Make your way to Jaubhari (2240M)
Distance: 110 kms
Duration: 5 hours
Day 1 is reserved to make your way to Jaubhari which is first of the many small, quaint and soul-calming villages on our trek. This one doubles up as the trailhead as well. (You may choose to have us arrange for your transport from and to NJP for an additional cost as mentioned on the website). At a distance of 110 kms from the closest airport, Bagdogra, in Siliguri, the 5 hour drive to this small village is the start of a refreshing experience. It is a soothing ride on smooth, winding roads bordered with forests and tea gardens on both sides – the route as clean and green as it can be. The 5 hours go by in a jiffy. Jaubhari exudes the quintessential vintage village vibe with step farming all along its mountain faces, people on bicycles carrying produce and the colourful houses with small fields in front of each home against the tall trees of mountain forests and the most glorious sunsets.
The village does not have too many shops, so remember to carry all that you need for the trek before getting on this ride.
We should get here by early evening. The rest of the day is reserved to get settled into your accommodation (homestay), get used to the mountain air, discuss some do’s and don’ts as well as the happenings of the next few days, go for an acclimatization walk on the beautiful roads of this village and finally to savor some delicious home-cooked dinner before tucking yourself in.
Jaubhari (2,240M) to Tumling (2,875M) (Click to View GPS data)
Distance: 9 kms
Duration: 7-8 hours
The first day of our trek is going to be as rewarding as it is long. The sun comes out fairly early. Since it is all bright outside by 04:30 AM, it does not seem like too much effort to start your day early. The morning is misty and enchanting when the clouds come to visit and the sun is feeling playful enough to engage in a game of hide and seek. We have an early cup of tea to enjoy the shenanigans of the elements of nature. It is a relaxed morning with no rush. On the agenda is packing up with all you need for the trek and having a hot breakfast before we start off on this mesmerizing trail.
There is electricity in Jauhari, use it to your advantage and charge all your gadgets that you might need during the trail. Airtel and Jio networks are also available till this point but start to get sketchy farther along on the trail.
We start between 08:30 AM and 09:00 AM. It will take close to 10 minutes to cross the village with houses vertically lined up on an elevation. After close to a 60M ascent, we exit the area of habitation and enter a thick forest. In an hour and a half, we reach a cemented road. The trail for this trek crisscrosses between isolated areas and the motor able road, so expect this to happen all the way through to the last day. Five minutes on the road and we enter the forest again and trek through the closed canopy of tall trees to the sound of barking deer, different species of birds and if we get lucky might even have a chance to spot the red panda. Along the way the forest cover reduces – trees giving way to bushes. Some points of the trail, we are close enough to the motor able road to hear the sound of cars but not so close so as to see them.
At the mark of 2.5kms, the elevation on the trail becomes less steep – almost flat in places and in some going into a descent. The gain in elevation from here on is gradual. There are also sections with roughly laid out stairs which take you through the forest but most patches are dirt trails carpeted with freshly fallen leaves from the vegetation around - the air nippy from the dropping temperature.
Remember to carry ample water although there are water sources available each time we cross a village like Chitrey, Lamaydhura and Meghma. The Nepal border begins at Chitrey. A 3 km walk from here will get us to Lamaydhura which is a small village with a few Tibetan families. At the mark of 6 kms, we hit the cemented road again. One hour of following this road, we reach our lunch point in a small homely-looking dhaba which serves home-cooked food serviced with a warm smile! Interestingly enough the lunch point is Meghma which is in Nepal. We quite literally start the day in India and by afternoon are already across the border. Here begin our flirtations with the Indo-Nepal border which will be a constant throughout this trek.
Do not forget to turn off your phone/data, unless you have an international roaming pack on your phone, to avoid long-running phone bills.
After a total elevation gain of over 600M for today, expect to reach the homestay at Tumling between 3 and 4 PM to some freshly brewed tea and snacks on the house!
Tumling (2,875M) to Kalapokhri (2,990M) (Click to View GPS data)
Distance: 15 kms
Duration: 8 hours
The one thing that’s different about the Sandakphu trek as compared to others is that you spend your nights in warm and comfortable beds and wake up well rested and fresh to start the next day’s adventure. Today is a little longer than yesterday but the terrain and the surrounding beauty is enough to keep weariness at bay.
We wake up to our first view of The Sleeping Buddha in the first light of the day. The Kangchenjunga range of peaks give it the shape from which it gets its name. The cluster of peaks forming the Buddha seem even more reverential in the morning as the peaks shine golden soaked in the sun’s light. Remember to ask your local guide to name the peaks in this cluster – each one is of significance and might be a name you’ve heard before.
Today’s trek is a total of 15 kms. Notice the two roads diverging as you start the trek. We trek on the Nepal road & reach the Singalila National Park entry point within 15 minutes where we need to get our permits checked at the check post before continuing on. Once we enter the national park, if the skies are clear, we get a clear and unobstructed view of Mt. Everest.
The trail that leads to Gairibas to Kaiyakatta and from there to Kalipokhri (which translates to Black Lake) is stone-paved in some sections, in some sections a dirt trail - a few sections of steep ascents and a few sections with stairs. One of the steepest sections today is a 300M ascent over 2 kms right after our lunch point but overall the trail is fairly pleasant and easy to navigate made even easier in the company of the many different kinds of birds and their many kinds of sounds which are a constant throughout the trail. The little pockets on the mountains act as homestays for clouds weary of their long travels. Since the trail takes you through the National Park, it is rife with varieties of birds, animals and fauna waiting to be discovered – it’s quite literally a pleasant walk through the jungle full of peculiar trees. The setting is a queer mix of all the colours made transient only by the comings and goings of the gentle mist in the air and the thin clouds that dance around you the whole time.
Five kilometers from our lunch point, we reach a lake embellished with hundreds of colourful prayer flags. The village is right around the corner from here – right at the edge of India and Nepal. We should reach our home stay by early evening with enough day light remaining to explore the lake and its surroundings.
Kalapokhri (2,990M) to Sandakphu (3,627M) (Click to View GPS data)
Distance: 5 kms
Duration: 2-3 hours
Today seems like a quick walk after the long distances we covered over the last few days. With only 5 kms to go, we have more than enough time to take the day slow and soak in all the beauty around us with absolutely no need for haste. Even though it is a short day, we start early so as to not miss the early morning view of the snow clad peaks.
From Kalipokhri the trail gradually ascends to Bikheybhanjang which is a small hamlet whose name literally translates to the ‘poisonous valley’. It gets its slightly scary name and reputation from the poisonous Aconite plants that are aplenty in the area. For the first two hours, the trail is fairly straightforward after which it is a steep and continuous incline all the way to Sandakphu. The last 200M are especially tiring for their gradient. The trail for today, too, like other days plays touch and go with the cemented roadway leading up to Sandakphu. There are shortcuts available which can be used to avoid the motor able road altogether but these sometimes get damaged due to excessive rains.
The viewpoint is less than 200M from the home stay. We go there at the crack of dawn to get the best panoramic view of four of the highest mountains in the world - Mt Everest, Makalu, Kangchenjunga, Lhotse along with other reverential peaks like Chomolhari, Pandim, the Three Sisters, Kumbhakarna, and many more. You’ve made your way straight to the climax of the trek. Pray for clear skies!
Sandakphu (3,627M) to Phalut (4,508M) (Click to View GPS data)
Distance: 20 kms
Duration: 7-8 hours
Today is the day of beauty. We wake up at the crack of dawn to head to the viewpoint for a view that trumps all views – Everest to one side and Kangchenjunga on the other standing the tallest in the cluster of peaks forming The Sleeping Buddha. After soaking in this stunning visual bathed in the first light of the sun, we head back to the home stay to get prepped for our trek today. Like all days on this trail, today is really long too but just like all days, today is filled with mesmerizing beauty too. We leave early, right after breakfast at around 0730 AM.
Since it is mostly flat, we would have already covered 6-7 kms within the first two hours of the trek to reach a lake. The two difficult patches for today are a 400M steep climb over 3 kms to get to Sabargram and a 250M steep climb over 2.5 kms to get to Phalut.
The stunning view that we started our day with, of Everest to one side and Kangchenjunga to the other, follows through for the entire day. If you are here in April or May, the landscape is packed with blooming rhododendrons of all shades, shapes and sizes – it is quite literally a walk through a mesh of colours on all sides – a carpet of rhododendrons, walls of rhododendron trees on both sides and a shower of rhododendrons from above. Rhododendrons in the foreground and rhododendrons in the backdrop – it is like they have invaded and taken over the entire landscape of the region.
The trail today takes us through a mostly bushy landscape so there is no place to rest in shade. The only respite from the sun or the rain (whichever whether you encounter) comes at the lunch point which is a small makeshift shelter that we get to after 13.5 kms and 650M of total ascent. Phalut is only 7 kms from here.
There are no water sources along the way, so remember to carry enough water to last you the entire day of trekking. Expect to reach the stay at Phalut by early afternoon. The shelter for accommodation is in an isolated region with no sign of people or habitation as far as your eye can see – we get to own the view.
It has been a long and tiring day, so we retire for the evening after a hot dinner and as soon as we can tear our gaze away from the beauty that surrounds us.
Phalut (4,508M) to Gorkhey (2,400M) (Click to View GPS data)
Distance: 12 kms
Duration: 4-5 hours
Today is long as well, but it is mostly descent since we are going from the height of 4,500M to 2,400M. It is a pleasant walk through the forest with a brutal attack of rhododendrons for the first half and then that of bamboo in the second. We leave between 0900 and 0930 AM to start on this steady descent through the thick forest. It is a walk on a bed of fallen leaves; be careful with your balance because the terrain can get slippery. Expect to reach Gorkhey, which is a small village resting on a mountain pinnacle with fields in its backdrop and a river resting at its foot by early afternoon to a hot lunch waiting to welcome you at the homestay. The structure and interior of the houses, the cutlery, the food, and the warmth of the people all scream of the local culture giving us a glimpse of their faith and lifestyle - adding to the pleasant vibe of this quaint little village which seems to welcome you with every single grain!
Gorkhey (2,400M) to Sepi (1,900M)
Distance: 20 kms
Duration: 7-8 hours
We start early today since there is a lot of ground to cover but like yesterday, it is mostly descent. Walking through Sammamden and Rammam villages, we will reach Sepi by late afternoon. It is a long but satisfying hike and a perfect finish to the entire experience of Sandakphu. The trek ends here. Sepi to Bagdogra is a total of 140 kms and is a 5 hour drive. You can book your onward journey accordingly.
Whether you are an avid trekker in search of a new territory or are beginning your journey into the world of trekking, Sandakphu is a trek worthy of consideration.
Sandakphu Trek is a level 2 adventure on the Bikat Rating Scale.
Since it is a beginner’s trek, you need no special prior experience. Although one is required to have mental preparedness and stamina before he/she begins the trek.
we will send you a progression chart to help you comfortably get out of your comfort zone in order to level up and ultimately reach your highest potential in the big, bad world of outdoor adventure.
This is a list of essential items for individuals doing the trek with Bikat Adventures. This list contains only those items which the participants are required to bring with them. The list excludes those items which are provided by Bikat Adventures on the trek. We have divided the items into five categories. All the items in the list are essential except for those marked as optional.
Our batch sizes are capped at 15 for smaller treks with the trek leader and trekker ratio of 1:8. This ratio, in our years of experience, has proven to deliver the best trekking experience for individuals as well as groups. Capping the size of the group ensures individual attention to each trekker so that no signs of distress or need during the trek go unnoticed. It also helps to form a more cohesive cohort with better group energy which helps define the rhythm and pace of days on the trek. As you go higher up on the BRS scale, since the stakes are higher, expeditions have an even smaller group size with the ratio of expedition leader to climber set at 1:2.
We follow a rigorous regime of hiring and training our experts in the field. Each trek leader is a certified mountaineer with years of experience in the field. In addition to their qualification, they also go through practical and situational training to tackle any and all kinds of sudden conditions that may present themselves on the ground. Being unpredictable is the core nature of the mountains but being ready for any circumstance as best as possible is a controllable asset that we try to nurture. Our field experts are also trained in basic medicine and first-aid response. Watch: Forerunners - The Making of A Trek Leader At Bikat Adventures
Since Bikat Adventures is a learning-based organization, we help you climb up the ladder of difficulty within the sphere of outdoor adventure systematically. Our on-ground training modules are designed to handhold you through the upskilling process so that you are ready to take on bigger challenges.
All the gear used on our treks and expeditions is tried and tested, maintained for good quality, and is overall top-notch in quality and condition. We are continually looking to obtain the best of everything there is in the market so as to ensure optimum safety.
Along with the staff you see on-ground, we have a team of superheroes working in the background to give you the best experience possible. Our background team also comprises local staff from each area who know the region best. Having local support helps with studying the area, pre-planning, execution, and in receiving timely support in case of emergencies in these remote locations.
Our on-field staff is in constant contact with our teams based in primary locations so as to eliminate any avoidable delay in reaching additional help and support when required. We try to use the best tools for communication available, including satellite phones, in regions where they are not restricted.
Cancellations up to 30 days prior to departure date
Cancellations between 30 days to 15 days prior to departure date
Cancellations within 15 days prior to departure date
Cancellations up to 5 days prior to departure date
Cancellations within 5 days prior to departure date