| 24 days
Kanchanjunga base camp trek takes us to base camp of world’s third highest peak Mt. Kanchanjunga (8587 m) located at Taplejung district of eastern Nepal. Kanchanjunga base camp trek is regarded as one of the most adventurous and challenging trek offering wonderful opportunity to explore local tradition, culture along spectacular views of grand Himalayas passing through lush green forests, fields, high passes and small settlements.
Initiating by boarding an hour flight to Taplejung from Kathmandu, our trekking activity in kanchanjunga base camp trek stars from Lali Kharka. Crossing various suspension bridges over the river streams in Khasewa, small villages in mamankhe and ridges in Yamphudin, we arrive at Chitre. Further while trekking form Torontan to Tseram, we pass through beautiful rhododendron forests and slowly we will be seeing the astounding views of grand Himalayas with Yaglung glacier. In our next adventurous days we will witness the breathtaking views of three main summits of Kanchanjunga. Highlights of this trek are also the visit to frozen lake, striking streams and magnificent jannu mountain. In the same way, the great views of Mt. Everest, Makalu and Lhotse and Gyakulng Kung are also seen from Mirginla pass. Further we will be trekking towards Ghunsa, Kambachen, Lhonak, Pang pema and Kanchanjunga base camp in 18th day. From here we trek for next couple of days to Suketar via Sekhathum and Chhiruwa. With all the adventurous memories of encountering flora, fauna and Himalayan views along cultural exploration we fly back to Kathmandu from Suketar airport in Taplejung.
Kanchanjunga base camp trek is long, strenuous and challenging trek which requires high level of physical fitness and previous trekking experience. If you want to explore the topographical variation from subtropical region to an altitude of more than 5000 meters in nearly a month long trip, then embark for kanchanjunga base camp trek with Euro Asia to make it the most adventurous trip ever.
The trip begins with a 30 minute flight to Suketar Airport from Kathmandu. An early lunch after landing shortly in Taplejung is accompanied by the beginning of the trek along the ridge line to Lali Kharka. It’s a 2-3 hour short trek, leading to a grazing area, where the team will camp overnight.
Day two begins after a short traverse through the hillside followed by a short descent to reach Pakora along the Pawa Khola. Crossing the suspension bridge, the ascent towards Kunjiri begins. The team then treks over the crest of the ridge to finally reach Khesewa. Khesewa offers exotic first glimpse of the south and main summit of Kanchenjunga and the Yalung Kang.
The trek today covers steep hillside path through the terraced fields above the Kabeli Khola. The path continues along a rolling terrain with some shady spots for rest. Along one of the shady areas, the team passes Anpan, before the descent towards Kashawa Khola. After crossing the Khasawa Khola, the ascent now begins through the terraced fields, to the village of Mamankhe.
The trek begins along a fairly level terrain today, to climb to Yamphudin. The trail contours along the hills above Kabeli Khola with several ups and downs to cross the ridges and stream beds making up the valley. The river eventually becomes level with the trail a few hours before reaching Yamphudin. The river consists of some beautiful spots for a relaxing bath. A couple hours more, and the team would reach Yamphudin. Yamphudin is a gorgeous village tucked away beneath the ridge of Deurali Danda, and is one of the most remote settlements in this area until the team reaches Ghunsa.
The trek beyond Yamphudin offers a glimpse of the rest of the trip, which begins with a steep ascent. Traversing through pleasant forests and beautiful meadows capturing stunning views of the Kanchanjunga, the team descends steeply towards Omje Khola, to cross the bridge, and to finally reach Chitre.
The day starts with a steep ascent to the crest of the Deurali Danda for three hours, through dense forests. Deurali Danda pass at 3230 meters offers magnificent views of Jannu. The trip continues through some steep and exposed areas, into the beautiful forest again and finally reaches the valley of Simuja Khola, after a sharp descent. Across the wooden bridge on the Simuja Khola is an area having numerous rocky shelters amidst towering conifers, called Torontan.
Following the Simuja Khola, an interesting trek begins passing through beautiful coniferous forest, which gives way to the Rhododendron forest. As the day progresses, the forest becomes scattered and petite to finally offer the astounding views of the snow-capped mountains and the Yalung Glacier. The crown of the Kabru and Rathong peaks start to become visible over the moraine, just before reaching Tseram, a beautiful grazing area, where the falling temperatures remind the team of the increasing altitude.
The trek begins with the final ascent of 600 m to reach Ramche. The the trail to Kanchenjunga South turns dangerous past the snout of the Yalung Glaciers into a series of ablation valleys, offering magnificent views of a frozen lake, clear streams and the astounding views of Koktang, Rathong and Kabru.
The day begins with an amazing stroll around Ramcha, and the trail leads the team towards the first close encounter with Kanchenjunga, to view the stunning south face of Kanchanjunga and Jannu. Crossing the Yalung Ri Glacier, the trail extends towards Oktang (4730 m) along sweeping curves. The path is then suddenly confronted by the southern wall of the mountains; the vast ridge forms a cirque of over 15 km long, nowhere less than 7500 meters high, and with three main summits of Kanchenjunga at 8420 meters, 8586 meters, and 8474 meters makes the view breath taking. Another experience this day is the impressive views of Jannu while observing the glaciers flowing from its east face.
This leg of the trek takes you to the high altitude, and requires determination and some luck too, in terms of good weather while crossing the high mountain passes and logistic support. The rest of the day is for acclimatization at the high altitude.
The team descends towards Ramche today, along the trail through the Yalung Glaciers and a series of valleys, offering a good walk and perfect camping spots. Also noticeable is a frozen lake, clear streams and magnificent views of the Himalayan panorama.
The trail descends towards the valley, passing the turn off to the high and challenging Labsang La route to Ghunsa and the north side of Kanchenjunga. The trail being dangerous and rough for the porters in particular, the team takes the southern trail of the pass beginning with the Mirgin La. Mirgin La is approached after an initial steep climb and several false summits, which offers magnificent views of Jannu, along with Makalu, Gyakung Kang, Everest, Lhotse and Chamalang on the horizon. The view extends to the southern plains to see the Terai, which makes up for all the effort for the day. After 6-7 hours of rigorous trek, the trail crosses the pass, and comes to an end at Mirgin La for the day.
The trail today offers beautiful scenery passing through four alpine passes along with short descents between them. The trail then descends to Lamba Sumba Kharka offering you a few more glimpses of the Southwest Face of Jannu. The descent from Lamba Sumba Kharka gets easier through a pleasant forested trail to the village of Ghunsa. Ghunsa is a picturesque Tibetan village offering alluring sights of civilization with prayer flags fluttering from the wooden houses and a couple of monasteries, after many days of wandering through the wilderness. On offer in this village is a local specialty, ‘Tongba’, a curious alcoholic drink. Tongba is offered on a jug or a large bamboo cup, having fermented millet seeds and filled with boiling water. The flavour and alcohol seeps though a special straw, a worthy sip in a freezing region after a long day.
The trail ascends gradually towards the south of the Ghunsa Khola across flood plains to finally emerge into a beautiful pasture on the north of the river. The trail extends with a steep climb across a slide area, finally descending into Lakepo. Further ascent from Lakepo takes the team to the village of Kambachen.
The day is allocated for leisure for acclimatization after two weeks of strenuous ups and downs along the Himalayan wilderness. The team can rest all day, or then enjoy hiking to explore the area around Kambachen. On offer are great views of the peaks near Kanchanjunga, and a short hike up the ridge for enthusiasts presents better views of the Himalayas, or then a day’s hike takes you to the Jannu Base Camp.
The day begins with a gradual climb through the rocky fields to Ramtang (4240 m). The trail then continues to cross the northwest of the Kanchenjunga Glacier, to reach Lhonak. Lohnak is located on the sandy plains near a dry lakebed, which is very windy, and has scarcity of water. The panoramic view of the mountains is astounding from Lhonak.
The trail gradually ascends from Lhonak, which gets steeper following the moraine. Pang Pema is at an elevation of 5140 m and is reachable after four hours of ascent from Lhonak. The views of the main peak of Kanchenjunga is the main attraction from Pang Pema since it isne visible from anywhere else. Pang Pema is the base camp for expeditions on Kanchenjunga.
The day begins with a morning hike up a ridge, north of Pang Pema to Kanchanjunga Base Camp. An ascent of about 300 meters provides a platform with astounding views of the breathtaking Kanchanjunga, Wedge Peak, the Twins and Tent Peak. The trail then continues with a quick descent to reach Kambachen after about five hours.
The trip from Kambachen follows a descent to reach Phole and then continues towards Ghunsa. Phole is a village which has two parts; the upper part housing the well-established Tibetan Refugees and the lower part is the winter village of Ghunsa. The trip takes about 6 hours and offers a tinkle of the Tibetan culture, and “Tongba”, a local spirit which contains fermented barley seeds topped with boiling water.
Passing through the beautiful village of Ghunsa, the next destination is Yangswa, an ideal place for camping. Then the trail passes through beautiful forests opening out to steep, grassy hillsides to Amjilossa.
Continuing the descent after a short climb for almost all day, the team reaches Sakathum in about five hours. Sekhathum is located in the confluence of the Tamur and Ghunsa Kholas.
The trip begins by crossing the Simuja Khola originating from the south base camp of Kanchanjunga, the same river that the team followed while ascending from Torontan. Having reached low altitudes, the climate gets pleasant, and is signified by cardamom growing freely in the moist, shaded forest. Crossing numerous small tributaries along the track, the team finally reaches Chhiruwa after almost five hours, a village set amidst large boulders.
The trekking day comes to an end with traversing along the trail, in and out of minor valleys on the way to Suketar. The total trekking time of five hours continues through the succession of picturesque villages along the trail and ends at about mid-day. The remainder of the day is off for leisure and rest after the long trek.
The trip ends with a scenic short flight from Suketar Airport to Kathmandu, enjoying the last glimpses of the astonishing mountains that the team encountered during the trek.