Kanchenjunga Circuit Trek: Permits, Regulations, and Trekking Essentials


The Kanchenjunga Circuit trek goes in full circle as it starts at Bhadrapur and ends at Bhadrapur as well. This trek takes you on the lap of the third-highest mountain in the world, Mt. Kanchenjunga, 8586 m. It is usually 26 days long.

Some major highlights of the Kanchenjunga Circuit trek are:

  1. Trekking to remote parts of eastern Nepal.
  2. Terrific landscapes
  3. Get to explore the beauty of Kanchenjunga Glacier
  4. Sneak Peek into Tibetan lifestyle, culture, and tradition
  5. Explore exotic wildlife like snow leopards, Red Panda, Musk Deer, etc.
  6. Walk through the trails decorated with lush green forests and meadows.
  7. Fast-flowing rivers and waterfalls
  8. Trek through the Kanchenjunga Conservation Area, which shelters Asian Black bears, Snow cock, Blood pheasant, Red-billed chough, Melanistic Leopards, and many more rare animals and vegetation.
  9. Behold the sight of Buddhist Monasteries.
  10. Last but obvious is the stunning Mt. Kanchenjunga’s sight.

What is the classic itinerary of the Kanchenjunga Circuit trek?

Following the classic route of the Kanchenjunga Circuit trek, the first day starts from Kathmandu to Bhadrapur flight. After flying for about 30 minutes, you will be at Bhadrapur then, drive to Illam. This drive is around 3 hours long.

Likewise, you could also drive to Taplejung instead of Illam. Either way, the next day, the trek expands to Sekathum with 6 hours (from Illam) / 9 hours (from Taplejung). We rest for the night at Sakethum.

Early in the morning the next day, we leave for Amjilosa. This day starts trekking by foot. We walk approximately 5 to 6 hours in total. The following day, we leave Amjilosa and walk for 5 hours, and arrive at our destination for the day, Gyabla.

Similarly, Ghunsa awaits us the day ahead. We spend the night at Ghunsa and move to Khambachen the following day. Upon arrival at Khambachen, we will have gained quite an elevation, so we acclimatize for a day.

After acclimatising at Khambachen the trek brings us to Lhonak. This day’s trek is relatively short as we do not want to strain our bodies for the final next day. After resting well at Lhonak early morning, we leave for the Kanchenjunga Base Camp.

The same day, we trek back to Lhonak. Our trek back to Bhadrapur follows the path: of Lhonak to Ghunsa, Ghunsa to Sele Le Base Camp. Likewise, Sele Le Base Camp to Tseram, Tseram to Tortong, Tortong to Yamphudin, Yamphudin to Kanyam, and finally Kanyam to Bhadrapur. 

Kanchenjunga Circuit trek

What are the permits required for the Kanchenjunga Circuit trek?

Embarking on the Kanchenjunga Circuit Trek requires two permits: the Kanchenjunga Conservation Area Project Permit (KCAP) and the Restricted Area Permit (RAP). KCAP allows access to the protected area, while RAP is essential for restricted zones. Prepare necessary documentation, including passport copies and itinerary details, to obtain these permits hassle-free. Ensure legal compliance and contribute to conservation efforts as you embark on this thrilling trekking adventure in Nepal.

There are two trekking permits to complete the Kanchenjunga Circuit trek legally. First, as the trek passes through the Kanchenjunga Conservation Area, you are obliged to obtain the Kanchenjunga Conservation Area Project Permit (KCAP). Moreover, some parts of the need one to walk through the restricted area of Kanchenjunga so you need a Restricted Area Permit.


Where can you obtain the permits for the Kanchenjunga Circuit Trek?

To legally undertake the Kanchenjunga Circuit Trek in Nepal, it’s imperative to secure the required permits from authorized governmental bodies. The primary entities responsible for issuing these permits are the Nepal Tourism Board and the Department of Immigration Office, both located in Kathmandu. The Nepal Tourism Board serves as a central hub for assisting trekkers with permit applications and providing guidance on regulatory compliance. Similarly, the Department of Immigration Office oversees the issuance of trekking permits, ensuring adherence to all relevant regulations. By obtaining permits from these official channels, trekkers not only fulfill legal requirements but also contribute to conservation efforts and support local communities. These permits serve as essential documentation for a safe and fulfilling trekking experience along the breathtaking trails of the Kanchenjunga Circuit.

Two governmental bodies provide the Kanchenjunga Conservation Area Project Permit and the Restricted Area Permit. They are the Nepal Tourism Board and the Department of Immigration Office.

You can pick either of these places and obtain the necessary permits.

What are the documents required to obtain the permit?

Documents required for the permits needed for the Kanchenjunga Circuit Trek are:

  • Copy of valid passport
  • Two passport-size pictures
  • Detailed Itinerary of the trek
  • Guide’s details
  • Travel agency detail
  • Insurance details
  • Emergency contact information


What happens if you do not obtain the necessary permits for the Kanchenjunga Circuit trek?

It is a serious violation of law if you are caught on the trail without necessary permits. You will be liable to pay a price. Or you could be deported back to your country with the ban on ever trekking back to Nepal. However, in more serious cases, one can be penalized with both charges.

Permits are needed not only to protect the trails but also for the well-being of trekkers. So, never try trekking anywhere without obtaining permits first.

Embarking on the Kanchenjunga Circuit trek is an adventure of a lifetime, but it’s essential to obtain the necessary permits for a safe, ethical, and fulfilling experience. Ensure legal compliance, prioritize safety, and contribute positively to local communities and the environment by securing permits before your trek. Your responsible actions will not only enhance your journey but also leave a lasting positive impact on Nepal’s majestic landscapes and vibrant cultures.

Cost of the Kanchenjunga Conservation Area Project Permit (KCAP)

Nepali citizens are liable to pay Nrs 100 for KCAP. Likewise, trekkers from SAARC nations need to pay Nrs 500 per person, and foreigners need to pay Nrs 2000.

The Kanchenjunga Conservation Area Project Permit (KCAP) is a necessary investment for trekkers embarking on the Kanchenjunga Circuit trek. Understand the permit fee, duration, and how to obtain it to ensure a smooth and memorable journey through Nepal’s enchanting landscapes. By supporting conservation efforts through permit fees, you contribute to the preservation of this unique natural habitat for future generations to enjoy.

Cost of the Restricted Area Permit (RAP)

The cost of the Restricted Area Permit (RAP) works a little differently than the Cost of the Kanchenjunga Conservation Area Project Permit (KCAP). Unlike the KCAP, the price of the RAP is the same for citizens of SAARC nations and foreigners. The cost of the RAP also varies with time. For the first four weeks, it is $20 per person per week; after the first four weeks, it is $25 per person per week.

Note: Trekkers can not pay for permits in foreign currency so before applying for either of the Kanchenjunga Circuit trekking permits, ensure to have Nepali currency in hand.

Can you obtain a Restricted Area Permit Without A Guide?

No, trekkers can not obtain a Restricted Area Permit (RAP) without a licensed guide. In Nepal, restricted areas are places that the Government of Nepal prioritizes the most. They want these areas’s nature, heritage, and other values to be protected and preserved at any cost. So, the rules regarding getting permission to these areas are very strict.

Likewise, the Restricted Area Permits help keep track of the flow of tourists. This is important from the government’s point of view as they want to limit the number of trekkers entering the restricted area at a given time. Doing so makes tourism sustainable in the long term.

As per the government’s rule, trekkers need to have an authorized guide to obtain the RAP for the Kanchenjunga Circuit trek. Similarly, having two other trekkers is mandatory as well. No trekkers under any circumstance are given the RAP without a guide assisting them.

How difficult is the Kanchenjunga Circuit trek?

The Kanchenjunga trek is one of Nepal’s less-explored treks. It is off the beaten trail and not easy to trek on. Likewise, the duration of the Kanchenjunga circuit trek is almost four weeks long. Therefore, it falls very high up on the difficulty radar.

Similarly, the highest elevation of the Kanchenjunga circuit is 5143 m / 16873 ft at the Kanchenjunga north base camp, AKA Pang Pema. This elevation level falls under a very high risk of altitude/mountain sickness. Therefore, with every bit of elevation gain the trek gets even more difficult.

In conclusion, the Kanchenjunga Circuit Trek is not beginner-friendly. Only trekkers with ample previous trekking experience should go for it.

Note: People with cardiovascular and pulmonary health issues should stay as far away as possible from the Kanchenjunga Circuit Trek.


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