Sandakphu-Where You Can See World’s four tallest peak
Sandakphu, located in the North West of Darjeeling at an altitude of 11,900 feet is the highest peak of West Bengal State. Sandakphu trek has everything going for it. After all where else you will see 4 of the world’s highest mountains – Mt. Everest, Makalu, Kanchenjunga, and Lhotse.
The heavenly experience of walking through the Forest of blooming rhododendrons, giant magnolias, spruce and a wide range of amazing orchids is something you will find nowhere else. Sandakphu is part of Singalila range. The trekking route passes through Singalila National Park which is another attraction of this trek. The park boasts rare animals like Red Pandas and Pangolins & a wide variety of birds. Offering you epic views of the Kanchenjunga range known as the “Sleeping Buddha”, Sandakphu Phalut trek is a moderate trek ideal for both beginners and experienced trekkers.
How to reach the base (Manebhanjan)
In Darjeeling district, the trek route to Sandakphu starts from a place called Manebhanjan, a small township located at an altitude of 7,054 ft (2,150 m). This is virtually the gateway to Singalila and Sandakphu. Manebhanjan is about 4 hours by taxi from NJP (the nearest major railway station) and also from Bagdogra (the nearest airport). The route is via Mirik, and if a direct taxi is not available, you need to come up to Mirik and then take another taxi.
Sandakphu Height/ Altitude-
Sandakphu is the highest peak in West Bengal and one of the tallest points in India too. The peak lies at a height of 11930 feet or 3636 meters from mean sea level. The average height of the base camp is around 6400 feet or 1951 meters. It gradually increases from thereafter.
How difficult exactly is the Sandakphu trek?
Well, for an avid trekker it would be easy to moderate. For absolute newbies too, it is quite manageable. Firstly, trekking has nothing to do with mountaineering or rock-climbing. It is just another word for walking or hiking in the mountains. To put it more ordinarily, if you are relatively fit and can walk 8-10 kilometers in the plains with 2-3 breaks, you can make it.
Sandakphu: Best time to visit
Sandakphu Weather/ Temperature
Apart from the three months between mid-June to mid-September when the Singalila National Park is officially closed owing to Monsoons, a trip to Sandakphu can be done anytime in the remaining time of the year. However, the months of March-May and then October-December are considered the best durations to make a visit.
The spring months are when the Rhododendrons bloom and make the region wear a multitude of colors.
The winters are known for unhindered clear views of the peaks and the autumn bloom of orchids and primulas. The snowing months of Jan-Feb are also getting popular for their unique experience of trekking over snow, but for which proper snow boots and jackets become necessary.
Even in summers, here you can get chillingly cold and windy particularly at night. Carrying heavy woolens, thermals, hand gloves and head covers are recommended.
Sandakphu Trek/Route Map
Does Sandakphu have snow?
Sandakphu is a lovely winter trek in January. There will be snow on Sandakphu and to Phalut. The mountain views are not always visible because of snowfall or mist. You can read a trekker’s experience of Sandakphu here: A New Year in Sandakphu
Sandakphu Tour By Car/ Land Rover
Just take a Jeep safari. Although both Sandakphu and Phalut have been traditionally known as trekkers paradise, jeep safaris to these places are increasingly becoming popular. Every year many families visit Sandakphu & Phalut by 4-wheel drive vehicles which are old Jeep like Land Rovers left behind by the British during the colonial days. The British tea planters originally brought them to travel through the rugged terrain to different tea estates. There are around 40 of them now in Manebhanjan which are used for taking tourists along the route to Sandakphu and Phalut.
Sandakphu Hotels/ Homestays
There are a few hotels for the night stay in and around Sandakphu and in the night stay locations on the way for the trek. While none of them provides luxury, the comfort offered varies from the budget and location of the property.Accommodations along Sandakphu/Phalut trek route are mostly basic lodges and trekkers’ huts. Most offer dorm beds and few lodges also offer private rooms. Do not expect luxury like TV, geyser etc. For most part of the route there is no electricity although some lodges offer limited use of solar powered lights (usually 6pm to 9pm). Almost all provide basic food like rice, daal, noodles (locally known as wai wai), vegetables and some times eggs, and if you are lucky, chicken
They also provide firewood if needed in the room or for a bonfire. Most of the properties include food and lodging options as travelers do not like to go out to eat in the chilly nights.
We have tied up with the best hotels and homestays in the place and in different stopovers to Sandakphu,
Pick up from NJP/Bagdogra/Darjeeling,transfer and stay at Manebhanjan in between sight seeing at Mirik, gopal dhara tea estate and simana view point. lunch will be served at manebhanjan. Evening free to leisure)
Day 2: After breakfast transfer to tumling
After breakfast transfer to tumling approximately 12 in the vintage land rover /bolero to tumling. in between sightseeing at chitrey, meghma monastery and tonglu and stay at tumling. lunch will be served at tumling. evening free to leasure. if the weather is clear one could glimpse mount kanchenjunga and its sisters.
Day 3: After breakfast transfer to sandakphu
After breakfast transfer to sandakphu km approximately 19 km from tumling 2.5 hours drive non stoop. in between sight seeing at gairibas, kalapokhri and kalakatta . lunch will be served at sandakphu. evening free to leisure .sandakphu is a window to one of the finest view of 180 degree of panoramic the snowy mountains,from the mighty Everest in Nepal, to the revered Kanchenjunga in Sikkim and the legendary.
Chomolhari in the Bhutan.From here Everest is just 144 km as the crow files. The whole snowy range of Bhutan ,Sikkim and Nepal about 320 km in length,a wonderful square mass of mountains looking like a wall of snow is visible but the gigantic height and breadth of touring Kanchenjunga with its attendant peaks,Kabru,Jannu and Pandim dominate the scene.
Day 4: After breakfast transfer to Manebhanjan
After breakfast transfer to manebhanjan approximately 31 km drive,3.5 hrs travel time Back to Manebhanjan and departure to njp/ bagdogra / darjeeling.Drive to njp/ Bagdogra/darjeeling =Drive Bagdogra continue for next destination.(Fly back to home)
Cost-Rs.8500/- per head (six people travel together)
Day 1: Pick up from NJP/Bagdogra/Darjeeling
Pick up from NJP/Bagdogra/Darjeeling,transfer and stay at Manebhanjan. in between sight seeing at Mirik, gopal dhara tea estate and simana view point. lunch will be served at manebhanjan . evening free to leisure.
Day 2: After breakfast transfer to sandakphu
After breakfast transfer to sandakphu km approximately 31 km from 3.5 hours drive non stoop. in between sight seeing at chitrey tonglu tumling gairibas, kalapokhri and kalakatta . lunch will be served at sandakphu. evening free to leisure .sandakphu is a window to one of the finest view of 180 degree of panoramic the snowy mountains,from the mighty Everest in Nepal, to the revered Kanchenjunga in Sikkim and the legendary.
Day 3: After breakfast day trip to phalut
After breakfast day trip to phalut approximately 21 km 2 hrs drive. Lunch will be served at phalut and onwards journey back to sandakphu and stay
Day 4: After breakfast transfer to tumling
After breakfast transfer to tumling about 19 km 2.5 hours travel time and stay at tumling. Lunch will be served at tumling. Evening free to leasure.
Day 5: After breakfast proceed to Manebhanjan
After breakfast proceed to manebhanjan . Transfer vehicle at manebhanjan and onwards journey to njp / bagdogra.
Cost-Rs.10500/- per head (six people travel together)
Accommodation is on twin sharing basis
Meals : breakfast at all places
Transfers from one place to another
Sightseeing in private cars
Vehicle will be provided based on the itinerary
All current taxes such as hotel taxes and transportation taxes
Entrance fees at the monuments/ temples
Meals not mentioned in inclusions
Personal Expenses / Purchase of things
Any kind of insurance
Any increase in the govt. taxes and state taxes
Anything not mentioned in the itinerary.
Sandakphu Trek Itinerary-
Day-1: Manebhanjan to Tonglu (11kms), 6-7 Hours Trek
Day 2 Day-2: Tonglu to Kalipokhri (15kms), 6-7 Hours Trek
Day-3: Kalipokhri to Sandakphu (6kms), 3 Hours Trek
Day 4 – 6: Onward and Return treks from Sandakphu
Day 1: NJP/Siliguri to Dhotrey by car, stay overnight at Dhotrey
Day 2: Dhotrey – Gairibas Trek, stay overnight at Gairibas
Day 3: Gairibas – Sandakphu Trek, stay overnight at Sandakphu
Day 4: Sandakphu – Phalut Trek, stay overnight at Phalut
Day 5: Phalut – Gorkhey Trek, stay overnight at Gorkhey
Day 6: Gorkhey – Srikhola Trek, stay overnight at Srikhola
Day 7: Srikhola – Rimbik Trek, then to NJP via Manebhanjan by jeep/car
Permits and Guides for Sandakphu
An entry permit for Singalila is mandatory like any other national park in India. The cost per person is 100 INR for Indian citizens and 200 INR for foreign nationals. Additionally camera fee of 100 INR for still digital cameras and 400 INR for live cams. The entry permits can be obtained either at Manebhanjan or at the entry gate of the park shortly after Tumling. Visiting Tonglu, Tumling, and Srikhola independently would not require any permits.
Taking one guide per group is mandatory and can be hired from the Highlander Guides and Porters welfare association outlet at Manebhanjan. They are also available from Dhotrey and Srikhola (In case of a seldom attempted reverse trek). Charges are 700 INR per guide per day, and 600 INR per porter per day, which also includes their stay and food for the entire stretch except for while in Sandakphu where the food expenses need to be borne by the appointees.