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Sandakphu Phalut Trek

Sandakphu, Nepal

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What you will do

Highlights of the trek 

  • Gorgeous view of The Sleeping Buddha  

  • Get to see 4 of the highest peaks, Mount Everest (8848 m), the Kanchenjunga (8586 m), Lhotse (8516 m), and Makalu (8481 m)of the world. 

  • One of the most humbling experiences to perceive nature as God.

  • Enjoy the scenic landscapes through the dense woodland 

  • Sighting of Himalayan birds, flora and fauna.

  • Learn about the local culture and inhabitants

  • Admire the 1960s old model Land Rovers in the roads.


What is the duration of Sandakphu-Phalut trek?

The trek to Sandakphu - Plalut is a multi day trek and begins in Maneybhanjyan the gateway to the Singalila park and Sandakphu trek. The distance from Manebhanjan to Sandakphu is 32 kms. 

The trek from Sandakphu to Phalut is 65 kilometres long. Over the course of six days, the trek takes you from Maneybhanjyan (7000ft) to Sandakphu (11,950 ft), West Bengal's highest point, before returning to Sepi (6,243 ft). 

 

Tentative route options trekkers take.

Uphill route stops

  • Manebhanjan

A generic tiny hill-town at an altitude of 7050 feet, notable solely as the gateway to the Singalila National Park and Sandakphu. It is from here the traditional trek begins. This is where visitors to the Singalila National Park must obtain an entry permit from the Forest department. This permit is an entry to the park. If you are heading only up till Tumling, you do not need a guide or a permit. 

 

You must make sure you have a registered guide or porter/guide (mandatory) from the Highlanders Guides and Porters Welfare Association. 

 

  • Tonglu

The trail is fairly steep in the start until you reach the charming tiny village of Chitre. It is at a distance of 3 km from Manebhanjan. 

After Chitre comes Lamadhurey and then Meghma on the Indian-Nepal border, is 5 kilometres up the road. It takes 4-4.5 hours to reach Meghma by trek. From here, the roads are divided into two roads, one on the right goes to Tonglu and the other on the left to Tumling.

Tonglu is at a distance of 11 km from Manebhanjan and takes around 6-7 hours by trek and an hour by vehicle.

For accommodation, there is DM’s bungalow and a GTA lodge in Tonglu. The lodge has around 5 rooms and dormitory which are spacious.

 

  • Tumling

Tumling is a small village which lies on the borderline between India and Nepal. Also there is no visa restriction for both domestic and international trekkers, here. Tumling is trek stop which is 1 km ahead of the Singhalila National Park. Here, you can enjoy the scenic view of the Kanchenjunga range.

It receives heavy snowfall during the months of December to February which is peak winter here, temperature dropping to sub zero degrees. 

If you want to ride all the way to Tumling, you will need to take the old British Land Rover as outside vehicles are not allowed. It takes around 45 minutes to reach Tumling from Manebhanjan.

 

  • Kalipokhari

The term Kalipokhari literally translates to Black lake. It is also known as the “Valley of Poison” due to the poisonous until consumed Aconite Plants that grow here. It is considered a very sacred lake which is surrounded by Buddhist prayer flags. 
 

  • Sandakphu

Sandakphu, located at an elevation of 11,930 feet in West Bengal, offers visitors a breathtaking view of the gigantic Mt. Kanchenjunga, Mt. Everest and other peaks. With its 360-degree panoramic view of the mountains surrounded by rich silver woodland, fluttering prayer flags, and smoky clouds, this hikers paradise is sure to dazzle everyone.

 

  • Phalut

The following stop will be Phalut. With an elevation of 11,811 feet, it is a 26-27 km trek distance. It offers sweeping views of the summits and here you can feel more at one with nature as the area is pretty isolated.  

 

Downward route

A 16-kilometer downhill trip from Sandakphu to Srikhola through Gurdum is the most popular, shortest, and fastest path down. It takes 4-5 hours to get from Sandakphu to Gurdum and another 6 hours to travel from Gurdum to Srikhola.

 

  • Gurdum

Gurdum is a wonderfully charming little village with 7-8 dwellings packed together. Dense evergreen trees surround a clean tiny town of neatly landscaped houses, with steeply descending valleys.

 

  • Srikhola

Srikhola means a “small stream” and that is what passes through this place. Trekkers can do a night halt or a stopover, admire the lush natural surrounding in this delightful tiny village. You can see the “khola” or small stream standing on top of the wooden bridge.

 

  • Gorkhey

The Gorkhey village is famed to be the most picturesque village on the downhill route. Through here passes the tributary of the Rammam river, called Gorkhey, hence the name. You can stay overnight here at the accommodations available like the GTA trekkers hut, Shanti Lodge and Eden lodge. 

 

  • Rimbick

Rimbick is at an altitude of 6500ft and is 6-7 hours (19km) hike from Rammam. It is around 2km hike from Srikhola.

Route  

This route is meant for people who would like to leisure trek.

 

Description

About Sandakphu Phalut Trek 

Sandakphu is considered one of the most popular and established trials in India. The journey has many routes, depending on the duration and trekking stops chosen. Usually it lasts for 3-7 days. It offers the most panoramic views of the Kanchejunga peaks. The trek gives splendid vistas of the Kanchenjunga and Makalu ranges, as well as the Everest and Annapurna families. The nicest part about the journey is that the vista of the ranges follows the trekker the entire way.

Best time for the trek

A trek to Sandakphu can be done at any time during the year, except between the months of June to September due to the monsoons. The Singalila National park receives heavy rainfall and is closed during these months. 

 

One of the finest months to do this trek is during the months of March-May followed by October-December. 

 

Spring (March-May): A new kind of enchantment begins to unfold when spring begins. As the entire trail is strewn with flowers, you can be charmed by the Rhododendrons and the Magnolias that cover the landscape.

During the day, the temperature can be pleasant at 15- 20 degrees, but it might still be cold at night, less than 10 degrees.

 

Autumn (end of September-November): Autumn in Sandakphu begins in the last week of September and lasts until November. You can see miles of unobstructed view of the mountains as the days turn bright and sky becomes clear. This is also one of the best times of the year where the changing colours during sunrise and sunset will cast a spell on the travellers.

Day temperatures are pleasant while trekking in autumn, ranging from 13 to 18 degrees, but it can drop quickly to 8 degrees and even reach zero degrees at night.

 

Winter (December-January) : The main attraction during this month is due to snowfall. Although it is not entirely a snowy trek, but it does snow at places which entices the trekkers even more. 

The weather falls below sub zero temperatures mostly at night and some days. If the sun is out, the weather is a bit gentle otherwise it is really cold during winters and tea houses are the only option to keep you warm.

 

How else can you go to Sandakphu besides trekking?

Sandakphu by road

There are motorable roads till Sandakphu as well. 

Manebhanjan is around 3.5- 4 hours away from New Jalpaiguri train station or Bagdogra airport, with a few stops along the way. Manebhanjan is about 85 kilometres from New Jalpaiguri.  Manebhanjan is a little town from where the hike or drive to Sandakphu begins. It's a lovely spot among the pine forests, so don't miss out on a night here to set the tone for the trip to Sandakphu.

Get up early the next day and prepare for the journey after breakfast. Our vehicle will transport you to Sandakphu via the enchanting road of Chitre, Meghma, Tumling, and Gairibas. Take a few short breaks in these small settlements for a cup of warm tea, and some breathtaking views. It usually takes 3.5 hours to reach Sandakphu. From Sandakphu to Phalut it take 1.5 to 2 hours by vehicle. 

 

Sandakphu by road and trek.

Once you reach Manebhanjan and stay overnight, you can hire a vehicle for Tonglu or Tumling. Then on the second day you can start trekking the rest of the Sandakphu-Phalut route This way, you will be reducing your trekking distance by 13 kilometers. 

 

Otherwise there is another option of driving till Dhotrey from Manebhanjan which is 17 kms away.  Then you stay overnight before trekking the remainder of the Dhotrey- Tonglu forest trail.




 

How difficult is the trek?

It is considered a moderate trek and can be done by leisure trekkers as well as seasoned ones. It is easily achievable, just the external weather conditions could make it more challenging.

 

What to expect on the trek?

 
  • The weather can be quite unpredictable.As a result, depending on the season, you can expect rain, hailstones, strong cold gusts, and even snow. 

  • On your trek, you can meet complete strangers with whom you may end up becoming lifelong friends. 

  • The Sleeping Buddha's scenic splendour. 

  • Sightings of unusual flora and fauna, as well as high-altitude birds. 

  • If you are a dog lover, you will be greeted by tibetan mastiff along the route

  • There will be no internet access for those who are tech savvy. 

  • All electricity is generated by solar energy. 

  • You can still charge your phones and cameras by paying a bit extra.

  • Candles will be provided

  • At Phalut there will be no lights. The mountain range, including Mt. Everest and Mt. Kanchenjunga, can be seen well from the top of Phalut.

 

    

What to wear and carry

Clothes and shoes

  • For trekking, light woollens and wearing layers are recommended. Because the weather is unpredictable and the temperature varies depending on height, heavy to light woollens are recommended.

  • Carry dry fit t-shirts with a collar to avoid getting sunburnt in the journey. 

  • Carry around 2-3 Trek pants for the trek.

  • In summers too, you might need 2 fleece layers and a sweater because it may be cold due to the altitude.

  • For winters, a hooded padded jacket is necessary.

  • It is important to choose good trekking shoes for the journey, especially ones that have a good grip and ankle support.

  • It's usually a good idea to have a spare pair of shoes and slippers on hand. 

  • A 50-60 litre backpack is required for a trek like Sandakphu. Othewise you can opt for 20-30 litre daypack too. Check that your backpack has appropriate hip and shoulder support, as well as quick-access pockets.

  • To deal with rain and snow, bring a rain and windproof jacket and raingear. 

 

Accessories

  • A walking pole or stick is also always recommended as a support. 

  • The journey may require the carrying of a torch light, a woollen cap, an energy bar, and some tucks.

  • Sunglasses

  • Cap to protect from the sun

  • 2 Reusable Water bottle 

  • Basic Toilet kit

  • Stainless steel mug and spoons

  • Medical kit

 

What documents to carry?

  • Government photo identity card (original and photocopy). A driver's licence, Aadhar card, or passport will suffice. The forest department need this for your identity.

  •  


 

Do and don’t of the trek

Do - 

  • Always carry cash as there are no ATM’s in the entire route even at Manebhanjan. The nearest ATM’s are at Mirik and Siliguri.

  • Do carry the necessary documents

  • Do carry some small bag (plastic)to carry you dirty set of clothes for the journey

Don’t

  • Don’t litter the place

  • Don’t forget to enjoy the trek, stop and relax and places




 

Permits and guide

Before beginning your trip to Sandakphu, make sure you have a registered guide or porter/guide (mandatory). If you book through a tour operator, the guide/porter will be arranged for you. Otherwise, the Highlander Guides and Porters welfare association in Manebhanjan can provide them.

 

Singalila, like any other Indian national park, requires an entry permit. For Indian citizens, the cost is 100 INR, and for foreign nationals, the cost is 200 INR. A camera charge of 100 INR for still digital cameras and 400 INR for videocams is also required. Entry permits are available at Manebhanjan or at the park's entrance gate immediately after Tumling. Permits are not required to visit Tonglu, Tumling, or Srikhola on their own. 

 

Sandakphu stands at an altitude of 11,950 feet and you can see the Everest cluster from you left and the world’s third highest peak, Kanchenjunga on your right. 

 

The trail is a moderate trek starting from Manebhanjyang to Sandakphu to Phalut and descending down from Gorkhay to Samanden. You will pass through steep and muddy pathways, a woodland trail, and large fields under a clear sky. The landscape is constantly shifting. The view of Kanchenjunga from the verdant meadows is the greatest. 

 

The day is lengthy and filled with all of the pleasures that a trip can provide. Throughout the walk, there are trekker's huts and home-stays with very friendly and welcoming individuals. They will go to great lengths to make your stay as pleasant as possible. As a result, there is no need to bring tents or rations.

 

What makes Sandakphu trek special?

To put it out there, its the view. Its the panoramic view of the Sleeping Buddha from Sandakphu point which is not found anywhere else in this world. The fact that you get to see this view all throughout the trek is makes it so unique. It is one of the few places from where you can see 4 of the highest peaks, Mount Everest (8848 m), the Kanchenjunga (8586 m), Lhotse (8516 m), and Makalu (8481 m)in the world. 

 

Its the magical moment when the first crimson rays of the sun strike the peaks that makes it special. Since Sandakphu sits on top of a flat ridge, trekkers get to see the long distance view of the route and campsites. Trekkers get the priceless vista of the mountain ranges from here. To add to it, the ascends are neither too steep nor too long. 

 

It is also the sense of internal calmness and humility one feels after witnessing the mighty mountains so closely, that makes it extra special. Singalila National Park is a natural because of its terrain, wildlife, inhabitants, and every other element of the experience.

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Your Itinerary

Day - 1

NJP station/ Bagdogra airport to Maneybhanjyan (7000ft)

manebhangyane

NJP station/ Bagdogra airport to Maneybhanjyan (7000ft)

Travel distance: 83 km 
Travel duration: 4.5 hours

If trekkers are coming to Manebhanjan by road from New Jalpaiguri Station, Siliguri or Bagdogra airport in 4.5 hours by taxi via Mirik. 

If you are coming from Darjeeling, Manebhanjan is 1.5 hour taxi ride from Darjeeling and is at a distance of 26kms.

 
Day - 2

Maneybhanjyan (7000 ft) to Tumling (9,450 ft)

manebhangyane

Trek distance : 11 km
Trek duration : 4 hours

From Manebhanjan to Tumling, the climb takes around 4 hours and is located at a distance of 11 km. The night halt at Manebhanjan is to acclimatise with the weather as well as do all the paperwork formalities for the permits and guides.

From Manebhanjan, you trek uphill to Chitre, then Lamadhura and then take a gravel road to the right that leads to Tumling.

 
 

 

Day 3

Tumling (9,450 ft) to Kalipokhri (10,400 ft) Trek

Tumling

Distance: 12 km
Trek duration: 7 hours

The family of peaks unfolds before your eyes as the day begins, although you have to go further to see the Everest summit. You will be able to see Kanchenjunga and Kumbakarna peaks though. Another famous trek route called the Goecha la trek also has its way here, through the Goeche and the ridge of Pandim which can be seen from here.

 

You enter the Singalila National park as you trek from Tumling to Kalipokhari. You can hike all the way up through the dense forests that are blooming with Rhododendron and Magnolia trees, is far more scenic than the motorable road.

 

This is a very scenic route, as the trail leads you to the borderline of Nepal and India, signified by a border stone. As you hike uphill through the forest, you reach a flat area from where you can overlook the far of routes towards Sandakphu. From here, you descend through the meadows and valley for over 40 minutes until you reach Gairibas.

 

A small village on the Nepal side with a few houses and hotels, it is an apt area to take a break before you head towards Kalipokhari via Kaiyakatta. To reach Kalipokhari, trekkers have to climb up a steep mountain hill, reach Kaiyakatta and then trek another 4 km. 

 

Translating to Black Lake in English, Kalipokhari is black in color and is shaped like a bean. It is considered sacred so it is encircled by fluttering Buddhist prayer flags. At the far end of the lake, there is a Buddhist temple. The place for you to stay overnight is somewhere around that area.

 

Day 4

Kalipokhri (10,400 ft) to Sandakphu (11,950 ft)

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Trek distance: 6 km
Trek duration: 3 hours

From Kalipokhari, you have to ascend the gradual trail to Bikheybhanjang, 2 kms away. The literal translation would be black lake and is also known to be “Valley of Poison” due to the poisonous until consumed Aconite Plants that grow here.

 

After trekking uphill for a good 2.5 hours (4 km), you will be reaching Sandakphu, The final 180 degree panoramic view after the super steep climb is nothing less than rewarding. You can witness the glorious view of The Sleeping Buddha which includes peaks of the 4 of the tallest mountains in the world.

 
Day 5

Sandakphu (11,950 ft) to Molley (11,080 ft)

sandakpu trekking

Trek distance: 12 km
Trek duration: 7- 8 hours

 

Molley is 3 km from Sabargram, on the way between Sandakphu and Phalut. It is of a moderate gradient where the trail is a mixture of gradual, level walks and sometimes steep ascents. It is a gravel road with a lot of forest cover. You will be hiking through ridges and grasslands.

 

Molley is one of Darjeeling's less-visited areas; it is part of the Singalila National Park, which is located on the Singalila ridge in the Darjeeling district of West Bengal, 

 

It is home to a variety of bird and animal species. In April and May, trekkers can witness the glory of rhododendron blossoming. The red panda, leopard cat, barking deer, yellow-throated marten, wild boar, pangolin, and pika are among the park's small mammals. The Himalayan black bear, leopard, clouded leopard, serow, and takin are among the larger mammals.

 
Day 6

Molley (11,080 ft) to Phalut and then Samanden (7,546 ft)

sandhakpu road

With a height of 11,811 feet, Phalut is the second highest peak on the Singalila ridge after Sandakphu. The Phalut mountain is around 26-27 kilometres away from Sandakphu. 

In comparison to Sandakphu, Phalut has a completely diverse scenery. There are hardly any trees or plants on the summit and is more likely a flat grass area. With no inhabitants, Phalut is more isolated and lonely. It is stated that from here, one can have a greater view of the Mt. Everest range than from Sandakphu. 

 

After descending around 10km through forested area, you will be reaching Samanden

 
Day 7

Trek from Samanden (7,546 ft) to Sepi (6,234 ft)

samadhan village Darjeeling

Drive from Sepi to Bagdogra airport/ NJP Station

Trek distance: 11 km

Trek Duration: 4-5 hours.


 

Begin early from Samanden and go via Ramam to Sepi. From Samanden to Ramam, the trail passes through a forest with both mild and steep ascents. You'll pass through Samamden, a charming village with quaint wooden cottages and verdant meadows, along the way. The majority of the journey from Ramam to Sepi is spent descending through dense woodland. At Srikhola, just before Sepi, you will cross a wooden bridge. To get to Sepi, walk for 30-40 minutes up the motorway. 

 

The drive downhill from Sepi to Bagdogra takes around 126 km and a duration of 6.5 hours

 

Inclusions

Accommodation
Meals Included
Which includes morning breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
Tour Support
Transportation

Exclusions

Not set

Policies

Cancellation: enable before 6 day(s)

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