Difficulty

Moderate | Level 3

Duration

7 Days

Highest Altitude

11,930 ft

Age

12 to 55 years

Duration

7 Days

Age

12 to 55 years

Difficulty

Moderate | Level 3

Highest Altitude

11,930 ft

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Trek fee

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Sandakphu Phalut Trek

See Four of the Tallest Mountains in the World!

Sandakphu Phalut Trek is one of the few treks on earth from which you can see 8,000-meter peaks. Standing at an altitude of 11,930 feet on Sandakphu, on your left, you can see the Everest cluster.

There is Lhotse and Makalu, the fourth and the fifth highest peaks in the world, trying to outdo the world’s tallest peak. And then there is Everest, effortlessly towering over everything.

On your right, is the world’s third-highest peak, Kanchenjunga, standing with its family of peaks. This family of peaks is famously called The Sleeping Buddha, thanks to its appearance.

While the Everest cluster will only be seen from Sandakphu and beyond, the view of the Sleeping Buddha starts on the first day and stays for a good 4 days on the trek!

Very few spots in the world can give you views of eight-thousander peaks like this. Even fewer of them would be accessible via a moderate trek. 

Just for these views, Sandakphu is a must-do.

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Sandakphu Phalut Videos

Watch these videos to plan and prepare for your trek.

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Quick Itinerary

A route map of the Sandakphu - Phalut trek

Day 1

Drive from NJP / Bagdogra to Sepi

Drive Distance: 130 km | Drive Duration: 7 hours | Pick up point for Indiahikes trekkers: NJP railway station / Bagdogra airport / Keventer's Milkshake Shop

Transport from NJP Railway Station / Bagdogra Airport will be arranged at 9.30 AM from NJP and at 10.30 AM from Bagdogra. One way costs Rs.6,500 per vehicle (5-6 seater). Trekkers share this amount. You will reach the base camp, Sepi by 6.00 PM.

Alternatively, you can opt for the pick-up from Darjeeling near Keventers Milkshake Shop at 12.30 PM. This costs Rs.4,000 per vehicle.

Day 2

Trek from Sepi to Samanden

Trek Distance: 14 km | Trek Duration: 7-8 hours | Altitude Gain: 6,400 ft to 7,760 ft

Moderate, mostly ascend with some steep sections. Descend after Ramam. Sufficient water sources are available all through the route.

Day 3

Trek from Samanden to Molley

Trek Distance: 10 km | Trek Duration: 7 hours | Altitude Gain: 7,760 ft to 11,220 ft

Difficult, steep ascent till Molley with no flat terrain. Carry 2 litres of water and refill your bottles at available water sources.

Day 4

Trek from Molley to Sabargram via Phalut

Trek Distance: 15 km | Trek Duration: 7-8 hours | Altitude Gain and Loss: 11,220 ft to 11,450 ft via 11,810 ft

Easy, mostly level walks interspersed with a few ascents and descents. Start with 2 litres of water. You can refill your water bottles at Phalut, where you will reach in 3.5 hours.

Day 5

Trek from Sabargram to Aal

Trek Distance: 12 km | Trek Duration: 7 hours | Altitude Gain: 11,450 ft to 11,570 ft

Moderate. Hillocks with ascents and descents of varying steepness. Carry 2 litres of water as water is scarce on this route.

Day 6

Trek from Aal to Gurdum via Sandakphu

Trek Distance: 10 km | Trek Duration: 7 hours | Altitude Gain and Loss: 11,570 ft to 7,395 ft via 11,930 ft

Easy. Complete descend with a gradual decline. Today won’t be as tiring as previous days as you will descend all through till Gurdum. You will get the best views of Kanchenjunga while trekking to Phalut. Carry 2 Lltres of water from Sandakphu.

Day 7

Trek from Gurdum to Sepi. Drive from Sepi back to NJP Railway Station / Bagdogra Airport

Trek Distance: 4 km | Trek Duration: 3 hours | Altitude Loss: 7,400 ft to 6,400 ft

Drive Distance: 130 km | Drive Duration: 7 hours

Indiahikes will arrange transport from Sepi. One way costs Rs.6,500 per vehicle (5-6 seater). Trekkers share this amount. You will reach NJP Railway Station / Bagdogra Airport by 5.00 PM.

Alternatively, you can opt for the drop at Darjeeling near Keventers Milkshake Shop. This costs Rs.4,000 per vehicle

Please note: The distance between campsites may vary by 100 meters depending on weather conditions and your route. The altitude may also vary by 100 feet for similar reasons.

IMPORTANT POINTS

- It is mandatory for trekkers to carry a copy of their photo ID for entry at forest check posts on the trek.

- At the base camp, your stay will be arranged in lodges.

- On the trek, you will be staying in tea houses on all the days except for two days, at Molley and Sabargram, where you'll be staying 3 in a tent.

- We have a cloakroom facility at the base camp for excess luggage. Do not leave behind any valuables in the cloakroom

Please note: Twin sharing tents may not be available in May, June, July and August. This is because raw materials for making tents are sourced from different countries. But their export has been affected due to international unrest. This has led to a global shortage of tents. Having said that, you'll still have comfortable space as these tents have been designed to accommodate three trekkers.

A route map of the Sandakphu - Phalut trek

PRO-TIPS

Onward Travel

There are two ways to reach your pick-up point -- reach NJP railway station by taking a train, or reach Bagdogra airport by taking a plane. If you cannot reach the pick-up point before 9.30 AM on Day 1 of the trek, plan your travel in such a way that you reach NJP / Bagdogra the previous day (Day 0) and stay for the night.

If you're reaching Darjeeling, make sure you are there at Keventers Milkshake Shop before 12.30 PM on Day 1 of the trek.

Return Travel

While returning, you will reach NJP / Bagdogra by 5.00 PM. Plan your travel any time after 8.00 PM from NJP railway station / Bagdogra airport.

Day 1

Drive from NJP / Bagdogra to Sepi

Drive Distance: 130 km | Drive Duration: 7 hours | Pick up point for Indiahikes trekkers: NJP railway station / Bagdogra airport / Keventer's Milkshake Shop

Transport from NJP Railway Station / Bagdogra Airport will be arranged at 9.30 AM from NJP and at 10.30 AM from Bagdogra. One way costs Rs.6,500 per vehicle (5-6 seater). Trekkers share this amount. You will reach the base camp, Sepi by 6.00 PM.

Alternatively, you can opt for the pick-up from Darjeeling near Keventers Milkshake Shop at 12.30 PM. This costs Rs.4,000 per vehicle.

Day 2

Trek from Sepi to Samanden

Trek Distance: 14 km | Trek Duration: 7-8 hours | Altitude Gain: 6,400 ft to 7,760 ft

Moderate, mostly ascend with some steep sections. Descend after Ramam. Sufficient water sources are available all through the route.

Day 3

Trek from Samanden to Molley

Trek Distance: 10 km | Trek Duration: 7 hours | Altitude Gain: 7,760 ft to 11,220 ft

Difficult, steep ascent till Molley with no flat terrain. Carry 2 litres of water and refill your bottles at available water sources.

Day 4

Trek from Molley to Sabargram via Phalut

Trek Distance: 15 km | Trek Duration: 7-8 hours | Altitude Gain and Loss: 11,220 ft to 11,450 ft via 11,810 ft

Easy, mostly level walks interspersed with a few ascents and descents. Start with 2 litres of water. You can refill your water bottles at Phalut, where you will reach in 3.5 hours.

Day 5

Trek from Sabargram to Aal

Trek Distance: 12 km | Trek Duration: 7 hours | Altitude Gain: 11,450 ft to 11,570 ft

Moderate. Hillocks with ascents and descents of varying steepness. Carry 2 litres of water as water is scarce on this route.

Day 6

Trek from Aal to Gurdum via Sandakphu

Trek Distance: 10 km | Trek Duration: 7 hours | Altitude Gain and Loss: 11,570 ft to 7,395 ft via 11,930 ft

Easy. Complete descend with a gradual decline. Today won’t be as tiring as previous days as you will descend all through till Gurdum. You will get the best views of Kanchenjunga while trekking to Phalut. Carry 2 Lltres of water from Sandakphu.

Day 7

Trek from Gurdum to Sepi. Drive from Sepi back to NJP Railway Station / Bagdogra Airport

Trek Distance: 4 km | Trek Duration: 3 hours | Altitude Loss: 7,400 ft to 6,400 ft

Drive Distance: 130 km | Drive Duration: 7 hours

Indiahikes will arrange transport from Sepi. One way costs Rs.6,500 per vehicle (5-6 seater). Trekkers share this amount. You will reach NJP Railway Station / Bagdogra Airport by 5.00 PM.

Alternatively, you can opt for the drop at Darjeeling near Keventers Milkshake Shop. This costs Rs.4,000 per vehicle

Please note: The distance between campsites may vary by 100 meters depending on weather conditions and your route. The altitude may also vary by 100 feet for similar reasons.

IMPORTANT POINTS

- It is mandatory for trekkers to carry a copy of their photo ID for entry at forest check posts on the trek.

- At the base camp, your stay will be arranged in lodges.

- On the trek, you will be staying in tea houses on all the days except for two days, at Molley and Sabargram, where you'll be staying 3 in a tent.

- We have a cloakroom facility at the base camp for excess luggage. Do not leave behind any valuables in the cloakroom

Please note: Twin sharing tents may not be available in May, June, July and August. This is because raw materials for making tents are sourced from different countries. But their export has been affected due to international unrest. This has led to a global shortage of tents. Having said that, you'll still have comfortable space as these tents have been designed to accommodate three trekkers.

PRO-TIPS

Onward Travel

There are two ways to reach your pick-up point -- reach NJP railway station by taking a train, or reach Bagdogra airport by taking a plane. If you cannot reach the pick-up point before 9.30 AM on Day 1 of the trek, plan your travel in such a way that you reach NJP / Bagdogra the previous day (Day 0) and stay for the night.

If you're reaching Darjeeling, make sure you are there at Keventers Milkshake Shop before 12.30 PM on Day 1 of the trek.

Return Travel

While returning, you will reach NJP / Bagdogra by 5.00 PM. Plan your travel any time after 8.00 PM from NJP railway station / Bagdogra airport.

The panoramic view of sleeping buddha along the trail to Sandakphu.

Picture by: Anil Vesvikar

The Sandakphu Trail

Teahouses and Campsites at a Glance

At Indiahikes, we are very particular about choosing terrific campsites. For the Sandakphu - Phalut trek too, after a lot of back and forth, we have settled on these terrific campsites, which trekkers have come to love.

Beautiful teahouse in quaint Samaden Village. Trekkers stay here on Day 2 of their trek. Picture by Harsh Chhadva

Alpenglow on Sleeping Buddha is a mesmerizing view you don't want to miss. The picture was taken from the Sabargram campsite by Sandip Roy.

Molley campsite covered with fresh snowfall . Picture taken by Dhaval Jajal

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 Constant Flirting with Indo-Nepal Border

The Sandakphu trek offers the unique experience of walking in India and having your dinner in Nepal. Or having your lunch in Nepal and having your toilet tents in India. This constant flitting in and out of the Indo-Nepal border also makes this trek a unique cultural experience.

The Indo-Nepal Border, marked by a stone structure. Picture by Jagdeep

4. 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.

Know Your Trek

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.

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Feb
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May
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Sep
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Dec

PRO TIPS

Why Fitness Matters on Sandakphu-Phalut Trek

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On Moderate treks, you walk for about 6-8 km each day. The ascents and descents could get steep. The maximum altitude will range between 13,000 ft to 14,000 ft. You’ll come across tricky patches frequently (like snow or scree), which require you to navigate with a certain amount of caution. There might also be small stream/river crossings.

Your goal is to 5 km with an intention to finish within 35 minutes.

Note: If you are above the age of 58 years, you'll also need to submit your Treadmill Test within 7 days of registration.

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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.

Leaving Mountains Better

Green Trails is our promise to leave the mountains better. We have removed over 1 lakh kilos of the waste left behind by others on trekking trails. Yet this is a small percentage of what we do. Green Trails dives into reducing the use of resources, reducing our carbon footprint and bringing about a change in the daily practices of our trekkers too.

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