The Goechala trek takes you close to the Kangchenjunga
The Goechala trek takes you close to the KangchenjungaDebarup/Shutterstock

OT Travel Itinerary: A 10-Day Guide To The Goechala Trek In Sikkim

The Goechala Trek is a journey that will stay with you forever, providing an opportunity to witness the raw beauty of Sikkim's wilderness while experiencing the grandeur of the Himalayas up close

The Goechala Trek in Sikkim is an adventure that will take you on a captivating journey where a grand view of the mountains awaits you from the peak of Goechala - 15 summits including that of Kanchenjunga will all stand still in front of you. The trek is an approximately 90 kilometres round trip, with a moderate difficulty level that takes about ten days to complete. Starting and ending in Yuksom, the trek is renowned as among the challenging routes in Sikkim, offering a demanding landscape and high elevation. But the rewards are unparalleled views of Mount Kanchenjunga, the world's third-highest peak, alongside other majestic Himalayan summits. As you traverse the pristine landscapes, you'll be greeted by the sparkling waters of shimmering lakes, the dense rhododendron forests bursting with vibrant blooms, and dramatic mountain passes offering panoramic views at every step.  While on your trek, take time to stop by the Samiti Lake and capture the reflection of Mt. Pandim in the lake. The rhododendrons will be like a breath of fresh air if you are trekking during Spring Hear the sounds of the wilderness, witness the diverse flora and fauna, and breathe in the fresh mountain air as you trek through the stunning landscapes that make Sikkim a nature lover's paradise. Here's a guide to the trek.

DAY 1: New Jalpaiguri (NJP) To Yuksom

Drive from Siliguri to Yuksom. It will take around seven hours to do the 140 km trip. Please note that you will be passing through a police check post at Melli. Foreign nationals are required to have an Inner Line permit, which can be arranged by the driver of the cab you are travelling in. On the way, you can stop at several roadside joints for lunch, which serve a variety of dishes ranging from noodles and momos to Indian vegetarian food. Stay the night at the Yuksom base camp.

DAY 2: Yuksom To Sachen

The trek begins from the forest check post behind Yuksom. The total distance of the trek is approximately 7.5 km, and it usually takes around five to six hours to complete. During the trek, you will travel through the area around Yuksom before entering Rathong valley. You will encounter three suspension bridges, including the famous Tshushay Khola bridge. After crossing the second bridge, the trail ascends steeply to Sachen. You will spend the night at Sachen, a small clearing in the forest marked by a wooden shelter and a forest hut.

DAY 3: Sachen To Tshokha Via Bakhim

The trek to Tshoka will take around five to six hours. The ascent will be mostly moderate with some steep sections. First, you'll cross over a bridge across the Prek River, and then travel through thick forests, which include oak trees and rhododendron blooms (during the spring season). As you journey along, be prepared to witness the surreal and breathtaking beauty of Mt. Pandim. Along the way, in the charming village of Bakhim, you will find some tea stalls where you can savour snacks and refresh yourself with a refill of your water bottle.

Mt Pandim covered with clouds
Mt Pandim covered with cloudsDebarup/Shutterstock

DAY 4: Tshoka To Dzongri Via Phedang

This 9km rocky trail is one of the most challenging days of the trek. It will take you above the tree line, and you will have to gain over 1,000m in altitude. It's important to take it slow so your body can acclimatise better. Phedang is situated at approximately 10,500 ft. altitude, and Dzongri at 12,980 ft.

DAY 5: Dzongri To Thansing Via Kokcharang

Morning view from Dzongri Peak
Morning view from Dzongri Peak Suman Kyal/ Shutterstock

Hike to Dzongri Top--at 13,675 ft, it is the highest point. You get a stunning panoramic view of mighty peaks such as the Kanchenjunga and Pandim. Trek to Thangsing via Kokchurung and explore the forests. Refill your water at Kokchurang and ascend to reach Thangsing. Have lunch in the camp.

DAY 6: Thansing To Lamuney

Time to take it easy. This 3-kilometer smooth trek will take you a maximum of 1-2 hours. It's recommended that you have breakfast in the morning before starting your journey towards Lamuney. You can enjoy your lunch at the campsite. Once you reach Lamuney, you can hike up to the Samiti Lake, which is approximately one kilometer away.

DAY 7: Lamuney To Goechala Via Samiti Lake And Back

The trek to Goechala is a 6km long journey that usually takes around six hours to complete. The altitude of Goechala is 16,000 ft. It is recommended to start the trek by 3:30 am. After reaching the summit, you can descend back to the campsite, relax for an hour, have some lunch, and then again descend towards Thansing or Kokcharang.

Trekking through Samiti Lake
Trekking through Samiti Lake Debarup/Shutterstock

DAY 8: Thansing/Kokcharang To Tsokha Via Phedang

The altitude of Thansing is 12,900 feet and Kokcharang is 12,000 ft. By starting at around 7 am, you can reach these stunning locations by 3 pm. Make your way towards Phedang by taking a 4-hour walk from Kokcharang.

DAY 9: Tsokha To Yuksom Via Bakhim And Sachen

You will be retracing your path today, covering a 15 km trek that takes about six hours. The route takes you to an altitude of 5,670 ft. and includes a descent similar to what you experienced on day 2 and 3.

DAY 10: Yuksom To NJP/IXB

The drive back from Yuksom to NJP or Bagdogra typically takes around seven to eight hours. It's recommended to leave Yuksom at dawn in order to arrive at NJP or Bagdogra on time. The final stretch of the drive can get crowded with traffic, so it's best to leave early at dawn to avoid any potential delays.

The Information

The best time to do this trek is between March and June, and September to November. At an altitude of 15,100 ft, the 90km trek is classified as Moderate to Difficult. Foreign nationals who wish to participate in the Goechala Trek are required to obtain a Foreigner Trek permit. The permit can only be obtained in Gangtok and cannot be processed in advance. Therefore, participants must arrive in Yuskom one day early to complete the formalities.

Getting There

The nearest railhead is New Jalpaiguri (NJP) and the nearest airport is Bagdogra International Airport.

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