Takeover Point: Delhi / Darjeeling
Duration: 11 - 12 Days
01: Yuksam -1,780 m.
Transfer: Gangtok to Yuksam - Approx 9 hours. Overnight
We leave early in the morning, on a long drive to Yuksam.
The rigours of this 9-hour drive is however offset by
the ever-changing scenary along the way. For the first
hour, we retrace our route till Singtam after which,
we take a right turn heading uphill towards the Temi
Tea gardens and then onto Rabongla a small town on a
hilltop from where we get our first close up view of
the Himalaya. Then finally getting to our destination
Yuksam, which is also our trek starting point.
Day 02: Bakkhim - 2744 m.
Trek: Yuksam to Bakkhim - 5 hours. Overnight camping
We walk gently uphill, following the Rathong River's
gorge, through dense mixed jungle with magnolia, rhododendron,
ferns and several varieties of orchids, brightly colored
birds, and the occasional monkey. After an hour or so
we cross the Paha Khola bridge, (1,733m./5,685ft.).
There is a swimming spot by a waterfall (for those who
dare!) after two hours, and we can stop for lunch by
a bridge over stream. Passing by sweet smelling viburnum
we cross the Prek Chu River and then ascend steeply
for two or three hours to arrive at the lodge at Bakhim.
We will either stay in the Tourist Hostel, or sleep
in our tents. This hostel is often occupied by Himalayan
Mountain Institute students on rock-climbing courses.
This is a long trekking day and you should expect to
be pretty tired by the time you arrive at Bakkhim.
Day 03: Phedang - 3760 m.
Trek: Bakkhim to Phedang - 4 hours. Overnight camping
We begin today’s walk by trekking for about one
hour up to the picturesque village of Tshoka. Tshoka
is home to a colony of Tibetan refugees who have erected
a small monastery by a small lake. A fairly steep climb
above Tshoka takes you into beautiful rhododendron forests,
and you continue along a well-defined uphill path to
Phedang (approx. 2/3 hours from Tshoka). Today we will
be doing a shorter trail since we will be gaining much
Day 04: Dzongri - 4320 m.
Trek: Phedang to Dzongri - 3 hours. Overnight camping
Another short day’s walking today as we are now
treading above the 4,000-meter mark. We will be setting
up camp by lunchtime and suggest that you spend a relaxed
afternoon acclimatizing. A brief climb beyond brings
you to a meadow where we can pitch our tents in a campsite
with views of Koktang, Rathong, Kabru, Khangchendzonga,
Simvo and Pandim. As usual on trek the choice of campsite
depends on many variables, one of the most important
is the close supply of water.
Day 05: Rest and Acclimatization. Overnight
Today we will explore the area, with the chance to climb
the small peaks near to the campsite for tremendous
views. This is particularly worthwhile in the early
morning and the evening. While you can rest if you wish,
there will be a short acclimatization walk around the
local area to help prepare us for the next few days.
Day 06: Thangshing - 3800 m.
Trek: Dzongri to Thangshing – 5 to 6 hours. Overnight
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 07: Samiti Lake - 4298 m.
Trek: Thangshing to Samiti Lake - 2½ hours. Overnight
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 is a beautiful emerald green
lake nestled in the midst of brightly colored wind-torn
Day 08: Goecha La
Trek to Goecha La (4,984 m.) and return to Samiti. Overnight
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 climbing 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 Samiti Lake.
Day 09: Tshoka - 3800 m.
Trek: Samiti to Tshoka – 7 to 8 hours. Overnight
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. Here there is a new trekking lodge we
passed on our way up that we shall hopefully use this
time. This, of course, saves a day on the return march,
but does involve quite a long day.
Day 10: Yuksam
Trek: Tshoka to Yuksam –5 to 6 hours. Overnight
Today you descend to the Prek Chu following the route
you took up on the first day, and then contour gradually
downwards to reach the village of Yuksam our starting
Day 11: Departure Transfer
After breakfast drive to your next point of the tour