North East Himalayas - Sikkim Trekking
Nearest airport : Bagdogra & Nearest railway station is New Jalpaigudi
Best Season: March to November
Sandakphu is unsurpassed by any view anywhere. Where else can be seen 180 degrees of snow-capped mountains which includes Everest, Makalu, Lhotse, Kumbhakarna, Kanchenjunga, Chomolhari in one single stretch of snows-an ethereal beauty
Trekking into Sandakphu starts off from an altitude of 1,524 meters (5,000 ft) and gradually climbs up through forests of rhododendron, giant magnolias, spruce and other trees of sub-alpine region and more than 600 varieties of orchids-the largest to be found in one geographical area in the world. For flora worshippers, the months of April and May are the best time of the year for the trek while for those who have an insatiable thirst for a view of the mountains, the best months are in autumn.The view from Sandakphu is unsurpassed by any view anywhere. Where else can be seen 180 degrees of snow-capped mountains which includes Everest, Makalu, Lhotse, Kumbhakarna, Kanchenjunga, Chomolhari in one single stretch of snows-an ethereal beauty. It is easy to understand why people leave hearth and home, travelling sometimes thousands of miles to walk through ripples of terraced fields of maize, rice, millet and barley, leaving the last traces of civilization far behind.
You may start your tour by joining the tour either at Bagdogra airport or drive to Darjeeling which is just 2-3 hours from the airport. Enjoy couple of days in Darjeeling and you may start your tour in thsi region. After completion of the trek you may join a tour to Sikkim which is one of the most beautiful part of the world
Your trek details may look like as under
Day 01: Tonglu: 3,070 m.
Transfer – Darjeeling to Maneybhanjyang: 27 km / 1.5 hours
After breakfast drive to Manaybhanjyang. The drive takes you down through Ghoom, Bhanjyang (pass) and to Sukhia Pokhari, literally meaning dried lake, a small town. There is a weekly haat (market-day) on every Friday where people from the surrounding areas (including the villages in Nepal) come to sell their farm produces. After a brief halt over here, we continue our journey to Manaybhanjyang, 2000 m, a border town between India and Nepal, mainly inhabited by Sherpas, Gurungs, Newars, Tamangs and a few Indian merchants from Bihar and Rajasthan.
Your trek begins with a gradual ascent to Chitray, where we stop for lunch. Visit a small Sherpa monastery while lunch is being prepared. After lunch the trail ascends all the way to Meghma, 2,600 m., a Nepali village amidst a forest of rhododendron trees and bamboo groves. Here one can also get to see some fine specimens of Himalayan cobra lilies, orchids and daphne plants. If the caretaker is around, visit the Hoshel Dechenling Gompa, a Nyingmapa monastery built in 1953, now supported by the local Tamang community. A magnificent view of Kanchenjunga awaits you. From here the trail ascends to Tonglu (meaning the hill of fire). Tonglu, at 3070 m. overlooks the entire Darjeeling hills and offers another breathtaking view of the Kanchenjunga range including that of Darjeeling, Kurseong and Sukhia Pokhari towards the south.
Day 02: Kalo Pokhari: 3,000 m.
Rise early today for sunrise view. After breakfast descend towards Tumling, a Gurung village and then ascent for about two kilometers towards the viewpoint. After spending some time here, head on the trail that drops to Gairibas, 2,800 m., your lunch spot. There is a forest bunglow in this village. After lunch the trail ascends all the way through dwarf rhododendron forest to Kalopokhari, meaning black lake. This route is also rich in Primulae species, Impatients falcifer, Owl-eyed Impatiens, Sorbus, Pyrus, Enkaithus and Roscoea alpina. Your camp will be set beside the dark crystaline waters of Kalo Pokhari lake shimmering in the breeze and surrounded by alpine trees with the mountains looming across the horizon.
Day 03: Sandakphu: 3,636 m.
Today’s trail ascends to Sandhakphu through magnolia, blue pine and rhododendron forest. Sandhakphu is the highest point in this trek and the reward for all the trudging culminates in a magnificent panorama of the eastern Himalayas of Nepal and Sikkim, from Everest in the east all the way to to Jhomolhari in Bhutan.
After lunch we take an excursion around Sandhakphu, which is a veritable botanists’ paradise. Apart from the different varieties of rhododendrons, plants like Streptous simplex, Trilidium govanianum, Primula rotundifolia, Fritillaria cirrhosa, Llydia and other flora like Anemone and Iris can be found here.
Day 04: Phalut: 3,500 m.
An easy day’s walk along the ridge through the forest of rhododendron, magnolia, chestnut, oak and silver fir to your lunch spot at Sabargram, 3536 m. All along, the imposing Himalayas loom large on the western horizon. After lunch, it is a short flat walk on the trail barring a gradual ascent finally before arriving at Phalut, a tri-junction point between Nepal, Sikkim and the Darjeeling District. Other than the different varieties of rhododendrons, you will also come across vaieties of Meconopsis, Primulae, Orchids, Parnassia etc.
Day 05: Rammam: 2,453 m.
The trail goes all the way down through dense rhododendron forests and bamboo groves towards the village of Gorkhey. After lunch at Gorkhey, a short ascent will lead you to a picturesque village inhabited by Sherpas, Samanden, better known as the lost valley. Standing at a plateau in the middle of a dense forest this village is noted for it’s fertile land. The trail then leads to Rammam, a small village inhabited by Sherpas and Tamangs. From here there is a good view of Sikkim’s western hills.
Day 06: Gumba Danda
Today the trail descends through forests and villages leading to your lunch spot at Srikhola. This stretch is well known for its orchids and birds. After lunch we have an easy ascent through forest trails and terraced fields to Rimbik, 2,280 m., the main village of this area. Spend some time in the market and head towards Gumba Danda to camp.
Day 07: End of Trek
After breakfast drive to your next point of the tour.