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Goecha La Trek

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October 2, 2024
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  • Safety
  • Small groups - (6-12)
  • Experience nature
  • Sustainable experiences

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  • 10 Days/9 Nights
  • Hard
  • 15100 ft./4602 m
  • 12 Participants
  • April | October
  • Sikkim

Goecha La Trek Overview

Goecha La trek in Sikkim is one of the challenging experiences that offers a magnificent view of Mt Kanchendzonga. A long and arduous trail traverses Kanchedzonga National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Exotic Flora and fauna, surreal sunrise and sunsets along with the grandeur of the big mountains are the highlights of Goecha La trek. 

While Goecha La is an exhilarating experience, it is a challenging trek suitable for experienced trekkers. The enchanting landscapes throughout the trail, snow-studded mountains and vibrant rhododendron blooms compensate for the long and tiring hike. Albeit a demanding trek, the wilderness of the dense coniferous forest, the spellbinding rhododendron bloom and the trail made of wooden logs make Goecha La a perfect getaway to indulge in absolute wilderness.  

Discover exotic flora and fauna 

Goecha La is one of the rare treks where you witness Rhododendrons blooming in different shades. The trail comes alive with a vibrant display of Rhododendrons covering half of the path in a flamboyant array of colours in spring. You will be ecstatic to witness the flowers blooming in red, white, pink and shades you cannot stop admiring. 

Goecha La is also a trek where you will find forest cover up to 12000 ft, a rare sight on other treks of similar heights in Uttarakhand, Jammu Kashmir, and Himachal Pradesh. 

Witness the breathtaking sunrise from Dzongri Top

During your trek to Goecha La, you will stop at Dzongri for acclimatization.  On the same day, you will trek to the Dzongri Top and witness an awe-inspiring sunrise. The sight of the first ray of sun appearing from behind the towering Mt Kanchenjunga will leave a lasting impression on your mind. Additionally, Goecha La trek is also renowned for the magical sunrise from viewpoint 1 of Goecha La.

Trekkers admire Goecha La for panoramic views of not just Mt Kanchenjunga but also 14 other summits apart from these magical sunrises and sunsets. 

Goecha La is undoubtedly a challenging trek as the days are long, and the altitude gains quickly. Consider this trek during spring and autumn to enjoy the exotic flora and grandeur of the big mountains.  

 

Goecha La trek brochure

Inclusions

  • Meals 
    • Breakfast, lunch and dinners (Day 1 Dinner to Day 10 Breakfast)
  • Accommodation 
    • Tents, homestays/dorms
    • Cloakroom charges 
  • Highly Experienced Leaders and Guides 
    • Trained and Qualified Guides
    • Certified Outdoor Leaders
  • Permits
    • National parks and sanctuaries
    • Forest permits and entry fees 
  • Camping Equipment
    • Kitchen tent
    •  Toilet tent
    • Dome tents 
    • Sleeping bags
    • Mattresses
  • Technical Equipment
    • Wilderness Medical Kit
    • Climbing Rope 
    • Climbing accessories
    • Ice Axe
    • Microspikes
    • Oxygen Cylinder
    • BP Meter
    •  Oximeter, thermometer etc.

Exclusions 

  • Cab charges to and from Yuksom – OWLS Basecamp.
  • Transit meals (Day 1 and Day 10)
  • Personal expenses 
  • Offloading charges 
  • Cost incurred due to change in the itinerary 
  • Additional services  (including mules, assistance, health-related support etc.)
  • Anything not mentioned in the Inclusions list. 

Goecha La Trek Itinerary

Day 1 : Drive from New Jalpaiguri/Bagdogra to Yuksom (5,800 ft.)

On the first day of your trek, you will travel to the base camp located in Yuksom which is approximately 150 km from Bagdogra. The journey takes around 6-7 hours and you will have the beautiful river Teesta accompanying you until Melli. Along the way, you can take a break and visit one of the roadside dhabas for some delicious steaming hot momo and Thukpa after crossing the Teesta Bridge. The route to Yuksom is a meandering road that takes you through a forest area, and in some places, you will cross small streams and bridges adorned with colourful prayer flags.

Day 2 : Yuksom (5,800 ft.) to Sachen (7,400 ft.)

On the second day, you will begin your trek in the charming village of Yuksom. Though usually peaceful, the village is bustling with trekkers and explorers during the trekking season. Yuksom serves as the base camp for Chaurikhang, where HMI students receive training. Once you start your trek, you will leave the crowds behind and venture into the wilderness. The trail begins with a level walk for the first few hours, but as you enter the Kanchendzonga National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site, it becomes steeper and remains so until you reach the campsite at Sachen. During the trek, you will cross a few streams and bridges adorned with colourful prayer flags.

Day 3 : Sachen (7,400 ft.) to Tshoka (9,800 ft.) via Bakhim (8,650 ft.)

After breakfast, you will depart from the Sachen campsite and embark on a steep trail that involves a mixture of gradual ascents and descents. Along the way, you will encounter a long stretch of switchbacks that lasts for approximately 30 minutes. Additionally, you will cross a suspension bridge and be treated to a breathtaking view of a river flowing below.

Bhakim has a small hut that belongs to the forest department, but it is primarily used by forest officials. Before you start your ascent towards Tshoka, you can enjoy a cup of tea at a small hut. Tshoka is approximately an hour away from Bhakim and boasts a few forest huts and a monastery.

The Tshoka campsite is particularly stunning during various seasons due to the different shades present. During autumn, the grass surrounding the campsite takes on a golden hue. Trekkers are captivated by the mesmerizing view of Mt. Pandim from the campsite.

Day 4 : Tshoka (9,800 ft.) to Dzongri (13,200 ft.) via Phedang (12,100 ft.)

The trail starts with a steep climb and traverses through some steep ascents and descents till you reach Phedang. Phedang is an open clearing with a wooden hut and a few benches where you can rest and have a well-deserved break.

You will also walk on a path paved using wooden logs. The Rhododendron is in full bloom provided you are trekking in spring. Some section of the forest with rhododendron on both side of the trails gives you an eerie vibe, especially if it is covered in mist.

After a steep climb of another few hours, the campsite of Dzongri appears. Dzongri campsite has a few wooden forest huts. You will camp in the open clearing in the foothills of Dzongri Top.

Day 5 : Excursion (13,200 ft.) to Dzongri Top (13,700 ft.) and back.

From the campsite, Dzongri Top is about a km away. The distance to the top is covered in around an hour. The trail starts with a gradual climb followed by a steep ascent to reach the Dzongri Top. Start your day early to witness the most beautiful sunrise of your lifetime. Dzongri Top offers a perfect sunrise view as the first ray of sunlight falls on the mountain peaks in the distance. As the dawn breaks, you will witness the magnificent views of the Kanchenjunga range, Pandim, and Kabru among other peaks.

You will immerse yourself in one of the most authentic and raw wilderness experiences and descend to the campsite. You will acclimatize here in Dzongri for the day.

Day 6 : Dzongri (13,200 ft.) to Thansing (12,900 ft.)

The trail today starts with a gradual descent, followed by a steep ascent till Thansing.

The distance of around 7 km is covered in 6 to 7 hrs. The trail is now covered with Rhododendron shrubs. Today you will reach the source of river Prekchu that you crossed on the way.

After reaching Thansing, you can explore the campsite and indulge in some outdoor cooking too.

Day 7 : Thansing (12,900 ft.) to View Point 1 (15,000 ft.) via Samiti Lake (14,100 ft.)and back to Thansing

Day 7 is the longest day and the distance covered is also the longest. You will be walking for around 16 km to reach viewpoint 1. The day is arduous and you will be walking for around 12- 13 hrs today.

You will have to start early before the dawn breaks to enjoy the best view. You have climbed all the way up to enjoy the view today and you don’t want to trade this with a few extra hours of sleep. The viewpoint lets you witness the first ray of sun hitting Mt. Kanchedzonga just in front of you. The color of Kanchendzonga changes and it indeed is surreal to witness the moment with your own naked eyes. Immerse in the beauty and serenity of Samiti Lake on your way to the Goechela viewpoint.

Day 8 : Thansing (12,900 ft.) to Tshoka (9,800 ft.) via Phedang (12,100 ft.)

After experiencing the surrealness at Goechela, you will start to head back. You will follow the same route and start for Tshoka. The day is long and you will be walking on a mixt trail of steep ascent and descent. After walking for around 8-9 hrs you will reach the campsite at Tshoka in the evening. Immerse in the solitude of this campsite for the one last time before you head back to the base camp.

Day 9 : Tshoka (9,800 ft.) to Yuksom (5,800 ft.) via Bakhim (8,650 ft.)

You will start descending from Tshoka to reach the base camp in Yuksom. The trail till you reach Sachen is a steep descent. The trail once you reach Sachen is a gradual walk with a few ascents and descents till you reach the village of Yuksom. You will also see the suspension bridge you crossed while ascending. The trail is mostly through the dense forest till the cardamom field appears followed by the first house of the village.

Day 10 : Drive back from Yuksom (5,800 ft.) to New Jalpaiguri/Bagdogra

Today you will bid goodbye to this quaint village of Yuksom and head to Siliguri for your onward journey. The distance of around 150 km is covered in 5-6 hrs.

How to reach the basecamp of Goecha La trek?

✈️ Nearest Airport – Bagdogra Airport, West Bengal

🚉 Nearest Railway Station – New Jalpaiguri Railway Station

The base camp of Goecha La Trek is Yuksom in West Sikkim. To reach Yuksom, you can travel by air or by train. Bagdogra, near Siliguri, is the nearest airport and has direct flights from all the major metro cities. Pakyong Airport is the only airport in Sikkim. However, the frequency of flights to Pakyong is minimal compared to Bagdogra. 

Travel Option 1 – By Air to Bagdogra, then by road to Yuksom

Sikkim boasts a functional airport located in Pakyong, situated in East Sikkim. However, flight frequency remains minimal due to the unpredictable nature of weather conditions in the region. For more reliable travel options, Bagdogra Airport in West Bengal serves as the nearest airport, offering direct flights from major cities. Plan to arrive at Bagdogra on Day 0. 

Travel Option 2 – By Train to NJP, then by road to Yuksom

The nearest railway station is New Jalpaiguri in West Bengal and is well connected to all the major cities. NJP is around 6 hrs away from Yuksom. If you prefer to travel by train, book a train that reaches on Day 0 evening. 

You will meet the OWLS team on Day 1 of your trek at the OWLS pick-up point in Bagdogra. The distance between Bagdogra and Yuksom is around 150 km. It takes about 6-7 hours to reach Yuksom. The drive to Yuksom starts from Siliguri in West Bengal. You enter the state of Sikkim in the Melli Check post. You will have River Teesta to keep you company till Melli. 

Yuksom is a small town in the foothills of Mt Kanchendzonga. This quaint town is of historic prominence. It was once the capital of the erstwhile Kingdom of Sikkim. The town has some of the most beautiful homestays to experience authentic Sikkimese life. 

Goecha La Trek Map

Goecha La trek map by gooutwithowls
Goecha La trek map by gooutwithowls

Goecha La Trek FAQ

What is the distance of Goecha La  Trek?

The total distance of the Goecha La trek is around 90km. The average distance you will cover is 6-8  km per day. It requires 10 days, including travel to and from the base camp to complete the distance comfortably.  Day 7 is the longest day of the trek. You start from Thansing (12,900 ft) to View Point 1 (15,000 ft) via Samiti Lake (14,100 ft)and descend back to Thansing. You will cover a total distance of 13 km on Day 7. 

Is Goecha La Trek suitable for beginners?

Goecha La is a demanding trek, and we do not recommend it to beginners. You will walk an average of 6- 8 hours every day and cover approximately 10 km. On long days, you will hike 8-9 km at an altitude above 12,000ft.

For a trek that spreads over 10 days and climbs from 5,840 ft to 15,000ft level, this trek requires prior experience of a high altitude trek. 

However, if you are a beginner with good physical fitness, you can consider the trek after consulting our Outdoor Leader. 

How difficult is Goecha La Trek?

Goecha La has long trekking hours with substantial altitude gain. It is categorized as a difficult trek. It climbs to an altitude of 15,100ft, and the trail is long and arduous. The trek demands prior experience to hike comfortably. 

Although the entire trail is well-paved track, the trek requires adequate preparedness on the trekkers’ part to tackle the high altitude and long walking hours.  

The difficulty of the trek depends a lot on your preparedness. This trek is ten days long and we suggest our trekkers come prepared for the trek.  Start your physical fitness a minimum of two months before the trek to trek comfortably. 

 

What will be the temperature in Goecha La trek?

In the spring months, the temperature in Goecha La ranges Between 12°C and 15°C during the daytime.  The campsites will have temperatures below  0°C and sometimes drop to  -3°C during the spring season. 

Find out about Goecha la Trek temperature here. 

What is the best time to visit Goecha La trek?

Goecha La remains accessible during two different seasons of the year. Spring and Autumn months are the best time to witness rhododendron blooms and grand mountain views. 

Read more about the best time to visit Goecha la Trek’s best time here. 

Will there be snow on the trek?

You will find the remains of the snow at higher altitudes if you plan the trek during the spring months. However, there will be no fresh snow on the trek. In autumn, there will be no snow on the trek.

What is the cost of Goecha La trek?

The Goecha La  trek cost is Rs. 19999/- 

The trek cost covers your experience from basecamp to basecamp. It also covers your accommodation and meals at the base camp and during the trek. 

Who can participate in the Goecha La trek?

Goecha La Trek is suitable for trekkers with prior experience in high-altitude treks.  It is a challenging trek and requires a good physical fitness level. 

If you are a beginner with an adequate fitness level, you can consider the Goecha La Trek. As the trail is taxing, people between the ages of 12-60 years can opt for this trek. We have zeroed down on this age as these are the minimum and maximum ages for OWLS participants. 

Can we do Goecha La  Trek on our own?

The Goecha La trek is challenging and has long hiking hours. The trek requires experienced guides to help you navigate the difficult terrain. If you plan to go solo on this trek, hiring a guide is a must to avoid any unforeseen situation. 

What is the altitude of Goecha La Trek?

Goecha La trek is at an altitude of 15,000ft. The trek starts from Yuksom, located at an altitude of 5840ft. 

Where is Goecha La Trek located?

Goecha La Trek is located in the West District of Sikkim.  The trek starts from a village called Yuksom. The famous Dzongri trek also begins in Yuksom. The trek takes you through the Kanchendzonga National Park, a biodiversity hotspot. 

FAQ

How should I prepare to avoid AMS?

The most important thing to do on a trek to avoid AMS is to drink water, more than your daily intake. Water is an excellent way to avoid AMS. Along with this, you should also have all the nutritious meals we provide on the trek. If you still are sceptical about getting AMS, we would advise you to carry Diamox tablets with you. However, according to the situation your Outdoor leader will advise whether or not you should take it.

I have a medical condition. Can I join the trek?

We encourage everyone to trek, even if or not they have a medical condition. We have an in-house doctor at OWLS with whom you can discuss your medical condition and accordingly, we can help you better prepare you for the trek.

What document do I need to carry?

Please keep the following documents ready before filling out this form

  1. ID proof
  2. Health form (for all participants of Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh treks) and (for all participants <15 and > 60 years of age)
  3. RTPCR for children <15 years/Vaccination certificate for adults (for Nepal treks)

Should I bring snacks to eat on the trek?

Although we provide filling breakfast, lunch, and dinner along with morning tea and evening snacks, you can carry some light snacks for munching on the trail. You can carry protein bars, dry fruits, and homemade snacks like Shakkarpara to help you give that extra energy on the trek. 

Who will be leading my trek?

All our Outdoor Leaders are trained and experienced leaders. They have completed basic Mountaineering Course, and are equipped with basic first-aid knowledge. Our leaders are certified Wilderness First Responder course

Do I need to get my medical kit for the trek?

You don’t need to carry your medical kit. If you have your prescribed medications, you need to carry them on the trek

What kind of arrangement is available for accommodation on the trek?

The accommodation will be on twin sharing basis. One tent will be shared by two trekkers. 

Is there any arrangement for offloading on the trek?

Yes. Communicate your requirement to the trek leaders beforehand, as it will be difficult to arrange to offload at the last minute. The offloading charges will be Rs 350 per bag, and your bag should not weigh more than 9 kg. 

Note: At OWLs, we suggest our participants carry their backpacks and avoid offloading. However, in case of pressing circumstances, you can opt for offloading.

Is there any option to keep our luggage at the base camp?

Yes, you can leave the extra luggage at the base camp. However, do not leave valuables like laptops, jewellery, or any other expensive items in the base camp. 

What will be the toilet facilities on the trek?

The OWLS team will set up a toilet tent near the campsites. The toilets will be dry toilets and you will have to use toilet paper. There will be a pit dug by the team and you will have to cover your nature’s call with dry soil. Avoid using wet wipes, as they are not biodegradable. At OWLS, we thrive to leave no trace in the mountains. 

At the base camp, you will have regular concrete toilets.

What will be the food arrangement on the trek?

The food offered will be as per the nutritional requirements. As you will be walking every day for 4-6 hours, you will be burning a good amount of calories. The team makes sure that the food you will be offered is healthy and helps you sustain through the day. The regular meal comprises eggs, locally grown vegetables, rice, roti, and pulses. The menu changes from day to day. 

What will be the status of the mobile network on the trek?

You will have access to most mobile networks in the base camp in Yuksom. We suggest our participants make important calls while at the base camp. There will be no signals throughout the trek.