Getting to the top of Sandakphu isn’t easy, and you can be sure the view will take your breath away. This mountain isn’t one you should take lightly, but it’s not one you should shy away from either. Here are ten memorable things to do on your Sandakphu trek that you won’t forget in a hurry.
Get Clear Directions
Some people get lost in more ways than one on their trek to the top of Sandakphu. If you’re driving, you can get directions from Darjeeling by asking at your hotel or finding someone local who knows where it is. If you’re going with a tour operator, they should offer good directions as well. It’s best if you leave Darjeeling by 7am so that you can watch the sunrise from atop of Mount Singalila.
Pack Light and Right
As you prepare for your trek, it’s important to think about what gear you absolutely need and what gear you can leave behind. The lighter your pack, the more enjoyable your trek will be. Here are a few items that you can live without
Have Decent Footwear
It’s worth noting that much of your trek will take place off-trail, making it important to have decent footwear. The better your footwear, and care for it, can determine how well you perform on the trail. I recommend taking one day hiking boots (such as these from KEEN) with you on your trip so that you can better acclimate yourself. Other than that, it’s best to wear sandals made specifically for hiking.
Dress in Layers
The temperature in the Himalayas varies greatly over any given day. This means you should dress in layers; long-sleeved shirts are great for sun protection while warm clothes can be worn underneath when temperatures drop. If you’re planning on camping, plan your outfits around cold or warm weather as opposed to night and day.
Get Good Gear
Sandakphu trek is one of the most dangerous treks in India. To help you reach Sandakphu without any problem, pack the right gears. Make sure that your trekking shoes are sturdy and comfortable enough for you to walk a few hours daily. Bring your light weight tent along with extra batteries in case there is any power cut. Make sure that you have taken all necessary medication like an antacid, zinc tablets and other stuff according to your doctor’s advice.
Don’t Skip Breakfast
Breakfast is by far one of my favorite meals. Not only does it give me energy for my day, but it also prepares me for my upcoming lunch and dinner. The first meal of your day is an opportunity to eat healthy food with little guilt. So don’t skip breakfast!
Bring Good Snacks
One of the most memorable parts of any trek is food. Bring plenty of snacks that you enjoy, especially if you’re taking your time getting there. This will help you avoid having to stop at restaurants along your way, which will just slow down your trip and add to your expenses. Be sure to pack protein-rich foods, like nuts and crackers, as well as fresh fruits and vegetables for maximum benefits.
Follow the Trail Markers
The most memorable thing about Sandakphu trek is following trekking route marks. As you start off, there’s only a faint trickle of water from below and no signs of human habitation. Over time, as you climb higher, you’ll see more signs of life and it’s almost like breaking through into another world. The first sign is clumps of Rhododendron forests; then grasslands; then finally pine forests with snow-capped mountains towering above.
Keep an Eye Out for Wildlife
Wildlife sightings are quite common in these parts, so make sure you keep your eyes peeled for them—particularly for monkeys, red pandas and Himalayan tahrs. Keep an eye out for bird species like kalij pheasants, monal pheasants and blood pheasants. And if you’re lucky enough to spot a tiger or leopard (yes, they do roam these parts), make sure you tell your guide immediately so he can help locate it and keep everyone safe.
Go Barefoot at Sunset.
A trek to Sandakphu is incomplete without walking barefoot on its slopes. You might want to carry a pair of shoes in your backpack, but make sure you’re not wearing them while walking around. The best time for doing it is at sunset, when you can enjoy some peace and quiet surrounded by lush greenery. Take off your shoes and feel each pebble beneath your feet. But tread carefully because sometimes sharp rocks could hurt you if you aren’t careful. Walking barefoot makes you relax; it will also help you connect with nature better than anything else would!