Phoktey Dara Trek
A Himalayan first - timer’s trek starting from the tranquil village of Utteray. The trail takes you from lush temperate forests of lofty oaks, magnolias , fir and spruce to the low - lying juniper and stunted willows of the alpine zone. In Spring, marvel at the sight of the verdant forest dappled with crimson - red rhododendron blooms, trudge through magical mossy forests and catch glimpses of snow - clad peaks along the route.
Season: mid-March to mid-June; mid-September to December
Duration: 7 days
Altitude range: 2100m-4000m
Costs: USD80 per person per day; minimum of 6 pax
*Family-friendly; please see FAQ for details
Day 01: Airport or railway station to Utteray (2,100m); 5-6 hours.
Our guide will greet you on arrival and proceed to Utteray. A tranquil village, Utteray is the closest village to the border of Nepal in West Sikkim. The drive to Utteray takes about 5 hours and winds through mountain roads overlooking Teesta River, plunging valleys and picturesque villages. Overnight at Utteray.
Day 02: Utteray - Tenzing Hillary Memorial Park - Achalley (2,700m); 4-5 hours.
Post breakfast, we start the trek ascending through a Sherpa village in Utteray towards Tenzing Hillary Memorial Park. After a brief stop at park, the walk continues with a steep climb through dense rhododendron and giant magnolia forest to Achalley camp. You may spot birds like blood pheasant or yellow billed magpie or wildlife like musk deer, red panda. Overnight at Achalley Camp.
Day 03: Achalley - Kalijhar (3,500m); 4 hours.
The trek from Achalley to Kalijhar passes through mossy forests and traverses denser forests of rhododendrons and giant magnolias. We will amble across the vast, tranquil grasslands of Thulo Dhup (2,800m) where we can break for lunch. The trail continues on a steep ascend to Kalijhar, a campsite with alpine shrubs and panoramic views of the peaks on a clear day. Overnight at Kalijhar.
Day 04: Kalijhar - Phoktey Dara Viewpoint (4,000m), 1 hour.
Rise before dawn to hike up to Phoktey Dara viewpoint to catch the sun rising over the mighty Kanchendzonga massif. After savouring the jaw-dropping view, head back to Khalijar camp for breakfast. After breakfast, take a leisurely hike to the Singalila Range viewpoint. On a clear day, you will see the stunning panorama of the “Sleeping Buddha” formation with four of the world’s highest peaks: Mt Everest, Mt Kanchendzonga, Mt Lhotse and Mt Makalu. Overnight at Kalijhar.
Day 05: Kalijhar to Joributey (2,700m); 6 hours.
Day 06: Joributey to Hilley (2600m); 7 hours.
The trail meanders through the pristine forest of Barsey Rhododendron Sanctuary with Kanchengdzonga peaks as its backdrop. The 104sqkm-nature reserve is a vital corridor that connects Kanchendzonga National Park to its north with West Bengal’s Singalila National Park to its south. In April and May, the area is ablazed with a riot of colours from the rhododendron blooms. From Barsey, you will also spot Sikkim’s major peaks like Pandim, Rathong, Kabru and Kumbjakarna.
Day 07: Hilley to airport or railway station; 5 hours.
Day 04 Kalijar - Phoktey Dara - Singalila Ridge – Thulo Dhup; 6 hours. Overnight at Thulo Dhup campsite.
Day 05 Thulo Dhup – Utteray; 4-5 hours
Savor the tranquil village life in Utteray and overnight at homestay or a hotel.
Day 06: Drive from Utteray to Pelling; 2 hours.
Enroute to Pelling, we will stop at Singshore bridge, supposedly the second highest suspension bridge in Asia with pretty view of the deep gorge and quaint villages nestled on the mountain slopes. In Pelling, we will visit Pemayangtse Monastery, Rabdantse Ruins (Rabdantse is the second capital of the former Kingdom of Sikkim from 1670 to 1814) and Rabdantse Bird sanctuary, if time permits. Overnight at a Pelling hotel with sweeping view of the Kanchendzonga Massif.
Day 07: Drive to airport or railway station; 6 hours.
Trekking costs include:
1. Transportation to and from the closest airport or railway station.
2. Accomodation on arrival day and after the trek.
3. All necessary permits and taxes for the trek.
4. All meals during the trek and in Utteray and Pelling, support team, experienced trekleader/guide, pack animals.
1. Air fare
3. Tips, alcohol and beverage
4. Travel Insurance or any personal expenses