Sandakphu trek is one of the highest peaks situated on the border of two different countries. The 11,491 feet high peak is in the state of West Bengal, India, and the Mechi in Nepal. It gives you a spectacular view of the four highest peaks of the world, mainly Kanchendzonga.
The 51 km long trekking straight up to the Sandakphu peak gives you a memorable experience of life. Sandakphu peak is also famous for the name of “mountain of poisonous plants.”
Since it is the highest trekking point, it is always advisable to assume it only after ensuring a complete medical fitness test. Trekking to the Sandakphu summit is terrifying, passing through challenging valleys to the vibrant wildflower’s lands scattered with magnolias, rhododendrons, and primulas.
The place is a natural paradise for the one who loves nature. When you stand at the Sandakphu peak, you will observe the Everest cluster. There is Makalu and Lhotse, the world’s fifth and fourth highest peaks. This peak will offer a magnificent view of the world’s highest peaks.
Best Time to Visit
Sandakphu trek can be visited in two seasons. The first season is from April to May when the average temperature ranges between 6 degrees to 12 degrees. Flowers like rhododendrons and orchids are blooming in this season. And the second season is from October to mid or early December when the average temperature ranges between 1 degree to 5 degrees. Also, the viewers receive dazzling snow peak mountain beauty in a blue sky.
Best Places to Visit
Maneybhanjan is the beginning of the Sandakphu trek route. The small town is located near Darjeeling, West Bengal. In this beautiful village, you will find some camps and houses which are set for the trekkers along with vintage Land Rovers vehicles. It is a magnificent place to inspire you for trekking and start your journey.
Chittrey is the first spot on the first day of trekking. It is the spot where you will observe the marking pillars of the India-Nepal border. This place is continually flitting the borderline of India-Nepal Border, which makes this point a beautiful blend of two distinctive cultures.
Lamey Dhura has the smallest settlement, Chittrey. When you are trekking in between the Chittrey and Lamey Dhura, you only find a few cottages which are selling tea and light snacks to the trekkers.
Meghma is a quite larger settlement that falls on the way to Sandakphu. The right arduous route takes you to Tonglu. The trail on the left side passes to Nepal. The passing road is combined to the Tumling. Here, you will also find a primary school and a monastery.
When you take a shortcut to reach your destination, then the town Tonglu falls on your way. The place will add a magical view in your journey, and the Tonglu lake vanishes your all tiredness of trekking. Tonglu lake offers you a scenic view to capture it on artistic canvas. You will observe a stunning reflection of oaks trees in the crystal clear water base of the lake.
Tumling is another beautiful place that falls on the way to Sandakphu. It is a small village in Nepal that provides you with an excellent opportunity to explore the change in the cultural climate.
Singalila National Park check post is a few kilometers away from here; this is the entry point to Sandakphu trek. Here you will explore the colorful flora, green, and brown bushes. And from the peak, you can gaze over the light of Kurseong and Darjeeling.
Jaubhari is only two kilometers away from Maneybhanjan. It is a tiny village which has only ten houses. Also, it is a starting point for the Sandakphu. This village gives a perfect outlook of the Sikkim, Darjeeling, and Maneybhanjan. Jaubhari village is the loveliest base camp that we ever visited.
One needs to take a right from Jaubhari village to reach the Gairibas. The town is located at 8,600 feet higher altitude. While trekking, trekkers stay here for a while and observe the lap of nature while having their breakfast. Small snack stalls offer a variety of snacks to the trekkers here like noodles, toast, momos, etc.
It is also a beautiful small village that falls on the route of your favorite destination. Kaiya in the Nepali language stands for the business communities of non-Nepalese, and the Katta stands for the killing or cutting. Trekkers stay here for a while and sip a cup of tea and enjoy the beauty of nature.
The village is three kms away from the Kaiyakatta in Nepal, which is at 3108m higher altitude. Heavy winds keep on blowing all the time through this village. Apart from this, there are some trekkers huts here where they can stay and rest for some time. There is a lake which leads the name of the village Kalepokhri which means a black lake. Sandakphu is 8 km away from here.
Bikeybhanjan is the last final milestone, after which you will reach the beautiful Sandakphu peak. Being the final milestone, it has the terrifying rugged terrains and steep slopes. It is like a treasure hunt that you have to win before accomplishing your final destination. But it also has pristine flora and beautiful mountain peaks which keep you motivated to reach your final destination.
Sandakphu is one of the best treks that offer a long-distance view of the world’s highest peaks. The long-range views give you the marvelous sunset view. You will not find any other treks where the clouds fleck the ground and not to the sky. Not only this, you will see the Everest cluster’s far away view.
It is a beautiful resting point of your journey to Sandakphu trek, where you can stay and capture the scenic view.
It is the second-highest peak of the West Bengal, which is inside the Singalila National Park near the Nepal-Sikkim border. Phalut also has an Indian army bunk House, which is also the center of attraction of this peak. You will also find the local tribes living near the Phalut. They worship the mountain as God for 300 years.
Wildlife Animals to Explore in Sandakphu Trek
Sandakphu trek is rich in biodiversity, where you can explore a variety of wildlife animals. You will witness red pandas, leopards, black panthers, bears, etc. The Singalila National Park is rich in wildlife birds too. Here, you will also see Hornbills, Cuckoo birds, etc.
People Living in Sandakphu Trek
Sandakphu trek is a beautiful blend of culture and countries where people of different communities and countries live. You will find communities like Sherpa, Bhutia, Tamang, Lepcha, Limbu, and Raii. However, you will also witness some local Indian tribes here too.
Being a trekking location, Sandakphu haven’t such schooling facilities, so the people usually make their children stay in nearby Darjeeling school hostels.
Being on higher altitude, Sandakphu local tribes depend only on Army base camps for hospitals’ needs and even come to Darjeeling in case of any medical emergency.
The economic condition of local tribes is reasonably good and less even. The primary profession of the local tribes in Sandakphu tribes is tours and travels.
Sandakphu and the Famous old Land Rovers
Sandakphu trek is a famous trekking site where you can trek to the route with famous Sandakphu travelling Land Rovers car. The drive from Sandakphu to the Phalut is quite steep, and this route has a pebbles road with boulders all over.
Only the heavy-duty Land Rovers can go up to these routes. Also, the journey from the beginning point of Maneybhanjan to Sandakphu trek and then to the Phalut is little slower and bumpy too.
From Maneybhanjan, the actual distance to be covered by the Sandakphu is near about 32 kms which takes about 5 hours via Land Rover to reach there. You cannot reach the Sandakphu from NJP stations on time if you haven’t started your journey earlier. Also, the Land Rover services do not work at night times, which means you need to start early morning or afternoon to enjoy the ride.
Hotels and their locations
- Maneybhanjan – Keshav Homestay
- Tumling- Shikhar Lodge
- Tonglu-GTA lodge
- Jaubhari- Indira lodge
- Kalipokhri- Pandim Lodge
- Sandakphu- Sherpa Chalet Lodge
- Sandakphu Homestay
Some Useful Hints Regarding Preparation for Trek
Accommodation is in dormitory and hut style, which is available at different peak points at Sandakphu region. You can make a booking through tourism services provider.
The trekkers will encounter extreme environmental conditions promptly. Sandakphu tour passes through the deep valley and highest mountain peaks. So, travelers need to pack their bags accordingly.
For example, for a trekker who is trekking at lower altitudes, it is sufficient to pack light sweaters and trousers; whereas the trekkers who are trekking at higher altitude need to pack cumbersome pullovers, jackets, woolen caps, gloves, and wind-cheaters
Shoes are the most important thing to look after when you are going trekking. It is advisable to have hunter boots of Bata and other companies that support your feet perfectly. Also, remember to carry thick or woolen socks with shoes.
It doesn’t matter what time you are undertaking the trekking; it is always advisable to carry a raincoat with you. This is because weather on higher altitudes is still unpredictable, so it is mandatory to keep a raincoat with you.
Though the trekkers get simple meals on the peaks, it is still advisable to carry some food with them. But carry those food items which you can easily take with you. For example, tinned food, package soups, peanut butter, baked beans, boiled eggs, bread, skinless sausages, instant coffee, condensed milk packets, sugar, salt, etc. However, glucose powder is also advisable to keep with you because it is an immediate energy source.
No matter if it is winter or summer, drinking water keeps your hydrated and energizes while trekking on higher altitudes. However, here it is also advisable to carry some water purifying tablets with you. Also, bring a water bottle with you.
When you are going on trekking, it is necessary to keep some trekking equipment with you, such as rucksack, sleeping bags, tents, which are available on any Adventure sports or trekking office.
How to Go to Sandakphu- A Detailed Guide
Reaching to the Sandakphu height gives you ample joy at each step. Let us take a glance at the beautiful journey.
Day one (NJP station/ Bagdogra to Maneybhanjan)
The Sandakphu tour operator starts the journey by picking you up from NJP railway station or Bagdogra airport and taking you to Maneybhanjan. It is the first base camp, which is 7,050 feet high.
Here, the travelers have their breakfast or lunch that will be excluded from the Sandakphu package.
Day two (Maneybhanjan to Chittrey)
The next day we begin our journey early in the morning to Chittrey after having breakfast. It is that point where we trek in between the Indo-Nepal border and reach another country. Here, you must keep your visa and all other relevant documents to cross the check post.
Once after verification, you will reach your second destination, Tumling, which is a tiny hamlet located at a higher altitude of 9,600 feet. There you will find only 10-12 Nepali families who sell snacks and tea on tea houses.
In addition to this, here you will find some private lodges where trekkers and tourists stay and take rest. In the afternoon, when the sunlight is at its peak, you can go over the viewpoint of the Tumling from where you can gaze at the beautiful Kanchenjunga snow peaks.
One can also take a glimpse of the Lamey Dhura, where visitors stay for a while and start their next day journey. The road is stiff and throws some challenges to the trekkers. The tour continues to the Tonglu and Tumling.
Day three (Tonglu to Sandakphu, 3636 mt high)
From the early morning after taking the memories of Mount Kanchenjunga, Tonglu offers the mesmerizing view of slipping Buddha. The Tumling and Tonglu road connects to the Gairibas. Trekkers have a mild breakfast here and proceed to their journey to Kalipokhri.
The Singalila National Park falls on the pathway to the Sandakphu trek. This park is spread over 2400mt and gives you a spectacular view of mountains peak, nature’s beauty, lush green forest, and wildlife animals.
Next, you will reach Kalipokhri lake. The color of the lake is quite dark. This gives you a mesmerizing view of Sandakphu sightseen. From here, Bikeybhanjan is only two kms ahead. The valley is also famous with the name of Poisonous plants.
The next 6 km journey ahead is most challenging. But once after finishing the stiff mountain cliff, you will reach your destination Sandakphu Hill. This offers one of the fascinating panoramic views.
Sandakphu gives you a spectacular view of four highest mountain peaks. After taking the view, in the early morning, journey begins to the Sri-Khola. The route passes through the dense Magnolia. The entire tree lining, numerous birds, and orchids give you phenomenal experience.
After that, there is an easy trekking route or around 6 km, which starts from Srikhola to Rimbick. You can enjoy this route with an easy walk. From here, the journey comes to an end, and you are taken back to Maneybhanjan base camp.