Located at a distance of 52 kilometers from Jalpaiguri, 15 kilometers from Lataguri and 10 kilometers from Chalsa, Gorumara National Park can be found on the floodplains of Rivers Murti and Jaldhaka in the Terai Region of the Himalayan foothills. The main highlight of Gorumara National Park is the overwhelming population of Indian rhinos. It is one of the best protected and well maintained parks according to the Ministry of Environment and Forests. The park covers an area of 80 square kilometers and the best time to visit the park is during the month of November through February when the weather is pleasant.

How to reach Gorumara National Park


Gorumara is located at a convenient position which can be reached by air, through rails and roads. Gorumara can be reached from Bagdogra within 2 hours through a winding road flanked by tea gardens. Alternatively one can reach the park by hiring a jeep or car from New Malbazar railway station or Maynaguri railway station. The car will take the National Highway 31 to Lataguri, the entrance to the park. For adventurous tourists you can take the path less trodden through Gajaldoba barrage over Teesta to reach Lataguri on the park outskirts.

Accommodation in Gorumara National Park


There are plenty of accommodation options around Gorumara National Park suiting the pocket of the travelers. There are budget accommodation facilities for tourists traveling on a stringent budget and on the other hand 3-4 star hotels and resorts display grand hospitality to the ones traveling extravagantly. The largest concentration of big budget resorts can be found in Lataguri. Both government and private resorts are available. Aranya Jungle Resort and Banai, WBFDC forest lodge near Murti River are the most popular ones. Some of the others include Aranya Resort – Lataguri, Riverwood forest retreat – Dhupjhora, Kakur Bari Resort – Dhupjhora, Sinclairs Retreast, Murti Cottages, Kalipur Eco Village and Dhupjhora Elephant Camps.

Attractions in Gorumara National Park


The diversity in the national park in terms of flora and fauna is astounding. It is home to 193 species of birds, 50 species of mammals, 22 species of reptiles, 27 species of fish and 7 kinds of turtles. All these different kinds of animals inhabit the park full of sal, teak, Bombax, grassland vegetation and Shirish trees. Different types of tropical orchids can also be found at the park. Gorumara is also famous for the safaris conducted for tourists. The entry fee at Gorumara is 40 INR. To see the fauna from close quarters you can opt for safaris which you have to book from the forest department.

Jataprasad is a famous watchtower named after the legendary female elephant Jataprasad located on the northern side of the park. There is also the Rhino Point close by. Methla Watchtower is in Kalipur eco village where a unique bullock cart driven safari is available. The others include Chukchuki Watchtower, Chandrachur Watchtower and Chapramari Watchtower. Rhinos, elephants, bisons, leopards and many other animals can be spotted from the watchtowers. Some of the other tourist attractions nearby include Jhalong, Bindu, Caron, Diana, Bhutan, Paren, Kalimpong Hills, and Jaldhaka.

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Rimbik is a small town that is located in the Singalila National Park. This small town can be described as a major attraction for people who are trekking from Darjeeling or a nearby area to the national park – a road that also includes the famous trek to Sandpakphu. In the recent years, tourists who wish to explore new destinations in addition to the established areas such as Darjeeling, Lava, Lolegao etc. have been visiting Rimbik as well. The hamlet is basically situated atop a mountain that overlooks the River Ramman that flows from Sikkim into Bengal. It could be described as the last major habitation on the Bengal side of the border. It is located in close proximity with both Nepal and Sikkim.

Rimbik has a big market that serves as a source of supplies that are needed by the nearby villages on a consistent basis. This is also one of the reasons why the local villages depend on Rimbik to a certain extent.

Attractions and accommodation facilities in Rimbik


As such there are not too many tourist attractions that one may be able to see in this small hill hamlet. However, as has been said already this place is a paradise for the trekkers. There are two routes that one can take from Rimbik en route to Sandakphu. There is a straight forest trail that emanates from Bikebhanjan to Rimbik. The other route connects Sandakphu to Rimbik and passes through Srikhola and Gurdung. This particular route is longer but this one is highly preferred by the trekkers over the first one.

There is an uneven road from Rimbik that you can take to reach Srikhola. The length of this road is about 7 km. It is from Srikhola that you can start your trek to Sandakphu. If you are not a hardcore trekker as such and wish to just partake in the experience just for the heck of it you could walk till Gurdung.

The small village named Timbure is located in between Gurdung and Srikhola. This is one area where you are sure to receive some basic accommodation facilities. It can also be assumed that since Rimbik is a trekkers’ destination you will get a number of trekking huts that will offer some decent facilities. Rimbik also offers you a fantastic view of Kanchenjunga.

Destinations near Rimbik


As has been stated already Rimbik is located on the route to Sandakphu. It is at a distance of 24 kilometers. Manebhanjan is at a distance of 55 km and it can be traversed in a car in around 2 and a half hours. Darjeeling, which is the place to be in this part of the world, is around 80 km and it takes approximately 4 hours to get to Darjeeling from Rimbik.

How to reach Rimbik


Siliguri lies at a distance of 130 km from Rimbik and it takes almost 5 hours to complete the tour. You can get down at the New Jalpaiguri Railway Station and then take a car on hire or board a bus that goes to Darjeeling via Ghoom.

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Singalila National Park located at the Singalila Ridge is a popular tourist destination in Darjeeling District West Bengal. Sitting at an altitude between 7,900 feet and 12,000 feet, it is a unique national park situated at the highest point in West Bengal. The Singalila National Park covers an area of 78.6 square kilometers and is popular for its wide range of flora, fauna and also because of the trekking route to Sandakphu and Phalut, two of the highest peaks in Singalila Range. Originally it was a wildlife sanctuary which has now been transformed into a national park where tourists are allowed to undertake jeep safari on the gravel road winding through the park starting from Manebhanjan.

How to reach Singalila National Park


Singalila National Park can be reached by road, railway and air. However, the easiest route is by road for which you have to travel from Siliguri to Manebhanjan where you will find the first sign of entrance to the park. The actual entry point is at Tumling which is a few kilometers from Manebhanjan. Another entry point of the park is through Rimbik which is another small settlement at the Singalila Ridge. The best time to visit the Singalila National Park is from March through May and again from October through early December. During the former months you will be able to see thick blossoms of orchids and rhododendrons covering the park. In the later months the snow capped peaks will dazzle you with their pristine beauty and color play during day and night in clear skies.

Accommodation in Singalila National Park


There are plenty of accommodation facilities available in and around the park. Gorkhaland Territorial Administration lodges and trekkers’ hut are available at various points like Gairibas, Tonglu, Sandakphu and Phalut. Online booking service is available. For non trekkers private lodges and huts galore at Tumling, Jhaubari, Meghma, Gairibas and Kalpokhri. One of the cheapest, well facilitated and best positioned accommodation units is the Shikhar Lodge near Singalila National Park.

Attractions in Singalila National Park


The Singalila National Park offers loads of attractions to the tourists which include its diverse and beautiful flora and fauna and the mesmerizing and enchanting view of Kanchenjunga and Everest. The forest is full of oak, ferns, silver firs, bamboo, primula, Bistort, Geranium, orchids, rhododendrons and magnolias. The rich fragrance and color of the trees and their blossoms fill the air during spring time. There are over 600 varieties of wild orchids in the Singalila National Park. This feature makes the park a unique destination in the world.

Amidst this beautiful environment live a large number of animals and birds which can be spotted during the jeep safari or trekking tour through the forest. The Red Panda, barking deers, pangolins, Pika, Takin, Clouded Leopard and birds like Satyr Tragopan, Old World Babblers and Golden-breasted Fulvetta can be spotted throughout the forest. A large number of reptiles and amphibians can be found near the Jore Pokhri and Sukhiapokhri Lakes.

The view from Sandakphu, the highest point of Singalila is enthralling. All the major peaks of Eastern Himalaya can be seen enveloped in a vast stretch of snow where time stands still.

Entry fee to the park is 100 INR and foreigners need to show their ID proof to enter the forest. Permission to enter the core area can be obtained from the forest department at Manebhanjan or Tumling.

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Also known as Sandakfu, Sandakphu is located at a height of 12,400 feet. It is the tallest peak in West Bengal and is located in the Darjeeling district. It is situated right next to the Singalila National Park, which is located on the border shared by neighboring states West Bengal and Sikkim. It also happens to be the tallest peak of the Singalila range. The specialty of Sandakphu lies in the fact that the peaks of Everest, Lhotse, Kangchenjunga, and Makalu – which happen to be among four of the five highest mountain peaks of the world – can be seen from its topmost point. It is said that it offers the finest view of Kangchenjunga.

The word Sandakphu means Height of Poison Plant, which can be taken as a reference to the various poisonous plants that grow over here.

How to reach


There are two ways to reach Sandakfu. One can take a car or trek. The route for trekking starts from Maneybhanjang and passes through the following areas before reaching the final destination:

  • Chitrey
  • Gairibas
  • Meghma
  • Kalapokhri
  • Tonglu
  • Bekhe
  • Tumling
  • Lamey Dhura
  • Joubari
  • Kaiyakatta
  • Bikeybhanjan
  • Sabarkum
  • Phalut
  • Gorkey
  • Gurdum
  • Srikhola

However, you can also take a jeep from Darjeeling or Maneybhanjang and head to this wonderful destination for a jeep safari that you may have never experienced before.

Accommodation


It needs to be kept in mind that Sandakphu is an area for trekking and it is not a town like Darjeeling that is awash with facilities like various kinds of hotels and eateries. The accommodation is rather basic. All that you will be finding en route your journey is homestay accommodation, which means people will allow you to stay at their houses in lieu of money and provide you basic supplies like water, food and sheets or rugs to cover yourself with. This depends on what you are asking for. You will get trekker huts at Maneybhanjang from where the journey starts, at Chitrey, Meghma, Joubari, Kalepokhri and Gurdum. One would find hotels only at Maneybhanjang and lodges are available at Tumling.

Attractions


Even though trekking is the main activity that will draw one to Sandakphu, the entire is filled with immense natural beauty that will take your breath away and make you forget your pain for a while. However, there are a couple of attractions for you while you visit Sandakphu and return from there:

  • Monastery at Chitrey
  • Red pandas at Joubari
  • Monastery at Meghma
  • Lake at Kalepokhri
  • Tonglu Lake
  • View of Kanchenjunga from Sabarkum and train to Gorkey or Srikhola
  • View of Kanchenjunga and Singalila peaks from Tumling

Things to remember


  • Sandakphu is located at a height of 12,400 feet. So if you have problems regarding traveling to such high altitude places get in touch with your doctor and take necessary precautions before the travel.
  • The temperature veers between 5 to 15 degrees in the summer season and between -5 and -10 degrees in the winter season. There is heavy rainfall in the period between July and September.
  • A trek can last anywhere between 6 to 11 days. So be physically fit and mentally ready to take up the challenge.
  • Do carry warm clothes, rucksack, sneakers and raincoats.
  • The food will be pretty simple and cooked by the professionals who accompany your porter and guide.
  • Costs for tour will depend on how long you are traveling, services availed by you from the concerned company and how many people are going with you.

 

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Established in 1986 Neora Valley National Park is located near Lava in Kalimpong subdivision of Darjeeling District. Covering an area of 89 square kilometers this park is of the richest biosphere reserve in India. Open from 8 am to 12 noon, 1pm – 4pm. It is closed on Thursdays. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations and is growing rapidly in importance due to the number of tourists and also due to the diverse flora and fauna of North Eastern Himalayas. Located at a distance of 32 kilometers from both Lava and Samsing which is the border area, Neora Valley National Park has been declared by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Entry fee to this awesome reserve is INR 20.

Covering an area of 89 square kilometers this park is of the richest biosphere reserve in India. Often referred to as the land of the endangered Red Panda, it offers a staggering variety of vegetation and also birds. The nature lovers will be overwhelmed by the abundance of rhododendrons, bamboo groves and mountain streams. The highest point of Neora Valley National park is 10,500 feet which is the Rachela Pass.

How to reach Neora Valley National Park


Both buses and cars can take you to North East India’s biggest biodiversity zone, Neora Valley National Park. Buses plying from Siliguri will take you to Kalimpong from where Lava is 32 kilometers. The entry point of Neora Valley National Park is through Lava. There is an alternative route through Samsing for which you have to reach Chalsa from Siliguri which is 65 kilometers. From Chalsa Samsing is about 18 kilometers from where you can enter the biological zone. Accommodation is obviously in Lava or Samsing depending on whichever route you are taking.

Attaractions in Neora Valley National Park


The geography of the Neora Valley National Park is unique. The heavy growth in the forest sometimes even restricts the sunlight from entering the forest. It is also known as the Virgin Forest and quite true to its name much of the forest land is yet to be discovered pushing the adventure lovers to explore those inaccessible parts. The Neora River is the primary water resource of Kalimpong.

The flora of the region is diverse and the virgin wilderness supports tropical, sub-tropical, temperate and sub-temperate vegetation inside it. Mixed species of bamboo, sal, oak, ferns, rhododendrons and various types of orchids can be found in the park. The fauna supported by the forest environment is even more diverse. Red panda, sloth bear, Himalayan Flying Squirrel, wild boar, leopard cat, goral, serow, civet are some of the mammal species living in the forest. Others include lizards, king cobra, green pit viper, moths, bugs, wasps, cicadas.

Neora Valley National Park is also known as the bird watchers’ paradise. Some of the most sought after birds can be spotted here within areas of 1600m-2700 meters. Birds like Jerdon’s Baza, Darjeeling Woodpecker, Crimson-breasted Woodpecker, Tragopan, Golden-throated Barbet, White-browed Bush Robin, White-tailed Robin can be seen.

Trek to Neora Valley National Park


This is also a trekkers’ paradise because he/she can explore the diversity while climbing up to the highest point of the park which is the Rachela Pass. Jaributi is a particular point inside the park which is full of medicinal plants. Other interesting points include the Tiffin Dara and the Red Panda Camp.

You must obtain the permit to enter the park from forest range offices in Lava and Samsing and nobody is allowed in the park after sunset.

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Ponbu is a small almost insignificant village of Eastern Himalayas. It is situated on the trek route from Samthar village to Purbikhola. Ponbu is part of adventure tourism on the eastern Himalayan range and is 8 kilometers from Samthar village. Located atop the ridge overlooking the vast Teesta River Valley and the surrounding plain lands of Terai, Ponbu is a refreshing break from the busy life in lower Kalimpong hills. You won’t be able to take your eyes off the view from Ponbu. There are numerous waterfalls cascading downstream to meet the Ponbu Khola which further flows into the mighty Teesta River. All these streams form isolated valleys which are all individual trekking spots.

How to reach Ponbu village


Reach Ponbu by trekking from Samthar and put up at the home stays due to be scarcity of hotels or other accommodation units. Take some time out to enjoy a typical village life at the home stays with the residents at their farmlands and poultry. Ponbu is home to around 100 families.

Attractions  at Ponbu


The trekking route to Ponbu is actually a bird watching trip. You can explore the Nezeok Reserve Forest which is home to around 250 species of birds. Some of them include White Browed Shrike Babbler, Greater Yellownaped, Blue Throated Barbet, Blue Winged Minla, Ashy Bulbul, Pygmy Blue Flycatcher (female), Paddy Field Pipit, Streaked Spiderhunter, Longtail Broadbill, Orange Bellied Flowerpecker, Blue Whistling Thrush. This trek is actually a bird watcher’s paradise and one that you will never forget.

Trekking at Ponbu


You can walk down to the Teesta Valley through this route if you are interested. Explore the river banks of Teesta and Rilli. While exploring you will find an exciting way to cross the river practiced by the local people. The hand pulled ropeway is one of the most thrilling ways to cross the Teesta River. Though not for the faint hearted, it is generally an attraction of this place. After you have explored enough, drive down to Kalimpong Gurudongma House for overnight stay.

The trekking trip to Ponbu is generally divided into Upper and Lower Ponbu and it is on the lower Ponbu trip you can admire the course of Teesta and its valley.

Accommodation in Ponbu


Generally, tourists do not stay overnight in Ponbu because that is outside the trekking itinerary. However, if you wish to stay there, then home stays will be available with food. Sometimes, the trekking team sets up camps at Ponbu to explore the variety of birds in the region.

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