How to Reach Kanchenjunga? - A Complete Guide

  • Feb 20, 2020
  • Marvel Adventure
  • 8321

With a height of 8,586m, Kanchenjunga is the second-highest mountain in Nepal. It stands tall in the far eastern part of Nepal as the third highest mountain in the world. This glorious mountain shares the border with Sikkim, India. Kanchenjunga is called ‘Five Treasures of the Great Snow’ in the Tibetan language. This denotes the five summits that make up the Kanchenjunga range.

At such a height, Kanchenjunga has rare accessibility, so the question arises on how to reach Kanchenjunga?

You can reach Kanchenjunga from either Nepal or Sikkim, India. Due to the tough road conditions in Sikkim, the safest trek route is from Nepal.

There are stories according to the locals that make Kanchenjunga a mysterious trekking destination. The locals believe Kanchenjunga to be religiously and spiritually alive. This is backed with many stories from the locals.

Since it is located at the border, people here are of different cultures. The Sikkimese culture is blended with the sherpa culture in most regions. This makes the trek even more interesting as you get to witness both the cultures living together.

Kanchenjunga Area

About 65% of the area is rocks and ice. 14.1% is forest, 10.1% is complete shrubland, 9.2% is grassland and the rest 1.6% is agricultural land. It has rocky terrain covered with snow. The area is covered with alpine vegetation. The vegetation and the rocky terrain supports the existence of many endangered animals.

The area is inhibited by the Rais, Limbus and other local people who collectively work towards protecting the area together with the government. Kanchenjunga has many rocky steep paths but the area is filled with culture, vegetation and life itself enticing many tourists to reach the summit.

Kanchenjunga weather

The weather in Kanchenjunga is snowy and quite challenging. The normal temperature in Kanchenjunga during winter is below 15 degrees.

So, the best time to visit the glorious mountain is during the springtime and autumn. The rainy weather in the summers poses the dangers of avalanches and landslides.

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How to Reach Kanchenjunga? - Itineraries

How to Reach Kanchenjunga

Situated at such a height of 8586 meters, one often wonders how to reach Kanchenjunga. One of the best ways to reach the glorious mountain is the Kanchenjunga trek. The Kanchenjunga trek is different from the popular Everest base camp. Unlike the Everest base camp, the Kanchenjunga base camp trek is more action-packed. The answer to how to reach Kanchenjunga is solely based on the trekkers and their choice of routes. This also depends on the weather and the condition of the roads.

The trek to the Kanchenjunga Base Camp Nepal can either be taken from north to south or south to north. They both begin at Taplejung after a 45 min flight from Kathmandu to Bhadrapur. A jeep ride to Birtamod follows the flight and finally a bus ride to Taplejung. A circuit trek is a combination of both the south and the north trek. This trek is usually 13-16 days long, based on the route they take. However, the trek does not allow solo treks. The trek focuses on the safety of the trekkers. So, a licensed trekking guide provides guidance to every group of trekkers.

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Kanchenjunga south base camp trek

The south trail is a safer and easier trail to reach Kanchenjunga. It allows the trekkers to experience the authentic Nepali culture. This trail shows the Nepali culture, hospitality, and lifestyle. The trek involves around 7-8 hours of walking daily based on the terrain. This trek is 13 days long. Due to this trail not being as steep and slippery as the northern trail, it's easier and shorter. The trek follows the schedule below.

Kanchenjunga South Base Camp Trek Itinerary

Day 1: Sightseeing in Kathmandu Valley

The first day includes sightseeing in the valley itself. The valley provides a range of scenes from the historical sites to the cultural display and diversity.

Day 2: Drive from Illam to Taplejung

The second day is a long drive. We drive from Illam to Taplejung and Lalikhara reaching an altitude of 2420 meters.

Day 3: Lalikharka to Khesewa

On the third day, we have a long walk waiting ahead of us. Today, we walk 6-7 hours from Lalikharka to Khesewa reaching an altitude of 2120 meters.

Day 4: Khesewa to Pumpe Dada

Today, we walk for about 6-7 hours again and finally reach Pumpe Dada.

Day 5: Trek from Pumpe Dada to Yamphudin

On the fifth day, we finally ascended to Yamphudin from Pumpe Dada. This will take us about 2-3 hours and reach a height of 2080 meters.

Day 6: Trek from Yamphudinm to Tortong

Today, we must hike a total of 7-8 hours and reach Tortong at an altitude of 2995 meters.

Day 7: Trek from Tortong and hike to the lake

After resting up in Tortong, we walk to Tseram and finally hike up to the lake at an altitude of 3870 meters for 6-7 hours.

Day 8: Trek from Tseram to Ramche and Yalung glacier

The eighth day of the trek involves walking for about 7-8 hours and reaching the Yalung glacier. Here the glacier can be seen out in the open with its captivating beauty.

Day 9: Rest day and Kanchenjunga Base Camp

The ninth day is a rest day or exploration day. Today, we explored Ramche and the Kanchenjunga South Base Camp. We reach a height of 4730 meters. We finally reach our destination and spend the day appreciating beauty.

Day 10: Retreat trek from Ramche to Tortong

The very next day we start retreating back to Tortong passing through Ramche.

Day 11: Trek from Tortong to Ranipul

The trek back from Tortong to Ranipul is about 6-7 hours long retracing our steps.

Day 12: Drive from Ranipul to Illam

The trek is almost over now since there is no more walking. Today we will drive for 4 hours to Taplejung and finally reach Illam after 4 more hours drive from there.

Day 13: Drive back to Kathmandu

Finally, the 13-day adventure to reach Kanchenjunga is over with the final drive from Illam to Kathmandu.

Kanchenjunga north base camp trek

reaching kanchenjunga

The northern trek trail is more challenging than the southern trail. This trail is more elevated and takes at a greater height. The north base camp trek requires 5-7 hours of walking daily to reach the base camp. The terrain is very rocky and slippery. This causes the road to be challenging and difficult. The descent is equally challenging.

Despite the challenges, the biodiversity and the beautiful sceneries make the trek worth all the challenges. The slippery roads with their culture rich and beautiful view of the mountains make the trail more adventurous than others.

Kanchenjunga North Base Camp Trek Itinerary

Kanchenjunga North is the most popular base camp for trekking. The itinerary is as follows:

Day 01: Sightseeing in Kathmandu Valley

The first day involves visiting various popular sites of the Kathmandu Valley. This includes the famous valleys and temples of Kathmandu listed as world heritage sites.

Day 02: Drive from Ilam to Taplejung

After sightseeing, the next day takes you through a drive from Illam to Taplejung and Ranipul. The drive is 7 hours long. The drive ends and the trekkers should walk another 30 minutes to reach Sakathum.

Day 03: Trek from Sakathum to Amjilosa

The third day begins with a trek from Sakathum to Amjisola which takes around 5 to 6 hours.

Day 04: Trek from Amjilosa to Gyabla

At an altitude of 2730 meters, the scenic and quiet trails of Amjisola are ventured for 4-5 hours finally reaching Gyabla. The group spends the night in Gyabla amongst the beauty and scenery.

Day 05: Trek from Gyabla to Ghunsa (3410m)

The trek from Gyabla to Ghunsa on the fifth day gradually starts to gain altitude. This takes the trekkers close to the glorious peaks of Kanchenjunga.

Day 06: Hike from Ghunsa

The sixth day of the trek finally leads you closer to the Kanchenjunga Base Camp with the acclimatization in Ghunsa. With the rising altitude, there may be some issues with the trekker’s health due to low oxygen, so breaks are advised.

Day 07: Trek from Ghunsa to Khambachen

The hike from Ghunsa ascends to an altitude of 4050m. The trekking from Ghunsa to Khambachen is about 5-6 hours.

Day 08: Acclimatization day at Khambachen

With yet another acclimatization at Khambachen, we are close to reaching Kanchenjunga. This day, we hike for 5 hours to Nupchu Pokhari where we can see the scenic beauty of the place.

Day 09: Trek from Khambachen to Lhonak

On a ninth day, there is a 5 hours hike to the altitude of 4780 meters. The trek from Khambachen to Lhonak may seem like a huge step towards your destination.

Day 10: Trek from Lhonak to Kanchenjunga North Base Camp, Pang Pema

Finally, after so many days walking in the cold, today we finally step foot on the Kanchenjunga North Base Camp. The trek from Lhonak to the base camp is of 3 hours. The excitement of reaching the destination finally will make you question how you reached Kanchenjunga so soon.

Day 11: Trek from Kanchenjunga North Base Camp ( Pang Pema) to Khambachen

After the excitement falls down, you soon realize you have to make the descent from the top back to where you came from. This downhill is a bit scary so mind your steps. The roads are slippery so be careful.

Day 12: Trek from Khambachen to Ghunsa

The next day, you can trace your footsteps while enjoying the splendid view of the way down and its captivating scenes.

Day 13: Trek from Ghunsa to Amjilosa

We have a long day ahead today with more than 6 hours of trekking downhill.

Day 14: Trek from Amjilosa to Sakathum

Another 5-hour trek waits ahead for us and a small market with its culture and beauty awaits us at the destination tonight as well.

Day 15: Trek from Sakathum to Ilam (1120m)

Finally, the trek is coming to an end. Today is the last day of the trek. Walking for 7 hours and finally reaching Ilam. Now there is no more walking.

Day 16: Drive from Ilam to Kathmandu

Today is the very last day of the trek where we return to Kathmandu after a 9-hour long drive back. It will all seem like a dream, how you reached Kanchenjunga and came back with so many memories.

Kanchenjunga Circuit Trek

kanchenjuna circuit This trek is an all-rounder trip literally. This trip involves trekking all through the north and the south side trails of the mountain. This trek is the ultimate answer to how to reach Kanchenjunga. You can also witness the locals from Rai, Limbus, to Tibetan Buddhist villages where you can get a taste of the Nepali culture, hospitality and lifestyle.

This trekking package offers a gradual view of the mountain’s true beauty with the view of Nepal Peak, Cross peak and eventually Kanchenjunga base camp will emerge.

Permits Required for the Trekking:

The government is making constant efforts to protect the natural beauty in the area. So, the government has made it compulsory to provide a permit before the trekking. This also helps with maintaining the international border disputes at bay. At the arrival of the guests, they are required to apply for the Kanchenjunga Restricted Area Permit.

This will take about 2-3 days. After successfully acquiring the permit, another permit is required for entering the Kanchenjunga Conservation Area. This is mainly aimed towards protecting the natural beauty and resources of the place. This permit costs NRs 2000 per person.

These permits may seem simple however, they are extremely important during the trek. In case of losing or not having these permits, the individuals may be forced to leave the place immediately. The acceptance of the permit requires the presence of a professional licensed trekking guide. The application requires the original passport with a valid visa to Nepal and two photos for online submission to the trekking agency.

Best time to go trekking

Mid-March to June end & Mid-September to Mid-November are the best times to visit this majestic destination. Trekkers should avoid going trekking during the rainy season. The rain causes slippery roads. They remain blocked due to rains and chances of landslides. In the winter season, trekking is often impossible. It snows heavily and trails become inaccessible and the weather is quite foul.

Trip Highlights of Kanchenjunga Trekking

  • Magnificent views of Mt. Kanchenjunga, Mt. Jannu, Mera Peak, and many others.
  • The beautiful remote villages and their lifestyle in the Kanchenjunga region.
  • The mixed culture of both the Sikkimese people and the Nepalese.
  • Exploration of both Kanchenjunga Base Camps.
  • Experience of walking over the glaciers.
  • The beautiful Rhododendron forest and the high alpine vegetation.
  • Tibetan refugees and their settlement on the Kanchenjunga Trekking Routes.
  • Unique and endangered species in Kanchenjunga conservation region like musk deer, snow leopard, blue sheep.

Kanchenjunga national park

Situated on the border of Nepal and India, Kanchenjunga national park is listed as a UNESCO world heritage site. This place is home to many endangered species along with unique vegetation. Animals like musk deer, snow leopard, blue sheep are the main attractions of this place. The National park requires permits from the visitors. This acts as a safe haven for many animals and vegetation. This is a place filled with natural beauty. Hence it is a place one must visit on their journey.

Best time to visit the National Park

April and May are the best months to visit this beautiful reserve. There will be intense snowfall starting from May. So, if you want to see the reserve in its full-blown beauty in snow, September to mid-December is also an excellent choice.

Other Restricted Region Trekkings:

How difficult is Kanchenjunga trekking compared to others?

  • The terrain is more rocky and slippery.
  • Some days require challenging trekking of walking up to 8 hours a day.
  • Glaciers make it slippery and tough to descend.
  • Possibility of landslides and avalanches during the rainy and winter season.

This trek is not for the weak-hearted. It is the test of one’s endurance and will. The path is full of challenges. But, the biodiversity, view, and experience make the trip one of the most adventurous and thrilling ones yet. Despite every obstacle, the trip is wholesome. It is filled with natural beauty.

The accomplishment of reaching the base camp is otherworldly. So, if you are in for an adventure of a lifetime where you can be one with nature and take a break from the noise of your daily life, this trip is made for you.

Lately, you might be wondering how to reach Kanchenjunga. It isn’t through the south or north trail but through endurance, patience and your will to achieve something great like reaching the highest mountains itself. If you have decided to trek to the Kanchenjunga Base Camp, you can join us at Marvel Adventure. Contact us to know more about your incredible trip to the Kanchenjunga region.

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