Sandakphu (3636 m; 11,941 ft) is the highest peak in the state of Ilam, Mechi, Nepal and West Bengal, India. It is the highest point of the Singalila Ridge in Darjeeling district on the West Bengal – Nepal border. The peak is located at the edge of the Singalila National Park and has a small village on the summit with a few hostels. Four of the five highest peaks in the world, Everest, Kanchenjunga, Lhotse, and Makalu can be seen from its summit. It also affords a pristine view of the entire Kanchenjunga Range. The trek along the Singalila Ridge to Sandakphu and Phalut is one of the most popular ones in the Eastern Himalayas due to the grand vistas of the Kanchenjunga range and the Everest range which can be seen from the ridge, and also for the seasonal wildflower blooms and birding. Treks begin at Manebhanjan which is 28 km (approx. 1 hour by road) from Darjeeling.
Sandakphu throws open an incredible panorama of the world’s highest snowline, swerving from the snow ensconced peaks of Nepal to Bhutan and farther east to Tibet. The trek route zigzags along the Singalila Ridge and moves this side and that of the Indo-Nepal border, switchbacking and switch-bordering towards an enchanting visually charged summit that makes it all worth it.
The charming wilderness and wildlife expected of a Himalayan Trek are met as we pass through Singalila National Park, making the hike also one of the keen naturalist interests. There are innumerable intriguing birdlife, animals, and flora that you would be fascinated to explore in the diversity along with this trek route’s sub-alpine and temperate coniferous, broadleaf, and subtropical coniferous forest biomes.
The route is not really out of civilization’s way. Lined with quaint localities inhabited even through long winters and their economy depends largely upon the Sandakphu Trek and tourism which run around the year, the route is logical, realistic, and “safe” in many regards. Sandakphu-Phalut trek is also one of those few high-altitude Himalayan treks which are provided through and through with comfortable teahouse accommodation.
Darjeeling – Tumling via Chitrey
Drive from Darjeeling to Chitrey (1hr 20 min) drive. From where it is a pleasant 7km walk on an undulating path and through stunted rhododendron forests passing meadows and meeting villagers with glimpses of Kanchenjunga all along the way to Tumling (2070m) which looks across to Darjeeling with views of Kanchenjunga.
Tumling – Gairibas – Kalpokhari
It’s a pleasant walk with continuous views of Kanchenjunga as we walk along a wide rough jeep track past the village of Tumling to the Nepalese border at Jaubari. Kanchenjunga appears at almost every bend making this walk even more delightful. Descend to the village of Gairibas village after which we climb for about an hour to Kaiyakatta ( lunch stop) before continuing along the ridge on a gentle trail before the final short climb to climb to camp at Kalpokhari which is scenically located by near a black ( Kala) lake ( Pokhari) at 3100 meters. (5hrs.)
Kalipokhari – Sandakphu
After a pleasant hour’s walk with good bird spotting potential till Bikaybhanjang (3346m), it is a further two hours and a steady pull up to Sandakphu. The jeep road winds up steeply and we take the shortcuts up this hill. The reward at the top is a remarkable panoramic view of Kangchenjunga, Makalu, Everest, Lhotse, and the other, lesser peaks of Sikkim and eastern Nepal. From Sandakphu, there are remarkable sunset and sunrise views of Everest, Makalu, Chamlang, and Kangchenjunga. If anything, the views from the Singalila Ridge are indeed the most special.
Sandakphu – Timburey
Say goodbye to the views of Kanchenjunga and the eastern Himalaya, as we descend for 5 hours – another beautiful day of walking through rich forests of Rhododendrons and Magnolias with great birdlife to Timburey. Here you can learn how to make momos.
Timburey – Darjeeling
After breakfast, it is a casual downhill to till Sirikhola, after you cross suspension bridge walk to till Sepi family-run homestay. After refreshment drive back to Darjeeling.
Trek & Service Ends.
- Experienced English speaking guide.
- Transport to and from Darjeeling
- All necessary paperwork and permits in Mountain and National park (entrance and permit fees)
- Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
- Accommodation during the trek at guesthouse/lodge or family homestay
- Bed Tea
- Evening Tea
- Hot water for drinking
- Our guide will carry a comprehensive medical kit including high altitude sickness tablets
- Medical examination (if required) and vaccination costs
- Visa costs
- Personal expenditure i.e. soft drinks/beer on the trek, extra snacks for the trek.
- Meals in Darjeeling before or after the trek Travel insurance