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Trip Starting From: Jalpaiguri
Trip Location: Jalpaiguri
About the Destination:
Enjoy undertaking a Goecha La Trekking Expedition that is equally challenging and exhilarating. Located in Sikkim, Goecha La is a high mountain pass that is formed by a depression between Pandim and Kabru. Overlooking the Talung Valley, it offers the best view of the world famous Kanchenjunga, the third highest peak in the world.
Set your sights on other mountains too like Pandim, Kabru South, Kothang and Ratong. The activity takes you through Yuksom, Bakhim, Dzongri, Lamune and unfolds the area's rich amalgam of Nepalese and Tibetan cultures. The trail is a riot of sharp ascents, steep descents and splendid scenery. It boasts of everything from a great wall of peaks that rise sharply along the crest of the Sinalila Ridge, mountains that form the Prek Chhu Valley to numerous plantations, rivers and exploring villages and townships. Get to relish in hard climbs, great views and captivating scenery.
Altitude: 16,000 ft
Temperature Range: In the summer, the area records an average day temperature of about 15°C up to about 25°C, and a night temperature between 8°C to 15°C. September and October mark a temperature range of 13°C to 20°C, and night temperature between 2°C to 7°C. It snows up to early May, which clears by June. The best months of Goechala trek would be between June and July and September and October.
Total Trekking Distance: 110 km
Goechala Trek Video (Credits: George Thengummoottil):
Yuksom, Preparation for the trek, Sightseeing
Your Goechala trek begins at Yuksom, a quaint, culturally vibrant and beautiful town that was once the capital of Sikkim. En route will see you deal with all the compulsories of the trek ahead -- stocking provisions, getting your papers and permissions in order at the local police station, taking all safety measures, paying the permit fees (Rs. 600 to Rs.700) at the forest check post. Most importantly, keep some photographs ready in case they are needed. The permit fee covers all the services, the tents and the yaks used to carry your gear. Foreign travellers are not permitted to trek alone but will have to have a partner, apart from obtaining a trekking permit from Gangtok. Do sort this all our beforehand. Without the necessary permits, foreign tourists will be detained at Sikkim trek check post.
Yuksom, Rathong Gorge, Bakhim
Your journey of Goechala trekking begins at Yuksom and you will walk through its village, which is resplendent with the sights of forests adjoining the Rathong Gorge, bridges, pine and oak, with multi-fold fields and a clear trail. Arrive at the point where the Rathong and Prek rivers meet, and from here, follow a trail that encompasses steep descents and ascents, all the way through the forests and up to Bakhim, where you will camp overnight.
Tsoka Village, Tibetan Culture
This day, travel to Tsoka Village, which commands a stupendous view of the mountains. You will find yourself at Tsoka by trekking from Bakhim, enjoying the lush, green surroundings on the way to the village. The destination is steeped in history, despite being a newly formed village. It came into existence in 1960 when the Sikkim government granted it as a refuge for Tibetans fleeing from the border in 1959. True to these roots, it houses many vestiges of Tibetan culture, including a Tibetan Buddhist temple, and the main trail to Tsoka is lined with chortens. These are stone monuments, dome-shaped Buddhist commemorative shrines. The path from Tsoka to Dzongri is undulating and tricky but the scenery and occasional passers, in the form of yaks and pheasants, make it a delightful journey. This is capped by the exhilaration of ascending the final climb and viewing the majestic Singalila Ridge and the Prek Chhu Valley in the east. The Singalila Ridge has an impressive line-up of peaks such as the Kokthang (6147 m), Rathong (6679 m), and Kabru South (7338 m). The Prek Chhu Valley boasts of the East Mount Pandim (6691 m) and Juponu (5936). You will camp overnight in tents at Dzongri.
Dzongri Peak, Mount Kanchenjunga, Bikbari Valley
This day will see you relaxing and exploring the areas surrounding the camp site and more. Trek to Dzongri peak. Located about 300 m above your camp site, it is the best vantage point to get a view of Mount Kanchenjunga and the neighbouring mountains. You will also trek to Dzongri-la, an access point to Bikbari Valley.
Prek Chhu River, Thansing
The next day's trek is beautiful, scenic and exciting. You will be setting out to kip an overnight camp near the Prek Chu River. To get to the river, follow a path that will ascend the hill and then descend into the Prek Chhu River valley, leading to a bridge that will take you all the way to Thansing, situated at the foot of Mount Pandim.
Kanchenjunga, Pandem, Juponu, Tingchinkhang, Samiti Lake
Today's trek holds great sights, towering mountains, beautiful meadows, glacial moraines and a climb that is nice and brisk, all the way up from Thansing and into the valley. You will see the south side of the Kanchenjunga, as well as get a glimpse of Pandem, Juponu and Tingchinkhang. You will camp overnight, a little distance away from the beautiful, aqua green Samiti Lake at Lamune.
Zemathang, Pandim, Kabru
Your target for today is reaching the top of Goche la, a heady but exhilarating scramble through crags and boulders, with a rise of 400 m, to reach the Goche la vantage point.You will start very early from Lamune, near the Samiti Lake, trekking upward for 30 minutes, circling the glacial moraine of Lamune and taking you to the dry lake at Zemathang. On reaching the Goecha La pass, comprising a depression found between Pandim and Kabru, you will see the expanse of Talung Valley ahead of you and will get to see Kanchenjunga. You will then return to your camp in Thansing.
You will return to Tsoka village, a small and quaint Tibetan settlement that also provides equipment and other facilities to trekkers. To get there, you will either use the Dzongri route or if it is open, the shorter route that passes Phedang.
Return to Yuksom
You will navigate a six-hour trail that is beset by forest land in order to return to Yuksom, where you will check into the Tashi Gang Hotel and call it a night.
Goechala trekking trip ends here
Bid adieu and return to NJP for your onward destination.
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