Kanchenjunga North Base Camp Trek with outline itinerary
Here is a general itinerary for Kanchenjunga North Base Camp Trek. This itinerary is based on experience of our past trekking in Kanchenjunga. Here is a trek report page and trip gallery page. For general itinerary page, click here.
Kathmandu to Bhadrapur is a 45 minute, afternoon flight with good views of Everest, Lhotse, Makalu and Kanchenjunga. Bhadrapur to Birtamod is a 40 min drive in a private jeep. Overnight in Birtamod, then bus to Taplejung. Birtamod is a tropical place, mostly hot.
Birtamod to Taplejung by local bus. The road is sealed by takes 8 to 10 hours. You pass through beautifully terraced fields and hills.
Trek from Taplejung to Chirwa, mostly downhill, take 6-7 hours. Lunch in the village of Sinwa
Trek from Chirwa to Lelep 5-6 hrs, passing through Tapethok on the way. At Tapethok the restricted area starts and we pass through a checkpoint. As there are no teahouses until Lelep we have both lunch and dinner there.
Lelep to Amjilosa, 5 hrs. Lunch in Lamatar. The track passes through a series of waterfalls which makes the track slippery in places.
Amjilosa to Gyabla 5 hrs. A cultural change occurs and locals start to be more Tibetan. Lunch in Thangyem. You begin seeing yaks, the symbols of the high Himalaya.
Gyabla to Ghunsa. Ghunsa is like the capital of Kanchenjunga. It’s a large Sherpa village, on the Ghunsa River, with a very old monastery. Accommodation is very nice and so are the meals. There is telephone and internet facilities available but as of Nov 2015, it took almost an hour to send two email. Lunch in Phole, then a 3 hrs walks from Gyabla. From Phole it is 1 hrs to Ghunsa. There are many Tibetan refugees in Phole and you can buy excellent souvenirs.
Acclimatization day in Ghunsa, with a day hike to a near by ridge with excellent views of Jannu Peak. Packed lunches should be taken. It’s 3 hrs up to the ridge and 2 hrs down again. You can leave summer gear here in Ghunsa, as you will be coming back.
Ghunsa to Kambachen 5-6 hrs. A packed lunch is needed as there is nothing in between. We cross several wooden bridges and a section prone to landslides which can alter the trail.
Another rest day, to acclimatize. There is also an excellent side trip from Kambachen which is very similar to Ghunsa except with views to Kanchenjunga. A new hotel is being constructed in Kambachen and as of Nov 2015 there are phone facilities.
Kambachen to Lhonak, 5 hrs. We trek up a wide valley next to the glacier with excellent views on both sides. The trail becomes rough with large boulders and accommodation in Lhonak is basic but views are great and a large grassy plain for camping.
Lhonak to Pangpema, 3 hrs along a well formed trail. Accommodation at the teahouse in Pangpema is not guaranteed, it might be closed or full. Because of this we normally do a day trip but depending on the situation, you can also spend a night in Pangpema. Consult with your guide. Have lunch in Pangpema, take a thousand pictures of the Kanchenjunga North Face and then return to Lhonak.
From Lhonak it is 8 hrs walk back to Ghunsa, mostly downhill, back to civilization. Don’t forget to collect any equipment left there. We usually lunch in Kambachen on the way down.
Ghunsa to Amjilosa, 7hrs mostly downhill. We can have lunch in Gyabla. You know the trail right?
Amjilosa to Tapethok, 7 hrs walk back down, and out of the restricted area of Kanchenjunga.
Tapethok to Mitlung, 6-7 hrs.
Mitlung to Taplejung, 4 hrs steep climb. If you use private transport back to Birtamod, you can drive back on the same day. Otherwise you need to wait until next morning to catch local bus. Private jeep is expensive compared to local bus.
Taplejung to Birtamod, 8 to 10 hrs drive.
Birtamod to Bhadrapur via private jeep, 40 minutes drive and fly back to Kathmandu.