Overview

Goechala Trek is your chance to visit the hallowed land of the highest mountain in India and the 3rd highest mountain in the World – Khangchendzonga(8586m) in the Kingdom of Sikkim. You will be delighted each day of the trip by the Buddhist culture of the place, its natural beauty and the warmth of the locals. The trip spans the Nepalese hinterland of East India covering Darjeeling and West Sikkim. Right from day 1, the Khangchendzonga range covers the north sky and grows in size as we inch closer and closer until Goechala, where we are just 9 kms away from its formidable North face. You will have to crane your neck to get a good sight at the summit from here.

The trip starts with 2 days at the Tea Capital of Darjeeling, the charming hill station town built by the British. We then move on to Yuksom in West Sikkim, the start point for the 8 day trek rich in flora and fauna. There is a wide variety of orchids, ferns, rhododendrons and bamboo…the thick vegetation with snow mountains peeking through the branches, the yaks and dzos ambling along with load on their backs is a common sight along the trail. During Spring, this region is home to some of the biggest and most colourful rlooming hododendrons in the Himalaya.

Rated among the finest walks in the Indian Himalaya, the trek to Goechala and back will leave you craving for more.

 

TRIP HIGHLIGHTS

  • Closeup views of Khangchendzonga(8586m), Thinchenkhang(6010m), Pandim(6691m) & Jopuno(5603m)
  • Spellbinding 360 degree views from Dzongri Top
  • High Altitude turquoise Samiti Lake before Goechala
  • Trek through dense Tropical forest above Yuksom
  • Pemayangtse monastery at Pelling
  • Tea gardens of Darjeeling and orchid town of Kalimpong

 

ITINERARY AT A GLANCE

Day 01:Arrive Bagdogra. Drive to Darjeeling(2050m)
Day 02:Darjeeling Sightseeing
Day 03:Drive to Yuksom(1800m)
Day 04:Trek to Tsokha(2985m)
Day 05:Trek to Dzongri(4000m)
Day 06:Rest Day at Dzongri
Day 07:Trek to Thangsing(3850m)
Day 08:Trek to Lamunae(4100m)
Day 09:Excursion to Goechala(4940m). Descend to Kokchurang(3600m)
Day 10:Trek to Bakhim(2600m)
Day 11:Trek to Yuksom(1800m)
Day 12:Drive to Kalimpong(1250m)
Day 13:Drive to Bagdogra. Depart

Cost Inclusions

 COST:

INR 78500; USD 1175

COST INCLUDES
  • Accommodation:
    • Entire Accommodation during the trip
  • Food:
    • All meals except lunches in Darjeeling
  • Road Transportation:
    • All road transportation starting from pickup at Bagdogra airport till drop at Bagdogra Airport
  • Experienced Trek Crew:
    • Trip Leader, local guides, assistants, cook, kitchen helpers, sherpas and Horsemen
  • Porterage:
    • Camping and Kitchen equipment, Ration and personal luggage will be transported via pack animals(Horse/Mules/Dzos)
    • Allowance of 15 Kgs/person
  • Permits and Taxes
    • Permits for entering Khangchendzonga National Park
    • Includes service tax

 

COST EXCLUDES
  • Airfares to and out of Bagdogra
  • Any additional transport or activities apart from the trip itinerary
  • Travel Insurance
  • Expenses arising through unforeseen conditions like bad weather, natural calamities, flight cancellations, etc
  • Rescue and evacuation services
  • Expenses of any personal nature like phone calls, drinks, cigarettes, souvenirs, laundry, etc
  • Tips

Itinerary

Day 01: Arrive Bagdogra. Drive to Darjeeling(2050m)
Arrive at Bagdogra Airport and walk out looking for a placard that says ‘Adventure Sindbad’. Our representative will be waiting for you outside the airport. There might be a short waiting time till the rest of the group arrives. It is a 3 hour scenic drive from the hot plains of Bagdogra and Siliguri into the cool climes of Darjeeling town. It is remarkable how quickly the weather changes to a cool breeze in a matter of 30 mins, once we take the right at Darjeeling More. We will be passing through sprawling tea gardens, quaint hamlets, small eateries and toy train stations at Kurseong and Ghoom. From Kurseong, we are in the misty hills and enter the Gorkha hinterland.
Driving Time: 3 hrs
Meals:LD, Overnight Hotel

Day 02:Darjeeling Sightseeing
Darjeeling, the lovely hill station famous for its black tea and the Himalayan Railway is quite a place to hang around. We spend half a day covering some main sightseeing centres around Darjeeling which includes Ghoom monastery, Batasia Loop, Toy train station, HMI Museum and Zoo. Spend the evening relaxed doing some shopping in the charming markets in the narrow alleys and sipping some tea at Chowrasta, the main square above Darjeeling town.
Driving Time: 3 hrs
Meals:BD, Overnight Hotel

Day 03:Drive to Yuksom(1800m)
We have a very scenic drive from Darjeeling all the way to Yuksom passing some beautiful Tea Gardens at Happy Valley and Tukvar. At Jorethang, we stop for lunch at a cozy restaurant before driving into Sikkim. We arrive at the small village of Yuksom by late afternoon. Yuksom is surrounded by hills and dense forests and has one main road with small hotels on either side. Yuksom literally translates to the meeting place of the 3 learned monks(sum) who came together to choose the first Chogyal(religious King) of Sikkim. The coronation throne where the Chogyal was named still exists in this place. The famous Dubdi monastery is a short hike above Yuksom.
We hit the bed early to rest well before the trek begins tomorrow.
Driving Time: 5-6 hrs
Meals:BLD, Overnight Hotel

Day 04:Trek to Tshoka(2985m)
The first day of the trek and perhaps the toughest day. We climb almost 1150m with lunch break at Sachen, almost midway. The trek ascends gradually from the long suspension bridge above Pha Khola until Sachen. There are about 4 suspension bridges we cross along the way. After the last bridge the trail climbs steeply for 800m to Bakhim and then onto Tsokha. The trail is through dense vegetation with constant stops to let yak and mule trains pass by. It is good to have an early start to reach Tsokha by late afternoon. Tshoka, as the name suggests is the place with a Lake(Tsho) surrounded by prayer flags and a small monastery. It used to be the settlement of Tibetan refugees long ago who have now been relocated to lower areas around Yuksom. Their homes have been converted to lodges for trekkers. Great sunrise views over Pandim from here.
Trekking Time: 7-8hrs
Meals:BLD, Overnight Hotel

Day 05:Trek to Dzongri(4000m)
We walk further up following a trail through dense rhododendron and oak forests to reach Phedang, a clearing in the forest and a good spot for lunch. There are 2 paths leading out of Phedang. One goes to Dzongri while another goes narrow path goes through the forest to Kokchurong. We take the wider path leading straight up to a ridge point at Deurali with fluttering prayer flags and stone chortens. From here we descend to Simigiri with 2 Tea-houses and a busy hub of activity with inquisitive trekkers, boisterous porters, weary yakmen. We trek a little further past a small ridge to reach the grazing grounds of Dzongri and our campsite for the next 2 days.
Trekking Time: 6-7 hrs
Meals:BLD, Overnight Hotel

Day 06:Rest Day at Dzongri
The affects of altitude are sure to set in near Dzongri and hence we take a well deserved break at this altitude with some breathtaking scenery. Early morning, we make our way to Dzongri Top to view the sunrise over the snow giants. It is truly an enchanting site as the mountains are illuminated by the sun rays. There are a host of peaks here from left to right with Khangchendzonga, the queen right in the middle. Some peaks like Thinchenkhang, Jopuno, Narsing are popular climbing peaks in Sikkim while a lot of them are considered holy and is off limits for mountaineers including Khangchendzonga and Pandim. After enjoying the glorious views, we descend to camp for a relaxed breakfast enjoying the sun. Spend the rest of the day reading a book, taking a nap or exploring the huge grounds around the campsite.
Trekking Time: 2-3 hrs
Meals:BLD, Overnight Hotel

Day 07:Trek to Thangsing(3850m)
We walk upto the ridge and walk the sprawling grounds till we reach a narrow path, through dense rhododendrons leading down to Prek Chu river. We descend almost 500m to a small clearing next to the Prek Chu called Kokchurong. From here, we cross a bridge and hike up beside the true left of Prek Chu to reach Thansing, the large camping grounds above the treeline with a few wooden lodges. Pandim and Thinchenkhang cover the right sky and we can see the left ridge of Khanchendzonga. Maila Dai, the tea-house keeper is the most familiar face in this area. He has been manning the Tea-houses and is the provides food and tea to the porters and yakmen.
Trekking Time: 6-7 hrs
Meals:BLD, Overnight Hotel

Day 08:Trek to Lamunae(4100m)
Lamunae is the last campsite and serves as base camp for trekking upto Goechala. A few years ago, trekkers were allowed to camp next to the holy Samiti Lake, but was discontinued to keep it pristine. It is a short walk and we rest for most of the day enjoying the view around as the mountains play hide and seek behind the thick cloud cover. The high mountains generally draw cloud curtains around themselves by noon and can give slight sneak peeks around dusk.Only if we are lucky 🙂
We have an early dinner and retire for the night. A super early start the next day.
Trekking Time: 2-3 hrs
Meals:BLD, Overnight Hotel

Day 09:Excursion to Goechala(4940m). Descend to Kokchurang(3600m)
We wake up by 2.30 am and start walking by 3am in the morning with super warm clothing and headlights. We walk up gradually making our way first to Samiti Lake and onwards to different points on the trail which are recognized lately as the first view point, the second view point and eventually Goechala. We feel very tiny as we walk right into the the centre court of the jewels of snow. The sun rises from behind Pandim and it is not until 6.45 am that the sun hits us. There are green lakes on the left of the path and fluttering prayer flags and stone chortens. We enjoy our packed breakfast here, after which we retreat through the boulder zone of Zemathang and past Samiti Lake to our campsite at Lamunae. We have hot lunch here and descend gradually to Kokchurang.
Trekking Time: 8-9 hrs
Meals:BLD, Overnight Hotel

Day 10:Trek to Bakhim(2600m)
From Kokchurong we enter the narrow forest path while the pack animals take the route through Dzongri. The 3 hr long path from Kokchurong to Phedang is one of the finest forest walks on this trek. We have lunch at Phedang and retrace our steps to Bakhim, a little further below Tsokha.
Trekking Time: 6-7 hrs
Meals:BLD, Overnight Hotel

Day 11:Trek to Yuksom(1800m)
The last day’s trek is not all downhill. It’s up and down as we descend to steel suspension bridges and rise again. We have our lunch at the last suspension bridge next to the creek and gradually make our way to Yuksom. Spend the evening walking around the main street of Yuksom and enjoying some local brews. Yuksom is home to diverse ethnic communities – Bhutias, Lepchas, Nepalis, and Limbu.
Trekking Time: 6-7 hrs
Meals:BLD, Overnight Hotel

Day 12:Drive to Kalimpong(1250m)
Kalimpong is famous for its orchids and the enviable view of Khangchendzonga from the town. It is also the place for many local singers and rockbands from the region. The drive from Yuksom to Kalimpong is slow and we pass Jorethang yet again where we stop for lunch. Most of the drive is along Rangeet and Teesta river.
Walk around streets of Kalimpong exploring the town in the evening.
Driving Time: 5-6 hrs
Meals:BLD, Overnight Hotel

Day 13:Drive to Bagdogra. Depart
From Kalimpong, we make an early start in the morning to reach the airport at Bagdogra for our flights back home. Trip ends.
Driving Time: 4 hrs
Meals:B

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