Phalut Trek

Phalut is one of the highest peaks of Singalila range and located in Darjeeling district at an altitude of 11,811 ft. This is the second highest peak in Singalila ridge after Sandakphu (11,929 ft). 
Phalut is also in the border of Nepal, Sikkim and West Bengal. After a trek to Sandakphu, many trekkers plan for an onward trek up to Phalut before commencing the return. Some of course reach Phalut directly through other trekking trails. Phalut is 21kms away from Sandakphu. 
View of Mt. Lhotse, Everest, Makalu and Chomo Lonzo from Phalut 
View of peaks from Phalut 
Photo: Shilbhadra, cc by-sa 3.0 
Manebhanjan is the base of Singalila range where the popular trek to Sandakphu begins and then continues onward to Phalut. The distance of Phalut from Manebhanjan is 53kms. Depending on one's ability, it takes 3 to 4 days of trek to reach Phalut from Manebhanjan.  
There are both GTA (Gorkhaland Territorial Administration) lodges and private trekkers huts on the way for night stays. 
For first part of the trek up to Sandakphu, go through Trek from Manebhanjan to Sandakphu to get all the details. Note that guide is mandatory on this trek route and you can get a guide as well as porters from Highlander Guides &áPorters Welfare Association at Manebhanjan. 
There is another excellent trail from Srikhola that leads to Sandakphu. If you take this route to first get to Sandakphu, then you should take the guide/porter from Dhotrey. 
However, there are other trek routes also that come to Phalut from places other than through Sandakphu. For example, many trekkers start the trek from places like Uttarey, Ribdi or Bhareng that are located in West Sikkim and reach Phalut... I shall discuss all these route variations below. 
The word Phalut which is derived from the Lepcha word Fak-Luk, means "Barren Peak". The area and even the last section of the trail to Phalut is actually quite barren. This is quite a contrast to the dense forests that are so common at the lower levels of Singalila ridge. 

Sandakphu to Phalut: One day trek

This is typically the Day-4 trek when you are trekking from Manebhanjan to Sandakphu and onward to Phalut. The route from Sandakphu to Phalut is relatively flat as both the places are at similar altitudes, however the last 1km to Phalut is fairly steep. 
The trek from Sandakphu to Phalut takes nearly 8 hours (some might take longer with breaks in-between). 
Route from Sandakphu to Phalut 
Route to Phalut 
Photo: Wikimedia Commons 
From Sandakphu for a long way you will pass through unabated beauty of the nature. On the way there are rhododendron trees of various types that bloom with colorful flowers during April to May. You will also pass through forests of oaks, chestnuts, magnolias and silver firs. 
As you walk along, the forest will thin out. In about 7kms from Sandakphu, you will reach Thakum, this place has a vast barren valley which offers beautiful view of the peaks. 
View from Thakum Valley 
Thakum Valley 
You can see the majestic Kanchenjunga family of peaks right ahead. Look towards the left and you will see the dazzling Everest family including Mt. Everest, Lhotse and Makalu. There is an SSB Camp here. 
Further 7kms ahead (i.e. in 14kms from Sandakphu) you will reach a tiny village called Sabargram (also known as Sabarkum) at an altitude of 11,624ft. From Sandakphu and all the way up to Sabargram the enchanting view of the peaks will accompany you. 
View from Sabargram 
View from Sabargram 
You will keep seeing Kanchenjunga on your right and Everest family to the left as you walk through lovely meadows and forests of rhododendrons. Sabargram itself is a beautiful place with open grassy land, rhododendrons, firs and scattered bushes. 
There is a forest hut at Sabargram where you can plan to stay for the night depending on availability. This hut belongs to the forest department. This is where several trekkers halt before starting their journey early next morning. 
Many trekkers also camp at Sabargram. You need to carry your own food although the caretaker at the hut can also sometimes arrange for food. 
Another option for night stay is at a place called Molley which is further 2kms away and downhill. The GTA Trekkers' Hut at Molley (known as Molley Forest Hut) is located in a forested area and has few rooms. 
It's a wonderful location for nature lovers. However, the bathrooms at Molley Forest Hut are not attached. The caretaker is the only person here who also doubles up as the cook. There is also a SSB security camp at Molley. 
Trekkers usually stay at Sabargram or Molley only if they do not get booking at GTA lodge in Phalut, otherwise they proceed to Phalut without a break here. From Sandakphu, it takes about 5 hours to reach Sabargram. 
The place is marked by a roofless stone house on top of a hill. From Sabargram, keep moving along the trail northwards (after Sabargram the trail forks, take the left). 
Phalut is another 7kms away and should take another 2.5 - 3 hours to reach. After a while the route becomes a zigzag trail that starts climbing up towards Phalut. You will pass by the GTA Trekkers Hut on the way. 
From the GTA Hut, the peak of Phalut (known as Phalut Top) is another 30 minutes hike. It's a fairly steep uphill walk. You should budget about 90 minutes for a round trip to Phalut Top including the time you will spend at the top. 
Phalut Top ahead 
Phalut Top 
If you are staying at Phalut, it is better to hike up to Phalut top next day early in the morning in order to enjoy the sunrise and the views of Himalayan range. 
Note: You should carry water and food from Sandakphu as you trek to Phalut. There is no water supply in between and practically no place to eat. 
Once you reach the Phalut Top, you are in a small flat grassy land which is devoid of any vegetation. There is an Indian Army bunker house near the peak of Phalut. However if you look around, you will be rewarded with awesome view of a long stretch of snow peaks. 
View from Phalut Top 
View from Phalut Top 
The range includes some of the highest peaks of the world including the Everest group, Kanchejunga, Chamolhari, Pandim, Three Sisters and lot others. The snow range stretches from Nepal on the west through Sikkim, Bhutan and up to Arunachal Pradesh in the east along a distance of about 320kms. 
Mount Everest, Makalu and Lhotse from Phalut top 
From Phalut you will feel Kanchenjunga is literally at a stones throw distance, although it's about 48kms along a straight line, but appears gigantic and awesome. Actually this is the closest view of Kanchenjunga that you get in the whole of Singalila range. 
The view of 'Sleeping Buddha' range (which consists of Kumbhakarna, Korbu North, Korbu South, Mt. Kanchenjunga and Pandim) is simply awesome. 
There is a GTA (Gorkhaland Territorial Administration) Trekkers hut in Phalut and this is the only accommodation here for trekkers. So if you plan to stay overnight at Phalut, you must book your stay in advance or otherwise you might be stranded if it is full. 
GTA Trekkers Hut in Phalut 
Phalut   GTA Trekkers Hut 
However, I have observed that some trekkers somehow manage the caretaker and even sleep on the kitchen floor in their own sleeping bags or take a blanket from the caretaker.  
You can book a bed or a room in GTA trekkers hut by visiting one of the GTA tourism offices. Go through Darjeeling Tourist Centers to get the address and contact information of GTA Tourism Offices. 
Phalut and the entire trail including Sabargram and Molley are also part of Singalila National Park. The native tribes who live in the area, consider Phalut's peak to be the god who knows about everything and call it "Omna Re Ay". 
Old British Land Rovers and Jeeps from Manebhanjan operate up to Phalut via Sandakphu offering a Jeep Tour of Sandakphu and Phalut to tourists. 
So, what is next after Phalut? Practically no tourist retraces the same route back while returning from Phalut. Instead they take one of the following routes to get back to the plains. 

Route-1: Phalut - Gorkhey - Rammam - Srikhola - Rimbik

This is the most popular trek route from Phalut and will take a total of 2 days. You can choose one of the several midway places for night stays. First check out the Sandakphu &áSingalila Route Map for a visual understanding of this return route and then come back to this page. 
The trek typically starts on Day-5 of the Sandakphu/Phalut trek circuit. From Phalut, take the bridle path through the forest area towards Rammam. The trail from Phalut up to Gorkhey is about 15kms and quickly descends through forests of bamboo, pine, chestnuts, hemlock etc. 
Trekking trail from Phalut towards Gorkhey 
Phalut to Gorkhey Trek Route 
You will also find plenty of rhododendrons and oaks. You can also take several shortcuts by crossing some water channels along the way. After a while you will see the Rammam river on your left which forms the border with Sikkim. 
And then you will see below the scenic meadow with the beautiful Samanden village which is popularly known as the second Switzerland in the region. 
Flowering rhododendrons between Phalut and Gorkhey 
rhododendrons towards Gorkhey 
The 15kms stretch takes about 5 hours. Note that at some places the downhill trail is quite steep and could be slippery. So be prepared to take stress on your knees and calf muscles. This long descent is mostly through dense forests without much views and can become monotonous at times. 
Option-1: Night Stay at Gorkhey 
The village Gorkhey is surrounded by pines and located at an altitude of 7,700ft. A mountain stream called Gorkhey Khola flows through this place in a picturesque setting. This stream after which the village has been named, is a tributary of the Rammam river.  
Many trekkers halt here for a while, take a bath in the river, enjoy the lovely views around the scenic Gorkhey village before marching forward. 
Gorkhey Village 
Gorkhey Village 
Photo: Greenchild, cc by sa 4.0 
There are some 30 odd families that live in Gorkhey village and some of them offer their huts for night stays. There are also a few privately run lodges here such as Shanti Lodge and Eden Lodge that offer basic accommodations and food. No need to book these accommodations in advance. 
Eden Lodge at Gorkhey 
A common breakfast in these elodge is Tibetan bread, aloo dum (a potato based curry dish) and green chilli. In lunch, expect wai wai with scrambled eggs or khichri (which is made with rice &álentils) and served with eggs or potato curry, etc. There is also a GTA Trekkers Hut in Gorkhey.  
Morning sun rays on GTA Trekkers Hut, Gorkhey 
GTA Trekkers Hut, Gorkhey 
Photo: Greenchild, cc by sa 4.0 
Many trekkers however prefer to stay at Gorkhey overnight just to enjoy the sheer scenic beauty and serenity of the place. If you are staying here overnight, take a walk along the river bank in the afternoon, come back and relish some local rice beer. 
Gorkhey Khola stream (a tributary of Rammam river) 
Gorkhey Khola stream 
Option-2: Night Stay at Samanden 
Alternatively, instead of staying overnight at Gorkhey, continue and trek along the uphill route and you will reach the small village Samanden about 1km away which you earlier saw from a higher altitude. 
This forest village located on a scenic plateau is also known as The Lost Valley. Many would claim that Samanden is arguably the most picturesque spots in the whole of Singalila trek... and I would agree. 
Samanden Village 
Samanden Village 
There is no GTA trekkers lodge at Samanden. But there are a few basic homestays here run by the villagers as extension of their own houses. The locals are simple, friendly and generous. 
You can stay at one of their homestays and enjoy the lovely vistas around for rest of the day. Electricity has reached this village recently, thanks to a new hydro-power project. 
Option-3: Night Stay at Rammam 
As the third option for night stay, proceed further. The route from Samanden descends initially up to a stream and then goes uphill to reach the Rammam village (8,400 ft). Many trekkers take a night halt at Rammam instead of at Gorkhey or Samanden. 
Gorkhey to Rammam is about 9kms and takes about 3 hours of trek. So from Phalut to Rammam is about 24kms (about 8 hours of trek). 
There is a trekkers hut in Rammam which is run by a local family. Hotel Sherpa located in the village also offers accommodations at reasonable rates. Noodles and tea are always available for light refreshment and so is rice beer (if you like to indulge a bit). 
The Rammam Higher Secondary School is set up in a picturesque place, on a ridge and facing the mountains of Sikkim. There is also a monastery in Rammam which is run by the family who owns the trekkers hut. 
Next day trek 
Next day start early in the morning from Rammam (or whichever place you stayed overnight) towards Rimbik via Srikhola... this is a 1 day trek and is typically the Day-6 of the Sandakphu/Phalut trek circuit. Rimbik (at an altitude of 6,500 ft) is 19kms away from Rammam and takes about 6-7 hours hike. 
On the way you will get a small village called Srikhola about 12kms from Rammam. The first 9kms is a level route going through forests and then it descends to Srikhola. Other than a nice GTA trekkers hut located by the riverside, there are also several private lodges at Srikhola. 
Rimbik is only about 2-hours hike from Srikhola and therefore most trekkers prefer to stay at Srikhola for the night to enjoy the scenic village, and next morning quickly hike down to Rimbik and catch the bus or jeep for Manebhanjan. There are also shared jeeps available from Srikhola in the morning. 
Check out Srikhola &áOnward Trek to know about the village Srikhola, the onward route to Rimbik and all other details to get back to Darjeeling or NJP/Siliguri. 

Route-2: Phalut - Gorkhey - Ribdi/Bhareng

This is another route which you can take from Phalut to get back to the plains of Siliguri/NJP and this route is popular too. From Phalut, like in the first case, trek up to Gorkhey. This is a 2 days trek with an overnight halt at Gorkhey. 
From Gorkhey, there is a downhill trail to Ribdi via Samanden. Ribdi is a small settlement located in West Sikkim at an altitude of 5,760ft and is 5kms from Gorkhey. It will take about 2.5 hours leisure hike from Gorkhey to get to Ribdi. 
This is a zig zag trail with wonderful views along the way. However, sections of the trail can get muddy and slippery if it rains. 
Trail between Gorkhey and Ribdi 
If you reach Ribdi in the first half, you can get shared taxis (jeeps) up to Jorethang (costs Rs. 175/- per person). Otherwise take a reserved taxi. Ribdi to Jorethang (44kms) takes about 1 hour 45 minutes by car. The fare for a reserved Sumo type vehicle with a capacity of 7 persons will be around Rs. 2,500 from Ribdi to Jorethang. 
From Jorethang you can take another taxi to Siliguri, NJP or Bagdogra. Shared taxis are also available from Jorethang to Siliguri during the day time (Rs. 300 per person). It takes about 3 hours to reach NJP from Jorethang by car. A reserved Sumo type vehicle will cost around Rs. 3,500/- from Jorethang to NJP station... Fare Updated: March 2022. 
Note that instead of Ribdi, you can also take a trail from Gorkhey and reach Bhareng (which is another village close to Ribdi and takes about 2 hours hike from Gorkhey). 
Once you reach upper Bhareng, there is a manmade stairway that you need to take to get down to lower Bhareng. From here a tarred road starts and you can get vehicles to NJP/Siliguri at rates similar to that of Ribdi. 

Route-3: Phalut - Singalila Pass - Chiabhanjan - Uttarey

This is a 2 days trek and involves crossing the Singalila Pass. This route is hardly trekked these days but is a beautiful one although a little tricky. On the first day, the destination is Chiabhanjan which is about 10kms away from Phalut and will take about 7 hours to reach. 
Shortly after Phalut, you will go past a tabletop hillock and then the route will start descending to a place called Torifuley. Look towards left and you will see the towering Everest family. If you are in season (April to May), you can enjoy the multi-colored blooms of rhododendrons on both sides along the way. 
There is a SSB (Sashastra Shena Bahini) security camp at Torifuley. There is also a camping ground here. While coming from the opposite direction, some trek operators set up tents here and continue the trek next morning to Phalut. From Torifuley it's a steep ascent to Singalila Pass. 
Trail coming in from Phalut towards Singalila Pass 
Phalut to Singalila Pass Trail 
About 5kms from Phalut, you will reach Singalila Pass located at an altitude of nearly 12,000ft. If you walk slowly and take some breaks in-between, it would take about 4 hours to traverse this distance. 
Here you can hike up to the Singalila Top if you want... this is the highest point (12, 100ft) in the entire Singalila ridge. The trekking trail however does not go through the Singalila Top. 
On a clear day, you can see a long stretch of the Himalayan range from Singalila Top. And the sight of 'Sleeping Buddha' (i.e. Kanchenjunga with its sister peaks Kumhakarna, Kabru, Simbho and Pandim looking like a snow-figure of sleeping Buddha), is exceptional. 
Singalila Top 
Singalila Top 
From Singalila Pass, you can get wonderful sights of various peaks in Darjeeling, Sikkim, Nepal and Bhutan. A Buddhist stupa on the top, prayer flags fluttering in the wind, the lovely views all around and the cool breeze create a magnificent ambience that is hard to leave behind. 
But you will have to leave soon. Because, Singalila Pass is prone to stormy winds due to its geographical location. It can also get engulfed in unpredictable dense fog in no time and the visibility can become less than even 2 yards. 
You don't want to be in a situation like that. So, spend a few minutes to soak in the ambience and move on. If you do get caught in a storm or fog, it's better to wait for the weather to clear before you resume your trek. 
Indo Nepal Border on Singalila Pass 
Singalila Pass Indo Nepal border 
Chiabhanjan is 5kms from the pass. The tiring uphill stretch of the route has ended by now. The trail from here is a gradual descent (although there are little uphill stretches along the way, but relatively easier). 
Along the way you will pass through rhododendrons and various other plantations and can see many birds. The last one and half kilometers is a downhill trail leading to Chiabhanjan. You can trek from Singalila Pass to Chiabhanjan in about 3 hours. 
Chiabhanjan is a tiny settlement at an altitude of about 10,000ft. There are only handful of village families here. You should have your tents to set up a camp for overnight stay. Villagers also offer homestays along with basic food, but accommodation is limited. The villagers here are all very poor farmers, but they are very simple, friendly and amiable. 
The next destination is Uttarey which is a small township in West Sikkim (near Sikkim Nepal border) at an altitude of about 7,000ft and 9.5kms away from Chiabhanjan. After about an hour's trek, the forest gets denser. 
You will see several routes going in different directions. As a matter of thumb rule, you should always choose the route that goes at the higher level than the other ones. 
And after another 30 minutes, you will see the trail again splits into three. If you are always on the correct trail, then the total distance can be covered in about 4-5 hours. 
From Chiabhanjan, the trail mostly goes through forests and you will definitely need a guide to be on the correct route. Because, if you take a wrong route, you will likely enter a dense forest and eventually reach a remote village, or descend to a stream with no further trail ahead. You will have no option but to return. 
Many years back, when it was not necessary to take a guide along this route, we made the mistake of taking up the challenge on our own. Having lost the route twice, we returned a long way back to try alternative routes, and eventually landed on the bank of a mountain river when it was almost dark. 
When we spotted a dim light coming out of a hut far away, we walked up to it and met with a chowkidar (a guard) of the area. He looks after sugarcane plantations here. 
When we asked him if we could camp nearby for the night, he strongly advised against it because the place is often invaded by bears who are attracted by the sugarcanes and there are also landmines to scare them away. 
Seeing us completely lost and exhausted, the man asked us to wait, and brought back with him two little girls from the village carrying flash lights, and asked us to follow them.  
We followed the two little girls through a forested trail in complete darkness... we never imagined that we would reach Uttarey in only one hour from that place. 
The two little girls pointed towards the lights of Uttarey township some distance away, bid us goodbye, turned back and quickly disappeared into the darkness. 
Uttarey is only 30kms from Pelling and 160kms from NJP. From Uttarey, there are buses to Siliguri. You can also take a taxi and reach NJP in about 7.5 hours. A reserved Sumo type vehicle (with a capacity of 7 persons) from Uttarey to NJP will cost around Rs. 5,000/- (Fare updated: March 2022). 

Route-4: Phalut - Singalila Pass - Kalijhar - Uttarey

This is trek route is more availed by trekkers compared to the previous one (mostly in the reverse direction). First part of this route from Phalut up to Singalila Pass is the same as Route-3 as described above. 
Once you cross Singalila Pass, take the gradually downhill trail towards Kalijhar (altitude: 11,600ft) which is about 4kms away from Singalila Pass and will take about 1.5 hours from the pass. 
Trail from Singalila Pass towards Kalijhar 
Singalila Pass to Kalijhar trail 
The operator usually sets up a campsite at Kalijhar for overnight stay. You get wonderful views of Kanchenjunga range from here including the 'Sleeping Buddha' and other peaks to the east. However, you can't see Mount Everest or Makalu from here. 
Next day early in the morning, you should hike up to Phoktey Dara (12,250ft)... a hill top which is a 1km ascent from Kalijhar (30-minute hike) and see the sunrise. Phoktey Dara is located at the junction of Sikkim, Nepal and West Bengal borders. 
On a clear day, you get stunning view of the entire range including Lhotse, Everest, Makalu in Nepal, through Kumbhakarna, Kabru, Kanchenjungha, Pandim, Narsing etc to the far away peaks in Bhutan. It can be very cold and windy at the top. 
Phoktey Dara ahead 
phoktey dara, Singalila 
Return to Kalijhar and after breakfast, resume your trek towards Thulodhap which is about 6kms away from Kalijhar (takes about 2.5 hours). The first 1km up to Kharka Chowk is a comfortable hike and this stretch offers lovely scenic views of the peaks. 
In fact from Kharka Chowk, you can clearly see Everest, Lohtse, Makalu to the west and Pandim, Narsing etc to the east. Campsite arrangement can be made at Kharka Chowk as well but lack of water source can be an issue here. 
From Kharka Chowk, the next 5kms to Thulodhap (altitude: 9,300ft) is a constant and fairly steep descent and can be little taxing on your knees. 
Thulodhap is a vast open grassy land area. This is also a popular campsite, particularly for groups who are doing the trek in the reverse direction. From Thulodhap too, you get magnificent views of the mountain peaks. 
After a little break here, proceed to Achalley (altitude: 9,415ft)... which is another 6kms away. The first 1.5km is a gradual ascent, followed by a descent of 3.5kms and then a steep 1km ascent to Achalley. This distance of 6kms from Thulodhap to Achalley will take about 2.5 - 3 hours. 
Achalley Top also gives a wonderful view of the mountains. However, due to lack of water source, camping is difficult here although some trekkers do camp at Achalley. 
A better alternative is to take a gradually downhill trail of 2kms to Jorbutey (takes about 35 minute hike) where you can set up the camps easily for overnight stay. If you do this, next morning, you will need to return to Achalley and then continue on the trail. 
Another alternative is to camp at a place called Hagey Pani (9,200 ft) which is located about 45 minutes before Achalley. 
From Achalley you need to trek for another 14kms (5 hours) along a downhill trail and through forests to reach Uttarey in West Sikkim. This is where this trek route ends. 

Route-5: Phalut - Sabargram - Rammam

From Phalut, there is another return route (although not very popular). From Phalut get back to Sabargram which is 7kms on the way back to Sandakphu. 
From here take a left turn to the trail (next to Sabargram check post) that goes all the way to Rammam through dense forests. This route passes through dense forest of chestnuts, oaks, magnolias, rhododendrons, silver fir and hemlock. 
The total distance from Phalut to Rammam is about 16kms. Although this trail is shorter, the downhill muddy slopes can be dangerous and therefore should be trekked very carefully. 
I had once made a mistake of taking this route while it was raining. The steep downward gradient along with fallen dry leafs on the ground and rainwater made the route extremely slippery. In several occasions we skidded and fell down on rocks but somehow could manage to avoid serious injuries. 
During the winter, it gets dark in this area by 4pm and it would be very difficult to find the trail once it's dark. So take caution while taking this route. I shall not recommend this route for amateur trekkers, although the guide might say otherwise because this a shorter route. 
After reaching Rammam, the remaining route is same as the regular trek as discussed earlier, i.e. you will trek down to Srikhola and then onward to Rimbik and then proceed to Manebhanjan. 

How to do the Phalut Trek

There are several ways you can do Phalut and onward trek. If you plan to stay at campsites, then it is better to go though a trek operator because they will not only provide guide and porters, their support team (that includes their guide and the porters) will also take all responsibilities of setting up the camps and prepare hot food along the way. 
If you are in a group, then depending on the size of the group, they will work out a per person rate which includes food, guide, porters, tents, trekking poles and optionally transports for pickups and drop from/to NJP railway station or Bagdogra airport. 
Note that trek operators can also alternatively put you up in lodges or trekkers huts along the way depending on your choice. 
If you plan to go through an operator, check out the Best Trek Operators in Darjeeling to know about their offers and contact details. This is the easiest way of doing such treks although little expensive. 
The other option is to do it yourself (DIY). In that case you need to do all lodge/hut bookings yourself... but doing such bookings in remote areas like Phalut is not easy where accommodations are limited to only a GTA lodge. 
And doing it often involves physically visiting the right GTA Tourism Office that takes such bookings (note that all GTA offices do not take bookings for places like Sandakphu and Phalut... only designated GTA tourism offices, like the one in Darjeeling, do so). 
You will also need to get your Singlila National Park entry permit (from Manebhanjan, Dhotrey etc), guide and/or porter from Highlander Guides &áPorters Welfare Association at Manebhanjan (if you start the trek from Manebhanjan), or from Dhotrey Guides &áPorter Association (if you start from Dhotrey or Srikhola), or from any other starting point and take care of all other logistics. 

Related Articles

1) Sandakphu and Singalila Trek: Know all about the trek up to Sandakphu, from where you can launch your trek to Phalut. 
3) Check out Darjeeling Trekking to know all about trekking in Darjeeling area 

Visitors' Reviews/Comments

Jewel Barua (February 2023) 
Hi, Raj. Thanks for all the valuable information you provided here. I have one query. Can one trek from Phalut to Srikhola in one day? 
Raj ( February 2023 
Hi, Phalut to Rammam (24 kms) is doable in one day... takes about 8 hours of trek. Srikhola is further 12 kms away... it can be done on the same day by veteran trekkers if one starts very early from Phalut... since it's a downhill trek all the way, it can take a serious toll on one's knees. 
Santanu Saha (September 2021) 
I, along with a team of 5-6 members want to visit Phalut and stay there on 31st December, 2021. How can I book the hut? There is no operational number of Gorkha Bhawan available. Can it be booked online? Please let me know. 
Raj ( September 2021 
There is no online booking system for GTA lodges/huts. You need to physically visit Gorkha Bhawan or a GTA tourism office... note that every GTA tourism office may not be able to take bookings for all GTA lodges... sometimes one office can only book a selected GTA lodges/huts that are assigned to it, but not the rest. I had always made the Sandakphu and Phalut GTA trekkers hut bookings either through the Darjeeling GTA tourism office or an operator in Darjeeling (the second option works if you book a trekking package). 
Anu (September 2021) 
Thanks for your very informative website. I am planning to do Sandakphu-Phalut trek in early Nov 2021 ending up in Srikhola or Rimbik. I want to catch a train at 1330 from New Jalpaiguri. Is it possible and are there budget options to start in the morning and be sufficiently in time from the train? How long does it take from Rimbik to NJP? Should I stay the previous night at Srikhola or Rimbik? Thanks so much 
Raj ( September 2021 
You should come down to Rimbik on the previous day and stay overnight. You can get shared jeeps early in the mornings at Rimbik that go up to Siliguri stand. From there you can take an auto-rickshaw to NJP station. Depending on the number of stops and traffic, it can take around 5 hours to get to Siliguri and another 10-15 minutes to NJP. Suggest you go through Srikhola Tour &áTrek for more information. 
Pratham Thami (June 2021) 
A question... if the accommodation is full at Phalut GTA lodge or if we do not choose to book any huts, will we be allowed to camp elsewhere on our own? 
Raj ( June 2021 
You can camp at Molley... 7kms before Phalut. There is also a GTA operated trekkers hut in Molley known as Molley Forest Hut where you can stay overnight, if available. 
Subhadip B (November 2020) 
Hello sir, Your route no 3 of descending from Phalut has driven me wilder to combine Phoktey Dara with Phalut. My plan is to reach Phalut via conventional Manebhanjan-Sandakphu route and stay there overnight (in case I manage to book GTA trekkers' hut at Phalut). Next morning I am planning to go Phoktey Dara via Singalila Pass and by afternoon returning back to Phalut. Is it possible to do the trek from Phalut to Phoktey Dara (to and fro) in one single day? 
Raj ( November 2020 
Hello, Phalut to Phoktey Dara would be about 10kms trek (one-way) taking 5-6 hours each way. It's not quite practical to do a return trek of Phoktey Dara from Phalut on the same day. Also, the weather at Singalila Pass is quite unpredictable and can turn foul as the day progresses and can make the return trek difficult. If you decide to do this trek, you should be in a group and ideally camp overnight at Kalijhar (1km below Phoktey Dara) and return to Phalut next morning or alternatively proceed towards Uttarey with overnight camping at Thulodhap. 
Aneek Banerjee (September 2020) 
Hi Raj, Thank you so much for the rich information set. Kindly let me know if accommodation other than the GTA hut is available in Phalut currently. Thanks in advance, 
Raj ( September 2020 
Hi, GTA trekkers hut is the only tourist accommodation in Phalut. Alternatively, you can stay at the GTA hut in Molley or the forest hut in Sabargram. 
Saikat Biswas (February 2018) 
Dear Mr. Raj, I am planning the trek in the month of April'18 with a 5 member team including 2 kids (ages 12 &á16). Our trek starts on 9th April from Manebhanjan and end on 14th at Srikhola. The route is Tumling, Kalipokhri, Sandakphu, Phalut, Samanden, Srikhola. We are planning to stay at Samanden instead of Rammam. Is it OK? Can we walk till Srikhola from Samanden next day? Pls. share your valuable feedback on the trek plan. Thanks &áRegards. 
Raj ( February 2018 
Hello, yes you can stay at Samanden and then trek to Srikhola next day (start early). However there are no proper accommodations in Samanden (except for few homestays run by the villagers). If you can adjust with your family, then it's okay. Otherwise stay at Gorkhey. 
Aniruddha (February 2018) 
Hello Raj, I am a regular follower of your website. Needless to say, I am a fan of your lucid and intricate style of penning down this travelogue. Your work has benefited many travelers like me and will benefit many more in the future. I write this message also to ask you about 2 small information about the Sandakfu - Phalut trip: 
1> Regarding the forest hut at Sabarkum that you mentioned, where we (a group of 3 people) want to halt for a night on our way to Phalut. How to reach this place? Please provide any contact details for pre-booking, if available.  
2> How long does it take to get to Darjeeling from Phalut in a Bolero if we start early morning? Please suggest the quickest route for this. Thank you in advance. 
Raj ( February 2018 
Hi, the Sabarkum (Sabargram) hut belongs to the forest department. Don't think there is any direct contact no. of the hut. Accommodation there is limited and you can stay if available. There is only one hut in Sabarkum. You can also plan to stay little further ahead at Molley... the trekkers' hut here has several rooms and is very nice. Booking is usually not required. Phalut to Manebhanjan will take about 6.5 hours by Jeep with a break in between. Manebhanjan to Darjeeling is 1 hr 15 minutes. 
Kaushik Bhattacharyya (November 2017) 
Hi Raj, Information given by you in your website are really immensely helpful for me as well as to others. I have visited Sandakphu five times thorough different routes. But, I went to Phalut one time years ago in 1996 which was my first trekking programme also. This time I am leaving on 17/11/2017 to revisit my left away trail. So, I think your valuable help can enhance my purpose. I need two particular information - 
(1) Is there any short and direct trail from Moley to Phalut ? 
(2) How many hours it should take to trek Singalila Pass from Phalut ? Is it possible for a normal trekker to go Singalila Pass from Phalut and come back to Phalut in a single day ? 
(3) is there any accommodation facility at Singalila Pass or nearby position ? 
Raj ( November 2017 
Hi, there is no direct route to Phalut from Molley. There is a kind of an untrodden trail from Molley to Gorkhey (then you will bypass Phalut) and another one descending to Rammam/Srikhola.  
While trek to Singalila Pass from Phalut and return on the same day can be done by experienced trekkers, it's not an easy trek. You need to descend through table-top mountains for about 2.5 hours to a place called Toriphuley followed by a steep ascend for about 2 hours to reach the pass, and same way back. The entire trip can easily take about 10 hours. The weather at Singalila Pass often turns foul as day progresses. There is no accommodation along this route. 
Anyatama (March 2016) 
Raj, I would first like to thank you for all the needful information you provided in your website. Please allow me to ask you few questions which are as follow: 1)Is trekking from Gorkhey to Phalut is feasible in a single day? 2)Do we need to pre-book the trekker's hut at Phalut? 3)Do we need to carry food with us while we trek to Phalut? I will be really grateful if you kindly help me out with these queries. Thank You. 
Raj ( March 2016 
Hi, Phalut to Gorkhey is a 1 day trek. But the reverse could be difficult unless one is a seasoned trekker. Gradient is quite high at several places. So unless you know what you are doing and confident about it, suggest not to try unusual stuffs on this route. You will get basic veggie food at the GTA hut of Phalut, but carry some biscuits, nuts etc which are always handy. This is the only accommodation in Phalut, you should pre-book for overnight stay particularly during high trek season. 
Arif Islam (September 2014) 
Hi, I am Arif from Bangladesh and planning to visit Sandakphu-Phalut in this October. The bus from Dhaka arrives Siliguri at noon. So I would like to go to Mirik on that day and stay for one night as you have suggested in the Phalut Trek page. On the next day I will go to Manebhanjan from where would like to take a jeep to Sandakphu. Can you please suggest any good budget hotel to stay in Mirik which offers good view of the lake? Also, I would like to leave the jeep at Sandakphu and on the next day trek to Phalut. Trek to Gorkhey on the next. And finally to Srikhola on the next. Gorkhey to Srikhola is about 15Km I guess. Can you please suggest if we can trek from Gorkhey to Srikhola and then catch a bus/jeep to Darjeeling on the same day? Thanks!! 
Raj ( September 2014 
For lake view at Mirik, you can stay at Hotel Park ... a budget hotel by the lake side. The Jeep leaves Srikhola by 11:30 in the morning, so you won't get it when you reach. So plan to stay overnight at Srikhola. You can stay at Hotel Shovraj (which is the best hotel there). Mention my name or website, and you can get better care &áattention. By the way, Hotel Shovraj offers 20% discount on room rates, tours &átreks to Darjeeling Tourism Card holders. 
Rohan Biswas (April 2013) 
We are a group of 6, and we are planning to go on Sandakphu Phalut trek this end of May, we have made our bookings at Trekker's Hut at Tonglu, Garibas, Sandakphu and Phalut. 
We are facing a problem while making our return trip from Phalut. We decided to go via Rammam, halt there for a night, and then next day move on to Rimbik, and take a jeep or bus from there to Darjeeling. But we were told that we have to make a halt at Rimbik as no transport would be available on the day we arrive. But we wanted to go back to Darjeeling. So we being a novice, if you could kindly help us in this matter, if it is possible for us to return to Darjeeling on the 2nd day itself. Thank You. Eagerly Waiting for your Reply. 
Raj (, April 2013) 
From Rammam, Rimbik is more than 15kms. By the time you reach Rimbik, it'll be late in the afternoon or evening. You won't find any transport at that time. Bus leaves in the morning and shared jeeps are available until about 2pm. So you should plan to stay back at Rimbik for one night. 
Vikrant Sharma (February, 2013) 
Hello Raj, I'm a final year B.Tech student from Bhubaneswar, Odisha. 5 friends and I are planning a trek to Sandakphu &áPhalut this April. Our itinerary is as follows: 
2nd April: Bhubaneswar to Howrah and board the Paharia Express to NJP 
3rd April: Reach NJP and head for Maneybhanjang (Stay at Hotel Exotica and meet Masterji) 
4th April: Trek to Tonglu (Overnight Stay) 
5th April: Trek to Kalpokhri (Overnight Stay) 
6th April: Trek to Sandakphu (Overnight Stay) 
7th April: Trek to Phalut (Overnight Stay) 
8th April: Trek to Rammam (Overnight Stay) 
9th April: Trek to Rimbik (Overnight Stay) 
10th April: Rimbik to Darjeeling (via bus/taxi/jeep) 
11th April: Spend in Darjeeling 
12th April : Darjeeling to NJP and board train back to Bhubaneswar 
I wanted to ask if this itinerary is good or does it need modifications? Will the Trekkers' Huts need to be booked in advance (if yes, how do we go about it and how early) or can they be acquired on the spot? Also budget hotels to stay in at Darjeeling and the estimated costs. And will the time of April offer good scenic views? I'll be really grateful if you take the time to help me. Thanks a lot. 
Raj (, February 2013) 
Perfect itinerary.... you should book the DGHC trekker huts in advance. They take up to 3 months advance booking. Private lodges and huts can be booked on spot. You will get booking and other info under the section "Useful Information" in Sandakphu Trek