7 Top-Rated Places to Visit in Sandakphu (2023)
With an altitude of 11,950 feet, Sandakphu is the highest point in West Bengal. This mesmerizingly spectacular site is immensely famous among trekkers and adventure enthusiasts. You will be surprised to know that it is the only trekking site in India where you will get a vivid view of the world’s four highest mountain ranges. Even though Sandakphu is located in the Singalila National Park, tourists can visit there quite easily. When you reach Sandakphu for the first time, you will genuinely be awe-struck. The view offered by this site is out of this world. From almost all parts of Sandakphu, you will see Mount Everest, Lhotse, and Makalu ranges. Lhotse and Makalu mountains are the fourth and fifth-highest mountains in the world, respectively. All of these ranges will be visible on your left side. Apart from the said peaks, you will witness Mount Kanchenjungha on your right side. It is one of the few places in the world from where you will see Mount Kanchenjungha along with Mount Everest so vividly. This family of massive mountain ranges is known as “Sleeping Buddha.” When you see these ranges for the first time, you will note that the collection of these peaks eerily looks similar to Lord Buddha’s sleeping position.
Sandakphu is famous for the awe-inspiring mountains and its lush greenery of the surrounding alpine forests. The vegetation of the area is so vibrantly green that you will feel rejuvenated while staying there. Most of the trees found at Sandakphu are from the alpine family. Some of them include birch, fir, pine, and others. However, the region is notoriously known for poisonous plants as well. While exploring the surroundings of the site, you must stay cautious. One of the main attractions of Sandakphu is its trekking route. You will fall in love with this site while reaching there by taking the scenic pathways. While hiking, you will encounter so many varieties of rare flower and plant species that you will be bewildered. Some of the most beautiful orchids that can be seen on the trekking route to Sandakphu are rhododendrons, magnolias, wildflowers, primulas, and others. Did you know that Sandakphu alone is home to more than 600 varieties of orchids? Even though the trek can be pretty tiring, but the orchids and the surrounding breathtakingly beautiful views will make you forget your exhilaration. Even though some people love to hike to Sandakphu from New Jalpaiguri, others start their trekking expedition from Manebhanjan. If you start your journey from New Jalpaiguri, it will take you around six days to reach Sandakphu. Whereas, if you start your trip from Manebhanjan, it will take you around 12 hours to get there. Sandakphu is even more beautiful due to the ever-flowing river Teesta. While trekking there, this river will not leave your side.
Although visiting Sandakphu between April to June will allow you to go there in a comparatively comfortable climate, the site’s main attraction lies between January to February. During these two months, the entirety of Sandakphu receives an ample amount of snowfalls. Many adrenaline junkies like to go there amid snow to enjoy the freezing climate. In case you are not that experienced in trekking, it will be better for you if you go there in the summer season. Not only will you be able to explore the region comfortably, but also you will get to see the red rhododendron forests. Even a few years ago, there were not many places to stay in Sandakphu, but now there are some lovely homestays located over there where you could spend your vacation. These properties are mostly run by the local Sherpas of the region. As we have mentioned earlier, to reach Sandakphu, you will have to travel to NJP or Bagdogra airport. These are the nearest railway stations and airport from Sandakphu, respectively. You can quickly get cars from the said terminus to take you to Manebhanjan. In this blog, we are providing you with a list of the best places to see in Sandakphu. We hope by reading this blog, you get a complete idea about Sandakphu and its surroundings.
7 Top-Rated Places to Visit in Sandakphu
There are some places in Sandakphu that you will be quite delighted to see. You will be able to see most of these sites while trekking to Sandakphu. They will genuinely make your journey worthwhile.
Even though Tumling is a tiny village located in Nepal, it is one of the most popular places where people spend the nights exploring Sandakphu. There are many homestays located in Tumling that are owned by the local Nepali Sherpas. The accommodation provided over there will please you a lot. This hamlet is situated pretty close to the checkpoint of Sandakphu and Singalila National Park. Not only is this site famous for all the homestays located over there, but it is also renowned for the spectacular views it offers. When you trek towards Tumling, you will notice a wide variety of vibrant floras. It will always be an excellent idea for you to explore some parts of Nepal as well while exploring Tumling.
Even though many people trek to visit Tumling, you can rent a Land Rover to get there from Manebhanjan. Although booking a mode of transportation during the peak seasons can get pretty tricky. If you stay at Tumling for a night, you will be able to see nearby cities and towns of West Bengal quite easily. However, the weather must be clear to view the lights of the cities during the night.
The distance from Sandakphu to Tumling is 19 km.
Located between the trekking route from Manebhanjan and Sandakphu, Tonglu is one of the most beautiful places in West Bengal. There are some homestays in Tonglu where you could spend a night or two to enjoy the surrounding beauty. As Tonglu is one of the many majestic peaks of the Singalila Range, this spot’s altitude is around 10,000 feet. You will find the climate over there quite cold. When you enter the premises of Tonglu, you will witness a large number of Rhododendrons during the summer season. If you go there in the winter season, you will find the atmosphere to be freezing.
You can trek to reach Tonglu, or you can rent a car from Manebhanjan to go there. Tonglu is so mesmerizingly beautiful that you will get to see Mount Kanchenjungha from every part of the hamlet. If you notice carefully, you will also see the Koshi river and towns like Darjeeling and Kurseong from there. Although renting a Land Rover from Manebhanjan is a more comfortable and easy choice to visit Tonglu or Sandakphu, trekking is the best way to connect to nature.
The distance from Sandakphu to Tonglu is- 19 km.
After reaching Sandakphu, many adventure enthusiasts plan on exploring the interior section of the Nepal-West Bengal border even more by trekking towards Phalut. As the altitude of Phalut is 11,811 feet, the climate over there is genuinely freezing. To reach Phalut, you will need an entire day to trek. Although the journey is both exhilarating and breathtakingly beautiful simultaneously, the trekking route to Phalut from Sandakphu is comparatively flatter. Some people take around 8 hours to get there while others might take less time. When you hike from Sandakphu towards Phalut, the scenic view of the surrounding area will make you awe-struck. Phalut is a must-visit place in Sandakphu.
Not only will you get the mesmerizing view of Mount Kanchenjungha, Everest, Lhotse, and Makalu, the accompanying green alpine forests will also make you feel livid. There is a village called Sabargram located on the route to Phalut. If you want, you can stay there for a night and start your journey towards Phalut again in the morning.
Throughout the entire course, you will see fir, rhododendron, and birch trees. Although most of the pathway to Phalut is pretty easy, yet the final km is comparatively steeper.
The distance from Sandakphu to Phalut is 21 km.
Located at an altitude of 9,514 feet, Meghma is a comparatively famous village in the Singalila range while trekking towards Sandakphu. As this site is located only 9 km from Manebhanjan, most trekkers spend some time there to take a break or have some refreshments. This site is also the border between India and Nepal. Although people are supposed to check into Nepal to enter different parts of the Singalila range, they do not. As India and Nepal are friendly neighbors, border checking is not that essential out there. There is a Buddhist monastery located in Meghma where tourists spend some time exploring.
If you want, you can spend your first-day trekking from Manebhanjan in Meghma. This tiny village is quite stunning and will make you feel at home with its warm hospitality.
The distance from Sandakphu to Meghma is 23 km.
Chitrey is another breathtakingly beautiful village located in the trekking route to Sandakphu from Manebhanjan. Most trekkers do their first overnight stay in Chitrey as the pathway from Manebhanjan to this village is exhausting. Even though the distance between the town and Maenbhanjan is only 3 km, the trekking’s steep uphill climb makes trekkers immensely tired. While staying over there, you must check out the Buddhist monastery situated over there. The monastery is located right at the heart of the village. Moreover, there are some excellent homestays and eateries located there where you could have a hearty meal.
Apart from all the above things, Chitrey also offers a fantastic view of Mount Kanchenjungha. As this site’s altitude is 8,340 feet, the climate over there is comparatively warmer than most of the sites located on the Sandakphu trekking route.
The distance from Sandakphu to Chitrey is 29 km.
Manebhanjan is one of the sites located only 26 km from Darjeeling. This site’s altitude is 7,054 feet, and it is the starting point of the Sandakphu trek. Those who want to travel to Sandakphu through transportation have to rent their Land Rovers from this town only. Apart from Land Rovers, no other cars are allowed to visit Sandakphu. Mane Bhanjan is comparatively livelier than the other spots mentioned in this blog. Not only does this town has a market area, but this place is the residence for many people.
Most people do their essential shopping for the trekking expedition to Sandakphu from there. In case you want to enter Singalila National park, you will have to get permission from the forest department over there only. Reaching Mane Bhanjan from Siliguri or Darjeeling is relatively easy, and there are many homestays located over there where you could stay for a night to start your trekking.
The distance from Sandakphu to Mane Bhanjan is 32 km.
Srikhola is another gorgeous stop located in the trekking route to Sandakphu. As this site’s altitude is 6,900 feet, the climate over there is a lot warmer than most of the locations in the trekking route. Most trekkers visit Srikhola while descending from Phalut or Sandakphu, but you can go there from NJP or Darjeeling as well. The village’s scenic view is so spectacular that it will stay with you throughout your entire life. One of the main attractions of the Srikhola village is the Srikhola river located over there. The river is magnificent, and many people prefer to take a bath in it. As there are some homestays located over there, many trekkers prefer to stay there overnight.
While staying at Srikhola, you can go and visit Singalila National park as well. You might be lucky enough to spot some wild animals over there. The entire village is surrounded by the thick alpine forest consisting of oak, birch, and fir trees. You can even sit by the river and participate in fishing.
The distance from Sandakphu to Srikhola is 14 km.
Sandakphu is one of the most beautiful places in the world. Even though you can get there by availing a jeep, but you will not get to view the beautiful places mentioned above by that mode. To enjoy all the fantastic sites provided in this blog, you will need to take the trekking route to Sandakphu. Not only will you get to witness these amazing villages, but you will get the constant companionship of the majestic mountains and rivers. Many trekkers have been busy enough to notice endangered animals like Pangolins and Red pandas while trekking to Sandakphu. We hope, by reading this blog, you will be excited enough to start planning to visit Sandakphu.