Introduction to the Kanchenjunga Trek
“In the heart of the Himalayas, the Kanchenjunga trek reveals a story of beautiful nature and majestic peaks.”
Nepal is a paradise for trekkers looking for adventure and tranquillity in nature. Among the numerous trekking routes in Nepal, the Kanchenjunga trek stands out as an untouched and mysterious journey that beckons the intrepid traveller. This 22-day trek takes you to the base camp of the magnificent mountain Kanchenjunga.
Kanchenjunga Trek is a wilderness and unspoiled trekking trail that was opened to foreigners for trekking only in 1988. Kanchenjunga Mountain is in the eastern part of Nepal. Mount Kanchenjunga is the third-highest mountain in the world, with a height of 8,586 meters.
This trekking trip in the Kanchenjunga Conservation Area is more exciting and challenging. This is a wonderful trekking experience in the Himalayan region of Nepal. The trek starts at 920 meters and reaches 5,143 meters above sea level.
The hike includes challenging high passes such as Mirgin La Pass and Selle La Pass. The panoramic views during the pass are nothing short of awe-inspiring, making the challenges worthwhile. From the base camp, you have a unique view of the surrounding peaks, including Jannu, Yalung Kang, and the Kanchenjunga massif.
The Kanchenjunga trek should be the dream of every traveller. But the remoteness of the place attracts only those travellers who prefer to stay away from the crowds. It is also suitable for those who want to enjoy solitude, are willing to walk on the beaten trail, and are ready to explore the unspoiled natural beauty.
Explore the Tibetan Buddhist culture.
This long trekking trail takes you to the border of Nepal, India, and Tibet and allows you to explore the beauty of the mountains. The region is mainly inhabited by people of the Rai and Limbu ethnic groups. These ethnic groups have their own unique culture, traditions, and ways of life. Tibetan Buddhist culture is mostly practiced by the people here. So you will find monasteries, stupas, and gompas on your way. Visits to monasteries and holy places during the Kanchenjunga base camp trek add a spiritual dimension.
During the trek, you will cross lush valleys, dense rhododendron forests, vibrant villages, and various floras and faunas. The area is home to many birds and animals, and if you are lucky, you will encounter animals like snow leopards, red pandas, and Himalayan black bears.
Attractions of the Kanchenjunga Trek
- Explore Kanchenjunga, the third-highest mountain in the world, with a height of 8586 meters.
- Walk through the Kanchenjunga Conservation Area, which is rich in flora and fauna.
- Experience lush green forests, mesmerizing waterfalls, rivers, and beautiful villages on a less-crowded trail.
- Cross passes, thrilling suspension bridges, and grasslands reach the base camp of the Kanchenjunga Mountains.
- Experience the lifestyle of the locals with a blend of traditional Nepali and Tibetan culture.
- Visit ancient monasteries along the trail.
- Interact with locals in Gurung, Limbu, Rai, and Sherpa villages.
- Opportunity to see endangered species like snow leopard, red panda, musk deer, and various species of birds and butterflies.
- Amazing panoramic views of high peaks and glaciers while crossing high passes like Sele La Pass and Mirgin La Pass.
What can you expect from the Kanchenjunga Trek?
Stunning Scenery: Panoramic views of the Kanchenjunga massif, the world’s third-highest mountain. You will also be able to witness panoramic views of the surrounding peaks.
Various Scenarios: The Kanchenjunga Base Camp Trek takes you to different landscapes and remote areas. Experience different landscapes, from the dense forests of the lowlands to the high mountain terrain.
Rich Biodiversity: Explore the Kanchenjunga Conservation Area. This conservation area is home to diverse flora and fauna. It covers a range of ecosystems, from subtropical forests to alpine meadows.
Cultural Immersion: Along the trekking route are the traditional villages of Limbu, Rai, and Sherpa communities. Experience the unique culture, traditions, and hospitality of these communities.
Remote and off-the-beaten path: The Kanchenjunga trek route is less crowded than other popular treks in Nepal. It provides a more peaceful and pristine trekking experience.
Challenging terrain: The Kanchenjunga Base Camp trek combines ascent and descent. It involves traversing steep mountain passes and navigating rugged terrain. Being a physically demanding trek requires good fitness and stamina.
High Altitude Experience: The trek leads to an altitude of over 5,000 meters (16,404 ft). Experience high-altitude trekking at Kanchenjunga Base Camp. Proper acclimatization is essential to reduce the risk of altitude-related problems.
Tea House and Camping: Stay at teahouses at lower elevations, offering basic accommodation and food. Camping at high altitudes may be necessary, which adds a sense of adventure to the trek.
Unique scenario: Discover unique landscapes such as the Yalung Glacier and Pangpema. It adds a sense of exploration and adventure to your trip.
Visit Spiritual and Holy Places: Visit monasteries and holy sites along the trail. It adds a spiritual and cultural dimension to your trek.
Is the Kanchenjunga trek suitable for you?
The Kanchenjunga Trek is a challenging and remote trek. It takes you around Kanchenjunga, the third-highest mountain in the world. Whether the Kanchenjunga trek is suitable for you depends on various factors. Before starting a trek, you should consider physical fitness, trekking experience, health condition, personal preferences, etc. Here are some considerations:
Physical Fitness: Kanchenjunga trekking is a challenging and demanding adventure. Trekking involves long and strenuous days of walking over varied terrain, steep ascents, and descents. Physical fitness is essential to covering long distances and varying terrains. Ensure you have a good fitness level and are comfortable with high-altitude trekking. You can do regular cardiovascular exercise and strength training before trekking for physical fitness.
Altitude: This trek takes you to altitudes above 5000 meters, with a high risk of altitude sickness. It is essential to be aware of the risks associated with high altitudes and take necessary precautions. Proper acclimatization is also vital to avoid altitude sickness. We recommend taking rest days and ascending slowly to acclimate well. It is good to consult a healthcare professional before attempting this trek.
Trekking Experience: Some sections of Kanchenjunga trekking can be challenging. Previous trekking experience is not essential but is beneficial, especially at higher altitudes. Many people complete the trek without prior experience. However, being physically fit enhances the overall trekking experience. If you are a beginner, consider starting with shorter and less strenuous treks before trekking.
Duration: The Kanchenjunga is a long-day trek. It takes about three weeks to complete. However, the duration of the trek also depends on your pace and rest days. So, make sure you have enough time to complete the trek.
Terrain and Climate: The trek includes rocky paths, forest paths, and high mountain terrain. At high altitudes, the weather can change unpredictably. So, be prepared for rugged, high-altitude trails and different weather conditions.
Basic amenities: Accommodations at the Kanchenjunga base camp are usually tea houses or lodges. The tea house on the trail is like a small lodge with basic facilities. Foods are also more basic and limited, especially at high altitudes. This trek may suit you if you are comfortable with basic food and accommodations.
Personal Interests: When choosing a trek, it is essential to be clear about your interests and expectations. On the trek, you can enjoy stunning snow-capped mountain views, diverse landscapes, and cultural experiences. So, make sure that this trek matches your interests and expectations.
Benefits of booking a Kanchenjunga trek with Odyssey
- Free private vehicle service for pick-up and drop-off at the airport
- As souvenirs, an Odyssey Trek duffel bag and t-shirt
- Map of the Kanchenjunga Trek
- Use an oxygen meter at a high altitude to measure the oxygen saturation of the blood.
- Arrangement of emergency medical kit
- Accessible extra luggage storage facility for the duration of the trek
- Arrangement a down jacket and sleeping bag for trekking if you don’t have your own
Food and accommodations during the Kanchenjunga Trek
As Kanchenjunga is a challenging and remote trek, you should prepare well, considering food and accommodation. Food facilities during the trek may vary, and the options are generally more basic than in famous trekking areas. Along the trekking route, many villages have teahouses. These teahouses are like small lodges that provide basic accommodation and food.
Teahouses usually have a basic menu with various local and international dishes. The menu usually includes Dal Bhat (rice, lentil soup, and vegetables), noodles, soups, and sometimes Western food options. The menu in tea houses can be limited, especially in higher altitudes and remote areas.
You can also find a variety of hot drinks like tea, coffee, and hot lemonade, which can be comforting in cold weather. It is a good idea to carry some snacks and energy bars for extra energy during the trek.
Drinking water is available everywhere, but always make sure that the water you consume is safe. Purifying water using water purification tablets or a water filtration system is advisable. You can also buy bottled water if it is available.
Rooms in teahouses are basic, with simple beds and shared facilities. You can expect simple rooms in teahouses with beds, pillows, mattresses, and blankets. Extra blankets are available if it gets too cold. But it’s a good idea to bring a sleeping bag, as temperatures can drop significantly at higher altitudes.
Difficulty of Kanchenjunga Trek
The Kanchenjunga base camp trek is one of the most challenging treks in Nepal. Therefore, preparing for the challenges that may arise before attempting trekking is essential. Below are some factors that make this trek difficult:
Remote and Less Developed Areas: It is remote and less developed than popular trekking destinations such as the Annapurna and Everest regions. Food and lodging facilities in teahouses are very basic, and infrastructure is limited.
High Altitude: The trek leads to an altitude of over 5,000 meters. Altitude-related challenges, such as acute mountain sickness (AMS), are a concern in high-altitude trekking. The body needs to adjust to the change in altitude. So, ascending gradually with proper acclimatization is important to avoid altitude sickness.
Long Duration: It is a long trek that takes about three weeks to complete. The long duration and challenging terrain demand good physical fitness and endurance.
Variable Weather Conditions: Weather conditions in the Kanchenjunga region can be unpredictable. You may encounter rain, snow, and cold temperatures, especially at higher altitudes, during the trek.
Trail Difficulty: The trek covers a variety of terrains, from lush subtropical forests to alpine meadows and high mountain landscapes. The trek can be challenging as the trails are steep, rocky, and rugged.
Isolation: Compared to other popular routes, this area is less crowded and has limited access to services. This solitary trek contributes to the sense of adventure but also requires careful planning.
Due to the difficulty level, preparation is essential before attempting the trek. Previous trekking experience and good physical fitness are beneficial for completing the trek. It is advisable to go trekking with local and experienced guides for safety and navigation.
best time for Kanchenjunga Trek
The best seasons for Kanchenjunga trekking are spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November). The weather is usually stable during these seasons. Clear skies and moderate temperatures make trekking ideal.
In spring, the landscape is adorned with colorful rhododendron flowers. The trails are relatively dry, which makes the journey more comfortable. Autumn has less rainfall and a low chance of snowfall at higher altitudes, which can make trekking safer. Spectacular views of the surrounding landscapes are more likely due to low cloud cover. However, it is important to note that the weather in the Himalayas can be unpredictable. Therefore, checking the latest weather forecasts before planning a trip is always a good idea.
Trekking during the monsoon season (June to August) can be challenging due to heavy rains, muddy trails, and leeches. Similarly, the winter season (December to February) is extremely cold. Snow can fall during this season, especially at higher elevations, posing additional risks. So, the monsoon and winter seasons are generally not recommended for the Kanchenjunga trek.
High altitude sickness and acclimatization
Altitude sickness is also known as acute mountain sickness (AMS). It is a condition that affects hikers and climbers at high altitudes. The Kanchenjunga trek offers breathtaking scenery and challenging terrain that attracts many adventurers. However, high-altitude treks can cause altitude sickness.
Altitude sickness occurs when the body cannot adjust to the reduced oxygen levels at high altitudes. At higher altitudes, the air pressure decreases, which reduces the amount of oxygen. Lack of oxygen can cause various symptoms, from mild discomfort to serious illness. Symptoms of altitude sickness include headaches, nausea, fatigue, dizziness, and shortness of breath. These symptoms usually occur at altitudes above 2,500 meters (8,200 feet). So, it is important to be aware of altitude sickness while trekking.
Altitude sickness is a serious concern, but the risk can be minimized with proper preparation, acclimatization, and awareness. To minimize the risk of altitude sickness, it is necessary to acclimatize the body and ascend gradually.
Rest days at certain altitudes should be included in your itinerary to allow the body to adjust to reduced oxygen levels. Staying hydrated also helps reduce symptoms and aid in adaptation. A low-altitude evacuation or medical assistance may also be necessary if the condition is severe. Taking proper precautions allows you to safely enjoy the unique beauty of the Himalayas on the Kanchenjunga trek.
You may like to visit: Nepal Adventure Tour in 14 days, tour, package, cost, itinerary.
Fly Kathmandu to Taplejung (2,320m) and trek to Mitlung (920m) - 3 to 4 hours walk.
Mitlung to Chirwa (1,270m) - 6 to 7 hours walk.
Chirwa to Sukathum (1,576m) - 6 to 7 hours walk.
Sukathum to Amjilosa (2,308m) - 7 to 8 hours walk.
Amjilosa to Gyabla (2,730m) - 7 to 8 hours walk.
Gyabla to Ghunsa (3,595m) - 6 to 7 hours walk.
Free day at Ghunsa.
Ghunsa to Kambachen (4,050 m) - 6 to 7 hours walk.
Acclimatization Day at Kambachen.
Kambachen to Lhonak (4,780m) - 7 to 8 hours walk.
Lhonak to Pangpema/Kanchenjunga North Base Camp (5,143m) - 7 to 8 hours walk.
Kanchenjunga North Base Camp to Kambachen (4050m) - 7 to 8 hours walk.
Kambachen to Ghunsa (3,595m) - 6 to 7 hours walk.
Ghunsa to Sele Le (4,290m) - 7 to 8 hours walk.
Sele Le to Cheram (3,870m) - 7 to 8 hours.
Cheram to Ramche (4,580m) and return back to Cheram - 5 to 6 hours walk.
Cheram to Tortong (2,995m) - 6 to 7 hours walk.
Tortong to Yamphudin (2,080m) - 7 to 8 hours walk.
Yamphudin to Mamanke (1,800m) - 7 to 8 hours walk.
Mamanke to Lalikharka (2,265m) – 5 to 6 hours walk
Lalikharka to Suketar (2,320m) – 5 to 6 hours walk.
Fly Suketar to Kathmandu.
Frequently asked questions about this trip
Thank you a lot for your organization about my trek. It was a superb experience; all was perfect. Karma is a very nice person and a good guide. I appreciated trekking with Odyssey (a reliable Nepal trek operator). If I come back to Nepal, I will be happy to ask you to trek with me again. I am thinking about Annapurna or the Everest trek.
Have just returned from my fourth trip to Nepal and as always Odyssey Treks organized everything superbly. We visited Makalu relatively late in the season and were rewarded with empty trails and amazing weather. Karma was as entertaining, friendly, and informative as ever along with Ang Dawa Sherpa who together made the three weeks perfect.
They also organized a few days to Helambu at short notice as I had some time spare, all done easily and professionally. Thanks for the company both and I will be back again. I cannot recommend Odyssey highly enough as a genuinely friendly, locally based company that provides not only unforgettable experiences but also great service at a very reasonable cost.