Goechala is a high pass (16,207 ft) in the Himalayas in Sikkim. The route to it takes you deep into the lap of the big mountains. The traditional route through the Kanchenjunga National Park till the Goechala Pass. But going till the pass is no longer possible. So the main highlights of the trek now are the Dzongri Top and View Point One. The farthest you can go on this route is till View Point 1. (Here’s why).
The best time for Goechala trek is in spring and autumn. Both seasons bring out a terrific side to this trek. In spring you see beautiful rhododendrons blooming in the forest section, the higher reaches covered in snow. In autumn, you are left stunned by the brilliantly sharp mountain views under clear blue skies. (Read in detail how Goechala looks in different seasons)
Goechala is not an easy trek. It climbs quickly and the total Goechala trek distance is close to 73 km in 8 days.
How to Reach Goechala
To get to Goechala you must first get to Yuksom in Sikkim. Your trek starts and ends here. Yuksom is about 150 km from the tri-junction of Siliguri, New Jalpaiguri (NJP) and Bagdogra in West Bengal.
Siliguri is the main city while NJP is the railway station of Siliguri and Bagdogra, its airport. The airport and railway station lie within 10 km of Siliguri.
You can reach NJP/Siliguri/Bagdogra by train or air. Where you reach depends on how you come.
By Train: You will reach NJP, which is the station area of Siliguri. Most trains to NJP come from Kolkata. The North eastbound trains from Delhi also come directly to NJP without touching Kolkata. The trains from both Kolkata and Delhi tend to get booked very quickly. It is best to book train tickets well in advance.
By Flight: The closest airport to Yuksom is Bagdogra. Bagdogra is Siliguri’s airport. Bagdogra has good connectivity from Kolkata, Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, and Hyderabad by air.
Goechala is not an easy trek. And the journey to the basecamp of Goechala -- Yuksom -- is long. If you are planning to trek to Goechala, it's advisable to reach Bagdogra/NJP/Darjeeling one day prior to your trek. That way you would get a good night's rest before setting off for the trek. For a trek like Goechala, that's important.