Sandakphu Trek

Sandakphu Trek Overview

Sandakphu trek is one of the exceptional treks in the world that has a vantage point for a group of peaks at 8000 meters. When you look on the left side of Sandakphu, you will find clusters of Everest, like Mount Makalu, Mount Lhotse, and Mount Everest. On your right, you will spot the third highest peak in the world with its family of peaks, named Mount Kanchenjunga. Hence, the Sandakphu unleashes gorgeous panoramic views of the four tallest mountain peaks in the world, forming the structure of the sleeping Buddha with these 8000-meter peaks.

Popularly known as the Trekker’s Wonderland, the trail of the Sandakphu trek goes through the Singalila National Park, which is a biodiversity hotspot for innumerable rare and difficult-to-sight bird species and the Red Panda. This trek also allows you to witness the gorgeous beauty of blooming rhododendrons, spruce, giant magnolias, and a vast array of astonishing orchids.

An interesting thing about the Sandakphu trek is that you will be switching borders between India and Nepal, making the entire experience even more unique. Thus, the Sandakphu trek is a moderate trek that is ideal for both beginners and professional trekkers alike, offering a splendid display of landscapes and scenery.

Quick Facts of Sandakphu Trek

Maximum altitude: 11930 feet

Grade: Easy to Moderate

Duration: 6 days

Trekking distance: 44 kilometers

Trail type: A cross over trail starting from Manebhanjan or Chitrey and ending at Srikhola

Rail head: New Jalpaiguri (NJP)

Airport: Bagdogra

Snow Season: November to March

Base camp: Kopidana

Best season: November to March (winter trek) and September to November (autumn trek)

Region: West Bengal

Who can participate:- People above 10 years of age- Beginners can apply, but previous trekking experience is highly appreciated.- The trekkers must have enough stamina to cover a distance of at least 5 kilometers in just 30 minutes.- Must be fit and able to carry a backpack of around 10 to 15 kilograms.

Short Itinerary for Sandakphu Trek

  • Day 1 - New Jalpaiguri - Manebhanjan
  • Day 2 - Manebhanjan - Tumling
  • Day 3 - Tumling - Kalapokhri
  • Day 4 - Kalapokri - Sandakhphu
  • Day 5 - Sandakphu - Srikhola
  • Day 6- Return to New Jalpaiguri

Sandakphu Trek Detailed Itinerary

Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4
Day 5
Day 6

Arrive at New Jalpaiguri and Drive to Manebhanjan / Chitrey

  • The journey to the Sandakphu trek begins with your pickup from the New Jalpaiguri railway station at 10 am and driving to the base camp in Manebhanjan. It is an uphill drive of about 110 kilometers, which will take you about four hours.

  • On your drive to Manebhanjan, you will pass through the foothills of the Eastern Himalayas (also known as Dooars).

  • You will notice that the altitude starts increasing slowly and gradually.

  • The trekkers will find a steep road with multiple hairpin bends on the last two kilometers from Manebhanjan to Chitrey.

  • Reach the hilltop and check in for a night's accommodation in a lodge or dormitory. All the fundamental mobile networks work relatively well here.

  • Have your dinner and rest for the day.

Manebhanjan to Tumling

  • Wake up and lace up your trekking shoes to start walking towards one of the spectacular peaks in the Singalila Range named Tumling.

  • On your way to Tumling, you will be astonished to see the attraction views along the way and capture the beautiful moments along with compelling landscapes in your camera as a token of remembrance to cherish down memory lane.

  • The trail is very clear until you reach Meghma, where you start gaining altitude.

  • It is completely normal to see the posting of Parliamentary camps of SSB (Sashastra Seema Bal) along the Sandakphu trek route as it defines the border between India and Nepal.

Singalila National Park, Trek to Kalapokhri

  • Start your trek early in the morning to Kalapokhri, covering a distance of about 9 kilometers in just five hours.

  • On your way, you will discover and explore the eye-catching beauty of nature while passing through the Sangilila National Park.

  • When you cross through the Sangilila National Park, you will enter a dense forest that will take you to the jeep road after taking various shortcuts. You will gain altitude at every short distance to Kalapokhri.

  • If you go on the Sandakphu trek during the spring and summer seasons, you will encounter plenty of vibrant blooming rhododendrons.

  • During the end part of your day trek, you will find a small pond on your left, which is known as Kalapokhri.

  • Go for an overnight sleep in the trekker’s hut in Kalapokhri.

Trek to Sandakphu Peak

  • Day 4 is the climax of the Sandakphu trek. On this day, you will be trekking to the highest peak of West Bengal, Sandakphu.

  • This part of the trek is in Nepal, and the Indian road connects Nepal from the different sides of the mountain. On your left, you will find a tea stall, and a forest check post is situated on the right.

  • Here, the road diverges into two, and the newly constructed road in Nepal on your left takes a little longer to reach Sandakphu. However, we will follow the straight road and initiate climbing.

  • While climbing, you can relish the gorgeous mountain peaks of Mount Everest and Mount Kanchenjunga. The scenic forests underneath these mountains also leave you awestruck with their natural beauty.

  • By the time you reach the top of the Sandakphu, the sun will start to set, and you can behold the sight of the golden sunset over the sky.

  • Reach the summit of the Sandakphu and enjoy an overnight sleep for the day in the trekker’s hut.

Sandakphu to Srikhola via Gurdum Village

  • Rise up from bed early in the morning to catch the mesmerizing views of the sunrise. If you take this trek during the fall and winter seasons, it will be extremely cold in the mornings, and you will experience harsh winds blowing directly from the side of Mount Kanchenjunga.

  • You can locate the giant Kanchenjunga massif along with Pandim on the right and Jannu (Kumbhakarna) on the left. It is the place that was formerly known as the formation of the sleeping Buddha.

  • Have a healthy breakfast and prepare yourself for the descent.

  • After breakfast, start the descending trek from Sandakphu to Srikhola.

  • In the first half of the descending part of the Sandakphu trek, walk down the hill to Gurdum Village, where you will reach in about five hours.

  • After traveling for more than two hours, you will reach Srikhola.

  • Rest for the day in Srikhola.

Return to New Jalpaiguri

  • Day 6 is officially the last day of the Sandakphu trek. Wake up early in the morning and drive through twisting and turning roads, and reach New Jalpaiguri.

  • Your memorable journey to Sandakphu ends here. You can now head back to your home with a bag full of remarkable memories of the Sandakphu mountain.

What to Pack for Sandakphu Trek?

Basic Gear
Personal Utensils
Foot Gears
Personal Medical Kit
  • 50 to 60 liters backpack with comfortable shoulder straps and rain cover
  • 20 to 30 liters day pack and rain cover (if you hire a mule or porter)
  • Personal medical kit after consultation from the doctor
  • At least one walking stick
  • 2 water bottles of one liter each or 1 hydration pack and 1 water bottle along with at least one thermos flask
  • Snacks, like dry fruits, energy bars, and electoral.
  • 1 down feather or hollofil jacket
  • 1 fleece jacket or a woolen sweater
  • 1 fleece T-shirt
  • 1 pair of fleece or wool gloves
  • 1 pair of thermal inners (both inner and upper)
  • 2 synthetic trek pants (avoid shorts, capris, and fitting denim)
  • 1 pair of waterproof gloves
  • 1 pair of wind and waterproof jacket and pant
  • 1 pair of Windstopper pant
  • Antibacterial powder
  • Toothpaste and toothbrush
  • Quick dry towel
  • Toilet paper and wipes
  • Sunscreen cream
  • Moisturizer
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Lip balm
  • Head Gear:
  • Head torch
  • Neck-gaiters
  • Balaclava (optional)
  • Woolen cap
  • Dark and UV-protected sunglasses with side cover (People who wear spectacles can use contact lenses or photo chromatic glasses)
  • 5 pairs of cotton socks
  • 1 pair of floaters or flip-flops (optional)
  • 1 pair of gaiters
  • 1 pair of waterproof high-ankle trekking shoes with good grip
  • 3 pairs of woolen socks.
  • 4 tablets of Avomine for motion sickness
  • 5 tablets of Combiflam for pain relief
  • 1 strip of Diamox for acute mountain sickness
  • 4 tablets of Digene for undigested food
  • 5 tablets of Dolo 650 for fever and mild pain
  • 6 packs of ORS for replenishing essential salts lost while trekking
  • Knee brace for a knee injury (optional)

General Trivia About Sandakphu Trek

  • Sandakphu is the most culturally rich trek as you get a chance to observe the local culture very closely.

  • When you stay in the tea houses on the Sandakphu trek, you can witness the lifestyle, cooking, and a lot more of the local people.

  • Bamboo shoot pickles are the favorite of all the tourists and trekkers who go on the Sandakphu trek.

  • You will find the aesthetic designs and vibrant colors on the houses of the people along the Sandakphu trek in the Samanden and Sepi.

  • The people ensure that each tourist or trekker gets a welcoming vibe from the flowers that they display in their homes.

  • Nepal was never conquered by Britishers as they gifted Darjeeling to them out of fear.

  • The people staying in the Nepali region are known as Gorkhas, who generally follow the culture of Buddhism along with the old Tibetan culture.

  • You may find five colored flags in those areas that are regarded as monumental or holy by the local people.

  • The people believe that their prayers are taken to distant places when the wind blows and the flag flutters.

  • The Sandakphu trek is the only trekking experience that allows you to witness four different tallest mountain peaks in the world.

Know Before You Go to Sandakphu Trek

Important Tips for Sandakphu Trek
How to Reach
Best Time to Go

There are plenty of tips that trekkers should keep in mind when going on a Sandakphu trek. These tips not only help them to prepare for the journey but also assists them on their way to the journey. Some of the significant tips that you should keep in consideration when going for a Sandakphu trek are:

  • Plan your travel in such a way that you reach New Jalpaiguri on Day 0 and stay for the night to avoid any delay.

  • Carry a pair of thermal inners if you are more prone to cold as you will need two pairs of clothing to protect yourself from cold.

  • Walk on the concrete road or the trekking trail if you do not want to take the steep downhill walk.

  • Bring a copy of all the essential documents so you can easily pass the security check between the borders of India and Nepal.

  • If you are trekking for the first time, you should walk for about five to six kilometers every day for a month and practice freehand exercises to pass the fitness level.

  • Reach the base camp a day before so you can acclimatize your body according to the prevailing climate.

  • Plan and accumulate everything at least a few days before the Sandakphu trek to avoid last-minute hassles and delays.

  • Wear appropriate trekking shoes that are comfortable and provide good support for walking and climbing the steep slopes of the hills.

  • Take short breaks whenever possible, and do not exhaust yourself.

  • Drink plenty of water and keep your body hydrated at all times.

By Flight- Sandakphu is very well connected to fundamental parts of the country, like Bangalore, Mumbai, Chennai, Pune, and Kolkata, by flight. The trekkers can take a flight to Bagdogra to reach the base camp at New Jalpaiguri or Siliguri. If you are looking for budget-friendly travel, you can take a flight to Kolkata and then get to Bagdogra. It is advisable to book your ticket in such a way that you reach one day before the trek and have room for adjustments if any.

By Train- Alternatively, you can board the train to Kolkata and then travel to New Jalpaiguri. Although the train journey is time-consuming compared to flights, it is the most convenient and pocket-friendly mode of transportation to reach New Jalpaiguri for the Sandakphu trek. You can take Kanchan Kanya Express or Uttar Banga Express to New Jalpaiguri from Sealdah, and it will take you around 11 to 12 hours to reach your ideal destination.

By Bus- Several private and government transportation (NBSTC) operates on this route. You can take Volvo buses from Esplanade in Kolkata to Siliguri, which leaves around 7.30 pm. The cost of the bus journey to New Jalpaiguri may range from INR 850 to INR 1000.

  • Sandakphu trek can be done in almost all seasons, except the rainy season, i.e., between May and August. You can enjoy the new flavors of the trek in every season, starting from the mild snowfall in winter to the energizing golden views of autumn and finally the blossoming magnolias and rhododendrons in the spring. This trek allows you to witness the changing landscapes, the views, and the flora and fauna throughout the season.

  • Spring Season - During the spring season, the Sandakphu trail is embellished with different kinds of flowers that dominate the landscape with red and pink rhododendrons and white magnolias. The blossoming flowers complete the view of the surrounding mountains even during frequent showers that fall down on the trail.

  • Autumn season - Autumn in Sandakphu lasts from the last week of September to November. The views of the mountains are one of the best during this time. During this time, the rain subsides, and the fantastic golden colors during the sunrises and sunsets also make the Sandakphu trek worth trying for once in a lifetime. You can also spot a variety of birds in the national park during the autumn season.

  • Since Sandakphu is renowned for its sunrises and sunsets, the altitude of the Eastern Himalayas and the angle of the sun in winters create a gorgeous canvas for colorful skies at dusk and dawn. Apart from spreading in the sky, the clouds speckle on the ground. You can also experience snowfall during the winter season in Sandakphu.

Why to Go for Sandakphu Trek?

Sandakphu is a must-do trekking experience as it unleashes striking panoramic views of the four tallest mountain peaks in the world. You will witness Mount Everest, Mount Lhotse, Mount Makalu, and Mount Kanchenjunga, which form the fabled ‘Sleeping Buddha Formation’. On this trek, you will get an opportunity to witness a remarkable snowline that ranges from the snow-capped mountain peaks of Nepal spreading across Bhutan and further east in Tibet. The significant highlight of the Sandakphu trek is the sleeping Buddha formation of the peaks. It is also one of the amazing treks that give you an introduction to the rich biodiversity of the region through the Sangilila National Park. The native wildlife and bird species in the park will definitely invoke the naturalists in you. For all these reasons, the Sandakphu trek is an adventure you should not miss!

FAQ's of Sandakphu Trek

How Difficult is the Sandakphu Trek?

The Sandakphu trek is considered to be a moderate trek on the scale of difficulty levels for a variety of reasons. This trek features slightly challenging and uneven trails that reach to the height of more than 11000 feet. The trekking hours on this trek also exceed seven hours a day, and there are only a few exit options. To go on the Sandakphu trek, it is essential for people to have good cardiovascular fitness so they can travel a distance of at least five kilometers in just 30 minutes.

The best part of the Sandakphu trek is that it does not have any technical or tricky sections, which makes it a great trekking experience for both beginners and seasoned trekkers alike. You can expect to trek on the well-laid trails even without food or a tent as there are innumerable tea houses along the way that provide food and shelter for the night.

How long is the Sandakphu trek?

The Sandakphu trek stretches for about 44 kilometers, starting from Sepi at 6400 feet to the highest point in West Bengal, Sandakphu at 11930 feet. On your trek, it is advisable to keep yourself prepared for the sudden steeps and the ascends and descends that come along the way. You must also follow a good fitness regime to prepare yourself for the trek.

How long does it take for the Sandakphu trek?

The distance from Manebhanjan to Sandakphu is around 32 kilometers, which can easily be covered in two or three days of the trek. If you do rigorous trekking for eight to nine hours a day, you can complete the one-way trek in two days, otherwise, it will take you about three days. In total, it will take you around six days to complete the entire Sandakphu trek, starting from and ending in New Jalpaiguri.

Is the Sandakphu trek for beginners?

Yes, the Sandakphu trek is a good experience for beginners. However, you need to be completely prepared for the long walks every day as you are required to cover 65 kilometers in just six days, which accounts for up to 11 kilometers in a day.

How to get fit for the Sandakphu trek?

The Sandakphu trek requires a good fitness level and enough stamina to cover at least five kilometers in just 30 minutes. As a fitness measure, you are required to run for about five to six hours daily and remain consistent in your workout. You must aim to jog for 20 kilometers a week and around 80 kilometers a month. Hence, you must have a proper fitness plan to pass the fitness test and enjoy a safe trekking experience.

Can a person above 60 years go on the Sandakphu trek?

If you are above 60 years of age, you should keep all the challenges and fitness levels required for the trek. Apart from this, you are required to submit a Treadmill Test within a week of the registration completion, and it should also not be older than twelve months. You should also have the capacity to jog for at least five kilometers in just 45 minutes.

Is a cloakroom facility available at the Sandakphu trek?

When you are going on the Sandakphu trek, you will have a chance to keep all your luggage in the Manebhanjan basecamp for the duration of the trek. After the trek is completed, you can pick up your belongings from the cloakroom at the base camp. It is advisable not to leave any precious belongings in the cloakroom facility. If you are doing so, you must inform the authorities so they can take the necessary precautions to keep them safe.

What are the documents that are required to be carried on the Sandakphu trek?

It is compulsory for the trekkers to carry a copy of their photo identity card to get access to the forest check posts on the Sandakphu trek.

Is offloading available on the Sandakphu trek?

Too many mules are damaging to the ecosystem. Hence, offloading is not available on the Sandakphu trek. Each trekker carries their own backpack in the true trekking spirit. On the contrary, if you are unable to carry your own backpack due to some medical condition or for any other reasons, you can offload your backpack at a cost of approximately INR 1800.

What are the trekking gears required for the Sandakphu trek?

It is essential to travel light on your trekking expedition. Thus, you should carry your personal backpack along with a water bottle, camera, clothing, and accessories you need for the day trek. At noon, you will be served a hot lunch with tea, coffee, or juice.

How is the network connectivity on the Sandakphu trek?

The network connectivity is not very good on the Sandakphu trek. It keeps on fluctuating, and you may get network signals in patches. However, electricity is available at all the places along the Sandakphu trek, but it will cost you INR 50 for a one-time charge in Sandakphu.


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