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Rachela Pass Trek in Neora Valley
Rachela (La meaning a pass) top is the highest point on the ridge forming the border and is a Tri-junction of West Bengal, Sikkim and Bhutan. The area is pristine forest canopy and protected as Neora Valley National Park. The trekking trail begins just above the foothills of Himalayas (called Dooars region) and reaches a high point above 10000 ft at Rachela (same as Rachela Pass or Rachela top).
Our trail is inside Kalimpong district, an area curved out from Darjeeling district recently and entirely within the state of West Bengal. Below is a map which will give you a clear idea about the trek and the related travel. To check the Google map and details click on the “Highlights” tab.
Not only the trail is inside untouched and biodiversity rich national park, the summit point on the trail, i.e. Rachela offers exquisite high mountain views with stretching panorama. At lower elevation, we will go inside mixed broadleaf and evergreen forest to finally dense Rhododendron forest. In stretches you don’t have a defined trail inside the forest and at times buried inside the thick undergrowth.
This unique and ecologically important area is home to various rare plant and flower species, birds and mammals. The region is a natural habitat for rare species like Red Panda and Tiger (recorded in 2018). Neora Valley National Park is also in the “tentative UNESCO heritage site.
Our trek base is upper Chisang, a quaint farm area which is opposite valley to Tendu area in Bhutan. On a clear day you can see the mountains of Dokalam area bordering India/Bhutan/China to the far north. From Chisang we will drive down to the river bed (Chhuman Khola) via small town of Todey and start our trek to Rachela Pass.
The best part is that hardly people are aware of this trail. Most possibly you won’t come across any other group apart from your team while hiking. This makes it different from common and popular hiking trails.
Alike experienced hikers this trek is also suitable for beginners. Although you need to be in good physical condition to complete the trail comfortably. Here is our complete list of Sikkim and Darjeeling treks to explore in eastern Himalayas.
Brief Itinerary for Rachela Pass trek:
DAY 1: Reach NJP/Bagdogra by noon. Drive to upper Chisang (~ 4950 ft) – 130 Km – 4 to 5 hours. Trekkers Hut/Lodge.
DAY 2: Drive to Chhuman Khola/Tangta – 1 hour – trek to Ruka forest camp (7400 ft) – 10 Km, 5/6 hours. Camp .
DAY 3: Trek to Rachela (10300 ft) – 7 Km – 4/5 hours. Camp
DAY 4: Trek down to Tangta football ground (5600 ft) – 12 Km – 6/7 hours. Camp
DAY 5: From Tangta to Todey by 4X4 vehicle – 45 min and from Todey drive to NJP/Bagdogra – 120 km – 4 hours.
- You need to reach NJP station/Bagdogra airport latest by 12 noon on Day 1. You will return to NJP/Bagdogra in on Day 5, i.e. around 2 pm.
- Last ATM is in Malbajar (New Mal Juntion).
- It is possible to customise the itinerary and exit through Lava area in Kalimpong, however that is logistically more challenging. Another exit from Rachela Tri-Junction is to Mulkharka lake in Sikkim. This requires additional permits.
Altitude and distance profile graph:
Here you will get a pictorial representation of the trail for your understanding.
Best time for Rachela Pass trek in Neora Valley National Park:
Being in Eastern Himalayas (Sikkim/Darjeeling area) this area observes longer monsoon. Clouds start to hover from April and prolong till October beginning. There are two distinct seasons when this year trek is particularly beautiful:
1) Spring/Summer for Rhododendron season (Mar to May): From mid of March to Mid of May. Flowering starts from early March in the lower elevation, and gradually towards end of spring on higher altitude. Rhododendron and Giant Magnolia are two most famous along with several other wild flower species. Cloudy or misty atmosphere is common during Spring. Though clear mountains views are not uncommon, specially during morning.
2) Fall/Winter for clear weather (Oct to Feb): From mid October to end of February. In the beginning of October clouds start moving out from this region and weather becomes clearer. November is particularly known for its crystal clear views of the mountains.
From June to September, Neora Valley National Park is closed due to Monsoons.
Reaching NJP/Bagdogra and to trek base Chisang (Todey-Tangta, Kalimpong)
Nearest Airport: Bagdogra (IXB), drive to trek base Serene Acres, Chisang, ~ 130 Km and may take 4 to 5 hours.
Nearest Railways station: New Jalpaiguri (NJP) ~ 125 Km; New Mal Junction (NMZ) by Kanchankanya Express (13149) to Chinsang is around 55 Km.
The road is through the outer foothills called Dooars with tea gardens and forests on both the sides. Finally we will gain elevation following the river Jaldhaka, upstream.
We will arrange a pickup from NJP/Bagdogra/Siliguri to Chisang and a drop to NJP/Bagdogra from todey. This will be shared by the team members on actual basis and to be paid directly to the driver. A Tata Sumo/Mahindra Bolero Jeep charges ₹ 4500 one way. One such car can accommodate up to 8 people. This cost is NOT included in the TREK FEE.
Duration: 3 days of hiking; NJP/Bagdogra to NJP round trip in 5 days.
Prerequisite: Comfortable for experienced hikers. Beginners need to be physically fit to complete this trek.
Trail Length: 32 Km
Highest Point: Rachela top ~ 3150 m/10330 ft
Seasons: March to May (Spring/Summer) for Rhododendron bloom. Oct to Feb for clear mountain views (Fall/Winter).
Further Option: From Rachela top one may descent to Lava via Chaudapheri, or at Mulkharka lake inside Sikkim (separate permit needed).
Access: Trek starting and end point is Chisang (Todey Tangta, Kalimpong).
Rail station: New Jalpaiguri (STN Code: NJP), New Mal Junction (NMZ)/Malbajar
Airport: Bagdogra (Code: IXB)
- At present direct booking from website is disabled. You can get all the information in your email by submitting the Enquiry Form available on the page.
- You need to reach NJP/Bagdogra on Day 1 morning (latest by 12 noon) or the previous night. Return to NJP on Day 5 early afternoon by 2 pm. Arrange your tickets for inward journey and return accordingly.
|DEPARTURE LOCATION||New Jalpaiguri railway station (NJP)/Bagdogra airport|
|REPORTING TIME||By 12 noon for a prompt departure to Chisang (Day 1)|
|RETURN TIME||Approximately 2:00 PM (Day 5)|
How to reach Chisang (The trek base):
Depending upon the trek members we will arrange a pickup and drop from NJP/Bagdogra/Siliguri to trek base and return. We will arrange the pick up and drop, you pay directly to the driver.
Typically a Tata Sumo/Mahindra Maxx/Bolero charges ₹ 4500 one side which can accommodate 6 to 8 people. This is NOT included in the TREK FEE and to be payable directly to the driver/owner.
Nearest Rail station: New Jalpaiguri (Station Code: NJP), New Mal Junction (NMZ) by Train no
Nearest Airport: Bagdogra (Airport Code: IXB)
There is no direct or shared vehicle to the base camp. If you want to reach Melliaching by public transportation then you need to reach Tenzing Norgay Bus Terminus/Payel cinema hall in Siliguri. Then take a shared jeep to Pelling. From here you need to reserve a car to Melliaching.
For the treks in Sikkim and Darjeeling , one has to reach the city of Siliguri (considered the corridor to the North-East) in West Bengal.
The nearest Railway Station is New Jalpaiguri (NJP), 5 Km from Siliguri and the airport Bagdogra is 10 Km.
You can fly or by train reach Siliguri from Kolkata ( good for the trekkers coming from South/central or Western India) or Delhi as per your convenience from any part within India.
Direct flights are available from New Delhi, Kolkata and Bangalore. All the flights to Bagdogra reaches late in the morning or early afternoon. It becomes difficult to reach the trek base like Yuksom/Hilley/Uttarey on the same day unless a car is booked (takes around 8 hours to reach). One can stay the night in Siliguri and start the travel to the trek base next morning. It is better to reach Siliguri by flight/train to Kolkata and then take an overnight train to NJP unless you are coming from northern India.
From Kolkata to Siliguri:
1) By train:
There are several overnight trains running between Kolkata (Howrah or Sealdah) to NJP. Day trains are also available.
From airport (Dumdum, CCU) , Sealdah railway station is 15 Km and may take 1 to 2 hours depending upon the time you travel. Howrah is 17 Km and may take up to 2 hours during the heavy traffic in the rush hours. Howrah and Sealdah are only 5 Km apart, though it may take an hour to travel. Pre Paid taxi booths are available.
DARJEELING MAIL – Train No. – 12343 (Very good option to reach NJP in the morning. Starts around 10 pm in the night and reaches NJP 8 am in the morning.)
PADATIK EXPRESS – Train No. – 12377 (Very good option to reach NJP in the morning. Starts around 11 pm in the night and reaches NJP 9 am in the morning.)
KANCHANKANYA EXPRESS – Train No. – 13149 (Starts at 8:30 pm in the evening and reaches NJP 7:30 am in the morning)
SHATABDI EXPRESS – Train No. – 12041 (Day train, starts 2:15 pm in the afternoon and reaches NP at 10:20 pm in the night. There are hotels/lodges outside the railway station at a walking distance of 5 minutes. Otherwise book an auto rickshaw/taxi to Siliguri, which takes around 15 minutes. There are several hotels around Siliguri Junction/Tenzing Norgay Bus Terminus/S.N.T (Sikkim Nationalised Transport stand).
There are other trains also of which some run daily and some on particular days of week.
Avoid booking wait listed (WL) tickets in AC classes (1A/2A/3A) or Chair Car (CC). Book Sleeper class (SL)/Second Sitting class (2S) tickets which have normally more seats/berths and hence much better chance to get confirmed.
2) By flight:
From Kolkata(CCU) take a flight to Bagdogra (IXB). From airport book a taxi to reach Siliguri which is 10 Km away.
From Delhi to Siliguri:
1) By Train:
Following trains are good to reach NJP and run daily.
DIBRUGARH RAJDHANI – Train No. 12424 (arrives NJP late in the morning @ 10:45 am)
NORTH EAST EXP – Train No. 12506 (arrives NJP @ 8:20 am in the morning)
BRAHMAPUTRA MAIL – Train No. 12424 (arrives NJP at 5 am in the morning. But this train runs late frequently.
Always avoid booking wait listed (WL) tickets in AC classes (1A/2A/3A) or Chair Car (CC). Book Sleeper class (SL)/Second Sitting class (2S) tickets which have normally more seats/berth and hence much better chance to get confirmed.
2) By flight:
From Delhi (DEL) take a flight to Bagdogra (IXB). From airport book a taxi to reach Siliguri which is 10 Km away.
For night stay in NJP/Siliguri:
Trekkers reaching on the previous day before the journey to the actual trek base need to stay the night in Siliguri/NJP. There are several options in Siliguri for spending a night while staying in Standard or Budget accommodation. It is better to reach to the centre of Siliguri called Siliguri Junction (adjacent to Tenzing Norgay Bus Terminus and Sikkim Nationalised Transport/S.N.T Bus terminus). It takes 30 minutes from Bagdogra or 15 minutes from NJP. There are hotels 5 minutes walking from NJP also.
Return from NJP/Bagdogra:
Normally you reach NJP/Bagdogra from any trek base by 5/6 pm in the evening. You can take any train after 7 pm. Accordingly arrange your homeward journey.
TREK FEE: ₹ 12950 (Chisang to Todey) + 5% GST
The TREK FEE is based on assuming 6 members. TREK FEE will be ₹ 14950, and ₹ 13950 for 4 and 5 members respectively. 5% GST is applicable.
The above cost will essentially covers everything that you need for the trek, once you reach the trek base till the trek end point. Your trip is also travel and medically insured for a duration of 7 days. Service inclusions and exclusions are mentioned in detail below.
1 night’s accommodation at Chisang in simple lodge/Trekkers Hut on a sharing basis.
All accommodation in tents on twin sharing basis as per itinerary from Day 2 to Day 4.
Car drop from trek base Chisang to hiking start point at Chhuman Khola river bed, and 4X4 jeep from Tangta to Todey.
All meals during the trek (from Day 1 dinner to Day 5 breakfast). Regular Indian style nutritious vegetarian food during the trek (including occasional eggs), breakfast packed/hot lunch (depending upon the time you reach a campsite), snacks, dinner along with coffee/tea/soup.
Excellent Trekking Guide, who will be a local to this particular area and has profound knowledge of the trekking trails around.
Specialised Cook, Support staff, Porters/Packed Animals for carrying the central logistics of the trek.
Camping equipment like Sleeping bag, Carry mattress. (Bring your own sleeping if you have a high altitude specific personal Sleeping Bag. This is always better for hygienic reasons.)
Kitchen tent and toilet tent as required during the trek.
All permit fee, camping charges, forest levy required for the trek.
Basic Medical & First Aid kit.
Travel cum medical insurance covering high altitude trekking tours (For Indian nationals it is included in the TREK FEE, up to 60 years of age). It covers your trek as well as your return journey to NJP for a travel duration of 7 days.
Transportation from NJP/Bagdogra to trek base Chisang and return from Todey. One way Tata Sumo fare is ₹ 4500, maybe shared by 5/6 fellow trekkers. We can arrange, you pay directly to the driver, sharing equally with the fellow trekkers.
We assume that you will carry your personal Rucksack/Backpack with all your personal belongings. If you want to offload your Rucksack and be carried by Porter then you need to pay an additional ₹ 1500 for the entire duration of the trek. The Rucksack should weigh up to 10 Kg.
Any tip/gratuity to the HT supports staff.
Anything which is NOT mentioned in the “Inclusions” or personal in nature.
- We assume that you have read and understood our “Terms & Conditions” (https://himalayatrekker.com/terms-and-conditions) before Booking a trek/tour.
- To reserve your place in a scheduled Fixed Departure trek or a Customised/Private trek pay 25% of the TREK/TOUR FEE as the initial “Booking Deposit”. You can pay by Net banking/Draft/Cheque/Credit/Debit/AMEX cards. This will ensure your participation in the desired trek and we will reserve your place in the scheduled date. You need to pay the remaining amount at least 15 days before Trek Starting Date.
- If you book a Trek/Tour before 14 days or less from Trek/Tour Starting Date, you need to pay the full TREK/TOUR FEE.
- “Booking Amount” i.e.25% of the TREK/TOUR FEE is Non-Refundable at any stage.
- If in case you are not able to make it due to unavoidable reason(s), we provide you avery flexible choice of Shifting to another trek within next one year. One year is counted from the starting date of the trek/tour you booked initially with us.
- In case you postpone your trip you need to informminimum of 15 days before the trek/tour starting date. (Though we suggest to inform us earlier if known)
- In case you postpone a trek/tour before 15 days of the scheduled Trek/Tour Starting date or prior, you may shift to another group of the same trek/tour scheduled in the same season or within next one year. You may shift to another suitable route also. For changing any, you need our approval first. Your request must be in written communication through your registered email with us.
- If you cancel/postpone a trek/tour from14 days to 8 days before tour starting date, your Booking Amount is Non-Refundable. We will not take any request of shifting dates. We will charge 50% of the amount as Cancellation Charges and process refund of remaining 50%. You may also shift to another group within next year but 25% Booking Amount will be deemed as Cancellation Charge and the rest amount will be transferred to the shifted group.
- If you cancel a trek/tour 7 days (i.e. a week) before Trek/Tour Starting Date or later, there will be NO REFUND.
- In case of any unforeseen incident including but not limited to natural calamities like flood, earthquake, landslide, forest fire or any political unrest, if we are compelled to cancel the trek/trip, you will be entitled to redeem the full amount for the same/similar kind of trek/trip within next one year.
If you need more clarifications write in to [email protected]