India is home to some of the greatest Himalayan trekking trails. The Goecha La trek in Sikkim is one of the most adventurous and exotic trekking destinations in India to be on your bucket list.
Located with a maximum altitude of 15,100 ft in the scenic West Sikkim region, the Goecha La Pass trek enables trekkers to explore rich flora and fauna of the region while passing through popular and majestic mountain peaks.
Best Season: April to May and September to December
Highlights of the Goecha La Trek
The main highlights of the spectacular Goecha La Trek which will leave the trekkers awe-struck are as follows:
- Sunrise on Mt. Kanchenjunga
- Unparalleled views of numerous Peaks from the Goecha La View Point
- Exotic Samiti Lake
- Camping at the foothills of Mount Pandim and its reflection on the Samiti Lake
- Diverse Bird and wildlife species during Goecha La Trek
- Visiting Goecha La trek base camp, Yuksom
Why should a trekker undertake this trek?
This wondrous trek offers many unique sights and landscapes that are worth spending 10 days on this laborious trek. We have listed the top reasons why this trek must be on a list of every adventure junkie:
- Gorgeous views on the trail
Goecha La trek is also called the Kanchenjunga Base Camp trail. The major highlight of this serene place is the breathtaking sunrise from the viewpoint at Goecha La Pass. You will also witness the glory of Mt. Kanchenjunga (the world’s third highest mountain) while trekking from Thansign to Lamuney. The first rays of sun hitting the mountain peaks feel like heaven, making trekkers mesmerized for a moment. Unbelievable views of Mount Pandim and its reflection on the alluring Samiti Lake will leave the trekkers gobsmacked. The stunning views while passing through the trek also makes it a photographers’ paradise.
- Changing landscapes
This trek begins at Yuksom and you have to cross forest areas, rivers and streams to reach Tshoka. After crossing the pleasant rhododendron forest in Tshoka, the trekking trail moves towards the delightful meadows of Dzongri. The last campsite Lamuney further takes you through rocky terrain, as well as moraines. All these different and changing landscapes in one trek make this journey completely unique and memorable at the same time.
- Witness amalgamation of three cultures – Hindu, Buddhist and Tibetan
The majority of the population in Sikkim follows Buddhism and Hinduism. Plus, there is also an influence of Tibetan culture. You can experience all these cultures there by visiting different religious places, such as Dubdi monastery (the oldest monastery in Sikkim) and temples where natives worship different Gods.
- Exotic Flora and Fauna
The Goecha La trek passes through the Kanchenjunga National Park, which is the part of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites. This particular region boasts rich flora and fauna. It is a biosphere reserve that’s home to different bird and wildlife species, including the snow leopard. The dense rhododendron trees cover almost all parts of Tshoka, where you can even find many unique flowers and plants.
- Yuksom – Base camp of Goecha La Trek
You get the access to the gorgeous base camp in Sikkim, Yuksom. Besides Goecha la trek, this is the base camp for many other peaks like Tashiding and Dzongri. You can even trek to Kachupuri Lake from this site. Yuksom is surrounded by glorious mountain peaks – some of them are clad in snow almost throughout the year. Known as the ancient capital city of Sikkim, Yuksom also has the oldest Buddhist temple, where you can hear calming prayers every evening. This exquisite place is so mesmerising that you can completely immerse yourself in nature for the whole week without even realizing how fast the time would fly by. Yuksom can be easily reached from Gangtok and NPJ by taxi.
Preparation for the trek
Just like any other trek, you need to come prepared with the following essentials when coming for Goecha La trek:
- Basic gear: You need to have all basic trekking gear with you, including refillable water bottles, trekking shoes with ankle support, trekking pole, poncho, sunglasses, rain-proof rucksack, camera, spare batteries, torch, etc.
- Clothing: You must pack warm clothes like fleece jackets, quick-dry trekking pants, thermals, t-shirts, padded jacket, thick socks, water-proof gloves, cotton socks, rainwear, caps, footwear, balaclavas, etc.
- Toiletries: Do pack essential cold cream, moisturizer, sunscreen lotion, sanitizer, toothbrush, toothpaste, small towel, face wash, toilet roll, etc.
- Must carry items: Tampons for women, anti-fungal cream, first-aid kit and pouches to carry all waste materials.
- Miscellaneous: Prescribed medicines (if any), energy bars, dry fruits, snacks, and chocolates to munch on.
You need to have the following permits to complete Goecha La trek:
- The ILP (Inner line Permit) for foreigners: Check the following link for this permit: http://sikkim.nic.in/homedept/ilpfaqs.htm. You can even obtain this trekking permit at the checkpoint before you enter Sikkim from Siliguri/NPJ or outside Bagdogra airport.
- Trek permit obtained by all trekkers: This permit can be obtained at the forest check post as soon as you visit Yuksom.
- Special trek permit for foreigners: The foreign nationals also need to carry a special permit that can be obtained at Gangtok. However, the citizens of Myanmar, China and Bangladesh are not allowed to trek in this region.
Why waste time? Pack your backpacks and set out to explore the pristine trails of Sikkim. Goecha La Trek is a moderate trek for those who want to upgrade their trekking experience as you encounter changing terrain and untouched beauty of nature on this trail.