A special Restricted Area Permit (RAP) is required for visiting the Kangchenjunga region. This permit requires that you have a registered guide and a party of two or more. The fee is US$10 per person per week up to 4 weeks, thereafter US$20 per person per week, and this permit must be arranged by a trekking agency in Kathmandu.
You also need a Kangchenjunga Conservation Area (KCA) entry permit which costs Rs2000 (approx US$20) per person. It is possible to buy this at the Police Checkpoint in Taplethok though much easier to get beforehand in Kathmandu.
You will need 4 photos per person for the permits and to show your passport (not a copy).
Allow one day in Kathmandu to get the permits sorted.
TIMs: Unless you are continuing to the Khumbu (which is a great trip if you have the time), the Restricted Area permit means that you do not need a TIMS card (Trekkers Information Management System) as well.
One way to short cut some of the bureaucracy is to have a Nepalese agency take care of the logistics. A good agent will be able to navigate the permits, provide a reliable, trained and licensed guide and source porters if you need them. Note if booked through an agent check that the porters have insurance.
Other jobs an agent can do for you to make life easier are: booking plane tickets (you pay the same price, the agent receives a commission), transfers to and from the airport in KTM; jeep travel from Taplejung to Tewa (and back); rental of equipment …. and lots more.
We have used
Run by Chhurim Sherpa, a Ghunsa woman who’s family still live in the village (she’s also the first woman to summit Everest twice in the same season!)
If hiring porters locally (in Taplejung) do make sure to check that they have suitable clothing and footwear for the trip. This is a legal requirement and it’s your (or the agent’s) responsibility.
You must (by law) also provide insurance for them.
Find out more about ethical porter-client contracting at Porters Progress UK
Note that porters in this area are notoriously hard to find. They are also, in our experience, from extremely poor backgrounds so very likely to turn up only in chappals, t-shirt and leggings (with no extra clothes). They may bring their own rice etc with them to save money.
Expect to pay around 1200NPR / day. The porters will cover their own food and lodging costs from this. On rest days they’ll usually help out in a lodge to earn their food.
Clothing requirements: boots, socks, gloves, warm hat, sunglasses, warm (waterproof) jacket, overtrousers
To get a good view of the culture we recommend finding a guide who speaks Tibetan and Nepali as well as your native tongue.
The Dengates say: “We very highly recommend Visit Himalaya Treks firstname.lastname@example.org and www.visithimalayastrek.com. Their principal Himal Tamang proved to be calm, capable and exceptionally good at getting us into and out of remote places with a minimum of fuss. Likewise, on both occasions our guide Mingma Bhote and porter Lakpa Bhote couldn’t have been more friendly, helpful, useful and able to deal with the unexpected. We enjoyed our first Kanchenjunga trek so much that we kept the same happy team for another 20 days around Manaslu and Tsum and then engaged them for the second Kangchenjunga trek in 2013. Both Mingma and Lakpa were only too pleased to help us learn some Nepali and Tibetan which added another dimension to our trip. I cannot recommend this company highly enough. Another recommended guide and porter team is Oangdi Gurung and Prem Rai. Oangdi and Prem are good friends. Oangdi is from Lo Manthang in Mustang, and Prem from the Kanchenjunga region Both speak good English. You can make contact through: email@example.com“