School Trek - Singalila Ridge

A great first-time trek for a school group, on easy trails





From 0 Land only

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Holiday Overview


  • A community project day at a local school in Darjeeling
  • Visit Darjeeling, Pelling and Kalimpong
  • Spectacular views of Kangchenjunga, Makalu, Everest and Lhotse
  • Visit the tea plantations in Darjeeling

A varied and challenging School Adventure to the Indian region of Sikkim and its famous Singalila Ridge. In common with the neighbouring countries of Nepal and Bhutan, the landscape of this northerly projection of India is extremely varied: ranging from intensively farmed valleys in the south, through a higher alpine environment, to the high Himalayan peaks in the north of the territory. This part of India is one of the least-visited of all the Himalayan lands and remains pristine and unspoiled. It receives a great deal of rainfall during the summer monsoon and boasts particularly lush and varied vegetation, especially at lower altitudes. Sikkim is also culturally diverse, with Tibetan, Mongolian (Lepcha) and Indian peoples intermixed with immigrant Nepalese. Buddhism is one of the most important religions and there is the opportunity to visit several important Buddhist monasteries during the course of the trip. The jewel in Sikkim's crown is surely Kangchenjunga (8586m.), the world's third highest peak, which lies on the western edge of the state. The trekking element of this trip is the splendid 7-day walk along the famous Singalila Ridge, a prominent spur of high ground that forms the border between India and Nepal. The trek along this ridge is renowned as being one of the most scenically rewarding in the entire Himalaya, with views of Kangchenjunga, Makalu, Everest, Lhotse and a host of other peaks in the eastern Himalaya. With visits to the fascinating Indian towns of Darjeeling and Kalimpong and with the opportunity to take part in a community project, this is an excellent adventure fopr any school. This tried and tested KE Schools itinerary can be adjusted to better fit the needs of your group - please call and speak to a KE School Groups Coordinator or email

Is this holiday for you?

This is a popular short trek, combined with a tour of some of the area's important towns, including Darjeeling, Pelling and Kalimpong. The trekking conditions are relatively easy, following good trails at all times.  A jeep road runs beside our route for the first two days of the walk on the Singalila Ridge, and we will be following this, with numerous stepped sections which cut off the largest of the zig-zags taken by the jeep track. The altitudes attained on this trip are not extreme and, having spent a couple of days in Darjeeling, the group will already be reasonably well acclimatised prior to setting off on trek.  We recommended a minimum age of 14 yrs for this trip.

Brief Itinerary

View in full
  • Meet at the group hotel in Delhi. Transfers from Delhi Airport are provided.
  • Fly to Bagdogra and drive to the former British Raj hillstation of Darjeeling (2500m).
  • A free day for sightseeing or to take part in a Community project. Overnight in Darjeeling.
  • Drive to Dhodray and trek towards the crest of the Singalila Ridge. Overnight at Tonglu (2900m).
  • Trek via a tea stop at the Nepalese village of Jaubari to Kalpokhari (3024m).
  • Follow the ridge-top trail to Sandakphu (3636m). Afternoon free to relax and enjoy the view.
  • Up early for the sunrise on Kangchenjunga. Then, trek on the broad ridge to Sabargram (3425m).
  • Trek to Singalila Peak (3695m). Return to Phalut and descend to Samadeen Village.
  • Downhill through farmland to the Siri Khola. Then continue via Maneydhara to Rimbik.
  • Drive to Kalimpong. Afternoon free to explore the streets of this thriving bazaar town.
  • A free day in Kalimpong with a guided visit to Durpin Monastery. Afternoon at leisure.
  • Drive to Bagdogra Airport, fly to Delhi and transfer to the group hotel.
  • Departure day. A transfer to Delhi Airport is provided.

Land Only

The price of our trips does not include international air travel to the start location in the destination city and country. The start location for joining the trip is identified for each trip. It's usually a centrally located hotel. KE can easily arrange all airport transfers for you.

International Air Travel

Please contact us at KE for air travel advice. We will be happy to discuss the flight arrangement which best suits your group.

2 teachers FREE

The Guide Price assumes that 2 teachers will accompany the group. Their Land Only costs are covered by the group's payment.

Guide Price 0*
Park Fees/permits N/A
Other Charges N/A

* We give a price estimate for all of our school trips. This is based on 12-16 pupils and includes two free teacher places. If you are interested in a specific trip, we will send you a quote letter. You may wish to take extra teachers or add on additional days and this can all be included into your quote, on request.

Map & Itinerary

The Route

  • airport
  • point
  • trip direction
  • transfer
  • trek

Holiday Itinerary

  • Meet at the group hotel in Delhi. Transfers from Delhi Airport are provided.

    Meet at the group hotel in Delhi. Airport transfers are provided for all clients arriving on Day 1. KE Land Only package services begin with lunch. In the afternoon, a city sightseeing tour is provided. Alternatively, you may choose to take it easy at the hotel.

    • Accommodation Hotel with swimming pool

    • Meals ld

  • Fly to Bagdogra and drive to the former British Raj hillstation of Darjeeling (2500m).

    After breakfast, we drive to the domestic terminal of Delhi Airport. The flight to Bagdogra runs parallel to the Himalayas and if the weather is clear, we have views of all of the Himalayan giants; including Nanda Devi and Panch Chuli and all of the Nepalese 8000 metre peaks; Dhaulagiri, the Annapurnas and Manaslu, Cho Oyu, Everest, Makalu and the massive bulk of Kangchenjunga, just as we come in to land. We meet our trek leader as we leave the airport in Bagdogra and from here it is a four-hour drive to Darjeeling (2500m). At first, we drive through flat rice fields and Assam tea plantations, before the road starts to climb into the foothills of the Himalaya. Darjeeling, built on top of a ridge, faces the Himalaya and is a popular tourist destination for Westerners and Bengalis alike. The richly forested land was originally acquired by the British in 1833, who introduced tea growing and promoted the settlement as a health resort. Arriving in the town, we check in at a comfortable hotel with views of the Himalayan peaks.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals bld

  • A free day for sightseeing or to take part in a Community project. Overnight in Darjeeling.

    This is a day set aside for participation in a Community Project arranged by KE. Other options for today include visits to the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, a tea plantation or a ride on the narrow gauge railway.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals bld

  • Drive to Dhodray and trek towards the crest of the Singalila Ridge. Overnight at Tonglu (2900m).

    After breakfast at the hotel, we set off on the 2-hour drive to the village of Dhodray, the starting place for our trek on the Singalila Ridge. We have chosen to begin the trek at Dhodray rather than the more usual start of Maneybanjang at the foot of the ridge, as this involves considerably less climbing. Setting off from Dhodray also avoids having to walk on the jeep road which climbs in zig zags from Maneybanjang up the ridge. Our first day of trekking follows a wide trail through rhododendron forests and meadows with great views all along the way of Kangchenjunga. We camp by a 'trekkers hut' at Tonglu in a spectacular setting, overlooking the Singalila Ridge and Kangchenjunga.

    • Accommodation Camping

    • Ascent 570m

    • Distance 2km

    • gps data View now

    • Meals bld

    • Descent 100m

    • Time 2 hrs trekking

  • Trek via a tea stop at the Nepalese village of Jaubari to Kalpokhari (3024m).

    Today we follow a walking trail as well as sections of the jeep road which runs along the ridge. We begin the day with a leisurely descent to the picturesque Nepalese village of Jaubari, where we can take a break for tea. Then it’s back to the ridge for the climb to our camp at Kalpokhari (Black Lake) at 3024 metres. At this stage of the holiday we are walking relatively short days, as we have to acclimatise before moving up to Sandakphu.

    • Accommodation Camping

    • Ascent 660m

    • Distance 15km

    • gps data View now

    • Meals bld

    • Descent 670m

    • Time 5 hrs trekking

  • Follow the ridge-top trail to Sandakphu (3636m). Afternoon free to relax and enjoy the view.

    From Kalpokhari we start the long climb up on to the Singalila Ridge proper. After a pleasant hour’s walk with good bird spotting potential, it is a further 2 hours and a steady pull up to Sandakphu (3636m). The reward (if the weather is clear) is a remarkable panoramic view of Kangchenjunga, Makalu, Everest, Lhotse and the other, lesser peaks of Sikkim and eastern Nepal. The afternoon is spent relaxing around camp, exploring the numerous viewpoints, and adjusting to the thinner air and cooler temperatures at this higher altitude. From our camp, there are remarkable sunset and sunrise views of Everest, Makalu, Chamlang and Kangchenjunga.

    • Accommodation Camping

    • Ascent 640m

    • Distance 6km

    • gps data View now

    • Meals bld

    • Descent 100m

    • Time 3 hrs trekking

  • Up early for the sunrise on Kangchenjunga. Then, trek on the broad ridge to Sabargram (3425m).

    Weather permitting, we begin today with an early morning call and a short stroll to a prominent viewpoint for the magnificent sunrise, before returning to camp for breakfast. Today we have a short day on the most spectacular section of the Singalila Ridge. The trail undulates up and down but is never too demanding and rewards us with ever-changing views of the snow-capped Himalaya to the north and north-west. This is one of the finest day’s ridge-walking to be found anywhere in the world. Tonight we camp at Sabargram at 3425 metres.

    • Accommodation Camping

    • Ascent 760m

    • Distance 17km

    • gps data View now

    • Meals bld

    • Descent 840m

    • Time 6 hrs trekking

  • Trek to Singalila Peak (3695m). Return to Phalut and descend to Samadeen Village.

    Another good day of trekking, with an early start, as we hike along the ridge to Phalut and from there continue to trek northwards to a high point at the prayer-flagged summit known as 'Singalila Peak' (3695m). Ahead of us there are great views of Kangchenjunga and we can look down towards the Sikkim border which meets the ridge at Chiwabhanjang. Retracing our steps to Phalut, we have lunch and then begin our descent from the ridge towards the east. Dropping down, through thick forest of oak, chestnut and rhododendron (lots of exciting birdlife here), we reach the village of Gorkhey after a couple of hours and have a final, short ascent to the beautiful village of Samadeen.

    • Accommodation Camping

    • Ascent 200m

    • Distance 14km

    • gps data View now

    • Meals bld

    • Descent 1240m

    • Time 5 hrs trekking

  • Downhill through farmland to the Siri Khola. Then continue via Maneydhara to Rimbik.

    This last day of trekking leads generally downhill on a pleasant trail through rich farmland to the village of Ramman and then onwards, to a bridge across the Siri Khola, where we stop for lunch. From here, we walk through pleasant forest on a good path to the village of Maneydhara, with views of Kabru Dome and Kabru South. Maneydhara is a large village with a monastery and overlooks a picturesque valley with Darjeeling beyond. Continuing through the village, we reach the nearby settlement of Rimbik, where we overnight at a lodge.

    • Accommodation Camping

    • Ascent 570m

    • Distance 16km

    • gps data View now

    • Meals bld

    • Descent 1060m

    • Time 5 hrs trekking

  • Drive to Kalimpong. Afternoon free to explore the streets of this thriving bazaar town.

    After saying goodbye to most of our trek staff, we meet our vehicles and set off on the long drive to Kalimpong. This town was once an important trading centre, strategically located at a crossroads between Sikkim, Bhutan, Tibet and the plains of Bengal. One of the principal commercial enterprises of the town today is the growing of flowers in extensive nurseries. We stay at a comfortable hotel in the town and have time in the afternoon for a look around the bazaars.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals bld

  • A free day in Kalimpong with a guided visit to Durpin Monastery. Afternoon at leisure.

    A free-day to explore Kalimpong, which begins with a sunrise view of Kangchenjunga (weather permitting). After breakfast, we have a short sightseeing trip, which can include visits to Durpin Monastery, to a paper factory, to flower/cactus nurseries and to an intriguing Catholic church built in the style of a Tibetan monastery. The afternoon is free for relaxing in the grounds of the hotel, with the option to take a walk around the bazaar in the evening.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals bld

  • Drive to Bagdogra Airport, fly to Delhi and transfer to the group hotel.

    We have a reasonably early start for the drive back to Bagdogra Airport, where we check in for the flight to Delhi. Arriving in the Indian capital in the afternoon, we transfer to our airport accessible hotel. This evening we will have a ‘farewell’ dinner. Overnight at the group hotel.

    • Accommodation Hotel with swimming pool

    • Meals bld

  • Departure day. A transfer to Delhi Airport is provided.

    KE Land Only package services end after breakfast at the hotel. Airport transfers are provided for all client departing on this day. There are lots of extensions that can easily be added to your holiday in india. Why not pre-book a 1-day excursion to the fabulous Taj Mahal, or a multi-day Rajathan experience, or a beach hotel break in Goa or Kerala. Contact our office for details.

    • Meals b

Holiday Information

  • A qualified UK KE Schools leader
  • Experienced English-speaking local guide
  • Delhi Airport transfers
  • Internal flights and transfers
  • All land transport involved in the itinerary
  • All accommodation as described in the trip dossier
  • All meals
  • A full service trek including food and all equipment (excluding personal equipment)
  • Travel insurance
  • Visas
  • Tips for local staff
  • Miscellaneous expenses - soft drinks and souvenirs etc.
Part of the experience of visiting India is tasting the amazing food this country produces which is far more varied than the fare avaialable in Indian restaurants at home. However, more 'international' dishes will also be available. The food served during the trek is a mixture of local and Western style dishes, made from ingredients mostly purchased locally and cooked for us by highly trained trek cooks. The emphasis during the trek is on providing a high-carbohydrate and largely vegetarian diet, which we have found to be easily digestible at high altitude. In Delhi, Darjeeling and Kalimpong, we take our meals in the group hotel or in nearby restaurants.
All meals are included in the holiday price from lunch on day 1 to breakfast on day 13 of the Land Only itinerary.
Delhi Airport transfers are included on arrival and departure. The KE School Group Leader or KE representative will meet you on arrival and assist with the transfers to the group hotel. Full joining instructions along with hotel contact details and an emergency number will be provided with the booking confirmation.
The group will have one night at a conveniently located hotel in Delhi at the beginning of the trip and one night in a Delhi hotel at the end of the trip, before returning to the airport in the morning to check in for the flight home. Our itinerary also includes a total of 4 nights in comfortable hotels in Darjeeling and Kalimpong. On trek there will be 6 nights camping. All accommodation is allocated on a twin-sharing basis. Single accommodation is available on request subject to availability and at additional cost.

View the gallery below for images of the style of accommodation used

A typical day starts with an early morning cup of tea or coffee served in your tent usually at first light. After a hot breakfast, during which camp will be struck and the ponies loaded, we start walking in the pleasant cool of the morning. We take a packed lunch every day and will stop at a convenient place on the trail for this snack meal, usually after 3 or 4 hours’ walking. The pony men and their animals usually catch up with the group during lunch and are well on their way to camp by the time we set off on the afternoon's walk. It is usual for the afternoon’s walk to be shorter than the morning session. There are shops and tea-houses along the route and it is a good idea to take your time and stop at these places to take a cup of tea or a soft drink. Not only does this set a relaxing pace but also puts something back into the local economy. On arrival at camp, the trek crew will quickly put the tents up and a hot drink will soon follow. Dinner is ready shortly after dusk and is a 3-course meal served in the dining tent. This is a great time of day for reliving the events of the trek so far and for socialising. Once it gets dark the temperature starts to quickly fall and by early evening most people will be tucked up in their sleeping bags.
All KE School Adventures are led by a specialist UK KE Schools leader. During the trip the leader will be assisted by an English-speaking local guide and on trek will be supported by a trek crew including a cook, camp staff and porters or baggage animals and their handlers.
This trip is fully inclusive. However you will need to take some money for miscellaneous expenses. £100 should cover your personal spending including soft drinks and snacks. There are several opportunities to buy souvenirs on this trip and you may wish to take more if you intend to buy a lot of souvenirs or more expensive items. It is not necessary to purchase local currency (Indian Rupees) before you travel. Take your travel money in the form of cash rather than travellers cheques, since you will be changing it into local currency on the day of arrival.
Tipping is the accepted way of saying thank you for good service. Tips do not form part of the wages of your guides, porters and trek crew but they are very much appreciated. It is important to remember that tipping is voluntary and should be dependent on good service. However, most people will want to give a tip to the people who work so hard to make their trip a success and as a general guide, we suggest a contribution of approximately £30 from each pupil ought to provide a sufficient pool for tipping all the crew. Your Schools Expedition leader will help you allocate the tips fairly to the various members of the crew.
The packed weight of your trek bag whilst trekking should be no more than 15 kgs. / 33lbs. It is possible to leave travel clothes or other items not required on trek at the group hotel in Delhi.

All KE clients will receive a FREE KE trek bag.  These have been specially made to stand up to the rigours of adventure travel.  Your KE bag will be posted to you when your trip is guaranteed to run or on receipt of your booking if the trip is already guaranteed.  If you have travelled with us before and already have a KE trek bag you can select an alternative free gift in the booking process.

During the course of your trip you will reach altitudes in excess of 3500 metres. This is not something that you should worry about; the human body is quite capable of adapting to a very wide range of altitudes, but it is important that we follow some simple rules in order to acclimatise successfully. Before coming on this holiday you should read the advice on trekking at high altitude on our website which can be viewed via the link below. You can also talk to one of our trekking experts if you have any concerns about altitude.

The following checklist should help you with your packing. As a general rule, you should always try to keep the weight of your equipment to a minimum.

  • The packed weight of your trek bag whilst trekking should be no more than 15 kgs / 33 pounds.
  • You must bring the following items:

    • Hiking boots
    • Trainers / sneakers or sandals for river crossings and camp use
    • Walking socks (3 pairs)
    • Spare laces
    • Trekking trousers
    • Waterproof overtrousers
    • Underwear
    • Long johns (thermal underwear)
    • Baselayer shirts (short sleeve and 1 long sleeve)
    • Shirts or T-shirts
    • Fleece jacket or warm jumper
    • Waterproof jacket
    • Sunhat
    • Warm hat or balaclava
    • Eyewear - Sunglasses
    • Gloves or mittens
    • Daypack c. 30
    • Headtorch with spare batteries
    • Water bottles 1 litre (x2)
    • Sun protection (including total bloc for lips, nose etc.)
    • Sleeping bag rated comfortable to minus 10ºC (minus 15 ºC for late November and December trips)*
    • Washbag and toiletries
    • Antibacterial handwash
    • Small towel
    • Basic First Aid Kit including: A broad spectrum antibiotic, antiseptic cream, throat lozenges, diarrhoea treatment (Imodium), altitude (Diamox), painkillers, plasters and blister treatment, and re-hydration salts (Dioralite).
    • Small padlock (to lock your KE trek bag)

    The following items are optional:

    • Warm jacket (e.g. down) – mandatory for Nov/Dec trips
    • Thermarest (note that foam mattresses are provided)
    • Trekking poles (recommended)
    • Insect repellant
    • Scarf or buff
    • Sleeping bag liner
    • Travel clothes
    • Pocket-knife (note: always pack sharp objects in hold baggage)
    • Repair kit – (eg. needle, thread, duct tape)
    • Camera, film / memory cards, batteries

    Equipment hire / rental

    • Items marked * can be hired / rented through KE Adventure Travel. Please make requests at least 6 weeks prior to the trip departure.
    • Note all hire / rental equipment will be issued in Delhi.

    For each holiday there is a minimum number of participants required to enable it to go ahead. Once the minimum number is reached, the trip status will change from 'Available' to 'Guaranteed to run'. You can check the trip status for each departure in ‘Dates and Prices’ table. Other than in exceptional circumstances, we will not cancel a trip once it has achieved this guaranteed to run status and so you are free to proceed with your international flight booking and other travel arrangements.

    A passport with 6 months remaining validity at the end of your stay is generally required. The information that we provide is for UK passport holders. Please check the relevant embassy or consulate for other nationalities. It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the correct travel documents and visas for your holiday. Visa requirements and charges are subject to change without notice. If you are travelling outside the EU you should have at least 2 blank pages in your passport.

    We recommend you check if you require an adaptor for your electrical items at:

    As a reputable tour operator, KE supports the British Foreign & Commonwealth Offices ‘Know before you go’ campaign to enable British citizens to prepare for their journeys overseas, and we recommend that all KE travellers take a look at the FCO Travel Advice for their chosen destination on the official FCO website: North Americans can also check out the U.S. Department of State website: for essential travel advice and tips.

    KE treat the safety and security of all clients as the most important aspect of any trip we organise. We would not run any trip that we did not consider reasonably safe.  Should the FCO advise against travel for any reason, we will contact everyone booked to travel to discuss the situation.  We receive regular updates direct from the FCO and are in constant touch with our contacts on the ground.  If you have any questions about government travel advice, please call our office.

    The best time to trek on the Singalila ridge before or after the summer monsoon which lasts from June to September. During both these periods, the daytime temperatures will be of the order of 25°C at Darjeeling and will be rather cooler, at about 10°C to 15°C at our highest camps. Night time temperatures at our highest camps will certainly drop to freezing and maybe a few degrees below. In late November and throughout December temperatures will average about 5°C cooler than the above figures. Outside the monsoon period it is predominantly dry but you should be aware that the eastern end of the Himalaya receives more rainfall than further west in the Everest or Annapurna regions. It can and does rain here and you should be prepared for this.
    Top Treks of the World. New Holland /Steve Razzetti The Trekkers Handbook. Tom Gilchrist. Trekking in the Indian Himalaya. (Lonely Planet).. India. A Travel Survival Kit. (Lonely Planet). The Trekkers Guide to Pakistan and India. Hugh Swift. Exploring the Hidden Himalaya. Kapadia and Mehta.
    Schweizerische Stiftung fr Alpine Forschung (Swiss Foundation For Alpine Research). Sikkim Himalaya 1: 150,000

    Although a monochrome map (black and white detail with a sepia coloured relief shading), this map is much more detailed than some other more colourful maps. As well as the relief shading it has 100 metre contours, spot heights, peaks, passes, and glaciers, and graphics to show various types of terrain. Coverage extends south to Darjeeling, and within Nepal to the western edge of the Kanchenjunga Glacier.

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