SINGALILA – chiwa BHANJYANG – DZONGRI - GOECHA-LA - YUKSOM TREK
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This recently opened trek route encompasses the area southwest of Dzongri and as defined by it’s name, includes several days of hike traversing the Singalila Range, the lesser mountain chain that rises from the northern hills of Darjeeling District and extends to converge with the Khangchendzonga (or Kanchenjunga) massif. The Singalila is also the divide that demarcates the western borders of Sikkim and Darjeeling with Nepal. As one traverses this razor-edged borderline ridge, spectacular views abound on both sides with rare species of rhododendron in bloom (at the right season), and an occasional herd of yaks with its herder will be your only source of contact with civilization for quite a number of days.
Day 01: Arrive Delhi connecting fly to Bagdogra airport .
Meet the guide at the airport. Meet the guide at the airport and drive to Gangtok. (126 km / 05 hrs.). Overnight hotel.
Day 02: Gangtok
A leisure day in Gangtok visiting places of tourist interest including Tashi view Point, Ganash Tok, Hanuman Tok and famous Enchey Monastery back to hotel after breakfast other Point visit Tibetology, Institute of Cottage Industry, Dro-Drul Chorten, Rope way and Flower snow world famous Rumtek Monastery. Return Back to hotel. Evening walk at the Mall or shopping/leisure. Stay O/N.
Day 03 : Transfer: Gangtok to Uttarey
An early departure from Gangtok by jeep to the trekking area in West Sikkim. Six exciting hours through winding roads across valleys and over hills clad with a variety of vegetation. We swoop down to cross the wild Rangeet River before climbing steeply up to Pemayangtse (2,100 m.), perched dramatically on an airy ridge with a panorama of Himalayan peaks ahead. After crossing some spectacular bridges to the road-head at Uttarey (2,000 m.), we spend our first night in a trekking lodge and meet the local people who will accompany us on our trek.
Day 04 : Begin Trek
Trek: Uttarey to Chiwa Bhanjyang - 6 hours
For eight days we thread our way up and over the highest reaches of the Singalila Ridge, which forms the border between Sikkim and Nepal. We may meet the occasional yak herder but we are well beyond permanent settlements. The names given to places around here however exotic it may sound to your ear, are basically associated with their purpose, such as high pastures, passes and ridge points. We pass through a rich forest cover, swathes of rhododendrons, open ridges, sacred lakes and remote passes. Our first day takes us to Chiwa Bhanjyang (3,100 m). An easy trail rises gently through rainforest until a final steep ascent for the last couple of hours bring us to the Nepalese border and our first camp.
Day 05 : Chiwa Bhanjyang. Acclimatization Day
Trek: Excursion - 5½ hours
This is an attractive setting to acquire some essential early acclimatization. A hike to the nearby Singalila Peak at 3500m will give us valuable acclimatization and some excellent views.
Day 06: Dhor
Trek: Chiwa Bhanjyang to Dhor - 7½ hours. Camp 3800m
A gentle uphill traverse through forest and then over a more exposed hillside brings us to prayer flags adorning our first pass and views of distant mountains - a taste of what is to come. As we gradually gain height we will appreciate the previous day’s acclimatization. The occasional yak herder’s hut is the only sign of habitation as we look down far below to the rice fields and cardamom plantations. Our camp is in a remote and sheltered hollow below the ridge.
Day 07: Pare Megu
Trek: Dhor to Pare Megu - 7 hours. Camp 3800m
Rising just before dawn, a five-minute walk onto the ridge may reveal the spectacular sight of sunrise on both Everest and Khangchendzonga. Throughout the day we descend and climb, maintaining a steady height, spiraling from one side of the ridge to the other until a rough steep ascent takes us across a pass. Beyond, the trail wends its way steadily through rhododendrons and past several Hindu shrines where a second easier pass drops down to our camp close to a shepherd’s summer settlement. Look out for the Blue Sheep on the high craggy mountainside
Day 08 : Lam Pokhari
Trek: Pare Megu to Lam Pokhari - 4½ hours. Camp 4300m
We walk easily on a good trail through woods until we begin a steady rise up a broad valley where we catch our first closer view of the entire Kabru range dominated by Mount Pandim (6,691m). A further 2 hours of ascent will get us to our camp with Everest and a host of other Khumbu giants dominating the distant skyline. An afternoon of rest and acclimatization for the following day’s foot slogging.
Day 09: Gomathang
Trek: Lam Pokhari to Gomathang - 6 hours. Camp 3900m
Now we are in high mountain country and the forests lie far below. For the past two days we have been walking in Nepal and today we pass the sacred lake of Lam Pokhari, which marks our entry back into Sikkim. A little snow underfoot can be expected as we climb to our first pass, the Danphe Bhir La at 4,530 meters, the Pass of the Pheasant. From here it is possible to see the whole of Sikkim with the view stretching out well into Tibet and Bhutan. A further hour’s contouring and a small ascent reveals the Kag Bhir La (the Pass of the Crow) where we may be lucky enough to view a panorama of Himalayan peaks including Khangchendzonga. Reluctantly, we then must head downhill making a steep descent to our riverside camp.
Day 10: Tikip Chu
Trek: Gomathang to Tikip Chu - 8 hours. Camp 3850m
We leave our lovely meadow camp to climb through forests of sweet smelling silver fir and rhododendrons. Soon we are in high mountain terrain again. Look out for the brightly colored Danphe birds (Impeyan Pheasant), which nest in the high crags around the Kamsey La, 4,200 m. As we drop down into the meadows of Kokling, we are already looking up at our next pass of 4,300 m. that we reach with a steady ascent up a steep crag to a skyline dominated by the dizzying pinnacles and icy cliffs of Kanchenjunga. Once again we end the day’s hike with a steep descent to our campsite by the Tikip Chu, which has its source high on the Rathong mountains (6,679 m.).
Day 11: Dzongri
Trek: Tikip Chu to Dzongri - 3 hrs. 4,030 m.
Today our route joins the regular trail up to the Goecha La. A steady climb through ancient fir forest, juniper and rhododendrons gradually opens out to the summer pastures of Dzongri. Another high camp, but we should be well acclimatized by now probably in contrast to some of the trekkers we meet who could be on day 3 of their Dzongri Trek at 4,000 m., ‘the headache zone’!
Day 12: Dzongri - Thangshing - 3800 m.
Trek:Dzongri to Thangshing – 5 to 6 hours- Overnight camping Today we ascend gradually over open hillside for a mile or so to a low ridge visible from the campsite (13,500 ft/4,115m). From here, chortens and prayer flags overlooking fabulous views of Khangchendzonga and Pandim make ideal photocompositions. You then descend, at first traversing down towards Pandim on the far side of the valley, and then dropping steeply down on a good path through rhododendron forest to the Prek Chu River at 12,300 ft/3,749 m. for lunch (3 hours). There is a new trekking lodge here that the crew may use for cooking. We cross the river and ascend gradually for one and-a-half-hour, through pinewoods to reach a grassy campsite, beneath the shapely unclimbed peak of Pandim. A new hut has been built here, which may be available for cooking and even sleeping.
Day 13: Thangshing - Lamuney (near Samiti Lake) - 4298 m.
Trek: Thangshing to Lamuney - 3 hours -Overnight camping. Today’s walk is fairly short to give you plenty of opportunity to rest before tomorrow’s big day. You begin by continuing your walk parallel to the Prek Chu River. Sacred Samiti on the opposite side is a beautiful emerald green lake nestled in the midst of brightly colored wind-torn prayer flags.
Day 14: Lamuney - Goecha La return - Choakchrung.
Trek to Goecha La (4,984 m.) and return to Choakchrung. Overnight camping An early start today to beat the inclement weather conditions that is common during the latter part of the day. Set off in the early morning clmbing the hill behind the Lake before traversing the moraine and then descending to the sandy bed of an empty lake. The whole area above Samiti Lake is called the Zemathang Plateau. You cross this under the shadow of Pandim and then ascend moraine to a height of about 15,700 feet where you rest above a glaciated lake mottled with snow and icy pinnacles. The Goecha La Pass is another hour away. We traverse the lake and proceed across a slope, and then on a well-trodden path to our objective, which is festooned with brightly colored prayer flags. The views of the east flank of Khangchendzonga and the mountains and valleys in the distance are stunning. We then return to our campsite at Choakchrung:
Day 15: Choakchrung to Tshoka - 3800 m.
Trek: Choakchrung: to Tshoka – 7 to 8 hours- Overnight camping It’s worth getting up early to take a short hike to the ridge behind the camp. From here there are fantastic views of Khangchendzonga and one can look back up to the Goecha La. Leaving Thangsing, you take a different route, avoiding the long climb to the Dzongri Plateau. Descending to the Prek Chu, you contour around jungle to emerge at Phedang. Continue to Tshoka along another steep descent. This will save us a day on the return march, but does involve quite a long day.
Day 16: Tshoka to Yuksam –5 to 6 hours Overnight in hotel.
Our final day, and freewheeling downhill almost all of the time. We descend through rainforest rich with bird-life and flowers, across spectacular bridges spanning cascading rivers whose sources are high in the mountains we have so recently left behind. Tired and elated we arrive in Yuksam and our charming traditional hilltop hotel. This will be our last evening with the trekking crew so we will be celebrating our achievements, and a final thank you to the local staff. Overnight Hotel Tashigang.
Day 17: Yuksum to Pelling:
Early morning drive to Pemayangtse visit Khechoperi Lake Drive 24 Kms ( 01.30 hrs) to the holy Khechepheri Lake. Continue the journey for another 30 Kms ( 1.30 hrs) to reach Pelling. O/N at Pelling.
Day 18: Pelling to Darjeeling
Morning transfer from Pelling to Darjeeling - on the way visit Tashiding Monastry continue drive (Optional 2hrs white River rafting at Rangit and Teesta River) and again drive to Darjeeling via tea Garden arrive evening check in hotel and free) (135 kms / 06 hrs).Evening free to explore the town. Overnight hotel.
Day 19: Sightseeing of Darjeeling:
Early morning tour to Tiger Hill (at around 4 am) to view sunrise over mighty Kanchenjunga. The view is splendid on clear weather day. On the way back, take a look at Ghoom Monastery and the Batasia Loop. Afternoon visit to Himalayan Zoological Park (Closed on Thursday), Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, Gumbu Rock site and Tibetan Refugee self-help (Closed on Sunday) Center Tea Estate. Overnight hotel.
Day 20:Departure from Darjeeling to Bagdogra Airport
Moorning after breakfast transfer from Darjeeling to Bagdogra Airport / Bhadra pur Airport 4/ 5rs drive 130km ) Our service is finished.