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Sandakphu Trek: A Perfect Detailed Guide

Sandakphu trek leads you to the height of 11,900 ft being the highest peak of West Bengal. Famously called as ‘Trekkers Wonderland’, Sandakphu provides an exceptional view of four of the world’s highest peaks of Himalayas- Mt. Everest, Makalu, Kanchenjunga and Lhotse. With a total distance of 45 km, it includes colorful flora, forest of blooming rhododendrons, beautiful landscape and rare animals like Red Panda and Bears.

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You can also take a walk along the Bikhey Bhanjyang, notoriously famous for growing poisonous Aconite flowers. Kalipokhri houses a sacred lake known as Black Pond by the locals which is considered sacred by Buddhist and also has a temple beside it. 

Itinerary for the Trek:

Day 01: Arrival

Trekkers need to reach the base camp of Kuhpidana which is at an approximate distance of 84 km from NJP railway station or you can even get down from your flight at Bagdogra Airport and drive to Kuhpidana.

Day 02: Kopidana to Tumling

Kuhpidana is a small village from where you will hike about 5 hours to reach your first pit stop of the trek. Don’t forget to keep your visa and ID at hand to cross between the border of India and Nepal. The locals provide tea house accommodation for the trekkers and there are also some lodges available. You can visit the Tumling viewpoint to get a view of Kanchenjunga and also indulge in the mesmerising sunset. This hamlet also leads to the Singalila National Park and other routes get you to the Tonglu, another high altitude settlement.

Day 03: Tumling to Kalipokhri

On the third day, you enter the beautiful forests of Singalila National park and you can tell it is a paradise for bird watchers and photographers just by the abundance of rich flora and fauna. The summers and springs pave all the more beautiful colours with its blooming rhodo trees. As you inch towards Kalapokhri trail gets more picturesque and you finally come across the sacred lake surrounded with prayer flags. At one side, a small buddhist temple sits peacefully with the beautiful surrounding.

Day 04: Kalapokhri to Sandakphu

The trail on the fourth day makes its ascent gradually upward with the first hour a steeper climb and then covering 6 km on a winding motor road to reach the flats of Bikheybhanjang from where you can see the summit of Sandakphu like a panorama. After a climb of 4 km, you will be greeted with the most awaited views of highest Himalayan peaks. The Sleeping Buddha that was playing hide and seek along your trail, now stands before you in all its glory. You get a complete 180-Degree view of Everest, Makalu, Lhotse, Kanchenjunga extending toward Three Sisters Peak.

Day 05: Sandakphu to Sepi Village

Fifth day marks the descent from the height of 11,900 ft towards the small village of Sepi. The trekking distance is long but the descent makes it easier from the rest of the day. Also, you can anticipate spotting Red Panda or even a Bear on this different trek route through bamboo forest.

Day 06: Departure

From Sepi which is located in West Bengal, you can either board a train from NJP railway station or get a flight from Bagdogra. You can even take a bus till Kolkata and then get a train or flight as the frequency of transport is much higher in Kolkata to all the major cities.

When to Visit:

Sandakphu trek remains operational for about 8 months around the year, monsoon being the only season when trekking through Sandakphu is not advisable due to landslides and foggy views of the Himalayan peaks. The winter months bring you fresh snowfall and snow-covered trails. The snow trail leading through the forests looks delightful and you might even get to see some frozen waterfalls. Spring gives you a mix of summer and winter virtues with colourful forest and residual snow. The trail is a pleasant stroll among nature with pink, red and white colours turning the place lively. Autumn months are famous for crisp views of Kanchenjunga range amidst the golden hours of sunset and sunrise. Ideally, trekkers prefer visiting Sandakphu in the period of October to February for the sole reason of mountain views it offers.

Cost of the Trek:

The average cost to Sandakphu per person is around 700 for each day. The overall cost can change depending upon the type of accommodation you choose or the expense on trekking gears and such. The tour operator you choose also play a vital role in planning your budget for the trip

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