Places to Go Backpacking in DarjeelingDarjeeling is one of the superb places to explore for backpackers. It was recognized first for trekking tour by famous traveler Father Richard Macdonald. Interestingly he was from Canadian origin and loved to trek at Darjeeling along with his permanent job of teaching in St. Joseph’s College. Back in 1960s, he recognized several routes that are best for trekking. Since then, people looking for adventure are encouraged to come down at Darjeeling and enjoy climbing its tough terrains.
One of the interesting facts about Darjeeling is that out of the highest peaks in world, four peaks Mt Everest, Lhotse, Makalu and Kanchenjunga can be watched in a single stretch at Darjeeling. The trekking routes in this hill station are surrounded by pristine and untouched nature carrying 400 species of birds, infinite numbers of trees and plants along with high altitude wild animals. It is a mesmerizing experience to pass through verdant meadows filled with colorful flowers and entire region encircled with souring mountains.
Darjeeling is spread in the span of 3000 square kilometers and holds many interesting backpacking and hiking routes. Few of these routes are hard and can be accomplished by professional trekkers, while most of the routes in Darjeeling can be completed by casual walkers as well. It is suggested that tour operators or guides should be taken along on such tranquil routes for pleasurable tour. They arrange all needful accessories and essentials for the trip. Here, we have included most of the soft routes along with few hard ones to go backpacking in Darjeeling.
Sandakphu and Singalila Trek in DarjeelingIt is a 5- 6 days trekking route that starts from Manebhanjan, the virtual base for Sandakphu summit. It is the most alluring routes for backpackers passing through orchid’s fields, lush meadows and green terrains. At the peak of Sandakphu, you can watch all four highest peaks mentioned above along with others located in Nepal Sikkim Bhutan and Tibet. Sangalilla National Park is the major area needed to be crossed during trek to Sandakphu.
The route goes in a way of Manebhanjan - Tonglu - Kalipokhri - Sandakphu. There are few small hamlets and villages falling on the route. These places are useful for overnight stay while you are on trekking tour. Local huts and small dormitories are available for accommodation at Sandakphu trekking route. It needs 6-8 hours of daily trekking to reach Sandakphu in 3 days. Not to mention that rest 2 days are required to get back to the base camp.
This route is permissible only with proper guide, so arrange to book online or at Manebhanjan which is the base of this route. It remains close for 3 months between June and September which is monsoon time in the valley. The National Park also remains closed down for people because it is the breeding time for the animals.
Backpacking to Phalut Trek in DarjeelingBackpackers can do further climbing, up to Phalut which is another 21 km from Sandakphu. It is an easy trek which can be accomplished with a trained guide. It is almost 1-2 days trip to Phalut from Sandakphu. Essentials and necessary items should be taken from Phalut itself for survival. Water and food is hard to find in the trekking route to Phalut. Hence arrange all necessities at Sandakphu.
You will find Sabarkum village between the routes which is major halt at the distance of 14 km. The summit of Phalut is occupied by the army bunkers. It is spellbinding experience to watch mesmerizing views of Mount Everest, Kanchenjunga, and other beautiful mountain ranges. Jeep facility has been deployed by tourism department between Manebhanjang to Phalut via Sandakphu for people not familiar with trekking.
Important tips for Sandakphu Sangalilla Phalut Trek
- Entry fee in Sangalilla National Park is around Rs.100 for Indians and Rs. 200 for foreigners. That needs to be paid.
- Try to take BSNL SIM for better connectivity. Due to lack of electricity, solar chargers are used to charge mobiles and camera batteries. Keep extra batteries as well. Locals offer charging facility for nominal fee.
- Food, water, connectivity, and woolens are necessary for life at this trek. Get these on the way where it is available. Be aware of changing weather at high altitude.
- October and Novembers are best time to trek out this place. During this phase, visibility is good, temperature remains between 1 and 6 degrees, and sky remains clear offering excellent views of peaks.
One Day Trekking routes for backpacking in Darjeeling
Backpacking to Tiger Hill Route
Tiger Hill is one of the outstanding summits found on the mountains of Himalayan ranges. It is one day trip to Tiger Hill trekking through the ups and down of rough pathways. It is nearly 13 km from the heart of city, Chowrasta Mall. Adventurists can go backpacking with little accessories, clothing, woolen and food along with water. The trek is routed through Ghoom and then a steep trek to Tiger Hill. The peak of this hill is embarked with magnificent views of snowcapped mountains and majestic environment. The trek is entirely covered with wild flower plants which blossoms during April/ March. To shorten the trek of 13 km you can take shared jeep to and from Ghoom.
Backpacking to Tonglu - Tumling Route in DarjeelingTonglu is nine kilometers trekking from Manebhanjan in Darjeeling district. It is one of the simplest treks available in Darjeeling for people trying trekking for first time. Up to Tonglu via Manebhanjan, shared jeeps and private taxis are available for travelers.Some part of this Tonglu-Tumling route is observed to be same as Sandakphu.
Manebhanjan is 26 km from Darjeeling main town while Tonglu is another 11 km from Manebhanjan. This trek is almost flat routed through meadows. Steep trails and up hills are not found this trek so it is a little bit effortless for backpackers. The path goes up to the height of 10,130 feet and return back through Tumling region. Visitors get opportunity to see peaks of Kanchenjunga and other snow peaks on the route along with lush green environment of Darjeeling.
The trek starts from Chitrey location for adventurist people who prefer hiking and climbing up the steep hills. From here, you can climb up to Tumling which is nearly 10 km. If you are exhausted, then take return seat from Tumling itself for Darjeeling.
Go Backpacking at Jungle Trek in DarjeelingJungle trek is offered in the region of Kurseong in Darjeeling. It is between St. Mary’s Hill and Dilaram. This route of backpacking is somewhat simple and specially designed for newcomers. The trekking route of this jungle is comprised of pine trees, chest trees, and other medicinal plants. You need to walk down from St. Mary Hills-Old St. Mary’s Forest Theology college- Grotto- Forest Officers Bunglow- Dowhill Park- Old Military Road- Chimney Village- Chaitapani- Bagora- Dilaram. There are sufficient conveniences available from Dilaram (carter road) to come again.
Backpacking to Singell-Ambootia Tea Estate in DarjeelingIt is small but exotic route to trek in one day from Darjeeling. It is located in Kurseong which is one hour drive away from here. The trek starts from Singell Tea Factory-Coffee Bari- Balasun River and ends at Ambootia Tea Estate. It is nearly 6-7 hours trekking path for trekkers.
Apart from these, there are many small and lengthy trekking routes to go backpacking in Darjeeling. Dzongri Goechala, Kalimpong Village trek, and tea garden safaris are quite popular among the backpackers coming in Darjeeling. Tour operators are the best way to explore hidden areas of Darjeeling without getting in any hassle. Monsoon should be avoided for visiting in this region. Summer and pre-winter season are best to get in this area for checking out precious locations situated at peaks of Darjeeling.