Sandakphu is the name that creates goosebumps with excitement in the blood of nature lovers who love trekking along the mountain and forest trails. Being the tallest peak of West Bengal with 11930 ft height, it is really an incredible experience to ride at the top of it. Trekking to Sandakphu is not too hard or not very easy unless you’re a well-experienced trekker. In this article, you will get the ultimate guide that can definitely help you if you are planning to trek to Sandakphu.
The major 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 at first for the arrangement of permits and a guide. The forest department now has made it compulsory to hire a guide during trek.
Sandakphu Trekking at a Glance
|Location||Singalila National Park region near the border of West Bengal and Nepal|
|How to reach||You 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|
|Duration||6 to 9 days|
|Recommended Age of Travelers||10 to 60 years|
|Best Time to Visit||October to November and March to April|
|Best Places to Stay||Sunrise Hotel, Sherpa Chalet Lodge|
|Maximum Altitude||11930 ft (Sandakphu)|
|Rainfall||Highest in July and Lowest in November-December|
5 Amazing Things About Sandakphu Trekking
Trekking to Sandakphu is always special 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, viewing crystal clear night sky and more. Let us see why all of these are amazing.
1. The Sleeping Buddha
The most beautiful thing about Sandakphu is the Sleeping Buddha. It is actually 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).
After that, the peaks of Kokthang, Rathong, Frey, Kabru, Kanchanjunga, Goecha, Shimvo, Pandim, Tinchenkhang, Jopuno, and Narsing completes the full shape of the Sleeping Buddha. Generally from 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 color. It looks very beautiful 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 amazing 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 come across many villages and different people. Visiting these villages you will learn about their culture and food habits. It is very interesting to see how they make 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 of such villagers from Tumling, Gairibas, 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 some very cute and friendly 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 schedule. We love the adventure of watching mesmerizing natural beauty, forests, and wildlife. We can witness the sustainable relationship between nature and humanity. Trekking to Sandakphu can give you such pleasure and a chance to witness it.
You may have some hard times to stumble on the trail, soak in the rain, get the 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 to 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.
4. The Ocean of Clouds
Most of us visited the seashore and witness how amazing the ocean looks. But what about watching the clouds from a mountain top 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.
As you climb more altitude, the ocean of clouds starts to look more fascinating. From Sandakphu (11930 ft), it is a great treat to the eyes. We love the way Sleeping Buddha looks over the clouds. 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 travelers ruin the 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 and from Sandakphu got polluted over time. This time, many responsible trekkers and organizations who follow environmental sustainability guidelines, came to the rescue.
Organizations like the Himalayan Club from Kolkata, Indian Mountaineering Foundation from New Delhi did a great job back in 2018-2019. They collected wastes from the trails and handed over them to Siliguri Municipal Corporation to increase awareness about the cleanliness of the environment. Indiahikes is also doing a great job in this regard with their program called “Green Trails”.
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.
The Best Trek Routes To Sandakphu
There are several trek routes to Sandakphu that trekkers recommend. For every route, availing of the permit and hiring a guide is a must. Some of these trek routes are easy and some of them are quite difficult. The trekkers who are experienced can try the hard routes as they offer mesmerizing beauty of the mountains and forest at a different angle of view.
Sandakphu Trek Route-1 (6 Days)
Manebhanjan- Tumling- Kalipokhri- Sandakphu- Gurdum- Srikhola
Day 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
This trek route is the most popular one due to the low difficulty level that is good for beginners.
Starting from Manebhanjan, take a ride to 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 them, Shikhar and Siddharth Lodges are the best place to stay at Tumling.
On the next day, start the trek in the morning around 7:30-8 AM. After walking for 15 minutes (approx.) the forest trail starts near a military camp. You have to walk uphill and downhill several times to reach Gairibas. This short hike is a real eye-opener to nature lovers. If you are lucky enough, you may witness 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 kilometers uphill which can be a little difficult for beginners. But once you get used to it, the scenario will change. After trekking 7 kilometers, 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 drone camera fully charged before leaving Tumling.
In the next 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 an amazing experience if you are lucky.
Afterward, get back to the homestay and after 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 one hour to Sandakphu is much steeper and beginners may find it slightly difficult. But do not worry, it’s just a matter of time. Rather look around the extraordinary natural beauty around.
After reaching Sandakphu (11930 ft), check in 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!
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 Sandakphu 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. The Rhododendron, Magnolia, oak, and bamboo trees look mystic with a little fog. This trail looks best during the spring season when flowers bloom all around. Sandakphu trek is very popular due to the colorful rhododendrons in the month of March-April.
After trekking through the forest about 9 kilometers, you will reach a place called “Kalapatthar”. From there the trail is steep down to Gurdum that can be quite troublesome for beginners. Do not be hasty at this place. Take small steps at a time and slowly climb downhill. This is important because the knee and ankle are strained too much. After reaching Gurdum, 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 a good number of 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 can be an interesting activity there.
Sandakphu Trek Route-2 (7 Days)
Manebhanjan- Tumling/ Tonglu- Kalipokhri- Sandakphu- Phalut- Gorkhey-Srikhola
Day 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
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 (8 Days)
Manebhanjan- Dhotrey- Tonglu- Tumling- Gairibas-Kalipokhri- Sandakphu- Phalut- Molley/ Gorkhey- Srikhola
Day 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
This trek route is quite similar to the previous trek routes we have mentioned. The only changes are the addition of Dhotrey and Molley in the itinerary. Dhotrey is a very beautiful place surrounded by forest. To reach Tonglu, there is a 7 km long forest trail which can be best for birdwatchers and nature lovers. From Tonglu, Tumling is easily reachable within 2 km walking distance.
Molley is also a very beautiful place surrounded by a green forest. It is a small village surrounded by mountains. From Molley, the distance of Srikhola is around 16 km that can be covered in a single day. As an alternative, you can also reach Grokhey instead of Molley and trek down to Srikhola.
Sandakphu Trek Route-4 (9 Days)
Manebhanjan- Rangit Majuwa- Dhotrey- Tonglu- Kalipokhri- Sandakphu- Phalut- Gorkhey- Srikhola
Day 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
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 quite good. Surrounded by the lush green forest and the Sawaji Khola river, this village is a perfect place for taking a deep breath before the start of a week-long trek. We recommend staying here for a night to adjust the body and to prevent high altitude sickness. Here you can get a chance to observe a village 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 (7 Days)
Hilley- Barsey- Joributey- Kalijhar- Phalut- Sandakphu- Gurdum- Srikhola
Day 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
All the trek routes we have mentioned previously, start from Manebhanjan. In this case, the journey starts from Hilley, Sikkim. On the first day of trekking, you have to reach Barsey that is around 5 km away and takes 2-3 hours. Here, we must mention the mindblowing Barsey Rhododendron Sanctuary. During March and April, the place gets fully bloomed with various Rhododendron flowers. 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 that is a beautiful place full of various Himalayan flora and fauna. The trekking trail from Kalijhar to Phalut is truly 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. It is not at all 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 (6 Days)
Srikhola- Gurdum- Sandakphu- Kalipokhri- Tumling- Manebhanjan
Day 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
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, in this case, the trek begins at Srikhola. After passing through Gurdum, Sandakphu, Kalipokhri, and Tumling, it will end at Manebhanjan.
But why this trek is done in the reverse direction?
This is because of the point of view of witnessing the beauty of nature. Experienced trekkers who already have visited Sandakphu, ofter take this route to enjoy the beauty of the mountains, forests, and flowers in an alternate angle. But, beginners will find this route to be very difficult. The train from Gurdum to Sandakphu is very steep. Without good body fitness, it is very hard.
Is It Safe To Trek To Sandakphu?
While trekking or hiking, safety is a very important 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 trail lies inside the forest with uneven road and some part lies around the newly constructed road for the land rover.
After the rain, some parts of the trail gets slippery for which trekkers must be cautious and should take proper precaution. A trekking shoe with a good grip is highly recommended 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.
Health Safety Concerns
The most common problem people face there is High Altitude Sickness or Acute Mountain Sickness. As per various reports of this illness around Sandakphu, we found that some travelers fell sick generally above 7000 feet. Although, there is no definite range above which someone will fall into high altitude sickness.
It happens due to low oxygen levels and reduced air pressure. Apart from the external factors, body capability, fitness, and food habits play a big 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 basic medications.
This is why 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 health of the individual.
The Best Seasons to Trek to Sandakphu
Except for the monsoon, Sandakphu can be visited throughout the year. From mid-June to mid-September, the Singalila National Park is closed due to heavy rainfall. So, travelers should avoid visiting Sandakphu 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 popular among experienced trekkers. But if you are a beginner, we recommend avoiding trek during snow in winter.
October and November are the two most popular months among adventure lovers and trekkers. After the rainy season, the 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-degree Celcius whereas the night temperature falls around 6-degree Celcius.
Rain can happen 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 travelers to visit at this time. With little to no rainfall and a clear sky you can watch the misty mountains, green forestlands clearer comfortably. 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.
Advantages of Sandakphu Trekking in Autumn
Disadvantages of Sandakphu Trekking in Autumn
Many trekkers and adventure lovers like to trek to Sandakphu during the winter season. The reason behind it is the snow-covered trail, forest, and mountains- everything 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 minimum in 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 high difficulty. But if you are well experienced, you can plan trekking to Sandakphu during this season.
Advantages of Sandakphu Trekking in Winter
Disadvantages of Sandakphu Trekking in Winter
This is the second most popular season for trekking to Sandakphu. The special attraction of spring is Rhododendron flowers. After the winter, Rhododendrons of various colors like red, pink, white, and even Lady Dalhousie Rhododendrons can be seen around Sandakphu.
During the day, the weather is very comfortable- around 20-degree Celcius. The nights are colder as usual with a temperature around 6-degree Celcius. From the month of March, rain takes place and reaches the highest in July with more than 800 mm average rainfall. So, during this season you must be prepared for a wet and rainy climate.
Advantages of Sandakphu Trekking in Spring
Disadvantages of Sandakphu Trekking in Spring
Best Hotels at Sandakphu
Sandakphu is relatively more developed when comparing to the other locations in the trek route. Here you can find some cozy hotels where you can get more food items, warm water, and a comfortable stay. We would like to mention two such places to stay.
It is the best hotel at 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 an awesome view of the Himalayan mountain range. Even at night, you can get to the rooftop for stargazing as the night sky looks amazing from that place. You can even witness the mightly milky way if the sky is free of clouds and fog. No matter if you are a beginner or pro, stargazing can always amaze you.
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 lower hills. If you need water for washing your mouth and getting fresh, you need to ask the waiter and he will deliver you a bucket of water in your room. Apart from that, the service is excellent and warm. Know More about Sunrise hotel.
Sherpa Chalet Lodge
The Sherpa Chalet is our second favorite 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 standard 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 mobile phone and action 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. Know More about Sherpa Chalet.
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 amazing place in the lap of the Himalayan mountains, the total number of days may increase to 7-8 days. For this long time, you need to prepare most of the arrangements prior to trekking.
To-Do List While Planning The Trek
- When planning trekking to Sandakphu, the first thing you need to do is booking tickets for Airplane or Train, preferably 3-months prior to 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 the arrangement of a guide. Hiring one of them can be done when you reach Manebhanjan too. But we highly recommend to contact and hire a guide prior to trekking. Being local, they know the trails, forests and mountains in that region better. You can contact Mr. Rakesh Rai (Contact: +91 7872951399) who is one of the most renowned and trustworthy guides for Singalila National Park. He is associated with Singalila High Peak Expedition Guide and Porter Association.
- Booking hotels or homestays before trekking can be extremely beneficial for the whole trip. Some places like Gurdum, Tumling, Kalipokhri have a very few numbers of homestays that can run out in the peak season. Most of these 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 it. We have recommended some of the best homestays and hotels in Sandakphu trek 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 weight of the backpack 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 raincover for the backpack and raincoat as rain is very uncertain in the location. We recommend arranging good travel gear and clothing much before the date of the journey.
- Before starting the journey, we advise to work out and make the body fit for long trekking. We recommend consulting a doctor for health check-up and preventive medicines needed during the trek. A common problem that many travelers face is high altitude sickness. Many trekkers return back halfway from the trek because of these. This is why everybody needs proper medication and a sufficient quantity of drinking water during the trek.
- Carrying a Govt. photo identity proof and its photocopy is a must 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.
Must-Do List Once the Trip Started
- 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 Rs 3000 to Rs 4000 for that distance. From Manebhanjan you have to hire a landrover for Tonglu/ Tumling/ Dhotrey- wherever you start the trek. For this, a landrover may charge you around Rs 1000 to Rs 1200. 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. As of 2020, the entry fee to the park is Rs 100 for Indian citizens and Rs 200 for foreign nationals. The charge for carrying a still camera is Rs 100 and a video camera is Rs 400. Apart from that, there is a vehicle charge of Rs 100 if you have hired any cab.
- Keep some dry fruits and water in sufficient quantity that can 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 consulting with experienced trekkers, we recommend the following items that every trekker should carry. This includes documents, medicines, clothing, footwear, tools and equipment, personal items, and food.
- Aadhar Card/ Passport/ Driving License with xerox copies
- Printout of booking by email (if any)
- Any other essential document.
Medicines and First Aid Essentials
While on trekking, every traveler should carry these medicine and first aid items with recommendations from the doctor.
- Fever, headache and pain: Paracetamol like Crosin 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: We highly recommend consulting a doctor before taking these medicines
Clothing and Footwear
- Trekking Pant
- Trekking jacket (Read: Best Jackets for Trekking)
- Trekking Shoe (Check: Best Trekking Shoes in India)
Tools and Equipments
- Rucksack (Check: Best Rucksacks in India)
- Sleeping Bag (Check: Best Sleeping Bags in India)
- Mobile phone and charger
- Power bank
- Camping Tent if needed
- Bluetooth speaker
- Camera and charger
- Binocular (Check: Best Binoculars in India)
- Solar charger for mobile phone and camera
- A Swiss knife
- Camping Stove if needed (Read: Best Camping Stoves in India)
- Drone camera if you want
A solar charger is relatively a newer gadget that you can use while you are out of power and you need to charge your mobile phone battery, camera, or Bluetooth speaker. This IFITech 6W Portable Solar Charger Panel can work great. All it needs is enough sunlight to generate electricity and charge your device.
- Water bottle
- Tissue paper
- Toothbrush and paste
- Cold cream
- Sunscreen lotion
- Thread and needle
- Any other personal belonging
Apart from the above items, bring some dry foods like Cashew, Kismis, peanut, biscuits in a quantity that won’t be a burden for you. You can try Happilo Premium International Healthy Nutmix that includes a 200g pack of almonds, black raisins, cashew nuts, cranberries, green raisins, salted pistachios, and walnuts.
Frequently Asked Questions About Sandakphu Trek
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.
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 landrover and continue the journey.
You can witness snowfall in Sandakphu in the winter season that typically happens in the months of December, January and February. At this time trekking is very hard unless you are a very experienced trekker.
Rhododendrons bloom in the months of 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 with a variety of colors this time- red, pink, white, and many other types.
Everyone including a family can visit Sandakphu unless there are some medical issues. We do not recommend children with an age less than 10 and elderly people beyond 60 years for trekking to Sandakphu. Before visiting the fitness of the traveler must good. We highly recommend consulting with a doctor prior to planning for trekking.
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 very easy.
Yes, you can visit Sandakphu without trekking. All you have to do is hiring a landrover from Manebhanjan at the starting point. The whole route can be covered by it without any problem.
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 and the 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 good apparel, footwear, backpacks 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!
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