Mt. Kanchenjunga (8,586m), is the third highest mountain in the world after Mount Everest and K2,It is situated in the Kanchenjunga Conservation Area which was designated as a conservation area in March 1998 and covers an area of 2035 sq km in the Taplejung district, in the north eastern corner of Nepal.
The region comprises some of the most stunning scenery to be found anywhere in Nepal. It is also a global hotspot for plant biodiversity. 23 species of rhododendrons alone have been identified by botanists in the area. Its rich forests support more than 250 species of birds and endangered wildlife like the Snow Leopard and the Red Panda.
A trek to the base camps of Kanchanjunga is a remarkable and memorable journey with fantatic high mountain vistas. Translated into English Kanchenjunga means clear crystal. The trek centers around the Arun river, the culture of the local people living in this area is as diverse and colorful as the nature here. Sherpa and Gurung communities are predominant in the northern part of the region whilst Rai, Limbu, Magar, Tamang, Brahman and Chhetri dominate the south.
Extremely rich in natural beauty Kanchanjunga Conservation Areaprovides a habitat to numerous wild animals, birds and exotic plants orchids,rhododendrons lilies, primula are amongst the many species of flowers. The region also serves as a habitat to the elusive snow leopard, Himalayan black bear, musk deer and red panda,birdlife includes Impheyan, pheasant, red-billed blue magpie, shy drongo.
The trek is fairly strenuous so you need to be fit but the rewards are well worth the effort. If you are looking for something out of the way and off the beaten trails which is rich in flora and fauna and some tremendous views this may well be the trek for you.
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 tropical and, mostly hot.
Birtamod to Taplejung by local bus. The road is sealed and takes 8 to 10 hours. You pass through beautifully terraced fields and hills
Taplejung to Simbu, 8 hrs. It’s a long first day on the start towards Kanchenjunga South. You walk through terraced fields and forest, passing local teashop and lodges.
Simbu to Khesewa, 5 – 6 hrs. Nice views of the Himalayas where you are heading towards over the next few days. Similar to the previous day walk, terraced field, local shops and lodges.
Khesewa to Mamangkhe, 5-6 hrs. Mamangkhe is the heart of the Limbu cultural region. There is a museum and cultural center in Mamangkhe. Also the Rai and Kirat ethnics groups live in Mamangkhe. Some people just trek up to Mamangkhe, and then return. This trek is named the Limbu Cultural trail.
Mamangkhe to Yamphuding, Yamphuding the biggest village in south side of Kanchenjunga. We spend a rest day here.
Well earned rest day in Yamphuding, which helps with acclimatizing. There are no higher side trips so just explore the village and get to know the locals.
Yamphuding to Tortong (Torongding), is a long walk of 9 hrs. The trail is mostly up, and passes through yak pastures and dense forest in some parts.
Yamphuding to Cheram, 4 – 5 hrs. A short day with nice views of a mix of forest and mountains.
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 to Taplejung.
Drive to Bhadrapur and fly to Kathmandu . The first 3-4 hrs is off road, then you will merge in the Taplejung to Birtamod Highway to Taplejung.