Kanchenjunga Base Camp Trek – Come close to five great treasure houses of the snow

Updated: December 4, 2020

On this page you will find a comprehensive and impartial guide to the Kanchenjunga Base Camp Trek.

Kanchenjunga Base Camp Trek

Route Overview

Kanchenjunga, meaning “five great treasure houses of the snow,” is the third-highest mountain in the world and the second-highest in Nepal. Until 1856, it was believed to be the highest of all.

It is holy to the locals, so people are not permitted on the summit – the promise of the leader of the first expedition in 1955 to the maharaja of Sikkim has been kept. Trekking here first became an option only in 1988, so it remains in its infancy.

The trek provides unsurpassed views of snow-capped mountains. The forests of rhododendrons are also enchanting and there is much wildlife to be seen.The area is one of 200 recognised by the World Wildlife Fund as a global ecoregion – one of the Earth’s most biologically outstanding habitats. A quarter of Nepal’s red pandas live in this region.

The avalanches that can erupt on Kachenjunga are widely-believed to be the largest found anywhere in the world.

Please Note 

This is one of the longest treks in Nepal, taking from 23 to 29 days. It is possible to make this a tea house trek, as the government has encouraged the building of infrastructure around not just Kanchenjunga but all of the Himalayas. In Lhonak, Kambachen and Kanchenjunga Base Camp, however, lodges only open when there are more trekkers.

If you can't rely on this, please leave a comment below and we will try to help you choose the most suitable trekking route in Nepal.

Regional Map

This, one of the least-populated regions of Nepal, is on the country’s eastern border, next to India.


Recommended Map

A Trekking Guide to Kanchenjunga (Himalayan Travel Guides)

We recommend the following map:

You are also welcome to have a look at our recommended list of Nepal books and guidebooks Library for more options.

Kanchenjunga Base Camp Trek - Typical Itinerary


Below is a detailed Kanchenjunga Base Camp Trek itinerary.

Please note that there are several Kanchenjunga trek itineraries that can be done. Below we have laid out the most popular version – 28 days, leaving from Kathmandu. If you want to make your own way to Taplejung then you could probably organise this with your operator or guide

Click each day to read more.

Day 1-2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Day 6

Day 7 

Day 8

Day 9

Day 10

Day 11

Day 12

Day 13

Day 14

Day 15

Day 16

Day 17

Day 18

Day 19

Day 20

Day 21

Day 22

Day 23

Day 24

Day 25

Day 26

Day 27

Day 28

Recommended Guidebook

A Trekking Guide to the Nepal Himalaya: Everest, Annapurna, Mustang, Nar Phu, Langtang, Ganesh, Manaslu & Tsum, Rolwaling, Kanchenjunga, Makalu, Lumbasumba, Dolpo, West Nepal (Himalayan Travel Guides)

In terms of guidebooks we recommend:

There are dozens of books about Kanchenjunga, for instance Living on the Edge: The Winter Ascent of Kanchenjunga by Cherie Bremer-Kamp. Kanchenjunga gets a mention in Do What Thou Wilt: A Life of Aleister Crowley by Lawrence Sutin. In his novel, A Movable Feast, Hemingway described Crowley, an occultist, as the most evil man in the world, and to be mentioned in a book about him is deeply flattering, not that a mountain will feel it.

You are also welcome to have a look at our recommended list of Nepal books and guidebooks Library for more options.

Frequently Asked Questions about Kanchenjunga Base Camp Trek


How much does the trek cost?

Prices tend to be above $5,000, but there are providers who will run the trek for as little as $3,000.


Are permits required for this trek?

A permit is required for Kanchenjunga, a restricted trekking region, which costs $10 per person per week. This obviates the need for a Trekkers Information Management System card. There must be at least two trekkers and a registered guide who will cost $35 a day. You also must pay for entrance to the Kanchenjunga National Park – $20.


When is the best time to trek?

The best seasons are autumn and spring. The former is from September to November and is more popular. The latter is March to May.


Is altitude sickness a risk on Kanchenjunga Base Camp Trek?

The Kanchenjunga Base Camp Trek ascends to some high altitude points. At its highest point, Pangpema, you will reach an altitude of 5,030 meters (16,500 feet). There are steep section on this trek where you will ascend very rapidly.

Therefore, it is important to have a clear understanding of the risks associated with high altitude trekking and how the body acclimatises to high altitude. We recommend you read our detailed article on Altitude Sickness and Acclimatisation.


How difficult is the Kanchenjunga Base Camp Trek?

The Kanchenjunga Base Camp Trek is challenging. It is one of the longest treks in Nepal and requires constant exercise for over 3 weeks. You will need a good level of fitness and determination. There are some very steep sections and high altitude points along the route that also make the trek a strenuous one.


What gear do I need for Kanchenjunga Base Camp Trek?

Trekking to Kanchenjunga Base Camp requires a number of essential pieces of trekking gear. The Kanchenjunga Base Camp Trek is long and moderately difficult. It exposes you to a range of altitudes where temperatures fluctuate dramatically between night and day.

Much of your gear can be rented or bought in Kathmandu, but we strongly suggest bringing the most important pieces of gear and equipment with you.

To help you plan and prepare for your trek we recommend reading our gear section.

Do I Need Insurance for Kanchenjunga Base Camp Trek?

Climbing insurance is vital for Kanchenjunga Base Camp Trek. If an accident or incident should occur that requires immediate medical assistance and evacuation you will most definitely want adequate trekking insurance that can cover the costs of air ambulance and treatment.

Make sure you have insurance that covers you for any travel related risks, like lost, stolen, damaged or delayed baggage; interruptions and flight delays and tour operators default.

Please read our article on travel and trekking insurance in Nepal. The article provides great information on what type of insurance you'd need.

About the author 

Mark Whitman

Mark has trekked extensively in Asia, Europe, South America and Africa. He founded Mountain IQ in 2014 with the sole aim to be the best online information portal to some of the most popular mountain destinations around the world. When not writing for Mountain IQ, Mark is out exploring the outdoors with his wife!

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