This region offers an endless variety of culture and changing countryside as it proceeds from the hot rive-growing districts through terraced fields, forests of birch, bamboo and rhododendron that eventually turn to stands of fir and hemlock as one climbs higher intro the mountains. Himalayan bear, barking deer and the lesser panda are among the rich animal and bird life that fill the area. Kanchanjunga, Makalu and the spectacular Jannu are among the peaks at the outset of the trek.
Day 1: After arriving in Taplejung on the early morning flight start walking to Lali Kharka past picturesque multi-ethnic villages.
Day 2: Keswa. From the ridge there are good views of Jannu (also known as Kumbhakarna Himal), the mountain looms at the head of the valley and has a striking presence.
Day 3: Mamankhe is a Rai and Limbu village the houses surrounded by barley, millet and cornfields. The local tea-shops have great tongba where you can sip the warm drink with a bamboo straw and chat with English-speaking elderly ex- servicemen.
Day 4: Yamptudin is probably the only Gurung village this far east. Unlike their Rai or Limbu neighbours, they speak Nepali.
Day 5: Lamite Bhanjyang does not offer much of a view because of the thick forest of tall trees. Beyond here, there are only herders and shepherds to be seen taking livestock to high pastures.
Day 6: Tseram at 3,770 m is the junction from where you branch off to the Yalung Glacier.
Day 7: Ramche at 4,800 m is a yak shelter from where it is two-and-half-hours to the base camp for Kangchenjunga south face. Further up there is a broad glacier field at Oktang, a great place to camp if you don’t have altitude symptoms.
Day 8: Race back to Tseram.
Day 9: Rapka Kharka is a long day from Tseram, crossing two 4,800 m passes. From the exotically named Sinion La is a view to rival Poon Hill. Kangchenjunga and Jannu dominate the eastern horizon, to the west is the jagged ridge of Jaljale Himal which separates the Tamur and Arun watersheds, and far in the distance are Makalu and Everest. On a clear day, you see down to the Indian plains to the south.
Day 10: Ghunsa, site of a Tibetan Refugee Camp, is four-and-a-half hours down to the valley and you can reach in time for lunch.
Day 11: Rampuk Kharka. The day starts with a forest trail and slowly gets into moraine country with narrow trails and rock falls.
Day 12: Lhonak is like reaching Annapurna Sanctuary, but perhaps more spectacular. The north face of Kangchenjunga is visible with its three stacked glacier shelves from which seracs break off from time to time and tumble down in billowing clouds of ice. There are views of Kirat Chuli, Nepal Peak, and The Twins at the head of the valley. The valley itself goes on and on.
Day 13: Pangpema, even better views of the north face. Stay for two days if you have time, attain nirvana and soak in the silence and tranquility.
Day 14: Can get right back down to Ghunsa in one day.
Day 15: Amjilasa.
Day 16: By Chirwa you are back in the low mid-hills with Bahun, Chhetri villages.
Day 17: Climb up to the ridge to get back to Taplejung for the flight back.
A recommended 15-17 day trek would entail flying to Taplejung and taking the ridge route to Kangchenjunga south base camp, backtracking to Tseram and crossing over to the northern side. Taplejung is not so difficult anymore to fly to since private airlines began service.
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Asia Nepal Outdoor: Land Rambler Hiking & Trekking