My Himalaya Diary – Sandakphu – Nov’2018

#1 Dec 24th, 2018, 23:14
Join Date:
Aug 2016
  • kd11 is offline
Since childhood I used to hear that trekking should be started from Sandakphu as it is considered as easier trek in respect to other trekking paths. And being a follower of that myth I also started my first trekking from Sandakphu at the age of mid 30s.
However, to my surprise that is never an easy cake walk kind of task as the myth says, especially when one is not a regular jogger or do a regular Gym\Cardiac exercise. I’ll come to that point later.
After a dedicated & thorough study, our itinerary was looking like below:

As per plan we, four colleagues, boarded on Darjeeling mail on 10th of November,2018 for New Jalpaiguri (NJP). We reached NJP at around 9.50AM on 11th after delaying almost 2hrs than the schedule arrival.

Day1: 11th November -
Upon reaching NJP we booked a cab for Manebhanjan at Rs. 2500/- and had our lunch on the way at Kurseong. We reached Manebhanjan at around 2.30PM and completed all paper works for Guide and passes for both Singalila National Park and for our DSLRs at Rs. 100/- for each pass. And guide fee is Rs. 1000/- per day. We made all these bookings from Guides & Porters association, Maneybhanjyang. Association details given below:

From LAND ROVER ASSOCIATION, Manebhanjan we booked the famous & historic Land Rover for Tumling which we were charged Rs. 1500/- and the distance from Manebhanjan to Tumling is around 15KM and took us 1.5 hrs. to reach there.

We had advance booking at Shikhar Lodge and the stay was very comfort and the 4 bedded room at Rs. 1900/- was equally good. At dinner we were served Chapatti and Chicken (at a very reasonable price) and the taste was just awesome that I took a very good amount of food ��. Having an early dinner at around 8.00PM we decided to go for a few yards uphill walk to a Stupa to capture some star trails in such crystal clear sky which is never seen by any city person.

Day2: 12th November -
The next morning view of Kanchenjunga from Tumling was marvelous one and in my opinion from Tumling it is best viewed. It is best to view the Himalayan range early in the morning (5AM to 8AM) as after that cloud starts covering. After witnessing the gorgeous eye soothing view of Kanchenjunga and taking good amount of snaps of it we started our trek to Kalipokhri (which is 13KM from Tumling) at around 8.30 AM.
On the way to Kalipokhri we covered Jaubari, Gairibas & Kaiyekatta through some lush green downhill and uphill landscapes. I must admit that with a 10KG sack on your back through this uphill track, this is really tough and made me struggle for Oxygen specially when the clouds are covering. So I came to conclusions that one should never go to trek without having some jogging and cardio exercises. Second thing you should always carry less luggage (not more than 5-7 KG) in your sack or hire a horse for carrying luggage. It costs Rs. 250/- per bag per day.
At last making all hard effort we finally reached Kalipokhri at 4PM for our night stay at Pandim Lodge which we booked in advance. It was a 4 bedded room and cost was Rs. 1000/- per head including food (non-veg) for evening snacks, dinner & breakfast. For lodging, it costs Rs. 800/- per head. This is a good lodge with basic amenities to take rest, get relaxed and freshen up for next day’s journey for Sandakphu.

Day3: 13th November -
Taken the lesson from last day’s experience in carrying our sacks by our own we decided to transfer the luggage to Sandakphu by car (cost us Rs. 100/- per bag). Since we don’t have to carry the luggage so we were bit relaxed and started our journey a bit late at around 8.50 AM after having breakfast. This is a total of 6KM trek to Sandakphu from Kalipokhri. First 3 KMs upto Bikheybhanjan the trail is easy with normal uphill and we managed to reach at 9.30AM. After that the incline is really steep and to me it was above 45°. It took us around 2.40Hrs to trek the last 3KMs to reach Sandakphu.
Our stay at Sandkaphu was at GTA Trekkers Hut, which we booked in advance from GTA (Gorkhaland Territorial Administration) office, Kolkata. At Rs. 200/- per bed we booked a 5 bedded room at trekkers hut. The room is good however only downside is the common toilets and each hut having 2 toilets. Food are bit expensive there may be due to the fact that they need to bring ration from Manebhanjan or like that. Rice-Dal-Potato Curry\Khichdi @ Rs. 200/- per plate, omlet @ Rs. 50/-, Noodles @ Rs. 80/-. We took an early dinner and went to sound sleep under 2 blankets with all the woolen gears on. It was really freezing outside around -5° to -7° at night.
There is a catch in booking the GTA trekkers Hut. Recently they’ve introduced a new rule that you need to book 3 HUTS on a row otherwise you won’t get a booking. In case of booking is full for other GTA HUT locations than only they’ll allow you to book at only 1 or 2 places. So its good idea to book GTA trekkers hut first specially for Phalut and then book other homestays. Just note that there is another option to stay at Phalut other trekkers hut is wildlife association’s bunglow which can be booked by the local guides so you’ve to get in touch a guide first then ask him to manage the booing there. I’m giving our guide’s contact here so that you can WhatsApp him if any help required.
Guide Contact: Goutam Tamang – (+91) 8436509862

Day4: 14th November –
Today we planned like, we’ll stay overnight at Molley and next morning we’ll trek to Gorkhey via Phalut and have sightseeing around there, since we didn’t get a booking at Phalut (GTA Trekker Hut). But our guide (Goutam) suggested to dump that plan as there is nothing much to do in Phalut if you don’t get a chance to view the sunrise and it’ll be hectic trek too to Gorkhey via Phalut. So considering our health we took Goutam’s suggestion and left the plan of visit Phalut this time.
So we booked a LandRover upto Sabargram, which is 13KM from Sandakphu and cost us Rs. 4500/-. It was a very bumpy journey as the wheels were moving over the boulders only and was really pathetic for our bumps[Symbol]. It took us around 4hrs to cover that 13KMs to reach Sabargram. From Sabargram, Molley is just 2KMs downhill and you won’t get any car for Molley. We reached trekker hut at Molley at 2.45 PM and had our lunch with Noodles. Food cost is similar to Sandakphu but the hut is located at a prime location surrounded by Pine forest. It was really a thrilling to stay there specially when the wind passes through the pine forest makes sound like a very nearby waterfall. we took early dinner with Rice, Dal & Aloo chips at around 6.30PM and went to sleep by 8PM as there was nothing to do outside because of pitch black darkness and attack from bears.

Day5: 15th November –
Till date we only had trek through the mountains but from today we’re going to start a new experience of coming down the hill through the dense forest of Pines and Bamboos and Rhododendrons of Singalila National Park. We started our journey of reaching plains leaving the mountains back in 2 phase. In 1st phase we reached Gorkhey and stayed overnight and in 2nd phase, we reached Srikhola and overnight stay.
From Molley to Gorkhey total distance is 15KM and entirely downhill at around 45° angle through the Singalila National park forest. We left Trekker Hut, Molley at around 8.45AM and reached Gorkhey at 2.30PM. Beautiful valley of Gorkhey is situated at 5840ft and is surrounded by hills. Most importantly GTA Trekker Hut in Gorkhey is far better and very neat & clean among the other GTA Trekker Huts. Here, fooding is also not so higher side. We got egg noodles at Rs. 150/-, Omlet\boiled egg at Rs. 20/-, Chapati & Chicken at Rs. 150/-. Here we got a chance to get hot water bucket at Rs. 50/- (per bucket) & had shower after 5days which made us feel refreshed and our tiredness just vanished.
We already asked Goutam to arrange for our luggage to be transferred to Srikhola by horse and he managed the same in the morning.

Day6: 16th November –
This was again a 16KM trek down the hill through the Singalila National Park via Rammam to Srikhola. We covered the journey in around 5Hrs (9.30AM to 2.20PM) to reach Srikhola. Due to some urgency we had to reach NJP on 16th only so we had to cancel our advance booking (with food Rs. 800/- per person) at Goparma Lodge, Srikhola. The lodge owner was so kind that he adjusted the advance amount with our lunch that we took there and had to pay only Rs. 300/- for cancellation.
Actually there is no taxi stand at Srikhola so you’ve to book your taxi day before your journey and they’ll send taxi to the Srikhola bridge. If plan to take a shared taxi for that too you need to book the seat day before your journey but that shared taxi only leaves once a day (at 6AM). Taxi can be booked through your guide, lodge where you’re staying or you can directly call the Guide and porter association. A dedicated taxi will cost Rs. 6000/- upto Siliguri\NJP and shared taxi at Rs. 150/-to Rs.200/- per seat (this is fixed rate by the association) upto Manebhanjan and from there you need to board on another for Siliguri\NJP. Total journey from Srikhola to Siliguri\NJP is around 120 KM (6Hrs). and we reached Siliguri at 9PM and stayed that night at Hotel as we had flight in the early morning for Kolkata.
Here I’m ending my journey diary with good memory and commencement of planning for the next trek. Please find all the contact details and tour map that might help you to plan your journey.
Last edited by aarosh; Dec 25th, 2018 at 12:38.. Reason: Standard font
#2 Dec 26th, 2018, 18:26
Join Date:
Aug 2016
  • kd11 is offline
Location Accommodation Phone/Mobile
Maneybhanjan Keshav's Home Stay 9232695120*
Hotel Exotica 9564797551
(03542) 264387
Tonglu GTA Lodge GTA Offices
Tumling Shikhar Lodge 9564797551
Siddhartha Lodge 9593320408
Jhaubari Indira Lodge 9733363473
Kalipokhri Pandim lodge (+91) 9333964774*
(+91) 9851276907 (whatsapp)
Chewang Lodge GTA Offices
Sandakphu GTA Lodge GTA Offices
Sherpa Chalet Lodge (+91) 9332599261*
(+91) 9933488159*
(+91) 7407276989*
(+977) 9742621760*
(+977) 27691127
Sunrise hotel +977-974-1450002
977-96792 56795
Molley GTA Lodge GTA Offices
Phalut GTA Lodge GTA Offices
Gorkhey Shanti Lodge*
GTA Lodge GTA Offices
Eden Lodge 075839 65801
Gurdum Lakpa Dorjee Sherpa's home 9593996308
Srikhola Hotel Shovraj 9933488243*
GTA Lodge GTA Offices
Goparma Lodge 9733261799
Dhotrey Sherpa Lodge 9733048579
Rimbik Hotel Green Hill 9593720817, 9733069143 9593828400
Kanchenjunga Hotel 9832518616 *
GTA Trekkers Hut GTA Offices

Guides & Porters association, Maneybhanjyang: (91) 9933369449, (91) 8388899455
GTA Office: City Center, Salt lake, Kol - 91, Ph: - 9903174047
#3 Jan 9th, 2019, 18:04
Join Date:
Jun 2011
  • subhasish202 is offline
Beautiful report .Please share some pictures as well.
#4 Jan 11th, 2019, 03:19
Join Date:
Aug 2016
  • kd11 is offline
@subhasish202 uploaded few images for the trip...pls check below url...

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