Kanchenjunga North and South 28 Day Trek

Kanchenjunga I, located in Eastern Nepal along the Sikkim border, is the world's 3rd-highest mountain, and has what's widely considered to be one of Earth's most beautiful mountain massifs. It's encircled by a spectacular national park characterized by both exceptional natural beauty and cultural diversity. Ethnic groups like the Rai and Limbu live peacefully side-by-side in a land blanketed by a glorious bounty of flowers, all nourished by summer rainfall. In addition, some of the Himalayas' best vistas can be seen on this trek. The itinerary is challenging, both in terms of technicality and endurance - at 24 days of active hiking, this is a vigorous trek! At the same time, Kanchenjunga trekkers enjoy the hard-won satisfaction of conquering a mountain far more remote than other Himalayan peaks. As is the case with all Himalayan Wonders treks, our itinerary is designed for maximal altitude acclimatization (to minimize the risk of altitude-related illness) and interest, and is fully customizable.

    What's Included?

  • All airport transfers from arrival to departure
  • 24 day trek, all accommodations and meals included
    *
  • Flights from Kathmandu-Biratnagar-Bhadrapur-Kathmandu
  • English-speaking, government-licensed guide
  • Porter service
    **
  • All applicable trekking and climbing permits
  • All necessary camping gear
  • Sightseeing tour in Kathmandu
  • Government taxes, entrance fee, equipment fee, and other applicable fees
  • First aid kit
  • Trip certificate
  • Farewell dinner
  • Himalayan Wonders T-shirt
 
  * Accommodations include hotel stay while in Kathmandu and camping accommodations while trekking. Price based on twin occupancy. An additional supplement for single travelers applies.
** Single porter shared between two travelers. Weight restrictions apply.

Day 1 - Kathmandu: Arrival Day

Welcome to Nepal! A representative will be waiting to welcome you to Tribhuvan International Airport and bring you to your hotel in Kathmandu. It's been a long flight, so enjoy the chance to rest! This evening, we'll hold a briefing on your adventure and what to expect regarding the trek.

Day 2 - Kathmandu to Biratnagar, Biratnagar to Basantpur

We start the day with a quick (~50 minute) flight from Kathmandu to Biratnagar, and then drive to Basantpur, where our trek officially begins. Both legs of travel are spectacularly scenic: the flight offers views of our entire trekking route, while the road travel takes us over a thrilling, precarious mountain road with over 100 hairpin turns. We'll trace the formidable Arun River and pass through the town of Hille. Biratnagar is located at the road's end, on the ridge over Tanmaya Khola. Here we'll make camp for the night in preparation to start trekking bright and early tomorrow!

Day 3 - Basantpur to Chauki

We’ll accomplish about seven hours of hiking today on this, our first trekking day. The first three kilometers of the path are shared with major trekking routes servicing the very popular Arun and Tamur valleys, so expect to see lots of other trekkers coming and going. The crowds thin once we pass Tunde, and then we'll continue on the the significant trading post of Chainpur. We'll walk through stunning rhododendron forest and small villages with great views of Makalu and Kanchenjunga on our way to Chauki.

Day 4 - Chauki to Gupha Pokhari

Our trail winds itself sinuously through the Milke Danda Range, affording us lovely views: forests of brightly-blooming rhododendron flowers (in springtime) and panoramas of Chamlang, Mera, Makalu, and Kanchenjunga as seen from high points on the trail. We eventually will make our way to the stunning village of Gupha Pokhari, and camp alongside a natural pond. With only four hours of walking today, we'll have ample time to appreciate our surroundings and explore the village.

Day 5 - Gupha Pokhari to Dobhan

Our day is a long one today, but luckily the road runs all downhill. We'll break at the Gurja Sherpa village for lunch, and then follow the Maihwa Khola and Tamur Koshi rivers to their confluence, where we'll find out overnight camping spot of Dobhan.

Day 6 - Dobhan to Mitlyng

Today marks the first of three days trekking the Tamor Nadi river valley, at the end of which we will have reached Sekathum and climbed almost 1,000m. The trail is wet and muddy as we trek the deep valley, courtesy of the monsoon rains. We'll follow the river as it snakes through the rainforest, which is alive with birdsong! By the time we reach Mitlyng, we will have climbed high enough that the path gets a bit drier!

Day 7 - Mitlyng to Chirwa

Our valley trek stretches into day two as this deep Himalayan river gorge surrounds us with breathtaking cliffs that amplify the thundering torrent of rushing water. We will cross sections of dense subtropical forest as we move along the narrow valley, and see local villages overhead. The valley finally opens around the time we attain Chirwa, which is part of network of Limbu villages occupied by farmers who have worked the land to grow miscellaneous grains for thousands of years.

Day 8 - Chirwa to Sekathum

Five hours of trekking today finally brings us completely through the Tamor Nadi valley. The valley gives way to Ghunsa River just past Simbuwa Khola, and we will soon arrive at Sekathum. Our destination is marked by a tributary that originates at the Yalung glacier, as well as gradually-shifting scenery as the valley continues to open before us.

Day 9 - Sekathum to Amjilassa

We’ve a steep, albeit short walk today before we make camp. It'll take us five hours, but we will have gained almost 900m of elevation! The trail narrows noticeably as we follow the Ghunsa, only beginning to wide again just as we're arriving at Amjilassa. We've arrived in the region of Sherpa and Tibetan people, as we'll notice in the homes, clothing, and lifestyle of the locals.

Day 10 - Amjilassa to Gyabla

Today is an easy, if somewhat isolated trekking day. We'll walk four hours through dense forests, with no villages to be seen anyway. We'll make camp in Gyabla, which is the first settlement we'll encounter all day.

Day 11 - Gyabla to Ghunsa

We’ll take our walking more slowly as we cross the 3,000m elevation threshold, to stave off the risk of altitude sickness. Five hours of walking will ultimately bring us to Ghunsa, but we'll stop for lunch in the Tibetan village of Phole. The Buddhist culture thrives here, and a local monastery welcomes us to briefly rest and relax.

Day 12 - Ghunsa: Rest day

Today is a day to rest and relax as we acclimatize to the high elevation we've attained. The Sherpa village of Ghunsa makes an ideal spot for a day of exploration and idyll, with plenty of opportunities for long, scenic walks and soaks in the hot springs. Ghunsa is also notable for being the last permanent settlement before we reach the north base camp.

Day 13 - Ghunsa to Kambach

Our next three trekking days will find us trekking one of the most splendid glacial valleys in Nepal, if not the entire Himalayas. We start the day on the moraine from Lhonak, and end at the base of Jannu Glacier. From here, we'll enjoy a direct view of the Kanchenjunga massif as well as the whole of Jannu. This is off the beaten path as far as trekking routes go, and the remoteness means we'll have a good shot of seeing all manner of wildlife: blue sheep, ibex, and mountain goats, smaller animals like hyrax and marmots, as well as birds of prey like eagles, kites, and falcons.

Day 14 - Kambach to Lhonak

The terrain looks bare and desolate at this high altitude with the glacial landscape and no villages or houses surrounding us. The trail climbs gradually, but steadily - the presence of both moraine debris and the high elevation slow us down a fair amount. The glacier begins around Ramtangat and the trail wraps around its north side. We'll camp at Lhonak, at the junction of the Lhonak and Kanchenjunga glaciers, savoring the awesome mountain views all around.

Day 15 - Pang Pema BC: Exploration Day

Today we set off to explore the north base camp of Kanchenjunga, an area called Pang Pema that gets precious few trekkers. Consequently, there is no established path and the going is tricky! We'll explore the glacial area as much as possible, ultimately making camp to rest and stay warm.

Day 16 - Pang Pema BC to Ghunsa

Heading downhill from Pang Pema allows us to, in 7 hours, cover the same terrain it took us two days to ascend! We'll retrace the path to Ghunsa, which gives us a fresh perspective on the things we saw going in the opposite direction.

Day 17 - Ghunsa to Sele La Pass

Thick forests of birch, pine, and rhododendron - possibly blanketed in snow! - line our uphill path today as we head away from Ghunsa. We'll trek six hours along the routes used by locals for supplies and transportation.

Day 18 - Sele Lapass to Tseram

Today's a challenging leg of our journey! We'll climb a steep 800m to Mirgin La Pass, which rewards our tenacity with sweeping views of Jannu Himal, Makalu, Baruntse, Chamlang, Kabru, and Kanchenjunga. We'll skirt high ridges and then finally descend to Tseram. All told, we'll walk eight hours.

Day 19 - Tseram to Ramche, Side Trip to Octangand Yalung Glacier

We kick things off early today to reach Ramche and establish camp. After lunch, we'll make the round-trip to Yalung Glacier. Just 7km away with an elevation gain of 300m, this is a hearty hike, but very doable. At the glacier, we'll marvel at the gorgeous natural amphitheatre made by the peaks of Rohtang and Kabru on the Nepal/Sikkim border.

Day 20 - Ramche to Tortong

Seven hours of easy walking await us today as we descend through the Simbua Khola, crossing forests of pine and rhododendron, to reach Tortong.

Day 21 - Tortang to Yamphudim

The seven hours we trek today are risky and difficult, as this particular part of the path is prone to landslides. We also have to contend with the 600m climb to the Lamite pass at 3,500m, meaning that we'll be relieved indeed to camp at Yamphudim tonight.

Day 22 - Yamphudim to Khebang

Our walk today is an eventful one, bringing us over two passes and through the scenic villages of Chhetri and Brahmins. We'll walk approximately seven hours.

Day 23 - Khebang to Phakholing

Our penultimate trekking day is a long one, with a steep 1,000m descent stretched over just 6km. We'll have lunch in Dobhan and then hike another 8m along an undulating (but, thankfully, straightforward) path to the village. With seven hours of walking, this is our last "long" day of the journey!

Day 24 - Phakholing to Tharpu

We finish our trek off with a four hour, 1,200m climb to Tharpu. This is the time to enjoy your final glimpses of the Kanchenjunga range - having just conquered it! - and to savor your last mountain sunset. It's been an exhilarating, long trek. Now is the time to celebrate with your guides and trekking companions with whom you've spent so much time over the last three weeks.

Day 25 - Tharpu to Bhadrapur/9h

The airport at Bhadrapur is only 190km away from Tharpu, but it will take us nine hours of driving to get there. Why, you ask? Well, the 100 hairpin turns from our original trip make a reappearance, and our road cuts through no less than seven narrow ranges as well. Consequently, the driver averages less than 30kmh! It's a tiring trip, but a rewarding one as you fully appreciate the complexity of the terrain we covered in the last few weeks.

Day 26 - Bhadrapur to Kathmandu

Our quick flight from Bhadrapur back to Kathmandu takes little time, leaving you the rest of the afternoon to rest, relax, or go exploring the city. Shop, dine, or simply lose yourself in the unfamiliar, but welcoming bustle of a city that's among Earth's most unique and historic.

Day 27 - Kathmandu: Sightseeing Day

Kathmandu is one of the world's great historic and spiritual landmarks. It contains more UNESCO World Heritage Sites than any other city in the world, and we'll be visiting some today as part of a whole day of sightseeing. We'll visit Boudhanath, the world's largest Buddhist stupa, as well as the "monkey temple" of Swayambhunath and the sacred Hindu temple of Pashupatinath. We'll also see the historic and famous Durbar Square. In celebration of an amazing trip, you'll be our guests tonight as we host a farewell dinner at an excellent Nepalese restaurant in town.

Day 28 - Kathmandu: Departure Day

We bid you farewell today as our travels together draw to a close. We'll get you to the airport, or simply say goodbye as you move on to your next adventure. Remember to trade email addresses with members of your tour group! We always appreciate our guests' feedback, so don't hesitate to share your thoughts on the trekking experience.

    Exclusions

  • International flights
  • Nepal entry visa (approximately $40 USD)
  • Travel and health insurance
  • Lunch and dinner in Kathmandu
  • Drinks (alcoholic, mineral water, other) or desserts during trek
  • Battery charges
  • Customary gratuities for guides and porters
  • Unforeseen costs due to flight cancellation, weather conditions, etc.
  • All costs not outlined under "What's Included"


    Cancellation Policy

  • Prior to 90 days: full refund (deposit minus a $150 cancelation fee)
  • 90-60 days: 80% refund
  • 60-30 days: 50% refund
  • 30-15 days: 25% refund
  • We're sorry, but trips cancelled within the last 15 days before your arrival are non-refundable.
  • Deposits are non-refundable.
The following are what we advise you obtain in the way of equipment and gear before trekking in Nepal, and are meant to keep you mobile and comfortable in a range of expected weather conditions. Trekking gear can be rented or purchased in Kathmandu at cheaper prices, remember Nepal is the home of Mount Everest, there is plenty of choice and our staff can assist you with the necessary arrangements. Except for your day pack, all luggage will be carried by porters. There is an allowance of 33lbs/15kg per person. Additional personal items not needed for the trekking portion of the trip can be checked in the hotel’s storage room for no extra cost.


    Head

  • Sun hat or scarf
  • Light balaclava or warm fleece hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Head torch


    Upper Body

  • Cotton t-shirts or thermals
  • Fleece jacket
  • Waterproof jacket
  • Down jacket


    Lower Body

  • Lightweight cotton pants (long)
  • Waterproof pants


    Feet

  • Thin inner socks
  • Thick, warm wool hiking socks
  • Comfortable hiking boots


    Hands

  • Gloves


    Accessories

  • Sleeping bag rated to 0°C
  • Trekking bag/duffel bag
  • Large plastic bags (for keeping items dry inside trek bag)
  • Trekking poles (optional, recommended)
  • Water bottle or camel bag
  • Toiletries
Start your adventure here with us!

FAQ

The basics

What is trekking?

Trekking is an adventure! For the uninitiated, this active pursuit involves lengthy, multi-day walks and climbs on village and park trails. The terrain is usually fairly steep, and we will likely encounter snow at higher altitudes (those above 5,500m/18,000ft).

Is trekking for me?

We like to think trekking is for everyone who is physically fit, patient, and loves the outdoors.

Why is a guide necessarily? I've trekked/hiked/camped before - can't I guide myself?

While it is not a legal requirement, we cannot overstate the importance of trekking with a licensed, experienced guide. You'll be traveling through wilderness, remote countryside, and high elevations - from an aspect of pure safety, it is highly dangerous to go it alone. Additionally, very few locals in Himalayan villages speak English. Should you get lost (and, with many paths crossing through many, many villages, this is more a likelihood than a possibility), it would be difficult to communicate directions or obtain food and shelter. Additionally, our guides are experts in Himalayan treks with an average of over 15 years trekking experience. No matter how confident you feel in your skills or knowledge, it is almost certain that we can help enhance your experience.

Who can go?

Are there any age limits for Himalayan trekking?

Nepal law requires that children under age 18 are accompanied by a parent or guardian while trekking. There's no upper limit on our adventures, as long as participants are healthy and willing!

How difficult is trekking?

It depends on the specific trek, and, to some extent, on the preferences of those trekking. We offer all sorts of treks, ranging from easy to difficult.

Is previous trekking experience really necessary?

In theory, no. Anyone with robust cardiovascular capability and good stamina should be able to cope with higher elevations and lower oxygen density. Trekking or hiking experience anywhere in the world is strongly recommended for maximum enjoyment of your Himalayan adventure, however.

Preparation

What type of insurance should I have? Where can I obtain a policy?

Travel insurance is mandatory and obtaining for the days you are trekking is your responsibility. We suggest World Nomads as it covers Helicopter and medical evacuation up to 6000m. Some standard policies only cover up to 4000 meters for evacuation so please confirm with your insurance company if you purchase it from another company. If you get to Nepal and don't have insurance already we can help you purchase it for a reasonable price before you start the trek.

What's the best time of year to book a trek in Nepal?

The best times for trekking the Himalayas are February to May, and then September to December. Unless you are trekking in rain shadow areas such as the Upper Mustang, trekking during monsoon season is going to be a very wet event. Winter isn't the optimal trekking season either, as very cold temperatures and heavy snowfall may impede crossings of high passes (treks that maintain lower elevations are accessible year-round).

Are any permits required for trekking?

Again, it depends on your specific trek. Some trekking areas require a special permit for trekking, while as others require only permits to enter conservation or national parks. Most require a Trekking Information Management System (TIMS) card. We handle all permits for you, so you have one less thing to worry about!

About the trek

How long do treks last?

Most of our Himalayan treks range from two to four weeks.

How long do we spend walking each day?

Trekkers generally walk four to six hours a day. That's between five and fifteen kilometers depending on trail conditions and the state of the weather.

Room and board

What kinds of accommodations will we utilize?

Unless you signed up for a camping trip specifically, most treks include lodge or guest house accommodation. A small minority of trekking areas may not have lodges available, and accommodation in these places will involve sleeping in tents.

What is teahouse trekking?

Teahouse trekking is a type of accommodation unique to mountain treks, in which lodging and meals are set up at local teahouses or lodges on a full-board basis.

What is camping trekking?

Camping trekking involves sleeping in tents. We provide you with full board on these treks, with meals being prepared by professional trekking cooks in a mobile camp equipped with a kitchen and adequate support staff.

Where will our drinking water come from?

Bottled water is available everywhere on established trekking routes, and most villages on the way will have locally-purified water as well. The teahouses or camping crew will supply boiled water for drinking.

Where do we eat our meals?

The most frequently-traveled Himalayan circuits feature lodges and guesthouses. Continental menus are generally available, along with soups and dishes of noodles or rice. Other routes will include more limited choices. On the most remote routes, only traditional dal bhat, curry, or instant noodle soups will be available.

Health and safety

What physical criteria will ensure I'm fit enough to trek?

Good overall fitness, flexibility, and healthy will ensure you trek safely and comfortably. Those with acute or chronic health conditions impacting their stamina, range of motion, coordination, or balance may have difficulty completing the trek. If you are in doubt about your own physical readiness, consult a physician well in advance of booking your trip! General hiking experience and comfort with the idea of multi-day hiking will also ensure you are 100% ready to trek!

How will we deal with altitude acclimation?

At higher altitudes - the kind we experience frequently on our treks- your cardiac and pulmonary systems are affected by lower oxygen density. Our bodies must adjust to the mountain elevation gradually, or we can become ill. Physical symptoms can range from general breathing difficulties all the way to acute mountain sickness (altitude sickness, soroche, or "the bends"). To avoid altitude-related maladies, we pace our treks appropriately and incorporate acclimatization days throughout the itinerary. There are points throughout many treks during which trekkers may choose to either tackle additional hikes/day trips or rest and relax as their bodies demand.

What do I need to know about sun protection?

It may seem counter-intuitive, but your skin is in more danger of sun damage on the mountains than while at the beach! The sun's intensity increases dramatically as we rise in altitude, and fresh snow reflects exponentially more UV rays than does the sand. You will need to protect your skin with clothing and sunblock. A sunblock specifically for mountain conditions is recommended. If you wear prescription eyeglasses its recommend that you get your prescription fitted to sunglasses.

What happens if I get sick or injured while trekking?

We take all possible precautions to proactively ensure the safety and wellness of our trekkers, but rest assured that our guides are trained and experienced in dealing with emergencies. Each guide is trained in first aid. In the case of altitude sickness, you will immediately be taken to a lower altitude. If necessary, your guide will utilize your travel insurance information to call a rescue helicopter, and you will be flown to Kathmandu or Pokhara for medical attention.

Are solo female travelers safe on Himalayan treks?

We ensure the travel safety of all our trekking guests, both male and female. Nepal, on the whole, is both very safe and welcoming of foreign visitors. We have longstanding, strong relationships with the lodges we frequent, and know them to be safe and reliable. In addition our guides are consistently mindful of all guests' whereabouts while trekking. We travel in small groups, all the better to easily maintain continual contact.

Practical matters

What should I pack?

Your specific trek and the time of year during which you depart will greatly impact your packing list. A recommended outline of clothing and equipment is listed with each trek. In general, a down jacket, a warm fleece jacket, thermal underwear, trekking pants and shorts, and sturdy boots are recommended to wear, and a thermal sleeping bag, backpack, and camera are recommended for your kit. If you take any medication, this should obviously be a packing priority. Utilize common sense - you don't want to end up short-handed on the mountain, but overpacking is undesirable. It's worth noting that just about anything you need in the way of trekking clothing and/or equipment can be purchased or rented in Kathmandu when you first arrive.

What sort of footwear is recommended?

Comfortable, sturdy trekking shoes or boots are a must. Ideally your footwear will have Gore-Tex or similar lining, along with thick soles. This will ensure that your feet stay warm and dry, and that you are comfortable walking on rocky paths. Wool socks are recommended instead of cotton, and these too should be thick and warm.

How much can a porter carry?

Porters' ability to carry baggage depends to some extent on the trekking route and altitude in question, but the average trekking porter carries between 15 and 25kg. A camping porter carries up to 40kg. One porter is typically assigned per every two travelers.

Should I tip my guide? How about my porter?

While not mandatory, tipping is customary and always appreciated in Nepal and on our treks. Your guides and porters will tremendously appreciate a small gratuity at the end of your trek, as these little extras go a long way towards helping their families. Tipping is a great way to show your appreciation for the team's hard work and devoted attention to your happiness.

How much money should I bring along?

Our treks are all-inclusive. We cover accommodation, food, park fees, permits, and many other costs, as a means of making your adventure as stress-free and convenient as possible.. Travelers generally bring a small amount of pocket money to cover bottled water, snacks, or tea beyond your included meals, souvenirs, tips, or donations to monasteries along the route (if you are inclined to give one). Trekkers find that around $20 a day is reasonable for these extras.

What communication options exist while trekking?

It varies. Mobile coverage is expanding around the world rapidly, and the Himalayas are no different… did you know that 3G coverage is available all over Mount Everest? There is no guarantee of uninterrupted coverage, however. Most trekking routes feature local VHF phones, but on the more remote trails, a satellite phone is the only option.

Do you have any extra charges for solo travelers?

We generally don't charge solo travelers any extra fees. Solo travelers can expect their own hotel room in Kathmandu but will need to share a room with other group members during the trek. If availability allows we will arrange private rooms on the trek as well upon request. If you are going solo and not joining one of our group treks you will be charged an extra $10 a day for a porter.

Can I get a refund if I don't finish the trek?

Its sometimes the case that trekkers finish ahead of schedule or they end up stopping the trek early for health or personal reasons. If this is the case please understand that we can not offer any refunds for unused days on the trek. Please understand that our costs are the same as we have an obligation to pay our guides and porters for the time they have committed.

What is your cancellation policy? How about other terms and conditions?

Check out this link, or contact us for more information. We love hearing from you!