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Kanchenjunga Valley Trek or Sandakphu trek takes you to the highest peak in West Bengal, offering grand views of the world's tallest peaks - Mt Everest, Makalu, Kanchenjunga, Lhotse and many other peaks of Nepal, Sikkim, Tibet and Bhutan. A wonderland for trekkers, located at an altitude of 11,929 ft., the Kanchenjunga cluster is famously called 'The Sleeping Buddha', thanks to its appearance. Mt. Kumbhakarna forms the head and face of Buddha, while Mt. Kanchenjunga forms the upper body. The other peaks that make up the rest of The Sleeping Buddha are Kokthang, Rathong, Frey, Kabru South, Kabru North, Simvo, Mt. Pandim, Tenzingkhang, Japanu, Narsing.
This is one of the few treks in India that have adopted the Tea House accommodation system common in Nepal. Tea Houses are basic homestays with small cosy rooms and spectacular views. Usually run by one family, a teahouse is a pleasant change from camping treks common in India. The picturesque village of Kalapokhri is on the border between Nepal and India. During the trek you will bob and weave crossing the border several times and, on some occasions, starting the trek from Nepal, having lunch in India only to cross the border after your meal.
The early riser gets the opportunity to watch the sunrise over ‘The Sleeping Buddha’ Formation and is truly a magnificent view. The endless views of the mountains while on the trek is one of the most addicting views and the high Himalayas of Everest and Lhotse feel like your trekking companions.
You have a choice to begin the trek at Bagdogra, the nearest airport or from New Jalpaiguri which is the nearest railway station.
The Sandakphu trek is a moderate trek and is recommended for beginners and amateurs. Though there are no technical sections, the long days of trekking give it a moderate grade. With a maximum altitude of 3700 metres, the altitude gain over the course of the trek is manageable. The maximum distance you will be covering over the course of the trek is close to 50 kilometres.
Best Time : January - December
Duration : 06 Days
Max. Altitude : 3636 Metres
Commences At : Bagdogra / New Jalpaiguri
Ends At : Bagdogra / New Jalpaiguri
During the trek Adventure Pulse will put you up in comfortable Lodges/Guesthouses popularly known as ‘Teahouse’ on double sharing basis with breakfast, Lunch and dinner included. Sandakphu trek is a Teahouse style trek and every day you will be staying in the teahouse which will have rooms on double sharing basis with a clean bed and blankets. We recommend you to carry your personal sleeping bag to maintain hygiene. There will be a common dining room where meals will be served. Although, there are very limited options and most of the teahouse have basic amenities, some of the teahouses will also have room with attached toilets. One can book a single room at an additional cost.
You need to be in good physical shape to trek to Sandakphu. It’s an easy grade trek and is recommended for anyone with average fitness. Prior trekking experience is not required and beginners can also do this trek. One should be able to walk for average 6 hours daily with a small backpack. Please refer to our physical fitness document for more details on this topic.
One needs to fly to Bagdogra Airport for the Sandakphu trek, which is the nearest airport. There are regular flights from Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata. On your arrival in Bagdogra, you will be picked up by an Adventure Pulse representative and transferred to Khopidara, the start point of the trek. After the trek, we will arrange for transportation from trek end point Sepi to Bagdogra airport. Alternatively, one can also take a train to New Jalpaiguri Railway Station.
Sandakphu trek is an easy and non-technical trek and doesn’t involve any type of technical climbs. Any kind of climbing equipment or gears are not required for this trek. For list of other things and warm clothing to carry, please refer to our link - List of things to carry for the Sandakphu trek.
Regular phone and data services work in Bagdogra. While on the trek, most days there is limited network connectivity and Vodafone or BSNL network might work in some patches and while you are in the villages along the way. One can try switching to international roaming and use Nepal mobile services. However, one is disconnected on most days during the course of the trek.
There are three recommended seasons for the Sandakphu Trek. 1. April to May: This is the season when the Rhododendron flowers are in full bloom and comfortable average temperatures ranging between 6-12 degree. One can expect clear sky around this time. There are chances of occasional showers in May. 2. October to November: The average temperature around this time is in the range of 1-6 degree. Weather is pleasant during this time. However, expect occasional snow fall. 3. December to January: Sandakphu trek in winter is also an exciting adventure for those who want to experience trekking in snow and in extremely cold temperatures. To trek in winter, one need to be very well prepared in terms of trekking essentials and equipment such as snow boots, good quality down jacket, sleeping bag etc as the trails are covered with heavy snow depending on the weather conditions.
The Teahouses on the Sandakphu trek start point Khopidara and endpoint Sepi serves good breakfast (Bread Omelet, Paratha, Puri Bhajii etc) which is included in the meal plan along with the dinner which will be a mix of Indian food (Roti-Sabji, Tarkari, Daal Rice etc). While on the trek (Tumling to Sandakphu), all meals are included and the meals are usually a good mix of Indian and continental food. The local cooks at teahouses are very experienced and will be happy to entertain any particular requests you may have for your meals. All the meals are served in the common dining area at the teahouse.
The teahouses on the Sandakphu trek offer very basic amenities and most of them do not have electricity. These teahouses here mostly use electricity generated from the solar panels and generators in some cases. So, there won’t be geyser for hot water or a proper shower facility. In Khopidara or in Sepi some arrangements for hot water could be made. However, we do not encourage you to take a proper shower while on a trek due to cold temperatures. Since, it’s only a four days trek, one can manage with sponge wipes to maintain hygiene. We recommend you to carry a small towel. Kindly avoid usage of wet wipes whenever possible as they are non-biodegradable and harmful to the environment.
The Adventure Pulse staff and guides carry a fully equipped medical kit with necessary medicines and an Oxygen meter. As a standard practice, we check oxygen levels of all our clients twice a day and take necessary precautions if any irregularity is found in the oxygen reading. In case the problem persists, the client is sent down with a qualified guide. In case of an Injury where the trekker is not in a position to walk down, a Pony is organized to the nearest road where a vehicle and a doctor visit can be organized.
Adventure Pulse usually plans all it treks during the most favourable season on the mountain, but having said that, weather is always an unpredictable factor. We usually look at weather reports before leaving for the trek. In case the weather is unfavourable, we could delay the trek to the next day and make necessary changes to the Itinerary. In the worse situation, we may have to turn back midway, but safety is always a priority which cannot be compromised on.
A moderate trek with pleasant temperatures. A high chance of rain during the monsoon seasons. Day-time temperatures can range from 15C-20C and at night 0C-5C.
The Sandakphu Trek is a moderate level trek. We would recommend a 7-week fitness plan that will ensure that you are fighting fit for the trek.
Please remember, consistency is the key here. Do not do anything to exert yourself or something that will increase the chances of Injury. Running / brisk walking 4-5 km for 5 days in a week is far better than running 20 km on one day of the week and injuring your Knee/Ligaments in the process. If you can be consistent with the above-mentioned schedule, The Sandakphu Trek, though physically challenging, will become a pleasant and enjoyable experience for you. Feel free to call us or mail us in case you want more details on how to prepare for this trek!
Contact: [email protected]