Planning a 2 weeks vacation which should include a trek in Sikkim or Darjeeling area and a later trip to Bhutan spanning 2 weeks.

Below is the email conversation which enabled the prospective trekkers to take right decision as per their choice and expectations. Read trekkers enquiries in GREY and our response in BLACK. Thank you for reading with patience!

My husband and I are planning a trekking tour in Sikkim in April and are seeking your guidance on our draft itinerary and are looking forward to your proposal.
We would like to trek from Yuksom to Dzongri La in 4 days.
The itinerary is the following:
Very early morning pick up in Darjeeling by car and drive to Yuksom. Start walking in Yuksom around noon to reach Tsokha in the evening.
2nd day – Tsokha to Dzongri / Dzongri La
3rd day – return from Dzongri La to Tsokha, start around noon to reach early evening.
4th day – walk Tsokha – Yuksom (5-6 hours) and drive by car to Gangtok where we spend the night.
5th day explore Gangtok and area by car/foot
6th day leave Gangtok to be in arrive in the evening in at border to Bhutan, stay there for night. Include monastery and other sightseeing in the 7-8 hours drive. Next morning cross border with Bhutan travel agency.

Thanks for your feedback, we have a good fitness level and like hiking. Fully aware that the 1st day of the trek is a tough day with more than 1000 m in altitude.
We don’t mind driving in the dark and getting up early if this is OK for the driver.

Greetings. Thank you for reaching out to us, HIMALAYA TREKKERS (HT). We would be more than happy to plan your trekking trip to Sikkim.

However at first glance, your schedule looks hectic, and can be pretty tiring. It’s always tempting to fit more places/things to see within a short schedule, but can be at risk as well.

Regarding permits for Non Indian nationals in Sikkim: We have broken down the Permit Requirements here in detail. In brief, to enter Sikkim you need one RAP ( Restricted Area permit) or previously known as ILP ( Inner Line Permit). It would be issued free of cost when you enter Sikkim or you can get it from Darjeeling. You can visit all the tourist places with this permit. To trek, however, you need  another permit called PAP (Protected Area Permit). You can not trek solo in Sikkim if you’re a foreigner. PAP is only issued for at least two foreigners. It can only be issued by a registered travel agency from the Tourism and Civil Aviation Dept of Gangtok(capital of Sikkim). We charge an additional 3000 as a Permit Processing Fee to the foreigners. We’ll include this in the package for you.

Note: You can get Sikkim entry permit from their office in Darjeeling also. However we need another day to process your Trekking Permit/PAP from Gangtok (meantime you complete Darjeeling and reach Yuksom).

Although it is not impossible to complete your itinerary (assuming you are fairly fit persons), although you have to be careful about the following:

1) In April, it is possible to start in the early morning, say around 5 am from Darjeeling. However the drive to Yuksom will take around 6 hours. Then there will be some permit procedures before you start your hike to Tsokha. It gets dark in Sikkim by 6 pm around mid April. (Sikkim is in eastern India and we have only one timezone).

2) You should be get acclimatised very well during the trek. In two days, literally you will be gaining an altitude of ~ 2000 m, to reach Dzongri. I hope you have not faced any acclimatisation issues in the past, while rapidly gaining altitude.

3) Dzongri La, i.e. Dzongri Pass is quite a distance from Dzongri. It takes ~ 5/6 hours for a round trip from Dzongri. You need to skip this on in the given itinerary but only Tsokha to Dzongri that day and camp.

4) Note that Yuksom to Gangtok is also around 6 hours of drive.

Please feel free to revert for any queries or any inputs which you may like to share with us.

Thanks for your feedback and advise, much appreciated. We trust your input as you have the knowledge and we only can assess our abilities from past experiences. 

Please see below our comments and questions. We would appreciate if you can provide us with an itinerary and cost for the trip. does your company also offer trips to Bhutan? We would love to have support from one travel agency for our whole trip. From Bagdogra to Paro, which we will leave on the 18th around noon.

  1. We are OK to start at 5 am and spend if necessary the last hour walking in the dark of safety is not compromised. We can bring headlamps.
  2. No, we haven’t.
  3. Oh, we weren’t aware. In other itineraries we read it felt more like 1 hour. Obviously, as this is the reason why we are going there, we would need to spend sufficient time exploring the area.
  4. We are aware and OK to do so if the driver is OK to drive in the dark.

As I read your email, following are my suggestions:

Regarding Bhutan travel: Recently last November we did a recce trip to Bhutan including Thimphu, Punakha and Haa valley (we skipped Paro due to shortage of time) with a self driven car. As of now travelling to Bhutan has permit relaxation for Indian tourists. We recommend that you book through a registered Tour Operator from Bhutan. HT can only take “bookings” from you, but has to arrange through only a local tour operator. We say many foreigners travelling to these places with good quality Bhutanese Tour operators.

If you are running short of time, you may consider getting a flight from Bagdogra (IXB) to Paro (PBH), though not operated daily. On the other hand if you travel by car then you go to Jaigoan border in India and Phuentsholing on the other side in Bhutan. During this drive you will cross some nice stretch of foothills forests (localled called Dooars) and tea gardens.

About Dzongri and Sikkim trip: In my opinion you may consider stripping the idea of travelling towards the capital region, i.e. Gangtok. It’s mostly a concrete city with hotels, as I have seen it.

On the contrary West Sikkim has also beautiful and pristine monasteries, around or on your way to Yuksom. Check our monastery circuit trail in West Sikkim to get an idea. Also it’s worth to stay a night and sleep at Yuksom before you have a fresh start to Tsokha.

I will be able to suggest an itinerary catering most, if you may share your arrival to Bagdogra and leaving out to Bhutan.

Also we can arrange all car transfers starting at your arrival at Bagdogra and till Bhutan border including Darjeeling and Sikkim.

Please feel free to add anything which comes in your mind.

This is good advice! Let’s try to strip out Gangtok and spend more time in West Sikkim and check option to fly from Bagdogra to Paro or by car. 

We will land in Bagdogra on the 5th around noon and would like to stay 2 nights in Darjeeling and surrounding just to overcome the jet lag and explore this beautiful area. 

We have already booked a flight from Paro to Delhi on the 18th around noon. Latest on the 14th we want to be in Bhutan because otherwise it’s too short. I like your proposal for Bhutan including Thimphu, Punakha and Haa valley and no Paro. Which tour operator do you recommend – really interested in knowledgeable guide who are able and willing to introduce us to culture and ways of living in Bhutan and design a peaceful and insightful journey other than taking us to the tourist places. Culture and nature are our key priorities.

We also looked at the monastery circuit trail you mention in your mail and find it very appealing. So I was considering that as an alternative to the Dzongri trek especially because it might be less visited.On your homepage I found a suggested itinerary. Does it make sense to combine day two and three in one so we can save one day? If we do that, porters and horses might be an interesting option.

What about the Singalila Trek? Would it be possible to hike only a part of it or is it a circuit itinerary you have to do completely?

Here I first summarise my understanding on your proposed trip(s)/tour(s) as of now :-). Please correct me if I am wrong.

  • You have approximately 2 weeks, 5th April noon landing at  Bagdogra and 18th April noon flying out from Paro.
  • It is a must to include both India & Bhutan within the travel.
  • Some hiking option(s) with a local cultural quotient in it within your travel.

Now certainly one would like to get the most out of an itinerary, based upon their particular preferences and liking. I would like to know more about your expectations from the tour.

A note: Sikkim/Darjeeling area in eastern Himalayas, is known for its dampness and prolonged monsoon. Afternoons are cloudy, prepare for pre monsoon rains, even in early April. Mornings are clear on high altitude and normally produce reasonable good views of the high mountains. Mid April will rarely produce clear mountain views like one may get in Late Oct/Nov (Autumn). On the contrary during mid April, i.e. spring time,  it is Rhododendron/Magnolia flowering season inside misty jungle and very charming in its own.

Below I will try to elaborate about various hiking options:

1) Dzongri trek: A moderate  hiking trail, however, reducing duration makes it strenuous in nature. Trail offers splendid Kanchenjunga views and other high mountains above 6500 m, from a very close distance. Once you start walking there will be no village monastery etc. However there will be other hiking groups camping around. This you should consider if your focus is more on going to high altitude and somewhat serious hiking exercise. Here you will get required information about Dzongri trail which you will cover:

https://www.tourmyindia.com/treks/dzongri-trek.html

2) Monastery Circuit trail: This is more of a very relaxed low altitude hike, who are particularly keen on staying in simple homestay, 3/4 hours of leisurely hike, spending more time in villages around and last but not the least, visiting pristine and holy monasteries. If hiking is your main focus, you may still visit Dubdi and Hongri monastery and return to Yuksom in a day’s hike. Here is the details link:

https://himalayatrekker.com/tours/sikkim-monastery-trail-homestay-trek/

We may suggest a part of the above with Dzongri trek within your itinerary. This covers two main essence of Sikkim, its high mountains and some off the route cultural essence as well.

Suggested itinerary:

5th April: Around noon arrival at Bagdogra. Around 3 to 3 and a half hours drive to Darjeeling.

6th and 7th April: Around Darjeeling, various sightseeing (HMI/Zoo, Tea gardens etc). On 7th April after lunch (by 1 pm) drive from Darjeeling to Yuksom. 5/6 hours. Your ILP for Sikkim will be processed at Melli check post (around 15/20 minutes time). Homestay accommodation e.g. Limboo Homestay (they serve organic vegetarian food only).
8th April: Explore Yuksom and around. After breakfast visit Coronation Throne site, Kathok Lake, local monastery. Later hike to the Sikkim’s oldest monastery Dubdi. This will be around 3 hours round trip. After lunch we may visit Gufa Dara village, around 30 mins hike. We can explore the small village and local community. Night stay at Yuksom. We process your Trekking Permit/PAP today from Gangtok. Alternatively after breakfast you may have a day hike to Dubdi and then further to Hongri monastery and return in the afternoon.

9th to 13th April: Trek to Dzongri and back. 5 days/4 nights , Additional night at Dzongri to explore the area and Dzongri La/Lampokhri lake side. If we start early from Tsokha on 13th then we will reach Yuksom in 5 hours. Then we can drive from Yuksom to Bhutan border at Jaigaon on Indian side. 250 Km drive, should take around 8 hours. (meet your Bhutan tour representative here). Night stay at Jaigaon, India.

14th to 17th April: Enter Bhutan Phuentsholing (permit/visa process at immigration office), Bhutan Thimphu, Punakha, and Paro. Essentially a sightseeing tour, though roads are better than Indian Himalayas!

18th April: Flight around noon from Paro to Delhi.

3) Singalila trek: This is probably a perfect blend of some fantastic high mountain views along with staying in homestay/lodge and getting some local cultural insights. You will already be in Darjeeling, it’s easy to reach the trek base and start hiking. This trail is inside Darjeeling, India and very often going inside Nepal. Most of the homestays are in Nepal side. Flavour wise this may resemble to Tea House treks in Nepal. Here is the route details link:

https://himalayatrekker.com/tours/sandakphu-trek/

There are advantages and disadvantages of this tour! Main disadvantage is that literally you will be left with no time for Sikkim. On the other side, spending more time in Darjeeling area and Bhutan is the main advantage. Maybe you can keep Sikkim for your next visit (may ? (Ethnically and culturally Sikkim and Darjeeling area have many things in common)

Suggested itinerary:

5th April: Around noon arrival at Bagdogra. Around 3 to 3 and a half hours drive to Darjeeling.

6th and 7th April: Around Darjeeling, various sightseeing (HMI/Zoo/Natural History museum, Tea gardens, Toy train ride, etc) and certainly enjoying the old colonial remnants of the Chowrasta/mall area, nice walks around. You may skip day tour of “many sightseeing” by car and instead walk comfortably at your own pace and explore the town and around.

8th April: Have your breakfast early, start by 7/7:30 am and drive to Maneybhajung, ~ 30 Km, 1 hour or so. After processing entry permit we will hike to Tumling, 12 Km 6/7 hours. Initial steep climb to Chitrey (please check our usual itinerary, I am hence modifying and fine tuning it). Lodge/homestay.

9th April: We will club Day 3 and Day 4 of usual itinerary and directly reach Sandakphu skipping Kalapokhari. From many past experiences we have seen European hikers including kids were comfortable doing this. ~ 18 Km, 8/9 hours. Sunset views from Sandakphu. Hotel accommodation.

10th April: Explore Sandakphu. Witness sunrise views, after breakfast walk on the lovely Phalut road. On a clear day You will literally walking straight towards Kanchenjunga and Sleeping Buddha, on flat gentle track. Return for lunch, 4/5 hours round trip. Evening sunrise for Hotel rooftop.

11th April: After breakfast trek down to Timburey. A very friendly homestay in the village.

12th April: Start early morning and walk an hour or so to the Srkhola bridge, motor road head. From here we will drive to Jaigoan, around 240 Km, 8/9 hours. Meet your Bhutan tour representative here. You may even stay on the other side of the border, i.e. Phuentsholing (much cleaner and calm place than Jaigaon).

13th to 17th: 5 days Bhutan tour. In my opinion choose Paro (Taksang Monastery etc ) instead Haa. Thimphu and Punakha.

18th April: Flight around noon from Paro to Delhi.

Regarding your Bhutan travel part:

As I wrote earlier, its better to book directly through a local registered tour operator. As per their govt policy they maintain their motto of “high value and low impact” tourism. This has empowered local operators to provide high quality services to international tourists. You will get good quality accommodation (similar to 3 start) and transfers in SUVs (e.r. Toyota Landcruiser/Prado) in their suggested fees.

There are trails in Bhutan as well. However to get an essence of the high and interior Himalayas, one should probably take on the longer duration hikes, like one From Paro to Gasa/Laya, some 10 days of trek. To visit Tiger’s Nest monastery (Taktsang, Paro) you may have a short half day hike.

We have some reference of Bhutan Tour operator(s). We may try to check, if you think you may need some help on this.

Suggesting a right itinerary for the right person(s) is most important in my opinion. I will look forward for your further inputs. Also feel free to edit, remove, add any part of any itinerary, if you like so.

We looked at your option 3 and like it a lot. There are only a few questions- when reading more about the trek, I learnt that a street has been build to Sandakphu. We were wondering how this impacts the experience – what are your thoughts?

When reading this paragraph we were asking ourselves – how much it might rain in the afternoon and if this would be the same for Dzongri ( we assume so). Nevertheless we understood that you recommend doing the trek as it holds various beauties- correct? What kind of equipment do we need ? 

Regarding the night at the border. We are aware that Jaigaon is less favourable but want to avoid paying 250$ Fee only for staying the night across the border. Do you have any idea if we can circumvent this? My husband is living in Bangalore but not an Indian National. 

Please be so kind and recommend agencies in Bhutan. We really like the way how you develop the program for us and trust you.

I am glad that you liked the option 3, i.e. Darjeeling with Sandakphu trek (a.k.a Singalila Ridge trek) for your India trip part.

Below are some facts and my opinion for your enquiries:

Yes there is a motor road to Sandakphu , if you call so! Initial half is a narrow concrete road, rebuilt a couple of years back. Last half is gravel dirt road. Trekking trail till Sandakphu will have some common portion with the road almost half, but it is so for 15 years or more. There will be many shortcuts, detours and walks inside Nepal also. This should not be much of an issue, despite movement of noisy old Landrovers. Note that your descent from Sandakphu to Srikhola via Timburey is through pristine forest mostly and no motor road in the vicinity. 

You are correct, Dzongri and Sandakphu trail should behave very similar, weather wise. If it rains or snows on one, most likely the other will very likely get the same. 

Four things are a must for any Himalayan Trek and are your personal equipment.

  1. a) A Trekking shoe – mid/high ankle rubber sole, waterproof membrane
  2. b) A Rucksack (40-50 L)
  3. c) A Warm jacket – can be synthetic, fleece or down jacket
    d) Windproof & Waterproof jacket/clothing – outer layer.

As a general guide here is an article on what type of equipment you should get and a elaborative list of things to carry.

Indeed your time of visit i.e. spring is recommended for Singalila trek. There are fantastic mountain views, both from Tumling and Sandakphu. Also your tour has an additional day at Sandakphu. Hopefully you will get good sunrise or/and sunset views. Spring brings life to the forest. Be it flowers or birds or butterflies. I personally like to walk inside misty and foggy forest, which is a spring speciality.

I enquired with a Bhutanese Tour Operator today, whom I met at Phuentsholing last November. He helped us to book one night of hotel at Thimphu and the road permit of our Indian car, the minimum mandatory things we needed. Here is a summary of our conversation:

  • Tour Fee for foreigners is non negotiable and USD 250 per person per day. Surcharge is USD 30 per person per day on the top of minimum daily tariff, i.e total of USD 280 per person per day, as you are 2 persons. This will include all accommodations (3 star quality), breakfast and dinner (lunch during sightseeing on your own), all transfers/sightseeing inside Bhutan in SUV like Toyota Prado/Hyundai SantaFe. A standard tour guide/escort will be there apart from the usual driver.
  • Visa Fee for Bhutan i.e. USD 40 per person is to paid separately.
  • Once you confirm/pay a tour with them, they will send an invitation along with options/range of hotels. Once you choose, they will inform Bhutanese authority. Then you apply for a Visa with USD 40 as fee. Their representative and tour guide will meet you at Jaigaon and carry out the immigration process.
  • They can help in a workaround for an accommodation at Phuentsholing. The Immigration Office remains open till 9 pm, so they can get your visa upon your arrival. Then you can pay the usual hotel fee (maybe ~ INR 3000 to 4000 for a standard room) instead paying USD 280 * 2 persons for that night.

Did you check with any direct Bhutan agencies?  What information could you gather?

Good morning and thank you very much for the additional information. The Trek sounds great and exactly what we are looking for. 

May I ask you for the price and if you could supply porters too? I am not sure if I want to carry the big backpack all the time 😉

Concerning Bhutan we are in contact with 2 – 3 agencies. We are trying to get an impression about the opportunities there because we are looking for a mix out of a bit of trekking, some culture and some spiritual experiences like meditation.

To check these things before pricing:

Do you want us to add anything extra, car transfers airport etc or only TREK FEE? – I.e. Manebhanjan to Srikhola along with one porter (He can carry up 2 no of rucksacks/similar up to 17/18 kg)? I assume the trek high standard quality accommodation and upgrade meals with a decent English speaking local guide. Anything more you would like to specify here? e.g. car transfer by Toyota Innova etc.

Did any of the agencies in Bhutan shared something interesting apart from usual itineraries? I see a potential about an itinerary starting from Phuentsholing – Thimphu – Punakha Dzong – Gasa – Laya – Gasa – Paro, tight, but possible. Our recce plan was this, but only “foreigners” can go to these places (Gasa and further to Laya) not the Indians! This may give you something really untouched in the Kingdom of Bhutan :-). You will get very limited information through Googling. It’s worth a research from your end in my opinion.

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Like last few years, Har Ki Dun is closed for the tourists/trekkers during this winter again. This came as a notice from the office of Govind National Park, dated 26th November 2019. Here is the summary of the order:

  1. Starting from 1st December 2019 until 29th February 2020, Har Ki Dun trek will remain closed to visitors.
  2. Other high altitude treks inside this nation park will also remain closed to trekkers. These treks are Borasu Pass, Ruinsara and Bali Pass, Devkyara, and Rupin Pass.
  3. Kedarkantha remains unaffected due to this notice.

Below is the photocopy of the notice issued from Deputy chief’s office, Govind National Park, Purola Division.

har-ki-dun-and-govind-national-park-closed-for-tourist-in-winters
Notice photocopy issued on 26th November 2019

The notice states “security” being the reason of the above order.

From 2016-17 winters, every year a similar notice issued before winter. We anticipated this and didn’t plan any Har Ki Dun trek in winters, although many did and had to cancel later on.

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Be it Kedarkantha or Brahmatal, surely both will make its place among the best winter snow treks in India. But what, if you have to pick any one of these two? Is one better than the other?

The question is simple but the answer isn’t! Neutrally speaking, you need to visit both before reaching a conclusion.

Let us quickly go through some facts about these two treks. There are quite a few similarities between these two trails, both suitable for beginners during winters. Yet, we need to choose one, right?

Kedarkantha versus Brahmatal – Stats
Attributes Kedarkantha trek Brahmatal trek
State Uttarakhand Uttarakhand
Duration 6 days 6 days
Grade Easy Easy
Physicality 5.5/10 5.5/10
Maximum Altitude Kedarkantha peak (3820 m/12500 ft) Khamila Top summit (4000 m/13120 ft)
Altitude Gain Sankri to Kedarkantha peak, ~ 1880 m/6165 ft Lohajung to Khamila Top ~ 1660 m/5445 ft
Trail Length 25 Km 30 Km

 

The above really doesn’t help to pick one, but justifies you can choose any one, due to their similarities in varies aspects. It is really difficult to decide which one is harder or easier, isn’t it? Moreover, terrain variety wise these are quite similar due to their similar altitudes.

To decide between Kedarkantha and Brahmatal trek, the answer mainly depends on:

1. Kedarkantha or Brahmatal: When to go for which trek?

Even as both are winter snow treks, the amount of snow varies to an extent on these trails. You need to plan any of these trek, according to its expected snow conditions. Otherwise you may end up trekking on snow less trail or too heavy snowy conditions. Now we will discuss which one probably better to visit at a given time.

Mid of November to mid of December: Kedarkantha normally receives early snowfall comparing to Brahmatal. If you wish to get some snow, you would surely be inclined towards Kedarkantha during early winters.

Mid December to end of January: In the course of this stretch, usually Brahmatal gets 2/3 snowfalls. Whereas snow on Kedarkantha steadily grows. You may choose either of the trek. No clear winner here.

February to early March: During late winter snow condition is harsh and challenging. Often Kedarkantha remains buried under heavy snow and indeed pretty  difficult to summit. Brahmatal is a wise choice this time.

Mid March and late April: Residual snow on Kedarkantha makes it a clear choice during spring.

May & June: No clear winner this time around the year. Both trail will turn green in summer.

2. Which of these things you like more in Kedarkantha or Brahmatal?

Although it is tricky to assess which of the following is your priority, but may be helpful for favouring one to another. Take a look here:

Kedarkantha versus Brahmatal – Attractions
Kedarkantha Brahmatal
Major attractions An alpine lake Juda Ka Talab, a summit with abundant panoramic views, charming campsites and forest walk. 2 alpine lakes – Bekhaltal and Brahmatal, walking on a stretch of alpine meadows, close view of high mountains and a summit.
Prominent peaks Swargarohini, Black Peak, Bandarpunch. Trishul, Nanda Ghunti, Mrigthuni, Chaukhamba, Hati Ghoda, Nilkantha.

 

Hopefully by now you are clear on which trek is your next one 😎 and why . In case you need further drilling or help, don’t hesitate to call us @ +91 9831112469/9836133166/916328300 or drop an email to [email protected].

Also you may like to write your opinion or questions in the comments. You are most welcome!

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2019-20 winters | Kedarkantha update and news

It is natural to be curious about latest updates and current conditions of Kedarkantha if you are in planning phase. Even more so, if you have already finalised your travel. Here is your much awaited updates of Kedarkantha trek, with latest photos from the trail. Whether you will get snow or not, if there is already existing snow then how much that is? So here is it:

  1. Its an exciting news that winter has already set in the Himalayas by early December and Kedarkantha trail is no exception.
  2. As of early December Kedarkantha received multiple snowfall starting from early November, latest one being on 3rd December.
  3.  Kedarkantha base camp has around one foot of deposited snow already.
  4. Judatal lake is fully frozen and campsite has scattered snow. Forest between Judatal and Kedarkantha base camp is also snowy.
  5. Kedarkantha peak has ample snow on its summit.
  6. In a nutshell, Kedarkantha trail become a fun filled snowy land 😎 .

Kedarkantha latest photos:

Some fresh photos of Kedarkantha shot during first week of December 2019. Fresh snow covers more than 50% of the trail. From Judatal to Kedarkantha summit and back has pretty decent 6 inch to one foot of snow.

deposited-snow-early-december-2019-towards-kedarkantha-summit
Early December 2019: Towards Kedarkantha summit

You can see the difference before and after the snowfall from the following pictures. After the moderate fresh snowfall during first week of December, deposited snow increased to a considerable amount. Forest around Judatal and Kedarkantha base become winter wonderland for the time being!

kedarkatha-trail-fresh-snow-update
Before the latest snowfall
kedarkantha-base-after-snowfall-early-december-2019
Kedarkantha base: After snowing in early December
judatal-camp-site-after-snowfall
Juda Ka Talab campsite just after moderate snowing

Forecast and snow expectations:

One important factor for Kedarkantha being the most popular winter trekking destination in India is Walking on ample snow. You normally get easy access to snow, at relatively low altitude and easy terrain.

  1. Chance of snowing intensifies during late December to January. As of now, weather forecast predicts precipitation chance of 50% around Christmas.  This in turn should result into snowfall as already temperatures comfortably going below freezing.
  2. This is only early winter season and early to predict snow conditions in January. Although walking may be challenging and indeed strenuous during late winters. The trail may receive 2/3 numbers of moderate to heavy snowfall during late December to January.

You can check current weather forecast of Kedarkantha trek base Sankri and get an estimate of the coming days for your planning pupose.

PS: All photos are shared by HT staff.

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HIMALAYA TREKKERS

Civilisation, as it progresses, brings along with it the hazards of environmental endangerment in the absence of a symbiotic implementation. The exploitation of the Himalayas, its people, and nature bear testimony to this unpleasant but stark truth. Over the years, unregulated tourism, over-consumption of natural resources and non-enforcement of environmental regulations have taken their toll of the pristine highlands. People in this already poverty stricken region have been forced to shun their traditional ways of life and serve interests of outsiders, at the cost of their own environment. This has led to unsustainability. Dawn follows the night. Such sorry state of affairs has evoked strong reactions across a few quarters who have come out to help restore the balance. And a few more, who are facilitating the process by not adding to the existing disorder. We, at Himalaya Trekkers (HT), probably belong to the second group, and aspire to work our way up to the first. Himalaya Trekkers (HT) support and encourage Sustainable Trekking. The focus is on - Awareness & Engagement - Creating environmental awareness and earning opprotunities among local population by ensuring their participation in sustainable, environment friendly eco-tourism. Conservation & Symbiosis - Living off nature without causing harm, minimizing carbon footprint, endorsing local products and business. These steps may seem insignificant, but no more than the span of human history is - compared to the age of the earth. We request all the trekking and mountaineering communities, agencies and individual nature lovers to preserve and protect the Himalayas and its natural diversity, to respect the age-old culture and traditions of the hill people and give back to them as much as we take. LIVE GREEN, TREK GREEN, TEAM HT
HIMALAYA TREKKERS
HIMALAYA TREKKERS is at Sandakphu.
Buckle up for #Sandakphu 😎
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If you want to start hiking and not entirely sure if you're ready for the hectic high altitude, Sandakphu will be a wise choice to check your stamina. You can choose to go there any time apart from Monsoon ( June-Aug).
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The season ahead in particular (Mar-May) is famous for Rhododendrons. Following are the reporting dates for our FD groups to Sandakphu :
22-Mar-2020,29-Mar-2020,05-Apr-2020,12-Apr-2020,19-Apr-2020,26-Apr-2020,03-May-2020,10-May-2020
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Btw in these 4 pictures we've tried to capture four out of many flavours of Sandakphu. Don't hesitate to let us know which one you liked the most. Thanks 🤗
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#treksneardarjeeling
#hikemoreworryless
#himalayatrekkers
#livegreentrekgreen @ Sandakphu
HIMALAYA TREKKERS
HIMALAYA TREKKERS
#Kalap, a small village of western garhwal.
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This place is approximately an hour of climb from the village. From here you traverse right to get to the cave of #Moru Maharaj. Stay tuned to know more about Moru Maharaj and his holy cave. ✌️
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HIMALAYA TREKKERS updated their cover photo.
Trek enthusiasts have already started planning for their summer treks.

From #Pristine treks like #Sahstrataal to #popular treks like #Goecha La, we've already published FD dates & itinerary for more than 20 unique trek destinations. Find the dates in the link below :
https://himalayatrekker.com/fixed-departure-treks/
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Shot @ Ruinsara Campsite, Bali Pass Trek
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Accumulated snow, on the motorable road connecting Sankri to Taluka, is slowly melting. Hopefully by first week of March we'll be able to start Har ki Dun trek from Taluka.
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Highlights:

 
Location: Chamoli district, Uttarakhand , India
Geo Coordinates: 30.1769929 N,79.5871179 E
Altitude: 3240 m/10630 ft
Major Attractions: High altitude lakes, major Himalayan peaks and panorama, alpine meadows, snow in winters
Destination Type: Trekking & Hiking (Easy grade)
Suggested Tour Duration: 6 days (from nearest rail station or airport).
Best Time to visit: Winters – December to March;
Spring/Summer – April to June;
Autumn – October to November.
Expected Temperature: Minimum: – 10° C to -15° C in December & January;
Maximum: 25° C to 30° C in May June.
How to reach: Via Brahmatal trek route.
Where to reach: Lohajung, Uttarakhand; Trek base on motor route.
Nearest Rail station: Kathgodam is 220 Km from Lohajung.
Haridwar is 280 Km from Lohajung.
Nearest Airport: Delhi – 480 Km from Lohajung.
Dehradun – 275 Km from Lohajung.

About the place:

Brahmatal is an alpine medium size lake at 3240 m/10630 ft.  This captivating trekking destination is a on a hiking trail from Lohajung and measures around 25 Km, to and fro. The lake remains frozen and often filled with snow during winters. The approach to this lake is a charming walk with fantastic opportunity to see high Himalayan snowy peaks among which Trishul, Nanda Ghunti, Mrigthuni, Chaukhamba, Nilkantha, Hati Ghoda are notable. Significant portion of the trail is full with thick forest cover of Rhododendrons. During summer and post monsoon alpine meadows on this area remains rich in green. Due to many takeaways Brahmatal is a growing popular trekking destination in India at present.

reaching-brahmatal-lake
Snow filled Brahmatal trail (PC – Divya Ramkrishnan)
walking-on-meadows-to-brahmatal-lake
Walking on sprawling meadows with magnificent Himalayan peak views
brahmatal-a-rectangular-shaped-alpine-lake
Brahmatal in early winter
brahmatal-in-summer
Brahmatal amidst greenery in summer
Check our best in class and safe Brahmatal trekking tour package

brahma tal trek
5.00 / 7 reviews
per person
6D/5N
Easy
5.5/10

 

What people sayabout our tour package

Vanji Nathan Subramani
Vanji Nathan Subramani

Brahmatal Trek

We went to brahmatal trek with HT and needless to say it was a wonderful experience. HT team was so friendly and helpful right from the person who attends your call to the person who accompanies you to the trek. The team including Aritra, were so patient to answer our queries and give all details we needed. The local team at Lohajung headed by Mr.Dev Singh was amazing. They were so friendly people and were ready to help us at any time. You ask and they get it done. The way they guided and accompanied us throughout the trek, we are so grateful to them. Their food was simple yet awesome. We found nothing to complain in all the 5 days. Thank you HT for giving us a lifetime experience with this Brahmatal trek. Hoping to do more with HT in the future. I would recommend any trek lover to team up with HT.

Gyan Prakash
Gyan Prakash

Brahmatal Trek

I went to Brahmtal trek from 22-27 December 2018 with HT. All their arrangements were very nice. Excellent guide Pradyumn ji, great cook Sher Singh Danu and Pradeep and other staff members. Thanks to Rhik for patiently answering all my questions before the trek. I look forward to having another trek with them

Vishal Jain
Vishal Jain

Brahmatal Trek

I am a beginner trekker and before this trek have done 3 treks, but this trek changed my perception towards trekking, earlier i used to believe that one has to leave all the comforts while in trek but entire staff of HT changed this thought. Food provided during trek was awesome and co-operation and service of entire staff was incredible. Mr. Dev Singh and Mr. Mahipat Singh Ji are best at their field and Aritro Da was cherry on the cake. All the other trek mates were way more enthusiastic than my expectation. I had an awesome time with best people. Thank you HT and all trek mates for wonderful experience and memories.

Shruthi Tembad
Shruthi Tembad

Brahmatal Trek

Plan zeroed in Jan 2017 with Himalaya Trekkers to Brahmatal. We, a group of 12 opted for a customized trek with HT. Being the first time trekkers in Himalayas, we were all excited and was looking forward for safe and fun filled trek. HT was patient enough to answer all our queries, though we raised the same queries over and over again. Recommendations and instructions flowed down to our team from HT to ensure that we were all geared up for the trek. The team accommodated all of our needs, and helped us throughout the trek. Team was very humble and co-operative.
Food – Served very well
Guidance- Heard a lot of stories all along the way
Service- Would say, expectations were met
We lived like a family though it was just for a very short time. Team HT and all of us exchanged experiences and smiles. Looking forward for many more memorable journeys with HT.
Cheers to all the good memories that we had with the help of team HT ! Thank you guys 🙂

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Brahmatal snow update for 2019-20 winters:

Some of you have already booked your winter trek to Brahmatal or maybe finalising soon. Here is the latest update from Brahmatal trek trail as per first week of December 2019. This will surely help you to decide and choose your desired date for this exquisite winter trek.

  1. First snowfall of the season occurred on 27th November 2019. This is usual first snowing time in this region.
  2. During first week of December 2019, you will get some snow at or above 3000 m/10000 ft.
  3.  Between 4 to 6 inches of snow deposited on stretches of meadows to Brahmatal and the lake itself.
  4. Thin snow blanket towards Khamila Top also referred to as Brahmatal Top.

Brahmatal trek latest photos during December 2019:

Below are the pictures of Brahmatal trail between 1st to 4th December 2019 that you can get first hand Brahmatal snow update for winters of 2019-20. As a result of late November snowfall, trail already has deposition of some scattered snow around Brahmatal lake and surrounding meadows. Whereas the lower altitude of the trail from Lohajung to Bekhaltal and approach to Brahmatal remains snow less.

brahmtal-winter-snow-trek-december
Brahmatal route as of early December 2019
brahmatal-in-early-december-2019.
Brahmatal: Early December, around 6 inch of snow deposited
brahmatal-campsite-scattered-snow-2019-december
Bramhatal campsite inside forest cover
sunset-time-brahmatal-camp
Sunset time
walking-from-bekhaltal-to-brahmatal
Beautiful clear weather during the trek

Forecast and snow expectations:

  1. This year winter arrived on time in the Himalayas. Temperature is already plummeting below freezing on or above 3000 m/10000 ft. Even Lohajung is attaining a minimum temperature of 2°/3°C on a regular basis by early December.
  2. As its sunny in daytime, some amount of already deposited snow on trail will melt in coming days. However there should be additional snowfall as well. We expect another one or two snowfall by later half of December. In such condition, you will get moderate level (6 inch to 1 foot) of snow blanket on Brahmatal trail during Christmas New Year time.
  3.  Apart from days during snowfall, weather should remain clear for fantastic view of the high mountains.
  4. Usual sunny days accompanying cold nights. Prepare for -10°/-12° C as minimum outside temperature at Brahmatal during early hours of morning.

You can check the current readings by clicking weather forecast of Brahmatal trek base Lohajung.

Note: Check with us for in case you need any latest weather update directly from base camp Lohajung.

PS: All photos are shared by HT staff.

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Singalila ridge and different trek options:

Singalila ridge is a north to south mountain ridge and runs along Nepal/India border. Towards south it is the De facto border between Nepal and West Bengal in India passing through Sandakphu and Phalut. Then it continues north bordering Nepal and Sikkim up to the foot of Kanchenjunga.

singalila-ridge-along-india-nepal
Singalila ridge marking the border of India and Nepal

Quite naturally this long ridge has many trekking routes to offer. Most popular version of Singalila ridge trek is Sandakphu trek. If we continue from Sandakphu further to north, we will reach Phalut. From Phalut we we continue further north, eventually we will enter into Sikkim and reach Singalila Top. From here we can continue even to north following Dafeybhir trail or we may get down to Barsey.

Singalila ridge trek is probably the “Finest Ridge trek in India“. Throughout its span you will witness Kanchenjunga along with very high mountains of Sikkim and Nepal. You can also see Everest, Lhotse and Makalu peaks from different places on this ridge.

Best time to visit:

1) Autumn/Winter: October to December, for clear weather and mountain views.

2) Spring/Summer: Mid March to mid May for Rhododendron bloom. Expect cloudy conditions with some rains from April onward.

Following  is an offbeat yet outstanding trail to trek, which includes both Singalila National Park and Barsey Rhododendron Sanctuary. Essentially its adding Sandakphu trek with our Phoktey Dara trek. Logistics is particularly demanding in this route due to its Tea House and camping dual mode. Sandakphu and till Phalut it is a Tea House/lodging trek, and then its a camping style. Entire logistics for last few days is to be brought up from somewhere else far away and send them back again to a different place. Though the end result is a spectacular ridge trek duration trek with prolific views of Kanchenjunga, and many more high mountains. Moreover it includes pristine forest around Barsey.

Suggested itinerary:

Trekking Grade: Moderate (prior trekking experience is recommended).

Day 1: Arrive Bagdogra/NJP by 10 am. Drive to Manebhanjan 85 Km and reach by 1:30 pm. From here our base camp is 3 Km uphill at a hamlet called Chitrey on Sandakphu road. The check post at Manebhanjan closes by 2 pm. After 2 pm cars will not be allowed to Chitrey. Night stay at homestay.

Day 2: After breakfast we will start our trek today. From Chitrey we trek to Tumling via Meghma (lunch)- 9 K, 5-6 hours.  Lodge accommodation at Tumling.

Day 3: Trek to Kalapokhri – 12 Km, 6-7 hours. After a Km or so the entry to Singalila National Park, with a check post. Lunch at Kaiyakata via Gairibas.  Lodge accommodation at Kalapokhri.

Day 4: Trek to Sandakphu- 6 Km, 3-4 hours. Last 3 Km or so hike from Bhikeybhanjan to Sandakphu is steep. Have your lunch at Sandakphu. In the afternoon walk on the Phalut Road to get magnificent views Sleeping Buddha. Lodge/hotel accommodation at Sandakphu.

Day 5: After sunrise views have your breakfast. Today is a long day of walking to Phalut.  Total around 21 Km, of which initial 14 Km up to Sabarkum/Sabargram is flat or very gradual down. From here last 7 Km to Phalut is gentle gradual up. Night stay at GTA Trekkers Hut .

Day 6: Early morning we climb to Phalut top for sunrise views. This time even closer view of mountains and Sleeping Buddha. After breakfast we will trek on rather flat train and eventually enter Sikkim. We will reach a place called Torifuley, around 8/9 Km to camp for the day. Our camping logistics team will meet you here. Camp.

Day 7: Today morning we hike 2 Km up to Singalila top, which is the highest point in this area. After spending some time on top/pass we will get down to Kalijhar and then to Achalley via Thulodhap. Around 12 Km, 6/7 hours. Camp at Achaley.

Day 8: Today we trek to Barsey via Joributey and Deolinga Dhap. Distance around 15 Km, 6/7 hours. Night accommodation at Barsey Trekkers Hut.

Day 9: After breakfast we trek 4.5 Km, 2 hours to road head Hilley. From here NJP/Bagdogra is around 150 Km and may take 7/8 hours. If you have an extra day, you may spend a night at Okhrey village, 10 Km below Hilley towards Bagdogra. You get nice homestay with geyser facilities.

If you are planning a trek in Sikkim or Darjeeling then do drop us an email to [email protected] or call @ +91 9831112469/9836133166/916328300 for any queries that you may have.

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  • We are a family of five (children ages 14-11) interested in doing a trek in Sikkim, the Singalila trek during Oct 26 – Nov 1. The dates are fixed, but we could consider also the Barsey Sanctuary or another one.
  • We have teenage kids who can do a medium trek. Last Christmas we did the Poonhill trek in Nepal to give you a reference.
  • Our preference is staying in lodges or tea houses but no tents. But we would like to see Sikkim, not only Darjeeling.
  • We would like a good guide and porters for the proposed trek.

Darjeeling and Sikkim are adjacent, though it takes time to travel from one to another. Say for an example Darjeeling city to Gangtok is about 6/7 hours of drive. Also for Non Indian’s/foreigners, entry to Sikkim is either via Melli (for West Sikkim) or via Rangpo (for Gangtok and North/East Sikkim).

You have total 7 days assuming an afternoon/evening flight on 1st Nov from Bagdogra. Touching Sikkim and Darjeeling both can be tedious and tiring with a significant portion travelling in car.

We would like to understand more here about your trip preferences. Is including both Sikkim and Darjeeling your priority? If only one, then which one? How much important is the hiking part to you?

E.g if you decide only to stay inside Darjeeling district (West Bengal) then a Singalila Ridge i.e. Sandakphu trek along with Darjeeling city will be a suitable option. This will give a feel of complete hiking experience with a night or two relaxing in Darjeeling city or around.

In case of only Sikkim option, we would suggest couple of days in Gangtok area first (we process your Trekking Permit/PAP meantime inside Sikkim) then moving to West Sikkim and try Barsey Rhododendron Sanctuary trek. This is a short and fairly easy trek in contrary to Sandakphu.

  • Our main interest is to do a good hike and see as close as possible the Himalayas. Staying in lodges is preferred to tents, but not a must. Getting some glimpse of the Sikkim culture is also something that we would like to achieve.
  • We have some additional days to accommodate the trek and visits. We could arrive to Bagdogra on Oct 25. We could stay as long a Sunday Nov 3 for the return flight. We are interested in perhaps staying the last two nights Nov 1-3 in a place like the Glenburn Tea Estate.
  • One option could be to do the Sandakphu trail Oct 25-31. Then perhaps dedicate Oct 31-Nov 1-2 to do a short Sikkim visit (around Pelling?) and then drive back to Glenburn Tea estate and then airport for late flight on Nov 3. Is that feasible?

It’s really nice to see the details of your planning, much appreciated. It helps in our understanding too.

As now you have more days, your proposed itinerary looks more complete. As I understand it, here are my thoughts:

1) Day 1 Chitrey: This is a small hamlet with few houses, one homestay/lodge and a monastery. Set up is very basic rooms, triple quad sharing type, more like 2+1+ 1/2+1 type of bedding. 3 Km below Chitrey is a small town on India/Nepal border called Maneybhanjung. Here we have arrangements with a local homestay, which is clean with attached toilet and running hot water. They serve home food which I felt tasty. Also the Sandakphu road from Maneybhanjung via Chitrey is closed by 2 pm (you have to reach Maneybhanjung by 1 pm, as there are foreigner permit formalities here). It takes around ~ 4 hours from Bagdogra to Maneybhanjung with a lunch break at Mirik town. Next day you can start trekking from Maneybhanjung in the morning to Chitrey and then to Tumling as per itinerary. Many Europeans travellers stay first night at Darjeeling, then next day morning drive an hour ~ 30 Km to Maneybhanjung and trek to Tumling with us. Here the climb from Maneybhanjung to Tumling becomes moderate as there is a steep uphill till Chitrey, which is 3 Km additional than our standard itinerary.

2) Pelling is a nice tourist town, with great views of Kanchenjunga. I am hopeful that you will get ample views of the mountains already in your trek. You may consider your Sikkim base at Yuksom, 40 Km further from Pelling. You can still visit Pemayangtse monastery, Rabdantse ruins, Khechepalri lake, Kanchenjunga falls etc, on your way, or short detours. At Yuksom you will get good hotels as well as nice homestay accommodations. There are places in and around Yuksom, the first capital of Sikkim. A lake, monasteries, Coronation site. On top of that, a nice 3/4 hours hiking to Dubdi monastery, Sikkim’s oldest. Holiest of these monasteries the one at Tashiding is 25 Km away one a different road than Pelling. To summarise Yuksom should give you more “Sikkim flavour” than touristy Pelling. Here you will get some idea about Yuksom and around:

https://himalayatrekker.com/tours/sikkim-monastery-trail-homestay-trek/

Note: It will take 6/7 hours to reach Pelling from Srikhola by car and another 1 hour and half (max) to Yuksom. Glenburn Tea Estate is somewhere in between Srikhola to Pelling/Yuksom.

We look forward for your thoughts.

  • Thanks so much for all the information and sorry that we are taking a long time to design our trip. We would like to make sure we do the right thing. We have decided to skip Pelling and the Glenburn Tea Estate. We can concentrate on doing a Sikkim trek. Even though the drive to Yuksom is long my family is keen on seeing real Sikkim so I guess it is worth. Perhaps we could do the drive in two section: Airport to Chamong and then Chamong to Yuksom?
  • From Yuksom we would like to do a trek. I have seen the Dzongri trek that looks great, but not sure if too demanding for my kids. More ambitious than the monastery trek, which we also like. Our priority is to do a strong trek, but if possible staying in homestays. For me getting as close to the Kanchenjunja to get a close view would be important. Along the way, experiencing the Sikkim culture and monasteries is also important. Is the Dzongri trek the right one? If not, can we do some hybrid between Dzongri and the monastery trek.

Apart from logistical support our activities include suggestions and travel consulting that you take a well informed decision.

If you look at our Dzongri trek itinerary, it is of 9 days, Bagdogra to Bagdogra. We designed it in a relaxed manner that it is not strenuous like our Goecha La itinerary. Your kids should complete Dzongri trek without much difficulties  following our itinerary. Please share their prior hiking experiences if any than Poon Hills trek. However that leaves you with no other option to explore around apart from the trail and Kanchenjunga within your vacation plan. Also there is no homestay on the trail, but very basic Govt. Trekkers Hut without bed or bedding at Tsokha and Dzongri.

I would be more inclined towards an itinerary comprising Sandakphu trek, Chamong (just 10 Km from trek base Maneybhanjung) and Yuksom. Now you may decide the order of visiting after finalising the places that we cover. Ideally Day 1 seems good for Chamong or maybe 2 nights as well. Staying in a Tea Estate in Darjeeling adds value. Also think of taking a late afternoon/early evening flight in case you are returning directly from Yuksom to Bagdogra.

Sandakphu will be an ideal blend of trail, where you will hikes 5/6 hours a day (we can make it strenuous if you wish!) and stays are in homestay majorly. It does have cultural things to note along with revered view of Sleeping Buddha and Kanchenjunga.

3 nights at Yuksom and exploring monasteries and cultural aspects would certainly worth high for the Sikkim part.

What do you think?

Sounds good. Can you suggest the detailed itinerary for the Chamong, Sandakphu trek and Yuksom? The dates should be Oct 25-Nov 3 and please add the cost.

We will send you an itinerary and corresponding cost based on the following:

1) Your rooms preferences if any, like 2 rooms or a big family room/suite to stay ,where it is available (like Sandakphu)

2) Do you wish us to book Chamong Tea Estate by us, or you can do it online?

3) We will arrange the transportation required as per itinerary. Do you have any vehicle preference? Most common option is Tata Sumo/Mahindra Bolero type vehicle, and we can try Toyota Innova as well. Should we put this in invoice or there is an option of paying it directly to the driver too.

  • Family room is fine. If not possible we can do two rooms (adults + kids).
  • If you can arrange the Chamong tea Estate better. Car: whatever is more comfortable and safe. We need seat belts for everyone. If possible we prefer to pay you. Total days should be Oct 25-Nov 3. We can arrive early on Oct 25 and late on Nov 3.

We will be more than happy to arrange for your family to Sikkim and Darjeeling. This part of the Himalayas is damper than the rest. Sporadic rainfall may happen even in in late Oct. Electric heaters are not available inside the rooms. Keep adequate layers of warm clothing.

Also due to unavailability of rooms at Chamong, we propose a similar property, Tumsong Chaibari.

As per the conversation we have had in the last few days, here is the itinerary for your trip:

Suggested itinerary:

Oct 25 (Day 1): Arrive Bagdogra and transfer to Yuksom by Innova. () 160 Km. Arrive latest ~ 10 am. Inner Line Permit/RAP processing at Melli (after 70 Km) enroute, on Sikkim West Bengal border. Have your lunch on your own here or at Jorethang 30 Km further. 8 hours. Your guide for Yuksom will meet and greet you. Stay at Yuksom in Limboo Homestay/equivalent.

Oct 26: Explore Yuksom. After breakfast visit Coronation Throne site, Kathok Lake,monastery, colony area. After lunch in the afternoon visit Tashiding Monastery by car, 50 Km round trip. Night stay at Yuksom.

Oct 27: Today morning after breakfast we hike to the Sikkim’s oldest monastery Dubdi. This will be around 3/4 hours round trip. After lunch we will visit Gufa Dara village, around 30 mins hike. We will explore the small village and local community. Night stay at Yuksom

Oct 28: Start early after breakfast and drive from Yuksom to Maneybhanjang via Pelling. We will take a detour and visit Kanchenjunga Falls, Khecheopalri lake, Pemayangtse monastery and Rabdentse ruins around 180 Km, 10/12 hours with Sightseeing. Check here to get an understanding on the probable route. Have lunch on your own (maybe at Melli depending on time). Night Stay at Maneybhanjang. Homestay is at our Maneybhanjung base coordinators home.

Oct 29: Have your breakfast while we work the permit requirements. You may drive 3 Km uphill to Chitrey or start the walk from Maneybhanjung instead (Steep 3 Km climb, may take 1 to 1 and half hour). From Chitrey we follow our usual itinerary and trek to Tumling via Meghma (lunch)- 9 K, 5-6 hours.  Lodge accommodation at Tumling

Oct 30: Trek to Kalapokhari – 12 Km, 6-7 hours. After a Km or so the entry to Singalila National Park, with a check post. Lunch at Kaiyakata via Gairibas.  Lodge accommodation at Kalapokhari.

Oct 31: Trek to Sandakphu- 6 Km, 3-4 hours. Last 3 Km or so hike from Bikheybhanjung to Sandakphu is steep. Have your lunch at Sandakphu. In the afternoon walk on the Phalut Road to get magnificent views Sleeping Buddha. Lodge/hotel accommodation at Sandakphu.

Nov 01: Witness Sunrise. Early morning conditions may be windy and cold. After breakfast, trek down to Timburey- 15 Km, 7-8 hours. The downward trek is through beautiful jungle and glades in between. You may find bear claw marks or an elusive Red Panda if you are really lucky. Portions of this stretch are steep downhill.

Nov 02: After breakfast walk for 1/1.5 hours to the road head Srikhola, Drive to Tumsong Chaibari the Tea Retreat  – 75 Km, 3-4 hours. Last stretch of the track to Tumsong is not suitable for Innova and will need a high ground clearance vehicle (like Sumo/Bolero). Lunch at Tumsong.

Nov 03 (Day 10): After breakfast comfortably pack and depart for Bagdogra airport.  70 Km drive may take around 3 hours. Earliest flight you may take around 2 pm in the afternoon.

Thanks so much for the proposal, it follows what we discussed.

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Sankri village is the trek base of popular trails like Kedarkantha or Har Ki Dun trek. It is also starting point of treks like Bali Pass, Borasu Pass, Phulara Ridge and some other. Nowadays Sankri is growing as a popular hill destination too.

You will get direct busses from Dehradun to Sankri in the morning till 8 am. Be it in a reserved car or by bus, it usually takes no less than 9/10 hours to travel around 200 Km distance.

Basic Facts:

Location: Uttarkashi district in Uttarakhand
Nearest Railway station: Dehradun (DDN) & Haridwar (HW)
Nearest Airport: Jolly Grant, Dehradun (Code: DED) or Delhi
Nearest Bus terminus/hub: Dehradun Inter State Bus Terminus (ISBT)

Distances to Sankri:

Dehradun: ~ 200 Km
Haridwar: ~ 260 Km
Rishikesh: ~ 245 Km
New Delhi: ~ 450 Km

Mode of transportation to Sankri:

Private mode: You can hire a cab from Dehradun, Rishikesh or Haridwar.
Public mode: Direct busses from Dehradun.
Note: No shared car service from Dehradun.

Road route to Sankri:

Shorter route: Via Mussoorie
Longer route: Via Vikasnagar
Major points: Mussoorie/Vikasnagar, Damta, Naogaon, Purola, Mori, Netwar.

Reserved car fare to Sankri (as of Oct 2019):

From Dehradun: ₹ 6,000 for a Tata Sumo/Bolero; ₹ 9,000 for Tempo Traveller;
From Rishikesh: ₹ 7,500 for a Tata Sumo/Bolero; ₹ 11,000 for Tempo Traveller;
From Haridwar: ₹ 8,500 for a Tata Sumo/Bolero; ₹ 12,000 for Tempo Traveller;

Bus service timings and fare from Dehradun to Sankri (as of Oct 2019):

Private bus (ordinary): ₹ 400 per person. Starts at 5:30 am, 6:30 am and 7 am from Gandhi road, 2 mins walking from Dehradun railways station. It may take 10 to 12 hours with few breaks in between.
State/Govt. bus (midi): ₹ 450 per person. Starts at 8 am from Mussoorie bus depot, outside Dehradun railways station. Normally it take less time than private busses and goes via Mussoorie. This is often referred to as ‘Roadways bus”.
Note:

  • On board tickets.You can’t book online or in advance.
  • State bus is the last one to start. If you decide to take this, be sure it is operating on the very day. Otherwise private bus is a safe choice.
  • While returning from Sankri you will get the same busses starting between 6 am to 8 am.

Additional facts:

Last ATM on the way: Mori, 25 Km before Sankri. Withdraw cash well in advance, as this ATM may not have link or cash either.
Mobile network: All major networks at Mori. Sankri has very limited or no mobile connectivity most of the time during a year.

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Autumn is here again. As we approach late October, we would like to share the update of treks that we completed from mid September to mid October 2019. This year monsoon delayed in various regions of India and so in some regions of Himalayas. Although eastern Himalayan states of Sikkim and north Bengal (Darjeeling) got adequate rainfall as expected, but not everywhere. Western Himalayan states of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh received less rainfall in monsoon than usual.

As we progress into autumn/fall, here are the updates and pictures from different treks which we have completed by mid of October 2019.

Kalihani Pass:

Season kick start with this exquisite and less trodden trail above Manali. Regular monsoon was already over when the team started from Manali, though they get somewhat heavy rain at Moridugh campsite in the evening for couple of hours. Although afternoon or pm showers are common in September, specially in the evening, but our team didn’t get it frequently. Morning and daytime weather were pretty good with good views of the mountains. Alpine meadows were also intense green, just after the monsoon. Here are some pictures from the trek:

riyali-thatch
On Riyali thatch meadows
riyali-thatch-kalihani-pass
Camping at Riyali (PC – Saikat)
peak-views-from-kalihani-pass-base-camp
Deo Tibba and Indrasan among other peaks from Kalihani base camp (PC – Subhayu)
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The climb to Kalihani pass from base camp (PC -Anirban C)
at-kalihani-pass
Kangra side view from Kalihani pass (PC – Imran)
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Team HT

Dodital:

Dodital trek went as expected, good clear weather throughout the trek. However team didn’t attempt Darwa top, which is a strenuous day hike from Dodital, but explored the lake and surroundings. Team can see the fall colours in the forest around Dodital as they reached late September.

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Tehri dam, on the way to Uttarkashi (PC – Paresh)
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Exploration around Dodital
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Ganesh temple @ Dodital (PC – Sandeep)
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Foliage at Dodital
Team

Sandakphu:

Season started in the late September with usual cloudy weather in this region, specially in the afternoon or evening. Occasional showers as well in between. As we move into October, weather got cleared and teams got reasonable to fantastic views of the mountains and Sleeping Buddha. Some moments from different groups, follows:

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Gairibas
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From Kalapokhari
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Finally the sleeping Buddha!
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Sunset time
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A team during early October

Brahmatal:

As expected, later half of September, Brahmatal trail remained lush green. Major takeaway was eye soothing green campsites and forests. Even the Brahmatal Top, also referred to as Khamila top was vibrant green. Even if, it didn’t rain but unfortunately clouds hovered close to the mountains.

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Khopdalia: Camp around Bekhaltal
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On the way to Brahmatal
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Brahmatal camp, away from the lake
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Brahmatal: A different perspective in September
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Lunchtime while descending from Brahmatal top summit

Goechala:

Residual monsoon continues as usual till September end in Sikkim. Our first Goecha La trek started on 28th Sep and the team got mixed weather. Although they got good views from Dzongri top during sunrise and decent views with some cloud cover at Goecha La sunrise point (View Point 1). From 2nd group onward, weather started clearing up. 5th Oct group got little or no rain during their trek. By mid of October weather is shining and bright, expected as usual during this time.

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Usual mist and cloud in the afternoon (PC – Pradeep)
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At Dzongri top, early October (PC – Ritam)
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Goechala View Point 1 (Sunrise point) during mid October (PC – Ashok)
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Kokchurang – Mid October (PC – Ishita)
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Team at Goechala View Point – Early October (PC – Pankaj)

Har Ki Dun:

Weather in this valley remained clear, starting from October beginning. Early foliage begin in October, some while bushes and grass turned into orange and yellow. One snowfall occurred in this valley in early October, though not at the height of Har Ki Dun, but higher. Fall colours and early snowfall are expected during November. We will keep a close watch, whether authorities issue Har Ki Dun trek permit during winters of 2019-2020 or not.

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Har Ki Dun peak – late September
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Simatra campsite
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Har Ki Dun in autumn
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Har Ki Dun – Wonderful opportunity for kids and families
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Team @ Har Ki Dun 

This is the update status for now. During November we have some more treks to Har Ki Dun, Sandakphu and Goecha La. After that winter treks will begin, starting from early December.

If you are planning a winter snow trek then don’t miss to read the best winter treks in India blog. Drop us an email to [email protected] or call @ +91 9831112469/9836133166/916328300 for any queries that you may have.

P.S: All pictures are shared by HT trekkers or staff. Image rights are with respective owners.

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