Daipayan Sarkar (Oct 2012)
Hi, I am Daipayan Sarkar, a student of Economics Honors 1st year residing at Sodepur (kolkata) and planning to trek Sandakhphu with my best friend and my father. We depart from Kolkata on 29th October, 2012 and reach NJP on 30th. I beg your help and willing to know if we can trek for Tonglu on the 30th. Will it be too hectic? Actually our return ticket is booked on the 3rd of November,2012. Can the trek be completed within this limited time? We are not taking the Phalut route but only the Sandakhu-Srikhola-Rimbick and return. Please let me know your important comments as we have not trekked earlier.
Hi, You should start the trek in the morning hours. So if you reach NJP on Oct 30th, you should not plan for Tonglu (or Tumling) on the same day. Rather reach Manebhanjan and stay overnight and start the trek early next morning. Since, you plan to take your father, take it easy. So starting early is the key. Stay at Tonglu (Tumling) on Oct 31st night. Stay at Sandakphu on November 1st Night. Stay at Srikhola (or preferably at Rimbik) on November 2nd night. 3rd early morning come down to Rimbik (if you stayed at Srikhola), take the bus or a jeep to Manebhanjan, and then to NJP. If your return train from NJP is in late afternoon or evening, your schedule should work fine. Best of luck!
Samuel Hosker (October 2012)
Hi, I am arriving into Darjeeling on the 17th of March and hoping to get up to Sandakhphu in 3 days with 2 of my friends, all fit and healthy! What is the best way to do this? I have read numerous forums saying this is potentially achievable but I wanted your opinion. Many Thanks
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com, October 2012)
Hi, Don't think I understand your question fully. Do you mean reaching up to Sandakphu in 3-days from the base (i.e. Manebhanjan)? Yes, that's the normal trekkers' schedule. From Darjeeling you can take a shared jeep or a taxi up to Manebhanjan (takes about 1 hr 30 minutes). If you can start the trek early, you can take the first night halt at Tonglu or Tumling. Then the second night halt at Kalipokhri, and then reach Sandakphu on third day (morning hours).... easy!
If you are a seasoned trekker and used to trekking 8 hours a day and able to take the steeps, then you can reach Sandakphu in 2 days from Manebhanjan. Many actually do so. First night at Tumling. From here take the shorter route (through Jobber village, and not through Jhaubari) and go all the way up to Sandakphu. The last stretch of 4kms is a steep climb and can be a little tedious for some. But it's doable by many.
On your way back, there are several options. If you retrace the same route, then you can get back to Manebhanjan in about 8 hours of trek with short breaks in between. Otherwise take a night halt at Tonglu. You can alternatively take a shorter route from Sandakphu (of about 23kms) up to Rimbik via Gurdum and Srikhola. This is scenic route and takes about 6.5 hours of trek. If you start early, once you reach Rimbik you can take a shared jeep back to Manebhanjan and then back to Darjeeling on the same day. Hope this helps!
Pramit Nandy (February 2013)
We have planned night stay at 3 places namely Manebhanjan, Tonglu and Sandakphu. We would return to Manebhanjan directly from Sandakphu. Will it be too hectic?
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com, February 2013)
Don't try the return Sandakphu to Manebhanjan directly unless you are all seasoned trekkers... requires 8-9 hours of brisk trek.
Abhra Shau (February 2013)
Hello, we are planning to trek from Maneybhanjan up to Phalut via Sandakphu. We'll start our journey on 23rd March morning and expected to reach NJP in evening on the same day. We are expecting to conclude our journey by taking train from NJP early morning on 31st March. Please help me to make our tour plan. Is it required to book trekkers' hut, guide, porter and Land Rover in advance?
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com, February 2013)
You have enough time to complete the trek. Once you reach NJP, a better option would be to proceed for Mirik (1.5 hours) instead of Darjeeling. You should reach by 8:30pm. You can plan to stay at Hotel Jagjit (there are many other hotels nearby). Early next morning take a car to Maneybhanjan (takes little over 2 hours) and start the trek. On your way back, plan the last night in Siliguri if you have early morning train to catch. You should book trekkers huts in advance. You can plan your day by day itinerary and get all other information in this article: Sandakphu & Singalila Trek
Donatello (April 2013)
I am planning a trek to Sandakphu & Phalut by the end of September. However, the time at my disposal is little. My itinerary from Seoul be as follows:
25 Sept.: Arrival at Bagdogra apt. Transfer to Darjeeling city. Overnight stay in Darjeeling .
26 Sept: Visit of Darjeeling and Ghoom.
27 Sept.: Transfer by car to Maneybhanjang. Trek to Tonglu (Overnight stay)
28 Sept.: Trek to Sandakphu (Overnight stay)
29 Sept: Trek to Phalut (Overnight Stay)
30 Sept: Transfer by jeep to Maneybhanjang. Transfer by car to Darjeeling.
1 Oct: Transfer to Bagdogra apt.
I wanted to ask if this itinerary is feasible and your opinion and suggestion a out it. 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 site. Can you suggest me a reliable travel agency to organize my trek. Thanks a lot.
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com, April 2013)
Hi, The itinerary is okay. Few points to note:
1) You must start early from Darjeeling for Manebhanjan on 27th Sept. You should ideally reach Manbhanjan by 9am to start the trek. It takes only 1.5 hours from Darjeeling by car, so this is quite possible.
2) Unless you book in advance and ensure that the jeep is ready for you, you won't get one at Phalut to get back to Manebhanjan. I would strongly suggest that you go through a Trek Operator to organize the logistics including the stays. It might turn out to be a bit more expensive compared to a self organized trek. But you being a foreigner and have limited time, I would still advice you to do that. Adventures Unlimited and Ashmita Treks & Tours are quite good & reliable. You will get their contacts here: Trek Operators
Ananta Mondal (April 2013)
Sir, our plan
27.04.12: leave from kolkata via darjeeling mail (10pm)
28.04.12: reach at NJP/ shiliguri (8 am). Leave for Manebhanjan via bus or share taxi, reach at manebhanjan around 3-4 pm.
29.04.12: start in early morning at 6am for gairibas (total 21 km of walk) - Breakfast at Tonglu(11 km from maneybhanjan)- then to gairibas (10 km from tonglu). rest for the next day at trekkers hut.
30.04.12: start in early morning at 6am for sandakphu (total 10 km of walk, with high steep climb) - via kalipokhari for breakfast. aprrox 4-5 hrs can take. Rest and enjoying the heavenly experience ;) at trekkers hut.
1.05.12: MAY day ;) planned for a non work day, to experience Sandakphu totally, staying at trekkers hut. gaining energy for rest of the route remaining.
2.05.12: start early morning at 6am for Phalut (23 km of walk), will take 5 hrs normally, not that much steep climb. overnight stay at Phalut trekkers hut.
3.05.12: start early morning at 6am for Rimbik, painful descend awaits here. but it is the last trek. overnight at Rimbik trekkers hut or hotel near Rimbik bajaar.
4.05.12: start in early morning at 6am for darjeeling via bus (3-4 hr). Darjeeling to njp via bus or share car (4-5 hr). leave for kolkata via padatik(9:00pm)
5.05.12: reach Kolkata in the morning
1) Is the plan is okay for 1st time trekkers? (we had an little experience from Lava to Rishyap; that's all)
2) If not please suggest a better option.
3) If required we can skip the rest day on 1st May.
4) The Guide we contacted tells advance booking is not required. Trekkers hut will be available. Can we rely?
5) Is ATMs available there?
6) What are the documents are required? ( expect ID proof- Voter card, photo)
7) What will be the safe budget of the tour? Is it 8K or 10K?
We are 4 in group of age 24-25. Your suggestion will be helpful. Please answer all the queries.
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com, April 2013)
Ananta, Since you all are not experienced trekkers, I would suggest that you take the first night halt at Tonglu or Tumling. Second Night at Kalipokhri and 3rd night at Sandakphu. You may skip the additional night stay in Sandakphu because if you start early from Kalipokhri, you will get the whole day there to relax and enjoy the view anyway.
While returning from Phalut, stay overnight at Rammam instead of Rimbik. A direct trek to Rimbik may be too tiring. Next day, start early and trek to Rimbik and take a shared jeep to Manebhanjan. From here you need not go to Darjeeling unless you want to and have enough time. Otherwise take a shared jeep to NJP via Mirik etc.
Rs. 8K should be enough (without train fares, and unless you want to indulge in good food, shopping etc in Darjeeling). There is no harm in carrying extra money. There are no ATMs along the trekking route. You should book the trekkers huts in advance. Otherwise the available accommodation may be sub-standard. No further documents are required.
Ananta Mondal (April 2013)
Thank you for your kind suggestion. We have already planned not to take rest on 1st May as our guide also told that descending from Phalut to Rimbik on a single day won't be possible. We had an experience of Shushunia trek also, I forgot to mention that. By the way, our guide is continuously telling it is not necessary to do advance booking, he will manage. On this matter I want your decision than your suggestion. Waiting for your reply again. Have a good day. Thanking you,
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com, April 2013)
All I can say is that it is not advisable to go without booking. No trek operators in Darjeeling would ever send a trekker without ensuring all bookings. Your guide may be able to manage, but if I were you, I would do advance booking as much as possible. And why not? What do you lose if you book in advance? You only gain by ensuring that you get the right accommodations rather than landing up and getting a sub-standard place to stay. After hard days walk, you will need some proper comfort and I won't compromise on that.
Ananta Mondal (April 2013)
I understand what you have advised but how can we be so sure about our each day's trip, i.e. the distance we can cover. Let's assume, we have a booking in Sandakphu on 30th April but somehow destination hasn't been achieved, then the following all bookings will be disturbed as per schedule. What do you suggest?
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com, April 2013)
As a trekker, you should plan your days properly and not go there with an open plan like 'whatever we can do we will see..'. Sometimes, one makes a Plan-B just in case something seriously goes wrong (like inclement weather, health issues etc). That's a different scenario, otherwise you should know your ability, the route & challenges and have a firm plan. Even in the worst case, if one needs to change plans and forego a couple of bookings, how much do you lose? An average cost of a bed in trekkers hut is Rs. 150 per night. You should be prepared to forego that amount if necessary. A casual, happy-go-lucky approach is not the way you should plan the Sandakphu/Phalut trek. Another reason why the guides often insist upon on-the-fly booking is they take you to private huts and get commissions. And you end up paying more for less.
Shubha Banerjee (November 2013)
we are a group of 5, are going to trek Phalut via Sandakphu in January 2014. Our itinerary as follows-
day 1- board on train from Sealdah.
day 2- arrive at NJP. Head for Maney bhanjang(overnight Stay)
day 3- Trek to Tonglu (Overnight Stay)
day 4- Trek to Kalpokhri (Overnight Stay)
day 5- Trek to Sandakphu (Overnight Stay)
day 6- Trek to Phalut (Overnight Stay)
day 7- Trek to Rammam (Overnight Stay)
day 8- Trek to Rimbik (Overnight Stay)
day 9- Rimbik to Darjeeling (via bus/taxi/jeep)
day 10- at Darjeeling
day 11- return train to Sealdah from NJP.
My questions are-
1> Is It possible to trek all this at last week of December/first week of January?
2> what kind of weather we can expect? ( In terms Of Coldness)
3> How much money we have to pay for those night stays in trek huts?
4> Is it necessary to take a potter or a guide? (since we all have our own rucksuks)
5> all of us are trekking for the first time. so it is ok to trek Sandakphu-Phalut, that too in Dec-Jan?
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com, November 2013)
Avoid the trek in January. Some routes may get closed due to heavy snow and you can get stranded. However it may be possible in December, but It'll be biting cold out there. April/May is a good time. A bed in trekkers' hut will cost about Rs 125-150 per person. Guide is mandatory, porter is optional. NOTE: Even in heavy snow (Jan/Feb) it is possible to trek in Sandakphu, but you will require equipment & gears like snow boots, sleeping bags, trekking sticks. If you plan to do that, you should go through a trek operator rather than trying it on your own and have a proper guide. I mentioned about sleeping bags because most trekkers' huts are closed around that time and ones that are open would have virtually no means to fight the biting cold.
Ronojoy Ghosh (March 2014)
We have changed our plans and will in April instead, train tickets are already booked. I am giving you our plan for the trip, could you please tell me whether it is feasible and simultaneously we could enjoy the beauty of the surroundings.
day 1 : board to train at Howrah, Kolkata
day 2 : reach NJP (9:05 - time of arrival), take a jeep to Dhotre and stay
day 3 : Dhotre to Kalipokhri trek
day 4 : Kalipokhri to Sandakphu trek
day 5 : Sandakphu to Phalut trek
day 6 : Phaut to Gorkhe trek
day 7 : Gorkhe to Srikhola trek and jeep from there to Darjeeling
day 8 : Darjeeling to NJP and board train (8:30pm time of departure)
day 9 : reach Howrah, Kolkata
Could you also tell the approximate number of hrs it would take to trek in each day for this plan from day 3 - day 7, if this is any point that could be a problem, please tell us, we will act accordingly. Thank you for helping us with all this, it is being a pleasure talking to you sir.
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com, March 2014)
You should change your plan a bit. On day-3, stay overnight at Gairibas instead of at Kalipokhri. This being the first day of your trek, you should not try too much. From Dhotrey the route is uphill and will take about 4 hours trek to Tonglu which is about 5kms further up. From here, Gairibas is another 9km (4 - 4.5 hours trek) on a relatively level terrain. Kalipokhri is further 6kms away (another 3 hours trek which you should avoid). Note that there are only two jeep services from Srikhola these days (both go to Darjeeling via Ghoom). One leaves at around 6am and the other one at around 11am. So if you want to catch the second one, you will need to start very early from Gorkhey. Otherwise you will need to take a reserved Jeep from Srikhola or stay back at Srikhola for the night.
Selvakumaran P (March 2014)
Dear Raj! Thanks a lot for providing tons of information. We 4 friends are planning a birding trip in April 1st week so spending more time in Garibhans & Sandkaphu .Our trek plan starting from Dhotrey is :
Day 1 Land Bagdogra 12 noon;drive to Dhotrey (Night halt)
Day 2 Dhotrey-Tonglu-Tumling-Garibas
Day 3 Garibhas
Day 4 Garibhas
Day 5 Garibhas-Kalipokhri-Sandakaphu(Night halt)
Day 6 Sandkaphu-Gurdum-Srikhola-Rimbick-Latpanchar(Night halt)
Day 7 Latpanchar
Day 8 Latpanchar-Bagdogra
Query 1 (Day 1):Can we hire a vehicle from Bagdogra airport to drop us at
Dhotrey or do we have to get change vehicle(Land rover) at Mane ? If we
use the same vehicle upto Dhotrey what would be the cost?
Query 2 (Day 1): Can Porters can be hired in Dhotrey ? Will the guide can also be porter or do we have to hire guide(mandatory) + porter? Can the permit/entry fees paid at Dhotrey?
Query 3(Day 2): Can we get a shared vehicle at Tumling drop as at Garibhas. (Since it is a first day trek if we are tired , need a backup plan)
Query 4(Day 6 ) : Rimbick to Darjeeling is there any jeep route bypassing Mane/ Dhotrey ?
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com, March 2014)
From Bagdogra you will get vehicles up to Manebhanjan or Sukhiapokhri. From there you will need to take a jeep.
You need to take a guide. Porter is optional. If you want a good birding guide, you can contact Subash Tamang of Ashmita Trek & Tours (email: [email protected]).
You can pay the permit fees at Singalila National Park main entry gate (1km after Tumling).
There are shared jeeps (occasional) that ply between Manebhanjan and Sandakphu and pass by Tumling. Local villagers use them. But chances are they may be full. Sometimes you can see jeeps in the lodges at Tumling. These are usually reserved jeeps brought from Mane by other tourists, and now just waiting unused for next days program. You can pay and ask the driver to drop you at Gairibas.
From Rimbick you will need to come back to Manebhanjan and then can move to Darjeeling.
Aakash Basu (August 2014)
Hi I am Aakash Basu, we are planning a trek trip to Sandakphu with the following Itinerary (I made it taking help from reading all the threads you answered) :
15.10.14: Leave from Kolkata via Darjeeling mail (10:05pm)
16.10.14: Reach at NJP/ Siliguri (by 8 am). Leave for Manebhanjang via bus or share taxi, reach at manebhanjang around/before 3-4 pm.
17.10.14: Start in early morning at 6am for Tonglu (10.88 kms from maneybhanjang) Aprrox timing coverage 5 hrs. - Rest for the next day at trekker's hut.
18.10.14: Start in early morning at 6am towards Kalipokhari (11.04 Kms from Tonglu) Aprrox timing coverage 5.25 hrs. Rest and enjoy at trekker's hut.
19.10.14: Start in early morning at 6am towards Sandakphu (8 Kms from Kalipokhri with high steep climb) Aprrox timing coverage 4 hrs. Rest and enjoy the heavenly experience at trekker's hut.
20.10.14: Start early morning at 6am for Phalut (20.8 km of walk). Aprrox timing coverage 4 hrs, not that much steep climb and hence easy way to trek. Overnight stay at Phalut trekker's hut.
21.10.14: Start early morning at 6am for Rammam, painful descend awaits here. But it is the last trek. Overnight at Rammam trekker's hut.
22.10.14: Start early morning at 6am and trek to Rimbik (19 km of walk) and take a shared jeep to Manebhanjang.
23.10.14: Start in early morning at 6am for darjeeling via bus (3-4 hr). Darjeeling to njp via bus or share car (4-5 hr). leave for kolkata via Padatik (9:00pm)
24.10.14: Reach Kolkata in the morning.
Here, my questions are as follows :
1) Is the itinerary okay for first time trekkers ? Can we be sure that there will be no monsoon left on the second half of the mid of October ? Otherwise the whole trip will be a waste.
2) We will return from Maneybhanjang to Darjeeling on 23rd and reach there by 10AM and on the same day we leave at 12PM to reach NJP by 5PM (i assume) and then will board the train, so, is there any chance we miss the train ? Then we can change the plan by making a stay in Darjeeling on 23rd and then come down to NJP on 24th and then board the train, this will be again as you suggest.
3) A few friends of mine who have been there said not to pre-book them since Guides generally walk a bit faster and books the Trekker's Hut everyday of trekking. So, we will do as you guide us, should we pre-book it ?
3) If yes, then how and where to pre-book the Trekker's Huts from ? And what is the current rate of a room/bed in good Trekker's Hut in general ?
4) How is the accommodation ? Since i have never been to one, is it on the basis of rooms ? Or is it an open hall room with cost depending on number of beds we book ?
5) There may always be a RISK factor of health issues during the trek, so what should be a back-up plan in that case ?
6) We have a very packed budget of around 6k - 6.5k at max, since we are students and saved a lot for this trip, so does this budget fulfill the basic needs of the trip ? Or do we need to extend it ?
Would eagerly wait for a reply, and will be obliged if i get one. Very nice website and you are just too good and informative. Thank YOU!
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com, August 2014)
Itinerary is okay. Manebhanjan to Darjeeling takes 1.5 hours by shared jeep, there is no bus. Darjeeling to NJP will take 3.5 hours. You can return to NJP on the same day after visiting Darjeeling for few hours. Carry a first aid kit box for the trek. Guides will take to huts/lodges where they get commissions, and most are quite bad with sub standard sanitation. They are mostly available per bed basis. You should try to pre-book if possible. For rest of the info, go through the Accommodation and Useful Information sections of Sandakphu & Singalila Trek. Your budget should be okay.
Abhik Mitra (August 2016)
Hi Raj, Good Morning! We are planning for Sandakphu Phalut trek in end December. I have few queries regarding the same.Let me furnish the short Itinerary first.
Day 1: NJP to Manebhanjan and the via Land Rover upto Tonglu(we skipped this part as trekking as we have reached upto Tonglu before)
Day 2: Our Trek start form here. Tonglu to Kalipokri and night stay there
Day 3: Kalipokhri to Sandakphu and Night Stay
Day 4: Sandakphu to Phalut and Night Stay
Day 5: Phalut to Rammam and Night Stay
Day 6: Rammam to Rimbik by Trekking of 19 kms and then Return back to NJP on same day.
I am worried about the Day 6 Plan. How feasible it is to trek 19 kms all the way from Rammam to Rimbik and return back to NJP on the same day?
We have train from NJP at 9 P.M at night. As an IT professionals it is very difficult to manage a leave so we had no other option except making the tight schedule on Day 6.
Please let me know if the itinerary is ok? and also tell us is there any chance of road blockage late in the December due to snow fall?
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com, August 2016)
Shared jeeps usually leave Rimbik in the morning half. So if you arrange for a car pick up at Rimbik and start early from Rammam, it's possible to catch the night train. Alternatively, you can also arrange for a car at Srikhola (the road has been recently tarred up to Srikhola from Manebhanjan and normal cars can now reach there). You can arrange the car through a hotel like Shovraj of Srikhola (see my review of the hotel).
There are good chances of snow covering the trek route around that time. But it is possible to trek in snow if you have the necessary gears and a proper guide. You should go through an operator in such case and not take chances yourself.
Gargi Banerjee (October 2016)
Hi Raj, First of all, I have read your entire website. Its great!
I am all set to venture on the Sandakphu-Phalut trek on my own in early November. I am doing the logistics and am terribly late; I could do a great deal better with your help. I relied on a group who cancelled last minute, and I intend to travel, even if alone. Here's the plan.
Nov 6th - Day 1 - NJP to Manebhanjan (Will try to reach Chitre and night halt, to improve chances of cheap accommodation.)
Nov 7th - Day 2 - Chitre to Tonglu
Nov 8th - Day 3 - Tonglu to Kalepokhari
Nov 9th - Day 4 - Kalepokhari to Sandakphu
Nov 10th - Day 5 - Sandakphu to Phalut
Nov 11th - Day 6 - Phalut to Gorkhey
Nov 12th - Day 7 - Gorkhey to Srkhola
Nov 13th - Day 8 - Srikhola to Rimbik (drive to NJP, shared cab)
Main concern is cheap accommodation. It is peak season and I want to book something before I set out. I found out that Trekkers Hut in Sandakphu Phalut are booked on those days. Are there cheap home stays I can contact for all the night halt points? From your site and others, I gather there is nothing else in Phalut apart from Trekkers Hut. Is there no option at all?
I am also considering camping but I am unsure of the availability of washroom if I camp. I cant arrange a toilet tent nor use bushes if I am on my own. Can I use trekkers hut or home stay toilets if I don't stay there?
I will take a guide/porter. Do you suggest a reliable guide I could book? Sanjay may be - Can you share a number?
I want to eat locally and carry some dry food. Anything else that you think I should know - please feel free to advice. Thanks for your time!
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com, October 2016)
Other than GTA lodge, there is no other accommodation in Phalut for general trekkers. So you must have prior booking. You will get options in most other places. In general, you can not use trekkers hut or homestay toilets if you don't stay there. You can however make a request, likely to be turned down. At Maneybhanjan, guides are usually allocated by turn. You being a lady, I would advise trekking with a known company and if possible, spend a little more and go through a proper trek operator.
Indrajit Ghosh (December 2016)
Hi Raj, I am planning for Sandaphu & Phalut Trek in last week of January-2017. My itinerary is as below.
Day 1 - NJP to Dhotrey by car and them walk to Tumling (night staty).
Day 2 - Tumling to kalipokhri (night stay)
Day 3 - Kalipokhri to Sandakphu
Day 4 - Sandakphu to Phalut
Dau 5 - Phalut to Rammam (either via Gorkhey or Moley)
Day 6 - Rammam to Rimbik. And then by sahred jip/taxi to NJP.
I have to catch return train on Day 7 at 3:50 am in the morning. Please help me to know the below things.
1) Is it possible to reach Tonglu directly on Day 1?
2) As I have whole Day 6 to return to NJP, what's the possibility of journey from Ramaam on a single day? From Rammam to Rimbik it will take approx 5.5 hrs. So If I start early morning say 7 am, I will reach Rimbik at 12:30 pm. Can I get any shared jip/taxi at that time to NJP/Manebhanjan/sukhiapokhri ?
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com, December 2016)
Hi, driving up to Dhotrey and then trekking to Tonglu on the same day is possible if you start very early, but not recommended. Because one needs minimum acclimatizing time before starting an uphill trek. From Rammam you can trek down to Srikhola (about 12kms). It will take close to 4 hours. The last shared jeep leaves Srikhola at 11:30am. So you should start by 6:30am to be safe. If you do not for some reason get a shared jeep at Srikhola, you can trek further down to Rimbik in about 2hrs (7kms) and take a jeep.
Ranga Vutukuru (February 2017)
I will be arriving in Bagdogra airport on 22-April, afternoon. I (39Y) am coming with my wife (39Y) and two kids - 11y & 6y. I think I will need one guide-cum-porter and one extra porter in case my younger gets tired midway. Here is what I am thinking as my itinerary for trek:
22-April - Bagdogra to Manebhanjang
23-April - Tonglu trek
24-April - Kalipokhri
25-April - Sandakphu
26-April - Phalut
27-April - Gorkey
28-April - Rammam
29-April - Srikhola/Rimbik and Darjeeling
30-April - Spare day.
Please advice if this is feasible and the if advance accommodation for trekkers huts is required. Thanks.
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com, February 2017)
Your itinerary is okay. You can take a porter/guide or two porters if you have heavy luggage. Note that you should only carry backpack type of luggage and not suitcases. Advance accommodation is certainly recommended for the timing you have chosen. Unless you do it quickly, you won't likely get any decent accommodation in April-end. And then you would need to depend on the porter's local contacts and be forced to spend nights at shabby places.
Joyita Banerjee (March 2018)
Dear Sir, I have gathered almost all information from your blogs, still there are some qquestions remaining in mind hence writing and seeking your valuable inputs (1st time trekking).
We are couple not in group wish to travel to Sandakphu. We will Reach NJP on 12th May 2018. Can we book a guide & car direct on Sopt at Manebhanjan as May is the season or advance booking will be better. I have planned as below please check if need any change
1. 12th May NJP to Darjeeling.
2. 13th May early morning Darjeeling to Tumling. (Can we get a registered guide at Tumling) or do I need to go to Manebhanjan 1st from Darjeeling to book the car & guide? Is there any option to get car from Darjeeling which will drop us at Tumling?
3. 14th May Early morning will start from Tumling by trekking planning to trek at least 7 hours. Reach Kalipokhari & rest.
4. 15th May Early morning start for Sandakphu at around 5 am if possible.
5. 16th May We would like to take a car again from Sandakphu to come back , Can we get it on spot ? Or any possibility to book in advance which will pick up us from there. As we do not want to trek all the way from Manebhanjan to Sandakphu and also do not want to miss the chance to see the beauty of Sanglila park, thats why we want to do both, But getting a guide + Car for entire journey will be high cost as guide / day it is 1000+ food+ car with night halt 4800 as you have mentioned. Please suggest us the place where we should come back and get good facility and can relax the next day.
6. 17th May No travel day at relax.
7. 18th May we will come back to NJP for our train to Kolkata.
Thanks in advance and please excuse me as you may feel the above concerns are all same, but hope you understand my feelings.
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com, March 2018)
Hello, for your plan to work properly you need get a guide at Manebhanjan. You may not get a guide at Tumling, although possible at times. You can check with Highlanders Guides and Porters Welfare Association at Manebhanjan if they can provide a guide from Tumling onwards. Otherwise don't take a chance. From Darjeeling commercial vehicles are allowed up to Manebhanjan and here you need to take another vehicle for the onward journey. On your way up you can spot book a vehicle at Manebhanjan if you start early. On your way back it would be uncertain (depends on empty vehicles returning). You can also try through your hotel. But being a high season, it may be difficult.
Joyita Banerjee (March 2018)
Dear Sir, Based on your inputs I have reworked my plan as below:
1. 12th May :- NJP to Darjeeling and from Darjeeling via small car to Manebhanjan. Check into Pradhan Hotel( Keshav Gurung is not running his homestay this year)
2. 13th May:- Early morning start to Tumling. Guide we will take from Manebhanjan and car which will drop us at Tumling with round trip cost at 1800. How much time it will take to get the permits for national park entry. Will try to book car and guide in advance by the numbers you have given. After reaching tumling will start trekking to kalipokhari. Night stay at kalipokhari. Booking GTA from Saltlake (Kolkata) in advance.
14th may:- Morning start from Kalipokhari to Sandakphu. Again booking GTA for Sandakphu, dropped the idea to book Sherpa Chalet after reading the behaviour issue. Hope view more or less same.
15th May:- Morning around 9am start for Srikhola via Gurudum. Do we need to keep the guide till Srikhola? Stay at Srikhola hotel Sovraj.
16th May :- Srikhola.
17th May :- Start from Srikhola to Darjeeling. Reach by lunch time. Night stay at Darjeeling.
18th May:- after lunch start From Darjeeling to Njp.
Hope this plan will work. Upon your approval I will book as above. Pls suggest if i should change anything. Regards
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com, March 2018)
Good plan. On 12th May get off at Ghum taxi stand (instead of going all the way to Darjeeling) and take a small taxi or shared jeep to Manebhanjan. This will be shorter, otherwise from Darjeeling you need to again get back to Ghum and take the route to Manebhanjan. You can release the guide at Sandakphu, but still need to pay for his return which will require him an overnight stay on his way back. Better to release him at Srikhola as the route on this stretch is a bit tricky at some points. Rest is fine. Good luck!
Sabry (September 2019)
Hi Raj, I have been to Phalut twice already, and have been through your website so may times, that I have practically memorized your suggestions and advice :) I am planning to take my kids aged 8 and 13 to Phalut from 20-26 October. My proposed itinerary is
Day 1 : Bagdogra (arrive 8.00) . Take cab to Mane bhanjan . Hire Landrover to Tumling. Night at Tumling
Day 2 : Night at Kalipokhari
Day 3 : Night at Sandakphu
Day 4 : Night at Sabargram
Day 5 : Night at Phalut
Day 6 : Night at Dhotrey
Day 7 : Hike to Ridbi. Take vehicle to Darjeeling
My query is - Is Day1 and Day7 ok ? This will be first time my kids will be out for 6 nights on the trail, and hence the attempt to cut down the days.
Raj (darjeeling-tourism.com, September 2018)
Hi, day-1 is doable, but you may not get a car from Bagdogra directly to Manebhanjan (might need to change either at Mirik or at Sukhia). Sometimes it can be difficult to get a vehicle at Manebhanjan late in the day... it's better to check with the Land Rover association... you can google for their number. Day-7 (not sure what you meant) is infeasible. Ribdi is near Gorkhey and at Sikkim. If you want to stay overnight at Ribdi that's feasible but you can not by any means reach Dhotrey on the next day. I suggest you stay at Gorkhey, come down to Srikhola or Rimbik on the next day and take the vehicle.