This is the most popular trek in Sikkim famous for its superb mountain views, meadows, rhododendrons in summer and brings you right up to the Himalaya.
This trek has been carefully planned by South Col to ensure that the trekker has the minimum discomfort and proper acclimatization which is most important. South Col has immense experience in this trek – Our guides and team have done this route more than twenty times in all seasons.
Who should join this trek?
A good choice for regular hill walkers, moderate level of fitness required. Prior trekking experience required. This is not a first timers trek.
1) Walking times: average 6-7 hours walking per day
2) Altitude: up to 4850m
3) Terrain: for some of the time following well-travelled trails although also likely to encounter rough and rocky conditions which could be across rocky scree slopes and can be snow covered.
4) Remoteness: the trek is in a remote mountain area and mobile phones will not work other than at Yuksam.
5) This is a full support camping trek with tents no lodges are available.
Trek Leader- Binod Gurung - one of our most experienced guides based in Sikkim.
Day 01 – Bagdogra to Yuksam by jeep 6-7 hours drive. Day 02: Yuksom (5760 feet) to Sachen 4 hours Beginning from Yuksom, travel through terraced fields and reach the valley of river Rathong. From here, the trail enters a forest and in about 30 minutes, you will see small houses. Moving ahead, you will encounter a suspension bridge over a stream, called Pha Khola. As you continue walking through the forest, you will see a waterfall. After about 50 metres, you will cross an iron bridge spanning the breadth of the stream. From here, the rise in altitude becomes more apparent and in about an hour, you will arrive at the bridge over Mentongang River. Hike for an hour approximately from here will lead you to Sachen. Day 03 : Sachen to Tshokha 4-5 hours Day 04: Tshoka (9650 feet) to Dzongri (13030 feet) via Phedang (12050 feet) 6 to 7 hours Leave Tsokha and ascent into a forested section of the trail. Following a rigorous ascent, the climb becomes somewhat easier. After a little while, you will walk on a well-paved path, which further ahead will turn to a rough trail, full of pebbles. Later arrive in Phedang, a breath-taking meadow, surrounded by rhododendron forests with firs and spruces dominating the landscape. This is an amazing site where lunch can be enjoyed while admiring the pristine surroundings. Post lunch, resume trekking; the trail from here will go steep till Dzongri base camp. At such an elevation, you will see that the landscape is devoid of tall trees while grasslands, comprising grass and shrubs have taken over. Day 05 Dzongri (13030 feet) to Dzongri Top (13681 feet) 1 hour and rest day The following part of your Goecha La trek involves climbing from Dzongri base camp to Dzongri Top. Wake up at 4.30 am and begin your ascent with electric torches in your hands. It takes 01 hour approximately to complete the task, and you will reach the top before the sun rises. Behold enchanting views of the Kangchenjunga Range and of the beautiful sunrise. After watching the sunrise, return to the base camp and spend the rest of the day at leisure, ending it with an overnight stay. Day 06: Dzongri (13030 feet) to Thansing (12894 feet) via Kokchurang (12096 feet) 5 to 6 hours This day, you will proceed towards the campsite of Thansing. It is a comparatively easier phase of the trek as it involves an ascent of only 1000 feet after a descent of roughly the same distance. After descending for approximately 5 hours, you will reach Thansing, your stop for the day. It is an expansive flat meadow, covered with lush grass. On the way, cross Kokchurang, which is a rough area where the slopes have evergreen coniferous vegetation and a river flows beside it. After reaching Thansing, proceed towards your lodgings and stay overnight. Day 07: Thansing (12894 feet) to Lamuney (13693 feet) – 4.2 km/3 to 4 hours This is one of the easiest parts of the Goecha La trek as it requires walking through flat meadows for about a couple of hours. At the end of your hiking on this day, you will find yourselves in the meadow of Lamuney. Even the grass would have all but disappeared here because of its higher elevation as compared to Thansing.. We camp here for the night. This is the last permitted camp on the trek. aDay 08 Lamuney (13963 feet) to Goecha La (16000 feet) and back to Kokchurung 8 to 9 hours Without a doubt, this is the longest and toughest phase of the Goecha La trek as it requires climbing to Goecha La and coming back to Kokchurang. This long day is required as camping in no longer allowed in Samit and Zemathang. This is also the day, you start at 3 am, the earliest ever in the journey. First, hike through the mountains for 45 minutes approximately and reach Samiti Lake. The way to this spot comprises of rocky sections and flat lands that give way to a sudden ascent. Continuing your journey, arrive at the plateau of Zemathang glacier, which is more often than not, covered with snow all around the year.. Walking for around two hours from here will lead you to Goecha La pass, the highest point of the hike. From the mountain pass, begin your return journey and for its first section, trek down to Kokchurang. Day 09: Kokchurang to Tshoka via Phedang 6 to 7 hours Start your downward journey and first travel to Tshoka via Phedang. It is quite easy to reach Phedang as there is no elevation gain in this section of the hike. You will cover a good distance of around 10 km in a period of 4 hours approximately. On arrival in Phedang, rest for a while and then recommence hiking down for approximately 3 hours towards Tshoka. Day 10: Tshoka to Yuksom via Bhakim and Sachen – 6-7 Hours On the last day of trekking, follow the same path that you took to come here, in reverse, and travel down to Yuksom, going through Bhakim and Sachen. Day 11 – Yusam to Bagdogra by jeep 6-7 hours
COSTS For Indian Nationals Indian Rs 65,000 plus 5% GST The cost is per person for Bagdogra to Bagdogra (11 days) as per the itinerary given. Costs given above are at current rates and may change without notice. Changes if any will be notified 3 months before the trek. Costs include: All necessary permits and Kangchendzonga National Park permits as needed in Sikkim. Two nights hotel stay in Yuksam one night on the way in and one night on the way out. Breakfast in Yuksam on the way in and out. All meals on the trek are covered. Cost of porters/guides yaks and other support staff on the trek is covered. Please note that porters will carry one duffel bag or backpack not exceeding 12 kgs in weight for each trekker comprising of personal items, clothing, sleeping bag etc. Pick up Bagdogra and drive to Yuksam and drop back to Bagdogra from Yuksam is included. Costs not included Flight Cost/Train costs to reach Bagdogra/New Jalpaiguri and then taxi costs to Yuksam and back. Lunch and dinner in Yuksam Client travel and medical insurance of any kind. Emergency evacuation costs if needed. Personal clothing and equipment; sleeping bag; down/ goretek jacket, medicines for personal use etc. Air fare from residence country to India and back Tips to porters and guide at the end of trek – we will give a guideline on this before the trek.
Duffle Bag All the equipment listed below other than what you need for the day should be packed into a duffle bag, locked and handed over to the porters in the morning. In case you cannot get a duffle bag in your home country these are available very cheap in Kathmandu and I can help you with this. The duffle bag should not weight more than 10-12 kgs!
1 Sleeping Bag Warm sleeping bag is needed at least three season rated to 15F
2 Daypack or Hipbelt To carry water, one jacket some nuts, chocolates, cap, camera to keep with you in the day, maybe gloves and cap as well, hiking poles etc.
3 Boots or Trekking Shoes one pair
4 Slippers or Sandals for camp lightweight to wear in the evenings
5 warm Socks 2 pairs to carry and one pair to wear
6 Gloves one pair
7 Underwear 1 to wear and 2 to carry
8 Warm Cap one- Wool or fleece is usually good
9 Heavy jacket the warmest you can get as nights and early mornings are cold - down is usually preferred otherwise a warm synthetic filled jacket.
10 Thermal Underwear ( top and bottom) - long johns inner layer to wear at night and early morning ;
11 Mid Layer Usually a jacket of fleece or wool which can be worn over a thermal layer or by itself while walking
12 T shirts for walking one to wear and 2 to carry - if the sun is hot you can walk in a T shirt
13 Trousers /tights etc one to wear and one to carry light weight preferred
14 One Rain Jacket /Wind Jacket/Soft Shell jacket useful in case of wind ... you may need it in light rain though we would usually take shelter and wait for the rain to stop. Our trek is not in the rainy season though some light rain/snow in the late afternoon evenings cannot be ruled out.
15 Torch or headlamp one small needed carry one set spare batteries
16 Sun bloc one small tube should be ok spf 30 or 50
17 some essential medicines vitamins, headache, fever, pain killers, diamox for altitude, your own specific medicines etc
18 Hiking poles if you have bad knees then this is recommended especially on the down hills!!
19 Water bottle one no 500 ml or 1 litre is ok you can use the 500 or 600 ml empty coke or pepis bottles
20 Sun glasses the sun is strong in the day
21 Cap for the sun ditto!
22 small towel for baths and wash up in case you can use the hot shower
23 toothbrush, paste, soap, shampoo, vaseline, comb and any other toilet items you may need!
24 wet tissues - wet ones for bathroom called wet ones in India
25 some washing powder surf etc small to wash clothes en route if needed
26 Nuts, raisins etc all mixed up can be divided into small packets for daily use
27 Chocolates /Energy Bars/Amul cheese slices/tea bags Carry some chocolates or energy bars to have on the way. Amul cheese slices are very useful and can be had as snacks when you are tired of sweets!
28 Sweets for energy
29 Volini gel/ Bengay etc for aches and pains or any other equivalent
30 Iodine or chlorine tablets for water purification available in Kathmandu- this is important as mineral water bottles are expensive; for overseas visitors you can get iodine tablets in REI and other large outdoor outlets
31 Electral or any other rehydating salts Carry a few small packets of electrolyte - useful to have mixed with water if dehydrated
32 some spare plastic bags to pack wet stuff, dirty clothes etc
33 Book in case you want to read on the way and IPOd for music optional!
34 Two small locks one for your duffle bag and one for your room in case the lodge does not have a lock
35 Clothes line with hooks on either side in case you want to hang up your wet clothes to dry outside!!
36 Super Glue To patch up boots that may give way!
37 Face mask For dust, cold winds etc available in kathmandu
38 Extra shoe laces one pair
Sujoy Das [email protected] +91 9831054569 India +977 9818037020 Nepal
CANCELLATION POLICY The cancellation policy and refunds available are given below: 0-7 days before the start of the trek =75% 8 -15 days before the start of the trek = 50% 16-30 days before the start of the trek = 35% 31-45 days before the start of the trek = 30% 46 days and above = 20%
IN CASE OF LEAVING THE GROUP If due to illness or any other reason a client has to leave the group and go down or wait at a lodge for the group to pick him/her up on the way back, all expenses including lodging, fooding and any porter/guide related expenses if any are to be borne by the individual client over and above the trek fees paid for the trek. There are also no refunds for leaving a trek before completion.
HIRING OF PONIES ETC In the eventuality of a client needed the services of a pony to come down to lower altitudes, the cost of hiring the pony will be paid by the client.
EVACUATION BY HELICOPTER In the eventuality of not being covered by emergency helicopter evacuation insurance and an evacuation is considered necessary, the cost of the evacuation will be paid by the client in advance to the helicopter company/travel agent etc as deemed necessary.
LODGES/CAMPING SITES ON THE TREK The choice of lodges/camping sites to be used on the trek will be decided by South Col and clients will have to stay at these designated lodges/camps. Clients are not permitted to choose their own lodges on the route.
TREK ROUTE The trek route and day wise schedule will be fixed by South Col and will have to be followed by the client.
RISKS AND LIABILITY The trek is in a remote mountain area and has certain additional dangers and risks, some of which include: physical exertion for which the client should be prepared; weather extremes subject to sudden and unexpected changes; remoteness from normal medical services; evacuation difficulties. In the event of injury or illness South Col Expeditions (Sujoy Das) or its Staff can, at the clients cost arrange any medical treatment and emergency evacuation service as it or they deem necessary for the health and safety of the client.