Kanchenjunga Circuit Trek

Kanchenjunga Circuit Trek

"Join our team of expert native guides and porters on one of the most challenging and adventurous journeys in the north-eastern Himalayas of Nepal, the Kanchenjunga circuit. Spend 18 days exploring the offbeat trekking routes and enjoying breathtaking mountain views on this trek."

If you are a fan of the Manaslu Circuit and Annapurna Circuit, then our Kanchenjunga trek will be the best trekking destination in Nepal. This 21-day adventure involves trekking at high altitudes through dense forests and remote settlements. You will be traversing around the Nepal-Sikkim (India) border on this trek. The journey takes you close to Mt. Kanchenjunga, the third-highest mountain in the world.

The Kanchenjunga circuit trek is also known as the Kanchenjunga trek, Kanchenjunga base camp trek or Kanchnjunga trekking, as it takes you to the south and north base camps of Mount Kanchenjunga. Opened in 1988, the Kanchenjunga Circuit is one of Nepal's most challenging and least-visited trekking routes. The inaccessibility of the trail from Kathmandu and the poor tourist infrastructure keep the crowd away from this mystical part of the Himalayas. 

And thanks to that, the natural beauty of this region and its cultural heritage remain intact. Moreover, the government of Nepal has made Kanchenjunga a restricted region, so trekking here also requires an expensive special permit. The trekking route is quite demanding, and the overall high expense keeps the Kanchenjunga circuit trail unbothered by the crowd of travelers. 

We only recommend Kanchenjunga circuit trekking to individuals who have previously done other trekking in Nepal or at least have strong fitness and will. This trek is not for beginner trekkers. Also, you cannot do the Kanchenjunga circuit trek solo. As per the regulations, you have to do this trek with a local travel company like us and in a group of a minimum of two trekkers (not including guides and porters). 

Kanchenjunga is the world’s third-highest mountain, located in the far north-eastern region of Nepal. The mountain peak is considered one of the most beautiful mountains in the world. Kanchenjunga trekking has an equally growing popularity, especially among adventure seekers. The trekking zone is isolated, natural, and very challenging, making it a journey to remember for life.

The natural and untouched trekking area offers a great view of landscapes and mountain peaks, along with the unique lifestyle of the remote villages. The trek starts from Suketar and enters the wonderful tropical lowlands and alpine meadows, vibrant rhododendron forests, exciting green valleys, and chilling icy glaciers. The Kanchenjunga region is a hidden valley with many mysterious places yet to be unraveled. The thrill of the trekking in the region makes it an ideal destination for adventure seekers. Trekking in this region is a very challenging task, but the trekkers are rewarding with the astounding brilliance of the Himalayas.

The Kanchenjunga Conservation Area has been protecting the wild flora and fauna and is a major attraction of the region. The Conservation Area shelters rare species like the snow leopard, Himalayan black bear, musk deer, red panda and many varieties of birds like the Impheyan, pheasant, red-billed blue magpie, drongo, etc.

Kanchenjunga Trekking Route, Kanchenjunga Trek Route

Depending on the convenience, accessibility, and reliability of the transportation, there are different routes to the Kanchenjunga Trek.

  1. By taking a 40-minute flight from Kathmandu to Suketar and a 5- to 6-hour drive from Suketar to Sukethum, one can reach the starting and ending points of this trek. The trek then begins, taking 7 days to reach Kanchenjunga North Base Camp at a height of 5,143 meters. In four more days, it will arrive at Kanchenjunga South Base Camp (4730 m). It takes about two days to return to Sukethum from the south base camp, where it ends. Then, take a Jeep back to Suketar Airport, where you can catch a flight back to Kathmandu. 

    This route is not strongly advised, depending on the dependability of the transportation. Because the weather at Suketar airport hinders regular operations of the Kathmandu-Suketar flight, which will also affect your trekking itinerary.

  2. Another route to get to the starting and ending points of the trek is to take a 40-minute flight from Kathmandu to Bhadrapur, then an 8- to 9-hour drive to Taplejung, and then a 5- to 6-hour drive to Suketham.

    The trek then begins, taking 7 days to reach Kanchenjunga North Base Camp at a height of 5,143 meters. In four more days, it will arrive at Kanchenjunga South Base Camp (4730 m). After returning to Sukethum, which takes about two days, it finally comes to an end. Then, take a Jeep back to Bhadrapur Airport, where you can catch a flight back to Kathmandu. Depending on the reliability of the transportation, this is a better route to Kanchenjunga Trek.

Kanchenjunga Trek Itinerary

There are a variety of day itineraries for the Kanchenjunga Trek that range in length from 18 to 21 days, depending on your level of fitness, trekking pace, needs, and preferences. The majority of the companies have designed short-day itineraries as if you were in a 100-meter race. So, to the best of my knowledge, you should enjoy your trip as a leisure traveler, not a runner. However, we can adjust it to meet your needs and preferences. The best and most popular of these is the 21-day itinerary from Kathmandu to the Kanchenjunga Base Camp and back to Kathmandu. This 21-day schedule is flexible and can be lengthened or shortened by 1 to 5 days. Please contact us for the best Kanchenjunga Circuit Trek itinerary based on your requirements and preferences.  Please get in touch with us for the best Manaslu Circuit Trek itinerary based on your needs and preferences.

Kanchenjunga Trek Cost

The price of the Kanchenjunga Trekking varies depending on various factors like the number of people in the group, level of accommodation, type of transportation, duration of the trek, and services included. It depends on your requirements and preferences. Typically, it varies between USD 1450 and USD 2400. However, it might increase if you prefer more luxurious options, such as private transportation instead of sharing, a higher level of accommodation, an add-on program, and a longer trek than the above itinerary. Kidly, get in touch with us for the best price and trustworthy services that meet your needs and preferences.

Kanchenjunga trek difficulty, altitude sickness, and acclimatization

The Kanchenjunga trek starts at 200 meters and goes up to 5,143 meters (16,873 ft). Despite its considerable altitude, this trek is not inherently risky as long as you adhere to a few guidelines. This trek entails a relatively long duration of trekking with numerous obstacles along the way, including mountain passes, rivers, gorges, glaciers, rocky hills, and steep ascents and descents. Some days require over 8 hours of continuous walking, making it physically demanding. So, travelers have to be physically strong. 

On Kanchenjunga trekking, you have to be aware of two significant challenges.

Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) and the unpredictable climate. The thin air at high altitudes can quickly exhaust even the fittest individuals, adding to the overall difficulty of the trek. Our Kanchenjunga circuit trek itinerary has ample acclimatization days to help you avoid altitude sickness. 

Physical fitness and preparations for the Kanchenjunga base camp trek

The Kanchenjunga trek route involves numerous steep ascents and descents. The trail itself is rugged and challenging, demanding long hours of walking. As you ascend to higher elevations, the air becomes thinner, and the cold climate can take a toll on your body. If you are not physically fit, this trek has the potential to turn into a nightmare experience for you.

While the rewards of the Kanchenjunga base camp trek are undoubtedly great, they come at the price of enduring difficult and strenuous walking conditions. Endurance is not only a matter of physical strength but also mental resilience. The trek primarily consists of tea house accommodations, where modern facilities are virtually nonexistent. Services are limited to the bare minimum, and you may find yourself having to pay extra for basic amenities such as hot showers, internet access, charging facilities, and even drinking water.

To prepare yourself for this trek in Nepal, the best approach is to engage in physical training and, if possible, undertake a few smaller hikes or short treks beforehand. Incorporate cardio exercises into your routine, such as jogging, running, long walks, cycling, climbing stairs, and swimming, to improve your overall stamina. Additionally, focus on building your muscle strength and core body fitness to tackle the demanding terrain effectively.

Best Time For Kanchenjunga Trekking

You can do the Kanchenjunga Trekking in the spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November). Both of these boast stable weather and a pleasant climate, which is very much needed for safe trekking, and are considered the best time for Kanchenjunga trekking. If you wish to witness a picture-perfect landscape with vibrant and blooming flowers and lush greenery against the backdrop of snow-capped mountains and foothills, then spring is the ideal choice for you. 

Likewise, if you want to immerse yourself in Nepalese culture, witness its biggest festivals, and traverse through dry and exotic landscapes, then autumn is the perfect time to embark on the Kanchenjunga Circuit Trek. This season offers clear skies, excellent visibility, and a chance to explore the region's unique terrain.

Kanchenjunga Circuit Trek Itinerary

Upon arrival in Kathmandu, meet and greet at the international airport and transfer to the hotel. A short briefing of the trip. Check in to the hotel and rest for refreshment. Overnight at the hotel in Kathmandu.

After breakfast, pick up from the hotel and proceed to the sightseeing tour in Kathmandu, especially the UNESCO world cultural heritage sites, which include Pashupatinath Temple, Boudhanath Stupa, Swoyambhunath Stupa, and Kathmandu Durbar Square, for the experience of a beautiful fusion of religion, culture, and history. These heritage monuments reflect the centuries-old culture, arts, and architecture of Nepal, which are medieval charms of the Malla Dynasty. After the tour, drop off at the hotel and make preparations for the Kanchenjunga circuit trek, including a permit, trekking gear, and trekking equipment. Overnight at the hotel in Kathmandu.

After breakfast, drive to the TIA domestic terminal for the flight to Bhadrapur. Fly to Bhadrapur for about 40 minutes. Then, drive to Taplejung for 9–10 hours through the Mechi Highway, enjoying the beautiful landscape of the green tea garden on the way. Overnight at a Lodge in Ta

After breakfast, drive to Sukethum, which takes about 5–6 hours to get there. This is a mountain drive that offers beautiful landscapes dotted with green hills, terraced farmland, traditional villages, rivers, and thick forests. This is also a trekking route, even though we take the jeep drive to make the trek short. Overnight at a Tea house in Sukethum, Taplejung.

After breakfast, start the trek to Amjilosa after a 2- day drive. This adventurous journey starts with an ascent along the Ghunsa Khola (local stream river), which passes over many bridges, verdant trees, and the small villages of Jonggim and Ghaiyabari and finally reaches Amjikhola after 5–6 hours of hiking. Overnight at the Tea House in Amjilosa.

After breakfast, start the trek to Gyabla for 5–6 hours. Today, the trek goes through a dense forest without any human settlement in between. If we are lucky, we get to see the rarest animal, the "Red Panda," on the route. After the uphill climb, we get to see the magnificent view of mountains and several waterfalls in between the route. Overnight stay at the teahouse in Gyabla.

After breakfast, start the trek to Ghunsa for 5–6 hours. At first, the trek gets to Phale village by passing through woodlands with a wide range of flora and fauna. Then reaches Ghunsa, continuing it. Overnight at the teahouse in Ghunsa.

After breakfast, start the trek to Khambachen for 5–6 hours. The trek begins with a gradual ascent and passes through an open pine forest, offering a chance to see  herds of blue sheep and, if lucky, snow leopards. Then the trek passes through landslide-prone areas, offering magnificent views of Mt. Jannu, encounters the green glacier valley, and ultimately reaches Khambachen. Overnight at the teahouse in Khambachen.

This is a rest and acclimatization day after several days of trekking. Our bodies need to adjust to the high-altitude climate to prevent possible mountain sickness. Explore the glaciers, lakes, and viewpoints close to it that our bodies are used to. We can meet other trekkers returning and travelling to Kanchenjunga North Base Camp. Overnight at the teahouse in Khambachen.

After breakfast, start the trek to Lhonak for 4-5 hours. Today, the trek is quite challenging and goes through Kanchenjunga glaciers, passes through Ramdang, Ramdang monastery, and reaches the border of Lhonak and Kanchenjunga glaciers. Walking forward, it gets to a tiny settlement called Lhonak with a few teahouses. Overnight at a teahouse in Lhonak.

After breakfast, hike to Kanchengunja North base camp and back to Lhonak, it takes around 5-6 hours. The trek ascends gradually, following moraines, and reaches Kanchngunja North Base Camp. The mesmerizing view of the World’s eighth-highest mountain, Mt. Kanchenjunga, and the prayer flags around it really make us breathless and feel the reward of long days of trekking. Hike down to Lhonak and overnight at the teahouse in Lhonak.

After breakfast, trek back to Ghunsa for 7-8 hours, retracing the same trail, leaving behind the Kanchenjunga north base camp, and taking a good memory for a lifetime experience. Overnight at a teahouse in Ghunsa.

After breakfast, start the trek to Sele Le Base Camp, which takes about 5–6 hours. The trek passes through a dense forest and offers a chance to see the snow leopard. There are only a few teahouses that are open during the trekking season. If the tea houses are closed, there is no option other than reaching the next day’s stop, Tseram, for an overnight stay. Overnight stay at the teahouse in Sele Le Base Camp.

After breakfast, start the trek to Tseram for 6-7 hours. Most of the trek passes through high-altitude passes like Sinion La (4440 m/2758 ft), Mirgin La (4480 m/2783 ft), and Sinelapche Bhanjyang (4645 m/2886 ft). This high pass hike offers an awe-inspiring view of Mt. Jannu, Everest, Makalu, Baruntse, Chamlang, and Kanchenjunga. After crossing these passes, the trek descends to Tseram. Overnight at the teahouse in Tseram.

After an early breakfast, start the trek to the Kanchenjunga south base camp and then back to Tseram, which takes about 7-8 hours. In the beginning, the trek goes through Yalung glacier and offers views of Rathong (6682m) and Kabru (7412m), then reaches Ramche for lunch. After lunch, hike to Oktang or Kanchenjunga South Base Camp. Enjoy the three summits of Mt. Kanchenjunga (8420m, 8586m, and 8474m) and other giant peaks, exploring this untouched, unexplored area by many trekkers, Kanchenjunga Base Camp, and then trekking back to Tseram. Overnight at the teahouse in Tseram.

After breakfast, trek to Tortong for 6-7 hours on the descent trail, leaving the snow-capped mountain as a backdrop. It goes through the rhododendron forest and Simbuwa Khola, with Himalayan views on the way, and reaches Tortong. Overnight at the teahouse in Totong.

After breakfast, start the trek to Sukethum along the side of Simbuwa Khola (the Simbuwa River), which takes about 5–6 hours. The trek goes on the trail, which is a gradual descent. Overnight at the Lodge in Sukethum.

After breakfast, drive back to Taplejung on a shared Jeep, which takes about 5 hours to get to Taplejung. Overnight at the lodge in Tapl

After breakfast, drive back to Bhadrapur which takes about 9-10 hours. Overnight at hotel in Bhadrapur.

After breakfast, fly back to Kathmandu, which takes about 45 minutes to get to the Kathmandu domestic airport terminal. Upon arrival in Kathmandu, transfer to the hotel. Check into the hotel and rest for refreshments. Enjoy the free time by shopping at souvenir shops or hanging around Thamel (the tourist hub). Overnight at the hotel in Kathmandu.

Leisure until departure. Transfer to the international Airport to board the flight.

Kanchenjunga Circuit Trek Equipment

The Kanchenjunga Circuit Trek is a hard and challenging trek. You should be fit physically as well as mentally. You should have proper trekking gear, clothes, and a positive mindset. Focusing on all these parameters, the below packing list is required for Kanchenjunga trekking. 

  • Backpack (40–50 liters)
  • Sleeping bag (comfortable to -15°C)
  • Water bottles (1-2 liters) and water purification tablets.
  • Trekking poles (one pair per person)
  • LED headlamp with extra batteries.
  • Insulated down jacket.
  • Thermal underwear.
  • Trekking pants (wind and water proof), T- shirts.
  • Sun glasses,sun hat (summer season), wool hat (winter season).
  • Water proof trekking or hiking boots, sandals, midweigh wool socks & gloves.
  • Neck gaiters (winter season).
  • Wet wipes, hand sanitizer.
  • Sunscreen and lip balm.
  • First aid kit.

Kanchenjunga Circuit Trek Trip Map
Trip Map

Useful Information Kanchenjunga Circuit Trek
Useful Information

  • Offbeat trekking follows a less crowded and tranquil trekking route.
  • The perfect trek in Nepal for trekkers who wish to advance their level and push themselves.
  • Reach the north and south base camps of Mt. Kanchenjunga, the third-highest mountain in the world.
  • Overnight stays in beautiful remote villages along the trekking route.
  • Get to know the locals and discover their unique way of life and ancient practices.
  • Trek through verdant rhododendron and bamboo forests, gradually ascending to towering peaks and isolated glaciers.
  • You may get to see exclusive wildlife like snow leopards, red pandas, Himalayan black bears, Assamese macaques, etc.
  • Witness diverse landscapes and stunning mountain views, along with many gorgeous sunrises and sunsets.
  • Visit ancient monasteries on the way and enjoy tea house overnight stays.

Kanchenjunga Circuit Trek

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