sandakphu sleeping buddha
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SANDAKPHU ADVENTURE TREK

Subrata Naskar 

Explanation of Sandakphu :

The best adventure trekking mountain peak in West Bengal is Sandakphu. The most popular place in the world to see the sunrise is Sandakphu. The greatest site to trek is Sandakphu, which is accessible from Singalila National Park Sandakphu is a popular destination for trekkers, offering stunning views of the Himalayas, including four of the five highest peaks in the world. One of the most lovely and simple Himalayan hikes is the Sandakphu Trek. A unique experience, the Sandakphu Trek offers breathtaking views of four of the highest mountains. 

I had a wonderful experience on my first Sandakphu Adventure Trek in December 2021. The Sandakphu Trek is the first trek of my life.

sandakphu sunrise pic

Sandakphu Location :

Sandakphu is the highest peak in the Indian State of West Bengal, which is on the border between India and Nepal. Trekkers can enjoy a 180-degree panorama of the Himalayan range, making it a visually rewarding experience.

Why Sandakphu?:

The Sandakphu trip is an exciting adventure because it provides a unique blend of breathtaking scenery, moderate difficulty, and the possibility of extreme weather.

Stunning panoramic views from Sandakphu: Trekkers may have magnificent views of four of the world’s five highest peaks, including Makalu, Kanchenjunga, Lhotse, and Everest, from Sandakphu. From this altitude, the Kanchenjunga range’s “Sleeping Buddha” shape is particularly visible, making for an amazing spectacle.

Difficulty level:  There are a variety of landscapes encountered on the journey, including rocky trails, bamboo groves, deep forests, and alpine meadows. Adventure seekers find the walk appealing because of its variety, which makes it both difficult and beautiful. 

Challenging weather: The weather in Sandakphu can change quickly. Depending on the season, be ready for wind, rain, and even snow.                                                                                        When we decided to trek, we were very excited. The Sandakphu Trek is an extremely challenging winter expedition.

How to reach Sandakphu:

By Flight:  The nearest airport is Bagdogra in Siliguri West Bengal Then you can hire a taxi or shareable car to reach Manebhanjan. Bagdogra Airport to Mane Bhanjang is approximately 80 kilometers. 

By Train: Siliguri to Mane Bhanjang distance is approximately 70 kilometers, and the journey takes around 4-5 hours. From Siliguri, you can take a bus or hire a taxi to reach Mane Bhanjang.

By Car: The nearest major railway station is New Jalpaiguri Railway Station (NJP) or Siliguri Railway Station, which is connected to major cities. From Njp and Siliguri you can hire a taxi or shareable taxi to reach Mane Bhanjang. NJP to Mane Bhanjang distance is 85 km.

How to go to Sandakphu from Anywhere :

No matter which major State or city you are traveling from, you will likely need to make your way to New Jalpaiguri (NJP) railway station or Bagdogra Airport (IXB) in West Bengal. These are the closest transportation hubs to Sandakphu.

Many major cities in India have trains like DBRT Rajdhani Express, Dibrugarh Rajdhani Express, LTT Guwahati Express, and Kanchenjunga Express, trains running to NJP station. From NJP, you can take a car or jeep to Sandakphu. Bagdogra Airport has domestic flights connecting it to most major cities in India. From Bagdogra, you can take a car or jeep to Sandakphu.

We reached NJP by train from Sealdha, and it took us 10-11 hours to reach. Then we got down at NJP and looked for a shared taxi that would take us to Manebhanjang. Each of us was charged 400 rupees per head. 

sandakphu picture_01

Why do We call Sandakphu Trek an Adventure? :

Sandakphu trekking is a challenging adventure that pushes you to West Bengal’s highest point at 3,636 meters (11,941 ft) through breathtaking Himalayan scenery. The Sandakphu Trek effectively captures the adventurous spirit of trekkers, showcasing their ability to push boundaries, explore unexplored territories, and fully enjoy the journey.

We had an exciting and delightful trekking experience because of the small, rocky, and steep path. Trekking was very challenging due to the cold weather. The feeling of walking through the cold air, rocky road, and forest was adventurous. The trek is rewarding and adventurous because of the breathtaking views. High-altitude Sandakphu environments offer a different landscape compared to lower elevations. So, the high altitude of the Sandakphu trek likely contributed to the excitement by offering a challenging climb, a unique environment, and stunning panoramic views. For all these reasons, we consider the Sandakphu Trek to be an adventure.

Sandakphu trip planning –

Duration of Sandakphu Trek:

The 32-kilometer route from Mane Bhanjang to Sandhakphu is typically completed in four or five days. Good fitness level allows you to comfortably complete the trek in 4 days. If you’re new to high-altitude hikes, consider a 5-day option for better acclimatization.

Sandakphu trek distance:

The Most popular starting point for the Sandakphu trek is Mane Bhanjang. The distance of the Sandakphu Adventure Trek from Manebhanjang depends on the chosen route and can vary between 32 km and 55 km.

Here’s a breakdown of the two routes:

First Route: Manebhanjan -Tonglu-Tumling – Gairibans – Kalipokhri – Sandakphu

  • Distance: 32 Km
  • Difficulty Level: Average
  • Time: 4-6 Days

We started trekking from this point. We had a 7-night 8-day plan, including 2 nights in Tarin. Our team will also be following this route.

Second Route – Manebhanjan – Chitre – Tonglu – Tumling – Gairibans – Kalipokhri – Sandakphu – Phalut

  • Distance: 55 km
  • Difficulty Level: Challenging
  • Time: 6-7 Days

sandakphu hills

Best time to visit Sandakphu:

Your interests and the kind of experience you’re looking for will help you figure out when the best time is to visit Sandakphu. Ultimately, the best time to visit Sandakphu Trek is when you’re most likely to enjoy the experience. Consider your fitness level, your tolerance for cold weather, and the kind of scenery you’re hoping to see.

Sandakphu trek in April to June:

April to June is considered the best time to trek to Sandakphu.Trekking in Sandakphu from April to June is an amazing experience. It’s a beautiful day with bright skies and comfortable temperatures. The scenery is stunning because the magnolias and rhododendrons are in full bloom. During this time, the rhododendron and magnolia leaves change color, creating an exceptionally lovely environment.

The third-highest mountain in the world, Kanchenjunga, is visible in the distance on a clear day. The springtime temperature ranges from 15 to 20 degrees Celsius, while the nighttime low is between 1 to 5 degrees. Anyone planning to hike Sandakphu must have this permit in order to enter the northern part of Singalila National Park.

Sandakphu trek in September to December:

If you are looking for a beautiful and challenging trek, Sandakphu trek in September to December is a great option. The weather is mostly clear, with mild temperatures and occasional snowfall. The weather is generally stable, with mild temperatures during the day ranging from 6°C to 12°C and nighttime temperatures dropping to around 0°C to -7°C. The weather turns colder, and there’s a chance of snowfall in late November and early December, especially at higher elevations. On a clear day, you’ll be rewarded with stunning panoramic vistas of some of the world’s highest mountains, including Everest, Kangchenjunga, Lhotse, and Makalu.

In February, we had to leave because of the extremely cold weather. I believe this will be the best time to visit Sandakphu.

sandakphu himalayas view

Important Equipment for Sandakphu Trekking :

  1. Trekking Boot                                                                                               
  2. Important Documents
  3. 40-60 Liters Capacity backpack with adjustable straps
  4. Waterproof Trekking Boots
  5. Walking Stick
  6. Dry Fruits,
  7. Electral Powder
  8. Water Bottles
  9. Lightweight Clothing
  10. Adding layers of wool jackets.
  11. Windproof and waterproof pants and jacket.
  12. Hand Gloves
  13. Medicine
  14. Toilet Paper And Wipes
  15. Tooth Paste/Brush
  16. Moisturizer, Cream, and Lip Balm

route map

Sandakphu Trek Route Map –

  • NJP To Manabhanjang (By Car)
  • Manabhanjang To Tumling
  • Tumling To Kalipokhri
  • Kalipokhri To Sandakph
  • Sandakphu To Srikhola
  • Srikhola To NJP (By Car)

Sandakphu Permit: Gateway to Singalila National Park 

Anyone planning to hike Sandakphu must have this permit in order to enter the northern part of Singalila National Park.

Where to Get Sandakphu Permit :

Manabhanjang – This Forest Department office is situated right before the uphill climb commences from Manebhanjan, acting as your gateway to the national park.

Tumling – Once you’re inside the national park, you may get up your permit at another forest beat office around 1km from Tumling.

Starting Sandakphu adventure trekking:

Trekking Day 1

Stay:Tumling

Temperature In Winter :(December – February) 4°C to -4°, In Spring Time – (March – May) 12°C to 3°C

Mill: Dinner, Morning Breakfast

Altitude: 2970 m (10,000 ft)

Manabhanjang To Tumling: Distance almost 13 km

The next morning, we woke up early and completed tea and breakfast there. After breakfast, our journey starts today towards tumling. Then check for any necessary permits at the trekking entry point in Mane Bhanjang and also hire a guide for trekking. Next, we started trekking as per the instructions of the guide. Tumling will be our next stop. The trek via Tonglu, Meghma, and Chitrey is around 13 kilometers long.

After 3 km trek we reached a beautiful village chitre. Once treking a little break there,we had some dry food. After some rest, we again left for tumling. While trekking we saw such a beautiful view of the mountains that we will never forget in our life. We rested for a little while after walking 5km and then we started trekking. Once you arrive in Tumling, relax. After some rest, we began to explore the area.We had already booked a room at tumling so we stayed here suring the night.

 

Tumling – This location is recognized as the midway point for trekkers heading towards Sandakphu. It’s a fantastic location for pictures and photo shoots.We also took very beautiful pictures and selfie. Tumling situated in Nepal geographically, this little village serves as the entrance to Singalila National Park. Most of the families in Tumling belong to the Gurung community.

tumling

Trekking Day 2

Stay: Kalipokhri

Temperature: In Winter : (December – February)0°C to -8°,In Spring Time :- (March – May )12°C to 6°C

Mill: Dinner, Morning Breakfast

Altitude: 3186 m(10,400 ft)

Tumling to Kalipokhri: Distance is Approximately 12km

The next morning, we take in the beautiful surroundings at Tumling and make sure to witness the breathtaking sunrise from Tumling View Point. Then we started walking on the concrete road and continued to take in the fresh air. After eating breakfast, assemble everything that’s important and begin your journey towards Kalipokhri.From tumling Kalipokhri is almost 12km Passing through Gairibas.

The route up to the Singalila National Park Check Post, which is one kilometer from Tumling and requires you to present your permits, is fantastic. Walking along the amazing spiraling rocky roads surrounded by tiny bamboo and Rhododendrons with Singalila National Park on our right and Nepal on our left was incredibly exciting. If we hike between March and June, everywhere will have the greatest rhododendron blossom. After 7 km of trekking, we reached Garibas.

Here, we have a little stop for momos or tea. Proceed towards Kalipokhri, our next destination, after taking a brief break. Then we arrive in Kayakatta, a tiny village for lunch and rest in the next two kilometers. Kalipohri is almost 4 km from Kayakatta. We were exhausted, but we managed to forget our tiredness as we took in the beautiful scenery. We only needed a moderate amount of trekking. Many nameless flowers welcomed us and we finally reached Kalipokhri exhausted.

Kalipokhri –Kali indicates black, and Pokhri is the name of a pond. It is called KaliPokhri as a result. Kalipokhri is a lovely place to relax and enjoy the scenery. We had booked a homestay in Kalipokhri in advance for our overnight stay here. In Kalipokhri, it gets very cold at night, so we ate very early and fell asleep.

Trekking Day 3

Stay- Sandakphu

Temperature: In Winter (December-February):  -7°C to 5°,In Spring Time :-(March – May )10°C to 1°C

Mill- Dinner, Morning Breakfast, lunch

Altitude- 3636m(11930 ft)

Kalipokhri to Sandakphu: Distance is 6 km

We woke up early to witness the breathtaking sunrise from Kalipokhri after a chilly night. After that, we went back to the homestay, had breakfast and ginger tea, and then went trekking. After 1.5 hours of tough hiking, we arriving BikheyBhanjang,a small hamlet where we can take little rest. Trekking appears to be highly challenging since the oxygen level lowers at an altitude of about 10,000 feet, so proper rest is a must.

It’s another 4km to Sandakphu from Bikhey Bhanjang. Our next trekking route is very difficult, but the natural beauty filled our hearts with joy. Every turn in this path was awesome, beautiful with a jaw-dropping cinerary. We were enjoying a lot and taking lots of pictures. Suddenly we look at the milestone and see Sandakphu 0 km, which means we have almost done this trek. We are at the top of West Bengal’s highest point. We’ve been resting and enjoying this hard-working scene for the last three days.

SandakphuOne of the best views of the snow-capped mountains, including the majestic Everest in Nepal, the respected Khangchendzonga in Sikkim, and the fabled Chomolhari in Bhutan, may be seen from Sandakphu. The sunrise and sunset views are particularly famous from Sandakphu.

sandakpu picture_02

RETURN DAY:

Trekking Day 4

Stay- Srikhola

Temperature: In Winter :- (December – February)3°C to 15°, In Spring Time :-(March – May )10°C to 20°C

Mill- Dinner, Morning Breakfast, lunch

Altitude-2100m(6900 ft)

Sandakphu-Srikhola: Distance 15 km

After staying at Sandaakphu for 2 days, we got up early the next morning, packed our bags, and left for Srikhola. The walk begins with a strenuous ascent to the little settlement of Gurdum, which sits at an elevation of 3,610 meters. The breathtaking vistas from Gurdum allow us to see the snow-capped peaks of Makalu, Everest, and Kanchenjunga in the Himalayas. We are walking an incredible path, so this day was memorable for us. We will be walking along an incredible route that deserves to be created, so it will be another fantastic day.

We will first head to Gurdum, which is about 10 km away and can be hiked in 4 hours. We will first head to Gurdum, which is about 10 km away and can be hiked in 4 hours. Along the way, our pass through a thick Singalila forest that is home to chestnut, oak, and rhododendron trees that are in full bloom. After reaching there we took some rest and then freshened up and had lunch. We also enjoy a campfire beside the stream in the evening. It’s an amazing experience. We are going to stay overnight at Srikhola.

Srikhola- The little village of Srikhola has a long history. Both pilgrims and hikers prefer visiting the area, which is home to several monasteries and temples. The village is a well-liked location for pilgrims and hikers alike, and it is home to several monasteries and temples.

Trekking Day 5

Srikhola- to NJP:

Return to Manebhanjang. Next morning we have to say good morning to Srikhola after having one cup of tea and leave. After breakfast, take a shared vehicle to NJP. Reach NJP by the end of the day.

 

sandakpu picture_03

Why We Call Sandakphu Trek An Adventure?-

The Sandakphu Trek is a popular adventure route that involves a challenging climb to the highest point in West Bengal, situated 3,636 meters (11,941 ft) above sea level. This Mountain trek was exciting for us because of the high altitude. On this trek, we had the most amazing view of the Himalayas, which includes five mountain peaks Mt Everest (8,849 m), Lhotse (8,516), Makalu (8,485 m), and Kanchenjunga (8,586 m).On clear days, the world’s highest peaks are visible in an amazing view.

We had an exciting and delightful trekking experience because of the small, rocky, and steep path. Trekking was very challenging for us due to cold weather.The feeling of walking through the cold air,rocky road, and forest was adventurous. The trek is rewarding and adventurous because of the breathtaking views.

Trekkers frequently seek adventure in stretching their boundaries, discovering uncharted territory, and reveling in the journey experience—all of which are well captured in the Sandakphu Trek. For all these reasons, we consider the Sandakphu Trek to be an Adventure.

Sandakphu Adventure Trek Famous Places : 

  1. Manebhanjan: The starting point of the trek, Manebhanjan is a small village with many Buddhist monasteries is here.
  2. Tonglu: It’s really beautiful to see the sunrise in Tonglu. The scene bursts into a brilliant show of color when the first light touches the snow-capped summits.
  3. Phalut: Another excellent location to see the Himalayas is Phalut.This Is The second-highest point of the trekking place.
  4. Gorkhey:  The little village of Gorkhey is surrounded by magnificent vegetation. This is a popular spot for trekkers to stop and unwind.
  5. Rimbik: The end of the Sandakphu Trek is at Rimbik. Situated in the Singalila National Park, this little village acts as a starting point for numerous additional trekking trails within the area.
  6. Sepi:  A small village located on the way to Sandakphu, Sepi is known for its beautiful rhododendron forests.

These are only a handful of the numerous well-known locations along the Sandakphu Trek. A fantastic way to take in the Himalayan scenery and discover the local way of life is to go on a trek.

Sandakphu Trekking Cost:

The cost of Sandakphu trekking from Manebhanjang can vary depending on the season and group. Peak season (October-April) sees higher prices due to pleasant weather and optimal views. Smaller groups typically pay more per member for shared expenses like transportation, permits, and guides. Approximately, Sandakphu trekking costs 8000–10,000 rupees per head including NJP to Manabhanjang By a shared car. We spent 9000 rupees to do this tour from Kolkata, including train tickets. 

Transportation:

Train: Depending on the Station

NJP to ManeBhanjang (shared car): Per head 250-300

Srikhola to NJP (shared car): Per head 250-300

 Stay:

ManeBhanjang: 1000 Per Night

Tumling (Homestay/Lodge):  1000–1500 per night

Kalipokhri  (Lodge): 400 Per Bed

Sandakphu (Govt GTA Trekkers Hut): 200 Per Bed

Srikhola (Lodge/Homestay): 700-1000 Per Night

Food:

Dry fruits: Depending on the variety

Veg Thali  (Govt GTA Trekkers Hut):  200 Per head

Non-Veg: 300 Per head

Tumlimg Homestay: Per Night Stay and Food Include

Water: Depending on the team

Permit:

Singalila National Park: 120 (Indian)

Still Camera: 100

Video Camera: 400

Sandakphu Trekking Package:

Depending on your interests and price range, a variety of Sandakphu hiking packages are offered. To fit your comfort level and price range, pick between the Standard, Budget, or Luxury packages for the Sandakphu hike.

Standard Package: At a moderate price point, this well-liked option usually provides a 4-day itinerary that includes meals, lodging in guesthouses, and a guide. It’s likely that you’ll trek in a group.

Budget Package: This option is more budget-friendly and typically includes basic meals, lodging in a dorm, and a bigger group size. The schedule might be less flexible or shorter.

Luxury Package: Savor a more varied range of meals, a private itinerary, individual rooms with attached bathrooms, and maybe even jeep rides during some of the comfortable trekking. Perhaps best suited for smaller gatherings, this will be the priciest option.

Frequently Asked Questions:

1. How long is the Sandakphu trek?

Depending on your route and the number of days you spend walking, the Sandakphu trek might have a different length. Still, the majority of treks last between 3 and 7  days and cover between 24 and 68 kilometers.

2. Is the Sandakphu trek difficult?

Although not technically difficult, the long distances (10–15 km each day) and some hilly sections need for moderate fitness. Especially for novices, the elevation gain of 5,500 feet in three days can be taxing.

3. When is the best time to do the Sandakphu trek?

March to May, offers pleasant weather and clear views. September to November is also good, but can be colder.

4. Need Permits?

Yes, need permits from the Singalila National Park

Also, read our  blog Darjeeling tour guide 

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Subrata Naskar

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