About Goecha La Trek
Goecha La is an adventurous trek in the laps of the Himalayas. The trek features a magnificent view of the southeast face of Kanchenjunga, the world third highest mountain.
Goecha La is a trek in Sikkim, with a unique blend of nature and culture that render it an unforgettable journey. The terrain and culture you get to experience here have a unique Sikkim flavor.
Goecha la is a high mountain pass in the Indian Himalayas. It is at an elevation of 4940 m. If you want to experience the Himalayas to its full extent, the Goecha La trek is a must. The trekking trail offers some beautiful views, with stunning rhododendron forests and meadows adorning your path.
The Samiti lake, with its clear blue waters, is another highlight of the trek. Moreover, throughout the trek you feel the looming presence of the Himalayan giant Kanchenjunga, and nearby Pandim.
Starting at Yuksom, a large settlement in West Sikkim, the Goecha La trail takes you through picturesque hill stations, which are nothing like the hubbub of Darjeeling. The hotels here are comfortable and fairly cheap. You can also buy all your equipment at Yuksom. Once you fill out the paperwork and pay the fees, you then receive a trekking permit from Gangtok. This permit will be necessary at the border. The Goecha La trek cannot be done solo; you need at least one partner. Hence, it is highly recommended that you hire an agency for this trek.
You will follow the trail from Yuksom to Sachen then Tshoka, passing through lush forests, and over the beautiful Rathong River. At an altitude of 2194 m, Sachen is a clearing with a small hut that can accommodate a team of 6 to 7. From here, you can hear faint sounds of the river Prek rushing hundreds of feet below. The trail gains altitude gradually as you pass through the cool forests.
Swaying on the wooden bridge over Prek, you then start seeing prayer flags and wheels, which signal the beginning of the real climb. You keep climbing on this trail until you reach Goecha La. As you gain altitude, the forests become thinner and rhododendrons start appearing. The rapid altitude gain calls for some acclimatization. A forest rest house in Bakhim is the perfect place to do so. When you reach the trekkers’ hut at Tshoka, you’ll be thoroughly tired and in need of a warm meal. Fortunately, the wooden rest house accommodates up to 20 trekkers, and there is also a flat camping area behind it. The view of the surrounding Kanchenjunga is absolutely spectacular from here.
Then comes a sharp climb along which rhododendrons rule the land and the surrounding mighty mountains are clearly seen. The trek then becomes a gradual climb with wooden benches on either side for resting. Climbing along, you reach Phedang, a large clearing with even more superb views of the surrounding mountains. Finally, you keep climbing to get to Dzongri, where the huts are a welcome sight after all the climbing.
After a brief climb, you reach Dzongri Top, the highest point in your journey, from where you can catch a magnificent view of the surrounding Himalayan terrain. You should definitely come here during sunrise or sunset, when the views are absolutely fantastic.
Finally, climbing and descending along the Himalayan trail, you pass a meadow called Thansing and, after a few stops, reach the Samiti Lake, which has the bluest waters you’ve ever seen. Then, you climb to Lamuney and then to Goecha La, the high altitude mountain pass. With the Pandim and Kanchenjunga by your side, the trek to Goecha La is as exciting as it is challenging.
The below is a sample itinerary. It may vary slightly depending on the final trekking agency you choose to go with:
- Day 1: Drive from NJP to Yuksom 5,670 ft (6 hrs)
- Day 2: Trek starts at Yuksom 5,600 ft to Sachen 7,150 ft
- Day 3: Sachen 7,150 ft to Tshokha 9,700 ft via Bhakim 8,600 ft
- Day 4: Tshokha 9,700 ft to Dzongri 12,980 ft via Phedang 12,000 ft
- Day 5: Dzongri 12,980 ft to Dzongri top 13,675 ft , then to Thansing 12,900 ft via Kokchurang (12,000 ft)
- Day 6: Thansing 12,900 ft to Lamuney 13,600 ft
- Day 7: Lamuney 13,600 ft to Goecha La 16,000 f) via Samiti Lake 14,100 ft, then back to Kokchurang/Thansing
- Day 8: Kokchurang/Thansing to Tshokha via Phedang
- Day 9: Tshokha to Yuksom via Bhakim and Sachen
- Day 10: Leave Yuksom early morning and reach NJP by 4.00 – 5.00 pm