Comments, Questions & Answers
Trek to Sandakphu & Phalut

Biranchi (November 2019) 
Hello Raj, Four of our friends have planned to trek to Sandakphu - Phalut during November second week (9th - 17th). I have few queries. It would be of great help if you can answer them: 
  • 1- We are reaching Bagdogra Airport on 9th November afternoon  - around 5 PM. Is there any vehicle available from the Airport for going to Maneybahnjan (Shared or reserve) or do we need to pre book? and what would be cost of pre-booking? 
  • 2- We will be starting the trek from Maneybahnjan on 10th which is a Sunday. So, would it be problematic in getting the permission, as it is Sunday and hence, office would be closed? 
  • 3- I read somewhere that there are shared vehicles from Maneybahnjan  to Tumling which are easily available? Is this correct? if yes, what would be the cost of hiring such vehicle?? 
  • 4- Do we need to pre book the stays at all places or during this time, we can easily get the hotels/homestays without prebooking? 
  • 5- What is the chances of snowfall during this period? Many thanks in advance. 
    Raj ( November 2019 
    Hi, you won't get any vehicle from Bagdogra airport all the way up to Manebhanjan. You can get a reserved taxi up to Mirik, and then take another one to Manebhanjan. From Mirik you can also get shared taxi up to Sukhiapokhri and from there another one to Manebhanjan. You can also ask your hotel at Manebhanjan to send you a car for pick up... a small reserved car should cost around Rs. 4,000/-. 
    Starting the trek on Sunday should not be a problem. You can get shared Land Rover from Manebhanjan to Tumling or beyond to Sandakphu, but that will depend on whether seats are filled up (they usually take up to 10 persons and locals often commute)... otherwise you may need to wait indefinitely. You can find lodge accommodations along the way and need not pre-book around this time. There are some chances of snowing in the higher reaches, December is a better time to experience snowing. 
    Joydip Dasgupta (October 2019) 
    Planning to travel to Sandakphu in January 2020 with family. Is it wise and/or possible 
    Raj ( October 2019 
    No, it's not a wise idea unless you all want to trek on snow in freezing cold weather. Motor routes often remain inaccessible in the upper reaches and most lodges/huts will be locked and without a soul. 
    Frank (October 2019) 
    Hi Raj, I am Frank, husband of Michele, thank you for all the good info. I have been trying to get in contact with GTA to book the phalut accommodation but I can not find the right contact details. Could you help us with the right email address? Thanks in advance, 
    Raj ( October 2019 
    Hello, GTA operation is still quite primitive and they do not have online booking system neither they take bookings over emails or phone. In order to book a GTA lodge, one needs to physically visit one of their tourism offices and make a manual reservation through their staff (there is a GTA tourism office in Darjeeling as well as one in Salt Lake, Kolkata). 
    In your case, you need to go through an operator in Darjeeling and take their services to book, however I'm quite doubtful that an operator will agree to make only a GTA lodge booking, instead would push for a trek package. Talk it out and see if you can get to an acceptable solution. You can however call up a GTA tourism office for any information regarding the lodges, availability etc. You can find the contact no.s in this webpage
    Michele (September 2019) 
    Good day! First of all, thank you so much for all the effort you put into this website and questions from all of us, Raj! I feel very grateful, since now we can come prepared. We plan to do the Singalila trek starting December 27th, till December 31st 2019. We are with a group of 4 and hope to do all this without a guide and porter. 
    Our plan is: 1. Manebhanjang to Jaubari (sleep there in a guest house). 2. Jaubari to Sandakphu (again, look for a guest house on the Nepalese side). 3. Sandakphu to Phalut (only place to stay is trekkers hut apparently? Do we need to book?) 4. Phalut to Ramam (we hope to stay in Sherpa Hotel) 5.  Ramam to Rimbik and then by jeep to Darjeeling (this must be possible, right?). 
    We plan to buy permits as we go, pick up more food and water along the way. Do we still need a guide? Then we rather have him carry a backpack from one of our children, so its better to know in advance so we can prepare this. Will this be doable, without any arrangements beforehand? Thank you so very much! 
    Raj ( September 2019 
    Hi, in December you do not need to pre-arrange the trek or book the lodges in advance. However be wary of the fact that there is high possibility of heavy snowing during that time and you can encounter almost knee deep snow at several stretches beyond Jhaubhari. It may not be easy to figure out the right way to get along the trail. 
    I would recommend that you take a guide in December (this is mandated anyway by the guide s & porters association), at the minimum you need to take a porter. 
    I would also recommend that you try to book the Phalut accommodation in advance because if there are no other bookings, you may not find the caretaker/staff around and you may be stranded in that biting cold. 
    I have observed them disappearing keeping the lodge locked overnight. You can get a Jeep from Rimbik to Darjeeling or at least to Manebhanjan, however you might need to wait. Getting permits along the way won't be a problem, but do not rely on buying food beyond Tumling. Good luck! 
    Jayit Banerjee (August 2019) 
    Hi Raj, Thanks for the wonderful information. I just have a specific question, can we use snickers instead of trekking shoes around 24th Nov for Sandakphu trek ? Do we at all expect snow or rain during that time? 
    Raj ( August 2019 
    There is good possibility of snowing around that time and then snickers will not work... you don't want wet shoes while trekking at that altitude. You should carry trekking boots in case you need it. 
    Tapas Bhattacharjee (August 2019) 
    Sir, We, a group of two senior citizens, planning to trek to Sandakphu on the 1st of November 2019. Is it necessary to book accomodation in advance or spot booking will be available. In spot booking we have the freedom of resting at a place and time of our choice and need. Also inform the same about Phalut. Can we get shared jeep for Chitre from Manebhanjan. Waiting your valued suggestions. Thanking you. 
    Raj ( August 2019 
    GTA lodges may be difficult to get if you do not book in advance, but there are many private huts along the way, so getting an accommodation around that time should not be a problem. In Phalut the only accommodation is a GTA hut and you should book that in advance... do not attempt to go there unless you get that. 
    There is no shared jeep here as such, you can join another group or family if there is space and pay an agreed fare, otherwise you need to take a full jeep/land rover for the drop at Chitre. 
    Ipsita Paul (April 2019) 
    Hi. First of all, you did an amazing job. Much appreciated. Can I take a guide from Tumling? We do not want to spend extra money. So, is it possible to take the guide not from Manebhanjan and from Tumling? Your opinion will be much appreciated. Thank you. 
    Raj ( April 2019 
    Hi, you are unlikely to find a guide at Tumling and then you will be stuck. Even if you find a local guide, you can not save on cost unless you are returning by the same route via Tumling, otherwise you need to pay for an extra day for the guide to get back to his home location. 
    Rajan Daryani (February 2019) 
    Hi, We are planning a trek to sandakphu in April. We are a group of 6-7.... Just 3 quick questions: 1. Are porters/guides readily available at manebhanjan? Or need to be booked in advance? 2. The permit required are also across the counter? Or have to be arranged in advance thru an agency? 3. How long would the drive be from sandakphu to Bagdogra airport? Can we book the return vehicle in advance? Thanks so much in anticipation. 
    Raj ( February 2019 
    Guides are readily available at Manebhanjan, no need to book in advance. You can get permits on the spot at Manebhanjan. Sandakphu to Manebhanjan drive would take about 2.5 hours. You need to then take another car to Bagdogra (about 4 hours). Sandakphu to Manebhanjan vehicle (old British Land Rover) can be booked in advance at Manebhanjan by paying the full return fare. No need to book a car from Manebhanjan to Bagdogra. 
    Ashutosh Shrikant Joshi (December 2018) 
    Hi Raj, I and 3 of my friends are planning a trek to Sandakphu-Phalut in the last week of December 2018. Though all of us have been on at least 3 treks prior to this one, we haven't done trekking in the snow. We are not going with any organizers. I have read through most of your posts and they are really helpful!!! 
    Really glad someone is constantly responding to queries asked by thousands of people worldwide!!! Following is our itinerary. Arrive at Bagdora Airport on 28th December (around 6:30 pm) . Same day travel to Manebhanjang and stay overnight. 
    29th Dec _Day 1: Manebhanjang to Tamling 
    30th Dec_Day 2: Tamling to Kalapokhri 
    31st Dec_Day 3: Kalapokhri to Sandakphu 
    1st Jan_Day 4: Sandakphu to Phalut 
    2nd Jan_Day 5: Phalut to Rammam 
    3rd Jan_ Day 6: Rammam to Rimbik/Srikhola 
    4th Jan_ Day 7: Rimbik to Bagdora Airport 
    We fly back on 5th of Jan as we have kept one spare day for any unforeseen circumstances during the trek. Following are my queries: 
    1. We will be carrying heavy insulation, sleeping bags, snow boots and sticks. Also, we will be travelling with a guide no doubt. Is there any other essentials required for the trek? 
    2. Is the itinerary too tight for December as we have no experience of trekking in the snow? 
    3. I read in one of your threads that the dorms will be shut in case of heavy snow. In such a case, do we need to carry tents & sleeping mattresses as well? 
    4. If most places are shut in this season, will finding places that serve food be difficult? Should we also plan to bring our own food? 
    5. Any other additional tips regarding trekking in snow?? 
    Raj ( December 2018 
    Hi, you should try to book the GTA trekkers huts in advance. That would ensure that the caretakers (who also usually double up as cooks) would be there when you reach. But always time it in a way to reach every place well within day time. 
    Many private hut owners come down to lower plains during winter. The guide can help you find something if anything goes wrong. You should not have problems up to Tumling (or even up to Gairibas unless it snows heavily). Note that Phalut has only one lodging (the GTA hut), so book that in advance. 
    If it has been snowing continuously for few days, then jeeps that carry food up to Sandakphu or Phalut can not ply to those places, and there can be shortage of food. So you should carry enough dry food with you. You can also stock up some food from Tumling. Heavy snow can slow down the pace of trek considerably, so start early everyday. Carry extra pairs of socks. 
    Jase (November 2018) 
    Hi, Thanks so much for keeping such a wonderful forum. I along with a friend of mine are planning to do this trek to Sandakphu in the fag end of February'2019. Should we be carrying sleeping bags and snow boots? Can we get reserved car from Bagdogra to Maneybhanjan? If affirmative, what would be the cost? 
    Raj ( November 2018 
    Yes, you should carry sleeping bags and snow boots... you are likely to encounter knee-deep snow at the upper reaches. Take a guide along. You won't likely get a car from Bagdogra all the way up to Manebhanjan. It is better to ask your hotel at Manebhanjan to send a car for pick up (a small car should be within Rs. 3,500). 
    Madhavi Purohit (November 2018) 
    Dear Mr. Raj, Thanks for the very detailed description of what to expect on the trek and planning it. It was a great read and has made me really look forward to my visit. I will be doing the Sandakphu Phalut trek in the 3rd week of November. All logistics have been taken care of. While I have visited places at altitudes of about 10000 ft and I am generally fit, I haven't trekked at this altitude. Hence I just want to be cautious. Do I need to carry any medication for altitude sickness? Thanks, 
    Raj ( November 2018 
    Trekkers rarely get altitude sickness on this route because acclimatization happens naturally along the way when you go at an easy pace. However if you still anticipate any such problems, taking Diamox tablets daily can help retain oxygen... however do consult a doctor before you do so. 
    Shamba Dhara (November 2018) 
    Dear Mr. Raj, I have made a plan to trek to sandakphu. Please correct me on my plan if there is something wrong or missing.  
    26.01.19 - NJP to Dhotrey by car (stay) 
    27.01.19 - Trek from Dhotrey to Gairibas (stay) 
    28.01.19 - Trek from Gairibas to Sandakphu (stay) 
    29.01.19 - Trek from Sandakphu to Falut (stay) 
    30.01.19 - Falut to NJP by car 
    Please mention the availability option of car and guide at Dhotrey as we would be starting our trek from that place. and one more thing to know that would it be possible to catch the train on 30.01.19 from NJP at 8pm? your comment will help me a lot, thanks in advance. 
    Raj ( November 2018 
    You can get a guide at Dhotrey. There is no motorable route from Dhotrey to Sandakphu/Phalut, you need to arrange for your vehicle at Manebhanjan. I hope you are aware how much of snow there could be around that time of the year. It's possible to get the train on the same day... It will take about 9 hours with some breaks in between. Keep some additional time for vehicle change over at Manebhanjan. 
    Raghunath (September 2018) 
    Dear sir, thank you for a wonderful site. I thought I would trek to Tumling on my own starting October 10th or so. I thought I would get the permit at Maneybhanjan but can I get a guide only at Tumling onwards until Sandakphu? Will he charge me from Tumling per day or from Maneybhanjan? I'm a slow rambler sir and worried about guide hurrying me. I'd like to stay a lot enroute too. Any of your suggestions would be greatly appreciated! 
    Raj ( September 2018 
    Guides may not be available at Tumling as they are scheduled by the guides & porters association at Manebhanjan. However your lodge at Tumling may be able to help. I would suggest you book a guide at Manebhanjan (through the association) and ask him to join you next morning at Tumling (you need to pay for his fare on a shared jeep). 
    But do meet the guide at the time of booking and take his phone number. Before you start your trek, tell him to be behind you all the time so that you can set the pace and not him. Alternatively, you can ask him to go ahead and wait for you at the next check post or milestone.  
    Chittaranjan Bera (July 2018) 
    Hi Mr. Bhattacharya, I, my wife and my 12 years son are going to trek Sandakphu and Falut  in the last week of October.  We have a little experience of trekking to Kedarnath.  I have booked trekkers hut and hotels at manebhanjan, gairibus, kalipokhri, sandakphu and Falut. But I am not sure about two matters. 1) Is there any chance to get  a Land Rover from sandakphu-falut- manebhanjan for 2 days? 2) Are raincoats needed on that time?  Please help me with your valuable suggestions. 
    Raj ( May 2018 
    Hi, getting a vehicle after reaching Sandakphu is difficult (particularly in such high season). You can talk to your hotel and see if they can arrange one or with another group having similar plans. Chances of rains in October end is low, but there can be occasional showers. You should at least carry wind cheaters and of course proper woollens. 
    Bappaditya Das (May 2018) 
    I want to trek Sandakfu with my wife(age 34) along with my daughter(age 11+). This may be(if possible) their 1st time trekking but I have some experience (Sandakfu-Falut 2 times, Gangotri, Mawali Pass, Pindari-> Devikund-> Mikotoli, Amarnath, Kedarnath etc). Is mid June (09th June to 17th June 2018) okay to trek to Sandakfu? 
    Raj ( May 2018 
    Sandakphu route (beyond Tumling where Singalila National Park entry is located) is closed between June 15 to September 15 due to monsoon. In fact June is not a good time for trekking on this route due to possibility of heavy showers. 
    Rima HD (April 2018) 
    Hi Raj, I have German friends, a man and his girlfriend, who wish to go trekking in the area around Darjeeling. They are planning to do it alone...not with a group or a guide. First of all, is that something doable, and second, is it safe? One hears about attacks on tourists, especially women even in the company of a man, so safety is a prime concern. Appreciate your feedback. 
    Raj ( April 2018 
    Sandakphu/ Phalut trek requires a guide or a porter ... this is the main trek route in Darjeeling area. Trek without a registered guide or a porter is not allowed on this trail beyond a place called Tumling where the entry gate of Singalila National Park is located. Plenty of women trek on this route and attacks are unheard of. 
    Arif Koushik (April 2018) 
    Hi Raj, sincere appreciation for your wonderfully detailed portal. It is massively helpful. I have a question: We have planned to trek Sandakphu-Phalut via the usual route from 29 April to 4th May. However, we are finding the GTA huts are unavailable on our dates. So we are planning to just hit the road, and find our accommodation along the way. How sensible will that be? Or is there any other way to ensure it? 
    Raj ( April 2018 
    Hi, once you take a guide from Manebhanjan, he can put you up in some huts along the way. So it's doable, but the huts may be sub-standard. I have given phone numbers of several lodges/huts on my Sandakphu trek page. You can try to call them up for advance booking. 
    Pratik (December 2017) 
    Hi Raj, I had similar questions as Mr. Sethu had (it cleared most of my doubts) but for the month of March 2018. Just a few of other that I have are: 
    1. In month of March is sleeping bag necessary if opted for trekkers hut. 
    2. I am carrying 60l rucksack will that be sufficient? 
    3. Are waterproof trek shoes needed? 
    4. When shall I contact Mr. Gurung for booking in maneybhanjang? Thank you ! 
    Raj ( December 2017 
    Hi, while snow would usually start melting in March, weather in Sandakphu can be quite unpredictable and on certain days of March you may experience heavy snowing at the higher reaches. So I would recommend that you carry a pair of waterproof trek boots that can deal with snow. You can do away with sleeping bag after mid-March but you must carry heavy woolens. It can be extremely cold in the mornings and after dark. 60L rucksack is good to go for 5-6 days. You can talk to Gurung anytime and figure out when you should call him to book. 
    Rey Dorene (December 2017) 
    Hello, We will be in Darjeeling in January. We are interested in Singalila ridge trek. Is it possible at this period? How cold is it? Is it clear and sunny to see summits.And what kind of equipement we need? Thanks a lot for your answers. 
    Raj ( December 2017 
    It is possible but with proper guide and gears. It will be biting cold out there with sub-zero temperature and lot of snow along the route. You will need good quality snow boots, trekking pole, sleeping bags or heavy woolens, caps, gloves etc. 
    Abhishek (December 2017) 
    Hi sir !! I just have a small question whether I can trek directly from tonglu to sandakphu ... or should I stay one day overnight at Kalipokhri. Thanking you. 
    Raj ( December 2017 
    If you are a veteran trekker you can trek directly, otherwise I would advise you not to and instead take a break at Kalipokhri. 
    Debabrata Ghosh (November 2017) 
    Hi Raj, your blog has been very helpful for planning my solo trek to Sandakphu this December. My planned route is to reach  Maneybhanjan/Tonglu(8th) - Garibas (9th) - Sandakphu (10th) - Gurdum/Srikhola (11th) - NJP (12th). I have a few queries and will be obliged if you help me out: 1) I will be arriving NJP early morning. Is it possible to reach Meghma on the same day by shared car and then trek to Tonglu and stay overnight? 2) Is the route from Sandakphu to Srikhola via Gurdum doable in a day? I perform free hand exercises as well as breathing exercises everyday but I have little experience in trekking, so a bit confused. 3) Are there possibilities of experiencing snowfall in the time-frame in which I am planning to do the trek? I have a good pair of Nike shoes but do not own a pair of trekking boots. Thanks in advance. 
    Raj ( November 2017 
    Sandakphu to Srikhola via Gurdum is a one-day trek. You can also halt overnight at Gurdum if it gets too much for you. But note that there are several stretches of steep descends along this route. During winter the fallen dry leaves can make the descend quite difficult. There is also high possibility of snowfall around that time. Dry leaves with snow can make it quite slippery. Since you seem to be a novice in such treks, you must have a proper guide with you. Also take a pair of good trekking shoes and a spare pair of good sneakers (required in winter). 
    Sethu (October 2017) 
    Hi Raj, I am planning to do the Sandakphu-Phalut trek in December 26th to 30th. My Plan is as below. 
    25.12.2017 Pune to Bagdogra flight. Bagdogra to Maneybhanjyang Jeep. Reach at 8.00 PM 
    26.12.2017 : Maneybhanjyang to Tumling/Tonglu (5/6hrs/11 km) - Trekkers Hut 
    27.12.2017: Tumling to Sandakphu (6/7 hrs/ 20 km) Stiff climb - Trekkers Hut 
    28.12.2017: Sandakphu to Phalut (6/7 hrs / 21 km) - Trekkers Hut 
    29.12.2017: Phalut to Rammam (3/4 hrs / 23 km) - Trekkers Hut 
    30.12.2017 Rammam to Rimbick (3/4 hrs /16 km) drive to Maneybhanjyang. Stay at Maneybhanjyang. 
    31.12.2017 Darjeeling 
    01.12.2017 Bagdorga to Pune flight 
    My questions are: 
    1. Can I reach Maneybhanjyang same day after reaching Bagdorga at 3.30 pm on 25th using shared taxi. How much will private taxi cost? 2) Do I need to book Trekkers Hut in advance , Dec end being not high season ? 3) Is it possible to rent a good sleeping Bag in Maneybhanjyang. 
    4) What is cost of Guide per day for indians ? 
    Raj ( October 2017 
    Hi, you won't get shared taxi from Bagdogra anyway. Private taxi from Bagdogra to Manebhanjan could cost around 2,700 to 3,000 (small cab). You don't need to book trekker's hut, but for GTA lodges, it is always advisable to book in advance. I have observed that in off season when there is no booking at all, the caretakers and staff at GTA lodges are often not seen and the lodges remain under lock & key. You won't usually get sleeping bags on rent at Manebhanjan. Guide and other costs are already covered in my website. 
    Roopesh Vakharia (August 2017) 
    Dear Sir, Thanks for the humongous and detailed information about SANDAKPHU. I intend to drive by my CAR upto SRIKHOLA. Park the Car for 4-5 days in SRIKHOLA and start the trek from SRIKHOLA and return to SRIKHOLA. Is it possible?? Can I start from SRIKHOLA and reach SANDAKPHU via GURDUM on DAY1. DAY 2 would be upto PHALUT. DAY3 GORKHEY and DAY4 back to SRIKHOLA. Please advise on the same. 
    Raj ( August 2017 
    Yes your plan is quite doable. However first figure out where will you keep your car for 4-5 days in Srikhola... who will volunteer to keep it in one piece till you come back. 
    Rajesh (July 2017) 
    Hello Raj, I'm planning for the trek to Sandakphu along with friends in Dec 17.... All of us are vegetarians and a few of us need food that does not contain onions and garlic (its generally called Jain food>,  but we eat potatoes and other stuff, except onions and garlic. Is it possible to get such food along the trek or to get some locals to cook for us? or is it recommended to carry food which we can then request someone to heat. Thank you for your help and God bless you. 
    Raj ( July 2017 
    Along the way you mainly get noodles (mostly Magi), rice, daal, potatoes and khichri (rice & daal combination) in vegetarian food. Ask the cook not to use onions and garlic. You can also carry your own food if you want your choice of veg food... you can ask the cook at the lodge to heat up... they may charge though. 
    Soumya Chakraborty (June 2017) 
    Hi Raj, I am very much fond of your reviews, as I can gather many helpful informations regarding my upcoming trip. I am planning to do a Sandhakfu Trek, starting on 4th Oct, 2017 from NJP railway station. As I am a solo traveler, it's my concern if I can get a shared Jeep to Manebhanjan from NJP or Siliguri in that peak season. As I am a student and travel solo, budget is a major issue, that's why I am looking for a shared Jeep to Manebhanjan from NJP and returning to NJP. Please share some of your thoughts, knowledge regarding this issue. 
    Raj ( June 2017 
    You won't get a direct shared jeep between NJP/Siliguri and Manebhanjan. You need to change at Mirik and then likely again at Sukhia pokhri. 
    Christoffer Westin (February 2017) 
    Hi! We are planning a trip to Darjeeling in May. We are thinking of trekking the Singalila trek. We wonder if it will be a problem crossing the Nepal border many times with the electronic tourist visa? Best regards 
    Raj ( February 2017 
    There's no such problem. Many foreigners do that. At the couple of check posts along the trail the border security force look only for valid identity (valid passport for foreigners and sometimes the visa). Since this a single route and passes through both India and Nepal intermittently, it is not considered as re-entry. 
    Christoffer Westin (February 2017) 
    Thank you for the quick and good answer! I wonder if you know how they handle e-visa tourists transferring in Delhi airport to Bagdogra, since the Bagdogra airport is not a valid entry point when travelling with e-tv. 
    Raj ( February 2017 
    Hi, Delhi to Bagdogra is an Indian domestic sector. So your immigration/Customs would be done at Delhi for entry to India. You won't thereafter need to show your e-tv anywhere in India including at Bagdogra. 
    Although the route to Sandakphu would pass through Nepal in some parts, it is not considered as entry to Nepal or re-entry to India unless you try to cross an official border to get to places like Kathmandu or any other place in proper Nepal. And for Sandakphu trek, you won't be required to cross such official border. 
    So the next question could be... why unofficial or informal borders with no such checks? Because you can not actually get to proper Nepal from this trek route due to the difficult mountainous terrain with deep gorges and dense forests... you could try though :) 
    However as I mentioned earlier, there are Indian Border Security check posts along the trek route, and some quick checks are done to ensure that no unauthorized persons are hanging around even on this informal border area. 
    Andrzej Turkowski (January 2017) 
    Dear Sirs, my name is Andrzej Turkowski and I'm writing to you from Poland. Together with my three friends we're planing to do the Signalila Ridge Trek in the first half of March (starting from around March 10). Because of that, I'd like to ask you for a piece of information about weather conditions we should expect in the higher parts of the route. In particular, I'm interested if we should expect a snow layer and what can be approx. temperatures during the day and in the afternoons. Also, as we're going to need to hire a guide, please let me know approx. costs of this service for a 4-day option. Thank you in advance. Yours sincerely. 
    Raj ( January 2017 
    Hi, you can expect snow in early march. Snow accumulated out of snowfall during Jan-Feb takes time to melt. The lowest temperature (usually in night time or early morning) can touch zero degree Celsius or even go below zero around that time. The day time temperature is likely to vary between 7 - 12 degree Celsius. Guide and other indicative costs are already mentioned on my site. 
    Shubham Mukherjee (January 2017) 
    I follow your website thoroughly. I have one question. What is the maximum limit per guide. We are a group of 6 trekkers. Do we need two guides? Anticipating for your reply. 
    Raj ( January 2017 
    A porter carries up to 25kg in summer and up to 20kg in winter. 
    Pradip Tulsyan (December 2016) 
    Dear Raj, your blog is wonderful and full of infos. Perfect delight for the trekkers. Raj, I have planned to trek with my 3 friends to Sandakphu starting on 15 Jan 2017. We are all first timers but few of my friends went there already so got infos from them too. I just need to know from u that based on our timing how much and type of warm clothes do I have to carry and most importantly please guide me for shoes... are the adidas or nike sports shoes good enough or do I have to go for proper trekking shoes like Quechua, etc....Pls Raj get me through this and I will be very very grateful to u... :-) 
    Raj ( December 2016 
    Expect lots of snow around that time. Proper trek boots would be required. In summer, normal Nike type sports shoes are okay. Take all winter precautions (heavy woolens including gloves, inner woolen wears, muffler, caps etc) and carry redundant socks. 
    Sonali Basu (November 2016) 
    Dear Sir, We two girls want to go for Sandakafu-Phalut trek on 11.12.16, is it safe for girls, specially in this time.. pls guide us .. 
    Raj ( November 2016 
    In December there can be heavy snow along the route. Go through an operator who can arrange for a good guide, accommodations and all necessary gears. It should then be okay. Don't go on your own if you are not a seasoned trekker. 
    Martin I (November 2016) 
    Hello Raj! I was kind of sad when I saw bringing a guide is mandatory, on the other hand I read your answer that it is to contribute financially to the local community which is more than just. Q: can you pay the fee for a guide and go without him? 
    Raj ( November 2016 
    Hi, unfortunately no, the reason is ... at the several check posts along the trek route they check if there is an accompanying guide, more so with the foreigners. However, you can make a personal arrangement with the guide and ask him not to accompany you, but meet you at the check points to complete the formalities when necessary. He should agree. 
    Timmy Chan (October 2016) 
    Hi Raj, Thanks for your great information on trekking at Singalila. I have booked my flight tickets and will start trek on 19 Dec 2016. Hotels and lodgers will provide blankets for the winter.  With adequate night warm undergarments be sufficient without bringing along heavy sleeping bags? 
    Raj ( October 2016 
    Lodges/huts provide blankets, but may not always be sufficient. Some lodges do provide extra blankets (but not all). Good woolen inners and jackets are must around that time. 
    Avaneesh Sharna (October 2016) 
    Hi, I am going for Sandakphu Trek in the first week of November 2016. I have a small query. 1. In one day, I will go from NJP to Manebhanjan, and get everything from there and go to tumling and stay the night. Is this doable? 2. Very important : Is it required for me to book huts/hotels in advance? Or can I book them on the go, whenever I arrive at my destination? Also, I need lodges that charge no more than 200 per person. Nothing expensive. 
    Raj ( October 2016 
    On your first question, it depends on how early you reach Manebhanjan. Generally not doable or recommended. November 1st week is a high trek season, so you should ideally book in advance. The guide can find some private huts for you along the way, but that may not be as cheap as you are looking for and can be of very low quality. Remember the guide will always keep his commission from lodges/huts which you won't know. 
    Alan Borg (September 2016) 
    Hi, we are thinking of doing the Singalila trek this September 24th. What kind of weather can we expect please? Is it going to rain or be cloudy most of the time? Thanks, 
    Raj ( September 2016 
    Good chances of intermittent showers and sky remaining cloudy. 
    Arnab Das (September 2016) 
    Raj sir, I have some selected queries... 1. Are cooked food available in trekker's huts or should we take at least a porter for cooking arrangements during trek? 2. If we carry maggi pouches for a week in order to reduce the fooding cost, will the lodge owners or caretaker in trekker's hut cook it, with a lower charge? If it is not possible, then is there any provision that the guide will carry a small electric cooker for a bit extra payment? 
    Raj ( September 2016 
    Trekkers' huts provide food (although quite basic at most places). They won't allow you to cook your own food. Electricity is available only up to Tumling which too is unreliable. Beyond Tumling they use solar lights. All use wood log burners for cooking. 
    Sivan (August 2016) 
    Hello. I would like to arrive at Darjeeling on 15.9.16 and I really want to do the Singalila trek. I have few questions. First are the Sandakphu trek and the Singalila trek the same? second, I'm coming by my own, without partners to the trek. How easy it is to find partners/company over there? thank you very much!  
    Raj ( August 2016 
    Yes they are the same because Sandakphu is part of Singalila range, although sometimes some trekkers trek only up to Singalila National Park which is located near Tumling. You won't usually find company for the trek because trekkers start at their own time with their own guide. However sometimes you may be able a find another group or individual at the permit office where one needs to take the permit. Otherwise consider the guide or the porter as your only company. You will however meet other trekkers along the way. 
    Claudia Yung Fah, South Africa (August 2016) 
    Dear Raj, Hope you are well! I would like to enquire where there are specific luggage requirements for the porters I.e. must the luggage be a backpack or can it be a suitcase with wheels? Your advice would be appreciated. Kind regards 
    Raj ( August 2016 
    Hi, Porters in Darjeeling town will carry any luggage to take them to your hotel or bring them to taxi stand. But for treks, the luggage should be backpacks or soft bags, otherwise they are likely to be reluctant to carry them. 
    Sayantan Dhar (February 2016) 
    Hi Raj, Your account of the Singalila trek is not only exhaustive but also pretty high on information. I would like to know about the weather conditions for a possible trek during 3rd week of March. Will it be cold? Also would it help to pre-book our stays from Kolkata or can we expect availability of trekker huts when we reach there. We are a group of first time trekkers and will reach Manebhanjang on 19th March. Thanks 
    Raj ( February 2016 
    Yes, it can be very cold around that time in Sandakphu. So take all winter protections. No need to book huts in advance around this time unless you want to ensure booking in GTA lodges. 
    Peter Dcosta (January 2016) 
    Hi Raj, My name is Peter. I am from Barrackpore and currently working in Delhi with Starwood Hotels & Resorts. Most of the time I am a solo traveller. I am very impressed with your research and posts about Sandakphu. Being a solo traveller, I need to know about the journey and destination transparently. I need your huge favour to help me in my travel from Bagdogra Airport. How can I reach my starting point, do I need accommodation there and the expenses. Waiting for your response. 
    Raj (  January 2016 
    Hi, you need to start your trek from Manebhanjan. From Bagdogra, it takes about 4 hours to reach Manebhanjan by car (via Mirik). You will get pre-paid taxis at the airport. You can't start the trek on the same day. So either you can stay at Manebhanjan (very basic accommodations) or at Mirik (there are some decent hotels like Hotel Jagjit). From Mirik it takes about 2 hours to reach Manebhanjan by car, so start early (book a car in advance). There are shared jeeps also available from Mirik via Sukhia (where you may need to change to another Jeep). All other information are already available in my page. 
    Gabriel Davies (January 2016) 
    Hi Raj, Your website is great, thank you! I have the impression that it would be cheaper to book a guide and accommodation/permits etc on arrival in Darjeeling rather than through a tour operator in advance. I wanted to ask how easy it is to do this and how much we would be paying per person per day this way? Many thanks. 
    Raj (  January 2016 
    Hi, yes it'll be cheaper if you arrange logistics on your own including booking of guide, lodging etc. Guide is easy to get at Manebhanjan (quality questionable though). Lodging/permits too are easy and you can get them along the way. However in high season, all good/decent accommodations get full well in advance. You will be left with few low class (and sometimes quite unhygienic) private huts. I have already discussed indicative costs in the above sections. You can easily calculate your daily budget from there. 
    Malcolm Roxby (December 2015) 
    HI Raj, Thank you so much for providing so much information, a really excellent resource. I plan to do the Sandakpu Trek in around mid March, in your opinion is this a good time? I am a very keen birder and wonder if any dedicated bird guides are available locally? Again many thanks for all your help. Regards 
    Raj ( December 2015 
    Hi, Mid March is okay, there is fair possibility of snow. April would be better. There are few guides who have knowledge on birds. You can ask the tour operator to get you one, or if you are going directly, then ask Highlander's Welfare Association of Guides & Porters at Manebhanjan for a birding guide. Contact them in advance. They also have birding field guide book and voice recordings of birds. 
    Amardeep (December 2015) 
    Dear Raj, Nice to read about the details you have mentioned on Sandakphu trek. I normaly trek solo or in group of two and planning to trek Sandakphu in last week of Dec. Few question: 
    1. Are the trekker hut available in this season, if yes, how to book them in advance? 
    2. We have our own tent & sleeping bags, can we use our own tent? 
    3. Can we expect snow? If yes, do we need spikes or grip? 
    4. Will food available on trek, or shall we carry our own? 
    5. Is guide mandatory? I understant that we have to support local economy as you mentioned, and that is +ve side of it, but we normally take challenge of doing our own without guide all the time. Requesting your reply. 
    Raj ( December 2015 
    These days trekking takes place in winter, and private huts are mostly available. I have given phone nos. in my site to contact them in advance. You can also walk in. GTA huts can be booked through GTA tourism offices. Yes you can carry & use your own tent. For camping, go through this article. You can expect lots of snow. Carry snow boots with good grips. Basic food like noodles, rice, daal, khichri are available along the way. Guide or porter is mandatory. 
    Rakesh (November 2015) 
    Planning to trek Sandakphu-Phalut this December, probably 15/Dec onwards. As snow can be expected during the trek, my query is whether crampons and sleeping bag is available on rent from Maneybhanjan or Darjeeling ? I am not in a position to spend money on these right now... Already the guide charge is an add-on to the already tight budget. I travel solo, so these charges cannot e shared. Waiting for your suggestions. 
    Raj ( November 2015 
    No, you won't get  them on rent. Some tour operators include such trek gears if you take their package. 
    Amol Joshi (November 2015) 
    Hi ! I am planning to go for the trek to Sandakphu during the last week of December 2015. I have a few questions regarding this, as below: 1. I am a beginner level / mid level trekker. I have done some treks before [in Maharashtra state]. I want to know what kind of physical fitness level is required / recommended for a trek to Sandakphu ? Especially during the winter season ? 2. What sort of specific shoes have to be worn ? Do normal good quality sports shoes suffice or special trekking grade shoes are needed ? What kind of specific warm winter clothes need to be worn suitable for this region and the season ? 3. How much cash money do you recommend to carry during the trek ? [considering un-anticipated circumstances] 4. Are the climbs during this trek too steep / dangerous ? I would totally appreciate your response to my queries , and it would be a world full of help to me ! 
    Raj ( November 2015 
    If you are used to long walks, not over weight and physically fit, you can take this trek. If this is your first time in high altitude trekking, suggest you stay back overnight and acclimatize yourself in Manebhanjan. In December end, it can be biting cold and there is every possibility of heavy snow. So you should take all winter gears and protections including sleeping bag, snow boots, trek stick etc. You should carry extra pairs of socks and shoes (sturdy sneakers are otherwise good enough during summer). During December - Feb end, you should ideally go through a trek operator who can help you with all winter gears. You can carry around INR 10-12K (per person for lodging, food and safety money assuming you will stay at trekkers huts and not take rooms at lodges where available. Guide and porter charges to be provisioned extra). You will get ATMs at Sukhia (7kms before Manebhanjan). Some parts of the trail are quite steep, for example up to Chitrey, and near Sandakphu (from Bikheybhanjan onwards). One must go very slow, lack of adequate oxygen at such altitude can otherwise cause major problems. 
    Jayashree KS (September 2015) 
    Hi, Thanks for detailed information that was provided in your website about the sandakphu trek. It was very informative in terms of what to expect. We would like to know if there would be lot of snow usually during last couple of weeks of December. This information would help us get prepared on our logistics accordingly. Thanks 
    Raj ( September 2015 
    While it usually snows heavily in Sandakphu during Jan-end/Feb, it can also snow during December. So you should go prepared. It will be extremely cold anyway. 
    Anup Ghosh (August 2015) 
    Hi, I have decided to go for sandakphu trek in end of october 2015 alongwith my wife & 2 daughters. The children are nine years old now. my question is, a)is the trek is possible for the children, b)safe & secure is which one, trekkers hut or lodge, c) can i get any help, if we faced high altitude sickness, because my one child has breathing problems . 
    Raj ( August 2015 
    Many school children go for Sandakphu treks. Try to stay in GTA lodge. Expect no help in crisis unless you go through a group tour organized by a trekking operator. Take all precautions. 
    Dipon Pushilal (June 2015) 
    Hi Mr. Raj, we are a group of 5 members planning for this Sandakphu-Phalut trek on late october . We have some past experience in trekking. Our itinerary looks like: 
    Day 1: Manebhanjan-Garibas 
    Day 2: Garibas-Sandakphu 
    Day 3: Sandakphu-Phalut 
    Day 4: Phalut-Rammam 
    Day 5: Rammam-Rimbik 
    Day 6: Buffer day, can be used anywhere during the trek 
    1) Now, is the itinerary looks good or does it need some modifications? 
    2) If we take the buffer day at Phalut will it be possible to trek up to Singalila pass and return on the same day? 
    3) Please suggest me the transport from Rimbik to NJP/Siliguri and also the duration of journey. Your respone will be highly useful.... 
    Raj ( June 2015 
    Hi, your trek itinerary is fine. A trek to Singalila Pass from Phalut and return on the same day is not recommended unless all of you are experienced trekkers. It will take about 2.5 hours from Phalut up to Toriphuley and another two hours of steep climb to the pass. So it would be a long tiring hike of about 9 hours in total plus some time at the pass. Weather can get quite bad on your return and it's common to get bad weathers in the afternoons in this part of the range. 
    From Rimbik shared jeeps are available (up to mid day), but mostly going to Darjeeling while some may go to Siliguri. Take whichever you get and get off at Sukhiapokhri or Ghum, and then change to another one for Siliguri/NJP. Rimbik to Siliguri will take about 7.5 hours by shared jeep. 
    Sayantan Chakraborty (June 2015) 
    Hi, I understand that my query here can be related to many others but those queries are not accurately my point of view or query. So my queries are: 
    1) do the gta huts provide blankets or we need to carry sleeping bags? 
    2) how is the costing done?? Can we pre book the huts on basis of bed from Kolkata office? If so, per bed what will be the cost?? 
    3) last but most importantly, we are 6 students, very tight on budget, all we could arrange is 6k per person NJP to NJP.. Will it be enough?? Thanks 
    Raj ( June 2015 
    Blankets are provided at the huts. But during winter, it may not be enough. You can book beds from GTA office at Kolkata. 6K is more than enough if you are trekking Sandakphu and Phalut. Bed cost is Rs. 250 to 300 per night. 
    Soumyajit B (April 2015) 
    Hi Raj, You have been doing a great job, providing all such information. It's a great site! Please allow me to ask something: Am I allowed to take only porter (without guide) during Sandakphu trek? I have done this trek many times and I know, Guide is absolutely not necessary for this trek. 
    Raj ( April 2015 
    The Highlanders association will push for a guide but you can ask only for a porter. They will finally agree. 
    R. Roy (January 2015) 
    Sir, I would want to know if it will be difficult to do Sandakphu trek without having a guide. Can we trek without having porter or guide by asking the local people about the road towards Sandakphu? 
    Raj ( January 2015 
    Trekkers are required to contribute towards local economy rather than just caring for their own interest. That's why guide or a porter has been made mandatory. The route is otherwise quite simple and requires no guide if you plan it out well. Guide/porter has been mandated by their association at Maneybhanjan in recent years. 
    Sanjay Dabholkar (January 2015) 
    Hello Raj, Need your advice on something. We have been to Sandakphu trek 3 years ago and had liked it very much. That time we had planned to go to Sandakphu again but without any fixed itinerary so we can stay longer in places we like and go really slow and enjoy rather than rush. So we don't want to book any lodges etc. My question is - in 1st week of April, is this advisable? Second question is - no tour operator wants to just arrange guides and permit. They want to do the whole package. Could you suggest someone who can help us just with a guide and the permit? Thanks a lot. 
    Raj ( January 2015 
    Although you may not get the GTA or the other best lodges in each place in April unless you book in advance, you will get some accommodation (private trekkers huts etc). If you don't want an operator to arrange your trek, take a guide or a porter from Highlanders Guides & Porters Welfare Association at Manebhanjan. They can arrange for the permit as well. You need to pay for the daily charges for the guide (Rs. 600/-) and/or porter (Rs. 500/-) 
    Mark Munsey (January 2015) 
    Raj, Due to my childrens' school schedule, the earliest we can begin a trek to Sandukphu is the second week of June, 2015. I understand this is right as the weather begins to change to monsoon. What is your best guess regarding visibility and temperature at this time? And, would you generally advise for or against it at this time? Kindest regards, 
    Raj ( January 2015 
    Your time is a kind of 50/50 from weather and visibility perspective. There will be likely some short spurts of showers along the way. Visibility can change any time from clear sky to cloudy and get clear again. If you have no other choice of time, suggest you go and try your luck. 
    Himadri Das (November 2014) 
    Hi Raj, We are going to trek Sandakphu - Phalut in the 1st week of April 2015. 4-6 persons in this trek. Should I book all the trekkers Hut on the spot of night stay? And other question is should we find the rhododendron and aconite in this time. Your suggestion is valuable for me. 
    Raj ( November 2014 
    If you are looking to stay in specific lodges along the way, you should ideally book in advance because April is a high trekking season. You will otherwise get some private huts along the way. You will see rhododendrons in bloom. Aconite is a plant and not flower which you can see anytime. 
    Sumit Palit (October 2014) 
    Hi Raj! I have checked the website and forums in much detail and gathered a lot of valuable information. But I need some more clarity on few issues. I am planning to undertake the Sandakphu trek during Christmas week (from 20th Dec till 25th Dec) in 2014. Could you please give me the following information?- 
    1. Is there much chance for snowfall and rain during that period? 
    2. Should I carry raincoat and windcheater too along with woolens and jacket? 
    2. What are the equipments that I should carry? Is there any need for trekking poles during that period? 
    3. Do I need to wear climb boots for this trek that time? Or will normal sports shoes suffice. Thanks in advance! 
    Raj ( October 2014 
    There is good possibility of snowing around that time. Carry enough warm clothes (jackets, gloves, cap, windcheater etc). Carry extra pairs of socks and shoes. Shoes should be good enough to walk on snow and not ordinary sneakers. It should properly cover your ankle & few inches of your feet and not get wet from inside. You must take a good guide (ideally go through a trek operator) as during heavy snow, you will need route guidance. Trekking poles will be required. 
    Ranjan Kumar Dey (October 2014) 
    Hi, I am planing (alone) to trek Sandakphu on 20-27 December,2014. My itinerary (same as the alternative route you provided): 
    Day 1: NJP/Siliguri to Dhotrey by car, stay overnight at Dhotrey 
    Day 2: Dhotrey - Gairibas Trek, stay overnight at Gairibas 
    Day 3: Gairibas - Sandakphu Trek, stay overnight at Sandakphu 
    Day 4: Sandakphu - Phalut Trek, stay overnight at Phalut 
    Day 5: Phalut - Gorkhey Trek, stay overnight at Gorkhey 
    Day 6: Gorkhey - Srikhola Trek, stay overnight at Srikhoila 
    Day 7: Srikhola - Rimbik Trek, then to NJP via Manebhanjan by jeep/car 
    My queries are : 1) From Dhotrey can I get suitable Guide / Porter? 2) Should Guide/Porter charge included fooding and lodging? And one person can act for both the role? 3) If I start trek from Dhotrey instead Manebhanjang, will I miss Tumling / Tonglu Route? 4) Pre-booking of trekkers hut is mandatory on that time (December End) for 1 person? Or should I book in advance? 5) As I have one extra day in my hand where I can spent the day? I mean which place is worthy? Please I know you have mentioned all in your earlier various post but I want latest from you. Thanking you in advance. 
    Raj ( October 2014 
    You can check with Highlander Association in Manebhanjan on your way to Dhotrey and they can arrange for porter/guide. Guide and porters are different, however if you take an experienced porter and don't want a guide, you can talk to them and it's often allowed. Guide/porter rates include their lodging and food, but it's a general courtesy to invite them when you are having a meal while on trek during the day time. These days 1 dinner each at Sandakphu and Phalut are not included in the rates of guide/porters and therefore should be paid separately by the trekkers. Route from Dhotrey goes via Tonglu (5kms, takes 3-4 hours) and Tumling (further 2kms). Advance booking of huts is not necessary in December. You can spend the last day in Darjeeling to unwind yourself. 
    Samrat Dutta (September 2014) 
    Hello, I will be going to Sandakphu on Oct 20th. I wanted to know the current cost of a guide. Will I have to provide food plus stay extra to him? Plus, my plan is till Rimbik. I will reach Srikhola on the 25th October night. And take a jeep from Rimbik next morning. So, will the Guide charge for 26th October? Or does the trek end at Srikhola itself? And how do I arrange for a guide from Mane? Is the rate uniform or do I have to bargain? Thank You. 
    Raj ( September 2014 
    Hi, if you take a guide from Manebhanjan the rate will be around Rs. 600/- per day, porter will cost Rs. 500/- per day. Rates include their stay and food. But it's a common courtesy to include them and pay for their bills when you have tea, snacks or lunch along the way as you trek. Guides and porters usually do not charge for extra day if they can come back quickly from the place you leave them. Rimbik is close to Manebhanjan, so they may charge only for the jeep fare. Rates are fixed if you take the guide or porter from their association (Highlanders). 
    Pranav Shreyas (September 2014) 
    Hello Sir, We are trekking to sandakphu in second week of October. Our trek planner has given a schedule of trekking from Tumling to Sandakphu in one day (leave early morning and reach sandakphu by evening). Wanted to know if this is a feasible plan...? Also , what would be the approximate temperature during October? Thank you. 
    Raj ( September 2014 
    It's possible and usually done by the seasoned trekkers. The beginners should halt at Kalipokhri for a night. While the day time temperature in October will be pleasant, at night it can be quite cold. 
    Swagata Dey (July 2014) 
    Hi Raj, I have mailed you earlier regarding this trek. Initially, we had planned for the trek in end of June. But we have postponed this as you informed that it won't be a suitable time due to monsoon. Now, we are planning for the trek in Sept or Nov. Can you please suggest us which one of these 2 will be better timing. Thanks, 
    Raj ( July 2014 
    November would be better ... early November is even better. 
    Koushik Dutta (July 2014) 
    Hi, I am planning to have the sandakphu trekking in mid August. You may say why, when your best time skip August! It is just that I feel like, and I have some time :) Would it be that bad? I will appreciate your suggestions and comments .. Your page is filled with useful tips and details .. Thanks .. Best, 
    Raj ( July 2014 
    You can't trek in rains unless you plan to trek wearing raincoats and be ready to slip & slide along the way... you will probably be the first one doing that :) There are however shorter treks in monsoon that are organized by the operators these days. 
    Swagata Dey (May 2014) 
    Hi Raj, Read your replies in this forum. Those are extremely helpful & informative. I am planning to go for the Sandakphu-Phalut Trekking by end of June along with my friends. The dates are 25th June to 2nd July. We are extremely enthusiastic about the trek. But the only & biggest concern is the weather. If monsson starts by that time, we will face a lot of problem to walk through the trekking route. Also, even if we are enthusiastic enough to take that pain, all the effort will go futile if we do not get to see the sunrise on Kanchenjunga & Mt. Everest from Sandakphu & Phalut. Can you please inform us regarding the possibility of rain during that time and typically what is the trend of rainfall at the beginning of monsoon, i.e, whether it rains through out the day or in phases? Waiting for hear from you. Thanks, 
    Raj ( May 2014 
    End June/July is monsoon time and you can't usually trek to Sandakphu during this time due to rains. Possibility of viewing Kanchenjunga and Everest is remote. Either change your plans or plan for a shorter trek through an operator.  
    Ronojoy Ghosh (March 2014) 
    Hey Raj, I was engrossed in your experience, many many thanks for that. Coming to the point, i am planning for a trek to Sandakphu and mid-June seems to be the only time we would all be available. So, will it be ok to do trekking at this time of the year, if so, how much chance is there to be able to see the highest peaks from Sandakphu (what about the weather)? and what are the precautions that we should be taking for this trek? we all are college students aged 22 approx. will the resting huts and private lodges be available then, or do we need to book them from before? Please inform me as soon as possible, coz we will be starting the planning and bookings shortly. 
    Raj ( March 2014 
    Hi, you can trek to Sandakphu in June. There are chances of showers, but possibility is less. During day time the temperature will be mild, however at night it can be very cold after Tumling. It's a high time, so try to book GTA lodges in advance, wherever available. You will get private huts though. 
    Chandra (February 2014) 
    Hi Raj, We are planning to trek sandakphu from 28th March to 5th April. My 9yrs old son who is a juvenile diabetic, he is also going with us. He needs to take insulin injection and food at right time. We will have to take much precaution for that.I know that it is tough but not impossible. We need your help with some information regarding this.  
    1. We have booked dghc Trekkers hut, will they provide some hot water for my son to drink? Will they cook for us some raw food carried by us from kolkata like noodles or something else? 
    2. How much luggage a porter can carry for a family and how they carry them? 
    3. Is a cotton track pant enough while trekking? 
    4. What type of weather will be at that time,snowy/rainy? 
    Raj ( February 2014 
    Hi, Trekkers huts are very basic, so you should not go with expectation of out of the way service. But they can provide depending on what kind of personal rapport you are able to build up with the care taker. Trekkers Huts do not have fleet of service boys like in hotels. So it's better you carry your own arrangements. But if you stay in private huts/lodges, they can provide such services. However it's better to communicate such requirements in advance, if absolutely essential. 
    A porter can carry up to 25kg of load. They carry on their back and also hand carry. Cotton track pants are okay for the trek. However March end can be cold at times. The actual trek season begins in April. So use comfortable jeans instead. Chances of snow and rain in March end is less, but possible. 
    Aurojyoti Kundu (January 2014) 
    Some questions on Sandakphu trek in late January-2014 
    1)what's the weather condition... is trekking possible? 
    2)what food should we carry? 
    3)what should be the clothing? 
    Raj ( January 2014 
    Hi, The first thing you should note that January-end is not a good trek time in Sandakphu, although possible with gears like snow boots, sleeping bags etc. You can expect lots of snow and it would be biting cold out there. You should be an experienced trekker and must have a good guide. Some routes get totally snow covered up to knee deep. Some private huts and lodges along the way would be available, but no electricity or heating system to fight the cold. You will get basic veggie food like rice, daal, noodles etc. If you are novices in treks, don't try it. 
    Shawon Bose (December 2013) 
    Hello Sir, I'm planning to do this sandakphu & phalut trek with my wife in last week of December,2013. Regarding this I need some information. Would you please help me- 
    1. Porters/guide charge Rs. 500/- per day as i get to know from guides & porters association, is it the total including his food and stay ? or I have to pay separately ? 
    2. Are those trekkers huts dormitories safe for women ? Planning to stay in tonglu, kalipokhri, sandakphu, phalut, shrikhola trekkers huts. Is there any double bed rooms in these trekkers huts, if they have, then how much they charge for them ? eagerly waiting for your reply...Thanks in advance 
    Raj (, December 2013) 
    Hi, Guide and porter charges are all inclusive. You will get rooms in DGHC huts (now GTA) for about Rs. 500/-. Dorm beds are also okay but very basic. Go through a good trek operator if you can. The extra charge may be worth considering you get a good guide, all arrangements and logistics taken care of. End December is end of trek season at Sandakphu. You will likely get a lot of snow and some routes may be difficult to negotiate. And therefore you should carry equipment & gears like sleeping bags (it'll be biting cold out there and trekkers huts have no heating arrangements), snow boots etc etc. This is where a trek operator can come in very handy. If this is your first time trek in the region, then seriously consider a trek operator particularly for the time chosen. Regards, 
    Tapabroto Choudhury (November 2013) 
    I have some specific questions for you sir. We will possibly go for a trek to Sandakphu-Phalut in mid December. No of Trekkers-4, 2 male and 2 female. My route will be- Siliguri- Manebhanjan (nightstay)- Chitre- Tounglu (nightstay)- Kalipokhri- Gairibas (nightstay)- Sandakphu (2nights)- Phaut(2nights)- gorkey (nightstay)- Srikhola (nightstay)- Rimbik (nightstay)- Siliguri. Sir it will be our pleasure if you give your important suggestion about our trek route plan. My queries are- 
    1.Can I get a share taxi from siliguri to Sukheapokhri or Manebhanjan direct if yes then specify the car available point in Siliguri. 
    2. Possible stay in Manebhanjan and the approximate cost. 
    3. Is hiring Guide mandatory for the trek from Manebhanjan...? 
    4.What will be the approximate cost for fooding and lodging in Tonglu, Gairibas, Sandakphu, Phalut, Gorkey, Srikhola and Rimbik. 
    5.Can I get a shared taxi from Rimbik to Siliguri. If yes what will be the approximate cost per person. 
    Raj (, November 2013) 
    Tapabroto, Here are my comments: 
    1) From Siliguri you may or may not always get a direct shared Jeep to Sukhiapokhri or Manebhanjan. In that case take a shared jeep up to Mirik stand and then change to another one.  
    2) Shared jeep and taxi stand in Siliguri is opposite to the main bus terminal (i.e. Tenzing Norgay Bus Stand on Hill Cart Road) 
    3) There are several lodgings in Manebhanjan. I have discussed some here 
    4) Beds in trekkers huts in the places you mentioned cost around Rs. 125-150 per person. But cost of lodges or hotels (i..e. rooms) will be much higher. Food cost depends on individuals ...Rs. 350 per day per person (Breakfast, lunch & dinner ... mostly veggie) is common for budget travelers on this circuit. 
    5) From Rimbik shared Jeeps are available up to Manebhanjan and occasionally up to Siliguri. 
    Anjan (August, 2013) 
    Hi Raj, Hope you are doing well. I'm back again for your suggestion about my Sandakphu trip on Nov 2013... I'm Planning to reach NJP @ 1 AM (early morning) on 29th Nov. & reach 
    Manebhanjan the same day by afternoon... Night halt at Manebhanjan... Start for Sandakphu on 30th Nov morning by Land Rover &  Night halt at Sandakphu... on 1st Dec. planning to come down to Njp from Sandakphu & catch a train @ 9 PM the same day...   
    My queries are - is end November a good time to visit Sandakphu - i.e. clear weather etc. Should I have to book a land rover (sharing with others) before I reach Manebhanjan or I can do it after reaching there - is shared Land rovers available there at a stand or so ? Finally, will it be possible to reach njp from Sandakphu the same day & catch the train at night - i.e. will it be a rush? How long it takes to reach Manebhanjan from Sandakphu ?  
    Will highly appreciate your valuable suggestions... Thanks in advance... Anjan. 
    Raj (, August 2013) 
    Hi Anjan, November is a good time, sky will be clear but it'll be very cold out there. You can get shared jeep from the stand. They are mostly used by local villagers living along the route to Sandakphu. But shared jeep service may be infrequent. So there might be quite some wait time before you see a jeep gets full and starts off. It's possible to get back to NJP from Sandakphu on the same day and catch a night train. About 4.5 hours to Manebhanjan and another 4.5 hours to NJP. But start early. 
    Zvika Melamed (August 2013) 
    Hello Raj, We plan go the Sandakphu & Phalut Trek, between September 18 and 22 (we have some flexibility with dates). I'd like to check with you if the trek is doable at that time, and what preparations I need to make in advance. We are two adults. I am 52 years old. My daughter Sivan is 22 years old. We are both in good physical shape. We are looking for a ~5-6 days medium-difficulty trek, with sleeping in huts (not in tents) whenever possible. We plan to arrive to Darjeeling from New Delhi by train (leaving Delhi 
    September 15th). Please let me know if there are additional details that I could provide. Thanks a lot for your help! Regards, 
    Raj (, August 2013) 
    Try to make it in October of you can. There are chances of rains in September, but with some luck the trek is doable in Sept end as well. You should book the lodges in advance and a guide is mandatory. For that go through a good trek operator. You will find some of them in Tour Operators. However the current political situation is Darjeeling hills is not good. So until that comes under control, do not make any firm plans. Regards, 
    Giovanni (August 2013) 
    Hi! I'm going with my partner for the Singalila Trek on the 23rd of September and I would like to have a couple of info. I heard that the first police check post is after Tumling (please confirm me this); I was wondering if you think we could go up to Tumling without a guide and hire one there (we're both experienced trekker). As we would like to stay about 10 days in the ridge (doing it at a slow pace), I wanted to know if we have to keep the guide until Rimbik due to other police check posts along the way, or at a certain point we can continue by ourselves without being hassled by the police, like from Sandakphu or Phalut or Gorkey. 
    Raj (, August 2013) 
    Hi, You are required to take a guide right from the start and all through the trek route. You won't get one at Tumling. After about 1km from Tumling, you will come to the entrance of Singalila National Park where there is a check post. Unless you have already taken the permit, this is where you will need to purchase one. There is generally no police patrolling along the way. Your guide can walk at a good distance from you if you don't want to keep him in sight :) They are only interested in their per day charges. As long as you give that, you can ask him not to show his face other than at the check posts. 
    V Ramakrishnan (July 2013) 
    Hello, Thanks very much for the detailed Trek information. I shall be highly obliged if you could give me further tips on the time of the trek. I, however, plan to go to Sandakphu in the last week of September along with 3 other guys. Is the time Ok? And since we will be leaving Kolkata on one Saturday and returning on the Sunday next, will it be possible to trek to Phalut also. If not no issues as this will give me a chance to go back once again! Be assured that I will be getting in touch with you frequently on this subject. Thanks again and warm regards. 
    Raj (, July 2013) 
    There are chances of showers in September and that can impact your trek schedule. October is better. From Manebhanjan, one usually requires 5 full days to complete the trek circuit through Sandakphu, Phalut, Srikhola  & Rimbik and returning to NJP. So make your plans accordingly. Regards. 
    Chanchal Kumar Banerjee (June 2013) 
    Hello, I am an amateur photographer about 61 years of age. Absolutely physically and mentally fit. Want to trek Sandakphu and Phalut alone in 1st week of November this year. Off course having experience in trekking to Pindari, Gomukh etc. few times earlier. I shal be grateful if the following information are provided. 
    1)Is it possible for me to trek as said above? 
    2)How many days can be considered from NJP to Phalut and back? Please select a programme for me. 
    3)Is a Porter/ Guide available at Manebhanjan?(Since having a sack in back, photography is quite hazardous) 
    4)How it is possible to return from Srikhola or Rimbik to NJP Railway Station on the same day since I would like to board in train that very night(at 8 P.M.). Eagerly waiting to hear from you soon. Thanks & Regards, 
    Raj (, June 2013) 
    Hello, yes you can of course do the trek alone. You will need a guide and also a porter if you want your luggage to be carried. A porter will not double up as a guide. You will easily get them at Maneybhanjan. You should have clear 6 days from NJP to complete the Sandakphu & Phalut circuit. This is assuming you start the trek from Maneybhanjan on the same day you reach NJP. Otherwise you will need a day more. Some seasoned trekkers can complete the trek in a day shorter. I have discussed the day by day plan of the whole circuit above and also in the following link. Sandakphu Trek Itinerary 
    Read the 'Visitors Reviews / Comments' section in Srikhola to know about the return from Srikhola. It is possible to catch the 8pm train from NJP on the same day.  
    Nate Currier (April 2013) 
    Hello Raj! I am planning to do a solo Sandakphu trek in late May of this year. I have never trekked the Himalayas before, but I have youth on my side and backpacking experience in California and North Carolina. What I cannot figure out is how to get a trekking permit as a solo traveler without a sherpa or any of that. Can you help me? 
    I am planning to do the trek in six days, taking it as easy as possible. Also, I have read all of the warnings about solo trekking and why one should not do it, but I am pretty dead set on it and feel that on a popular route like Sandakphu I should be alright in case some emergency arises. Thanks and please get back to me as soon as possible. 
    Raj (, April 2013) 
    Hi, There are two separate things to be taken care of for the Sandakphu trek... one is the permit and the other is the guide. 
    Getting a permit is not an issue. Although it is loosely known as a permit, it is actually a pass to enter the Singalila National Park which starts just after Tumling. Up to Tumling (which is about half way to Sandajkphu), this permit is not required. You can get this pass/permit at Manebhanjan (at the forest office located on the way towards the trekking route) or at the entrance to the National Park at Tumling. The trek route goes through the National Park and you won't be allowed to go any further without this pass. You can get the pass yourself or if one is organizing the trek through a trek operator, they will take care of it. 
    Now coming to the guide. Even till couple of years back, one could trek this route without a guide. But now an accompanying guide who is registered with the Singalila National Park is made mandatory. There are several reasons for this, but I won't get into that. Net to net, you won't be allowed to trek to Sandakphu without a guide, but a porter is still optional. You can either get a guide at Manebhanjan through Highlander Guides and Porters Welfare Association or go through a trek operator in Darjeeling. While the guides provided by trek operators are a bit more expensive, the ones available at Manebhanjan are mostly non-professionals and may not always be a pleasant company. Your call... Hope this helps... 
    Nate Currier (April 2013) 
    Thank you so much! In terms of where to stay along the way, I've heard that trekker's huts are most generally the way to go, and that they are all along the Sandakphu loop (Manebhanjan, Tonglu, Sandakphu, Phalut and Rimbik), but I'm curious as to whether you have to schedule those in advance or not. Is it dangerous to just arrive at one on the fly and expect there to be room? 
    Raj (, April 2013) 
    May is high trekking season. Most if not all of the good accommodations will be gone unless booked in advance. There are private huts in all these areas. You should be able to get a bed (not necessarily a room) in one of these. Most of these are bare & very basic. Since you will have a guide, he will usually take care of it. So net to net, you will get a bed along the way. 
    Alex le Roux (March 2013) 
    Hi, I am from South Africa, and I will be in Darjeeling from 20th April to 6th May. During this time I am very keen to walk the Sandakphu - Phalut trek over the following days: 
    Thursday 25th: Mane Bhanjang to Tumling 
    Friday 26th: Tumling to Sandakphu 
    Saturday 27th: Sandakphu to Phalut 
    Sunday 28th: Phalut to Rammam / Srikhola 
    Monday 29th: Rammam / Srikhola to Rimbik 
    I have tried to book this trek via a local operator (Samsara), but my bank will not make the deposit payment, because they require a proforma invoice. The local operators however only seem to provide a receipt after deposit payment. Do you have any advice on how I can overcome this problem? Is it really necessary for me to pre-book the lodges / meals and guide beforehand? Or will I be able to find these as I go on the trek? Otherwise will there be enough time to arrange it when I arrive in Darjeeling? Any advice will be much appreciated. Thanks in advance 
    Raj (, March 2013) 
    Hi, You should be able to arrange your trek while in Darjeeling. There are plenty of private lodges and trekkers huts on the way. So even if you want to find your lodging along the way, it's possible. However, April being a high season for trekking, most of the good accommodations (particularly the DGHC lodges & huts) may not be available. You will get a guide from Manebhanjan, so that's not an issue either. 
    If you however want to have a pre-planned hassle free trek, then you should contact one of the Darjeeling based trek operators as soon as possible. It is not always necessary to pay in advance. You can contact Subash Tamang, an enterprising local person in Darjeeling who organizes such treks and can help you in the matter. You can take reference of my name and my website ... that can help! You will find his contacts here: Darjeeling Tours & Trek Operators. Cheers! 
    Pramit Nandy (February 2013) 
    I am planning to travel during the first or the second week of March, 2013. The total group includes 6 students (all in early 20's, 2 Females & 4 Males). Have questions. Thanks in advance for your expected reply. I really appreciate your great work. Happy New Year. Have an exciting life. 
    Q. Will we be able to see snow? 
    Raj: You should be able see enough snow but may not be 'snowing'. 
    Q. Can we trek totally up to Sandakphu without any road blockades due to snow? (the weather forecast says that the max & min temp. during that period will be 16 & -2 degree C respectively.) 
    Raj: There is 30-40% chance of some routes being blocked. April onwards is a safer time, but no snow. So you need to take your chances. 
    Q. How much drinking water do we need to carry per person? 
    Raj: Depends on individuals. You should calculate on a per day basis (roughly 2 - 2.5 liters per day on your way up. Lot lesser on your way down). Beginners may need more. Porters can carry your loads. Note that it is safe to drink spring water along the way at high altitude. But carry water purifying Zeoline 200 tablets as well. Many carry just one bottle and keep refilling that with spring water and further purify that with a tablet. Talk to the guide/porter and take his suggestions. 
    Q. What will be the expected cost per person (including everything & taking into consideration that we would like to curtail our budget as far as possible) from Manebhanjan to Sandakphu and returning back to Manebhanjan? 
    Raj: A dormitory bed in DGHC Trekkers hut costs Rs. 150/- per night (approx.). Porter is Rs. 300-400 per day. Add food and calculate. 
    Q. We will be taking along our DSLR's and LAPTOPS. Will it be safe as I am concerned about the stuff being stolen. It is costly and that's why I am asking the safety level. 
    Raj: You should not carry laptops on such treks... why do you want to do that unless you enjoy carrying weights? DSLR is okay... you want to take great pictures. There are no thieves there unless you are so careless and asking the camera to take a walk with someone :) 
    Q. Any special tips to young trekkers will be really handful. 
    Raj: Don't get intoxicated with local drinks like Roxy or even otherwise and spoil your trek. Also don't venture out off track during that time of the season.  
    Ayan Das (February 2013) 
    Hi, At the end of March 2013 we have planned to trek Sandakaphu and Singalila park. My query is: Inner line permit is required or not for those mentioned places. 
    Raj (, February 2013) 
    Inner Line Permit (as required for Arunachal Pradesh etc) is not required for Sandakphu & Singalila. However you will need to take a trek permit at Manebhanjan or Tumling to enter Singalila National Park. 
    Sayan Dey (January 2013) 
    Dear Sir, Me and my friends (5 of us) are planning to visit Sandakphu in Feb-2013. Is it the best time to trek there? Also I have heard that there is scarcity of water in Sandakphu and we have to carry our own water there? 
    Raj (, January 2013) 
    Hello, February is not a good time to trek for Sandakphu. It'll be freezing cold out there and the routes often get closed due to heavy snow. Best time is from April to May when the flowers bloom and again between October to November when it's dry and the visibility is at its best. You should carry enough drinking water with you as there is often water scarcity in this part of the hills. 
    Sankar Mandal (December 2012) 
    I am planning to go for the trekking from Manebhanjan to Sandakphu to Phalut to Rimbik with my three friends. We are planning to start from Kolkata on 22 March and wish to come back by 1st April morning. The following are my questions: 
    (1) Is the time sufficient? Also is the time chosen good? Please note that we are for the 1st time going to trek although we do some exercise every morning with 3 Km walks. 
    (2) Will we have to carry our luggage on our back? Is it the normal practice? if so, 
    (3) Suggest me how to carry our luggage and what type of luggage. 
    (4) How to contact the trekker's hut for booking. Is booking in advance compulsory? 
    (5) What will be the temperature at that time i.e., last week of March 
    Please tell me whether we will have to carry rice, daal etc with us. Also whether there are room heater in the trekkers hut along the route. Is there any possibility of rain at that time, if so what should we carry with us? 
    Raj (, December 2012) 
    Although one of the best seasons for Sandakphu trek starts from April, March end should also be a good time. Usual temperature would be between 5-12 degree Celsius. You can see lots of flowers like rhododendrons starting to bloom. 7 days time should be good enough to complete this trek. On your way back, take a shared jeep from Rimbik to Maneybhanjan and then another one to NJP. 
    Do not carry heavy luggage on your own since you are new to such treks. Better to take a porter. For porter and lodge booking, check out the section under 'Useful Information' above. You do not need to carry rice, daal etc as basic food is available all through the route including in the trekkers huts. However do carry some buscuits, dry fruits, water etc. There is no electricity there, so you won't get room heaters. Some lodges use solar cells for limited time in the evening, but that is only for lights. You will need to carry adequate woolens  and warm clothes. It usually doesn't rain in March. Even if it does, it would be in short spurts.  
    Samarjit Ghosh (December 2012) 
    Sir we plan to trek (1st time ever) on last week of December 2012. My 1st question is that is it possible to trek during this period (24-29) because of snow fall and temperature? If so what will be the best possible route taking into consideration we are bunch of 5 friends (25 to 29 years) and trekking for the first time. 
    Raj (, December 2012) 
    Samarjit, December end is not a good time to trek to Sandakphu. It's going to be freezing cold and there are chances of heavy snow & route blockage. Since you are a first time trekker, I would suggest you do it between April to May next year. 
    C. Raghavendra (Nov 2012): Trekking Possibility with Children 
    I am from Visakhapatnam. First of all I thank you so much for sharing such a great experience and a valuable information on this website. I am planning to do this tour & trekking with one of my friends along with our families in the last week of April 2013. In this group we have boys aged between 8 and 15 years. Can you please guide me whether children of age 8 or 10 can do the trekking? Secondly will there be snow en route or in sandakphu during April end, and what will be the approx. temp during that time? Children are also excited to feel the snow during this trip. Can you please give me your valuable suggestions in this regard? 
    Raj (, Nov 2012) 
    Hello, I have seen several children of the age group you mentioned trekking along the Sandakphu route. In fact one of my friends has running contracts with several schools in Kolkata and organizes Sandakphu treks for school children. So no problems for the children on this route. However, try to book good accommodations (preferably the DGHC tourist lodges on the way). In Tumling, one good option is the Shikhar Lodge. But all these are close to basic accommodations. So do not expect any luxury amenities there (like TV, geysers etc). It is important to prepare the mind set of the children about what to expect and what not to. Then they should be fine. Carry enough packaged drinking water. 
    By April end, most of the snow would have already melted. If you are lucky, you might still see snow lying in some places beyond Meghma. The temperature varies between 6°C to 12°C. But April end is a great season to see flowers blooming in all colors ... Orchids, Rhododendrons and more. Have a great time!!! 
    Heidi Visser (September 2012) 
    Hello, I must just say, your website is very helpful! I'm planning a trek to Singalila from 19-24 October. Do you know of any trekkers huts or homestays in Jaubari? Otherwise, I'd like to book at Shikar Lodge in Tumling. Do you also know of any accommodation in Rimbik? 
    What are the average prices for accommodation? And what can we expect to pay for a porter / guide for our journey from Manebhanian to Rimbik, and a Jeep from Darjeeling to Manebhanian and again from Rimbik to Darjeeling? 
    I look forward to hear from you. Kind regards 
    Raj ( 
    Hello Heidi, There are no hotels in Jhaubari. Although there are some commercial lodges, they are not that well known. Also, some local families sometimes let you stay at their homes. However you will need to try that on the fly (not recommended). There are few budget hotels in Rimbik. One of them is Hotel Green Hill. You can not make reservations over the net or phone. Ask your trek operator/guide to help you with the booking. For trek operators, check out: Best Tour & Trek Operators in Darjeeling. I have indicated porter & guide rates in one of the sections of this page. 
    Rate of shared jeep between ManeBhanjan & Darjeeling is Rs. 50 per person, and it takes one hour 30 minutes drive. From Rimbik, you will need to come down to Manebhanjan by a jeep and then take another one for Darjeeling. 
    Dipanjan (September 2012) 
    Hi Raj, I am planning for Sandakfu trek during durga puja with my wife. Is the trekking route safe for ladies? I am more concern about safety than anything else. Regards. 
    Raj ( 
    Dipanjan, Sandakphu Trek is safe for all. Try to plan your first night either at Shikhhar Lodge (in Tumling) or at Tonglu Lodge. Don't give up in the middle and stay at places like Meghma. There is no safety issue there, but only basic trekkers hut which may not be suitable for ladies. Plan your second night at Sandakphu lodge. Do not go without prior booking during the Puja time. 
    Mumun Ghosh 
    Hi.. I am planning to visit Sandakphu in late February or early march as am interested in seeing the snowfall there. Please guide as to what will be the best time for snowfall viewing in Sandakphu. Also kindly let us know how arduous will it be for trekking in those months. I am planning to go with a group of 4 adults. Thanks & regards 
    Raj ( 
    Hi, February is not a good time to trek to Sandakphu. If it snows heavily, trek routes may not be accessible and remain closed. There can be knee deep snow in some places. You may however be able to go up to Tumling. Regards, 
    Raj Roy 
    Hello.. I have seen your Sandakphu pictures in your website (Slight SNOWFALL on the way to Sandakphu). In which month you traveled so I can see light snowfall on the way. Kindly suggest. Your early response shall be highly appreciable. Regards 
    Raj ( 
    Hi, I have been to Sandakphu several times and tried several timings. Some of the snow pictures that you see were taken in Feb end .... it's not a good time to trek in the area. High chances that the route may be closed at some point beyond Tumling due to heavy snow. You should rather try March end for light/medium snow. Regards, 

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