Gochela Trek
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Goechala Trek , Sikkim

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What you will do

Highlights of the Goechala trek

  • Soak in the unparalleled view of the sunrise on the Kanchenjunga range from the Dzongri Top.

  • Stand and admire the long suspension bridges (Pha Khola, Tshushay Khola and Mentogang Khola) that run through the pristine Prekchu river.

  • Trek through the canopy of the blooming Rhododendron trees.

  • Get to see the southeast side of Mt. Kanchenjunga from the Goechala pass.

  • The reflection of Mt. Pandim on the still waters of Samiti Lake that is a hot spot.


What is special about Goechala Trek?

Stunning view of the Sunrise 

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The main attraction of the tour is the amazing sunrise views on the Mt. Kanchenjunga range from the viewpoint 1 and Dzongri top.

 

Forested woodlands with diverse Himalayan flora and fauna

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The trail winds through densely forested areas teeming with clear streams and rivers, numerous oak and Rhododendron trees, and distinct Himalayan birds that will make you appreciate nature even more.

 

Old wooden bridges 

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 Trekkers crosses a few suspension bridges along the route decorated with brightly coloured Buddhist prayer flags, along with rustic wooden bridges as your near the Dzongri top and when you descend downhill.

 

Samiti Lake

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 A mirror like clear lake completely surrounded by snow-capped mountains on all sides is a heavenly sight for sure. The lake is placed at an altitude of 13,700ft and emits emerald-green turquoise colours. It silently reflects the colour of the sky and the dancing clouds and is a popular halting point during the Goechala trek.

 

Complete endurance test

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From the start to the finish, this trek will prove a good endurance test for trekkers. The long hours of trekking and the altitude gain, covering a trekking distance of 66 km in 10 days is quite a challenge.  




 

What is the duration of the trek?

This is a roundtrip trek that takes 10 days to cover. The trail begins from Yuksom to Sachen, Tshoka, Phedang, Dzongri, Thansing, Kockchurang, Samiti lake and downhill back the same route skipping Dzongri till you reach Yuksom. Some places like Bakhim, Dzongri Top, Samiti Lake, Phedang are mainly resting stops or view points in between.


 

How difficult is this trek?

  • It is considered a difficult trek that takes unto 10 days to cover.

  • It is the need for acclimatisation that make it challenging. Trekkers will be climbing from 5,643 ft to 15,100 ft all within the span of 10 days.Trekkers can face Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) due to the sudden increase in altitude. Hence, the need to acclimatise at given spots. 

  • This trek is good endurance test and is perfect for seasoned and moderate level trekkers and those with experience of high altitude treks.

  • Trek durations can be as long as 12 hours, some starting form dawn till dusk.

  • Depending on the location of the campsite, some campsites can be extremely cold, especially when you wake up at 1:30am and leave to see the sunrise by 3am. One has to be fit and prepared both mentally and physically to take on these challenging situations. 


 
When is the best time to do the Goechala trek?

The best time to the Goechala trek is the Spring (April-May) and Autumn / fall season(October-November) season. It should be avoided during monsoons and winter as landslides, muddy roads are common and its pretty much impossible to trek in January and February due to the snow.

 

The trek's entire colour palette changes with the seasons. The way the trek illuminates changes with the seasons. Spring is known for its romantic, dreamy appearance, whereas autumn is known for its sharp views.


 

Summer temperature (Avg)

  • Day: 15°C - 25°C

  • Night: 8°C- 15°C

  • Dzongri temperature ranges between 7°C-15°C to even -2°C at night

 

Autumn Temperature (Avg)

  • Day: 13°C - 20°C

  • Night: 2°C - 7°C 

  • Dzongri temperature ranges between 3°C -10°C to even -4°C at night


 

 

Route details

 

Yuksom

Formerly established as the capital of Sikkim in 1962 AD, it is a place of special religious and cultural significance. Apparently, three monks made their way from Tibet to declare the first king of Sikkim, so the place literally translates to “meeting place of the three monks”. It has a lot of Buddhist monasteries and historical monuments. Since it is at the start of the Khangchendzonga National Park, it has a large numbers of mountaineers coming from every part of the world, and it proves as the base camp for trekking up to Mt. Khangchendzonga.

 

Sachen

Sachen, located at 7,200 feet, is a open area with a single log hut and a shelter. 

 

Tshoka

A small village in West Sikkim's Kanchenjunga National Park, this place is perfect to watch the sunrise over Mt. Pandim. It is filled with dense forests that is home to a variety of Himalayan birds.

 

Phedang

Phedang is an open area at an altitude of 13,000 ft and is a good resting area before you proceed to Dzongri.

 

Dzongri

Dzongri is a meadow area which is appropriate place for acclimatisation and also to enjoy the mountain views. It is a well-known grazing area for yaks.

 

Thansing

Thansing has a meadow landscape and is situated at a lower altitude from Dzongri. This trek stop falls while descending down from Dzongri.

    

Samiti lake

A mirror like clear lake completely surrounded by snow-capped mountains on all sides before reaching View point 1.

 

 

 

Description

 

About Goechala Trek

Originally a high mountain pass in West Sikkim, Goechala stands at an altitude of 16,207 ft of the Himalayan range. It is one of the few places in the world, where one is blessed by the sight of at least 14 of the famed Himalayan peaks all at once. The fact that some of the famous Himalayan peaks seem so close on this trail will amaze you the most about this walk. 

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From the Dzongri top which is at a height of 13,779 ft, you have the panoramic view of the entire Singhalila and Kanchenjunga ranges. 

It is a challenging trek that takes ten days to complete. The trail starts from Yuksom to Sachen, Tshoka, Phedang, Dzongri, Thansing, Kockchurang, Samiti lake and downhill back the same route till Yuksom.

 

The intensity of the journey slowly starts to seep in as you make your way up from Yuksom to Sachen, where you cross the roaring Prek chu River, pristine and spotless. The charm of crossing streams and rivers, passing through a canopy of Rhododendron forest, reaching the meadows of Dzongri all while braving the changing weather and the cold is a trekking experience like no other. 

 

The magnificent reddish glow seen on the trail adds to the pleasure of being in the presence of such massive peaks. As you reach the View point 1 and Dzongri Top, you must stop to experience the the heavenly sunrise, where the golden rays of the sun descend on the mountains like a veil.

 

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Your Itinerary

Day 1

NJP/ Bagdogra to Yuksom by road

Day 1:  NJP/ Bagdogra to Yuksom by road

Duration: 6-8 hours

Road distance: 160 kms

The drive from Siliguri New Jalpaiguri Station or Bagdogra airport takes roughly around 6-8 hours depending on the condition of the road. The distance is around 160 km by road. Once you reach Melli which is the West Bengal and Sikkim bordering town it is around 3 hours from there. 

 

Its not easy to get shared cabs directly to Yuksom from Siliguri, so travellers must first take a share cab from Siliguri to Jorethang and then take another shared cab from there to Yuksom.

 

Before you begin the trek, you need to submit a photo identity proof with three photo copies to the police station for entry purposes. 

Second, you must pay your permission fees at the forest checkpoint, usually done in the morning of the trek day. Different rules apply for foreigners which will be mentioned at the end.

 

Yuksom is town in a picturesque valley with religious and historical significance. It is the gateway to the Khangchendzonga National Park and

Day 2

Yuksom (5,643 ft) - Sachen (7,130 ft)

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Trek duration: 5 hours, 

Trek distance: 6.7 kms

 

The trek from Yuksom to Sachen takes approximately 4-5 hours.

As you make your uphill climb through the dense forests from Yuksom, you will cross, Pha Khola, the first suspension bridge.

 

After walking the rocky and steep trail for around 2.5 hours, you will come across another suspension bridge called Tshushay Khola. Then the third and last suspension bridge for the Yuksom - Sachen route will be Mentogang khola. All the bridges are decorated with Buddhist prayer flags that flutter in the wind, sending prayers of peace and safety for the trekkers of the route. The path is defined by three long suspension bridges that pass through dizzying gorges that run across the Prekchu River.

 

Sachen, located at 7,200 feet, is a open area with a single log hut and a shelter. The hut can accommodate 6-persons and has a small cooking area. Seek a clearing just in front of the shelter for a larger team.

 
Day 3

Sachen (7,130 ft) - Tshoka (9,701 ft)

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Trek duration: 4 hours

Trek distance: 5 kms

 

After taking a break at Sachen, indulge in a wholesome breakfast because the road ahead is long. Tshoka is about 6 km from Sachen.

 

The walk to Tshoka consists of a gradual ascent accompanied by steep inclines. You start by crossing the bridge through which the Prekchu river passes. After that, you are engulfed by the dense woodlands that are filled with oak and rhododendron trees. During the spring season, the forest are ablaze with blossoming flowers. The leaves turn a gorgeous shade of fall colour in the autumn.

 

As you climb up, you reach Bakhim, the mid point between Sachen and Tshoka. It is a camping ground that gives stunning views of the valley below. After you rest here for some time, its time to ascend to Tshoka. In order to get acclimatised, trekkers can go to the monastery nearby from where you can admire the crimson sunset, then head back to Tshoka for the night.

 
Day 4

Tshoka to Phedang (12,083 ft) and then Dzongri (13,024 ft)

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Trek duration: 7 hours

Trek distance: 6.3 kms

 

It is considered quite a challenging part of the trek, as the altitude gain doubles as compared to before. The trek includes 30 minutes of steep ascent followed by a gradual ascent, followed by another 20 minutes of steep ascent to Phedang. You reach Dzongri after a one-hour ascent. 

 

The trail opens up to an entire stretch of wooden logs paved in the middle of the forest which is so breathtaking. Paved wooden path is covered by blossoming Rhododendron trees on both sides like a canopy which is scenic. The path has wooden benches at intervals, perfect for resting those tired legs. Get started with the stony trail after the wooden trail ends.

 

Phedang is at an altitude of 13,000 ft and is a good resting area before you proceed to Dzongri. The path begins to ascend along the narrow rhododendrons along the path. After a good climb you will reach the meadows of Dzongri. Here you can rest the night at the trekkers hut which can accommodate around 30 trekkers at a time. 

 

Day 5

Dzongri top (13,778 ft) and then return to Dzongri

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Trek duration: 3 hours

Trek distance: 1.8 kms up and down

 

Since today is the acclimatisation day, you have to be alert of any symptoms of Acute mountain sickness and pay attention to your body. As you can see the meadows of Dzongri is surrounded by the highest peaks from all around. It’s an appropriate altitude to witness the magic of sunrise on the summits.

 

Get up at around 3:30am if you want to see the sunrise. You will have to walk around 45 minutes from the Dzongri meadows in order to catch the sunrise from the view point of Dzongri top. From the top, bask in the glory of the peaks of Khangchendzonga, Kabru(7353m) and Pandim (6691m). The other peaks of Koktang (6147m) and Narsing (5825 m) are seen as well. 

 

Day 6

Dzongri -Kockchurang (12,152 ft) and Thansing (12,946 ft)

Trek duration: 6 hours

Trek distance: 6.4 kms

 

Now you will descend to Kokchurang, where the Prekchu river flows under the wooden bridge. It will lead you down through the alpine wetland and the rhododendron forest. You start rising from there again and you reach the vast meadows of Thansing.

 

Thansing is situated at a lower altitude from Dzongri and includes a gentle trail of 4-5 hours.

 
Day 7

Thansing , View Point One , Kockchurang (12,152 ft ) or Thansing - 12 hours

Thansing (12,946 ft) to View Point One (15,100 ft) and then back to Kockchurang (12,152 ft ) or Thansing (12,946 ft) Trek duration: 12 hours

Trek distance: 3.3 kms up and 9.2 km down

Today will be a long day. You will first travel to ViewPoint 1 via Samiti lake and witness the first sun rays on Mt. Kanchenjunga and other peaks. Get ready by 3:30am and leave by 4:00 am. Since it is pitch dark and cold, you will need head torches to guide you the way. You cross the Samiti Lake on the way to View Point one. 

 

The breathtaking sunrise view of the entire Kanchenjunga Range seen exclusively from View Point 1 is the highlight of this route. An experience that will live on in your memory for the rest of your life. 

 

If you want to spend some time at Samiti Lake, it is a one hour uphill climb from Lamumey. A mirror-like blue lake in the middle of the mountains is a breathtaking sight. The colours of the mountain peaks reflect the varying movement of the clouds and sunlight, which is a heavenly sight. 

 
Day 8

Kockchurang (12,152 ft ) or Thansing (12,946 ft) to Tshoka (9,701 ft)

Trek duration: 6-7 hours

Trek distance: 9.9 kms

 

As you head down from Kokchurang, you will reach Phedang. From there you the trek descends another 3.2km through the Rhododendron forest in order to reach Tshoka.

 

In some areas, the trek downhill to Tshoka can be quite steep. Certain sections of the route will be covered in ice in December. 

When descending, roads can be muddy and slippery so it is advised to exercise caution and take it slowly. Rhododendron plants line the path all the way down to Tshoka in the spring.

 
Day 9

Tshoka (9,701 ft) - Yuksom (5,643 ft)

Trek duration: 6 hours

Trek distance: 11.7 kms

 

This is mostly a 6 hours descent from Tshoka till the town of Yuksom. So the downhill descent can take a toll on your knees, hence you must be careful. There is also a suspension bridge on the way back which marks the end of the route.

 

Celebrate the end of a challenging trek by checking into a hotel in Yuksom and resting in for the night.

 
Day 10

Yuksom (5,643 ft) to NJP or Bagdogra or Siliguri

Gochela Trek

This journey will hold close to your heart as you depart from Yuksom to Siliguri. It takes around 6-8 hours to reach the plains of Siliguri, where you can get on your connecting flight from Bagdogra or train from New Jalpaiguri Station. 

 

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