The trek along the Singalila Ridge to Sandakphu and Phalut is one of the most popular in the Eastern Himalayas In the past, the officers of the British Raj trekked here, to escape the summer heat of the plains.
Unlike the conventional program, beginning from Maneybhangan, this itinerary starts in reverse. Setting on course from Sirikhola – Rammam –Molley – Sandakphu -Tumling, the itinerary unfolds gradually in term of altitude and builds up beautifully for the final ascent into summit of Singalila ranges – Sandakphu (3636 m) – there is hardly any trek in the world that command such a breathe taking view of array of world’s highest mountains peaks like Makalu, Lhotse, Everest, Nuptse, Kanchenjunga. And also Pandim, three sister peaks and Bhutan’s highest peak – Chomolhari that appears like a sleeping Buddha on a closer look. Most importantly, this route is relatively less crowded. This trek has all the ingredients like picturesque villages – Ramman, Tumling, Kalipokri, varied foliage hue, forest and spectacular ridge walking, interaction with friendly locales, Rhododendron, Magnolia and wild seasonal flowers, prime birding opportunities, wildlife like Red Panda, etc to make a perfect recipe for a short classic Himalayan Trek.. The trek is easy to moderate, walking in average of 4-5hrs, without much climb (highest altitude is 3636 m (less than 12,000ft), and we don’t have to rough it up, as we spend night in village Inn and lodges.
Prior to trekking, we begin our trip with visit to Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim, followed by visit to historical hill station of Darjeeling, where we enjoy a ride on the famous ‘toy train’ and, visit its tea estates, interesting monasteries, the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, and others.
Day 1: Arrival in Bagdogra – Gangtok (1600 m/120km/4hrs)
Upon arrival in Bagdogra airport, Siliguri or by land from Bhutan, meet and drive to Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim, where we spend two nights. Once an independent Himalayan kingdom, Sikkim joined the union of India in 1975. Gangtok still retains something of its traditional cultural values, giving us a rare opportunity to discover something of the cultural heritage of this lively hilltop town. In the evening, take a short walking tour through its MG Marg Avenue and browse the colorful Lal Bazaar food/vegetable market.
Overnight in Nethuk House or Norkhil Hotel.
Day 2: Around Gangtok
This morning we visit the incredible Rumtek Monastery occupying an opposite ridge of Gangtok. The monastery is the replica of the Karmarpa’s Monastery in Tibet and contains a fabulous wealth of statues, thankas and writings that were rescued by the original monks from Tibet. Returning to Gangtok in the afternoon, we aim to visit the small Buddhist temple of Enchey, a view point and Flower Exhibition. If time is available, we can visit nearby Handicraft Centre to see traditional Sikkimese handicrafts being made, perhaps even pick up a bargain. Overnight in hotel in Gangtok.
Day 3: Gangtok –Darjeeling (1800m/115km/4-5hrs drive)
After early breakfast, set off on a drive to Darjeeling, once the famous colonial Hill resort. After completing exit formalities at the Rangpo border, continue drive to Darjeeling, as the road snakes up the hill, through lush tea-plantation, leaving Teesta and Ranjit river valley behind. We can make several stops for views and photography. Upon arrival in Darjeeling, check into the hotel. In the afternoon, we begin a short walking tour through Chowrasta mall and Bhutia Busty to Tibetan Refugee Center. On return walk, we will walk through the main bazaar (market) and through Chowrasta to our hotel. This is expected to take 2-3hrs and helps us to also get ready for trek.
Overnight in May Fair hotel.
Day 4 Darjeeling – Rimbik and hike to Sirikhola. (67 Km/6 -7 hours)
Post breakfast drive to Rimbik. The drives is relatively long one but it’s well compensated by scenic landscapes of pines, conifers and other foliage along the way. Also a few roadside villages enclose houses that are adorned with brightly coloured paint and beautiful flower garden and nursery at front porch. Upon arrival in Rimbik (2286 m), the trek begin, the route is on the motor able paved road. It takes 2 hours covering 7 km to reach Sirikhola village. This hike is relatively easy and meant to assist in acclimatisation and also it provides an opportunity to stretch your legs and also help us for the trek ahead. Overnight in Sirikhola in village Inn.
Day 5: Sirikhola to Rammam. (2453m/12 km/5 hours/Ascent 200 m approx.)
After breakfast, trek start in real sense, the trail passes through the forest with subtropical trees – pines, spruce, and orchids. And spring also spells Rhododendrons bloom and the trail floor covered with wild flowers. Initially for 4 km it is ascents gaining 200 to 250 m and then for around 8 km, it is level trail. Ramman is a small hamlet, inhabited by Sherpas and Tamang – Nepalese of Tibetan origin. Overnight in Village Inn.
Day 6 : Rammam to Molley (2765 m/15km/6 hrs /Ascent -320 m)
Hike uphill and its gets relatively steep. In today’s hike there is gain in ascent of almost 300 m. The trail cut through the Singalila National Park, through thick, dark yet beautiful forest, which has rich bio diversity of flora and fauna. This area in particular is birder’s paradise, as many as 120 species of rare and exotic avian and some migratory birds are recorded. Some trekkers have also sighted Red Panda in thick bamboo bushes. Molley as a village consist of countable houses, and small stretch of plateau like area, which offer an ideal place for camping. Overnight in Village Inn/camping.
Day 7 . Molley to Sandakphu (3636 m/18km/6-7 hrs/Ascent 800m)
Today is the longest hike. The trek resume with initial uphill hike of 3 km till Sabargram, the rest of 15 km hike is on beautiful Singalila ridge to reach Sandakphu summit. The trail is scenic and follows on the Singalila ridge affording grand vista of mountain peaks. You will keep seeing Kanchenjunga on the left and Everest family on the right as you walk through lovely meadows and forests of rhododendrons. The route has a relatively easier gradient however there will be light inclines to mount at some places. Sandakphu is summit point of this trek, it comprises of quite a handful of villages inn or trekker house runs by the family
Overnight in Village Inn in Sandakphu
Day 8. Sandkhaphu to Tumling. (2895 m/16 km/6hrs/descent 750 m/ Ascent -270 m)
Wake up early for the beautiful sunrise and on a clear morning, uninterrupted 180-degree panoramic view of the Himalayan peaks. Climb up to the viewpoint. One of the world’s most coveted panoramas opens up before you. Makalu, Lhotse, Everest, Nuptse, Kanchenjunga, Pandim and three sister peaks. Towards the east, you see the highest peak of Bhutan -Chomolhari. After breakfast, start hike, the descent is quite steep for 6 km to reach Kalipokhri – a small village which means Black Pond locally. Further descent at light gradient till Garibas, from here mount ascent at fair incline till Tumling. The highlights of this portion of trek are you will crisscross Nepal and India Border many places and times. Also this area has rich foliage hue of Rhondendron and magnolia forests. In addition, it provides opportunities to interact with friendly locales in villages and on the way. Tumling (border village) is a sleepy hamlet with handful of houses that perpetually get engulf in fog lending a typical feel of village in cloud.Overnight in Trekker’s lodge.
Day 9. Tumling – Chitre (2400 m), drive to Darjeeling.( Trek portion – 8 km/ 2-3 hours/ descent -497 m)
After breakfast, overriding the Tonglu village, we start the hike following a shorter route till Megma (Border Village), it’s a descent and largely the route fall on Nepal side. From Megma, you enter into Singalila National park area, which is home to many rare and exotic birds and also chances to see Red Panda is prime. The foliage of park lessened as you reach Lamhedura (Small Village), further hike downhill till Chitre. End of the trek. Get into regular vehicle and drive to Darjeeling (2 hours). Check into hotel. This afternoon, we will take joy ride in toy train. Free evening to rest and relax. Overnight in hotel.
Day 10 -Darjeeling – Bagdogra airport or Siliguri.
After breakfast, departure transfer to Bagdogra or Siliguri for onward journey.
In general, Sandakphu Trek is quite versatile especially for private trip, as it can maneuvered in different versions – for instance it can done using conventional route, also using classic Land Rover vehicle for certain section of area to cover time. Below is sample outline itinerary, starting in reverse, using vehicle to cover distance and solely trek oriented specifically for those who have less time.
Day 1: Arrive in Bagdogra and transfer to Darjeeling – sightseeing.
Day2: Drive to Rimbik, and hike for 2 hours to Sirikhola.
Day 3. Sirikhola – Rammam
Day 4: Rammam – Molley
Day 5: Molley – Sandakphu
Day 6: Hike downhill till Kalipokri hamlet for 2hours, then drive till Chitre in Land Rover. After, change into regular vehicle and drive to Siliguri.
Day 7: Departure -transfer to airport/Train Station for onward journey.
Even for the beginner, doing the trek in reverse shouldn’t pose any acclimatisation and altitude related issues as this itinerary gradually builds up for the summit – Sandakphu (3636m).
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Trip Featured Videos
- Trekking along the ridge in Singalila National Park
- Stupendous views of Kanchenjunga in the east and Everest range in the west.
- Birds, and other fauna and rich flora.
- Remote villages along the border of Nepal, Darjeeling and Sikkim
- Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim
- Historical Darjeeling and its colorful streets markets
Trip Price From US$ 1000 | See Details
Trip AccommodationSome of finest hotels during the tour and in Village Inns during the trek.
Trip SeasonsAny date. Best from Mar till May and from Oct till Dec.Please note Singalila National Park remains close from July 15 -Sept 15, thus no trek during this period.
Group SizeMax 10 members
MealsAll meals during the trek. Breakfast and dinner during the tour in Gangtok and Darjeeling.
RouteGangtok - Darjeeling -
Darjeeling -Rimbik - Sirikhola
Sirikhola - Rammam
Molley - Sandakphu
Sandakphu - Tumling
Tumling - Chitre -Siliguri/Bagdogra.
Trip TypeEasy to moderate trek
Best MonthsApril, May, October, November
Good MonthsMarch, September
Lean MonthsJanuary, February, June, December
Not RecommendJuly, August