Goechala Trek

Days
Day 1 : Pickup arranged from New Jalpaiguri to Yuksom (basecamp)
Day 2 - Day 7 : Trek to View Pt.1 via Samiti lake and back to Yuksom
Day 11 : Travel will be arranged from Yuksom (basecamp) to New Jalpaiguri
11
Difficulty
Best for previously experienced trekkers. Involves big altitude gains, many steep ascents and descents. Approx. 10 km covered everyday. Requires a high level of physical fitness. Eg. Being able to run 5 km in 35 minutes.
Moderate-Difficult
Trek Fee

Includes all costs while on the trek:

  • Expert trek leader and support team
  • Accommodation
  • All meals (delicious and vegetarian)
  • Quality trekking & safety equipment
  • Permits & camping charges

Does not include:

  • Expenses to and from the base camp

You'll need to bring:

  • Backpack
  • Trekking shoes
  • Suitable clothing
Rs. 16,650+ 5% GST

Overview

Why Goechala Is The Best Trek In India For Big Mountains Views

The biggest reason to do the Goechala trek is the grand views of big mountains that you see. You don’t just see one summit — the Kanchenjunga — but 14 other big summits. That’s a lot for any trek — especially as close to the eyes as on the Goechala trek. It is no wonder that trekkers consider Goechala to be the closest to the big mountain treks of Nepal.

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The Dzongri top is surrounded by a 360 degree view of big mountains. Picture by Milan Shet.

Sunrise on the Kanchenjunga Range

One of the biggest highlights of the Goechala trek is the sunrise seen on the Kanchenjunga range. Even though trekkers are not allowed all the way to the actual Goecha Pass, the view from View Point 1 and Dzongri is worth an arm and a leg!

Orange light on the Kanchenjunga at dawn. Picture by Ashish Bhatt
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First light of the day on the Kanchenjunga. Picture by Ashish Bhatt

Rhododendrons in March and April

The trail to Goechala is blessed with rhododendron forests. And come spring months of March and April, they burst to live with pink and red flowers! It’s an enormously pleasing walk through the wooden-log trails of these jungles!

Walking through the rhododendron forests on the trail to Goechala is a delight in March and April. Picture by Sachin Jha
The beautiful wooden-log trails on the Goechala trek. Picture by Sachin Jha

The Samiti Lake

The Samiti Lake is another big attraction on the Goechala trek. The view of the still waters, and the reflection of Mt Pandim in the lake, especially in the early hours, is a visual treat.

Trekkers standing by the Samiti Lake. Picture by Anirban Sengupta

Foreigners on the Goechala trek

Foreigners must reach Yuksom, the base camp, 1 day before the regular reporting of the batch. This is required to obtain the foreigner trek permit from Gangtok. This is a Government of Sikkim requirement. The permit costs Rs.2,000. This amount is to be handed over to the Indiahikes representative at Yuksom, who will get the permit issued.

Foreigners have to register for the trek in a group of 2 and above.

Permits required for the Goechala trek

  1. The ILP (Inner line Permit or Sikkim permit) for foreigners. Check this link for more details – http://sikkim.nic.in/homedept/ilpfaqs.htm. You can obtain these outside the Bagdogra airport or at the checkpost before entering Sikkim from Silguri. This has to be obtained by the trekkers.
  2. Trek permit for all trekkers – Obtained at the forest check post at Yuksom. Fee varies for students (id card required), regular Indian citizens (id proof required) and foreginers.
  3. Special trek permit for foreigners Foreigners need to obtain a special permit at Gangtok to trek in Sikkim. Indiahikes can help you obtain this permit. Kindly reach Yuksom a day before the trek batch starts. The charges of obtaining the permit will be Rs.2 ,000 per person and has to be paid to our representative who will meet you at Yuksom. 
  4. Citizens of China, Myanmar and Bangladesh are not permitted to trek in this area.

Please look at the packing list for details about the documents to be carried.

Click here to read blogs on the Goechala trek!

Banner image by Nitesh Chhabra

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Itinerary

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SHORT ITINERARY

Day 1: Reach Yuksom; 6-8 hours drive from NJP. Transport from NJP will be arranged at 9.30 am. Cost of cab – Rs.5,500 per vehicle.

Day 2: Yuksom (5,643 ft) to Bhakim/Sachen (8,654 ft); 5 hours

Day 3: Bhakim (8,654 ft) to Tshoka (9,701 ft); 4 hours

Day 4: Tshoka (9,701 ft) to Dzongri (13,024 ft) via Phedang (12,083 ft); 6 hours

Day 5: Acclimatisation Day. Dzongri (13,024 ft) to Dzongri top (13,778 ft) and back to Dzongri; 3 hours

Day 6: Dzongri (13,024 ft) to Thansing (12,946) ft via Kockchurang (12,152 ft); 6 hours

Day 7: Thansing (12,946 ft) to Lamuney (13,743 ft); 2 hours

Day 8: Lamuney (13,743 ft) to View Point One (15,100 ft) via Samiti Lake, back to Kockchurang / Thansing (12,152 ft / 12,946 ft); 12 hours

Day 9: Kockchurang / Thansing (12,152 ft / 12,946 ft) to Tshoka (9,701 ft); 6-7 hours

Day 10: Tshoka (9,701 ft) to Yuksom (5,643 ft); 6 hours

Day 11: Drive from Yuksom (5,643 ft) to NJP. You will reach NJP by 5 pm.

Please note that you will be staying at a guest house in Yuksom. The stay on all other days is in tents (3 per tent).

It is mandatory for trekkers to carry a copy of their photo id for entry at forest check posts on the trek.

Day 1: Reach Yuksom
  • Altitude: 5,643 ft (1,720 m)
  • Time taken: 6-8 hours drive from New Jalpaiguri

The Goechala trek starts at Yuksom, a fairly large settlement in West Sikkim. It was once the capital of Sikkim – this shows in the culture of the town.

There are two things that you need to do at Yuksom before the trek begins. One, make an entry at the police station. For this you need a photo identity proof with three photo copies. Two, you need to pay the permit fees at the forest check post (trekkers do this in the morning when they are starting the trek). The fee to be paid is broken down into small elements like tent, porter, yak and other charges. Camera charges are extra. It can get somewhat confusing, but the net amount will boil down to about Rs 700 per person. Your Trek Leader will help you with this.

If you’re a foreigner, different rules apply. The details are mentioned at the end of this page.

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From Bhakim, get wonderful views of the forest and the Yuksom valley. PC: Sadguru
Day 2: Yuksom to Sachen/Bhakim
  • Altitude: 5,643 ft (1,720 m) to 7,200 feet (2,195 m)/8,654 ft (2,638 m)
  • Time taken: 5-5.5 hours; 8-9 hours if Bhakim
  • Trek gradient: Moderate-difficult. Gradual climb for 2.5 hours after which the trail becomes steeper up to Sachen. 45 minutes of level walk followed by a descent to a bridge leads to a trail that ascends steeply to reach Bhakim.
  • Water sources: Carry 2 litres of water from Yuksom. You will cross streams intermittently where you can refill your water bottles.

The trail, though passing through the fringes of the forest is exposed for about half hour. Midway through the exposed trail, look for a shelter on your right. From here onwards it is half hour to the first bridge over the Pha Khola.By the time the trail gets to Pha Khola, you are well into the thick of the forest and the coolness envelopes you at all times. The gently undulating trail climbs gradually.

Picture taken just after crossing Sachen by Sadguru Prajapathy

The next hour and half is a pleasant walk through the moist jungle until suddenly on your left the Tshushay Khola falls in a series of mini waterfalls joining the Prek below. 50 meters later a large iron bridge spans the Tshushay Khola. After the bridge the trail begins to climb more noticeably.

An hour later, watch for another small cement bridge over the Mentogang Khola (you won’t find a board telling you the name). You are already at 7,100 feet and it is only twenty minutes from here to the log hut of Sachen.

Sachen at 7,200 feet is a small clearing where a single log hut and a shelter on the trail exist. The log hut a few meters below the trail. The hut has room enough for about 6-7 and a small area to cook. For a larger team, look for the clearing just above the trail opposite the shelter. The Prek, runs below campsite and is not visible to the eye, though you can hear it faintly rushing below.

Day 3: Bhakim to Tshoka
  • Altitude: 8,654 ft (2,638 m) to 9,701 ft (2,957 m)
  • Time taken: 3-4 hours; 5-5.5 hours if you start from Sachen
  • Trek gradient: Moderate. Initial 40 minutes of ascent from Bhakim in a series of long switchbacks after which the trail eases off into a gradual climb.
  • Water sources: Carry sufficient water from Bhakim/Sachen

Take the trail that begins to climb to the left of the bridge. The trail climbs sharp through a mixed oak forest until the wide switchbacks level somewhat half hour later at the sight of the first rhododendrons. The altitude gain is rapid and the air gets cooler perceptively. Soon the trail climbs to the ridge and stays there until you get to Bhakim another half hour later. From the Prek, it takes an hour to get to Bhakim. The total distance is only a kilometer but feels a lot longer.

Bhakim has a Forest Rest House and some trekkers like staying at Bakhim – simply for its view of the Yuksom valley. Finding the caretaker is a struggle and most trekkers move on to Tshoka which is another hour away.

Bhakim has a lovely tea stall where the owner dishes out some snacks as well. With a well deserved rest, start your climb to Tshoka. Follow the trail just behind the Forest Rest House. The trail again climbs in a series of long switchbacks, overlooking Bhakim until forty minutes later it dives around a ridge to move to the other side of the hill.

At over 9,000 feet high, rhododendron trees abound everywhere. The trail gets dark from the overhanging trees and meanders for another ten minutes. It suddenly pops out to a plateau and the trekkers hut of Tshoka. There’s also a flat camping area to the left of the trekkers hut. The trekker’s hut is a pretty long wooden building that has four rooms – enough space to house more than 20 trekkers. Alternatively, trekkers can stay at the Forest Rest House slightly uphill.

Spend some time exploring Tshoka. Slightly uphill are the cafes where trekkers can try the local malt beer Tumba.  Ask the café owners for the keys to the monastery.

Follow the trail as it leads out of Tshoka, cross the small wooden bridge over the pond and head to the monastery. It is a quiet place worthy of a quick visit. There are just a handful of Tibetan families living here.

What will take your breath away is the view of the snow-clad peaks of the Kangchenjunga range stretching right behind you – with Mt Pandim dominating the skyline. For most trekkers this is the view of the day. You can climb a little higher to get wonderful panorama shots of the pond and the peaks.

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The Tshoka campsite at night. Picture by Dhaval Jalal.
Day 4: Tshoka to Dzongri via Phedang
  • Altitude: 9,701 ft (2,957 m) to 12,083 ft (3,683 m) to 13,024 ft (3,970 m)
  • Time taken: 5-6 hours
  • Trek gradient: Difficult. 30 minutes of steep climb followed by a gradual ascent, after which the trail again climbs steeply for 20 minutes to reach Phedang. 1 hour ascent from here followed by a gentle descent brings you to Dzongri.
  • Water sources: Carry 2 litres of water from Tshoka since it will be difficult to find a source on the trail.

Like yesterday, climb up to the little pond leading to the monastery, and then follow the trail that runs to its right. The trail begins to climb sharply and within minutes Tshoka is a tiny hamlet below you. Red rhododendron trees spring up everywhere. If you are in season when the flowers bloom (May 1st/2nd week), then the entire slope lights up with a fiery red colour. After a stiff climb for about 30 minutes, the trail evens out to a gradual climb.

The rhododendron forests on the trail. Picture by Sadguru

The trail changes to one paved over wooden logs. It is a delight with rhododendrons fanning the path. Little wooden benches line on either side of the trail – which makes the trail look like it is in a park. Sometimes mist filter in surreally through the rhododendron trees. Even in this magical setting the trail climbs throughout and trekkers feel the altitude. The log path gives way to a regular stony trail that climbs quickly to Phedang in 20 minutes.

Phedang, at 13,000 feet, is a large clearing with superb views of the snow-clad mountains. A log hut and a few wooden benches dot the landscape. Stop here for lunch and a well-deserved rest. The trail forks at Phedang with one that goes right, leading to Kockchurang. Water is available from a spring slightly lower on the trail to Kockchurang. The spring is 10-15 minutes away on a lower trail.

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River Prekchu at Kockchurang. Picture by Anirban Sengupta

Take the trail to Dzongri that starts across the clearing. The trail starts to climb immediately along the dwarf rhododendrons that line the slope. The views start getting better with every step, but watch for a few muddy patches on the trail. After a bout of rain, you need to skip your way around them. It is a ridge climb, so the trail switches between the alternating sides of the hill. Watch for the view change between the Pandim ranges and the Kabru. An hour later, the climb tops at a shrine with multitude of prayer flags. This is the highest point of the days trek at 13,080 feet.

Take a brief rest at the shrine and follow the trail that gently descends towards Dzongri. For most parts the trail undulates with the first patches of snow lining the roots of the dwarf rhododendrons around you.

The Dzongri trekkers hut appears suddenly at the bend in the trail. A gentle clear stream runs by the side of the hut. There are plenty of camping grounds around Dzongri but the hut itself can take in 30 trekkers at a time.

Dzongri is a welcome sight for trekkers after the hard climb from Tshoka. At 12,980 feet trekkers feel the affect of altitude at the Dzongri meadows. Dzongri is a large cauldron, mostly meadows, surrounded in all directions by the mighty peaks of the Kanchenjunga range. In every direction is a snow peak to be looked at and admired. For most trekkers Dzongri is a reward on its own. Many finish their trek at Dzongri and head back the way they came.

 

 

Day 5: Dzongri  to Dzongri Top. Rest day at Dzongri
  • Altitude: 13,024 ft (3,970 m) to 13,778 ft (4,203 m)
  • Time taken: 45 minutes climb to Dzongri Top

The day starts with a climb to Dzongri top. Dzongri top i.e at 13,778 ft, is the highest point from where you get the 180 degree panaromic view of the mighty peaks of the Singalila and Kanchenjunga ranges.

Dzongri top is a two hill climb from the Dzongri trekkers hut. The trek from Dzongri to Dzongri top takes about 45 mins. The sun rises at 5 am and you don’t want to miss seeing the first rays of sun hitting Kangchenjunga. Start your trek at 4.00 a.m with torch lights and you reach the top just as the dawn breaks.

As you climb up, the peaks of the Singalila range begin to open up and just at the bend before the top, the Kangchenjunga and its neighbours make their appearance. Witness an inspiring sunrise and spend time watching the mountains changing colours in the sun rays.

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Big mountains seen from the Dzongri meadows. Picture by Arjun Majumdar

Spot Thansing, the destination for the next day, Lamuney and Goechala peaks below you. On the other side, the green rhododendron slopes extend for miles.

Retracing your path to Dzongri  takes 20 mins.

Day 6: Dzongri to Thansing via Kockchurang
  • Altitude: 13,024 ft (3,970 m) to 12,152 ft (3,704 m) to 12,946 ft (3,946 m)
  • Time taken: 5-6 hrs
  • Trek gradient: Moderate. Gentle descent for about 2 hours followed by a steep descent to Kockchurang. Continuous ascent from here to Thansing.
  • Water sources: Carry 2 litres of water from Dzongri. The only water source on the way where you can refill your water bottles will be at Kockchurang.
The trail to Dzongri. PC: Nirantharajith

In half an hour, rhododendron shrubs occupy the slopes again. The gentle to medium descent continues over 2 hours. The rhododendron shrubs suddenly give way to rhododendron forest. The descent becomes steep and you lose more than 500 ft. The forest is a good place to spot birds. Walk through silently and spot birds camouflaged in the browns and greens of the forest.Kockchurang springs up at the end of the descent. Just there, find a route through the forest going right. It goes to Phedang. Kokchurang has a trekker hut but no real place to pitch tents. The Prekchu river flows next to the trekker hut 50 meters away. By the banks of the river, amidst the rocks, 4-5 tents can be pitched. The small campsite though feels lovely. In the evening, expect mist hanging over the river and the tents enveloped in the mist with the sound of the fast river below makes it a great camping experience.

The trekker hut at Kokchurang has two big halls on the sides capable of handling 10-12 trekkers each and a central hall which can serve as the cooking area.

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Trekkers walk towards Thansing, with Mt Pandim towering over them. Picture by Kartik Chandramouli

From Kokchurang, walk down to the bridge across Prekchu. Spend some time on the bridge experiencing the cool breeze of the river. The water below looks icy blue. On the other bank, you have the rhododendron forest again. They flower in June but at any time, the moss lined trees with their branches spreading out in all directions make it a fairy tale walk.  There is a trekking trail but no lined path. The gradient increases and it is an ascent through out. The distance between the bridge and Thansing is 2kms. By midway forests end and the landscape becomes rocky and barren. At the end of the climb is Thansing– a big meadow. There is a dilapidated trekker hut at the entrance of the flat meadow. The hut can be used as a kitchen but tents would be needed to stay. The open meadow can host any number of tents. You are right in front of Pandim and the left wall of Kangchenjunga here. Thansing can be cold in the night.

Day 7: Thansing  to Lamuney
  • Altitude: 12,946 ft (3,946 m) to 13,743 ft (4,189 m)
  • Time taken: 2 hours
  • Trek gradient: Easy. Gradually ascending trail which suddenly becomes steep towards the end as you approach Lamuney.
  • Water sources: Carry sufficient water from Thansing. You will not require a refill since it’s a short trek today.
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A trekker takes in a glimpse of Mt Pandim on the way from Thansing to Lamuney. Picture by Raj Gopal

You may choose to trek further to Samiti lake and spend an hour there. The trail ascends from Lamuney and it is a 45 minute stiff climb to the Samiti lake. Notice the terrain being rocky all through the ascent. The climb suddenly flattens out and the deep blue waters of the lake come into the picture. Move closer to the shore of the lake and the blue does not change. If  it is windy, the lake has waves too. Take a walk around the lake and sit beside its serene waters. The Samiti lake shores are home to mountain goats and blue birds which you are most likely to spot.

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The Samiti Lake. Picture by Raghu Srinivasa.
Day 8: Lamuney  to View Point 1 and back to Kockchurang/Thansing
  • Altitude: 13,743 feet (4,189 m) to 15,100 ft (4,602 m) back to 12,152 ft (3,704 m)
  • Time taken: 12-14 hours
  • Trek gradient: Moderate. Continuous ascent of 2 hours to reach view point 1.
  • Water sources: Stay well hydrated and carry 2 litres of water before beginning the summit climb as well as before the descent to Kockchurang/Thansing. There will be no water source on either stretch.
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A grand view of Lamuney. Picture by Sadguru Prajapathy
Notice put up at View Point 1 prohibiting trekkers from going any further.

This is the longest day of the trek and so start your day really early at 3 am to give you multiple advantages.

– A 3 a.m start ensures that you reach the first view point or the sunrise point right in time to see the first run rays hitting Kangchenjunga.

– It also makes it easier to walk on the moraines that you find after the sunrise point as the snow is still hard.

 – The probability of getting good views are higher in the mornings.

– Lastly gives you enough time to spend at View Point One and return to Samiti by 8 am, where you get some more time.

The trail to View Point One is a moderate ascent. You can break up the ascent into two sections. One, up to Samiti Lake and the next to View Point One.

The highlight of this day would be the spellbinding view of the sun rising on the Kanchenjunga range. The soft alpenglow on the mountain top is a sight that will say etched in your mind.

A trekker breaks down at the sight of sunrise on Mt Kanchenjunga. Picture by Dhaval Jajal

Next, the early morning reflection in the Samiti Lake. This crisp reflection of the surrounding mountains is something photographers should look out for. Try and time yourself to reach Samiti by 8 am while returning from View Point 1. This should allow you a good one hour to spend time by the lake side.

From there, retrace your steps back to Kockchurang / Thansing.

Day 9: Kockchurang to Tshoka
  • Altitude: 12,152 ft (3,704 m) to 9,701 ft (2,957 m)
  • Time taken: 6-7 hours
  • Trek gradient: Difficult. Relatively flat trail to Phedang for about 4 hours followed by descent to Tshoka.
  • Water sources: Stay well hydrated and carry 2 litres of water from Kockchurang since there is no water source on the trail today.
View from Kockchurang. PC: Somaditya Ghosh

Take the diversion to the left inside the forest instead of climbing up to Dzongri. The trail remains mostly flat with small descents and ascents only to switch between mountains. Rhododendron trees line your way all along and the Prekchu flows below. Look left and at a number of places you get lovely views of Mt. Pandim and its neighbours. Phedang is 10 kms away and this is one of the longest trails between two known campsites. It takes about 4 hours to reach Phedang.

The first phase is new and interesting. The trail goes on the flank on the mountain all along and you move from one mountain to another to another maintaining a constant altitude of 12,000ft all along. Kokchurang, Phedang and most of the trail, are all at 12,000ft!

From Phedang you retrace the descending trail to Tshoka. The days trek takes about 6-7 hours on an average.

Day 10: Tshoka to Yuksom via Bhakim and Sachen
  • Altitude: 9,701 ft (2,957 m) to 8,654 ft (2,638 m) to 5,643 ft (1,720 m)
  • Time taken: 6 hours
  • Trek gradient: Moderate. Continuous descent to Sachen, followed by an undulating trail to Yuksom.
  • Water sources: Carry sufficient water from Tshoka. You will cross a few streams where you can refill your water bottles.
Sunrise from Tshoka

Retrace your way from Tshoka to Yuksom. Its much faster and easier than your trek up. Sachen comes up quickly being a pure descent. From Sachen the trail goes up and down generally losing altitude. The last stretch has a few climbs which makes you wonder but its soon over and you find yourself back in the friendly Yuksom neighbourhood.

Day 11 :Yuksom to NJP

Leave Yuksom early morning and reach NJP by 4.00 – 5.00 pm.

What's included?

What you need to know about the trek fee

The trek fee of Rs. 16,650 + 5% GST covers all costs of the trek from Yuksom to Yuksom.

Here is what the trek fee includes:

  1. Accommodation – Stay is included from Day 1 to Day 10 (Yuksom to Yuksom). You will be staying in a lodge at Yuksom and camping on remaining days of the trek (3 per tent).
  2. Meals – All meals from dinner at Yuksom on Day 1 to breakfast at Yuksom on Day 11 are included. We provide simple, nutritious vegetarian food on all days of the trek.
  3. Camping charges – All trekking permits and forest camping charges are included.
  4. Trekking equipment – You will stay in high quality tents and sleeping bags in all the camps. Our high altitude sleeping bags can withstand temperatures as low as -10 ºC. We provide ice axes, roped, micro spikes, gaiters etc. as required.
  5. Safety equipment – First aid, medical kit, oxygen cylinders, stretchers etc. will be available at all campsites to deal with emergencies.
  6. Services of an expert Trek Leader – All our trek leaders are qualified in basic / advanced mountaineering courses.
  7. Services of an expert Trek Team – The mountain staff on this trek consists of well trained guides, cooks, helpers and porters.

Here is what the trek fee excludes:

  1. Transport to and from the base camp – We will arrange shared taxis for trekkers to pick you up from New Jalpaiguri Railway station and drop you back from Yuksom. This will cost approx. Rs. 5,500 per 5-6 seater vehicle one way. You will have to share this cost with the other trekkers
  2. Food during transit to and from the base camp – The trek fee does not include meals purchased during the journey to and from Yuksom.
  3. Backpack offloading charges – If you wish to offload your backpack, there will be an additional charge of Rs. 2,475 + 5% GST. The backpack cannot weigh more than 9 kg. Suitcases/strolleys/duffel bags will not be allowed. Please note that charges will vary for last minute offloading in case you decide to offload your bag after reaching Yuksom (Rs.375 per day inclusive of taxes). Online offloading in advance is possible up to two days prior to the trek start date.
  4. Stay at New Jalpaiguri on the last day 
  5. Personal expenses of any kind
  6. Anything apart from inclusions

Get Yourself Fit

How to get fit for the Goechala trek

Goechala has been graded as a difficult trek. On most days, you are covering 20 kms in high altitude. Trekking for 20 kms each day with a backpack on can tire out even the most hardy trekkers. This trek demands you to be in your top physical condition.

Cardiovascular endurance – Target 10 km in 60 minutes before the start of the trek
On Goechala trek, you are trekking an average of  20 km each day in a terrain that is not too friendly. On the first three days of the trek, you have to cover an average of 11 km every day, gaining a good amount of altitude. That’s a long distance to cover, with steep ascents. This requires a good amount of endurance and stamina. You can begin by jogging everyday. Start slow and increase your pace everyday. Swimming, cycling and stair climbing without too many breaks in between can help too.

In order to be prepared for a high altitude trek, you should have a combination of distance and speed targets.

Here’s a fitness routine that works:

In case you’re just starting with a regular fitness routine, phase out your distance targets in the following manner –

–>Target completing 5 km in 35 minutes when you begin.
–> Gradually increase your pace by running 4 times a week and bring it down to 5 km in less than 35 mins.
–>If you are above 45 years and is comfortable with brisk walking, then target covering 10km in 90 minutes.

If you are somebody you prefers cycling over running, then try to cover 22 km in 60 minutes.

How to send us a proof of your fitness routine?

Record your run on an app like Nike Run. Start recording your run when you start running. At the end of your run, hit the stop button.

Take a screenshot of the summary of your run. We will need a detailed split of each kilometre of your run. This is usually integrated in all running apps.

Note: Make sure your GPS is on when you record your run. If the GPS is off, we will not accept the screenshot.

Upload two screenshots 10 days prior to the start of the trek — one of you covering 5km in less than 35 mins along with your picture and the other with splits of your run.

Strength – Target 4 sets of squats with 20 in each

This is an important area you need to work on. At the end of this trek, you would have completed a 100 kms in 6 trekking days.   For a trek like this, you must strengthen your core muscles. To strengthen your legs, start with 3 sets of squats with 15 squats in each set and work towards reaching your target in 3 weeks.

Flexibility

Flexibility determines the amount of movement your bones can make in any direction around joints such as shoulders, elbows, hips and knees.
It is an aspect that will help you trek comfortably. Stretching your hamstrings, quadriceps, hip flexors and lower back muscles regularly, promotes relaxation in the tissues reducing the strain on your back.  On your trek, it is important that you arrive on the slopes with your muscles relaxed. Carrying a backpack, however light, for a 100 kms trek can become a strain. These exercises will help you to be in good shape before the trek.

Here’s a guide to help you get fit for the trek.

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Also consider HIIT training regime for a trek like this one.

Things To Take

 What to take on the Goechala trek

Click here to buy trek equipment.

Bare necessities

  1. Trekking shoes: For this ten day long trek you need trekking shoes with good grip that won’t wear out. You can watch this video to help choose the right trekking shoes.
  2. Backpack (40-60 litres): A backpack with sturdy straps and a supporting frame. Rain cover for backpack is essential.

Clothes

On a trek, carry fewer clothes than you would normally need. Do not pack for ‘what if situations’. That will only add to the weight of your backpack and not be used on the trek. Once your clothes get warmed up on a trek, you will not feel like changing. Just maintain personal hygiene.

  1. Three warm layers: You experience strong cold winds especially in the months of September and October. You will need at least three warm layers (two lights layers such as fleece and woolen and one padded jacket) for this trek.
  2. Three trek pants: Wear one pair and carry two pairs. Denim/jeans and shorts are not suitable for trekking.
  3. Three collared t-shirts: Carry light, full sleeved t-shirts that prevent sun burns on the neck and arms. Again, wear one and carry one. Let one of these be a dri-fit t-shirt. It will dry quickly in case you are trekking on a rainy day. A common mistake that trekkers make is not changing their tshirts often enough. Regardless of how cold it is, the body tends to sweat a lot. Trekkers who don’t change to fresh clothes after reaching the campsite fall ill due to wet clothes and are often unable to complete their trek. 
  4. Thermals (Optional): Those who are more susceptible to cold can carry thermals to wear at night.

Accessories

  1. Sunglasses: Sunglasses are to prevent snow blindness. These are more important in April and May. There might be snow at the upper campsites regardless of the season. So carry a pair of sunglasses.
  2. SuncapThe sun is intense at higher altitudes and a sun cap is absolutely essential to keep your face and neck safe from sun burns.
  3. Synthetic hand gloves: One pair of fleece or woolen hand gloves. One pair of water proof gloves.
  4. Balaclava: You may use woolen scarves instead as well.
  5. Socks (2 pairs): from two sports socks, you can take a pair of woolen socks for the night.
  6. Headlamp/LED torch: Mandatory
  7. Trekking pole: Watch this video to understand why you need a trekking pole.

Others

  1. Daypack (20 litres): If you are offloading your backpack, you will need a smaller backpack to carry water, medical kit and some light snacks.
  2. Toiletries: Sunscreen, moisturiser, light towel, lip balm, toilet paper, toothbrush, toothpaste, hand sanitiser. Do not carry wet wipes since these are not biodegradable. If you do happen to use wet wipes to clean up after a trek, make sure you bring them back with you. The same holds for used sanitary napkins. Carry a zip lock bag to put used wet tissues and napkins. Bring this ziplock bag back with you to the city and do not dispose wet tissues and sanitary napkins in the mountains.
  3. Cutlery: Carry a spoon, coffee mug and a lunch box. We insist on trekkers getting their own cutlery for hygiene reasons.
  4. Two water bottles: 1 litre each
  5. Plastic covers: While packing, use plastic bags to compartmentalize things and carry few extra plastic bags for wet clothes.

Mandatory Personal Medical Kit 

  1. Diamox – 10 tablets (to prevent AMS)
  2. Dexamethasone – one strip
  3. Nifedipine – 5 tablets
  4. Crocin – 6 tablets (fever)
  5. Avomine – 4 tablets (motion sickness)
  6. Avil 25mg – 4 tablets (allergies)
  7. Combiflam – 4 tablets (Pain killer)
  8. Norflox TZ & Lomofen– 6 tablets each (diarrhea)
  9. Digene – 10 tablets (acidity)
  10. Omez/ Rantadine – 10 tablets (antacids)
  11. Crepe bandage – 3 to 5 meters
  12. Gauze – 1 small roll
  13. Band aid – 10 strips
  14. Cotton – 1 small roll
  15. ORS – 10 packets
  16. Betadine or any antiseptic cream
  17. Moov spray (aches, & sprains)
  18. Knee cap, if you are prone to knee injury
  19. Anti fungal powder

Mandatory Documents

Please carry the below documents. Documents need to be downloaded (PDF), filled in, signed and handed over to the trek leader at the base camp. Please note there is no facility to get print outs and photocopies at Yuksom.
Indians:
  • Original and 3 photocopies of government photo identity card
  • 3 passport size photos
  • Original and 3 photocopies of Medical Certificate (first part to be filled by a doctor and second part by the trekker) – Download PDF
  • Original and 3 photocopies of Disclaimer form (to be filled by the trekker) – Download PDF

Foreigners:

  • Original and 4 copies of ILP
  • Original and 4 copies of passport
  • Original and 4 copies of visa
  • ​4 passport size photos
  • Original and 4 photocopies of Medical Certificate (first part to be filled by a doctor and second part by the trekker) – Download PDF
  • Original and 4 photocopies of Disclaimer form (to be filled by the trekker) – Download PDF
If you’re shopping or packing for the trek, you can download this quick and simple checklist for offline use.

 

indiahikes-equipment

Here’s a guide to help you pack for the trek – 

MAP & Getting There

How to get to the basecamp – Yuksom

Delhi → NJP Railway Station → Yuksom

The Goechala trek starts from Yuksom. Yuksom is a nice quaint hill station and for those who want to avoid the hustle bustle of Darjeeling. Yuksom is 85 km away from Darjeeling.

Indiahikes will organise transport from New Jalpaiguri to Yukson. Pick up will be from NJP Railway Station at 9.30 am on Day 1. The cab cost will be Rs.5,500 per vehicle. This is not included in the trek fee. It is to be shared amongst trekkers and paid directly to the driver.

You will reach Yuksom at around 5.00 pm.

To reach Sikkim

From Delhi

  • North East Exp — Train No 12506 (Departure – 6.45 am; Arrival at NJP – 8.20 am)
  • Brahmputra mail — Train No 14056 (Departure – 23.40 pm; Arrival at NJP – 4.55 am the next day )

From Kolkata [Howrah]

  • Kamrup Exp               — Train No 15959 (Departure -17.35; Arrival -6.15 am)
  • Uttar Banga Exp        — Train No 13147( Departure – 19.35; Arrival -7.00 am)
  • Darjiling Mail             — Train No 12343 (Departure – 22.05 ; Arrival –  8.00 am)
  • KanchanKanaya Exp — Train No 13149 (Departure – 20.30 ; Arrival – 7.30am)

Getting back

Yuksom → NJP Railway Station → Delhi

Indiahikes will arrange for shared cabs to drop trekkers to NJP railway station The transportation cost from Yuksom to NJP is additional, to be shared among trekkers and paid directly to the driver. The approximate cost per shared cab is Rs.5.500/- Expected arrival time at NJP is 5.00 pm. Book train/flight tickets for your onward journey for late in the evening.

Safety

What are the risks on the Goechala Trek?

The Goechala trek is a moderate-difficult one. And with every tough high altitude trek comes a flurry of risks – altitude sickness being the biggest risk. At Indiahikes, we pay utmost importance to safety of trekkers. While we do our bit to ensure a trekker’s life is safe, we also expect any trekker who is enrolling with us to know what could go wrong, and if it does, how to tackle it. 

What Indiahikes does to ensure your safety:

Our philosophy is simple. We ingrain safety aspects in the people we work with, in the processes that we follow and in the equipment we carry. All our trek leaders are trained repeatedly on safety issues and protocols. Most issues are resolved with their intervention.

But we strongly advocate the statement,”Prevention is better than cure.” Right from the time you decide to register for the trek till the last day of the trek, these safety procedures will be running in the background. We have listed a few of them below.

1. Fitness criteria before registration

Over years of organising high altitude treks, we have found that safety issues thrive amongst those who are unfit and unprepared for the trek. So we have introduced an eligibility criteria for the Goechala trek. Anyone who wants to register for the Goechala trek has to meet the fitness requirements, with the ideal BMI. The BMI and fitness regime will require proof. A high altitude trek is not to be taken casually, especially something as difficult as Goechala.  

2. Acclimatisation day at Dzongri

The fourth day’s trek to Dzongri involves a huge altitude gain and it takes time for the body to acclimatise to this altitude. So we have an acclimatisation day at Dzongri, so that your body gets a day’s rest before exerting further. Often, rest can be the biggest boon on high altitude treks to avoid AMS.

3. Monitoring health on a trek 

On the Goechala trek, your Trek Leader will be monitoring two aspects thrice a day.

  • Oxygen Level
  • Pulse Rate

Your Blood Pressure levels will be checked once a day.

This will help us ensure that your body is acclimatising as required. Any abnormal reading will be paid special attention to and action will be taken immediately.

Every trekker will be given a Health Card at the beginning of the trek. The Health Card is issued to monitor the trekker’s daily health, wherein he will be entering details about his health everyday. It also contains details of what symptoms he should look out for and what action he should take during emergencies. These Health Cards will be taken back at the end of the trek.

4. High Altitude Medical Kit

Your trek leader will also be carrying a full-fledged high altitude medical kit. This will include basic medicines and specific medicines catering to altitude sickness – Diamox, Dexamethasone (tablets and injections) and Nifedipine. Your Trek Leader will also be carrying a portable oxygen cylinder throughout the trek. In addition to that, there are oxygen cylinders installed at all high campsites for any emergency situations.

5. High Altitude Trek Equipment

To ensure safe trekking on snowy terrain, Indiahikes will provide you with micro-spikes to attach to your shoes. This will give you good traction on hard snow. To avoid snow from entering your shoes, Indiahikes will provide you with gaiters that you can put on over your shoes. You will have qualified technical guides with you, who will lead the way on difficult terrain, where there might be too much scree or moraine.

All our sleeping bags and tents are custom-made for high altitude. If it is cold outside, it will be around 10 degrees warmer inside the tent. The sleeping bags can withstand temperatures up to -10 degree Celsius.

6. Being hydrated and well nourished on the trek

You need to drink a minimum of 4 litres of water every day during the trek to ensure that you’re well hydrated. De-hydration on a trek can make you lose energy very quickly and intensify the effects of AMS. Your trek leader will brief you about the amount of water that you need to carry with you at the start of each day as well as water sources on the trail.

We provide trekkers with nutritious meals to ensure that they are energized to complete the trail each day. Apart from this, snacks or packed lunch is provided wherever the trail before a meal break is likely to be long. Make sure that you do not skip any meal as this can lead to serious health emergencies on high altitudes.

With all these processes and equipment in place, you can be rest assured that you will have a safe trek with Indiahikes.

Nevertheless, you will need to be cautious and report the slightest of symptoms to your trek leader as soon as you feel them.

What you compulsorily need to know if you’re going on the Goechala trek

If you have registered for this trek, then here is some information that you must know in order to have a safe trek. At Indiahikes, we believe that as long as you are well-informed and well-prepared, you can survive easily at high altitude.

First thing you should know is that Goechala is a Very High Altitude trek. It climbs up to an altitude of 16,000 ft. So it comes with its fair share of risks – altitude sickness, lack of easy exit points, unfriendly terrain and extreme altitude gain.

Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) 

AMS is one of the biggest dangers on a high altitude trek such as Goechala. AMS occurs when your body isn’t acclimatising to its surroundings. It can accelerate very rapidly, so it is important to identify the symptoms as soon as you see them. Before you read further, watch this video to understand the symptoms of AMS.

Where on the Goechala trek is AMS likely to affect you:

ams-symptoms-indiahikesOver years of conducting the Goechala trek, we have noticed that there are some campsites where trekkers are most prone to be hit by AMS. Let’s take you through the trek so that you know where it is likely to occur and what precautions you can take.

On the first two days of the trek, at Yuksom and Bhakim, it is safe to say that you will not experience any symptoms. They are at fairly low altitudes, with Bhakim just touching the border of high altitude (8,630 ft)

On the third day, at Tshoka, a few trekkers begin to feel queasy. Tshoka is at an altitude of 9,650 ft, which is relatively low compared to the rest of the trek. If you’re hit by AMS at any point on the trek, Tshoka would be the ideal campsite to descend to. 

We cannot stress enough on how important it is for you to communicate any symptom to your Trek Leader. Only then will he be able to take steps at the right time.

On the fourth day, you climb from Tshoka to Dzongri, that is 9,650 ft to 12,980 ft. Dzongri is the biggest playground for AMS. Around 25% of the trekkers complain of headache and fatigue upon reaching Dzongri.

What to do if you feel symptoms of AMS at Dzongri

If you feel any symptoms of AMS on the trek, you must report to the Trek Leader immediately. Do not wait till the end of the day’s trek. Do not try to handle it yourself either. Our Trek Leaders are well-trained and experienced to handle any cases and they will be the decision makers in any such cases.

Watch the video below to understand how to treat and prevent AMS. The information in this video is rare to find. With this knowledge, you can probably save your own life or another’s trekkers life.

As a first step, your trek leader will run you through the Triple One Test – One Disprin, One litre of water and One hour of rest. If you’re suffering from dehydration, this will solve the problem and you will be fine in one hour. If the symptoms don’t go away, then he’ll begin to treat you for AMS, perhaps with a course of Diamox. If you’re already on a course of Diamox, your trek leader is likely to increase the dosage.

It is very important to be on a preventive course of Diamox on the Goechala trek. Diamox helps prevent AMS by around 80%. Click here to know how it works.

The increased dosage of Diamox usually takes care of the Acute Mountain Sickness. In addition to that, the acclimatisation day at Dzongri helps trekkers get enough rest before gaining more altitude. We have noticed that around 90% of the trekkers get acclimatised by the end of the acclimatisation day.

If you’re not at your 100% at the end of Day 5, then again, report to your Trek Leader. He will make you descend to Tshoka, where you will be fine. This is the only campsite where exit is possible quickly because Tshoka is the previous campsite. After you cross Dzongri, exit becomes extremely difficult. The next campsite is Thansing. Coming down from Thansing involves a 10 km flat walk above 12,000 ft till Phedang and then a descent to Tshoka. By the time you cover the 10 km at an altitude above 12,000 ft, AMS can escalate and turn into HAPE or HACE. 

After Dzongri on Day 6, Thansing is the next danger zone. The campsite is at an unfriendly attitude of 13,693 ft. Although you are given a day in between Dzongri and Thansing to acclimatise, you might feel the weight of the altitude bearing down on you.

If you face any of the symptoms of Acute Mountain Sickness, don’t take them lightly. Report them to your trek leader immediately.

Do NOT attribute your symptoms to anything other than AMS. If you have a bad stomach, suspect AMS. At high altitude, AMS is the first thing that should be suspected and treated.

If Diamox alone doesn’t work, he might administer Dex or Nifedipine, or perhaps oxygen, depending on the circumstances.

Especially on the Goechala trek, AMS is very common. While AMS can be treated with medicines for the most part, the symptoms must be recognised before it can go to advanced stages – High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE) and High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE).

HAPE and HACE are critical conditions that can be fatal within hours. And they can occur without AMS preceding them. So it’s doubly important to recognise any symptoms and nip them in the bud.

Exit points on the Goechala trek:

The safest point on a trek where a trekker can descend to and rest is considered an Exit Point. On the Goechala trek, exit is extremely difficult. The ideal campsite to descend to would be Tshoka (9,650 ft), and if possible all the way down to Yuksom (5,700 ft). There are no exit points after Tshoka. 

It could take more than a day’s trek to reach the closest road head (Yuksom), whereas any affected trekker should be brought to lower altitudes within a few hours. Descent is the single most effective cure for AMS, HAPE and HACE, and unfortunately, it is difficult on the Goechala trek after one point. So the only solution is to be very vigilant. 

Closest hospital:

For any advanced treatment, Geyzing is the closest well-equipped hospital in the area. It is a 90 minute drive from Yuksom. Vehicles will be available at Yuksom.

Why you should personally know about the risks and precautions of high altitude treks

If ever you find yourself alone at high altitude, either while trekking independently or with another organisation, there are some life-saving steps you can take. Firstly, you should be able to recognise symptoms of altitude sickness. So acquaint yourself with the symptoms.

Secondly, there might be instances when you have to administer medicines to yourself or to a fellow trekker. 

There are three life-saving medicines that you should always carry on you – Diamox, Dexamethasone and Nifedipine.

If you are trekking independently then you need to know when exactly to administer these medicines and in what dosage.

The video below will help you understand what medicines to administer when and how much. Sandhya UC, partner at Indiahikes, explains in detail about HAPE and HACE. Here, you can learn about the advanced symptoms are and how to tackle them.

It is a myth that fit and experienced people are not affected by Acute Mountain Sickness

If you’re of the opinion that fit people don’t get AMS, please get rid of that notion right away. AMS can affect anyone without paying heed to their fitness and prior experience at high altitude! Altitude sickness does not distinguish between a first timer and an experienced trekker.

For more detailed information about Acute Mountain Sickness, you can download and study the manual below.

ams-manual-indiahikes-2-pages
Click on the AMS Manual to open and download

 

Reviews

Here is what trekkers have to say about their experience at Goechala Trek

Parjanya Tallur

Batch of
October 2018

I absolutely loved the trek. The trek was well planned and executed with a lot of exciting bits in the pieces. I would definitely make a special mention for the trek lead Akshay, he was supportive, encouraging and friendly. He took us to locations which were not in the itinerary which made the trek even more beautiful. 

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ATANU CHATTERJEE

Batch of
October 2018

The trek was awesome. The trail was fantastic, Further trek leader Akshay along with the entire support team had done great job with utmost sincerity and  professionalism. 

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Hari Shankar S

Batch of
October 2018

Loved the trek. Indiahikes really takes care of you well, start to finish.

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Kirsten Henderson

Batch of
October 2018

The Goechala trek was an amazing experience for me. It was my first trek of that type and first visit to the Himalayas. The scenery was spectacular and we were very lucky to have good weather for the whole trek. 
I was very impressed with the organisation of the trek - the initial briefing, the welcome dinner and the way that the trek leader Bupenda kept us informed of all plans throughout the trek. I thought the itinerary was well planned and enabled time for acclimatisation and for appropriate balance of effort over the 10 days (i.e. alternate shorter and longer days walking).

I would like to make special mention of Bupi as I think his leadership and quiet authority was a key reason the trek went so well. He has an excellent ability to bring a group together and to listen to individuals and help them as required as well as keep everyone motivated. He was also very well supported by Mingu who was extremely conscientious and attentive and looked after all us trekkers so well while at the same time helped organise the kitchen staff and porters etc. Both Mingu and Bupi also have great patience which can only be admired. I am also especially grateful for the lovely efforts that the whole Indiahikes team made to help celebrate Jim’s birthday. I know he was very touched by all the birthday wishes and the cake was amazing! 
Speaking of food it was excellent for the whole trip. The kitchen staff are remarkable in the what they can produce. I always felt very well fed! 
 

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Vidhya K Pai

Batch of
October 2018

The trek was really awesome. 

We visited two lakes called Lakshmi Pokhri and Neel Pokhri on the rest day at Dzongri and before heading from Thansing to Lamuney. These two lakes were really beautiful and I believe that these should be included in the itinerary too. Our trek leader Bhupen was pro active and super organized all through the trek. His travel stories were super inspiring to listen to and his passion for the mountains clearly stands out when he strikes a conversation with you. Bhupen also had a lot of entertaining games and warm-ups up his sleeves that made it more fun for us while on the trek. The local guides, Mingo and Dhonbir were super caring and helpful as well. Major kudos to the kitchen staff who brave the cold and prepare luxurious food for us at various altitudes. The regular updates from Prathima was also helpful in knowing what to expect while on the trek. This is my fourth trek with Indiahikes and I'm really really impressed at how the organizing is top notch each time. 

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Geneviève Roy

Batch of
October 2018

The trek was amazing. The support of all the member of the organization made it perfect. We could have done it a little bit quicker, but I understand it's conceived this way so anyone can achieve it safely. 

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Kirsten Henderson

Batch of
October 2018


 

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Kirsten Henderson

Batch of
October 2018

I think the safety standards are very good. I felt safe and well looked after trekking with Indiahikes and having the oxygen and heart rate monitoring. The guides always made sure everyone was OK when we were walking and they helped those who were having trouble keeping up. 

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Vidhya K Pai

Batch of
October 2018

Yes, I really like the safety protocols that IH follows. The 3-time daily oxymeter reading along with BP checks when required are really helpful in letting me know that I'm coping up with with the altitude 

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Kirsten Henderson

Batch of
October 2018

I enjoyed the daily warm-ups. Also it was good to play the games on th first night to try and learn everyone’s names. I thought I never would be able to remember but in the end I did! 

I also really enjoyed the optional extra walks we did to the two lakes. 

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Vidhya K Pai

Batch of
October 2018

Bhupen had super entertaining warm ups on each of the days. I believe that he had mastered the art of making boring warm ups fun by adding songs and activities to it. His warm up activities like Jacuzza, Penguin dance, Scott claps, sum sum rum sum sum were super entertaining and helpful in warming up and keeping the cold at bay. The best, however, was the trek anthem that Bhupen taught us and we sang it each day and for every occasion on the trek 

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ARJUN Sharma

Batch of
October 2018

Well, first of all I would like to thank Indiahikes, Akshay and team for organizing this trek. I loved every bit of it. I was accompanied by one crazy team. I had the best time and lot of fun. The trek went really well and a big thanks to Akshay, the trek leader who was brilliant in managing the team. The local guides Mingo and pass were very humble. Even the kitchen staff were good. This was my first trek with Indiahikes and I had an amazing experience. 

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ARJUN Sharma

Batch of
October 2018

Yes. The trekkers safety is the top priority And I could see that. Our trek leader, Akshay made sure everyone was doing good and always kept the team motivated

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FAQ(s)

1. What is the style of accommodation in this trek?

Stay in Yuksom on Day 1 and Day 10 will be in a guest house, where you will share rooms with fellow trekkers. The stay on all other days will be in tents. Each tent will accommodate three trekkers. Apart from this, Indiahikes will also put up toilet tents alongside each campsite.

2. Will you provide us with tents and sleeping bags?

Yes, Indiahikes trekkers will be provided with tents and high altitude sleeping bags that can withstand temperatures as low as -10 ºC.

3. What will the temperatures be like during this trek?

Day time temperatures will range from 13-18ºC and night time temperature will range from 3-5ºC in May. Expect temperatures to be lower by a few degrees in October/November.

4. Will there be snow on this trek?

The stretch after view point 1 could be under snow in early May. Snow eases out by June. Light snow cover can be expected in September and October on the higher reaches.

5. What will we do if it rains?

If it starts raining while you’re trekking, we will continue on the trail as planned. Your poncho should protect you from the rain. Carry a backpack cover for extra protection from rain for your belongings. When it rains at the campsite, we usually get together in the dining tent and play games. The tents that you will be staying in, the dining tent, kitchen and toilet tents are all water proof, so you will stay dry inside.

6. How do we reach Yuksom?

Indiahikes will arrange pick – up vehicles/shared cabs from New Jalpaiguri (NJP) railway station to Yuksom, the base camp. This transport cost is to be borne by the trekkers and will amount to approximately Rs. 5,500 per vehicle (5-6 seater). You will have to pay the driver directly. The drive to Yuksom will take 7-8 hours.

7. How do we get back after the trek?

Indiahikes will arrange for shared cabs from Yuksom to NJP railway station or Bagdogra airport. This cost is to be borne by the trekkers and is not included in the trek fee.

8. Which are the best seasons for the Goechala trek?

Goechala is also called the Rhododendron trek because of its forests of Magnolia and Rhododendrons in are in full bloom in April and May. Mid September to October end is also a good time for the trek – the views during these months are crystal clear.

9. Are backpacks, raincoats and other equipment available for rent from Indiahikes?

No. There are several websites that rent out trekking equipment. Indiahikes does not rent any equipment. You may purchase trekking poles and other equipment from the Indiahikes store.

10. Is this a good trek for a first timer?

Goechala is a moderte-difficult trek. We recommend that you have prior high altitude trekking experience before embarking on this one. Irrespective of your prior experience, this trek requires high levels of fitness.

11. If not the Goechala trek, what is a good alternative trek to do?

The Pin Bhabha pass trek would be a good option for seasoned trekkers since that’s a difficult one. The recently introduced Annapurna Base camp trek could also be an alternative if you’re okay with trekking in Nepal.

12. Is there an option to offload my backpack on this trek?

Yes, there is an option to offload your backpack. This will cost Rs.2,475 + 5% GST if you inform us in advance. If you decide to offload once you reach Yuksom, the amount will be Rs.375 per day inclusive of tax. The offloaded bag should not weigh more than 9 kg. Strolleys, duffel bags, suitcases etc. are not allowed. We suggest you read “5 Tips to make Carrying your Trekking Backpack Easy” before making a decision. Online offloading in advance is possible up to two days prior to the trek start date.

13. Can I take my child along on this trek? What is the age limit?

If you wish to bring children along we suggest the Deoriatal, Kuari Pass or Kedarkantha treks. Although the minimum age for this trek is 12 years, we wouldn’t recommend it for children. Prior high altitude trekking experience and high levels of fitness are mandatory requirements.

14. Who will be with us on the trek from Indiahikes?

An Indiahikes team consisting of a qualified Trek leader, trek guides, porters and cooks will be with you throughout the trek.

15. What are washroom/toilet facilities like on the trek?

The guest house at Yuksom will have concrete toilets. On the other days, toilet tents will be set up along each campsite. There will be 2 to 4 of these toilet tents depending on the size of the group. A toilet tent will have a deep pit, where one can answer nature’s call. There will be a mound of soil and a shovel to cover it up. These are dry toilets, where you’ll have to use toilet paper. This the most hygienic and convenient way to answer nature’s call in the wild. Please use plain toilet paper and refrain from using wet wipes since these are not biodegradable.

16. What kind of food is served on the trek? Should we carry any food?

Indiahikes uses a well planned menu suitable for high altitude treks. Breakfast varies from bread and butter, semia, poha to sandwiches and cornflakes. Lunch mainly comprises of roti or puri with sabzi. Dinner is complete with Dal, rice, roti and dessert. Dry ration of biscuits and chikki will be provided as well. You may carry nuts and dry fruits if necessary.

17. Will there be water sources on the way? Will two litres of water be enough?

Our campsites are pitched near water sources. For your day’s trek, two litres of water should be enough. The only days when you are likely to find a water source on the way are Day 2 – Yuksom to Bhakim and Day 6 – Dzongri to Thansing via Kockchurang. It is important that you drink sufficient quantities of water at the campsite to stay well hydrated through the day.

18. Is there mobile network on this trek? Are there any electricity charging points on this trek?

Jorethong, on the way to Yuksom, is the last place where you’ll get mobile network. Make sure you finish your important telephone calls before reaching Yuksom and inform family members about poor connectivity on the trek. Yuksom, if at all, might have charging points, provided there is electricity.

19. Do I need special snow shoes on this trek?

You don’t need special snow shoes. A good trekking shoe is sufficient for the trek. We recommend something that is water resistant. When there is snow, we provide micro spikes and gaiters. In case you need to buy new trekking shoes, this video will help you choose the right pair.

20. Why is the trekking pole necessary?

A trekking pole provides stability and balance, and also reduces fatigure. We suggest you watch this video to for a better understanding of why a trekking pole is necessary: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=5&v=LXezaCVjEao

21. When it gets really cold can I consume alcohol?

Alcohol is dangerous in extreme cold, especially on high altitudes. Contrary to what people believe, alcohol does not make you warmer. Instead it opens your pores making your body colder. Moreover, it dehydrates you very quickly. Hence consumption of alcohol is absolutely prohibited on all Indiahikes treks. Anyone found with alcohol is quickly removed from the trek. Smoking, similarly, is not allowed on Indiahikes treks.

22. How long do we trek every day? What is the distance covered?

Day 1 – You will be picked up from NJP. The drive to Yuksom will take 6-8 hours.

Day 2 – The trek to Sachen will take 5-5.5 hours. This will be a continuously ascending trail.

Day 3 – Trekking from Sachen to Tshoka will take about 5.5 hours. Most parts of the trail will be ascending.

Day 4 – Reaching Dzongri from Tshoka will take 5-6 hours. The trail ascends continuously as you climb over 3,000 ft.

Day 5 – This is a rest day at Dzongri. Hiking up to Dzongri top will take you about 45 minutes.

Day 6 – Getting to Thansing from Dzongri will take you 5-6 hours. The trail is slightly easier than the one from Tshoka to Dzongri.

Day 7 – Thansing to Lamuney is an easy 2 hour trek.

Day 8 – This is a very long day as you trek to View point 1 and then head back to Kockchurang. Expect to be on your feet for 12-14 hours.

Day 9 – 6-7 hours of descent to reach Tshoka

Day 10 – 6 hours of descent to get to Yuksom

Day 11 – Head back to NJP/Bagdogra

23. How do I manage the negative temperatures on the trek? Do I need special jackets?

At high altitudes, temperatures are sure to dip into negative at nights.. For these extreme cold temperatures, you need to keep the rule of 3 in mind. The rule of 3 usually takes care of cold that dip to -10°C. It is a simple formula of wearing 3 layers of woolen, inners and lower wear.

Follow this guide:

Wear one thermal and two T-shirts, three layers of woolens (two sweaters and a jacket). For your lowers wear a thermal inner with two layers of track suit. If you are prone to more cold, just add a layer.

The temperatures dip only late in the evening and early mornings. During the day if the sun is out, then you may even be trekking in your T-shirts. Make sure you use your thermal wear only at night and not while trekking.

A woolen cap/balaclava and gloves are a must.

Watch this video for tips on how to stay warm on a high altitude trek.

24. What all do I need to carry on the trek?

Click here to get the list of all the things you need to carry on the trek.

25. Can I leave traveling clothes behind and collect them after the trek?

Since the Goechala trek begins and ends at Yuksom, you can leave some luggage behind. However, ensure that you do not leave any valuables – Indiahikes will not be responsible for any loss or damage of goods.

26. Why is there a rest day in the itinerary? Can I skip this?

We have introduced a rest day at Dzongri (Day 5) on the basis of our past experience. Dzongri is more that 3,000 ft above the previous campsite of Tshoka. Getting here involves a long and difficult climb. The rest day is built into the itinerary to help your body to recover and prepare for the difficult days of trekking ahead. Do not skip it.

27. Is it safe to trek with Indiahikes?

All high altitude treks come with their share of risks. At Indiahikes, we pay utmost importance to safety of trekkers. While we do our bit to ensure a trekker’s life is safe, we also expect any trekker who is enrolling with us to know what could go wrong, and if it does, how to tackle it. Before you go on the trek, make sure you’re thoroughly acquainted with the safety procedures followed on a trek.

Cancellation Policy

Terms & Conditions

1. Cancellation: If a trek is called off at the last moment due to a natural calamity/unforeseen circumstances (like rains, earthquake, landslides, strike, bandh etc), Indiahikes will issue a trek voucher for the full amount. The voucher can be redeemed for the same trek or another trek in the next one year.

In case, you wish to cancel your trek, please login to your account and cancel. Cancellation requests will not be taken over phone or email.

The cancellation charges are as under.

  • Cancellations prior to 30 days from the start of the trek — full refund.
  • Cancellation between 30 days and 20 days to the start of the trek — 50% refund.
  • Cancellation less than 20 days to the start of the trek — no refund.
Please note: In case of refund, there will be a deduction of 4% (bank charges) from the total fee you have paid. Also, if you have opted for a trek insurance, the amount will not be refunded. 

2. The trek fee includes all costs of the trek from the start of the trek at Yuksom to the end of the trek at Yuksom.

3. Pick up: Trekkers are picked up from NJP railway station by 9 am. Usually, trekkers are clubbed together with other participants to make a group. The group travels together to the base camp-Yuksom in shared cabs.

4. Transport: The transport is arranged in shared cabs. Transport from NJP to Yuksom and return from Yuksom to NJP can be arranged by us at an extra cost Rs 5,500 per 5-6 seater vehicle one-way. Participants are expected to share the cost likewise. The amount is to be paid directly to our transporter. No service tax is applicable on transport cost. Indiahikes only arranges the vehicle pick up and is not responsible for any issues during transport.

5. Backpack carrying: Indiahikes expects all trekkers to carry their own backpacks. All common gear will be carried by the support team. If for some reason a trekker is unable to carry his or her backpack, he/she can offload the same by paying an additional charge.

Backpack offloading charges will be Rs 2,475* + 5% GST. Charges for last minute offloading during the trek will be Rs. 375 per day inclusive of tax. The backpack cannot weigh more than 9 kg. No suitcases/strolleys/duffel bags will be allowed.

Online offloading in advance is possible up to two days prior to the trek start date.

6.Emergency during trek: In a trek a medical emergency or any other emergency may arise. If for any reason you are sent down from the trek then Indiahikes will make arrangements for your return to the base camp or nearest road head. A staff will accompany you. He may not be a trained personnel.

Evacuation or dealing with emergencies is extremely difficult in the mountains. It is time consuming as well. A normal trek of 2 hours may take 6 hours in an emergency (a sick person is not easy to evacuate). Doctors do not go along with a team. Doctors are not available at the base camp or nearest road head either. Indiahikes trek leaders are trained to administer first aid and know how to deal with issues related to the mountains. However, they are not doctors.

Registering for this trek is an understanding that you have read up on the difficulties of high altitude trekking and understand the risks. You have also understood what AMS, HAPE and HACE are. You have taken efforts to educate yourself and you are in a position to manage your own altitude related emergency

7. Fitness: A high altitude trek in the Himalayas requires considerable fitness. Your body needs to train itself to process more work with lower levels of oxygen. Cardiovascular training before a trek is critically important. Training must include strength and flexibility workout. We have laid out the eligibility criteria here. Registering for the trek is an understanding that you will undertake the mandated fitness training. Indiahikes has the right to reject candidates who do not meet our eligibility requirement at the base camp.

8. Non-liability: Indiahikes is not responsible for any loss/damage of your gears/equipment or other belongings on the trek.

9. Payment: Payment for the trek can be done online through credit/debit card or net banking. Cheque/draft or cash is not accepted. 

10. Safety Protocol: 
      a. While our itineraries are designed to allow for adequate acclimatisation, most treks in Indian Himalayas climb quickly, which is called forced accents. Unavailability of camp sites and the Indian Himalayan terrain are the reason for this. There are chances that you will feel the effects of altitude sickness and oxygen deprivation while on this trek. Please be aware that your trek leader may deem it unsafe for you to continue trekking at any time, and arrange for you to descend to a lower attitude.

b. Our trek leaders will conduct routine health checks at all camps to measure oxygen saturation, pulse and blood pressure. Indiahikes reserves the right to exclude any trekker from climbing higher on the trek without refund if the trekker’s vital readings are below accepted norms for that altitude. These norms are available with Indiahikes trek leaders.

c. This is a high altitude trek with rough, rocky and snowy terrain. It is important that you are a fit and confident walker in mountain terrain, able to manage ascents and descents by yourself within a reasonable time. Indiahikes reserves the right to turn around a trekker if in the opinion of our trek leader they are unable to complete the itinerary without requiring exclusive assistance. Please realistically self-assess your fitness and suitability for this trek before registering.

Foreigners, please note:

  • As per regulations, you need to obtain a special permit at Gangtok to trek in Sikkim.
  • Indiahikes can help you obtain this permit. Kindly reach Yuksom a day before the trek batch starts.
  • The charges of obtaining the permit will be Rs 2,000 per person and has to be paid to our representative who will meet you at Yuksom.

Permits required:

Documents required:

  • Original passport + 1 photo copy
  • 2-3 photocopies of Inner Line Permit
  • 1 photocopy of visa
  • 2 passport size photographs