|Suitable for:||10+ years|
|Experience:||First timer can apply, previous trekking experience is more appreciated.|
|Fitness:||cover 5 km of distance in 30 minutes without a stress.|
Why Sandakphu Is A Must Do Trek
Sandakphu throws open an incredible panorama of the world’s highest snowline, swerving from the snow ensconced peaks of Nepal to Bhutan and farther east to Tibet. The trek route zigzags along the Singalila Ridge and moves this side and that of the Indo-Nepal border, switchbacking and switch-bordering towards an enchanting visually charged summit that makes it all worth it.
The charming wilderness and wildlife expected of a Himalayan Trek are met as we pass through Singalila National Park, also making the trek of keen naturalist interest. There are innumerable intriguing birdlife, animals, and flora that you would be fascinated to explore along with this trek route’s sub-alpine and temperate coniferous, broadleaf, and subtropical coniferous forest biomes.
The route is not really out of civilization’s way. Lined with quaint localities inhabited even through long winters and their economy depends largely upon the Sandakphu Trek and tourism which run round the year, the route is logical, realistic, and “safe” in many regards. Sandakphu trek is also one of those few high-altitude Himalayan treks which are provided through and through with comfortable teahouse accommodation.
About The Trek
Your journey begins at NJP/ Bagdogra where we will schedule your pickup and drive all the way to the base camp, Kopidana. It is about 5 hrs drive to Kopidana. The road follows the foothills of the Eastern Himalayas and gains altitude gradually. All major mobile network works here. The next day we will head towards Tumling, Tumling is one of the most spectacular peaks of the Singalila Range and it offers stunning views of the surrounding mountain ranges. Reaching Tumling, we will stay the night at a teahouse and the next day we start trekking towards Kalapokhri. Walking past Singalila National Park, we enter a thick forest cover. It is blooming with crescent Rhododendrons in the Spring. At the last part of the stretch, you will eventually come across a pond and this is Kalapokhri. We will stay the night here.
From Kalapokhri, we will head towards Sandakphu summit, which is the highest point in West Bengal. Today, you will get see panoramic views of Mt. Kanchenjunga and Mt. Everest. Relish the sight as it will be etched in your memory forever. Overnight stay is at Sandakphu. The next day we will trek down to Sepi and reach Sepi by lunchtime. Staying the night at Sepi, we will head out towards NJP the next day ending our Sandakphu adventure.
What Can You Expect At The Trek
This is one of the very few treks on the planet that is a vantage point for a cluster of 8000 m peaks. On your, left is the Everest cluster, Mt. Everest (8,849 m), Mt. Lhotse (8516 m), Mt. Makalu (8,463 m). On the right side lies the third highest peak in the world, Mt. Kanchenga (8,586 m) with its family of peaks. All these mountains together form the famous ‘Sleeping Buddha formation’. You can see the Everest cluster only from Sandakphu and beyond, however, the view of the sleeping Buddha starts from the first day of the trek itself and stays until about the 4th or 5th day of the trek.
During your trek, you will get the unique experience of living in teahouses. Teahouse treks are common in Nepal and it is great to see such an experience in an Indian trek. Along the trek, you are walking on a very high point so you will notice cloud banks on either side of you. The sun rises and sets on the banks of these clouds, and that is one of the most spectacular sights to watch.
The trek runs almost all year round, around 8 to 9 months, except the monsoon season and every season presents a unique flavor. In Spring, you will witness Magnolias and Rhododendrons while autumn presents a beautiful golden alpenglow over a mild winter setting. Spring temperature is around 15°C to 20°C during the day and at night the temperature drops close to 1°C to 5 °C. In autumn temperature stays around 13°C to 18°C but any sudden rainfall can bring the temperature down to 8°C to 12°C. Also, as Sandakphu lies at a comparatively lower altitude than the western Himalayas, you can expect to see dramatic sunsets and sunrises, even in winter, and snowfall at Sandakphu is also quite mild. The snowfall is enough to enjoy the snow but not so much that it blocks the trail. The winter temperature ranges between 8°C to 12°C and it can be quite balmy as the snow reflects sunlight. At night the temperature drops ligers around 0°C and sometimes it can fall below 0°C as well.
Sandakphu Trek is a moderate one and does not have any technical section and as such, it is suitable both for beginners as well as seasoned trekkers and the trail is also well laid out. Starting at an altitude of 6,400 ft at Sepi, you will go to an altitude of 12000 ft. and it also does not have any big climbs or descents on a day-to-day basis. The temperature at high altitudes can change drastically so it is recommended to layer properly so that you are comfortable throughout the trek. Carry a minimum of 5 layers with you. The trek is prone to heavy winds so there are chances of mild hypothermia or even AMS. So, layer up accordingly.
Exposure to exertion and cold conditions can lead to AMS and as such if you do not feel well at any campsite, please inform the trek leader immediately. Our trek leaders are all well-trained to deal with AMS and they will address the issue immediately. Before the beginning of your trek, your trek leader will brief you about the signs, symptoms, and causes of AMS, and as such, you can be well-prepared for the trek. Hydrate well during the treks. Also, this is one of those treks where exiting in case of emergency is easier than other treks. If there is any medical emergency, evacuation will be pretty immediate.
Trek The Himalayas will arrange for transportation to and from NJP/ Bagdogra and all the meals during the trek are included in the cost.
A Mesmeric Panorama Of High Peaks
What makes Sandakphu stand out as a journey are many things—the replete hairpin bends of the Old Silk Road route to the base camp, the impeccable hospitality of the people of Sikkim and Nepal along the way at the teahouses, the charming green haven of Singalila, and the theatre of the clouds. But it’s the mesmeric peak view that brings a climax so superb!
The greatest of the great rays unravel and shine their glory beams on this Everest view trek as the sun comes up every day and we are moving inches closer to the top-
Makalu- one of the eight-thousanders of the world and the fifth-highest stands at 27, 838 ft. visible in the Everest range of peaks along the horizon from Sandakphu summit on a clear day.
Lhotse- Meaning the “south peak” in Tibetan is part and parcel of the Everest massif and forms one of the most marked climbing routes of the world’s highest summit through Everest’s South Col. Lhotse is also the fourth highest peak, toweringly present from the vantage point of Sandakphu.
Everest- The world’s highest peak towers over the above two. A pair of powerful binoculars will bring the Lhotse Face zone of the Everest climbing route closer, where it joins with South Col when looking on from Sandakphu. The view from Phalut trekking in India, extending further from Sandakphu will bring this glorious ice-capped tower even closer.
The Ultimate Vision of Kangchenjunga
The Kanchenjunga family of peaks had to come as a different pointer. The sunlight streaming upon this ice ensconced conglomerate becomes a vision to behold from early on, on this trek. Looking out of your Tumling teahouse at dawn reveals the “Sleeping Buddha” structure of the Kanchenjunga in its relentless glory, and comes to get bigger and sharper as we approach the summit.
Gold and amber spreading through the crystal vision of Kanchenjunga up close at sunrise and sunset on this prized trek in West Bengal make moments you should reserve for your most prized photo-ops.
Rhododendron and Magnolias
Spring comes in these mountains in the plenitude of colors. Cottony white Magnolias and pink-red rhododendrons sweep the slopes with the spirit of summer mirth. There is a festive feel to the days of Singalila forest walks on this trek in the northeast at the height of spring that you must look out for.
The Elusive Red Panda
The Singalila National Park is the natural home to red pandas. These charming but elusive creatures move inside the jungles hopping in the trees and you just might get lucky enough to catch one in your photo frame!
Kalapokhri- The Black Lake
On Day 3, we will reach the Kalapokhri settlement built around the small lake of Kalapokhri, literally meaning black water, this little waterhole makes for a quiet, contemplative, and picturesque site cradled amidst the gorgeous mountainous terrain with the Kanchenjunga beckoning in the distance. This area is well within the Nepal border and shows the signs of the ethnoreligious Buddhist community of Nepal living in the Kalapokhri settlement. Prayer flags strung around the lake flutter in the wind as the sun starts to dip behind ice peaks soon after we reach the site on Day 3.
Sandakphu happens to be a mixed terrain trek with no abrupt height gain and mostly swinging through a tree cover, therefore remaining clear of the risks of Altitude Sickness. However, the sheer distance can be challenging and one must prepare for lasting stamina to make this trek a success.
Today we will pick you up from Bagdogra Airport or NJP railway station and cover an uphill road of 84 km to Kopidana, our base camp at 6,400 ft. This is going to be a 5 km drive and the route goes through tea estates and local villages of West Bengal & Sikkim. You will gradually gain altitude as you travel towards Kopidana. After you reach NJP/ Bagdogra, meet our representatives at the airport or railway station. Have your breakfast en route to Kopidana. Kopidana is a small mountain hamlet and is mostly covered in mist and fog. There are a few houses and shops in the village and at night we will stay in one of the teahouses. Kopidana has a very peaceful ambiance and the place is so quiet that you will be completely engulfed by the peace of the mountains. Breakfast and lunch will not be included in the TTH trek package.
We start from Kopidana, a lesser-used but beautiful basecamp village for treks in West Bengal. We begin early in the morning after breakfast on this 5-6 hour trek covering mixed ascents. Hot lunch will be provided on the way. Tumling is where the border between trekking in Nepal and India blurs and we are suddenly ushered into another country after crossing a check-post where you must keep your visa and IDs handy. There are hardly ever any restrictions for entering the place whether you are an Indian or a foreigner with an Indian visa. From other access points to Tumling, it is even more of a freeway. The tiny hamlet of Tumling is located at an altitude of 9, 600 ft., within motor road access from Manebhanjan and Jaubhari—the other points of ascent on the Sandakphu-Phalut trail besides Kopidana.
There are about 10-12 Nepali families living in this mountain parish who run teahouse accommodations for the trekkers all year long. In addition, you will find quite a few private lodges and huts adding to services available in the area for tourists and trekkers.
Since we start really early in the morn, let\'s expect to reach the warm hospitality waiting for us in Tumling by late afternoon around 5 while there is still plenty of light. Later, you can go over to the viewpoint at the center of Tumling from where the superb view of the Kanchenjunga family of snow peaks meets the eye. The sunset at Tumling this afternoon is going to be your first of many awe-inspiring sunsets to come on this journey. Sandakphu trek is especially popular for the sunset and sunrise views so capture as many great sunsets as you can. At Tumling there is a viewpoint at the center of the town, from here you can see the sun setting on the opposite side over the Kanchenjunga, making it appear as if it\'s made of molten gold.
From the center, you are also going to find a signboard indicating towards the expanse of Singalila National Park starting right ahead, and on this way, you will find the entrance to park about 1 km from Tumling. On another side, you will find a high trail zigzagging towards Tonglu, another altitudinous mountain settlement.
If you love Himalayan trekking in the winters, you will find the well-demarcated trails used after the snowmelt season for trekking to Sandakphu-Phalut, now overwhelmingly covered. Freshen up in the teahouse and after dinner, rest well for the next day of trekking.
Another beautiful sunrise to look forward to on the Sanndakphu Trek comes on the morning of our 3rd day, waking up in Tumling. The magnificent Sleeping Buddha washed in the first rays of the sun gleams sublime across the sky. The entire set of Kanchenjunga peaks unveils if the sky is clear and the vision starts your day in the right mood. Look out for the prominent three in the background—the Kanchenjunga (8,586 m) flanked on two sides by the Kumbhakarna (7,710 m) and Shimbho peaks. In the foreground, you can make out the peaks of Goecha (4,940 m), the Kabru set of peaks, Rathong (6,678 m), Koktang (6,148 m), and Frey (5,830 m). You can also trace the hollow of Goecha La somewhere along the frontline peaks— one other of our popular treks, located in Sikkim.
We start our journey towards Kalapokhri today through the charming forests of Singalila National Park. An interior Nepal-bound motor road runs close to our hiking trail that we often catch glimpses of. The trek from Tumling starts with a gradual ascent that lasts for 1.5 hrs, followed by a descent of about 45 minutes, and then there is a steep ascent for about an hour that takes you to Gairibasa. The forests of Singalika National Park are famed for their rapturous summer colors when the rhododendrons and magnolias come in full bloom. We move through the thickets to our first stop at Gairibasa- a tiny settlement consisting of a few hotels and rest homes and falling under the Nepal side of the border. Here we will come to an Entry check Post again and need to produce an entry fee to access the trek. The Gairibasa check post is a good place to take a tea break and ensure some rest for the legs before embarking on another 2 km trek to the next settlement at Kaiyakatta. Also because, a steeper climb is coming! There are two water points in today’s trek, one at Gairibasa and one at Kalkattiya. There’s a tea stall at Gairibasa that offers veg momos, noodles, toast, and other snacks and beverages. There’s a GTA lodge in this village as well about 100 yards from the check post, set in the picturesque setting of mountains and pine and conifer trees.
Going a little beyond Gairibasa, on the Kaiyakatta way, we will find steps cut into the elevation, easing out the ascent for the trekkers. At one side we also find the motor road twisting its way across closer to the Nepal side. An hour into our ascent from Gairibasa, we will reach Kaiyakatta, in time for a hot lunch at the settlement’s Nepali enclaves. From Kaiyakatta, two trek routes branch out, one goes up towards Nepal, while the other route goes through India. Both the routes meet at Kalapokhri.
Kalapokhri, our final stop for the day is another 4 km from Kaiyakatta. The trail gets greener and more scenic. This stretch is also home to many bird species and a site attracting migratory fledglings. Within a two-hour trek on this route, you will come across a black water lake nestling near to a settlement, which is how the place derived its name. Kalkapokhri is surrounded by prayer flags fluttering in the wind and at one side is a small Buddhist temple. Due to the all-time availability of water in this pond, a small settlement has developed around the area. When you first enter the village, take a look towards the left at a 45 degrees angle and on a clear day, you will notice the first glimpse of Sandakphu summit from here. Your teahouse is just a short walk from this point. Once you check in to the teahouse, get freshened up and you have the evening to explore the village and surrounding areas.
The trail from Kalipokhri to Sandakphu should be an easy trek for those who are sufficiently fit. The trail goes on an initial gradual ascent covering the first 30 minutes, followed by a steeper climb for about an hour, and after that falling on a winding motor road. It’s going to be a 3-hour jaunt covering about 6 km.
Reaching the flats of Bikheybhanjang, you will be looking at the vast panorama of the Sandakphu summit ahead of you. From this point, it’s another 4 km up a zigzagging route. There’s a water point in Bikheybhanjang, where you can refill your water bottles.
After an hour’s climb, you can make out teahouses and huts marking the horizons of Sandakphu. Soon, we will be closing in on the summit point from where a 180-degree sweeping panorama of the tallest Himalayan peaks opens up before us. On a clear day, the glitterati of ice-peaks shows Makalu (8,463 m), Lhotse (8,516 m), Everest, Nuptse (7,861 m), Baruntse (7,162 m), Chamling, Chomolonzo (7,804 m), Machapucchare (6,993 m), extending to the Annapurna family of peaks broadening out to the West. The vision of Sleeping Buddha which stayed with you on and off through the trek now lies in prominence before you, and to further North, you can make out the Three Sisters peaks. Even at Sandakphu, you may catch a mobile network at certain points.
Our camp lies a little down from the summit near a small water point. Enjoy your meal and overnight stay at Sandakphu.
Today marks our descent from the mountains. After viewing a soul-stirring sunrise over the magnificent peak panorama, one of the best found on trekking in India, we get ready for our descent to village Sepi located in West Bengal. This is going to be our longest trek in the whole journey but the descent will make it less exhausting. But we need to start early to reach Sepi before sundown.
Our trail will pass through a different kind of forest today, that of bamboos where it’s the natural habitat of Red Pandas and Bears. A winding forest trail will take us to Gurdum at mid-noon where we will be served hot lunch. Here you can try ordering a drink of the exotic rhododendron blossoms that are full of medicinal benefits and makes for a good dessert.
The next village we will be crossing is Timburay—a settlement of a few houses and tea shops. Here, we will come across the beautiful Sri River known in the local tongue as Sri Khola, Khola meaning river. After crossing a wooden bridge over the stream, we will reach the village of Sepi in the afternoon. Sepi is a mountain hamlet with mesmerizing surroundings and the Sri Khola River adds to its beauty. The locals are impeccably friendly and warm to the tourists that visit the place.
After spending a night of rest in the scenic idyll of Sepi, we get on board this morning, driving towards NJP. While the journey is long but is along scenic routes that present abundant beauty of magnificence. Keep your cameras on the ready to capture the last few stills of the scenery. The scheduled time for arriving at NJP station is approx 2 pm, so you can safely book a night train/flight home on the 6th day, qualifying Sandakphu for a nice long weekend trek.
Our Pick-up location is New Jalpaiguri Junction (NJP) railway station.
Trekkers will be dropped at New Jalpaiguri Junction (NJP) by 04:00 PM, for onward journey from NJP it is advised to make arrangements after 05:30 PM.
The distance from Railway Station to Bagdogra Airport is 20 km, it will take approx 40 minutes.
1. Accommodation – Day 1 to Day 5 Stay in Tea house
2. Meals while on trek (Veg.) - Dinner at Kopidana on Day 1 to Breakfast at Sepi on Day 6
3. Crampon (if required) – As per the snow condition
4. All necessary permits and entry fees and forest fees
5. First aid, medical kit and oxygen cylinder
6. Mountaineering qualified & professional trek Leader, guides, cook and Support staff
7. Transport NNJP / Bagdogra to Kopidana and Sepi to NJP / Bagdogra
1. Any kind of personal expenses
2. Food during the transit
4. Any kind of emergency evacuation charges
5. Mules or porter to carry personal backpack
6. Anything not specifically mentioned under the head
Normally TTH expect to carry your personal luggage on your own, if you wish to offload your backpack, you can give it to Mule.
Charges of offloading backpack:-
INR 1400/- if you make an online payment, 10 days in advance
INR 1600/- if you inform us after reaching Kopidana
The backpack cannot weigh more than 11 kgs. Backpack should have waterproof cover. Suitcases/strolleys/ bags will not be allowed. Paying the Trek/ Adventure activity fee:
The fee can be paid by online transfer/check deposit/ demand draft. Instruction for payment will be forwarded along with your confirmation email. When your transfer is done, please e-mail us a confirmation mail with your transfer details, so that we can follow up your reservation efficiently.
The fee can be paid by online transfer/Check deposit/Cash deposit/Demand draft. Instruction for
payment will be forwarded along with your confirmation email. When your transfer is done, please
e-mail us a confirmation mail with your transfer details, so that we can follow up your reservation efficiently.
For the cancellation of services due to any avoidable/unavoidable reasons, Trek The Himalayas must be notified of the same in writing at email@example.com At the time we receive your written cancellation, refunds based on the total fare are as follows.
Cancellations prior to 25 days from the start of the Trip
Cancellation between 24 days and 15 days to the start of the Trip
Cancellation between 14 days and 10 days to the start of the Trip
Cancellation less than 9 days to the start of the trek
If by a rare consequence TTH calls off/cancels a trek:
At TTH, we almost never call off or cancel our treks. But in the rare event that we do call off or cancel a trek due to any unforeseen circumstances or natural catastrophes like continuous rain or snow, thunderstorms, snowstorms, landslides, floods, earthquakes, or any other natural calamity that prevents us from carrying out a trek in a safe manner, unforeseeable circumstances like local riots, curfews, pandemics, lockdowns, government orders, or any such situations that prevents a safe trekking experience, TTH will issue a voucher summing up to the same amount as your trek fee. The voucher can be redeemed on any of the treks over a period of the next year.
In the rare event that TTH shifts a trek:
As we mention always, weather conditions at high altitudes are extremely unpredictable and can change at any time of any day. Also, situations like natural calamities or political unrest, pandemics and lockdowns, etc are out of our control and if an event cannot run under any such circumstances that we do not directly have control over then we will try to give you an alternative trek, which means your trek will be shifted from one trek to another, which will be safer and more favourable.
In these cases, a voucher is issued to mitigate the difference in cost between the two treks. You can redeem the voucher at any time over a period of one year from the date of issue. A refund fee or refund of the difference is not applicable.
Cash Voucher Terms:
Itineraries are based on information available at the time of planning and are subject to change. "Trek The Himalayas" reserves the right to change expedition dates, people or itineraries as conditions warrant. If a trip must be delayed or the itinerary changed due to bad weather, road conditions, transportation delays, government intervention, airline schedules, sickness, or other contingency for which TTH or its agents cannot make provision, the cost of delays and/or other changes are the responsibility of the participant. TTH reserves the right to decline, or accept, any individual as a trip member for any reason whatsoever.
|Back pack & rain cover||(50 - 60 ltr) with comfortable shoulder straps|
|Day pack + rain cove||20 - 30 ltr (If hire a mule or porter)|
|Walking stick||Advisable (At least one)|
|Water bottle/Hydration pack||2 bottles of one liter each, People who use hydration pack 1 hydration pack and 1 bottle of one liter, Carry at least one thermos flask.|
|Personal Medical Kit||Consult your doctor|
|Snacks||Energy bars, dry fruits, electral/ors|
|T-shirts||2 Full sleeves (Non-cotton)|
|Fleece T-shirts||1 Nos.|
|Fleece jacket||1 Nos. (Alternative: a woollen sweater)|
|Down feather / Hollofil jacket||1 Nos.|
|Wind & waterproof (jacket & pant)||1 Pair|
|Thermal inners (upper and lower)||1 Pair|
|Trek pants||2 Synthetic (avoid shorts, fitting denims, capris)|
|Windstopper Pant||1 Pair|
|Waterproof gloves||1 Pair|
|Fleece/woolen gloves||1 Pair|
|Sunscreen cream||1 Nos.|
|Toilet Paper & wipes||1 Nos.|
|Lip balm||1 Nos.|
|Hand sanitizer||1 Nos.|
|Antibacterial powder||1 Nos.|
|Toothbrush and toothpaste||1 Nos.|
|Quick dry towel||1 Nos.|
|Head torch||1 Nos.|
|Woolen cap||1 Nos.|
|Balaclava||1 Nos. (Optional)|
|Sunglasses||Dark with side cover, it should be U/V protected, People who wear spectacles- (A)- Use contact lenses. (B)- Photo chromatic glasses.|
|Trekking shoes||1 Pair (Waterproof, high ankle with good grip)|
|Floaters/flip-flops||1 Pair (Optional)|
|Cotton socks||5 pairs|
|Woollen socks||3 pairs|
|Gaiters||1 Pair (TTH will Provide)|
Fitness regime for:
Calculate Your BMI :
Congratulations, your body is in good conditions!
|Less than 16.5||Serverely Underweight|
|16.5 - 18.5||Underweight|
|18.5 - 25||Normal|
|25 - 30||Overweight|