Kanchenjunga Circuit – Kande Bhanjyang to Kathmandu

After hiking for three weeks around Kanchenjunga there was still the small matter of getting home. It took five and a half days in total, three days covered here from the village of Kande Bhanjyang back to Kathmandu, then a couple of days flying to Wellington via Singapore and Auckland. The hiking had been exhausting, but the travel to and from Kanchenjunga was even more tiring.

The final two days of hiking in the itinerary were replaced with a half day jeep drive, reflecting how much the track had turned to road since the last trip in 2019. It was the bumpiest drive of my life, three hours along super rough 4WD ‘roads’ trying not to bash my head or be ill.

We reached Suketar by lunchtime. There wasn’t much here other than a surprising number of hotels, all with San Miguel sponsored signs, and the first wifi in three weeks. No working shower though…

There was a nice shrine across the road from the hotel which helped…

The twelve hour journey to Bhadrapur was smoother than the previous days ordeal, but three times longer, and in some ways more tiring as we were going at greater speeds along super winding roads. The 4.30am start was a bit rough.

We stopped at the lookout we visited in the way out. Weirdly Kanchenjunga seems larger, and is easier to see, the further away from it you get.

Few sights on the road today.

The Nepalese general election was going up. Lots of flags for the communists!

We stopped in Pheden to stretch our legs. Very typical of the towns we passed through.

As illustrated by a later stop at Suryodaya, which looked almost identical, other than the greater amount of weird cheese sticks.

We also stopped at the Kanyam tea plantations. Very touristy (with locals) but scenic, and gave us our final glimpse of Kanchenjunga in the distance.

We finally reached Bhadrapur at dusk, it had been a long day. It was odd to be somewhere that was flat for the first time in weeks, and it was noticeably warmer. The 5am wake up music the next day wasn’t welcome. I went out at dawn to explore the source, a private house celebrating a Hindu festival.

Flying back to Kathmandu offered the best view of Kanchenjunga of the whole trip!

Plus a number of other mountains, including Everest, Makalu, and the endless terraces of the Himalayan foothills.

I could recognise the distinctive water tanks and Durbar Square of Bhaktapur from the air.

Before flying over the multi-story sprawl of Kathmandu.

Author: jontycrane

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