Trek To Sandhakphu
Sandakphu, being the highest peak in West Bengal offers grand views of the world’s tallest peaks. Lhotse and Makalu, the fourth and fifth highest peaks in the world stand tall at 8,516 mts and 8,463 m, trying to outdo the world’s tallest peak. But how can they? After all, the Everest stands in between them, towering over everything! On the other hand, Kangchenjunga, the third highest peak, stands with its family at 8,586 mts. The months of October and November offer crystal clear mountain views and one can enjoy the glorious sunrise from Sandakphu and Phalut. If you trek in winter, you can even experience fresh snow at Sandakphu!
Day 01 – Bagdogra – Darjeeling
Arrive Bagdogra and transfer to Darjeeling, 85 km. The drive itself is scenic, through tea gardens, small hamlets. On arrival check into hotel. Rest of the day leisurely at Mall area, the prime location in Darjeeling with some of the oldest stores still around. Overnight: Hotel. No trek.
Day 02 – Darjeeling – Manebhanjang – Tonglu
After an early breakfast transfer to Manebhanjan, 7054 meter msl, 29 km, the trekking starting point. Start trekking to Tonglu, 11 km. For first 3 km are uphill climb till Chitrey, a small village. From here the trek is more comfortable than the earlier stretch up to Chitre. It's a steady but gradual incline from Chitre and takes over an hour of trek to the next village, Lamaydhura. The trail ahead of Lamaydhura ascends gradually. So this part of the trek is relatively easy. As you walk further up towards Meghma, you will pass though forests full of Chimal and Magnolia trees.
Day 03 – Tonglu – Kalipokhri
2kms trek from Tonglu will take you to another small Village called Tumling located at an altitude of 9,600 ft. Tonglu to Tumling is a steep descend, but thereafter it's a gradual descend till Gairibas. About 1km from Tumling you will reach the arch gateway of Singalila National Park, which is the highest altitude national park in the state of West Bengal. This park is well known for rare and fascinating high altitude animals like Red Panda, Pangolins, Himalayan black bear, Monals etc. There is a check post here at Singalila National Park. From here the trek up to Jhaubari is almost on a level terrain and is easy, after Jhaubari the road becomes downhill and steep, and could get slippery till a place called Gairibas. From Gairibas, the trek up to Kalipokhri takes about three hours. It's at an altitude of 10,400 ft. Initially you will trek uphill through forests of oak, rhododendrons and bamboo to reach Kaiyakatta in about 1.5 hours which is about 2kms from Gairibas. The trail is up & down from here. In another 1.5 hours or so you will reach Kalipokhri.
Day 04 – Kalipokhri – Sandakphu
Start trek after breakfast. The trekking route gradually ascends up to Bikheybhanjang which is located 2kms away. The final ascent for Sandakphu starts at Bikheybhanjang, the last 4 km which is quite steep. But the final rewards are awesome. All your strains will disappear as you see the board saying "Welcome to Sandakphu". You are at an altitude of 11,929ft, on the summit of Singalila range and at the paradise of trekking. Sandakphu is the place from where you get a 180 degree panoramic vista of some of the highest and most beautiful peaks of the world, right from Nepal all the way up to Arunachal. Some of the greatest peaks include the Mt Everest, Makalu, Kanchenjunga, Lhotse, Chomolhari, Pandim, Three Sisters, Kumbhakarna etc. Overnight: Lodge or tent. Total trek: 6 km.
Day 05 – Sandakphu – Phalut
As you start your trek from Sandakphu towards Phalut, you will shortly see the majestic Kanchenjunga family of peaks right ahead. Look towards the left and you will see the dazzling Everest family including Mt. Everest, Lhotse and Makalu. The route from Sandakphu to Phalut has a relatively easier gradient as both the places are at similar altitudes, however there will be inclines to climb at some places. 14kms from Sandakphu, you will reach a tiny village called Sabarkum (also known as Sabargram). From Sandakphu and all the way for 14kms up to Sabarkum the view is simply awesome. You will keep seeing Kanchenjunga on the right and Everest family on the left as you walk through lovely meadows and forests of rhododendrons. Further 5 kms is Phalut. The view from Phalut is rewarding and includes some of the highest peaks of the world including the Everest group, Kanchejunga, Chamolhari, Pandim, Three Sisters and lot others. The snow range stretches from Nepal on the west through Sikkim, Bhutan and up to Arunachal Pradesh in the east along a distance of about 320kms. From Phalut you will feel Kanchenjunga is literally at a stones throw distance, although it's about 48kms along a straight line, but appears gigantic and awesome. Actually this is the closest view of Kanchenjunga that you get in the whole of Singalila range. Overnight: Lodge or tent. Total trek: 21 km.
Day 06 – Phalut – Gorkhey
From Phalut, take the bridle path through the forest area towards Gorkhey. The trail from Phalut up to Gorkhey is about 15kms and quickly descends through forests of bamboo, pine, chestnuts, hemlock etc. You will also find plenty of Rhododendrons and oaks. You can also take several shortcuts by crossing some water channels along the way. After a while you will see the Rammam river on your left which forms the border with Sikkim and then you will see below the amazing meadow of Samandeen which is popularly known as the second Switzerland. The 15kms stretch takes about 5 hours. Note that at some places the downhill trail is quite steep and could be slippery. So be prepared to take a lot of stress on your knees and calf muscles. The village Gorkhey is surrounded by pines. A mountain stream called Gorkhey Khola flows in a picturesque setting. This stream is a tributary of the Rammam river. Many trekkers halt here for a while, take a bath in the river, and enjoy the lovely views around the scenic village Gorkhey. Overnight: Lodge or tent. Total trek: 15 km.
Day 07 – Gorkhey – Srikhola
Start early next morning towards Srikhola which is 21km away. The first 9kms is a level route going through forests and then it descends to a small village called Srikhola. Overnight: Lodge or tent. Total trek: 21 km.
Day 08 – Srikhola – Rimbik – Darjeeling
Today we have the last day of trekking, which is about 2 hours to Rimbik. From Rimbik drive to Darjeeling, 72 km / 2 hours’ drive. On arrival check into hotel. Afternoon leisurely at your own. Overnight: Hotel. Total trek: 7 km.
Day 09 – Darjeeling
Today get up early and drive to Tiger Hill to experience the sunrise and its changing color over Mt Kanchenjunga range, the third highest peak in world. Later drive back to hotel for breakfast. After breakfast visit the Tibetan self-help centre, Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park. Post lunch leisurely around market to pick some souvenir. Overnight: Hotel. No trek.
Day 10 – Darjeeling – Bagdogra
After breakfast transfer to Bagdogra airport. No Trek.Arrive Bagdogra and transfer to Darjeeling, 85 km. The drive itself is scenic, through tea gardens, small hamlets. On arrival check into hotel. Rest of the day leisurely at Mall area, the prime location in Darjeeling with some of the oldest stores still around. No trek.
Itinerary may change according to travelling seasons
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