Kanchenjunga North Base Camp & Olangchung Gola - Nepal

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An amazing Himalayan trek through the diverse and sublimely beautiful Kanchenjunga region in Nepal's exotic far east!

Majestic Kanchenjunga (8598 meters) is the world’s third highest mountain, surpassed only by Everest and K2. It is certainly one of the most spectacular massifs in the Himalayan range, rising majestically from the borders of Nepal and Sikkim (India). The region, inhabited by Tibetans and Limbus living in remote mountain villages, can be approached by both the Nepal and the Indian sides. Our trek along the Great Himalayan Trail to Kanchenjunga begins in Tumlingtar, in the Makalu region of Nepal.

Kanchenjunga is worshipped by the Tibetans in Sikkim as the home of their protector gods so isn't climbed as much as the other Himalayan mountains. The first attempt to climb Kanchenjunga was in 1905 by Aleister Crowley, but the first successful attempt at climbing wasn't until the British expedition of 1955. Located east of the great cleft of the Arun Salpa valley, the Kanchenjunga region receives the heaviest monsoon rains in all of the Himalaya. Its middle hills are lush, green and semi-tropical, full of seasonal flowers and foliage. Opened to trekking 1988, the Kanchenjunga region provides an opportunity to visit Rai and Limbu villages in the lush middle hills, and pristine forests, Himalayan glaciers and far-flung Tibetan villages higher up.

We start our journey in Tumlingtar, in the north-east of Nepal, gateway to the Arun Salpa valley leading to Tibet as well as the Everest, Makalu and Kanchenjunga regions. Trekking through a region of Rai villages, lush rainforests, patchworks of farmland and traditional mud-brick houses, we head north into an alpine world of birch, coniferous woodland and tumbling mountain streams. Beyond the tree line the landscape changes again, with the mighty Kanchenjunga massif presenting some of the most impressive high mountaiscenery on earth.

Our trek takes us northeast through remote Tibetan and Limbu villages. Kanchenjunga is the homeland of the Limbu people, who speak a dialect of Tibetan and follow a mixture of Buddhist, Hindi and animist beliefs. We trek the Kanchenjunga glacier to the spectacular north base camp at Pang Pema. After taking a day to hike to the spectacular Jammu viewpoint, we visit the Tibetan village of Ghunsa before crossing the Nango La (477m) to remote Olangchung Gola. Heading south through the village-laden middle hills of eastern Nepal, we finish the trek at Taplejung and Bhadrapur, finally flying back to Kathmandu.

Come explore with us ...

Itinerary

Day 01: Arrive Kathmandu
Day 02: Fly Tumlingtar. Drive Chainpur
Day 03: Trek Nundhaki
Day 04: Trek Samgu
Day 05: Trek Dobhan
Day 06: Trek Siwan
Day 07: Trek Chirwa
Day 08: Trek Sukethum
Day 09: Trek Amjilosa
Day 10: Trek Kyapra
Day 11: Trek Phale
Day 12: Phale
Day 13: Trek Ghunsa
Day 14: Trek Kambachen
Day 15: Kambachen (Day hike Jannu viewpoint)
Day 16: Trek Lhonak
Day 17: Trek Pang Pema (Kanchenjunga North Base Camp)
Day 18: Trek Kambachen
Day 19: Trek Ghunsa
Day 20: Trek Kharka (High Camp)
Day 21: Thasa Khola Camp (Cross Nango La)
Day 22: Trek Olangchung Gola
Day 23: Olangchung Gola
Day 24: Trek Magawa
Day 25: Trek Sukethum
Day 26: Trek Chirwa
Day 27: Trek Phurumbu
Day 28: Trek Taplejung
Day 29: Drive Ilam & Bhadrapur
Day 30: Fly Kathmandu
Day 31: Kathmandu
Day 32: Depart

Highlights & Reviews

Trip Advisor Reviews

Trekkers Comments
Trekking in the Himalaya, for me, was a lifelong dream. I am so glad I went with Kamzang Journeys on the Kanchenjunga to Makalu Trek! We had the most fantastic crew of porters who are cared for with kindness and compassion by Kim and Lhakpa. I felt like I was a part of something special, something beyond beautiful peaks and high passes. We were trekking during the month of the great earthquakes in Nepal in April - May 2015, so our trek had many challenges all of which were met with thoughtful consideration for our safety and the safety of our porters. We became a close knit group. The terrain was dazzling, the food well thought out and very considerate of dietary restrictions all due to Kim's careful planning. We had individual tents. Our Kamzang-style community tent was comfortable full of wonderful tea, rugs, sling chairs, books and music- making camp time a warm wonderful place to chill out. Kim has this absolutely sorted. Our trekking days were well managed, Kim's genuine interest in the local people and her ability to communicate with the locals made our village visits intimate. This was a trek of a lifetime for me, which I am happy to say will be the first of many with the wonderful Kamzang team. I feel like I have made friends in this exotic exhilarating corner of the world.
 - Shannon F (Australia), GHT | Kanchenjunga to Makalu Trek 2015

Kim (Kamzang Journeys) manages a great trek! She's personable, fun and takes responsibility to make everything work as well as possible given sometimes challenging circumstances. Kim truly loves Nepal and its people. It shows in the many ways she engages with the local people. She tries very hard to provide a great experience that works for everyone on the trek.
 - Rick T (USA), Kanchenjunga North Base Camp Trek 2013

Read More Testimonials
Trekkers' Comments

Trek Highlights

  • Kanchenjunga North Base Camp
  • Remote Olangchun Gola
  • Jannu viewpoint from Kambachen
  • Ghunsa & Phale (Tibetan villages)
  • Nango La route
  • Start in Nepal's semi-tropical middle hills
  • Sublime Himalayan vistas
  • Lots of wildlife
  • A piece of 'Old Tibet'
  • Remote trekking with few other trekkers
  • Kamzang-style camping

Trip Photos
GHT | Kanchenjunga to Makaku Barun Trek
Kanchenjunga & Olangchung Gola Trek

Date & Price

Dates
tba (32 Days)

Trek Price
$4680
Max 14 Bookings

Includes

  • Kathmandu Guest House
  • Airport transfers
  • Domestic flights & local departure tax
  • Group transportation by private vehicle
  • Kanchenjunga & Makalu Barun Conservation Area Permits
  • Kamzang-Style Trekking
    Marmot or Big Agnes tents (2x, or 3x for couples), delicious & copious 'gourmet' food with seasonal, fresh produce, French-press coffee, chai, Kashmiri & herbal teas, Katadyn filtered drinking water, warm washing water, library, 'lounge' with dhurri rugs, Crazy Creek camp chairs, blankets & the occasional music at night, oxygen & PAC bag (when needed), full medical kit, horses, yaks or porters, Western, Sherpa & local guides (when needed), our 5-star staff & the signature yellow 'Kamzang Dining Tent', NO single supplement for single tents. And flexibility ...

Excludes

  • Travel medical & travel insurance (both required)
  • Nepal Visa
  • Rescue Services
  • Meals (while not on trek)
  • International flights
  • Monastery donations
  • Equipment rental
  • Alcohol & packaged drinks
  • Laundry
  • Tipping & other items of a personal nature

Tips & Extra Cash
Allow approx $250 for meals (while not on trek), drinks (on trek) and tips. We recommend $200 per trekker thrown into the tips pool for the crew.

Details

Trekker's Comments
Travel Books

Guide
Kim Bannister
kim@kamzang.com
Mobile: +(977) 9803414745
On-Trek Satellite Phone: +88216 21277980 (Nepal)
On-Trek Satellite Phone: +88216 21274092 (Tibet & India)

Kathmandu Contact
Khumbu Adventures
Office: +(977) 01 4488352
Lhakpa Dorji Mobile: +(977) 9841 235461, 9813 371542
Doma Mobile: +(977) 9841 510833, 9803 675361

Arrival Hotel
Kathmandu Guest House
Thamel, Kathmandu
Tel: +(977 1) 4700632, 4700800

Arrival in Kathmandu

Early Arrival
You will be met at the airport by a representative from the Kathmandu Guest House (look for their sign - they will be looking for you) and escorted to the guest house. Kim will book the extra nights for you, so your room will be ready.

Arrival Hotel
Kathmandu Guest House
Thamel, Kathmandu
Tel: +(977 1) 4700632, 4700800

Visas
You can get your Nepal visa either at the airport (or any land border) when you arrive in Nepal, or before you leave home. NEPAL ONLINE VISA FORM

Notes on Itinerary
Although we try to follow the itinerary below, it is ONLY a guideline based on years of experience trekking in the Himalaya. At times local trail, river or weather conditions may make a deviation necessary; rivers may be impassible, snow blocks passes, and landslides wipe out trails. The trekking itinerary and campsites may also vary slightly depending on the group's acclimatization rate or sickness.

The Himalaya are our passion, and we take trekking seriously. Although everyone is here on vacation, please come with a dollop of patience and compassion added to your sense of adventure ...

Extra Days in Kathmandu
If you wish to stay longer, we can offer plenty of suggestion! Mountain biking or rafting in the Kathmandu valley or Pokhara, a luxurious stay at Temple Tree Resort & Spa in Pokhara, paragliding or zip-lining in Pokhara, an Everest sightseeing flight, trips to Bhaktapur or Patan (Kathmandu Valley's other historic capital cities), a night at the Fort Hotel in Nagarkot for a bit of luxury and expansive sunrise & sunset mountain panoramas, a spa & wellness getaway at Dwarikas Resort in Dhulikhel, visits to interesting temple villages such as Changu Narayan, a relaxing excursion to Chitwan National Park Wildlife Safari & Tharu Villages (staying at Maruni Sanctuary Lodge) or Bardia National Park, or a weekend of adventure and pampering at The Last Resort. Kim can help to arrange any of these excursions for you.

Trip Photos
GHT | Kanchenjunga to Makaku Barun Trek
Kanchenjunga & Olangchung Gola Trek

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1 - Arrive Kathmandu 1340m
You'll be met at the airport by a representative from the Kathmandu Guest House, so look out for a Kathmandu guest house sign when you leave the airport. They will bring you back to the Kathmandu Guest House, where your rooms are booked.

Kim will meet you at the guest house and introduce you to Thamel, the main tourist area of Kathmandu. Thamel is a myriad of banners, signs, music shops, bakeries, internet cafes, restaurants, bars, hotels, shops of all imaginable varieties and eccentrically clad backpackers. Over dinner we check your insurance details (please have a copy of your travel medical insurance policy with you), go over gear and get to know each other over a beer at New Orleans cafe ...

Kathmandu:
Come a day early to explore the Kathmandu valley if you want. Options: Climb the many steps to Swayambhunath (the monkey temple), with its commanding views of Kathmandu (at 1420 m), its whitewashed stupas and its unique synthesis of Buddhism and Hinduism. The striking Buddha eyes of Boudhanath Stupa watch over a lively and colorful Tibetan community and attract pilgrims from all over the Himalayan Buddhist realm. In the midst of traditional gompas, and hung with long strings of multi-colored prayer flags, Boudhanath attracts Sherpas, Tibetans and tourists alike for daily circumambulations (koras) of the stupa. Durbar Square, one of the old capitals of the Kathmandu valley, is a synthesis of Hindu and Buddhist temples, stupas and statues, and is often the site of festivals, marriages and other ceremonies. Hindu Pashupatinath and its sacred temple complex on the banks of the holy Bagmati river. Here, monkeys run up and down the steps of the burning ghats, and trident-bearing saddhus draped in burnt-orange and saffron sit serenely meditating - when they’re not posing for photos-for-rupees.

We'll have time for a bit of gear shopping in Thamel for anyone who needs to do this, and in the evening will head out for dinner of wood-oven pizza at the Roadhouse Cafe.

Day 2 - Fly to Tumlingtar. Drive to Chainpur 1260m
We'll head to the airport after breakfast for our scenic, hour-long flight over green, terraced rice fields, high ridges and past Himalayan peaks to Tumlingtar in far eastern Nepal, a village of Rai, Lhomi and other Nepali hillpeople who carry their loads with traditional Nepali dokas, or baskets. Tumlingtar is the starting point of our trek to Everest via the Arun valley and also east to the remote, Tibetan Kanchenjunga region.

On the ground in Tumlingtar we will jump into our vehicle for the bumpy drive to Chainpur where we will meet our staff and set up camp for the night. Nepali chai has been brewed, and we will introduce you to our 'Kamzang style' dining tent and your personal Marmot tents. Enjoy the lower altitudes and take a stroll into rural Chainpur to watch Nepali life go by at the local temple. Beers will be available at the local shops, and you'll be able to sample some traditional Nepali snacks at the bhattis, or Nepali teahouses ...

Day 3 - Trek Nundhaki
The next few days until Chirwa and Sukethum are classic trekking through Nepal's lush, green and diverse 'middle hills' following shimmering rivers and contouring around precipitous ridge lines. The villages we pass through are both Hindu and Buddhist, and the architecture traditional mud-brick dwellings, rice paddies, terraced fields and fruit trees. If we're lucky we'll pass through villages celebrating some of the numerous Nepali festivals, very colorful and lively. We are following the GHT 'cultural route', a spectacular and interesting route through some of Nepal's most remote villages ...

As we trek east following a deep valley, with forested, steep hillsides to our right and terraced, sculpted hillsides peppered with villages to our left, we pass the hamlets of Lamichaur and Siddhipur, followed by the village of Siddhakali where a colorful fair called the Balachaturdashi takes place at the temple grounds every year. Soon afterwards we reach the temple at Pokhari. We pass the trail leading to Milke Danda on our left, and an hour later reach the hamlet of Chitlang, from where we begin our descent to where the Piluwa Khola intersects several smaller streams. Crossing the bridge over the Piluwa Khola, we soon reach Nundaki, which has a post office and a weekly market on Thursday (which we will probably miss unfortunately). Our staff has set up camp, and after having a wash to clean off the grime from our hot, dusty trek we might head into the village to pick up some cold beers!

Day 4 - Trek Samgu
Continuing on the colorful GHT cultural trail heading northeast, we pass the trail leading east to Gupta Bazaar on our right and continue to climb past a chorten through a densely forested and hilly section. It will be a more strenuous trekking day today as we climb and descend to our campsite at Samgu, a village with a post office, a few small hotels and a checkpost. Again, take the afternoon to wash off and visit the village ...

Day 5 - Trek Dobhan 645m
Contouring around hillsides as we trek, we pass the small hamlet of Lekuwa, from where we climb for a bit to reach the larger village of Tembe, which has a few small hotels. From Tembe we descend to Dhungesaghu and continue our undulating and hot trek through terraced villages to Dhoban, where we stop for the night. Dhoban is at the intersection of a trail coming north from Basantapur and the GHT trail coming east from Chainpur and west to Taplejung, so a lively market hub albeit on the grubby side. Poor Tibetan living in simple, bamboo dwellings sell tongba in the market. Our staff has set up camp somewhere green-ish, so after unpacking get out and do some exploring ...

Day 6 - Trek Siwan 980m
Following the large Tamor Nadi (river) on a high, rough trail it's a busy day of hill-trekking as we pass through numerous Rai and Hindu villages, surrounded by a patchwork of terraced fields. The middle hills continue to be challenging trekking as we have numerous ascents and descent, always rewarded by hazy views of the surrounding terraced hill villages.

After crossing the suspension bridge past Dhoban, we continue to trek along the east banks of Tamor Nadi to Khamlung at the intersection of the Mewa Khola, and after a few hours over another suspension bridge before taking a large detour east, reaching the alternative trail north from Taplejung via Asahanpati village. We soon pass the Chettri bazaar at Mitlung (880m), a village with a few small teahouses, and continue along the riverside trail over another suspension bridge spanning the Sisne Khola on to the village of Siwan, also called Sinwa, with a few bhattis (Nepali teashops) and a police post, and have the afternoon to relax. Timeless Nepal ...

Day 7 - Trek Chirwa 1270m
We continue to follow the Tamor Nadi on a rough trail past the settlement of Pithun at the Ima Khola and the intersection of the GHT trail to Tokpegola in the Makalu region. We are parallelling the high trail to our (trekker's) right that we will take on the return trip back to Taplejung. We pass the remnants of old, boulder-strewn slides and debri as the trail worses and the valley narrows, and after more undulating trekking we reach the intersection of the Nuwa Khola and the small hamlet of Chirwa where our staff has set up camp for the night. Chirwa is a lively bazaar village of bamboo houses built in a boulder-strewn plateau with a small Nepali bazaar. Camp should be about a quarter of an hour past the village, at a nice campsite. It's a short day, so take advantage of the free afternoon to do some laundry or head to the village to explore.

Day 8 - Trek Sukethum 1565m
Continuing to following the Tamor Nadi, we hike along the east bank of the river for five-six hours as we head along the classic Kanchenjunga Base Camp route. En route, we pass the Chhetri village of Tapletok (1380m) where there is a Kanchenjunga Concervation Area checkpost and a few small teahouses for a cup of chai. At Temewa (1560m) we take the bridge across the river and soon reach Lelep (1750m), the headquarters of the KCA, which was created in 1998 'to preserve 2035 sq km of sub-tropical evergreen forest, temperate forests, sub-alpine pine forests and high alpine meadows. The preserve provides a haven for many rare Himalayan species, including snow leopards, red pandas, and bharals. The park is also home to 250 species of birds, and more than 3000 species of plants.' - Lonely Planet Trekking the Nepal Himalaya.

We descend to the Tamor River and cross on a new suspension bridge a bit before the confluence of the Ghunsa Khola to reach our camp at Sukethum, a Tibetan village with a helipad and a few small bhattis. We may get lucky and see our first glimpse of Jannu (7710m) if the skies are clear.

Day 9 - Trek Amjilosa 2310/2490m
From Sukethum we trek northeast for 4-5 hours along the Ghunsa Khola (river), gaining altitude as we head towards Kanchenjunga North Base camp and the remote Tibetan villages of the Kanchenjunga region. Contouring around the high ridges, we'll have fantastic views on our route north and possibly pass mule caravans transporting the locally grown cardamoms to markets further south. Taking either the small trail on the northern banks of the river or the trail on the southern banks, we reach Jongim where we climb on steep stone steps to a waterfall and the small hamlet of Ghaiyabari (2150m). From here we continue to ascend gradually on a slightly exposed trail, soon reaching a grassy saddle at 2530m from where we drop down to the Tibetan settlement of Amijlosa where our staff has found a nice campsite for the night.

Day 10 - Trek Kyapra 2730m
Gaining altitude as we trek along the Ghunsa Khola, we have another short-ish day as we trek through a bamboo, oak and rhododendron forest past waterfalls and pasturelands, followed by a steep and strenuous climb to the beautiful Sherpa village of Kyapra, also called Gyabla, with an old monastery and ancient Buddhist chortens. Camp has been set up at a lovely green campsite and we'll take the afternoon to explore the village looking for a cup of salt-butter tea ...

Day 11 - Trek Phale 3140/3210m
A lovely day of trekking through the forested river valley, with groves of bamboo, fir and rhododenron, where Himalayan black bear are said to live. We descend steeply into a deep, narrow gorge and follow the river valley for several hours to the Tibetan village of Phale, with an ancient (and active) gompa filled with colorful thankas and statues. Phale is located on a historic trade route with Tibet so has been an important stop for traders transporting their goods by yak and horse between Tibet and Nepal. We'll set up camp for two much needed nights here and set off to visit with the locals, perhaps stopping in some of the local homes to look for Tibetan blankets or saddle bags.

Day 12 - Phale
We've got a rest and exploration day in this wonderful, traditional Tibetan village, with yaks grazing in the green pastures and checkered with potato fields. Enjoy the chance to visit some of the houses for a cup of salt-butter tea, some tsampa (roasted barley flour) and perhaps some churpi (dried, slightly sour cheese) and a cup of chang (locally-brewed barley beer).

Day 13 - Trek Ghunsa 3595m
We have a short day today, trekking on a good trail through a wide valley, past the intersection of the Yangma Samba Khola, through forests of larch. We soon drop to the square chorten marking the start of the Tibetan village of Ghunsa, fluttering with prayer flags, situated in a deep valley of forested hillsides. Take advantage of this day to acclimatize and get out to explore the lively Tibetan village of Ghunsa, translated as 'winter settlement' although it is occupied thorughout the year. Gunsa was one of Joel's favorite villages in the Kanchenjunga region; he would pick up a variety of Tibetan treasures including leather belts with silver medalions along the belt, silver spoons which Tibetan women hang from their belts and bamboo tongba pots.

Ghunsa was severely damaged in the 2011 earthquake which had its epicenter in Sikkim so will still be in the process of rebuilding. Ghunsa is a typical Tibetan village with a few Sherpa families residing there, five-colored prayer flags on tall wooden poles and wooden houses with flat, slate roofs. There are two gompas on either side of the trail, a police checkpost, and a few lodges and shops in Ghunsa where it's possible to get a hot shower, make a phone call, and stock up on a few cold beers. Don't miss the opportunity to sample the local tongba, a traditional Tibetan fermeted beer which is found all over the mountain regions of Nepal but is a specialty of the Kanchenjunga region. Tongba is fermeted millet filled with hot water, drunk from a straw out of a bamboo container, and refilled at leisure. Be careful, one is plenty!

Kim and Lhakpa will head to the village to pick-up the re-supply, and you are welcome to tag along if you'd like. There is also a hydro-electric plant providing electricity to Ghunsa, the last chance to charge for a few days.

Day 14 - Trek Kambachen 4100m
Heading north along the east banks of the Ghunsa Khola on the GHT high route, we have a 5-6 hour day of altitude gain, cresting the 4000-meter threshold as we ascend through more larch forests, now sprinkled with juniper bushes that are ground and used as incense. We cross a wide, rocky floodplain and then a shaky wood and slab bridge to the north banks of the river at Rampuk Kharka at 3720 meters (kharka means grazing plateau in Nepali; the Tibetan word is doksa). The trail deteriorates as we ascend, passing a small waterfall, and hiking carefully high above the river below us. Another climb and we descend to Kambachen at the confluence of the Nupchu Khola, a remote Tibetan outpost of stone huts where the inhabitants exist on a simple diet of potatos and rice, supplemented by chang and rakshi (distilled vodka-like alcohol). Camp is set up on a flat area beside a stream; the nights will start to get colder from now on, and the views more and more spectacular.

Day 15 - Kambachen (day hike Jannu viewpoint)
Take advantage of this acclimatization day to make the round-trip climb to the sublime Jannu viewpoint, to the east of camp along the northern ridges of the Kumbhakarna Glacier. Jannu, also called Kumbhakarna and a formidable climbing peak, is the 32nd highest mountain in the world, a Western part of the Kangchenjunga massif. ' It is called Phoktanglungma in native Limbu language, (Phoktang means shoulder and Lungma means mountain), literally 'mountain with shoulder' and it is sacred in Kirant religion.'- Wikipedia.

We'll climb the ridge to the north of the village for breathtaking views of Khabur (6332m), Phole (6645m) and Jannu at the end of the long valley to the east. Kanchenjunga Glacier, backed by snowpeaks, is to the north of us.

Day 16 - Trek Lhonak 4780m
We trek further north along the Ghunsa Chu, fed by the Kanchenjunga Glacier, and enter a glacial environment as we gain altitude and get closer to the border of Tibet. We'll pass the high grazing pastures (doksa) of Ramtang (4370m) and then stay on the left side of the latteral morraine of the Kanchenjunga Glacier as we approach the source of the Ghunsa Khola. We continue hiking along a high, tundra-like plateau strewn with boulders, past the intersecting Lhonak Glacier to our left, to reach the high, flat campsite at the seasonal village of sLhonak. Bharal (blue sheep) roam this plateau so keep your eyes open for grey spots on the hillsides, often peering down from rocky ledges with their distinct horns silouetted against the blue Tibetan skies. It will be a cold campsite, but the views are fantastic, surrounded by some of the highest snow-peaks on the planet.

Day 17 - Trek Pang Pema (Kanchenjunga North Base Camp) 5145m
This morning we head directly east for approximately ten kilometers, following the lateral morraine of the Kanchenjunga Glacier on the northern ridges to our sublime campsite at the north base camp of Kanchenjunga, also called Pang Pema. This is one of the highlights of the trek, a spectacular setting, worth having an evening climb to get a bit higher, gaze at the Northwest face of Kanchenjunga and its surrounded peaks shrouded in the pink alpenglow ...

Day 18 - Trek Kambachen
We'll stay for some views in the morning from the north ridge of Pang Pema, hiking up 300 meters to a viewpoint. The peaks are Kanchenjunga, Taple Shikhar (6510m) and Gimmigela Chuli (The Twins, 7350m). To the east from the border of Sikkim rise Patibhara Khas (Pyramid Peak, 7168m) and Kirat Chuli (Tent Peak, 7365m). To the west, Chang Himal with its knife-edged ridge looms over Kanchenjunga Glacier. (Thanks to Lonely Planet Trekking in the Nepal Himalaya for naming the peaks). Returning the way we came, it's a downhill but longer day to reach our campsite at Kambachen.

Day 19 - Trek Ghunsa
Back to Ghunsa along the same route, with the afternoon again in Ghunsa to relax. Take a look at Tashi Choding Gompa if you didn't have a chance to on our first visit.

Day 20 - Trek Kharka (High Camp) 4160m
From the gompa, we head back south along the northern banks of the river until reaching the sumdo of the Yangma Samba Khola. From here, we turn right, heading northwest as we contour up this narrow valley. We have about 600 meters of steep climbing to reach our campsite at the local kharka, or seasonal settlement of the Ghunsa villagers.

Day 21 - Thasa/Yangma Khola Camp (cross Nango La 4775m) 3430m
Our first pass day, so we're up early with a mug of steaming coffee before trekking north towards the Nango La (4775m). From the narrow crest we'll be treated to a panorama of Himalayan peaks before we head steeply down the pass. We'll pass the small dharamsala (rest house) from where we turn left (west) and follow the Thasa Khola valley to our camp at the intersection of this small river and the Yangma Khola.

Day 22- Trek Olangchung Gola 3220m
Staying on the west of the Yangma Khola, we trek down valley surrounded by steep valley walls until we reach the sumdo (intersection) of the Tamor River (which you will remember from the earlier days of the trek). From the intersection at Ramite, we trek northwest along this river to the sprawling village of Olangchung Gola (Walunchung Gola), peppered with chortens, mani walls and white-washed stupas, one of the most remote Tibetan villages in the Kanchenjunga region. There is lots to explore within the maze of traditional houses that comprise the village, and more shopping to do, so we've scheduled an extra day to relax and visit.

Day 23 - Olangchung Gola
Olanchung Gola is 'the largest village of the Walung people, who speak a language derived from Tibetan and share many cultural similarities with the Sherpas' - Lonely Planet Trekking in the Nepal Himalaya. We have a free day to wander through this remote village, once restricted to tourism, do some shopping, take photos or perhaps wander further west up the Tamor River along the GHT high route leading back to the Makalu region via the Lumbha Sambha pass (5160m). Feel free to accompany Kim & Lhakpa around the village as they resupply ...

Day 24 - Trek Magawa 2320m
Returning to the river sumdo at Ramite, we turn right and head south along the Tamor River past the settlements of Jongin, Sera, and Tarton on the opposite bank of the river, followed soon afterwards by our campsite at Magawa. It will be much warmer as we're well below 3000 meters again.

Day 25 - Trek Sukethum
More villages await us as we trek back into Nepal's vivid middle hills, past clusters of traditional Rai villages. The first village is Sukepani, followed by Tartong, Kisongma, Iladanda and Kasturi, just past where a small trail leads west along the Sotare Danda and winds its way south to Chiruwa. Here we cross the Kasturi Khola on a bridge, staying on the western bank of the Yangma Khola. Other smaller village trails weave their way through the terraced villages above us as we trek closer to the riverside, passing Inlagaon above us and another trail just south of this village intersecting the Chiruwa sub-trail. The next small hillside hamlet is Gowater, followed by a larger village called Lungthung which has a police checkpost and a hotel. Another hour or so south and we've done a full loop and returned to Sukethum village where the staff has already set up a familiar campsite for us. Back to Nepal's balmy, green middle hills!

Day 26 - Trek Chirwa
Returning to Chirwa, we might take the alternative route back down south, and we may even continue a bit further to a campsite on the middle route at Tawa village. We'll check the trail conditions at Sukethum.

Day 27 - Trek Phurumbu
More idyllic (and hilly) middle hills trekking awaits us today as we take a new route, heading directly south and following high ridge lines past the sprawling village of Linkhim and then Kheban, where our trail intersects with a sweeping southeastern loop trail which leads to Suketar via Phathibhara Devi Temple. We'll stay on the middle trail, crossing a bridge over the Sisne Khola past Baishakhe and Talelum to our camp at Phurumbu.

Day 28 - Trek Taplejung 1820m
Staying high and continuing to contour around ridge after ridge, with wonderful views throughout, we pass the large village of Gadidanda (1890m) and then Lapsibote, eventually reach the large town of Taplejung, which translates as fort of King Taple, an ancient Limbu king. Taplejung is the district headquarters of the district of the same name, a town which connects the high mountain regions of Kanchenjunga with the populous Terai further south. It is known for the Pathibhara Devi Temple, visited by Nepalis from all over the country on pilgrimage. We'll either camp or set ourselves up at a local lodge depending on time and conditions.

Day 29 - Drive Ilam & Bhadrapur
We (inshallah) jump into awaiting jeeps for the long, winding but incredibly scenic drive to one of Nepal's top tea-producing towns, Ilam. 'Tea production in Ilam (as Nepal tea) started as early as 1863, when the Chinese government offered then Prime Minister Jung Bahadur Rana tea saplings that were then planted in Ilam. In 1868, the Ilam tea factory was established, and tea plantations covered over 135 acres of land. ' - Wikipedia. From Ilam, we'll continue on to Bhadrapur, in Jhapa district and one of Nepal's 'tea cities', near the border of India where we stay the night in a hotel to await our flight back to Kathmandu tomorrow.

Day 30 - Fly Kathmandu
Our trek in the wonderful Kanchenjunga region has ended. In the morning we'll board the quite reliable flight from Bhadrapur in the hot plains back to the Kathmandu valley.

Day 31 - Kathmandu
A free day in Kathmandu for shopping, some sun in the garden of the guest house, shopping, cafe-ing or perhaps a visit to Boudhanath for some 'koras' to give thanks for our safe journey back from the mountains. And sights we missed during the first few days in Kathmandu, we can catch today, and afterwards out for our last dinner together.

Day 32 - Depart
We'll drop you at the airport for you flight home ...

Extra Days in Kathmandu
If you wish to stay longer, we can offer plenty of suggestion! Mountain biking or rafting in the Kathmandu valley or Pokhara, a luxurious stay at Temple Tree Resort & Spa in Pokhara, paragliding or zip-lining in Pokhara, an Everest sightseeing flight, trips to Bhaktapur or Patan (Kathmandu Valley's other historic capital cities), a night at the Fort Hotel in Nagarkot for a bit of luxury and expansive sunrise & sunset mountain panoramas, a spa & wellness getaway at Dwarikas Resort in Dhulikhel, visits to interesting temple villages such as Changu Narayan, a relaxing excursion to Chitwan National Park Wildlife Safari & Tharu Villages (staying at Maruni Sanctuary Lodge) or Bardia National Park, or a weekend of adventure and pampering at The Last Resort. Kim can help to arrange any of these excursions for you.


 

Namaste & Tashi Delek!

© Kim Bannister

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