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Kanchenjunga Base Camp Trek Difficulty

19 Jun 2024 Himalaya Trip

Kanchenjunga Base Camp Trek difficulty is often in the minds of trekkers as it is among the most challenging treks in Nepal. The remote areas you will explore, with high altitude, rugged terrains, and lack of teahouses, make the trek one of Nepal’s most challenging destinations.

Kanchenjunga Base Camp Trek poses a significant challenge to even experienced trekkers, so beginners are urged to avoid this trek. This trek takes you to over 5000, with a risk of altitude sickness, dynamic weather, and freezing temperatures. What makes Kanchenjunga more strenuous than other treks is its remoteness. There is new infrastructure, and the settlements are remote and lack facilities.

Moreover, at high altitudes, the lack of teahouses compounds the difficulty for trekkers. Equally, the Kanchenjunga trek provides one of the best mountain experiences with tons of natural beauty and the chance to get together with the unique culture and tradition. So, in more detail, let’s discuss the factors that increase the difficulty of the Kanchenjunga Base Camp Trek.


  • Explore the Tamur and Gonsa riverbanks as you move forward on the trail to Kanchenjunga Base Camp.
  • Meet the endangered floras and fauna preserved in the Kanchenjunga Conservation Area.
  • Experience the stunning views of the mountains like Wedge Peak (6,750m), Mera Peak (6344m), Nepal Peak (6910m), and Twins (7,351m).
  • Stroll one of Nepal’s peaceful and remote trekking destinations and soak in the thrill and mystery.
  • Learn the local culture and tradition of Buddhists by visiting ancient monasteries and Ghumbas.

Kanchenjunga Base Camp Trek Difficulty

Kanchenjunga has a reputation for being one of the most challenging treks in Nepal. The main factor that makes the trek difficult is the several steep ascents and descends that you have to climb as you move forward from one mountain pass to another.

Furthermore, the Kanchenjunga Base Camp Trek is one of Nepal’s most extended treks. The trek takes 18 to 21 days, meaning you must trek every day for at least two weeks and six to seven hours. During your trek to Kanchenjunga, you will mostly trek through remote areas with no infrastructure like hospitals, restaurants, or even teahouses.

Kanchenjunga Base Camp

Moreover, navigating through different terrains like subtropical forests, rocky peaks and valleys, streams, waterfalls, suspension bridges, alpine jungles, vast landscapes, glacial terrains, and high-altitude snowy mountains would be best. Hence, let’s discuss some of the significant challenges you will face during your trek to Kanchenjunga region.

Challenges of Kanchenjunga Trek

Altitude Sickness

Altitude sickness is one of the significant difficulties the trekkers face during the Kanchenjunga trek. You will be trekking over the altitude of 4000m and eventually reach the 5000m mark. The rate of oxygen at this level is significantly lower, and the body often fails to cope, resulting in altitude sickness or acute mountain sickness. The symptoms start to appear, such as vomiting, nausea, dizziness, shortness of breath, relentless cough, etc. If the symptoms start appearing, medical care like Diamox and lower altitude should be administered immediately.

The remoteness of the Region

One of the significant difficulties of trekking in the Kanchenjunga Trek is its remoteness. The trails in the Kanchenjunga region are rugged, and you must pass through different terrains. After reaching a certain altitude during your trek, there are far fewer towns and villages and limited teahouses and lodges. Hence, the trekkers often have to camp outside in a tent, which is risky due to the changing weather, freezing temperatures, and occasional snowfall. Due to the region’s remoteness, communication facilities are limited or in their primary state. Hence, it is essential to trek Kanchenjunga with guides and porters to minimize the difficulty level.

Food and Accommodation

Kanchenjunga trek is well known for its pure natural beauty and stunning mountain views, but the underdeveloped routes of the trek make some portions of the trek more challenging, like accommodation and food. The teahouse facilities in the Kanchenjunga region are not as developed as in the other areas of Nepal. You will get limited services in terms of accommodation, like the shared room with twin beds, cold bucket showers, squatting bathroom, etc. Similarly, meal services are limited in remote teahouses, and the menus are limited to Nepali foods. In some cases, you might find varieties like noodle soups and basic noodles, but there are few Western dishes to choose from.


The Kanchenjunga trek covers a distance of about 200 kilometers to and from Taplejung. The trip to the Kanchenjunga base camp takes more than three weeks. Reaching either base camp from Taplejung takes about two weeks, with two rest days at Ghunsa and Kambachen. The daily walking distance is around 9 to 11 kilometers. Although the daily distance of the Kanchenjunga trek is less than that of the Everest Base Camp trek, this trek takes twice as many days as a standard Everest Base Camp trek.


The high altitude or elevation is a significant factor contributing to the difficulty of the Kanchenjunga trek. If you are trekking towards this place from the sea level, you will immediately reach 1300m in Kathmandu and 1400m when you reach Taplejung. The altitude increases as you move forward and close to the Kanchenjunga trek. You will eventually have to climb up to 5000m, and the steep climbs in the snowy terrain will take a toll on your body.

Unpredictable Weather and Temperature

Kanchenjunga trek is a high-altitude trek generally above 5000m. At high altitudes, the weather remains dynamic and changes constantly. The weather is stable during certain seasons, like Spring or Autumn, but changes continuously in other seasons. Continuous changes in weather, from rain, hail, cold wind, and snow, make it difficult for trekkers. Furthermore, in high-altitude treks, the temperature also keeps changing. During the day, at high altitudes, the sun rises, so the temperature becomes mild, but at night, sometimes it reaches well below the freezing point. 

Attractions of Kanchenjunga Base Camp Trek

Here are some major attractions you will explore during your Kanchenjunga Base Camp Trek.

Taplejung: Taplejung is the starting and ending point of the Kanchenjunga Base Camp trek. It is one of the 77 districts of Nepal located in the Koshi region and is the gateway to the Kanchenjunga region. Taplejung is one of the few significant towns or city areas you will find during your trek, so shop or get your permits accordingly. 

Ghunsa: Ghunsa is the central village located in the Taplejung district. It is among the biggest villages you will explore during your trek. Ghunsa is also where you take a break and acclimate during your trek.

Kanchenjunga North Base Camp: Kanchenjunga North Base Camp is one of the destinations of your Kanchenjunga trek. You will reach the north base camp in Pangpema (5,100 m) when you take the northern side route in your trek. If you take the southern route, you will reach Kanchenjunga South Base Camp in Ramche.

Lhonak: During your trek of the Kanchenjunga region, you will reach the place of Lhonak. Lhonak is a vast permanent settlement where certain services and amenities are lacking in the other small and remote villages.

How to Tackle Difficulty?

The Kanchenjunga Base Camp Trek is a bit challenging compared to other treks. Complex factors must be tackled to make the trek fun and less demanding. Here are a few ways to tackle it:

Acclimatize properly: Acclimatization is the best way to tackle altitude sickness during your Kanchenjunga trek. It is not safe to rush toward the high altitude as your body won’t be able to cope with the lower oxygen level at the high altitude. The method of proper acclimatization is too gradual, with ascent and descent throughout the trek and trek high sleep low motto. Often, trekking agencies curate the trek’s itinerary with adequate acclimatization days, which is essential.

Stay Hydrated: Since altitude sickness is the primary difficulty of the high-altitude trek, minimizing the chances of preventing it is essential. Another way to reduce the risk of altitude sickness is to stay hydrated throughout the trek. We advise you to drink at least 3 to 4 liters of water daily, especially since you won’t feel thirsty in the high altitudes.

Keep your health in check: On a high-altitude arduous trek like Kanchenjunga, you must monitor your health constantly. One moment, you will be fit and healthy; the next, you will be sick and unable to trek. At least twice a day, you have to monitor your health and check if you are feeling good and your urine color, make sure you are not dizzy, your bones are not aching, and if you have a pulse meter, check your blood pressure. You have to pay attention to the symptoms of altitude sickness.

Keep yourself warm and cozy: The freezing temperature and dynamic weather are significant challenges for anyone trekking at a high altitude. Pack necessary clothing items that are warm and effective in freezing temperatures. You must also pack essential items like sleeping bags, tents, trekking poles, hiking boots, woolen trousers, socks, etc so that you remain warm and cozy throughout the treks.

Trek Route

You can reach the Kanchenjunga Base Camp Trek via several routes. However, the two routes are quite famous and often used by trekkers. The northern and southern routes for the Kanchenjunga circuit trek are hiked more by the trekkers.

Northern Route:

The northern route is more difficult to scale than the southern route, as the trails are more challenging. The north route contains a trek from Taplejung, Chiruwa, and Lepe to Amjilosa, Gyabla, and Gunsa. The further you move, the more you will reach Kambachen and Lonak and Kanchenjunga’s Northen side base camp.


Southern Route:

The Southern route of Kanchenjunga is way safer and more secure than the northern trek. On the southern route, the trek starts in Taplejung as well. You will then trek to Simbu, Khesewa, Mamangkhe, and Yamphuding. From Yamphuding, the trek takes you to Cheram (3800 m) and Ramche (4600m), where the Kanchenjunga South Base Camp is located.

Best Season for the Trek


The best time to trek to Kanchenjunga Base Camp in Nepal is in the Spring, from March to late May. The weather is good during this period, with clear skies and stunning views of the Himalayas. The lower section of the trail is covered with beautiful blooming rhododendron flowers, making the trek more vibrant, motivational, and fun. The early part of the Spring season is a bit chilly, and at the end of May, the region will receive minor rainfall as it falls in the post-monsoon area.


Autumn is a great time to trek in the Himalayas, especially in Nepal’s Kanchenjunga region. The landscapes are at their most beautiful during these months. After the monsoon season, the rain cleanses the landscapes, leaving them vibrant and fresh. The trees and flowers in the Autumn season are brown and amber. During sunrise and sunset, the light reflects with the vegetation, making the surrounding views majestic with golden color. The views of the mountains and skies are apparent, which is why 

Off Season


Monsoon season is the off-season, which is not ideal for trekking. During the monsoon season, the surroundings become wet and slippery due to relentless rainfall. The forests and jungle trails are covered with leeches and insects, which is not hygenic. Although high altitudes will not be much affected by rains, lower altitudes will be significantly affected, which might lead to natural disasters like floods, landslides, and soil erosions. In the Himalayas, sometimes rainfall leads to a few more disasters like avalanches and hailstorms.


Winter is also the most minor ideal season for trekking the Kanchenjunga trek. In winter, the Kanchenjunga region is super cold, and the temperature is way below freezing. Teahouses and a mountain pass are closed because of heavy snow. Before trekking, check where to stay and bring warm clothes. The trail will be slippery because of snow. Not many trekkers will be there. It is an excellent time to have a unique experience going camping and witnessing the spectacular white mountain scenery, which is even more beautiful than the Spring and Autumn seasons.


Hence, if you were wondering about the difficulty of the Kanchenjunga Base Camp Trek, you might have found that the trek is very challenging. Expert trekkers often find this trek challenging, so beginners are discouraged from making Kanchenjunga their initial trek.

Since the trek is arduous, knowing what makes it more challenging is wise. Furthermore, it would be best to find a way to minimize the trek difficulty and choose the ideal trekking condition to make it successful. We hope our ideal depth and detail guide on the Kanchenjunga trek and its difficulty will help you tackle it and make your trek less challenging and more fun. 


What is the best month for trekking Kanchenjunga?

The best month for trekking at Kanchenjunga Base Camp is April and October. April is the peak of the Spring season, and October is the Autumn season.

What are the permits you need for Kanchenjunga Base Camp Trek?

A special restricted area permit (SRAP) and the Kanchenjunga Conservation Area Project permit (KCAP) are required to trek Kanchenjunga Base Camp.

How many days does it take to trek to Kanchenjunga Base Camp Trek?

The Kanchenjunga Base Camp trek is one of the most extended treks in Nepal, and it takes 18 to 23 days.

Can you trek the Kanchenjunga region solo?

No, you can’t trek the Kanchenjunga region solo. You must hire at least one guide and trek in a group of at least two people.

What is the cost of the 23-day Kanchenjunga trek per person?

The Kanchenjunga trek cost depends on factors like itinerary, duration, number of side treks, and other miscellaneous expenses. The price ranges from $2000 – $2100 per person.

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