The Goechala Trek, also known as the Singalila Ridge Trek, is one of the most famous treks in Sikkim, India. This trek takes you through stunning high mountain passes and verdant valleys, all of which are nestled within India’s third highest mountain range, the Singalila Mountains. By exploring this incredible region of Sikkim on foot and by helping with local conservation efforts along the way, visitors can truly experience the beauty of this remote area firsthand and learn more about its diverse natural and cultural history at the same time.
Who can do this trek?
The Goechala trek in Sikkim is an activity that any reasonably fit individual can do. That said, you should check with your doctor before attempting such a trip. Keep in mind that you will be trekking for up to 10 days and going above 12,000 feet in elevation twice (the Khangchendzonga Base Camp is at 17,300 ft). You should not try it if you have high blood pressure or other serious health conditions.
How long does it take?
The trek takes between 7 and 10 days to complete. You’ll spend about two days in transit to and from your starting point. While you can complete it faster, why rush? The journey itself is what makes it great.
What should I wear?
The Goechala trek is a strenuous hike. There will be stretches of slippery and muddy terrain where you’ll need a pair of waterproof hiking boots to keep your feet warm and dry. Along most stretches of trail, wear jeans or something thick enough to protect your legs from scrapes and scratches. On sunny days in summer months pack sunscreen – you’ll need it for that extra boost of protection against skin cancer!
Where should I stay?
The trek to Goechala begins and ends in Gangtok. There are a variety of accommodation options available in and around Gangtok. The cheapest options are located just off of MG Marg, with rooms available for as little as 200 Rupees per night (approximately $3). Those looking for a bit more comfort will want to stay at one of Gangtok’s mid-range hotels on or near MG Marg. Hotels such as Club Everest offer rooms starting at $25 per night.
What gear should I take?
If you’re going camping or trekking in a remote area where you might have to forage for your own food, then take at least one long-handle lighter per person. If you’re hiking or camping with children who may lose track of time, take extra watches so that each member of your group can have one to check against.
What is the trail like?
When you think of a Himalayan mountain trekking trail, what comes to mind? The climb to Everest Base Camp or a trek through Ladakh’s Zanskar valley? A challenging hike up Rishikesh’s Shivpuri path? All are sure to live up to your expectations. But have you heard of Sikkim’s Goechala trekking trail?
Do you recommend walking poles?
Though they aren’t necessary for everyone, hiking poles are a popular tool for improving balance and stability on steep trails and rocky terrain. Not only do trekking poles help prevent slips and falls—they can also improve comfort by keeping your arms from growing tired too quickly. The pole-tip brake makes it easy to descend steep sections or hold back from tumbling down an avalanche chute that looks too dangerous to risk.
What are the challenges of this hike?
This might be one of the most difficult and dangerous treks in South Asia because it involves walking on a very narrow ridge next to a nearly vertical drop for hours on end. But that doesn’t mean you have to stay away—you just need to know what you’re getting into. If you follow these safety guidelines and trek with a good guide and group, it can be a fun and exhilarating experience.
Should I use a guide and porter on this hike?
The hike to Goechala Pass and back is accessible to hikers of all skill levels. If you’re a beginner or are traveling with kids, don’t worry—there will be a guide and porter on-hand to help you through it!
Any other tips or advice before hiking the Goechala Trek?
No special equipment is required but it is advised to wear a jacket in case it gets chilly or at night. It’s also recommended that you take some snacks and water as there are few places where you can get food and drinks on your way up. And make sure to wear comfortable shoes! Keep your bag light with only a few clothes and essentials otherwise it will be difficult for you to go up.