For guided groups (couples OK but no lone hikers), Sikkim’s classic trek is the multiday epic from Yuksom to the 4940m Goecha La and back. The route showcases more than a dozen massive peaks, typically taking seven or eight days, though possible in five (return) if you're fit and very well preacclimatised. The culmination, after a gruelling, predawn slog, is – weather permitting – an unforgettable view of the awesome Khangchendzonga Massif. With less time, a shorter return to Dzongri still gives superb panoramas of Mt Pandim (6691m); even a two-day return to Tsokha (3050m) is a memorable experience, with waterfalls, hanging bridges and lovely valley views. If you have an extra week, you can cut south at Dzongri and follow the Singalila Ridge to Uttarey, a village west of Dentam.

While none of these routes require technical climbing, the high altitude and long days make it comparatively challenging, especially when the trail is foggy or slippery after rain. Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) can be a risk, so consider adding rest days.

Practicalities

Permits and guide must be organised through a registered agency but can generally be arranged within 36 hours in Yuksom, quicker still in Gangtok. Budget from around ₹3000 per person per day in small groups including tents, cook, porter, yaks and all food. Some nights it might be possible to sleep in trekkers' huts but tents are still needed for the night before Goecha-La (camping at Lamuni).

Khangchendzonga Sample Trek Schedule

1

Route

Yuksom to Baktim/Tsokha

Duration (hr)

7-8

2

Route

Optional acclimatisation day at Tsokha

Duration (hr)

3

Route

Tsokha to Dzongri

Duration (hr)

4-5

4

Route

Acclimatisation day at Dzongri, or continue to Kokchurong

Duration (hr)

5

Route

Dzongri (or Kokchurong) to Lamuni

Duration (hr)

6-7

6

Route

Lamuni to Goecha La and back (most groups descend further to Thangsing)

Duration (hr)

9-12 (11-14)

7

Route

Lamuni (Thangsing) to Tsokha

Duration (hr)

8 (7)

8

Route

Tsokha to Yuksom

Duration (hr)

5-7

When to Go

Late March to mid-May offers the best temperatures but afternoon rain often makes the trails muddy. October and November have high chances of clear skies, though snow and subzero temperatures are possible later in November. Other months are impractical.