Trekking is for those who never get tired of being in the mountains and like exploring unhindered nature to the fullest. What better place to go trekking than the Himalayas, the highest mountain range in the world? Sikkim, in northeast India, hides within itself lands of heavenly beauty and divine experiences. Since the state opened itself to tourism, trekking became a preferred activity to explore its scenic beauty. Travellers coming here on a vacation trip should definitely think about going on the Goecha La trek to admire this hidden jewel of India.
If the choice is affirmative, then the beginning of this journey will be from the beautiful town of Yuksom. On the way, you will pass through heavily cultivated and expansive farms and on your way to Sachen, your first stop; you will cross three suspension bridges, built across small streams. Further during Goecha La trekking, you will cross an old wooden suspension bridge, which will be a thrilling experience as the bridge will turn and sway as you walk. The next stages of your Goecha La trek will take you through enchanting mountainous meadows of Bakhim and Phedang.
En-route, you will get numerous chances to witness the dawn over the Kanchenjunga Range. Before you ascend the Dzongri peak, you will get one day off to rest and acclimatise, which you may utilise to explore the area more. Thereafter, you will resume your Goecha La trek Sikkim and move towards the Goecha La mountain pass. In these few phases, you will camp at the marvellous meadows of Thansing and Lamuney, where the clouds will be on your face. From Lamuney, begins the most significant portion of Goecha La trekking as it will take you to its highest point. Following the ascent, you will return to Yuksom and come to the end of your wonderful expedition.
After this excursion, you will develop a new love and appreciation for nature. Be sure to click photographs of the views that you see and especially of the yellow hue on the white, snowy peaks.
Day 01: New Jalpaiguri to Yuksom (5670 feet, 6 hours)
On arrival at New Jalpaiguri Railway Station (NJP), board a vehicle and drive to Yuksom.
The little town of Yuksom is located in the West District of Sikkim, and it will be the starting point of your Goecha La trek. It is at a moderate altitude and sits in a beautiful valley, which is surrounded by mountains. The town offers amazing views of the mountains, which often get covered by clouds; in the distance you may also see snow-covered peaks.
After you arrive here, reach your lodgings and rest for the night.
Day 02: Yuksom (5760 feet) to Sachen (7200 feet)
Early in the morning, get ready to begin Goecha La trekking. The first phase of your journey will take you to the first stop, which is Sachen. It is a small clearing in the middle of a coniferous forest, where you will rest at night.
Beginning from Yuksom, travel through expansive green 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. Look down at the river from the bridge and behold the scenic view.
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 30 minutes approximately from here will lead you to Sachen.
Day 03: Sachen (7200 feet) to Tshoka (9650 feet)
Continuing your trek, ascend higher up from Sachen towards the small village of Tshoka.
The trail for some distance out of Sachen consists of little altitude gain and relatively flat lands. Moving on, cross an old wooden suspension bridge over Perk Chu stream. It is lined with Buddhist prayer flags, and the bridge will sway as you walk on it, giving you much thrill.
From here, the elevation keeps on increasing till you reach Goecha La. Climb through the hills and as you do so, you will reach Bakhim. The place is surrounded by pretty forests of fern and rhododendron, and it is perfect place to click some photos.
From here, the towering Kanchenjunga Range of the Himalayas with Mount Padim is clearly visible. The village of Tshoka is nearby and is one of the attractions of the region.
You may stay in the tents, the huge forest hut or the forest rest house, located at a small distance from here.
Enjoy your overnight stay at your lodgings to gather energy for the next phase of your journey.
Day 04: Tshoka (9650 feet) to Dzongri (12980 feet) via Phedang (12050 feet)
As the rays of the sun illuminate the realm, gear up for a major section of the Goecha La trek.
It involves climbing to a pond, high up in the mountains, where a Buddhist Monastery is located. Onwards, the terrain becomes quite steep and tough; therefore, you are advised to observe the highest caution while completing this part of the hike. 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 montane grasslands, comprising grass and shrubs have taken over..
Day 05: Dzongiri (12980 feet) to Thansing (12894 feet) via Kokchurang (12096 feet)
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 06: Thansing (12894 feet) to Lamuney (13693 feet) – 4.2 km/2 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 naked meadow of Lamuney. Even the grass would have all but disappeared here because of its higher elevation as compared to Thansing.
If you ever wanted to walk through clouds, this is your chance. At such a height, the clouds will literally be on your face and walking through them would be an experience like no other. Travelling through clouds on a meadow, lined with high peaks on both sides, makes for a great story to tell back home.
After trekking for a little while on the meadow, you will find the campsite where you will retire for the night.
Day 07: Lamuney (13963 feet) to Goecha La (16000 feet) | Goecha La to Kokchurang
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 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. It is a high-altitude alpine pond in the middle of lands, bereft of vegetation. 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. It will give you another opportunity to witness the sunrise over the Kanchenjunga Range.
Walking for around two hours from here will lead you to Goecha La pass, the highest point of the hike. It acts as the base camp for those who attempt to scale Mount Kanchenjunga, the third highest peak on Earth.
From the mountain pass, begin your return journey and for its first section, trek down to Kokchurang, where you will find huts to spend the night; alternatively, you can erect tents by the river.
Day 08: Kokchurang to Tshoka via Phedang
Congratulations! You have successfully completed the major part of the Goecha La trekking expedition and only climbing down through the mountains remains.
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 09: 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.Overnight stay in Yuksom.
Day 10: Drive back to NJP/Bagdogra by shared transport (160 km- 6 - 7 hours drive )By 6 PM
From Yuksom, board the vehicle and transfer to (NJP) for your onward destination.
April 2018 - 7, 14, 21, 28
May 2018 - 5, 12, 19, 26
Max Altitude: 16000 ft.
Approx Distance Covered: 90 KM
Best Time to go: April - May, October, November
1. Accommodation. (Camping)
2. Meals while on trek. (Veg. & Egg)
3. Trek equipments like Sleeping bag, mattress, tent, kitchen tent, toilet tent.
4. Trekking Permits.
5. First aid medical kits and oxygen cylinder.
6. Qualified & experienced trek Leader, Guide and Support staff.
7. Transportation from NJP to Yuksum and back
1. Government service tax 5%.
2. Food during the transit.
4. Mules or porter to carry personal luggage.
5. Anything not specifically mentioned under the head.
The reason we decided to go with your company from the very beginning was because of your prompt and very helpful communication, as well as your accommodation for our wishes to have a privately-guided trek. Immediately we were impressed with the friendly people that were involved in the trek- it was well organized and all went smoothly. All in all it was a most excellent experience- for us something that we had hoped for most of our lives! We will definitely recommend your company to anyone looking for an adventure in the Himalaya!
It was a truly beautiful experience. The trek was well organized. The food was delicious too. The trek leader and the local guide were very competent in their work and our well being and safety was ensured, especially those who tend to walk slow and fall behind. But they were never left behind because the leader or the guide were two steps behind them egging them on with words of encouragement! Cases with symptoms of AMS were closely watched and promptly descended down if their condition did not improve which I think is again a mark of competence. I think the staff did everything they could to make us all comfortable. Just one sad part. It is banned to light up a fire in the Kanchenjunga Reserve Forest which makes it chillingly cold in the evenings, especially at higher camp sites. If Adventure Nation can work with the authorities to come to a more amicable solution for warmth it we would be really good. Otherwise it was a fine trek indeed. I recommend Goecha La to everyone who is looking for a longer and lasting adventure experience.