Goechala Trek

A Trek That Takes You Close To The World’s Third Highest Mountain
Trek Fee : 16,650 + 5% GST
Difficulty
Difficulty
? Difficult treks have challenging, uneven trails. These can go over 16,000 ft and trekking hours can go upto 9 hours a day. Require excellent cardiovascular fitness and prior high-altitude trek experience. Few exit options.
Difficult
Duration
Duration
11 Days
Altitude
Maximum Altitude
15,100 ft
Pickup point
Pickup point
NJP Railyway station
Required Fitness
Base Camp
Yuksom 
Age
Minimum Age
12
Best time to visit
Best time to visit
April, May, Sept, Oct

The Complete Guide To Goechala Trek


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.

Before we dive into the details about Goechala trek, here is a little backdrop of why Goechala is well-known among trekkers all over the world:

While the trail to Goechala is an old one, it wasn’t always so famous. The change came about during the Nepalese Civil War which lasted from 1996 to 2006.

Disturbances in Nepal during this time shut the country to trekkers. Suddenly trekking to the highest mountains of the world was out of bounds. It was a huge blow to the trekkers who frantically started looking for alternatives.

At that time, Goechala emerged as the closest solace. The trail promised a brilliant close-up to the third highest mountain of the world and offered breathtaking views of the Singalila range from the Dzongri top.

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!

Rhododendrons in April and May

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

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.

Use these pointers to navigate through this extensive trek guide:


What I Like And Don’t Like About Goechala Trek

Tanmay Bain, the youngest person to become a Trek Leader at Indiahikes talks about his favourite sections on the Goechala trek, and what are his least favourite ones.

Tanmay Bain
Trek Leader
The dense jungle on the Goechala trek at such a high altitude is exceptional. And that’s not all. Add to that the dramatic scenery changes, watching Mt Pandim sitting next to Prekchu river and waking up in the middle of the night and trek to View Point 1 to watch the first rays of the sun fall on Kachenjunga! These are what make Goechala a trek to remember.

What I like about Goechala?

Dense jungle at 12,000 feet There are very few treks with treeline at such a high altitude. If you compare it with treks from Uttarakhand or Himachal Pradesh, the tree line skirts around 10,000 ft. But not on this trek which snakes through the Kanchenjunga National Park. And I found that exceptional.

Especially the thick canopy of Rhododendron trees which flower during the misty spring and are dark and cold during autumn.

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The beautiful wooden-log trails on the Goechala trek. Picture by Sachin Jha

Three suspension bridges You will cross these suspension bridges over three deep gorges – Pha Khola, Tshushay Khola and Mentogang Khola –  through which the Prekchu river flows. I was taken aback by how suddenly the bridges appear. And the experience of staring into the deep gorge from these suspension bridges is rare.

A monastery at Tsokha This happens on the second day. Now you are almost at 9,500 ft and there is a monastery here! Can you believe that?

The monastery is not exactly at Tsokha. You will need to take a trail that goes out the campsite and cross a wooden bridge over a pond. It’s such a peaceful setting. I’ve always seen mountains as a place where you can meditate. And so I was elated to find this monastery plonked into the Goechala trek.

Dramatic changes in scene The first one is from Tsokha to Dzongri. Initially, the trail meanders through rhododendron and pine trees. But on reaching Phedang, the dense forest cover suddenly gives way to a barren terrain. The change is startling.

Another dramatic change in scenery is from Kokchurang to Thansing. Here the Prekchu river, which you had seen flowing deep in the gorges, suddenly cuts through the jungle. Yes, now you are with the river.

And it lends such a mystical ambience to the setting. The shift in scene, with a wooden bridge going over the river, was surprising.

First sunrise on Kanchendzonga from Dzongri Top This is the acclimatization day where you stay at Dzongri. Early morning, wake up at 4.30 am and head to Dzongri top at 13,778 ft. It is a steep climb. But worth it.

I still remember the first time I saw the morning rays lighting up Mt. Kanchenjunga. The mountain changes colour as the morning progresses. And you get a panoramic view from Dzongri top. It was a different feeling altogether. An unforgettable sight that has stayed with me.

Goechala-Trek-Indiahikes
Orange light on the Kanchenjunga at dawn. Picture by Ashish Bhatt

Camping at the foot of Pandim Thansing is the most picturesque campsite of the trek. It is a stark meadow on the riverbed of Prekchu. And it lends itself to a unique experience. At Thansing, I pitched my tent just at the foot of Mt. Pandim, right next to Prekchu. Sitting next to the river, watching Mt Pandim for long moments was a magical experience for me altogether.

A perfect challenge for endurance I have always leaned towards treks that test my endurance. And Goechala does that beautifully. On this trek, you cover 65.7 km in 10 days. And that too with a considerable ascent. Here, although the trails are well-laid, the altitude gain and long days put your endurance to test.

The sunrise on Kanchendzonga from View Point 1 Finally, my favourite memory of the treks begin with waking up at 1 am for View Point 1. Initially, I was grumpy about the unearthly hour start. But once we got to View Point 1, everything changed.

Watching the first rays fall on Kanchenjunga is an ethereal experience. It lights up the world’s third highest mountain along with others with a magical light. I was spellbound. My eyes welled up with tears, just watching the magnificent sight.

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

And then, on the way back I saw the beautiful Samiti lake. That lake, with its deep turquoise waters, was the perfect finish to the summit day. 

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The beautiful turquoise blue waters of Samiti lake. Picture by Anirban Sengupta

What I don’t like about Goechala

Originally a pass trek (La means pass), this trek is supposed to be a crossover trek. But it’s not. It is a circular trek and the trail from Phedang to Yuksom felt quite monotonous to me.

Campsites: Except Thansing, almost all campsites are jostling for space and are crowded. So, unlike other treks that can boast of more than one spectacular campsites, here the only great place to camp is on the stark meadows of Thansing.


Best Time To Do Goechala Trek

There are two distinct seasons for the Goechala trek – April-May (Spring) and October-November (Autumn).

Witnessing this trek in only one season is like getting to know just a part of it. That’s because the trail is set in the Kanchenjunga National Park, which houses some vibrant varieties of flora amidst it’s mossy forest. And the forest changes colours in different seasons.

So, in different seasons, the entire colour palette of the trek changes. Even the way the trek lights up, changes with the seasons. While spring is known for its romantic, dreamy look, autumn is loved for its sharp views.

• Goechala Trek in Spring

The beauty of doing this trek in spring lies in witnessing the blooming rhododendrons, especially in the month of April. In Spring, the misty forests on Goechala trail come alive with varied shades of pink and scarlet.

The Rhododendrons start from around Bakhim. Their density and variety increases as you reach Tshoka and after that you are in for a treat of a lifetime.

The trail from Tshoka (9,701 ft) to Phedang (12,083 ft) is the Rhododendron belt. The entire stretch has Rhododendrons lined and laid out to form a Rhodo tunnel under which you walk. Sunlight diffuses filtering in from the colourful rhodo flowers, which add a magical touch to your experience.

| Note: Unlike Deoriatal-Chandrashila, the famed rhodo trek of Uttarakhand, Goechala has a wider variety of flowers. So you will see rhodos in various shades, from pink to scarlet to even yellow and white. The rich biodiversity of the Kanchenjunga National Park gives rise to such variety. 

In spring, you may notice patches of snow at the higher altitude, but not as much as you would see on treks in Uttarakhand or Himachal Pradesh.

You may witness chance snowfall during this season. And when that happens, the entire upper reaches of meadows get draped in white.


• Goechala Trek in Autumn

In autumn, there are no rhodos. But now, something else lends colour to the trek – it’s the dark, mossy forest under the brilliant blue autumn sky. The vibrant colours are inching towards deep reds and browns.

The air is washed clear of the haze. So when you step out of the dark canopy, you see sharp views from Tsokha, Dzongri, Thansing and the View Point 1 of the trek.

You also witness a piercing star-lit sky during this season. And it’s a great time to be on Goechala trek, especially if you are interested in night-sky photography. (Read how Arjun Majumdar witnessed meteor shower on Goechala trek)


Weather And Temperature On The Goechala Trek

As mentioned in the previous section, there are two seasons to do the Goechala trek and the weather is distinctly different in these seasons.

Say, in spring, although you will find patches of hard snow at higher altitude, the temperature during the day will be warmer than that in autumn, when there won’t be any snow on the trek.

Even the air is different. While spring is moist, autumn air is dry and crisp.

With that background in mind, let’s dive deeper into the weather of these two seasons. 

Spring (March — Mid April): It’s that time of the year when winter is receding but hasn’t totally left the slopes. And so, you will still find snow patches on the ground above 10,000 feet.

In spring, expect pleasant day time temperatures around 15 °C. But at night it dips to sub-zero levels. Especially at higher campsite like Lamuney, temperature may dip to -3 °C.

During the day if the sun goes behind the clouds and there is a bout of rain, then the temperature can fall to around 10 °C.

Autumn (Sept end – start of November). Autumn is generally like winter. Colder than spring, although you won’t find patches of snow.

Nights in autumn get cold. In October the temperature dips to – 5 °C and in November, slips further down to -10 °C at higher campsites like Lamuney.

| Caution: Goechala gets really cold in November. Exposure to intense cold along with quick altitude gain and the exertion that come with it, makes trekkers very susceptible to HAPE.  Though the clear skies and trails look inviting in November, it is best to end the Goechala trekking season by the first week of November.

During the day, you will experience temperatures around 10 °C. But any rain or slight drizzle brings down temperature by a few degrees. So keep a jacket handy with you always.


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 kms 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 kms from 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 east bound 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.

By Bus: If flights are too expensive and trains are full (which they usually are), you can fly to Kolkata and take a bus to Siliguri. The journey is long and takes almost 14 hours. The silver lining is that you get sleeper buses and the roads do not wind too much.

Once you’ve reached Siliguri, follow this guide to get to Goechala from there. Your journey will be divided into two parts, breaking up at Jorethang.


Siliguri – Jorethang – Yuksom

Siliguri to Jorethang

You can hire a car directly to Yuksom from Siliguri or go by shared vehicles. If you hire a full car, there is no hurry about timing. The entire journey takes about 8 hours. If you choose to take the shared cab, it will involve a change at Jorethang.

First, take a shared car to Jorethang from outside the SNT bus station at Siliguri. The 87 kms drive takes about 4 hours. Then catch a shared cab to Yuksom from the SNT bus stand at Jorethang.

The last shared cab from Jorethang to Yuksom leaves by 1.30 pm. Ensure you reach Jorethang around 12 pm to be safe. This means it is best to leave Siliguri around 7 am. Leaving Siliguri this early may only be possible if you have arrived in the city the previous day.

| Traveling with Indiahikes? Click here for more information.

The  journey from Siliguri to Jorethang takes you from the plains of Bengal to the hills of Sikkim. Once the dust and grime of Siliguri is behind, the road enters and cuts through the Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary. The lovely forest drive brings you to the banks of the Teesta river.

A half an hour drive along the Teesta brings you to the Sikkim entry point Melli. Melli has a small check post where entry permits of foreign nationals are checked. Melli marks the beginning of the climb too. The road now climbs all the way to Jorethang.


Jorethang to Yuksom

Jorethang has a very large green building in the center which is a multi-level bus stand. And there are vehicles leaving from various platforms here.

The vehicles for Yuksom will leave from a higher platform, maybe 3rd or 4th floor. Ask around to confirm this. 

| Note: All vehicles for Yuksom will leave before 2 pm in the afternoon 

Yuksom is about 4 hours from Jorethang. The roads are winding and may also be under construction in many places. Be prepared for a bumpy ride. Expect to reach Yuksom by around 6 pm if you have started by 1.30 pm.

As you get closer to Yuksom, the villages look remarkably Buddhist. Notice the houses, their window gardens and the flapping prayer flags.


Is Goechala Trek Safe?

Goechala is a high altitude trek that takes you beyond 15,000 ft. The trek climbs rapidly and your safety depends a lot on the preparation you put in for the trek.

Goechala is safe where the trail is concerned. The entire trail is well laid out and wide. No special skill or help is required for navigation.

The trek is, however, long and strenuous. It also climbs quickly. Having prior experience of trekking in the Himalayas helps in accustoming you to the hardship. Having know-how about Acute Mountain Sickness greatly helps in dealing with altitude issues you may face on the trek.

ProtipHaving an acclimatization day at Dzongri greatly increases your safety on the Goechala trek. Dzongri is also a good point to exit the trek, if you find yourself hit by altitude sickness. Do not go further into the trek with symptoms of AMS. Exit becomes very difficult.

4 things you need to know about Safety on Goechala Trek 

  1. How difficult is Goechala trek?
  2. AMS on Goechala trek 
  3. Exit points on Goechala Trek 
  4. Closest Hospital on Goechala Trek

• How difficult is Goechala trek?

Goechala trek has long trekking days and climbs quickly. So, it is rated as a difficult trek because it requires a lot of endurance and exposes you to the risk of AMS. There are also no easy exits after Dzongri.

Getting to the details, this 11-day trek climbs from 5,643 ft to 15,100 ft. That’s almost an altitude gain of 10,000 ft. This climb is one of the major challenges on the trek. It exposes you to the risk of altitude sickness if you are not careful. When on this trek, be very cautious of how your body is responding to the altitude.

And here are some sections you must watch out for on the trek:

➤ Forced ascent on Day 4 of the trekTshoka (9,701 ft) to Dzongri (13,024 ft) via Phedang (12,083 ft)  – There is a sudden altitude gain of nearly 3,500 ft in a day. This itself can be extremely challenging. You will notice some difficulty in breathing.

At first the climb will be gradual, this climb continues into the rhododendron forest where you gain altitude rapidly. This section is on a wooden path. For 3 km you continue to trek uphill, until you reach Pedang, where the treeline ends and the bushline starts.

From Phedang, you are back to a trek terrain of gravel, mud and rocks. To finish this day strong, you need to be extremely fit, and be alert about how your body is feeling.

Safety Advice: Ensure that you wear high ankle trekking shoes. You must have 2 trekking poles for this section as well. They will greatly support your knees and help your ascent.

| Indiahikes Safety Protocol: The Indiahikes Trek Leader and guides will keep a close eye on you in these sections. Water breaks are consistent on this day, and the Trek Leader will check on you, to see if you show any signs of AMS.


12-hour trek days, Day 8 of the trek On Day 8 of the trek, you make your way from Lamuney(13,743 ft) to View Point One (15,000 ft), via Samiti lake, and return to Kokchurang or Thansing (12,152 ft or 12,946 ft respectively).

This day trek has a lot of rocky sections, and boulders as well. Especially the section after Samiti Lake, where you find 2 challenging sections. There is little vegetation on this section. You will also come across verglas early in the morning, that will be slippery due to the morning dew.

Further this day starts at 3:00 AM or around that time. The cold and darkness adds to the difficulty on this day.

| Safety Advice: This is something you must ensure before the trek – fitness. You must be extremely fit mentally and physically to tackle this day. You must carefully navigate the boulder section, take each step carefully.

| Indiahikes Safety Protocol: The Indiahikes Trek Leader, and guides will keep a close eye on you in these sections, especially the section after Samiti Lake. Follow the path created by the guides and Trek Leader, and you will be fine.


Extremely cold campsites – Lamuney: The Lamuney campsite is extremely cold, and is under a constant heavy wind. While this is not during the day’s trek, it can make the nights very cold. Without a good night’s rest, the next day’s trek becomes very difficult.

| Safety Advice: Layer up well as soon as you reach the campsite. A minimum of 5 layers is a must. You can carry a wind cheater too. This will come handy at the campsites and on the trek.

| Indiahikes Safety Protocol: Indiahikes will provide you with sleeping bags, either 1 or 2 depending on the season and the cold.

Here’s a guide to layering up for a himalayan trek.


Big steep descent – Like how you have massive ascents, the descents on Goechala are also big. The trail descends rapidly from Phedang all the way to Yuksom. As you use a whole different set of muscles for descent, trekkers may experience sore muscles.

| Safety Advice: You must use 2 trek poles while descending. Make sure to tie your shoelace knots properly as well. We recommend a double knot.


• AMS on Goechala trek

The Himalayan mountains in the Goechala trek region climb rapidly. Goechala trek goes to almost the base of the 3rd highest mountain in the world. Given this background, the trek also rises rapidly.

You gain about 4,000 ft in the first two days and the third day at Dzongri you gain almost 4,000 ft. This rapid increase in altitude along with the strain of the trek makes trekkers very susceptible to AMS.

At 13,100 ft at Dzongri on day 3 you have climbed too high too soon. To safeguard yourself from AMS, it is imperative that you take an acclimatization day at Dzongri.

The early morning excursion to Dzongri Top to catch one of the most spectacular sun rises in your life will also aid acclimatization. Spend the rest of the day around your campsite without too much exertion.

In case you feel sick or not at ease, do not ignore it or take it lightly. Attend to your uneasiness and take curative measures. Check oxygen levels, go on a curative course of Diamox, drink water and rest. If you do not feel normal after a few hours or overnight, do not proceed further on the trek.

| Safety advice: As Goechala has a high risk of AMS, understand AMS, its causes, signs and symptoms well before stepping foot on the trek. Go through everything there is to know about Acute Mountain Sickness.

Watch the video below to gain clear understanding of Acute Mountain Sickness:


Here’s a Complete guide to Acute Mountains Sickness, HAPE and HACE:

  1. What Is Altitude sickness? A Quick Look At AMS, HAPE And HACE
  2. How To Treat Altitude Sickness – AMS, HAPE, & HACE
  3. How To Prevent Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), HAPE and HACE
  4. 3 Life Saving Drugs You MUST Have To Tackle Altitude Sickness – AMS, HAPE and HACE

While on the trek if you experience any symptoms of AMS even in the slightest start taking steps to treat the sickness.

If you are trekking with Indiahikes, your trek leaders are trained and equipped to take care of any emergencies like these.

Here’s are some stories of Indiahikes trek leaders saving lives during emergencies in remote mountainous areas.


• Exit Points on Goechala trek

Goechala has only one exit point. It is where you start the trek at Yuksom. An exit from the trek means retracing the path you have taken to go up. The further you are in the trek, the tougher it gets to exit.

Given the difficulty of exits on the trek, it is very important that trekkers take turn around calls early on Goechala. Proceeding on the trek with mountain sickness or injuries can put lives at risk.

Tsoka and Dzongri are good campsites to take turn around decisions. If you proceed further on to Kokchurang or Thansing, the route to retrace becomes very long. The terrain also becomes harder. You may lose vital time in saving a patient.


• Closest Hospital on the trek

If a medical emergency occurs on the Goechala Trek, the nearest hospital is at Pelling. This is 30 km from the base camp, Yuksom. There is a small clinic in Yuksom, but this can be used only to register first aid. This is not a full fledged hospital.


What To Pack For Goechala Trek

Before you start shopping and packing for the high-altitude Goechala trek, watch this video to get a clear idea about what you need to take along.

Complete Video Playlist: How To Pack For Goechala Trek

Mandatory Documents to carry on Goechala trek

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 printouts 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 Inner Line Permit (ILP)
  • ​4 passport size photos
  • Original and 4 copies of Passport
  • Visa in Original and 4 copies
  • 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

For an exhaustive list of things to carry, click here.


Connectivity On The Goechala Trek

Last ATM Electricity Mobile Service Providers Network Hotspots
You will find it at Jorethang Town. If needed, withdraw emergency cash from here. But do not bank upon the last ATM, they too run out of cash. Withdraw cash before you begin your road journey to Yuksom. Available at the base camp, Yuksom. You will find Airtel and Vodafone connectivity at the base camp. You may get 4G at the base camp. Except this, there will not be any internet reception.


Frequently Asked Questions About Goechala Trek

Where is Goechala?

Goechala is actually a mountain pass at 16,207 ft in West Sikkim. It is around 60 km from Jorethang which lies on the border of West Bengal and Sikkim.

The trek snakes through the Kanchenjunga National Park. But it is no longer allowed to trek till the pass. So when you are on Goechala trek, you can go till ViewPoint 1, which is at 15,100 feet and takes you close to the south-west face of Mt. Kanchenjunga, the third highest mountain in the world. 

How long is Goechala trek?/ What is the total distance of Goechala trek?

The Goechala trek is 65.7 km long from Yuksom to Yuksom. And you gain close to 10,000 ft in 10 days while covering this distance. During this trek, as you reach ViewPoint 1 (15,100 ft), you come close to the south-west face of Mt. Kanchenjunga, the third highest mountain in the world.

Below is a quick itinerary that outlines the Goechala trek for you:

Day 1:  Reach Yuksom; 6-8 hours drive from NJP. (Refer to How To Reach Section for details)

Day 2: Yuksom (5,643 ft) to Sachen (7130 ft); 5 hours, 6.7 kms

On the first day, you will cross three suspension bridges hanging over deep gordes. River Prekchu flows through these gorges.

Day 3: Sachen (7130 ft) to Tshoka (9,701 ft); 4 hours, 5 kms

On this day you have a steep climb to Bakhim from the 4th suspension bridge and then to Tsokha. From there you get a great view of Peiling village.  

Day 4: Tshoka (9,701 ft) to Dzongri (13,024 ft) via Phedang (12,083 ft); 7 hours, 6.3 kms

Till Phedang you trek through the forest. This is the blooming rhododendro belt in spring. After Phedang, the trees give way to mountain views and you get the first glimpse of Mt. Pandim and Mt Tinchenkang.

Day 5: Acclimatisation Day. Dzongri (13,024 ft) to Dzongri top (13,778 ft) and back to Dzongri; 3 hours 1.8 kms ups and downs

Today is the acclimatisation day. Pay attention to your body and stay alert for any symptoms of AMS. It’s also a good time to go for a excursion to Dsongri Top. So this early in the morning, when the sun is rising to catch some spectacular morning views of Mt. Kanchenjunga. 

Day 6: Dzongri (13,024 ft) to Thansing (12,946) ft via Kockchurang (12,152 ft); 6 hours, 6.4 kms

Today you will descend through the alpine meadows and rhododendron forest to reach Kokchurang, where you will be at the level of River Prek, It will gurgle alongside and under a wooden bridge. From there you start ascending again and reach Thansing, the expansive and stark meadow. 

Day 7: Thansing (12,946 ft) to Lamuney (13,743 ft); 2 hours ,3.6 kms

It’s almost a flat terrain till Lamuney through meadows. This trail moves along with Prekchu river. In this 3.6 kms, Mt Pandim will always remain to your right.  

Day 8: Lamuney (13,743 ft) to View Point One (15,100 ft) via Samiti Lake; 3.3 kms , back to Kockchurang / Thansing (12,152 ft / 12,946 ft) ;9.2 Kms, 12 hours

Today is a long day. First you will go to ViewPoint 1 via Samiti lake and witness the first sun rays on Mt. Kanchenjunga. You will also see morning dawning over other magnificient peaks like Kabru and Frey. After that you will deschend all the way to Kokchurang vua Thansing.

Day 9: Kockchurang / Thansing (12,152 ft / 12,946 ft) to Tshoka (9,701 ft); 6-7 hours,9.9 kms

As you descend from Kokchurang, you will reach Phedang from where you descend 3.2 km more in the thick Rhododendron forest and reach Tsokha.  

Day 10: Tshoka (9,701 ft) to Yuksom (5,643 ft); 6 hours, 11.7 kms

You will descend for most part today. It’s steep till the 4th suspension bridge. And then you gradually descend to Sachen and after a short ascend towards the end, descend to Yuksom.

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

Reach NJP; 6-8 hours drive from Yuksom. (Refer to How To Reach section for details)

What is the best time to do Goechala?

Spring (end of March – mid-April) and Autumn (September end – the start of November) are the best seasons to experience Goechala. And both seasons expose a different flavour of the trek.

In Spring, the oak and rhododendron forest on the trek is shrouded in a mist. That lends it a romantic air as a variety of rhodo flowers bloom on the trail.

It is also a time when you will find hardened snow patches at a higher altitude. But this is the receding snow. And temperatures are warmer than autumn in this season. They dip to a minimum of -2 °C.

In autumn, the mist has lifted and rhodo flowers would have wilted. But that accentuates the dark, mossy forests under the brilliant blue autumn sky.

You will also witness sharp mountain views in autumn, as you pop out of the forest at Phedang.

Although there is no snow on the trail and the weather is dry, the temperature gets cold and dips to around -7 °C. 

It becomes very difficult to trek here after the first week of November as it gets increasingly cold. And exertion at high altitude with such low temperature exposes you to the risk of High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE).

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.6,500 per vehicle.

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

Day 3: Bakhim (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 Bakhim, get wonderful views of the forest and the Yuksom valley. PC: Sadguru

Day 2: Yuksom to Sachen/Bakhim

  • 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 Bakhim
  • 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 Bakhim.
  • 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: Bakhim 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 Bakhim in a series of long switchbacks after which the trail eases off into a gradual climb.
  • Water sources: Carry sufficient water from Bakhim/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 Bakhim another half hour later. From the Prek, it takes an hour to get to Bakhim. The total distance is only a kilometer but feels a lot longer.

Bakhim 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.

Bakhim 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 Bakhim 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 locals make a malt beer called 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 Kanchenjunga 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 Prek Chu 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 Kanchenjunga. 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 Kanchenjunga and its neighbours make their appearance. Witness an inspiring sunrise and spend time watching the mountains changing colours in the sun rays.

dzongri top - indiahikes
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 Prek Chu 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.

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

From Kokchurang, walk down to the bridge across Prek Chu. 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 Kanchenjunga 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.
goechala trek - indiahikes
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.
goechala trek - indiahikes
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 Kanchenjunga.

– 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 Prek Chu 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 Bakhim 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.

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.

Plan Your Travel for the Goechala Trek

It is great to see you going on the Goechala Trek. While it is a great trek to do, you need to get your travel plan worked out perfectly. Here is a step-by-step guide on what to do next. Use this guide and nothing else to plan your travel.  


1.Here’s a quick view on how to plan your travel. 

Day 0: Book your air ticket to Bagdogra or Kolkata. If Bagdogra, plan your stay at Siliguri which is the closest town near NJP railways station. If Kolkata, book night train to NJP railway station. Click here for more explanation. 

Day 1: The drive from NJP to Yuksom is 7 – 8 hours. Yuksom is the basecamp for your trek. 

We organise transport to Yuksom from NJP station at 9:30am. It costs Rs 6,500 per vehicle (shared between 5-6 trekkers).

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

Day 3: Bakhim (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.

Depart from Yuksom around 8am on day 11. It takes 7-8 hours to reach NJP and another 40 mins to Bagdogra.. Indiahikes arranges this transport for Rs.6,500 to NJP, which will have to be shared by trekkers. You will reach NJP by 5.00 pm. Book return train ticket to Howrah from NJP (Kanchan Kanya or Paharia Express) Or book direct air ticket from Bagdogra for the next day on day 12.

| Note:

  1. While getting to Yuksom, we recommend you arrive a day earlier and stay at NJP/Siliguri (Day zero). Our vehicles can pick you up at on Day 1. Staying at NJP/Siliguri gives you a well deserved rest for the night. Plus some bonus sightseeing.
  2. If you arrive by flight, then you need to travel from Bagdogra to Silliguri and stay overnight and come to the NJP station on Day1 at 9:30am for the pickup.
  3. We do not have a pickup at the Bagdogra airport. 


2.Planning your onward flight/train booking 

If you are travelling from Bengaluru, Chennai, Pune, Mumbai or any other city, book your 

air tickets for Day Zero, which is the day before Day 1 on the itinerary. If your trek start day is 25 August, book your air tickets for 24 August to either Kolkata/Bagdogra. 

There are two options.

Option 1: Fly directly to Bagdogra. 

We recommend this. It gives you an added rest day at NJP/Siliguri. However, if the cost of the flight ticket to Bagdogra is too high, book to Kolkata and connect to NJP by train.

Tip: From Bagdogra International Airport take a shared Auto to Siligrii(frequently available till evening), it will cost you around Rs. 250-300. Taxis are also available from the airport (plenty). Airport taxis are expensive and cost RS 400-500/- Look for shared auto to Siliguri. Plan your stay at Siliguri close to the NJP station 

Pro Tip: If you want to save real money don’t take an auto direct to Siliguri, take an auto to Bihar more, from Bihar More catch a bus to Siliguri. (Auto will cost you Rs. 100, bus will cost you Rs. 10)

Next morning take a bus/shared auto to NJP station and, wait for Indiahikes pickup at 9.30 am. Contact your driver by 9.00 am. The number of your transport coordinator will be shared with you a week prior to your departure. 

Advice: Avoid taking a morning flight to Bagdogra although there are a few arrivals in the morning. Flight delays can further delay your travel time to Yuksom.

Option 2: Fly or take a train to Kolkata

Flying to Kolkata may be a lot cheaper than getting to Bagdogra. Make sure to book a flight that reaches Kolkata before 6.00 pm. You must arrive in Kolkata on Day Zero and not on Day 1.

| Note: If you notice the difference in air ticket prices between Kolkata and Bagdogra less than Rs 1000 then book directly to Bagdogra. The rest and shorter travel time is worth the difference.  

Next, book yourself in Kanchan Kanya Express to NJP (Train No: 13149). It leaves at 20:30 hrs from Sealdah and gets to NJP at 7:30 am in the morning. If tickets are not available try for Uttar Banga Express( Train No: 13147), leaves Sealdah at 19:45 hrs and gets to NJP at 7:00 am in the morning.

At Bagdogra International Airport, wait for Indiahikes pickup at 9.30 am. Contact your driver by 9.00 am. The number of your transport coordinator will be shared with you a week prior to your departure. 

| Note: If you notice the difference in air ticket prices between Kolkata and Bagdogra less than Rs 1000 then book directly to Bagdogra. The rest and shorter travel time is worth the difference.  

Option 3: Bus from Kolkata to NJP.

Taking a bus from Kolkatta is an option, the journey is 14 hrs. There are 6-8 private buses starting from Howrah Railway station, Kolkatta (Esplanade) to Tenzing Norgay International Bus stand, Silluguri junction.  Buses run between 5-8 pm. A number of A/C and non ac sleeper buses are available.Cost for A/C bus is Rs 1200- 1400 and sleeper is Rs 700-900.

From the bus stand take an auto NJP station, it is a 20 min ride costing Rs 150/-

You can book your ticket through Paytm or Redbus.


3.Planning your return flight/train booking

On Day 11 you will be back to NJP/Silluguri by 5 pm. Plan your return by train on the same day after 8 pm or stay at Siliguri and the next day on Day 1.

Take a flight back to your home city from Bagdogra airport, most metros are well connected.

If flights are expensive from Bagdogra, book a flight to Kolkata the next day. And then a train from Kolkata to your home destination.

Taking a train from NJP is a lot cheaper than flying, it also saves you hotel stay. So take an overnight train from NJP to Kolkata on Day 11, book yourself in Kanchan Kanya Express to Howrah(Train No: 13150). It leaves at 20:30 hrs from NJP and gets to Sealdah at 8:20 am in the morning.

Taking a bus from Silluguri to Kolkatta is another option, take a private bus from the Tenzing Norgay bus stand, Silluguri to Kolkatta. These buses also stop at airport and the final stop is at the Howrah Railway station, Esplanade.


 4.Planning your hotel/stay

Hotel options at Siliguri

Hotel Debjyoti: Set in a bustling commercial area, this modest hotel is an 8-minute walk from Siliguri Junction Railway Station. Average cost Rs 800 – 1500 per bed. Rooms start at about Rs 1,200 (for online booking).

Booking online at least before 2 days.
Ph: 0353 251 1201
Location: https://goo.gl/maps/b4X5eBxfrHR1JxtN8

Shivanand Lodge: Situated in the best location, it’s 11km away from the Bagdogra Airport. It has all the basic facilities Free wifi, AC, Room Service. Price is also decent. An average cost of Rs. 500 – 1000 per room.
Book online at least before 2 days. Offseason you get rooms on the spot.

Ph: 085840 75074

Location: https://goo.gl/maps/wva4Vb63mwadiGzX8

Anjali Lodge: Located in a quiet place, rooms are neat and pretty decent. Room rates are nominal Rs. 1000 – 1500 per room.
You can get on the spot rooms here as this hotel is not listed on online platforms.

Ph: 089428 44715
Location: https://goo.gl/maps/zcjccwpVithwUqHW9

Lemon Tree Hotel: If you are looking for a fancy stay, go for this one.It’s a 3 star hotel with all amenities. Rooms are very clean, hotel service is prompt. This will cost you around Rs. 4000 – 6000 per room.
Reserve in advance at least before a week or you won’t get rooms.
Ph: 0353 395 2600
Location: https://g.page/Lemon-tree-hotel-siliguri?share


5. What if you miss the Indiahikes pickup? Getting to Jaubhari on your own.

If you miss the Indiahikes pick up from NJP . Here is how you can get toYuksom base camp on your own.

Shared Cab and bus

From NJP station take an auto to Silliguri junction for Rs 40-50. Take a shared cab like Sumo or Max to Jorethang, it takes 3 hours, it costs Rs 300-400 depending on cab to cab. Jorthang to Yuksom – 4 – 5 hours, charge another Rs200 – 300. Depends on cab to cab again

Buses are not very frequent, a bus starts at 8 am from Sillguri junction and takes 4-5 hrs to Jorethang and costs Rs 80. From Jorethang only shared cabs are available to Yuksom, the last cab is at 1pm.

If your arriving by flight take a private cab from Bagdogra to NJP junction – 40 mins 

Private Cab will take 400 – 500 RS 

| Note: Few cabs go directly to Yuksom  but it’s subject to availability, as not many passengers going direct to Yuskom Try to communicate and hook up with passengers who are willing to go to Jaubhari. 

| Tip: While this cab hopping may sound cumbersome, we do it regularly at Indiahikes. They are a fun and a good way to know the real North Eastern India. You also get to meet very interesting local people. So while no one wants to miss a pick up, don’t be too disheartened if it happens. You may just experience one of your best travel moments!      

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 25 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.

trek-fitness-indiahikes-difficult-treks

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

 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 month of 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, moisturizer, light towel, lip balm, toilet paper, toothbrush, toothpaste, hand sanitiser. Do not carry wet wipes since these are not biodegradable. We do not like biodegradable wet wipes because they take a long time to decompose in the mountains. Use toilet paper instead.
  3. Sanitary waste: Make sure you bring your used sanitary napkins back to the city with you. Carry a zip lock bag to put used napkins. Bring this ziplock bag back with you to the city and do not dispose sanitary napkins in the mountains.
  4. Cutlery:Carry a spoon, coffee mug and a lunch box. We insist on trekkers getting their own cutlery for hygiene reasons. We do not allow biodegradable or disposable cutlery on our treks.
  5. Two water bottles: 1 litre each
  6. 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.

 

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

Here’s a quick info-graphic to give you an overview of everything you need in your backpack.

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 Bakhim, it is safe to say that you will not experience any symptoms. They are at fairly low altitudes, with Bakhim 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

 

The Indiahikes Cancellation Policy 

We understand the pain of cancelling a trek. As trekkers, we always look forward to treks, and after months of training and planning, if we have to cancel our trek, there’s no greater disappointment than that. 

Given that, we have one of the most trekker-friendly cancellation policies. 

Take a look at the Indiahikes cancellation policy below. This policy is effective starting January 29th, 2020.

In the event that you cancel your trek, this is the cancellation policy we follow:

– Cancellation 30 days before the starting date of the trek — Get your full trek fee back in an Indiahikes Trek Voucher OR get a monetary refund with 15% cancellation charges.

– Cancellation between 30 days and 20 days before the starting date of the trek — Get 80% of the trek fee in an Indiahikes Trek Voucher OR get a monetary refund with 50% cancellation charges.

– Cancellation less than 20 days before the starting date of the trek — No monetary refund, get 50% of your fees in an Indiahikes Trek Voucher 

 

In the rare event that we cancel your trek, this is the cancellation policy we follow:

We almost never cancel our treks. But in case we cancel a trek because of natural calamities (snowstorms, thunderstorms, floods, landslides, earthquakes) or unexpected political unrest, curfews, local riots, government orders, unexpected global health issues,

 

 

Indiahikes will issue a voucher for the full amount of your trek fee (minus the trek insurance). You can redeem the Trek Voucher on any of our treks over the next one year.

Important note: The Trek Insurance amount is not refundable once it has been paid for. 

If you cancel any rental gear from our store:

  • Cancellation of rental gear 7 days before the starting date of the trek — Get a monetary refund with 4% cancellation charges.
  • Cancellation of rental gear less than 7 days before the starting date of the trek — Get a voucher of the whole amount you have paid for the rental gear. This voucher is applicable on your future treks.

If you cancel the offloading of your backpack:  

The offloading fee will be refunded to your account with a 4% transaction charge. 

If you choose to cancel your backpack offloading AFTER reaching the base camp, you will get a voucher of the offloading fee. 

Special Cases That Could Occur:

There are some special cases that could occur when you’re on a trek.

1. You may not be able to complete the trek because of bad weather, high snow conditions, or any natural calamity.

2. You may have to leave your trek abruptly (could be due to altitude sickness, abnormal BP, unpreparedness for the trek, any emergencies at home)

In the above two cases, you’re welcome to come back and repeat the same trek any time in future. You do not have to pay us for this. If you’d like to repeat your trek, get in touch with your Trek Coordinator and they’ll help you. 

Important note: Your offloading and rental fee will not be refunded in the above two cases.

3. You may not be able to report at the base camp at all (could be due to blocked roads / cancelled flights/curfews), we will try to accommodate you in the next day’s team (if we have one). 

In the third case, if we cannot accommodate you in the next day’s trek, we will give you a Trek Voucher of the entire trek fee (including your offloading and rental fee), which you can use on any Indiahikes trek within the next one year.

How to cancel your trek: 

In case, you wish to cancel your trek, follow these steps. 

  1. Login to your Indiahikes Trek Dashboard using this link
  2. Find your upcoming trek on your home page. 
  3. Click on “Cancel Trek” 
  4. Mention why you’re cancelling your trek on the form that appears.
  5. Choose either a voucher or a refund (where applicable). 
  6. Click on “Cancel Booking” 

How long does the refund process take?

After you have cancelled your trek, if you have opted for a refund, the refund amount will land in the same account that you have made the payment from. It will take 4-5 working days.

If you have chosen a trek voucher, it will land in your inbox within an hour. You will also be able to see it on your Trek Dashboard.

What is a Trek Voucher?

Trek Vouchers are credit amounts added to your Indiahikes account. You can redeem these on any of your future treks with Indiahikes. Every Trek Voucher has a validity of one year.

Important note: Indiahikes Trek Vouchers are non-refundable, not transferable to others or extendable. 

How to use an Indiahikes Trek Voucher?

If you have received an Indiahikes Trek Voucher, you will automatically see it when you are making a payment for your next trek. 

Once you click on the voucher and apply it, the system will deduct the voucher amount from your payable amount. 

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch with your Trek Coordinator. 

The Indiahikes “Repeat My Trek” Policy (trekkers love this!)

At Indiahikes, we can’t help but fall in love with a few trekking trails. And we love revisiting them, perhaps in other seasons, when treks take on a totally different hue. In such cases, we do not like the thought of having to pay for it. Our trekkers shouldn’t have to pay either.

So if you have loved a trek that you did with us and want to repeat it, you’re welcome to sign up for the trek. We will not charge you for this. (Many people think this is a rumour, but it’s true.) 

To repeat your trek for free, just get in touch with your Trek Coordinator. We’ll help you sign up with no charges. 

Note: The Indiahikes “Repeat My Trek” policy does not apply for our international treks.

Your trek fee includes:

  1. Accommodation – Stay from Day 1 to Day 10 (Yuksom to Yuksom). You stay in a lodge at Yuksom and in tents on on 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.
  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.

Your trek fee does not include:

  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
  3. Backpack offloading charges –  Rs. 2,700 + 5% GST. The backpack cannot weigh more than 9 kg. Suitcases/strolleys/duffel bags will not be allowed. Online offloading in advance is possible up to two days prior to the trek start date. Please note that there is no provision for last minute offloading.
  4. Anything apart from inclusions
Cancellation Policy

Cancellation Policy

In the event that you cancel your trek, this is the cancellation policy we follow:
– Cancellation 30 days before the starting date of the trek — Get your full trek fee back in an Indiahikes Trek Voucher OR get a monetary refund with 15% cancellation charges.
– Cancellation between 30 days and 20 days before the starting date of the trek — Get 80% of the trek fee in an Indiahikes Trek Voucher OR get a monetary refund with 50% cancellation charges.
– Cancellation less than 20 days before the starting date of the trek — No monetary refund, get 50% of your fees in an Indiahikes Trek Voucher

Fitness

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. Therefore, on treks, cardiovascular training is critically important. The trek has gradual climbs and steep descents. As a measure of your fitness, we require you to be able to run at least 5 km in 35 minutes by the time your trek starts. If you are 45 years or above, try to cover 10 km in 90 minutes. This is a minimum requirement.

If you prefer cycling over running, then try to cover 25 km in 60 minutes.

Unable to do so can make your trek difficult.

In addition, preparation of trek needs to include strength and flexibility training. Registering for the trek is an understanding that you will undertake the mandated fitness training and upload the fitness screenshots on your dashboard. Trekkers who have not adequately prepared may be asked to discontinue the trek at any point.

Indiahikes has the right to reject trekkers who do not meet our eligibility requirement at the base camp.

Backpack Offloading

Backpack Offloading

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

Backpack offloading charges – Rs 2,700 plus GST of 5%. Online offloading in advance is possible up to two days prior to the trek start date. Please note that there is no provision for last minute offloading. You can opt for offloading directly your dashboard after your payment is done for the trek.

Partial offloading is not allowed. The backpack cannot weigh more than 9 kg. No suitcases/strolleys/duffel bags will be allowed.

Transport

Transport

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. 6,000 per 5-6 seater vehicle one way. You will have to share this cost with the other trekkers.

Accommodation

Accommodation

Stay from Day 1 to Day 10 (Yuksom to Yuksom). You stay in a lodge/homestay at Yuksom and in tents on the trek (3 per tent). Stay is on sharing basis with males and females separately.

Discount Policy

Discount Policy

If there is a group size of 10 trekkers and above, then we will waive off the trek fee charges for one person.

Note - There is no discount available if the group size is 9 or less than that.

You can register the entire group and send us an email. If the group is registering individually, then the primary participant needs to send an email to the Trek Coordinator with the list of trekkers from the same group.

If you want to make the payment individually, then individual registrations have to be done.

This will be the case for a group of 10 trekkers. So if you have a group of 20 trekkers, then we will waive off the charges for 2 trekkers.

How difficult is the trek? Can a 1st timer do the trek?

How difficult is the trek? Can a 1st timer do the trek?

Prior trek experience will surely help you on this trek but if your fitness is good even a 1st timer can attempt it. You should be able to run 5 kms in less than 35 mins.

Can I leave Yuksom on day 10?

Can I leave Yuksom on day 10?

It is not advised to leave on day 10, you will return from the trek around 1 pm and the drive to NJP is 7-8 hours. Night driving is not advised in the mountains.

Do we go till the Goechala pass? If not, why?

Do we go till the Goechala pass? If not, why?

The trek takes you till view point 1, there is a restriction by the Kanchenjunga National Park against proceeding further till Goechala pass.

Can we leave a extra bag of clothes at basecamp and collect it later?

Can we leave a extra bag of clothes at basecamp and collect it later?

You can leave a bag of clothes at Yuksom and collect it after the trek.
Ensure you do not keep any valuables at the base.
Laptops, mobile phones, cash or any important items cannot be kept here.

Can I reach Bagdogra by 2 pm to catch a return flight?

Can I reach Bagdogra by 2 pm to catch a return flight?

If you really have to catch a flight early, you must leave Yuksom very early in the morning on the last day. But frankly I would not advice it.

Is it mandatory for me to carry an ID card on the trek?

Is it mandatory for me to carry an ID card on the trek?

It is mandatory for trekkers to carry a copy of their photo ID for entry at forest check posts on the trek. Foreigners need to obtain the Inner Line permit before entering Sikkim and arrive one day early at Yuksom.

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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Land Of The Five Treasures : The Goechala La Trek

" And all of a sudden, a deafening crack like a thunderbolt tore through the silence. It came from far away, and I knew what it was even though I had never experienced it. Avalanche, I muttered aloud, stopping dead in my tracks.", read on to know what happens next at 16120 ft.

Read full blog

Goecha La- Hello mighty Kanchenjunga!!

"Phenomenons as simple as a sunrise leave a great deal of impression back on your otherwise mundane life. Goecha La definitely tested my endurance at a lot of points on the trek. But, was it worth it, you ask? Definitely YES!", writes Vidhya K Pai. Read on discover her Goechala Trek.

Read full blog

Available dates

Aug September 2020 Oct

No cancellation charges for trek bookings until August 31st

(choose a trek any time in future)

In light of COVID-19, since travel and treks are uncertain, Indiahikes has waived off all cancellation charges if you register for a trek before August 31. Which means, for all registrations before August 31, even if the trek is in December or later, apart from the basic 4% transaction charges, there are no cancellation charges from Indiahikes.

This helps you to register for a trek with peace of mind, knowing you can cancel your trek even until the last moment. Trekkers have started registering for treks, and we'd like you to do so with full confidence. We don't want you to worry about losing out through cancellations.

  • What the colours mean
  • Available
    Registration is on.
  • Waitlist
    The group is full, but cancellations are likely to happen. We have 5 waitlist slots for every group. You may register for the group. Waitlist slots confirmation chances are high if booked more than 30 days in advance.
  • Last 'x' slots
    Indicates the number of slots available in a batch.
  • Full
    Indicates the group is full. No further slots are likely. A full group has 18 members.

Dates not suiting you? Click here to see other similar treks.

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19 thoughts on “Goechala Trek

    1. Hi Shalin, we organise the trek only until April. We don’t extend to May because it starts raining and the views get hazy as well. So April will be the last dates for summer. After that the trek reopens late in September.

      1. Hi ,
        But right now it shows 3 different trek dates in may . I wanted to book for may 10th slot so want to know if it will be canceled or not?

    1. Hi Abhishek, the earlier you go in the season, the better views you’ll get. So I would suggest going early in April. You’ll definitely get good views! The best time for mountain views overall is however, in October and November. That’s when the monsoon clouds disappear and give you two months of beautiful clear skies! 🙂

  1. 1. How is the temperature in April for the Goechla trek
    2. is there a lot of snow during this period and do we need crampons

    1. Hi Ravi, as of 2019, there was an excessive amount of snow in April on the Goechala trail. We’re hoping there will be lesser snow in 2020. You may need micro-spikes to trek there. During the day, the temperatures are warm enough to trek with just one jacket. The evenings get cold and windy, with temperatures dropping below zero.

  2. Please mention the expenditure that includes the package price. And also mention the cost that are not included in the package.

  3. Hello this is Subhomoy.I want to know in this 11 days trek for how many days the mobile network won’t be available? Please guide me through it.I am really interested to go.

    1. Hi Subhomoy, on the Goechala 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.

  4. Hello Swati!!

    It’s SMiT here….I am planning to trek in April-May 2020….
    Just had couple of queries-

    1. Is luggage Porter service available for this trek???

    2.do you recommend April or May for this trek?

    Hope to hear from you soon

    1. Hi Smit, Goechala is a great trek to do in summer! Good choice! 🙂 To respond to your questions, you can avail the service of offloading your backpack. These are the backpack offloading charges – Rs 2475 plus GST of 5 for the whole trek when booked in advance. Charges for last minute offloading during the trek will be Rs. 375 per day inclusive of tax. You can opt for offloading directly your dashboard after your payment is done for the trek.

      As for timing your trek, I would definitely recommend April. You’ll see lovely rhododendrons at that time of the year, and the chances of clear views are a lot higher in April!

    1. Hi Neha,
      We are not likely to open more batches for Goechala in the month of April. If we do, we’ll notify you 🙂

  5. Please add dates for November also.
    I think COVID-19 will push everything so it would be great if you could set up one in the last 10 days of November.
    Thanks,

    1. Hi Ganesh, we don’t run the Goechala trek in November. It gets bitterly cold on this trail by the beginning of November. There’s also the risk of winter snow on the trail by then. It’s not a good idea to go there at that time. April/May 2021 would be a better time to plan Goechala!

      I would also suggest taking a look at the Sandakphu trek — it’s a good alternative to Goechala in November. It has striking views of the Kanchenjunga, Everest, Lhotse and Makalu, all at once. You’ll find more details about the trek here – https://indiahikes.com/sandakphu