KI - 29 Singalila (Sandakphu) Ridge Trek
Sandakfu at 11929 feet is undoubtedly the highest peak in the State of West Bengal and is also the geographical feature that physically demarcates the western borders of Sikkim and Darjeeling with Nepal.
It is the summit of Sandakfu from where the peaks of Kanchanzanga and Everest can be seen, which makes the trek along the Singalila Ridge to Sandakphu and Phalut one of the most popular ones in the Eastern Himalayas. As one traverses the razor-edged borders of the ridge, spectacular views abound on both the sides giving the trekkers the rare glimpse of species like rhododendron and yak, which at times happen to be trekkers only contact with civilization.
Based around the edge of the Singalila National Park in Darjeeling district, this area offers the best view of seasonal blooms of wildflower, along with a preview of the rich bird life of the area.
Day 01 :
Arrive Bagdogra airport and then drive to Darjeeling (90 kms/03 hrs)
Day 02 :
Full day guided tour of Darjeeling, on foot acclimatization before trekking. Today, you are being acclimatized at an approx. altitude of 2200mtrs walking around the town of Darjeeling visiting the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, the Zoological Park where two conservation projects with the snow leopard and the red panda are on and then we walk downhill to visit a tea garden and see how tea is manufactured. Return to hotel for lunch. After lunch we walk around the bazaars and head towards the railway station from where we take the Toy Train upto Ghoom and then walk back to Darjeeling. This full day of walking really helps in acclimatizing. Meals and O/n hotel.
Day 03 :
After B/fast, drive to Rimbik [alt. 2000 mtrs] the starting point of your Sandakphu trek. The drive takes about 5/6 hours passing through a landscape of forests and terraced farms sprinkled with villages, small markets and farm houses. Rimbik is also a small trading village near the Indo-Nepal border. This is where we meet up with our ponies and porters who will carry our food stuff and our personal bags and baggage throughout trek. Meals and O/n at an Inn.
Day 04 :
After breakfast we start trekking towards Ramam[ alt 2600 mtrs]. Walking time approx. 6 hrs. The first part of the trek is all the way downhill till we reach Sirikhola [alt 150000 mtrs.] and from this point onwards we start climbing up passing through small villages and terraced farms till we come to the Ramam village. The trees all the way to this point are of sub tropical variety. O/n at the trekking hut/ tents.
Day 05 :
This day we trek to Molley [alt 36000 mtrs]. Walking time approx. 6 hrs. all the way uphill passing through a very old forest in the beginning sub tropical in nature which changes after sometime to forest with alpine trees. O/n at the trekking hut / tents.
Day 06 :
This day we trek from Molley to Phalut and back to Molley. We are on the ridge of the Singalila Range. The view is mind boggling. We can see both the Everest ranges and the Kangchendzonga ranges with the three sisters in between. O/n at the trekker hut / tents.
Day 07 :
This day also we are on the Singalila Ridge as we trek from Molley to Sandakphu. The trek is quite gradual and the view is something which one can never forget. Sandakphu is the highest point of this trek at an altitude of 4000 mrts. O/n at the trekkers hut / tents.
Day 08 :
After breakfast we start trekking to Tumling [ alt approx 3000 mrts.]. The first part of the trek is all the way downhill till we reach eco centre of Gairibas [ alt approx 2000 mrts.] After lunch at Gairibas we start climbing to Tumling. This day also is on the Singalila Ridge so the Himalayas will be watching you all the way to Tumling. O/n at the trekker hut / tents.
Day 09 :
After breakfast we start trekking downhill to Maneybhjang where our transport will be waiting to drive us to Darjeeling a drive of about 2 hours. We will reach the hotel around 2 PM where hot lunch and hot showers will be waiting. O/n in hotel.
Day 10 :
Drive to Gangtok the capital of Sikkim. This drive takes about 5 hours. The first part of the drive is all the way downhill till we reach River Teesta. This river starts from North Sikkim. We will be driving just on top of the meandering river till we reach Singtam the second biggest town of Sikkim. From Singtam we leave the river Teesta and follow the river Rani till we reach Ranipool, the outskirt of Gangtok. O/n at hotel.
Day 11 :
In the morning we will visit the Rumtek Monastery which is 24 kms away from Gangtok and will take about and hour and half drive. This is the largest monastery in this part of the country where we have about 300 lamas. This monastery is of Kagukpa Sect of Tibetan Buddhism and on the way back we will visit the Namgyal Institute of Tibetology where we have the largest collection of Mahayana Buddhism and it also in houses the large collection of old Tibetan statues, manuscripts and old Tibetan paintings. After lunch we will be visiting the Handicraft Centre to see the Sikkimise handicraft, visit to Enchey Monastery which is the oldest monastery around Gangtok which was built in 1840 and it is of Ningmapa Sect of Tibetan Buddhism. After this we will be walking around the colorful market place of Gangtok.
Day 12 :
Morning transfer from Gangtok to Kalimpong which is 78 kms and will take about 3 and a half hour drive. Kalimpong is a small town which was the famous place for the trade between India and Tibet till 1959. But right now after the border to Tibet was sealed in 1959, after the Chinese took over Tibet it has become a dead town but in Kalimpong we still have a lot of Tibetan influences around. After lunch we will be visiting Dzong-Dog-Phalri Monastery which is also the oldest monastery around Kalimpong and it is once again the Ningmapa Sect of Tibetan Buddhism. After this we will be walking around through the colorful market place of Kalimpong and come back to hotel.
Day 13 :
Drive to Bagdogra airport (80 kms/03 hrs) to board flight for onward journey.