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.
Maximum altitude: 12000 feet
Grade: Easy to Moderate
Duration: 6 days
Trekking distance: 68 kilometers
Trail type: A cross over trail starting from Manebhanjan or Chitrey and ending at Srikhola
Rail head: New Jalpaiguri (NJP)
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:
Itinerary at a Glance / Quick Itinerary
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.
Personal Medical Kit:
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.
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.
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 10000 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.
The Sandakphu trek stretches for about 65 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.
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.
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.
On putting the Sandakphu trek on a scale of difficulty ranging from easy to difficult, it is a moderate trek. It does not have big climbs and descends on an everyday basis that makes you cover long distances effortlessly. Hence, it is a moderate-level trek that is suitable for both beginners and seasoned trekkers alike.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.