Darjeeling to Kanchenjunga Trek
Day 01: Bagdogra - Darjeeling (2130m) by car
Arrive Bagdogra Airport and drive to Darjeeling, charming 4-hour journey, through Assam tea plantations and tiny villages takes us to Darjeeling. Built on top of a ridge, Darjeeling faces the Himalaya and is a popular destination for Westerners and Bengalis alike. Overnight in Darjeeling.
Day 02: Darjeeling visit.
We could take an early trip to Tiger Hill to see the sunrise. Afterwards we visit the famous Ghoom monastery that enshrines an image of the Maitreya Buddha (the coming Buddha). Later on we can visit the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute and tea plantations. Overnight in Darjeeling.
Day 03: Darjeeling - Manay Bhanjang (2134 m/1h 30) by car - Tonglu (3070 mts)
Early morning drive from Darjeeling to Manay Bhanjang. The trail overlooks the Bengali plain south, and we have tantalising glimpses of Kanchenjunga ahead, as we zigzag through rhododendrons.
Day 04: Tonglu - Garibas (2620m) in 4 hrs
We take a mossy paved path that passes through a succession of forests and hamlets, giving way, from time to time, to spectacular mountain sceneries.
Day 05: Garibas - Sandakphu (3640m) in 4h 30 min.
We steadily climb to join the ridge trail towards Kalpokhari. Afterwards we start a long and steep climb onto the Singalila ridge that leads us to Sandakphu. A remarkable 360 ° view from the top.
Day 06: Sandakphu - Phalut (3600m) in 6h.
We walk to a prominent viewpoint for the magnificent sunrise over the Kanchenjunga, Jannu, Everest, Lhotse, Makalu and Cho Oyo. Throughout the day, there are ever-changing views: yak herds, silvery pine forests, tiny lakes ringed with grass, and the snow-capped Himalayan range in the background.
Day 07: Phalut - Raman (2560m) in 5h.
A pleasant descent through the woods takes us to Gorkhey (2500m) then we climb up towards Raman.
Day 08: Raman - Rimbik (2280m) in 4h.
We pass through numerous villages and cross the Sri Khola over a remarkable suspension bridge.
Day 09: Rimbik - Pelling by car (9h)
In the morning after breakfast we will take a drive for Pelling. It's also a beautiful hill town. Overnight at hotel.
Day 10: Pelling - Pemayangtse - Yuksam by car (2h).
2.5 km from Pelling, we will visit the Pemayangtse monastery. Perched at 2800m, it is one of the oldest and most impressive Gompas in Sikkim.
Day 11: Yuksam - Tshoka (3030m) in 6h.
The trail leads up the Rathong valley, through thick, semi-tropical forests. Afterwards a steep climb takes us to the tiny Tibetan village of Tshoka. The landscape has now changed into pine, rhododendron and magnolia forests. We get excellent views of the entire Himalayan range and Kanchenjunga.
Day 12: Tshoka - Dzongri (4020m) in 5h.
A steep trail zigzags up through temperate forest and large clusters of rhododendrons, to the vast clearing of Phedang. During April and May, the spectacle is gorgeous, as the land becomes a mass of flowers (400 species have been listed so far). After 300m, we follow the ridge to Dzongri, a pasture area for Yuksam yaks from April to October.
Day 13: Dzongri - Thangsing (3930m) in 4h.
We descend through rhododendron forest towards the glacial Prek River. We establish our campsite on the grassy pastures of Thangsing. The southern ridge of Kanchenjunga and the Onglakhing glacier are visible directly ahead and there are close-up views of Pandim.
Day 14: Thangsing - Samiti Lake (4200m) in 3h.
A pleasant walk below the west side of Pandim, through dwarf azaleas and rhododendrons to Zemathang. We take our first footsteps on the Onglakhing glacier, and climb up to the shores of the Samiti lake, reputed to be the sacred source of the Prek river. Ringed by prayer flags, the lake reflects Forked Peak, Kabru North, Goecha Peak and other snow-capped peaks.
Day 15: Samiti Lake - Goecha La (4940m) - Thangsing in 7h.
We have to leave quite early this morning, as fog and clouds descend on the pass shortly after sunrise. The track to Goecha La climbs steeply through moraines. From the pass, ringed with colorful prayer flags, we can see Kanchenjunga and beyond that, the Talung glacier.
Day 16: Thangsing - Lam Pokhari (4230m) in 5h.
After a steep descent, we climb through alpine areas and pass by tiny lakes.
Day 17: Labdang - Tashiding (1740m) in 5h.
An easy walk, in an atmosphere becoming more humid and heavier as we descend.
Day 18: Tashiding - Martam by car (4h) - Gangtok (1 hrs)
We visit the Tashiding monastery, one of the most isolated in Sikkim, perched on the top of a hill set between two rivers. En route we visit Rumtek monastery, reputed for its religious Tibetan art. Visitors are welcome to attend prayers. Afternoon at leisure in Gangtok.
Day 19: Gangtok - Bagdogra (by car)
In the morning after breakfast drive to Bagdogra airport and from here catch onward flight.