Kanchenjunga Circuit Trek – Itinerary, Best Time, Difficulty

Kanchenjunga Base Camp Trek Difficulty

When the least traveled trek is no more disregarded, you just visit it. And this goes the same for Kanchenjunga Circuit Trek, which was once brushed aside. Fortunately, the trek has been acknowledged now than ever before for its sweeping views, scenic landscapes, and gorges.

It too has got luscious forests atop the villages and hillsides that look so fantastic. And so are the traditional villages along the route where locals are always affectionate and welcoming to guests. Outsiders are made to feel home with a hospitable environment and warm services.

Sadly, this can’t be said the same for trails of Kanchenjunga Circuit, which is somewhat more challenging than other hikes. The trek is one of the toughest with unpaved paths that continuously run hills and valleys.

Filled with a large chunk of rocks and boulders makes the trek not just hard but also lethargic. On top of that, hikers may have to get over the altitude sickness that occurs after gaining elevation adding to Kanchenjunga Circuit Trek difficulty.

Shortness of breath and severe headache compels so many trekkers to drop the idea of continuing the trek further. Harsh weather and unpredictable climatic conditions too bring off the hike. In doing so, it contributes to the never-ending Kanchenjunga Circuit trek difficulty.

The Kanchenjunga Circuit Trek route starts from Kathmandu with a long drive to Birtamod, coming after Suketar. It runs across several villages including Kesuwa, Tserma, Ramche, and Pang Pema to reach the circuit.

Best Time for Kanchenjunga Circuit Trek

Kanchenjunga Circuit Trek is willing to host the trekkers all year round. But its remoteness and unforeseeable weather doesn’t allow hikers to travel the spot any time of year. Some seasons involve high risks, whereas the rest of the others are relatively fine to make a trip.

Generally, Autumn and Spring are the best time for Kanchenjunga Circuit trek. Specially mid months of these season.

In that matter, Autumn is perhaps the most incredible time to mount Kanchenjunga Circuit. It exudes lovely weather starting from September to till winter knocks the door again. The average temperature in autumn is 15 Degree Celsius, causing the day to be warm and pleasant.

But as soon the sun goes down, the temperature falls by half and the nights get chilly cold. Expect the weather to be more crisp and cold after Tseram whatever the season is. Autumn usually brings nostalgic memories with intense fall colors booming throughout the forest and valley below.

The cold wind blowing from the mountain in the evening with vivid foliage, clear sky of the morning, and bright days makes the season lovely. The king of all seasons, Spring too, has favorable weather for trekking Kanchenjunga Circuit.

After the foggy winter, March brings a beacon of light to lift the soul of hikers. Sharing a crisp winter and scorching summer, Spring offers a perfect atmosphere for travelers.

As compared to the higher region, the temperature during spring in Kanchenjunga Circuit below the valley is 25 Degree Celsius. Spring rewards its long waiting visitors with green foliage, popping flower buds, and dazzling rhododendrons.

Considered as Kanchenjunga Circuit Trek difficulty, winter and monsoon receive too few visitors. Its hash weather, heavy snowfall, and frequent rain doesn’t endorse trekkers. It instead suggests them not to climb the circuit in winter as the temperature ranges from -15 to -25 Degree Celsius.

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Kanchenjunga Circuit Trek Itinerary

Day 01: Arrival at Kathmandu

The scheduled day marks your arrival at Nepal’s only International Airport. To receive you and also give a warm welcome, our officials will be waiting at the airport’s lobby. After a short and sweet encounter, they’ll drive you to your hotel where you can get some rest. For a change, you can also go on a walk in the busy street of Thamel and get some air. Head back to the hotel in time if you don’t want to have dinner outside.

Day 02: Explore Kathmandu City, Drive to Birtamod

Maximum Altitude: 300 meters

Drive Distance: 439.7 km

Drive Duration: 10 hours

Before defying Kanchenjunga Circuit Trek difficulty, we’ll have some playtime at Kathmandu. As the city boasts so many amazing places to visit, we’ll explore a couple of them in and around. Most of these scenic sites are listed in UNESCO’s world heritage site, including Pashupatinath Temple, Swyambhunath Stupa, and Durbar Squares.

They will help us break into the primordial culture and history of Nepal through a series of temples, idols, and open courts. Royal palaces and the national museum has a collection of ancient statues, old portraits, and artifacts. Overnight, we’ll take a bus to Birtamod.

Day 03: Drive to Suketar

Maximum Altitude: 91 meters

Flight Distance: 7-8 hours

Flight Duration: 246.8 km

Early morning, we’ll have breakfast, then continue our journey to Suketar. The day is going to be pretty hectic and stressful following a long drive to the mountainous region. The drive will last roughly 10 hours, depending on how fast the shuttle is.

However, there’s nothing to be upset about as we have a splendid view to glance throughout the trip. Along the way, a scenic view of beautiful landmarks, luscious meadows, and a vibrant city will be right before our eyes.

The natural vista from the backseat looks astounding with an unspoiled countryside village, terrace farm, and busy streets. Driving as long as 153 miles through Mechi Highway, we’ll arrive at Suketar. At this point, we can say, the trip indeed adds to the Kanchenjunga Circuit Trek difficulty.

Day 04: Trek to Lali Kharka

Maximum Altitude: 2,265 meters

Trek Duration: 5-6 hours

Trek to Lali Kharka may be long, but it’s tremendously easy with a straight flat route. The trek doesn’t last more than 5-6 hours and passes breathtaking scenery. The path running to Lali Kharka is a bit dusty but easy to helm. It winds through tropical forests, beautiful meadows, and small settlements to reach Lali Kharka. Inhabited by people of different cultures and ethnicity, the village is incredibly beautiful. For might, we put up in a guesthouse.

Day 05: Trek to Kesuwa

Maximum Altitude: 2120 meters

Trek Duration: 5-6 hours

Starting the day with a hearty meal, we continue our trek descending through rice fields and millet. After crossing the suspension bridge over Phawa Khola, our trail heads up to a small Gurung village popular as Bhanjyang.

For a while, we’ll stop here to catch a breath and have lunch that usually includes tea and snacks. The place is extraordinary of all we have traveled yet as it provides us a glimpse of Kanchenjunga and Kyabru for the first time.

Leaving behind the village, we’ll scramble up the trail and get through the pass before descending to Kesuwa. Finally, after traversing almost 7 hours on the trail, we’ll reach Kesuwa. Overnight in a teahouse.

Day 06: Trek to Mamankhe

Maximum Altitude: 1270 meters

Trek Duration: 5-6 hours

Easily one of the most beautiful spots on the way to Annapurna Circuit, Mamankhe is our next destination. So, without wasting much time, we’ll head towards the trail that walks through mixed forests.

The hike is a bit easy compared to the previous one with a flat walkway leading to Kabeli Khola. For most of today’s walking, the trail provides us a lovely view of small waterfalls that too in a string. Making headway to the north, we’ll walk uphill before stopping at a teahouse in Yangpang to fill the empty stomach.

After enjoying the magnificent Mt. Jannu and having a meal, we’ll return to the trail. Ascending uphill for about half an hour or more will take us to Mamankhe. Calling it a day, we’ll spend the night at a local teahouse. We’ll also use the free time to prepare for the next Kanchenjunga Circuit trek difficulty.

Day 07: Trek to Yamphudin

Maximum Altitude: 2,080 meters

Trek Duration: 2-3 hours

Today’s trek is mostly upward on a smooth surface so we can have a slow start. After enjoying the morning meal, we’ll steadily climb the hill alongside Kabeli Khola. The cliff lying just beyond the stream en route offers a great view.

A little while later, our trail leads firmly straight up the valley and plunges down underneath the rock cliff on debris. Walking a few miles ahead, we’ll reach a small suspension bridge. On the other side of the cross over, we walk uphill and pass through a small hamlet to arrive at Yamphudin.

Upon reaching the village, you can relish a sublime view of forests and landscapes. Being exhausted with that long trip, we’ll rest in a teahouse at night.

Day 08: Trek to Tortong

Maximum Altitude: 2995 meters

Trek Duration: 7-8 hours

Trek to Tortong will take us somewhere from 7 to 8 hours. So, without further ado, we’ll set off on the trek. From Amje Khola, we’ll ascend a sharp hill through a well-marked route up to Chitre. There’s a pretty good chance that we may see Himalayan yaks grazing on lush-green pastures along the way.

After coming out of the visually appealing scenery, we’ll make our way through subtropical evergreen forests. It’s filled with bushy Spanish mosses as well as Rhododendron and spruce.

Moving forward from the teahouse, our trail rises upwards through an indigenous woodland. From here, we’ll enter an opening and come across a suspension bridge before slowly heading uphill to Tortong. We’ll stay the night in a teahouse at Tortong.

Day 09: Trek to Tseram

Maximum Altitude: 3,870 meters

Trek Duration: 6-7 hours

Leaving Tortong, our trail is upward sloping off the hillside on the right bank of Simbuwa Khola. The trek should take us somewhere between 6-7 hours traversing above the stunning Lalung Valley. For the better part of the excursion, we have a lovely Tuplung Peak joining us.

With an eye-pleasing view through dense rhododendron forest and marvelous Yalung Glacier, we’ll eventually reach Tseram. The sight from the village is some of the best you have ever seen. Accommodation is arranged in a lodge where you can have dinner and get a sound sleep.

Day 10: Trek to Ramche

Maximum Altitude: 4,580 meters

Trek Duration: 5 hours

Embracing the bright morning of Ramche with a warm breakfast, we’ll carry on with our trek. The journey from Tseram to Ramche takes about 5 hours at a slow but steady pace. The trail sets forth with an uphill scramble until Yalung Glacier.

Walking through the valley, we’ll get a truly satisfying view of a mountain range and bright green forests to relish for. The sloppy trail then heads west of Ramchaur to Lapsang, followed by Ramche. Overnight in a teahouse.

Day 11: Rest day for a tour around Ramache and Kanchenjunga Base Camp

After the difficult walk of the last eight days, it’s time we take a day off from the trek and get full rest. But instead of sitting tedious and killing time, we’ll rather take a hike above the village and climb down before evening.

Although there are many beautiful spots to travel on, we’ll walk the valley around its vast curve. All of sudden, we are exposed to the southern wall of the mountain where the cliff forms a half-open steep-sided hollow.

Stretching 9 miles, the cirque provides a pristine view of Kanchenjunga massif and sweeping valleys. We too descend onto glaciers and below Talu while hiking towards Oktang. After exploring the magnificent Khumbakarna glacier from the east of Mt. Jannu, we return to the village. As usual, overnight in a teahouse.

Day 12: Trek to Mirgin La

Maximum Altitude: 4,480 meters

Trek Duration: 7-8 hours

From Tseram, we descend to the valley, coming through many small settlements of Lapsang. Subsequently, we’ll reroute the trail towards Mirgin La pass and Ghunsa before sloping downhill to the northside of Kanchenjunga. Winding the way through Mirgin La, we’ll get the most scenic view of Mt. Jannu. To ease off and spend the night, we’ll set up a camp in the valley.

Day 13: Trek to Ghunsa

Maximum Altitude: 3,595 meters

Trek Duration: 3-4 hours

It’s easily the shortest trek on Kanchenjunga Circuit, but the physical strength that takes to complete the Gunsa hike is intense. So, we start early trekking and descend the steep hill to Lamba Sumba Kharka. The place has got an even more awe-inspiring view to offer on the face of Jannu’s southwest.

From right here, the trek gets less difficult, with most of the trail inclining downhill up to Ghunsa. Perched at 3,475 meters elevation, Ghunsa is a Tibetan village in Taplejung. Far from car horns and screams, we’ll be able to enjoy the mind-blowing view of waterfalls and creeks.

You may see the prayer flags fluttering in the wind and some tea houses run by locals. Lodges are famous for their local millet wine, but trekkers don’t drink it due to altitude sickness. We’ll set up a camp to spend the night.

Day 14: Trek to Khambachen

Maximum Altitude: 4,050 meters

Trek Duration: 6-7 hours

Today we’ll set off on the trek early morning as it’s a long journey ahead. After having breakfast, we’ll immediately rush towards the trail coursing the bank of Nupchu Khola on the north. Walking past alpine forests and green pastures with scented wildflowers, we’ll turn up to Rampuk Kharka.

Using the suspension bridge, we’ll get to the other side of the village where there’s a pouring waterfall. From here, our trail roves around a mudslide area, so we have to be extra careful. The dazzling Mt. Jannu once again crops up, but this time with a zoom.

The trail in front is incredibly tricky, preceding through rocks and mountains up to Kambachen. We’ll be spending the night in a teahouse.

Day 15: Trek to Lhonak

Maximum Altitude: 4,780 meters

Trek Duration: 6-7 hours

With a total elevation gain of 730 meters, expect another long and exhausting trip to Lhonak. The trek kicks off via Ramtang village, passing some of the most remote sides. The settings are, of course, terrific with shimmering snow peaks and vibrant valleys.

Scrambling uphill for a long time, we’ll stop by Ramtang to grab lunch. From here on, we’ll take a rugged trail on the hillock filled with large boulders. Without leaving the riverbank once, we’ll get to the waterfall, which is fabulous to watch.

Soaking up the incredible views of enticing mountains and gushing river below the suspension bridge to Ramtang Monastery, we’ll take the journey to Lhonak. With that, we’ll discontinue the trip and spend the night in a teahouse.

Day 16: Trek to Pang Pema

Maximum Altitude: 5,140 meters

Trek Duration: 4-5 hours

You’ll start noticing the lack of oxygen from Pang Pema. Hence, keeping that in mind we’ll have a slow start while walking to Kanchenjunga Base Camp. It’s the highlight of the trek and also the toughest section of Kanchenjunga Circuit Trek difficulty.

Minor headache and nausea is common while trekking Kanchenjunga Glacier so it may be hard to keep the momentum going. The trek of 3 hours alongside hills and forests will lead us all the way to Pang Pema. Overnight in a teahouse.

Day 17: Acclimatization and exploration around Pang Pema

As the trek quickly gains elevation from Pang Pema, there’s a great chance of us enduring altitude sickness. Hence, to prevent the sickness, we’ll take a time off from the trip and allow the body to adapt with the changing temperature.

There are tons of places to hike here whether going to the lower slopes of Drohmo or ascending terrains. Either way, you’ll get a stunning view of glaciers and shimmering Mt. Kanchenjunga. It’ll also help you combat with the Kanchenjunga Circuit Trek difficulty to come ahead on the trek. Overnight in a teahouse.

Day 18: Retreat trek to Khambachen

At the crack of dawn, we ascend the ridge from northside of Pang Pema to catch an unspoiled view of snow peaks. After sneaking a look at the staggering view, we descend to Kambachen with no Kanchenjunga Circuit Trek difficulty. The trek is mostly downward so it’ll be quicker and less difficult to walk. At Khambachen, we’ll stay in a teahouse.

Day 19: Trek to Ghunsa

Maximum Altitude: 3,595 meters

Trek Duration: 5-6 hours

Getting refreshed with a tasty breakfast in Ghunsa, we’ll restart our trek climbing upward to Gyabla. Scrambling the way out and up from Pangpema, we’ll trek to the south of Kanchenjunga towards Ghunsa. The trek rises sharply up the hill, offering a sublime view of mountains as well as canyons and rivers till arriving at Ghunsa. After watching the grand view for some time, we’ll get back to the teahouse for a restful night.

Day 20: Trek to Kyapra

Maximum Altitude: 2,730 meters

Trek Duration: 6 hours

The day starts with an ascend to a steep trail following Tamur and Ghunsa Khola. The route walks through a teeming forest of conifer, rhododendron, birch, and oak. Walking the edge of a steep hill provides a great view with a rolling river down into the valley. Passing through the last of Tibetan village Kyapru, we trek a few miles farther for about 1 hour to reach Tang. Overnight in a teahouse.

Day 21: Trek to Sakathum

Maximum Altitude: 1,580 meters

Trek Duration: 6-7 hours

The entire walk to Sakathum from Kyapru takes around 7 hours meandering on a wobbly trail. It’s pretty hard to keep up the pace for the first few hours while rambling to Amjilasa. But after then the trek gets less challenging with a steep descent. As the atmosphere changes promptly from here, the Ghunsa Khola Valley can be seen at a distance. Not too far off is a small village in Taplejung where we’ll wrap up our expedition.

Day 22: Trek to Chirwa

Maximum Altitude: 1,180 meters

Trek Duration: 5-6 hours

Shoving off from Sakathum, we head on our way to Chirwa on a rather easy trail. After walking a few miles, we’ll meet the junction of two rivers, Ghunsa and Simbuwa Khola. Together the river joins Tamur Kosi, which we’ll chase until switching the trail.

On the way, we can see plenty of side streams and creeks, putting up an overwhelming view. After hiking continually for almost 7 hours, we’ll finally end up at the beautiful village of Chirwa. Overnight in a teahouse.

Day 23: Trek to Phurumbu

Maximum Altitude: 1,542 meters

Trek Duration: 6 hours

After a nice breakfast to celebrate the lovely morning of Phurumbu, we’ll get all our stuff packed and crawl towards the trail. As we walk ahead, the rural village gets wider, making the way down to rich vegetation. Running across several villages, we’ll reach Sinwa from where the trail walks downhill and on a bridge over Sisne Khola.

The trail from Sinwa to Phurumbu still has a village to pass and a suspension bridge over Yaphre Khola. After trekking for around 6 hours, we’ll be now gawking at the amazing Phurumbu village. The trip includes stops at a local teahouse with neat rooms for a comfortable night’s sleep. Also, it’ll help us get over the Kanchenjunga Circuit Trek difficulty.

Day 24: Trek to Suketar

Maximum Altitude: 2,420 meters

Trek Duration: 4-5 hours

It’s the last time for us on the trail of Kanchenjunga Circuit as we’ll get back to the city tomorrow. From the ground level of the valley, we scale up along the cliff for around 3 hours to Taplejung village. The locals are so kind and easygoing to strangers that you can make a conversation with them despite the linguistic barrier. After crumbling up two-hour foothills, we’ll access Suketar. As always, we’ll stay the night in a family-own teahouse.

Day 25: Drive to Birtamod

Maximum Altitude: 300 meters

Drive Distance: 242.9 km

Drive Duration: 7 hours

Since it’s going to be a frantic day today following a 7-hours long drive, we’ll rise up early in the morning. With the trekking part so done, we’ll shortly dash towards the driveway after breakfast. Next to the verdant hillsides and typical Nepali villages, we’ll enjoy the spectacular scenery till reaching Birtamod. On reaching the town, we’ll straight drive to the hotel so that you can ease off.

Day 26: Drive to Kathmandu

Maximum Altitude: 1,350 meters

Drive Distance: 442.3 km

Drive Duration: 10 hours

It was a tiring day yesterday and today is no different with nearly a 10 hour drive to Kathmandu. To cope with the strain, you need a power booster that is provided by a complete breakfast meal. From there on, we’ll drive to Kathmandu via B.P. highway.

The trip is quite fun with phenomenal scenery of high cliffs, pine forests, and mountains. Once we enter the valley, we’ll drive you to your hotel where the farewell bash is already arranged. You may enjoy the delicious treat before going to bed.

Day 27: Transfer to airport for final departure

Early in the morning, our representative will arrive at the hotel to drop you at the International Airport. They’ll also watch you back in case you need any other service until you don’t board the flight.

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Kanchenjunga Circuit Trek Distance

Kanchenjunga Circuit roosts in eastern Nepal straddling between Nepal and Sikkim. Three out of four trek routes to the circuit alone lie in Nepal. But don’t mistake for the trek route to get easy as it’s challenging from all sides, be it northeast, west or southwest.

The total Kanchenjunga Circuit trek distance from Suketar is 200 km. It means the trekkers on the way to the circuit have to walk between 9 km to 11 km per day in order to reach the destination on time.

Given the long route, the hike takes at least 27 days to accomplish starting from Kathmandu. However, the itinerary may differ depending on how long you plan to stay in the region. During the expedition, you’ll pass over many villages, lush green forests, and landscapes to reach the circuit.

The verdant valleys, cascading waterfall, and moving glaciers put up a grand show which no trekkers can afford missing. Amidst the natural grandeur, don’t forget about the Kanchenjunga Circuit trek difficulty that arises from bad weather and high altitude.

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