In the eastern region of Nepal rises the world’s 3rd highest mountain, Kanchenjunga (8,586m). The trek to the base camp of Kanchenjunga is considered a challenging adventure. Mount K2 is the Second Highest Mountain while Kanchenjunga is the 3rd highest.
The well-known trekking routes like Everest Base Camp Trek, Poon Hill Trek, Annapurna Base Camp Trek, and Langtang Trek, to name a few, draw thousands of trekkers every year. And treks like Kanchenjunga Circuit Trek hardly welcome any trekkers.
But recently, seasoned trekkers are admiring this trek and heading to base camp as few teahouses have sprung in the region to facilitate trekkers. Although previously, camping was the only option making trekkers indecisive about the trek.
One of the many reasons why this trek is not so popular is the remoteness, and of course, the difficulty level plays its part. Kanchenjunga circuit trek traverses the less-traveled trekking route in the Kanchenjunga region of Nepal. Arguably very few trekkers make their way to the base camp of Kanchenjunga every year. And if you are among those, this blog will definitely help you plan and prepare for the trek, given that you haven’t trekked yet!
Trekking Duration and Route
Kanchenjunga Circuit Trek takes you to both base camps of Kanchenjunga: Kanchenjunga South Base Camp and Kanchenjunga North Base Camp. For 3 weeks, trekkers will explore the off-beaten trekking route nestled in Kanchenjunga Conservation Area. The trail features terraces, sub-tropical river valleys, lush forests, waterfalls, remote villages, alpine meadows and alpine tundra.
Starting from Kathmandu, first, the itinerary is designed to take you to the north side base camp of Kanchenjunga from Mitlung village. From the base camp, one can admire impressive views of Kanchenjunga, Januu, and Chang Himal. The sight is truly magical. The next stop will be the south base camp.
The trek gets even interesting and challenging as you will cross several mountain passes like Selele La, Mirgin La, and Sinion La Pass. Again, the views are breathtaking. The day is all yours to embrace stunning views of the Himalayas.
En route, you might even spot elusive wildlife like snow leopards, blue sheep, and red pandas. The pristine Himalayas valley in this region is home to some of the endangered wild animals. Visiting the temporary settlements of Kambachen and Lhonak, Ramtang and Oktang monasteries, and crossing some high mountain passes are some of the perks of trekking to the base camp of Kanchenjunga.
After that, Mitlung, Sukethum, Amjilosa, Gyabla, Kambachen, Lhonak, High Camp, Tseram, Ramche, Oktang Viewpoint, Yamphudin, Phumphe Danda, and Lali Kharka are some of the major stopping points of the Kanchenjunga Circuit Trek itinerary. You will commence the adventure by flying Kathmandu to Biratnagar and for the next 19 days or so, you will trek through the rugged trail exploring the base camp before flying back to Kathmandu.
Highlights of Kanchenjunga Circuit Trek
- Traverse through the unspoiled Kanchenjunga Conservation Area (KCA)
- Explore remote villages of Ghunsa, Lhonak, and Kambachen
- Explore both Kanchenjunga North Base Camp and Kanchenjunga South Base Camp
- Visit ancient Ramtang and Oktang monasteries
- Cross high mountains pass: Selele La, Mirgin La, and Sinion La
- Enjoy stunning views of mountains like Kanchenjunga, Kabru Range, Mera Peak, Kokthang, and surrounding peaks.
Best time to do Kanchenjunga Circuit Trek
The Kanchenjunga Circuit Trek is a challenging 2- 3 week trek that takes you through the Himalayan mountain range of Nepal. The trek passes through Kanchenjung Region of Nepal.
The Kanchenjunga Circuit Trek can be done anytime of the year for experience Trekker. However, it is best to avoid the monsoon season which falls between June and September as this is when there are heavy rains and landslides in some parts of the trail.
October and November (Recommended Season)
October and November are the best time of the year to trek to Kanchenjunga Base Camp. The weather favors walking throughout the day and bestows clear sky with sky dominated by the lofty mountains.
April to May
March to May can also be considered for the trek while avoiding trekking from June to September.Never schedule your trek during the winter and rainy seasons. Teahouses at higher altitudes remain closed during winter.
Kanchenjunga Trekking Permits
Kanchenjunga Circuit Trek is a famous trekking route in the Eastern Himalayas of Nepal. It offers a chance to explore the remote regions of Nepal Himalayas. The trek is also called “Kanchenjunga Base Camp Trek or Kanchenjunga Circuit trek, it passes through Kanchenjunga National Park, which is home to Kanchenjunga, the third-highest peak in the world. The trek starts from Yumthang Valley and passes through several high altitude valleys such as Tseri, and Lhonak. It is considered as one of the most difficult treks because of its high altitude passes and glaciers. This Trekking require 2 type of permits because
You need two permits to trek to the base camp:
- Restricted Area Permit (Kanchenjunga RAP) valid for 2 weeks. It costs USD 20 per week.
- Kanchenjunga Conservation Area Project (KCAP) Entry Permit. It costs USD 20 for the whole period.
Food on the your Kanchenjunga Trek
Expect to eat the food menu offered by the local teahouses. Dal Bhat is the best deal. You can have Tibetan bread, egg, toast, or pancakes for breakfast. You can also expect noodles, fried rice, fried potatoes, and of course, momo on the menu. For drink, you can choose from tea, hot lemon, coffee, and soft drinks like coke.
Accommodation in Kanchenjunga Circuit Trek
Firstly, The Kanchenjunga Circuit Trek is one of the most popular treks in the Nepal. This trek also called off-the-beaten path trek, is a delight for trekkers. However, apart from the basic tea houses there are not many good accommodation options available in this region compare to city area. There are a few tea houses and homestay in on route that offer basic amenities to guests.
All villages along the route have simple accommodations. The teahouses offer dorm-style rooms with a simple wooden bed. In case of the unavailability of a teahouse or homestay, the only option is camping. Please note that there are no luxury lodges.
How difficult is Kanchenjunga Trek
Kanchenjunga trek is a long and challenging trek. The trail encompasses difficult passes above 4000m, rocky and undulating paths, isolated trails, and remote villages. The adventure to the base camp takes you to the soaring height of 5,143m/16,880ft.
Similarly, considering all these, it is hard to say that novice trekkers can do the trek. But if he is healthy and can walk for 5-6 hours a day through unrelenting up and down, he can complete the trek. Generally, seasoned trekkers are recommended to embark on this trek.
Guide for Kanchenjunga Circuit Trek
It is a challenging trek which offers unparalleled views of the Himalayas.This trek starts from the village of Taplejung and takes around 15-20 days to complete. The trail passes through beautiful villages, alpine meadows, forests, and high altitude pastures.
This trek is not for beginners as it requires a good level of fitness and some previous experience with hiking or other outdoor activities.
In Conclusion, Can you trek in the Kanchenjunga region without a guide? No. A trekker must be accompanied by a licensed guide. Independent trekking is not allowed in this region because Kanchenjunga Region is restricted Area Need Restricted area permit. You have to organize the trek through a Nepalese travel agency/Authorized Trekking Agency only.