The Goechala Trek is the best way to view Kangchenjunga, the third highest mountain in the world. Kangchenjunga was thought to be the highest mountain in the world until the 19th century, when the true height of Mount Everest was discovered. It boasts numerous 7000m peaks and is truly picturesque. The Goechala Trek follows a trail that begins in a subtropical forest, filled with bamboo and orchids, to a temperate forest with rhododendron and ancient oak, to alpine meadows and uninterrupted views of the East Ridge of the tremendous Kangchenjunga.
Day 1: New Jalpaiguri Railway Station to Yuksom
This day is a day of commuting to the trek. The day starts at the New Jalpaiguri Railway Station, the gateway to the Northeast. We will taxi to Yuksom, a beautiful town in West Sikkim, where we will stay over night.
Day 2: Yuksom (5800ft) to Sachen (7250ft) – 4 hours
The first trekking day of the tour begins with a walk across open fields and into the valley of the Rathong river. Yuksom marks the entrance to the Kangchenjunga National Park. Upon reaching Sachen, we will spend the night in log huts.
Day 3: Sachen (7200ft) to Tshoka (9650ft) – 4 hours
We will continue to walk along the trail until we reach a crossing the Prek Chu river. You will be able to see prayer flags in the distance, which signals the start of the Goechala trail. We will pass through oak and rhododendron forests before passing through Bakhim, which has a rest house for tea and snacks. After resting, we will continue to Tshoka, where we will stay overnight.
Day 4: Tshoka (9650ft) to Dzongri (12,980ft) via Phedang (12,050ft) – 5-6 hours
Trek on a steep climb as you are surrounded by the beautiful rhododendron forests. The trail will eventually transform into a well laid out path, which leads to Phedang. After stopping for lunch, we will continue to Dzongri. Due to parts of this trail surpassing 13,000ft, headaches may occur due to the thin air. We will stay overnight in Dzongri.
Day 5: Dzongri (12980ft) to Dzongri Top (13681ft) back to Dzongri (12890ft) – 2 hours
We will wake up at 4am, and start the 1 hour steep ascent to Dzongri Top, just in time for sunrise. This point offers a spectacular 180 degree view of the Kanchenchinja range. Afterwards, we will return to Dzongri, and stay overnight.
Day 6: Dzongri (12980ft) to Thansing (12894ft) via Kockchurang (12096ft) – 5-6 hours
We will head east to a series of cairns above the Prek Valley. While trekking, you will be able to see the numerous glaciers that define this region, leaving you little doubt that you are above most of the world. We will then decend on a steep descent through rhododendron forests to a riverbed, which we will follow to the bridge over the Prek Chu river. From the bridge, we will trek through the meadows, and stay in Thangsing.
Day 7: Thansing (12894ft) to Laumney (13,693ft) – 2 hours
On this 2 hour climb, we will climb up the vallet to Samiti Lake. We will cross beautiful meadows filled with wildflowers before reaching Samiti Lake, which is the source of the Prek Chu river. We will then descend to Laumney.
Day 8: Laumney (13,693ft) to Goechala (16,000ft) back to Kockchurang (12096ft) – 10-12 hours
The longest of the 11 days, we will reach the highest point of our trek. We will end up high above the Talung Glacier, where we will have uninterrupted views of the East Ridge of Kangchenjunga, as well as pristine views of the ridges and peaks of the upper Prek Valley.
Day 9: Kokchurang (12096ft) to Tshoka (9650ft) via Phedang (12,050ft) – 6-7 hours
We will retrace our steps for this decent. Overnight in Tshoka
Day 10: Tshoka (9650ft) to Yuksom (5800ft) via Bhakim and Sachen – 6 hours
Once again, we will retrace our steps on this descent. Overnight in Yuksom.
We will drive back to the New Jalpaiguri Railway Station.