One of India's best spring/summer treks for flower lovers
Panoramic views of Kanchenjunga, and even Everest on a clear day
Sip tea in Darjeeling, and maybe even ride the Toy Train!
One of those rare treks where you can you feast your eyes on four of the five highest peaks in the world - Mt. Everest, Makalu, Kanchenjunga, and Lhotse!
The Singalila Ridge trek is possibly one of India's best treks, and is widely acclaimed as one of the classic walks of the Himalayan foothills. You have panoramic views of the world’s third highest mountain, Kanchenjunga 28168 ft /8586 m, her satellites, and on a clear day, Everest herself. The walk essentially follows a well-defined ridge that is more elevated than the other foothills that lie between it and the main Himalayan range. Sunrises and sunsets are particularly spectacular.This itinerary has everything you could possibly want - touches of luxury in old fashioned hotels of character, brisk exercise in the Himalayan foothills on a classic trekking route, a ride on Darjeeling’s world-famous mountain railway and some interesting road journeys.
When you trek with MHE, you can be assured that we are backed by many years in the business of providing safe and sustainable adventure trips. The staff you deal with in the office, all the way through to the guides and porters on trek, have years of experience in safe and enjoyable trekking behind them. We can advise you on the right gear, the right training, and no question is too crazy for us to answer.
Our trips are designed for your maximum enjoyment and comfort, taking into consideration the environment and conditions, wherever you are. And since we firmly believe that an "army marches on its stomach", our chefs on the expedition will try their best to cook up a storm!
We use the best available camping and safety equipment and try to ensure you are as comfortable as possible. Please remember though, that you are in a remote and difficult location, and your expectations should be reduced accordingly.
We believe in sustainable, ethical and responsible tourism. Our guides are all CPR-trained and First Aid certified, the porters receive above standard wages, and we do not allow them to carry more than 30 kg (the international standard set by IPPG). Our crew are all insured, and provided with suitable clothing and equipment.
We support the local economy wherever possible, and do NOT encourage giving any gifts of sweets, pens etc to the charming local children you meet along the trail. If you are really interested to donate something, please discuss with us first.
Our "all inclusive" trip means that you aren't constantly rummaging for money, and you know up front what is included.
Trip starts from: Darjeeling No. of days of the trip: 11 No. of trekking days: 7 Maximum altitude: 3,816m Kalapokhari Trekking Grade: Moderately Challenging All-Inclusive Cost: contact us for details We are adventure lovers here at MHE and want to make adventure travel accessible to any one who yearns it. That is why we've introduced the Pay Monthly scheme. That's right, you can now pay in manageable monthly instalments! Simply call us for more details.
DAY 1: FLY TO BAGDOGRA, DRIVE TO DARJEELING
Fly to Bagdogra airport, on the plains of West Bengal, where we will meet you and start the drive up through the hills, forests, and tea plantations, to Darjeeling. The drive could take about 4 hours. After checking in at the hotel, take a walk around the Chowrasta, visit tea shops, and get your trek legs ready!
Overnight at hotel.
DAY 2: DRIVE TO MANEBHANJYANG | TREK TO MEGHNA | 2,883M | 5 HRS
Drive about 1½ hrs to Maneybhanjang - just 26 KM from Darjeeling. From here you begin the trek. The trail is a pretty steep gradient up on a paved path, through evergreen forest and bamboo glades, before you stop for lunch at Chitray (8284ft/2525m) where there is a 75-year-old monastery, belonging to the Nyingma-pa sect.
You continue uphill through forests of Chimal and Magnolia trees - keep an eye out for the beautiful and rare Red Panda here! You walk for about 2-3 hours until you reach camp at Meghma, which also has a small but interesting monastery.
Overnight at camp.
DAY 3: TREK TO KALAPOKHARI | 3,816M | 5 - 6 HRS
From Meghma it is a beautiful walk along a well-defined undulating path with views of Kanchenjunga at every bend. The path goes past tiny settlements and the little village of Kanyakatta to Kalapokhari.
DAY 4: TREK TO SANDAKPHU | 3,636M | 5 - 6 HRS
You begin by trekking 4 kms to Kalapokhari. This is a crystal lake, surrounded by pine trees. Then you ascend for about another 4 kms as far as Bikhebhanjang (10,978ft/3,346m). You will now reach the magnolia and rhododendron forests around Sandakphu, from where you will see of some of the world's highest and most magnificent mountains, including Everest on a clear day, Kanchenjunga and Makalu.
DAY 5: TREK TO MOLLEY | 5-6 HRS
The trail follows along a ridge through chestnut, oak and silver fir, with commanding views of the Himalaya all along the route. Molley is a small village in the alpine-like forest.
Overnight at campsite.
DAY 6: TREK TO PHALUT | 3,600M | 5 HRS
This is a fairly easy walk to the tri-junction of Sikkim, Nepal and Bengal. This is the main and best viewpoint for the spread of mountains to the north. The afternoon is free to explore or just gaze at the mountains.
Overnight at campsite.
DAY 7: TREK TO RAMAM | 2,560M | 5 HRS
A gentle walk in a hidden valley, passing through the villages of Gorkhey and Samaden en route. This is an easy descent, with the weather getting warmer with the decrease in altitude. There should be orchids and a full range of spring flowers in view.
Overnight at camp.
DAY 8: TREK TO RIMBICK | 2,286M | 6 HRS
For the first 9 km or so this trek is along fairly level paths until Sirkhola, a well-known bird-watching centre. From here the path begins a gentle gradient down to Rimbick, the largest town in the area. It is possible to see Darjeeling from the town.
DAY 9: DRIVE TO KALIMPONG
It is a fairly long drive back to Kalimpong (approx 7-8 hrs) and you will arrive after a lunch stop at Sukhia.
Overnight at hotel.
DAY 10: DRIVE TO BAGDOGRA, FLY HOME
After breakfast, you have another interesting drive descending from the foothills to the Indian plains. Plenty of monkeys in the forest near the Teesta River and wild elephants are not unknown in the jungle fringing the hills. (4-5 hr drive). Board your outward flight and return home.
Nine nights accommodation in hotels/expedition camping tents on twin sharing basis.
Pick-up and drop to the Bagdogra airport as per the itinerary.
Camping and trekking costs.
All meals from dinner on Day 1 to breakfast on Day 10 (09 Breakfasts, 08 Lunches, and 11 Dinners).
All government taxes included.
Costs Do Not Include:
International/Domestic air fare or train fare.
Unforeseen expenses that demand a change in itinerary like natural forces, changes in weather, road blockages, flight/train cancellations and illness.
Medical, Travel, or Evacuation insurance.
Expenses of a personal nature - tips, laundry, phone calls, beverages.
• When we have groups of 4+ people we supply a comprehensive first aid kit carried by your guide. For individual trekkers and small groups (less than 4 people) we supply a basic first aid kit carried by your guide
• Your local trek guide and leader of the trekking crew (which depends on group size): Guides and Porters with equipment and clothing (snow gear, warm gear, sleeping gear) and with all accommodation, meals and insurance provided for your crew.
The first things you need: • Sleeping bag and liner – a 3 or 4 season bag is recommended, depending on your trek • Down jacket – need for this depends on the season and where you are going • Kit / duffel bag – required to pack your gear in (suitcases are not suitable) Please note: Unless you advise us otherwise we will assume you are bringing these items with you. If you need help to buy or rent them, please just let us know, we’re more than happy to help. Other items that we recommend you take on trek: • Loose comfortable T-Shirts NOT COTTON or long sleeved shirts for sun protection • Long trousers (for cultural reasons, we request you not to wear tight pants or shorts. If you really want to wear shorts, please make them loose fitting and long) • A warm jacket / fleece pullover • A thermal layer (shirt and pants) • A water and wind proof layer (jacket and pants) • Woollen or thermal gloves • Sun hat and sun glasses • Woollen or fleece hat • Scarf / stretchy ‘buff’ • Socks – depending on the season bring either warm, woollen socks or cool, breathable cotton socks • Comfortable and worn in trekking boots • Sandals or flip flops for camp • A comfortable day pack with adjustable waist and shoulder straps • Personal toiletries - shampoo, soap, shavers, moisturizer, travel towel, etc • Ziplock bags are handy for convenient leak-proof storage • Sun block and lip balm • Dust mask/ scarf / stretchy ‘buff’ for dusty trails • Personal first aid kit + any personal medications you need to take + water treatment tablets/drops • Camera, batteries and charger, music, book • Airtight and waterproof ‘dry bags’ are great for 1) keeping your clothes dry and 2) storing your dirty laundry separate from clean clothes! • Sleeping bag liner – either silk, cotton or fleece • WATER BOTTLES - please be able to carry 2 litres of water and have bottles that can handle boiling/hot water • HEAD TORCH and spare batteries • Your sense of humour and adventure!
What to take with you in your day pack: Please carry the following in your day pack, as a minimum: • 2 litres of water (please make sure your water bottles will take boiling/hot water) • sunscreen, sun glasses, sun hat, lip balm, dust mask / scarf / ‘buff’ to help on dusty trails • warm fleece or thermal layer and gloves • water proof layer • head torch • hand cleaner • your camera • any money you want for snacks/drinks along the trail • CRITICAL – take any personal medications you require during the day – you will not see your kit bag until evening.
The rest you can put into your kit bag which will be carried by the porters, whom you won’t see until camp in the evening. It’s a great idea to use dry bags (ie airtight/waterproof) in your kit bag to store your dry clothes in to keep them DRY in case it rains and one to put your dirty laundry in (to keep from making everything else in your bag smell bad!).
Food on trek: You will probably be surprised by the menu items on an MHE trek. We know how important food is, and we don't stint by giving you 2 minute noodles and Cup a Soup. You'll get teal food in a home cooked style. And plenty of it! If you have any special dietary requirements, please advise us when booking your trek so that we can cater for you. Note: sometimes not all dietary requirements are able to be met, but please inform us and we will certainly do our best!
Some tips for staying healthy: • Do NOT drink or brush your teeth with tap water or untreated water! • Drink only properly boiled water or use water purification tablets, such as iodine. Bottled water is available, but as the plastic cannot be recycled we request you to consider the waste impact of your bottles – we recommend you drink boiled water or use iodine. • Your hands are perhaps your biggest enemy in terms of your health as they get very dirty during the day. Wash your hands before every meal or snack. People often think they get sick from the food, but it’s far more likely they forgot to wash their hands! • During the trek DO NOT try to test your fitness and walk too high, too quickly! Listen to your guide and take their advice as they are trained to look after your safety. Altitude sickness is a killer and you MUST take it seriously.
First aid kit: When we have groups of 4+ people we supply a comprehensive first aid kit carried by your guide. For individual trekkers and small groups (less than 4 people) we supply a smaller first aid kit carried by your guide It is recommended that you bring a small personal medical kit including your preferred painkillers, throat lozenges, plasters, strapping tape for blisters, etc. If you are taking regular medication you MUST bring those medicines with you PLUS an extra supply in case one pack is lost. If you have any allergies and/or take any medications, you MUST advise us when booking your trek!
The trails: Trekking trails vary from wide, road-like avenues to narrow, slippery paths built out over enormous drops. In many places, a fall from the trail would be fatal. One must pay attention at all times to where you are placing your feet. Be especially careful not to move while looking through the view finder of your camera!
Be prepared for the weather: Each altitude has its own weather, from tropical heat to arctic cold. In the main trekking seasons in the spring and autumn, the weather is generally stable and even the high passes may be free of snow and relatively easy to traverse at times. Some trekkers who have encountered an easy day at altitude may spread the word that boots and warm clothing are not required. This is a mistake. Sudden storms occur at any time, dumping snow on the passes without warning. At that point, any one poorly equipped will not be able to proceed and may even be stranded for a number of days risking their life and the lives of others. You are heading into the worlds highest mountain range. Be prepared for changes in temperature and weather!! Altitude and preventing Altitude Sickness • Being in a hurry in the mountains can be deadly. Acclimatization is the word used to describe the adjustments your body makes as it ascends to higher altitudes. • Ascending slowly, with appropriate rest days and drinking plenty of water is one of the best ways not to get Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS). Data indicates that drinking 3-4 litres of fluids (water, soup etc) per day to avoid dehydration helps in the acclimatization process. • You should not plan to go to high altitude if you have heart disease, difficulty breathing at sea level or are pregnant. You should consult your doctor about any known medical conditions if you are considering trekking in high altitude (over 2500m). • Avoid sleeping pills, alcohol and smoking while at altitude as they tend to decrease breathing and lead to AMS. • The first aid kit carried by your guide includes Diamox and other altitude medications and he/she is trained in the identification of AMS symptoms and their treatment. You MUST take their advice. If anything happens to your guide the first aid kit has a Wilderness Medicine handbook with comprehensive information about altitude sickness and other ailments. When relevant, your pre-trek briefing will include information about what to expect and what to do to avoid AMS before embarking on your trek.
Tipping and cash requirements: While all main meals are provided on trek, do not forget to bring some rupees for drinks or snacks that you might purchase on the way. You will be surprised by what is available on the popular trekking routes now! The amount to carry on the trekking routes depends on the area you are going to trek in, so please ask your guide for advice. Tipping is now common but there is no strict rule about how much the tip should be. You should only tip if you are satisfied with the service.
Photographing people: During your trek you will have many opportunities to photograph local people and the amazing scenery and you will use tons of film/memory space! When you want to take a photo of a person, please ask them first and respect their right to refuse – you will be surprised how easy it is to convey the request to take someone’s photo even when you don’t share a common language! If you have a digital camera it is considerate (and fun!) to show them their photo and if it’s possible to arrange to have copies printed and sent to them this is an amazing gift! However do not promise to do so if you are not sure you can deliver on the promise, so please talk to your guide about this! Photos can be a brilliant way to establish a connection with local people, but please respect their right to privacy.
Considering the Environment: While trekking you have to be careful not to destroy the very environment you are enjoying so much. It is not only for your enjoyment, people and wildlife rely on this environment for their drinking water and food supply and many places are of enormous religious significance to local people.
There are many ways you can help to conserve the environment of the area in which you trek. Here are some simple tips: • pick up any litter along the trail; • burn all your toilet paper and bury your faeces when not in camp, make sure you go at least 50m away from any water source; • do not make campfire, nor consume food cooked on wood fires; • drink boiled/treated water instead of mineral water as the plastic bottles are a problem; • stick to the trails to prevent erosion and damage to fragile alpine flora • ensure all rubbish is packed out (or burnt/buried if appropriate).
Insurance: All tour participants should obtain their own personal insurance which covers medical and emergency evacuation at a minimum. You will of course also want cover for loss or damage to personal effects, flight or trip cancellation etc.
Final tips! To ensure that you have the best time possible and that the local area benefits from your visit, please respect local traditions, customs, values and the environment. You will have a great time if you are open to the warm hearted local hospitality and if you respect their efforts to protect their local culture and maintain local pride. • Respect privacy when taking photographs • Respect holy places and dress appropriately • Refrain from giving money or food to children. There are many good organisations working to help street children, we recommend you support them instead of encouraging the kids to stay on the street. • Protect the natural environment, see above • Finally, respect local ways.