Best Time And Itinerary for Kanchenjunga Trek

Best Time And Itinerary for Kanchenjunga Trek

If you are a Himalayan trekking enthusiast, then you must be familiar with the king of the off-beaten trekking route section in the Nepali Himalayas, Kanchenjunga Trek. This exciting Himalayan endeavor is the most fulfilling journey for trekkers who are looking for a tranquil experience moving away from the crowd of the mainstream trekking destinations. Kanchenjunga Trek takes you across the isolated part of the Himalayas, where you will get to experience the true unspoiled wilderness as you make your way to the foothills of the third highest peak in the world, Mt. Kanchenjunga (8,586 meters). This wilderness exploration is certainly worth trying to understand the magnificence of the Himalayan region in its natural stage, but what is the best time for Kanchenjunga Trek to make the most out of the journey?

You must be curious about the ideal time to do this trek if you are considering it. The answer to your curiosity is also quite simple: it actually depends on what kind of experience you are looking for. In general, spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November) are considered the ultimate period to comfortably enjoy any Himalayan explorations in the Himalayas. However, with the right preparation, doing this trek even during the off-seasons is also possible. So, keep following the article to understand more about the best time and itinerary for the Kanchenjunga Trek.

Best Time For Kanchenjunga Trek: Overview and Highlights in Different Seasons

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The trekking adventures in Nepal are all-seasonal exploration activities. However, as the Kanchenjunga Trek is a high altitude that takes you to significant altitudes in the 4,000-meter and 5,000-meter class, you should carefully consider the season of your visit. Unlike other low-altitude journeys that are feasible throughout any point in the year, this high-altitude trek is slightly more demanding and challenging during the off-season.

Still, each of the seasons adds its own unique touches to magnify the beauty of the Kanchenjunga region. Here is what you can expect your trekking journey to be like during your adventure in different seasons.

Kanchenjunga Trek in Spring (March, April, and May)

Needless to say, the spring season is the crown bearer among the peak seasons. This is also the best time for Kanchenjunga Trek, thanks to the incredible natural beauty the season brings to the Himalayas, it attracts thousands of trekkers across the world. This season is popular for the incredible blooms of the rhododendron and other wildflowers that not just light up the trekking trail but also add a sweet aroma to make the exploration even more exhilarating.

The landscapes of the country are also brimming with life, and trekking across the lush, thick forest makes it seem like you have entered an enchanted kingdom. Similarly, the spring season takes place right after the winter season, so if you trek part in this incredible exploration during the early part of the season, you will also get the opportunity to witness the transition point of the winter landscapes that are gradually covered by the bloom of the spring season.

Also, the melting snow adds momentum to the rivers, streams, and waterfalls, so you will get the opportunity to witness their prime form under perfect climatic conditions. The weather in the country is also stable during this season, and the temperatures are generally warmer, with the temperatures the day temperatures averaging around 17°C. On a warmer, the temperature can reach a peak of about 25°C and can drop upto -15°C at higher elevations.

Kanchenjunga Trek in Autumn (Septemeber, October, and November)

The autumn season, among all other seasons throughout the year, has the most stable climatic conditions. That’s why the autumn season is considered to be the best season for high altitude trekking in Nepal and is also another best time for Kanchenjunga Trek. Due to the lower precipitation rate, the weather conditions rarely deteriorate in this season and visibility is pretty impeccable. You will be able to catch the enchanting views of the extensive Himalayan vistas from your trekking trail without any obstructions.

Besides the most stable climatic conditions for outdoor adventures, the autumn season is also popular for the foliage of the fall season and the golden harvest. Unlike the spring season, where nature is at its pinnacle, the autumn season is the cycle where nature takes a break. Thus, the unique shades of grey, yellow, and crimson will provide you with the opportunity to witness the Himalayan beauty from a different angle.

Furthermore, the autumn season is also the hub for the most incredible cultural experience in this diverse country. This fall and harvest season houses some of the biggest celebrations in Nepal, like Dashain, Tihar, Teej, Mani Rimdu, Sita Bibaha, etc. The autumn season also houses the most pleasant temperatures, neither too cold nor too hot, just perfect for outdoor exploration. Generally, the temperatures of Kanchenjunga in this season average around 15°C, and hist the maximum point at around 20°C. However, in the alpine zones, the night and morning temperatures can drop as low as -10°C.

Kanchenjunga Trek in Off-Season (Monsoon and Winter)

Although the best time for Kanchenjunga Trek is during the high seasons, it doesn’t mean that this trek cannot be done during the off-season. Monsoon (June, July and August) is the most notable off-season for trekking adventures in Nepal. Although the continuous rainfall can dampen the exploration mood and might push the itinerary plans to some extent, this is still a warmer season (the core point of the summer season in Nepal).

So, with the right gear and waterproof layers, there are pleasant window frames in this season where you can enjoy the experience. One of the exciting aspects of doing the trek in the monsoon is that the landscapes are fresh and lush, thanks to the nourishment of the monsoon rain. Similarly, the continuous downpour also adds full glory to waterfalls, rivers, and mountain streams; their loud soar adds thrills to the journey.

However, doing Kacnhejunga Trek in the winter season (December, January, and February) can be a challenging and demanding endeavor. As this is a physically demanding journey that takes you to significant altitudes, the experience during the winter can be more challenging than other lower-altitude explorations. During the winter season, the alpine zone (above 4,000 meters) and the region closer are generally covered in snow. Besides the route blockage, you will also have to put in extra effort just to traverse across on the regular route. Due to the freezing climatic conditions, the acclimatization process is also more complicated in this season.

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When Should I Do This Kanchenjunga Trek?

Kanchenjunga Trekking Cost and Itinerary

After going through the experience and complications that different seasons bring, if you are looking for a pleasant journey, the best time for Kanchenjunga Trek for you would be during the high season, like spring and autumn. These seasons offer teh most remarkable experience, and not having to deal with the weather phenomenal is undoubtedly a valuable perk in the high altitude explorations. As Kanchenjunga Trek is one of the remote and off-beaten explorations, this region receives fewer trekkers compared to other mainstream destinations in the country.

So, even if you are considering the off-seasons for a more serene adventure in solitude, you will be able to achieve that even during the high seasons. In case if you are considering the low seasons for a different experience it provides, you need to be prepared for the challenging aspects of unfavorable weather conditions in these seasons. For the Himalayan adventures in the off-seasons, like winter and monsoon, you need to have at least some experience in high-altitude treks.

What is Difficulty Level of Kanchenjunga Trek?

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After understanding the best time for Kanchenjunga Trek, it is also important to undertand what kind of difficulty your adventure packs. Most of the Himalayan exploration in the country, despite having sections of the route that cross high passes or altitudes above 5,000 meters, are considered moderately difficult adventures. However, the Kanchenjunga Trek, which lasts about 23 to 27 days, is considered one of the most physically and mentally demanding Himalayan endeavors in Nepal. Due to its length and significant altitudes along the trekking trail, this trekking adventure is only recommended for trekkers with some experience.

Still, this exploration isn’t strenuous like the mountain expeditions, and the trekkers don’t have to handle any technical sections along the way. So, with enough preparation and proper adaptation to the altitude changes, it is not that hard to complete this off-beaten exploration. The trekking packages to the Himalayas do have enough acclimatization days, and if you are good to go on the physical and mental upfront, the trek won’t be that physically vexing. It can be just challenging for trekkers without any prior experience in high-altitude treks due to the remoteness of the Kanchenjunga region and the overall length of the trip.

The overall trekking distance of the Kanchenjunga Trek is approximately around 220 km (136 miles). Thus, the average walking hour for this trek is about 6 to 7 hours. You will cover a trekking distance of about 10 to 12 km on aggregate during the trekking days. Similarly, the altitude gain in this trek is also quite significant as you will cross several points along the trek over 4,000 and 5,000 meters. So, the potential risk of Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) at this high altitude is quite high if you don’t follow proper acclimatization protocols.

Effective Preparation for Pikey Peak Trek

Kanchenjunga Trekking Cost and Itinerary

As Kanchenjunga Trek is a long haul and high-altitude journey, making adequate preparation is not optional. The amount of preparation you will make will determine your overall comfort level of your trip. The normal training period for high-altitude adventures in Nepal is about 3 to 6 weeks. But, as this is one of the physically demanding treks, you should consider the period according to your fitness level. This training period is recommended, considering you will be joining the trail during the best time for Kanchenjunga Trek; however, if you are planning to do it in the off-seasons, you should consider putting in extra effort.

If you have prior experience in high altitude trekking, you may not need to put in a lot of hours for the training. The general requirement for this remote exploration is a general level of fitness and good health. If you have that, then you are already all good to go, but a good level of preparation will certainly make the trip more comfortable, and you will also be able to truly relish this iconic Himalayan adventure.

The main focus of your preparation program should be on developing your strength and endurance aspects. Working on these aspects will prepare your body for the long hours of a physically demanding journey, and you won’t completely exhaust yourself during each day of the trek. You can include strength and endurance exercises like Push Up, Pull Up, Squat, Weightlift, Lunge, Leg Press, Step Up, etc in your training. Similarly, cardiovascular exercises will make it easy for you to adapt to new altitudes. Swimming, Jogging, Mountain Climber, Jumping Rope, etc. are some efficient forms of cardiovascular exercises.

Kanchenjunga Trek Itinerary Outline

Kanchenjunga Trekking Cost and Itinerary

Here is a general Kanchenjunga Trek itinerary; the overall plans may vary depending on the length, route, and explorations of landmarks along the trekking route. You can take the following itinerary plan as the most standard Kanchenjunga Trek itinerary.

Day 01: Arrival in Kathmandu (1,400 meters/ 4,593 feet)

Day 02: Fly from Kathmandu to Bhadrapur (91 meters/ 298 feet) and drive to Taplejung (1,820 meters/ 5,971 feet)

Day 03: Taplejung to Mitlung (921 meters/ 3,021 feet) trekking

Day 05: Trekking from Mitlung to Chirwa (1,270 meters/ 4,166 feet)

Day 06: Chirwa to Sekathum (1,502 meters/ 4,927 feet)

Day 07: Trekking from Sekathum to Amjilosa (2,400 meters/ 7,874 feet)

Day 08: Gyable to Ghunsa (3,475 meters/ 11,400 feet) trek

Day 09: Acclimatization and exploration day to Ghunsa

Day 10: Trek from Ghunsa to Kambachen (4,100 meters/ 13,451 feet)

Day 11: Trekking from Kambachen to Lhonak (4,780 meters/ 15,682 feet)

Day 12: Lhonak to Pang Pema ‘North Base Camp’ (5,140 meters/ 16,863 feet)

Day 13: Rest and exploration day at Pang Pema and return to Lhonak

Day 14: Trek from Lhonak to Ghunsa (3,475 meters/ 11,400 feet)

Day 15: Trekking from Ghunsa to Sele Le (4,290 meters/ 14,074 feet)

Day 16: Sele Le to Cheram (3,864 meters/ 12,677 feet)

Day 17: Trek from Cheram to Ramche ‘South Base Camp’ (4,580 meters/ 15,026 feet)

Day 18: Rest and exploration day at Ramche and return to Cheram

Day 19: Trek from Cherman to Tortong (2,080 meters/ 6,824 feet)

Day 20: Tortong to Hellok (1,700 meters/ 5,577 feet)

Day 21: Hello to Ranipul (1,500 meters/ 4,921 feet) trek and drive to Illam (8,00 meters/ 2,624 feet)

Day 22: Drive from Illam to Bhadrapur (91 meters/ 298 feet)

Day 23: Bhadrapur to Kathmandu (1,400 meters/ 4,593 feet) flight

Day 24: Leisure day at Kathmandu

Day 25: Departure day; flight to home country

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Kanchenjunga Trek Itinerary Overview

Kanchenjunga South Base Camp (Oktang Base Camp) Trek

Kanchenjunga Trek itinerary is the most standard itinerary for this remote exploration in the far-eastern Himalayas. However, what you need to understand is that this standard trekking package explores both of the base camps of the third highest peak on the planet, Mt. Kanchenjunga. Starting the trekking part from Taplejung, you will move along the major highlights of this isolated route and first head toward the Pang Pema, the North Base Camp. Then, proceeding with your off-beaten trekking route, you will then explore the Ramche, the South Base Camp.

Due to the exploration of both base camps of the mountain in the single itinerary plan, the duration of the Kanchenjunga Trek is lengthy considering other mainstream adventures that have a duration of about just two weeks. However, if you are not up for such a long journey on a single or you are just a beginner who wants to experience the remote parts of the Himalayas that still preserve the pristine wilderness, you can also go the individual explorations of each base camp of Kanchenjunga.

The Kanchenjunga North Base Camp Trek is a wonderful 18-day exploration package in the Kanchenjunga region that expires on the northern side of the mountain. This trek also follows the same major route as the mainstream Kanchenjunga Trek.

After exploration of the northern camp, you will make your return without advancing to the southern side of the mountain. Kanchenjunga South Base Camp Trek is the shortest variant out of two individual explorations and has a duration of just 15 days. You will make your way to the southern side of the mountain from Yamphudin and make your way toward the base camp across Tortong and Tseram.

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Permits for Kanchenjunga Trek

Kanchenjunga Trek with Guide and Porter

Kanchenjunga Trek is an extremely remote trekking adventure that explores the most isolated part of the Nepali Himalayas. During this off-beaten journey, you will traverse across both protected areas and restricted areas. Thus, you will primarily need two major permits to do this trek.

Permits for Kanchenjunga Trek

  • Kanchenjunga Conservation Area Permit
  • Kanchenjunga Restricted Area Permit

As your trekking route passes through the conversation area, you will need the Kanchenjunga Conservation Area Permit, which costs approximately around US$ 30. Similarly, the four major Village Development Committees (VDC) of Taplejung, Lellep, Paping, Olangchung Gola, and Yamphudin are listed areas by the Nepal Government. So, to trek across these special designated sections, you will need the Kanchenjunga Restricted Area Permit, which costs about US$ 20 per person (per week for the first four weeks).

Note: Although the Trekkers Information Management System (TIMS) Card has been recently made mandatory by the authorities for most high-altitude treks, you will not need it for the Kanchenjunga Trek. TIMS Card is not required for this trek because you will have the Kanchenjunga Restricted Area Permit

What Should You Pack for Kanchenjunga Trek?

Kanchenjunga North Base Camp Trek - 18 Days Itinerary

The packing for this exciting trek will depend on your preference of the best time for Kanchenjunga Trek. If you are doing this incredible exploration during the peak seasons like autumn and spring, just carrying the altitude-appropriate layers and helpful gear will be enough. However, if you are considering doing this trek during the off-season, in the winter season, you will need to pack warm, heavy layers to keep yourself comfortable and the right equipment to keep you warm.

As for the monsoon season, the waterproof gear, layers, and footwear with good traction should be your top priority. Don’t worry; Great Adventure Treks will provide a helpful guide for you to assist with your luggage (one porter for two trekkers) so you can enjoy the exploration feeling light. Here are some of our general packing suggestions for the Kanchenjunga Trek.

Standard Packing Recommendation for Kanchenjunga Trek

  • Sun hat, woolen or insulated hat
  • Head scarf, neck gaiter
  • Lightwegith inner wear
  • Thermal vets
  • Comfortable t-shirt
  • Flexible pants and hiking shorts
  • Breathable trousers
  • Waterproof layers
  • Warm insulated trousers for higher altitudes
  • Down jacket
  • Personal hygiene products
  • Sleeping bag
  • Trekking pole
  • Torch or headlamp
  • Trekking boots with good traction
  • Sports shoes
  • First aid
  • Binoculars
  • Map and GPS
  • Water bottle and thermos flask

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