Dzongri Goechala Trek
One the must-hikes on the “Trekking the India Himalayas” bucket list, the Goecha La trek is synonymous with Nepal Himalayan treks minus the teahouse-trekking crowd. The arduous trail winds through mossy forests and alpine meadows, ascends sheer slopes and traverses moraines and boulder-strewn routes.
Trekkers are rewarded with surreal views of the sparkling turquoise Samiti Lake, the ragged skyline of snow-capped peaks and the awe-inspiring Kanchenjunga peak looming above.
Season: mid-March to mid-June; mid-September to December
Duration: 10 days
Altitude range: 1780m–4950m
Costs: USD80 per person per day; minimum of 6 pax
Day 01: Airport/railway station to Yuksom (1780m); 124km; 7 hrs
pickup from Bagdogra Airport / NJP Railway station and transfer to Yuksom.
Overnight at Yuksom.
Day 02: Yuksom - Bakhim (2760m); 14 km; 5 hrs
From Yuksom, the trail climbs gently out of the valley, skirts the Rathong Chu river, winds through dense forest and crosses four bridges. Sachen, a small clearing with a log hut and shelter awaits about 20 minutes after your cross the last bridge. It’s a pleasant spot for a quick stop to fuel up on trail snacks and water. Then the trail ascends steeply for an hour to the Bakhim rest house. You can get a postcard-pretty view of Yuksom valley from here. Overnight in Bakhim.
Day 03: Bakhim - Tsokha (2950m), 2km,1 hr
The trail continues climbing steeply for an hour through forests of magnolia and rhododendron. You will reach Tsokha, a small Tibetan settlement with cafes where you can try tongba, a traditional millet beer. The campsite offers a breathtaking view of the skyline dominated by the jagged peak of Mt Pandim and the Kanchenjunga range. Overnight stay in tent/Trekkers Hut.
Day 04: Tshoka - Dzongri (3950m); 9 km; 5hrs
The trail ascends steeply through rhododendron forests to Phedang (3650m). The clearing at Phedang is perfect for a lunch break as you can gawp at the peaks across the valley on a clear day as you satiate your hunger pangs.
The trail forks at Phedang with the right trail that leads to Kokchurang. In Spring (May-June), colourful rhododendrons flank the trails. From Phedang, the trail continues climbing till Mon Lepcha pass where Mt Pandim looms above. From Mon Lepcha, the trail descends before climbing again to Dzongri Trekkers Hut. Overnight at Dzongri.
Day 05: Dzongri
We will have a rest day at Dzongri to acclimatise and enjoy the picturesque views. The hill above the bungalow - referred to as Dzongri Top - offers a panoramic view of Kabru (7395m), Ratong (6678m), Kangchenjunga (8586m), Koktang (6147m), Pandim (6691m) and Jopuno (5603m). Take a stroll to the Dzongri meadows or trudge up to the ridge at Dablakhang where the stupas or chortens (Tibetan Buddhist monuments) are situated.
Day 06: Dzongri - Thangsing (3850m); 7 Km; 4hrs
The trail from Dzongri climbs up along the banks of the river, tops a hill then plunges into the valley before crossing the Prek Chu river. An hour’s climb from the bridge, we reach Thangsing valley, located below the slopes of Pandim. Thangsing offers a panoramic view of the surrounding peaks. Overnight in Thangsing.
Day 07:Thangsing - Lamune (4300m); 6km; 3 hrs
An early start from Thangsing, the trail ascends gently up the valley before we reach Onglathang where we’ll see the south face of Kangchendzonga. The trail winds through moraines and then ascend precipitously to Lake Samiti (4500m). We will rest at Samiti before continuing on to Lamune campsite.
Day 08: Lamune - Goechala (4950m) - Thangsing; 13km, 7-9 hours
This is the longest and most challenging day of the trip, due to the high altitude and rough terrain. To catch sunrise at Goechala viewpoint, we try to set out from campsite a couple of hours before sunrise. After scrambling over rocks and boulders, dragging our feet across moraines and steep ridges, we’ll arrive at Goechala. Overlooking the Talung valley, the pass is formed by depression between Pandim and the Kabru spurs.
Savour the up-close view of the south face of Kangchendzonga. After the surreal experience, we descend to Thangsing to camp overnight.
Day 09: Thangsing - Tshoka (2950m); 16km, 6-7 hours
We head back to Tsokha and Yuksom on the mostly downhill route and capture the incredible views that we may have missed on the way in. We will stay in Tshoka.
Day 10: Tshoka - Yuksom; 16km, 5-6 hours
Final descent to Yuksom where our trek ends.
Trekking costs include:
1. Transportation to and from the closest airport or railway station.
2. Accomodation on arrival day and after the trek.
3. All necessary permits and taxes for the trek.
4. All meals during the trek and in Utteray and Pelling, support team, experienced trekleader/guide, pack animals.
1. Air fare
3. Tips, alcohol and beverage
4. Travel Insurance or any personal expenses