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Kanchenjunga Base Camp Trek Itinerary

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The Kanchenjunga Base Camp trek itinerary is a popular query among trekkers eyeing the Kanchenjunga trails. Although the trek is popular in Nepal, it’s less crowded than the famous Everest Base Camp and Annapurna Base Camp treks. As a result, the Kanchenjunga Base Camp trek provides a more peaceful journey.

As trekkers make their way toward the world’s third-highest peak, they will encounter tea houses and charming lodges along their route. These establishments offer a variety of food choices, ensuring that travelers can enjoy both local and international cuisines as they progress on their journey.  Keep in mind, the Kanchenjunga region has limited access. So, traveling with a local guide and another trekker is vital to obtain the required permits for the trek.

Kanchenjunga Base Camp Trek Itinerary
Tented camp in Kanchenjunga Base Camp

Where is it located?

Situated on the far eastern frontier of Nepal, Kanchenjunga forms a key part of the Kanchenjunga Conservation Area Project. This peak is acclaimed globally as one of the most picturesque mountains.The name “Kanchenjunga” in Tibetan means “Five Treasures of The Great Snow,” symbolizing its five summits, which represent gold, silver, gems, grain, and sacred texts.

During this trek, you’ll come across a rich variety of plants and animals, thanks to the region’s protective conservation status.

When to trek?

Trekkers in Kanchenjunga trek
Trekkers resting at a scenic spot during the Kanchenjunga trek in Nepal, surrounded by mountains.

In Nepal, spring (March-May) and autumn (September-November) offer the best trekking conditions with nice weather and clear sights. However, summer (June-August) introduces heavy rains, while winter (December-February) brings risks with snow and cold temperatures.

You are set for a remarkable adventure that will treat you to picturesque views of lakes, mountain peaks, glaciers, and landscapes. Furthermore, the journey will enrich you with experiences of local culture and traditions, as well as a diverse range of flora and fauna.

Trip Highlights

  • Witness the third-highest mountain in the world, Kanchenjunga.
  • You’ll get a chance to spot wildlife like musk deer, snow leopards, and blue sheep.
  • Experience Rais and Limbus’s lifestyle and rich culture along with Tibetan Refugees.
  • Scenic Vista of Mount Makalu and Mount Everest.
  • It is an amazing walk to the glacial lakes like Zuma, Thalung, Rathong, and Yalung glaciers.

Kanchenjunga Base Camp Trek Itinerary
Trekker heading towards Kanchenjunga Base Camp

Outline Itinerary

Day 01: Fly to Bhadrapur and drive to Ilam (1677m) (5 hrs)

  • Early breakfast and take a 45-minute flight to Bhadrapur from Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu.
  • Further, you will take a local bus or jeep and drive to Illam (Queen of Hills).

Overnight in Illam. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are provided.

Day 02: Drive to Taplejung (1820m) (4 hrs) 

  • Today, you will have a scenic drive to Taplejung via Mechi Highway.
  • After driving for 4 hours on an uneven and gravelled road, you will arrive at Taplejung.

Overnight in Taplejung. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are provided.

Day 03: Trek to Chiruwa (1270m) (5-6 hrs)

  • Starting your journey from Taplejung, you enter the official Kanchenjunga trek route, passing through the Hungdewa River and Tamur Khola.
  • Following the east bank of Tamur Khola, the trail gradually ascends and descends, taking you to the Sinwa village.
  • Continuing your trek, you will find a suspension bridge above Thiwa Khola. By crossing that bridge, you will reach Chiruwa- a small settlement of the Limbu people.

Overnight in Chiruwa. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are provided.

Day 04: Trek to Lelep (1860m) (7 hrs)

  • Early morning breakfast in Chiruwa.
  • Start your today’s journey by slightly ascending towards Lelep.
  • Pass through the lush forest of rhododendron along with a dramatic waterfall.
  • Cross a wooden bridge over the Tamur River and reach Lelep with an extraordinary view of landscapes.

Overnight in Lelep. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are provided.

Day 05: Trek to Amjilosa (2510m) (8-9 hrs)

  • Leaving Lelep behind, you will continue your journey by walking on a narrow path along the bank of the flowing Tamur River with a fascinating view of the impressive backdrop of a gorge.
  • Further, you will trek through an isolated trail through a dense vegetation forest and tiny villages.
  • Then, you will follow a complex trail descending and ascending frequently, which ends at Amjilosa – a small settlement of Tibetan and Rais people.

Overnight in Amjilosa. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are provided.

Day 06: Trek to Gyabla (2730m) (4 hrs)

  • After an early breakfast in Amjilosa, you’ll head down a trail to Thangyap.
  • You’ll trek through bamboo, oak, and rhododendron forests alongside the Tamur River before stopping in Thangyap for lunch.
  • Then, you’ll navigate past a stunning waterfall, cross a wooden bridge over the Ghunsa River, and arrive at Gyabla village, home to Tibetan residents.

Overnight in Gyabla. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are provided.

Day 07: Trek to Ghunsa (3595m) (4 hrs)

  • Today, you will have an easy trekking day in Ghunsa.
  • After breakfast at Gyabla village, you will walk through the dense forest of rhododendrons.
  • You will follow the river banks and reach Phale village- a Tibetan inhabitant with beautiful potato farms.
  • Pay your visit to a Tibetan Monastery in Phale and continue your trek following the trail, passing through the green fields and a forest of larches.
  • Later, follow the trail descending to the river bank of the Ghunsa River.
  • Cross a wooden bridge before reaching Ghunsa village with Tibetan people as its inhabitants.

Overnight in Ghunsa. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are provided.

Day 08: Acclimatization Day

(Finally, a deserving rest day has come.)

  • Today, you will stay active by hiking to the surrounding terrains.
  • And you will hike up to Lapsang La Monastery through the lush forest of rhododendrons and oaks.
  • Return to the village in the evening and spend the rest of the night.

Overnight in Ghunsa. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are provided.

Day 09: Trek to Kambachen (4100m) (4 hrs)

  • Leave Ghunsa after your early breakfast.
  • Walk through a landslide-prone trail that passes through the off-beaten trail of north Kanchenjunga.
  • The trail slowly climbs uphill to the forest of Juniper and larches along the river’s east bank.
  • You will pass through green meadows, walk over the sandy river bank, cross a wooden and stone bridge, and reach Rambuk Kharka (3720m).

(You’ll be captivated by the stunning views of Mount Jannu (7710m) and its glacier.)

  • Lastly, reach Kambachen (a temporary settlement with few tea houses) after descending through the mountainside.

Opt 1: Overnight in a teahouse with basic facilities.

Opt 2: Overnight at a camp at the base of the Jammu glacier, rewarding you with a beautiful night sky.

Overnight in Kambachen. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are provided.

Day 10: Trek to Lhonak (4785m) (4 hrs)

  • Today’s journey is challenging as you walk through rocky fields and slippery paths.
  • You will follow the trail slightly, climbing up to the lateral of moraine debris.
  • You will walk alongside the river’s north bank and cross over the Lhonak glacier.
  • Further trekking for a few hours will take you to Lhonak, where a few teahouses are available.

 Opt 1: Overnight in a teahouse with basic facilities.

Opt 2: Overnight in a camp in a huge grassy meadow. (Camping is better than teahouses, rewarding you with the possibility of seeing some fauna such as blue sheep, mountain goats, hyrax, or marmots.)

Overnight in Lhonak. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are provided.

Day 11: Trek to Kanchenjunga North Base Camp (4785m) (9-10 hrs)

  • Today, you will be heading toward Pangpema.

(Pangpema is the local name of Kanchenjunga North Base Camp. The flat land offers stunning views of Mount Kanchenjunga, Pathivara Peak, impressive ice falls, and vast Himalayan glaciers.)

  • As you ascend, you’ll follow the moraine trail.
  • After a few challenging hours on the rocky path, you’ll reach the level grassy terrain of Pangpema. Here, you’ll spot a small stone hut and a rock adorned with prayer flags.
  • Take in the breathtaking view and create lasting memories before making your way back to Lhonak.

Overnight in Lhonak. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are provided.

Day 12: Trek to Ghunsa (3595m) (6 hrs)

  • After breakfast in Lhonak, you will retrace the route to Ghunsa.
  • Today’s trek is mostly downhill, enjoying the views of the peaks, meadows, and glaciers.
  • You will pass Kambachen and Rampak Kharka to reach Ghunsa.

Overnight in Ghunsa. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are provided.

Day 13: Trek to Sele Le (4290m) (4 hrs)

  • Leaving Ghunsa behind, you will take a right-hand-sided trail to Sele Le.
  • The trail is mostly steep and isolated from human settlements until you reach Sele Le.
  • You will reach Sele Le by crossing dense rhododendrons and juniper forests.

Overnight in Sele Le. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are provided.

Day 14: Trek to Cheram (3870m) (9 hrs)

  • Enjoy your breakfast with beautiful morning views.
  • Today, you will climb about 400m to the Mirgin La Pass (4480m), enjoying the spectacular views of the Jannu peak, Makalu, Baruntse, Chamlang, Kanchenjunga, and Kabru. Some of the Himalayan ranges across the Sikkim border are also visible.
  • You will also come through the highest pass of this trek, Sele Le La Pass. 
  • (4843m).
  • After a hideous day, you will rest and spend your night in one of the lodges in Cheram.

Overnight in Cheram. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are provided.

Day 15: Trek to Kanchenjunga South Base Camp (4580m) (6-7 hrs)

(Kanchenjunga South Base Camp is also known as Oktang Base Camp.)

  • After early breakfast, you will start your day by heading towards Oktang.
  • As you climb higher, the views of Mount Rothang and Kabru near the Nepal-Sikkim border become increasingly clear and impressive.
  • You will pass through the snout of the Yalung glacier and the array of ablation valleys before arriving at Oktang Base Camp.
  • Enjoy an awe-inspiring view of Kumbhakarna Glacier from the base camp as it displays the most dramatic vista of the eastern part of the glacier.
  • Finally, descend to Cheram to spend the night.

Overnight in Cheram. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are provided.

Day 16: Trek to Torongding (2995m) (6-7 hrs)

  • After breakfast at Cheram, you will trek downhill to lower altitudes, enjoying splendid vistas of different peaks and glaciers.
  • You will walk down through the forests of rhododendrons and oaks.
  • Further, you will follow an easy trail with Simba Khola and walk through the rhododendron jungles and pines before you reach Torongding.

Overnight in Torongding. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are provided.

Day 17: Trek to Yamphuding (2080m) (7-8 hrs)

(This is one of the toughest days throughout the journey to Kanchenjunga Base Camp. You will be walking through landslide-prone trails and difficult sections.)

  • You will have a tough 600m climb to Lamite Pass (3500m).
  • Other climbing will take you to Simbau Khola Valley, where you will cross a wooden bridge.
  • Walking by the woods of rhododendron and pine, you will come to another pass called Dhupi Bhanjyang (2540m).
  • From here, the path descends to the cultivable fields, where you will cross a ridge and reach Yamphuding.

(Yamphuding is a beautiful village of Rais, Limbus, and Gurungs. It is as bright as a village in Ghunsa.)

Overnight in Yamphuding. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are provided.

Day 18: Trek to Khebang (1910m) (5-6 hrs)

  • Early breakfast in Yamphuding.
  • Leaving the village behind, you will trek through the villages of Chettri and Brahmins.
  • As you continue the journey, you come through splendid landscapes and settlements of different ethnic groups.
  • After some ascents and descents, you will arrive in Shebang.

Overnight in Shebang. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are provided.

Day 19: Trek to Khamdime (1500m) (5-6 hrs)

  • Leaving off from Khebang, you will descend towards a beautiful place called Dobhan.
  • Having lunch at Dobhan, you will continue your trek with water breaks along the route.
  • Following the trail through villages, farms, and green meadows, you will come to Khamdime and spend the night.

Overnight in Khamdime. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are provided.

Day 20: Drive to Bhadrapur (10 hrs)

  • The drive will be long, exhausting, and tiring today, yet rewarding.
  • Exhaustion may make you feel low, but the views throughout the journey will turn you up.
  • Nearly 10 hours of off-road drive from Khamdime will take you to Bhadrapur.

Overnight in Bhadrapur. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are provided.

Day 21: Fly back to Kathmandu (45 min)

  • You will have breakfast and take a 45-minute long scenic flight to Kathmandu.
  • You will fly above magnificent Himalayan ranges like Mount Everest, Mt. Lhotse, Makalu, and Kanchenjunga.

Overnight in Kathmandu. Breakfast provided.

Map

Kanchenjunga Base Camp Map

Conclusion

The journey to Kanchenjunga Base Camp presents breathtaking views of the Himalayas, including diverse landscapes, serene lakes, and majestic glaciers. Additionally, travelers will have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the local culture, traditions, and the everyday life of Nepali communities, all while experiencing the grandeur of the world’s third tallest peak.

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