing population density and numbers of trekkers threaten the very beauty of this area. We at Silver Himalaya Adventures are extremely conscious about protecting its beautiful natural environment and preserving the fascinating local culture. We are doing our level best to minimize our impact as much as possible. Our all trekking guides and porters are well trained and motivated to following guidelines of responsible tourism and eco-friendly tourism. In trekking, they also advise you do’s and don’ts to minimize your impact on the local environment.
In addition to your Trekking trip, you can join in various side Trips in Nepal like a cultural tour of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Jungle Safari in National Park, White Water Rafting in Himalayan Rivers, Golfing, Adventure activities like Bungee Jumping, Altra Light Flight, Paragliding, Jeep flyer etc. You also can extend your trip to neighboring Himalayan Countries: Bhutan, Tibet, Sikkim (India) which seems more appealing to you. On your request, we will give you the detail of the side trips.