27 Days (20 days trek)
Trip No. SR119
Max. Altitude : 5150m/16,570ft
Seasons: Oct-Dec, Mar-May, Minimum pax: 2, Cost per person: US$
Nepal opened the Kanchenjunga area to trekkers in 1988, though people have trekked in the area in connection with mountaineering expeditions since the turn of the century. Kanchenjunga is the long way from Kathmandu, and the nearest roads and airports are a long way from the mountain. You can trek either to the north or south Kanchenjunga base camp, but it takes luck, determination and a lot of time to visit both sides of the peak. The northern side is particularly remote; it takes almost two weeks of walking to get to the base camp at Pang Pema.
Kanchenjunga is on the border of Nepal and the Indian state of Sikkim, so a circuit of the mountain is politically impossible. The next best alternative is to visit both the north and south sides of the mountain from the Nepal side; you need to be equipped for a high pass crossing and have a minimum of four weeks. If for any reason you cannot cross the pass, then it’s a long way around. Since the region was opened, few groups have made successful crossings of either the Lapsang La or Mirgin La. Bad weather and snow is often to blame, but more often it is simply a lack of time. Many trekkers have wallowed around in the lowlands near Taplejung because they miscalculated the time required to reach the high country. Unless you have at least four weeks, and preferably five, you should plan to visit either the north or south base camp, not both. If you can get to Taplejung by either road or air, the trek can be shortened by four days, making it a bit more reasonable.
The lowland portion of this region is culturally intriguing, but there are few good mountain views. The two treks that I have described here will probably need to be extended by a few days because of the porter problems, weather, or the need for a rest day. The Kanchenjunga region is the home of the Limbus. Relatives of the Rais, Limbus dominate the region east of the Arun River and few lives elsewhere. Limbu men wear a distinctive tall topi, a Nepalese cap that is much more colourful than the worn by other Nepalese.
A noteworthy contribution of Limbu culture is the drink tongba. A wooden pot is filled with fermented millet seeds and boiling water added. You sip the dangerously potent mixture through a special bamboo straw, with the tiny filter to keep the seeds out of the drink, as the hotelier merrily adds more hot water. It is often served in a large plastic mug, but ethnically correct hotels serve it in a special wooden tongba pot, which has brass rings, and a wooden cap with a hole for the straw. Tongba goes down easily, as you might do yourself when you arise after a lengthy tongba session. Watch for this speciality anywhere north of Dharan.
Day 01: Arrival in Kathmandu, transfer to hotel BB plan,
Day 02: Free day in Kathmandu, overnight hotel BB,
Day 03: Fly to Biratnagar and then Drive to Basantapur,
Day 04/23: On trek,
Day 24: Fly from Taplejung to Bhiratnangar, transfer to hotel over night,
Day 25: Fly from Bhiratnangar to Kathmandu, afternoon free,
Day 26: Full day Kathmandu Valley sightseeing tour,
Day 27: Transfer to the airport for final departure.
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