Kanchanjunga Conservation Area
Just below the looming Mountain Kanchanjunga (8586 m), lies the Kanchanjunga Conservation Area. Spread in an area of 2035 sq. km, the area is made up of alpine grass lands, rocky outcrops, dense temperate and sub-tropical forests, and low river valleys with the Kanchanjunga as its crown.
Situated in north eastern Nepal in Taplejung District, the conservation area is bordered by the Tibet Autonomous Region-China in the north, Sikkim-India in the east and Sankhuwasabha District in the west.
In 1998, the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation and WWF Program together launched the Kanchanjunga Conservation Area Project to implement biodiversity conservation and sustainable development.
During the spring season, the area has an excellent display of flowering rhododendrons, orchids, lilies, primula and many other flowers. The lowlands are full of tropical hardwoods. These get replaced by oaks and pine as the elevation increases. Further higher is the vegetation including larch, fir and juniper up to the tree line. The conservation area is where you will see 15 of Nepal's 28 endemic flowering plants. Almost all the 30 kinds of rhododendron species are found here. This is also the area where you get to see 69 of the 250 orchids found in Nepal.
Kanchanjunga Conservation Area harbors rich diversity of wildlife including the endangered snow leopard, Himalayan black bear, musk deer, and red panda. Other animals in the area include the blue sheep, and many others. Impheyan pheasant, red-billed blue magpie, shy drongo are some of the many birds found in the area.
The conservation area has a lot of ethnic diversity and culture. As the original settlers of the Upper Tamur Valley, the Limbu are the dominant ethnic group in the lower regions. The Sherpa/Lama people are in the higher altitude where they arrived from Tibet more than four hundred years ago. These Sherpas have a distinct culture and tradition from those in the Solukhumbu District in the Sagarmatha Region. Also Rais, Chhetris, Brahmins and others live in Kanchanjunga. Monasteries, chhortens, temples, prayer-walls are the icons of the conservation area's cultural heritage.
For an excellent view of the Mountain Kanchanjunga, you should reach the North base camp where a place called Bangpema is the excellent point for observation of the mountain. To make a circular trek you will have to pass through the Celele Pass at an altitude of about 4000 m to drop to Tseram from where you head toward the South base camp, another excellent observation point of Mt.Kanchanjunga. On the way back, you will have to pas through Yamphudiun village to reach Sukheter from where you can fly to Biretnagar.
You can reach the conservation area by bus through Dharan. From here you will have to walk to Kunsa inside the conservation area. Royal Nepal Airlines has its morning flights everyday between Birantnagar and Sukhetar. And there are everyday flights between Kathmandu and Birantnagar. Some private airlines operate from Kathmandu to Sukhetar.
Another way to get to Kanchangunga Conservation Area is Birtamod in eastern Jhapa District. From Birtamod and travel by local bus to Taplejung Bazaar, this road is seasonable though.
Conservation Area entry fee per person per entry:
1. For Nepali Nationals Free
2. For SAARC Nationals Rs 200
3. For Foreign Nationals Rs 2000
4. Children under 10 years Free