Sandakphu Trek

Sandakphu Trek: Your Gateway to West Bengal’s Panoramic Paradise

Attention, adventure enthusiasts! Nestled in the lap of the Eastern Himalayas, Sandakphu beckons you with its breathtaking views, challenging trails, and unforgettable experiences. This quaint village in West Bengal is a trekker’s heaven, offering a glimpse of the mighty Kanchenjunga, the world’s third-highest peak. So, lace up your boots and get ready to embark on a 4-5 day moderate-to-challenging trek that will leave you spellbound.

Enchanting Trails, Mesmerizing Vistas:

Imagine lush green forests carpeted with wildflowers, charming villages dotting the landscape, and finally, the grand reveal – the majestic Kanchenjunga piercing the clouds. The Sandakphu trek takes you through this diverse and ever-changing panorama. The initial stages are easy, with gentle climbs and stopovers in Gurdum and Meghma villages, perfect for catching your breath and soaking in the local vibes. But as you climb higher, the views become more dramatic. From Chitre, you’ll get your first glimpse of Kanchenjunga, a sight that will leave you speechless. And the cherry on top? Witnessing the sunrise paint the mountain peaks in hues of gold and orange from atop Sandakphu – a memory you’ll cherish forever.

Ready for the Challenge?

Consider yourself moderately fit? Then the Sandakphu trek is for you! The total distance is around 40-45 kilometers, with an altitude gain of about 2,000 meters. While the initial stages are comfortable walks, the final ascent to Sandakphu demands physical fitness and perseverance. So, maintaining good physical condition before departure is crucial.

When to Go:

March to May and September to November are the ideal months to conquer Sandakphu.

These months boast pleasant weather, clear skies, and comfortable temperatures, making your trek enjoyable. Remember, the monsoon season (June to August) is a no-go due to landslides and leeches.

Reaching Sandakphu:

By Air:

  • Flight to Bagdogra: Commence your adventure by taking a flight to Bagdogra Airport (IXB), the primary entry point for the Sandakphu trek.
  • Shared Taxi or Jeep: Upon landing, opt for a shared taxi or jeep to reach Manebhanjang or Darjeeling. Be mindful of negotiation as costs may vary based on the vehicle type.
  • Estimated Cost: Plan for an estimated cost of INR 2,000-3,000 (USD 28-42), depending on your departure city.

By Train:

  • Train to NJP: If you enjoy train journeys, board a train to New Jalpaiguri (NJP) railway station, a well-connected hub for major Indian cities.
  • Travel to Manebhanjang or Darjeeling: From NJP, proceed to Manebhanjang or Darjeeling via shared taxi, jeep, or local bus, with prices varying.
  • Estimated Cost: Budget for approximately INR 1,000-2,000 (USD 14-28), depending on your departure city.

By Bus:

  • Direct Buses to Darjeeling: For a scenic route, take direct buses connecting major cities like Kolkata and Siliguri to Darjeeling.
  • Shared Taxi or Jeep to Manebhanjang: Upon reaching Darjeeling, opt for a shared taxi or jeep to finally arrive at Manebhanjang, the trek’s starting point.
  • Estimated Cost: Choose this budget-friendly option with costs starting from around INR 500 (USD 7) when traveling from Siliguri.

Permits and Responsibility:

To ensure a smooth and eco-friendly trek, permits are mandatory and can be obtained from the Maneybhanjang Block Development Office. Remember, we’re guests in these mountains. Respect the environment, stick to designated trails, and dispose of waste responsibly. Together, let’s preserve the pristine beauty of the Himalayas for future generations.

Packing Essentials:

Packing right is key to a comfortable and safe trek. Here’s your checklist:

  • Sturdy trekking shoes with good ankle support
  • A comfy backpack (30-40 liters)
  • Warm clothes (fleece, thermals, down jacket)
  • Waterproof jacket and pants
  • Hat, gloves, scarf
  • Trekking poles
  • First-aid kit
  • Water bottle and purifier
  • Toiletries
  • High-energy snacks

Budget Breakdown:


  • Indians: INR 200-300 (USD 3-4)
  • Foreigners: INR 1000-1500 (USD 14-22)


  • Shared taxis (Siliguri to Manebhanjang): INR 200-300 (USD 3-4) per person
  • Local buses: INR 100-150 (USD 1-2) per person (more adventurous option)
  • Trekking Agency (optional, but recommended): INR 10,000 – 15,000 (USD 140 – 210) per person. This usually covers accommodation, meals, porter/guide services, and logistics.


  • Camping (budget-friendly):
  • Rent a tent and sleeping bag in Manebhanjang: INR 100-150 (USD 1-2) per night
  • Camping gear: Bring your own to save on rentals.
  • Homestays and lodges:
  • Standard rooms: INR 300-500 (USD 4-7) per night
  • Basic dormitories: INR 150-200 (USD 2-3) per night


  • Local dhabas: INR 100-150 (USD 1-2) per meal
  • Carrying your own food: INR 500-700 (USD 7-10) for the entire trek (most budget-friendly)

Other Expenses:

  • Porter/Guide services: INR 500-1000 (USD 7-14) per day per person (optional)
  • Medical kit: INR 200-300 (USD 3-4)
  • Miscellaneous: Toiletries, snacks, camera batteries, laundry, etc. – INR 500-1000 (USD 7-14)

Remember: These are estimated costs and can vary depending on your choices and travel style.

Bonus Tips:

  • Acclimatize: Spend a few days in Manebhanjang or Darjeeling to adjust to the high altitude before starting the trek.
  • Hire a guide: A local guide can share valuable insights into the region’s culture, history, and nature.
  • Respect local customs: Dress modestly, especially in villages.
  • Be sustainable: Dispose of waste responsibly and avoid polluting the environment.

Sandakphu Awaits:

The Sandakphu trek is more than just a physical challenge; it’s an adventure for the soul. The stunning landscapes, diverse flora and fauna, and the sense of accomplishment will leave a lasting impression. So, pack your bags, embrace the challenge, and get ready to be mesmerized by the magic of Sandakphu!

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