Singalila Pass & Phalut Trek
Upcoming Spring/Summer trek to Singalila Pass & Phalut:
Trek Code SLPH17S1 – 6th May (Day 1) to 13th May’17 (Day 8)
Day 1: From NJP/Bagdogra to Hilley by car – 150 Km – 8 hours
Day 2: Trek from Hilley to Barsey– 4.5 Km – 2/3 hours
Day 3: Trek to Joributey via Deolinga Dhap – 12 Km – 6/7 hours
Day 4: Trek to Kharka Dara/Kalijhar via Thulo Dhap – 12 Km – 6/7 hours
Day 5: Trek to Phoktey Dara and then to Singalila Pass, following a descent to Toriphuley – 10 km – 4/5 hours
Day 6: Trek to Gorkhey via Phalut – 22 Km – 7/8 hours. We will NOT camp at Phalut as there is no water source around plus no permission is granted to camp at Phalut by SSB.
Day 7: Trek to Srikhola – 15 Km – 5/6 hours.
Day 8: Drive from Srikhola to NJP – 160 Km – 6/7 hours.
*** Trekkers need to reach on their own to NJP/Bagdogra on Day 1 morning (by 10 am) or the previous night. Return to NJP/bagdogra on Day 8 afternoon or early evening (by 5 pm). Arrange your tickets for inward journey and back to home from NJP/Bagdogra/Siliguri accordingly ***
Cost : Rs 12800 (Hilley to Srikhola)+ 9% Service Tax
(Book for 3 persons and get a discount of 5%; Book for 5 or more to get a 10% Group Discount)
Download PDF Brochure FOR BRIEF ITINERARY, COST INCLUSIONS AND EXCLUSIONS.
TO BOOK CLICK HERE
Customised Trek: If the dates above don’t match or you want a separate private tour for your group then fill up the Customise Your Trip form with correct details.
The Trek Highlights:
About Singalila Pass & Phalut Trek: This trail starting from Barsey Rhododendron Sanctuary, goes through the last few remaining undisturbed patches of pristine forests in Eastern Himalaya. Due to the proximity of Sikkim and Nepal High Himalayas, the views of High Himalayan ranges are captivating. Crossing the Singalila Pass, the trail joins the famous Singalila Ridge trek at Phalut. Both the places offer majestic views of gigantic massif of Kanchendzongha range in a famous “Sleeping Buddha” formation. On a clear day, these spurs produce magical views of 4 out of the 5 highest peaks in the world, Mt. Everest, Kanchendzongha, Lhotse and Makalu. On later stage the trail gives the opportunity to see interior picturesque villages of Eastern Himalayas. A majority of the trail is full in biodiversity with abundance of Flora & Fauna, specially the Avi-fauna and several species of wildflowers. During spring , the blooming of Rhododendrons and Magnolia brushes the forest with pink, red and white. Both for amateur and experienced photographers the route is bountiful of wild life, flowers, panorama and certainly the Himalayan ranges and peaks. In the later half we enter inside West Bengal while reaching Phalut and the area is inside Singalila National Park. The view from Phalut is equally breath taking. While descending, we stay at Gorkhey, a picturesque village positioned at the confluence of two streams. Samandin and Rammam are notable villages while reaching our trek end point Srikhola.
Access to Hilley (The trek base) & Return: Depending upon the trek members we can arrange a pickup and drop either from New Jalpaiguri/Sliguri to Hilley and back from Rimbick to NJP. This will be shared by the team members on actual basis.
Otherwise if a trekker wants to reach Hilley by public vehicle then here is how:
1) Reach NJP in the morning and take a shared auto to Siliguri Junction/SNT(Sikkim Nationalised Transport/Tenzing Norgay Bus Terminus. From there board a shared vehicle to Jorethang in South Sikkim. This is the entry point for South & West Sikkim. If you reach there by Noon then probably you will get your seat in one of the few jeeps plying Between Jorethang and Okhrey Reserve a car for final 10 Km to Hilley.
2) While returning from Srikhola, there are shared Jeep services for Siliguri at 6/6:30 a.m. in the morning. It takes 6/7 hours to reach.
The trip itinerary:
Day 1: Pickup in the morning from NJP/Bagdogra and reach Hilley (~2600m, 8500ft) in 8 hours. The road goes inside the Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary at Sevok and then enters to Sikkim through Malli. Til Jorthang (~900m, 3000ft). the road goes along the moist evergreen forests of foothills. From here the metaled road gains height considerable in short distance. Hilley isn’t a village but a place for Forest departments horticulture and nurseries. 2/3 privately owned lodges are available to stay and they serve food. Hilley doesn’t have any shop and the last major town and ATM is in Jorthang. Hilley has forests as well as clearings and ideal for bird watchers. The viewpoint is a 15 mins walk and offers first view of Sikkim ranges. Night stay in lodge.
Day 2: Today we start our exciting journey through woods. The Check-post of Barsey Rhododendron Sanctuary is a 5 minutes walk from the lodge. There is a small restaurant/shop beside. Obtaining our permit we enter the sanctuary gate to a cakewalking trail on soft earth. Barsey is just 4.5 Km away skirting the hills through evergreen forest. After half an hour we reach our first resting shelter. There will be few more ahead. Continue your walk gently amid quintessence of forest, avoid talking loud. Enjoy the pristine nature in silence. If you are lucky enough, you may witness an endangered vividly colured Satyr Trogopan crossing the trail. During March and April, this trail blossoms in red with one of the major species, Rhododendron arboreum locally called Gurans. High altitude vegetation is frail, avoid trampling, always follow trails and do not pick plants or flowers. Following the trail for another hour we reach a clearing with an artificial reservoir on the left side of the trail. This place is specially notable for different types of birds species, most notably the Green-tailed Sunbird. Walk along the reservoir and follow the trail for another 10 minutes till we reach the opening of Barsey (~2750m, 8900ft). First views of Kanchendzongha will spellbound you looking straight in the north. The area is surrounded by dense vegetation of Rhododendron trees. Total distance is 4.5 Km and at a leisurely pace may take 2 to 2 and half hours. There is a Log-house with one dormitory and 2 rooms (called “Guras Kunj”) and a Forest-hut for accommodation. Camping ground is inside the boundary of Guras Kunj. In the afternoon walk towards on the trail going away from the hut to a small hump. If you stay here for an additional day, you can trek to Guras Tal (There isn’t a lake though) on top of a hill some 6 Km away. But this requires hiking a full day, up and down. For the tourists who don’t want to go further towards Singalila range, it is wise to stay one more day here to explore the area. There is a trail descends through the forest to Dentam (a small town in West Sikkim) 10 Km away. This is also a spectacular bird watching trail. We camp for the night.
Day 3: Today and tomorrow you will probably see the best among the alpine forests in Sikkim. There is no flowing water source in today’s trail, fill up your bottles from Barsey. The trail continues traversing from one hill to another and going interior towards Singalila range. There are two trails opposite of the Guras Kunj compound, one going down to Dentam, another going towards left inside the Sanctuary. We take the the later, and start our journey inside rich forest. The trail is almost on a flat level, actually going down a bit. Canopied by Rhohodendron, Magnolia and Bamboo, the trail receives just enough sunlight that it remains dusky green even in the morning. Undergrowth is so dense that at times you have to look for the marking trail. There are glades inside jungle in continuous interval to surprise you. Day’s walk is divided in to 3 equal parts. After walking for 2 hours and 4 Km, we reach the first opening between two hills a small sized dry swamp called Lassuney. Crossing the field we cover another 4 Km to reach Deolinga Dhap, much bigger in size. A team can camp, at the fringe of the this swampland, but it is two early for us to pitch the tents. The last stretch of 4 Km is also easy undulating till we reach our campsite at Joributey (~2700m, 8850m). Distance is 12 Km and may take 6 hours. Joributey is a clearing on the slope of the hill. A low swamp is just beside the camping ground and the accompanying hill slope thickly covered with Magnolia and conifer forest. This is a beautiful camping ground and the opening attracts different type of bird species. In the evening sit outside the tent and enjoy the silence of the jungle in soughing wind. An alarm call of Kakar (Barking dear/Muntjac) is common. Tent for the night.
Day 4: We start our trek taking the trail from the campsite going along the slope of the hill. A small climb on the gradient will take us to the shoulder of this hill and a clearance in the jungle. Here is small lake down on our right called Hans Pokhri, and we turn right . Forest beside the trail here is not thick and we walk on gentle track for 30 minutes. Again we enter in to the dense forest and gain some height for an hour to reach the clearing of the hill top called Achaley. From here a trail goes down on our right to Uttarey. This top has recorded sighting of Red pandas. Clear weather will produce magnificent view of Kanchendzongha and surrounding high peaks. Continue walking straight through the top and descend along the trail to enter into jungle once again. This is a damp and moist forest , and a small ravine alongside. Walk silently to listen to the hundreds of birds chirping and singing in the bushes. Climbing up and down to two small hillocks we reach the largest of the swampland called Thulo Dhap (~2800m, 9300ft) in this trail. Walk carefully on the swamp to protect the shoes from getting wet in muddy water. A small stream cuts the grassland in between. Take some rest and enjoy the vista once you cross. Fill in the water bottles and start climbing the trail. This is a moderate zigzag climb of nearly ~300m/1000 ft and can take one hour or little more. The jungle is a series of stretches of Rhododendron, Birch and Far trees.Finishing the climb we reach another hill top surrounded by alpine scrubs called Tiktiki. From here we follow the trail gently upwards in to a glade called Kharka Dara (~3350m, 11000ft). Depending up on the time, either we camp here or at Kalijhor (~3400m, 11500ft), 30 minutes further ahead. Distance is 13 Km and may take 6/7 hours. Water is scarce at both the camp sites. As these campsites are situated facing the barren high Himalayas, wind is fierce in the afternoon and evening. Night temperature will drop to below freezing in the night and early morning. Frost forms outside the tent even in April or November. Normally mornings are calm and offers enigmatic view of Sleeping Buddha. Night stay in tent.
Day 5: Today we have a long day and we wake up early in the morning. Sunrise can be seen either from Kharka Dara or Kalijhor. The first rays on Kanchendzongha create magical reality. It is a brilliant display of radiant colors. Bright streaks of red, pink, and orange. After an early breakfast we start following the wide trail on level ground and skirting one table top we reach Kalijhor. Below on our right the trail on the ridge goes to Chewabhanjung and we can see the SSB camp. Kalijhor is another clearing with alpine conifers and scrubs, surrounding the campsite. The top of Kalijhor is Phoktey Dara and a spectacular viewpoint. From here we traverse the hill while the treeline recedes. This particular stretch in the morning is abundant of several bird species. After continuing our walk for 45 minutes we reach the base of the Singalila Pass. The pass is clearly visible from this point and about ~200m/650 ft higher. We commence our final ascent to the pass and reach in 30 minutes. Breathtaking view from left to right encompassing majestic Nepal and Sikkim Himalaya to the north. Most of these peaks are towering above 7000m. Spend around half an hour and start descending on the other side. After an hour and 30 minutes we reach Toriphuley. The trail marks the border of India and Nepal at places. SSB (Sashastra Seema Bal) camp is on the left side of the trail. They may ask for the photo ID card. Here onward we are at the fringe of the treeline among Rhododendron bushes for an hour. The last part of the walk is on a gentle undulation upward, crossing the shoulder of the table top mountains for 2 hours. Here at times we are surprised to see the vast valleys in the Nepal to our right , scattered with numerous villages. As these are table tops, weather becomes cloudy and foggy in the afternoon in occasions. This area is the tri-junction of Sikkim, Nepal and West Bengal. After covering 14 Km, in 7/8 hours we reach Phalut (~3600m, 11800ft). The area around Trekkers Hut compound is notorious for hurling winds in the night. Night stay in tent/Trekkers Hut.
Day 6: Wake up early in the morning to witness the sunrise once more. This time from the Phalut top. There is small table top in front of Trekkers Hut which shields the view. We wake up before sunrise and climb to the top for 20 minutes. In the morning it can be cold and windy. Use windproof, gloves and balaclava. The views are simply breathtaking while the entire range is much closer. The shape of the Sleeping Buddha formation is surprisingly beautiful, Janu (Kumbhakarna) forming the head, Kanchendzongha the body and Pandim forms the toe. Everest group of peaks are a bonus! Today we descend 15 Km to Gorkhey (~ 2500m, 820000ft). Take the trail on the right from the Trekkers Hut and after a kilometer we cross the SSB camp of Phalut on our right. Taking a turn on our right we start the moderate descend. The main trail takes a longer path revolving on the face of the mountain while the shortcut is steep cutting the main trail at perpendicular in intervals. The vegetation is thick with bamboo cane forest making a canopy at times. As we go down, tress become larger and denser. Moss laden trees, different varieties of Rhododendron, Silver fir, pine, spruce, chestnut, oak, giant magnolia are plentiful, teeming with bird life. Look out for the board and arrow showing the direction for the village Gorkhey. From this point we leave the traversing trail and descent to the village. It will take 5 hours to reach. This is a picturesque small village with gorgeous patches of terraced firming. Two streams coming from two direction meet. Half-bath is tempting but only under the basking sun. Private lodges and a Trekkers Hut are available for stay. Night stay in tent/lodge.
Day 7: We start the day by climbing a small hill to reach another village called Samandin. A picture perfect village on the table top, a school for the kids, farming fields, and fenced with the tree. We keep moving along the trail which runs inside the village and enters into a pine forest. Gradually descending through the forest for an hour we reach a small side stream. From here we climb a ridge to enter the next village Rammam. Kids playing on the ground beside the school welcome the visitors. From here we can see a vast open valley and numerous scattered villages on the mountains of the Sikkim side. We walk on the level ground to cross the village and reach a point where the trail splits. Take the left one which is cobbled with rocks and steadily descend for another hour to reach our destination for the day Srikhola (~ 1900m, 6200ft). Total distance is 15 Km and can take 5/6 hour. Here both the trails from Sandakphu and Phalut meet. The private lodges and Trekkers Hut are placed in a narrow valley beside the river. A cable suspension bridge connects it to the road which leads to Rimbik. Now the motor able road has been built till the other side of the river. Night stay in tourist lodge.
Day 8: We cross the cable suspension bridge on the Srikhola (Khola means River in Nepali) and walk for 15 mins to reach the road head. Drive back to NJP/Bagdogra via Rimbik and Maneybhanjung by 6 pm.
P.S: Altitudes and distances are approximate and may not be exact.