The trek is suitable for all levels of trekkers and promises an unforgettable experience that one will cherish for a lifetime. So, if one is looking for an adventure-packed journey through some of the most beautiful places in India, the Goechala Trek is worth taking.
Goechala is located in the Indian state of Sikkim, close to the border with Nepal. It lies at an altitude of 4,950 m (16,240 ft) and can be reached by trekking from Yuksom, approximately 8 km away.
One of the most popular places to visit on the Goechala trek is Yuksom, located at an altitude of 1780m, which serves as the starting point for the trek. Yuksom is known for its majestic views of snow-clad mountains and lush green valleys. Other major attractions in this region are Sachen (3000m), Tshoka (3100m), and Phedang (3500m). These destinations offer breathtaking views of Mt Kanchenjunga along with spectacular panoramic vistas of the Himalayas.
Apart from regular trekking and hiking, Goechala is also known for its excellent camping opportunities. Several campsites along the route offer spacious areas to pitch tents and enjoy a night under the stars. Adventure lovers can embark on river rafting in the Teesta River, which flows nearby, or go rock climbing at various sites around Goechala.
Besides these activities, one can also explore the local markets of Sikkim and nearby towns to get an insight into their culture and lifestyle. In addition, one can indulge in bird watching or visit local monasteries for some spiritual rejuvenation. Here are some popular activities to do in Goechala trek
The Goechala trek is special due to its breathtaking view of the third highest mountain in the world, Mt Kanchenjunga (8586m) and other peaks like Jopuno (7494m), Kabru (7314m), Pandim (6691m) and Siniolchu (6887m). Several places around Goechala can be explored for their beauty and charm, such as Dzongri Valley, Green Lake, Samiti Lake, Thangu Valley, etc.
The Goechala trek best time is during summer (May–June) when temperatures are comparatively warmer, and the environment is ideal for a long trek. During winter, the temperature drops significantly, and snowfall can make it difficult to continue the trek. Hence, planning the trip in advance and preparing accordingly is important.
Alternatively, the spring season (March–April) also provides pleasant weather conditions suitable for trekking. However, due to unpredictable rainfall at higher altitudes, one should carry appropriate rain gear and waterproof bags/backpacks to keep their belongings safe and dry.
The average temperature at Goechala pass during the summer season ranges from 10°C–15°C during day time and 0°C–5°C at night. Carrying warm clothing for higher altitudes is recommended as temperatures drop significantly.
The average temperature in Goechala Sikkim during the winter season ranges from 0°C–5°C during day time and -10°C to -15°C at night. Carrying warm clothing for higher altitudes is advisable as temperatures drop significantly.
The average temperature in Goechala during monsoon season remains around 10°C and can drop from 0°C to -5°C at night. It is advisable to carry warm clothing, waterproof bags, and other rain gear, as there can be unexpected showers along the trek.
It is believed that the famous saint Guru Padmasambhava, also known as Second Buddha, once descended from the sky at Goechala on a legendary tigress. Since then, the place has become sacred, and many devotees visit the region for enlightenment.
The Goechala trek was first opened to the public in 1979 by a famous French mountaineer, Pierre Noire. Since then, the trail has become popular amongst nature lovers and adventure seekers worldwide.
It was discovered by the British during their colonial rule in India and used as a route from Sikkim to Tibet. In recent years, Goechala has emerged as an adventure hub.
Goechala, which means 'Land of Snow', gets its name from the local language, Limbu.
Goechala is home to various quaint cafes and eateries that offer a variety of cuisines. One can find delicious local dishes like momos, thukpa, sel roti, and other Tibetan delicacies along the trek. There are also many restaurants offering Indian and continental dishes at reasonable prices.
For those looking for a quick bite, there are plenty of street food vendors offering snacks like samosas, pakoras, and sandwiches.
The Goechala Trek begins from Darjeeling and takes you through some of the most picturesque landscapes in the Himalayan region. The trail passes through lush green forests, meadows, rhododendron trees, prayer flags, and beautiful streams. On the way, one will also come across various small villages where one can interact with the locals and learn about their culture.
The trek offers amazing views of the mighty Mt. Kanchenjunga and other famous peaks like Pandim, Kangchenjunga South, and Jannu. Trekkers can witness spectacular sunrises and sunsets along the trail. One can also explore a variety of exotic flora and fauna in the region.
Several campsites and lodges along the Goechala pass trek offer basic accommodation and food. Most places have basic amenities like warm beds, running water, bathrooms, dining halls, and a kitchen. It is advisable to carry your own camping gear if you plan to stay in a tent.
There are also many homestays for a unique experience of living with the local people.
For those looking for luxury accommodation, a few high-end resorts in the area offer an unforgettable stay.
The best time for the Goechala Trek is between March and June, when the weather is most pleasant, with mild temperatures and clear skies. October to February is also good for trekking, but it can be cold at night. July and August see heavy rainfall and should be avoided.
The Goechala Trek is classified as a moderate to difficult trek due to its high altitude and steep climbs. However, it can be completed by anyone with sufficient fitness and determination.
Most packages include transportation, accommodation, meals, and guides. Some also provide trekking equipment like tents, sleeping bags, and backpacks at an additional cost. Additionally, most packages also cover sightseeing tours of nearby attractions like Tiger Hill or Sandakphu.
Yes, one will need a permit from the District Tourism office in Darjeeling to enter the Singalila National Park, where the Goechala Trek is located. The permit costs around INR 50 per person per day and can be obtained easily at the park entrance. Additionally, foreign nationals will also require an inner-line permit to stay in the region for more than 3 days.
Yes, you may do the Goecha La trek solo. Nonetheless, because of the trek's varied terrain and great difficulty, it is best done in a group.
The Goechala Trek is a unique opportunity to explore the majestic mountains of Sikkim and get a glimpse of its unspoiled culture and landscapes. One will get to witness the stunning views of Mt. Kanchenjunga because of the Goechala trek altitude, experience diverse flora and fauna, trek through quaint villages, and discover ancient monasteries—all in one trip!
Yes, there is cellular coverage available along most parts, but it is quite unreliable at times due to the Goechala trek height. Carry a satellite phone or an emergency walkie-talkie for communication in case of emergencies.
Yes, the temperature can dip below zero on the Goechala trek. The simplest method to deal with such a scenario is to bring good woollens and stable ankle-length shoes for the walk. They will provide sufficient safety in case the temperature drops dramatically.
The Goechala trek is suitable for beginners. The journey is moderate to challenging and includes a variety of terrains. As a result, if you are a newbie, you must assure that you are free of any health issues. As the trek leads you to higher elevations, it is also advised that you engage in some physical activity such as running and jogging.
The total distance of the Goechala trek is 90 km. Adventure seekers often trek an average of 5-6 hours every day for around 9-10 days. This is maintained to offer a pleasant hiking experience.