The prospect of visiting the hills is something that transports most of us to a happy mindspace. Darjeeling is on every traveller’s bucket-list for reasons more than one. Not only is it easy to reach from the eastern part of the country, it also offers magnificent views and expansive experiences to an adventure lover. Holidaying at Darjeeling can mean a lot more than turning up at the Mall Road or riding the toy-train to Ghoom. If you are an adventure-seeker keen on experiencing something more, there are ample trekking opportunities in and around Darjeeling. There are many Darjeeling hotels which can arrange these for you. Listed below are a few of the options you can explore.
The Singalila Trek to Sandakphu from Manebhajan
This is one of the most popular treks from Darjeeling. Fret not, and hustle on as this trek involves easy walking. Most trekkers are able to complete the 32km route in about five days. The trek starts from Manebhajan, a short drive away from Darjeeling. The established routes will take you through the Singalila National Park and many picturesque mountain villages. Orchids, magnolias and rhododendrons crowd the valleys on the way. Pine forests and oak trees fill up the slopes. Take in a deep breath of the cool and crisp mountain air to revitalise your mind.
Sandakphu is the highest summit of the Singalila Range. Upon reaching Sandakphu, you will be greeted by the most glorious of view of the Himalayas – of Mount Everest, Kanchenjunga, Lhotse and Makalu. It is a humbling experience.
The Phalut Trek from Sandakphu to Phalut
The word ‘phalut’ has been derived from the Lepcha word ‘fak-luk’ meaning ‘barren peak’, as the last stretch to Phaluk is quite barren. Phalut is 21 km away from Sandakphu. It is a relatively easy terrain but there are stretches where the gradient turns steep. During the walk, you will see the Everest group of mountains on your left and the Kanchenjunga right ahead of you. From the Phalut Summit, the the Kanchenjunga Range looks much closer and larger. It is only 48 km away as the crow flies!
Day treks in the Darjeeling area
Not all treks have to be overnight adventures or last for days. Some of them you can wrap up in a day. There are many budget hotels in Darjeeling as well who have operators and guides to plan such excursions.
Tonglu and Tumling
Set out at 7AM in the morning for Dhotrey. From there, there is a 3 hour trek to Tonglu. On a clear day, you will catch jaw-dropping views of the Kanchenjunga Peak. If you are lucky, you will also see the Everest.
From Tonglu, head to Tumling. It is only 2 km away. You will see the Kanchenjunga once more. On the return leg, halt at the mountain villages of Meghma and Lamhadhura. Grab a bite here. The meals are prepared and served with care.
Tiger Hill can be approached via two routes. You can either take the Tenzing Norgay Road, which passes by tea gardens and the Aloobari Monastery, or take the Gandhi Road. You will see lots of rhododendrons on the way on the second track, especially during the months of March and April. From Ghoom, the ascend to Tiger Hill starts. Many tourists drive up to Tiger Hill to view the Kanchenjunga Range at the break of day. When you trek to the same destination, the thrill of the experience is something else altogether!
Trekking requires agility of mind, dexterity of being and a stout resolve. Plan your trek to stay ahead of the curve. Pack smart and travel light. The mountains will come alive for you.