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In the world of adventure, before there was Everest – there was KANGCHENJUNGA!
Clear and spectacular views of the Kangchenjunga range from the summer retreat town of Darjeeling (in India) raised the curiosity of early British explorers. Moreover, easy access to eastern Nepal from bordering Sikkim also made adventures to the area possible as early as 1848 (while the rest of Nepal was closed to foreign visitors for another 100 years until the 1950s). In fact, for some time, Kangchenjunga was even considered the highest mountain in the world – i.e. until 1856, when Peak XV was announced as the highest point on Earth and named ‘Mount Everest’.
Kangchenjunga literally translates to “Five Great Treasures in the Snow.” There are five peaks within the Kangchenjunga range, and local people believe that each of the five peaks is a repository of different treasures: gold, silver, gems, grains and sacred texts. Kangchenjunga is a sacred mountain. In due reverence, the first summiteers stopped a few meters short of the summit in 1955. (This practice is no longer followed by today’s climbers!)
Kangchenjunga is situated in the Beyul Demazong [beyuls are sacred valleys that were hidden by Padmasambhava, a much revered Indian saint who introduced Buddhism to Tibet in the eighth century]. The purpose of beyuls was to provide sanctuaries for people seeking refuge from social and religious persecution. During our trip, Beyul Demazong will also allow us to experience its purpose as we seek refuge from the daily grind of our hectic social lives.
|Day 1||Arrival in Kathmandu||Kathmandu||1340m|
|Day 2||Exploring Kathmandu||Kathmandu||1340m|
|Day 3||Kathmandu to Ilam||Ilam|
|Day 4||Day 04 – Ilam to Taplejung||Taplejung|
|Day 5 – 8||Taplejung to Amjilosa||Amjilosa|
|Day 9 – 11||Amjilosa to Ghunsa||Ghunsa||3427m|
|Day 12 – 13||Ghunsa to Khangbachen and hike to Jannu Base Camp||Jannu Base Camp||4,092 m|
|Day 14 – 16||Hike to Pangpema and Kanchenjunga Base Camp||Kanchenjunga Base Camp||5152m|
|Day 18||Trek to Selela||Selela||4660m|
|Day 19||Trek to Ramje||Ramje|
|Day 20||Explore South Base Camp||South Base Camp|
|Day 21||Descend to Torontan||Torontan|
|Day 22||Trek to Lamite Bhanjyang||Lamite Bhanjyang|
|Day 23 – 25||Lamite Bhanjyang to Sinam||Sinam|
|Day 26||Drive to Bhadrapur||Bhardapur|
|Day 27||Fly to Kathmandu||Kathmandu|
|Day 28||Kathmandu Sightseeing||Kathmandu|
|Day 29||Final Departure|
Arrive Kathmandu. You will be met on arrival at the Tribhuwan International Airport. Transfer to Hotel Tibet or similar. Day Free. Enjoy welcome dinner. Briefing during dinner. Overnight Hotel Tibet or similar. (Dinner)
Visit Pashupatinath, Nepal’s most sacred Hindu temple dedicated to Shiva, with its two-tiered golden roof and silver door. Here, you’ll probably witness a Hindu cremation along the banks of the Bagmati River.
Then drive to Bhaktapur, the City of Devotees, for lunch and a tour of the royal palace square. Bhaktapur is a medieval city in the Kathmandu valley and is least disturbed by modern life. Here, you can absorb the architectural splendor of the five-storied Nyatapola temple, or the sculptural delight of the Peacock Window. Overnight Hotel Tibet or similar. (Breakfast and Lunch)
Fly to Bhadrapur. Board a chartered vehicle for a 5 hour drive to Ilam. Overnight local lodge (All meals)
Drive to Taplejung. (6 hours). Overnight Camp. (All meals)
Trek through relatively low altitude (between 3,000 and 6,000 ft.) Limbu villages through Chirwa, Sekathum and Amjilosa. The forests are lush and the trails are typical of those in Nepal – you ascend steeply only to descend to the river later. Overnight Camp. (All meals)
A little past Amjilosa, the landscape starts to change – from lush green low-land to alpine country with shorter pine and rhododendron trees. The inhabitants of this region are Sherpas and Bhotes who continue trade with Tibet which is about a two days hike. The traders take yak and locally grown herbs to sell in Tibet. On Day 11, you reach Ghunsa which is the largest Sherpa village on this trek. A rest and acclamitisation day is planned here. Overnight Camp. (All meals)
The trail today is along the Ghunsa river with pastures along forests of rhododendron trees and juniper. Past the bridge over the Ghunsa river, it is a steep climb past a landslide. Descend to Khangbachen. The next day is another acclimatization day with optional hike to Jannu Base Camp. Overnight Camp. (All meals)
Today you hike to Lhonak. Look out for blue sheep along the trail from Khangbachen to Pangpema. Blue sheep are the primary prey of snow-leopards. So keep a look out for this elusive beauty. Lhonak is a BEYUL (blessed land) and one of the most beautiful places in Nepal. The next day, hike to Pangpema (Kanchenjunga Base Camp). Kanchenjunga is visible only when you almost get to Pangpema. Overnight Camp. (All meals)
Return to Ghunsa. Overnight Camp. (All meals)
Ascend steeply to Selela. The hike is around 3 to 5 hours. The pass from Ghunsa to Ramje involves crossing five passes – Tamo La (3,900m), second pass (4,115m), Mirgin La (4,663m), Sinion La (4,660m) and the final pass (4,724m). Overnight Camp. (All meals)
The views from the pass are breath-taking. Makalu (8,481m) is also visible towards the west. Descend to Tseram. Continue to Ramje. Overnight Camp. (All meals)
Explore Base Camp. Overnight Camp. (All meals)
Descend at a slow pace to Torontan. Overnight Camp. (All meals)
Hike steeply to Lamite Bhanjyang. The jungle around this area is teeming with wildlife. Pheasants, red panda, wild dogs etc. Overnight Camp. (All meals)
Descend to Yamphudin. Your trek ends at Sinam. Overnight Camp. (All meals)
Drive to Bhadrapur (around 7 hours). Overnight lodge in Bhadrapur (All meals)
Fly to Kathmandu. Overnight Hotel Tibet. (Breakfast)
Sightseeing in Kathmandu. (All meals)
Transfer to the airport for flight home. (Breakfast)
Per person price (valid until 31 Dec 2018)
Private departures available for two or more participants for USD200 per person surcharge
Expert pre-trip advice and detailed information | Motivated, well-cared-for staff, All airport transfers, Two full days sightseeing in Kathmandu as indicated in the itinerary and entrance fees to monuments | 4 nights twin sharing hotel accommodation at Hotel Tibet (3 star) in Kathmandu | Airfare: Kathmandu to Bhadrapur and Bhadrapur to Kathmandu | Chartered vehicle: Bhadrapur to Taplejung and Sinam to Bhadrapur | Meals as indicated in the itinerary | Camping trekking as indicated in the itinerary | Three meals a day, Boiled water for your bottles three times a day | Guide and staff wages, equipment and meals | Guide and staff insurance | Kanchenjunga Conservation Area Fee and trekking permit | Gamow Bag (High altitude pressure chamber)
Your international airfare, Nepal Visa, Meals not indicated in the itinerary, Tips and gratuities, Personal equipment (a suggested list will be mailed to you), Travel insurance (Required), Other expenses of a personal nature
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The trek was the most adventurous of any I’ve taken in Nepal. The earthquake damage certainly contributed to that but not entirely. These statements are not meant to be negative instead I have a very positive feeling about the trek as a whole. As far as physically demanding this trek is on a par with Dolpo/Shey Gompa. I always have preferred camping treks for the camaraderie of being with the staff and this trek lived up to my expectations especially with the outstanding leadership provided by Manju. One aspect of this trek that pleasantly surprised me was the dramatic difference between the east and west portions of the trek. It amounted to being on two totally different treks which I found very enjoyable and certainly very interesting. I’ll see to it that you get a copy of the video travelogue when I finish it.
I am definitely recommending Crystal Mountain Treks. You do an outstanding job. Here are a few quotes/testimonials from me: Crystal Mountain Treks’ leadership helped me network with other trekkers. I gained valuable insights and practical advice from conversations with people like me. The experience of the Crystal Mountain Treks staff and our senior guide’s leadership were evident every hour of the 3 weeks. Safety from injury or illness was priority. There was respect and support for all individuals. I’ll remember the hard work, teamwork, and laughter. Unfortunately, we saw examples on the trail and heard stories from other trekkers that were not as positive. They increased our appreciation for Crystal Mountain Treks’ ability to provide quality adventure beyond the ordinary. Thanks again and Namaste