Sandakphu and Phalut Safari
By Old British Land Rovers


What to expect

So what's the big deal if you can't trek? You can in fact relax and equally enjoy the magnificent views of Sandakphu and Phalut without having your tongue sticking out in complete exhaustion. Just take a Jeep safari. Although both Sandakphu and Phalut have been traditionally known as trekkers paradise, jeep safaris to these places are increasingly becoming popular. 
Every year many families visit Sandakphu & Phalut by 4-wheel drive vehicles which are old Jeep like Land Rovers left behind by the British during the colonial days. The British tea planters originally brought them to travel through the rugged terrain to different tea estates. There are around 40 of them now in Manebhanjan which are used for taking tourists along the route to Sandakphu and Phalut. Other commercial or even private vehicles are not allowed to operate on this route as tourist transport. The Singalila Land Rover Owner's Welfare Association imposes this restriction. 
Our Land Rover and Driver Naresh (now retired) 
Land Rover Singalila 
If you are coming directly from NJP Railway Station or Bagdogra Airport, you will first need to come to Manebhanjan. Manebhanjan is at a distance of 85kms from NJP via Mirik and 82kms from Bagdogra. It takes about 4 hours to reach by car. 
Manebhanjan Market Area 
Manebhanjang Market Area 
From Darjeeling, Manebhanjan is only 1 hour 15 minutes (26kms). So while coming from NJP/Bagdogra, most tourists prefer to stay overnight at Mirik or Manebhanjan and then proceed for Sandakphu next morning. However when coming from Darjeeling, you can immediately proceed to Sandakphu after changing the vehicle at Manebhanjan. 
Once you reach Manebhanjan, there is a small booth in the main market area where the Land Rover booking takes place. The vehicles are allotted by turn and you need to pay and hop into one (there is no system of advance booking). Now a Land Rover association has been formed at Manebhanjan (called Singalila Land Rover Owner's Welfare Association) and the rates are fixed by the association. 
The drive from Manebhanjan is very steep and winding at several places. The last stretch from Gairibas all the way up to Sandakphu and Phalut is a gravel road made of boulders. The steepest section is from Bikeybhanjan up to Sandakphu. Only 4-wheel drive vehicles can negotiate the boulder stretch, normal cars can't make it. The journey from Manebhanjan is slow, and from Gairibas all the way up to Sandakphu and then to Phalut would be additionally very bumpy due to the boulder road. 
Concrete road ends shortly after Gairibas 
Road after Gairibas 
From Manebhanjan, the distance to Sandakphu is about 30kms and takes about 2.5 hours by Land Rover with tea breaks in between. So from NJP or Bagdogra you need to start early in order to reach Sandakphu before it gets dark. The Land Rovers do not run on Sandakphu route at nights. 
Update May 2018: The road from Manebhanjan up to Gairibas (18kms) has been converted to a concrete road. Earlier, the entire motorable route was a gravel road made of boulders and extremely bumpy. So now it's a smooth ride up to Gairibas. The road beyond Gairibas up to Sandakphu and onward to Phalut is still a boulder road. This section could not be completed due to resistance by locals and environmentalists to protect the flora and fauna of the National Park. Earlier it took about 4.5 hours to reach Sandakphu from Manebhanjan by Land Rover. 
Most tourists stay at Sandakphu for a night or two and then proceed to Phalut which is about 20kms away and takes about 2 hours by car from Sandakphu. The terrain between Sandakphu and Phalut is relatively flat. But due to narrow and uneven boulder road, the vehicle needs to move quite slowly. 
  • If you are also planning to visit Darjeeling and soak in its old time charm with a ride on heritage toy train, eat in a heritage restaurant and take the best tours in the wonderful hill town, or even visit the neighboring Sikkim, it could be worth looking into The eBook on Darjeeling & Sikkim
  • You can also save a lot with a Darjeeling Tourism Card

    The Route

    From Maneybhanjan, the route goes through the following villages (visit the links for details): 
    1. Chitre (which is known for its monastery or gompa). There is a small local restaurant here on an open field serving momo, eggs, snacks and tea. 
    Chitre Monastery 
    Chitre Monastery 
    2. Lamay Dhura (a tiny hamlet where handful of Tibetan families live). Tourists stop for a cup of tea. The lady Chockey serves nice tea from her stall. You also get cold drinks and snacks here. 
    3. Meghma, a small mountain village on Indo-Nepal border and so named because it often remains covered with cloud (locally known as 'megh'). From here one route to the left enters Nepal towards the village Tumling and the other to the right continues in India towards Tonglu
    Center of Meghma. 
    The road on its left goes to Tumling. 
    You will enter Nepal to get to Tumling but no visa or paper formality is required... this is a free way but Border Security Force has a campsite at Megma to take care of any security issues. You can also go to Tonglu and the road continues from Tonglu and meets at Tumling. However, Tonglu route being a detour and a rough gravel road, drivers may ask for extra. 
    Other than a nice GTA operated lodge, there is a DM's bungalow at Tonglu and right next to the GTA lodge there is a view point to get a lovely view of Kanchenjunga range. 
    4. Tumling is another small hamlet at 9,600ft where many tourists prefer to stay overnight to see the sunrise and the views of Kanchenjunga. The entry to Singalila National Park is only 1km from here. 
    Tumling village 
    Tumling Village 
    5. Singalila National Park starts 1km after Tumling (there is an arched entry gate) and is known for amazing high altitude animals like Red Panda, Pangolin, Himalayan Black Bear etc. Note that at the entrance of the Park, you will be required to pay for a permit to enter the park. You can also purchase the entry permits from the forest office at Manebhanjan before you start the Land Rover journey. 
    Road through Singalila National Park. See the Rhododendrons. 
    Singalila National Park 
    6. Gairibas is another tiny village where some trekkers prefer to stay in a nice GTA lodge which is located here. From the entry to Singalila National Park, an alternative route through Jaubari (of Nepal) comes and meets at Gairibas. There are a few tea stalls here in case you like to take a break. 
    Gairibas Village 
    Gairibas Village 
    7. After Gairibas, you will pass by another tiny hamlet known as Kaiyakatta. Here the road bifurcates... the one on the upper left goes through Nepal and the other that veers right goes through Indian territory. Both routes finally meet at Kalipokhri, the next settlement. Vehicles use the road through Indian territory while trekkers choose the one they like. 
    At Kaiyakatta, there are only handful of stalls and village huts. There is a story behind the name of the village. Locally, Marwaris are known as Kaiya here. A Marwari man once used to do flourishing business here but deprived the villagers who worked for him. One day a furious villager hacked the Marwari man to death, an act locally known as katta. Since then the village is known as Kaiyakatta. 
    8. Next is the small settlement known as Kalipokhri. Pokhri in Nepali means lake and kali is black. So the village is named after a black water body which is located here in a scenic setting. This small lake is considered sacred by the local villagers and you can see prayer flags all around the lake. The color of the water has turned black because of the mud in the lake. The lake never freezes.  
    Kalipokhri Lake 
    Kalipokhri Water Body 
    There are several trekker's huts and lodges at Kalipokhri village and most trekkers take a night halt here before taking on the steepest climb on this route to Sandakphu next day in the morning. 
    9. As you proceed towards Bikey Bhanjan, you will pass by a small and an unknown settlement called Chowri Chowk. You will probably not find this place in any map, neither there is any signage along the way. There are only couple of huts that have a few beds scattered around inside. 
    Chowri Chowk 
    On one occasion, our driver stopped here along the way and asked me if I wanted to join him for tea. That's when I came to know that these small huts also serve tea at a nominal cost and double up as low budget accommodation for both trekkers and drivers. In fact, most drivers who take tourists to Sandakphu for overnight stays, come back to this place to sleep at night, and go back in the morning. 
    Inside the hut at Chowri Chowk 
    Inside Chowri Chowk Hut 
    By the time I went inside, our driver had already ordered the tea for us and was joined by another local man. I had also noticed that a lady was cooking something in large containers using firewood. When I asked, she mentioned that she was making Guras... an alcoholic liquor made from local flowers known as Guras... it's actually a form of 'Mohua' as known in Bengal. 
    The lady making Guras at Chowri Chowk 
    The lady making Guras 
    So there is an option of having hard liquor made from Guras. In fact, Guras is made almost at every village home along this route and it's mostly the drivers who indulge in it at nights to stay warm. The local man came forward and showed me the different sizes of cups used to serve Guras. 
    Cups used to serve Guras 
    Cups used to serve Guras 
    10. Bikey Bhanjan is another tiny settlement and is also a non-descriptive place. The only reason it gets a mention here because there are three routes that originate from here and all eventually merge ahead and lead to Sandakphu. One of them (the one straight ahead) is a stairway and is part of the trekking trail. While the others are extremely steep motorable gravel roads. 
    Bikey Bhanjan 
    Bikhey Bhanjan 
    The route that goes left is very narrow, winding and steep. The one that goes to the right is also steep. In fact, this section all the way up to Sandakphu is the steepest in the entire route. 
    11. Sandakphu (almost 12,000 ft) is the highest peak in Singalila Range. Most tourists stay here overnight to get magnificent views of the snow peaks in the mornings. You will get to see four of the five highest peaks of the world including Mt. Everest, Makalu, Kanchenjunga, and Lhotse. You will also see many other spectacular peaks of Sikkim, Nepal, Tibbet and Bhutan as well. 
    Kanchenjunga view from Sandakphu 
    Kanchenjunga from Sandakphu 
    And if you can time it right you will see a range of flowers and flowering plants like the Rhododendrons, giant magnolias and orchids. Some 600 varieties of orchids can be found in this region itself. 
    12. Next is Phalut which is the second highest peak of Singalila Range and is located at an altitude of about 11,800ft. There is no village settlement here as such other than a GTA operated Trekker's lodge. The route from Sandakphu up to Phalut is a gravel road. 
    Tourists who come by Land Rovers, usually make a day trip to Phalut from Sandakphu and start early in the morning. You can see the same peaks of Himalayan range from here what you can see from Sandakphu, however the view of the 'Sleeping Buddha' range (which consists of Kumbhakarna, Korbu North, Korbu South, Mt. Kanchenjunga and Pandim) is closer and simply awesome. 
    View of Sleeping Buddha Range from Phalut 
    Sleeping Buddha from Phalut 
    Photo: Rkb95, cc by-sa 4.0 

    Detailed Route Map

    I have described the route from Maneybhanjan to Sandakphu and all the way to Phalut along with distances to various points in Sandakphu & Phalut Route Map

    Suggested Tour Plan

    You can visit Sandakphu/Phalut easily from Darjeeling or on arriving at NJP/Bagdogra. Whichever place you start from, you need to go via Manebhanjan, change your vehicle to a Land Rover and then proceed. If you arrive at NJP/Bagdogra late in the day, you can not proceed beyond Manebhanjan on the same day. In such a case, you need to stay overnight at a midway place like Mirik (has nice hotels) or even better Lepchajagat (has nice homestays and a WBFDC Lodge), and start next morning. 
    The itinerary below assumes that you start from Darjeeling or NJP/Bagdogra or a midway point in the morning hours after breakfast. 
  • Start from NJP/Bagdogra/Darjeeling in the morning and reach Tumling at an altitude of 9,000ft. Tumling has nice budget hotels and lodges. A stay in the village helps in acclimatizing before reaching high altitudes of Sandakphu. 
  • You can alternatively choose Tonglu, which is another tiny settlement on the Indian territory and a quiet place. It's at an altitude of about 10,000ft. There is a GTA lodge here. 
  • Spend rest of the day strolling around and enjoying magnificent views of Kanchenjunga range (both Tumling and Tonglu are known for the views). 
  • Start next day in the morning after breakfast and reach Sandakphu. There is a GTA lodge here as well, and also several nice private hotels. 
  • Spend rest of the day at leisure and enjoy the stunning views of the Himalayan range including Mt. Everest and three other highest peaks of the world. 
  • Wake up early in the morning and experience the sunrise over the Himalayan range. The sun rises from the eastern horizon behind the peaks and lights slowly start striking the snow peaks to the east like Kanchenjunga and then the ones to the west like Everest come into sight, all of them changing colors quickly as time progresses... it's a stunning experience. 
  • After breakfast, proceed to Phalut which is another 21kms away. This is a gravel road and is often in a bad condition, so sometimes the route becomes inaccessible to vehicles. 
  • From Phalut see the 'Sleeping Buddha' from a closer range... the combination of Kumbhakarna, Kanchenjunga and Pandim that together look like a snow-figure of sleeping Buddha. 
  • Having spent an hour or so here, return to Darjeeling or NJP/Bagdogra. 

    How to visit

    If you want to manage on your own, then come down to Manebhanjan (1hour 15 minutes from Darjeeling by taxi, 4 hours from Bagdogra/NJP). This is from where the journey to Sandakphu/Phalut actually starts. Reserved taxis from Bagdogra or NJP may not go all the way up to Manebhajan in which case you can take one up to Mirik and then another one to Manebhanjan. 
    Shared taxis (usually large vehicles like Tata Sumos) are available at NJP, but they do not go up to Manebhanjan. You can drop off at Mirik or Sukhiapokhri and change to another one for Manebhanjan. 
    Once you reach Manebhanjan, you need to take a 4-wheel drive Land Rover to proceed to Sandakphu and Phalut. However remember, during high season it is often not possible to get any decent accommodation along the route unless you book well in advance. All good lodges get full. Due to scarcity of good lodgings, the tour companies block rooms in bulk during the high seasons. 
    Our Land Rover and driver on another trip to Sandakphu 
    Land Rover for Sandakphu 
    All tourists are required to take a permit from the forest department office. This is required for entry to the Singalila National Park that has its entry gate near Tumling and the route passes through the park. The office is located on the roadside just before the uphill route starts from Manebhanjan. Foreigners need to show their passport. There is an entry fee to be paid. This permit can be either taken from the Forest Department office at Manebhanjan or at the entrance to the national park near Tumling. 
    While you can do everything on your own if you want to minimize the cost of your trip, but the flip side of this is... you need to take the pain of arranging all the logistics. And that includes transportation from and to NJP/Bagdogra/Darjeeling, night halt at a midway place (if required), booking the Land Rover at Manebhanjan, getting vehicle permit, getting individual permit for entry to Singalila National Park, booking all accommodations along the route to Sandakphu (note that they are all in remote places and reaching them over phone can be a cumbersome exercise), etc. 
    And you can well imagine if this logistics-chain gets broken at any point during your trip (which by the way is not very uncommon), then the kind of a mess you might be in with your family. 
    So, if you want to avoid all this trouble of navigating through the logistics, then it is better to go through one of the reputed tour operators in Darjeeling because they not only have the advantage of proximity, some of them such as Ashmita Treks & Tours have extensive experience in handling such tours. 
    However, such services do not come free. In fact, the tour operators offer a complete package covering all transportation, permits and lodge/hotel bookings. Considering the service they provide, a tour package is usually the preferred option for tourists. Some operators such as Ashmita also offer great discounts if you have Darjeeling Tourism Cards helping you to reduce cost. 
    You can go one way or the other (that is, Do-It-Yourself or through a tour operator), but what you should avoid is trying to get few things done yourself and remaining through an operator. Because then, it is unlikely that the operators will offer competitive rates, and should anything go wrong during the trip, it is unlikely that the operator will own up the full responsibility and extend full support. 
    Do not plan to self-drive a motorbike or a car to Sandakphu and Phalut. Effective April 2018, motorbikes are no longer allowed on Sandakphu route and will be stopped at the Manebhanjan Check Post. This has come into effect following an order from the Divisional Forest Office. The motorcycles cause a lot of noise pollution which badly affect the wildlife. While self-driven personal cars may still be allowed on a case to case basis subject to explicit permission from the Land Rover Association at Manebhanjan. But it is not easy to get such a permission these days, because the association won't do anything to jeopardize the commercial interest of the Land Rover drivers and their owners who earn their livelihood through this transportation between Manebhanjan and Sandakphu/Phalut. 

    Transport fares & other costs

    (Fare updated: March 2021) 
    The fares and rates below are indicative. 
  • NJP/Bagdogra to Maneybhanjan: Rs. 3,500/- for reserved small car. You won't get a pre-paid taxi from Bagdogra airport or NJP station all the way to Manebhanjan. Better ask your hotel or operator to arrange for a pick up. 
  • NJP/Bagdogra to Mirik shared taxi fare: Rs. 150/- per person. Mirik to Manebhanjan via Sukhia Pokhri shared taxi fare: Rs. 125/- per person. 
  • Darjeeling to Maneybhanjan: Shared taxi/jeep fare- Rs. 60/- per person; Reserved small car fare - Rs. 1,400/- 
  • Land Rover Fare Maneybhanjan to Tumling/Tonglu (round trip): Rs. 2,500 for the vehicle + Night Halt Charge of Rs. 1,500 per night (if there are night stays) 
  • Land Rover Fare Maneybhanjan to Sandakphu (round trip): Rs. 5,500 for the vehicle + Night Halt Charge of Rs. 1,500 per night (if there are night stays) 
  • Land Rover Fare Maneybhanjan to Phalut (round trip): Rs. 9,000 for the vehicle + Night Halt Charge of Rs. 1,500 per night (if there are night stays) 
  • National Park entry fee: Rs. 120/- per person per day of stay inside the park (Rs. 500 per day for foreigners) 
  • Still Digital Camera: Rs. 100/-; Video Camera: Rs. 400/- 
  • Vehicle Entry Fee: Rs. 400/- 
    Contact nos. of Singalila Land Rover Association: 8145822708; 9800667075; 9647790545 
    NOTE: Unlike in trekking, guide is not mandatory when visiting Sandakphu/Phalut by car. 

    Where to stay

    There are several places to stay along the route. GTA (Gorkhaland Territorial Administration, erstwhile DGHC) lodges and trekker huts are available at places like Tonglu, Gairibas, Sandakphu and Phalut. You will also get private lodges and huts at Meghma, Tumling, Jhaubari, Gairibas, Kalipokhri and Sandakphu. 
    GTA Lodge at Gairibas 
    GTA Lodge, Gairibas 
    In Tumling where many like to stay overnight, Shikhar Lodge is a good choice. Another nice accommodation is Hotel Siddhartha. In Sandakphu, I prefer the private lodge Sherpa Chalet over the GTA lodge because of its rooms with great views of the peaks. In Phalut, the GTA Lodge is the only option although not very impressive. Remember all these are basic accommodations. 
    For booking rooms/beds in GTA lodges, you can visit one of the GTA tourism offices nearest to you (see Tourism Centers for location & contacts of GTA Offices). Tour Operators will usually book you in private lodges. However they offer packages including transport and stay (food is optional). 
    There is no electricity beyond Tumling and the lodges use solar lights for some hours at night. Some have generators. So do not expect luxury amenities like in-room TV, geyser etc although the new building of Shikhar Lodge at Tumling offers some of these amenities. Although there is now electricity in Tumling, it is far from stable. Cell phones work intermittently at some points along the route. 
    A Kolkata based agency takes booking for lodges along Sandakphu route including in Manebhanjan, Tumling, Sandakphu etc. They can also book private taxis up to Manebhanjan. Phone: 9903480648, 70447 85512. 

    Best time to visit

    There are two great seasons to visit Sandakphu and Phalut. The first is April until May when the temperature ranges from 6 - 12°C and flowers like rhododendrons and orchids bloom in full. And then again after the monsoon is over (i.e. between October and early December when the temperature ranges from 1 - 6°C) and the snow peaks show in their dazzling beauty in a clear blue sky. 
    June onwards the monsoon starts and lasts until September end. This is not a good time to visit Sandakphu and Phalut as the sky remains cloudy, it'll be showering frequently and you practically get no views. Note that Singalila National Park remains closed from mid June to mid September, so one needs to take an alternative route after Tumling to reach Sandakphu. 
    Although you can visit the places even in December, it can get biting cold. From January until March, often the route remains closed due to heavy snowing. 

    Clothes to carry

    Sandakphu and Phalut are high altitude places, and expected they remain very cold throughout the year. However in winter and early spring, temperature becomes sub-zero and it's freezing cold out there. And sometimes there are speedy winds and with the wind-chill factor, the temperature can be considerably lower. Unless you take adequate precautions against cold, it can easily ruin your trip. 
    But how heavy woolens should you carry depends on the time of your travel. Go to the page Clothes to carry in Darjeeling & Sikkim and then see the section under 'Clothing for high altitude places' to know what type of woolens you should carry for Sandakphu and Phalut trip based on your month of travel. 

    Related Articles

    1) Sandakphu Drive & Trek: Drive partially and trek partially to the summit. 
    4) Check out Darjeeling Tours & Sightseeing for many other exotic tours in Darjeeling area. 

    Visitors' Reviews/Comments

    Dr. Divya (October 2021) 
    Hi, Thank you for taking time to offer suggestions on this platform. It has been so helpful. I am thinking of taking the jeep safari to Sandakphu in mid December. Just a couple of questions: 
    1. Rs 5500 is for the vehicle or is it per person? Is it per day costs? Or is it for a trip starting on day 1 and ending on day 2? 
    2. How do we book accommodations at Sandakphu? 
    3. Is it possible to stay over at Tumling overnight and see Sandakphu the following day? 
    Any other suggestions are most welcome. Thank you so much for your time and effort! 
    Raj ( October 2021 
    Hi, Sorry for the confusion on the rate and thanks for pointing it out... shall soon clarify the matter on my website. Rs. 5,500 is for the entire vehicle for a round trip to Sandakphu from Manebhanjan. This means you pay only Rs. 5,500 if you take the vehicle from Manebhanjan and return on the same day after visiting Sandakphu. If you plan night stays along the way or at Sandakphu, then for every night you pay an additional night charge of Rs. 1,500. So for a visit to Sandakphu on a reserved Land Rover for two nights, you pay a total of Rs. 5,500 + Rs. 1,500 + Rs. 1,500 = Rs. 8,500. 
    Yes, it is very easy to make a day trip to Sandakphu from Tumling, it hardly takes 2 hours (each way) with a break in between. But, note that usually, you get the best views of the Himalayan peaks from Sandakphu early in the mornings, particularly during the sunrise. Later during the day, the peaks sometimes get covered with clouds. So, if you are making a day trip from Tumling, then you will be missing out on the early morning opportunity. Having said that, while Sandakphu offers a view of a wider range of the Himalayas on a clear day including Mt. Everest, the view of Kanchenjunga range from Tumling is no less. 
    I have given the contact nos. of the lodges on my website (both for Tumling and Sadakphu). You need to click the links that describe the lodges and you will get all details. You can directly contact them and do the bookings. 
    Rajesh Singhi (October 2021) 
    Hats off to your efforts and dedication. I (58yrs), my wife (51 yrs) & my daughter (25) are planning Sandakphu, Phalut with Phoktey Dara from 12th Oct to 16th Oct as follows: 
    12th NJP to Sandakphu by jeep. night stay. 
    13th Phalut by jeep and night stay. Leave my wife here for 1 night. 
    14th my daughter & I trek to Singalila Pass to Kalijhar & camp stay. 
    15th to Phoktey Dara & return to phalut. night stay. 
    16th go to Kurseong 
    1) please point out the defects or suggestions in this plan. 
    2) how to plan our trek from Phalut to Phoktey Dara 
    3) do I need to keep the jeep for the trip from 12th to 16th or can I get sharing easily 
    Raj ( October 2021 
    Hello, you can not organize the trek to Kalijhar/Phoktey Dara after reaching Phalut, neither you can get any vehicle there to get back to Manebhanjan unless a family/group visiting or staying there agrees to drop you back. Note that Phalut is still primarily a trekking destination.  
    For camping at Kalijhar, you need to either contact a Darjeeling based operator in advance or go on your own with all camping equipment and food (the latter option is not quite advisable unless you are both experienced trekkers and campers). 
    For Sandakphu and Phalut, you need to take a Land Rover vehicle from Manebhanjan and keep it with you... you can sometimes get shared vehicles for return from Sandakphu, but not from Phalut. And also, you should check at Manebhanjan whether vehicles are presently able to go all the way up to Phalut due to the road conditions, and plan your days accordingly. 
    Rajesh Singhi (October 2021) 
    I am absolutely amazed at your prompt response... This is unparalleled. Thanks a million for the useful tips... I would be grateful if you could please suggest a dependable operator to book the camping or other alternative stay at kalijhar and jeep over the phone. Thanks in advance. 
    Raj ( October 2021 
    I have discussed several operators under Trek operators in Darjeeling
    Anupam Bhattacharjee (September 2021) 
    Raj, We are all at our mid fifties having a lot of diseases. Can we go to Phalut by car? How to book GTA Hut at Phalut? And what are  the rates (approximate) of Home Stay/GTA Hut? 
    Raj ( September 2021 
    If any of you have heart disease or breathing disorders, then it is advisable not to attempt to go to Sandakphu/Phalut.  
    You need to physically visit Gorkha Bhawan or a GTA tourism office in order to book a GTA lodge/hut. The rate depends on the lodge and whether you will book a bed or a room. Also, note that every GTA tourism office may not 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. 
    Sudipa Kundu (September 2021) 
    Hi.. Our family is planning a trip to Sandakphu in January 2022... So, can I know, is Sandakphu suitable for 4 years old child? 
    Raj ( September 2021 
    Hi, there is no child age restriction for Sandakphu as such, but one should be very cautious for any child below 5 years and you should ensure proper altitude acclimatization along the way by taking halts in between. However, January is the wrong time to choose... it will be freezing cold out there and often the route gets closed due to heavy snow. You should go in mid-March or later in the summer. 
    Soumyamoy Dutta (September 2021) 
    Hello sir, I want to visit Sandakaphu in October end, 2021 with my wife and daughter (3 years). What I want to know is that will it be difficult to get booking if I take initiative prior to one week.. 
    One more thing, I will be visiting by my own car so is that possible to have a car parking place for 2 nights in Manebhanjan while I visit Sandakaphu. Thank you in advance. 
    Raj ( September 2021 
    Hello, you are planning to visit during the high season and people do the bookings months in advance while planning tours around that time. Manebhanjan is a small congested town and it's unlikely you can find any overnight parking there. If you are staying overnight at a hotel in Manebhanjan, you can talk to the hotel manager/owner and see if they can arrange something. 
    Achyut Saha (August 2021) 
    Dear Sir, Will it be possible to travel by vehicle from Darjeeling to Sandakphu and again return from Sandakphu to Darjeeling on the same day, without any night halts. If it is possible, then whether the Four-Wheel Drive Vehicles pick-up from Darjeeling and drop back to Darjeeling. We propose to travel in the mid of October 2021. Thank you, 
    Raj ( August 2021 
    Hello, Yes, a return day trip to Sandakphu from Darjeeling is quite possible... however, from Manebhanjan one needs to change to an old British Landrover... it's better to arrange the trip through an operator in Darjeeling who can handle the logistics as per your requirement. If you want to do it yourself, start early and reach Manebhanjan by 8 am (takes 1 hour 15 minutes from Darjeeling by car) and then pay for the Landrover at the Landrover ticket counter and move on. On your return, you will get taxis from the Manebhanjan stand to get back to Darjeeling. 
    B.K. Sahu (May 2021)  
    1) What is the best time for visiting Tonglu, Sandakphu & Phalut ? 
    2) For booking trekker's hut  from GTA, Kolkata ? Address contact details , any email? 
    3) I am 70+ , very much interested to go Sandakphu , can I ? 
    Raj ( May 2021 
    April-May and October - November are the best times for visiting Tonglu, Sandakphu and Phalut. In April you can see lots of rhododendron blooms. For GTA lodge booking and information, you need to visit Gorkha Bhawan at Salt Lake, Kolkata (opposite City Centre-1). They don't respond to emails. Mobile: (+91) 99031 74047, Landline: 033 - 23377534. 
    Whether you can go to Sandakphu/Phalut depends on your health condition. There is no age restriction, but some do have breathing problems due to the high altitude. In case you go, acclimatize yourself in Tonglu at least for a night before proceeding to higher altitude places. 
    G Guha Mazumder (March 2021) 
    Dear Raj, After reading your ebook on Darjeeling, I have decided to make one night halt in Sandakphu/Phalut area. I would be grateful, if you please let me know which is the best place for a night halt around that area to get the best view of the Sun rise. If you can suggest any home stay there. Best Regards 
    Raj (  March 2021 
    Hello, accommodation in Phalut is very limited... only one GTA lodge, that's it. Sandakphu on the other hand has several hotels and also a GTA lodge. While Phalut offers a closer view of the Sleeping Buddha (the entire Kanchenjunga range), the view from Sandakphu too is quite good. You can stay at Shepra Chalet in Sandakphu (take an upper floor view room). You can read my review of Sherpa Chalet lodge
    Arindam Sinha Babu (January 2021) 
    Hello sir, I am looking forward to a solo trip to Sandakphu on 11th January 2021 on a 4days trip. My only concern is, as of Jan 2021, what are the chances of getting a shared Land Rover up to Phalut and way back as hiring a whole car for myself is not an economical option for me. Should I also contact any tour agent for myself? looking forward to your valuable suggestions. 
    Raj ( January 2021 
    It is unlikely you will get a shared Land Rover in January. Often the route is blocked beyond Tumling/Gairibas due to heavy snowing. Even if you get a shared vehicle up to Sandakphu (provided the route is open), the chances of getting one to Phalut is practically nil. You can contact a tour operator and see if they can find a solution. 
    Doyel (November 2020) 
    Hi Raj, I have booked my stay in Darjeeling from 25th to 28th Dec 2020 and wish to visit Sandakphu by road. What options do I have from Darjeeling? Your website is no less than a wikipedia. Thank you for putting all the information at one place in a concise manner. 
    Raj ( November 2020 
    Hi, you can either go through a Darjeeling based tour operator who can take care of all logistics, or alternatively, take a taxi and go down to Manebhanjan in the morning (1 hour 15 minutes) and take an Old British Land Rover... these are the only vehicles allowed on the route to Sandakphu and there is a roadside counter at Manebhanjan to make the payments. If you plan for an overnight stay at Sandakphu, you should keep the vehicle with you. 
    Pradeep Roy (October 2020) 
    Hi Raj, We are in love with Darjeeling and this may be our 10th visit. Also read your column regularly. I am 55, my wife 48 , son 20 - planning Jeep safari through Ashmita Travels. Only worried about acclimatization - will stay at Darjeeling 20/10 and 21/10 and on 22/10 move to Gairibas stay and 23/10 to Sandakphu stay and 24/10 return. Is it ok ? Best regards 
    Raj ( October 2020 
    Hi, yes your plan is fine. You can stay at the GTA lodge in Gairibas. You must be aware that the Sandakphu route goes along the Indo-Nepal border and there are lodges on both sides of the border... it has been a freeway so far without restrictions and tourists could stay wherever they wanted. Due to the recent political issues between India and Nepal, you may be asked by the Indian security to remain within Indian territory during your journey and stay at a hotel within the Indian territory. However, this might be a temporary issue and can get resolved soon. Regards, 
    Debkumar Bandyopadhyay (April 2020) 
    Dear Mr Bhattacharya,  We (me and my wife) just finished a trip to Lava (Kolakham), Lolegaon and promised to return. There at Lolegaon (Kafer) homestay we met a group returning from a failed trip to Sandakfu, failed due to imposition of restriction to travel to Sandakfu. After meeting the group leader, who is a rock climber teacher in Kolkata, we are tempted to  plan  a visit to Sandakphu by Landover. The question I am posting is, being close to 80 years in age, whether lack of oxygen at height can be a deterrent? Cold weather  will not be a stumbling block. 
    Raj ( April 2020 
    Hello, 80 years is somewhat a vulnerable age for travelling to Sandakphu and you should do a thorough medical check-up and consult a doctor before you make your travel plan. If you do plan to go ahead, I would suggest that you stay overnight at Tumling (9000ft) on your way to Sandakphu... this is only to acclimatize. Shikhar Lodge is a good place to stay (the new wing). Next morning, ask the driver to halt at Gairibas, Kalipokhri and Bikeybhanjan (take tea breaks) before driving up the final stretch to Sandakphu. 
    Sumana Sarkar (January 2020) 
    Hi Sir, Thanks for the wonderful post. I have 2 Questions: 1. We are a team of 5 adults (2 persons 60+), 1 kid- 3yrs, 1 infant- 5months. During April is it okay to visit for 2 days? 2. Can we travel from Bagdogra to Sandhakfu directly in a 4x4 hired vehicle? Thanks 
    Raj ( January 2020 
    April is a good time to visit Sandakphu but it is not advisable to take a 5-yeard old there. You can not take a vehicle from Bagdogra and go all the way to Sandakphu. You can go up to Manebhnanjan and take a vehicle from Land Rover association. 
    Benaka Chandrashekar (August 2019) 
    Hello Raj, I am traveling all the way from Bangalore on my bike and covering most of the states in North East and considering to include Sandakphu also in my itinerary. Read somewhere in an article that bikes are not allowed to Sandakphu. Is this true? Also I am in a tight itinerary and hence I am not looking forward to stay in Sandakphu, so is it possible to take a ride on the Land Rover Jeep in the morning and return the same day back to Manebhanjan? Eagerly looking forward for your response. Thank you. 
    Raj ( August 2019 
    Hi, these days they do not allow bikes and even private cars on the Sandakphu route. However now that a long stretch of the way has been concretized, it is quite possible to take a Land Rover in the morning from Manebhanjan to Sandakphu and get back on the same day. It takes about 2.5 hours each way.  
    Manjima Ganguly (July 2019) 
    Hi, this is fascinating that you alone are operating this website with each and every minute details for all. My sincere regards to you for this. I am planning to visit Sandakphu and few other places by road in October. I will be alone travelling and as I have some physical problem, is it safe? If any medical emergency happens, is Siliguri the only place to get proper medical help? Please inform. If your reply is negative, even then I will go as it's my passion to see Mt. Everest  by my own eyes. Thanks. 
    Raj ( July 2019 
    Hi, there will be a lot of tourists flocking to Sandakphu in October, so safety won't be an issue if you travel wisely. You won't practically get any medical facilities (including medical stores) after Manebhanjan (the base from where the Land Rovers start) all the way up to Sandakphu. So carry all essential medicines. For proper medical treatment you need to get down to Siliguri. For basic facilities/treatments... there are couple of medical stores in Manebhanjan, a district hospital, couple of private nursing homes and a few clinics in Darjeeling town. 
    Abhishek Das (July 2019) 
    Hi Raj, First of all I would like to say that you have a very insightful website. We are a family of 6 people planning a trip to Sandakphu and Phalut in December last week this year. We are planning to use the land rovers that you mentioned in your post. Could you please advise if the roads will be open during December last week (22-26 December 2019)? Thanks and Regards, 
    Raj ( July 2019 
    Hi, several parts of the route to Sandakphu get blocked due to heavy snowfall between December and February. It's quite unlikely you can go beyond Tumling around that time. Land Rover drivers may not agree for Sndakphu either. 
    Debarun Ghosh (July 2019) 
    Sir, in end of October 2019 we are going to Sandakphu. We are a family of 4. So, we are staying for one night in Darjeeling. Next day we are moving to Sandakphu via Manebhanjan. We are not staying at Tumling. Our only accommodation is at Sandakphu. Can you guide me how to get the Land Rover at Manebhanjan?? And by what time will it be wise to leave Darjeeling in the morning to avail of the Land Rover?? 
    Raj ( July 2019 
    That's a high season and most Land Rovers from Manebhanjan would leave for Sandakphu by 8:30-9am. You should start from Darjeeling by 6:45am to reach Manebhanjan before 8am if you want a Land Rover. Usually after all Land Rovers have left, the association tries to help with other jeep type vehicles. 
    Siddhartha Majumdar (July 2019) 
    Hello Raj, your blog has been an excellent resource for planning my upcoming Darjeeling and Sandakfu trip.. my query is as follows: on the way back from Sandakfu, can I hire a private jeep for Mirik sightseeing from Manebhanjan? Will the driver take the Rishi road to Mirik (which is shorter) or will it take the route via Ghum. 
    Raj ( July 2019 
    Hi, yes you can hire a private vehicle from Manebhanjan for a drop at Mirik or even for sightseeing there. They take the shorter route via Gopaldhara Tea Estate / Simana (Ghum is in opposite direction). 
    Chandni (April 2019) 
    Hi Raj, Thanks for this amazing treasure of information! I have bought your ebook also and it's very helpful. We are going to be in Darjeeling in the 1st week of May with a 7 year old child and are planning to go to Sandakphu in the Jeep/Rover for an overnight trip. A couple of Travel agents said it's not suitable for children. Could you please advise? Is there a risk in taking a child there? We have already booked accommodation at Sherpa Chalet for the night. 
    Raj ( April 2019 
    Hi, children below 5 are not recommended at that altitude... while 7-year old should be okay, you need to take extra care such as taking necessary medication, keeping the vehicle with you etc. Do take a break at Tumling to acclimatize before moving on further. 
    Jayita (April 2019)  
    What about the road condition from Sandakphu to Phalut? I will go there on 29th April. 
    Raj ( April 2019 
    Sandakphu to Phalut road is in a bad condition... vehicles are not operating presently on that route. 
    Abhishek Chatterjee (April 2019) 
    Whether there is shared land rover available for Sandakphu and Phalut from Manebhanjan? Is there any shared cab from NJP to Manebhanjan. We are single couple planning for Sandakphu. So please suggest. 
    Raj ( April 2019 
    There is no shared taxi from NJP to Manebhanjan... usually you need to change twice as you go via Mirik (once at Mirik and then at Sukhia Pokhri)... you can join others or locals to share a Land Rover at Manebhanjan (but that will depend on others willing to do the same at the same time). 
    Carlos Garcia (March 2019) 
    Good morning, I've read in your website that the Land Rover fare Maneybhanjan to Sandakphu (round trip) is Rs. 4,800 + Night Halt Charge. A person in a lodge said me that it's an old rate. I would like you to confirm this. Thank you so much. You have a very good website. Best regards 
    Raj ( March 2019 
    Hi, the rate has recently changed... now the Land Rover rate is Rs. 5,500 per day up to Sandakphu and Rs. 1,500 additional for night stay. By the way, due to bad road conditions, Land Rovers are not presently operating between Sandakphu and Phalut. 
    Amit (February 2019) 
    Hi, I would like to update about Johann Rousselot's (December 2018) query. From Maneybhanjan to Sandakphu NO two-wheelers are allowed. You can confirm from the Maneybhanjan Land Rover association: Mr. Anil Tamang 9647790545 
    Samrat Sarkar (December 2018) 
    Good Day Raj, I hope you are doing great. Need your help/suggestion regarding my plan to visit Sandakphu-Phalut from Maneybhanjan during the period 24th-27th December, 2018. I wish to have a Land Rover trip. I believe the area experience heavy snowfall from December-March. Is it feasible to plan a trip during this time by car? Kindly advise. 
    Raj ( December 2018 
    Hi, not a good idea to pan a Land Rover trip to Sandakphu between December to March. If it snows heavily, you may not be able to go beyond a point. In one occasion, I could make it only up to Tumling. 
    Johann Rousselot (December 2018) 
    Dear Sir, I'm a French motorcycle guide, and I work and take groups for Vintage Rides, based in Delhi. I have the intention to design a perfect trip on bikes for our clientele, in Darjeeling and Sikkim. Are vehicles other than tourist jeeps or whatever official park transportation allowed to use the road from Sandakphu to Phalut ? Thank you very much. 
    Raj ( December 2018 
    Hello, personal cars are allowed on Sandakphu route subject to permission from the Land Rover Association in Manebhanjan that operates old British vehicles on this route. However motor bikes and commercial vehicles from outside are not allowed at Manebhanjan check post. 
    Avijit Paul (November 2018) 
    Hello Raj, Very helpful & Awesome blog. Got lots of information to visit Sandakphu & Phalut by Jeep from your blog. I am planning to visit Sandakphu & Phalut by Jeep on 3rd week of March, 2019 with my wife. My plan is: (1) 21/03/2019 - Hire a car from NJP to Tumling can I do that? Night stay at Tumling on 21/03/2019. (2) 22/03/2019 - Next morning want to book a Land Rover from Tumling itself for Sandakphu & Phalut is it possible to book a Land Rover from Tumling instead of Manebhanjan? Wish to stay next 2 nights at Sandakphu i.e. 22/03/2019 & 23/03/2019 & visit Phalut on 23/03/2019. (3) 24/03/2019 Early morning check-out from Sandakphu & back to Manebhanjan by Land Rover thereafter change car for NJP. Eagerly looking forward for your guidance & advice. Thank you. 
    Raj ( November 2018 
    Hi, cars from NJP won't go all the way up to Tumling. Land Rovers association at Manebhanjan won't allow that either. You need to take a Land Rover at Manebhanjan and complete the trip. 
    Siddharth (November 2018) 
    Hello Mr. Raj, Thank you for running this website. I have been in communication with guide for land rover tour to Sandakphu - Phalut. I fear I am getting an inflated price. Could you please offer some advice or perhaps a recommendation? The price was 10,000 per person plus 2,500 per person/per day.  Is this too much or is this a fair price?  Thank you. 
    Raj ( November 2018 
    Indicative rates are already mentioned on my website under 'Sandakphu & Phalut by Jeep'... google that. What makes you talk to a guide for this trip? You can do spot booking at Manebhanjan in morning hours and proceed. 
    Dr. Nipun Hazra (October 2018) 
    Hello Raj, Awesome blog. Very helpful. So much informative. But I need a bit more help from u if possible. I along with my Mrs planning to have a trip to Sandakphu. My purpose is hardcore photography (time lapse) & her is vacation. We are planning to stay at Tonglu, Kalipokhri, Sandakphu at night, also want to visit Phalut and capture sunset there. But we don't want to trek because I will have some heavy equipments with me. So is it possible to fulfil my plan by using those Land Rover jeeps? 
    Raj ( October 2018 
    Yes, quite possible. You can hire the vehicle for as many days/nights you want.  
    Subarna Maity (March 2018) 
    Can we return from Sandakphu to NJP via manebhanjan in the same day ? Actually we have to board train from NJP at 6.00 pm. is it possible to start the journey from sandakphu and reach NJP by afternoon ? 
    Raj ( March 2018 
    It will take 9 hours or so with a change of vehicle at Manebhanjan and a short break in-between. You need to start quite early. 
    Srini (January 2018) 
    Hello, I got almost every bit of information that I require to travel Sandakphu and Phalut. Thank you so much for providing these. I have 2 questions. 1. I am planning to stay in Tumling. Is it possible to book the Landrover in Manebhanjan and they come to pick me up from Tumling? Or Should I got to Manebhanjan myself to book the Landrover? 2. Is it possible to cover Sandhakphu and Phalut with only one night stay in Sandhakphu? Thank you 
    Raj ( January 2018 
    Hi, once you get to Manebhanjan, you should book a Land Rover for the entire journey through Tumling, Sandakphu, Phalut and back including the night stopovers. Having said that, the Land Rovers have been very recently banned from plying on this route as they are all very old vehicles. They would likely be replaced by Boleros but in phases. If you stay one night in Sandakphu, you can visit Phalut early next morning and return to Manebhanjan on the same day. 
    Pranish Basu (January 2018)  
    Dear Raj, Its a very nice and informative blog about Sandakphu. Thanks for such a nice blog. I am planing to visit Sandakphu by jeep (not trekking) during summer vacation 2018 with my family. Need your guidance. My plan is Manabhanjan -1night ; Sandakfu -1night ; Phalut-1night , Darjeeling 3 nights. Please guide if this okay or should I increase nights in Sandakfu & Phalut. Also suggest best staying options in Manebhanjan, Sandakfu & Phalut. 
    Raj ( January 2018 
    You need not stay in Phalut ... there are no good hotels there unless you are okay with the GTA lodge which is quite basic. Instead stay in Sandakphu for two nights and make a day trip to Phalut. I have discussed various stay options on my related web pages. 
    Avhijit Bhaduri (December 2017) 
    What difficulties we may face to drive an ISUZU DMAX 4x 4 vehicle to Sandakphu and Phalut in 3rd week of February 2018. We all are senior citizens and drove in hilly terrain earlier. Which is the better hotel among the few hotels available in TUMLING. After formation of syndicate for trips to Sadakphu by the local drivers, do they allow own driven vehicle to go to SANDAKPHU. 
    Raj ( December 2017 
    You can consider Sikhar Lodge or Hotel Siddharth in Tumling. You can take your own vehicle to Sandakphu. While I am not a vehicle expert, all I can say that if your vehicle breaks down on that bouncy boulder road (it's not the usual hilly terrain), you would have deep regrets having taken your car up there unless you have adequate resources to carry out repairs yourselves. 
    Amitava Dutta (November 2017) 
    Dear Raj, Its a very nice and informative blog about Sandakphu. Thanks for such a nice blog. I am planing to visit Sandakphu by jeep (not trekking) during summer vacation 2018 with my family. Instead of staying at Manebhonjan, I am planing to night stay at Tonglu GTA lodge. Do you think whether its a good idea to stay Tonglu GTA lodge for enjoying sunrise and gr8 view of Kanchenjunga. How will be weather during that time? 
    Raj ( November 2017 
    Tonglu is a nice place to get a great sunrise view of Kanchenjunga. You can certainly halt there for a night for the morning views. While daytime temperature in Sandakphu during summer (April - May) would be pleasantly cool (about 7 - 10 degree C), nights or early mornings can be very cold (sometimes sub-zero). 
    Promit Mitra (November 2017) 
    Hi Raj, I have been to Sandakphu quite a few times before. However, I plan to bring my family first time to Sandakphu. So, this time I'll be requiring the Land rover service. Is it possible to get the same land rover directly to Darjeeling instead of Maneybhanjan as I do not want to lose out any time in coming down to Maneybhanjan and then once again setting out for Darjeeling. And if yes, will there be any extra cost involved along with what I see is the current rate - Rs. 4800 + Night stays. 
    Raj ( November 2017 
    Land Rovers operate only between Manebhanjan and Sandakphu/Phalut. You will need a separate vehicle for your travel between Manebhanjan and Darjeeling, and so there will be extra cost involved other than hiring the Land Rover. 
    Raju Ghosal (October 2017) 
    It is really great to see an IIT CS Grad is following his passion and helping crores of People with their queries. Hats off to you man. We are planning to visit Sandakphu on 3rd Feb 2018. I would like to get the snowfall dates in Sandakphu in last 5 yrs (if data is available in any site). This will help us to identify the probability of getting snow or snow fall during our visit. I know snowfall is not predictable but can we be rest assured that Sandakphu will be covered by snow in first week of Feb 2018. Please let us know your thoughts. Thanks in advance. 
    Raj ( October 2017 
    You can refer to the website (search with Singalila Forest which also covers Sandakphu) and go through month-wise weather ... the data is available over 3 years (2016 - 2018). Sandakphu in February is usually covered with snow, but whether Sandakphu is accessible in Feb could be the main question.  
    Indranil Dasgupta (April 2017) 
    Hi Raj, Highly impressed with your reviews. Need some assistance for me too. Reaching NJP on 19/5/17 & planning to visit Sandakphu. We are a couple with one 8 years old son(3 heads). Return is on 24/5/17 from NJP. Wish to stay for 2 days at Sandakphu & visit Phalut if possible. We have a budget constraint thus suggest what are the options to minimise the travel costs. Eagerly looking forward for your advice. 
    Raj ( April 2017 
    Hi, there are not many options of reducing cost when visiting Sandakphu with family .... it's different if one goes solo backpacking. From NJP or Siliguri you can take a shared Jeep up to Mirik. If you get one going all the way to Darjeeling via Mirik then take that and get off at Sukhiapokhri, otherwise from Mirik take another shared Jeep up to Sukhia and then a third one to Manebhanjan. You need to stay here overnight. 
    Next day unless you want to hire a full Land Rover, go down to the counter and tell them that you want to combine with others... you can only try your luck. Otherwise you have no option but to take a full Land Rover to Sandakphu and keep that for 1-2 nights depending on your plans. unless you have a vehicle of your own, visiting Phalut from Sandakphu would be difficult... you need to take help from the hotel staff to see if you can get on to a passing vehicle or they have other guests going who would be willing to take your family and share cost. 
    Mirza Zunaed Hasan (February 2017) 
    I am from Bangladesh planning to travel to Darjeeling and Sandakphu in 3rd week of March. We will reach Siliguri around 2pm on 21st March and we have a plan to stay 2 nights at Darjeeling and 2 nights at Sandakphu. Which place we should attempt to cover first ?? Will it be better to stay at Darjeeling on 21st and 22nd of march and then start for Sandakphu from 23rd of March in the morning ?? is there any possibility to see snow in Sandakphu ?? We are 7 in number.. so is it possible to rent only one Land Rover to go to Sandakphu ?? 
    Raj ( February 2017 
    Darjeeling followed by Sandakphu is okay. If you are lucky, you might see snow. Seven of you can take a single Land Rover. But hope you know about the bumpy journey along the boulder road to Sandakphu. I have seen several families including Bangladeshis returning from mid-way having gone with wrong expectations and being unable to take the backbreaking journey.  
    Indranil Bhattacharjee (February 2017) 
    Hi Raj, I am one of your avid followers. We are planing to visit Sandakphu/Phalut this April. We have chalked out a plan and wanted your feedback on that.  April 12: NJP to Manebhanjan --- Proceed to Tumling by Landrover and stay overnight.  April 13th: Tumling to Snadakphu--- Phalut-- back to Tumling and stay overnight.   April 14th: Back to Manebhanjan.  We have intentionally skipped the idea of staying at Sandakphu as I have heard that the accommodation options are extremely poor.   
    Raj ( February 2017 
    Hi, Tumling to Sandakphu takes about 2.5 hours each way. Sandakphu to Phalut is over 2 hours one-way. Such long journey on a day and that too on boulder road is not advisable at all. Consider staying overnight at Sandakphu. Having gone that far, why would you like to miss out on the experience of amazing sunrise and also the best chances of watching Everest & Kanchenjunga early in the morning from Sandakphu? There are a few nice hotels in Sandakphu like the Sherpa Chalet, Namo Buddha, and even the GTA Lodge. 
    Mohammad Abul Kalam Azad (December 2016) 
    Hi Raj, this is Azad from Bangladesh. Am coming early winter to Darjiling from 18th Dec to 24th Dec 2016, will be my first visit to any part of India. My first enquiry to you... whether I can experience the snowfall and snow covered surroundings at Sandakphu during this time. Second is, what will be the lowest temperature and what clothing to carry to withstand the chill? Last but not least, please mention whether jeep will be available from Manevanjan up to Sandakphu if that much expected snowfall occurs. 
    Raj ( December 2016 
    Hello, yes you can expect lots of snow. It will be sub zero temperature in Sandakphu in December and with the wind chill factor, it can be extremely cold. So take all winter precautions including woolen inners, gloves, caps, heavy jackets etc. Jeeps (Land Rovers) will be available but you may not be able go beyond Tumling as routes often get closed around that time due to heavy snow. Regards, 
    Valli (September 2016) 
    Hello Raj, I am highly impressed by reading the reviews and gratitude that visitors show to your guidance and knowledge. We are two of us planning to visit Sandakphu in Nov this year. We would be visiting Darjeeling directly from Nepal post our Nepal trip for 10 days and will have our back pack which would be heavy. We would have 2 days which we are planning to spend one night at Sandakphu and one at Phalut. We would like to know about a few things : 
    1. what is the frequency of Land Rover from Mannerybhanjan  to Sangakphu ? Daily ? is it on per seat basis  ? and what are the charges ? 
    2. If we decide to stay one night at Sandakphu and one night at Phalut, would we get vehicle to return from Phalut to Mannerybhanjan ? time taken ? 
    3. What about the porter availability ? 
    Would appreciate your guidance and direction on how best we can do this in an economical / budget way ? Thanks and regards, 
    Raj ( September 2016 
    Hi, Landrovers ply daily (usually in the morning half from Manebhanjan). Once you pay the fare at the counter, you will be shown one, if available. Otherwise you need to wait for one to be available. They queue up in the morning. 
    The booking of a Land Rover needs to be done for the entire vehicle. However you can wait at the counter and try to combine with another group who may have similar plan as yours and share the cost. Local residents along the route also wait for similar arrangements. Once or twice a day, vehicles go up with provisions for the hotels. They also pick up few passengers at low rates as they leave and also while returning. So if you have time flexibility, a shared trip is possible. 
    If you do not book the vehicle, you can get vehicle on your return, but you need to work out a similar arrangement with returning vehicles. There is no vehicle otherwise available at Sandakphu or Phalut. Porter is not required for land rover trips. They are usually available at Highlander's welfare association at Manebhanjan. 
    Sumanta Banerjee (August 2016) 
    Hi Raj, Planning a trip to Sandakhphu and Falut at early November for 4 days. Can we get booking at Sherpa chalet at Sandakhphu and DGHC cortege at that time? Is it a good timing for the spots? Please guide. Thanks 
    Raj ( August 2016 
    Hi, yes it's a good time, but will be very cold. Book in advance. 
    Partha Saha (April 2016) 
    Hello Raj, I am planning to visit Sandakphu with my wife and 14 yr old daughter on 13.5.16 starting from Darjeeling. I haven't booked any hotel or land rover. Will it be risky to book jeep & hotel for Sandakphu at Manebhanjan on 13.5.16 itself. Can I get permit to pass through Singalila park on that day itself ? Please advice as my job doesn't allow me to plan well in advance ! Please advice. 
    Raj ( April 2016 
    All decent accommodations in Sandakphu like Sherpa Chalet, GTA lodge, Namabuddha etc get sold out well in advance during such high season. So if you are taking your family, you should not go without hotel booking. Land Rovers are booked on the spot at Manebhanjan, so that's usually not a problem, neither is the permit. 
    Naomi Lama (April 2016) 
    Hi, is there any shared Land Rovers available from Manebhanjyang to Sandakphu or do I need to book it? Regards. 
    Raj ( April 2016 
    There is no shared Land Rover service to Sandakphu or any place along that route. You can try to combine with other groups and share the cost. Visit the booth at Manebhanjan where Land Rover booking takes place. You can ask the man at the counter to help combine with other passengers. Often it can be done. However it might require some wait until you get a group who is willing to share the vehicle and cost. Another possibility is hopping into a Land Rover that carries ration (provisions) for the hotels along the route. Often they have spare seat which you can avail by paying a nominal cost. 
    Payel Sarkar (February 2016) 
    Hi Raj, I was planning to go to Sandakphu with my family around 3rd week of March 2016. We prefer jeep safari. Can you please tell me if the roads will remain open at that time. Thanking you. 
    Raj ( February 2016 
    Hi, usually the snow cover starts clearing from 2nd/3rd week of March and the route up to Sandakphu becomes accessible again to Jeeps. So it should be possible to drive up to Sandakphu in 3rd week of March unless you are unlucky. However you can almost surely go up to Tumling and little beyond. 
    Soumya Sengupta (January 2016) 
    HI RAJ, I along with 3 family members and a 9 years child planning to visit Sandakphu in coming March. My plan is as under:- 
    Day 1 (23/03/16) - Siliguri to Manebhanjan via Mirik and then to Tumling and night stay there. 
    Day 2 (24/03/16) - Tumling to Sandakphu and Night stay 
    Day 3 (25/03/16) - Sandakphu to Phalut and back to Sandakphu and night stay 
    Day 4 (26/03/16) - Sandakphu to Siliguri via Manebhanjan and Mirik. 
    Kindly suggest if the above plan is right for us or some modification is needed. 
    Raj ( January 2016 
    Your plan is good. 
    Mukesh (December 2015) 
    Hi Raj, I find your suggestions Extremely helpful in Planning my trip. Appreciate your effort. Starting from Manebhanjang on day 1 and reaching at Sandakhphu on day 3 , I have to reach NJP/Silliguri on day4. My question is: Is it possible to reach NJP/Silliguri on day 4? If yes, I am looking for Public/Shared transport. What are my options after reaching Sandakhphu? 
    Raj ( December 2015 
    Occasional shared jeeps ply between Manebhanjan and Sandakphu mainly as transports to local villagers. Once you come down to Manebhanjan, you can take a shared jeep to Sukhia and then another one to NJP/Siliguri via Mirik. It can take about 8 hours plus whatever time it takes to get the shared jeeps. 
    Anirban (September 2015) 
    Hi Raj, Planned for Jeep journey to Sandakphu with extended family of 11 members. We want to stay in Tonglu GTA. Will this be possible or need to stay in Tumling only? I see jeep services for Tonglu/Tumling both by Maneybhanjan Landrover association. 
    Raj ( September 2015 
    You can stay at Tonglu trekkers hut as well, but not sure if it's a great idea with family members. 
    Sudip Das (September 2015) 
    Hi, myself along with my wife is planning for Sandakphu & Phalut at the end of December. I have already done Sandakphu trekking 3 years back. It was awesome experience. The following is our Itinerary planned so far. 
    25.12.15 : Drop at NJP (9AM). Take car from NJP to Manebhanjang. From Manebhanjang take Jeep/Land Rover to Tumling. Night stay at Tumling. 
    26.12.15 : From Tumbling to Phalut via Sandakphu. Night stay at Phalut. 
    27.12.15 : Phalut to Sandakphu. Night stay at Sandakphu. 
    28.12.15 : Sandakphu to Mane Bhanjang & then Manebhanjang to NJP to catch train at 9PM from NJP. 
    Please suggest us whether visit to Sandakphu from Manebhanjang by land rover is possible at late December? The tour plan is OK? Can we take a land rover /jeep with us from Manebhanjang which will be with us throughout the journey? What will be the tentative cost of land rover for this journey & overnight charges? Guide is mandatory if we go through land rover? Lodge / Hotel pre booking is mandatory? Please give your valuable feedback as early as possible. 
    Raj ( September 2015 
    Hi, December is not a good time for such jeep travel to Sandakphu/Phalut. If it snows heavily, routes may be closed and you can be stuck indefinitely in that treacherous cold weather. Trekking can be done though with a proper guide. During season, your plan is okay. You don't need a guide or porter if you take a jeep/ land rover all the way and back. Cost etc is already given in my site. Unless in high season, advance booking in lodge is not required, but preferred. There is very limited accommodation in Phalut (just a GTA hut), so why take a chance? 
    P K Roy (July 2015) 
    Hi, we are a group of 9 members including children age 5, 6 and 9 plan to visit Sandakfu and Phalut by car starting from NJP on 25th dec and coming back to NJP 30th Dec, 2015. It will be immense help and assistance if you let me know that touring Sandakfu and Phalut is at all possible in December last week, can we get hot waters to drink and personal use, how cozy the rooms are and approximate rates. 
    Raj ( July 2015 
    It will be extremely cold at Sandakphu and Phalut in end December. Accommodations there are basic... no TV etc. They will give you blankets but you must take all winter protections yourself. Hot water is provided but very limited. 
    Swati Mehta (June 2015) 
    Dear Mr. Raj, We are two girls, planning a jeep trip to Sandakphu in the coming week. Is it a safe option for us? Do we need to pre-book a guide / hotel? Can the cabs be shared with other people (to make it cheaper)? During monsoons, is this route open? 
    Raj ( June 2015 
    Sandakphu route beyond Tumling is closed between June 15 to September 15... this is the monsoon time and animal breeding season in Singalila National Park. There is no safety issue as such. Shared jeeps from Manebhanjan are infrequent and can not depend on them. 
    Subhash Rai (May 2015) 
    Dear Mr. Raj, Thanks to the useful info on your site, my wife and I made a short trip to Sandakphu on the 23rd and 24th of April 2015 along with my parents! My Dad is 82 and had expressed his desire to go to Sandakphu. Although my parents are from Darjeeling, they have lived most of their lives elsewhere in India and are now settled in Siliguri. Based in Mumbai, I have never lived in Darjeeling and have never been to Sandakphu. My wife - who is from Hyderabad, - was also extremely interested to see the Himalayan peaks from Sandakphu. 
    Around 2 months earlier, I sent emails to 5 of the operator that you have listed on your site. 2 of them wrote back, and we picked Mr. Rumba of "Hot Stimulating cafe" from among the 2. It turned out to be a perfect choice for us. Mr. Rumba communicated very well - initially through emails and later on through phone calls. Meeting him face to face confirmed what we had thought of him. Gentle, polite, sensitive, and sincere - Mr. Rumba became a friend within 24 hrs. 
    Since we had very less time, we chose to drive all the way from Siliguri to Sandakphu stopping many times along the way to admire the view, stretch our legs and eat some hot mountain food! We left early morning around 6:45 am on the 23rd from Siliguri and reached Sandakphu at around 4:30 pm. 
    We were hoping to catch the sunset but unfortunately, the fog moved in and blocked the view. But we were fortunate to get a view of the sunrise on the Kanchanjunga! It was worth it. We were thrilled (& cold!) and thankful! We left at around 9 am on the 24th to reach Siliguri at around 5pm. 
    It was short and sweet. The pure fresh air, the simple gentle people, the mystical foggy landscape...We felt recharged! Once again, thanks Dear Mr. Raj for your very helpful site! 
    Aveek (February 2015) 
    Hi, I am not a trekker, but want to go to Sandakphu/Phalut by Land Rover with my wife and 7yr old son. Want to know the below points: 
    1. Which one is better to night stay? tumling or Jhaubari? 
    2. Does Sherpa chalet provide family room? somewhere I read that in Sandakhphu, there is water crisis. cant we get water (not drinking) there? 
    3. Is there any possibilities to get snow in the early morning at that time. We will be there on 12th April. 
    Raj ( February 2015 
    Stay at Tumling. In Sandakphu water will be supplied but limited. Hot water is scarce because there is no electricity, but they will provide some. Chances to see snow around that time is slim. 
    Nilanjan Dutta (February 2015) 
    I have made the following plan after studying hard on your site. I write it in short and awaiting for your valuable comments. 
    6th march: sight seeing and joyride. 
    7th : 3 point in early morning and then day trip to mirik. 
    8th : Maneybhanjan and then Sandakphu via jeep to experience snow. night stay there. 
    9th : morning in falut then return to Darjeeling. 
    Basically we have never experienced snow. So we are excited as we know about Sandakhapu. If possible give me a reply. Thanks a lot 
    Raj ( February 2015 
    Yes good plan, but if it snows heavily, routes beyond Tumling or Jhaubari may not be accessible. And the possibility of snowing around that time is quite high. So go with your fingers crossed. You can only take a jeep to Sandakphu/Phalut. Better, go down to Maneybhanjan and take a Landrover ... these are old British vehicles, only 40 nos. still exist. 
    Nilanjan Dutta (February 2015) 
    Thanks again. From your site I came to know about landrover earlier. But if it snows heavily then where to stay? Is it possible to come back from where the road will be blocked. I am getting excited to see snow. Thanks again. 
    Raj ( February 2015 
    You should listen to the driver's advice. If he says not to proceed any further, do not push in excitement. Along the way at Meghma, Tumling etc, the locals know if it snowed heavily up at any point and if it's safe to go further up. It is never advisable to go up if it's snowing heavily although the route may still be motorable, because you may not be able to return if the route later gets covered with thick snow. Also in that biting cold, you are unlikely to find any facility at all at the lodges in Sandakphu & Phalut.  So go well prepared. These are trekking places and in winter the conditions can be very harsh. Your excitement for snow may soon disappear if you aren't prepared. Shikhar Lodge at Tumling is a good place to stay just in case you are unable to proceed further, but it's quite basic. 
    Rony Kabir (October 2014) 
    When I asked a small car driver at club side taxi stand, how much for a drop to Maney Bhanjang, without hesitation he replied Rs.4500!! Another driver next to him got angry at him for asking so low!!! Thanks to Raj I knew how much it really should be. Without a word I started walking. This is my first visit to Darjeeling in high peak season. The whole town and it's people seemed quite different. Entirely focused on money. But couldn't blame them since out of 12 only 4 months they see vast flow of tourist. Finally hired one in front of the Chanakya hotel. 1500 one way. October 06th arrived at Maney Bhanjang by 8 am. Booked a land rover. Rs 4800 including one night halt. Driver Sanjay Tamang. But surprisingly every one kept calling him Tundu. Later found out Tundu actually his father's name!!! On my request our hotel owner Mr. Jigme Bhutia (Seven Seventeen) booked a triple room for us (only available). And once again too high because of the season I guess. By the way, I had to send the phone numbers Raj mentioned for booking. Journey began and I started to realize how detailed Raj's descriptions are. You will find everything as he said. Reached Sandakphu around 5 hours later. Could've been less but our driver Tundu kept disappearing for a long period of time. Later found out he took a few shots at every stop!!! Didn't share with my wife though. She was scared enough already. But she couldn't tell the difference anyway since his driving was so good and he was a very gentle and nice person. Sherpa Chalet gave us front room with wonderful view on the first floor. Attached toilet. European style. No running water though. At 12000 it wasn't a surprise. Water is head carried from villages below. Food quality good but price is bit high. It's built on Nepali soil. I won't mention anything about the views. One must be there to cherish it. And one personal opinion, trekking is definitely the best way to enjoy the beauty of the region. Surely will be there again. And thanks to Raj. He has no idea how his info helped us all the way. 
    Rajib Mukherjee (October 2014) 
    We are going to Sandakphu and Phalut on 12th December 2014. Starting from 12th December from Manebhanjan by jeep. we are thinking of going to Phalut 1st and after 1 night halt we will come back to Sandakphu and take 1 night halt there and then will start for Darjeeling. Is it ok to go to Phalut first and then Sandakphu? Also can we see the range at that time of the year? 
    Raj ( October 2014 
    Yes, you can start with Phalut. You should get good view of the range. 
    Soumya Biswas (October 2014) 
    Hi, I want to know the fare from sandakphu to phalut by car ( jeep). I see that you have mentioned the rate of manebhanjan to sandakphu, but I have no idea about the fare between sandakphu & phalut. Pls help. 
    Raj ( October 2014 
    Expect to pay additional Rs. 1,500/-for Phalut plus any night charges if applicable. 
    Amal Kr. Roy (October 2014) 
    We are 12 members including three children of 8 years & two-12 years. can we accommodate in a single land rover while going from manebhanjyan to sandakphu/ phalut etc. by 1st week of December? 
    Raj ( October 2014 
    It'll be quite uncomfortable if you do that and the driver may not agree. For a comfortable ride, two adults can sit in front next to the driver, 3 in the row behind, and there are two small seats at the back where 4 persons can squeeze in (ideally two) but it can be very bumpy at the back seats. 
    Sazzad Hossain (October 2014) 
    Hi there, we are 7 Bangladeshi citizen and planning to visit Sandakaphu between 13 Dec'14 to 15 Dec'14. Is this period suitable to visit Sandakaphu? Is this a rush period for accommodation/hotel at Sandakaphu? Is there any special permission needed for Bangladeshi citizen to visit Sandakaphu? kindly share your experience/ idea. Thanks in advance. 
    Raj ( October 2014 
    Sometimes routes get closed in December due to snow, however trekking is possible with a guide. This is not a high season in that route. No special permission is required for Bangladeshis other than the usual permit. 
    Anindya Mukherjee (April 2014) 
    Thank you for the very helpful article. We are two families (Four adults and two kids of 3 years and 5 years) are planning a trip to Sandakphu and Phalut in last week of May. I have some questions for you. It will be great if you can help me with some answers: 
    1. We are planning to go to Mirik from Bagdogra, stay there that night and go to Sandakphu from Mirik next morning by Jeep or car. Will we get suitable transport (Land Rover or Jeep)from Mirik? Or do you suggest us to stay at Manebhanjan only? 
    2. Do you think road condition of Sandakphu will be problematic for kids? Or can we safely take them? 
    3. We are planning to stay at Sherpa Chalet. How is that hotel? Can you provide any contact info? 
    4. On the way back we are planning to go to Darjeeling from Sandakphu and stay there for a few days. How long does it take to Darjeeling from Sandakphu by car? Looking forward to your response. 
    Raj ( April 2014 
    Stay at Mirik. You won't get Land Rovers in Mirik. Take a car and go down to Manebhanjan. You will get Land Rovers there. The Land Rover Association in Manebhanjan has fixed the rates, so you don't need to bargain. Kids won't have problems, although the ride is very bumpy. 
    Sherpa Chalet is probably the best accommodation there. It's nice but basic. Cell: +91-97727691127 / 9742621760. Sandakphu to Manebhanjan will take about 4 hours (with breaks in between). Darjeeling is about 1 hour 15 minutes from Manebhanjan. 
    Gargi Sen (March 2014) 
    Hi Raj, Excellent information. I need your help. I am planning to visit Darjeeling somewhere around May end this year. I have two children below 5 years of age. I would like to visit Sandakphu. Need your suggestion whether it is advisable to take children to that altitude? 
    Raj ( March 2014 
    Hi, There is no problem as such, but note that other than basic lodging there are no amenities there, neither any medical facilities. You will need to carry any special food that you may need for kids, and must keep the car with you should there be any emergency. 
    Atish Roy (February 2014) 
    Hi, We are planning to visit Darjeeling, Sandakphu and Phalut. We are planning to take Jeep to reach Sandakphu. We will be reaching NJP on 15th March and our return ticket is on 19th Evening from NJP. Is it possible to make this within this much of time? Is it a good time to visit there? Can you make a suitable tour plan for us? We are 7 members including one child of 5 yrs and 3 female 3 male. Thanks and Regards, 
    Raj ( February 2014 
    April is a better time when the season starts. However it's possible in mid-March as well, although it may be quite cold from Tumling onwards. Yes you can plan Darjeeling - Sandakphu-Phalut trip in 4 days... you may plan as follows: 
    15th & 16th - Darjeeling. 17th morning take a Jeep and start for Sandakphu via Manebhanjan and Tumling. Night stay at Sandakphu. 18th morning visit Phalut and return to Sandakphu (no need to stay overnight at Phalut). 19th morning start for NJP. Regards, 
    Kamal Debnath (February 2014) 
    We are going to Sandakfu on 9th march,2014 by car. MY daughter who is just one year and my wife who has just been recovered from appendix operation are going with me. I want to know if the tour is suitable for them. 
    Raj ( February 2014 
    You question can be best answered by a medical practitioner. Just keep in mind that the journey on gravel road to Sandakphu will be very bumpy and it can be very cold at nights around that time. 
    Tulika Mukherjee (January 2014) 
    We want to visit Sandakphu. Our plan is that from NJP to Tumling, we want to travel by car and night stay at Shikhar Lodge (Is it possible?) and the next day start for Sandakphu by Land Rover. Can we get Land Rover from Tumling? 
    Raj ( January 2014 
    Hi, You must take a Jeep or Land Rover from Manebhanjan to reach Tumling and then Sandakphu. You can't go all the way to Tumling by normal car. Neither you will get a vehicle at Tumling unless you ask the lodge to get one for you from Manebhanjan. 
    Kuntal Mukhopadhyay (December 2013) 
    1. How many number of persons can travel in a single land rover or a jeep from Manebhanjan to Sandakphu? 
    2. How can I book Forest Rest House or PWD rest house or any lodge under DHGC in Sandakphu ? Is there online booking possible? 
    3. If we start our journey from NJP at 10.00 am, then take land-rover at Manebhanjan and start for Sandakphu on same day, is it possible to reach Sandakphu by day time? If yes, please mention journey time 
    4. Is there any requirement to carry cooking materials ? 
    5. How can I book accommodation in Phalut? 
    Raj ( December 2013 
    Jeeps and Land Rovers can accommodate about 7 persons, although 10 persons (including driver) can fit in with some effort. You can book GTA (erstwhile DGHC) lodges from their office in Kolkata. There is a GTA lodge in Phalut as well. If you start at 10am from NJP, it'll be dark by the time you reach Sandakphu, It takes 4.5 hours from NJP to Manebhanjan, from there you need to change over to a Jeep, which takes another 4-4.5 hours to Sandakphu. There is no need to carry cooking materials. Lodges provide basic food. 
    Subir Kumar Dutta (November 2013) 
    We are two families with ladies like to travel to Sandakphu and Phalut by jeep at the end of December '13. My question is if we go at that time, shall we get all the travel facilities? If it's possible to go there, what will be the charges for jeep and hotels? 
    Raj ( November 2013 
    End December is not a good time to visit Sandakphu & Phalut by jeep. Some parts of the routes may get closed due to heavy snowing. But it is possible to give it a try. most accommodations are only basic. Expect only minimal services. Jeep fare is about Rs. 4800/- for Sandakphu + Rs. 500 for each night stay. Room charges vary (Around Rs. 500 - 700 per night). 
    Malancha (November 2013) 
    Hi Raj, I, along with my Hubby and 4 friends, are planning to visit Sandakphu for a day, no night stay in the 2nd week of January, 2014. We will go by a Jeep from Darjeeling. please send me cost of journey, and contact person name . Can you also share their contact details? Also please advise how is the weather expected to be during the later half of January? 
    Raj ( November 2013 
    Hi, It may not be a good idea to make a day trip to Sandakphu from Darjeeling, but possible. You will spend well over 10 hours only in travel (up and down) and that too over bumpy gravel road between Manebhanjan and Sandakphu (some 8 hours of the whole journey). Mid Jan will be extremely cold out there. Some parts of the route may get closed due to snowing, particularly from Gairibas onwards. Please contact a tour operator for cost and other details. 
    Pritam Das (November 2013) 
    Hi, We are (10 family members) planning to visit Sandakphu-Phalut & Rimbik by road (Jeep or Land rover not trekking ) on 23rd Dec 2013 -2nd Jan 2014. Few queries: 
    1. Is it possible for us to go Sandakphu & Phalut by car at that time of year? 
    2. Is there any chance of getting stuck in snow and failing to reach Sandakphu or Phalut due to excessive snow in the road?? Thanks in advance... 
    Raj ( November 2013 
    There is high possibility of snow and routes getting closed beyond Jhaubari/Gairibas. If you are unlucky, you can get stuck for days. Rimbik is okay. 
    Ayan Sengupta (November 2013) 
    I, along with my wife and two sons, are planning to visit Sandakphu for a 2 night stay in the Christmas week of December, 2013. We will go by a land rover from Maneybhanjan. What would be the best accommodation in Sandakphu for a family of 4? Can you also share their contact details? Also please advise how is the weather expected to be during the later half of December? 
    Raj ( November 2013 
    Hi, Sherpa Chalet and DGHC Lodge are two good accommodations in Sandakphu. But don't expect luxury. Avoid going in late December. It'll be freezing cold and there is no electricity and therefore no room heaters.  
    Tania Sengupta (July 2013) 
    Hi, Raj, This is Tania from Durgapur, Have visited your page. Its wonderful.. for the tourists.. Myself being a mountain and snow lover visit this area of Darjeeling/Sikkim every year with my husband or in team of friends. This year we are planning to go Sandakphu from NJP/Siliguri in a team of 4 to 6 adults by the end of December 13. 
    Would be a great help if you provide us suggestions on jeep safari to those places and also on booking, communication, staying as my husband(little high BP) and one of my friend are afraid of the trek jerk and tiredness as trekking would be 1st time and many friends are suggesting not to do. Please guide 
    Raj ( July 2013 
    Hi Tania, At Sandakphu stay at the Sherpa Chalet (great views) or at the DGHC Lodge. You will get ample jeeps and Land Rovers from Maney Bhanjan. Note that it's a gravel road all along and the journey will be very bouncy and rough all the way. From Maney Bhanjan it takes about 4.5 hours to reach Sandakphu (with tea breaks in between). If you want to organize everything yourself, then you will need to do all the bookings yourself. It's better to go through an operator. You can contact Subash Tamang of Darjeeling. He is a nice person and can help with the logistics. You will find his contacts here: 
    December end will be freezing cold out there. So take appropriate warm clothings and medicines. It's better if you can make it in November instead. Regards, 
    Arup Mukherjee (July 2013) 
    Dear Mr. Raj, Would be grateful if you could kindly let me know that from Sandakphu - can we visit Phalut by land rover as some people are discouraging us due to road condition. If I am going to visit Sandakphu I can't leave Phalut as well. We are planning the trip in Oct'13. Land rover is our only option to visit Sandakphu & Phalut because we need to take our family, who had never done any trekking in their life. Waiting for your revert at your earliest. Thanks & regards, 
    Raj ( July 2013 
    Hi, Many families actually take Landrovers or Jeeps to Sandakphu and Phalut. It's a gravel road all along and the entire journey is going to be very bouncy. So be prepared for a long rough ride. If anybody in the family has problems while driving up or down steep winding roads in the mountains, then this may not be a suitable trip. Between Sandakphu to Phalut at some places the road is really narrow. But there is no risk as such. 
    I haven't heard of any accidents or mishap along this route in recent times. I would suggest that you stay in Sandakphu (Sherpa lodge or DGHC lodge) and make a day trip to Phalut from there. The Phalut lodging may not be suitable for all families. On your way to Sandakphu, take a break at Lahmeyduray for tea and Tumling (Shikhar Lodge) for lunch/snack. Regards, 
    Arup Mukherjee (July 2013) 
    Dear Mr. Raj, Really grateful for your quick reply. Thanks for your suggestion and guidance. I am planning the trip as per below schedule. Would like to know your suggestion / advice once you are free. 
    Day1: morning NJP to tumling via manyebhanjan, night stay at tumling to see the sunset & sunrise. Day2: tumling to sandakphu, night stat at sandakphu. Day 3: sandakphu to phalut & back, night stat at sandakphu. Day4: sandakphu to chitrey / tonglu, night stay at tonglu or meghma or manebhanjan. 
    Can we get a glimpse of ranges if we just go & come back. We hope 1 night we can manage in Phalut - still your are the final judge, kindly suggest. As per your advice we can extend the trip & night stay by 1 or 2 days more. We need to enjoy nature at it's best. I am sure your valuable advice will assist me to choose the best location  for night stay and the accommodation as well. 
    I know I am asking a lot of favour from you. Would be grateful once again if you could kindly guide me once you are free. Would request you if you could kindly share your contact number so that if required I can call you. Sorry for the botheration and trouble for me. Thanking you, 
    Raj ( July 2013 
    Your itinerary looks quite good. I agree that on a day trip to Phalut, you may not be there in the best time to see the peaks. If that's what you want, then you can plan to stay back in Phalut for a night instead of making a day trip. If you can extend your stay, then stay the extra night in Sandakphu. This gives you an extra chance to view the peaks. You never know when the cloud plays the spoil sport. But remember, there is nothing much to do in Sandakphu other than relaxing and being with the nature. It's a small place. If you plan to stay there for couple of nights, sometimes families and kids can get a bit impatient. So, try to set the expectation accordingly. 
    In Tumling, stay at Shikhar Lodge. In Sandakphu, I like Sherpa Chalet (rooms with great views of the peaks), in Phalut stay at DGHC Lodge. Regards,