Kanchenjunga range also known as the sleeping buddha

Sandakphu Phalut Trek

Sleeping Buddha and the 3 highest summits of the world

Dates full? Check out the Goechala trek in Sikkim.View Goechala Trek

With bigger and grander views of the Kanchenjunga, this is an all-time favourite.View Goechala Trek

TREK DIFFICULTY

Moderate

TREK DURATION

7 days

HIGHEST ALTITUDE

11,930 ft

Sleeping Buddha and the 3 highest summits of the world

There is nothing else like the Sandakphu Phalut Trek. It offers the breathtaking experience of seeing four of the world's tallest peaks. Yet it is also a trek where nature and culture come together.

From Phalut, on your left is the Everest cluster, which includes the world's fourth- and fifth-highest mountains, Lhotse and Makalu. It's a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see these three majestic peaks together from a vantage point.

The "Sleeping Buddha" on your right is even more impressive. The resemblance of the massif to a sleeping human form is uncanny. The third-highest mountain in the world, Kanchenjunga, stands out as the most prominent peak in this uniquely shaped massif.

You awaken to the Sleeping Buddha from our Sabalgram campsite. The view often leaves trekkers teary-eyed.

The new Sandakphu trek route that Indiahikes explored is better than the traditional one. Watch this video to know why.

Sandakphu-Phalut is our favourite spot in the world to view sunrises and sunsets. We have never witnessed a sunset as stunning as the one we see from Aahl. In a quirk of natural wonder, in the evening, a sea of clouds settles below Aahl. The clouds come in like waves on the sea. In this magical cauldron of clouds, the sun slowly descends. Around us, still glistening orange, are the Everest cluster and the Sleeping Buddha. These are some of the trek's most emotional moments.

Frankly, we want you to do this trek just to see the sunrises and sunsets. In our experience, we have not found any of our treks that give such spectacular sunrises and sunsets.

The Singalila National Park is, of course, a favourite among our trekkers. The bamboo and rhododendron forests there are among the densest. These forests are magnificent.

Above Samanden, there is a long section of bamboo. Walking under the canopy of bamboo trees is an experience like no other. The towering stalks of bamboo rise high above, creating a natural ceiling that filters sunlight into a soft green glow. The bamboo stalks are thick and clustered, creating the feeling of being in a secret, magical world.

In the spring, when rhododendrons bloom, Sandakphu is one of our Indiahikers' top three rhododendron treks. The showy blooms of pink, red, scarlet, and white flowers swathe the mountainside, creating a truly magical moment.

Our trek leaders have spotted the red panda in these forests once or twice. It is rare, but not totally out of the question, to spot the Himalayan black bear, red panda, and clouded leopard on this trek. The trek’s Indo-Nepali culture is also something we look forward to! On the trek, our path gets in and out of Nepal all the time. Our sleeping tents are in India at some of our camps, and our kitchen tents are in Nepal!

Our trek leaders don’t want to leave this place! They love this cultural mix. The local families who run the tea houses are known for their warmth and friendliness. When you walk into one of the tea houses, you are greeted with a warm cup of tea and a friendly smile! The Buddhist culture is ever-prevailing.

The cuisine is a fusion of Nepali and Tibetan. Bhukiya roti is a fantastic, flavourful bread that we adore. The homemade fruit jams go superbly well with it. On the other hand, we love the Nepali Thukpa! It is very different from the thukpa that we get in our cities. Don’t forget to take the Dalle Khursani, one of the world’s spiciest chillies, back home. The bamboo shoot pickles and Churpi (yak cheese) complete your list of souvenirs.

The Sandakphu-Phalut trek is a spiritual journey towards the Sleeping Buddha. But what comes with it is a chance to observe a rare culture, a bamboo and rhododendron forest like no other, and sunrises and sunsets no one has ever seen.

There is nothing else like the Sandakphu Phalut Trek. It offers the breathtaking experience of seeing four of the world's tallest peaks. Yet it is also a trek where nature and culture come together.

From Phalut, on your left is the Everest cluster, which includes the world's fourth- and fifth-highest mountains, Lhotse and Makalu. It's a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see these three majestic peaks together from a vantage point.

Sandakphu Phalut Trek Videos

Sandakphu Phalut - Complete Trek Information

We have always wanted trekkers to be well-informed before they go on a Himalayan trek. Knowledge is the difference between a safe trek and a dangerous one. It’s also the difference between a wholesome experience and a superficial experience.

Use this section to learn about the Sandakphu - Phalut trek. It has in-depth information about each day of the trek, what to expect, and how you need to prepare for it. Many years of expertise have gone into this content. Trekkers find that extremely useful.

Expert Speak

Sandhya UC, Co-Founder, COO

Sandhya UC, Co-Founder, COO

Sandhya is a founding partner at Indiahikes. Over the past ten years, she has explored and put on the map a few of the greatest Himalayan treks in India, including Kashmir Great Lakes and Kedarkantha. She is a TedX Speaker and has been awarded the "Women of Worth" Award by Outlook Business in 2017. She believes in sustainable living just as she believes in sustainable trekking.

Here’s Sandhya talking about one of the well-known treks in Nepal.

What I Like and Don't Like About the Sandakphu Phalut Trek

What I Like About the Sandakphu - Phalut Trek

Sandhya UC, Co-Founder, COO

Sandhya is a founding partner at Indiahikes. Over the past ten years, she has explored and put on the map a few of the greatest Himalayan treks in India, including Kashmir Great Lakes and Kedarkantha. She is a TedX Speaker and has been awarded the "Women of Worth" Award by Outlook Business in 2017. She believes in sustainable living just as she believes in sustainable trekking. Here’s Sandhya talking about one of the well-known treks in Nepal.

1. The Sleeping Buddha

The Kanchenjunga cluster is something you see right from the main Darjeeling town. It fills you with anticipation of seeing this massif up close on the trail. You start seeing glimpses of the mountain from the first day. For three hours of the trekking day, the Sleeping Buddha plays hide and seek.

And when you arrive at Molley, you get your first unobstructed view of Sleeping Buddha. The Sleeping Buddha is your companion for most days of the trek. It also gets closer and bigger each day. From Phalut, the cluster is so close, that you feel like those mountains are a stone throw’s away.

The Sleeping Buddha range, as seen from Phalut. Picture by Sanjay Nargund

2. The picturesque village of Samanden

I know people do the Sandakphu trek for the Sleeping Buddha. I admit it is a sight worth a thousand words. But I’ll tell you what? The Sleeping Buddha takes attention away from other superb attractions of the Sandakphu trek. I think trekkers must keep their eyes open for the villages of Samanden and Aal. They are uniquely beautiful! They remind me of European villages.

For one, the tea house experience is unique. You don’t get it on any other treks in India. It is lovely to see the Nepali culture enveloping you in these tea houses.

A picture-perfect village right out of our childhood textbooks. Photo by Sandeep Hattalli

3. The Long Distance Views

Sandakphu is one of the few treks that gift you with long-distance views. Not only do you see the far away Everest cluster, but you also see the next four days of your trek stretched out before you. Such long-distance views also make the sunset view stunning.

There aren’t many treks wherein clouds speckle the ground, not the sky. The sunsets below you.

The actual trek is a very long ridge walk, spread over many camps. So, from Sabargram you can see Phalut. All along this ridge, you are at a high spot so the mountain views are unobstructed.

But more than that there is always a bank of clouds below you on either side. The sun rises and sets on these banks of clouds. I think it is one of the most spectacular moments you will see on any trek, leave alone Sandakphu.

Long distance views on the trail to Sandakphu. Picture by Sandip Roy

What I Don't Like About Sandakphu - Phalut Trek

1. Packaged goods for sale on the trail

The easy accessibility of Sandakphu has also made packaged goods easily available on the trek. I have always believed that a trek is meant to take you away from the clutter of our city lives.

So seeing these packaged goods available for purchase and consumption on the trek just brings back the city to your mind. This is not a great sight to see on a trek.

Trek Trivia

Things Nobody Tells You About Sandakphu - Phalut

Did you know that Sandakphu is the most culturally rich trek?

As compared to any other trek, here you observe the local culture very closely. When you stay in tea houses, it takes you close to their culture. You get to witness their lifestyle, cooking, and so much more. Make sure to try out the bamboo shoot pickles at any of our campsites.

Colourful Houses of Samanden and Sepi

The people here take excellent care of their homes. There are aesthetic designs and vibrant colours on the houses. They make sure the houses are filled with flowers and create a welcoming vibe.

A Story about Darjeeling and its People

There was a war between Nepal and Sikkim. Darjeeling used to belong to Sikkim. But during the war, Darjeeling was conquered by Nepal. So people from Nepal moved into the Darjeeling area.

During that time, Britishers were also coming in. Out of fear, Nepal gifted Darjeeling to the Britishers so that they don't attack Nepal. This was why Nepal was never conquered by Britishers.

The Nepali people who moved into Darjeeling are called Gorkhas. Even though Nepal is described as a Hindu country, the culture in Darjeeling is primarily Buddhist. They bring along with them the old Tibetan culture.

At certain places, you'll find 5-coloured flags planted. These flags are placed in areas that are recognized as holy or monumental. The 5 colours signify earth, water, air, fire, and space. The people believe that their prayers are carried far away when the wind blows, and the flag flutters.

5 Reasons Why Indiahikes

We are India’s safest trekking organisation

When we brought out new trails in Indian trekking, safety came with us. Back in 2012, we were the first to introduce microspikes, and two years later, pulse oximeters became standard thanks to us. Nobody does safe treks like Indiahikes. In the mountains, emergencies don't care who you're with – everyone knows that when trouble hits, you look for the yellow tents of Indiahikes.

We are pioneers of treks in India

We are pioneers in trekking. Since 2007, we have brought out treks that have become India's most famous treks: Roopkund, Rupin Pass, Buran Ghati, Kedarkantha, Kashmir Great Lakes, Tarsar Marsar, Brahmatal, Phulara Ridge—the list goes on. In 2023 alone, we brought out five new treks in Indian trekking. We know treks better than anyone. This comes directly from the reason why Indiahikes was born: to bring out trek information and enable trekkers to trek on their own.

We are India’s largest trekking organisation

More than 25,000 people trek with us every year. We are the largest trekking organisation in India. 24% of our trekkers come back to trek with us every year. Over 4,000 students from the top educational institutions trek with us every year. Aside from this, families with children choose to trek with Indiahikes knowing that our treks are the safest. We have taken over 8000 children trekking so far, and the number continues to grow.

Our treks are transformative

We focus on designing transformative experiences. Our trek leaders conduct thought-provoking exercises that help you reflect and contemplate. This impact stays with you for a long time. Trekkers return feeling energised, more confident, or developing abilities to deal with difficulties. Many have changed careers, rethought their core values, become more humble, shown gratitude to others, or started a new fitness journey.

We are India's most sustainable trekking organisation

Since 2012, we have pioneered sustainable practices that have become standard in trekking. Using eco-bags, our trekkers have cleared over 120 tonnes of litter from the mountains. We do not carry packaged foods; instead, we serve freshly made food. We do not light campfires; we carry coal to light angethis to keep you warm. Our bio-toilets not only keep our toilets odour-free but also enrich the soil. When you trek with us, you leave mountains better.

Indiahikes Features

You’re guarded with our trek again philosophy

If you are unable to complete a trek, or if you love a trek, you can repeat it with us anytime. You don’t have to pay us for it. See our thoughts behind this here.

Daily 3-time health checks keep you safe at any altitude

Our thrice-a-day oxi-metre checks keep altitude sickness at bay, never allowing you to reach a point where you need evacuation.

Join any group, they are all women-friendly groups 

With around 30% of our trekkers being women, all women, including those travelling solo are comfortable to join any of our groups.

Request Jain/Vegan-friendly food

Our kitchen teams understand your needs as a vegan (or a Jain). We will take special care of your food, even in the remote Himalayas. 

Be comfortable and sustainable with bio toilets

We have specially designed bio toilets to ensure you have no sight or smell in toilets, at the same time making sure the toilets cause no harm to the fragile ecosystem we trek in.

Fresh, nutritious food at every camp

We’ll admit it. Our love for food surpasses our love for minimalism. Expect freshly cooked, multi-cuisine food at all camps, designed to meet your nutritional requirements and keep your taste buds happy!