Kanchenjunga Treks FAQ

Who is the Kanchenjunga trek for?

Who would enjoy the Kanchenjunga region treks? Long form trekkers who enjoy the variety and the natural progression from warm middle hills to the alpine areas.

If you have the three weeks or so time, probably most people would enjoy the trek but especially those who are interested in culture and alpine mountain scenery, want to get away from the crowds and commercialisation of other treks, and are happy to compromise on comforts to experience authentic Nepal. Also those who realise they missed the Annapurna Circuit or Everest trek in it’s golden age will love this trek.

What permits do I need for a Kanchenjunga trek?

  1. Restricted Area Permit: US$ 10 per week, $20 per week after 4 weeks .  There are check points at Ghunsa?? and Chiruwa? This permit MUST be arranged through a registered Nepal trekking company.
  2. Kanchenjunga Conservation Area (KCA) permit: NRs. 2,000 (approx 20 Euro or US$30), Which you can get yourself from the Nepal Tourism Board office in Kathmandu, but much less headache to let your trekking agent arrange.

Note, the TIMS card is not required when you purchase a restricted area permit.

You’ll need to provide 4 passport photographs.

Because of the Restricted Area Permit, the Government of Nepal can track how many trekkers a company is sending to these areas, estimate the number of staff sent with them and the approximate income to the trekking company and then tax accordingly. Hence few companies will offer permit only without a guide (which is anyhow obligatory).

Can I trek the Kanchenjunga region independently  / alone?

No, according to the rules, you must trek as a group of at least two and be accompanied by a registered guide.

People often buy an extra permit for a “ghost trekker” and then go alone with their guide. To do this you need a real passport from a real (foreign) person.

How are the trails in the Kanchenjunga region?

Trails are rough underfoot. There are sections that cross large landslide areas that feature occasional falling rocks. These areas are definitely dangerous and require care when crossing. …

What is this website about? What is it for?

For many years camping groups have passed along this route bringing their funny yellow and orange tents, bringing and cooking their own food, all carried by a crew not from that area, taking pictures and moving on. They had little choice as there was little or no usable accommodation. The locals benefited very little from this tourism. In the last years, this has changed and their are now enough tea-houses to be able to travel without a tent, although the lodges are far more basic than in the Everest or Annapurna regions.

Lodge trekking benefits the locals directly (and indirectly as well). This website was sponsored by the HFDA to promote trekking tourism in the Kanchenjunga region.

How busy is the Kanchenjunga region compared to other tea-house regions?

It’s the quietest tea-house trekking region, with only a thousand or so visitors a year, compared with 40,000+ for the whole Annapurna region, similarly 40,000 for the Everest region, 5,000+ for the Manaslu circuit  and ~15,000 for Langtang. So even in Nepal’s peak October season, the Kanchenjunga region sees relatively few trekkers. While these numbers will increase, the limiting factors are there are no short treks.

Why is tea-house trekking better than camping?

It’s totally up to you which you prefer doing!

  • Better for the local economy – in a lodge there is more local interaction, warmer, snugger and you are bringing money and jobs into the area. A small amount it may be, but it can have a big effect. Camping brings little work for locals other than portering.
  • Tea-house trekking uses just a quarter of the porters (2 trekkers:1 porter for tea house trekking, 1 trekker:2 porters for camping). Your team is smaller and you feel less like the Royal Family on expedition. You employ fewer porters, but more money is spent locally on food and stay.

Don’t have high expectations of luxury lodges quite just yet, instead expect simple accommodation.

What gear / clothes / equipment to take on a trek?

Pack as little as possible while being prepared for a variety of conditions from the hot lowland areas to wintery mountain areas, is a short and not-so-helpful answer. …

Experience counts for a lot, so for the best answer, read what Mr Smith has to say about it:

PACKING FOR A TEA HOUSE TREK IN THE HIMALAYA

Plus another trekking kit list from Howard Dengate at the bottom of the page here on fedup.com.au.

What is the food like?

Dal bhat! Which is white rice with a lentil soup and some lightly curried vegetables or some spinich-type greens. And for a longer answer, see …

When can I trek the Kanchenjunga region?

The best months to trek are during late March and April into early May, and October into November. By December most lodges are closed and by mid-December even the Ghunsa locals move to warmer climes. Mid-December through January and February are particularly cold and windy in the alpine areas (ie above the treeline). From late May through June, July, August and September, there are monsoon rains. In other words it is hot and rains a lot, although not every day. Flights are particularly unreliable during the monsoon.

When are the lodges open? How do I know if they are open?

There is no official season…

How to get there?

Please check this “How to get to the Kanchenjunga Trek” map which will help you out. There are many ways to get there.  Click the icons and you’ll see about planes, buses, jeeps and trekking routes…

How high can I get while trekking?

You can get 6000m high, on a rough scramble. No peak permit needed as it isn’t a peak, just a bump on a ridge of Dromo.

Trekking Peak Climbing and Mountaineering permit

All trekking peak and expedition peak mountaineering permits need to be arranged through a travel or trekking agency; it is not allowed to apply individually for peak climbing. You will need to fill in a bio-data form and give this to your agency. The Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA) is authorized to issue a trekking peak climbing permit for only Bokta Peak 6143m in the Kanchenjunga region. Other peaks require an expedition permit and a lot of paperwork.

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