Experience from my Darjeeling Singalila Ridge Trek the sky of Himalaya !
| Posted by Sylvain bernouis | March 15, 2019 |
My name is Sylvain bernouis, I’m 32 and I come from France. I took a sabatical year to travel and I planed to stay 3 months in India. Initially, I didn’t plan to go to Sikkim but after 2 months in the hot Rajasthan I wanted to breathe et I was missing mountains. I heard that Sikkim was a quiet place and a paradise for trekkers. We were in March, the beginning of the good season to trek. Mountains are my dream and I was so happy to find them! I knew about 2 principals treks: the Singalila trek in Darjeeling and the Gochela in trek in Sikkim. Arriving in Darjeeling, I visited several agencys. I was looking for one serious with references, honest and safety. You know when you are a tourist, everybody wants your money so I wanted to have a good feeling with the agency before starting because I was going to pass several days with a guide, I had to trust in him
When I met Ashmita Trek and Tours, I felt immediately good with Subash, the Managing Director. He answered at all my questions honestly: for example I wanted first to do the Gochela trek in sikkim but he told me that it could be very difficult in this season because of the snow. He oriented me toward the Singalila ridge trek one who was more available. Subash told me about his references, how he worked with his team, he showed me equipments he could provided me because I didn’t have jackets, gloves, something against the rain and sticks. All was included in the price and I didn’t pay anything else. Sure it was more expensive for a lonely people like me but Subash let me time to think and he proposed me a lower price as he could and that decided me because he wanted to help me. I came two times to the agency and we prepared the trek with thoroughness. Subash was very professional and he reassured me on all the points. You know the weather was very bad outside but when he proposed me an umbrella to come back at the hostel while opening the window, we saw that the sun was suddenly shining! I took that for a good presage and told me I made the good choice…
My Trek Itinerary :
Day 01 : Darjeeling - Manyvanjang - Tumling 11km Trek 2,940m - 9645.ft
At 8 pm at my hostel I meet Mr, Subash thw Owner of Company with my guide Binod. Subash introduces us and we take a taxi to the beginning of the singalila ridge trek, the village of Maney Bhanjang 1 hour far. It’s a very sunny day and we have a wonderful view on the Lord of Sikkim, the Kanchenjunga. Arrived, we record at an office because the trek goes sometimes in Nepal along the border with India. 9:30 we start to walk! It’s a dream for me I’m so happy! The beginning is difficult because of a long time of steps. ‘’ Bistārai’(slow in Nepali) tells me Binod. After 1 hour we arrive at a lodge for a break. Binod offers me a black tea to take again strenght. And it’s a good surprise because I don’t have to pay, everything is included, I can have tea when I want. The view on the valley and the village we left is impressive. We follow our road and Binod learns me the name of some flowers and trees we see. One hour later it’s time to lunch with a great soup. The smog has come so we don’t lose time and take the road. When we arrive at Tumling (2930m), for the first night I’m happy! The lodge is very nice and I have my own room very comfortable for this altitude and I’m surprised. After a little sleep, Binod provides me tea with cookies: it will be the ritual everyday at this time. Nice! I walk in the village which is very quiet. I have time for me and I enjoy it. Waiting for the dinner, we speak with Binod and another guide around the fire. The dinner is very good with a lot of differents plates, good for tomorow ! I have a good night not so cold because I have a huge of blankets on me !
Tonglu Home Stay
Day 02 : Tumling - Sandakphu 19km Trek 3,636m - 11929ft
Binod wakes me up before 6pm to see the sunrise. We go at a hight point and the vision is surrealist: the massive of the sleeping buddha Kanchenjunga is wonderful (Kumbakarna, Pandim), covered by snow and silence. After a big welcome breakfast, here we go! Sometimes there is snow on the way but it’s ok. My guide takes care a lot of me and that’s a good thing. Binod talks about his life and his job with pleasure. I talk about mine too. We feel good together and that’s a very important thing in the mountain. Sometimes I can have moments alone like in the end arriving to Sandakphu (3636m!). And it’s good to have your own rhythm. Arriving, Binod takes me to my room which is smaller than yesterday but ok. Initially, because of the snow it was difficult to go to Phalut tomorow. When I ask Binod about it, he tells me it could be possible if I want but he doesn’t force me. I trust in him, so let’s go! Sleep, tea with cookies and after I go to see the sunset on the roof of the homestay. Moments of eternity…They don’t have electricity in the village but Binod provides me a friendly fire and I have dinner with a candle, so nice! After I go again on the roof to look at the magical and pure sky of stars. Sure I’ll remember those uniques moments…
Kanchanzonga seen from Tumling Village
Day 03 : Sandakphu - Phalut 21km 3,600m - 11,811ft
Like yesterday, Binod wakes me up for the sunrise and it’s incredible! Sadly we don’t see the Everest but the Makalu. Mountains decides of all here! A lot of things again for the breakfast and we start for a long day. It will be difficult because of the snow and the smog but Binod is always not far from me. I feel safety with him and I couldn’t find my way alone. We have a good rhythm, we don’t speak very much, I like it, just listening to the mountain… The lunch is on a little lodge, lost in the snow and the smog but there is fire and soup so what else ? 2 hours more and we arrive at Phalut. The lodge is basic but can we ask for more here? No! Everything is perfect, I have my own room with a lot of blankets and the ritual of tea and cookies. Outside there is storm of snow, inside I’m good. The dinner is very good and I take time to talk with the couple of the homestay. 5 months a year here, they are courageous!
Mount kanchenjunga view form Sandakphu
Day 04 : Phalut - Gorkhey 14km 2143m - 7,030ft
This time, the sightseeing is like in a dream: we see the Everest!!! In the cold and in the snow, Binod let me alone to appreciate this magic moment. After the breakfast (I eat too much on this trek but I can’t refuse !), we go for an easier day because we go down. There is snow but it’s ok for walking. The worst day was yesterday! 14km after we arrive at Gorkhey near a nice river where I put my feet, perfect for recuperation under a great sun ! I eat a delicious tibetan soup and we start for the last 8 km in a beautiful forest, crossing little villages. We arrive at Ramman where there is only 2 homestays. But our is perfect, again my own room with a great view. Before dinner, Binod makes me try the togba, the local beer which a drink with bambou, so funny! And Binot sings me a Nepali song from the mountain (Ressempilili?). I remember this kind moment. I pass a great moment after dinner around the fire with my guide and the couple of the homestay. They speak in Nepali but there are good vibes, the simplicity of life and no more…
Mount Everest Seen From Sandakphu
Day 05 : Gorkhey - Timburey 13km 1,800m - 5,905ft
It’s the last day. We only have 10 or 12km to Rimbick. So sad I’d like to follow! We always go down and see more villages than the others days. It’s sunny again, I’ m very lucky on this trek! We meet some street dogs but Binod is here to take care because they can be dangerous sometimes. The end of the trek is on the road and it’s not the best part. I try to not thinking at the return in jeep, isn’t it possible to walk? No because there are nearly 80 km ! Arrived at Rimbick, the end of the trek, we visit the typical market and take a collective jeep to Darjeeling for 4 hours ! But we have a great middle stop where Binod provides me a lot of delicious momos, speciality of the area ! I thought I had to pay, but no finally, it’s a good news! Binod stops at Maney Bhanjang and I finish the end of the way alone. Here we stop our way and I’ll have a great souvenir of him… I pass at the agency to give back my equipment but Subash tells me I can keep the jacket tonight (because it’s cold!) and we’ll see us tomorrow quietly.
Day 06 : Timburey - Rimbeek - Darjeeling
So at midday I come back to the agency to give my impressions of the trek. We have a friendly conversation with Subash. I tell him I want to follow my adventures through the Sikkim and he proposes me to rent another jacket (better for a lower altitude) and the sticks that he provides me…for free ! Yes definitively, I’m not considered as a client but as a guest! For me who is thinking of becoming a guide in my country, it was a very good experience that helped me to follow on my way. Is it a providential meeting? The future will surely tell us…
If you are planning Singalila ridge trek in darjeeling or sikkim region or if you have any question before your trip booking contact them they will make your trip memorable.