Kanchenjunga North & South Base Camp Trek

Mt. Kanchenjunga, the world's third highest mountain, lies on Nepal's eastern border with Sikkim. On trekking along the challenging trails amid the mesmerizing vistas of Kanchenjunga, we get to witness exotic wilderness. This wonderful trek begins and ends at the small airstrip at Sukhetar [Taplejung], which lies in the remote north east corner of Nepal. It takes you through fascinating villages and great forests to the awe-inspiring South Face Base Camp at Ramche, before crossing the Mirgin La to the north side of Kanchenjunga and the Pang Pema base camp. As trekkers skirt through this amazing adventurous and exploratory trail, they attain a glorious and unforgettable experience that was so much worth the trip.

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Kathmandu
The panoramic view of snow-capped mountain peaks welcome you at first as you enter Nepal. A representative and driver from our office will meet you at the airport and escort you to your hotel. The representative will help you check into your designated hotel. At the hotel you will be briefed about your daily activities.

Day 2: Sightseeing in Kathmandu Valley
Kathmandu Valley is one of the richest cities of Nepal, both historically and culturally. It has always been a popular destination for tourists. The city presents a wonderful mix of Hinduism, Buddhism and Western influence in the Valley. Western Influence because Kathmandu used to be hippies favourite place in the world during hippie era. Patan and Bhaktapur, its two major neighbouring cities bear immense historical, cultural and religious significances. There will be a half day guided tour to the famous and biggest Hindu shrine of Pashupatinath, the largest Buddhist stupa in Nepal Boudhanath, the 15th century Palace of 55 windows and Swoyambhunath.

Day 3: Fly to Biratnagar
From Kathmandu you take a 45 minutes flight to Biratnagar. On reaching Biratnagar, you make preparations for the forthcoming journey.

Day 4: Fly to Suketar & trek to Lali Kharka (2,220m)
We take a 30 minute flight to Suketar, Taplejung from Biratnagar. Soon after refreshment, you head to Lali Kharka with the trekking crew. On the trails, we walk by rich pastures and wonderful settlements. After several descents, we arrive at Lali Kharka.

Day 5: Trek to Keswa (2,100m)
As you traverse along the steep route to Pokora village, fascinating terraced farmland unfolds soon after crossing a suspension bridge above the Phawa Khola. The route further leads to Kunjari where we stop for lunch. After lunch, we continue following the trekking trail. We pass through dense forests and charming villages, as you progress along the trail. On skirting along a gently sloping mountain path, after trekking for 5-6 hours, we reach Tambawa and later Bhanjyang where we find several teahouses. Take in the grandiose At this point, we can capture mesmerizing sight of Kanchenjunga glowing against the late afternoon sun. After having trekked for 5-6 hours, we conclude the day’s trip.

Day 6: Trek to Mamanke (2,000m)
Leaving behind the terraced fields of Keswa, we follow an adventurous route leading to Nandeva Khola. After crossing the river, we trek along the glaciated mountain passes. Further ahead, the route winds through dense forest and the village of Loppoding. We come across shady areas where you can rest for a while after strenuous trekking. The winding trail then takes us to the right bank of the Kabeli Khola. After a while, terraced fields reappear and the village of Anpan comes into view. We continue ascending till we reach Ponpe Dhara. There are shady spots on the way where we can have a short rest. As we proceed along the trail, terraced fields stretches before us along the crest of the ridge. There is a rest area where we can stop for a while to relax in the fascinating sight of Mt Jannu. We further continue treading along the winding descent and pass through several villages and terraced fields along Khangwa Khola. We cross a suspension bridge and continue descending the undulating mountain passes till you reach the village of Mamankhe.

Day 7: Trek to Yamphudin (1,650m)
Beginning with an easy climb, the walk to Yamphudin is along a trail which contours the hillside above the Kabeli Khola. We cross the ridges and stream beds that make up the valley sides and the trail eventually becomes level with the river a couple of hours before Yamphudin. Along the way, we can stop to bathe in one of the many clear pools in this beautiful river. It is a truly idyllic spot and after lunch by the river, you complete the day's walk at Yamphudin. Yamphudin is the most remote settlement in this area and the last habitation you will see until you reach Gunsa. Needless to say, it is a charming place tucked away beneath the ridge of the Deurali Danda, which you will cross next.

Day 8: Trek to Lamite jungle camp (2,920m)
Beyond Yamphudin, the trail ascends a steep spur before dropping again to cross the Omje Khola. Walking through beautiful and dense forest, we stop for lunch in a field atop this spur, which has fine views of the valley beyond Yamphudin to the south and of the Omje Khola Valley and Deurali Danda to the north. A steep descent to the river brings you to a clearing in the Lamite forest.

Day 9: Trek to Torontan (3,080m)
From your campsite we ascend steeply for 3 hours through dense forest to the top of the Deurali Danda. From the top, Mt Jannu is clearly visible and definitely closer. After crossing the pass, we descend across some fairly steep and exposed screed slopes before re-entering the forest, where we will stop for lunch. After lunch, a steep descent takes us down into the valley of the Simbua Khola and after crossing an interesting wooden bridge, you arrive at Torontan. This campsite lies amongst the towering fir trees of what is now a mainly coniferous alpine forest.

Day 10: Trek to Tseram (3,750m)
This morning we follow the right bank of the river, passing through pine and rhododendron forests. The trail is steep and, as the day progresses, the trees become sparser and more stunted, giving us glimpses of the snow-capped giants ahead and of the massive snout of the Yalung Glacier. Just before Tseram, the towering heights of Kabru and Rathong start to peep over the moraine. We camp at Tseram, where night-time temperature falls, which reminds us that we are gaining height.

Day 11: Trek to Ramche (4,360m)
Today we walk a relatively short distance to Ramche which is situated on a broad, flat ablation zone. The scenery is magnificent as we ascend past the snout of the Yalung Glacier and into a series of ablation valleys. A frozen lake, crystal clear streams and magnificent views of Kokthan, Rathong and Kabru are the highlights of the walk into Ramche.

Day 12: Ramche – Exploration
Leaving our camp at Ramche, we take a packed lunch and set off very early for your first close encounter with Kanchenjunga. Following the valley around its sweeping curve, we come across the vast southern wall of Mt. Kanchenjunga. The ridge forms a cirque which is over 15 kms long and not less than 7,500m high. Along this ridge lie the three main summits of Mt Kanchenjunga at 8,420m, 8,586m and 8,474m. The sight is truly breathtaking. Proceeding further towards Oktang (4,630m), we descend onto the glacier and cross it to a point below Talu from where we can see the panoramic view of the mountains in the area. Especially impressive is the eastern part of Kumbhakarna Glacier, flowing from the east face of Jannu (Kumbhakarna being the local name for Jannu). We then return to Ramche.

Day 13: Trekking beyond the Mirgin La (4,663m)
Leaving our campsite, we trek down the valley, passing the small settlement of Lapsang, before turning off towards the Mirgin La - the pass we must cross in order to reach Gunsa and the north side of Kanchenjunga. As we descend from the Mirgin La, the views, in particular of Mt. Jannu, are simply magnificent. Our campsite will be somewhere beyond the pass.

Day 14: Trek to Gunsa (3,475m)
After a steep descent we approach the Lamba Sumba Kharka, from where there are more splendid views of the awesome south-west face of Mt. Jannu. From here, the going is easy. Descending on an excellent trail, we reach the village of Gunsa. Gunsa is a Tibetan village with a tiny gompa and prayer flags fluttering from the wooden houses. It comes as a welcome sight after the rigorous walking of the previous days and provides an excellent opportunity to visit a local hostelry and sample the tongba (alcoholic beverage fermented out of millet).

Day 15: Trek to Khambachen (4,040m)
The trail ascends gently through beautiful pine and rhododendron forests, passing many mani walls and chortens. We stop for lunch by the river at Rampak Kharka. After lunch there is a steep climb before descending to the summer village of Khambachen. The views of Mt. Jannu or Mt. Kumbhakarna from here are excellent.

Day 16: Trek to Lhonak (4,790m)
The trek up to Lhonak via Ramtang village is not too strenuous and despite the increase in altitude, we are able to walk on easily, enjoying the breathtaking views of the valley and mountain peaks. Our lunch stop is at Ramtang, from where the incredible fluted summit of Wedge Peak first becomes visible. During the afternoon Nepal Peak, the Twins, Mera and the White Wave all come into view. Then you arrive at Lhonak, situated high above the Kanchenjunga Glacier opposite Wedge Peak.

Day 17: Trek to Pang Pema (5,140m)
A leisurely 3 hours walk from Lhonak takes us up to Pang Pema. The trail follows the moraine before finally reaching Pang Pema, the North Face Base Camp, which is in a sheltered spot, directly opposite the towering north face of Kanchenjunga. This is one of the most spectacular places in the world and is a fitting climax to this unique trek.

Day 18: Pang Pema rest day
Today is a rest day, but for the more energetic ones, there are several diversions lined up for the day. One is to ascend the lower slopes of Drohmo for panoramic views of Kanchenjunga and its adjoining peaks. Another possibility is to continue up the increasingly difficult terrain on the right flank of the glaciers for alternative views of the more remote peaks around the Jongsang La Pass.

Day 19-20: Retreat trek to Gunsa (3,430m)
For the next 2 days we retrace your steps to Gunsa, passing through Ramtang and Khambachen en-route.

Day 21: Trek to Kyapra (2,300m)
From Gunsa, we take the route out of the mountains that follows the beautiful Gunsa and Tamur Khola (rivers). The trail passes through spectacular forests of rhododendron, conifer, birch and oak. The valley sides here are steep and the trail follows the river as it cascades downwards. We pass through Kyapra, the last of the Tibetan villages, and an hour or so further on, we reach a spot called Tang.

Day 22: Trek to Sakathum (1,600m)
Heading for the village of Sakathum, our route follows an undulating trail for the first couple of hours until we reach Amjilasa. From here, there is a long steep descent from which we can see the Gunsa Khola Valley stretched out before you. You then reach Sakathum.

Day 23: Trek to Chirwa (1,180m)
Leaving Sakathum, we head to Chirwa. En route we meet the union of two rivers, Simbua Khola and Gunsa Khola. At this point we get to witness the most magnificent view of the two rivers uniting into Tamur Koshi. On following the trail along Tamur Khola, many other small tributary streams come our way. After trekking for about 4-5 hours we enter into the wonderful village of Chirwa.

Day 24: Trek to Phurumba
The route further leads to cultivated land and rich pastures. On reaching Mitlung, we stop for a healthy lunch. Then the trail zigzags through the path of steep stones. After climbing for about 4 hours we come to the valley of Phurumba.

Day 25: Trek to Taplejung - Suketar (2,300m)
As we leave the valley, we continue ascending along the ridge for about 3 hours to Taplejung village. We can wander around the village observing the villagers getting along with their daily routine. As Nepalese folks are generally friendly, chances are we may get invited to a few village homes .Thereafter, leisurely ascent for about 2 hours, we finally reach the airstrip at Suketar where we conclude the trip of the day.

Day 26: Flight to Kathmandu via Biratnagar
We fly back to Biratnagar and then take a connecting flight to Kathmandu. There will be transferred to the hotel upon arrival.

Day 27: Depart Kathmandu
Our representative will take you to the airport for final departure.

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Reference

Dr. Deborah Akers, Professor

Peace Land Travel is a wonderful travel agency. We have used their service for over 9 year and would never think of going to anyone else! Most highly recommended!!

Miami Tibetan Studies Abroad Progarm
Dept. of Anthropology
Miami University