8D/7N
Duration
Moderate
Grade
6/10
Physicality
75 Km
Trail Length
3700 m/12150 ft
Highest Point

Singalila Pass & Phalut Trek

About: 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.

Brief Itinerary:

DAY 1: Drive from NJP/Bagdogra to Hilley – 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 Singalila Pass and descent to Toriphuley – 10 km – 4/5 hours
DAY 6: Trek to Gorkhey via Phalut – 22 Km – 7/8 hours
DAY 7: Trek to Srikhola – 15 Km – 5/6 hours
DAY 8: Drive from Srikhola to NJP – 160 Km – 6/7 hours.

Season: Being in the Nepal/Sikkim border 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: 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: From October to January. 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.

 Length: 6 days of trek; Walking from Hilley and Barsey to Singalila Pass and then move out via Phalut and Gorkhey to Rimbick,  around 50 Km. New Jalpaiguri (NJP)/Siliguri to NJP in 8 days

 Access: New Jalpaiguri (NJP) is well connected by train from New Delhi and Kolkata. There are several overnight trains from Kolkata to NJP. Nearest airport is Bagdogra which is 10 Km from Siliguri. Flights are connected to New Delhi and Kolkata. The trek base Hilley is 150 Km from NJP railway station. Rimbick the trek end point is around 150 Km from NJP.

 Highest Point: Singalila Pass ~ 3700m/12150 ft.

 Grade: Easy

 Seasons: March to May and October to December

Further Option: 

1) From Singalila Pass descent to Chewabhanjung  and then to Uttarey or

2) Return to Achaley and then move out to Uttarey. For details click here.

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 Jorthang 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 Jorthang and Ribdi. From Ribdi you have to book a vehicle for Hilley which is 10 Km apart.
2) While returning from Rimbick you can book a seat in the shared vehicle for Darjeeling which run early in the morning. This will take around 4 hours. From Darjeeling you can get vehicles for Siliguri/NJP till 3 pm.

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.

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 and Kolkata. 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. 

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 10 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.

From Kolkata(CCU)  take a flight to Bagdogra (IXB). From airport book a taxi to reach Siliguri which is 10 Km away.

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 waitlisted (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.

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 stand). It takes 30 minutes from Bagdogra or 15 minutes from NJP. There are hotels 5 minutes walking from NJP also.

Normally you reach NJP/Bagdogra from any trek base  by 5/6 pm in the evening. You can take any train after 7 pm to Kolkata safely, which reach early in the morning. Accordingly arrange your homeward journey from Kolkata onwards.

1

8.30 AM – 9.30 AM: Transportation

 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.
2

9.30 AM – 11.00 AM: Training

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.
3

11.00 AM – 2.00 PM: Surfing

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.
4

2 PM – 2.30 PM: Meals

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.
5

2.30 PM – 4.30 PM: Surfing

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.
6

4.30 PM – 5.30 PM: Surfing

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.
7

5.30 PM – 6.30 PM: Return

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.
8

5.30 PM – 6.30 PM: Return

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.: Distances and altitudes are approximate and may not be exact.

 photos are taken and shared by Rupam Chatterji, Shatadru Roy Chowdhury, Meenakshi Sarkar, Rajarashi Sarkar and Saptarashi Roy during various HT treks.

 CLICK HERE For List of Things to Carry in Singalila Pass & Phalut Trek OR DOWNLOAD PDF BROCHURE.

CLICK HERE For Registration and Cancellation OR DOWNLOAD PDF BROCHURE.

Booking:

  • We assume that you have read and understood the “Terms & Conditions” before any payment.
  • To book for a Fixed Departure or Customised Trek you need to pay 25% of the Trek Cost as the initial “Booking Amount”. You can pay by Online Transfer/Draft. This will ensure your participation in the desired trek. You need to pay the remaining amount at a later stage.

 Cancellation:

  • “Booking Amount” i.e. 25% of the Trek Cost is Non-Refundable at any stage.
  • If you cancel a trek before 15 days, we will refund 75% of the Trek Cost.
  • If you cancel a trek before 14 days to 7 days, we will refund 50% of the Trek Cost.
  • If you cancel a trek before 6 to 1 days 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.

Click to Download the PDF brochure 

Singalila pass trek

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