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This trip allows you to experience the culture and wonders of the Eastern Himalayas: You will trek in Sikkim for up-close views of Mt. Kanchenjunga, the third highest mountain in the world, and experience the culture of Bhutan.
Sikkim is sandwiched between Nepal on the west and Bhutan on the east. Formerly an independent nation, Sikkim became the twenty-second state of India on 16 May 1975. Gangtok is Sikkim’s largest city. It served as the royal administrative seat of the Kingdom of Sikkim from 1894 to 1975. Now, as the state capital, it retains a royal character. The Chogyal’s durbar (king’s palace) crowns the ridge, naturally facing Kangchenjunga, and the yellow roof of the Tsuklakhang (Royal Chapel) gleams from far across the valley. On this journey, you will trek in Sikkim to the Goechala pass (16,600 ft.) for up-close views of Mt. Kanchenjunga.
Initially, the British desired to use Darjeeling as a sanatorium, but the efforts of the then Superintendent of Darjeeling, Dr. Campbell, led to its steady growth and economic progress. Today, Darjeeling is a large bustling town with relics from the British Raj intermingled with the local Nepalese and Lepcha culture.
|Day 1||Arrival in Delhi||Delhi|
|Day 2||Fly to Bagdogra. Drive to Gangtok||Gangtok||1,650m/5,400ft|
|Day 3||Explore Gangtok||Gangtok||1,650m/5,400ft|
|Day 4||Drive to Yuksom||Yuksom||1,780m/5,900ft|
|Day 5||Trek to Sachen||Sachen||2,195m/7,200 ft|
|Day 6||Trek to Tshokha||Tsokha||3,050m/10,000ft|
|Day 7||Trek to Dzongri||Dzongri||4,020m/13,200ft|
|Day 8||Dzongri acclimatization day||Dzongri||4,020m/13,200ft|
|Day 9||Trek to Thansing||Thansing||3,930m/12,800ft|
|Day 10||Trek to Lamini||Lamini||4,300m/14,200ft|
|Day 11||Trek to Goecha La (16,200 ft). Descend to Lamini||Lamini||4,300m/14,200ft|
|Day 12||Trek to Kokchurung||Kokchurung||3,650m/12,000ft|
|Day 13||Descend to Tsokha||Tsokha||2,950m/9,800 ft|
|Day 14||Trek end at Yuksom||Yuksom||1,780m/5,900ft|
|Day 15||Drive to Darjeeling||Darjeeling||2,042m/6,700ft|
|Day 16||Explore Darjeeling||Darjeeling||2,042m/6,700ft|
|Day 17||Drive to Bagdogra for flight to Delhi||Delhi|
|Day 18||Final departure|
Arrive in Delhi. Transfer to Hotel. (No meals)
Transfer to airport for flight to Bagdogra. Met on arrival at Bagdogra. Transfer by private jeep to Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim. Overnight Hidden Forest Retreat. (All meals)
A full day of sightseeing in Gangtok. First, visit Enchey Monastery. A story related to this monastery says that a Saint flew from Maynam Hill to the present site of the monastery and built a small shrine with 10 monks. Later, during the reign of Chogyal Sidkeong Namgyal (150 years ago), the present monastery was built. This monastery belongs to the Nyingmapa sect.
Next, visit the Directorate of Handicrafts and Handloom, the center for promoting and training rural Sikkimese in traditional handicraft production: a veritable storehouse of exquisite carpets, blankets and shawls in Lepcha weaves.
Then visit Do-Drul Chorten, one of the most important stupas of Sikkim, built by Trulsi Rinpoche, head of the Nyingmapa order. It contains rare mandalas of Dorje Phurpa, sacred manuscripts, and other sacred objects. Surrounding the chorten are 108 prayer wheels.
Proceed to the Research Institute of Tibetology, renowned worldwide for the study of Buddhist philosophy and religion. A treasure house of rare Lepcha, Tibetan and Sanskrit manuscript, thangkas, numerous priceless statues, and prized object of arts.
A stop at the Orchid Sanctuary is also planned, although there will be very few orchids in bloom at the moment. Overnight Hidden Forest Retreat. (All meals)
Travel seven hours by jeep to Yuksom. Yuksom is just a small, sleepy town now but as the former capital of Sikkim it is the place where the first King was crowned. Overnight Tashigang Hotel, Yuksom. (All meals)
Sikkim trek begins.
The trek begins with a long and gentle climb along the Ratang Chu (Chu = river in Tibetan/Bhutanese/Sikkimese). Today’s ascent is approximately 3,000 ft. Overnight Camp. (All meals)
Today’s three-hour trek climbs steeply through forests of pine, magnolia and rhododendron into the alpine country. Enjoy view of Mt. Pandim. Tshokha is a small Tibetan settlement with a monastery and a holy lake. Overnight Camp. (All meals)
Today is a five-hour, 3,200 ft. climb beginning in dense forests and ending in high alpine yak country. At Dzongri, there are two rough, primitive stone sheds for yak herders. Overnight Camp. (All meals)
An extra day to rest and acclimatize. Overnight Camp. (All meals)
From Dzongri descend a few hundred feet to Thangshing. Overnight Camp. (All meals)
Ascend to Lamini. Overnight Camp. (All meals)
Hike to Goechala for views of Kanchenjunga and other mountains. Return to Lamini. Today’s hike can take up to 6 hours. Overnight Camp. (All meals)
Descend to Kokchurung. Overnight Camp. (All meals)
Descend to Tsokha. Overnight Camp. (All meals)
Descend to Tsokha. Overnight Camp. (All meals)
After lunch, walk to the Lloyd Botanic Gardens, which has a large collection of Himalayan plants, flowers, orchids, etc.
Stay at elegant New Elgin or similar. (All meals)
Drive to Bagdogra. Fly to Delhi. Overnight Hotel. (Breakfast and Lunch)
Transfer to airport for final departure. (B)
Per person price (valid till Dec 31, 2020)
2 to 3 persons: $ 4,000 USD per person
4 or more persons: $ 3,600 USD per person
Single Supplement: $ 650 USD
Activity: Lodge Trek
The Gokyo Lakes trek is a great alternative for those who wish to avoid the popular (and busy) trail to Everest Base Camp. Moreover, the views from Gokyo Ri (5,357m/17,575ft.) and Renjo La pass (5,465m /17,930ft) are arguably better than those from Kalapathar. A little above Namche, the trail to Gokyo splits from the trail to the Everest Base Camp. Head North, following the Dudh Koshi river to its source near the Ngozumpa glacier. Trekking to the Gokyo Lakes allows you to enjoy views of giants such as Everest, Cho-Oyu, Makalu, Pumori, Amadablam, Thamserku, Tarboche, Cholatse etc.
From Namche, head north west following the Dudh Koshi river to its source near the Gokyo Lakes. The Gokyo Lakes trek culminates at Gokyo on the banks of the third lake. Here, we will spend three nights exploring the area. On our second day at Gokyo, hike to either Gokyo Ri or Renjo La pass for views of the lakes and the mountains (see photo above). On the third day, hike to the 5th lakes for up-close views of Cho Oyu and other mountains.
It is possible to combine trekking to the Gokyo Lake with the Everest Base Camp trek. Check out our 19-day Everest Base Camp Trek or the 15-day Everest Base Camp – fast paced trek. Also, if you have more time and wish to be more adventurous, check out the Ultimate Everest Trek. This involves crossing two passes: the Cho La pass (Everest Base Camp to Gokyo lake) and the Renjo La pass (from Gokyo lake to Thame). Furthermore, an even more physically challenging trek is the Everest Three Passes Trek. No climbing skills are required for these treks. We are also happy to customize any of these treks for you. Click on the options tab to check out more options.
The Gokyo Lakes Trek is a lodge trek. This means you will sleep and eat meals in local lodges along the trail. The quality of the lodges on this trek are quite comparable to those on the Everest Base Camp Trek. And quite a few of them have en suite rooms with hot showers. Meals are also quite varied with many options including rice with veggies, noodles, local breads etc. Read our article about food options on Everest treks.
Like most treks in Nepal, the best seasons for the trekking to the Gokyo Lakes are Spring (March-May) and Autumn (October-November). It is also possible to do this trek in Winter months of December, January and February if you do not intend to cross the passes. While it will obviously be very cold (upto -20 C/, -4 F), it will be less crowded and there aren’t as many trekkers in the area.
The Gokyo Lakes trek is rated “STRENUOUS”. It is rated 4 on a rating scale from 1 (easy) to 5 (challenging). While the highest altitude reached is at Gokyo Ri (5,357 meters), the highest overnight elevation is at Gokyo Lakes (4,750m/15,500 feet) which is much lower than on the Everest Base Camp Trek. Average daily hiking times is 5 to 6 hours with one long day of around 7 hours on the day hike to the 5th lakes. It is important to prepare for any trek in Nepal. Read our advice on training for treks.
All our Gokyo Lakes Treks are private treks for a minimum of two participants for a date of your choosing. We do NOT nickel-and-dime on services – all inclusions and exclusions are clearly listed in cost details. Some companies will advertise trips for very low prices but they have a lot of exclusions that is usually not clear. Most of our trekkers are either repeat clients or referrals. We have been in business for over 30 years and we employ only the most professional and friendly staff.
We are also proud to give back to our community through 3 Summits For Nepal managed by Crystal Mountain Treks staff. Contact us to learn more…
On the Makalu Base Camp trek, participants get up-close with the fifth highest mountain in the world – Mt. Makalu (8,485m). Eric Shipton was the first outsider to have trekked in the region in the 1950’s. Consequently, the Shipton Pass on this trek was named after him. The first climb on Makalu was made by an American team led by Riley Keegan and Sierra Club members including Bill Long and Allen Steck. They attempted via the southeast ridge but they turned back at 23,300 ft. due to bad weather. The first ascent of Makalu was by a French expedition team on May 15, 1955.
The Makalu Base Camp Trek starts at a relatively lower elevation which is home to Rai’s, Gurung’s and Tamang people. The last permanent settlement is Tashigaon which is the home of the Sherpa people. Ascending slowly, the trek follows a trail through the beautiful Makalu Barun National Park which is home to diverse flora and fauna. Continue to trek past the Barun river along spectacular granite rocks, pastures and waterfalls.
The Makalu Base Camp trek is quickly emerging as a popular trekking destination especially among trekkers who prefer solitude. Trekking to Makalu is a great alternative to the more busier treks in the Everest and Annapurna region. And with daily flights available to Tumlingtar, the Makalu Base Camp Trek is also quite easily accessible. It has all the makings of an epic Himalayan trek including stunning snow-clad mountain scenery, high passes, intriguing mix of Nepal’s culture and soaring Himalayan peaks.
The journey begins with a 35-minute flight to Tumlingtar from where we drive to the road-head on a chartered vehicle. The lower parts of the Makalu region are quite hot and humid with lush rhododendron and oak forests, cardamom plantations. Ascend slowly over several passes and follow the Barun river valley to the Makalu Base Camp. Return to Tumlingtar is along the same trail but vistas are quite spectacular in both directions. For more information, do check out Jwalant’s blog: My Makalu Base Camp Trek
The Makalu Base Camp Trek is a combo Lodge Trek/Camping Trek. This means you will sleep and eat meals in local lodges along the trail and also in tents where necessary. The lodges on this trek are quite basic. Meals are not as varied as on the Everest or the Annapurna treks but options do include rice with veggies, noodles, local breads etc. On this trek, we will carry some food to supplement what’s available at the local lodges and a certified trekking cook will accompany the group to prepare more varied meals. Furthermore, we will also carry tents so you may opt to sleep in tents in some of the more basic places.
Like most treks in Nepal, the best seasons for the Makalu Base Camp trek are Spring (April-May) and Autumn (October-November).
The Makalu Base Camp trek is rated “CHALLENGING”. It is rated 5 on a rating scale from 1 (easy) to 5 (challenging). While it does NOT involve crossing 5,000 meter mountain passes, it is probably the MOST CHALLENGING trek in Nepal in terms of daily elevation gain/loss. No technical climbing experience is required but some sections of the trail (all stair-cases) are almost 50 degrees steep. The highest overnight altitude reached is at Makalu Base Camp (4,800 m/15,750ft) and the highest elevation reached is at the view point above base camp (5,300m/17,400 feet). There are two acclimatization days to allow for proper acclimatization.
Trekking to Makalu involves average daily hiking or around 6 hours with a few longer days of around 7-8 hours. Also, this is a relatively long trek in a remote area. Regardless of the rating, it is important to prepare for any trek in Nepal. Read our advice on training for treks.
The Makalu Base Camp Trek is a private trek for a minimum of two participants. We do NOT nickel-and-dime on services – inclusions and exclusions are clearly listed in cost details. Some companies will advertise trips for very low prices but they have a lot of exclusions that is usually not clear. With over 30 years of experience, most of our trekkers are either repeat clients or referrals. We employ the most professional and friendly staff. We are also proud to give back to our community through our giving arm – 3 Summits For Nepal – managed by Crystal Mountain Treks staff. Contact us to learn more…