5 Most important tips for Kanchenjunga Trek

  • Kishwor Adhikari
  • Last Updated on Nov 2, 2023

With the rise of tourism in Nepal, it is increasingly difficult to find a peaceful trail to trek. Hundreds of thousands of tourists visit Nepal each year, with many of them opting for the Everest region or Annapurna region routes. These areas are legendary for all the right reasons, but nowadays the trail can be crowded. If you are looking for a more authentic wilderness experience, the Kanchenjunga region might be calling your name. Depending on the season, it is possible to walk for several days without seeing another trekker. Nothing compares to the solitude and cultural immersion that lies on these rugged, breathtaking routes.

Table of Contents

Some frequently discussed topics regarding Kanchenjunga trekking are:

With a height of 8,586 meters/28,169, Kanchenjunga is the third highest peak in the world, providing some of the Earth’s most superb trekking routes. The peak straddles the border of Sikkim, India and the easternmost border of Nepal, and is encircled by the Kanchenjunga Conservation Area. Stretching into Nepal, India, and Tibet, this sublime area is home to countless animal species (including over 250 types of birds!) and some of Nepal’s benevolent ethnic groups. 

As one of the most remote and challenging trekking regions in Nepal, Kanchenjunga makes you work for the views. The trails fluctuate between thousands of meters of altitude change, causing you to huff and puff to each glorious viewpoint. As the altitude changes, so do the climate and landscapes. Starting in the warm, sopping wet rainforest, cross rickety bridges over dramatic cliffs up to chilling abysmal valleys which are overlooked by mind-blowing peaks.

As you wander up the foothills, you share warm meals with delightful locals. The food along the trail is basic, consisting mostly of Bal Bhat, chow mien, fried rice, and noodle soup for lunch and dinner and different variations of porridge for breakfast. Dal Bhat is the standard meal in Nepal. The typical plate consists of a heap of rice, vegetable (or meat) curry, spinach, pickled vegetables, and lentil soup, and is usually offered with refills. Remember the saying, hunger is the best spice! As you traverse into the higher regions, amenities become sparser, but you will realize that giving up a little comfort for the grandiose of the Himalayas is a small sacrifice.

Depending on your desires, you can make this a camping trek or a teahouse trek. There are teahouses in each of the overnight stops, but if you prefer to rough it, we can make each package a camping excursion. In Taplejung and Bhadrapur, accommodation is more luxurious– that is, there are places with air-conditioning and hot water if you are willing to pay a little extra. There is no better way to finish off a long, arduous trek with a hot shower and a cold beer!

The TIMS permit is not required for any of the treks, but we will arrange the necessary Kanchenjunga Conservation Area Permit for you. If you would like to see a packing list for the Kanchenjunga treks, check out our Travel Advice page. We warmly welcome any questions you have about the Kanchenjunga treks. Come join us on the most underrated treks in Nepal!

Culture and LifeStyle 

Despite the area being sparsely populated and having a population of just more the 120,000 people, you can find a mosaic of cultures. The population is ethnically Tibeto-Burman. The ethnic groups you will find are mostly Rai, Limbu, Tamang, Jirel, Thakali, Magar, Gurung, and Sherpa, who live in the highest altitude areas. These groups each have their own identity, including different language, food, celebrations, etc. They have all adapted to the climatic and topographical challenges that they face.

They are almost exclusivelyBuddhist with similar lifestyles to their northern neighbors in Tibet. The numerous shrines and monasteries are a testament to their spiritual piety. Those who are not involved in tourism rely on farming, pastoral nomadism, and agro-pastoralism to live. Trekking through the hills, admire the pristinely terraced fields, perfect for growing rice and other crops. It is one thing to learn about local ethnic groups by reading, but experiential learning is the best way to gain knowledge about them.

Kanchenjunga Base Camp

Kanchenjunga Base Camp is locally known as Pang Pema and sits at a skyscraping 5,140 meters/16,863 feet. The views literally and figuratively take your breath away. Reaching the often-snow-covered base camp is a moment cherish for your entire life. You will see the memorials of those who have passed away while attempting to summit the enormous peak. In the distance, Makalu (8481 meters/27,824 feet), Jannu (7710 meters/25,295 feet), and Kabru (7412 meters/24,317 feet) lay before your eyes. With clear skies, the entirety of Kanchenjunga can be seen perfectly. It is a humbling experience to be at such great heights where little life, and no permanent human habitation, can exist.

How do I Start the Kanchenjunga Treks?

Book a trip with us! Check out our Kanchenjunga Region Trekking page for our packages. All our Kanchenjunga treks begin with an overnight drive from Kathmandu to Birtamod. The following day, we drive further to Taplejung, also known as Suketar. Taplejung is the departure point for all treks in the Kanchenjunga area.

Depending on your preference, we can skip the overnight drive and fly directly to Taplejung, about a 45-minute flight, for an extra cost. Alternatively, it is possible to fly from Kathmandu to Bhadrapur and then make the 10-hour drive from Bhadrapur to Taplejung, which takes about 8 hours. Depending on your time/budget, we’ll help you decide the best option for you.

How Long are the Kanchenjunga Treks?

Our three Kanchenjunga treks vary in length and distance. The Kanchenjunga Trek package is 27 days, with 21 days of trekking. The Kanchenjunga South Base Camp Treklasts 20 days with 15 days on the trail. Lastly, the Kanchenjunga North Base Camp Trek is 22 days, with 16 days of trekking. Officially, there is no official mile or kilometer count of the Kanchenjunga trails, but they are each around or over 100 miles/160 kilometers.

What can I see on Kanchenjunga Trek?

In terms of mountain peaks, you’ll be surrounded by the highest in the world. For instance, at Pang Pema, you’ll see more than a dozen staggering peaks. If the weather is right, you may be able to see Mount Everest (8848 meters/29,029 feet) from Sele Le Pass or Miring La Pass. Overall, the mountain views are unparalleled. As you reach into the higher areas, for example, Lhonak, it is nothing but rugged peaks surrounding you.

Beyond mountain peaks, you will see a beautiful diversity of culture (mentioned above) as well as rich biodiversity. Some of the wildlife along the trail includes the snow leopard, musk deer, goral, blue sheep, Himalayan black bear, yaks, serow, and the common leopard. An array of trees, including the rhododendron, brighten up the landscape.

Kishwor Adhikari

Kishwor Adhikari

Call us on WhatsApp+977 9851045078OrChat with us