Gaining a maximum altitude of just over 5100m and covering a distance of over 200km this trek ventures into the remote north eastern part of Nepal. Seldom visited by tourists the trails will be quiet but will supply you with nonstop awe-inspiring views that will inspire you and provide you with unforgettable memories. It has been said that this is one of the best treks in the world but it’s not to be underestimated, with 20 days on the trail you’ll need to be well prepared, familiar with multi-day camping treks and have a good level of fitness
Leaving Tapeljung we head out through the beautiful Nepali villages of Mitlung, Tapethok, and Amjilosa to mention just a few before the valley opens out giving fantastic mountain views. Following the rivers we steadily climb towards Pengpema, the northern base camp, taking a couple of acclimatisatin days as we go. From Pengpema we retrace our steps slightly and then turn east to cross some high passes to reach the southern base camp at Ramche.
Monkey Mountaineering's Approach
Maximise Chances of Success
At Monkey Mountaineering we recognise the difficulties involved in completing a long multi-day camping trek, that's why we do everything we can to help you achieve your goal. To improve your chances of success our groups on this trek are never more than 8 people. We use local guides who are professional, fully qualified, experienced and have in-depth knowledge of the trek and area.
Minimise Environmental Impact
In keeping with our core values of sustainable adventure travel, we take steps to ensure our impact on the environment is kept to a minimum. We always respect the environment we operate in and we plan all our trips with this in mind.
This is a 28-day itinerary. We don’t see the need for you to add extra days to the end of your trip but can happily arrange this for you if you would like. Please get in touch if you would like to discuss this further by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone: 01765 773015
Day 1: Depart from the UK heading for Nepal. Under your own arrangements, it’s time to catch your international flight to Nepal.
Day 2: Arrive in Kathmandu. Once you have collected your luggage and made your way out of the airport terminal building you will be met by one of our local representatives and transferred to your hotel in the busy Kathmandu district of Thamel.
Day 3: Kathmandu Sightseeing Tour. After breakfast you will be collected for your sightseeing tour. Highlights include:
- Durbar Square – This ancient location has been the home to Kings throughout different dynasties and is also the home to some of the finest Hindu and Buddhist architecture in the region.
- Swayambhunath – Set on a hilltop to the west of Kathmandu, Swayambhunath is one of the oldest religious sites in Nepal. The site itself is a collection of small stupas and a pagoda temple built over different periods by a succession of kings and noblemen. The main structure of is made of a solid hemisphere of brick and clay supporting a conical spire of copper gilt. Painted on the four sides on the base of the spire are the “All Seeing Eyes” of Lord Buddha. Swayambhunath is also known as the Monkey Temple.
- Bouddhanth - This colossal and ancient Stupa is one of Nepal’s most unique monuments and is said to be the world biggest Stupa. Baudhanath Stupa is said to hold the remains of Kasyapa - the Buddha of the previous time. One hundred meters in diameter this Stupa is 36 meters high. Its pinnacle represents the stages of enlightenment, symbol of royalty, compassion, knowing and nirvana.
- Pashupatinath – With its two-tiered golden roof and silver doors this temple is famous for its superb Newari architecture. Situated near the banks of sacred Bagmati River only Hindus are permitted to enter, however visitors can clearly see the temple from the eastern bank of the river.
After the sightseeing tour you can relax before we take you to a traditional restaurant for a welcome dinner and live Nepali cultural show.
Day 4: Fly to Suketar/Taplejung (2420m). After breakfast in your hotel, you will be transferred to Kathmandu’s Domestic Air Terminal for a flight to Taplejung. On arrival we will take a short trek to a nearby campsite where we will spend the rest of the afternoon and overnight. Flight Time: approx 1 hr. Trekking Time: approx 1 hr.
Day 5: Taplejung to Mitlung (921m). We officially kick start the trek today with a great downhill section taking us to Mitlung. The trails in the lower part of the Kanchenjunga region pass through fertile valleys, beautiful pastures and small villages. After crossing the Hangdewa Khola, we turn north and follow the raging Tamor Nadi, climbing gradually again before the final decent into Mitlung where we will camp for the night. Trekking Time: approx. 4-5 hrs.
Day 6: Mitlung to Chirwa (1270m). An undulating day of trekking through the beautiful rural landscape and across a superb suspension bridge takes us to the pretty Limbu village of Chirwa which now boasts a number of small Lodges and tea shops. We make camp here for the night. Trekking Time: approx. 5-6 hrs.
Day 7: Chirwa to Sukathum (1576m). Dense forest, cardamom fields and lush green pastures are the order of the day today as our route undulates towards the Ghunsa Khola whioch we cross before arriving in Sukathum. Overnight camping. Trekking Time: approx. 5-6 hrs
Day 8: Sukathum to Amjilosa (2308m). The trek turns a bit more challenging today with as part of the trail is narrow and steep in places. We start though by crossing another superb suspension bridge across Ghunsa Khola and walking through dense forest. The village of Amjilosa and our campsite for the night will be a welcome sight towards the end of this day. Trekking Time: approx. 6-7 hrs.
Day 9: Amjilosa to Gyabla (2730m). Bamboo, Fir and Rhododendron forests are on the cards for today along with spectacular waterfalls as our trek takes us gradually uphill to the Tibetan settlement of Gyabla. Trekking Time: approx. 6-7 hrs.
Day 10: Gyabla to Ghunsa (3595m). We start the day with a fairly steep descent before the trail levels out and follows the riverbank. You’ll really start to get the feeling of being in the mountains today especially as the valley starts to open up as we reach Phale, a Tibetan refugee settlement. Continuing along the river we eventually reach Ghunsa, the largest village on the trek and one that is known for its hydroelectric plant and also a tragic helicopter crash. We camp in Ghunsa. Trekking Time: approx. 5-6 hrs
Day 11: Acclimatisation/Rest Day at Ghunsa (3595m). An important day as we help our bodies become accustomed to operating at high altitudes. After breakfast we will take a gentle walk up towards the Laspsan La Monastery gaining valuable height before dropping back down to Ghunsa for lunch and an afternoon at leisure. Camping overnight.
Day 12: Ghunsa to Kambachen (4050m). Refreshed from our acclimatisation day we continue in a northerly direction along the banks of the Ghunsa Khola. There are some great mountain views to be had today as the spectacular 7711m Kumbhakarna (Januu) comes into view. Eventually we reach Kambachen, a collection of several shingle roofed stone buildings with some good flat areas for camping. Trekking Time: approx. 5-6 hrs.
Day 13: Acclimatisation/Rest Day at Kambachen (4050m). Our second acclimatisation day will be spent around Kambachen. A short walk up the ridge to the north of the village will help us acclimatise and provide splendid views of the peaks to the south. Overnight camping.
Day 14: Kambachen to Lhonak (4780m). An early start is on the cards for this challenging day crossing desolate boulder fields left behind by ancient glaciers we continue to generally follow the river northwards. Crossing at Ramtang we then follow the lateral moraine of the Kanchenjunga glacier before reaching the village of Lhonak. It’ll feel cold and desolate here but the stupendous 360-degree views will more than make it worthwhile. Overnight camp. Trekking Time: approx. 6-7 hrs.
Day 15: Kambachen to Pangpema/Kanchenjunga North Base Camp (5388m). today the trail takes us to our first objective, the North Kanchenjunga Base Camp from where all ascents of the North side of Kanchenjunga start from. Our trek will take us over some particularly rough terrain today as we continue to track the lateral moraine of the Kanchenjunga glacier. Pangpema consists of a couple of stone huts with plenty of flat space for camping. We will spend the night here, make sure you are well prepared for a drop in temperature as the sun goes down! Trekking Time: approx. 4-5 hrs.
Day 16: Pangpema to Kambachen (4050m). Start the day early and go for a short walk up the ridge north of Pangpema (at dawn perhaps) for some absolutely breath-taking and inspirational views before heading down for a hearty breakfast. The trek back to Kambachen is a reverse of the route we followed on the way up but offers a totally different perspective with yet more stunning views. Overnight camp at Kambachen. Trekking Time: approx. 5-6 hrs.
Day 17: Kambachen to Ghunsa (3595m). Another reverse day as we continue heading back down the trail and through the forest with a spectacular mountain vista in the backdrop towards Ghunsa where we will camp for the night. Trekking Time: approx. 3-4 hrs.
Day 18: Ghunsa to Sele Le (4290m). New ground today as we make our way towards Kanchenjunga South Base Camp. Our route today climbs steeply up to Sele Le through dense rhododendron and juniper forests. Lunch on the trail and overnight camp in Sele Le. Trekking Time: approx. 6-7 hrs.
Day 19: Sele Le to Cheram (3870m). A tough day awaits today but don’t be put off, you should be well acclimatised by now and it’s all worth it. Our route climbs up crossing the Sinion La (4660m), the Mirgin La (4663m) and the Sinelapche La (4724m) giving unequalled views of Jannu and, if conditions are right, way over to our right, Makalu which at 8485m is the world’s fifth highest mountain. After crossing the passes, we drop back down to Cheram where we will camp for the night. Trekking Time: approx. 6-7 hrs.
Day 20: Cheram to Ramche (4580m) and back to Cheram. Ascending past the snout of the Yalung glacier and following the banks of the Simbuwa Khola takes us past the village of Lapsang and onwards to Ramche. Continuing up the valleyand climbing the moraine provides awesome views of Kanchenjunga’s south face and if we push a little further, Jannu comes into view making for a fantastic mountain vista. Depending on how we are feeling and how much time we have it may be possible to push on a little further to the monastery at Oktang before descending back to Cheram and an overnight camp. Trekking Time: approx. 4-5 hrs.
Day 21: Cheram to Tortong (2995m). We descend to Tortong following the Simbuwa Khola and pass-through lush rhododendron forests. Overnight camp at Tortong. Trekking Time: approx. 5-6 hrs.
Day 22: Tortong to Yamphudin (2080m). The trail to Yampudin changes on a seasonal basis after the monsoon rains wash parts of it away and some of it becomes covered by landslide debris. By mid-October there is usually a good new trail established but its always interesting. Overnight camp at Yamphudin. Trekking Time: approx. 6-7 hrs.
Day 23: Yamphudin to Yangpang (1007m). As the altitude drops ever lower, you’ll be feeling the benefit of the extra oxygen now! Descending from Yamphudin we cross the bridge at Samekham and follow the Kabeli Khola before passing through Mamankhe which houses the Limbu Museaum and Cultural Centre. Crossing over he Khaksewa Khola we ascend through cardamom forest and some small villages before dropping down to Yangpang and our overnight camp. Trekking Time: approx. 6-7 hrs.
Day 24: Yangpang to Thorpu (1500m). The route to Thorpu undulates and takes us through some really beautiful, terraced villages. Overnight camp in Thorpu. Trekking Time: approx. 5-6 hrs.
Day 25: Thorpu to Birtamod (300m). No walking today! Sit back and enjoy the drive to Birtamond and watch the scenery change from mountains and hills to the flatter more agricultural terai as the temperature rises and the climate changes. Overnight hotel in Birtamod. Drive Time: approx. 5-6 hrs.
Day 26: Drive from Birtamod to Bhadrapur and fly to Kathmandu. A short drive takes us the regional airport at Bhadrapur where we fly back to Kathm,andu. The remaining time is free for you to relax and unwind from your trek, and maybe wander round in the hustle and bustle of Thamel looking for souvenirs or beers! Farewell dinner in the evening and overnight in the Thamel Eco Lodge.
Day 27: Transfer to Kathmandu International Airport. After what we hope has been an amazing time in Nepal today, we will transfer you to Kathmandu International Airport for your flight back to the UK.
Day 28: Arrive back in the UK.