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. 
 
 
 
You can see many families visiting the places by 4-wheel drive vehicles which are old Jeep like Land Rovers left behind by the British since 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. However this is not a day trip, and will require night stays. 
 
Update January 30, 2018: The aging Land Rovers are mostly over 50 years old. Although the original engines had been replaced with Mahindra/Isuzu engines to get fresh lease of life, but that too is now more than 20 years old. The state government has advised that it's risky to operate them on this terrain and an alternative use of these heritage vehicles on easier terrain would be planned. Meanwhile subsidized loans would be offered to replace these old Land Rovers with vehicles like Mahindra Bolero. 
 
If you are coming directly from NJP Railway Station or Bagdogra Airport, you will first need to come to Manebhanjan via Mirik. Manebhanjan is at a distance of little less than 100kms from both NJP and Bagdogra. It will take about 4 hours to reach by car. 
 
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 from Darjeeling, there is no such issue of long driving hours and you can proceed directly to Sandakphu. 
 
From Manebhanjan, the distance to Sandakphu is about 32kms and takes about 4.5 hours by Land Rover with tea breaks in between. So from NJP or Bagdogra unless you start early, you can not reach Sandakphu on the same day. The Land Rovers do not run on Sandakphu route at nights.  
 
Our Land Rover and Driver Naresh (now retired) 
Land Rover 
 
The climb from Manebhanjan is quite steep at some places and the route is a gravel road all along made of boulders. Only 4-wheel drive vehicles can go up this route, normal cars can't make it. So the journey from Manebhanjan all the way up to Sandakphu and then to Phalut will be slow and quite bumpy. So be prepared for some real bumpy dance along the way :) 
 
Update May 2018: The road from Manebhanjan and all the way to Gairibas has been converted to a concrete road (Tumling to Gairibas section was done earlier). So it's a smooth ride up to Gairibas (i.e. for about 18kms). The road beyond up to Sandakphu is still a boulder road. 
 
Most tourists stay at Sandakphu for a night or two and then proceed to Phalut which is about 21kms away and takes about 2 hours from Sandakphu. The terrain between Sandakphu and Phalut is relatively flat. But due to narrow and uneven road, the vehicle still needs to move quite slowly. 
 
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 Association) and the rates are fixed by the association. So you do not have to worry about haggling or bargaining with the drivers. 
 
About Sandakphu & Phalut, and the Route 
Sandakphu (almost 12,000 ft) is the highest peak in Singalila Range and Phalut is the second highest peak with an altitude of about 11,800ft. The main reasons why most people visit the two places and stay there are for the magnificent views of the snow peaks. 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. 
 
 
 
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. 
 
From Maneybhanjan, the route goes through: 
  • 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. 
  • Lamay Dhura (a small hamlet of Tibetan families where tourists stop for a cup of tea). The lady Chockey serves nice tea from her stall. 
  • Meghma, a small mountain village on Indo-Nepal border and so named because it remains covered with 'megh' i.e. cloud most times. From here you will enter Nepal area but no visa or paper formality is required. 
  • Tumling (another small hamlet at 9,600ft) where many tourists prefer to stay overnight to see the sunrise and the views of Kanchenjunga. 
  • Singalila National Park which starts soon after Tumling and known for amazing high altitude small animals like Red Panda, Pangolin etc. Note that at the entrance of the Park, you will be required to pay for a permit to enter/pass through the park. 
  • Other small villages like Gairibas, Kalipokhri, Bikheybhanjan and then finally Sandakphu and then further onward to Phalut
  •  
    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
     
    Best time to visit Sandakphu & Phalut 
    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. 
     
    How to visit Sandakphu & Phalut by Jeep 
    One way is to go through a Darjeeling based tour operator. They will organize all logistics for you including vehicle, stay and entry permit. They will be glad to organize this trip and offer you a package. If you are coming from NJP/Bagdogra, the operator can even pick you up from the station or airport and begin the journey. Here are some well known Tour Operators in Darjeeling 
     
    If you however want to manage on your own, then come down to Manebhanjan (1hr 15 minutes from Darjeeling by taxi, 4 hours from Bagdogra/NJP). This is from where the journey to Sandakphu/Phalut actually starts. You can get reserved taxi from both NJP and Bagdogra. However sometimes they may not agree to 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 Sumos/Jeeps) are available at NJP, but requires a change (i.e. transfer) to another one at Sukhia (further up from Mirik). 
     
     
     
    Once you reach Manebhanjan, you can 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 lodgings get full. 
     
    All are required to take a permit from the forest department office. This is required for entry to the Singalila National Park 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 identity proof. 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 Park near Tumling. 
     
    Transport fares & associated costs (Fare Updated: January 2018): 
    The fares and rates below are indicative. 
  • NJP/Bagdogra to Maneybhanjan: Rs. 3,000/- for reserved small car. 
  • Darjeeling to Maneybhanjan: Shared Jeep fare- Rs. 50/- per person; Reserved small car fare - Rs. 1,200/- 
  • Land Rover Fare Maneybhanjan to Tumling (round trip): Rs. 1,800 + Night Halt Charge 
  • Land Rover Fare Maneybhanjan to Sandakphu (round trip): Rs. 4,800 + Night Halt Charge 
  • Land Rover Fare Maneybhanjan to Phalut (round trip): Rs. 7,500 + Night Halt Charge 
  • Night Halt Charge for Land Rover: Rs. 1,000 per night (applicable for night stays) 
  • Park entry fee: Rs. 100/- per person (Rs. 200 for foreigners) 
  • Still Digital Camera: Rs. 100/-; Video Camera: Rs. 400/- 
  • Vehicle Entry Charge: Rs. 100/- 
  •  
    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. 
     
    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, DGHC Lodge is the best option although not very impressive. Remember all these are basic accommodations. There is no electricity at these places and the lodges use solar lights for some hours at night. So do not expect luxury amenities like TV etc. However cell phones do work for most part of the route. 
     
     
     
    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). 
     
    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. 
     
    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. 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 
     
    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 (darjeeling-tourism.com) December 2018 
    Hello, personal vehicles including bikes are allowed in Sandakphu and Phalut. However commercial vehicles are usually stopped at Manebhanjan checkpost by Land Rover Association that operates old British vehicles on this route. 
     
    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 (darjeeling-tourism.com) 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 (darjeeling-tourism.com) 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 (darjeeling-tourism.com) 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 (darjeeling-tourism.com) 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 (darjeeling-tourism.com) 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 (darjeeling-tourism.com) 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 (darjeeling-tourism.com) 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 (darjeeling-tourism.com) 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 (darjeeling-tourism.com) 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 (darjeeling-tourism.com) October 2017 
    You can refer to the website www.accuweather.com (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 (darjeeling-tourism.com) 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 (darjeeling-tourism.com) 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 (darjeeling-tourism.com) 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 (darjeeling-tourism.com) 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 (darjeeling-tourism.com) 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 (darjeeling-tourism.com) 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 (darjeeling-tourism.com) 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 (darjeeling-tourism.com) 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 (darjeeling-tourism.com) 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 (darjeeling-tourism.com) 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 (darjeeling-tourism.com) 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 (darjeeling-tourism.com) 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 (darjeeling-tourism.com) 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 (darjeeling-tourism.com) 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 (darjeeling-tourism.com) 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 (darjeeling-tourism.com) 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 (darjeeling-tourism.com) 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 (darjeeling-tourism.com) 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 (darjeeling-tourism.com) 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 (darjeeling-tourism.com) 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 (darjeeling-tourism.com) 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 (darjeeling-tourism.com) 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 (darjeeling-tourism.com) 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 (darjeeling-tourism.com) 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 (darjeeling-tourism.com) 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 (darjeeling-tourism.com) 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 (darjeeling-tourism.com) 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 (darjeeling-tourism.com) 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 (darjeeling-tourism.com) 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 (darjeeling-tourism.com) 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 (darjeeling-tourism.com) 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 (darjeeling-tourism.com) 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 (darjeeling-tourism.com) 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 (darjeeling-tourism.com) 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 (darjeeling-tourism.com) 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, 
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
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