Goechala Trek

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Overview

Sikkim, a mesmeric small state in northwest India offers a majestic landscape. It possesses divine bounty in the form of tantalizing glaciers, different varieties of flowers and the very beautiful alpine meadows. Culturally rich Sikkim offers a variety of enticing places which are worth visiting. The divine Buddhist monasteries are the best places to find inner peace. This small but energetic state is a perfect place to escape in the lap of mesmeric Mother Nature.

Trip Highlights
Duration 14 Nights / 15 Days
Best Season Mid September to Mid November and Mid April to May
Darjeeling Tiger Hill, Joy Ride- Toy Train, Chholing & Darli Monasteries, Mountaineering Institute, Observatory Hill, Tibet Handicraft Centre & Tea gardens, Sumendu Lake in Merik.
Yuksom Just relax in the serenity and get prepared for the adventurous trek in the mountains next morning
Goenchala Pass Trek through rhododendron forests, meadow, snow fields and glaciers, camp by alpine lake or river side, view gorgeous mountain peaks, take stunning photographs, see remote village of yak herders, wild orchids, rare birds and wildlife
Gangtok Sikkim Research Institute of Tibetology, Dodurl Chorten, Government Institute of Cottage Industry, Orchid House Flower Show, Tashi View Point, Ganesh Tok and Bakthang Falls, Himalayan Zoological Park and Nathu la Pass
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Detailed Itinerary
Day 1: Arrive Bagdogra – Gangtok (135 kms / 4 hrs drive)

On Arrival at Bagdogra Airport after traditional Indian style ‘Swagat’ (Welcome) by Exceptional Escapes representative, he would assist you at airport & transfer to Gangtok.

Gangtok, the capital city of Sikkim is located on a ridge at a height of 5500 feet. With a spectacular view of the Khanchendzonga, the town provides the perfect base for travel through the state. Once an important transit point for traders travelling between Tibet and India, it is today a busy administrative and business centre and presents an interesting mix of cultures and communities.

Overnight Hotel- Gangtok (B, D) Ask Expert

Day 2: Gangtok

Post breakfast leave for full tour of Gangtok. (Timing 8.30AM to 4.30PM).

Visit Phensang Monastery, Botanical Garden, and Santi View Point, Sikkim Research Institute of Tibetology, Dodurl Chorten, Government Institute of Cottage Industry (Closed on Sunday, 2nd Saturday), Orchid House Flower Show. After lunch visit Tashi View Point, Ganesh Tok and Bakthang Falls.

Back to hotel and free evening to roam around M G Marg Mall for shopping.

Overnight Hotel- Gangtok (B, D)
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Day 3: Gangtok – Yuksom via Rumtek (150kms / 6 hrs drive)

Post breakfast leave for Yuksom, the starting point of the trek to Kunchenjungha National Park, our most exciting destination in this tour.

Enroute visit Rumtek Monastery – the most important monastery and the seat of His Holiness, The Gyalwa Karmapa of the Kargyu sect of Tibetan Buddhism. Further drive to Yuksom and checkin at the hotel.

Yuksom at 5500ft is a pretty village in West Sikkim and is the main trail head for trekking to Dzongri and Goeche-La in the Kanchenjunga Reserve. Yuksom means "meeting place of the three Lamas" who crowned the first Chogyal here in 1641. Dubdi Gompa built in 1701 was the first official capital of Sikkim. Yuksom was the first capital of Sikkim established in 1642 AD by Phuntsog Namgyal who was the first Chogyal (temporal and religious king) of Sikkim. The coronation site of the first monarch of Sikkim is known as the "Throne of Norbugang".

In the evening you can have a short afternoon stroll in the village just to stretch your legs before next morning trek.

Overnight hotel- Yuksom Ask Expert

Day 4: Yuksom – Sachen trek (3-4 hrs)

Today we get ready for the adventurous trek to Kunchenjungha National Park and our final destination is Goechala at the foot of Mt Kunchenjungha Peak, the third highest in the world. For the next 8 days you will be in to the wilderness of remote Sikkim Himalayas and will be out of contact from the rest of the world. Witness the rare beauty of the high altitude forests, wildlife and birds along with the stunning view of the highest snow peaks, glaciers, alpine lake and vast meadow.

Meet with our trekking crew – porters, sherpas, cook and guide and start the days trek to Sachen at 7200ft. The trek takes about 3 to 4 hrs and winds through forests of conifer and oaks, mosses and ferns and past frequent streams that tumble down the hillside. The trail crosses a hanging bridge just upstream of the confluence of the Rathong River and the Prek River. Soon we reach Sachen at 7,200 feet - small clearing where a single log hut and a shelter on the trail exist.

Overnight stay at the camp. Ask Expert

Day 5: Sachen – Tshoka Trek (3hrs)

This is a short trek, but the altitude gain is considerable. Trekkers love the initial amble through the forest. It gives them a chance to loosen up before the stiff climb to Bakhim from the bridge over Prek.

The trail out of Sachen undulates but maintains an even altitude, in fact gaining a few feet until 45 minutes and 2 kms later you drop down to the bridge over Prek. The clear water of the Prek is worth savouring. You don’t meet the river until three days later at Kockchurang.

The wooden bridge over Prek sways when you walk over it. Adorned with multitude of prayer flags wishing success to the expedition -- it signals the start of the real climbs of the Goechala trail – climbs that stay with you until you get to Goechala.

Take the trail that begins to climb to the left of the bridge. The trail climbs sharp through a mixed oak forest until the wide switchbacks level somewhat half hour later at the sight of the first Rhododendrons. The trail gets dark from the overhanging trees and meanders for another ten minutes. It suddenly pops out to a plateau and the trekker’s hut of Tshoka - Our tonight’s camp site.

Overnight stay at the camp. Ask Expert

Day 6: Tshoka – Dzongri Trek (4 - 5hrs)

We start trekking after early breakfast. This trek passes through the dense Rhododendron Forests. During April and May the entire forests lit up with fiery red flowers. A steep climb of 30minutes takes you to an open space Phedam at 12000ft. From here you can get a lovely view of the snow clad mountains.

We will take lunch here and after a short rest we trek towards Dzongri. The trail above Phedang is above the tree line and dense forest is reduced to small scrubs. From Deorali top, the trail is mostly downwards. A 4-5 kms walk from Deorali top and we reach the meadows of Dzongri. Dzongri at 13000ft is a large cauldron, mostly meadows, surrounded in all directions by the mighty peaks of the Kanchenjunga range. In every direction is a snow peak to be looked at and admired.

Overnight stay at the camp. Ask Expert

Day 7: Dzongri Acclimatisation day

We start trekking after early breakfast. This trek passes through the dense Rhododendron Forests. During April and May the entire forests lit up with fiery red flowers. A steep climb of 30minutes takes you to an open space Phedam at 12000ft. From here you can get a lovely view of the snow clad mountains.

We will take lunch here and after a short rest we trek towards Dzongri. The trail above Phedang is above the tree line and dense forest is reduced to small scrubs. From Deorali top, the trail is mostly downwards. A 4-5 kms walk from Deorali top and we reach the meadows of Dzongri. Dzongri at 13000ft is a large cauldron, mostly meadows, surrounded in all directions by the mighty peaks of the Kanchenjunga range. In every direction is a snow peak to be looked at and admired.

Overnight stay at the camp. Ask Expert

Day 8: Dzongri – Thansing trek (4hrs) stay in Camp

Today we trek for about 3 to 4 hours from Dzongri to reach the Prek Chu valley at the base of the mighty Pandim and the Tinchenkhang. On the way we will cross the river at a place called ‘Kokchurang’ where locals believe evil spirits ‘one that slaps hard on the face of the visitors’ exist. Thangsing valley has a trekker’s hut and has unrestricted view of the east face wall of the Kanchenjunga. You have the rest of the evening to yourself. You are free to take a walk, listen to music or get back to the favourite book of yours.

Overnight stay at Huts or tents. Ask Expert

Day 9: Thansing – Lamune trek (2 hrs)

The way to Lamune is slight uphill and flat. This is the last camp on the way up. You would be provided with hot water wash at the camp. Hot lunch is served directly at the camp as it is a short trek today as well. On the way you can enjoy the beautiful views of Mt Kanchenjunga and the Goechala Peak and most of the Himalayan ranges. We pitch our tents very close to the Rathong River which originates here from the Rathong Glacier. You may choose to trek further to Samiti Lake and spend an hour there. The trail ascends from Lamune and it is a 45 minute stiff climb to the Samiti Lake. Notice the terrain being rocky all through the ascent.

Take a walk around the lake and sit besides its serene waters. The Samiti lake shores are home to mountain goats and blue birds which you are most likely to spot. We have an early dinner at around 6.30 to 7pm as we have a very early morning tomorrow.

Overnight stay at the camp. Ask Expert

Day 10: Lamune – Goachala – Thansing round trek in 10hrs

Today is all about viewing Kanchenjunga, up close and personal. We will reach our destination "The Goecha La". Goecha is a mountain located very close to Kanchenjunga; "La" is Tibetan for pass. Hence, "Goecha La", is a high mountain pass next to Goecha Mountain. It's the lowest pass connecting the Okhlathang Valley to the north, and the trail from Lamune to Goecha La offers the closest views of the great mountain. Any closer and you'd be climbing. A 3 AM start ensures that you reach the first view point or the sunrise point right in time to see the first run rays hitting Kanchenjunga. It also makes it easier to walk on the morains that you find after the sunrise point as the snow is still hard. Retrace your path to Lamuney, and then head to Kockchurang with your belongings. Stay at the trekker hut or pitch tents by the river at Kockchurang. Ask Expert

Day 11: Thansing – Tshoka return trek in 6hrs

Today’s trek can be divided into two phases.

The first from Kockchurang to Phedang – a direct trail by passing Dzongri and second, the Rhododendron forest trail from Phedang to Tshoka.

The first phase is new and interesting. The trail goes on the flank on the mountain all along and you move from one mountain to another to another maintaining a constant altitude of 12,000ft all along. Kokchurang, Phedang and most of the trail, are all at 12,000ft! From Phedang you retrace the descending trail to Tshoka.

The days trek takes about 6-7 hours on an average.

Overnight stay at the camp Ask Expert

Day 12: Tshoka – Yuksom Return trek (5hrs)

Retrace your way from Tshoka to Yuksom. It is much faster and easier than your trek up. Sachen comes up quickly being a pure descent. From Sachen the trail goes up and down generally losing altitude. The last stretch has a few climbs which make you wonder but it is soon over and you find yourself back in the friendly Yuksom neighbourhood.

Check in at Hotel and take a desired hot shower.

A cosy comfortable room and a soft bed is all you require now.

Overnight stay- Hotel Ask Expert

Day 12: Yuksom – Darjeeling via Pelling (5hrs drive)

Post breakfast drive to Darjeeling. Darjeeling, Queen of India's hill stations. Its setting is one of incomparable beauty. A Victorian town of old world charm 'discovered' by the British. It is surrounded by fragrant tea gardens which seem to flow over the layered slopes like emerald swells on a rough sea.

En route visit Pemayangtse Monastery in Pelling, one of the oldest and premier monasteries of Sikkim. The monastery, located at an elevation of 2085 m, is Designed and founded by Lama Lhatsun Chempo in 1705. With scenic backdrop of snow capped mountains on two sides, the monastery offers a nice view of the surroundings.

From Pelling we continue driving to Darjeeling through Nayabazar. Arrive Darjeeling and check-in at the hotel.

Evening at leisure to explore the Queen of India's hill stations.

Overnight Hotel – Darjeeling (B, D) Ask Expert

Day 12: Yuksom – Darjeeling via Pelling (5hrs drive)

Early morning START your DAY with the visit of Tiger Hill, famous for its magnificent view of Kanchenjunga, Mt. Everest & other eastern Himalayan peaks especially at the time of sunrise.

Later enjoy the toy train ride of Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR), now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Ghoom, as the name suggests it is gloomy & clammy with perpetual fog. A Tibetan village, one can hear the foghorn-like sounds of Buddhist monks blowing their giant Gyeling pipes from the rooftops of the nearby Yiga-Choling ' Yellow Hat' Buddhist Temple.

Also visit the Mountaineering Institute, created by the late Tenzing Norgay, the Sherpa who conquered Mt Everest with Sir Edmund Hillary. A display of equipment used on the climb is one of the highlights.

Post lunch visit the two Buddhist monasteries Chholing & Darli.

Continue visit the Tibet Handicraft Centre & the beautiful Tea gardens.

Evening visit the Observatory Hill known locally as Makal-Babu-Ko-Thaan. According to legend, a Red Hat Buddhist Monastery called Dorje Ling, or 'place of the Thunderbolt', stood at this very spot. The Nepalese destroyed it in the 19th century, now the Shivas & Buddhists share the temple that stands there today.

Overnight Hotel – Darjeeling (B, D) Ask Expert

Day 12: Darjeeling – Bagdogra (75 Kms / 03 Hrs)

Post breakfast, morning transfer to Bagdogra airport to board the flight to Kolkata.

Upon Arrival at Kolkata airport board your international flight for onward journey taking a wonderful HOLIDAY Memory

Tour Concludes: Exceptional Escapes Manager will assist you with your transfer to the airport for boarding onward flight. Ask Expert

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