Goechala Trek is a thrilling high-altitude trek located in the state of Sikkim. It takes you through some pristine locales while also challenging your skills during the steep ascents. One needs to be both physically and mentally fit for the challenges that come during the trek. However, despite the challenges, Goechala trek attracts the trekking enthusiasts as it offers some scintillating views of the grand Himalayan peaks which are mostly draped in a layer of snow. The peaks that can be seen during the trek are Mount Pandim, Mount Tenzinkhay, Kanchenjunga, Kabru, Koktang, Narsing, Jupono, Simro, and Kumbakarana. The entire trail brims with exotic beauty that comprises of lush meadows, dense forests, rhododendron and magnolia plantations, gushing streams and rivers, exciting challenges, and immense serenity.
Bagdogra International Airport (however the pickup can be changed as per the requirements)
85 Km Approx.
Goechala trek is one of the greatly treasured treks of the North-East region of the Indian subcontinent. The 360 degrees views presented at a few spots during the trek are the best part of the trek as it gives you an unparalleled sense of content when you see the snowclad peaks in their full grandeur with thick patches of clouds hovering over them and adding to their beauty. You get glimpses of the Himalayas and its various snowclad peaks which include Mt. Pandim, Kanchenjunga, Kabru South, Kabru North, Kabru Dome, Kangchendzonga, Gocha Jupano, Pandim, Sinvo, and Tenzingkhang. Moreover, the red rhododendrons, magnolias, the green meadows, thick forest covers, gushing rivers, bridges, the chirping of the birds, mind-blowing sunrises, and a sense of achievement when you climb the Goechala view point, make the trek a memorable one. The challenges that arise during the trek add an entirely different hue to it and make it more exciting and worth-remembering.
Reach Bagdogra Airport or New Jalpaiguri Railway station and join the company of your fellow trekkers as well as the trek lead. Then, start your drive towards Yuksom which is around 150 km long and takes around 8 hours to reach the destination. Along the way, you will be required to go through some necessary paperwork for your trek. If you are an Indian citizen, carry 2 passport sized photographs and fill in your details in the given forms. For foreign nationals, the rules differ a bit and they are required to get the Inner Line Permit (ILP).
After you reach Yuksom, check-in to your hotel and later you can spend the rest of your day exploring the locale and acclimatising your body for the adventure you are going to embark upon the following day. You can also shop for some necessities as there are plenty of shops in the region.
This is the day when trekking begins so make sure to have a filling breakfast. The trek from Yuksom to Sachen is approximately 8 km long and it takes trekkers around 4 to 6 hours to reach Sachen, which is located at an altitude of 7,200 ft. It starts from behind the forest check post at Yuksom and takes you through a beautiful landscape. The serene views of the Rathong river and the small huts are sure to impress you. The trail takes you through a dense forest and the highlight of this day’s trek will be watching the exotic Tshushay Khola falls which further get merged into the Prek river. As you reach the overnight campsite near the Prek river, freshen-up and enjoy a nice dinner. Later, call it a day by sleeping under the calming sound of the gushing river.
Start your day with a beautiful morning and a hearty breakfast. The trek for the day will be a tiring one as the trail gets steeper. Tshokha perches up to an elevation of 9,700 ft and the trekking distance for the day will be around 7km. As you start your trek towards Bakhim, it brings in the amazing views of Mount Pandim, Mount Tenzinkhay, magnolias, rhododendrons, and the prayer flags placed at the beginning of the Goechala trail. Bakhim will serve as your first destination for the day where you can take a break and you will also feel a drop in the temperature. A forest rest house as well as some food stalls can also be found there. You can also fill your water bottles at Bakhim and then, re-embark your journey towards Tshokha, which will be a mix of some steep ascents and descents.
As you reach the Tshokha campsite, be prepared to be swept off your feet with the majestic sight of the Himalayan peaks, especially Kanchenjunga and Pandim. Later, wrap up your day by having dinner and spending some time with your trek mates.
Phedang is situated at 10,500 ft. and the trek from Tshokha to Dzongri is around 9km long. If you plan your trek during springs, a very soothing view of the red rhododendrons and dense forest awaits you. The trek for the day tests the abilities of the trekkers as it becomes a bit difficult at certain spots. Phedang is located at the middle of the trail so you can take a break there and have lunch.
Soon after, you will be back on the trail and this time you must be careful enough while trekking as some part of it requires high steep climbing. One might also feel sickness, headache, and a loss of oxygen because of the increase in the altitude but soon enough, the body gets acclimatised. However, if the problems remain, it is advisable to consult the trek lead because such things, if ignored in the higher altitudes, may lead to some major complications.
After you reach Dzongri which is elevated at an altitude of 12,980 ft., you will get a spectacular view of the snow-covered Kanchenjunga range. This will serve as your campsite for an overnight stay where you can enjoy a delicious dinner under the beautiful night sky.
The fifth day of the trek will take to the Dzongri Top, perched at an elevation of 13,675 ft., and then to Thansing, located at 12,900 ft. It is advisable to start your day early as you have quite a lot to cover. So, after getting ready for the day and eating breakfast, start your climb towards the Dzongri Top where you will be welcomed with the picture-perfect views of the mighty Himalayan ranges. The picturesque scenery and the views of Kanchenjunga, Mount Pandim, Kabru, Koktang, Narsing, Jupono, Simro, and Kumbakarana will fill you with all kinds of positivity and energy. If you can manage, then the beautiful sunrise from the top is also something that must not be missed. The views from the top are almost surreal and an epitome of perfection.
After treating your eyes, start your trek towards Kokcharang which takes you through the lush meadows, deep forests, and rhododendron plantations. You will also find the Prekchu river flowing beside you during the trek and the trail ascends after you reach Kockchurang. The trail to Thansing goes through some rocks and boulders and after you reach your destination, have dinner and get a proper sleep in the camps.
The trek from Thansing to Lamuney, situated at 13,650 ft., is the most enjoyable part of the entire trek. It is an easy 2 km trek which does not require much efforts on the part of the trekkers. After you reach Lamuney, you can relax for a while and then explore the nearby region. Samiti lake is a beautiful lake located at a distance of around 2 km from the Lamuney campsite. You can add up to your experiences by visiting this magnificent lake. However, you will have to return to the campsite as camping near the lake is not permitted. So, visit the pristine lake, take some pictures, and soak in the music of nature. As you return to the campsite, enjoy your dinner and make sure to get a good night’s sleep as the following day will be a very significant day of the trek and will require all your energy and enthusiasm.
This is the most important day of the trek as the trekkers reach the most awaited destination of the trek i.e. Goechala, which is located at an altitude of 15,100 ft., and then return to Thansing. It is suggested that you leave the campsite during very early hours of the morning in order to enjoy the mesmerising sunrise. This day’s trek is the longest and the most tiring one out of all the treks done on the rest of the days so make sure to boost up your energy levels by having a healthy as well as a filling breakfast. Begin your journey towards Samiti lake and then continue on the steep ascent to Goechala. Reach the Goechala view point, taking all the measure and precautions, and feel your heart skip a beat after been struck with one of the most soul-stirring sunrises. To see the sunrise over the grand snowclad mountains is a sight to behold and cherish in the future. The amazing views of Mt. Pandim and Kanchenjunga accompanied by the sight of peaks like Kabru South, Kabru North, Kabru Dome, Kangchendzonga, Gocha Jupano, Pandim, Sinvo, and Tenzingkhang will leave you in awe.
Then, start the descend to Lamuney and then proceed to the campsite at Thansing where you can finally call off the day.
On the 8th day, begin the descend from Thansing and be very careful of the slopes. Moreover, it is advisable to descend slowly to avoid injuries. As you reach Phedang, take a break and have your lunch. Then, descend further and reach your campsite at Tshokha. On your way, you will also tread through dense forest cover, rhododendron plantations, and the soothing sound of Prekchu river.
Take the same path back that you had taken previously during the ascend, beginning from Tshokha. It is again a gradual as well as an easy descent. Then, take a quick lunch break on your way down while also enjoying the beautiful scenery. This is technically the last day of you Goechala trek journey so take it slow and enjoy every bit of it. Overnight stay is arranged in a hotel where you can also enjoy a delightful meal.
This is the final day that takes you back to New Jalpaiguri so, after enjoying the trek’s final meal, get ready for a 8 hours drive to reach New Jalpaiguri and bid adieu to your trek mates.
For Goechala Trek, if you plan on travelling by air, Bagdogra Airport is the nearest one to New Jalpaiguri and there are taxis available at the airport that will take you to your next destination.
By train, the nearest station to Yuksom is the New Jalpaiguri (NJP) railway station. You can either board a train to Kolkata from your starting point and then take a train from Kolkata to NJP or take a direct train to NJP (if available) from your starting point.