At 8,586m, Kanchenjunga is the world's 3rd highest mountain. Located in the far north eastern corner of Nepal bordering Sikkim, it is considered as one of the most beautiful mountain massifs in the world.
Kanchenjunga circuit trekking is getting popular these days among nature enthusiasts as it is a long adventure to the most remote and beautiful area of Himalayas in Nepal’s eastern regions. The name Kanchenjunga means five treasures of the great snow which is in reference to the five summits that make up Kanchenjunga. Since, this trekking is less crowded you will be rewarded with a unique insight into Nepali rural lifestyle and its rich culture. You will also experience every climate Nepal has to offer from steamy jungles to jumbled glaciers. Kanchenjunga Circuit Trekking offers it all.
What Is Included
Himalayan Glacier Trekking has a philosophy with trip inclusions: as much as possible is included so HGT customers know the total cost of the adventure trip up front.
- All hotel/airport transfer
- Hotel Norbulinka in Kathmandu with B&B
- Airport pick up drop and sightseeing by private vehicles
- Bhadrapur-Kathmandu-Bhadrapur flight
- Transportation Bhadrapur-Ilam-Bhadrapur by normal bus
- All accommodations in tents and all meals during the treks
- Down jacket, 4 seasonal sleeping bag (down jacket and sleeping bag are to be returned after trip completion)
- Welcome & farewell dinner
- All porterages costs
- All cost for a Himalayan Glacier leader(First Aid and Eco trained English Speaking) and sherpa, a sherpa assistance leader(s) and assistance Trek leader help each individuals while on trek
- All necessary paper works and trekking permits
- Travel & Rescue arrangements
- Exclusive Medical Kit Bag
- Portable Altitudes Chamber (PAC) for safety measures ( if on group less than 3 people we will provide on request and extra fee)
- All government and local taxes if necessary
- Himalayan Glacier Kit Bag
What Is Not Included
- Nepal Visa fee (bring accurate USD cash and two passport photographs)/ International airfare to & from home city
- Excess baggage charges
- Lunch & evening meals in Kathmandu
- Travel and rescue insurance
- Personal expenses e.g. phone calls, laundry, bar bills & extra porters
- Tips for guides and porters
- Optional trips and sightseeing if extend
You will be staying in Hotel Norbulinka or another standard hotel of similar category while in Kathmandu. While in Phidim or Birtamod you will be accommodated in standard guest houses. However, while trekking in the mountains you will be staying in tea houses with basic facilities or in camps. Throughout your trip you will be under a twin sharing accommodation but for participants of different sex, a single provision will be made without any extra charge. Toilet facilities in guest houses and tea houses will be appropriate and basic. While camping, a separate tent will be set up as the toilet at an optimum distant from your tent.
While in Kathmandu you will be served bed & breakfast along with welcome and farewell dinners whereas on your trekking journey all meals will be provided. Breakfast and dinner will be served in the teahouses you spend the night in and lunch will be served in a pleasant area. However, while staying in camps/tents you will be served basic meal by our trained staff. A basic meal will include rice, potatoes, noodle with soup etc.
Route maps are just representation of the trekking routes. This does not represent the exact geographical conditions.Click here for Kanchenjunga Circuit Trekking route map
Important Note :
Your safety is of paramount concern while traveling with Himalayan Glacier. Please note that your leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the itinerary if it is deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Every effort will be made to keep to the above itinerary; however, since this adventure entails travelling in remote mountainous regions, we cannot guarantee that we will not deviate from it. Weather conditions, health condition of a group member, unexpected natural disasters, etc., can all contribute to changes in the itinerary. The leader will try to ensure that the trip runs according to plan, but please be prepared to be flexible if required.
Day to Day Itinerary
Arrival in Kathmandu (1,300m /4,264 ft)
Upon arrival in Kathmandu airport you will be expected to complete your custom formalities (Visa etc). We suggest you to look for our representative who will be waiting for you at the arrival gate with a Himalayan Glacier Trekking display board.You will then be transferred to Hotel Shankar or another hotel of similar category. After checking in you can either take rest, stroll in the city or visit our office. It all depends on you. A welcome dinner will be served to you in a traditional Nepali Restaurant later in the evening. While there, you will be able to enjoy authentic Nepali cuisine with a brief cultural program.
Sightseeing in Kathmandu and preparation for trekking
Completion of required official procedures and taking a cultural tour of Kathmandu before the actual trekking will be the main agenda of this day. After breakfast there will be cultural tour to world heritage sites in Kathmandu which includes Kathmandu Durbar Square, Pashupatinath Temple, Swayambhunath, and Bauddhanath. During the afternoon, you will be meeting with other participants of the trekking program along with your guides at HGT office for a pre-trip discussion.
Fly from Kathmandu to Biratnagar (81 m/266 ft)
You will fly from Kathmandu to Biratnagar. Depending upon the availability of flying options to Suketar from Biratnagar you will be presented with either of the two possibilities listed below:
a. If there is availability of flight to Suketar you spend the night in Biratnagar and fly to Suketar the next morning.
b. If there are no flights available to Suketar you drive to Phidim and spend the night there.
Fly from Biratnagar to Suketar (2,420 m/7,938 ft) or Drive from Phidim (1,179 m/ (3,868 ft) to Suketar
If you spent overnight at Biratnagar the previous day you will directly fly to Suketar this day and spend the night there. But, if you spent your night in Phidim you will be driving to Suketar. Either way you spend overnight at Suketar.
Suketar to Mitlung (921 m/3,021 ft) 4-5 hrs
We officially kick start the day with a downhill walk to Mitlung. The trails throughout the lower sections of the Kanchenjunga region pass through fertile valleys with beautiful pastures and small villages. We then cross Hangdewa River and walk alongside the raging Tamor River. As we gradually head in a northerly direction the trail steepens after a few hours before a final descent of 350 meters on a muddy trail to Mitlung. We spend the night there.
Mitlung to Chirwa (1,270 m/4166 ft) 5-6 hrs
The trail ascends and descends steadily as we make our way towards the village of Sinwa. We continue trekking downhill until we reach Tawa. At Tawa, we ascend to some heights and cross the suspension bridge at Thiwa. We pass beautiful rural landscape along the way and reach Chirwa, a beautiful Limbu village with few lodges, tea shops etc. We spend the night at Chirwa.
Chirwa to Sukathum (1,576 m/5,169 ft) 5-6 hrs
The trek from Chirwa to Sukathum passes through varied landscapes such as cardamom fields and dense forests. We trek uphill for sometime then descend to the lush green fields below and continue trekking along the Tamor River passing through a dense forest. It’s both uphill and downhill trek until crossing the Ghunsa River after which we reach Sukathum and spend the night there.
Sukathum to Amjilosa (2,308 m /7,570 ft) 6-7 hrs
Trekking from Sukathum to Amjilosa is challenging. After crossing the suspension bridge outside Sukathum we enter a dense forest, ascend the steep trail, descend and cross the river again. We also climb a gorge from the bottom and pass by Solima village and descend again to the level of the river. All in all, this day’s trekking is rather tough. Therefore, it is advisable to be very careful especially while walking the trail that passes the gorge. We later follow a tricky trail which goes both uphill and downhill until reaching Amjilosa where we spend the night.
Amjilosa to Gyabla (2,730 m /8,954 ft) 6-7 hrs
We start trekking from the river bank, pass through a densely forest of bamboo, fir and rhododendrons eventually reaching a small stone house by the river. We then climb uphill crossing a few small bridges along the way. Here, we get to enjoy the company of stunning waterfalls that originate from the mountains. After yet another short uphill walk we reach the Tibetan settlement to Gyabla.
Gyabla to Ghunsa (3,595 m/11,792 ft) 5-6 hrs
We descend down the river and notice the valley as it slowly opens up before reaching Phale, a Tibetan refugee settlement where it is possible to purchase handicrafts and homemade rugs from locals. After purchasing a few souvenirs we travel through conifer and pine forest and reach the Sherpa village of Ghunsa where we spend the night. This place is known for its hydroelectricity plant and the fact that more than 20 prominent conservationists met a tragic end in a helicopter crash.
Acclimatisation day at Ghunsa
We take care to spend time acclimatising around Ghunsa before continuing our next day’s trek. We recommend you to stay active even in a rest day as it is better than being idle while on a trekking journey. Therefore, we take a short hike towards the Laspsan La monastery through the lush green forest. Come back to Ghunsa by afternoon and relax.
Ghunsa to Kambachen (4,050 m/13,284 ft) 5-6 hrs
From Ghunsa we trek further north along the river bank which presents us with magnificent mountain scenery. We pass through meadows full with beautiful wildflowers, rhododendron and pine forests. We cross a bridge at Rampuk Kharka, continue past the waterfall and cross the tricky section of the landslide. After crossing the landslide area we begin to see the spectacular view of Mt. Jannu. Further exploring and tackling the tricky mountain trail we finally arrive at Kambachen and spend the night.
Acclimatisation Day at Kambachen
We take yet another day for acclimatisation at Kambachen which is reserved to accommodate participants in high altitude and also to observe if anybody in the group has any symptoms of altitude sickness. The overall idea for this day is to relax- take a bath and/or explore the Nuphchu Khola Valley area. We spend yet another night at Kambachen.
Kambachen to Lhonak (4,780 m/15,678 ft) 6-7 hrs
Today will be another challenging day and an early start is needed. We trek through rocky fields and large boulders on the hillside along the riverbank and arrive at a waterfall. We then cross a bridge to Ramtang monastery. We then come across a landslide section which we must pass through at a steady pace before descending to the river and finally arriving at Lhonak.
Trek to Pangpema/Kanchenjunga North Base Camp (5,388 m/17,673 ft) 6-7 hrs
We trek along the Kanchenjunga Glacier to spend a night at Pangpema, Kanchenjunga base camp on the north side. We urge you to be careful around the rockier sections as they are prone to landslides. After a short while you reach Pangpema, a flat grassy base camp. Climb a little higher and enjoy the splendor of Jannu, Kanchenjunga and Chang Himal.
Trek back to Kambachen (4,050 m/13,284 ft) 6-7 hrs
We retrace our path to Lhonak and continue down the valley to Ramtang Monastery. The return journey offers a different perspective of the mountains Kanchenjunga, Taple Shikhar, Gimmigela, and Mera Peak among others. Due to the descending nature of this trek we will reach Kambachen by evening and spend the night there.
Kambachen to Ghunsa (3,595 m/11,792 ft) 3-4 hrs
It’s essentially the reverse of our Day 12 trek. We descend to Ghunsa from Kambachen which means that we get to enjoy the beautiful forests along with a backdrop of impressive mountain scenery. Overnight at Ghunsa
Ghunsa to Sele Le (4,290 m/14,071 ft) 6-7 hrs
It’s a steep trek upward from Ghunsa to Sele-Le. Upon reaching Sele Le we climb through a dense forest of moss, rhododendron and juniper. Lunch will be served in an appropriate place with the availability of water. We spend the night in Sele Le.
Sele Le to Cheram (3,870 m/12,694 ft) 6-7 hrs
We do an uphill trek and enjoy the mesmerizing south side view of Jannu Himal and Makalu (the world's 6th highest mountain). Today is a strenuous trekking day as we cross several passes- Sinion La, Mirgin La and Sinelapche Bhanjyang. We then make a steep descend to Cheram and spend the night there.
Cheram to Ramche (4,580 m/15,022 ft) and return back to Cheram, 4-5 hrs
We ascend past the snout of the Yalung Glacier and walk alongside the Simbuwa Khola, pass through Lapsang village and reach Ramche. While there, we walk further up the valley or ascend a ridge for a tremendous view of blue sheeps. We then follow the stream before climbing on the moraine top until confronted by Kanchenjunga’s southern face. We walk further ahead for a glimpse of the Jannu Himal. We can even consider continuing to Oktang Monastery. Descend and spend the night at Cheram.
Cheram to Tortong (2,995 m/9,824 ft) 5-6 hrs
As we descend to Tortong we first encounter two trails. One trail is the one we took while descending down from Sele Le. However, we ignore this route and descend further down to the trail alongside the Simbuwa Khola. We enjoy the lush rhododendron forest along the way.
Tortong to Yamphudin (2,080 m/6,822 ft) 6-7 hrs
While descending from Tortong to Yamphudin we pass through Lasiya Bhanjyang which involves walking up through trees and area of landslides. The terrain changes after every monsoon but by the middle of October it should be stable with a route through. Walking further down we reach the village of Yamphudin, a village inhabited by Sherpas, Limbus and Rais.
Yamphudin to Yangpang (1,007 m/3,304 ft) 6-7 hrs
We descend from Yamphudin, cross the bridge at Samekham and continue following the Kabeli Khola. We pass through Mamankhe which houses the Limbu Museum and Cultural Center. We then cross the bridge over Khaksewa Khola and ascend through the cardamom forest, pass by a few villages and descend further down to Yangpang. Overnight at Yangpang.
Yangpang to Thorpu (1,500 m/4,290 ft) 5-6 hrs
Instead of going back to Taplejung we descend down to Thorpu. By opting for Thorpu we will not only be saving us time but will also get to enjoy the landscape of a different route. While descending to Thorpu we pass through some really beautiful terraced villages, where the people are very interested to see you. We spend the night in Thorpu and enjoy the hospitality of the villagers.
Thorpu to Birtamod (300 m/ 984 ft) 5-6 hrs
We are most likely to drive from Thorpu to Birtamod which is a lively Terai town in Eastern Nepal. Along the way you will notice the climate getting warmer with a landscape that is different from the mountains and the hills. The town boasts a number of good accommodation facilities therefore we spend the night in Birtamod.
Drive from Birtamod to Bhadrapur then Fly to Kathmandu
The drive to Bhadrapur from Birtamod is only of short distance. We fly back to Kathmandu from Bhadrapur Airport. Upon arriving in Kathmandu you can take a rest and relax throughout the day in your hotel or if you are interested in taking souvenirs for your loved ones, you can shop around the tourist area of Thamel. Himalayan Glacier Trekking will be hosting a fantastic celebration dinner for the successful completion of your Kanchenjunga Circuit Trekking.
Your journey comes to an end today. There is nothing to do but trade emails with your travel companions and organize your photos. A representative of Himalayan Glacier Trekking will take you to the airport approximately 3 hours from your scheduled flight. On your way home you will have plenty of time to plan your next adventure in the wonderful country of Nepal.
Health and Experience Requirements
The trekking involves high mountain elevation and walking a maximum of 6-8 hours in most days. Walking in the high mountains and crossing Lapsang La (5,108m/16,760ft) and Sinion/Mirgin La (4,663m/15,300ft) are the challenging sections of your adventure that require long hours of walking in high altitude. The trekking itself is often on narrow, exposed, rocky and undulating paths and you will encounter a number of landslides that need to be crossed. Although the acclimatization profile of this trek means that we do not feel previous experience of high altitude is necessary, we would still recommend it. In short, to join this trek you need to have previous camping experience. Preferably completed multi-day treks. A good level of fitness is essential. It is vital that participants with pre-existing medical problems or conditions make these known to HGT at the time of booking. Medical and evacuation expenses are the responsibility of the participant. It is also important that you consult your doctor for vaccination and other medical requirements for your trip. Himalayan Glacier Trekking reserves the right to require a medical certificate prior to booking your trip.
It is a condition upon joining any of Himalayan Glacier's trips that all clients be insured for comprehensive expenses that might incur due to medical issues or accidents (this includes air ambulance, helicopter rescue, and treatment costs). Please note that we don't arrange or sell insurance.For more information
Equipment and Packing List
While packing for Kanchenjunga Circuit Trekking certain equipments are essential.
Please Click here
for this trip's comprehensive checklist.
Kanchenjunga Trekking itinerary is planned with a high degree of minimization of awareness of AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness). Going up too fast causes a medical condition serious enough to kill. The higher the altitude the less oxygen there is in the air. While walking up to Pangpema (5,151m/16,900ft), the north base camp of Kanchenjungha, crossing the Lapsang La (5,108m/16,760ft) and Sinion/Mirgin La (4,663m/15,300ft) are the challenging section of your trek and require days of acclimatization, hence your trek itinerary is gradually ascending getting up these heights where you expect 50% less oxygen at Pangpema than at sea level. Your body needs many days to adapt to this, so for a safe trek it absolutely essential to allow for sufficient time for acclimatization. Sensible planning is therefore required to minimize the risk of AMS. We advise specially the guest(s) with known heart or lungs or blood diseases to consult their doctor before traveling. Mild headaches, fever, loss of appetite or stomach disorder are symptoms of AMS. Check out "Altitude illness" by Dr Jim Duff.
HGT's itineraries are designed to try to prevent AMS but it is important to remember, some people can be more susceptible than others.
Leader(s) and Staff Arrangements
Himalayan Glacier only employs and trains Nepalese leaders and local staff. By employing and training local people they put something back into their communities. HGT currently train all their Guides in the following courses and your Kanchenjunga Trek leader will be one of the fully train Trek Leader.
- Intensive Wilderness First Aid - KEEP (Kathmandu Environmental Educational Project)
- Trekking Guide Training - Nepal Government's Ministry of Tourism & Civil Aviation department of Hotel Management & Tourism Training Centre of Nepal.
- Eco Trekking Workshop & Adventure Meet - TAAN (Trekking Agents Association Of Nepal)
- English Language - KEEP
- Conservation & Biodiversity - KEEP
- Rock & Ice Climbing & Mountaineering (optional) - Nepal Mountaineering Association
Our Trek Leaders obviously speak the English language but consider this is not our mother language and this enables a HGT traveler to pick up and use a few of the local greetings and get first hand experience of the local culture. The guides and porters know the route direction like the back of their hand, they practice the local culture themselves and they are extremely passionate about their country and it shows.
Autumn months (September-November) and spring (March-May) are considered as the best seasons for Kanchenjunga Circuit trekking. There is better visibility of the landscape during these months, the rivers are lower and the temperature is cooler on the first few days of the trek.
Trip Start Dates and Price
Our website contains as much information as possible about this trip. However, if you wish to discuss any aspect of this trip or your suitability for it please contact us by email
. If you want to talk to us directly feel free to call us at: 00977-98510-55684