Kanchenjunga Trek Itinerary From North to South
Below is the day by day itinerary for Kanchenjunga Circuit Trek Clockwise, i.e Kanchenjunga North to South Trek. This itinerary is based on the past trips and some corrections. To know real trekkers stories you can check trek report and trek gallery. Also for other available options here is general page for Kanchenjunga Itinerary.
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 hr walk from Gyabla. From Phole it is 1 hr 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.
Ghunsa to Sele Le Base Camp, 4 – 5 hrs. Take a pack lunch, as there is only one teahouse in Sele Le. Well not a teahouse just a basic hut. Many trekkers have spotted snow leopards in this section of the Kanchenjunga Circuit.
Sele Le Base Camp to Cheram via Sinion La and Miring La, this a tough uphill climb to the top of the pass. The views north up the valley are amazing on a clear day. You can see Makalu and Everest on your way up. There is no teahouse in between Sele Le Base Camp and Cheram, so a packed lunch is needed. From the top of the pass it is down to Cheram is 8 – 9 hrs. Some people trek from Cheram and Ghunsa in one day, skipping the overnight in Sele Le Base Camp.
Cheram to Ramche, 3 hrs. Lunch in Ramche, then you can hike another 2 hrs toward the Kanchenjunga South Base Camp. Overnight in Ramche, but accommodation is very basic.
Ramche to Torongding, 6 -7 hrs. This will be pretty easy walk, mostly descending where you may meet trekkers on their way up to Ramche. You then climb towards the pass at Cheram before Torongding.
Torongding to Yamphuding, 7 – 8 hrs. A little tough with frequent accents and descents. Yamphuding is the biggest village on the south side of Kanchenjunga, and from here you have two choices. Either trek back to Taplejung via same trail which takes 3 days, or trek a more interesting route towards Kamdime, which takes 2 days. From Taplejung it is an 8 – 10 hrs drive back to Birtamod. From Kamdime it is a 13 to 15 hrs drive back to Birtamod
Yamphuding to Khebang, 5 – 6 hrs. A low hill trek, passing through unspoiled local villages and terrace fields. This is a rarely used trail and was first used by our guide Dawa. Locals do not have a lot of contact with trekkers and are very friendly and curious. Homestay is available in Khebang.
Khebang to Kamdime, 6 – 7 hr. There is a regional school in Kamdime, with a play ground. The local teahouse is next door.
Drive from Kamdime to Birtamod, approximate 14 hrs. The first 3-4 hrs is off road, then you will merge in the Taplejung to Birtamod Highway.
Short (40 minute) drive back to Bhadrapur, then fly back to Kathmandu.
One day is used for unexpected contingencies, you might used that day to stay overnight in Pangpema or use an old trail back to Taplejung from Yamphuding.