Goecha La or Goecha Pass is a Himalayan mountain pass in the state of Sikkim. At an elevation of 16,200 ft, Goecha La serves as the gateway to Kanchenjunga, the third highest mountain in the world.
Trek to Goecha La figures high on the must visit destinations for trekker because of the thrill it provides. The heady mix of adventure and scenic vistas lures many a trekker. Goecha La serves as base camp for those who want to scale the Kanchenjunga.
Goecha is not connected by roads which have protected its pristine nature. Goecha is over 50 km from Yuksom, the nearest road head. The south east face of Kanchenjunga is visible from the Goecha La.
Indian travellers to Goecha La need to register themselves with Yuksom. A guide is required to navigate you through the difficult terrain. The trek to Goecha La and back to Yuksom takes about a week. Foreign travellers need permission and are allowed to travel only in groups.
There are important points to stop for resting and refreshments on the way to Goecha La. Sachen, Bakkhim, Tshoka, Phedang, Dzongri, Kokchurong, Thansing and Lamuney are important stopovers between Yuksom and Goecha La.
The trek winds through dense forests which gives way to alpine meadows known as ‘bugyals’. The terrain changes as you reach closer towards Goecha La. You encounter rocky terrain with a wide variety of woody, evergreen and deciduous plants with vibrant colours that look their best in the month of May.
Trekking in Sikkim and especially to the Goecha La is unique. The trails are beautiful, the people you meet on the trek are wonderful and the culture that you witness is something unparalleled.
The trek to Goecha La is a very romantic as it takes you through the Tshoka rhododendron forests, beautiful meadows and icy trails.
- Indian nationals need to register themselves at Yuksom police station before proceeding towards Goecha La. A photo identity proof and three photocopies are required for the permit.
- A fee needs to be paid at the forest check. The fee includes the charges for tent and porter.
- Foreign nationals need to register themselves at state capital Gangtok.
- Foreign nationals also have to avail the services of a government approved agency for the trek. Permit and other documents will be managed by the agency.
- Foreigners are also required to trek in a group. The group strength can range from two to ten.
WHERE TO STAY
There are no places to stay at the Goecha La except for tented accommodations. Most trekkers carry tents and sleeping bags.
WHERE TO EAT
There are no eateries in Goecha La except for tea stalls that sell tea and biscuits. Carrying food during the trek is always a good idea.
BEST TIME TO VISIT
The best time to visit Goecha La is between September to November and again between March and April. These two periods are favorable as the temperature remains at comfortable levels.
NEAR GOECHA LA
Gangtok: The capital of Sikkim, Gangtok is one of the most frequently visited places in the north-east. It is known for its scenic beauty and striking views of the Kanchenjunga.
Kalimpong: It was a part of Bhutan until British wrested control of it. The hill station of Kalimpong boasts of ancient Buddhist monasteries, quaint old churches and popular temples.
Darjeeling: Darjeeling has been a popular destination with tourists for its beauty and salubrious climate. Trip is incomplete without a ride on the toy train.