Gangtok-Yuksom- Goecha La Trek
Sikkim is one of the most favorite tourist destinations of India among tourists and travel enthusiasts. Because of its beauty and habitation in Himalayas, it provides a lot of diverse tourist destinations. The picturesque landscapes of Himalayas may fulfill your enthusiasm or may increase your desire of travelling vigorously.
Sikkim has distinguished biodiversity, lakes, rivers, valleys and mountain peaks etc. It also hosts Mt. Kanchenjunga which rises to 8,586 m or 28,169 feet from the sea level. It is the 2nd highest Mountain peak of India after K2 Mountain and third highest mountain peak on the Earth.
The Gangtok is considered to be a base for hikers and trekkers for going through Sikkim’s Himalayan mountain ranges. So fuel your craving of travelling or wanderlust by picking some tourist destinations of Sikkim for your next trip to the nature. Prepare your favorite bucket list from a variety of very well-known to some hidden jewels of Sikkim.
There are so many places in Sikkim which can be considered for visiting in at least 2 or 3 visits. Some most favorable places Tsomgo Lake, Nathu La, Baba Harbhajan Singh Temple, Rumtek Monastery, Lachung, Lachen, Gurudongmar Lake, Pelling, Namchi, Yuksom, Kanchenjunga Falls, Kanchenjunga National Park, Goecha La Trek, Zemu Glacier etc.
You can also consider some more nearby places like Kalimpong, Darjeeling of West Bengal or Thimphu, Bhutan to make your visit more memorable.
But if you like adventure tours then consider the most famous Goecha La Trek from Yuksom via Gangtok.
Best time to visit:
April to June or September to October
The best time to visit Sikkim starts through from April to June and September to October as the weather is pleasant and temperature ranges from 28-30 degree Celsius.
The monsoon months i.e. July and August are not considered very well for travelling because of heavy rain and landslides etc.
The weather during the winters i.e. from November to March is very harsh with temperature drops to subzero in some parts of Sikkim.
How to reach Gangtok, Sikkim:
The Bagdogra Airport, Siliguri, West Bengal is the nearest airport which is about 122 kms away from the capital of Sikkim i.e. Gangtok. The private taxi may charge around INR 2500-3500 from Bagdogra Airport to Gangtok.
The Pakyong Airport, Sikkim is just 28 KM away from Gangtok. SpiceJet is the only airline which operates its flights from Kolkata and Guwahati under Government’s UDAN Regional Connectivity Scheme.
The New Jalpaiguri is the nearest Railway Station which is about 120 kms from Gangtok. It is well connected with major cities of the country like Delhi, Kolkata and Guwahati.
There are regular bus services from Bagdogra or Siliguri or New Jalpaiguri to Gangtok which almost take 4 hours to reach there.
Where to stay:
There are several high-range, mid-range and Budget hotels available in the Gangtok which can be chosen according to the need and budget. Always consider your priorities like distance from the main market or tourist attractions, serene and calm environment or great landscapes or from the hotel you may see Mount Kanchenjunga Peaks.
The Government Circuit House, CPWD Guest house and State Guest House are also available which can be booked as per their procedure.
Important Suggestion: Decide your itinerary in advance because you have to take inner-line permit from the concerned authorities for visiting some important places in Sikkim. Accordingly, after reaching to Gangtok, talk to the Hotel Management Staff or your travel agent about your plan or go to Sikkim Tourist Centre, located at MG Road, for inner-line permit. The issuance of permit may take, atleast, a day. Photo identity proof and two passport size photos are required to get the permit.
What to see in Gangtok-Yuksom-Goecha La:
- Gangtok & Nearby
- Kanchenjunga National Park
- Lachen, Lachun & Nearby
- Gurudongmar Lake
- Tso Lhamo or Cholamu Lake
- Samiti Lake
- Goecha La
Goecha La Trek
The view of southeast face of Mt. Kanchenjunga, the world’s third highest mountain, from Goecha La, was featured on the Rs.100 old note.
Goecha La is a very famous mountain pass in Sikkim known for trekking and hiking. It gives you the glimpse of 14 Summits/ Peaks of the Himalaya. So plan a breathtaking adventure trip but a difficult trek through one of the greenest regions in the world. It passes through the thick forest of rhododendron, pine, oak, chestnut and maple trees of the Kanchenjunga National Park.
The National Park supports a fine ecosystem with numerous species of unusual flora and fauna. If you undertake this trek in spring Season i.e. April to June, you may feel that you entered in beautiful Rhodo Tunnel (Rhododendron Tunnel).
The trek itself is a challenging one in terms of distances to be covered in a day. Therefore, one needs to be physically fit and get properly acclimatized due to the huge changes in altitude over a small-time during this trek. The pass is still amazing to visit and one can view the beautiful Mt. Kanchenjunga from here along with a lot of other magnificent peaks.
The Goecha La trek starts from Yuksom. It is about 90 Km both ways and can be covered in 10-11 days. If you want to spend some time, leisurely, then add some more time, accordingly.
Yuksom is 85 Km from Darjeeling, 123 Km from Gangtok, 142 Km from Siliguri, 145 Km from New Jalpaiguri and 153 Km from Bagdogra Airport.
Day 1: From Home/Gangtok/Bagdogra to Yuksom (Base Camp)
Day 2: Yuksom to Sachen
Day 3: Sachen to Bakhim to Tshoka
Day 4: Tshoka to Phedang to Dzongri
Day 5: Rest in Dzongri (acclimatize for further Trek)
Day 6: Dzongri to Thansing
Day 7: Thansing to Lamuney
Day 8: Lamuney to Goecha La via Samiti lake pass & back
Day 9: Thansing to Phedang to Tshoka
Day 10: Tshoka to Bakhim- Sachen-Yuksom
Day 11: Yuksom to Gangtok
Day 1: From Home/Gangtok/Bagdogra to Yuksom (Base Camp)
Reach Yuksom (Altitude 5800 ft above sea level) from your home or Gangtok or Bagdogra or Siliguri etc. Take rest and get proper briefing from your travel agent or tour guide who will be with you during the entire Trek. Since, the Trek is difficult and you can’t go by yourself alone; you have to book a trekking tour from some agency.
A serene but a quiet village Yuksom located on the top of Kanchenjunga National Park. It is very popular among the tourists and pilgrims for its pristine beauty and rustic appeal. This place is also known as the ‘Meeting place of Three Lamas’. It has historical monuments, ancient monasteries, tranquil waterfalls and serene lakes. Dubdi Monastery, one of the oldest Sikkim monasteries, established in 1701, is just an hour’s trek from the village.
Day 2: Yuksom to Sachen (8km, Altitude 7200ft)
The actual trek starts from Yuksom which is known as the Gateway of Kanchenjunga. Several other enthralling treks to the Himalayas or the magical Kanchenjunga also start from Yuksom.
Enjoy local cuisine of this place and try yak cheese momos. The journey starts through the beautiful village along the Prek Chu River. Cross the first bridge Pha Khola over deep gorge before entering into the deep forest of oak, bamboo, pine and fir trees. Views of spellbound landscapes, beautiful river and bridges makes you mentally relaxed and pass the second bridge i.e. Tshushay Khola waterfall. Continue to your journey through forest upto the last bridge Mentogang Khola before reaching your first campsite at Sachen. Stay overnight in tents.
Day 3: Sachen to Bakhim to Tshoka (7 km, Altitude 9700ft)
Start your beautiful day crossing through the beautiful lush evergreen forest of rhododendron and juniper trees. Feel the breath of nature and spot variety of birds and animals. The trail will pass through a small hamlet Bakhim. It is surrounded by the forest of orchids, giant magnolia, ferns and rhododendron. A small tea shop is available for refreshments and refilling water from here.
Climb up to Tsokha, a small hamlet. Majestic views of Kanchenjunga, Ratong, Kabru and Koktang are waiting for you. Stay overnight at Tsokha in the lap of beautiful Mt. Kanchenjunga and its surrounding peaks.
Day 4: Tshoka to Dzongri via Phedang (9Km, Altitude 12980ft)
The trail surrounded by the beautiful rhododendron trees take you to Phedang. See the clear views of snow clad mountains and amazing landscapes. Have some refreshment at this excellent place with the wonderful views of the peaks. The trails continues through the forest and have another round of outstanding view of gigantic peaks from Dzongri like Koktang, Rathong, Kabru, Khangdendzonga and Pandim.
Day 5: Rest in Dzongri
Today take rest in Dzongri so that you can acclimatize and prepare yourself for further Trek.
Day 6: Dzongri to Thansing via Kokcharang (10km, Altitude-12900ft)
The beautiful trail takes you to Kokcharang and you may spot some unique bird species as it passes through the forest. Take a break, have some refreshment and move on. After crossing the Prekchu River and the green forest, you will reach Thansing. You will get astounding views of Pandim and Tiechen Khang Peaks. Overnight stay in the tents.
Day 7: Thansing to Lamuney (4 km, Altitude 13,650 ft )
The trail from Thansing to Lamuney is surrounded by the mountains. You will see the mesmerizing views of the Pandim Peak on the left, Jopuno and Tienchen khang Peaks on the right. After few hours of Trek you will reach Lamuney which is at the base of Pandim peak.
Day 8: Lamuney to Goecha La via Samiti lake pass & back (18 km, Altitude 16,000 ft)
Today’s trek is the longest one. You have to go to Goecha La via Samiti lake and return to the Lamuney back. Several glaciers and streams can be seen on the alongside of the trail. The view of the sunrise and natural beauty will mesmerize you.
Continuous walk through the side of the mountains and after steep descent takes you to the Goecha La Lake and thereafter Goecha La. Treat your eyes with the outstanding view of the Kanchenjunga in front of you. Spend some time in capturing the magic moments standing at Goecha La and natural beauty of this beautiful trek. After capturing memories in the form stunning pictures return to the camp at Thansing/ Kokcharang.
Day 9: Thansing/ Kokcharang to Tshoka via Phedang (16 km)
From Thansing/ Kokcharang descents and ascents between the beautiful forest and streams around will keeps you energetic and mesmerized. The downward trek from the thick forest leads you to Tsokha in few hours. Stay overnight in camp at Tshoka.
Day 10: Tshoka to Yuksom via Sachen – Bakhim (15 Km)
On the last day of your trek, the descent takes you to Yuksom via Sachen and Bakhim. You must be tired but overwhelmed and full of joy that you have completed a difficult trek where you learnt a lot about the nature which has engrossed vivid colours and lessons of life.
Day 11: Yuksom to Gangtok
Return to Gangtok or your sweet home it’s your choice but if you want to explore more in Sikkim then consider following articles:
Gangtok & Nearby
Read full article: Gangtok – a quick travel guide.
Kanchenjunga National Park (Stay in the jungle/Park).
Read full article: Gangtok to Kanchenjunga National Park.
Lachen, Lachun & Nearby
Read full article: Gangtok –Lachen-Lachun-Yumthang Valley.
Carry Essential Items:
- Trekking shoes: Trekking shoes have soles with good grip and ankle support.
- Backpack (40-60 litres): Backpack with sturdy straps, rain cover and a supporting frame.
- Daypack (20 litres): for local journey or visit.
- Full Sleeve Mountain hiking fleece (2 pairs)
- Full Sleeve Windproof Thick jacket (1)
- Trek pants (3 pair)- preferably synthetic quick-dry pants.
- Collared Shirts or T-shirts (3 pairs)- avoid vibrant colors.
- Thermal inners: (1 pair- upper and lower).
- Sunglasses: Curved ones will cover your eyes well.
- Hat: To protect your head, face, ears and neck from Sun burn.
- Synthetic hand gloves: (1 pair – fleece or woolen & 1 pair- water/wind resistant).
- Hiking Rain Poncho: Poncho is preferred over raincoat because it can cover your rucksack as well.
- Socks: (4 pairs) 2 cotton pairs, 2 woolen pairs
- Headlamp/LED torch: Mandatory
- Trekking Pole: Trekking pole is mandatory.
- Sunscreen with SPF 40+, moisturizer, light towel, lip balm, small soap, toilet paper
- Repair kit (needle & thread)
- Camera: Carry all accessories spare batteries, charger, etc.
- Cutlery: Carry a spoon, coffee mug and a lunch box.
- Water bottles: 2 bottles, 1 Litre each.
- Plastic covers: While packing, use plastic bags to compartmentalize things and carry few extra plastic bags for wet clothes.
- Personal Medical Kit (mandatory): as per your Doctor’s advice.
- Crepe bandage (3 to 5 meters), Gauze (1-2 bundle), Band aid 10 strips
- Cotton 1 small roll
- ORS 10 packets
- Betadine or any antiseptic cream
- Moov spray (aches, & sprains)
- Government issued photo identity card: Original and photocopy (2-3 sets)