Trip Introduction: A trip to Kanchenjunga Base Camp
Walk along the rugged terrain with steep ups and downs of the Kanchenjunga region for a thrilling trip to Kanchenjunga Base Camp. Kanchenjunga (8,586m), also the world's third-highest mountain, lies in the eastern Himalayan region of Nepal. Kanchenjunga means "The five treasures of the great snow." The majestic mountain borders both the Taplejung district of Nepal and the Sikkim state of India.
Kanchenjunga range hosts mainly five mountains, including Kangchenjunga Main, Kanchenjunga West, Kanchenjunga Central, Kanchenjunga South, and Kangbachen. These mountains are the major attractions in the Kanchenjunga region.
Similarly, the Kanchenjunga region hosts one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites known as the Kanchenjunga Conservation Area. The conservation area is home to numerous flora and fauna that are among the world's most exotic and rare species. The species include Snow leopard, red panda, Himalayan black bear, clouded leopard, Assamese macaque, serow, Asian black bear, blood pheasant, and red-billed chough. Some of the conservation region's flowers are Rhododendron (Nepal's national flower), Rubus, Pedicularis, and Primula.
How does the Kanchenjunga Base Camp trekking start and end?
First, the Kanchenjunga base camp trek starts from the bustling city of Kathmandu. It moves towards Bhadrapur with a morning flight. Upon landing, individuals will drive toward Taplejung to finally reach Yamphuding. The actual trekking starts from Yamphungding in the Kanchenjunga region to get Thorangdin. The small settlement of Thorangdin takes visitors through lush rhododendron forests. The green vegetation along the Kanchenjunga Base Camp route, followed by the view of the surrounding hills, is a site to see. After a thorough visit at Thorangdin, the Kanchenjunga Base Camp map takes trekkers to Tseram.
After Tseram, the trek continues to Selele, which is the most challenging climb of the section. The ascend is very steep, with small lakes along the route. Prominent places like Jhorpokhari Deurali, Ramche, Oakhtang Viewpoint, and ChedongPhedi are between the sections. Upon reaching ChedongPhedi, we pass the Mirigin La Pass, which is also known as the Selele Pass. Upon reaching Selele, continue the downhill walk for two hours and continue for another hour to get to Ghunsa.
Ghunsa is a significant settlement and consists of reasonable accommodation and food facilities. Ghu means winter, and sha means settlement. Thus, Ghunsa is named after those who migrated here to save from winter. Therefore, it is called settlement for winter. There are about forty houses which are well equipped for spending the night. The rooms have attached bathroom facilities followed by hot showers. These small perks mean a lot at high altitudes. Ghunsa is a perfect destination in Kanchenjunga for acclimatization.
As you move past Ghunsa, the trekking route to Kanchenjunga Base Camp moves towards Khumbachen. This section has many waterfalls, followed by green vegetation, field greenery, green forests, rivers, and many more scenes to cherish the heart. The Kanchenjunga roadmap also has sections with landslides, which make it a problematic trekking trail; however, the adrenaline provided while walking on this trekking trail is unparalleled.
The mesmerizing trip past Khumbachen takes us towards Lhonak. Trekkers pass the artificial bridge and walk a steep path to reach Ramtang. After Ramtang, we follow the heavily affected landslide route to reach Lhonak. The section is risky as the walking route is soft, but the scenario is not life-threatening. Except the experience is rather entertaining.
Similarly, as the uphill climb from Khumbachen continues, following a steep path along the hill to reach Pangpema. The walk to Pangpema is along the Kanchenjunga glacier. The route is challenging, with steep ups and downs. A flat road to Pangpema, the South Base Camp of Kanchenjunga follows the steep hike. This is the top altitude in 20 days of the Kanchenjunga Base Camp itinerary.
When exploring the Kanchenjunga base camp is complete, begin the return journey to reach Lhonak. After Lhonak, continue descending to Khambache, Ghunsa, and Gyapla. After gyapla, continue towards Amdilasa and Skaethumth. Upon reaching Sakethum, drive towards Taplejung to finally get to Ilam. Finish the journey by taking a scenic flight from Bhadrapur Airport to Kathmandu.
Why 20 Days Kanchenjunga Base Camp Trekking?
The Kanchenjunga Base Camp Trekking is one of Nepal's most favored trekking routes. This rugged, beaten trekking trail welcomes guests from all over the world to provide a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
The stunning mountain vistas give visitors a mesmerizing view of majestic peaks like Kanchenjunga Main, Kanchenjunga West, Kanchenjunga Central, Kanchenjunga South, Mount Jannu, Mount Yalung Kang, Mount Talung and many more.
Similarly, the Kanchenjunga Conservation Area is another highlight that offers nature and wildlife lovers a view of the most exotic and rare creatures. A herd of blue sheep, Himalayan pheasant, and Yak are the most common species seen in the region.
The hike to Kanchenjunga requires a good fitness level but can be completed by a beginner traveler. The Nepali flat and ups and downs are some of the experiences that will be strenuous but rewarding. Along the way, ethnic groups like Limbu, Rai, Sherpa, and Gurung provide warm hospitality. Although the region is considered remote, the way to the mountain life is an always-forgetting experience. The hard work and struggle in the area are accurate; however, the hospitality and kind heart melt whoever visits the region. The true meaning of life can be understood while conversing with the Kanchenjunga region's locals.
Overall, the Kanchenjunga area with Holiday Tours Nepal is a must-visit place for those who wish to travel to Nepal. The region is a gateway to immersing in the wonders of Nature and exploring the world's beauty. A visit to Kanchenjunga is believed to help you forget the stress of life and find out the true meaning of life. Struggles and worries can be relieved while getting the top-notch adrenaline experience. Thus,it is worth to travel.
Best time/season for Kanchenjunga Base Camp trekking
Nepal faces four seasons: Spring, summer, winter, and autumn. Kanchenjunga base camp trekking can be done in all of Nepal's seasons. The most recommended or favored seasons are spring and autumn.
Spring lasts from March to May when the weather is consistent and clear. The temperature is moderate, which can be very favorable for trekking. The warmth of the region aids in providing comfortable trekking experience. During spring, the region comes alive with greenery surrounding the trekking trails and green vegetation in 360-degree views.
Wildflower species, followed by exotic animals, are a never-to-miss sight. The clear sky provides an excellent view of Kanchenjunga, and due to this, it is the most favored time to travel in Kanchenjunga.
Due to its popularity, the region is crowded in spring, and it can affect some individuals who wish to have a peaceful walk in Nature. The limited availability of teahouses or places to stay can be troublesome, so it is necessary to contact Holiday Tours Nepal for all the required arrangements before embarking on the base camp of Kanchenjunga.
Similarly, the following season, which is recommended, is autumn, which lasts from September to November. The temperature is moderate, with clear skies and average temperature. This allows for a magnificent view of the surrounding mountains in the region.
Likewise, summer/monsoon and winter are other seasons where trekking to Kanchenjunga is possible. However, the conditions of the trail make it difficult to walk. In monsoon, the tracks get slippery, and the skies are cloudy. Upon ascending to the higher altitude, there is snow, and views will get obstructed.
The weather is foggy in winter, and trekkers must pack extra as they encounter extreme cold in higher altitudes. Trekking in the winter requires more comprehensive preparation and should be done prior. Due to these technical difficulties, traveling in monsoon and winter is only recommended for hardcore trekkers. Holiday Planner Nepal can arrange the trek to Kanchenjunga; however, preparation must be done according to the information provided.
How should you prepare for Kanchenjunga Base Camp Trekking?
Preparation for Kanchenjunga Base Camp is both a physical and mental process. Proper gear, equipment, and a strong mentality are required to accomplish this grandeur. For the preparation for the Kanchenjunga base camp, the following points must be included, and this must be done at least one month before heading towards the region:
- Physical fitness: The individual's physical ability is the most essential thing for any trekking. The legs and body must be physically capable to function and withstand the route and elevation. To improve strength, engage in cardio exercises. Omitting lifts and favoring stairs can be a small change for trek preparation. Other cardio activities like running, cycling, climbing, and swimming can drastically increase the ability to walk in the steep, hilly terrains of Nepal. Improper or lazy preparation can even cause failure in the completion of the trek, so be sure to exercise regularly, focusing on the leg and cardio strengthening.
- Proper packing: Packing heavily for any trek can cause serious problems. Individuals tend to bring stuff unused until the end of the journey. This makes the luggage heavy, and heavy baggage is problematic. This also doesn't mean leaving out essential materials, so it is necessary to balance the equipment for the whole trip. Be sure to carry warm clothes, medicines, good-quality boots, and sleeping bags. For proper packing, Holiday Planner Nepal has come up with a complete list of accessories, which can be followed up at here.
- Mental preparation: Physical fitness must be followed by a strong mentality to complete the high-altitude trekking, especially Kanchenjunga. Maintaining a positive mentality and expectation during hiking or staying in the accommodation is necessary. Irritation is typical as individuals are challenged at every step. Some may need to adjust the sleeping area, food, toiletries, etc. So, to counter this, trekkers need to do detailed research about the region and keep an open mind.
- Acclimatization properly: High-altitude trekking can cause acute mountain sickness. That's why acclimatization while ascending to higher altitudes is necessary. Avoid acute ascending in the higher elevation and include rest days in the Kanchenjunga itinerary. Be sure to spend some time in lower places with a short hike to higher elevations and return to spend the night at the lower height. Any symptoms of AMS must be immediately consulted with the guide or the medical experts.
Is 20 days of Kanchenjunga Base Camp Trekking right for you?
The Kanchenjunga base camp trekking is a challenging trek that requires a good amount of physical fitness. The off-beaten and rugged terrains challenge every individual. Even though the path is difficult, the journey is welcomed with the clear and majestic view of Kanchenjunga. If a person is willing to pass through all the struggles to view the mountains, then this trekking is the most suitable option.
The traditional and few settlements with few passes and landslide areas create a thrilling experience. The hospitality of the Gurung and Sherpa communities is a must-have to experience certain scenarios. Delicious and native foods and drinks like Dal Bhat and Tongba add an extra touch to the moment.
However, for beginner trekkers, holiday tours do not recommend heading towards the Kanchenjunga as the trails are hectic and the difficulty is high. This means that the Kanchenjunga base camp trekking is only suitable for some.
The route, however, is suitable for those who wish to encounter relatively intermediate trekking trail with moderate difficulty; this is for those who wish to departure from the bustling trekking route and want to spend time in the remote areas or simply for those who wish to spend some alone time with Nature.
Permits and documents for the Base camp trek in Kanchenjunga
As Kanchenjunga is a protected area, the government of Nepal has propaganda to carry specific permits to take to travel in the region. The documents and permits are thoroughly checked in various check posts and entry points, so bringing them along the route is necessary. The documents or permits required by a team of trekkers or hikers are as follows:
Trekkers Information Management System (TIMS) card: This is one of the most essential permits for any tourists traveling to Nepal. The TIMS card is an entry permit that helps to identify any individual (tourist). It holds the trekker's information and collects data about where you are going, with whom, and for how many days. This ensures trekkers' safety and security.
Kanchenjunga Conservation Area Permit: The Kanchenjunga base camp falls under the protected area known as Kanchenjunga Conservation Area. So, to enter the Conservation area, a special permit should be made known as the Kanchenjunga Conservation Area Permit.
Restricted Area Permit (RAP): A restricted area permit is made mandatory by the government of Nepal to walk inwards Yamphungding, Lelep, Paping and Olangchung Gola. These areas are marked restricted as the region borders Tibet and India.
- Passport with a valid visa to Nepal, Passport size photographs (2 copies)
- Travel insurance papers
- Nepal tourist visa can extend past the expiration date of the RAP (restricted area permit).
- Other documents need to be shown by the Trekking agency (Holiday Tours Nepal) to apply to get the Kanchenjunga RAP (details of trekkers and guide group, guarantee letters, Verified itinerary, tax clearance certificate, license to operate).
Cost of the permits and documents
- Group trekkers will have a Blue TIMS card by paying NRs 1000 per person. Individuals will have a Green TIMS card, which will cost NRs 2,000.
Kanchenjunga Conservation Area Permit:
- The fee for Nepali citizens is NRs 100 per person
- The price for SAARC nationals is NPR 500 per person (US$ 5 approx.)
- The price for other residents is NPR 2000 per person (US$ 20 approx.)
Restricted Area Permit cost:
- For the first four weeks: US$ 20 per person/ week
- Beyond the first four weeks: US$ 25 per person /week
Accommodation in the Kanchenjunga region
The accommodation in the Kanchenjunga region differs according to the settlements. While most places offer basic facilities, some provide good amenities. The most basic form of housing is a Teahouse. Teahouses are the most simple or basic option for accommodation. The locals mainly establish these and offer adequate bed and blanket facilities. The bathroom facilities in teahouses are mostly shared.
Another accommodation option is the guesthouse. They offer outdoor/ separate accommodation facilities. There are primarily two beds in a single room with attached bathroom facilities. The cost of a guest house is higher than the Teahouse due to these amenities. However, there are only specific locations where guest houses can be found. Also, as the number of guest houses is low, they quickly get packed, so prior reservation is essential.
The final option for accommodation is camping. As groups ascend to a higher altitude of more than 5140 m (Pangpema), there is no accommodation availability, so the only option is to go camping. Camping is another great experience that brings individuals closer to Nature. Many find camping in the Kanchenjunga region a rejuvenating and healing experience. Camping at high altitudes requires proper planning and storage, so remember to carry and re-check all the necessary materials before camping.
Electricity, Internet, and Communication
As mentioned previously, the Kanchenjunga region is a remote destination. This means that the area needs better communication and electricity. The lower altitudes have proper communication signals, making it a hassle-free transmission. However, the problem starts as we ascend to higher heights. Satellite phones and walkie-talkies can be used; however, proper cell phone signals are the bare minimum.
For international trekkers, booking a trip with Holiday Planner Nepal enables them to get a Nepalese SIM card for free. This will save them even a little cost, and they can use it to communicate and use data packs during their stay in Nepal.
Similarly, there are destinations on the trip where Wi-Fi can be used; however, they come at a cost. Do not expect a good connection even though you are connected with the Wi-Fi.
The cost of electricity is also similar. Charging some of the electronic devices can be costly in the Teahouse or guesthouse. Some accommodations may only have a charging facility in the lobby, which is not feasible.
Due to this reason, we at Holiday Planner Nepal suggest our fellow trekkers carry additional batteries, power banks, or solar chargers to cut costs and facilitate easy charging in Kanchenjunga.
Is Travel Insurance required for Kanchenjunga base camp trekking?
Yes, Travel insurance is required for Kanchenjunga base camp trekking. Insurance is not mandatory; however, insurance can cover any unforeseen circumstances. It is necessary to carefully read all the proposed policies before buying the insurance.
Here are some of the advantages of buying the travel insurance for Kanchenjunga trekking:
Having travel insurance helps to cover any medical emergencies. If things get worse, insurance can also help cover emergency evacuations.
Travel insurance helps cover trip cancellations for any valid reason. The trip may be interrupted for many reasons, such as flight cancellation, delays, natural catastrophes, or personal emergencies.
The Base camp trek involves walking in the high-altitude region. Thus, it is considered an adventure sport. Be sure to check the travel insurance policy, which includes adventure sports and high-altitude trekking.
Theft in the Kanchenjunga region is unusual; however, if belongings are lost, then travel insurance can help you claim the appropriate amount.
Check that your travel insurance policy covers you for the duration of your adventure, including any pre or post-trip activities.
Altitude sickness during Kanchenjunga base camp trekking
Acute mountain sickness (AMS) is also known as altitude sickness. The primary cause of altitude sickness is the lack of oxygen in the atmosphere. As altitude sickness is common in high-altitude regions, precautions must be taken. "Identification of AMS is the major solution."
The following are the symptoms and indications:
- Headache or vertigo
- Vomiting and nausea
- Tiredness and fatigue (tired yet unable to sleep)
- Loss of appetite
- Anger and stress
Dress appropriately for the temperature, drink plenty of water, eat healthily, and walk gently to avoid Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS).
If you're not feeling well, requesting rest or returning to the lowest altitude is better. Keep hydrated and follow the tour leader's instructions and mountain sickness warnings. If any minor issues arise during a walk, our guides are well-versed in first aid.
In an emergency, travelers and trekkers should bring their insurance to Nepal. All of our employees are covered by insurance. If an emergency helicopter evacuation is required, we may arrange a helicopter rescue that your insurance may cover.
Day 1: Arrival in Kathmandu
Day 2: Drive to Sekathum from Kathmandu via Taplejung
Day 3: Sekathum to amjilas
Day 4: Amjilas to gyapula
Day 5: Gyapula to Ghunsa
Day 6: Acclimatization day at Ghunsa
Day 7: Ghunsa khambache
Day 8: Khambache to lhonakk
Day 9: Lhonak to south base camp and back to Lhonak
Day 10: Lhonak to khambache
Day 11: Khambche to Ghunsa
Day 12: Ghunsa to selle base camp
Day 13: Selele base camp to tseram
Day 14: Tseram to oakthang view point and back to tseram
Day 15: Tseram to torangdin
Day 16: Torangdin to Ranipul
Day 17: Back to Taplejung from Ranipul
Day 18: Trek from Taplejung to Ilam
Day 19: Drive or fly to Kathmandu
Day 20: International departure