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Short Kangchenjunga Trek (Circuit)

Teahouse Trekking in the "Wild East of Nepal - Cross the Mirgin La - Jannu, Makalu and Everest views

ALL MEALS ON TREK INCLUDED

Duration

15 Days

Grade

Challenging

Max Altitude

4730m

Walking Days

8 Days

Accommodation

4 Nts Hotels - 10 Nts Trekking Lodges

Trip Overview

An atmospheric short Kangchenjunga trek trekking through valleys and over passes in the Kangchenjunga Conservation Area.

This Kangchenjunga short trek follows a part of the route to Kangchenjunga North Base Camp (Pang Pema) heading up valley to the Tibetan influenced mountain village of Ghunsa before heading over high, remote mountain passes and down to exit via the valley system that would ultimately lead to Kangchenjunga South Base Camp. Effectively the route is a "horseshoe circuit" and along the way as well authentic, tiny villages there is a real sense of being off the beaten track as the relative inaccessibility of the Kangchenjunga region means far, far less people come and trek here compared to the likes of the Everest and Annapurna region. The need for a special permit and a lack of accommodation was another reason why the "trekking hordes" were kept at bay. Although nowadays there are thankfully a handful of basic, simple lodges for trekkers to stay, a special permit is still required and the challenging travelling just to get to the Kangchenjunga Conservation Area still remains. But, for the adventurous trekker the rewards are immense not least the pleasure of trekking through the landscapes that lie close to the Kangchenjunga Massif and the world's third highest peak. The remote high mountain ramparts boast a healthy snow leopard population and that means other Himalayan wildlife too. Himalayan botanists have long held the Kangchenjunga region in high regard too. As well as unspoiled river valleys, the very challenging two days where you head deep into a mountain wilderness and must negotiate the Sinion La (4670m), the Mirgin La (4690m) and the Sinelapcha La (4730m) reveal impressive mountain views including stunning Najju (7771m), distant Everest's lesser seen Kangshung face and Makalu too. This may be a short Kangchenjunga trek, but it is better suited to experienced trekkers with a good level of fitness only. Don’t forget our trekking holidays are tailor-made and although the rate of altitude gains are reasonable you may wish to consider acclimatisation days, rest days and even contingency days added. The itinerary is merely a suggested itinerary and is not entirely 'set in stone'. Sleeping bags (4 season) will be required for nights spent in trekking lodges. We can arrange sleeping bag rental if required.

Of course for the best, close up views of Kangchenjunga our Kangchenjunga Base Camp - North & South Trek does just that.


An atmospheric short Kangchenjunga trek trekking through valleys and over passes in the Kangchenjunga Conservation Area.

  • This Kangchenjunga short trek follows a part of the route to Kangchenjunga North Base Camp (Pang Pema) heading up valley to the Tibetan influenced mountain village of Ghunsa before heading over high, remote mountain passes and down to exit via the valley system that would ultimately lead to Kangchenjunga South Base Camp. Effectively the route is a "horseshoe circuit" and along the way as well authentic, tiny villages there is a real sense of being off the beaten track as the relative inaccessibility of the Kangchenjunga region means far, far less people come and trek here compared to the likes of the Everest and Annapurna region. The need for a special permit and a lack of accommodation was another reason why the "trekking hordes" were kept at bay. Although nowadays there are thankfully a handful of basic, simple lodges for trekkers to stay, a special permit is still required and the challenging travelling just to get to the Kangchenjunga Conservation Area still remains. But, for the adventurous trekker the rewards are immense not least the pleasure of trekking through the landscapes that lie close to the Kangchenjunga Massif and the world's third highest peak. The remote high mountain ramparts boast a healthy snow leopard population and that means other Himalayan wildlife too. Himalayan botanists have long held the Kangchenjunga region in high regard too. As well as unspoiled river valleys, the very challenging two days where you head deep into a mountain wilderness and must negotiate the Sinion La (4670m), the Mirgin La (4690m) and the Sinelapcha La (4730m) reveal impressive mountain views including stunning Najju (7771m), distant Everest's lesser seen Kangshung face and Makalu too. This may be a short Kangchenjunga trek, but it is better suited to experienced trekkers with a good level of fitness only. Don’t forget our trekking holidays are tailor-made and although the rate of altitude gains are reasonable you may wish to consider acclimatisation days, rest days and even contingency days added. The itinerary is merely a suggested itinerary and is not entirely 'set in stone'. Sleeping bags (4 season) will be required for nights spent in trekking lodges. We can arrange sleeping bag rental if required.

    Of course for the best, close up views of Kangchenjunga our Kangchenjunga Base Camp - North & South Trek does just that.


Example Itinerary

    • Day 1
      Arrive Kathmandu
    • Day 2
      Kathmandu to Ilam
    • Day 3
      Drive to Sekathum
    • Day 4
      Trek to Amjilosa
    • Day 5
      Up down and up to Gyabla
    • Day 6
      Trek to Ghunsa
    • Day 7
      Acclimatisation Day at Ghunsa
    • Day 8
      To Sele La Base Camp
    • Day 9
      High Passes to Cheram
    • Day 10
      Down to Tortong
    • Day 11
      Trek to Yamphudin
    • Day 12
      Drive to Phidim
    • Day 13
      Drive to Ilam
    • Day 14
      Fly to Kathmandu
    • Day 15
      Depart Nepal
  • DAY
    1

    Arrive Kathmandu

    Arriving at Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu, you'll be met and receive a private transfer for the short distance into central Kathmandu and to the "KGH" Hotel in the heart of the Thamel district. You'll be given a briefing on your forthcoming adventure, and in the evening can take dinner at your leisure in one of the many choices of cafes & restaurants in Kathmandu, although the open air courtyard cafe of the KGH Hotel is as good as anywhere. PLEASE NOTE: A special permit is required for this trek. In order for us to obtain permits for you, we have to present hard copies of your passport (scans are not accepted) by 1000hrs to the permit issuing office. The permit office is open Sunday-Thursday, Friday Mornings, closed all day Saturday. The permit office is also closed on Nepal Public Holiday days. Please anticipate that you may require extra days in Kathmandu as a result in order that we can obtain your permit.

    Accommodation: KGH Hotel - Kathmandu
    
Included Meals: None

    DAY 1

    Arrive Kathmandu

    Arriving at Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu, you'll be met and receive a private transfer for the short distance into central Kathmandu and to the "KGH" Hotel in the heart of the Thamel district. You'll be given a briefing on your forthcoming adventure, and in the evening can take dinner at your leisure in one of the many choices of cafes & restaurants in Kathmandu, although the open air courtyard cafe of the KGH Hotel is as good as anywhere. PLEASE NOTE: A special permit is required for this trek. In order for us to obtain permits for you, we have to present hard copies of your passport (scans are not accepted) by 1000hrs to the permit issuing office. The permit office is open Sunday-Thursday, Friday Mornings, closed all day Saturday. The permit office is also closed on Nepal Public Holiday days. Please anticipate that you may require extra days in Kathmandu as a result in order that we can obtain your permit.

    Accommodation: KGH Hotel - Kathmandu
    
Included Meals: None

    DAY
    2

    Kathmandu to Ilam

    Kangchenjunga lies in the remote far east of Nepal and getting here as never been easy. A combination of this difficulty to access and very challenging trekking at high altitudes does however keep the Kangchenjunga trekking trails limited to the dedicated trekker only. As mentioned in Day 1 above a special permit is required to visit Kangchenjunga and this example itinerary assumes for the purpose of illustration only that you arrived early enough yesterday for us to obtain your permit. Otherwise you will need at least one additional night in Kathmandu as no permit means no trek.

    If you are considering this short Kangchenjuga trek then it’s best to contact us first, not only to determine the logistics of obtaining your permit, but also the travelling involved.  It may be (for example) that a short flight to Taplejung airstrip (where the trek starts) may be possible in the future again (as it was in the past), however it is not practical to assume this in an example itinerary or take into account other potential changes to travel to such a remote part of Nepal. So, do please get in touch with us first for the most up to date information.

    Presently the best way is firstly to fly to Bhadrapur, so a private transfer will take to Kathmandu Airport to take this 50 minute flight to the lowlands of Nepal. From here you’ll then travel around 3 hours in a private vehicle into the Himalayan foothills and the tea growing region of Nepal and overnight in the town of Ilam surrounded by verdant, lush green hills.

    Accommodation: Basic Hotel - Ilam
    
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    DAY 2

    Kathmandu to Ilam

    Kangchenjunga lies in the remote far east of Nepal and getting here as never been easy. A combination of this difficulty to access and very challenging trekking at high altitudes does however keep the Kangchenjunga trekking trails limited to the dedicated trekker only. As mentioned in Day 1 above a special permit is required to visit Kangchenjunga and this example itinerary assumes for the purpose of illustration only that you arrived early enough yesterday for us to obtain your permit. Otherwise you will need at least one additional night in Kathmandu as no permit means no trek.

    If you are considering this short Kangchenjuga trek then it’s best to contact us first, not only to determine the logistics of obtaining your permit, but also the travelling involved.  It may be (for example) that a short flight to Taplejung airstrip (where the trek starts) may be possible in the future again (as it was in the past), however it is not practical to assume this in an example itinerary or take into account other potential changes to travel to such a remote part of Nepal. So, do please get in touch with us first for the most up to date information.

    Presently the best way is firstly to fly to Bhadrapur, so a private transfer will take to Kathmandu Airport to take this 50 minute flight to the lowlands of Nepal. From here you’ll then travel around 3 hours in a private vehicle into the Himalayan foothills and the tea growing region of Nepal and overnight in the town of Ilam surrounded by verdant, lush green hills.

    Accommodation: Basic Hotel - Ilam
    
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    DAY
    3

    Drive to Sekathum

    An “up and down and up” sort of drive in a private vehicle takes you ever closer to the mountains and with the odd tantalising glimpse of Kangchenjunga and Jannu. An early start is necessary as it takes around 5-6hrs to firstly reach the old trailhead at Taplejung/Suketar (2420m). However, a very rough and ready jeep road extends further into the Kangchenjunga region now and although it’s very bumpy and uncomfortable, it is possible to start the trek at Sekathum (1700m). From Ilam it’s around 9-10hrs driving time in total to reach Sekathum. Here in the Kangchenjunga region are much simpler affairs than those in the likes of the Annapurna and Everest regions, providing just the very bare minimum of creature comforts and in very limited supply. The higher and more remote you get the more basic the lodges get and washing/toilet facilities (invariably shared) can be very rudimentary. Private rooms may not be available.

    Accommodation: Trekking Lodge - Sekathum

    Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    Find out more about Trekking Lodges

    DAY 3

    Drive to Sekathum

    An “up and down and up” sort of drive in a private vehicle takes you ever closer to the mountains and with the odd tantalising glimpse of Kangchenjunga and Jannu. An early start is necessary as it takes around 5-6hrs to firstly reach the old trailhead at Taplejung/Suketar (2420m). However, a very rough and ready jeep road extends further into the Kangchenjunga region now and although it’s very bumpy and uncomfortable, it is possible to start the trek at Sekathum (1700m). From Ilam it’s around 9-10hrs driving time in total to reach Sekathum. Here in the Kangchenjunga region are much simpler affairs than those in the likes of the Annapurna and Everest regions, providing just the very bare minimum of creature comforts and in very limited supply. The higher and more remote you get the more basic the lodges get and washing/toilet facilities (invariably shared) can be very rudimentary. Private rooms may not be available.

    Accommodation: Trekking Lodge - Sekathum

    Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    Find out more about Trekking Lodges

    DAY
    4

    Trek to Amjilosa

    The trek begins in earnest and follows an up valley route that would ultimately lead to Kangchenjunga North Base Camp at Pang Pema. Crossing the Ghunsa Khola by way of a suspension bridge you climb up an increasingly steep and narrow trail heading up through dense forest. Passing a rather dramatic gorge you continue to climb ever higher on a switchback trail up to Amjilosa (2510m). Walking time approx. 5-6hrs.

    Accommodation: Trekking Lodge - Amjilosa
    
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    DAY 4

    Trek to Amjilosa

    The trek begins in earnest and follows an up valley route that would ultimately lead to Kangchenjunga North Base Camp at Pang Pema. Crossing the Ghunsa Khola by way of a suspension bridge you climb up an increasingly steep and narrow trail heading up through dense forest. Passing a rather dramatic gorge you continue to climb ever higher on a switchback trail up to Amjilosa (2510m). Walking time approx. 5-6hrs.

    Accommodation: Trekking Lodge - Amjilosa
    
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    DAY
    5

    Up down and up to Gyabla

    A short climb through bamboo, oak and rhododendron forest begins from Amjilosa. Reaching a ridge you drop down to Thyanyani (2400m) and the Ghunsa Khola River. Following several up and down sections and after passing a large, impressive waterfall there’s final steep climb to Gyabla (2730m). Walking time approx. 5hrs.

    Accommodation: Trekking Lodge - Gyabla
    
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    DAY 5

    Up down and up to Gyabla

    A short climb through bamboo, oak and rhododendron forest begins from Amjilosa. Reaching a ridge you drop down to Thyanyani (2400m) and the Ghunsa Khola River. Following several up and down sections and after passing a large, impressive waterfall there’s final steep climb to Gyabla (2730m). Walking time approx. 5hrs.

    Accommodation: Trekking Lodge - Gyabla
    
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    DAY
    6

    Trek to Ghunsa

    As the valley starts to open out, todays’ walk begins with a relatively easy hike gradually ascending to Phole. From here it’s up to Ghunsa (3595m) and now heading over 3000m the temperatures become noticeably cooler, especially at night. Ghunsa is an attractive Tibetan mountain village and as well as a couple of shops, carpet weaving and Gompa’s there’s also a small Kangchenjunga Conservation Area office here. Walking time approx. 4-5hrs.

    Accommodation: Trekking Lodge - Ghunsa
    
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    DAY 6

    Trek to Ghunsa

    As the valley starts to open out, todays’ walk begins with a relatively easy hike gradually ascending to Phole. From here it’s up to Ghunsa (3595m) and now heading over 3000m the temperatures become noticeably cooler, especially at night. Ghunsa is an attractive Tibetan mountain village and as well as a couple of shops, carpet weaving and Gompa’s there’s also a small Kangchenjunga Conservation Area office here. Walking time approx. 4-5hrs.

    Accommodation: Trekking Lodge - Ghunsa
    
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    DAY
    7

    Acclimatisation Day at Ghunsa

    Now at just over 3500m it’s absolutely essential to have an acclimatisation day. To aid the acclimatisation process a “climb high, sleep low” principle really helps. Tomorrow you will heading to overnight at over 4000m and from Ghunsa your guide will take you on a walk (there are a couple of options) to help your body acclimatise. As the next two full trekking days are the most challenging and crossing the high passes being the "crux" of this Kangchenjunga short trek the risks from not letting your body adapt to these higher altitudes could have serious consequences.

    Accommodation: Trekking Lodge - Ghunsa
    
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    DAY 7

    Acclimatisation Day at Ghunsa

    Now at just over 3500m it’s absolutely essential to have an acclimatisation day. To aid the acclimatisation process a “climb high, sleep low” principle really helps. Tomorrow you will heading to overnight at over 4000m and from Ghunsa your guide will take you on a walk (there are a couple of options) to help your body acclimatise. As the next two full trekking days are the most challenging and crossing the high passes being the "crux" of this Kangchenjunga short trek the risks from not letting your body adapt to these higher altitudes could have serious consequences.

    Accommodation: Trekking Lodge - Ghunsa
    
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    DAY
    8

    To Sele La Base Camp

    Today and tomorrow are both the toughest and wildest days of this short Kangchenjunga trek. Leaving Ghunsa it’s a very steep ascent as you climb up through forest on a rough and rocky trail, to then ascend further over the Sela La and onto Sele La Base Camp (4290m), which is around a further 30 minutes of walking. There’s a couple of simple wooden lodges and a small lake here, but also views to distant Makalu! Walking time approx. 5hrs.

    Accommodation: Trekking Lodge - Sele La Base Camp

    Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    DAY 8

    To Sele La Base Camp

    Today and tomorrow are both the toughest and wildest days of this short Kangchenjunga trek. Leaving Ghunsa it’s a very steep ascent as you climb up through forest on a rough and rocky trail, to then ascend further over the Sela La and onto Sele La Base Camp (4290m), which is around a further 30 minutes of walking. There’s a couple of simple wooden lodges and a small lake here, but also views to distant Makalu! Walking time approx. 5hrs.

    Accommodation: Trekking Lodge - Sele La Base Camp

    Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    DAY
    9

    High Passes to Cheram

    Probably the most challenging day, but also a real highlight as far as extensive views go too. Jannu is particularly impressive but with luck you might see the Kangshung face of Everest and Makalu too on the far horizon. There is however the no small matter of some high passes to cross. The Sinion La (4670m), the Mirgin La (4690m) and the Sinelapcha La (4730m), so expect some steep climbs and descents on rough, narrow trails before a final (again steep) long descent of around 1000m down to Cheram (3910m). Walking time approx.6-7hrs.

    Accommodation: Trekking Lodge - Cheram
    
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    DAY 9

    High Passes to Cheram

    Probably the most challenging day, but also a real highlight as far as extensive views go too. Jannu is particularly impressive but with luck you might see the Kangshung face of Everest and Makalu too on the far horizon. There is however the no small matter of some high passes to cross. The Sinion La (4670m), the Mirgin La (4690m) and the Sinelapcha La (4730m), so expect some steep climbs and descents on rough, narrow trails before a final (again steep) long descent of around 1000m down to Cheram (3910m). Walking time approx.6-7hrs.

    Accommodation: Trekking Lodge - Cheram
    
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    DAY
    10

    Down to Tortong

    As you head to Tortong (2995m) you're now in the valley that leads up to Kangchenjunga South Base Camp, although you're actually heading down valley. Walking time approx.4-5hrs.

    Accommodation: Trekking Lodge - Tortong
    
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    DAY 10

    Down to Tortong

    As you head to Tortong (2995m) you're now in the valley that leads up to Kangchenjunga South Base Camp, although you're actually heading down valley. Walking time approx.4-5hrs.

    Accommodation: Trekking Lodge - Tortong
    
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    DAY
    11

    Trek to Yamphudin

    There’s a good three hours to descend around 1000m before you have to climb steeply up to Lamite Bhanjyang passing a large landslide area en route. From here you drop down sharply to the Imja Khola then contour the hillsides before finally descending to Yamphudin (1700m) and the end of the trek. This village has a mixed community of Sherpa, Rai, Limbu and Gurung and it should also be starting to feel warm once more. The Kangchenjunga Conservation Area office is also based here. Walking time approx. 6hrs.

    Accommodation: Trekking Lodge - Yamphudin
    Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    DAY 11

    Trek to Yamphudin

    There’s a good three hours to descend around 1000m before you have to climb steeply up to Lamite Bhanjyang passing a large landslide area en route. From here you drop down sharply to the Imja Khola then contour the hillsides before finally descending to Yamphudin (1700m) and the end of the trek. This village has a mixed community of Sherpa, Rai, Limbu and Gurung and it should also be starting to feel warm once more. The Kangchenjunga Conservation Area office is also based here. Walking time approx. 6hrs.

    Accommodation: Trekking Lodge - Yamphudin
    Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    DAY
    12

    Drive to Phidim

    A recently constructed “rough and ready” jeep road now extends as far as Yamphudin, so today will be a rather bumpy drive in a locally chartered 4WD vehicle to Phidim, which takes around 5-6hrs.

    Accommodation: Basic Lodge- Phidim
    Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    DAY 12

    Drive to Phidim

    A recently constructed “rough and ready” jeep road now extends as far as Yamphudin, so today will be a rather bumpy drive in a locally chartered 4WD vehicle to Phidim, which takes around 5-6hrs.

    Accommodation: Basic Lodge- Phidim
    Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    DAY
    13

    Drive to Ilam

    A longer day of unavoidable overland travel in a private vehicle, but thankfully not as rough road surface wise as yesterday. Around 7-8hrs driving gets you to Ilam.

    Accommodation: Basic Hotel - Ilam
    Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    DAY 13

    Drive to Ilam

    A longer day of unavoidable overland travel in a private vehicle, but thankfully not as rough road surface wise as yesterday. Around 7-8hrs driving gets you to Ilam.

    Accommodation: Basic Hotel - Ilam
    Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    DAY
    14

    Fly to Kathmandu

    A private transfer will take you overland to Bhadrapur Airport for the flight back to Kathmandu. From Kathmandu Airport a private transfer will take you to the KGH Hotel.

    Accommodation: KGH Hotel - Kathmandu
    Included Meals: Breakfast

    DAY 14

    Fly to Kathmandu

    A private transfer will take you overland to Bhadrapur Airport for the flight back to Kathmandu. From Kathmandu Airport a private transfer will take you to the KGH Hotel.

    Accommodation: KGH Hotel - Kathmandu
    Included Meals: Breakfast

    DAY
    15

    Depart Nepal

    A private transfer will take you to the airport for your return international flight.

    Included Meals: Breakfast

    Of course there's no reason to depart today, your Nepal holiday can be readily tailor-made

    DAY 15

    Depart Nepal

    A private transfer will take you to the airport for your return international flight.

    Included Meals: Breakfast

    Of course there's no reason to depart today, your Nepal holiday can be readily tailor-made

    IMPORTANT

    This is an EXAMPLE ITINERARY and can be customised for you accordingly.

    Please consider whether you want your customisable, private trip itinerary to also include CONTINGENCY.

    See our ABOUT CONTINGENCY Information

    Please CONTACT US to discuss CONTINGENCY and ADDITIONAL ACCLIMATISATION, as well as other CUSTOMISATION POSSIBILITES for your PRIVATE CUSTOM TREK

Price Guide

Price based on a private party of 4 persons, twin share rooms, low season
  • £ GBP 1978
  • $ US 2590
  • € EUR 2358

IMPORTANT INFO ABOUT OUR PRICE GUIDES

What's included

he price shown is for guideline purposes only. The price is inclusive of all accommodation described in the detailed itinerary, all airport and land transfers, all internal flights as indicated in the itinerary, meals as indicated in the itinerary (all meals on trek), porterage on trek, Kangchenjunga trekking permits & National Park fees & a Snow Cat Travel Trekking Guide. All guides are english-speaking, professionals and fully licensed.

Don't Forget

We can customise
all our trips.

extend. shorten. upgrade

Don't Forget

We can customise
all our trips to Nepal.

extend. shorten. upgrade

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