Sandakphu Trek

Trek Basics

Trek Duration

The first option is to trek to Sandakphu and then return via Gurdum or Rimbik. The typical duration of this trek is 5 to 7 days (Manebhanjang – Tumling – Sandakphu – Rimbik).

The second option is to continue the trek from Sandakphu to Phalut. This trek option will require one or two extra nights and duration would be between 6 to 8 nights (Manebhanjang – Tumling – Sandakphu – Phalut – Rammam – Rimbik).

It is also possible to drive all the way to Sandakphu now on a local landrover.

How to reach

Bagdogra is the nearest airport and New Jalpaiguri is the main railhead. From Bagdogra or NJP, Manebhanjang is about 75 km and 3 hours drive (Trek start point) through some wonderful tea gardens laid on the hill slopes.

Best time to visit

Except for the monsoon months of July to September, one can go for the trek any time. But the best time is mid-march to mid-May when the wildflowers and Rhododendron are in its fullest bloom and the temperature ranges from 8 to 15 degrees. Also, October to early December is a very good time to trek here when the temperature ranges from -5 to 5 degrees and visibility are at its best during the post-monsoon period.

The Sandakphu Trek

With an altitude of 11929 feet (3636 metres), Sandakphu is the highest hill in the state of West Bengal and is also one of the most popular trekking destinations in eastern India. Sandakphu is located in Singalila National Park near Darjeeling, bordering Nepal. The amazing scenic view of Mount Kanchenjunga and Mount Everest from here makes it a popular tourist destination.


Singalila National Park is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna including several endangered species such as the Himalayan Red Panda. The area is also a birding hotspot with several rare bird species sighted here.



The trek takes place through dense rhododendron and bamboo forests. With wildflowers on every side and chirping birds above, ups and downs through the stony hilly ridge make it a very interesting and adventurous trek. Except for three steep stretches, the rest of the trek is also relatively easy and can be enjoyed by a person of any age with reasonable fitness.

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Description of the trek

The trek originates at Manebhanjang – a small village in the Indo–Nepal border about 75 km from NJP rail station / Bagdogra airport. What makes Manebhanjang more interesting is that the only motorable road of the village is actually the border between India and Nepal, the houses on the west of the road belong to Nepal whereas houses on the eastern side are in India. The altitude of Manebhanjang is about 7000 feet.

About 2 km steep uphill trek from Manebhanjang will take you to Chitrey (8300 feet). The sudden steep trek at the very beginning of the trek might seem frustrating to many, but the trek from Chitrey onwards is much easier. There is a large monastery here and a few accommodations for the trekkers. Instead of Manebhanjang, some people prefer to spend their first night at Chitrey due to its more peaceful location and the great surrounding view.

From Chitrey you will be trekking over a ridge that is the Indo Nepal border. Avoid veering too much to your left as it is the Nepalese hill with little human habitation nearby.

4 km of an easy trek on a slightly inclined trail will take you to Lamedhura, it is a good spot to take a break over a cup of tea. Another 4 km walk and you will reach Meghma, another small picturesque village.

Here the road bifurcates, one of the roads goes to Tonglu on the Indian side whereas the other road leads to Tumling (Nepal) about 2 km away. The roads again meet near Tumling.

Tumling is a small hamlet in Ilam district of Nepal. It is 11kms from Manebhanjang and the altitude is 9600 feet. There are good accommodation options available here for overnight stay.

About 7 km partly downhill trek from Tumling will take you to Gairibans (8600 feet), experienced trekkers may trek all the way to Gairibans for an overnight stay and thus save a day. Gairibans has several trekkers hut including government accommodation.

Walk 6 km from Gairibans on a steep uphill road to reach Kalepokhari. Another trekkers hub where many people spend an extra night and acclimatise. The cold and windy village is located at above 10000 feet.

The last stretch of trek from Kalepokhari to Sandakphu is of about 7 km and you will gain about 2000 feet to reach Sandakphu at about 12000 feet altitude.

The best view of mount Kanchenjunga and a part of Mount Everest can be seen from here on a clear day.

There are some other interesting places for you to explore in the area which includes

Phalut – the second highest peak (Alt 11811ft / 3595 mt) of West Bengal. The silver fir and rhododendron forests comprise the most beautiful sight.

Rimbik – Rimbik located at the bank of Rammam river. This is where you might end your trek. It’s a day’s trek away from Sandakphu.