Sandakphu Trek Has Been Shifted To Dzongri Top Trek This October

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.

Goechala-Indiahikes-Nirantharajith-Descending towards Dzongri
Trekkers descending towards Dzongri. PC: Nirantharajith

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.

Dzongri Top Itinerary 

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.

Trekking with indiahikes - Dzongri Top - Brijesh Tiwari
A view of the Kanchenjunga, Talung, Rathong, Kabru, Koktang, Simvo, Pandim, Tenchenkhang and Jupono peaks on the Dzongri Top trek PC: Brijesh Tiwari

As of now, stay put. Don’t make any changes in your plan.  

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26 thoughts on “Sandakphu Trek Has Been Shifted To Dzongri Top Trek This October

  1. hi hi Karishma. I was Loki g at doing sanakphu in November. But seeing the above update. Can I sign up for the Dzongri trek? There are two of us..

    Looking at dates between November 18-30th 2017.

    Thanks – Sandra DRoza

  2. Will the dates remain same ? Seven of us are planning to join the 12 th to 18th November batch , Is that posible ? The main page of India hikes does not yet show this trek . Shall we have to go to the Sandak fu page & register there ?

    1. Hi Arman, we have shifted the all our batches for the year 2017. We will take the necessary action for the batches in January and February in the coming months.

      1. Hi Karishma,
        So hypothetically speaking, if the WB government and the hill parties amicably resolve the conflict and life there returns to normal say sometime in the month of Sept (and I mean absolutely normal), will the trek be shifted back for the following months?
        I have registered for the Dec 10 batch.
        Not happy about the shift. I understand shifting the batches if it’s unsafe. But I don’t understand not shifting them back if order and peace has been restored.

  3. From the rainfall chart it’s shows that there will maximum rainfall during September end.
    Is this a good time for Dzongri ?

  4. Hi, I am in the October 1st batch of Sandakphu trek. Read the shift and the updated itinerary in this article. Just one question- isn’t it possible to camp at dzongri top for a night for the sunrise views?

    1. Hello Nimisha
      You will witness the sunrise at Dzongri Top since you will be reaching there just in time for the sunrise. It will be an early morning trek to the Dzongri Top. Later you will come down to your basecamp and head back down.

  5. I have registered for the sandakphu trek mainly because I would get to experience snow there in December, do you think it would be possible for dzongri as well? Also could you all upload a few more pictures of dzongri? It would be a great help! Thanks

    1. Hi Krupa, it will be snowing in Dzongri close to the end of December. You can find more pictures of Dzongri along with the detailed itinerary here.

  6. Hi,

    I have already booked for Sandakphu Trek – Oct8-14th batch.

    Will this trek be in the Sandakphu region or shifted to Dzongri Top?

  7. Hi

    I signed-up for the Sandakphu-Phalut trek starting 29-Oct and am unhappy about this change. I feel that this hike should be restored and I’ve written separately to the Indiahikes team on why I think so.

  8. Hello,
    Does Dzongri trek need more fitness than Sandakphu ?

    Political situation of North Bengal is bad now. Similarly the condition of the way (railway track) is also bad due to flood @ north Bengal. I have heard news that there are several land sliding even under the railway track. If I go, then I’ll come by train from Kolkata. At this point I’m really not sure what to do.

    I really don’t want to cancel the programme unless some unavoidable situation.
    Looking forward for your reply.

    1. Hello Sandip
      The Dzongri Top trek needs just as much preparation as the Sandakphu trek. You need to prepare for a moderate-difficult trek. Since the railways cant be relied on at the moment could you check with booking flight tickets? I’m sorry but the floods are out of our control. Which batch are you going in? You could try booking a tatkal ticket right before your trek in case the situation gets better.

  9. I have booked for the 5th November sandakphu trek. However under the present scenario, I haven’t made any final decision. I would like to know about the distance to be travelled each day in the Dzongri trek. Eagerly waiting for your reply.

  10. The strike has been called off. That’s good news for everyone hoping to go to Sandakphu!
    I do hope everything returns to normal in time for the October batches as well.