Trekking is one of the most fun activities that one can do in his or her lifetime. There are a lot of people who like to do it, but some are afraid too. We are not here to talk about the trekking destination that requires all your energy and lots of days and months. The love for nature has inspired many to become a trekker. There are a lot of trekking sites that allow you to witness the best form of nature and Sandakphu trek is one of them. We will not be shocked to hear if you haven’t known about this trek before. Well, it is a hidden gem that not everyone is aware of. Saying that, you might not be familiar with the details of this trek. So, here is a handy guide for all the adventurous souls who like to trek and explore the natural beauty on their own.
About Sandakphu Trek
This is one of the most beautiful and easy Himalayan treks. Due to its various features and popularity among people, it is considered as one of the must-do treks for those who love trekking. It starts after the Singalila Ridge, which lies at the southern end of a long peak. The peak goes down to Kanchendzonga massif. This forms the outskirts between Sikkim and Nepal. The first important place you need to reach for this trek is New Jalpaiguri. The actual trekking will start from Manebhanjan.
The sandakphu trek distance is 47 km. Those who love trekking could not afford to miss visiting this place. Some of the very spectacular points could be seen while you are moving towards the destination. When you finally reach your destination, you can see two of the highest peaks in the world and they are K2 and Everest. There is no doubt that this one thing is enough to attract not just the trekkers, but normal people too, who love mountains and nature. One should avoid going for Sandakphu trek in December.
What Is Special About Sandakphu Trek?
The very first special thing that you should know about Sandakphu trek in Darjeeling is that it is considered as one of the highest treks of West Bengal. Due to its amazing height and the other highlights, people also call it ‘Trekkers Wonderland’. Your trek will start from Darjeeling, but it will take you to some of the unknown and unexplored parts of Sikkim and Nepal. While talking about the specialty of this trek, one can not forget to mention that once you reach your final destination, you can see peaks like Mount Everest, K2 and other popular ones of this range.
So, if one has to talk about this particular trek, then it could be said that this is not a place to be missed. The best possible manner to know the highlights of this place is by visiting it in real life. Also, make sure that you do not plan your Sandakphu trek in winter as it is not a suitable time for trekking there.
It comes in the Singalila Range and is the highest point of it. If you ask for the location of it in India, then it is located in Darjeeling at the West Bengal – Nepal border. The height of this peak is 3665 m; 11,930 ft. If you talk about its location in Nepal, then it lies in Ilam district there. The route of sandakphu trek is not that difficult and moderate level of trekkers can cover this trek.
Here is a possible itinerary of Sandakphu Trek which might help you to plan your own.
Day 1: As mentioned earlier, you will need to reach New Jalpaiguri to start your trek from there. So, on your first day of the trek, you will need to reach here. After reaching this place, you will be taken to the destination from where you will start your trekking and that is Manebhanjan. It will take you 4 hours to reach Manebhanjan from New Jalpaiguri.
Day 2: The actual trekking will start from Day 2. On this day, you need to walk for 5 hours and cover 11 km. This 5-hour walk will take you to Tumling, which is one of the most beautiful places of Singalila Range. The height of this peak is 9,500ft. This trek will start soon after you have had your breakfast.
Day 3: On the third day of your trek, you need to cover 9 km and it will take you 5 hours to do so. After covering this 9 km, you will reach to Singalila National Park and Kalipokhri. You can be able to witness some of the best natural sceneries while walking through this national park. You can stay there for that night and can start your journey again the next morning.
Day 4: The next day, your guide will ask to walk for 4 hours and you can cover 8 km after that. Once you have covered this distance, you will reach one of the best places in this entire trek. This particular point will allow you to see Sandakphu Peak, Mt Khangchendzonga, Mt Everest and some mesmerising sunset views. You can call it the most exciting day of the trek.
Day 5: Now, it’s time to return, but you shouldn’t be disappointed, as there are places still waiting for you. You now need to reach Srikhola and for that, you need to walk for 7 hours. In these 7 hours, you can cover 17 km. For the first half, you need to reach Gurdum, which will take you 5 hours. After that, you need to devote 2 more hours and then you will finally reach to Srikhola.
Day 6: The end has come. You need to take a drive from Srikhola to New Jalpaiguri. You will reach from where you started. After that, you can take a suitable way of conveyance to reach your home.
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What To See On The Trek
Here are the quaint places that you will come across on your trek. These places offer picturesque views and memories that you will surely relish forever. Take a look!
- Manebhanjan: Manebhanjan is the starting point of the Sandakphur Trek and on the first day, you can stay in this serene town and then start the trek the next day. This town is known for the 1960 model Land Rover taxis that will take you to the Sandakphu Peak. If you are up for a bumpy ride and are not interested in trekking then you can hire the Land Rover and reach the peak.
- Chitrey: Located at a distance of 3 km from Manebhanjan, Chitrey is a stunning mountain village where the trekkers take the first break of their trek. It takes around 1.5 hours to reach Chitrey from Manebhanjan. On your break, you can visit the old Buddhist Monastery located in Chitrey and after that, you can head to the Chitre restaurant for relishing delicious dishes like Maggi, momos, and noodles.
- Tumling: On the second day of your trek, you will reach Tumling, a hamlet with ravishing views, and comfortable stay options. You stay at this hamlet and even enjoy the local food while soaking the picture-perfect view of Kangchenjunga Range.
- Singalila National Park: Get ready to be bewitched by the next destination that the trek will take you to. Singalila National Park is one of the most visited places in West Bengal. While you trek through this national park, you can spot animals like the leopard cat, red panda, yellow-throated marten, barking deer, and wild boar. This national park is home to various bird species like satyr tragopan, scarlet minivet, kalij pheasant, and blood pheasant. From Singalila National Park you can easily enjoy the impressive view of Sandakphu Peak. You can stay at Gurdum at night and then start your trek back the next day.
- Srikhola: While returning from Sandakphu Peak, you will cross Srikhola. Srikhola river and the village is one of the most traveled to spots in Darjeeling and if you are up for relaxing amidst nature and clicking instaworthy pictures then you must stop for a while at this village. This village is located at the foothills of the Singalila National Park and while returning you can even spot Red Panda here. You can sit near the village and marvel at your surroundings and breathe in the fresh air at Srikhola.
How To Reach
The way of reaching this destination depends on the place you live in. If talked about the mode of conveyance, then you can either take a flight or a train to reach here. For trekking, you need to reach New Jalpaiguri. You can book your train tickets and reach Jalpaiguri railway station. However, if you want to take a flight, you can book your tickets and reach Bagdogra Airport. You can check the availability of tickets according to the place you live in.
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Do’s And Don’ts
- The very first thing that you could not skip is a trekking pole. This is something without which you can’t even imagine a trek to be successful. So, make sure that you are carrying that with you. This will make your movement in the mountains easy.
- Apart from this, the one thing that will make this trek comfortable and easy for you is the type of clothes that you are wearing. It is advisory to wear light and comfortable clothes during this trek. Try to avoid body-hugging clothes, as they will make you uncomfortable and can even ruin your trek.
- A guide is a must. There are a lot of people who say that they have studied the map carefully and thus, they know where to go and how to reach. Now, this won’t work in the case of mountains. You can not predict any path before knowing about it in detail. So, it is always advisory to hire a guide with you. He or she will help you in easily reaching your destination.
- While you are on a trek, no matter which place you are in or what kind of a whether it is, you should always carry sufficient water with yourself. The best way to avoid any kind of illness is to carry enough water with yourself.
- Not just the paths during a trek are unpredictable, but the weather too. It is suggested that you read about the weather forecast before visiting a particular place. However, there could be sudden weather changes in the mountains and nobody could tell about it earlier. Now, the only thing one could do is to prepare oneself for the worst. Carry things that could protect you from this natural attack.
- Apart from trekking pole, comfortable clothes, and a good guide, the one thing that should be there to make your trek more comfortable and easy for you is good trekking shoes. During your trek, the entire journey is all about your capacity for walking. To make sure that your legs don’t hurt much and the journey is smooth, keep a good pair of trekking shoes with you.
- There is a pattern of walking in the mountains and if you follow that, your journey will be smooth and easy. There are a lot of things related to it and if you want to know about all of them, then you can do a quick research about it. One basic thing that you need to follow is that, whenever you are moving in the descending order, you need to walk flat-footed. However, when you are walking in ascending order, you need to dig your heel first. This trick is very helpful while rain and snow.
- A lot of people have this habit of carrying a bundle of medicines wherever they go. It is a good habit, but while you are on a trek, you need to follow certain rules. This is not a usual journey and you don’t know what your body wants. You don’t need to worry about it, just consult your guide before taking any medication. They are experienced in this field and act as the best doctors here.
So, this was all about the Sandakphu trek. We have mentioned everything that is important for people to know if they are going for Sandakphu trek. The location, it’s route, itinerary and all other things have explained for your convenience. So, without further ado, plan your trip to Darjeeling and get your backpacks ready for this trek.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Sandakphu Trek
Q. At what height is Sandakphu situated?
A. Sandakphu is situated at an altitude of 11,929 feet. This is the highest summit in the Singalila range and West Bengal too.
Q. Are Sandakphu trek and Singalila trek the same?
A. The trek route of Sandakphu goes through the Singalila range. Therefore, it is also called the Singalila trek many times.
Q. Which place is the base of Sandakphu trek?
A. The Sandakphu trek starts from Manebhanjan. It is a small township located at an altitude of 7,054 feet. It is the base of the Sandakphu trek.
Q. How can we reach the base of Sandakphu trek?
A. The base of Sandakphu trek, Manebhanjan can be reached by hiring a taxi from the nearest railway station, New Jalpaiguri. You can also get a taxi from the nearest airport, Bagdogra. The route passes via Mirik. So, in case you don’t get a direct taxi, then you reach Mirik and take a taxi from there.
Q. Is it mandatory to have a guide on the Sandakphu trek?
A. Yes, before starting the Sandakphu trek you need to make sure that you have a registered guide or porter guide with you. If you are going through a tour operator then they will arrange for one, otherwise, you arrange to make. Earlier it was not mandatory, but now it has been made mandatory to have a state government registered guide or porter with you on the trek.
Q. What is the total distance of the Sandakphu trek?
A. The Sandakphu trek begins from the base, Manebhanjan. The distance of Sandakphu from Manebhanjan is thirty-two kilometers. If you want to trek further from Sandakphu to Phalut then it is another twenty kilometers from Sandakphu.
Q. How much time is needed to complete the Sandakphu trek?
A. On average, the Sandakphu trek takes two to three days to complete. If you walk for near about nine hours a day, then you can complete the trek easily in just two days. Otherwise, it will take three days to complete the trek. Usually, people take three days to complete the trek.
Q. What are some tips to keep in mind before beginning the Sandakphu trek?
A. Before beginning the trek you need to make sure that you have a state government registered guide or porter, permit for Singalila National park, lodgings along the route, etc. Apart from this you also need other gears in case you are travelling in the winter.
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