through luxuriant rhododendrons, pines, spruces and giants magnolias
forests, then through green meadows and yak pastures, the trek leads
us towards west Sikkim, close to the Nepali border. Along the
Onglakhing glacier moraines and Samity sacred lake, we climb up to
Gocha La pass, highlight of this magnificent itinerary, where we will
savour the breath-taking scenery of the Talung glacier and the
impressive east face of the third highest summit in the world,
We are surrounded by Rathong (6679m), Kabru (7338m), Talung (7349m) to
the south, and Kirat Chuli (7365m) and Pyramid Peak (7123m) to the
north. The way back via a recently opened path, goes through lush
green jungles overgrown with lianas and orchids
20 days Difficulty Maximum altitude: 4940 m
Day 01) Arrive Delhi, where you will be met and transfered to
your hotel. (Hotel B&B)
Day 02) Delhi – Bagdogra (by plane) – Darjeeling (2130m) by car.
A charming 4-hour journey, through Assam tea plantations and tiny
villages takes us to Darjeeling. Built on
top of a ridge, Darjeeling faces the Himalaya and is a popular
destination for Westerners and Bengalis alike.
Day 03) Visit Darjeeling.
We could take an early trip to Tiger Hill to see the sunrise.
Afterwards we visit the famous Ghoom monastery that enshrines an image
of the Maitreya Buddha (the coming Buddha). Later on we can visit the
Himalayan Mountaineering Institute and tea plantations.
Day 04) Darjeeling – Yuksam (1760m) in 7h.
En route, we visit the Pemayangtse monastery, perched at 2800m, and
one of the oldest and most impressive gompas in Sikkim.
Day 05) Yuksam - Tsoska (3030m) in 6h.
The trail leads up the Rathong valley, through thick, semi-tropical
forests. Afterwards a steep climb takes us to the tiny Tibetan village
of Tsoska. The landscape has now changed into pine, rhododendron and
magnolia forests. We get excellent views of the entire Himalayan range
Day 06) Tsoska – Dzongri (4020m) in 5h.
A steep trail zigzags up through temperate forest and large clusters
of rhododendrons, to the vast clearing of Phedang. During April and
May, the spectacle is gorgeous, as the land becomes a mass of
flowers (400 species have been listed so far). After 300m, we follow
the ridge to Dzongri, a pasture area for Yuksam yaks from April to
Day 07) Acclimatising
Depending on the fitness of the group, we could head northwest to the
Dzongri, where the panorama is stunning, over the Rathong glacier and
further out towards the summits on the border with Nepal. Or we could
also organize a shorter ascent towards the Dzongri Peak (4320m) and
enjoy a great view of Kanchenjunga (8586m), the third highest summit
in the world.
Day 08) Dzongri – Thangshing (3930m) in 4h.
We descend through rhododendron forest towards the the glacial Prek
river. We establish our campsite on the grassy pastures of Thangshing.
The southern ridge of Kanchenjunga and the Onglakhing glacier are
visible directly ahead and there are close-up views of Pandim.
Day 09) Thangshing – Samity Lake (4200m) in 3h.
A pleasant walk below the west side of Pandim, through dwarf azaleas
and rhododendrons to Zemathang. We take our first footsteps on the
Onglakhing glacier, and climb up to the shores of the Samity lake,
reputed to be the sacred source of the Prek river. Ringed by prayer
flags, the lake reflects Forked Peak, Kabru North, Gocha Peak and
other snow-capped peaks.
Day 10) Samity Lake – Gocha La (4940m) – Thangshing in 7h.
We have to leave quite early this morning, as fog and clouds descend
on the pass shortly after sunrise. The track to Gocha La climbs
steeply through moraines. From the pass, ringed with colorful prayer
flags, we can see Kanchenjunga and beyond that, the Talung glacier.
Day 11) Thangshing – Lam Pokhari (4230m) in 5h.
After a steep descent, we climb through alpine areas and pass by tiny
Day 12) Lam Pokhari – Kasturi La (4500m) – Kasturi Odar (3500m) in 6h.
A steep ascent leads to the pass, from where wedescend through a
luxuriant tropical forest.
Day 13) Kasturi Odar – Labdang (2000m) in 6h.
Today we will walk in the half-light of the undergrowth, through a
dense forest, where lianas tangle and moss and orchids hide tree
Day 14) Labdang – Tashiding (1740m) in 5h.
An easy walk, in an atmosphere becoming more humid and heavier as we
Day 15) Tashiding – Martam by car (4h).
En route, we visit the Tashiding monastery, one of the most isolated
in Sikkim, perched on the top of a hill set between two rivers.
Day 16) Martam – Gangtok by car (1h).
We visit Rumtek monastery, reputed for its religious Tibetan art.
Visitors are welcome to attend prayers.
Day 17) Visit Gangtok
We will enjoy a visit of the amazing Orchid Sanctuary, where we can
see a few of the 454 orchid species listed in Sikkim. To complete the
day we will visit the Enchey and Do Drul monasteries, and the
Tibetology Institute which houses one of the richest collection of
thankas and religious works in the world.
Day 18) Gangtok – Bagdogra (by car) – Delhi (by plane). (Hotel B&B)
Day 19) At leisure in Delhi. Safety day for your international flight.
Day 20) Transfer to airport and fly back home.