Gokyo, Chola Pass & EBC Trek 2018
Ama Dablam Expedition 2018
Royal Everest Trek & Heli Tour
Mustang Festival - 2018
Upper Dolpo Special - 2018
Kanchenjunga Circuit Trek
Trekking
Moderate
5,147m/16,560ft

Service Level Standard

At a Glance

At 8,586m, Kanchenjunga is the world's 3rd highest mountain. Located in the far north eastern corner of Nepal, on the border with Sikkim, the surrounding region is less accessible than the Khumbu or Annapurna’s and still sees few Western visitors. Kanchenjunga has a special place in the hearts of British climbers and explorers. From Douglas Fresh field’s initial circumnavigation in 1899, the first ascent in 1955 by Joe Brown and George Band, to the ground-breaking ascent of the North Ridge, by Doug Scott, Pete Boardman and Joe Tasker in 1979 - many chapters in British climbing history have been dedicated to "Kangch". Together with the huge bulk of Jannu, Chang Himal's imposing North Face and the impenetrable ridges of Ratong, the mountain vistas on this trek are every bit as impressive as the peaks in the Everest region. Our itinerary approaches the North Base Camp first, trekking through deep ravines, forests of bamboo, rhododendron and larch pine to the Tibetan village of Ghunsa and the high mountains. We take care to spend time acclimatizing around Ghunsa and Kambachen, before continuing along the Kanchenjunga Glacier to spend a night at Pangpema, base camp on the north side. The views of Jannu, Kanchenjunga and Chang Himal are jaw dropping. Then we cross the Mirgin La (4,550m) to Tseram. It is much more logical to cross the pass from north to south and this part of the trek is simply superb. Magnificent scenery and interesting walking. By now we're well acclimatized, and can enjoy the gentle walking up to Oktang and the awesome views of Ratong, the Kabru Peaks and the South Face of Kanchenjunga. We exit the mountain via an esoteric route, travelling through villages where the locals rarely see trekkers. Expect to be the focus of much attention! This is a long and committing trek in a region with little infrastructure. The trails are at rough and undulating, at times exposed and there are landslides to cross. Therefore to join this trip you need to be an experienced mountain walker, mentally prepared for consecutive days of tough trekking in an extremely remote part of the Himalayas. Trekking to the North Base Camp first, then crossing the Mirgin La (Pass) from North to South to then visit the South Base Camp is, in our opinion, the best way of doing this trek.

Detail Itinerary

A very warm welcome to the Kingdom of Himalayas. Upon your arrival at the Tribhuvan international airport our representative welcomes you and assists you transfer in your hotel in Kathmandu. After time to get refreshed, evening you'll meet and transfer for welcome dinner in one of the typical Nepalese restaurant in the heart of Kathmandu i.e. Utsav or Nepali Chula (Kitchen). Here you will not simply experience the traditional Nepalese dish but will be entertained with Nepalese traditional dance and folk songs. After the dinner, you will be transferred back to your respective hotel.

Kathmandu is the historical and cultural heart of Nepal and has been a popular destination for tourists ever since Nepal opened its doors to visitors. The city presents a wonderful mix of Hinduism, Tibetan Buddhism and Western influence in the Valley. Bauddhanath: Stupa with its 130 ft. dome. One of the world’s largest Stupa, Bouddha is generally acknowledged to be the most important Tibetan Buddhist monument outside Tibet. Pupshupatinath Temple: Pashupatinath is considered one of the holiest shrines of all the Hindu temples. The temple has remained the presiding deity of ruling Nepalese Royalty. -After the city tour, our leader or guide will do the final briefing of the expedition. They will also take the opportunity to check the members' personal equipment as the city bazaars and climbing shops will provide the last chance to correct any deficiencies. Overnight at Hotel.

It's an early morning flight from Kathmandu Domestic Airport to Biratnagar. If there is availability of flight to Suketar for tomorrow, then you spend the night in Biratnagar and fly to Suketar the next morning. If there are no flights available to Suketar for tomorrow then, you drive to Phidim and spend the night there. Overnight in local hotel.

It's a 40 minute flight to the airstrip at Suketar. We will meet our porters and the rest of the trek crew here and we spend the night either at Suketar or Taplejung, which is a 2 hour walk from the airstrip. In the event of bad weather, it is possible to drive to Taplejung. Overnight in camp.

Our first day of trekking is short and is actually downhill! It's a 3.5 hour walk to Mitlung, crossing the Hangdewa Khola to arrive beside the raging Tamur River. Mitlung is a small farming village surrounded by paddy fields. Overnight in camp.

From Mitlung, the trail climbs out of the village before dropping down to Sinwa after a couple of hours. Sinwa is a well-kept village with a large school. Bananas, grapefruit and oranges are grown here. We continue to a pleasant lunch spot at Tawa then climb up again before crossing a suspension bridge at Thiwa, where there are great views up the valley. Finally we arrive at Chirwa, where we camp on a large field on the far side of the village, surrounded by water-worn boulders (5.5 - 6 hours). Overnight in camp.

From camp the trail leads uphill for 30 minutes until the valley broadens out and we drop down to meadows. After showing our trekking permit at the park gate, we cross the river onto the west bank and follow a newly built path through delightful forest - look out for butterflies, dragonflies and praying mantis. The path is flat for an hour before we gain height and contour the steep hillside above the river. We have lunch looking out across the valley. In the afternoon, we drop down via indistinctive paths to cross the Tamur River for the last time where it is joined by the Ghunsa Khola. After another 20 minutes we arrive at Sekathum, a campsite and lodge right next to the river (5 hours). Overnight in camp

We have our first views of Jannu from the campsite if the weather is clear in the morning. It's a tough walk today, following a new path, which is very narrow in places, undulating, exposed and slippery after rain. We cross the river directly out of camp over a new bridge and follow a path steeply up and then down, before soon crossing back over the river on an older wooden bridge. Again we climb up out of the bottom of the gorge and then drop back down, passing a solitary lodge at Sotlima until the trail descends right down to river level. For a few hundred metres the path clings to the side of the gorge, with spray from the pounding river making it all too obvious that a slip here would be catastrophic. Further on we cross the river once more to a lunch spot. After lunch we follow zigzags up through trees until the path contours high above the gorge. Eventually we reach Amjilesa, a collection of Tibetan lodges high on the hillside above the gorge (7 - 8 hours). Overnight in camp

From Amjilesa the trail contours the hillside before dropping down through bamboo, oak and rhododendron forest. It's undulating and narrow with the odd exposed section, though any sense of exposure is removed by the presence of the bamboo. Eventually we reach a small stone house by the river before climbing up again. The path crosses a couple of small bridges at the base of waterfalls. Lunch is at a great spot by an icy pool at the base of yet another stunning waterfall. It's a short walk in the afternoon uphill to Gyabla, a small Tibetan settlement with impressive views up the valley towards Khabur (6,332m). The air here feels much cooler and we have the sense of entering the high mountains (5 hours). Overnight in camp

After putting on some warmer layers of clothing we set off and drop down to the river yet again. After 1.5 hours we arrive at 3,000m and enter Larch pine. The path now becomes very easy underfoot and the valley begins to open out. We arrive at Phole (3,140m) for lunch. Phole is a fair sized Yak herder settlement with a rather run down Gompa. It's another 1.5 hours trekking to Ghunsa, a Sherpa village, which benefits from a small hydro-electric power plant. We will camp outside of one of the Trekking lodges here and look forward to two nights in this relaxing spot (4.5 - 5 hours). Overnight in camp

In the morning we can do some washing and have a chance to sort out our gear before having an acclimatisation walk. The walk heads up towards the Lapsang La through forest to a point above the tree line at c4,200m. We should be back in Ghunsa in the early afternoon to relax and have a shower. You can make a phone call and even send a postcard from here. Overnight in camp

Heading north from Ghunsa the trail follows the east bank of the river. It really is delightful walking through Larch and Juniper, with some trickier sections across small landslides and along the riverbed. We cross a bridge at Rampuk Kharka (3,720m) and have lunch just beyond against the backdrop of snow capped peaks and spires. In the afternoon we continue on past a sacred waterfall before contouring up the hillside and crossing a large landslide. It's important to move quickly across this hazard as there is always the danger of stone fall from above. Just beyond the landslide we have our first views of Jannu, as it comes into view above a ridge. It is simply breathtaking and consequently, it may take us a while to walk the last section into Kambachen (7 hours). Overnight in camp

It is possible to continue to Lhonak (4,785m) today, but this would be pushing our acclimatisation schedule and would likely result in some members of the group suffering from the symptoms of altitude sickness. Instead, we will base ourselves from Kambachen as there is plenty to see and do from here as part of an 'active pottering' day. We will most likely walk up the Nuphchu Khola Valley for superb views of Jannu. It's also possible to trek up towards Jannu's base camp, though the Ghunsa Khola can be difficult to cross so this might not be the sensible option. Having had a second night in Kambachen, we should find the walk up to Lhonak tomorrow fairly steady and crucially, the long day to base camp the following day will feel easier for everybody. Overnight in camp

From Kambachen, the trail follows the hillside on the north bank of the river. At a waterfall, the base of which can sometimes be icy, the path almost disappears and there is a section of boulder hopping. We cross a bridge and climb up to Ramtang, a grazing pasture with a couple of Yak herder huts. It takes another hour or so to reach Ghunsa. At first, we amble along gentle paths, which weave between boulders, taking in the superb views. Not long before we arrive at Lhonak the path is narrow and loose where it crosses some small landslides, before dropping down to the river and finally arriving at Lhonak. Here there are 6 Yak herder huts set out on the expansive and grassy valley bottom. Chang Himal has now come into view ahead and the route beside the Kanchenjunga Glacier all the way to Pangoema is visible (3.5 - 4.5 hours). Overnight in camp

It's possible to visit Pangpema and return to Lhonak the same day, but this wouldn't be much fun. Instead, we can take as much time as we like to walk the final 6 miles to base camp. The trail follows the edge of the glacier all the way and is mostly fairly gradual on grassy trails. There are some rockier sections and a couple of narrow landslides, which need to be crossed quickly. Chang Himal looms over our right shoulders all morning with its steep North Face and at the head of the valley is Kirat Chuli (7,386m), Pangpema is a flat, grassy base camp with a couple of porter huts. For better views of the vast bulk of Kanchenjunga’s North Face, we can walk up a little higher above base camp to a natural viewing platform. Overnight in camp

There's no rush to descend back down the valley, so those who would like to take more photos in the morning light can do so. The sun casts shadows across the north faces at this time of day, so really it's a better time for photography. When we are ready, we will stroll back to Lhonak and then continue down the valley to Ramtang, looking out for Blue Sheep on the steep mountain sides. We can camp here in a beautiful spot, which has the advantage of getting the evening sun until relatively late. Alternatively, we can continue on to Kambachen and have a shorter walk to Ghunsa tomorrow. Overnight in camp

The return walk to Ghunsa from Ramtang takes 5 hours.

The trail out of the village passes the hydro electricity plant and soon climbs up into the dense forest of moss, rhododendron and juniper. After 45 minutes it becomes extremely steep and for the next hour, it's a tough ascent up rocky steps to emerge from the trees at a point on the ridge. The path now crosses onto the south side of this ridge and contours across the hillside to a possible lunch spot by a stream, just before a short pull to reach a saddle at 4,210m. It's another 20 minutes or so to arrive at Sele Le, a small camping spot by a hut and bubbling stream surrounded by lichen-covered boulders (4 - 5 hours). Overnight in camp

This is a long and demanding day, but also one of the most rewarding on the trek. There are superb views and the walking over three high passes is both varied and continually interesting. From camp, we slowly climb up to the first pass, the Sinion La at 4,480m. The views from here of the south side of Jannu and the East Face of Makalu are incredible. Cho Oyu can also be seen in the distance. We then contour two corries, crossing the Mirgin La (4,480m), then dropping down, before walking on rocky paths to gain the Sinelapche La (4,724m). If it is clear, the views from here into Sikkim and towards Ratong (6,675m) are fabulous. The 850m descent to Tseram is a test of the knees, being very steep and to begin with, loose and shalely underfoot. The trail drops down to a small lake, then descends extremely steeply to Tseram (7 - 8 hours). Overnight in camp

As we're now very well-acclimatised, the walk to Ramche and onwards hike to the viewpoint of Oktang should not feel too demanding. We are soon above the tree line and climbing up through alpine meadows, beside a stream. There might be a few icy sections underfoot and it's common for the lake at Lapsang to be frozen. We follow the lateral moraine of the Yalung Glacier to eventually reach Ramche after 3 hours or so. It's a lovely, grassy spot and there is a new porter lodge here. We'll have lunch before ambling on in the afternoon hike up the open valley to climb right up onto the edge of the moraine to reach a Chorten at Oktang (a further 1.5 hours). The climbers' base camp for the north side of Kanchenjunga is another day across the glacier. So Oktang is the logical high point, which can be reached without ropes and mountaineering equipment. We descend back to Ramche for the overnight.

It takes a couple of hours to walk back down the valley to Tseram. From here, we continue on down the valley beside the Simbuwa Khola to Torontan. Much of the afternoon is spent in the cool of the forest, with sections of the path close to the riverbed. There are three Teahouses at Torontan perched above the river and some nice terraces for camping (6 hours). Overnight in camp

From Torontan, a bridge crosses the roaring Simbuwa Khola. At first we follow the left bank of the gorge, before the path begins to ascend above the valley through the trees. It's fairly hard going all morning as we climb higher and higher through the forest. A huge landslide in this area means that the trail now ascends to almost the top of the ridge and the saddle called 'Lasiya Bhanjyang'. The final section of trail is cut each year (following the monsoon) through the trees and in places literally requires you to pull on branches to ascend the steep mud. At the top of the pass there is one hut - Lassi Than, where we can stop for a well-deserved rest and lunch. Then, it's a big descent down the other side of the mountain. Eventually we arrive at a river, hop across this, then contour for another hour to another impressive river and rickety bridge. A further hour sees us walking into Upper Yamphudin, a beautiful Sherpa village with Trekking lodges. Congratulations on completing one of the toughest days on the trip! (8 - 9 hours). Overnight in camp

In the morning we will drop down to the lower village and the river, as this is a good spot to wash, camp and for everyone to have a day off. Overnight in camp

We follow the river downstream before climbing up to a pass at Otham, then dropping down through trees and gradually ascending to the Kedan La (2,070m) for lunch. There's a tiny Primary School here and the views are delightful. It's a short descent to Khebang, a lively village with shops and big school (4 - 4.5 hours). Overnight in camp

The morning walk through fields of rice and millet is a joy. After around 2 hours of traversing through a hilly slope we will walk through Yethebu village. We descend straight down to the suspension bridge and cross over the Kabeli Khola then the trail undulates through some of the villages to Barendin where we stop for the lunch. After lunch the trail once again sneak through the beautiful villages with terraced fields to Sinam/Panchami. Overnight in camp

The un-surfaced road to Gopetar village takes 2 hours. After this point the condition of road is tarmac all the way to our camp, Illam. En route will come across a fairly big town called Phidim which is the district head quarter of Panchther where we take a lunch break. After lunch the road ascents to Lali-Kharka and Pawa Bhayanjang, and then the roads switch back down to Rakse. From Rakse the road further descend to Powa Khola (River) then the road undulates towards Chure-ghati then eventually we are here at Illam. Illam is the district head quarter of Illam and it's a small clean city with lush green tea gardens around. Illam is the biggest tea producing district in whole Nepal. If the time allows you can explore around the tea gardens for the beautiful view of the tea garden and the city.

We start early today to continue our drive to Bhatrapur to catch our afternoon Kathmandu. On the way we pass Fickal town and Karphok, and while we drive through these towns the road follows through the rim of the valley. You will be over-joyed and stunned to witness the beautiful tea gardens and Pine trees all around the side of the road. At the end you get down to the Terai of Jhapa district and we drive through the plain surfaced road for about an hour and half approx to get Bhadrapur airport. We always have the afternoon flight from Bhadrapur to Kathmandu which is 55 minutes Flight. If the weather permits then you can have the final panoramic view of Jhanu, Yalung Khang, including whole Kanchenjunga range. Our representative will welcome you in the Kathmandu airport and will transfer the group to the Hotel. You indeed deserve a nice rest and a proper shower. Overnight in hotel.

Rest and relax at the hotel after such long strenuous trip. The day is also reserved as a contingency day due to flight delays or other unforeseen conditions. For those eager to see as much of Kathmandu as possible, an early start is worthwhile to visit the temples of Pashupatinath and Swayambhunath and districts of Bhaktapur and Patan. Durbar Square is also on the essential list, as is the shopping area of Thamel. In the evening you can have your last night in Nepal, enjoying the Nepali cultural dinner show or go out to Thamel.

Today is free or last minute shopping for souvenirs or gift to your family, friends or relatives for you until your departure flight/drive or to commence any extra trips or activities you may have booked with us. If departing, you'll be transferred to the International Airport for your departure flight to your onwards destination.

Inclusion and Exclusion
Trek Cost Inclusion & Exclusion
Inclusions
  • 4 night hotel accommodation in Kathmandu in a 3 star category hotel. Breakfast is included. Accommodation is on a twin share basis. Single rooms are usually available at an additional cost. Please inform us as early as possible if you wish to have a single room.
  • One day sightseeing tour in & around Kathmandu (largest Buddhist stupa in the world at Bouddha Nath and most important Hindu temple in the valley at Pasupati Nath and famous Monkey temple Swyambhunath). Either before or after the trek with tour guide and transportation. Other places will be on request list for additional cost if you wish.
  • Domestic flight ticket for all guests and a guide, Kathmandu-Bhadrapur-Suketar-Kathmandu.
    A BUS Transportation from Kathmandu to Taplejung for local staff and all the supplies for the trek.
  • Transportation Bhadrapur to Taplejung private Mini bus/Land Cruiser/according to group size(In the event of bad weather, it is possible to drive to Taplejung direct from KTM)
  • Private bus transportation from Medibung to Illam and Bhadrapur next day for all team.
  • Trekking permit & all Conservations fees and government taxes.
  • All pickup and drop transportation from airport to airport both domestic & international airports. All guests are kindly requested to try to arrange international travel to arrive in Kathmandu International airport at same time as much as possible for us to avoid multiple journeys to airport during the peak season.
  • Meals during the trekking period three times a day Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner tea/coffee/hot drinks. Prepared by our well trained Nepali chef.
  • One locally made water Proof Duffel bag with your Name & Grand Himalaya’s Logo on it will be provided by us for the Trek, it is yours so you may take it back to home with you or return to us as you wish.
  • 1 Bottle of “SUMMIT” Oxygen with set of mask and regulator will be provided during the trek, (Just for emergency medical use only).
  • A comprehensive medical kit only for local staff.
  • An experienced Sherpa guide who knows the area, mountain, local people and culture well.
  • Assistant Sherpa (4 trekkers = 1 assistant guide).
  • Appropriate number of porters.
  • A well trained Chef & appropriate number of Kitchen helper.
  • Good quality two men tent with sleeping mattress. Tent will be on twin share during the trek
  • Group dining tent with table /Chairs and solar light inside plus toilet and shower tents.
  • Farewell dinner in Kathmandu after the trek, local cultural music and Dance show in a well reputed restaurant, Bhojan Griha/Nepali Chula/Utsav with guide/staff (TBC)
  • All local staff & porters properly insured & equipped.
  • A regular/simple cell phone with local SIM Card & charger cable will be provided in the team during the trip. Guest will be requested to return this to Grand Himalaya staff at the end of the trip.
Exclusions
  • International & home country domestic airfares, transfers en route & excess baggage
  • Your personal insurance. Medical, mountain rescue & repatriation cover is obligatory.
  • Your personal expenses e.g. phone calls, laundry, alcoholic beverage, mineral water.
  • Your Nepal entry visa fee (USD $40 available on entry) Valid for 30 days.
  • Main meals (Lunch & Dinner) in Kathmandu apart from celebration meal in Kathmandu. Allow USD12-15/meal.
  • Excess baggage above 15 kg will be charged USD $1 per kg.
  • Tipping to the guide & local staff (USD$ 250 per guest).
  • Each guest is responsible for his/her own First Aid Kit with sufficient medication supplies for trek.
  • Extra night accommodation in Kathmandu because of early arrival, late departure, early return from mountain (due to any reason) than the scheduled itinerary.
  • Personal Trekking Gear according to our gear list provided
Trip Deal
Trip FAQs
Departure Dates
# Start Date End Date Trip Cost Availability Booking
1 26 MAR 2018 23 APR 2018 Cost on Request Available Book Now
2 20 APR 2018 18 MAY 2018 Cost on Request Available Book Now
3 20 SEP 2018 18 OCT 2018 Cost on Request Available Book Now
4 10 OCT 2018 7 NOV 2018 Cost on Request Available Book Now
5 21 OCT 2018 18 NOV 2018 Cost on Request Available Book Now
Terms and Condition

A deposit of 25% of the total trip cost is payable at the time of booking and the final balance due 8 weeks before the start of the trip. The act of booking implies that you have accepted the ethos of the trip and any objective or subjective risks associated with it. 

Cancellation

Should you wish to cancel your booking please inform us immediately in writing by email or letter. The following charges will apply, as a percentage of the trip: 
  • More than 42 days before departure – 25% of total cost 
  • 42 to 29 days – 50% of total cost
  • 28 days to 15 days – 75% of total cost and 
  • 14 days or less – 100% of total cost. 
These cancellation charges go to paying, amongst other things, outside Guides that have been contracted in, hotel or airline deposits, staff wages, setting up costs etc.

Trip Notes

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Kanchenjunga Circuit Trek
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