Ain't the name so unique?
And so is the trek that goes by its name. SandakphuPhalut is a trek with uniqueness. It's the only trek that lets you witness the four highest peaks of the World in one frame, moreover being at 11,950 feet, you can witness the peaks 8000 meters high. Considered the highest point in West Bengal, Sandakphu is at the edge of Singalila National Park, near the Indo-Nepal Border.
A moderate level trek that stretches over seven days of duration, you will be breathing fresh air at 11950 feet, away from all the hustle-bustle life offers you every day. On your left is the cluster of the Everest, and then there are Lhotse and Makaluwon't that be a sight to be mesmerized with?
And it doesn't stop there, turn to your right, and you witness the Sleeping Buddha, a sight that starts from the very first day of the trek, and it keeps you going. The Sleeping Buddha is a cluster of Kanchenjunga, the third-highest peak in the World.
Also commonly referred to as Trekkers Wonderland, flora and fauna, there is a great example of biodiversity that the Himalayas offer you. Let's make our conversation deeper by getting to know what Sandakphu has to offer you.
Here's a short itinerary for your reference: (For timings and stays for the same, please connect with us)
Day 1: Bagdogra Airport/ Railway Station/Kaventers Milkshake Shop to Srikhola ( Distance: 112 km and 5-6 hours of drive)
Cost: Railway station/Airport to Srikhola INR 1000-1300 per Person.
Kaventers to Srikhola INR 600-720 per person.
Day 2:From Srikhola to Samanden
Distance: 9 km
Trek hours: 6-7 hours
Day 3:From Samanden to Sabargram
Distance: 12 km
Trek hours: 7 hours
Day 4: From Sabargram to the Phalut then to Molley
Distance: 6 km
Trek hours: 3 hours
Day 5: From Molley to Sandakphu
Distance: 12 km
Trek hours: 7 hours
Day 6: From Sandakphu to Gurdam
Distance: 16 km
Trek hours: 6 hours
Day 7: From Gurdam to Srikhola and then drop at Airport/Railway station
Distance (Trek): 11 km
Trek hours: 5 hours
Distance (Drive to Airport/Railways): 126 km
Distance (Drive): 6.5 hours
The cost of transportation to the airport/railways may change depending upon the route back. It may increase by INR 100-300 more than what you paid on Day 1.
Note: The food is provided through the Tea Houses on the way. Your extra luggage is stored at Srikhola in one of the Tea Houses, from where you can collect it on the return.
The Long Itinerary:
A moderate-level trek spread over seven days and conquering 11950 feet. The below itinerary is an indicative one, a few changes here and there could be done as and when required.
Day 1: Pick up from Airport/Railways
The New Jalpaiguri is the closest railway station, and Bagdogra is the Airport you have to land at. From here is the journey towards the most cherished base camp at Srikhola. It's a 4-5 hours journey passing by the beautiful Tea Estates and Small Villages as you wave at the locals who welcome you with a whole heart. You would be at an altitude of 6400 ft. There are three pickup points, the railway station, the Airport, and Keventers Milkshake Shop. The railway pickups are arranged only if the travelers are five or more in number.
Per Person Cost (On Arrival and Departure): INR 1000-1300 or INR 600-720 (Depending upon your pickup point and number of people traveling in the vehicle for transportation)
Day 2: From Srikhola to Samanden
This is when your trek begins. It's a moderate-level trek to Samanden. A mix of steep and gradual ascent, on this trail, you will pass by the water resources of Lamyadhura, Meghma, and Chittrey. On this day, make sure you start on time and complete it by afternoon; though the trek is not challenging, the slight mountain showers can make it difficult. You will be climbing from 6400 ft to 9450 ft. A 9 km trek to be completed in 6-7 hrs.
The trek has a few rocky and muddy patches that can be easily conquered. It begins by moving across the main road from your homestay at Srikhola towards Chittrey. A 3 km trek through dense forests and beautiful landscape where you can capture the villages and mountains around.
At the end of this 3 km trek, you will notice towards your left a motorable road going upwards, and a little below, you can notice the Chittrey Monastery with prayers flags calling for your attention. This is known as Upper Chittrey where you take a break for some time.
From here, the trek becomes a bit steeper; there are steps made by cutting the mountains to help the locals and trekkers alike. The moment you reach Lamyadhura, you will start getting the feel of a beautiful valley with meadows and beautiful flowers in bloom. Here you can also notice the motorable road which walks by you all along the trail; hence you can never be lost; the motorable road always has some of the land rovers transporting the tourists to Sandakphu and Phalut.
The Lamyadhura is a small village inhabited by the Tibetans, who run their livelihood through small tea houses and snack corners. From here, the trek ahead to Meghma is a 3 km steep climb. Cheemal and Magnolia cover up the whole terrain here, and if you are lucky, the Red Panda may greet you too. On this route, you will encounter the SSB Check Post hence keep all your documents handy.
More up the hill, you find another Buddhist Monastery which you can visit if it's open. In another 4 minutes, you reach a fork point, turn to your left and catch a breath at one of the tea houses before you treat yourself to Lunch.
From Meghma, you leave for Tonglu/Tumling that is 2 km away. It takes around another 30-40 minutes to reach there, and that's when the day trek ends. You reach the Nepal border here, and there are few guesthouses on the Nepal side. If your luck supports and clouds have not hovered over, you will witness the "Sleeping Buddha" from here.
Day 3: From Samanden to Sabargram
Again a moderate level trek for about 6-7 hours covering 12 km. The trek passes by two water resources known as Garibas and Kaiyakatta. Climbing from 9450 ft to 10400 ft has a mix of steep ascents and descents.
It's a magical day when you wake up to the first sun rays falling upon the beautiful "Sleeping Buddha." A view to live for, you will feel you have come to another world where life just gave you an option of levitating to heaven. From here, the Everest may not be visible, but the whole cluster of Kanchenjunga is elated to welcome you.
You witness the peaks of Kumbhkarana, Simvo and Kachenjunga. And it doesn't end here; right below these peaks, you can notice the Rathong, South Kabru, Koktang, Frey, Kabru Forked, Ridge of Pandim, and Goecha. From here, you can also notice the Goecha La, a famous trek in Sikkim.
From Tumling, you head towards Kalipokhri in Singalia National Park. Here you get to choose to take the motorable road or a hiking trail. Both eventually lead you to Garibas. Preferably choose the trail as it's full of beauty and views to live for. This 5 km trek will make you witness the majestic Himalayas and the flora and fauna they offer. Gradually you will reach a point where to your right will be India, and to your left will be Nepal.
Garibas is a tiny village that has few overnight staying options in guesthouses on the Nepal Side. On your right is India's SSB checkpoint, where you will have to pay the entry fee.
You may choose to take a break here or move ahead to KaiyaKatta, which is 2kms away but is a steep climb with steps cut through the mountain, or you can choose the beautiful motorable road too. At KaiyaKatta, take a break for amazing Nepali Lunch.
Post Lunch continues your journey to Kalipokhri, the final destination for the day. This is the stretch where you can stop for bird watching for some time. In about 2 hrs, you will reach a bean-shaped lake known as KaliPokhri, which in English translates to Black Lake. On the opposite end of this lake is a small Buddhist temple, and you are on the border of Nepal and India. Five minutes from here is your resting point for the day, a cozy Tea House. If you have stamina left, then you may take a stroll in the Ilam district, a small town in the interiors of Nepal.
Day 4: From Sabargram to Phalut and then to Molley
Finally, you arrive at a day that is comparatively an Easy Day Trek. Climbing from 10400 ft to 11 950 feet, it's a 3-hour trek for 6 km. It's the windiest part of your trek as winds gain speed here and make the trek longer by hours even though it's just a 6 km trek.
The water resources on the way are Bhagsa and Bikheybhanjang. Make sure you refill your bottles before moving ahead on the trek.
You can stop at Bikheybhanjang and get a view of Sandakphu. From here, to reach Sandapkphu, there are two ways a shorter and steeper one or a long and gradual ascent via Nepal. Once you come closer to reach the Sandakphu landscape, you will start noticing the tiny huts and tea houses that are scattered over the full landscape.
When you cross Phalut and begin your journey towards Molley is when you reach a point from where you can get the beautiful panoramic view of the Himalayas. The only point where you witness Everest, Makalu, Nuptse, Chamling, Lhotse, Chamling, and the whole range of the Annapurna's. The Sleeping Buddha in front of you and to your east the Peaks of Bhutan, the highest being Chomolhari. What else can you ask for from life being a trekker?
Twenty minutes walk from this point is your campsite where in the winters the temperature drops below minus zero and the whole landscape gets covered in snow.
Day 5: From Molley to Sandakphu:
Here comes another long day. Descending from 11 950 ft to 11 080 ft. A 7-8 hours trek of 12 km. This stretch becomes tricky if it rains as it's laid out through some rocky patches, muddy waters, and dense forest cover. The winds add to the difficulty. Though categorized as moderate, this patch may become slightly difficult if the weather doesn't support it.
The best is to begin your day early. This is the stretch that also provides you with a maximum of flora and fauna the Sankphau Phalut trek can offer. The airbrushes through your hair and whispers in your ear. The full bloom of flowers welcomes you to their terrain. Ain't it so fascinating to experience this atop a peak? And to add to the beauty of the place, you may come across the Yaks grazing around and soaking in the sun. Some multiple small ascents and descents finally lead you to the road. In 2 hrs, you reach the Thukumb Check post. Your tickets are checked here. Walk ahead for 20-30 minutes, and you would reach another check post of the Forest at Sabarkum. This marks the end of the day for you, and you set up a campsite here to rest for the night.
Day 6: From Sandakphu to Gurdum:
Ascending from 11080 ft to 7546 feet, 6 hours and 16 km trek. A moderate run-through combination of gradual ascents and descents. Make sure you carry sufficient water with you.
This is a stretch where at Phalut, you will witness the most magnificent view of the Kanchenjunga Family while returning. The trail from Molley going to Phalut is laid in a zigzag manner, and with the slow and steady pace, you can cover the whole stretch easily. Phalut is a place with majorly no vegetation. At the most, what you have is an SSB Campsite and a guest house. On the whole, the two can accommodate 25-26 trekkers if ever needed.
This is the only point as stated above take as much advantage of as possible because you cannot get the beautiful panoramic view of all the peaks from anywhere else. Unfortunately, if the weather is not clear, it's advised to head straight to Samanden.
The path leading to Samanden Village is a gradual descend from Phalut, where not only you witness the forest but also other beautiful peaks of Tenzingkhang, Narsing, Pandim, and Jubanu.
Next to Samanden is Gorkhey Village, another cozy village to get acquainted with the life of the locals. Once you reach here, do not miss the opportunity of exploring it as much as possible and get absorbed in its beauty.
Day 7: From Gurdum to Srikhola and then final goodbye at Bagdogra/NJP Station
Ascending from a height of 7546 feet to 6234 feet, a 4-5 hours trek of 11 km. It's the easiest day of all, and it's mostly walks with few ascents and descents. Carry sufficient water else refill at Ramam, where you will be in an hour into the trek.
The Village of Samanden is full of dense pines. Begin your journey a bit early into the day. Take the route to Sepi through Ramam. This stretch has ample pine trees and a few steep ascents. The Samanden will give you a feel of huts surrounded by lush greens and cozy dwellings. Once you are about to reach Ramam, you can take a break at SSB
Checkpost and sip in some Tea at the locals.
From Ramam to Sepi, the final destination, you will cross a beautiful wooden bridge. This bridge is at Srikhola. Post crossing this bridge, you reach Sepi through a motorable road by a walk of 30-40 minutes.
At Sepi, you indulge in Lunch that is served hot. Post Lunch, you depart for your final journey home via Airport/ Railways. Vehicles are arranged for the same.
What I like about the Sandakphu Trek:
Well, the hysteria is to go for this trek to have a spectacular view of the Himalayan peaks but let me tell you, it's not just that which Sandakphu has to offer you. The most cherished moments for me are the time spent with the locals. Soaking into the atmosphere of the incense-filled homes of the beautiful villages of Samanden and Gorkhey. It is an experience that will linger on in your memory for a lifetime.
The whole trek is spread over various camps where you keep on hopping from Nepal to India and vice versa. Here are a few cherished memories of the trek that I am here to share with you.
- The Sleeping Buddha: Kachenjenga, the third highest peak of the World, calls for your attention the moment you enter Darjeeling. The whole cluster, when framed together, gives an appearance of Lord Buddha having a peaceful sleep, and hence the view becomes not only exciting but also holds a spiritual connotation. From Day 1, this view grabs your attention, and you play hide and seek with it until you reach Tumling, where you can just rest for some time and watch it up close to experience what the calmness of the mountains has to offer you. Phalut is the destination when they appear as if they are just a stone's throw away, and if nothing else, what they offer you is to have a larger view of life so that you can find the Buddha within you.
- Samanden and Gorkhey: These beautiful villages will call you to settle down there. The tranquillity, the pine tree clusters, vegetable gardens, wooden huts, and the lap of nature. What else would you ask for in life? The villagers are clear-hearted and straightforward people, they welcome you as their own, and you would never like to leave them back. Trust me, and you won't leave these villages without feeling separation anxiety.
- No Visas: Ain't it funny? Well, to enter another country, a passport, a visa is a must but guess what Sandakphu gives you an experience where you can sneak in and out of India and Nepal in a blink of an eye. Chittrey is the first spot where you start noticing the boards signaling the Nepal and India border. Here you may have your Lunch in India and sleep in your tents in Nepal or a Dinner in Nepal and hop back in India into your tents. Doesn't that sound exciting!
- The stunning Sunsets: This may be the only place where you can witness the sunset below you and where clouds speckle over the ground. Well, the height and the landscape give you an experience where the long-distance views make it appear that the sun is setting below you, and you can feel you have merged with the sky as the clouds just pass by you. Just stand still for a moment, and you will feel the World within you has just witnessed a miracle unfold.
What I don't like about Sandakphu?
Hmm…A beautiful trek but everything in the World has a flaw.
- The packaged food: Sandakphu is an easily accessible place hence commercialization has reached here too. If you feel you have come away from the city to witness the rawness of nature, then you would be disappointed to see all that you get in a city easily available there. This also leads to the cluttering of the non-biodegradable materials, and unfortunately, that may lead to the destruction of the beauty that nature holds there.
- Trek Trail and The Traffic: Unfortunately, the trail and the commercial roads overlap; hence you may get traffic on the way while you are headed towards your journey.
What is the Best time to visit Sandakphu?
Keeping in mind the security of the visitors, Sandakphu Phalut remains closed in the monsoon season of May to August. The other eight months is the time that the trek remains open and offers you a distinct experience with every changing season. It's one of the best treks to go for bird watching, and the beautiful Himalayan Monal would entice you with her beauty.
The Spring: If you are fond of flowers and wish to witness them bloom in the valley, then spring is when the beautiful Rhododendrons and Magnolias are in full bloom. Speckled over the whole landscape, they give you a view to live for life. The only issue you may face in this season is as April gets closer, the monsoon season is about to begin; hence the clouds start blocking the view of the peaks, the fog becomes denser, and you may experience on and off showers which may dampen your dreams of the trek. If you are planning a spring trip, then March is preferable over April.
The Autumn: The end of September is when the autumn season starts and stretches until November. Washing away all the dust and pollutions as the monsoon recedes brightens up your dream of the trek. This is the time when Sunsets and Sunrises are the views to watch out for. The clear, crisp views and lovely weather add to your excitement.
This is the time for bird watching, and it's when they come out to soak into the sun's rays and mesmerize you with their beauty. The only flaw which you may experience during this season is the crowd; October being the festive season and extended holidays, the place gets crowded and makes the movement difficult. It's advisable you either do it in late September or November. Even early winter is also an excellent time to complete it.
The Winter: Winters could be one of the best times to do this trek, as snowfall just makes it a much more sacred experience. One that remains closer to your heart forever. Just pray that when you plan this winter trek, the snowfall is moderate, supporting your trekking experience. The sun rises are the best at this time as you wait for the sun's warmth to cover you amidst the cold breezes coming from the snow-covered landscape. The low turnover of people in the winter makes your trip more peaceful and calm.
The Weather and Temperature :
- The weather conditions vary in each season of Sandakphu Trek. The most cherished weather amongst trekkers is Autumn (September end to November).
- Temperature: During the autumn, the nights can be cold as the temperature can go as low as below zero degrees. It also depends on where you plan to camp; on a higher camp point, the temperature goes 2-3 degrees below zero, whereas at the lower camp base, the temperature remains 3-4 degrees above zero. So in any scenario, you should be well equipped with warm clothes. It's also advised to keep a waterproof jacket with you on this trek as though the temperature in the daytime remains bearable and pleasant between 13-18 degrees. Still, you may experience slight showers that may dampen your clothes and bring down temperature as below as 8 degrees.
- The winters ( December to February) are loved by avid trekkers who don't mind snow on the way while they trek. The snowfall has never been heavy so far at Sandakphu; hence the routes are never blocked.
- Temperature: The winter brings in the chills, be well prepared with winter creams and balms as you may get frostbite in this season. The temperature during the day remains bearable 8-12 degrees, but nights may be colder as the temperature at any base remains below zero degrees. Make sure you have enough to keep you warm and cozy.
- The Spring ( March-April) is one of the pleasant seasons to trek at Sandakphu. The winter starts receding, and the snow melts at lower landscapes.
- Temperature: During trek hours in the day, the temperature remains between 15-20 degrees, whereas, at nights, it hovers over between 1-5 degrees. The temperature may fall to certain degrees if there is rainfall.
Safety at Sandakphu Trek:
We at Treks and Trails ensure that our adventurers feel and remain safe and secure with us.
Sandakphu doesn't have any tricky terrains; hence it's safest for both absolute beginners and experienced trekkers both. All our leads are certified and well-trained in safety precautions. We carry all safety equipment and make sure that we ingrain safety in all the fantastic wanderers who join us for trips to remember.
Being one of the oldest and well-known treks in the country, the whole trek is well marked and perfectly laid out for all the trekkers to follow. We divide the groups into various clusters and make sure one lead is assigned to each cluster to ensure the coordination and well-being of everyone with us on this journey.
The good news is you can make this trek even lighter as it's famous as "Tea House Trek." You will find a tea house and a boarding facility; hence, you may choose not to carry the food and tents.
But as it's said, "Prevention is better than cure", here are a few pointers to get acquainted with before choosing to go on this trek.
The difficulty level of Sandakphu Phalut:
It's a moderate level trek; at Srikhola, from where we start, you are at the height of 6400 feet, and the way ahead takes you 11950 ft at Molley and Phalut. From Phalut you descend to 7500 ft and then at Srikhola at 6400 feet, where the trek ends.
The Days are longer: Sandakphalu is a longer trek, it may not have very rough patches, but it does test your stamina as the days pass by. You will have to walk for 7-8 hours or more to cover at least 11 km each day. With strong winds, this may become even tougher.
T&T Advice: To handle the above difficulty, make sure you have excellent quality shoes that have a firmer grip but are gentle on your feet to keep them warm and cozy.
The Chill: As we ascend on the trek, the temperature falls drastically, and the strong winds add to the chill.
T&T Advice: Carry a minimum of 5 layers of clothing to wear on this trek and a windcheater that protects from both wind and rains.
Acute Motion Sickness (AMS) at Sandakphu Phalut:
At most high treks, most people get the symptoms of AMS like nausea, headache, dizziness, and muscle aches. The moment you get any of these, immediately inform our leads. They are well trained in handling these situations and have a great connection with the locals who are prompt in treating or advising in these situations. Until you receive help, keep yourself hydrated.
T&T Advice: Before you come for the trek, read all the information about AMS, HAPE, and HACE. This will help you to understand the reasons for the above symptoms and also ways of preventing them.
Exiting Sandakphu Phalut:
It's one of the treks where the exit is relatively easy in case there is an emergency. There is a motorable road along the trek; hence commuting in case of evacuation becomes easy. If by any chance you get stuck at Sabargam, then in that scenario, you can be evacuated through Gorkhey and reach Rambam.
The Hospitals near Sandakphu:
Rimbik is the closest hospital to Sandakphu. The next one is in Sukhia Pokhri, where you have to drive through the place called Mane Bhanjang.
Ways to Travel to Sandakphu Phalut:
To reach Sandakphu you will have to reach Mane Bhajang orSrikhola.
Route 1: Reach NJP (New Jal Paiguri ) Station in Siliguri, West Bengal. From there, take any shared taxi that goes to Darjeeling. Get down at Ghum. From Ghum again, take a shared taxi and reach Sukhia Pokhri. From Sukhia Pokhri, you have to reach Mane Bhanjang by a shared taxi again. The last junction for you is Srikhola that you can either take a private cab or, if you have the stamina, you can hike too as it's just 2 km away from Mane Bhanjang. The whole journey will cost you around INR 500.
Route 2: From NJP Station, reach Darjeeling Mor Taxi stand via a shared cab. From there, you will find various taxis heading towards Sukhia Pokhri. From Sukhia, Pokhri follows the same route as explained above. This may cost you around INR 500-600.
Fly to Bagdogra Airport in Siliguri. Once you land at the Airport, Head towards the auto/taxi stands; from there, hire a cab/auto to reach Bihar More or Siliguri More. Take a shared cab to Sukhia Pokhri and from there again a shared cab to Mane Bhanjang. And then the last destination to Srikhola. Sometimes the shared cabs take you directly to Srikhola if there are enough passengers. So you never know you may get lucky! This whole journey will cost you around INR 600.
Well, all said and done, this hopping on from one vehicle to another may sound discouraging to go for the trek but trust us, it will be fun and an amazing way to meet and befriend local people too.
Frequently Asked Questions :
1.) Can Beginners go for Sandakphu Phalut Trek?
Yes, as a beginner, you can go for this trek. You have to keep in mind and be prepared to walk for 11 km every day approx. The total you have to cover is 65 km on this trek. Please connect with us to know how to get fit and prepare your mind and body for this trek.
2.) How long does it take to complete this trek?
Every day you have to walk for 6-7 hours. It takes around 6-7 days to complete the trek. There are some long ascents and descents. We advise you to prepare your body as this trek tests your endurance. If you require any kind of guidance on this, please get in touch with us.
3.) How above Sea Level I would be, and is it worth climbing that high?
Trust us, you won't regret doing this trek, and every effort to reach the peak would be worth it. The height of Sandakphu Phalut is 11950 ft; though the seasoned trekkers may not find it that impressive, what's worth is the view that you get atop. It's a very special trek as you get to witness Kanchenjunga of Sikkim, Everest of Nepal, and Chaoma Lahuri of Purvanchal. Is it worth a climb? Of course, it is as you will not get this view anywhere else in the World.
How to Plan the Journey to Sandakphu Phalut Trek?
While the trek is beautiful, so should be your plan to reach there. Let's have a quick look at how you can execute this.
A quick look at it:
Day 0: Book flight tickets either to Bagdogra or Kolkata Airport. If you choose Bagdogra, stay at Siliguri to get picked up the next day for Sandakphu. If you choose Kolkata, then take a night train to NJP station so that you can be picked up the next day for the trek.
Day 1: Transport will be arranged by us from Airport and NJP Railway station both. You will be transported to SriKhola, our base camp for the trek. The cost-shared by trekkers comes to around INR 550-650 per Person.
Day 2: From Srikhola to Samanden
Day 3: From Samanden to Sabargram
Day 4: From Sabargram to Phalut to Molley
Day 5: From Molley to Sandakphu
Day 6: From Sandakphu to Gurdum
Day 7:From Gurdum to Srikhola. Finally to Bagdogra/NJP Station.
Here too, on Day 7, we arrange for vehicles to transport you to Airport/Railways. Cost again comes around INR 1000-1200 per Person as there is a change in route and distance to Airport/Railways. If you are traveling via train. Book your tickets from NJP to Howrah in advance. Recomded trains are Kanchan Kanya or Paharia Express. If you plan to rest that day and fly the next day, arrange for a night stay in Siliguri.
Day 8: Fly to your destination from Bagdogra Airport.
Our Recommendation :
· Arrive at Siliguri a Day Earlier so that you can rest or go sightseeing before you head for the trek. Your body gets well-deserved rest for the night.
· Preferably fly, if there is no financial constraint as the trek can be daunting on the body and hours of travel by train back home may just add on to its misery.
Train/Plane Journey Plan:
If you are traveling from Far off cities like Mumbai, Pune, Chennai, Bengaluru, etc. Book tickets for a day before. For example, if your trek starts on 1st September, reach Bagdogra/Kolkata Airport by 31st August or even a day earlier.
- Various ways to reach Siliguri:
- Option 1: Fly to Bagdogra Airport directly: It's recommended as it gives you enough rest, but in case costs are too high, fly to Kolkata and take a train to NJP.
- Option 2: Fly to Kolkata and then train to NJP. Please do keep a close check on the prices of flight tickets, if the difference is lesser than rupees thousand, preferably land directly at Bagdogra Airport. Also, check with us the time slots of pickup so that you can reach us well in advance to not miss your pick up by us. If you have flown to Kolkata, book train tickets in Kanchan Kanya Express (Train Number 13149) that departs at 8:30 PM from Sealdah, and reaches NJP at 7:30 AM the next day. Else get tickets in Uttar Banga Express (Train Number 13147) that departs at 7:45 PM from Sealdah and reaches NJP the next day at 7 AM.
- Option 3: Bus to Siliguri/NJP from Kolkata: If you are reaching Kolkata by Plane/Train, then you have an option of government-run buses or Volvos to reach the Pickup point in Siliguri/NJP. You get these buses from Esplanade at around INR 850-1000. You can board around 7:30 PM on Day 0 to reach before the time of your pickup on Day 1.
Please Note: We share all details of pickup and vehicle number, contact number of the driver a week before your journey. Pickup at NJP is arranged only if the trekkers coming through railways are five or more in number.
Planning the Return:
While planning your return, make sure you keep enough buffer time. It also depends upon the fact if you wish to explore Siliguri/Kolkata on the way back. As per our Itinerary, you will reach Siliguri approximately by 7 PM on Day 7.
Hence it's best that you plan your travel after 9 PM on Day 7, keeping in mind the traffic on the way or in case Lunch Break extends to a longer period. For flights, it's recommended that you fly on Day 8 to stay on a safer side.
Option 1: Flight from Bagdogra: If flight tickets from Bagdogra fit your budget, it's the best option to go back home. Preferably book for Day 8, plan a night stay at Siliguri.
Option 2: Take a Train to Kolkata and then flight from there: If flight tickets from Bagdogra don't fit your budget, then take a train to Kolkata and book a flight from Kolkata Airport. Book tickets in Kanchan Kanya Express(Train Number 13150) that departs at 8:30 PM on Day 7. It reaches Howrah at 8:20 AM the next day. You can book a flight accordingly from Kolkata on Day 8.
Pro-Tip: Book flights from Kolkata that are flying out after 9 AM; sometimes trains are late due to unavoidable situations. Buses in Kolkata are quite cheap; you may use them for transportation from Railway Station to Airport.
Option 3: Take Bus to Kolkata: Though not a recommended option after a long trek but in case you still wish to take this option, then book a bus on Day 8 as buses mostly depart by 6-7 PM hence catching them on Day 7 is doubtful.
Pro-Tip for stays: Check for stay options online; you have a plethora of them. The only thing to avoid is staying just next to NJP, as hotels/ lodges etc., aren't maintained well in the area. Look for an option 2km ahead of the Station. For Airports, stays are good even around the Airport, so that's shouldn't be a problem for you.
What if you miss the Pickup by Treks and Trails?
If, by any chance, you miss getting picked up by us, don't feel discouraged. Please take it as another way of exploration and getting to know the place better. There are ample ways to reach Srikhola on your own.
1.) Take a shared auto/cab to Bihar More. Cost: INR 100-200 per Person
2.) From Bihar More, take another shared cab to Sukhia Pokhri. Cost: INR 350-400. Time: 5-6 hours.
3.) From Sukhia Pokhri, board another shared cab to Mane Bhanjang. Cost: INR 30-40. Time: 45 minutes-1 hour as the road at this stretch is really bad.
4.) From Mane Bhanjang, the campsite at Srikhola is just 2 km away, you can easily walk to it, or if you get lucky you may get a lift from a local.
Lucky Tip: If you have enough people with you who wish to travel to Srikhola, then the cabs can be taken directly to it instead of getting down at Mane Bhanjang. Of course, with a bit of extra pay.
So, here we are with all the essential information you should know before you hop on to one of our camps, planned in the coming months. We Hope we were able to lure you to this fantastic journey with us. Looking forward to seeing you soon!