17 Days/16 Nights
Bagdogra-Gangtok-Pemayantse-Uttarey-Chiwa Bhanjyang-Dhor-Pare Megu-Lam Pokhari-Gomanthang-Tikhip Chu-Dzongri-Lamuney-Zemanthang-Goechala-Thangsing-Tsokha-Yuksom-Bagdogra
While the traditional GoechalaKanchanjunga Trek is an extension of the Dzongri Trek with its short and steep ascent from Yuksom, this route, via the Singelila Ridge along theSikkim-Nepal border, is a longer approach with a more gradual ascent. The Singelila approach to Goechala is a new route, opened to tourists in 2000.
Before beginning the trek, you will explore the highlights of Gangtok-the capital of the lost Himalayan Kingdom visiting the ancient monastery of Pemayantse. The actual trek begins from Dentam with an easy walk, crossing the third highest suspension bridge of Asia. You will camp the first day in Uttarey (6,500ft, 1980ft). From Uttarey, the trail ascends to ChewaBhanjang (8,860 ft,) on the Sikkim-Nepal border. In the Singelila Area, the trek route stays largely between the altitudes of 12,000ft and 14,000ft with the highest point being atDafeyBhir Pass located at an altitude of 14,450 ft. The terrain along the trek route is treeless, crisscrossing steep, rugged rocky hills with occasional grassy meadows forming flat plains at various places. Within the folds of these rocky slopes, one comes across several high altitude lake formations with turquoise green water considered pristine and sacred by both Hindus and Buddhists alike. Ram,Laxhman, Lampokhari, LaxmiPokheri and ZomlayPokhari are some of the well-known sacred lakes located along the main trekking route. At places, the trail leads through the rich rhododendron forests with their many hues and colors. The trek route after Gomathang valley goes through intermittent forests of silver fir and rhododendron and then right upto the alpine plains of Dzongri.
Day 01: Bagdogra to Gangtok.
Fly from Kolkatta or Delhi to Bagdogra Airport. People coming from Kathmandu will fly to Bhadrapur airport in eastern Nepal. We are met by our representative at the airport and transferred to Gangtok (124 km, 4 hrs). The road passes through the towns of Siliguri, Rambi, Teesta, Melli and enters Sikkim at the Rangpo Bridge. Check in hotel and take rest for the day.
Day 02: Gangtok Sightseeing.
Today we explore the highlights of the capital of this Lost Himalayan Kingdom. In the morning, we visit the famous monastery of Rumtek situated 24 km from Gangtok. On the way back, we visit the Research Institute of Tibetology. After lunch in the hotel, visit the Cottage Industry, Flower Show and the 200 year old Enchey Monastery.
Day 03: Drive to Uttarey.
We departearly from Gangtok by jeep to the trail-head in West Sikkim. Six exciting hours through winding roads across valleys and over hills clad with a variety of vegetation. We swoop down to cross the wild Rangeet River before climbing steeply up to Pemayangtse (2,100 m/6,888ft), perched dramatically on an airy ridge with a panorama of Himalayan peaks ahead. After crossing some spectacular bridges we reach thetrail-head at Uttarey (2,000 m.). Overnight in a local lodge.
Day 04: Trek to Chiwa Bhanjyang:( 06 hrs)
The first day of the trek takes us to ChiwaBhanjyang (3,100 m, 10168 ft). An easy trail rises gently through the rainforest until a final steep ascent for the last couple of hours bring us to the Nepalese border and our first camp.
Day 05: Chiwa Bhanjyang (Acclimatization).
As we gained significant amount of altitude the first day of trekking, it’s important to halt today at ChiwaBhanjyang in order to get properly acclimatized. We can just relax, hang out or take a hike to the nearby Singalila Peak at 3500m (11,480ft) which will give us some excellent views.
Day 06: Chiwa Bhanjyang to Dhor (3800m/12,464ft, 7 hrs)
A gentle uphill traverse through forest and then over a more exposed hillside brings us to prayer flags adorning our first pass and views of distant mountains - a taste of what is to come. As we gradually gain altitude we will appreciate the previous day’s acclimatization. The occasional yak herder’s hut is the only sign of habitation as we look down far below to the rice fields and cardamom plantations. Our camp is in a remote and sheltered hollow below the ridge.
Day 07: Dhor to Pare Megu (3800m/12,464ft, 7 hrs)
We get up early in the morning, before dawn, and walk fiveminutesup to the ridge for the spectacular sunrise view of both Everest and Khangchendzonga. We have a number of ascents and descents today, maintaining a steady height, alternating from one side of the ridge to the other until a rough steep ascent takes us across a pass. Beyond, the trail wends its way steadily through rhododendrons and past several Hindu shrines where a second easier pass drops us down to our camp close to a shepherd’s summer settlement. Look for the Blue Sheep on the high craggy mountainside.
Day 08: Pare Megu to Lam Pokhari (4300m/14,104ft, 5 hrs)
We walk through woods until we begin a steady rise up a broad valley where we catch our first closer view of the entire Kabru range dominated by Mount Pandim (6,691m, 21, 947ft). A further 2 hours of ascent brings us to our camp with Everest and a host of other Khumbu giants dominating the distant skyline. We have an afternoon of rest and acclimatization for the following day’s trek.
Day 09: Lam Pokhari to Gomathang (3900m/ 12792ft, 6 hrs)
Now we are in high mountain country and have left the tree line far below. The last two days, we walked through the land of Nepal and today, we pass the sacred lake of Lam Pokhari, which marks our entry back into Sikkim. We can expect a little snow underfoot as we climb to our first pass, the DanpheyBheer La -the Pass of the Pheasant at 4,530 m (14, 854ft). From here, we get a birds- eye view of the whole of Sikkim, stretching out well into Tibet and Bhutan. Continuing our ascent another hour, we arrive at KagBhir La-the pass of the crows where we may be lucky to enjoy the views of the Himalayan peaks including Khangchenjunga. Reluctantly, we then head downhill making a steep descent to our riverside camp at Gomanthang.
Day 10: Gomathang to Tikip Chu( 3850m/12,628ft, 8 hrs)
We leave our lovely meadow camp to climb through forests of sweet smelling silver fir and rhododendrons. Soon we are in high mountain terrain again. Look for the brightly colored Danphey birds (Impeyan Pheasant)-the national bird of Nepal, which nest in the high crags around the Kamsey La, 4,200 m/13,776ft. As we drop down into the meadows of Kokling, we are already looking up at our next pass at 4,300 m/14,104ft. We reach the pas via a steady ascent up a steep crag to a skyline dominated by the dizzying pinnacles and icy cliffs of Kanchenjunga. Once again we end the day’s hike with a steep descent to our campsite by the Tikip Chu, which has its source high on the Rathong Mountains (6,679 m/21, 907ft.)
Day 11: Tikip Chu to Dzongri(4030m/13,218m, 3 hrs)
Today, we trek to Dzongri where we join the traditional route of the Goechala Trek. A steady climb through ancient fir forest, juniper and rhododendrons gradually opens out to the summer pastures of Dzongri. Another high camp, but we should be well acclimatized by now, probably in contrast to some of the trekkers we meet who could be on day 3 of their Dzongri Trek. We are at 4,000 m/13,120ft- the headache zone!
Day 12: Dzongri to Lamuney (4,200m/13,776ft, 06 hrs)
Down the hill to Kokchulang where we are likely to meet other trekkers making us really appreciating the peace and solitude of our last few days. We move easily up the valley passing the busy trekkers campsite of Thangsing to our own riverside camp a short distance below the Samiti Lake.
Day 13:Lamuney to Zemanthang ( 4650m/15,252 ft, 04 hrs)
Today is a steep uphill climb to the crest of the ridge behind the lake, emerging dramatically into a harsher world of higher Himalayan scenery. In the foreground glaciers and snowfields suddenly look accessible and behind, the gigantic snow peaks loom close, especially on nearby Mt. Pandim, soaring over our heads. We move on more easily through this spectacular alpine terrain into our final high camp nestled in a sheltered green hollow, a little below the Goecha La.
Day 14: Zemanthang to Goechala to Thangsing ( 3,800m/12. 464ft, 9-10 hrs)
We begin today before dawn aiming for GoechaLa , which lies at almost 4, 940 m (16,203ft.). Around us is an awe-inspiring Himalayan landscape of tumbling glaciers, pinnacled ridges and soaring peaks dominated by the mighty bulk of Khangchenjunga. Reluctantly we return to our camp and after breakfast, we head down to Thangsing where the air feels wonderfully rich.
Day 15: Thangshing to Tshoka (3000m/9,840ft, 5 hrs)
We follow the traditional route back to the main valley. Tshoka is an enchanting little Tibetan settlement perched on a mountain spur. It will be our first encounter on this trek with permanent village life, and the novelty of having a roof over our heads will add a new dimension to the journey.
Day 16: Tshokat to Yuksam
Our final day, and we walk steadily downhill almost the entire time. We descend through rainforest rich with bird-life and flowers, and across spectacular bridges spanning cascading rivers whose sources are high in the mountains we have so recently left behind. Tired and elated we arrive in Yuksam. On arrival check in at hotel.
Day 17: Depart Yuksam.
After breakfast, we drive to Bagdogra airport for flight to our next destination. You may want to extend your trip to Darjeeling and Kalimpong as well.