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Kanchanjunga Conservation Area

Kanchanjunga Conservation Area

Kanchanjunga Conservation Area or the KCA is in the northeast corner of Nepal in the Taplejung district. Kanchanjunga is known as one of the prime trekking destinations of Nepal, it is bordered by Tibet in the North and India in the East. Kanchanjunga spreads across over 2000 square kilometers and is mostly known for its spectacular flora and fauna in the spring along with it’s trekking routes. In the spring season (February-April), almost all of the 30 kinds of rhododendrons, 69 different species of orchids, and enchanting lilies thrive.

It is home to many different animals such as the Himalayan black bear, endangered red panda, endangered snow leopard, and the blue sheep. Since this conservation area is made up of alpine grass lands, rocky outcrops, dense temperate and sub-tropical forests, it is an ideal environment for various types of trees. The tree species range from tropical hardwoods to oaks and pine up to the higher elevations with thriving larch and junipers.

It is also home to many of Nepal’s ethnic groups such as the Sherpa, Rais, and Chhetris. The locals believe that their deities live in rivers, lakes, mountains, and forests so in the conservation area, there are many beautiful temples, monasteries, icons and other places of worship that are interesting for travelers.

Those who travel to the Kanchanjunga Conservation Area will, for at least one of the reasons, do so for the views. There are a number of locations to view the massive Mt. Kanchanjunga but for one of the best angles, you should trek to the Northern base camp to a place called Bangpema which offers a stunning vantage point of the mountain.

Clearly one of the more popular ways to see the area is by completing the Kunchanjunga trekking loop. On this trek, you will have to pass through the 4000m Celele Pass and descend to Tseram from where you travel toward the South Kanchanjunga base camp, another excellent observation point of the moutain besides Bangpema above. On the way back you will have to travel through the village of Yamphudiun to reach Sukhetar from where you can fly to Biratnagar and then onto Kathmandu (more on this below).

Travel to the Kanchanjunga conservation area, requires a permit and to get one you must be a part of an organized trekking group. You can travel to the conservation area by means of car or bus (public or hired) with a few routes to choose from depending on what you want to do while you are there. If you want to hike or make a loop while trekking, these ideas will take you to different starting locations. Another way to get to the conservation area is by plane. You can catch a plane from Kathmandu or hire a plane to take you to Sukhetar or Biratnagar.

Another less traveled by way to get to Kanchangunga Conservation Area is via Birtamod in the Eastern Jhapa District and to travel by local bus to Taplejung Bazaar. Those wishing to exercise this travel option, should beware as the road is often closed for various reasons and depending on the season. Before leaving, a phone call from Kathmandu is a good idea, to make sure that the route is open for travel.

The flora and fauna are sacred here, so do not take any as well as do not buy anything made of wildlife products from here. Although a local may be selling something, it does not mean it is legal for you to take with you. It is best to have lots of warm and cooler layers as the temperature and weather tend to change with elevation. As with travel through any of Nepal’s trekking areas, travelers should be aware of the warning signs and symptoms of altitude sickness.

To view pre-designed Nepal travel packages, see our programs page orĀ the encyclopedia for more Nepal Travel items.