Sandakphu Phalut Trek

Sandakphu is the only trek in India from where you can see four of the tallest mountains in the world.

  • Trek alongside the Everest, Kanchenjunga, Lhotse and Makalu
  • Step in and out of Nepal everyday as the trail runs along the India-Nepal border
  • Experience the hospitality of tea-houses, typical of treks in Nepal

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Dhiraj Kamble

The Sleeping Buddha seen on the Sandakphu Phalut trail.

Why This Trek ?

Sandakphu Phalut Trek

REGION / DIFFICULTY / HIGHEST ALTITUDE:

West Bengal/ Moderate/ 11,929 ft

DURATION / AVERAGE TEMPERATURE:

7 days/ Summer: Day time: 13-18°C Night time: 3-5°C; Winter: Day time: 8-15°C Night time: can drop to -5°C

Must read about Sandakphu Phalut Trek

Trek Fee Per Person
Rs. 9,750

(Includes all costs of the trek from Jaubhari to Sepi) Service tax at 4.50% is payable on the trek fee

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Sandakphu – See four of the tallest mountains in the world

Sandakphu, being the highest peak in West Bengal offers grand views of the world’s tallest peaks. Lhotse and Makalu, the fourth and fifth highest peaks in the world stand tall at 8,516 mts and 8,463 m, trying to outdo the world’s tallest peak. But how can they? After all, the Everest stands in between them, towering over everything! The months of October and November offer crystal clear mountain views and you can enjoy the glorious sunrise from Sandakphu and Phalut. If you trek in winter, you can even experience fresh snow at Sandakphu!

View of Makalu, Everest and Lhotse from Phalut  P.C. Sharat Kolke

On the other hand, Kangchenjunga, the third highest peak, stands with its family at 8,586 mts. The entire cluster is famously called as The Sleeping Buddha thanks to its appearance. Mt. Kumbhakarna forms the head and face of Buddha, while Kangchenjunga forms the upper body. The other peaks that make up the rest of The Sleeping Buddha are Kokthang, Rathong, Frey, Kabru South, Kabru North, Simvo, Mt. Pandim, Tenzingkhang, Japanu, Narsing.

This trek is done along the border between India and Nepal. In fact, one constantly moves in and out of Nepal during the trek. The mighty mountains, of course, know no boundaries. They stretch through Nepal, India, Bhutan and further.

A bolder that reads 'Nepal' PC Sandhya UC
On the Sandakphu trek, you often camp on the border of India and Nepal. Sometimes, your dining tent might be in India, whereas your sleeping tent might be in Nepal! It is a one-of-a-kind experience.

Another curious feature of this trek is the Kalipokhri (Black Pond). It is a beautiful black pond that one comes across on the second/third day of the trek. It’s water never freezes and Buddhists consider it holy.

Whom is the trek meant for?

This trek is for every mountain lover. The grand Himalayan mountains stay with you throughout the trail and these are views you will get on no other trek. It’s a good trek for beginners who have religiously followed the prescribed fitness regime. A physically active person over the age of 12 can do this trek. The trail to Sandakphu constantly fluctuates between India and Nepal. This is an exciting prospect for most trekkers.

Sandakphu trek campsite
Sandakphu campsite with the sleeping Buddha in front

How difficult is the trek?

Although the Sandakphu trek is rated as moderately difficult, you cover long distances every day. The average distance covered in a day is 10 km. This requires a lot of stamina and endurance. The gradient is gradual. But on day 5, you trek 21 km in 7-8 hours.

Sunrise at Kalipokhri Lake P.C. Bhrijesh Tiwari

What are the risks involved?

The trail is well laid out so there is no danger of losing your way. There is a motor-able road leading up to Phalut. In case of any emergency, you have easy access to the closest towns. Although 11,929 feet isn’t that high compared to other treks, there are chances of being hit by Acute Mountain Sickness which can be avoided by going on a course of Diamox.

Trail from Kalipokhri to Sandakphu
Trail from Kalipokhri to Sandakphu in January

How to prepare for the trek?

This trek needs you to be thoroughly prepared. You can start 2 months prior by jogging a distance of 7 km. Gradually reduce the time you take cover this distance. On day 6 of your trek, the descent from Phalut to Gorkhey is long and steep. This can take a toll on your knees. For this you need to do leg strengthening exercises.

 

Here is the short itinerary for Sandakphu

Day 1 Getting to base camp- Jaubhari. The pick up from NJP is at 9.30 am. The cost of the transport is Rs.3000 per cab (5-6 seater). Pick up from Darjeeling-Club Side Taxi Stand at 12:30pm. The cost of the transport is Rs.1500 per cab(5-6 seater).
The travel time to Jaubhari is 4-5 hours.
Day 2 Jaubhari to Tumling; 11 km, 6-7 hours
Day 3 Tumling to Kalipokhri; 11 km, 7 hours
Day 4 Kalipokhri to Sandakphu; 6 kms, 3 hours
Day 5 Sandakphu to Sabargram; 14 kms, 6 hours
Day 6 Sabargram to Gorkhy via Phalut; 17 km, 5 hours
Day 7 Gorkhey to Sepi; 15 kms, 5 hours. Depart from Sepi. It takes 3 hours to reach
Darjeeling from Sepi and 6 hours to reach NJP. 
The cost of the transport is Rs.5500 per cab (5-6 seater). You reach NJP at approximately 5 pm. 

Please note: The stay on the Sandakphu trek is arranged at tea houses. You will be camping in tents on two days (Sabargram and Sandakphu)

Detailed trek itinerary

Day 1 : Getting to the base camp – Jaubhari

We believe that Jaubhari is our prettiest basecamp!

The Jaubhari basecamp is one of our prettiest.
The Jaubhari basecamp is one of our prettiest. PC Dushyant Sharma

Day 2: Jaubhari to Tumling

  • Altitude: 2,134 m to 3,087 m
  • Time taken: 6-7 hours, 11 km

The trek falls in the easy to moderate grade in terms of difficulty. It can become quite difficult to trek if there are rains. Today will be a combination of gradual/steep ascents and level walks. There are a few rocky paths (gravel roads) with muddy sections and a few meadow walks as well. Drinking water sources are available at Chittrey, Lamaydhura and Meghma.

From the homestay in Jaubhari, climb up to the road. Across the road, there is a trek route going up the hill to Upper Chittrey. It is a steep climb of 3 km, through a thick forest, and takes about an hour and a half to navigate.

sandakphu trek indiahikes
You start your trek out of Jaubhari by climbing through this deep pine forest

There are many trails going left and right, crossing each other. Take the route that climbs uphill and mostly turns leftwards. Sticking together with the group and staying close to the guide is always advisable.

There are small openings in the forest. As you climb higher, pause to take a look at the villages and mountains around through these openings. For a section of around 10 minutes, the trail becomes steep. It leads to a meadow with two small shops.

Spot a motor road going upwards and a little below, towards the left, look out for the Chittrey Monastery with lots of furling Buddhist prayer flags. That’s Upper Chittrey. Take a break here.

The shrine at Chitterey
The shrine at Chittrey

From here, the trail gradually goes uphill. There are stairs made here to help locals and trekkers through the forests till Meghma. At Meghma, the forest opens up to a lovely meadow. The motor road can be seen constantly, with few odd Land Rovers taking other tourists to Sandakphu and Phalut. This can be used as a reference if you ever feel lost. This road goes till Phalut and you may even choose to walk on it. However, the mountain trail is very beautiful through forests, with a variety of wild flowers blooming in the springs.

Magnolias bloom all along the trail from Chittrey to Meghma
Magnolias bloom all along the trail from Chittrey to Meghma

Lamaydhura is a small village with a handful of Tibetan families that run a small tea shop. It is a cozy place to take shelter and enjoy a hot cup of tea and biscuits.

The trail from Lamaydhura to Meghma is a 3 km steady incline hike. It has some leisurely walks over grassy terrain and motor roads. It is the easiest gradient for the day’s trek. Look out for Chimal and Magnolia trees. If you’re lucky and very quiet, you might be able to spot a red panda. After 1 to 2 hours of hiking, you approach an SSB checkpost (keep your visa and ID card handy for getting it checked here).

From here, walk straight until you find a Buddhist monastery on your left.  You can enter the monastery if you wish. A 4-minute-walk from the monastery will lead you to a fork. Take the left road and then break for lunch. The road going straight goes to Tonglu.

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Sun peeping into Tumling Photo credit: Subhashis Pal

The trail from here to Tumling is a 2 km hike, a flat walk on the motor road, and takes 30–40 minutes. Tumling is on the Nepal border and has a few good private guest houses on the Nepal side. The day’s trek ends at Tonglu which is 200m above Tumling at 3,087 metres.

Day 3 : Tumling to Kalipokhri

  • Altitude: 3,087 to 3,170 m
  • Time taken: 6-7 hours, 11 km

Wake up early for a brilliant view of the sunrise. Take a good look at the Sleeping Buddha. The Everest cannot be seen from here, but the entire Kangchenjunga family of peaks opens up appearing like a Sleeping Buddha and takes our heart away.

The peaks that you can see from the left are Kumbhakarna, Kangchenjunga and Simvo in the background. Below Kangchenjunga are Koktang, Rathong, Frey, South Kabru, North Kabru, Kabru Forked, Goecha and the ridge of Pandim just ahead of Simvo. The depression between the ridgeline of Goecha and Pandim is the Goecha La, which is a popular and beautiful trek in Sikkim.

 

The road along the clouds at Tumling indiahikes
The road along the clouds at Tumling P.C. Milind Tambe

From here, you can choose between a hiking trail and a motor road. The motor road goes into Nepal and reaches Gairibas via Jaubari, both villages in Nepal. We suggest you take the hiking trail, which passes through dense forests and meadows and is much more beautiful than the motor road. It directly goes to Gairibas.

Gairibas is 5 km away from Tumling and it takes around 3 hours to get there. Through the forest, the trail climbs to a flattish top. From here, visually trace the route all the way to Sandakphu, which stands tall before you.

The trail descends from this point and a 10 minute trek will land you on a beautiful meadow with majestic views of wide valleys. To your right is India, and to your left is Nepal. You will also find a border stone there. Another 40 minutes of descend from here will bring you to Gairibas.

indiahikes-kalipokhri-sandakphu
Enroute Kalipokhri Photo Credit Bhrijesh Tiwari

Gairibas is a small village with few hotels and guest houses on the Nepal side. On the right side of the road is India’s SSB camp and Singalila National Park Entry Check Post. Here, pay the entry fee to enter the National Park and take a small tea break.

From Gairibas, Kaiyakatta is at a 2 km distance, with 1.5 km of steep climb. There are stairs made for trekkers. One also has the choice of trekking on the winding motor road. You can choose the motor road, because the windings open up a few times to the Nepal side, giving fantastic views. After climbing to the top, descend a bit and in some 10 minutes, you reach Kaiyakatta, where you can stop for a hot Nepali lunch.

From Kaiyakatta, your next destination is Kalipokhri, which is 4km. the trail goes on a level motor road. Vehicles are not allowed on this motor road. It’s a beautiful trail with lots of birds on the way. After some 1.5-2 hours, spot a bean-shaped black lake with waving Buddhist prayer flags surrounding it. This is Kalipokhri, which translates to Black Lake. There is a small Buddhist temple at the opposite end of the lake. Note that you are actually standing on the border between India and Nepal.

Kalapokhri in the morning frost
Kalipokhri in the morning frost

Find a small shed and a motor road running behind the shed. That road takes you to the interiors of Nepal, to Ilam district, which is the district town for all the Nepali villages on this trek. With a short walk of 5 minutes, you are done for the day. Rest here for the night.

Day 4: Kalipokhri to Sandakphu

  • Altitude: 3,170 m to 3,636 m
  • Time taken: 3 hours, 6 km

Trek Difficulty & Gradient: Easy, Combination of gradual/steep ascents and level walks.

Drinking Water sources: Bhagsa, Bikheybhanjang.

Trek Description: Today is an easy day. Start from Kalipokhri by following the trail to Sandakphu. Your first pit-stop is at a place called Bhagsa. The walk to Bhagsa is a gradual descent up till Bikheybhanjang, which means ‘Valley of Poison.’ It gets its name from a poisonous aconite plant growing in abundance here. This section is relatively easy and can be covered in 30-40 minutes.

Trail from Kalipokhri to Sandakphu
Trail from Kalipokhri to Sandakphu

Take a break at Bikheybhanjang and look out for Sandakphu ahead. The trail from here to Sandakphu is a steep incline of 4 km. The trail zig-zags up the hill. There are two trails. The left one goes via Nepal and is a longer trail, but the ascent is gradual. The more popular route is the shorter one, which remains within the Indian border. But the ascent here is steep.

Once you take the second route, there is an hour’s trek on a steep ascent, followed by 15 minutes of level walk. Here, once again, take time to observe the trails from the Nepal and India converging and breaking up.

Observe the huts and tea stalls dotting the Sandakphu landscape. Faint mobile network is sometimes available at the highest point in Sandakphu.

Enjoy the 180-degree panoramic view of the Himalayan peaks. Climb up to the view point. One of the world’s most coveted panoramas opens up before you.  Makalu, Lhotse, Everest, Nuptse, Baruntse, Chamling, Chomolonzo, Machapucchare and other peaks of the Annapurna range spread on towards the west. Three sister peaks stand tall towards the north and then of course, the Sleeping Buddha lies before you. Towards the east, you see the highest ranges of Bhutan. Its highest peak, Chomolhari, rises above of all other peaks around it.

Sandakphu trek campsite
The Sandakphu Campsite looks postcard wortht PC Shubashish Pal

In the winter months, the Sandakphu campsite is covered in snow. The temperature here dips to sub-zeroes after sunset post November till March.

Day 5: Sandakphu to Phalut

  • Altitude: 3,636 m to 3,599 m
  • Time taken: 7-8 hours, 21 km

Trek Difficulty & Gradient: Moderate, Combination of gradual/steep ascents, level walks. Rocky path (gravel roads) with few muddy sections and forest cover. Will get tricky if it rains.

Drinking Water sources: Carry additional water today, as water is scarce at Phalut. Sabargram has an open pond close to the Forest Post. At Phalut, climb the hill opposite the Government Huts on the Gorkhey side to find water, if any.

Trek Description: Start early as there is lot of distance to be covered. The trails are the best you will encounter in terms of scenery and diversity in flora and fauna. Walk ahead towards the north over the settlement area in Sandakphu.

The route to Phalut in April and May has the best concentration of rhododendron trees in full bloom. You will also get the best views of Kangchenjunga while trekking to Phalut. The gradient is easy as the altitudes of Sandakphu and Phalut are almost the same.

View of the Everest cluster
View of the Everest cluster

Proceed north-east, following the logical trail. A 20 minute descent is followed by a 5 to 10 minute ascent and another short section of an easy descent. Gradual ascents and descents over 2 to 3 hillocks and you join the road again. This section takes an hour and a half as you reach Thukumb Checkpost. Get your entry tickets checked here.

The trail to Sabargram is towards your right while the Nepal road goes via the left trail. Take a left via the Nepal trail and walk for 10 minutes till you reach a hut. Another 15 minutes on the same trail will connect you back with the trail to Sabargram.

This stretch takes around 3 to 4 hours till you find yourself at Forest Check Post of Sabarkum. Look for an adjacent pond close to this check post for refilling your water bottles. However, make sure you use water filters. Trail from Sabarkum to Phalut is 7 km zig-zag . There is a series of gradual descents and level field walks, each coming in intervals of 15 minutes. After this is a half  km flat meadow walk followed by 1 km of steep climb section, which can be negotiated by taking shortcuts.

The trail from Sandakphu to Phalut
The trail from Sandakphu to Phalut in winter PC Saheer Sawar

The total 7 km section can be done in two and half hours or less.  Look out for trekkers’ hut on your way. The peak of Phalut is now only half an hour of hill climb section ahead. Phalut is a small grassland with minimal or no vegetation. There is just a SSB camp, a forest guest house which can accommodate 8 people, and a GTA trekker’s hut which can accommodate 18 trekkers. It’s a remote place with the closest views of the entire panorama. We have to climb the hillock on our left a bit to reach the view point. Generally we go there for sunrise. From there we see the entire panorama of the mountains and peaks. Similar to the ones we saw from Sandakphu, but from much closer distance. Camp for the night at Phalut.

Sabargram Campsite after a hail storm PC Shayak Raychaudhuri
Sabargram Campsite after a hail storm PC Shayak Raychaudhuri

Day 6: Phalut to Gorkhey

  • Altitude:  3,600 to 2,300 m
  • Time taken: 3 hours,  9-10 km

Trek Difficulty and Gradient: Moderate. Mostly descend with very few gradual climbs. Rocky paths, gravel roads with few muddy sections and beautiful forest cover.

Drinking Water sources: Gorkhey

Trek Description: After watching an unreal sunrise behind the mountains, head for your descent. The trail mostly passes through forests, with lots of openings. Initially Pandim, Tenzingkhang, Japanu, Narsing are seen through the openings. It’s almost 9-10 km to Gorkhey, where you can have a Nepali lunch. It takes around 3 hours to get here.

sandakphu

From here, exit to Sikkim after crossing the Gorkhey River, which borders Sikkim and West Bengal. The exit point to Bhareng is a 4km stretch and takes around 1.5 to 2 hours to reach. The route climbs up through forests and descends to a motor road.

Take a left and walk for another hour on the road to a small house. Here, leave the road and climb up to a trekking trail. The trail descends and climbs for around 20 minutes to a village. From there, follow a concrete staircase to get down to Bhareng.

The Gorkhey Village PC: Milind Tambe
The Gorkhey Village PC: Milind Tambe

Alternate trek routes from Phalut to Sirikhola: Route 1: Phalut to Gorkhey (15 km), to Rammam (9 km), to Sirikhola (4 km), total distance – 24 km. This is a longer route but very scenic. Experienced trekkers may want to take this route.

Day 7: Gorkhey to Sepi via Samanden and Ramam. Depart from Sepi

  • Altitude: 2,300 m to 1,900 m 
  • Time taken: 4-5 hours,15 km

The last day is perhaps the surprise package of the trek. Nobody speaks about it and you suddenly find yourself in absolutely unexpected surrounds.

forest-trek-indiahikes
Entering the dense pine forest

Have early morning tea and leave from Gorkhey to Sepi via Ramam. From Gorkhey to Ramam it is forest trail with gradual/steep ascents. From Ramam to Sepi it is steep descent. Take a break at Ramam and proceed to Sepi. Just  before Sepi we have to cross a bridge. From the bridge to Sepi(our final destination) it is again ascent for about 30 to 45 min. You will reach Sepi around 1 pm. Depart from Sepi. Vehicles can be arranged on demand. It takes approximately 3 hours from Sepi to reach Darjeeling and 6 hours to reach NJP.

ramam-trek-indiahikes-0381
The beautiful village of Samanden is set on a flat top surrounded by dense pine forest in all directions

 How to get fit for the Sandakphu trek

Sandakphu is a moderate trek. There are no technical sections to walk on. But it is an extremely long trek. This requires a good amount of preparation.

Cardiovascular endurance
On the first day of your trek, there is a steep 3 km climb from Jaubhari. You should be able to enjoy this trail through the thick forest without struggling. You can begin your preparation by jogging everyday. Ideally, you should be able to jog 7 km in 40-45 minutes twice a week and 5 km in 25-30 minutes thrice a week for 4 weeks before your trek commences. It takes time to be able to cover this distance in the given time. Start slow and increase your pace everyday. Swimming, cycling and stair climbing without too many breaks in between can help too.

Strength
Phalut to Gorkhey
day has an entire section of 3-4 km with steep descents. It is mostly under forest cover and you will need to watch your step as you descend. This can be harsh on your knees and thighs. The muscles on your legs need to be strong enough to endure this patch. To strengthen your legs do around 3 sets of squats, with 8 squats in each set.

Flexibility
Trekking with a backpack requires some effort and agile muscles. For this, you can do some stretching exercises – stretch your hamstrings, quadriceps, hip flexors, lower back muscles and shoulders regularly. On your trek, it is important that you arrive on the slopes with your muscles relaxed.

Working out indoors
If you can’t go out and jog because of time and space constraints, here’s a video you can use to work out indoors.

What to take on the Sandakphu trek

Bare necessities

  1. Trekking shoes: You will need trekking shoes with good grip. Sports shoes will not be comfortable enough. You can watch this video to learn to choose the right trekking shoes.  You can get Forclaz 600 from Decathlon.
  2. Backpack (40-60 litres): A backpack with sturdy straps and a supporting frame. Rain cover for backpack is essential- especially during months of April and May.

Clothes

  1. Three warm layers: You will need at least three warm layers (two lights layers such as fleece and woollen and one padded jacket) for this trek. Add another layer during winter season. A padded jacket will help enormously because Sandakphu is a very windy trek.
  2. Three trek pants: Wear one pair and carry one pair. 
  3. Two collared t-shirts: Carry light, full sleeved t-shirts that prevent sun burns on the neck and arms. Again, wear one and carry one.
  4. Thermals (Optional): Those who are more susceptible to cold can carry thermals to wear at night.

Accessories

  1. Sunglasses: Sunglasses are to prevent snow blindness. There might be snow at the upper campsites regardless of the season. So carry a pair of sunglasses.
  2. Suncap: The sun is intense at higher altitudes and a sun cap is absolutely essential to keep your face and neck safe from sunburns.
  3. Synthetic hand gloves: One pair of fleece or woolen hand gloves. One pair of water proof gloves.
  4. Balaclava: You may use woolen scarves instead as well.
  5. Socks (2 pairs): Apart from two sports socks, you can take a pair of woolen socks for the night.
  6. Headlamp LED torch: Mandatory
  7. Trekking pole: Watch this video to understand why you need a trekking pole.
  8. Poncho: Given its geographical location, andakphu is prone to rainfall almost throughout the year. It’s always wise to carry a poncho along with you.

Others

  1. Daypack (20 litres): If you are offloading your backpack, you will need a smaller backpack to carry water, medical kit and some light snacks.
  2. Toiletries (Sunscreen, moisturiser, light towel, lip balm, toilet paper, toothbrush, toothpaste)
  3. Cutlery: Carry a spoon, coffee mug and a lunch box. We insist on trekkers getting their own cutlery for hygiene reasons.
  4. Two water bottles: 1 litre each
  5. Plastic covers: While packing, use plastic bags to compartmentalise things and carry few extra plastic bags for wet clothes.

Mandatory Personal Medical Kit 

  1. Diamox – 10 tablets (to prevent AMS)
  2. Crocin – 6 tablets (fever)
  3. Avomine – 4 tablets (motion sickness)
  4. Avil 25mg – 4 tablets (allergies)
  5. Combiflam – 4 tablets (Pain killer)
  6. Disprin – 6 tablets (headache)
  7. Norflox TZ & Lomofen– 6 tablets each (diarrhea)
  8. Digene – 10 tablets (acidity)
  9. Omez/ Rantadine – 10 tablets (antacids)
  10. Crepe bandage – 3 to 5 meters
  11. Gauze – 1 small roll
  12. Band aid – 10 strips
  13. Cotton – 1 small roll
  14. ORS – 10 packets
  15. Betadine or any antiseptic cream
  16. Moov spray (aches, & sprains)

Mandatory Documents

Please carry the below documents. Document two and three need to be downloaded (PDF), filled in, signed and handed over to the trek leader at the base camp.
  • Original and photocopy of government photo identity card- (driving license, voters ID, etc.)
  • Medical Certificate – Download PDF
  • Disclaimer- Download PDF

If you’re shopping or packing for the trek, you can download this quick and simple checklist for offline use.

 

indiahikes-equipment

 

Trek fee: Rs. 9,750/-*

*Service tax at 4.5% is payable on the trek fee

Inclusions:

  • Accommodation during the trek (at tea houses and tents – 3 per tent)
  • All meals – vegetarian
  • Trekking permits and forest camping charges
  • Trekking equipment (tents, sleeping bags, ice axes, ropes, etc.)
  • Safety equipment (first aid, medical kit, oxygen cylinders, stretcher, etc.)
  • Services of an expert trek leader (qualified in basic/advanced mountaineering courses)
  • Services of an expert trek team  (guides, cooks, helpers, porters/mules)

Exclusions:

  • Transport to and from the base camp (NJP/Darjeeling to Jaubhari and return from Sepi to NJP)
  • Food during transit to and from the base camp
  • Backpack offloading charges – Rs 1500*plus service tax of 4.5%. Charges for last minute on slope offloading during the trek will be Rs 335 per day plus service tax of 4.5%. The backpack cannot weigh more than 9 kgs. No suitcases/strolleys duffel bags will be allowed.
  • Personal expenses of any kind
  • Anything apart from the inclusions

Terms & Conditions

1. Cancellation: If a trek is called off at the last moment due to a natural calamity/un forseen circumstances (like rains, earthquake, landslides, strike, bandh etc), Indiahikes will issue a trek voucher for the full amount. The voucher can be redeemed for the same trek or another trek in the next one year.

In case, you wish to cancel your trek, please e-mail us at cancel@indiahikes.in. Cancellation requests are not taken over phone.

The cancellation charges are as under:

  • Cancellations prior to 30 days from the start of the trek — full refund.
  • Cancellation between 30 days and 20 days to the start of the trek — 50% refund.
  • Cancellation less than 20 days to the start of the trek — no refund.

Please note: In case of refund, there will be a deduction of 4% (bank charges) from the total fee you have paid. 

The trek fee includes all costs of the trek from the start at Jaubhari to the end of the trek at Sepi.

2. Pick up: Trekkers are picked up from NJP railway station. Usually, trekkers are clubbed together with other participants to make a group. The group travels together to Jaubhari  in shared cabs.

3. Transport: Transport from NJP to Jaubhari (Rs.2,800 per vehicle) and return from Sepi to NJP (Rs. 5,500 per vehicle) can be arranged by us at an extra cost. Participants are expected to share the cost of the cab. The amount is to be paid directly to our transporter. No service tax is applicable on transport cost. Indiahikes only arranges the vehicle pick up and is not responsible for any issues during transport.

4. Backpack offloading: Indiahikes expects all trekkers to carry their own backpacks. All common gear will be carried by the support team. If for some reason a trekker is unable to carry his or her backpack, he/she can offload the same by paying an additional charge.

Backpack offloading charge for the entire trek duration is Rs. 1500/-. Partial offloading is not allowed. Charges will vary for last minute on slope offloading. The backpack cannot weigh more than 9 kgs. No suitcases/strolleys duffel bags will be allowed.

5.Emergency during trek: In a trek a medical emergency or any other emergency may arise. If for any reason you are sent down from the trek then Indiahikes will make arrangements for your return to the base camp or nearest road head. A staff will accompany you. He may not be a trained personnel.

Evacuation or dealing with emergencies is extremely difficult in the mountains. It is time consuming as well. A normal trek of 2 hours may take 6 hours in an emergency (a sick person is not easy to evacuate). Doctors do not go along with a team. Doctors are not available at the base camp or nearest road head either. Indiahikes trek leaders are trained to administer first aid and know how to deal with issues related to the mountains. However, they are not doctors.

Registering for this trek is an understanding that you have read up on the difficulties of high altitude trekking and understand the risks. You have also understood what AMS, HAPE and HACE are. You have taken efforts to educate yourself and you are in a position to manage your own altitude related emergency.

6. Fitness: A high altitude trek in the Himalayas requires considerable fitness. Your body needs to train itself to process more work with lower levels of oxygen. Cardiovascular training before a trek is critically important. Training must include strength and flexibility workout. We have laid out the eligibility criteria here. Registering for the trek is an understanding that you will undertake the mandated fitness training. Indiahikes has the right to reject candidates who do not meet our eligibility requirement at the base camp.

7. Non-liability: Indiahikes is not responsible for any loss/damage of your gears equipment or other belongings on the trek.

8. Payment: Payment for the trek can be done online through credit/debit card or net banking. Cheque/draft or cash is not accepted.

9. Drinking and smoking during the trek is strictly prohibited. If found flouting the rules, your participation on the trek will be cancelled with immediate effect.

10. Safety Protocol: 

a. While our itineraries are designed to allow for adequate acclimatisation, most treks in Indian Himalayas climb quickly, which is called forced accents. Unavailability of camp sites and the Indian Himalayan terrain are the reason for this. There are chances that you will feel the effects of altitude sickness and oxygen deprivation while on this trek. Please be aware that your trek leader may deem it unsafe for you to continue trekking at any time, and arrange for you to descend to a lower attitude.

b. Our trek leaders will conduct routine health checks at all camps to measure oxygen saturation, pulse and blood pressure. Indiahikes reserves the right to exclude any trekker from climbing higher on the trek without refund if the trekker’s vital readings are below accepted norms for that altitude. These norms are available with Indiahikes trek leaders.

c. This is a high altitude trek with rough, rocky and snowy terrain. It is important that you are a fit and confident walker in mountain terrain, able to manage ascents and descents by yourself within a reasonable time. Indiahikes reserves the right to turn around a trekker if in the opinion of our trek leader they are unable to complete the itinerary without requiring exclusive assistance. Please realistically self-assess your fitness and suitability for this trek before registering.

What are the risks on the Sandakphu-Phalut Trek?

The Sandakphu-Phalut trek is graded moderate-difficult. If you have registered for this trek, then here is some information that you must know in order to have a safe trek. At Indiahikes, we believe that as long as you are well-informed and well-prepared, you can survive easily at high altitudes.

The Sandakphu-Phalut trek is a very long trek. Although there are no technical sections, this high altitude trek comes with a flurry of risks. Most trekkers are illusioned by the road that goes along the trail. They often see jeeps and little carts alongside which makes them believe that they cannot be in any immediate danger. But the trek climbs very rapidly to the Sandakphu and Phalut campsites. Here are a few things that you must know before your trek.

What Indiahikes does to ensure your safety:

Our philosophy is simple. We ingrain safety aspects in the people we work with, in the processes that we follow and in the equipment we carry. All our trek leaders are trained repeatedly on safety issues and protocols. Most issues are resolved with their intervention.

Right from the time you decide to register for the trek till the last day of the trek, these safety procedures will be running in the background. We have listed a few of them below.

1. Fitness criteria before registration

Over years of organising high altitude treks, we have found that safety issues thrive amongst those who are unfit and unprepared for the trek. So we have introduced an eligibility criteria for the Sandakphu trek. Anyone who wants to register for the Sandakphu trek has to meet the fitness requirements, with the ideal BMI. The BMI and fitness regime will require proof. A high altitude trek is not to be taken casually.

2.Monitoring health on a trek

On the Sandakphu trek, your Trek Leader will be monitoring two aspects thrice a day.

     Oxygen Level

     Pulse Rate

Your Blood Pressure levels will be checked once a day.

This will help us ensure that your body is acclimatising as required.

Any abnormal reading will be paid special attention to and action will be taken immediately.


Every trekker will be given a Health Card at the beginning of the trek. The Health Card is issued to monitor the trekker’s daily health, wherein he will be entering details about his health everyday. It also contains details of what symptoms he should look out for and what action he should take during emergencies. These Health Cards will be taken back at the end of the trek.

3.High Altitude Medical Kit

Your trek leader will also be carrying a full-fledged high altitude medical kit. This will include basic medicines and specific medicines catering to altitude sickness– Diamox, Dexamethasone (tablets and injections) and Nifedipine. Your Trek Leader will also be carrying a portable oxygen cylinder throughout the trek. In addition to that, there are oxygen cylinders installed at all high campsites for any emergency situations.

4.High Altitude Trek Equipment

To ensure safe trekking on snowy terrain, Indiahikes will provide you with micro-spikes to attach to your shoes. This will give you good traction on hard snow. To avoid snow from entering your shoes, Indiahikes will provide you with gaiters that you can put on over your shoes. You will have qualified technical guides with you, who will lead the way on difficult terrain.

All our sleeping bags and tents are custom-made for high altitude. If it is cold outside, it will be around 10 degrees warmer inside the tent. The sleeping bags can withstand temperatures up to -10 degree Celsius.

With all these processes and equipment in place, you can be rest assured that you will have a safe trek with Indiahikes.

Nevertheless, you will need to be cautious and report the slightest of symptoms to your trek leader as soon as you feel them.

What you compulsorily need to know if you’re going on the Sandakphu trek

ams-symptoms-indiahikes

Acute Mountain Sickness:

At 11,929 feet the chances of being hit by Acute Mountain Sickness cannot be ruled out.

Sandakphu and Sabargram/Phalut are the highest campsites on the trek. Trekkers tend to develop symptoms of altitude sickness at these camps. The ascent to the Sandakphu is rapid.

Do not proceed to Phalut/Sabargram carrying symptoms of altitude sickness. Inform your trek leader about your condition. If the symptoms don’t alleviate it is best to head down to Tumling/Jaubari. Although if you feel symptoms of AMS at Phalut/Sabargram, it is better to proceed on to Gorkhey.

This risk can be avoided by going on a course of Diamox. Even while on Diamox, the risk of AMS still prevails. While AMS can be treated with rest and medicines for the most part, the symptoms must be recognised before it can go to advanced stages – High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE) and High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE).

HAPE and HACE are critical conditions that can be fatal within hours. And they can occur without AMS preceding them. So it’s doubly important to recognise any symptoms and nip them in the bud.

** Being a tea house trek, alcohol tends to be available easily on this trek. Although prohibited on our treks, some trekkers make the mistake of sneaking in a drink. Nothing can be deadlier than this. Alcohol multiplies the chance of being hit by AMS by several times.

Take this specific precaution – Go on a preventive course of Diamox

We strongly advise you to go on a preventive course of Diamox. Diamox is a blood thinner and helps you acclimatise much faster and reduces the chance of AMS by around 80%. Take half a tablet twice a day from one day before your trek.

What to do if you have symptoms of AMS?

If you feel any symptoms of AMS on the trek, you must report to the Trek Leader immediately. Do not wait till the end of the day’s trek. Do not try to handle it yourself either. Our Trek Leaders are well-trained and experienced to handle any cases and they will be the decision makers in any such cases.

Watch the below video to understand the symptoms of Acute Mountain Sickness. In this video, Arjun Majumdar, the founder of Indiahikes will also tell you the protocol to follow when you see someone showing symptoms of AMS.

Exit points on the Sandakphu-Phalut trek:

sandakphu-danger-campsites

The safest point on a trek where a trekker can descend to and rest is considered an Exit Point. For most months there is an open jeep trail until Phalut. This trail closes before Sandakphu in winters. For a safe exit, you must get down to Jaubaari . Although if you feel symptoms of AMS at Phalut/Sabargram, it is better to proceed on to Gorkhey.

Closest hospital:

For any advanced treatment, Darjeeling has the closest hospital. It takes about an hour and a half to reach it. There is a smaller hospital in Sukhiapokhri too.  

Why you should personally know about the risks and precautions of high altitude treks

If ever you find yourself alone at high altitude, either while trekking independently or with another organisation, there are some life-saving steps you can take. Firstly, you should be able to recognise symptoms of altitude sickness. So acquaint yourself with the symptoms.

Secondly, there might be instances when you have to administer medicines to yourself or to a fellow trekker. There are three life-saving medicines that we suggest you always carry on you – Diamox, Dexamethasone and Nifedipine.

If you are trekking with Indiahikes, do not administer these to anyone without consulting your Trek Leader. If you are trekking independently then you need to know when exactly to administer these medicines and in what dosage.

You can watch the video below to learn about HAPE and HACE and how to tackle them. In the video, Sandhya UC, partner at Indiahikes, explains in detail about High Altitude Pulmonary and Cerebral Edema, what the symptoms are and how to tackle them.

We cannot stress enough on how important it is for you to communicate any symptom to your Trek Leader. Only then your trek leader will be able to take steps at the right time.

Sickness

If you’re of the opinion that fit people don’t get AMS, please get rid of that notion right away. AMS can affect anyone without paying heed to their fitness and prior experience at high altitude! Altitude sickness does not distinguish between a first timer and an experienced trekker.

For more detailed information about Acute Mountain Sickness, you can download and study the manual below.

ams-manual-indiahikes-2-pages
Click on the AMS Manual to open and download

Trek With Swathi

Sandakphu trek-Trek with Swathi-Indiahikes

Sandakphu, where you can see four of the world’s tallest mountains!

If you want to get a taste of trekking in India and Nepal, Sandakphu is your best option. Especially in the months of October and November, this trek will enamour you with views of Mt.Everest, Kanchenjunga, Lhotse and Makalu – four of the world’s tallest mountains!

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6 Best Treks to do in October and November

Autumn in the Himalayas is something no trekker should miss. Read more to know the best treks to be done in autumn and what’s special about them!

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January 2016 Blog Contest Winner – My First Winter Trek To Sandakphu

Here’s the winner of the January 2016 Blog Contest! A first high altitude trek to Sandakphu has left Aneesha enticed by the Himalayas. Take a look!

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The silent threat to Sandakphu

Several beautiful trails in the Himalayas are being badly affected by human presence. Our Green Trail Crusader, Lakshmi, shares a little piece of advise after having stayed on the Sandakphu slope for a month.

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Why you should reconsider ordering maggi or Wai-Wai while trekking in Sandakphu!

When you are on a trek, it’s smarter to try native delicacies that enchant your taste buds. Our Green Trail Crusader, Lakshmi, lists Sandakphu’s local food items.

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Blogs about Sandakphu

The Everest, Kanchenjunga, Lhotse and Makalu are all grandly visible from the Sandakphu trail! Experience this picturesque trek through these blog posts.

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A New Year in Sandakphu

Ever since his trek to Sandakphu in March 2015, the image of the Sleeping Buddha haunted Sharat. He came back on the trek again in December to find a different shade to a very familiar trail.

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When a moment turned into a memory

As a trekking organisation, we have witnessed countless cases of Himalayan treks leaving strong impacts on people. Here, Indiahikes trekker Sujit Thakar recollects fond memories from his Sandakphu trek.

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Sandakphu: Seeing the Everest at the horizon

Have you ever been in such a height where the sun begins to rise from below you? On a trek where one foot is in a different country than the other? That’s Sandakphu for you.

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The Sandakphu-phalut Trail Map indiahikes
The Sandakphu-phalut Trail Map

How to get to Base Camp- Jaubhari

NJP → Jaubhari

Jaubhari is an extremely pretty, quiet village in West Bengal 2.5  km after Maneybhanjan. Maneybhanjan is the usual start to Sandakphu trek. From Maneybhajan taxi stand, 2 roads fork out, upper road leads to Sandakphu and the lower to Jaubhari.

Pick up will be arranged from NJP to Jaubhari for a cost of Rs 2,800 per vehicle. This cost will be shared by fellow trekkers in the vehicle.

Regular buses are available at Bagdogra airport which drop at Darjeeling Chowk in Siligudi and charge only Rs. 20/- From Darjeeling Chowk, shared cabs are available for Darjeeling which charge max Rs. 200/-

Pick up from Darjeeling-Club Side Taxi Stand at 12:30pm. The cost of the transport is Rs. 1500 per cab (5-6 seater).

Trekkers taking a flight to Bagdogra Airport need to reach a day prior to the start of the trek. We do not organise airport pick up on the day the trek starts. You can stay overnight at either Silliguri or Darjeeling.

Delhi to NJP

  • 12506 North East Exp ANVT 6.45am – NJP 8.20am
  • 14056 Brahmputra mail DLI 23.40pm – NJP 4.55am

Kolkata to NJP

  • 15959 Kamrup Exp HWH 17.35 – NJP 6.15am
  • 13147 Uttar Banga Exp SDAH 19.35 – NJP 7.00am
  • 12343 Darjiling Mail SDAH 22.05 – NJP 8.00am
  • 13149 KanchanKanaya Exp SDAH 20.30 – NJP 7.30am

More details can be found on www.indianrail.gov.in


 Getting back

Sepi → Darjeeling/Siliguri

The trek ends at Sepi. Indiahikes can also arrange for transport from Sepi to Siliguri/Darjeeling at additional cost. It will take approximately 6 hours to Siliguri and 3 1/2 hours to Darjeeling.

IMPORTANT In case you are booking return tickets for the same day, it is advisable to book tickets for flights/trains/buses that leave post 9 pm.

Here is what our trekkers have to say about the trek!

“I had a bittersweet experience with the trek. The trek itself, and the way it was handled by the team, was just fabulous. However I had to cut it short due to a sprained ankle, and it caused me a lot of grief to leave it half way. On this point I would like to commend the way my trek leader (Dushyant) helped me deal with the situation. Not only did he provide me with medical assistance, he walked with me for a long time and kept my mind off the pain. He has a wonderful capability of making small talk without it being boring. So overall I had an absolutely great time and will definitely choose India hikes for future treks.
On other accounts also, the trek was good. The planning was meticulous and the guides were really friendly. I have memories of Buddha Bhaiya and Subhash and Gopal Bhaiya and Geet (the assistant trek lead) to cherish for a long time to come.” –Shailja Agarwal, batch of November 2016

“It was an amazing and unforgettable trek for me because of a lot of reasons. I found so many friends in this trek and learnt a lot about trekking. So I have lot of memories that I can share with my folks. I enjoyed every minute of my trek; The trek was filled with so many emotions. From now, I will be going on treks with Indiahikes alone.” –Phanindra Kumar, batch of October 2016

“The Trek was just amazing,the care taken by Indianhikes is just so adorable..Would love to do more treks with Indiahikes.” –Vinod Varma, batch of October 2016

“I’ve learned to be a stronger person both mentally and physically. I’ve started interacting more with people after coming back. It takes nothing from you but it makes you richer from inside as a human, a nature’s creation.” –Sayantani Ash, batch of May 2016

“I loved the trek – the trail, the people I met, the way it was conducted. Though not seeing the Everest was a minor disappointment but I was expecting that in April. I would like to put a word here for the core India Hikes team for the trek, from Prathima to Ankit, to Buddha, Subhash and also Schering. I think all of you were wonderfully warm people. The competence and local knowledge of the core team also inspired confidence. And i will never forget the wonderful birthday celebration you guys made possible for me at Kalpokhri. It was totally unexpected, and extremely heart-warming.
I would recommend Indiahikes because they are competent, professional,have good ties with the locals and also very cost effective – I would say fabulous value for money”.-Shailja Singh, batch of April 2016

“I absolutely and thoroughly enjoyed the trek. This was my first time trekking with Indiahikes  and I was highly impressed with your professionalism and how well things were managed. I felt everything went smoothly and even if there were any problems, the trekkers didn’t have to really worry about it.
About the trail itself, Sandakphu trek was absolutely divine  with its dense ever green forests, looming mountains and strange misty fogs. The beauty of the trek cannot be over stated . Although I am a tad bit disappointed to have not seen Mount Everest, but the Kangchenjunga sighting thanks to Budda ji did ease the pain a little. Personal highlights of this 6 day long arduous trek would be-
1) making it to the Sandakphu summit (the highest point of the trek)
2) playing cricket 10,000 ft above the ground !!
3) entire group cosying up in the lunch room at Sabargram, while the hail storm hit relentlessly on the outside.
4) eating momos and pasta at gorkhey village, at which point my heart failed cause of happiness overload
5) euphoric moment that we all felt when we found out missing lamb. The hospitality of the lodge owners will be appreciated and remembered. Shout out to Subhash bhai, Shering bhai and Buddha ji, who were absolute gems , always ready to help out and guide, and their patience and knowledge of the trail, made it a pleasurable experience for us. A big thanks to Ankit and Prathima , who were fantastic trek leaders. Thank you for being there at all time, I mean literally 24×7 and for taking such extraordinary efforts to make sure that the group remains safe and taken care of at all times. Kudos to Indiahikes for organising such a wonderful trek, and I hope this is my first of many more to come.”-Anirudh Shetty, batch of April 2016

“The trek per-say was marvellous, the weather though played a bit foul. But then I think that was the best thing to happen ever as we saw some sights which we would have other wise missed. I could pay attention to some details of the landscape which I would have missed if i had majestic sights of the Sleeping Buddha at every turn. The management was excellent. All praises for Ravi and his team, Worth mentioning are efforts of Subhash and his galley team for the lovely and mouth watering food. My special regards to the Lady of the tea house at Goth (near Sandakphu), what lovely Chowmein, and Gulabjamuns we had! Never did I have such delicious and soft Chowmein in my life till then! Not to forget the guide GK jee and John!
Loved the stretch from Sandakphu to Phalut, nice and windy with some best views we had on the trek.
I would certainly recommend IH to fellow trekkers. I find the management of the treks by IH very thoughtful. Attention has been paid to smaller details, on the needs and wants of the trekkers. This was my second trek with IH and I noticed that safety of the group has always been given due importance by the trek leaders and guides.”-Milind Tambe, batch of April 2016

“The trek was amazing, first two days were cloudy and bit gloomy, suddenly it was sunny on third day and entire landscape changed, it was beautiful and pleasant sight, we got a clear view of Sleeping Buddha and Mt.Everst at Sandakphu and Goat, we later moved to Phalut and the village of Gorkhey was amazing. The arrangements (Food, Stay, Cabs) were really good, thanks to team (Ravi, GD, John). I would recommend Indiahikes because they have well thought treks and trek routes, co-operative staff/team.”-Bharat Prasad S, batch of April 2016 

“It was my first trek and a very memorable one. Thanks to our wonderful trek leader Mr.Ravi who ensured everything was perfect.The breakfast,lunch and the dinners including the arrangements at the homestays was superb. Indiahikes makes everyone feel at home.”-Dharmananda Banai, batch of April 2016

“The trek was a wonderful experience and I loved every part of it. Indiahikes is not a company but a community. They share a lot and allow sharing. Conducting treks is incidental and even that is setup with utmost care. Kudos to the entire team from bangalore to all the cooks and staff all the way.” –Jayanth, batch of April 2016

“Now that I have returned to my ‘regular’ life at lower altitudes, it is difficult to not reminisce about the mountains and forests of Sandakphu. I was apprehensive about doing an organized trek with a large group, but all those doubts evaporated the moment I met the trekkers and especially the Indiahikes trek team. While everyone will repeat ad nauseam about how amazing the Indiahikes staff were, there really is no other choice! Ankit, the trek leader, was professional, very friendly, funny and was ever willing to share his vast experiences and stories. The trek staff (Gajen the guide, Subhash the cook and Surja the ‘sweeper’ + the mule handlers) were ever-smiling, extremely hard working and took care of us like their own family. Their never-ending repertoire of Nepali songs were just the icing on the cake. Copious amount of hot, piping homely food in those difficult mountain terrain (including poha for breakfast!) were a pleasant surprise. I am definitely looking forward to my next trek with Indiahikes.
Indiahikes was very professional right from the time i sent an inquiry about the trek to Sandakphu. The trek was superbly organized, with a camaraderie-like feel throughout the 7 days. Add to it the Green Trails initiative and some of the other amazing work being done at the base camp at Jaubhari village, and what you have is a professional set-up with a deep concern for the ecology they operate in.”-Rishi Shankar, batch of March 2016

Prithvi Chandra,  from 27th March 2016 batch writes: I absolutely loved every bit of the trek. I witnessed some exhilarating views, met brilliant people and learned so much more on the way. As Indiahikes rightly put it, Sandakphu is the holy grail of Indian trekking. It just has to be done. Indiahikes is doing a great job at the Eco friendly front too. The trekking trails are impeccably clean- just how they are supposed to be. Indiahikes is doing whatever it takes to restore the beauty of our pride- the Himalayas.
Indiahikes is a highly organised and an extremely efficient trekking community. I couldn’t think of going on treks with any other group but Indiahikes.

“We had a TERRIFIC trek. Everything went off so smoothly.Walks seemed never ending but in retrospect it was fantastic. Our trek leader Ankit was a wonder man…A young guy but was in total control of everything..We had a proper briefing daily and he made sure he checked on each one of us…Indiahikes you are lucky to have this guy in your team. Our special thanks to the ground staff Gajendra, Subhash, John and the others…they always made sure that the trekkers were comfortable.We loved the home stays too.
Thank you once again IH for a memorable trek…am planning the next one soon.”-Simran Gupta, batch of March 2016 

“Just wanted to convey my heartfelt admiration and warmest thanks to Ankit and all his wonderful team for taking us through this long and arduous trek without any mishaps and with pure enjoyment!
About our TL: With a good sense of humour and the most infectious smile, his straightforward, cool and calm temperament draws people to him.He revels being in the mountains and in the company of the hardy mountain folk.  He is highly knowledgeable about the various cultures of North Eastern India. He is committed to delivering a high value customer experience and would go to any length to ensure that.
Thanks to Ankit, his support staff,Sandakphu and the fabulous group members, I have to say this was just one of the most memorable treks ever.. Exotic views, wonderful friendships, able TL,,ever gracious and helpful staff, all made the experience so much fun and easier and our entire group really loved the trek with the most sylvan surroundings we could ever hope to see. We recommend it to everyone.”-Shubha, batch of March 2016 

“I loved the entire trek – the teahouses, the tents, the people and the trek staff. The view from Sabhargram was phenomenal!
I would recommend Indiahikes because they are very efficient and offer very well packaged treks.”-Shourav, batch of March 2015

“If you’re doing the Sandakphu & Phalut trek, then be prepared to deal with awesomeness and anticipation. Lots of them. Cross your fingers! All throughout your day there’ll be sunrise views, sunset views, mid-day views- everyday on the entire trek. In the distant horizon there is the sculpted-to-perfection Sleeping Buddha with the imposing Kanchenjunga as its centrepiece and Pandim at its fag end. On another side there is the distant Everest with its neighbours Makalu and Lhotse. And then there are the Three Sisters and countless others to wow you further. While the reputations of the famous peaks precede them and it’s a satisfying experience to finally see them, there is a thrill like no other in getting introduced to the other less famous peaks for the first time. There are those precious moments which one cannot get enough of- when the skies brighten up, the fog settles down, the clouds disperse and the peaks reveal themselves in all their glory. You believe it only if you see it!
The trails are worth every bit of the effort they put you through. Rewarding and tiring, all at the same time- grassy meadows and stony paths. It’s a pleasure walking through the dense forest trails of the Singalila National Park, spotting all kinds of birds. The forests abound with pines, bamboos and other Himalayan trees. Apart from the blooming magnolias and rhododendrons that dot the paths there are beautiful wildflowers sprinkled all around. Such a riot of colours!
At the end of the long hikes one wishes to rest for the night in a nice spot and get good food and hot beverages. I remember specifically well each of our teahouses and campsites at Jaubhari, Tumling, Kalipokhiri, Sandakphu Goat, Sabargram, and finally Gorkhey. At some places we had the luxury of fireplaces and at others we lit bonfires. Swell, ain’t it! Personally, the memories I bring back from this trek are twofold: first, the conversations we had and antics we did together as a group and second, the thrill of being all alone in the wilderness, soul-stirring music playing in the background, clicking macro-shots of flowers. Beat that! Finally, Phalut top deserves a special mention for what it is, how it is and where it is. Somethings are best left unsaid, rather it’s better to experience them firsthand. It came as a complete surprise to me and surely for everyone else who were there with me. Phalut, you beauty!”-Soumyajit Pradhan, batch of March 2016 

“The trek in whole was a beautiful trek with lots of view of mountains, clouds, lakes, dense forests, meadows and twilight. It would be difficult to point just one section. This trek is a blend of almost everything any trek could have. Experiencing different weather, different types of accommodation, walking through different types of trails and plateaus. The view of Kanchenjunga and its adjacent peaks gets better and better as we come closer and closer day by day.  Beautiful sunset can be viewed between range of mountains and clouds and can be beautifully captured in time lapse mode and as a Silhouette.
I would recommend Indiahikes for its safety standards.”-Jai Gupta, batch of March 2016

“The length of the trek made it more a test of endurance than skill/technique. But the wildlife in Singalila National Park, the green/dense forest cover post Phalut and the magnificent views of the four peaks made it enjoyable.
I would recommend Indiahikes because of the facilities in tents/tea houses; emphasis on keeping the mountains clean and the professionalism of the coordinator & THE TREK LEADER all combine to ensure a smooth sailing & pleasant experience.”-Aditya Avasare, batch of March 2016 

“I have been trekking with Indiahikes since it was formed. It has always been great experience for me with the way the treks are planned, organized and continuous improvements incorporated. (Introduction of sleeping bag liner was a good idea). Specifically, on this trek, I would like to appreciate Ravi, who was our trek leader. His knowledge, resourcefulness, great attitude…on the whole great leadership. The trek route especially through the forest was fantastic.
Indiahikes is very passionate about treks. It has a passionate team who not only organize great treks but also want to share and expand  trekking in India. They also care for nature through their Green Trail drive.”-Chandrasekhar G, batch of March 2016 

“The trek was more beautiful than expected and it is organised very well. Trek leaders and supporting team have done a great job! It is professionally organised and takes care of participant’s health, comfort and safety etc., So i would recommend Indiahikes to my friends as well.”-K Ramesh Nath, batch of March 2016

“The best thing about the trek was the Kangchenjunga range view, sunrise and sunsets and Singalila National Park.
I would recommend Indiahikes for the overall perfection in organising the trek, food, simple things like giving fleece liners.” – Sandeep Suresh, batch of March 2016

“My trek with Indiahikes has been stupendous. Going alone for a trek ( my first escapade ) was undoubtedly one of the best decisions I took of late.
My journey through the woods, Climbing the rocky terrain, the cosy villages on the way, the breathtaking sightseeing, the majestic view of the Sleeping Buddha and above all the terrific support team (Uttam, John and Tsering) and a very well informed trek leader (Ankit Naithani) of Indiahikes made my expedition extraordinary.
The Sandakphu trek for sure has left me spellbound.
Thank you Indiahikes! I am coming soon for another trek for sure!”-Parul Mehra, batch of March 2016 

“The best thing about the trek is the tea house experience and Gorkhey village. With Indiahikes, you don’t need a reason. Above par hospitality, above par expertise, and no compromises.”-Nikhilesh Bachwani, batch of March 2016

“There are many things I loved about the trek- can’t list one. Tea house stay and interaction with their owners, picturesque view, walking amidst clouds and first experience of hailstorm at Meghma, mind-boggling view of sun rays on Everest and Sleeping Buddha, company of birds, rhodos and trek mates, charming Gorkhey village, drive from Sepi to Darjeeling and spotting of Khalij pheasant and wild boars, good-natured guides, composed, friendly and knowledgeable trek leader.
This was my first trek with India Hikes. I liked the combination of professionalism and friendliness displayed by Indiahikes staff throughout the trek.”-Rakhi Amarrnani, batch of March 2016

“There are many ‘best things’: a chance to witness sunrise in the company of four of world’s tallest peaks, the walk through super dense bamboo forest, tea house treks and many more. I’d recommend this trek for its amazing views!”-Dev, batch of March 2016

“The best thing about the trek was the grand views of the tallest mountains, the flora (many never-seen pretty flowers), the thrill of walking through a variety of jungles (amidst bamboos creaking, bird calls and lookout for red-panda).
Indiahikes support staff was amazing. Their enthusiasm and energy is partly the reason we could take on long rather difficult days.”-Hemanth S Kumar, batch of March 2016 

“The Majestic Kangchenjunga Peak which was visible all along the trail on most of the days. Each day we walked closer to the peak and we were awed by its sheer magnificence.
IH was like a friend on the trek. They planned the trek very well. Be it food, the Green Trail or the timely aid for all the problem one faced in the trek. The trek leaders were friendly and encouraged us to enjoy the nature while they took care of all the logistics.”-Sailesh Vasa, batch of March 2016

“The view of the majestic mysterious auspicious giant Mt.Everest is one experience that goes down with you till your final resting place…it would NEVER go out from memory!
Indiahikes is very professional and well organized!”-Vikash Shaw, batch of March 2016

“The breath taking views of magnificent peaks of Everest and Kangchenjunga complimented by the Sleeping Buddha profile.
I would recommend Indiahikes to my friends as Indiahikes is more organised and structured as compared to the other organizations. They not only focus on creating an overall experience for the trekkers but also pay heed towards environmental factors.”-Akanksha Chauhan, batch of March 2016

“The best thing about the trek was the views of Kangchenjunga, Everest and the campsites.
Indiahikes is very well organised! For an amateur, there isn’t any need to worry.”-Suraj Sreenath, batch of March 2016

“The best thing about the trek was its excellent base camp, beautiful trails, thick forest trails, remote monasteries, trekking amidst breathtaking Singalila National park, steep hike to Sandakphu peak, trek in the morning covered with thick fog/mist trails, occasional snow covered trails between Sandakphu and Molley and amazing scenaries at Gorkhey village.
I would recommend Indiahikes for its trek leader and his team’s excellent services, healthy food, tents/huts at beautiful locations, narrating special features of trails, places, peaks etc., by well informed trek leaders/local guides, pre and post trek info system including travel arrangement from railway station to base camp and back, photo contest, inviting blogs from trekkers and excellent documentation of several treks in Himalayas.”-Guruprasad Halkurike, batch of February 2016

“The best thing about this trek was trekking in different climatic conditions like snowfall,thick fog,ghastly winds and in different terrains like forest,mountainous slopes with beautiful scenery etc. I would recommend Indiahikes for its excellent guides and a gentleman trek leader.”-K Venkanna Acharya, batch of February 2016 

“This was my first trek and it was a wonderful lifetime experience to see nature from so close. I walked through dense forests of Singalila National Park which was very beautiful and adventurous.I witnessed snowfall at Tumling and first view of Kangchenjunga which makes me mesmerized and excited.The best part of the journey was the way from Kalapokhri to Sandakphu where I saw blankets of mystique snow and was feeling restless to jot down the experience.
I would recommend Indiahikes for its trek leaders and team. They were very friendly and co-operative.”-Nirupma Singh, batch of February 2016 

“The best thing about the trek was the experience of all types of trekking i.e deep forest, rough trail, green meadow, snow path, steep ascents, steep descents, fantastic view of Kangchenjunga and Everest family of mountains. the trek was professionally managed with a small group consisting of decent trekkers from across the country.”-Ramesh B V, batch of February 2016 

“The best thing about the trek was its versatility . It offers the breathtaking experience of viewing the mighty peaks, the pure solace of walking through the rich biodiverse evergreen forests, the long alpine meadows and along with natures surprises, it showers on you the hospitality and simplicity of the happy and modest mountain folks.
I would recommend Indiahikes for its perfect arrangement of trek – food accommodation route etc.”-Kasturi Sule, batch of February 2016

“Sleeping Buddha is the best attraction of Sandakphu trek. From Tumling to Phalut, beauty of Sleeping Buddha amazed me. It’s attraction is different during sunrise, daytime, sunset, night time. I strongly recommend this trek to everybody who loves trekking. At least once in your lifetime, visit Sandakphu and enjoy the beauty of Kangchenjunga.
Organization, accommodation and food are the three basic things that you need to consider before going to a trek. In my opinion, Indiahikes covers all the basic things perfectly. The second reason to trek with Indiahikes is diversified trekking options. So, I always recommend Indiahikes for trekking.”-Subhashis Pal, batch of February 2016 

“If talking about the best, nothing can beat the feeling at the campsite in Sandakphu. The night was so beautiful, the sky was full of glorious stars. The thing that came to my mind at that very moment was how would I ever be able to explain this beauty to anyone. Hell no.. I can’t explain it… it has to be experienced.
Indiahikes has a well trained and supportive team which gives you proper advice throughout the trek… they can also be a little flexible to add the fun element to the trek.”-Ujjwal Kumar, batch of February 2016 

“The best thing about the trek is the view of the top four mountains as well as the amazing forests that we move through. The beauty of the trail is mesmerizing.  It’s a great trek for beginners as we mostly stay in tea houses.”-Siddharth Chatterjee, batch of February 2016

“There are so many good things about it that it is actually difficult to choose one. The best part of the trek would be the view from highest point on Sandakphu and that long 21kms trek to Phalut.
Indiahikes’s arrangements for accommodation, food were really good. The trek leaders, guides, sweepers were all really cooperative and lastly, not to forget the ground coordinators who kept a continuous check on us all the time.”-Sundaram Shakti Shashank, batch of February 2016 

“The best thing about the trek was the view of Big Four from Phalut and runner up is the green-white mix of Singalila national park resembling Narnia.
I would recommend Indiahikes for its balance between comfort and adventure plus its green initiatives.”-Padmanava Sen, batch of January 2016 

“The sheer beauty of going through different climates in one single trek tests your endurance. Rainy for a while, bright sunshine sometime later and when you are at 9000+ ft, the white belt of snow mesmerizes your senses. The view of four of the five highest peaks in the world at Sandakphu and Phalut will make you forget all worldly pleasures.
The trek leads are a great company and make you feel really comfortable.”-Shreyans Jain, batch of January 2016 

“The best thing about the trek was the view of the Sleeping Buddha as we trek, the beautiful snow in winter looking like pristine white flowers on the barks of the trees.
I would recommend Indiahikes for the fantastic arrangements with great attention to detail, for the Green Trails pledge, and for ensuring that everybody finishes the trek fatter than they were when they began the trek!”-Anil Bagri, batch of January 2016 

“The best thing about the Sandakphu trek was the snow. It was my first winter trek and I still recall the cold crisp air, the wavering path to the icy top and hot black tea near the fireplace. The group I was with was an interesting and diverse lot. There are some truly wonderful memories that I shall carry with me forever.
I can give several reasons but if you like dessert after dinner you know you have made the right choice in going with Indiahikes.”-Aneesha Bhadri, batch of January 2016

“The best thing about this trek was its amazing natural beauty which even words cannot express. I was lucky to be with a good group and the young management of Indiahikes.”-Kaushik Shantilal Dalal, batch of January 2016 

“The best thing about the trek was the epic view from Sandakphu. All the highest peaks at a glance appears so rich covered with a gold due to sun rays. All along the trek, at every step, we were approaching so close to Sleeping Buddha. Fascinating views at sun rise and sunset. Sunrise at Kalipokhri was a heaven like experience! Clouds over the valley spread as if they are touching the ground. Experience cannot be complete without mentioning about the first snow fall at Sandakphu and the decent walk on fresh white snow.
I would recommend Indiahikes for its good management of the itinerary, best food served and good trek leaders, guide.”-Ridhina Todankar, batch of January 2016 

“The best thing about the trek was the views of the Everest and Kangchenjunga ranges along with two countries India and Nepal playing hide-n-seek with us.
I would recommend Indiahikes for it’s complete & all-round help towards every trekker, making the trek altogether easy, light and enjoyable.”-Ankan Hore, batch of January 2016

“The best thing about the trek was its sunsets and the possibility of witnessing snowfall at Sepi (I guess I was lucky enough). The beautiful village of Gorkhey and the (obvious best thing) view of the mountains (Everest and Kangchenjunga).”-Ritu Pant, batch of December 2015

“Hot lunch on the way during the trek in small tea houses was an amazing experience. I loved the camp sites as well, specially the forest guest house on the last day.
Indiahikes gives me the feeling of being at home as I have done most my treks with them :)”-Dr Sunita Kolke, batch of December 2015 

“The view of the four tallest mountains is a treat to the eye!
I have done way too many treks with Indiahikes and now it feels like family. There is a comfort level.”-Shanthala Srinivas, batch of December 2015 

“The best thing about this trek was the awesome view, awesome people and culture, beautiful nature.
You just need to pack your bag and leave everything on IndiaHikes.”-Apeksha Raut, batch of November 2015 
(Read more about Apeksha’s experience here)

“Of course, the best thing about the trek was the view of four of the highest mountains of the world and if you are a wildlife lover, you will love the trek through Singalila National Park as well. It is magnificent.
Indiahikes is well organised, provides great food and is very professional.”-Sanhita Mukherjee, batch of November 2015 

“The best thing about the trek is the fact that one can see four of the world’s five tallest peaks and the trail runs back and forth between India and Nepal.
Indiahikes treks are well organised and well documented.”-Sanchita Chatterjee, batch of November 2015 

“Well I did the Sandakphu trek twice with Indiahikes. First it was in April when the full trail is covered with rhododendron flowers. Though I couldn’t get clear views of the mountains because of cloudy weather but the pink trail gave me immense joy.
The second time I visited Sandakphu during November. This time the grand view of sleeping Buddha, Everest and other mountain ranges was mesmerizing. Also the stretch from Sandakphu to Phalut is very scenic and beautiful…
So to sum up my experience the Sandakphu-Phalut trek will always remain special for me because it was my first trek and it made mountains my second home!
I would recommend Indiahikes for the facilities offered during the trek!”-Wriju Bhaduri, batch of November 2015 

“The best thing about the trek is the stunning views of the highest mountains in the world and the opportunity to visit remote villages on the borders of India and Nepal.
I would recommend Indiahikes as they were well organised and professional, created a great atmosphere on the trek and the food was great!”-Eleni Maria Nikolaidou, batch of November 2015

“The best thing about the trek- What else other than the beauty of great Mt Everest!!!! And the stunning view of entire Sleeping Buddha rage.
The entire trek was very well planned and organised. Accommodation, food etc was fairly good. Guides were having adequate knowledge and were helpful as well. If you are not a professional trekker, Indiahikes may be a good choice.”-Akhil Balagopalan, batch of October 2015 

“Well, the best thing about the trek is that is an all in one. You get spectacular views of the three peaks, and in the right season also get to see plains carpeted with Rhododendrons in full bloom. You get to do some steep climbs, and also get to do tranquil ridge walks. You get to walk on some barren stretches and you also get to go through dense forests – and if you’re lucky – spot a red panda or two. Most importantly, it is a very accessible trek, and makes an excellent one if you are new to trekking, but won’t disappoint avid trekkers also. So as I said- All in one. The most spectacular stretch of the trek is the one between Sandakphu & Phalut, for two reasons. First – you finally lose the jeep trail. The tourists that load up on the land rovers from Siliguri do not venture in this part, so it is much more pristine and untouched. Secondly, it is a largely horizontal walk over ridges & valleys, and you get to witness some of the greatest sights you can possibly see in the himalayas. And you alternate between ridges & valleys, walking through the green meadows that you usually see on calendars.
I would recommend Indiahikes for its professionalism. At no point we felt we were in the hands of amateurs. Our guides knew the terrain like the back of their hands, kept us well fed & dry throughout the hike and fulfilled all our annoying demands throughout the trip, without ever losing that smile on their face. One of us fell ill and had to abandon the trek before the last day, and one of the guides accompanied him to the roadhead. We knew we were in good hands.” – Rajdeep Bhattacharya, batch of April 2015 

“The best thing about the trek was view of four mesmerizing mountain peaks,scenic trail,rhododendrons and small water bodies along the way.
I would recommend Indiahikes for a very helping staff on and off field. Indiahikes makes you feel safe and secure at every point of trek.
If you are going with guide Budha then you are very lucky. Budha will do anything to make your trek comfortable and memorable. I celebrated my birthday at Sandakphu last year. When we reached Sandakphu, it was raining heavily and was very cold. By dinnertime, Budha managed to get a homemade rawa cake with very typical homemade icing on it. He didn’t forget to write my name on it with jam😊….this BIG gesture of his made my trek unforgettable.”-Aarti Kalode, batch of April 2015

“The best thing about this trek is the fantastic view of Kangchenjunga!
I would recommend Indiahikes because they are punctual, authentic and cost-effective.”-Jimmy John Manimalatharappel, batch of April 2015

“The best things about this trek was that it is easy as a first trek and for the majestic view of the Sleeping Buddha.
Indiahikes staff are helpful and they take care of every participants properly, making the trek a memorable one.”-Arka Mukherjee, batch of April 2015

“This trek gave us an opportunity to see the highest peak in the world very close with a trail which is easy.
I would recommend Indiahikes for the service. The people working in Indiahikes are friendly and knowledgeable.”-Pranavsrivan, batch of April 2015 

“This trek made me test my maximum endurance. It has extreme wind with low temperatures. The top class views on this trek made it a memorable one.
I would recommend Indiahikes because they are reliable, not money minded.They also have a good trek leader and safety standards.”-Ganesh Rangaswamy, batch of March 2015 

“The best thing about the trek was the view of the top four peaks of the world, different terrain, moving in and out of Nepal and beautiful bamboo forests. Indiahikes is very professional with good arrangements for food and stay and experienced guides. IH takes care of you well.”-Ravishankar Angadi, batch of February 2015 

“We did the trek in winter so the experience was more thrilling. The temperature used to be below -10° And yes we saw Sagarmatha(Mt.Everest ) along with Lhotse, Makalu, Kangchenjunga, Bhutan Himalayas. I would say Phalut is much better place than Sandakphu as it gives you closest views of total Himalayan ranges of Nepal, India and the Bhutan Himalayas.
Sandakphu is a great trek as you cover monastery, lake, snow-covered mountains, alpine forest trail, rhododendron are amazing on the trail.
It was good to be a part of Indiahikes trek at Sandakphu-Phalut. Indiahikes gives a great opportunity to people who want to experience real adventure. The Trek leaders are really friendly & caring.”-Tanmay Angre, batch of January 2015

SHORT ITINERARY

Day 1: Getting to base camp- Jaubhari. The pick up from NJP is at 9.30 am. The travel time to Jaubhari is 4-5 hours. The cost of the transport is Rs.3000 per cab (5-6 seater). Pick up from Darjeeling-Club Side Taxi Stand at 12:30pm
Day 2: Jaubhari to Tumling; 11 km, 6-7 hours
Day 3: Tumling to Kalipokhri; 11 km, 7 hours
Day 4: Kalipokhri to Sandakphu; 6 km, 3 hours
Day 5: Sandakphu to Sabargram; 14 km, 6 hours
Day 6: Sabargram to Gorkhey via Phalut; 17 km, 5 hours
Day 7: Gorkhey to Sepi; 15 km, 5 hours. Depart from Sepi. It takes 3 hours to reach Darjeeling from Sepi and 6 hours to reach NJP.

Please note: The stay on the Sandakphu trek is arranged at tea houses. You will be camping in tents on two days (Sabargram and Sandakphu)

sandakphu

Click here to view the Trail Map

What Other Trekkers Are Saying About Sandakphu Phalut Trek

“I loved every moment of the trek! The route was beautiful and I got to see a variety of landscapes, ranging from near bare mountains with dry shrubbery to thick forests. I felt the trek was organised very thoughtfully, with every little detail addressed.”

– Sneha Rao

 

 

“I liked the trek because it gave me a chance to see what would not be possible if I went by a vehicle. The interaction with local people, the joy of walking with fellow trekkers, the anticipation of what’s to come at the next bend, all made the trek very special.”

– Shayak Raychaudhuri

 

 

“The trek was a great learning experience. The view was great on Day 2 and the walk through the forests was a different experience. Got to meet different types of people and got to know how people live in the mountains.”

– Asmita Poddar

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