The Kanchenjunga South Base Camp Trek is a unique trekking experience that takes you deep into unspoiled areas of Nepal's Eastern Himalayas. This peaceful walking path is home to an array of endangered flora and animals, lush hills adorned with multiple waterfalls and streams in the lower half, and snow-capped steep mountains in the upper half that create a dramatic silhouette against the clear blue sky above. Join us for a 19-day tour through the Himalayas' endless landscapes, unique cultures, and sweeping vistas.
Situated close to the borders of Tibet to the north and India to the east, Mount Kanchenjunga is a peak in northeastern Nepal. Before the middle of the 19th century, Kanchenjunga was believed to be the highest mountain in the world, but in reality, it is the second-highest summit in Nepal and the third-highest peak worldwide. Since the local people view Kanchenjunga Peak as a sacred peak, mountaineers avoid standing on it.
Kanchenjunga in English means "Five Great Treasures in the Snow". As the name suggests, the Kanchenjunga range consists of five peaks, and the inhabitants consider each summit to be a vault full of 5 valuables such as religious books, grains, gold, silver, and jewels. This huge group of mountains has five major glacier systems, three of which flow into Sikkim to the east: the Zumu, Talung, and Rathong. On the western side of the Himalayan range, the Tamor River in Nepal is fed by the Yalung and Kanchenjunga glaciers.
The trekking trail leading to Kanchenjunga Base Camp was opened to hikers only in 1988 AD. Since the area has been declared a restricted area by the government, hikers must obtain a special permit and travel in groups of no less than two, in addition to a mandatory licensed trekking guide. These are the reasons why so few hikers opt to traverse in this wild, challenging area. The area's distinctive culture and unspoiled natural beauty have been preserved in part by the fewer tourists that come here each year. As a result, tourists can take in the unspoiled natural beauty and genuine culture of the area.
Obtaining the most genuine trekking experience is not simple, though. This is a strenuous, lengthy hike in a region with minimal to no infrastructure. Not as many facilities are available here as in Nepal's popular trekking destinations, such as Annapurna and Everest. Maybe you'll even need to stay in a tent for a few nights. Along the journey, there are landslides to be concerned about, and the trails are rocky, swooping, and sometimes exposed. Its problems are made worse by the region's seclusion. Therefore, you have to be mentally prepared for several days of strenuous hiking in some extremely remote areas of the Himalayas, as well as a fairly experienced high-altitude hiker.
This 19 Days Kanchenjunga South Base Camp Trekking Itinerary has been meticulously crafted by our trekking experts at Outfitter Nepal to ensure that you will complete the trek with the least amount of difficulty. Before making a reservation, please read the entire description and details of the trek. For any questions, don't hesitate to get in touch with us.
Best Features of the Kanchenjunga South Base Camp Trek
- Trekking in the unspoiled, untraveled Himalayan region of East Nepal
- Reaching the South Base Camp (480 m) of Mt. Kanchenjunga, the world's third-highest mountain peak
- Breathtaking views of the Makalu mountain range, Mt. Kanchenjunga, and other neighboring peaks like Tent Peak, Jannu, Kabru, and Jongsong
- Traveling through the ethnic villages of the neighboring Rai, Limbu, Tamang, Gurung, Bhote, and Sherpa populations
- Learn about the unique culture and lifestyle of the local villagers of various ethnicities
- Admiring stunning natural locations such as high-altitude frozen ponds and glacial lakes
- Discovering the variety of plants and animals (such as red pandas and musk deer) found in the Kanchenjunga Conservation Area
Why trek to Kanchenjunga South Base Camp over other well-known trekking locations?
The Kanchenjunga region is renowned for its incredibly stunning natural settings. To get to the mountain's south base camp, you have to travel through some breathtaking, uncharted territory. These trekking routes differ from the more popular climbs in the Everest and Annapurna regions as they are mostly unexplored and off-the-beaten. As you hike across the foothills of the mountains, you will encounter many different types of natural trails situated beside rivers, streams, glaciers, hills, villages, waterfalls, and forests. Hikers enjoy the peaceful trails that go through such beautiful surroundings.
This isolated Himalayan location is another feature that makes the Kanchenjunga South Base Camp Trek unique. You will get the opportunity to take in the spectacular site in all its beauty away from the mayhem. You will be able to witness most of the largest Himalayan peaks in their most breathtaking vistas, including Mt. Kanchenjunga. You will be greeted by people with wide smiles and great friendliness. You will discover some unusual customs and practices along the walk that are different from the other parts of the country. These reasons are sufficient to embark on the secluded Kanchenjunga South Base Camp Trek.
What kind of terrain can we expect on the trek to Kanchenjunga South Base Camp?
Due to its seclusion and low trekking traffic, the Kanchenjunga South Base Camp is a wonderful destination for those looking for a more adventurous experience. The walk begins on the lower slopes, where lush forests of bamboo, oak, and rhododendrons surround the hikers. An atmosphere of peace and tranquility is created by the vibrant flora and melodious bird sounds. As the altitude goes up, the vegetation shifts and one can see the beautiful alpine meadows and high-altitude pastures. When the timing is perfect, these regions are blanketed with vivid wildflowers.
For those who enjoy the outdoors, the trip is a delightful treat. Hikers cross several swift-moving rivers and streams throughout the way, joined by sturdy suspension bridges that sway slightly with each stride. The route has an element of adventure because of the river crossings. Moreover, the bridges offer beautiful vantage points to overlook the surrounding area.
The trek becomes increasingly strenuous and rugged as it approaches the Kanchenjunga South Base Camp. Trekkers will encounter steep terrain, glaciers in the Kanchenjunga range, and moraines. At higher altitudes, one may enjoy breathtaking views of the imposing peaks, such as the third-highest peak in the world, Mount Kanchenjunga, which towers 8,586 meters (28,169 feet) above sea level. A vista of the neighboring mountain peaks adds even more grandeur to the trek's beauty.
How is the cultural exposure of the Kanchenjunga South Base Camp Trek?
Trekkers can interact with the people in a distinctive and enlightening way throughout their tour to Kanchenjunga South Base Camp. You have the chance to get to know native ethnic groups including the Tamang, Gurung, Limbu, Rai, Sherpa, and Bhote as you go through the stunning villages and isolated settlements along the trail. These ethnic groups’ rich cultural heritage is deeply rooted in the surrounding mountains and natural environment. You can witness their unique customs, historic rituals, and ages-old behaviors that have been passed down through the ages. Trekkers are welcomed into the homes and guest houses of the villagers, who provide them insights into their everyday lives, demonstrating their amazing hospitality.
Hikers may participate in any local festivities or events if the trek's timetable aligns with them. Festivals can offer hikers an unforgettable glimpse into the colorful local culture through dance performances, music, and traditional ceremonies. To fully immerse yourself in the culture, you may also try authentic Nepali cuisine and regional delicacies while lodging in teahouses and lodges run by local families. Conversations with the hosts and other trekkers in the shared dining areas provide an opportunity for story-sharing.
Additionally, by making stops at historic monasteries and stupas along the way, hikers get the chance to explore the area's spiritual side. These holy locations are important religious and cultural hubs for the native populations. Trekkers can see religious ceremonies and the peaceful coexistence of Buddhism and the Bon religion in the area.
What mountains can we see from the Kanchenjunga South Base Camp Trekking trail?
There are so many diverse and stunning mountain sights to behold while trekking to Kanchenjunga South Base Camp that we are at a loss for words. The trail leading to the South Base Camp of Mt. Kanchenjunga provides breathtaking views of the following mountains: Janu Himal (7,710 m/25,300 ft), Makalu (8,463 m/26,247 ft), Tharpu Chuli (5,695 m/18,684 ft), Kabru (7,412 m/24,318 ft), Ramtang Peak (6,601 m/21,657 ft), Taple Sikhar (6,341 m/20,804ft), Nepal Chuli (6,910 m/22,671 ft), Kirat Chuli (7,365 m/24,163 ft), Mt. Kanchenjunga (8,586 m/28,169 ft), Everest (8,849 m/29,032 ft), and many more.
Likewise, the route offers breathtaking views of the surrounding natural beauty. Snow-capped mountains encircle fields and streams where yaks can be observed grazing. In the lower portion of the trail, you typically encounter thickly forested hills and rivers with a few glimpses of mountains. In the upper half, however, the mountainous terrain covered in snow dominates.
Major Attractions of the Kanchenjunga South Base Camp Trek
Wonderful trekking journey to Mount Kanchenjunga's South Base Camp
Trekking through tropical lowlands to spectacular Rhododendron woodlands, chocolate box towns, glaciers, and breathtaking views of the Himalayas, the Kanchenjunga South Base Camp walk is an amazing experience. The majesty of the area, accentuated by some of the highest mountain peaks on Earth, enchants you with an unmatched happiness. It feels like you're in a picture book. Being near mountains stimulates the mind, but staying in local lodges and tents and consuming food grown nearby humbles the spirit.
Hiking in the biologically diverse Kanchenjunga Conservation Area
Covering 2,035 square kilometers, the Kanchenjunga Conservation Area is a large protected area. More than 250 birds and other endangered species call the incredibly thick trees of this protected area home. Its rich biodiversity includes Himalayan black bears, musk deer, snow leopards, red pandas, and other amazing animals. Red-billed blue robins and Amphibian pheasants are two of the most beautiful bird species that may be found in this region. In a matter of days, you ascend to gorgeous alpine flowers blooming and yaks grazing on high-elevation pastures.
Relatively new and undiscovered hiking path
One of Nepal's newest high-altitude hiking routes, the Kanchenjunga South Base Camp Trek is not well-known because it was only made accessible to hikers in 1988. Even if the walking track may not have the best amenities, there are still plenty of tea houses and lodging choices nearby. You could occasionally have to spend the night in a tent. It's one of the rare trekking routes that requires certain permissions. The trailhead for this distant path is a long 10-hour drive and a 30-minute fly away from Kathmandu.
Strolling through verdant forests and quaint Himalayan towns
It goes without saying that you will pass through verdant forests decorated with exquisite wildflower blossoms when hiking in the Nepalese Himalayas, particularly during the spring. You may even witness the rhododendron, the national flower of Nepal, transforming the entire forest into a vibrant red mass. You would also pass through charming towns on the slopes of the massive Himalayas. The construction of the dwellings differs from the typical Nepali design, depending on the ethnic group. It is astounding that more than 100 different ethnic groups call Nepal home, despite its small size. Seeing these people live in harmony in these remote places offers a sense of unity in diversity.
Physically and emotionally taxing hike that truly evokes adventure
The trekking route in the Kanchenjunga Region includes several steep climbs, treacherous ground, landslides, and other challenging terrain. Your physical endurance will be put to the test as you climb the rugged, high Himalayan terrain on the 19-day Kanchenjunga South Base Camp Trek. While prior trekking experience at high altitudes is usually beneficial, it's also acceptable if you maintain a good physical condition before starting the tour. For this walk, mental toughness is just as vital as physical fitness. This route offers the off-the-beaten-path walking experience that avid hikers crave.
Learning out about the unique culture of the locals
What distinguishes this excursion from others are the locals and their rich culture. On this walk, you will come across Tamang, Rai, Limbu, and Bhote communities, who are indigenous to East Nepal, in addition to the Gurung, Magar, and Sherpa people you frequently see when trekking in the western or central parts of Nepal. They adhere to their own cultural practices, food, traditions, and customs. People working in agriculture and animal husbandry make up the majority of the population in these communities in the Kanchenjunga region.