The ever-changing and increasingly enjoyable nonetheless challenging trek to Goecha La is a near-about11 day’s affair with the charming Mt. Kanchendzonga brilliantly dominating the background. Other mightiest of Himalayan peaks across the Sikkim-Nepal-Tibet border rise welcomingly all around us-- Mount Pandim, and the Three Sisters shinning the brightest. Somewhere etched far across the sky, trekkers to Goecha La see Mt. Everest standing tall and forebodingly. While the snowline visuals are outright stunning on this trek, that is quite not all there is to Goecha La. If you have been a wildlife enthusiast and a naturist, you cannot choose a Himalayan trek more right. The trail zigzags through Singalila Biosphere Reserve-- one of the most biodiversity rich protected areas found in the Himalayas and the famed home to red pandas. You will find these enchanting forests bursting with life during the Himalayan spring in March and April. Bevies of rhododendrons burst in hues of burning red and blush pink, orchids are found hanging in bouquets, and the subdued colors of magnolias aplenty! You are also going to love the wooden log trails passing through these forests so quaint.
A trek set in the mountains of West Sikkim, Goecha La is a Himalayan high pass trek with a mixed bag of scenic attractions in store. From silent forests along the foothills to the enchanting glacial Lake Samiti, the stunning close-quarter views of the Kanchendzonga massif to sunrises over the hills you can die for, this route is blessed with marvels of the nature so many! While Himalayan tourists are well aware of Gangtok and its surrounding places to visit, the Goecha La vicinity presents a whole new slice of the gorgeous mountain state from day. The journey uphill on foot kicks off from Yuksom, the traditional base camp to the trek. A more or less expansive settlement, this old town was once the capital of the royal kingdom of Sikkim. Many interesting cultural artifacts are strewn around the city waiting to be explored. On the days to come, trekkers get to explore a pathway moving up through mixed oak forests, flowering rhododendron thickets of the summer, charming little wooden bridges over gurgling streams, monasteries surrounded with Tibetan community houses, wide open meadow camping sites with Kanchendzonga looking over in the night, the river Prekchu violently flowing, and the ethereal Samiti Lake. In terms of challenge and testing your will to the last, Goecha La is going to be a stepping stone for intermediately experienced trekkers and just as delicious to advanced mountain voyagers. If you are coming to trek from another country, come with all required documents to apply for permit to travel in these regions.
The maximum height to be reached on the Goecha La trek is at the high pass, to the height of 16,207 ft. From Goecha La, the world’s third-highest mountain- Mt Kanchenjunga can be viewed in incredibly clear detail.
By Air: The nearest airport for accessing the Goecha La Trek is the Bagdogra airport in Siliguri.
By Rail: Siliguri railway station is well connected with major rail stations in the country and the nearest for accessing Yuksom in West Sikkim.
Shops are scarce on this trek; therefore, all necessary purchases should be concluded in Yuksom.
Altitude sickness is a considerable risk on this mighty high trek in the Sikkim Himalayas. For this very reason, only trekkers with sufficient experience in the high altitudes are asked to join. Particular attention to fitness training, following a basic rule of nutritious food intake, sufficient sleep and hydration on the journey will keep you free of the risk of AMS.
A course of diamox or any other acetazolamide medication on doctor’s advice will also help the cause.
The Goecha La trek remains busy during summer and spring from April to June. You will also find the mountains hospitable during autumn, from September to October, and a thinner crowd.