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Kanchenjunga Circuit Trek: A Journey through the Himalayas 22 Days days

Home » Nepal Trekking » Kanchenjunga Region » Kanchenjunga Circuit Trek: A Journey through the Himalayas

Trip Grade
Challenging, 5143 m / 16873 ft (Pangpema)
Accommodation
Tea House
Meals
22 x breakfast, 21 x lunch and 21 x dinner while on the trek
Transportation
Flight

Kanchenjunga Circuit Trek: A Journey through the Himalayas - 22 Days Days

Trip Highlights

  • Explore the less traversed Eastern mountainous regions of Nepal
  • Walk past the popular glacial lakes in the region
  • Amazing time walking through the diverse flora and fauna
  • Meditate in Ramtang and Oktang Monasteries after your tiring walks
  • Have an amazing time resting on your tents on the lap of the giant peaks

Kanchenjunga Circuit Trek: A Journey through the Himalayas Overview

Discover the allure of the Kanchenjunga Circuit Trek, a path that winds through the heart of the Himalayas, leading you to the mesmerizing north and south base camps of Kanchenjunga. Standing tall at an impressive 8,586 meters, Kanchenjunga is the world's third-highest mountain, and this trek offers an adventure like no other.

A Remote Adventure for the Brave

For those who seek the thrill of the unknown and the beauty of the remote, the Kanchenjunga Circuit trek is the perfect choice. Nestled in the Eastern region of Nepal, this journey promises not only breathtaking views but also the challenge of navigating rugged terrains and high altitudes.

Exploring the Kanchenjunga Conservation Area

Step into the Kanchenjunga Conservation Area, a sanctuary teeming with diverse flora and fauna. This protected realm ensures that the natural beauty remains untouched, offering an oasis of tranquility for nature enthusiasts. While obtaining a special hiking permit is a requirement, the experience it provides is beyond compare.

Enchanting Landscapes and Cultural Encounters

The trail weaves through lush meadows, picturesque birch, and pine forests, glistening rivers, and cascading waterfalls. The Yalung Glacier stands as a testament to nature's grandeur. Along your path, discover the Ramtang and Oktang Monasteries, where you can immerse yourself in the local culture and traditions.

Kanchenjunga Circuit Trek

Where Kanchenjunga Guards the East

Resting on Nepal's eastern border, Kanchenjunga gazes towards Sikkim, an enchanting Himalayan province in India's northeast. Once shrouded in secrecy, this region gradually opened its doors to trekkers in the 1980s. To embark on this remarkable journey, a reasonable level of fitness and prior trekking experience is recommended.

Peaks and Glacial Wonders

The Kanchenjunga region boasts towering peaks, including the remarkable Kanchenjunga West, also known as Yalung Kang, soaring to 8,505 meters. The landscape is adorned with summits exceeding 7,000 meters like Kambachen, Janu, and Jongsong, creating a panorama that leaves you in awe. The region also boasts five major glacial systems, each contributing to the awe-inspiring landscape.

Charting a New Path with Teahouses and Trails

As tourism gently embraces this remote wonder, teahouses dot the route, providing comfort and connection. The expansion of the Great Himalayan Trail paves the way for exploration while ensuring sustainable growth for local communities.

Your Unforgettable Adventure Awaits

Now is your moment to grasp the allure of the lesser-trekked path, to seize the opportunity to be among the privileged few who have experienced the Kanchenjunga Circuit trek. Embark on this extraordinary adventure, and create memories against the backdrop of Nepal's untouched beauty. The Kanchenjunga Circuit beckons – will you answer the call?

Trip Outline

Day 1: Kathmandu to Bhadrapur (Flight) to Ilam (Drive)

Ilam – 1677 m / 5501 ft – 5 hrs

Day 2: Ilam to Taplejung (Drive)

Taplejung – 1820 m / 5971 ft – 5 hrs

Day 3: Taplejung to Chirwa

Chirwa – 1270 m / 4166 ft – 6 hrs

Day 4: Chirwa to Lelep

Lelep – 1860 m / 6102 ft – 7 hrs

Day 5: Lelep to Amjilosa

Amjilosa – 2510 m / 8234 ft – 5 hrs

Day 6: Amjilosa to Gyabla

Gyabla – 2730 m / 8956 ft – 4 hrs

Day 7: Gyabla to Ghunsa

Ghunsa – 3595 m / 11794 ft – 4 hrs

Day 8: Acclimatization Day

Ghunsa – 3595 m / 11794 ft – 4 hrs

Day 9: Ghunsa to Kambachen

Kambachen – 4100 m / 13451 ft – 4 hrs

Day 10: Acclimatization Day

Kambachen – 4100 m / 13451 ft – 4 hrs

Day 11: Kambachen to Lhonak

Lhonak – 4785 m / 15698 ft – 4 hrs

Day 12: Day Trip to Kanchenjunga North Base Camp

Lhonak – 4785 m / 15698 ft – 8 hrs

Day 13: Lhonak to Ghunsa

Ghunsa – 3595 m / 11794 ft – 7 hrs

Day 14: Ghunsa to Sele Le

Sele Le – 4390 m / 14402 ft – 5 hrs

Day 15: Sele Le to Cheram

Cheram – 3870 m / 12696 ft – 8 hrs

Day 16: Day Trip to Kanchenjunga South Base Camp

Cheram – 3870 m / 12696 ft – 6 hrs

Day 17: Cheram to Torongding

Torongding – 2080 m / 6824 ft – 4 hrs

Day 18: Torongding to Yamphuding

Yamphuding – 1980 m / 6496 ft – 8 hrs

Day 19: Yamphuding to Khebang

Khebang – 1910 m / 6266 ft – 4 hrs

Day 20: Khebang to Khamdime

Khamdime – 1500 m / 4921 ft – 4 hrs

Day 21: Khamdime to Bhadrapur (Drive)

Bhadrapur – 93 m / 305 ft – 10 hrs

Day 22: Bhadrapur to Kathmandu (Flight)

Kathmandu – 1300 m / 4265 ft – 50 minutes

Day to Day Itinerary

Day 1: Kathmandu to Bhadrapur (Flight) to Ilam (Drive)

  • Drive time: 5 to 6 hours
  • Accommodation: Hotel

After breakfast, our guide will collect you from your hotel and accompany you to the airport. The short flight to Bhadrapur takes us over the Kathmandu Valley and surrounding hill and through some of the mountains Nepal is famous for. A free mountain flight! On arrival in Bhadrapur, we will drive to Ilam, the heart of the tea plantation area of the country.

Day 2: Ilam to Taplejung (Drive)

  • Trek time: 4 to 5 hours
  • Accommodation: Hotel

After breakfast, we drive for 4 hours through terraced fields and hills to reach Taplejung where we spend the night. There will be time to explore the town after lunch. It is an interesting place with many Buddhist gompas.

At one of these gompas, we can see butter lamps which have been burning continuously for 400 years. A stream outside the gompa turns prayer wheels which send the mantra “om mane padme hum” to the heavens.

Day 3: Taplejung to Chirwa

  • Trek time: 5 to 6 hours
  • Accommodation: Tea House

Today we start our trek proper! It’s a long day of mainly downhill but we have a chance to catch our breath at the village of Sinwa on the banks of the Tamor River before continuing on.

Day 4: Chirwa to Lelep

  • Trek time: 6 to 7 hours
  • Accommodation: Tea House

This is another long day of 7 hours hiking. But as we pass through Tapethok we enter the Kanchenjunga Conservation Area. Here we have our permits checked before heading across a suspension bridge and ascending to Lelep.

Day 5: Lelep to Amjilosa

  • Trek time: 5 hours
  • Accommodation: Tea House

Waterfalls and suspension bridges are part of today’s trail. Plus we come to the first Sherpa village on our trek where we stay overnight. The village of Amjilosa is mainly used during the time when the yaks and sheep are in the pastures so very few families live here full time.

Day 6: Amjilosa to Gyabla

  • Trek time: 3 to 4 hours
  • Accommodation: Tea House

After breakfast, we head off through different forests of pine, bamboo, rhododendron and oak. We notice the villages and people are becoming more Tibetan like.

We also see yaks, sheep and goats on the trail, not to mention a good variety of birdlife. After lunch the trail takes us up through dense forest cover and over a wooden bridge on to Gyabla where we spend the night.

Day 7: Gyabla to Ghunsa

  • Trek time: 3 to 4 hours
  • Accommodation: Tea House

Today the trail continues on through forests and passed Phale Village which was a Tibetan refugee camp started decades ago when Tibetans started fleeing from the communist regime in China.

Today it is a winter settlement village. We have time to visit the village where there are some handicrafts for sale. We head to Ghunsa, the largest village in the area and one with a police station, health post and a Kanchenjunga Conservation Office. Telephone and internet services are available here.

Day 8: Acclimatization Day

  • Trek time: 4 hours
  • Accommodation: Tea House

We are now at higher altitude and aiming to go higher! So we take the opportunity to relax and acclimatize in Ghunsa. There is a monastery to explore and a ridge to climb.

From the ridge there are views of Jannu Peak which is worth the 5 hours plus round trip. Should you wish to climb up the ridge – and we recommend this as it helps acclimatize our bodies – we will take a packed lunch with us.

Day 9: Ghunsa to Kambachen

  • Trek time: 3 to 4 hours
  • Accommodation: Tea House

Views of the Jannu Himal dominate the skyline today. Following a gentle upwards path we come to a green glacier valley. Here we may be lucky to spot blue sheep and snow leopards. The trail continues on past a waterfall to a landslide-prone area where we take particular care.

Day 10: Acclimatization Day

  • Trek time: 2 hours
  • Accommodation: Tea House

Again we take the chance to acclimatize our bodies to the altitude and in preparation for our visit to the North Base Camp. We can climb another ridge today where we get stunning views of Kanchenjunga.

Day 11: Kambachen to Lhonak

  • Trek time: 3 to 4 hours
  • Accommodation: Tea House

Today the trail takes us mainly over moraine from the Kanchenjunga Glacier. Walking uphill over large boulders there are wonderful views on both sides of us.

And as we are deep in Snow Leopard territory we keep our eyes open for this rare animal too! This is also an area of summer yak pastures but there are no settlements on the route.

Day 12: Day Trip to Kanchenjunga North Base Camp

  • Trek time: 8 hours
  • Accommodation: Tea House

After a good breakfast, we again set out across moraine from the Kanchenjunga Glacier, gently climbing upwards. At Base Camp we stand in awe of the surrounding mountains and drink up the atmosphere completed by Buddhist prayer flags fluttering in the wind. We sit here for some time enjoying the tranquillity and a hot drink and snacks! We return to Lhonak for the night.

Day 13: Lhonak to Ghunsa

  • Trek time: 7 hours
  • Accommodation: Tea House

Trekking over pebbles and moraine we reach Kambachen Village for lunch before heading east along the Tamor River. Now the vegetation is greener as we again return to Ghunsa where we spend the night.

Day 14: Ghunsa to Sele Le

  • Trek time: 5 hours
  • Accommodation: Tea House

Today the trail takes us through a forest and along a grassy ridge from where we can see Ghunsa and Phole villages as well as Mt. Makalu in the distance.

Day 15: Sele Le to Cheram

  • Trek time: 7 to 8 hours
  • Accommodation: Tea House

We start out early this morning towards the Kanchenjunga South Base Camp. Crossing the Sinion La pass (4,450m) the trail takes us along a ridge to Sinelapche La pass (4,830m).

From here the views of Mt Kanchenjunga and its valley are fantastic. We descend along a small trail to Cheram, the only settlement we find on this route. We overnight here.

Day 16: Day Trip to Kanchenjunga South Base Camp

  • Trek time: 6 hours
  • Accommodation: Tea House

Today we trek to Ramche where we stop for lunch before walking on for around 40 minutes to reach Kanchenjunga South Base Camp. The Base Camp is right on the edge of the glacier, and surrounded by Tibetan prayer flags. We return the way we came to overnight at Cheram.

Day 17: Cheram to Torongding

  • Trek time: 4 hours
  • Accommodation: Tea House

Today the trail is mostly downhill through a gorge. But the final section is a steep uphill over an area prone to landslides and through forests. There are no settlements until we reach Torongding, where there are a few teahouses.

Day 18: Torongding to Yamphuding

  • Trek time: 7 to 8 hours
  • Accommodation: Tea House

After breakfast, we head off downhill and then it turns to a steep and long uphill hike. We pass over a landslide-prone area leading to Lasiya Bhanjyang where there is one teashop where we can stop for lunch. Then the trail takes as steep downhill through more forests until we reach the big village of Yamphuding.

Day 19: Yamphuding to Khebang

  • Trek time: 4 hours
  • Accommodation: Tea House

The walking is easier now we are back at a lower altitude. We find interesting villages and terraced fields on our route. We continue on to Khebang where we stay the night.

Day 20: Khebang to Khamdime

  • Trek time: 4 hours
  • Accommodation: Tea House

This is the final day of our hiking for tomorrow we take a vehicle to the airport.

Day 21: Khamdime to Bhadrapur (Drive)

  • Drive time: 10 hours
  • Accommodation: Tea House

Today we have a long drive in front of us. Time to reflect on the wonderful sights we have seen and rest our tired legs! When we reach Bhadrapur in the evening we can enjoy a hearty dinner with perhaps some beer and relax in a comfortable hotel for the night!

Day 22: Bhadrapur to Kathmandu (Flight)

  • Flight time: 50 minutes
  • Accommodation: Tea House

We start out early this morning towards the Kanchenjunga South Base Camp. Crossing the Sinion La pass (4,450m) the trail takes us along a ridge to Sinelapche La pass (4,830m).

What's included?

  • 21 nights accommodation in mountain teahouses
  • 3 nights accommodation in a Kathmandu (3/4/5 Star Hotel as per customized plan)
  • Kathmandu Bhadrapur Kathmandu flight
  • Bhadrapur Taplejung and Khamdime Bhadrapur local bus
  • Guide for 22 days
  • Kanchenjunga conservation area permit
  • Restricted area permit
  • 22 x breakfast, 21 x lunch and 21 x dinner while on the trek

What's not included?

  • One Porter for 22 days USD 520 (Optional)
  • Private Jeep USD 430 (Optional)

Essential Information

Is the Kanchenjunga Circuit Trek difficult?

Yes, it's challenging due to high altitude and rugged terrain, requiring good fitness and trekking experience.

What's the way to reach Kanchenjunga?

First, fly to Kathmandu, Nepal, then take a domestic flight to Taplejung or drive to the trailhead.

How much does trekking Kanchenjunga cost?

On average, budget around $1500 to $2500, including permits, guide, food, and accommodation.

What's the length of the Kanchenjunga Circuit?

The trek covers about 200-230 kilometers (125-143 miles) and takes around 3 weeks to complete.

When's the best time for Kanchenjunga trekking?

The best times are spring (April-May) and autumn (October-November) for clear skies and moderate temperatures.

Where exactly is Kanchenjunga located?

Kanchenjunga is in the eastern part of Nepal, near the border with India.

Can I trek Kanchenjunga without a guide?

It's not recommended; usually, you need a guide due to the restricted area and challenging conditions.

How far is Kanchenjunga from Kathmandu?

Kanchenjunga is about 500 kilometers (310 miles) from Kathmandu by air.

Do I need a permit for the Kanchenjunga Trek?

Yes, special permits are needed due to the restricted area. Check with local authorities.

What's the temperature like at Kanchenjunga?

Temperatures can drop below freezing at higher altitudes. Be prepared for cold weather.


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