Read About Various Important Topic On The Sandakphu and Phalut Trek Below:
The Grand Panorama Seen From The Sandakphu and Phalut
On this trek, we get to see more than 26 elegant peaks of the Himalayas. All of those are famous for their own reputation. While towards the North-West, we see the great cluster of Everest, Makalu, Lhotse, Nuptse, Chamlang twins, Chomolonzo, the panorama further extends on the left to give us a glimpse of the Annapurna range as well on a clear day, including the revered Fish Tail mountain - locally known as Macchapucchare and Baruntse.
As you move your head towards the North and North-East, the peaks of Three Sisters makes you wonder about their beauty, followed by the mighty and elegant Kumbhakarna or Jannu. It's from here The Sleeping Buddha formation begins. The Kanchenjunga family of mountains along with 15 - 16 other child peaks appear like Lord Buddha sleeping over the clouds. The sight of it on a clear day with clouds forming the base makes the Sleeping Buddha appear like floating over the clouds. It's so beautiful that few trekkers even cry at a glimpse of it for witnessing the rare natural magic of the Himalayas. Something divine and out of this world for sure!
The Kanchenjunga Cluster appearing as The Sleeping Buddha, floating over clouds
Covid19 Update: Is Sandakphu Phalut Trek Open?
The West Bengal Government instructed all National Parks to reopen after 23rd September and allow entry of tourists in their recent advisory dated 18th September 2020. Following this, the Singalila National Park authorities have opened their gates for the tourists from October 5th and local authorities too decided to allow entry of tourists. However, it is to be noted that Nepal is still under lockdown in the bordering areas and are not operating the lodges in Tumling, Kalapokhari, Kaiyakatta. and Sandakphu. Also, all precautionary and social distancing norms need to be followed while visiting the region. Entry to villages and mixing with local people needs to be limited.
We are running our treks in private groups and limited sized fixed departures as well from October End and have been receiving good response. You may contact us further for more information.
Sandakphu Phalut Trek On Different Weathers
This trek is beautiful in every season. Though the Singalila National Park remains closed in the monsoons and we cannot trek, but even in the monsoons, this trek offers a great experience to trekkers when the clouds meet the ground almost every day. Otherwise, in each of the seasons, this trek is a gem and offers a completely different and beautiful experience. Yes, it's an all-season trek!
Sandakphu Phalut Trek In The Spring Season
Classified Spring months are from February end till Early May.
During this time the Singalila National Park gets colorful due to the blooming of various species of Rhododendrons and Magnolia and so many other colorful flowers and bushes. Some of which are rare species and is a specialty of this region. These also add a different and unique fragrance to the beautiful trail through the forest. The snow just would have receded and frequent fog adds to the extra element making it a fantasy photo frame in every corner you view. It's cold too and especially the camp of Sandakphu and Phalut is very cold and temperatures go below subzero here in the Spring season. These camps are always windy and it can drizzle or snow anytime during the Springs. Spring season, offers a clear view of the majestic panorama, especially during the early morning hours when the magic of Sunrise happens. In the afternoon, it usually gets cloudy. However, in the evening, mother nature performs yet again with a grand showdown of the sunset over the terrai region.
Red Rhododendron or Lali Guras
Sandakphu Phalut Trek In The Autumn Season
Classified Autumn months are from October Mid till late December.
Autumn is perhaps the best time to do this trek if you want to witness clear skies and deep views of the panorama. During this time, the weather starts to get drier and stable after the monsoon recedes. The leaves and grasses start to change their color from green to brown. The skies remain clearer giving you excellent views of the mesmerizing Himalayan peaks of Nepal, Sikkim, and Bhutan. The weather is colder and drier, and often very windy. The higher camps start to go below subzero temperatures during the night. The days are sunny and warm. It makes an excellent time to trek during the autumn season as well.
Silhouette of a trekker on the Sandakphu Phalut Trek
Sandakphu Phalut Trek In The Winters
Classified Winter months are from late December late till February mid.
It's a short but sharp winter here. The dried land after the autumn craves for some wetness and Mother Nature gifts snowfall to cheer up the spirits of the locals, animals, birds, and lots of trekkers and tourists who crave to witness the beauty and the cold. The experience of trekking in the winter is awesome! The whole open meadow of Sandakphu and beyond till Phalut gets converted into a white playground, while the descending trail through the jungle too gets good snow and offers a romantic trekking trail to walk on. During the winter months, there is a scarcity of water in the region. However, a hot and spicy soupy noodle makes an ideal choice of snacks or dinner. Yes, momos too!
Snow cover On The Sandakphu Phalut Trek
When Does Snowfall Happen In Sandakphu And Phalut?
Sandakphu and Phalut lie in the Eastern Himalayas and here it snows late unlike in Western Himalayas. It typically snows here around Christmas and New Year's time on December 25th. Sometimes it does snow prior to that as well. January and February are the times when it often snows multiple times and a fresh carpet of soft and white snow covers the high altitude lands of Sandakphu, Phalut, Kalipokhari, Tumling, Tonglu, etc. Maneybhanjyang, Gorkhey, Darjeeling, etc receive snowfall 3-4 times in a year during the winter months of January and February. The snow on the higher lands, especially in the jungle and places where sunlight does not reach remains for a longer duration, sometimes over a fortnight. If you want to enjoy a white Sandakphu and Phalut trek with snow cover, you should plan your travel during the winter months from December end till the end of February. During that time, it snows almost every week more or less.
Best Time To Do The Sandakphu Phalut Trek
A Full White Snow-Covered Sandakphu And Phalut Trek: Many of our trekkers in the past have enjoyed the unbelievable beauty of snow-covered Sandakphu and Phalut trek in the winters. Walking through the jungle with the leaves of pine trees covered with snow and the wet ground turned into a white carpet feels amazing. The wide-open meadow on the Phalut route is just romantic to walk on where tall coniferous and leafless magnolias and rhododendron trees make a gateway for you. Winter months dopes reduce visibility and most of the time the giant peaks in the background are hidden. However, they do make them visible for a few times, especially in the early morning hours. If you are to trek the Sandakphu and Phalut for snow, it is a must that you need to do this trek in the months of December, January, and February.
Colorful and Flowerful Sandakphu Phalut Trek: During the end of February, flowers start to bloom as soon as they start to get little warmth from the heavenly sun. March and April till the beginning of May make a good time to experience the rhododendrons, magnolias, aconite, and many other species of wildflowers. The entire trek route is filled with fragrance, some of which are intoxicating as well. During this time, sighting the mountain panorama is a deal too.
Clear Blue Skies and Big Scenic Mountains: In the Autumn months of October, November, and December, the skies are clearer and the weather remains stable to allow great sighting of the famous peaks of the Great Himalayas of Nepal and Sikkim.
How Cold Is The Sandakphu And Phalut Trek?
The Sandakphu and Phalut trek can get quite cold in the winter months. Typically before the onset of winter, the temperature in Sandakphu and Phalut starts to go below the freezing point from the end of November. Water starts to freeze and in the morning you need to be careful of verglasses. The Day time temperature ranges between 8 - 14 degrees. Often on this trek, you enter a jungle trail where sunrays are limited. There the temperatures will below. While on the openings warm sunrays welcome you to take a snack break and take some rest. Temperatures in the lower points on this trek like Maneybhanjyang, Tumling, Srikhola, etc ranges between 2 - 6 degrees in the night while hitting 10 - 16 degrees in the day time. However, being on the Eastern side of the Himalayas and closer to the Bay Of Bengal, skies often remain overcast here and it might be very chilly even in Maneybhanjyang.
During the Summer and Springs season, temperatures remain very comfortable and suitable for most of the people around. Many people consider this time as the best time to do this trek as this allows us to experience the colorful trail with blooming rhododendrons, magnolias, and many other flowers in the Springs and a barrier-free view of the grand mountains in the background. During these months, the daytime temperature ranges between 12 - 18 degrees, whereas the night temperature ranges between 8 - 14 degrees. We do have to note that being closer to the Bay Of Bengal, sudden rainfall drops the temperature by a huge margin and need to be prepared for it. On the other hand, the higher points of Sandakphu and Phalut is very windy and calls for good windproof wear. The wind chill factor may bring down the temperature to a freezingly cold experience.
Accommodation and Toilet In Our Sandakphu And Phalut Trek:
As per our trek plan, in most of the cases, 4 nights will have stay arranged in local homestays or tea-houses. These are in Maneybhanjyang, Tumling, Kalipokhari and Gorkhey. All the required beddings and linens will be provided. It will mostly be in 3 or 4 sharing rooms with a single bed each. You may book private rooms at extra cost. We don't keep in dormitories. However, very rarely we might keep it dormitory as well if there are no other accommodations available. This seldom happens. Food will be served from the homestay only. Toilet will be a wet toilet with western or eastern seats and water in bucket or tap.
2 Nights of accommodation in Sandakphu and Phalut may be either in camps or homestays. This will depend upon wind speed in these camps and availability of the homestays. All camping gears will be provided by us which are Tent, Sleeping bag, mattress and sleeping bag inners. It will be 2 people in one spacious tent. Food will be served from nearby homestays. Toilet will be a wet toilet. However, dry toilet in Sandakphu camp is better than a wet one due to extreme scarcity of water, especially in winter months. It has to be noted that in order to avoid the touristic crowd and get you proper Himalayan ambience and solitude, we pass by Sandakphu and camp in an open meadow called Alley.
Can Beginners Do The Sandakphu and Phalut Trek?
The Sandakphu and Phalut trek is perhaps one of the best treks in the Himalayas. Anyone, irrespective of being a beginner or experienced must not miss this trek. The sheer number of peaks that are visible on this trek, the unbelievable panorama of elegant mountains, innumerous variety of colorful flowers, dense forest, wildlife sightings, experiencing the local life and tastier food, exchanging knowledge with one of the most respectful and intrinsic tribes of our country, it a complete trek which boasts of so many factors and elements of the Himalayas.
Having said the better parts, I must also say that the trek is no easy trek as it involves long walks on most of the days. However, we need to do justice to the trek by understanding that these long walks are not steep walks but either on a flattish trail with occasional humps or descends. So it's not difficult. On the other hand, the route is beautiful and hence keeps you motivated throughout the day's trek.
Rather than differentiating between a Beginner or Experienced trekker, it's more logical that we should differentiate between a Fit and Unfit trekker. For a fit trekker, whether Experienced or Beginner, this trek works out to be doable and easier with its challenges. While for the unfit trekkers, this trek will not care about experience. With this, we come to the next question.
What Is The Fitness Level Required For Doing The Sandakphu and Phalut Trek?
Anyone who is generally fit with no cardiac problems should be able to complete the Sandakphu and Phalut trek without any problems. When we say 'Generally Fit', we mean he/she should be able to run a 6Km marathon and should be able to complete it. He need not come first. Just be able to p[ossess the stamina and powerful mindset to complete it with honesty. Having strong legs, shoulders and core strength helps a lot. You may do staircase climbing with or without weight to train your legs. Cycling, Swimming, or brisk walking should help build stamina. Plank helps strengthen your back and core. A few pushups and chin-ups should strengthen your shoulders and back muscles. Do note that you need not be a champion in marathon running or be a bodybuilder. You just need to have a positive mindset and a generally fit body used to exercises.
Do note that fitness is a lifestyle and while you are on the trek with an unfit body, the trek itself will teach you to get fitter. That's the Himalayas for you!
Is The Sandakphu and Phalut Trek Safe?
Trail Safety: That trekking route of the Sandkaphu Phalut is very safe. The route might be longer but is not treacherous or risky at all.
Excessive Snowfall: Sometime in the month of January and February excessive snowfall may disrupt your schedule. However, in such a situation, we take the best decision to prioritize your safety and comfort and provide you the best alternate route.
High Altitude and AMS: This route is very safe in terms of Altitude and AMS. Our trek itinerary is well planned to keep the altitude factor in mind. There are natural trees providing a natural source of oxygen except for the camp of Phalut. We carry oxygen cylinders with us as a precautionary safety measure. However, to date over the last 6 years, we did not have to use it even once.
Emergency Exit: Though the trekking route is different, the Sandakphu Phalut trek is accessible by road also. Hence it works out very easy to evacuate in case of emergency. For a medical emergency, we carry first aid kit, oxygen cylinder, and our Trek Leader monitors the trekker team every evening by analyzing the behavior change, physiology, and vitals with a pulse oximeter. He will the first responder to an emergency.
Water On Trek: Water on this trek route is safe. It is sourced from natural streams and then filtered to be used. You should take precautions as per your own sensitivity and use water purification tablets or UV sterilized bottles like Steripen.
Women Safety: It is typically very safe for women in the Himalayas. The locals respect them and treat them well. We haven't yet heard of any stories or incidents of bad treatment with women in this region. However, it must be noted that local culture and sentiments must be respected.
List Of Things To Carry For Our Sandakphu and Phalut Trek?
- 3 sets of Tshirts
- 2 set of track pants
- 4 sets of socks ( 2 cottons, 2 woollen)
- 1 set of thermal inner ( upper & lower)
- Fleece Jacket or Pullovers
- Down Jacket (can be rented from us )
- Waterproof High Ankle Trekking Shoes (can be rented from us )
- Waterproof Trekking Trouser (can be rented from us )
- Waterproof Trekking Jacket (can be rented from us )
- Headlamp (can be rented from us )
- Trek Pole, Waterproof Gloves, Poncho, Rucksack, Fleece Inner Gloves, Waterproof Gloves, Gaiters, Spikes, Sleeping Bag Inners ( provided by us as complimentary )
- Water Bottle & Tiffin Box with Spoon
- Skull Cap Wollen or Fleece
- Toilet Paper Roll, Wet Tissue
- Personal Care Kit ( lip balm, moisturizer, sunscreen, etc )
- Personal Medical Kit
Few Important Tips For The Sandakphu and Phalut Trek:
ATMs: The Last ATM pint on the trek route is Sukhiapokhari or Ghoom which is about 30 minutes before arrival in Maneybhanjyang. After you finish your trek, there is an ATM in Rimbik. However, we would suggest arranging for your cash in Sukhiapokhari or Ghoom itself. They are quite reliable ATMs
Mobile and Internet Network In Maneybhanjyang: Maneybhanjyang has working towers from Vodafone, Jio and Airtel. Internet works well with occasional disruptions on a few days
Mobile and Internet Network On The Trek: On the trek, we do get occasional mobile towers from Airtel, BSNL, and Vodafone. Nepal's NCell works well as well and your guide would be having it. Often the mobile towers work from specific corners or heights which your guide would be knowing. In case of an emergency, you may use your guide's mobile as well.
Mobile and Internet Network In Sepi: Nearing the end of the trek point, mobile towers, and the internet start to work well once you reach Ramam. That's about 2.5 hours of trek from Gorkhey. Vodafone and Airtel work well on this side.
How To Reach Maneybhanjyang
Nearest Airport: Bagdogra, West Bengal
Nearest Rail Head: New Jalpaiguri, West Bengal
Route Hubs: Siliguri - Rohini - Mirik - Sukhiapokhari - Maneybhanjyang
Reaching Maneybhanjyang From Bagdogra Airport: From Bagdogra airport, if you not coming by a reserved vehicle, come down to Siliguri which is a 30-minute journey. Sometimes vehicles to Siliguri are available just outside the airport exit. If not, walk out till the highway ( 10 minutes ), cross the road, and wait for a vehicle to get you to Siliguri. From Siliguri, shared cabs are available for Maneybhanjyang from Darjeeling More. Cabs to Maneybhanjyang is very few and not consistent. Darjeeling is a tourist hub and a well-known place. The best option is to board a cab to Darjeeling which takes the Mirik - Sukhiapokhari Road. You may board a cab to Darjeeling and get down at Sukhiapokhari if it's taking the Mirik route. Or else you need to get down at Ghoom if it's taking the other route. Ghoom is 30 minutes before reaching Darjeeling. From Ghoom, you can hire a cab to drop you to Maneybhanjyang or you can share a seat in public jeeps which will drop you in Sukhiapokhari. Get down at Sukhiapokhari and take the narrower road to Maneybhanjyang. Maruti OMNI vans ply between Sukhiapokhari to Maneybhanjyang and take about 30 minutes to reach Maneybhanjyang for Rs. 30 a seat.
Reaching Maneybhanjyang From NJP Railway Station: Once you are out of the NJP railway station, you get vehicles to Darjeeling and follow the above instructions. If you are not getting a cab to Darjeeling from NJP, which often might be the case, Take an auto-rickshaw to Darjeeling More or Darjeeling Taxi Stand in Pradhan Nagar. From there you may follow the instructions as written above to reach Maneybhanjyang without any hassle.
By Bus: NO SUITABLE OPTION
Private Cabs: You may hire a private cab directly to Maneybhanjyang from Bagdogra airport. Depending upon the type of vehicle and seating capacity, it may cost you any amount from Rs. 3500 - 4500. You may book a private cab from NJP too. Alternatively, you may request us to book it for you. In that case, we send vehicles from Maneybhanjyan itself making it easier, convenient, and safer for you.
Some More Help:
** You get directly shared vehicle to Maneybhanjyang from Darjeeling Taxi Stand which is a 45 minute to an hour's journey. Shared Vehicles are available till 2 PM from Darjeeling to Maneybhanjyang and costs about 50 Rs a seat.
** Direct shared vehicle to Maneybhanjyang from Siliguri ( Darjeeling More Taxi Stand ) is available but is not consistent. It leaves around 12 PM otherwise.
** Some More Help: From Siliguri, direct shared vehicles are available from 'Darjeeling More' in Siliguri to Maneybhanjyang. If you are to avail shared vehicle, reach Siliguri in the morning or no later by 12 PM. If you are late anyhow, you need to break your journey and get a vehicle to Mirik or Sukhia Pokhari for which vehicles are available even after 2 PM till evening. From Sukhia Pokhari it takes 30 minutes to reach Maneybhanjyang, and shared vehicles are available till evening. You may reserve a cab midway if you don't find any shared cab option. Hiring a cab from Sukhiapokhari to Maneybhanjyans should cost you about 1000 Rs. We can send it to you from Maneybhanmjyang in case of an emergency.
Distance From Major Points:
- Bagdogra to Siliguri: 15 km
- Siliguri to Maneybhanjyang: 92 km
- Darjeeling to Maneybhanjyang: 26 km
Equipment Rental For Sandakphu and Phalut Trek
We provide a few equipment as complimentary with our trek package. All other required equipment can be rented from us after booking of the trek.
DIY Sandakphu and Phalut Trek - Hone The Trek Leader In You
Himalayan High - A Knowledgable and Experienced Local Trek Operator
We are a local organization and our guides and leaders are the best and most knowledgeable about this region. We not just focus on a Safe and Comfortable Trek, but also put lots of effort towards giving insight into the cultural and ecological experience by mixing camping, homestays, tea houses, etc. Though this route is frequented by tourists, we focus on trekking and start from or use routes that are silent and offer the best experience and ambience for trekking. The Singalila National Park is full of wild animals and we often get a sight of them for the route we choose. Our local guides are sons and daughters of this land and they take pride in showing their area and sharing enriching details about their culture and lifestyle.
We organize Fixed Departures for this trek every week with a limited team size of fewer than 10 members only. We mostly organize private customized groups designed to be suitable as per your travel goals and taste.
We request you to Join our Fixed Departures or request a Private Trek. We are sure you will be under safe and friendly hands to manage your travel in our region and make it a great experience to be cherished for a lifetime.
For a shorter version of this trek ( Only Sandakphu, without Phalut), please visit SANDAKPHU TREK - 6 Days, 5 Nights for details.