The Sandakphu Phalut trek needs no introduction and is one of the most beautiful and popular treks to be done in the Himalayas. It offers panoramic views of over 26 beautiful peaks of the Himalayas including the likes of Mount Everest, Kanchenjunga, Lhotse and Makalu, which are the top 5 highest peaks in the World ( excluding K2 which is in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir). Not just that ! The Kanchenjunga family of mountains forms the surreal Sleeping Buddha, which is formed by about 16 peaks aligning themselves in such a way that appears like Lord Buddha sleeping over the clouds.. and much more
You may read more about the Sandakphu Trek by visiting the following link Sandakphu Phalut trek as the objective of my blog is different and hence I dive directly into the trek comparison topic.
There are multiple entry and exit points on the Sandakphu Trek and hence my blog will help you choose the best route of this trek.
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There are many versions of this trek as there are multiple entry points and exit points. You may start this trek from Maneybhanjyang, Gurdum, Rimbik, Sepi and Dhotrey. On the other hand, you may exit this trek and return to Maneybhanjyang, Dhotrey, Rimbik, or Sepi. However, the most popular and reasonable entry point is Maneybhanjyang - a small village adjacent to Nepal Border, in West Bengal. You must also note that Sandakphu and Phalut can also be reached by a bumpy ride in the legacy vehicle of the British time - The Landrover. However, trekking route is different and is much more beautiful, silent, and charming. Many people choose to visit Sandakphu only and return, either by a landrover or by trekking. Some do the shorter version because of the limited time they have, others do so because they are given incomplete information and comparatively cheaper price by travel agents. Below I list the various known route of this trek followed by Individual trekkers or popular Trek Companies in India.
- Sandakphu Phalut Trek, 7 Days - 6 Nights, Maneybhanjyang to Sepi
- Sandakphu Trek, 5 Days - 4 Nights, Maneybhanjyang to Sepi
- Phalut Trek, 5 Days - 4 Nights, Sepi to Sepi
- Phalut - Sandakphu Reverse Trek, 7 Days - 6 Nights, Sepi to Sepi
comparision of different itineraries of Sandakphu trek
Sandakphu Phalut Trek
Duration: 7 Days - 6 Nights,
Starts From: Maneybhanjyang
Ends In: Sepi
- This route includes 4 top destinations to view the grand panorama of the mountains seen on this route, namely Tumling, Sandakphu, Sabargram and Phalut
- Staying in the beautiful and remote pasture lands of Sandakphu Alley and Phalut has its own unique experience which only a few lucky trekkers experience. The more remote the place, the more beautiful they are in the Himalayas. Sandakphu Alley and Phalut are those unmatched places on this route.
- With this itinerary, with each passing day on the trek, you would be taking yourself closer to the mountains and from Phalut you are the closest to the giant peaks which hover over the meadows on this trek. You walk facing towards the mountains which rather is drastically different to itinerary 4 in the comparison in which we do the Phalut Sandakphu Trek in a reverse manner, where we walk away from the mountains facing our back towards the mountains.
- This route halts for a night in Kalipokhari in Nepal. Kalipokhari is a beautiful lake that translates to The Black Lake. There is a small Buddhist Chorten beside the lake which adds to the beauty of the place. This place is usually covered by mist which makes it one of the most beautiful stopovers on this trek route. If you don't go here, you will definitely miss out on it.
- This route goes via Chitre and Meghma which is in Nepal and has very good Buddhist Monasteries. The trek route from Lameydhura to Meghma and Tumling is usually covered by clouds and walking through it has its own charm
- Maneybhanjyang is the biggest town in the vicinity and starting your trek from Maneybhanjyang has its own benefit. In case you forget something or need to buy something, you will find it in Maneybhanjyang unlike other places in this region.
- This trek route passes through some of the most beautiful villages of Nepal and West Bengal - namely Jaubari, Gairibas, Gorkhey, Samanden, Rammam, etc. These villages add multi-dimension to the trek experience and provide a huge insight into the local life and culture.
- Managing emergency exits on this route is easier compared to others.
- None that I can think of. Maybe it's longer as compared to other routes but it comes with added value.
- Criss-crossing car route with trek route. However, the trek route is different from the car route and having a car route handy makes the trek safer. Emergency evacuation becomes more manageable with easy access to cars when required.
Duration:5 Days - 4 Nights,
Starts From: Maneybhanjyang
Ends In: Sepi
This is the 2nd best itinerary for the Sandakphu Trek. It gives you both the views from Tumling and Sandakphu. It Includes the beautiful Kalipokhari Lake and passes by the beautiful monasteries of Chitre and Meghma on the Nepal border. Choose this over the Sandakphu Phalut Trek (1) only if you have a shorter number of days
You lose altitude very quickly and end the 3 day's effort to reach Sandakphu in just 1 day. Also, you miss out on Sabargram, Phalut, and Gorkhey which are some of the best points on this route. The trek route towards Phalut is perhaps the best of this route and Phalut is closest to the giant mountains
Duration:5 Days - 4 Nights,
Starts From: Sepi
Ends In: Sepi
This is the 3rd best itinerary for the Sandakphu Trek. It gives you mountain views from Sabargram and Phalut. It also includes the beautiful village of Gorkhey and Samanden Lake and most part of this trek route is through the forest which is just awesome.
You miss out on the beautiful lake of Kalipokhari and the monasteries of Chitre and Meghma which stand on the Nepal border. Reaching Sepi for the first day is a little difficult as compared to Maneybhanjyang. This trek does not go to Sandakphu. However, it's not required as coming back to Sandakphu makes no sense after reaching Phalut. Choose this itinerary only if you have a lesser number of days.
Phalut - Sandakphu Reverse Trek
Duration:7 Days - 6 Nights,
Starts From: Sepi
Ends In: Sepi
This trek has no PROS and is one of the worst itineraries to be followed on this route. It makes no sense to be walking away from the mountains showing your back towards the mountains for which you are there. After taking the pain to reach there in the first place, it's unjustified to walk away from the mountains. Not spending a night in Phalut does not even allow you to enjoy the sunrise from Phalut. It's just about touching the place, not enjoying the beauty of it.
More so because in the same number of days, you can do the Sandakphu-Phalut trek rather than doing Phalut - Sandakphu trek(reverse) and extract the best of this route. It takes a very big fool to be doing this trek reverse in the same number of days.
1) Holding on to the altitude that you have climbed hard for and not losing it all in a single day. It took you 3 days to climb to Sandakphu. Rather than capitalizing on it, with the Sandakphu Only trek, you would be losing it all in just a single day, that too by walking longer and on steep descends. All these to save just a single day. You should rather complete the full trek as it is after Sandakphu only that this trek starts to get much more beautiful, serene, and wild!
2) Phalut is the best part of this trek and should not be missed. If you have worked so hard to climb till Sandakphu, it will be a silly mistake to lose your altitude in a single day and skip Phalut. Its remote, its beautiful and offers the best and closest views of the great Himalayan Panorama of some 26 odd peaks. Many of our trekkers who visited Phalut and Gorkhey always wanted to spend extra leisure days in this places..
3) The Real Himalayan Solitude begins after Sandakphu only. This trek route till Sandakphu is otherwise very touristic. You will not feel like a trekking adventure. But since the crowd stops at Sandakphu, the walk towards Phalut is an ideal trek path with views of Mount Everest, Makalu, Lhotse, Chamlang soaring high on the left side, mesmerizing you throughout. The dense forest of white and red Rhododendrons and Magnolias will keep your soul jumping with excitement wit their blooms and pleasant smell. The open meadows with grazing wild yaks and chirping birds makes a picture-perfect frames anyone would wish for on a Himalayan trek. The route is long but very easy, almost a flatish trail with little ascends and descends keeping it easy on your legs. This is perhaps the best day of this trek.
4) The Views from Sabargram and Phalut open up wider, clearer and closest to the giant mountains. These are no lesser mountains. These are World's highest Mountains - Everest, Kanchenjunga, Lhotse and Makalu are 1st, 3rd, 4th and 5th highest mountains of the World! As we move towards Phalut from Sandakphu, we get ourselves closer to the mountains. Also, since the terrain is an alpine meadow, the views open up offering unforgetful views.
5) The Best view of the Sleeping Buddha. Sleeping buddha formation is all about the angle from which you look at the mountain group. The same mountains are clearly visible from Tuger Hill in Darjeeling, from Pelling in Sikkim, etc. However, they don't appear like the Sleeping Buddha. Sabargram top and Phalut top offers the best angle to view the Sleeping Buddha.
6) The fascinating and picture perfect twin villages of Gorkhey and Samanden. In our schools, all of us must have drawn a village hut with sun in the background, mountains behind with blue sky and small white clouds scattered over it, birds flying in the sky and chirping around in the garden, stream flowing by the side, colourful flowers, kids playing and their moms working... Yes - when you reach Gorkhey, you will notice your childhood ideal village coming true. Its a lovely village to just relax and enjoy. You will be happy from inside. samanden is an equally beautiful village with vast agricultural field and scattered homes.. Oh man, I miss this villages as I write it down..
The Himalayas are vast and you probably wont be spending money and time to repeat a trek. Hence it is advisable to do the complete version of the Sandakphu Phalut Trek and see everything it has to offer. Else, I am sure you will regret it later when you hear stories from your friends or other trekkers, on some other treks. Hence, Sandakphu Phalut Trek is my recommendation over the Sandakphu Trek. Do the Sandakphu Only trek or Phalut Only Trek only if you really do not have any extra days to spare. In our analysis the 4th itinerary that is the Phalut - Sandakphu Reverse Trek is the worst of the lot and should not be done at any cost. Only 1 trek operator in our country does that, just to look different and make it more economical for them.
We conduct all the 3 versions of the Sandakphu trek. Read more about them by following the website link Sandakphu Phalut Trek