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Goechala Trek - 10 Days

Goechala Trek
17500

Goecha la Trek is the most popular trek in Sikkim. An absolute classic, this trek gives us spectacular views of Kanchenjunga up close, apart from many other smaller peaks which surround it. The whole trail is filled with rhododendrons and it’s like the forest has extended a red carpet welcome for you during the springs. Post Monsoon, the mountain views are outstanding – Kanchenjunga, Pandim, Rathong, Kabru, etc are some of the peaks seen from several vantage points all along. Tea houses exist till Dzongri, beyond which tents are mandatory. We’ll be camping throughout on this trek. The sight from Goecha La is glorious and well worth all the walking it takes to reach here. The high altitude lakes, crystal waters of the rivers, the fluttering prayer flags at the high points make this whole trek special and culturally distinct from any other route in the Himalaya.

Yuksom (Base Camp) is basically a historical place stating the true culture and tradition of Sikkim. It was the capital of Sikkim earlier and enacts to the Kangchenjunga National Park. You will see burdened forests of pine, magnolia, oak, spruces, rhododendron, maple, chestnut and many other types of pines culminating in the Dzongri field on this trek. Also, a wide variety of wild plants can be easily found on this trail. You can also see rarely seen Barking Deer, the Red Panda, Marbled Cat, Musk Deer and the Himalayan Black Bear. You will climb up to Gocha La pass beside the Samity holy lake and Onglakhing glacier moraines. It is the highlight of this complete trek from where you can enjoy the overwhelming landscape of the Talung glacier.

The trek starts from Yuksom, a small village in West Sikkim. It was the ancient capital of Sikkim. As soon as you touch the roads of Sikkim, the positive energy of Buddhism starts to take over your heart. The cool wind furling the prayer flags gives you peace. The smiling face welcoming you with warmth makes you feel pleasant. The trek takes you through thick dense forest crossing multiple tributaries of Rangeet river to get you above the tree line after 3 days. The peaks of Kanchenjunga, Pandim, Tenchenkhang and Jupono sees you over continuously motivating you to reach closer to them, and at Goecha La, you feel like you are just few kilometers away from touching the Godly mountain. Sad part of the story is, this trek has marked view points from where you see the mountains from a distance. Though the views are mesmerizing, standing on Goecha La is altogether a different experience which very few experience. We believe, Stand on the Goecha La and not on the viewpoints !!

Best Time To Go On The Goechala Trek

Summer months of April to June will have temperatures ranging between 15 to 22 Degree C in the morning and between 7 to -1 Degree C in the night. While the autumn months of September and October will have 10 to 15 Degree C in the morning with a drop to 5 to -5 Degree C during the night. These seasons are the ideal time to conduct the Goechala trek.

Day 1
Drive from NJP – Yuksom  (7-8 hrs Drive)

Day 2
Trek from Yuksom (5,500 ft) – Sachen (7,000 ft) (4-5 hrs)

Day 3
Trek from Sachen (7,000 ft) – Tshoka (9,600 ft) via Bakhim (8,600 ft) (5-6 hrs)

Day 4
 Trek from Tshoka (9,600 ft) – Dzongri (12,800 ft) via Phedang (12,000 ft) (6-7 hrs) (Exhausting Day)

Day 5
Trek from Dzongri (12,800 ft) – Dzongri Top (13,700 ft) (1 hr) and back to Dzongri and then to Thansing (12,930 ft) via Kokchurang (12,100 ft) (5-6 hrs)

Day 6
Trek from Thansing (12,930 ft) –  Lamuney  (13,500 ft) (2 hrs)

Day 7
Trek from Lamuney (13,500 ft) – Goechala (15,000 ft) and back to Kokchurang (12,100 ft) (10-12 hrs) (Summit Day)

Day 8
Trek from Kokchurang (12,100 ft) – Tshoka (9,600 ft) via Phedang (12,000 ft) (6-7 hrs)

Day 9
Trek from Tshoka (9,600 ft) – Yuksom (5,500 ft) via Bakhim (8,600 ft) and Sachen (7,000 ft) (6 hrs)

Day 10
Drive back to NJP

Day 1:  Drive from NJP – Yuksom  

  • Drive:  150 km
  • Altitude: 5,500 ft
  • Time taken:  7 - 8  hours drive from NJP.
  • Stay: Accommodation in guest house

Yuksom

New Jalpaiguri Railway Station(NJP) is located in the Jalpaiguri District which is considered to be the Gateway to the Northeast. All major cities and towns are connected to NJP via the Indian Railways. The closet airport is Bagdogra Airport which is about 16km from NJP. From NJP we take a taxi to Yuksom in Sikkim. This journey will take us approximately 6 hrs. Yuksom is a beautiful town in West Sikkim which was once the capital of Sikkim. Overnight stay in Yuksom

There are two things that you need to do at Yuksom before the trek begins. One, make an entry at the police station. For this you need a photo identity proof with three photo copies. Two, you need to pay the permit fees at the forest check post (trekkers do this in the morning when they are starting the trek). The fee to be paid is broken down into small elements like tent, porter, yak and other charges. Camera charges are extra. Their is no ATM in Yoksom, so last ATM is at Legship. 

Day 2 Trek from Yuksom (5,500 ft) – Sachen (7,000 ft)   

  • Altitude: 7000 ft
  • Trek: 8 Km / 4-5 Hrs
  • Trek gradient: Moderate
  • Water sources: Carry 2 litres of water from Yuksom. You will cross streams intermittently where you can refill your water bottles.
  • Stay:  Overnight stay in tents

This is the first day of the trek. After walking across open fields we enter the beautiful valley of the Rathong river. En route appreciate ancient Oak, Conifer and Bamboo forests and the luxuriant ferns and delicate orchids that line the trail . Yuksom (1760m) marks the entrance to the Kangchenjunga National Park. Just after leaving the village you can see Baktim on a ridge high above the confluence of the Rathong and Prek Rivers, which will give you an idea of how to pace yourself for the day. Sachen is located at about 7000 feet above sea level. Sachen is a small clearing where a single log hut and a shelter on the trail exist. The log hut a few meters below the trail. The hut has room enough for about 6-7 and a small area to cook. For a larger team, look for the clearing just above the trail opposite the shelter will camp their.

Sachen Campsite

 

Day 3 Trek from Sachen (7,000 ft) – Tshoka (9,600 ft) via Bakhim (8,600 ft) 

  • Altitude: 7000 ft
  • Trek: 6-7 Km / 5-6 Hrs
  • Trek gradient: Moderate
  • Water sources: Carry sufficient water from Sachen,Next water source at Bakhim.
  • Stay:  Overnight stay in tents / Trekkers’ hut.

Start your day with some stretching exercises, as post breakfast you start to walk. Today’s hike is through the reentrants and some streams. The unique tropical evergreen forests of the Kangchendzonga National Park will continue to amaze us as we walk up and down the beautiful trails. We continue walking until we reach the bridge over the river,Perk. Prayer flags in the distance are an indication of the start of the Goechala trail. We trek through Oak and later Rhododendron forests. On the way we pass through Bakhim. Bakhim has a forest rest house and a tea and snack stall. We can stop and rest for a while and enjoy the view of the Yuksom Valley. From Bakhim, Tshoka, is about an hour. The last section of the hike is steep, so walking at a regular slow pace is advised. You will camp at Tshoka, an abandoned Tibetan Village, now turned into a campsite by the national park authorities. Make any urgent phone calls from here, before going much deeper into the national park, as no networks can be accessed over there. Spend the evening at ease before an early dinner is served. You can stay for the night in trekkers’ hut or in tent.

Tshoka Lake

 

Day 4: Trek from Tshoka (9,600 ft) – Dzongri (12,800 ft) via Phedang (12,000 ft)  (Exhausting Day)

  • Altitude: 12,800 ft
  • Trek: 10-12 Km / 6-7 Hrs
  • Trek gradient: Moderate to Difficult.
  • Water sources:  Carry sufficient water, as there are no sources of drinking water en route.
  • Stay:  Overnight stay in tents / Trekkers’ hut.

Daverali Top

This is the day which all Goechala trekkers look forward to . The climb is steep today . If you come here in spring the trail passes through the densest forests of blooming colourful Rhododendrons. You get spectacular views of the Kangchendzonga range from here, although the mighty peak won’t be showing up until you climb up Dzongri top. After a few hours into the trek we reach Phedang, a large clearing with superb mountain views. Today’s hike is a bit strenuous than the last one, as you climb up to the top of the mountain, climbing almost 1000m in less than 6 hrs. Pre-monsoon season in these mountains is pretty cloudy; without much rain, while one can witness clear skies in the months of September till December. Continue on the trail & reach Dzongri . It is large meadow surrounded in all direction from Snow clad peaks of Kanchenjunga range. Enjoy the experience of surrounded by Himalayan might from all directions . Camp overnight at Dzongri.

On the way to Dzongri Campsite

 

Day 5: Trek from Dzongri (12,800 ft) – Dzongri Top (13,700 ft) (1 hr) and back to Dzongri and then to Thansing (12,930 ft) via Kokchurang (12,100 ft)

  • Altitude: 12,930 ft
  • Trek: 8-9 Km / 5-6 Hrs
  • Trek gradient: Moderate
  • Water sources:  Carry 2 litres of water from Dzongri. The only water source on the way where you can refill your water bottles will be at Kockchurang.
  • Stay:  Overnight stay in tents / Trekkers’ hut.

View from Dzongri Top

Today we start a steep ascend to Dzongri top which will take up about an hour. This is the highest point on the trek from where we will get a 180 degree panoramic view of the Singalila and Kanchenjunga ranges. If we start early at 4am we can reach the top just in time for the sunrise. Experience how the golden rays of the sun interact with this magnificent mountain range. Thansing can be seen from the top. The trail decends upto Kockchurang and then climbs upto Thansing. From camp, head east from Dzongri to a series of cairns above the Prek Valley. From the ridge, a steep descent though rhododendron forest leads to the riverbed before heading up along the boulder-strewn riverbed to a bridge over the Prek River. The trail leads to the meadows at Thangsing(3930m).  Thansing is also a meadow . We will pitch our tents here. The night is going to be cold here. Overnight stay at Thangsing.

Thansing Campsite

 

Day 6: Trek from Thansing (12,930 ft) –  Lamuney  (13,500 ft)

  • Altitude: 13,500 ft
  • Trek: 2-3 Km / 2 Hrs
  • Trek gradient: Easy
  • Water sources: Carry sufficient water from Thansing. You will not require a refill since it’s a short trek today.
  • Stay:  Overnight stay in tents

Morning Yoga at Thansing Campsite

Todays trek is easy with mostly flat trail. Within 2-3 hours of starting the trek we will reach Lamuney . About half an hour from Lamuney over a steep rocky trail lies Samiti Lake. There is a good chance of spotting mountain goats and blue birds on shores of the lake. Camping is not permitted by the lake. After spending some time on the shores of this beautiful lake we head back to our camps at Lamuney.

Morning View from Tent

 

Day 7: Trek from Lamuney (13,500 ft) – Goechala (View Point 1)(15,000 ft) and back to Kokchurang (12,100 ft)  (Summit Day)

  • Altitude: 15,000 ft
  • Trek: 14-16 Km / 12-14 Hrs
  • Trek gradient: Moderate to Difficult
  • Water sources: Stay well hydrated and carry 2 litres of water before beginning the summit climb as well as before the descent to Kockchurang/Thansing. There will be no water source on either stretch
  • Stay:  Overnight stay in tents / Trekkers’ hut.

Somiti Lake

Today is the final and most arduous hike of the venture, as you start at around 3 in the morning and start walking towards the Goecha La pass, But we have the advantage of leaving some of heavy stuff from our rucksack at the Thansingh camps & trek with lighter load. The distance is long & steep so we start way before sunrise. Continue on the trail till you reach View Point 1. The view from point 1 is breathtaking with Mt. Pandim and Kanchenjunga standing right in front of you.The hike moves through the vast moraines of some ancient glaciers that melted away long time back. Enroute, you pass a small glacial lake called Somiti. From here the trail gets a bit rough as you start tackling the moraines.  Spend some time enjoying the views of the mighty Kangchendzonga and the surrounding peaks, then start walking back towards the campsite, as the weather changes dramatically over here in the high altitudes. Reach back at the camp and spend the evening at leisure.

View from Goecha La pass

Morning View from Lamuney Campsite

 

Day 8Return trek from Kokchurang (12,100 ft) – Tshoka (9,600 ft) via Phedang (12,000 ft) 

  • Altitude: 9,600 ft
  • Trek: 12-13 Km / 6-7 Hrs
  • Trek gradient:  Difficult
  • Water sources: Stay well hydrated and carry 2-3 litres of water from Kockchurang since there is no water source on the trail today
  • Stay:  Overnight stay in tents / Trekkers’ hut.

Kokchurang (Prekchu river)

Today you start walking back towards the first campsite at Tshoka, taking a different route, skipping Dzongri. The trail moves through one of the most magnificent forests of rhododendrons and oaks. The gradient is gradual up and down making it easy to cover the long distance. Be careful while on descending trails & trek slow. Rhododendron trees line your way all along and the Prekchu river flows below. Camp overnight at Tshoka.

Rhododendron Trail

 

Day 9Return trek from Tshoka (9,600 ft) – Yuksom (5,500 ft) via Bakhim (8,600 ft) and Sachen (7,000 ft) 

  • Altitude: 9,600 ft
  • Trek: 12-13 Km / 6-7 Hrs
  • Trek gradient: Moderate
  • Water sources: Carry sufficient water from Tshoka. You will cross a few streams where you can refill your water bottles.
  • Stay:  Accommodation in guest house

Post breakfast; prepare yourself for the final stretch of this venture. Take a quick halt at Bakhim. From Sachen the trail goes up and down with mosty downhill. The last section has a few ascents before you reach Yuksom. This is the last day of trek, You retrace your footsteps back to where you started, marking the completion of one of most beautiful and a challenging trek of the Himalayas. Stay overnight at Yuksom. The trip ends here. You can plan for your return on the next day.

 

Day 10:  Drive from  Yuksom  - NJP

  • Drive:  150 km
  • Time taken:  7 - 8  hours drive from Yuksom.

Leave Yuksom early morning and reach NJP by 4.00 – 5.00 pm. The trip ends here.

The Trip Cost Includes

  • Food all along the Trek(Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and a cup of coffee or tea)
  • Food as per menu on the trek
  • Forest Permits/Camping Charges , if any
  • Tents, Sleeping bags, mats,Technical equipment
  • Safety Equipments.
  • First Aid Medical Kit(Your Trek Leader will carry the Medical Kit but we also advise to bring yourself for your own use, as far as possible)
  • Trek guide, cook, helpers, porters & mules for carrying common luggage.
  • Services of a Mountaineering qualified & professional Trek Leader.
  • 2 Nights Hotel stay.

The Trip Cost Excludes

  • Meals during road Journeys.
  • camera charges in kanchenjunga national park
  • Porter/Mull to carry personal luggage.
  • Insurance.
  • Any expense of personal nature.
  • Any expense not specified in the inclusion list.

Trekking Gear

  • A rucksack with rain cover
  • A water bottle or a hydration pack
  • A Hand/Head Torch with spare batteries
  • UV Protection Sunglasses
  • A trekking pole

Clothing:

Since it is a high altitude trek, at least 3 layers of clothing is mandatory. A full sleeve shirt, a fleece jacket, and a padded jacket are imperative. An additional layer (Thermal bodywarmers) for the evenings in the high altitude campsites are strongly recommended

  • Quick Dry Warm lower or Track Pants - 2
  • Full sleeves T-shirts - 2
  • Thermal Bodywarmer Upper & Lower - 1
  • Fleece Jacket - 1
  • Padded Jacket -1 (Goose down or feather is preferable)
  • Full sleeves sweater - 1 (Needed if you feel cold at high altitudes despite 4 layers)
  • Rainwear (Jacket & Pants) - 1
  • Thick woolen socks -  1 pair
  • Cotton socks - at least 2-3 pairs
  • Undergarments - 1 for every day of trekking
  • Pair of Warm Gloves - 1
  • Woolen cap - 1

Footwear

  • Hiking shoes (Preferably ankle high) -1
  • Pair of lightweight Slipper/Sandals - 1 pair.

Toiletries

    • Sunscreen lotion, lip balm, toothbrush, toothpaste, hand sanitizer, toilet roll, cold cream, small towel.
    • Anti-fungal cream: Carry an antifungal cream if you are sensitive to sweating and prone to skin irritations around genitals or groin area due to lack of bathing.
    • For women:
      • Tampons or sanitary napkins,
      • 2-3 zip pouches to dispose off non-biodegradable waste
      • Vaginal wash to avoid any irritation due to lack of bathing.

Miscellaneous

    • Water bottle
    • Camera (optional)
    • Personal medicine kit. Though our trek leaders carry a fully equipped first-aid kit, make sure you consult your doctor before the trek in case you have any special ailment.
    • Dry fruits, energy bars

Flexibility

Goechala has been graded as a difficult trek. On most days, you are covering 15 kms in high altitude. Trekking for 10-15 kms each day with a backpack on can tire out even the most hardy trekkers. This trek demands you to be in your top physical condition.

Another aspect that will help you trek comfortably is flexibility. For this, you can do some stretching exercises – stretch your hamstrings, quadriceps, hip flexors, lower back muscles and shoulders regularly. On your trek, it is important that you arrive on the slopes with your muscles relaxed. Carrying a backpack, however light, can become a strain after a while. These exercises will help you to be in good shape before the trek.

Breathing exercises

If you’re trekking to Goechala Trek in winter, note that the temperature drops to around -4 to 5 degree Celcius at night. During the day, the temperature will be at around 10 to 15 degrees. While going for summit the extreme temperature could make breathing slightly difficult. Doing breathing exercises before the trek will help. Expand your lungs and learn to breathe deep. This will help you inhale more oxygen and help you breathe comfortably.

Fitness exercises

  • Jog/Run for 5 Kms in 25-30 mins or Walk continuously for 10 km (with 3-4 small breaks) on plain terrain (slight incline is better)
  • Hold your breath for 40 seconds
  • 3 sets of Climbing 30 – 40 steps in one stretch
  • Push Ups – 10
  • Lunges & Squats – 15 X 2 sets

 

Monitoring health on a trek

Any abnormal reading will be paid special attention to and action will be taken immediately.

On the trek, your Trek Leader will be monitoring two aspects a day.

  • Oxygen Level
  • Pulse Rate 

High Altitude Medical Kit

Your trek leader will also be carrying a full-fledged high altitude medical kit. This will include basic medicines and specific medicines catering to altitude sickness – Diamox, DexamethasoneYour Trek Leader will also be carrying a portable oxygen cylinder throughout the trek. In addition to that, there are oxygen cylinders installed at all high campsites for any emergency situations.

Acclimatisation in high  altitude

This is one of the most important aspects of travelling in the high Himalayas and cannot be ignored or set aside. Acclimatisation basically means our body adjusting to lower levels of oxygen (rarefied air) & reduced air pressure as me move up. In case one does not acclimatise properly there are chances of the person facing extreme discomfort and this can be fatal in extreme cases. While there is no set route to getting properly acclimatised there are a general precautions and steps that one can take to initiate good acclimatisation.

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FAQS

What is the Goechala Trek?

Goechala Trek is a Challenging high altitude trek done primarily during the pre -monsoon and post monsoon. The trek is situated in the state of Sikkim.

What is the Goechala Trek Best Time ?

The Goechala Trek best time is during the months of April, May, September, October and November.

What will the temperatures be like during this trek?

Day time temperatures will range from 13-18ºC and night time temperature will range from 3-5ºC in May. Expect temperatures to be lower by a few degrees in October/November.

Will you provide us with tents and sleeping bags?

Yes, We will be provided with tents and high altitude sleeping bags that can withstand temperatures as low as -10 ºC.

What is the Difficulty Level of Goechala Trek?

Goechala Trek Difficulty Level is considered by comparison a challenging high altitude trek. But you need to have good physical fitness to complete this trek. Doing cardio vascular exercises is very helpful for preparing for this trek.

Is Diamox advisable ?

Diamox help in acclimatization but we do not advise it. Please consult your Doctor before taking it.

Will there be snow on this trek?

The stretch during summit could be under snow in early May. Snow eases out by June. Light snow cover can be expected in September and October on the higher reaches.

What will we do if it rains?

If it starts raining while you’re trekking, we will continue on the trail as planned. Your poncho should protect you from the rain. Carry a backpack cover for extra protection from rain for your belongings. When it rains at the campsite, we usually get together in the dining tent and play games. The tents that you will be staying in, the dining tent, kitchen and toilet tents are all water proof, so you will stay dry inside.

Is this a good trek for a first timer?

Goechala is a moderte-difficult trek. We recommend that you have prior high altitude trekking experience before embarking on this one. Irrespective of your prior experience, this trek requires high levels of fitness.

How many trekkers will be in one tent ?

We generally have 3-man tents were we accommodate anywhere between 2-3 people.

What is there in Food menu during a trek ?

We server wholesome and nutritious Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and Evening Snacks. The food is vegetarian. Vegetarian food is preferable at high altitudes as it is easy to digest.

Can you customize a GoechaLa Trek?

Yes Goecha La Trek can be customised, if you would like to travel independently, you are invited to choose any of the trips at your convenient time for any number of people. The Cost the for private customized trip is fixed on the basis of group size, trek area, duration and trek style.

Price From INR19,000 INR17,500/person
17,500
Total 17,500 INR

Trip Facts

  • Sikkim
  • 10 days
  • Moderate to Difficult
  • 15,000 ft
  • Day time: 13°C-18°C; Night time: 3°C-5°C
  • 90-100 km
  • Rhododendron forest, alpine meadows, rocky
  • April-May / Sep-Oct
  • 10-15 trekkers
  • New Jalpaiguri (NJP) to New Jalpaiguri (NJP)
  • Meals while on trek (Veg + Egg)
  • Guest house, Camping, Trekkers hut
  • Bagdogra, West Benga
  • New Jalpaiguri (NJP)

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