Sandakphu Trek – A Complete Guide

Sandakphu is one of the fascinating travel destinations in Darjeeling in the Himalayan mountain range. Being the tallest peak of West Bengal with 11930 ft. height, it is an incredible experience to ride at its top. The central part of the trek route lies inside Singalila National Park near the border of Nepal and India.

Before visiting, you need to get a permit from the office of the forest department of Singalila National Park at Manebhanjan. Whether you are planning to visit by air or train, you must reach Manebhanjan to arrange everything. They now have made it compulsory to hire a guide during the trek.

Trekking to Sandakphu is neither too hard nor very easy. In this article, you will get the latest travel guide that can help you plan the Sandakphu trek.

Trekking to Sandakphu

Sandakphu Trek at a Glance

LocationSingalila National Park region near the border of West Bengal and Nepal
How to reachYou either need to come to the New Jalpaiguri railway station or Bagdogra airport. From there, hire a cab to reach Manebhanjan where the trekking starts
Difficulty LevelModerate
Duration6 to 9 days
Recommended Age of Travelers10 to 60 years
Best Time to VisitOctober to November and March to April
Best Places to StaySunrise Hotel, Sherpa Chalet Lodge
Maximum Altitude11930 ft (Sandakphu)
RainfallHighest in July and Lowest in November-December

The Best Trek Routes To Sandakphu and Phalut

Sandakphu is one of the top trekking destinations with easy to moderate difficulty. There are several routes for trekking to Sandakphu. For every trail, availing of the permit and hiring a guide is a must. Some of these trek routes are easy, and some are pretty difficult for beginners. Experienced trekkers can try the offbeat trek routes to Sandakphu and Phalut as they offer mesmerizing beauty of the mountains and forest from a different angle of view.

trekking trail to Sandakphu through Singalila National Park

Sandakphu Trek Route-1

RouteManebhanjan – Tumling – Kalipokhri- Sandakphu – Gurdum – Srikhola
No. Of Days6
DifficultyEasy to Moderate
ItineraryDay 1: Manebhanjan to Tumling
Day 2: Tumling to Kalipokhri
Day 3: Kalipokhri to Sandakphu
Day 4: Sandakphu to Gurdum
Day 5: Gurdum to Srikhola
Day 6: Srikhola to NJP/ Bagdogra

What can you expect in this trek route to Sandakphu?

This trek route is the most popular one due to the low difficulty level that is good for beginners.

Starting from Manebhanjan, arrive Tumling and stay overnight to adjust body functionalities at a high altitude. There are a few good homestays at Tumling (9600 ft), where you get warm food and a goodnight’s sleep. Among all homestays, Shikhar and Siddharth Lodges are most preferable among trekkers.

The next day, start the trek in the morning around 7:30-8 AM. After walking for 15 minutes (approx.), the forest trail begins near a military camp. You have to walk uphill and downhill several times to reach Gairibas. This short hike is a real eye-opener for nature lovers. If you are lucky enough, you may find Red Pandas in this location. Barking deer is a common wild animal there and can be seen while hiking.

After Gairibas, you have to walk several kilometres uphill, which new trekkers can find difficult. But once you get used to it, the scenario will change. After trekking for 7 kilometres, you will reach Kalipokhri (10400 ft). Here, you need to stay overnight. There are very few homestays at Kalipokhri that offer good accommodation and food. Please remember that at this place, there is no electricity available. So keep your power banks, mobile phones, or camera fully charged before leaving Tumling.

In the following early morning, go to witness the sunrise near the sacred lake of Kalipokhri. Some individuals may tell you that it is not worth it. But it can be a fantastic experience if you are lucky.

kalipokhri sunrise
Sunrise at Kalipokhri

Afterwards, get back to the homestay and when completing breakfast, start for Sandakphu. The trail to Sandakphu is mainly on the constructed roads. But there are some shortcuts and alternative routes that guides know very well. The last hour to Sandakphu is much steeper than the rest of the trek route. But do not worry, it’s just a matter of time. Instead, look at the extraordinary natural beauty around.

After reaching Sandakphu (11930 ft), check in to your hotel, get refreshed and have lunch. In the evening, take a walk around to see the majestic beauty of the mighty Sleeping Buddha. After evening the sky mostly gets cleared to let you see the beauty of the starry sky. The Milky Way looks fantastic from Sandakphu. The beauty of Sleeping Buddha is extraordinary on a full moon too. So, mark your visiting dates carefully!

Night Sky at Sandakphu
Night Sky at Sandakphu

On the next day, wake up in the early morning to witness the beautiful sunrise at Sandakphu. The Sleeping Buddha looks wonderful, wrapped in red and golden sunlight at this time. The sea of clouds below the peaks is an enchantment to the eyes.

After breakfast, take a walk around and spend the rest of the day in leisure. In this way, your body will be energized for the next part of the trek. Have dinner and stay overnight at Sandakphu.

Gurdum is located 10 Km downhill to Sandakphu beside the Srikhola river. In this part of the trek, you will have another thrilling experience. The whole trek route lies in the deep forests of Singalila National Park.

This trail looks best during the spring season when flowers bloom all around. The Rhododendron, Magnolia, oak, and bamboo trees look mystic with a bit of fog. For this reason, the Sandakphu trek is popular in the months of March-April due to the colourful flowers.

rhododendron at sandakphu
Rhododendron near Sandakphu

After trekking through the forest for about 9 kilometres, you will reach a place called “Kalapatthar”. From there, the trail is steep down to Gurdum. Do not be hasty at this place. Take small steps at a time and slowly climb downhill. This is important because the whole weight of your body and rucksack falls on the knee and ankles. After reaching Gurdum, take a rest and stay at the homestay overnight.

On the next day, start for Srikhola after breakfast. This 6 Km is the easiest part of the trek. On the way to Srikhola, you can witness beautiful villages, waterfalls, and forests. There are several established hotels available in Srikhola around the bridge. Here you can take a bath and get delicious meals. The only attraction in Srikhola is the river and birds. The place is home to beautiful Himalayan birds. This is why birdwatching with a long-distance binocular can be an exciting activity there.

Srikhola River

Sandakphu Trek Route-2

RouteManebhanjan- Tumling/ Tonglu- Kalipokhri- Sandakphu- Phalut- Gorkhey-Srikhola
No. Of Days7
ItineraryDay 1: Manebhanjan to Tonglu or Tumling
Day 2: Tonglu/ Tumling to Kalipokhri
Day 3: Kalipokhri to Sandakphu
Day 4: Sandakphu to Phalut
Day 5: Phalut to Gorkhey
Day 6: Gorkhey to Srikhola
Day 7: Srikhola to NJP/ Bagdogra
Beautiful sight of mountains during Sandakphu trek

What can you expect in this trek route to Sandakphu?

Phalut is another heavenly place to visit nearby Sandakphu. It is located 20 km away from Sandakphu in the northern direction. If you have two more days at hand, we advise adding Phalut to your itinerary. But such a long trek in a day can be hectic for beginners. For this reason, you can also hire a landrover and reach Phalut directly.

While descending to Srikhola from Phalut, you have to stay at a beautiful place called Gorkhey with lush greenery and the river Gorkhey Khola. Gorkhey is situated at the border of West Bengal and Sikkim. After staying one night at Gorkhey, you have to trek down approx 21 Km downhill to Srikhola.

Sandakphu Trek Route-3

RouteManebhanjan- Dhotrey- Tonglu- Tumling- Gairibas-Kalipokhri- Sandakphu- Phalut- Molley/ Gorkhey- Srikhola
No. Of Days8
ItineraryDay 1: Manebhanjan to Dhotrey
Day 2: Dhotrey to Tumling via Tonglu
Day 3: Tumling to Kalipokhri via Gairibas
Day 4: Kalipokhri to Sandakphu
Day 5: Sandakphu to Phalut
Day 6: Phalut to Molley/ Gorkhey
Day 7: Molley/ Gorkhey to Srikhola
Day 8: Srikhola to Bagdogra/ NJP
trekking to Sandakphu peak

What can you expect in this trek route to Sandakphu?

This trek route is quite similar to the previous routes we have mentioned. The only changes are the addition of Dhotrey and Molley to the itinerary. Dhotrey is a picturesque place surrounded by forest. To reach Tonglu from Dhotrey, there is a 7 km long forest trail which can be exciting for birdwatchers and nature lovers. From Tonglu, Tumling is easily reachable within a 2 km walking distance.

Molley is also a tiny village surrounded by a green forest and mountains. From Molley, the distance of Srikhola is around 16 km, which can be covered in a single day. Alternatively, you can also reach Grokhey instead of Molley and trek down to Srikhola.

Sandakphu Trek Route-4

RouteManebhanjan – Tumling – Kalipokhri- Sandakphu – Gurdum – Srikhola
No. Of Days9
ItineraryDay 1: Manebhanjan to Rangit Majuwa
Day 2: Rangit Majuwa to Dhotrey
Day 3: Dhotrey to Tumling via Tonglu
Day 4: Tumling to Kalipokhri
Day 5: Kalipokhri to Sandakphu
Day 6: Sandakphu to Phalut
Day 7: Phalut to Gorkhey
Day 8: Gorkhey to Srikhola
Day 9: Srikhola to Bagdogra/ NJP
Closeup view of Kanchenjunga from Sandakphu

What can you expect in this trek route to Sandakphu?

In this trek route, we have included a small village called Rangit Majuwa. Though it is not much well-known as one of the conventional stops in trekking to Sandakphu, it is pretty good. Surrounded by the lush green forest and the Sawaji Khola river, this village is a perfect place for taking a deep breath before starting a week-long trek. We recommend staying here for a night to adjust the body and prevent high altitude sickness. Here you can get a chance to observe a village’s culture, the ways of living and get local food with drinks.

There is a beautiful trail to Dhotrey from Rangit Majuwa, hiking on which can be a thrilling experience. The rest of the trek is similar to the Sandakphu Trek Route-3.

Offbeat Sandakphu Trek Route-1

RouteHilley- Barsey- Joributey- Kalijhar- Phalut- Sandakphu- Gurdum- Srikhola
No. Of Days7
DifficultyModerate to Hard
ItineraryDay 1: Hilley to Barsey
Day 2: Barsey to Joributey
Day 3: Joributey to Kalijhar
Day 4: Kalijhar to Phalut via Singalila Peak
Day 5: Phalut to Sandakphu
Day 6: Sandakphu to Gurdum
Day 7: Gurdum to Srikhola

What can you expect in this Offbeat trek route to Sandakphu?

All the trek routes we have mentioned previously start from Manebhanjan. In this case, the journey begins from Hilley in Sikkim. On the first day of trekking, you have to reach Barsey, which is around 5 km away and takes 2-3 hours. Here, we must mention the mindblowing Barsey Rhododendron Sanctuary. The place gets fully bloomed with various Rhododendron flowers during March and April. This is one of the biggest attractions in this trek route to Sandakphu.

In the next two days, you have to trek 24 km to reach Kalijhar, a beautiful place full of various Himalayan flora and fauna. The trekking trail from Kalijhar to Phalut is genuinely adventurous. After Phalut, trekking to Sandakphu will involve another 21 km trail in your itinerary. The remaining part of the trek is similar to that of Sandakphu Trek Route-1.

However, the arrangement of this trek can be difficult as it is a non-conventional route, and it is not recommended for beginners. Unless you are well-experienced, we do not recommend trying this route. If you are planning to trek with a good travel agency, you can try this route. But make sure of the reputation and details of arrangements offered by the agency.

Offbeat Sandakphu Trek Route-2

RouteSrikhola- Gurdum- Sandakphu- Kalipokhri- Tumling- Manebhanjan
No. Of Days6
DifficultyModerate to Hard
ItineraryDay 1: NJP/ Bagdogra to Srikhola
Day 2: Srikhola to Gurdum
Day 3: Gurdum to Sandakphu
Day 4: Sandakphu to Kalipokhri
Day 5: Kalipokhri to Tumling
Day 6: Tumling to Manebhanjan
Beautiful landscape in Sandakphu trek route

What can you expect in this Offbeat trek route to Sandakphu?

This trek route is just the reverse of the Sandakphu Trek Route-1. While in the earlier route, you have to end the journey at Srikhola, and in this case, the trek begins at Srikhola. After passing through Gurdum, Sandakphu, Kalipokhri, and Tumling, it will end at Manebhanjan.

But why is this trek done in the reverse direction?

This is because of the point of view of witnessing the beauty of nature. Experienced trekkers who have already visited Sandakphu often take this route to enjoy the beauty of the mountains, forests, and flowers from an alternate angle. But, beginners will find this route to be challenging. The trail from Gurdum to Sandakphu is very steep, and without good body fitness, it can be challenging for some travellers.

Is It Safe To Trek To Sandakphu?

While trekking or hiking, safety is an essential concern among all of us. We often think about an unsafe trail, wild animals, or theft. But the trekking routes to and from Sandakphu are safe from these angles.

Safety Conditions of Trekking Trails

While trekking to Sandakphu, you have to ride a height of 12000 ft. Throughout the whole journey, there are a lot of uphill and downhill trails. Most of the path lies inside the forest with uneven roads, and some part lies around the newly constructed road for the land rover.

After the rain, some parts of the trail get slippery, for which trekkers must be cautious and take proper precautions. We highly recommend a trekking shoe with a good grip in such a condition.

The trekkers should follow the commands of their guides hired for the trip. They know this place much better than anyone else can. Always follow the trail with the help of the guide to be safe there. Do not get distracted while trekking, and always stay in a group.

If you prefer to visit Sandakphu by avoiding trekking, then a land rover is your only option. Check this fantastic Vlog by Tirthahikes for every detail of Sandakphu land rover travel-

Health Safety Concerns

The most common problem people face is High Altitude Sickness or Acute Mountain Sickness. As per various reports of this illness around Sandakphu, we found that some travellers fell sick generally above 7000 feet. Although, there is no definite range above which someone will fall into high altitude sickness. So, you should consult a doctor when planning a trek to Sandakphu.

It happens due to low oxygen levels and reduced air pressure. Apart from the external factors, body capability, fitness, and food habits play a significant role here. The main symptoms of this sickness are headache, faintness, muscle pain, vomiting, swelling of body parts, and exhaustion. The nearest hospital near Sandakphu is located at Rimbik, 7 km from Srikhola. So, you need to carry all the essential medications.

We highly recommend consulting a doctor before commencing the trek to Sandakphu. Apart from the doctor’s prescription, we also recommend some medications that you should verify with the doctor. This is because medicines should be taken according to the condition of the individual’s health.

The Best Time to Trek to Sandakphu

Except for the monsoon, Sandakphu can be visited throughout the year. The Singalila National Park is closed from mid-June to mid-September due to heavy rainfall. So, travellers should avoid visiting in this period. The best time to trek to Sandakphu is during Autumn/ Early Winter and Spring/Late Winter.

Trekking to Sandakphu during snowy winter is also famous among experienced trekkers. But if you are a beginner, we recommend avoiding trek during snow in winter. The weather of Sandakphu is colder than the temperature of Darjeeling in general.

Autumn is the ideal time for Sandakphu trek  because of sunny weather without any possibility of rain

Autumn (October-November)

October and November are the two most popular months among adventure lovers and trekkers. After the rainy season, Singalila National Park awakens at this time. Nature lovers find the trek route greener and most comfortable during the early autumn. In late autumn, the temperature drops significantly. At this time, the day temperature is around 15 degrees Celcius, whereas the night temperature falls around 6 degrees Celcius.

It can rain anytime in the region of Singalila National Park. Though the chances are less during the month of November, you should be prepared with a raincoat.

Overall, the weather is perfect for trekking to Sandakphu, and we highly recommend travellers visit at this time. With little to no rainfall and a clear sky, you can comfortably trek through the misty mountains and green forestlands. You can witness millions of stars in the night sky along with the milky way very clear from Sandakphu in these months. The mighty Sleeping Buddha looks wonderful and can let you make the Sandakphu trek memorable.

Milky Way from Sandakphu
A glimpse of the Milky Way from Sandakphu

Advantages of Sandakphu Trekking in Autumn

  • Easier and more convenient.
  • More Greenery.
  • Clear weather for better photography.
  • All the highest peaks, including Sleeping Buddha, are clearly visible.
  • The amazing night sky for astrophotography.
  • Comfortable weather.

Disadvantages of Sandakphu Trekking in Autumn

  • Snowing cannot be experienced.
  • Rhododendron flowers do not bloom at this time.

Winter (December-February)

Many trekkers and adventure lovers like to trek to Sandakphu during winter. The reason behind it is the snow-covered trail, forest, and mountains- everything is frozen. In this period, the temperature gets down to sub-zero temperatures. Even during the day, the freezing cold will be there. But under the sun, trekking is quite comfortable if you are prepared with good warm clothes. Rainfall in these months is a minimum for the whole year. The best attraction for the Sandakphu trek in winter is snowfall.

Winter is not a very popular time among trekkers due to its great difficulty. But if you are well experienced, you can plan trekking to Sandakphu during this season.

Advantages of Sandakphu Trekking in Winter

  • Trekkers who love heavy snow might prefer trekking during this time.
  • Extraordinary beauty around.
  • Great for adventure lovers.

Disadvantages of Sandakphu Trekking in Winter

  • Difficult weather conditions.
  • Hard to trek without previous experience.
  • Less greenery.
  • Visibility is not so great.
  • Rhododendrons can not be seen as flowering.

Spring (March-April)

This is the second most popular season for trekking to Sandakphu. The unique attraction of spring is the Rhododendron flowers. After the winter, Rhododendrons of various colours like red, pink, white, and even Lady Dalhousie Rhododendrons can be seen around Sandakphu.

During the day, the weather is very comfortable- around 20 degrees Celcius. The nights are colder as usual, with a temperature of around 6 degrees Celcius. From March, rain takes place and reaches the highest in July with more than 800 mm average rainfall. So, you must be prepared for a wet and rainy climate during this season.

Advantages of Sandakphu Trekking in Spring

  • The mesmerizing beauty of Rhododendrons.
  • Pleasant climate conditions.
  • Medium-difficulty trek.
  • The wet and green forest looks amazing.

Disadvantages of Sandakphu Trekking in Spring

  • There is a high possibility of rain during this time.
  • Avoid bushy wet areas where leeches can be present.
  • Snow cannot be seen around.
Frosted Road in morning at Sandakphu
Frosted Road in the morning at Sandakphu

Best Hotels at Sandakphu

Sandakphu is relatively more developed when compared to the other locations in the trek route. Here you can find some cosy hotels to get more food items, warm water, and a comfortable stay. We would like to mention two such places to stay.

Sunrise Hotel

It is the best hotel in Sandakphu in terms of the facility and the view of the Himalayan Mountain Range. As the name implies, you can witness the majestic sunrise by the side of the Sleeping Buddha from the hotel itself. They have a nice rooftop where you can get a fantastic view of the Himalayan mountain range.

Even at night, you can get to the rooftop for stargazing like I did in my trip, as the night sky looks impressive from that place. You can even witness the mighty milky way if the sky is free of clouds and fog. Whether you are a beginner or a pro, stargazing can always amaze you.

Night sky from Sunrise Hotel, Sandakphu

The food of Sunrise hotel is mouth-watering and feels delicious after a long trek. The rooms of the hotel are nicely maintained and very clean. As Sandakphu is a remote place, the hotel authorities need to carry water from the lower hills. If you need water for washing your mouth and getting fresh, you need to ask the waiter, and he will deliver a bucket of water to your room. Apart from that, the service is excellent and warm.

Sherpa Chalet Lodge

The Sherpa Chalet is our second favourite place to stay at Sandakphu. It has all the basic amenities like the Sunrise hotel, explained previously. Sherpa Chalet also has no running water but has a bucket system. In Sherpa Chalet, you can get traditional Indian foods like- rice, roti, vegetables, dal, fries, eggs, and chicken. All these food items are very nicely prepared and healthy.

In the evening the hotel authority runs a generator from 6 pm to 9 pm when you can charge your electrical gadgets including your mobile phone and camera. The best thing that we like about Sherpa Chalet is you can watch Kanchanjunga on one side of the hotel and sunrise on the other side with a 270-degree view.

Apart from these two lodges, Sandakphu also has several budget-friendly accommodations. GTA trekkers hut is ideal for such requirements with all basic amenities.

Arrangements For Trekking to Sandakphu

A typical itinerary for Sandakphu trekking involves 6-8 days. If you like to extend the trip to Phalut, another fantastic place in the lap of the Himalayan mountains, the total number of days may increase to 7-8 days. You need to prepare yourself for trekking and arrange everything.

To-Do List While Planning Sandakphu Trek

  • When planning trekking to Sandakphu, you first need to book tickets for an Airplane or Train, preferably 3 months before the day of travel. The nearest rail station is New Jalpaiguri Railways Station, and the nearest airport is Bagdogra. The peak season for trekking to Sandakphu is during Oct-Nov and Mar-Apr. This time demand for a train or air ticket is also very high.
  • The next thing you should do is hire a guide that can be done when you reach Manebhanjan. But we highly recommend contacting and hiring a guide much before trekking. Being local, they know the trails, forests, and mountains in that region better. You can contact Mr Rakesh Rai (Contact: +91 7872951399), one of the most renowned and trustworthy guides for the Sandakphu trek. He is associated with Singalila High Peak Expedition Guide and Porter Association.
  • Booking hotels or homestays before trekking can be highly beneficial for the whole trip. Some places like Gurdum, Tumling, and Kalipokhri have very few numbers of homestays that can run out during the peak season. Most homestays cannot be booked online. You either have to call the owners or book them with the help of the guides. You can also contact some travel agencies, but most of them are costly, and we do not recommend them. We have suggested some of the best homestays and hotels in the Sandakphu trek route that you might like to check out.
  • Next, you have to arrange proper gear and clothing for the trek. Before we proceed, you should keep in mind to bring only the trekking essentials. Unnecessary materials will increase the backpack’s weight and can cause great difficulty during walking for a long time. The clothing should also be lightweight and enough to prevent freezing cold. We also recommend taking a rain cover for the travel backpack and raincoat as rain is very uncertain in the location. We suggest arranging all travel gear and clothing much before the date of the journey.
  • Before starting the journey, we advise working out and making the body fit for long trekking. We recommend consulting a doctor for a health check-up and preventive medicines needed during the trek. A common problem that many travellers face is high altitude sickness. Many trekkers return halfway from the trek because of these. This is why everybody needs proper medication and sufficient drinking water during the Sandakphu trek.
  • Carrying a Govt. photo identity proof and its photocopy is necessary during the visit. Such identity proof includes Aadhar Card, Passport, or Driving License. Without these, the forest department won’t permit you to enter the national park. Being high-valued documents, you should keep them wrapped in a waterproof plastic cover inside the rucksack.
Red panda in Sandakphu trekking

What to do after commencing the trek?

  • After reaching New Jalpaiguri or Bagdogra, hire a car that can be availed locally and then ride to Manebhanjan. Typically, the driver will charge around ₹3000 to ₹4000 for that distance. From Manebhanjan, you have to hire a land rover for Tonglu/ Tumling/ Dhotrey- wherever you start the trek. A landrover may charge you around ₹1000 to ₹1500. If you want to visit Sandakphu without avoiding trekking, you can also hire it for the whole trip.
  • Next, you have to get entry passes to Singalila National Park from the checkpoint/ office at Manebhanjan. The entry fee to the park is ₹100 for Indian citizens and ₹200 for foreign nationals. The charge for carrying a camera is ₹100, and a video camera is ₹400. Apart from that, there is a vehicle charge of ₹100 if you have hired a cab.
  • Keep some dry fruits and water in sufficient quantity to help you throughout the day. Please remember that while hiking through Singalila National Park, you may not find any food stalls nearby the trail unless you reach some checkpoint.

List of Essential Items for Trekking to Sandakphu

After trekking to Sandakphu several times, we highly recommend the following items that every trekker should carry. This includes documents, medicines, clothing, footwear, tools and equipment, personal items, and food.

Medicines and First Aid Essentials

  • Fever, headache and pain: Paracetamol like Crocin or Calpol 650 mg
  • Nausea and vomiting: Zofer MD 4 mg
  • Loose motion or bacterial infection: Metrozil 400 mg.
  • Acidity: Zintac 150 mg
  • Water purification: Zeoline
  • Cut and mild skin infection: Borolene, Neosporin cream and powder, band-aid, leukoplast, cotton.
  • High altitude sickness: Coca 30 (Homeopathic), Camphor (for inhaling).
  • Joint and muscle pain: Crape bandage, Volini spray.
  • Cold and cough: cough syrup and any other medicine prescribed by the doctor.

Note: This list contains items we use during trekking after being advised by a physician. We highly recommend consulting a doctor before taking these medicines as medical conditions differ for different persons.


  • Aadhar Card/ Passport/ Driving License with xerox copies
  • Photo
  • Tickets
  • Printout of booking by email (if any)
  • Any other essential document.

Tools and Equipments

  • Good quality rucksack that is lightweight and waterproof
  • Sleeping Bag and tent if you plan camping on your own
  • Mobile phone and charger
  • Power bank
  • Bluetooth speaker
  • Camera and charger
  • Binocular for watching birds, wildlife and the surroundings
  • Solar charger for mobile phone and camera
  • A Swiss knife
  • Drone camera if you want

Clothing and Footwear

  • Cap
  • Bodywarmer
  • T-shirt
  • Trekking Pant
  • Trekking jacket for cold weather
  • Raincoat
  • Undergarments
  • Gloves
  • Gaiter
  • Socks
  • Lightweight trekking Shoe

Personal Items

  • Sunglass
  • Handkerchief
  • Water bottle
  • Towel
  • Tissue paper
  • Soap
  • Toothbrush and paste
  • Cold cream
  • Sunscreen lotion
  • Torchlight

Apart from the travel essentials, bring some dry foods like cashews, raisins, peanuts, and biscuits in a quantity that won’t burden you. You can try Happilo Premium International Healthy Nutmix, which includes a 200g pack of almonds, black raisins, cashew nuts, cranberries, green raisins, salted pistachios, and walnuts.

5 Amazing Things About Sandakphu Trekking

Trekking to Sandakphu is always unique because of the mindblowing scenic beauty, the culture of the small villages, meeting new people, watching wildlife, witnessing sunrise and sunset over the ocean of clouds, and viewing crystal clear night sky and more. Let us see why all of these are amazing.

1. Sleeping Buddha on the Himalayan Mountain Range

The most beautiful thing about Sandakphu trekking is the Sleeping Buddha. It is a series of Himalayan mountain peaks that look like lord buddha is sleeping. The head of the Sleeping Buddha is actually Mt. Kumbhakarna or Jaanu (25300 ft.), which is the 32nd highest mountain in the world (More on Wikipedia).

sandakphu sunrise
Sleeping Buddha during Sunrise (Sandakphu)

After that, the peaks of Kokthang, Rathong, Frey, Kabru, Kanchanjunga, Goecha, Shimvo, Pandim, Tinchenkhang, Jopuno, and Narsing complete the entire shape of the Sleeping Buddha. Generally, in the evening, the weather gets better, and you can get a clear view of Sleeping Buddha from Sandakphu.

Apart from it, we highly recommend two instants when you might be able to witness a more magical view of the Sleeping Buddha.

The first one is- during sunrise. While the orange fireball sun peeks from the eastern horizon, the white snow of the mountains turns to golden-red colour. It looks gorgeous and enchanting to the eyes.

The second one is- the night view. Watching the Sleeping Buddha at night can be quite an adventurous experience. If there are a clear sky and moonlight, it looks incredible among the endless stars. You can use a portable telescope to watch this magnificent beauty that looks best on a full-moon night. Even if there is a new moon phase, you might be able to witness the mighty milky way and an infinite number of stars.

2. Unforgettable Memory of the Small Villages and its People

Throughout the Sandakphu trekking route, you will encounter many villages and different people. Visiting these villages, you will learn about their culture and food habits. It is exciting to see how they make a living on their own in such remote places. Yet most of the houses in the villages are beautifully decorated and maintained.

These shelters for local people may be small but full of happiness. Many villagers from Tumling, Gairibas, and Kalipokhri stay in these houses for the trekking season only. Before the rain hits hard during July-August, they move to some other location due to a lack of availability of food and business in the off-season.

One of the most interesting things about visiting these villages is to witness how beautifully they maintain their homes and gardens and how they are always happy with limited resources. If you are a dog lover, these villages can be what you’re looking for. In almost all these villages, you may find friendly domestic dogs looking for your treat by wagging tails.

3. Connecting Soul to the Nature

Most of us love trekking and hiking because we love to connect with nature away from our busy daily schedules. We love the adventure of watching mesmerizing natural beauty, forests, and wildlife. We can observe the sustainable relationship between nature and humanity. Trekking to Sandakphu can give you such pleasure and a chance to witness it.

Singalila National Park Sandakphu
Forest trail to Gairibas in Sandakphu Trek

You may have some hard times stumbling on the trail, soaking in the rain, and getting your energy drained out sometimes but in the end, it can give you the confidence to feel the goods of nature and get your soul lost in it. After a memorable journey, you can get back to your home with refreshment and confidence that you can achieve anything no matter what the obstacle is. A similar landscape and forest can be observed during Kheerganga trekking in Himachal Pradesh.

4. The Ocean of Clouds

Most of us visited the seashore and witnessed how amazing the ocean looks. But what about watching the clouds from a mountaintop in a similar way? From an elevation like 10000 ft (Tonglu or Tumling), you might be able to witness such an amazing creation of nature. The scenery looks more beautiful during the sunrise and sunset.

ocean of clouds
The cloud ocean at Sandakphu

As you climb more altitude, the ocean of clouds starts to look more fascinating. From Sandakphu (11930 ft), it is a soothing treat to the eyes. We love the way Sleeping Buddha looks over the clouds, and it is truly an incredible experience.

5. Cleanliness of Environment

The key to environmental sustainability is to maintain a healthy relationship with nature. There are many examples where travellers ruin natural beauty with scraps and leftovers. This garbage mainly includes empty liquor bottles, packets of chips, plastic bottles, etc. Due to the increased number of trekkers in 2017 and 2018, the trekking trails to Sandakphu got polluted over time. This time, many responsible trekkers and organizations that follow environmental sustainability guidelines came to the rescue. Presently ecotourism principles are adapted and being followed.

Organizations like the Himalayan Club from Kolkata, and the Indian Mountaineering Foundation from New Delhi did a great job back in 2018-2019. They collected waste from the trails and handed it over them to Siliguri Municipal Corporation to increase awareness about the cleanliness of the environment.

Grass land in Sandakphu trek
Trek route to Sandakphu

All the trekkers are requested to maintain the cleanliness of the paradise of Sandakphu. It is ours, and we must protect it in a very sustainable way. Drop the trashes at the designated garbage collectors/ dustbins. If there is no such thing around, please keep it in your backpack and dispose of them once you see a garbage bin.

Frequently Asked Questions About Sandakphu Trek

Where is Sandakphu located?

Sandakphu is located in the Singalila National Park region, Darjeeling district of West Bengal in India. The peak of Sandakphu is situated near the border of West Bengal and Nepal. There is a small village and some hotels in the region.

How to reach Sandakphu from New Jalpaiguri railway station?

You can hire a cab from the NJP railway station to Manebhanjan, where you have to collect permits to enter Singalila National Park. You can plan on trekking to Sandakphu from that location or hire a land rover and continue the journey.

When can you see snowfall in Sandakphu?

You can witness snowfall in Sandakphu in the winter season, typically in December, January, and February. At this time, trekking is tough unless you are a very experienced trekker.

When Rhododendron flowering can be seen in Sandakphu?

Rhododendrons bloom in March and April in the Sandakphu region. As it is the Spring season, you can see the blooming of other flowers too. You can see Rhododendrons in various colours this time- red, pink, white, and many different types.

Can you visit Sandakphu with your family?

Everyone, including a family, can visit Sandakphu unless there are some medical issues. We do not recommend children under 10 years and elderly people beyond 60 years for trekking to Sandakphu. Before visiting, the fitness of the traveller must be good. We highly recommend consulting with a doctor before planning for the trek.

Is Sandakphu trekking difficult?

In general, trekking to Sandakphu is considered to be of medium difficulty. But, in a broad sense, it depends on several factors- your experience, stamina, and body fitness. If you are at the peak of these factors, the Sandakphu trek can be straightforward.

Can you visit Sandakphu without trekking?

Yes, you can visit Sandakphu without trekking. You have to hire a land rover from Manebhanjan at the starting point, and it can cover the whole route without any problem.

How much does it cost for Sandakphu trekking?

If you do not hire a land rover, a 6-day itinerary to Sandakphu will cost you approximately ₹15000 to ₹20000 per head. This includes all the basic expenses, including a charge for the guide, the cost of accommodations, and food. Please note that the increased fuel price has hiked the transport cost in that region.

Trekking to Sandakphu: Conclusion

Trekking to Sandakphu can be a memorable experience of a lifetime. The view of the Sleeping Buddha, the small villages, forests, and mountains are worth visiting Sandakphu. It can give you such refreshment and confidence that you start a new chapter of your life when you return to your home. Here you can watch the wilderness at its best with wild animals like the Red Panda in the Singalila National Park.

By carefully choosing the season to visit, you can see the beautiful natural beauty. Like any other trekking, you need suitable apparel, footwear, and a backpack to trek to Sandakphu. Go through the detailed list of items that you must carry and plan your journey.

If you have any queries, let us know in the comments. Share your journey with us. Happy trekking!

Photo of author


Author, NatureDiary
Soumya is an avid traveller, founder, photographer and chief editor of NatureDiary. A nature lover by heart, he writes and edits articles on various travel destinations, attractions, and gear on NatureDiary from his vast experience of travelling, trekking, and camping across India.

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    • 4 years ago

    Good enough.

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