Destination Himalaya
Sanjay Saxena Conde Nast Top Travel Specialist for India, Nepal, Tibet, Sri Lanka
India, Tibet, Nepal & Sri Lanka

Trekking in Sikkim Kanchenjunga Trek

Trek to Kanchenjunga

Sikkim, bounded by Tibet to the north, Bhutan to the east, Nepal to the west and the plains of India to the south, was a Buddhist monarchy until recently. Travel to Sikkim became restricted soon after it was inducted into India in the early seventies, and only now Sikkim is slowly opening up for tourism. Ranging from 3000 feet to 28,000 feet elevation and located in the monsoon belt, Sikkim has orchids growing in a rainforest climate and majestic snow-capped mountains. The original inhabitants were the Lepchas or Rong-pa, the ravine folk from Assam, who now live in harmony with the Khampas from Tibet and Nepalis from neighboring Nepal. Sikkim, a prosperous and a wonderfully diverse state, has much to offer in terms of both beauty and spirituality. The great climber-writer Fosco Maraini, who strived mightily to enter the country in the 1950s, felt repaid for his efforts when he first saw Gangtok. “It is at the end of a motor-road,” he wrote, “but all the same you feel out of the world. The whole thing is a fairy tale.”

On this expedition, we combine interacting and meeting local people and exploring monasteries with a moderately strenuous trek towards the base camp of the third highest mountain in the world - the mighty Kanchenjunga. Five Treasures of the Snow, as the mountain is known locally, is a mere thirteen meters shorter than K2, the second tallest mountain in the world. Our eight-day trek will include an optional hike to Go Cha La, a viewpoint at an altitude of 17,350 feet (see photo on right).

Outline Itinerary

Day 1: DEPART USA

Day 2: ARRIVE DELHI
You will be met on arrival and transferred to our hotel.

Day 3:  TO KALIMPONG
Early morning flight brings us to Bagdogra airport in Siliguri. Cloud-cover permitting, we will have grand views of the Himalayan giants Everest, Lohtse, Makalu and Kanchenjunga.  Drive to Kalimpong. Welcome dinner.

Day 4: DRIVE TO YUKSOM/TRAILHEAD
In the morning we will drive to the trail head at the small mountain village of Yuksom.  Here we will meet our trekking staff and enjoy our first night in camp.

Day 5: TREK TO BAKIM
Our first day of hiking takes us through forest of pine, magnolia, rhododendrons. Slow but steady climbing all day long with one final push in the last hour to our lodge at Bakim.

Day 6: TREK TO DZONGRI
A steep climb up the ridge behind the lodge leads to more amazing views of Kanchenjunga, Kabru and Pandim at we reach the Dzongri ridge, and our camp site out in the open fields. Bring out the down! Though spectacular views can be had from here, it is also one of the colder camps on this trek.

Day 7:  EXPLORING DZONGRO
We have the day to rest and explore Dzongri.  The peaks of Pandim, Narsingh and Joponu now appear to be distinctly closer. 

Day 8: TREK TO THANGSING
Today’s walk starts across the scenic ridge before descending down to the glacial Prek Chu.  Crossing the river on a new bridge we gradually climb to our camp at Thangsing.

Day 9: TREK TO BASE OF SMITHY LAKE
An easy walk as we gradually gain altitude to our high camp at 16,000 feet on the shores of the lovely and sacred Samity Lake.

Day 10: GOECHA-LA HIKE
Today we hike to reach the high point of this trek.  A predawn start is rewarded as we reach the pass just as the sun is lighting up Khangchendzonga and its satellite peaks. We continue hiking in excess of 17,000 ft. to reach Goecha La and the spectacular panorama that unfolds at the pass.

Day 11:  START RETURN TREK
After relaxed morning we hike back along the Pandim river to a lodge along the west bank of the river.

Day 12: REACH TSO KHA VILLAGE
Descending to a warmer climate, we camp at Tso Kha, a small Tibetan hamlet.

Day 13: END TREK - DRIVE TO PEMAYANGTSE
Passing myriad of streams and waterfalls, we continue our descent through forests where orchids bloom in abundance, and finally reach Yuksom, the end of our trail. Well-deserved hot showers and beds for everyone.

Day 14: DRIVE TO DARJEELING
Today we will drive to Darjeeling. Visit the Tenzing Norgay Himalayan Institute of Mountaineering.

Day 15: TO DELHI AND OUTBOUND
After breakfast we will drive to the airport in Bagdogra and fly to Delhi. After a sumptuous farewell dinner we are transferred to the airport in time for our flight back to the USA.

Day 16: ARRIVE USA

Suggested Extensions:
  • QuickEscapes – Kerala
    Take in some R&R in the calm and leisurely paced life on the backwaters of the Queen of the Arabian Sea, enjoy the pristine beaches of Kerala and an Ayurvedic spa.

  • QuickEscapes – North India
    Explore the Imperial Cities of India – Delhi, Agra & Jaipur.  These were the capitals of the Rajput, the Mughal and the British, the three major influences on India in the last 500 years.

Call us toll free at 1-800 MY INDIA (1-800-694-6342) or email us to request a detailed day-to-day itinerary.

"I will never forget the sunrise at Dzongri, 13,000 ft, all of a sudden the cold air didn't matter. The views on this trek are nothing short of spectacular."
- Pam Bloom, NH

KanchenjungaView from Goecha La
Photo: Brad Reinke
Features:
9 day trek with views of Kanchenjunga Massif
Darjeeling & Kalimpong
Dzongri Ridge
Goecha La

It's Included:
Medical & evacuation insurance
All hotels, meals, ground transportation, local guides and entrance fees
All camping arrangements
Sherpa trekking staff
Fully escorted trip

Departures:
Oct. 18 to Nov. 2, 2013

Land Cost :
from $5200 per person

Base Camp Mt. PandimCamp below Mt Pandim

Base Camp Mt. PandimHorses or yaks carry all the camping gear

enjoyng the viewYak

Enjoying the viewEnjoying the view

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