Friday, 24 October 2014

Yuksom-Goechala (Oct 2014) - kanchenjunga Base Camp Trek

It is being 12 long years, since I am planning to go to Goeachala. Finally the day arrived and we on-boarded on 4th Oct, 2014. We reached Yuksom on 5th Oct evening. The name `Yuksom` means the meeting place of three Lamas. Situated at an altitude of 1780 mt, Yuksom was the first capital of Sikkim, where according to the historical records; the first Chogyal of the kingdom of Sikkim was consecrated in 1641 a.d. by three learned Lamas. I was there in Yuksom on 2002 and this time I was surprised to see the new look of Yuksom. Lot of hotels are there now with various facilities on food and beverage. I found one cyber cafĂ© too. We stayed in Hotel Demazong with a view of Mt Pandim from our room.

Trek Day 1: Yuksom (1700 mt/5670 ft) to Bakhim (2438 mt/~ 9000 ft) via Sachen (7,200 ft) – 14 Km, 6-8 hours):
After all the initial set up (mostly arranged by our organizer Rob), we 4 (Abhijit, Moumita, Subhra and me) started at 9 AM on 6th Oct. Our next 8 days’ guide will be Ajay, a very calm and soft spoken person.

We crossed 3 bridges on our way to reach Sachen and took our packed lunch there around 1:30 PM.

We started after an hour break and this time we had to walk gentle up till Bakhim. In between we came across another bridge (4th Bridge).

Finally, we reached our 1st day’s destination Bakhim in the evening around 5 PM and came to know that our Yak, Food, Tent and luggage were not coming on that day. It was Our Guide Ajoy and his son-in-law Wangle who arranged a home-stay quickly in Bakhim and provided us some good food and warm cloths.

Day 2: Bakhim to Dzongri (4200 mt/ 12,980 ft) via Tshoka (2745 mt/ 9,650 ft) and Phedang (12,050 ft) – 12 KM, 8-9 hours):

Today is one of the toughest walking days of this trek.  We started from Bakhim in early morning with lot of energy and we doubled it soon as we reached Tshoka, a small picture-perfect Tibetan village. There is a beautiful pond and a small monastery surrounded by hills.  It took us 1 hour and 45 minutes to reach this village at 2048m. We had some hot tea and a well 30 minutes break before we started for Phedang.

Trek from Tshoka to Dzongri is a steep climb. This leads us through dense forest of rhododendrons, flora and flowers. The trail from Tshoka to phedang leads to a gradual climb. It changes to a paved one with wooden log and then moved to another trail full of stones and pebbles to reach Phedang. It is the perfect place to take rest and have some lunch.

After further climbing we reached Deorali top from where we got a majestic view of Mt Kanchanjangha.

After another 1hour roller-costar trek we reached Dzongri. A tourist hut is available for the night stay in Dzongri.

Day 3: Acclimatization, Dzongri top (13,681 ft) and rest day:

Today is acclimatization day with only Dzongri top trip. From Dzongri top you can able to see 180 degree panoramic view of Kanchanjangha range snow peaks. Unfortunately the weather was too bad and we didn’t able to see the view of snow picks from Dzongri top.

Day 4: Dzongri to Thansing (3800 mt/12,894 ft) via Kokchurang (12,096 ft):

Dzongri to Thansing is a 12 KM trek but relatively easy as the route is mostly flat. We cross a beautiful place called Kockchurang at the bay of river Prec-chu. There is only one trekker’s hut and a small camp ground.

Thangsing is a meadow from where you can view Pandim, Kanchenjunga and other peaks. Unfortunately when we reached in the evening weather was too bad to see the views. Prekchu river is flowing next to the trekker’s hut and behind the tent ground.

Day 5: Thansing – Lamuney (13,693 ft) – 4.2 kms/2hours

The most easiest day of the entire trek with the most majestic and colorful views. The meadow of Thangsing is actually extended till Lamuney and the same trail continues till Samiti lake and extended to Goechala.

Day 6: Lamuney (13,693 ft) – Goecha La (16,207 ft, 4940 m) and back to Kokchurang – 10 – 12 hours:

Today is the most strenuous and longest day in terms of trekking. After having a mid-night (1:30 AM) coffee we started with our Guide Ajay, Bob and Proter Bir Bahadur. Straight way we start ascending climbing and reached Samiti Lake (4420 mt/ 14100 ft) in approx 45 minutes.

Keeping the lake in left our path goes straight with sudden rocky uphill climb and flat plateau. Local guide and trekkers created 3 different points between Samiti and Goechala for owns convenient.  Please don’t listen to them as the real thrill and climb start after so-called 1st View point (this is a place from where trekkers can see a panoramic snow picks view and some unforgettable sunrise).  Moreover, while you climb and trek further the views are totally different with some wonderful landscapes.

After 1st view point you need to go down to Zemathang, a sand bed covered with snow and gravel. Keeping Panding in right and Zemathang behind, one need to climb steep rocky and narrow bolder zone path to reach Goechala. It took me around 2 hours to reach Goechala from Zamathang.  

You can find green water Goecha lake in the left and Goecha pick in front.

After spending an hour in Goechala now it’s time to step back and say good bye to Kanchenjunga, Goecha pick, Pandim, Kabru and lot other unknown snow picks. You need to follow the same route (via Samiti lake, Lamuney and Thansing) and climb down till Kockchurang. You can choose to set up your tent near the bank of the river or you can also reside in trekkers hut at Kockchurang.

Day 7: Kokchurang to Tsoka via Phedang

The trail from Kockchurang to Phedang via dense forest actually skip Dzongri and stiff climbs. Though there is no altitude gain, but one needs to cover 10 KM to reach Phedong which is a bit tiring. From Phedang known descend  trail go till Tshoka, our destination for the day.

Day 8: Tshoka to Yuksom via Bhakim and Sachen

Tshoka to Yuksom is an easy descent but need to cover 14 KM and it takes around 6-7 hours.

Next Day leave Yuksom early morning and reach NJP by 4.00 - 5.00 pm

Important Info (as of Oct 2014):

Njp/Siliguri to Yuksom:
151 Km, 5-6 hours’ drive (at places road is not so good)
Cab hire: 3500-5500 INR depending on sessions and rush
Siliguri to Jorethang: Share cab – 150 INR/head (available)
Jorethang to Yuksom: Share cab – 200 INR/head (not very frequent, 2 cab/day. One 10 seat cab leaves Jorethang early morning around 6:30 AM and the next is around 12:30/1 PM)

Yuksom Hotel:
There are many options now within budget (300 to 2000 INR for 1 day).

Permit to for the trek:
If you are going with an organizer, they will take care everything (including arrangement of guide, porter, yak, cook, food, tent etc). If you are alone, book a guide and he will arrange the require permits. Your photo, identity proof and Guide/porter information (with physical presence) is required at the check post.

Our organizer and Guide details:
Hotel Demazong, Rob (Organizer): 9775473687
Guide: Ajoy and Wongyual Bhuia: 9593783145
Porter: Bir Bahadur

Entry Fee:
1.       Indian national Rs 200 – per head for 7 days (Foreigners Rs 400 and Indian Students Rs 40)
2.       Rs 30 per head for each additional days (Foreigners Rs 75 and Indian Students Rs 20)
3.       Local Guide and porters with team: Rs 20 – per head per day
4.       Pack Animals: Rs 10 per animal per day
5.       Tent Pitching Charges: Rs 40 – per tent per day
6.       Still Camera: Rs 20
7.       Video Camera: Rs 750
8.       Movie Camera: Rs 3000

Please refer following link for more picture:


  1. Pls feel free 2 share your view

  2. Snaps are awesome,each of them telling story of their own,so colorful,natural,specially the photo "Night view from view point 1" and all other day 6 snaps are splendid.Accompanied by the description of the journey it could be a documentary film of journey to the dreamland.