The total shutdown in Darjeeling for the last three months is making things tough for our Sandakphu trek. If there is no break through in the situation there in the next 3 weeks, we will have to suspend the Sandakphu Phalut trek for the time being. Your trek will be diverted to the Dzongri Top trek, which falls on the Goechala trek route.
However, if the situation comes back to normal, we will run the Sandakphu trek as planned.
Why the back-up plan?
The route to the Sandakphu base camp, Jaubhari, is about 25 km away from Darjeeling which is the zone of the shutdown and recent attacks. With all public utilities shut, tourists will not be able to get in and get out of the basecamp. Also, we do not want to take a chance with our trekkers being so close to the danger zone. On the other hand, the basecamp for the Dzongri Top trek is Yuksom. It is is 85 km away from Darjeeling, which keeps the trekkers well within the safe zone.
Current situation in Darjeeling
We’ve been following the Darjeeling issue since the protest for Gorkhaland broke out.
The situation right now is not conducive for any tourists. There are no restaurants, taxis or buses that are functional. This shutdown has now been going on for the past 78 days.
Even if you do happen to go to Darjeeling at this time, you might not even be able to buy yourself a cup of tea. That is the extent of the bandh.
Is there a possibility of going to Sandakphu?
Like we’ve mentioned earlier, this is only a temporary shift. We are closely monitoring the situation in Darjeeling. As of now, the bandh in Darjeeling has only worsened.
However, if the bandh is lifted and the town stands back on its two feet, your trek will be shifted back to Sandakphu.
We are hoping for the best!
Registering for the trek
You can register for the Dzongri Top trek here.
As this is a temporary shift, please be prepared to go on either of the treks depending upon the situation in Darjeeling.
Since the pick up point for both the treks is the same (NJP Railway Station), you don’t have to worry about cancelling flight or train tickets tickets.
We’ve altered the itinerary to match it with the exact number of days in the Sandakphu itinerary.
The following will be your itinerary for the Dzongri Top trek –
Day 1: 6-8 hours drive from NJP to Yuksom. Transport from NJP will be arranged at 9.30 am.
Day 2: Yuksom (5,643 ft) to Bhakim/Sachen (8,654 ft)
Day 3: Bhakim (8,654 ft) to Tshoka (9,701 ft)
Day 4: Tshoka (9,701 ft) to Dzongri (13,024 ft) via Phedang (12,083 ft)
Day 5: Dzongri (13,024 ft) to Dzongri top (13,778 ft) and back to Tshoka
Day 6: Tshoka (9,701 ft) to Yuksom (5,643 ft)
Day 7: Yuksom (5,643 ft) to NJP. You reach NJP by 5 pm.
Coming to the Dzongri Top trek, it is no less beautiful than the Sandakphu trek. The view of the Kanchenjunga range, Mt Pandim and Mt Kabru from Dzongri is unmatched.
The difficulty level doesn’t vary much from Sandakphu. While Sandakphu has long walks everyday, the Dzongri Top trek has shorter walks but stiff ascents and descents. Prepare yourself well.
As of now, stay put. Don’t make any changes in your plan.