Sandakphu is a gigantic mountain peak in the Singalila Ridge on the Indo-Nepal border. At the edge of the Singalila National Park, Sandakphu is one of the most adventurous peaks. The Sandakphu Phalut Trek is one of the most challenging and rewarding treks in the region.
The trek offers you a view of four of the world’s tallest mountains- Mt. Lhotse, Mt. Everest, Mt. Makalu and Mt. Chomo Lonzo. Sandakphu is at an altitude of 11,950 feet, and one can see the majestic Mt. Everest comfortably from the summit. It is one of the top tourist attractions both in West Bengal and in Nepal. For every adventure junkie in the region, Sandakphu Phalut trek must be on the to-do list.
Sandakphu Phalut is unlike any other trek in India or Nepal. One gets to witness the traditional Nepali culture and the unique tea house experience. Sandakphu Phalut trek is unique for many reasons. The trek is divided into several camps, spread across a very long ridge. That makes it a little challenging for beginning level trekkers. The best thing about the trek is that you get an unhindered view of the mountains with clouds engulfing the peaks on either side. The height of the summit is such that clouds appear to be touching the peaks at several spots.
Key Attractions of Sandakphu
Pointing out a few attractions out of the magnificent trek is a daunting task to do. But there certainly are some spots that are slightly better than the others.
Kanchenjunga or the Sleeping Buddha, is one highlight of the summit. The clouds obstruct the view of the Sleeping Buddha partially until you reach Tumling. The fascination about the peak continues to mount as one starts their journey from Darjeeling. As you continue to walk, the view becomes clearer and you can easily spot Sleeping Buddha on the Kanchenjunga Cluster with naked eyes. For most of the days during the summit, you will get a clear or a partial view of the Kanchenjunga cluster, and it’s certainly one of the most amazing things about this trek. Once you reach Phalut, the mountain range appears to have grown bigger and the Sleeping Buddha appears to be a few 100 metres far.
Switching Between Indo-Nepal Border:
There are a very few places where one gets to flirt across borders so frequently during a trek. This is another aspect that sets the Sandakphu Phalut Trek apart. You might walk in India and then suddenly be in Nepal even without noticing. There’s hardly any marking to depict the border, and that’s really a once in a life kind of experience. However, a few places like Chittrey have clear border pillars to depict the territories of the two countries clearly. This indicates the similarities in the Indian and Nepalese cultures.
Samanden and Gorkhey:
Samandan and Gorkhey are two gorgeous villages that must be explored for the scenic beauty they possess. The mesmerising beauty of the landscapes is hypnotising and will make you fall in love with nature’s creations. Surrounded by a dense pine forest, Gorkhey village looks like a dream when looked at from naked eyes. Every corner of the village is worth capturing in the camera lenses. The authentic huts and a lively river cutting through the landmass make the entire set up look like a painting.
Samanden is another village just 1 hour away from Gorkhey. It is a kind of village that one doesn’t even get to watch in movies. Famous for its gorgeous farms, wooden huts and pine trees, it is a kind of village that will make you wish to move out of cities and settle here.
You can spend a few days at one of these villages if you have more of them and you won’t regret it at all.
Best Time To Do The Sandakphu Trek
Barring the months when it rains, you can choose anytime of the year for the trek, depending upon your convenience. However, if you can’t tolerate extreme cold, you can avoid doing it between November and January. Spring is one of the best times to do the trek as the weather is really pleasant and favourable for this kind of adventure.
For those who have a thing for extreme adventures, winters are also an option when the region witnesses decent snowfall.
During the spring, you’ll be greeted by various species of flowers including the Rhododendrons and Magnolias. It’s the time before the rainy season when the entire valley looks jaw dropping.
If your sole purpose behind the trek is getting the best view of the surrounding mountains, Autumn is one of the best times of the year to go to the summit. It is the time when you will get the best view of the mountains, including the unforgettable view of golden sun rays decorating the Sleeping Buddha.