Best Time To Visit Kanchenjunga: Kanchenjunga sometimes spelled Kanchanjunga or Kinchinjunga is the third highest mountain in the world, with an elevation of 8,586 meters (28,169 feet). It is a mountain of the Himalaya range. In fact, Kanchenjunga lies at the border between Nepal, Tibet, and India. Moreover, Kanchenjunga is also the highest mountain in India and second highest in Nepal (after Mt. Everest).
Mount Kanchenjunga lies about 125 kilometers (78 miles) east-south-east of Mount Everest.
Three of the five peaks – Main, Central, and South – are on the border between North Sikkim and Nepal. Two of the peaks are in Taplejung District in Nepal.
The Kangchenjunga is the second least climbed peak of the 14 peaks over 8,000 meters (26,247 feet). In fact, the Annapurna is the only 8,000 meters peak which has been less climbed than the Kangchenjunga.
Fun Fact: Till the year 1852 Kanchenjunga was considered as the highest peak in the world. After the Great Trigonometric Survey of India in 1849, Mt. Everest was declared the highest mountain based on various readings and measurements. Kanchenjunga was officially moved to the third place in 1856.
Naming and Myths
Generally, the name Kangchenjunga translates to “Five Treasures of Snow”, referring to Kangchenjunga’s five peaks. Locals also associate these treasures like the five repositories of God, namely gold, silver, gems, grain, and holy books. They believe these treasures will be disclosed when the world is in danger to the devout. Similarly, the mountain is said to be an important place in the performance of religious rituals among local people. In brief, it is sacred in the Kirat religion of Nepal as well as to the natives of Sikkim in India.
The Tibetan words that make up the name are Kang (Snow) chen (Big) dzö (Treasury) nga (Five).
The Limbu language recognizes Kanchenjunga as ‘Senjelungma’ or ‘Seseylungma’ as the house of Yuma Sammang, the omnipotent goddess.
The Lepcha people refer to the mountain as Kong-Lo-Chu, the god of health and wealth. Also, they worship the mountain on the third full moon of every year.
The area around Kanchenjunga is said to be home to a mountain deity, called Dzö-nga or “Kangchenjunga Demon“, a type of Yeti or Rakshasa. Furthermore, a British geological expedition in 1925 spotted a bipedal creature which they asked the locals about, who referred to it as the “Kangchenjunga Demon”.
Best time to Visit Kanchenjunga
DURATION: 24 Days ALTITUDE: 5143 M SEASONS: Spring and Autumn ACCOMMODATION: Teahouse/camps STARTING POINT: Taplejung ENDING POINT: Suketar LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY: Moderate-High Permits Required: Kanchenjunga Restricted Area Permit, Kanchenjunga Conservation Area Permit
Here, we are going to share everything that has to do with trekking in Kanchenjunga. In addition, we are also sharing a few practical tips with you about the best time to visit Kanchenjunga, choosing this trek, and how to make the best out of it.
Furthermore, this trek never exploded in terms of popularity. And all for one reason- the Kanchenjunga Trek difficulty level. In particular, Kanchenjunga is not for trekkers that have plans to begin their journey at this marvel. Along with proper physical fitness, you will need some more- patience, perseverance, and dedication!
Don’t let this discourage you by any means though. Also, with some previous experiences, proper planning, and caution, this trek is not just doable, but also would be the best thing you have ever experienced. We guarantee you it will be worth the struggle!
The trekker’s plan to complete this wild and mystical trail is completely justified, you know, it’s not every day you come across such a rewarding trek.
The best time to visit Kanchenjunga would be Spring season (March to May) and autumn season (September to November). January, July, and August stand at the bottom of the list.
Here’s a detailed outline of traveling to Kanchenjunga in different seasons.
The Kanchenjunga circuit trek goes through hills to the base of one of the world’s tallest mountains. Autumn offers clear skies that opens up the world to witness some of the best up-close views of these majestic mountains. Autumn is the best time to visit Kanchenjunga as the mountain ranges are simply as attractive as they could possibly be. The picturesque beauty of the five peaks of Kanchenjunga is the major attraction during Autumn. An experience for life, indeed!
Spring brings a beautiful ambiance for trekking in this circuit. The temperatures are moderate and it offers trekkers with the unparalleled wonders of vegetation on the trail.
The wildlife is also spotted during this time as they bask in the sun’s heat.
The thick green forest covers the entire tracks until you reach the destination. Spring covers the lusty green forests with new leaves, and you will never be short of spots for taking photographs.
Summer in Kanchenjunga comes along with frequent showers. This rainy season not just makes tracks slippery and difficult to walk through, but also limits the time and possibility to observe the mountain vistas. Since it is in the eastern Himalaya it receives the brunt of the monsoon moisture. The clouds covering the sky and prone to injury tracks are best to avoid on this trail.
Summer is not the best time to visit Kanchenjunga.
Winter Season (December-February)
Choose January if you want a bad snowfall experience, horrifyingly chilly winds, and closed teahouses. Moreover, Kangchenjunga does not have an “easy” winter route as the threat of an avalanche is high. Did we mention that the flights are canceled or delayed almost every day and often closed for the entire weeks due to visibility issues?
You would be better off with staying out of the tracks in winter.
Also, note that,
Kanchenjunga sees the largest crowds in the mountains in October. What a lot of people have skipped for a long has now become a trend and test of their physicalities. So if you don’t have a holiday leave constraint, choose November and you will have all of the treks to yourself, literally.
Beautiful landscape, good weather, massive discounts minus the large groups of fellow trekkers, a perfect combo!
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Highlights of Kanchenjunga Base Camp Trek
There are a million things to witness and a million more emotions to experience in this marvelous trek. Suum cuique, or as the world says to each his own, the highlights would be based on your motive of the trek. Here we have tried to summarize the three main reasons why you should trek to Kanchenjunga.
1. The Landscape
The Kanchenjunga Base Camp trek goes through hills to the base of the world’s third tallest.
Spring and autumn offer clear skies that open up the world to witness some of the best up-close views of the majestic mountain peaks. This is the best time to visit Kanchenjunga.
Also, the position of settlements in the hills en route to the base camp poses for fascinating photographs. The route to Kanchenjunga goes through the banks of Tamor river which flows through the rough land between the hills transitioning into fast-flowing streams at some points.
2. The Biodiversity
The biodiversity of the Kanchenjunga region is often overlooked for the mountains. For a trekker wishing to make the best out of this adventure, they will be blessed with the unparalleled wonders of vegetation and wildlife on the trail.
Kanchenjunga Conservation Area was established in 1997. It is Nepal’s third-largest conservation area covering 2,035 sq.km of the land. The Kanchenjunga Conservation Area is a Global eco-region according to the World Wildlife Fund. This is home to some of the exotic and rare animals like Red panda, Spectacled bear, and Snow leopard. Also, Blood pheasant, red-billed chough, and golden breasted fulvetta are some of the birds in the area that are protected from extinction.
Visiting the Kanchenjunga circuit means not just making the best decision of your life, but also helping nature remain as beautiful as she should be.
3. The Culture
The cultural insights in some local tribes, mostly Limbu and Sherpa, and their touch of hospitality and warmth are breathtaking. The Limbus and Sherpas own and operate most of the teahouses and lodges. Along with the warm welcome, you will observe their traditions, their unique attire, and delicious local cuisines.
You will be surprised to find your continental menu alongside the local cuisines in most of these tea-houses. Many of the staff speak English for your ease of communication. Also, the less busy month comes with discount offers and the few extras making it the best time to travel Kanchenjunga for budget travelers.
Packing List For Kanchenjunga Trek
Layering is the key to conquer your ultimate adventure in Nepal.
The rule of thumb- the higher the altitude, the more the layering. Bring thermal shorts or trousers, a fleece jacket, and a light down jacket with a hood or down vest. The temperatures in Kanchenjunga trails will reach below the freezing point every night as we already mentioned. The accommodation facilities will not have a heating system. So your clothes are the only life support at those temperatures.
Your backpack can make or break your dream of completing this trek. Pack too few items, and you would miss out on the essentials. Pack too much and you would have a difficult time carrying them around (unless you’re hiring a porter). So, pack smart!
Here is a list of the essentials.
|Outer Layers||First-Aid Items||Toiletries||Extras|
overlay- jacket and
1 down jacket. ( -20
1 down vest
One warm winter hat
1 lightweight thermal
One peak hat
1 pair of gloves
1 Pair trekking boots.
|Diamox – for altitude
Vicks vapor rub
Imodium – for
blister bandaids or
advil cold and Dinus
|Foot powder (for
Deb’s stinky feet)
|1 Headlamp with
1 sleeping bag heavy
( -20 D.C)
1 watch with alarm
1 Sunglasses ( UV
1 camera with extra
2-3 portable chargers
Itinerary For Kanchenjunga Trek
Kanchenjunga trail trek usually starts with a 21-days hike. Based on your Itinerary, the number of days for acclimatization, and the length of your walking days, the trek can be extended.
The trek starts from Taplejung, a village about 5 hours drive from Bhadrapur Airport. Likewise, the route passes via Mitlung, Sekathum, Ghunsa, Khambachen, and Lhonak finally leading to the Paradis Sur Terre, the highest point on the trek, Pangpema at 5143 meters.
Before we present you with the outline itinerary, let’s ponder on the trek routes you can choose from. Besides, there are 2 major routes that you can take to the north and the south of Kanchenjunga Base Camp. And there is the whole Kanchenjunga Circuit trek that combines both.
All routes coincide at Ramche. This is the north side of the Base Camp. Similarly, you need to hike 2 more hours from Ramche to access the south base camp. Here, we have some insights on these routes:
1. Kanchenjunga South Base Camp Trek
In particular, this is perfect for anyone with less experience and has a much easier trail than the North Base Camp. Also, some trekkers may want to have more experience in the relatively easy trails before taking on the mighty circuit, and this route offers exactly that.
Day 1: Flight from Kathmandu to Bhadrapur (45 minutes approx.).
Day 2: Bus from Birtamod to Taplejung (8-10 hours)
Day 3: Trek begins from Taplejung to Simbu (7-8 hours)
Day 4: Trek from Simbu to Kheswa at 2100m (5-6 hours)
Day 5: Trek from Khesewa to Mamangkhe at 1786m (6-7 hours)
Day 6: Trek from Mamangkhe to Yamphuding at 2000m (5-6 hours)
Day 7: Rest day. Explore Yamphuding village and dive into the unique culture of people there.
Day 8: Trek from Yamphuding to Tortong at 3000m (9-10 hours)
Day 9: Trek Yamphuding to Cheram at 3800m (4-5 hours)
Day 10: Trek from Cheram to Ramche at 4600m (3 hours)
Day 11: Trek back from Ramche to Torongding (6-7 hours)
Day 12: Trek back from Torongding to Yamphuding (7-8 hours)
Day 13: Trek back from Yamphuding to Khebang (5-6 hours)
Day 14: Trek back to Khebang to Kamdime (6-7 hours)
Day 15: Drive back to Birtamod (14 hours)
Day 16: Drive back to Bhadrapur (40-minutes) and flight back to Kathmandu.
2. Kanchenjunga North Base Camp Trek
Situated at the height of 5388 meters, the Pangpema viewpoint is the main attraction as well as the final destination in this trail. Also, this Northside trail out scales the south in terms of richness in wildlife and vegetation. Likewise, this is comparatively harder and more adventurous than the former trek. Furthermore, the best time to visit Kanchenjunga North Base camp is during the spring and autumn season.
Day 1: Flight from Kathmandu to Bhadrapur (45 minutes).
Day 2: Bus from Birtamod to Taplejung (8-10 hours)
Day 3: Trek from Taplejung to Chiruwa at 1,200 m (6-7 hours)
Day 4: Trek from Chiruwa to Lelep (5-6 hours)
Day 5: Trek from Lelep to Amjilosa (4-5 hours).
Day 6: Trek from Amjilosa to Gyabla (5-6 hours)
Day 7: Trek from Gyabla to Gunsa (4-5 hours).
Day 8: Acclimatization day in Ghunsa at 3,475m
Day 9: Trek from Ghunsa to Kambachen at 4,100m (5-6 hours)
Day 10: Acclimatization in Kambachen
Day 11:Trek from Kambachen to Lhonak at 4790m (5-6 hours)
Day 12: Trek from Lhonak to Pangpema at 5140m (6-7 hours)
Day 13: Trek back from Lhonak to Ghunsa.(7-8 hours)
Day 14: Trek back from Ghunsa to Amjilosa.(6-7 hours)
Day 15: Trek back from Amjilosa to Tapethok (6-7 hours)
Day 16: Trek back from Tapethok to Mitlung (6-7 hours)
Day 17: You finally arrive at Taplejung. Rest Day.
Day 15: Drive back to Birtamod (14 hours)
Day 16: Drive back to Bhadrapur (40-minutes) and flight back to Kathmandu.
3. Kanchenjunga Circuit Trek
Kanchenjunga Circuit Trek is no way the peanut and butter of treks! Besides, the frequent ups and downs along the path are demanding and we highly recommend you engage in trekking focused exercises and take on short high altitude treks before heading for this big one.
‘The harder you work for something, the greater you’ll feel when you achieve it.’ Here, this quote exactly represents the Kanchenjunga Circuit Trek.
Above all, you will be conquering one hell of a challenge as the Kanchenjunga’s quandary has kept adventurers with faint-hearted behind. Similarly, along with the physical strength, you will need a brave heart to witness the intact exquisiteness of this off the beaten track.
Besides, the best time to visit Kanchenjunga Circuit in March to Late May.
Take breaks, walk slowly, and keep yourself hydrated! Oh and be aware of hypothermia as Kanchenjunga circuit trek is the ultimate test of your physical and mental strength.
Day 1: Flight to Bhadrapur (45 mins)
Day 2: Drive to Taplejung, trek to Mitlung at 921 m (4-5 hours)
Day 3: Trek to Chirwa at 1,270 m (5-6 hours)
Day 4: Trek to Sekathum at 1,660 m (4-5 hours)
Day 5: Trek to Amjilossa at 2,510 m (5-6 hours)
Day 6: Trek to Gybala at 2,730 m (4-5 hours)
Day 7: Trek to Ghunsa at 3,595 m (4-5 hours)
Day 8: Acclimatisation day at Ghunsa at 3,595 m
Day 9: Trek to Khambachen at 4,100 m (5-6 hours)
Day 10: Acclimatisation and rest day at Khambachen at 4,100 m
Day 11: Trek to Lhonak at 4,785 m (4-5 hours)
Day 12: Trek to Pangpema at 5,143 m and return to Lhonak (6-7 hours)
Day 13: Return to Ghunsa at 3,595 m (7-8 hours)
Day 14: Trek to high camp at 4,100 m), before Mirgin La pass (4-5 hours)
Day 15: Cross Mirgin La at 4,663 m) and trek to Tseram at 3,870 m (7-8 hours)
Day 16: Day trip to Oktang, camp at Ramche (7-8 hours)
Day 17: Trek to Tortong at 3000 m (7-8 hours)
Day 18: Trek to Yamphudin at 2,080 m (7-8 hours)
Day 19: Trek to Mamanke at 1,810 m (4-5 hours)
Day 20: Trekking to Kande Bhanjang (5-6 hours)
Day 21: Trek to Lali Kharka (5-6 hours)
Day 22: Trek to Suketar at 2,300 m (2-3 hours)
Day 23: Drive to Bhadrapur (11 hours)
Day 24: Fly back to Kathmandu (45 mins)
Tips for Trekking in Kanchenjunga
- Don’t hesitate to try the local cuisine. Try Dal Bhat and you will crave the taste long after you’re back in your country. Oh, and Dal Bhaat is as much as you like kind of cuisine, except for the meat. You only pay once!
- Your trekking route does not have any ATMs along the way. For this reason, it’s a good idea to stock up on enough cash to get you by. Also, set aside some $100-150 for the entry fees in religious sites and museums.
- Make sure you have some spare days on your trip. Likewise, you will need them to rest and acclimatize especially for beginners. Also, snow-covered tracks, sometimes are not well suited to trek and you will be required to wait for a couple of days.
- Although the locals will try to help you as much as they can, their idea of distance and the time it takes may not coincide with yours. Moreover, they are fast and used to with the conditions and it may take you longer to reach the destination than suggested.
- Kathmandu offers renting places for all the gears you will need. Hence, you better opt for renting one than buying all those expensive gears if you’re not planning to use them frequently.
Additional Tips for Trekking in Kanchenjunga
- Always ask for permission before taking photographs. Many of the museums and religious sites are off-bounds for photography. Be sure to respect the local law.
- Kissing or PDA is considered highly inappropriate and frowned upon in Nepal.
- There is no minimum suggested tip at restaurants, cafés, or pubs. While it isn’t mandatory or a part of everyday routine for locals, it’s certainly respected and appreciated.
- Travel insurance helps you fund your medical treatments, take care of your belongings, and rescue operations chiefly during high altitude trekking. So make sure you have one before the adventure.
- AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness) is a common health issue. So, if you are a beginner or have limited experience, you should take the time to acclimatize to the conditions. Make sure to pack some Diamox (Acetazolamide) before your trip and start the medications as per the instructions from guides.
Before we wrap up the article, here are some of the important FAQs about trekking in Kanchenjunga.
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1. Can you trek solo to Kanchenjunga?
A trekkers’ group must have at least two people. They must mandatorily be attended by a licensed trekking guide or a government authorized guide in order to trek Kanchenjunga.
2. Is it the best time to visit Kanchenjunga in the Winter?
The temperature can go as low as – 30 Celsius during the winter. In fact, the tea houses in Pangpema and Ramche are completely shut down. if you’re thinking of spending a night at the base camps in tents, don’t.
3. Is there any age limit or restrictions for Kanchenjunga trek?
There are no age limits for the trek. However, since this trek is highly demanding, you would want to be physically and mentally fit, healthy, and have previous high-altitude trekking experience for the adventure.
4. How to Avoid Altitude Sickness during the trek?
Well, there are the following steps you can take to prevent yourself from altitude sickness.
- Proper acclimatization
- Avoid alcohol, smoking, consumption of sleeping peels or having sex
- Stay hydrated
- Do not oversee any mild symptoms
- Trek higher, sleep lower
- Avoid rapid ascent
- Do not leave any members unattended
- Carry proper medications
5. Can I drink tap water along the route?
The water supply system in Nepal is not well organized and is often contaminated from the very source. Hence, this is the reason you should not drink tap water in Nepal. Apart from major cities, many remote parts of Nepal are not connected to the supply system and depend upon local water bodies for drinking water. Although Nepalese do not have a choice there, you do.
Moreover, always carry purification tablets when you’re going on a trek to any locations in Nepal. Also, Bottled water is available in almost every teahouse, opt for those instead.
6. Do I need permits to travel to Kanchenjunga?
You will need 2 permits to visit Kanchenjunga:
- Kanchenjunga Restricted Area Permit- $10 Per person/week
- Kanchenjunga Conservation Area Permit- Rs. 2000 Per person
Generally, Police checkpoints will require you to display your permits at various locations. Moreover, failure to comply may lead to denial of entry.
Also, you need to have an original passport with a valid visa to Nepal and two photos for the permits.
There you have it!
So, all the guidelines and that’s there to know about the best time to visit Kanchenjunga. In addition, we hope this guide will serve you to make the best out of this trek.
Thank you for stopping by!