Sandakphu Trek with Phalut – a complete guide

by Feb 20, 2015India Trekking, Trekking, West Bengal

Sandakphu is one such place from where you will get the view of four of the world’s tallest peaks. The Kanchenjunga family along with Lhotse and Makalu (4th and the 5th highest peak in the world) stands tall while the Everest, the highest one stands between, towering over them. Sandakphu Trek starts from the picturesque village of Manebhanjan, near Darjeeling. Sandakphu Phalut Trek is spanned across 5 days through the Singalila National Park, giving you the magnificent and best views of Kanchenjunga ranges. In this Sandakphu Guide, we will give you all the information related to the Sandakphu Trek route, the campsites and other details.

The entire Sandakphu trek route is interspersed between West Bengal, Sikkim and parts of western Nepal. Sandakphu is the highest peak of the Singalila range as well as in West Bengal standing at an altitude of 11930 feet. Undoubtedly, it is one of the most picturesque treks in the eastern Himalayas with the Kanchenjunga cluster playing hide and seek with you at intervals.

Contents

What does Sandakphu mean?

Sandakphu Meaning

Sandakphu literally means “height of the poison plants”. This is so because the poisonous aconite plants grow in abundance at Sandakphu, the highest point in the Singalila range. Medicines are extracted from the roots of aconite plants, but the small purple-blue flowers of the same plants can be quite toxic if you consume them.

How hard is the Sandakphu Trek?

Sandakphu is categorized under Moderate trek for an avid trekker. For the first timers also, the trek is quite manageable. If you are relatively fit, you can manage the trek upto Sandakphu without much problem. The distance between Sandakphu and Phalut is 21 km and has almost no settlement in between. This part is slightly difficult.

Sandakphu - the only place you can see worlds 4 highest peaks

Why should you do the Sandakphu Trek?

Primarily because from Sandakphu, you will get an out of the world panoramic view of all the peaks of the Sleeping Buddha along with three other world’s highest peaks. Apart from these, there are many other reasons as to why Sandakphu should be on your trekking list.

Sleeping Buddha - Sandakphu Trek

1) Get the best view 4 of the world’s highest peaks, mainly the Kanchenjunga family

The Sleeping Buddha

The Sandakphu Phalut Trek offers impressive views of some of the world’s highest peaks. The Kanchenjunga cluster is known as the Sleeping Buddha because of its appearance.  Mt. Kumbhakarna forms the head and face of Buddha, while Kanchenjunga forms the upper body. The other peaks of the Sleeping Buddha are Kokthang, Rathong, Frey, Kabru South, Kabru North, Simvo, Pandim, Tenzingkhang, Jubanu and Narsing.

Kanchenjunga is the third highest peak at 8586 m. Lhotse and Makalu are the fourth and fifth highest peak standing at 8516 m and 8463 m. The jewel in the crown is world’s highest peak, Mt. Everest. You will get an out of the world panoramic view of these ranges from Sandakphu as well as Phalut.

The best thing about the trek is that the view of the ranges stays with the trekker throughout the trek. You don’t have to wait for a day; the first clear view of Kanchenjunga is seen on the very first day of the trek, at Upper Chitrey. Kanchenjunga plays hide and seek with you throughout the trek. After a tired and torturous hike, all your tiredness melts just at a look at the beautiful mountain ranges!

2) A trek with the best sunrise and sunset points

sunrise at Sandakphu Phalut trek

Sandakphu Phalut Trek gives you the best views of sunrises and sunsets. It is a humbling experience to watch the first rays of sun falling on some of the highest mountain peaks. See the sky changing colours from golden yellow to orange as the sun slowly showers its first rays on the snowclad peaks. Sunrise from Tonglu and Tumling is quite gorgeous. The climax is viewing the golden rays of the sun falling gradually on the snow-capped Kanchenjunga and then on world’s highest peak, Mt. Everest at Sandakphu. The icing on the cake is, however, the sunrise from Phalut. Each day, you see a new and a better sunrise – a speciality of the Sandakphu Phalut Trek.

The sunsets are also stunning at Kalipokhri and Sandakphu. Infact, Sandakphu has separate points for sunrise and sunsets.

3) The stretch from Sandakphu to Phalut is a perfect potboiler

meadows on the way to Phalut

The trail from Sandakphu to Phalut is a long 21 km but is full of twists and turns. You cross through rocky and muddy paths, go through forest trail as well as see the vast meadows under the clear sky. The landscape keeps changing. For us, we got the best is the view of Kanchenjunga ranges from the green meadows. The day is a long one and is packed with every delight a trek has to offer.

4) Food and lodging easily available throughout the Sandakphu trek route

Sandakphu Trekkers Hut

There are trekker’s hut and home-stays throughout with very warm and hospitable people. They will go all out to make your stay comfortable. This is one of the treks where you do not have to worry about carrying tents and ration.

Home-stays are available at Chitrey, Meghma, Tumling and Kalipokhri. Trekker’s huts are available at Tonglu, Sandakphu, Phalut and Gorkhey.

5) Different view at different seasons

hiking on the Sandakphu Trek

Sandakphu has a different look in different season. If you love colours, visit Sandakphu during the springs. See the rhododendrons bloom in a riot of colours. The whole path will be blasting in red, pink and white.

Autumn gives you the best view of the ranges. The sky will be clear and Kanchenjunga will appear with all her glory in front of you.

If you love snow, visit Sandakphu during December and January. The path will be covered with snow and you might even see a few frozen waterfalls on the way! Sandakphu will itself be snow-covered during this time.

6) A photographer’s paradise

river at Gorkhey village

Each day of the trek will give you different views of Kanchenjunga and Everest ranges. The path through the jungles will give you ample scope for photography. The sunrise and sunsets from the campsites are simply amazing.

You will also get the night sky and city lights together for photography! From Manebhanjan and Kalipokhri, Darjeeling city can be seen; and at night, little pecks lighting up Darjeeling city under the starlit sky is a great subject of photography.

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Sandakphu Trek Route with Phalut 

Sandakphu Trek Map with Phalut

There are a couple of alternate routes for this beautiful trek. You can start the trek from Manebhanjan or Jhaubari. The Sandakphu Trek route that we present here is the one that we took to Sandakphu and further to Phalut.

Day 1: Reaching Manebanhanjan, the base camp

fir tree at Manebhanjan

Manebhanjan is a quaint village near Darjeeling at an altitude of 7054 feet. The conventional and widely known Sandakphu trek route starts from here. It is better to arrive at Manebhanjan one day earlier for proper acclimatization. There are a number of hotels and homestays available at Manebhanjan for overnight stays. The local market also has a few grocery shops from where you can get your stock for the trek.

There is a Porters and Guides Welfare Association here from where you have to hire guides and porters. The landrover stand is also just at the end of the market.

Alternative Base Camp: Dhotrey is an alternative starting point for the Sandakphu Phalut Trek. If you take this route then your total trekking distance is cut down by 5 km.

Day 2: Manebhanjan – Chitre – Tonglu – Tumling

prayer stones at Chitre

We had stayed for the night at Manebhanjan. Early morning, with much enthusiasm we started towards the Sandakphu trail. After about 10 – 12 minutes walk from the market area into the trail, we arrived at the office of Singalila Wildlife Division. You will get the permit for the trek from here.

Earlier the entire trek route was full of gravel and boulder. 4-wheel drive vehicles take the tourists all the way to Sandakphu. Now, the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (GTA) has made another path for the trekkers through the forests and trees. But this trekking trail merges with the vehicle trail often within the entire trek route.

The first few kilometres of trail to Chitre is a steep uphill path. The first day of the trek is always difficult and the trail from Manebhanjan to Chitre did not make it easier for me. Within minutes I was panting, my legs felt like bricks and the thought that comes to my mind always came again – “why did I trouble myself so much?”

After 3 km of an uphill trek through forests of pine, fir and birches, we reached Chitre, a small picturesque village located at an altitude of 8340 feet. This part of the trek is quite steep and it took about 1.5 – 2 hours to reach Chitre.

monastery at chitrey

There are a number of small shops at Chitre where you can rest and have food. There is also a small and beautiful monastery at Chitre.

Many trekkers start their trek from Chitre. They take a vehicle up to this point before starting the trek.

After Chitre, the ascent becomes relatively easier. The next village on the way is Meghma, 6 km from Chitre lying on the border of India and Nepal. There is a monastery at Meghma. The trail bifurcates from here. The trail on the right goes to Tonglu situated in India, while that on the left goes to Tumling, situated in Nepal.

Sandakphu is one such trek where borders between countries do not matter. There are many times when you will cross borders between India and Nepal. No paperwork is needed here, neither are there any restrictions for this trek route.

Tonglu is 2 km from Meghma. It is one of the highest peaks of the Singalila range known for its spectacular sunrise over the Kanchenjunga. On the hilltop, there is a trekkers hut where you can stay for the night. There is also the DM’s bungalow for night stay.

The route to the left goes to Tumling in Nepal, 4 km away. There are a number of homestays and lodges available at Tumling offering private rooms and dormitory beds.

If you wish not to stay at Tonglu and hike to Tumling, then just before the GTA lodge there is a bifurcation from the main gravel road on the left. It goes towards Tumling.

Both Tonglu and Tumling offers spectacular sunrise views. There is a viewpoint at Tumling from where you can get a spectacular view of the Sleeping Buddha. There are better and more accommodation options at Tumling. As for us, we took the route towards Tonglu, did not stop there for the night, but came to Tumling for the night stay.

Day 3: Tumling – Jhaubari – Gairibas – Kalipokhri (15 km, 6-7 hrs trek)

Sunrise at Tumling

We started from Tumling after a hearty breakfast. After 1 km of the trek, we reached the arched gateway of Singalila National Park. This is the highest altitude national park in West Bengal and is the home to many exotic animals like red panda, Pangolins, Himalayan Black Bear, monals and many other Himalayan birds. We got our permits checked here.

As you enter the Singalila National Park Gateway, you will find the trail dividing into 3. One straight road goes to Gairibas. This road has been made into concrete and mainly used by the vehicles. Trekkers also use this route. The entire route is in India.

The trail on the left is a dirt trail going to Jhaubari in Nepal and then to Gairibas. Though this route is longer, but is more scenic going through the rolling meadows of Nepal. Excited we were to cross borders again, we took this route to Gairibas.

Another route is through the forests going all the way to Gairibas.

jhaubari, Nepal

Jhaubari is a small village, 6 km from Tumling and it takes around 3 hours to reach there. From Jhaubari, we took a right turn towards Gairibas. From Jhaubari to Gairibas, the trail goes through a steep descent.

Once you reach Gairibas, you will see some shops here selling tea and different eatables. Gairibas has a number of lodges for a night stay if you so choose to. But during the peak season, it is usually difficult to find accommodation at Gairibas. You can rest here for some time because the next part of the trek to Kaiyakatta goes through a steep ascent.

trekking trail to Sandakphu

After a rest, we started our ascent towards Kaiyakatta, another 2 km from Gairibas. From Kaiyakatta also, there are 2 routes – one going through India and the other through Nepal, finally both meeting at Kalipokhri. We took the route through India which was a gradual climb to Kalipokhri.

Kalipokhri is located at an altitude of 10400 feet and it takes about 3 hours from Gairibas. There is a small lake having black coloured water. This lake is considered sacred by the local people. At Kalipokhri there are a number of homestays. We stopped for the night at one such homestay. At Kalipokhri, we had one of the best dinners in the entre Sandakphu trek trail. The owner also served us Roxy, a local alcoholic drink made from rice or rhododendrons.

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Day 4: Kalipokhri – Sandakphu (6 km, 3 hours)

Kalipokhri Lake

The distance from Kalipokhri to Sandakphu might seem only 6 km, but this stretch is clearly one of the most difficult ones in the entire Sandakpu trek route. You can see the Sandakphu Peak from Kalipokhri itself, but reaching there is not easy.

From Kalipokhri, the trail gradually ascends to Bhikeybhanjan, 2 km away. From Bhikeybahanjan, the climb to Sandakphu is the steepest. Haven’t you heard of the saying, ‘great things do not come easy’? The same happens in this case too. As it is, trekking at an altitude of 10000 feet is not that easy. And here the trail is also quite steep. The 4 km stretch can easily take more than 2 hours to cover.

We understood that quite well. The last few kilometres were literally a struggle for me. While we could see the Sandakphu peak near, but we were not arriving at the place. Finally, when the milestone saying “Sandakphu 0 km, Phalut 21 km’ arrived, we were simply ecstatic. But then there was another 500-metre steep climb from the milestone to the top.

Land Rover arriving Sandakphu

All the pains that we took to climb simply vanished when we reached Sandakphu. The weather was clear with blue skies and balmy breeze and we could see the mountain ranges in front of us. we could see some of the highest and the most beautiful peaks of the world from Nepal to Arunachal. The place is surrounded by green conifers and time seemed to still at this paradise. It was such an overwhelming feeling!

There is a trekkers hut, a few private lodges at Sandakphu for staying overnight. We stayed at the Trekkers hut for the night.

Day 5: Sandakphu – Phalut (21 km, 12 hours)

Kanchenjuga massif at Sandakphu

The next morning we watched a magnificent sunrise at Sandakphu over the mighty Himalayan ranges. After that, we decided to trek towards Phalut.

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Phalut Trek

Phalut is another 21 km from Sandakphu and is one of the highest peak in the Singalila range at an altitude of 11811 feet.

The word Phalut is derived from the Lepcha word “Fak-Luk” that means barren peak. Infact the Phalut area and even the last few kilometres to Phalut is quite barren. This is in contrast to the greenery at the lower levels.

Sandakphu to Phalut Trek

milestone to phalut

The trek from Sandakphu to Phalut is perhaps the most dramatic one in the entire stretch. The way is quite a long one and there is only one settlement in the entire trail. 14 km from Sandakphu is the village of Sabagram or Sabarkum, which is the last settlement before you reach Phalut. So it is better to carry food and water on your way to Phalut.

The trek route from Sandakphu to Phalut is relatively easier with undulating gradients. There are both downhill and uphill stretches going through rhododendron forests, pine forests, vast meadows with the magnificent snowclad mountain ranges at the backdrop. You will see the Kanchenjunga family on your right and the Everest family on your left as you walk through the lovely meadows.

It takes about 10 – 12 hours to reach Phalut and experienced trekkers can do this in one day. Sometimes, trekkers prefer to stop at Sabagram, but accommodation option is limited here.

Phalut Trekkers Hut

Phalut is basically a tabletop where there is a single GTA trekkers hut. The stay is quite basic here. but once you look around you, you will see the beauty all around. The Kanchenjunga ranges just seem to be at a stone’s throw distance. It is about 50 km on a straight line distance and appears gigantic and awesome. This is the closest view of the Kanchenjunga that you will get from the Singalila range. And believe me, the view id simply numbing. You will realise how small a place you occupy in front of the mountains and nature.

Phalut gets quite windy in the afternoon. The winds are quite strong, especially at night and it is better to stay indoors at night. The sunrise from Phalut is also spectacular.

Day 6: Phalut – Gorkhey

Phalut trek

The next day, after watching a mesmerizing sunrise, we started our downhill trek. The trail is through beautiful forests of pine and conifers and bamboo blades. Gorkhey is about 15 km from Phalut. It is a lovely little village surrounded by pine trees. The Gorkhey Khola flows in between the village. There are about 30 families living in this village. There is a GTA Trekkers Hut and a few homestay options at Gorkhey for overnight stay.

The next day, we hiked from Gorkhey to Ribdi and then took a shared jeep to Jorethang. From Jorethand we took another jeep to Siliguri.

Gorkhey village

Return routes from Sandakphu

If you do not wish to trek all the way to Phalut, then there are a number of routes by which you can return from Sandakphu. Most of these routes pass through Srikhola.

Route 1: Sandakphu to Srikhola via Gurdum

mountain trails at Srikhola

This is the most common route and also the shortest one. Sandakphu to Gurdum is only 10 km and can be covered in around 3.5 – 4 hours. Gurdum has a private accommodation option if you want to stay there for the night.

Srikhola is another 1.5 hours walk from Gurdum. This trail passes through the jungles and the rhododendron forests. In spring (April & May), the forests bloom with rhododendrons. If you are lucky enough, you might spot a red panda or a Himalayan bear.

Srikhola is named after the river by the same name. There are many options for accommodation at Srikhola. Usually, trekkers, stop for the night at Srikhola and the next day take a shared keep to Darjeeling via Rimbik, Manebhanjan and Ghoom.

From Srikhola, you can also trek uphill another 7 km to Rimbik. You can stay there overnight and the next day take a jeep to Siliguri.

mountain views on Sandakphu Phalut trek route

Route 2: Sandakphu to Srikhola via Molley (16 km)           

In this route, you have to trek upto Sabargram. Here the route bifurcates. You have to take the route on the right towards Molley, then to Rammam and finally to Srikhola.

Route 3: Sandakphu to Rimbik via Bhikeybhanjang

In this route, take the trail back to Bhikeybhanjang, 4 km away. From here, there is a direct trail to Rimbik through dense forests and steep downhill slopes.

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Sandakphu by Car (Land Rover)

Land Rover at Gairibas - Sandakphu by Car

Trekking is not the only way that you can reach Sandakphu. There are motorable roads where 4-wheel drives are required to manoeuvre the tricky gravel-boulder track. Landrovers are available from Manebhanjan all the way to Sandakphu and also to Phalut. Lately, most of the roads to Sandakphu has been paved partly with tarmac and partly with concrete.

Many tourists, who do not want to trek all the way to Sandakphu, now avail the facilities of the land rovers to travel to Sandakphu.

Remember: No private cars and bikes are allowed inside the Singalila National Park.

Some important information

Land Rover Fare Maneybhanjan to Tumling (round trip): INR 2500 + Night Halt Charge

Land Rover Fare Maneybhanjan to Sandakphu (round trip): INR 5500 + Night Halt Charge

Land Rover Fare Maneybhanjan to Phalut (round trip): INR 9000 + Night Halt Charge

Night Halt Charge for Land Rover: INR 1500 per night (applicable for night stays)

Vehicle Entry Charge: INR 100

Contact of Singalila Land Rover Association: 8145822708, 9800667075, 9647790545

Unlike trekking, guides are not mandatory for visiting Sandakphu by jeep.

Best season to visit Sandakphu

Sandakphu is a trek for all seasons. But during each season the region looks different. Each season has own speciality for Sandakphu trek.

Sandakphu in April (spring) – the season of rhododendrons

Sandakphu Trek in April - Rhododendron season

April is one of the best seasons to do the Sandakphu trek or visit Sandakphu by car. During this time, the entire forest burst into colours because of the blooming rhododendrons. Everything looks colourful and bright. Also, you can see some of the amazing wildlife that the place has to offer.

Sandakphu in October & November (Autumn) – for clear views of the mountains

View of Kanchenjunga from Sandakphu

If you want to see the mountains in their full glory then autumn months of October and November are the best time to visit Sandakphu. The sky remains clear and you will get clear views of the mountain ranges and glorious sunrises. Of you trek into late winters like January and February, you will even get snowfall at various parts of the route.

How to reach Manebhanjan?

The nearest railway station is New Jalpaiguri (NJP) and the nearest airport is Bagdogra.

Manebhanjan, the small village near the Indo-Nepal border is about 90 km from Siliguri. From NJP and Bagdogra, you can get a reserved car to Manebhanjan. A reserved car will take around INR 3000 from NJP/Bagdogra to Manebhanjan.

You can also avail shared jeeps, but in that case, you have to change the vehicle at Sukhiapokhri or Mirik. From Siliguri SNT Stand, you will get a shared jeep towards Sukhiapokhri and Mirik. From both these places, you have to take another shared jeep to Manebhanjan.

Alternatively, you can also reach Manebhanjan from Darjeeling. From Darjeeling shared jeeps are available from the jeep stand.

Where to stay during the Sandakphu trek?

GTA Trekkers Hut

You will get basic accommodations at almost all the places in the Sandakphu trek route. However, these accommodations are mostly basic lodges and trekkers huts. You might get a few homestays also. Almost all these places provide basic food like rice, daal, vegetables, eggs and sometimes chicken also.

How to book the GTA Trekkers Hut?

GTA Trekkers Huts are available at Tonglu, Gairibas, Kalipokhri, Sandakphu, Molley, Phalut and Srikhola. GTA Lodges can be booked only physically by visiting one of their offices at Kolkata, Siliguri or Darjeeling.

GTA Kolkata

Gorkha Bhavan, Salt Lake (GTA Lodge Booking & Info)

No. DD28, Sector 1, Salt Lake City, Kolkata – 700064

Gorkha Bhavan is located opposite the City Center Mall.

Mobile: (+91) 99031 74047, Landline: 033 – 23377534

GTA Siliguri

Pradhan Nagar, Opposite Mainak Tourist Lodge

Hill Cart Road Siliguri. Cell: 9434007080

GTA Darjeeling

Laden-La Road, Phone: (0354) 2256683

And

Darjeeling Railway Station.

Other private accommodations at Sandakphu route

There are also a number of homestays and lodges coming up in the area. Here is a list of such accommodations along with their contact numbers. Care has been taken to collect these contact details, but these information are subject to change)

Location Accommodation Contact
Manebhanjan Keshav’s Home Stay 9232695120

9564797551

Exotica Lodge 9733044512
Tumling Shikhar Lodge 9564797551
Siddhartha Lodge 9593320408
Jhaubari Indira Lodge 9733363473
Kalipokhri Pandim lodge (+91) 9333964774

(+977) 9735916541

(+977) 9742666243

(+977) 9734043453

Sandakphu Sherpa Chalet Lodge (+91) 9332599261

(+91) 9933488159

(+91) 7407276989

(+977) 9742621760

(+977) 27691127

Gorkhey
Paradise Home Stay
9038055530
Srikhola Hotel Shovraj 9933488243, 9932216197

9832375546

Camping options are available at Tonglu, Gairibas, Kalipokhri, Sandakphu, Molley, Gorkhey and Srikhola. If you are carrying your own tents, you can definitely find places to pitch your tent at these places. It is not possible to camp at Phalut because of extremely strong winds.

Are Guides required for Sandakphu trek?

sandakphu trek guide

It is mandatory to take a guide if you are doing the Sandakphu trek along with Phalut. However, if you are going to Sandakphu or Phalut by car, then guides are not mandatory. If you are starting from Manebhanjan, then you can get a guide from Highlander Guides and Porters Welfare Association, located near the roadside as you enter the village.

If you are taking a porter, then you can negotiate with him to also be your guide.

The rate for a Guide for Indians:  INR 1000 per day for Indians for up to 7 persons in the group; thereafter INR 150 per additional person.

Guide rate for foreigners is INR 1200 per day for a group of up to 7 persons, then INR 300 per additional person

The rate for Porter: INR  800 per day + INR 200 for food at Sandakphu and Phalut each.

Guides are also available at Dhotrey and Rimbik. At Dhotrey, you will get guides from Nature Guides Association. In Rimbik (in case you want to do the trek in the reverse way), you will get guides available at Rimbik Guide Association.

Kalipokhri

How to obtain permits for Sandakphu trek?

Entry into the Singalila National Park requires a permit. You can obtain the permit at Manebhanjan or at the Singalila National Park entry gate just after tumbling.

The cost of the permit is INR 100 per person for Indians and INR 200 for foreign nationals. Camera fees is INR 100 for still digital cameras and INR 400 for video cameras.

Note: Singalila National Park remains closed between mid-June to mid-September (for 3 months). This is the monsoon time and animal breeding season. So Sandakphu trekking cannot be done during this period. However, you can trek up to Tonglu and Tumling during this time.

Some Essential Information about the Sandakphu Trek & Phalut Trek

Mobile Signal during the Sandakphu Trek

Indian mobile networks mostly do not work in the trek route. You might get intermittent network from BSNL. Mobile network is available at Manebhanjan and once you reach Srikhola.

At some places, Nepal mobile services are available and your mobile tower might switch over to Nepal international roaming. So be careful before making long calls.

To be honest, we both remain very happy if no network is available. We would be happy to spend a few days away from mobiles and other vagaries of city life while on a trek.

ATMs

There are no ATM facilities available nearby, not even at Manebhanjan. The closest ATM is at Sukhiapokhri. So carry enough cash while starting the trek.

Electricity

After Tumling, electricity is not available. But the people use solar panels for their minimal power needs. The hotel and lodge owners can charge your mobile phones and camera at some marginal cost.

Clothing, accessories & medication

Sandakphu can be quite cold during the winter months. So carry enough warm clothes and jackets along with scarves and gloves. We had done this trek in January and it was biting cold then.

Use proper trekking shoes and carry extra pairs of socks. It is advisable to carry rainwear because you cannot predict the weather in the mountains. A trekking pole can be helpful while trekking.

Also carry all the necessary medications like a pain spray and common medicines for cold, pain and stomach upsets.

Respect the mountains and be responsible

Last, but not the least, please respect the mountains and nature. Try to avoid using disposable plastic bottles like Bisleri etc. Carry a bottle with you and keep refilling it. The water is good here. Do not throw plastics and trash on your way. Try to have proper meals like rice, daal & vegetables instead of instant food like Maggi.

Finally, please be responsible for the mountains. Of late, we had heard that a young man lost his life while doing the Sandakphu Trek. This trek is not very difficult, but even at 10000 feet, the body needs some discipline. Refrain from having alcohol in the trek, how so ever happy you might be after completing the trek. Alcohol can be quite detrimental to your health. The same goes for those who visit Sandakphu by car.

Sandakphu Trek along with Phalut is one of the most beautiful treks in eastern India. These days, roads are made all the way to Sandakphu so that Land Rovers can take tourists all the way to Sandakphu without having them to trek. This will result in more people visiting the place and enjoying the heavenly views of Sandakphu. As an avid trekker, we can only pray that the place does not become over-commercialized. Sandakphu trek was beautiful and is still beautiful. Let it remain that way.

A few more Phalut and Sandakphu photos for you.

Milestone at Sandakphu trek route

View of the mountain ranges from Phalut

view of the mountain range at Sandakphu trek toute

sunrise at Sandakphu

smiling kid at Kalipokhri

prayer flags at Meghma Monastery

Monastery at Chitre - Sandakphu photos

meghma

dogs fighting at Srikhola village

2 Backpackers at Sandakphu

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Agni & Amrita

Agni & Amrita

Travel Experts

We are Agni and Amrita, the story-telling team behind Tale of 2 Backpackers and partners in crime in travel and (mis)adventures of life. We have been travelling together for more than a decade looking for immersive experiences while enjoying the little beauties of life. We are intrigued by heritage, culture, festivals and people and that is reflected in our travel. And yes, we love the Himalayas too.

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While I was writing this article about Sheherwali cuisine, I was stuck for a long time about how I am going to start the article. Shall my introductory lines be about food or about Murshidabad? Or should it be about Barikothi, the place where we were invited to...

47 Comments

  1. what a heartfelt adventure! Your photos are very inspirational and really fuel the wanderlust inside of me. For someone who have never been to Sandakphu or even heard of the place, you did an excellent job in making my travel juices flow. I love nature travel and after having read about this I feel like I need to add a trek in Sandakphu to my bucket list. And I definitely can see that it is a photographer’s paradise so I think I would enjoy a trip like this. Such a detailed itinerary would come in hand for when I decide to go, so I will make sure to save this post for that event.

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    • Thank you so much, Ann!

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  2. I am big time into adventure travel, especially treks. While I have trekked all over the world, Sandakapu trek has always evaded me. I am completely sold on doing it as you rightly said here you get the best view 4 of the world’s highest peaks. Being a landscape photographer this would be an ideal trek for me. Love the amount of details you provided in the post.

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    • Thank you Archana. Sandakphu is really beautiful.

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  3. Very interesting story about the poisonous plant up there, but the views of the mountains are amazing! I love the places with seasons changing them, that just means it has more to offer for the visitors. If I was close by, I would definitely be interested in doing some of the treks here.

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    • Thanks Paula! Glad that you liked it.

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  4. I have a special place for mountains in my heart… I would love to trek to sandakphu… Viewing four of the highest mountains at once is a dream!

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    • Thank you Mrinal. Sandakphu is really amazing. Easy trek, but with great views.

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  5. Beautiful post with all details required. Loved the pictures, may be one day will summit this

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    • Thank you Pamela! May be we should go together! 🙂

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  6. What a thoroughly well-researched and informative post! I am not really into mountain trekking but after reading your post, I feel like exploring it too!

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    • Thank you Noor!

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  7. OMG! Going on a Himalayan trek is a lifelong dream for me, but no, I haven’t done any preparations towards that! I know, that’s bad….
    Happy to know that its only a moderate trek and not a difficult one. I’ve been on a few easy and one moderate so far. So I guess I’ll be able to do it.
    Good to know that food and lodging is available through the route. One point where you can see all 4 of the highest peaks? Wow! That’s convincing enough to take up this trek!
    Thanks for this very detailed guide.

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    • Thank you! You can see the all the 4 of the highest peak from Sandakphu as well as Phalut.

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  8. Your narrative and pics were spot on. Looks like a great trek.

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    • Thank you Rahul. Sandakphu is a beautiful trek.

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  9. My goodness, such a beautiful post and photos. The post covers every small aspect of the place.

    Although I don’t go for trekking, now I would love to.

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    • Thank you Jenifer!

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  10. no pain no gain, you can admire the beauty if you can take pain and reach out there. it’s so beautiful

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    • Thank you Gurjeet! And truly said. The best views come after the toughest climb.

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  11. What incredible pictures. I would probably take three times as long to do the trek with all the picture taking and admiration of the beautiful views. Thanks for sharing. I would love to do one day.

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    • Thank you Kristina!

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  12. A very very well captured hike. I enjoyed reading it from the reasons to get here to the actual day wise itinerary. The sights along the way are truly photo-worthy. Found the village of Jhaubari quite quaint and lovely. Thanks for selling this hike to me 😀

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    • Thank you Ami! Glad that you liked it. 🙂

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  13. Its a beautifully written guide to the place, I would definitely visit this place!

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    • Thank you Nitya. You must!

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  14. Wow this is an excellent and very detailed guide! I’ve never heard of Sandakphu before, so read this with great interest. I’m honestly not a good hiker, but would like to train for something like this one day. As an amateur photographer, I’d love to visit and capture some of these magical views. India is somewhere I’ve not yet been but would like to see one day.

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    • Thank you Lisa! Sandakphu is a good trek for beginners as well.

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  15. This trek looks amazing! I have always wanted to see Mt. Everest and doing a less strenuous trek with these types of views would be just right for me. It’s amazing that you can see four of the five highest peaks together at once. The sunset views are so beautiful! It would be a toss up for me of wanting to do the trek in the fall for clear views of the peaks or in the spring with all the pretty colors blooming. Thank you for all the great info! Pinned!

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    • Thank you so much. Sandakphu is stunning.

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  16. Trekking is not my cup of tea however you definitely motivated me to try this out . The view from the Day 1 trek was simply breath taking.

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    • Thank you Anahita!

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  17. Such an informative post 🙂

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  18. While reading the post I felt like I was trekking and seeing the picturesque location. It would be a photographer’s delight I am sure to capture this nature’s beauty.

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    • Thank you Manisha!

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  19. After reading this post, I got to thinking I should go on trips like this Sandakphu Trek. I am happy to read of the existence of trekker’s hut – so I dont have to bring heavy camping stuff along. The map you provided is a really good overview of what one is getting into . At the end the views at sunrise and sunset and the 4 of the 5 highest peaks is justification enough for doing this trek.

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    • Thanks Adele. Sunrises are one of the best reasons to do this trek!

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  20. as much as I shudder at the idea of trekking, it looks worth it for so many reasons in Sandakphu as there is such stunning scenery to take in!

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    • The place looks so calm and beautiful
      I really like the greenery and those amazing clicks

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      • Thanks Pooja! Glad that you liked it!

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  21. hello there, its a good narration of the trip you took. two of us were planning to visit the area for trekking during the end of march. do you think that its a good time to go around that time? and can you please let me know about the total cost of the trip involved starting from NJP itself?

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    • Great post Agni & Amrita.
      @Manish end of march is the beginning of spring in sandakphu. You will find rhododendrons all around.

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  22. Lovely pics. The place looks beautiful.

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  23. Amazing pictures ..

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  24. Reason 7 : during the trek, you can meet really nice people 🙂
    Congratulation for the pictures. They are really beautiful.

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    • That’s so true…. We met some wonderful people…

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    • Thank u

      Reply

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