Circiling the Kathmandu Valley on the descent to the capital, you may well catch a sight of Everest. Cast your eyes yet further to the east, and on a clear day you will see the hazy outline of a hulking white massif, an entire range unto itself. That is Kanchenjunga.
In Tibetan, 'Kanchenjunga' means 'the five treasure houses of snow' , which gives you some idea of what to expect should you visit this area. At 8586 m, massive Kanchenjunga is the world's third highest mountain, and marks the eastern boarder of Nepal with India state Sikkim. The conservation area that surrounds it extend into protected areas in Sikkim and Tibet, and comprises a beautiful, unspoilt wilderness.This is Snow Leopard territory, but the reclusive predator shares the unbounded forests with the himalayan Black Bear and the Assamese Macaque, among others. Casading waterfalls, lush vegetation and thousand of species of plant awaits those who take the long trail to Kanchenjunga Base Camp, the main route which has been described as 'untrekked'.
Unbashedly willd, Kanchenjunga is for the true adventure within you. The east Nepal is more developed than the west, but the remotness of the terrain, its rugged trails, scattered human habitation, and monsoonal downpours make for a perfectly challenging begining to the Great Himalaya Trail. Wending slowly up through Ghunsa for views of Kanchenjunga's massive north face, you will reach base camp at Pangpema, thus push on to Jhinsing La, the starting point of Great Himalaya Trail. Along the way, you will walk along the path use mostly my locals, as very few trekkers make there way to the wild east of Nepal. For those who do, the reward lines in more than just the breathtaking views if Kanchenjunga and its companions. Like neighbouring Makalu Barun, the region endures the full force of the monsoon and its consequently brusting with life. Over 2000 different flowers plants have been recorded here,and you'll see some of richest Rohodendron forest in Nepal. New species are still being discovered in the pristine forests!
The east of Nepal also provides a fascinating introduction to its culture diversity. The villages tend to be more posperous than elsewhere in Nepal, but the further you go the more isolated the communities. An easy way to make friends is to join the locals for a heart-warming drink of tongba, the fermented millet drink of the east.