Sandakphu in April

Sandakphu-Where You Can See World's four tallest peak

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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. 

Sandakphu in winter
Sandakphu in winter

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 by Land Rover
Sandakphu by Land Rover

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

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 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 Homestay
Sandakphu by Land Rover

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,

Location

Accommodation

Maneybhanjan

Keshav’s Home Stay

 

Hotel Exotica

Tonglu

GTA Lodge

Tumling

Shikhar Lodge

 

Siddhartha Lodge

Jhaubari

Indira Lodge

Kalipokhri

Pandim lodge

 

Chewang Lodge

Sandakphu

GTA Lodge

 

Sherpa Chalet Lodge

Molley

GTA Lodge

Phalut

GTA Lodge

Gorkhey

Shanti Lodge 

 

Eden Lodge

Gurdum

Lakpa Dorjee Sherpa’s home

Srikhola

Hotel Shovraj

 

GTA Lodge

 

Goparma Lodge

Dhotrey

Sherpa Lodge

Rimbik

Hotel Green Hill

 

Kanchenjunga Hotel

 

GTA Trekkers Hut

Sandakphu Tour By Land Rover

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 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)

Includes

  • 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

Excludes

  • 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-

Option 1:

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

 

Option 2

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 Srikhoila

Day 7: Srikhola – Rimbik Trek, then to NJP via Manebhanjan by jeep/car

Sandakphu in December
Sandakphu in January
Sandakphu in February

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 videocams. 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.

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