Singalila National park is one of the most exotic Himalayan forests located in the in Darjeeling District in the West Bengal, Sikkim and Nepal trijunction. It is a mystical forest located on the Singalila range at an altitude ranging between 7,000ft to 12,000 ft above sea level. It is well known for the trekking route to Sandakphu that runs through it and also famously
known for its ageless vintage Land Rovers.
Singalila is one of the best places in India to see Red Panda in the wild. Apart from the Red Panda, Singalila is home to a diversity of mammals including Himalayan Black bear, Clouded Leopard, Leopard Cat, Serow, Barking deer, Yellow throated marten, Wild Boar, Pangolin, Pika among others. Singalila is a birding paradise, with more than 300 species of birds found here. It has a huge list of exotic birds like: Blood pheasant ,Satyr Tragopan ,Kalij Pheasant, Brown Parrobills, Rufous-vented tit, fire tailed Mayzornis, golden breasted fulvetta, Rosefinchs, Bull finchs, Wren babbers, Laughing thrushes, Nuthatchs, Treecreapers, Yuhinas, Minivets, Patridges and many more. The park is also well known for its stunning and rugged Eastern Himalayan landscape and on clear days both Mount Everest and Kanchendzonga can be seen.
About Red Panda:
The Red Panda, Ailurus fulgens, is also known as the ‘firefox’. It is a mammal native to Eastern Himalayas and Southwest China. It has Reddish brown fur, a long shaggy tail and a wadding gait due to its shorter length of front legs. Measuring not more than 2 feet in length and weighing not more than 10 Kg the Red Panda is truly adorable and especially photogenic animal. It is arboreal, feeds mainly on bamboos, but also eats eggs, birds & insects. It is a solitary animal mainly active from dusk to dawn and is largely sedentary during the day. The Red Panda has been classified as Endangered by the IUCN because its wild population is estimated at less than 10,000 mature individuals and it continues to decline due to its habitat loss and fragmentation, poaching and inbreeding. Although Red Pandas are protected by National laws in their range countries. Singalila is one of its last strong holds and it is also the best place in India to see this elusive and rare mammal.
Red Panda Expedition
Day 1 - Depart for Singalila
Note: Tourists are allowed entry into Singalila no later than 2:00 PM. If guests want to proceed directly to Singalila they MUST ensure that their flight into Bagdogra is the first flight out reaching Bagdogra no later than 9:00 AM. If such a flight is not available, then we would recommend reaching Bagdogra a day before and spending a night at Siliguri. Please inquire with us if you wish to spend a night in Siliguri, a room at Courtyard by Marriot Siliguri can be booked at an additional charge.
Day 2 - Wildlife activity at Tumbling
Guests will wake up and have breakfast at the lodge. Our team of expert trackers would have gone out searching for Red Panda early in the morning. As the trackers find Red Panda, guests will be taken to the spot. Guests can opt to walk to the sighting spot or choose to go by a 4X4 vehicle, if the sighting is close to a motor-able road. Along with our expert naturalist, guests can also participate in tracking using established trails in search for Red Panda. Singalila is home to several species of birds and guests can also engage themselves with bird watching, while the trackers are out looking for Red Panda. Lunch will be served on the field or at the lodge, depending on the wildlife activities that we decide to do. Dinner and overnight at Shikhar Lodge. (B, L & D).
Day 3 to 5 - Wildlife activity in Singalila
Each day the trackers will go out searching for Red Panda both on the Nepal and India side and your naturalist will identify suitable trails for searching for Red Panda and other species. For those guests who have difficulty walking, even the 4X4 vehicles will be there in support to drive you to various sightings or spots.
Apart from wildlife, Singalila National Park is also quite popular for the scenic vistas that one can see. The Kanchendzonga peak along with other surrounding peaks form the sleeping Buddha, which can be best viewed from Tumling. At the discretion of your naturalist and the sighting situation, the guest can visit Tumling to see this and explore the areas around. There are also some interesting villages to be seen close to your lodge. (B, L & D)
Day 6 - Departure
Hot breakfast at the lodge and followed by departure for the Bagdogra airport to take your onward flight.
- All meals during the trip
- 5N and 6D stay in Shikar Lodge, Tumbling
- 5N/6D Red Panda expedition with tracker support
- Shared porters & 4X4 Safari Boleros for the entire duration of stay
- Wildlife permit cost for both India and Nepal
- Still camera permits, 1 per person
- Visit Sandhakphu’s top
- Expert Naturalist with immense local knowledge
- Visit to Tumling for sightseeing
- Surface transfers Siliguri-Manebhanjen-Siliguri
- Cost for supplementary services
- Cost for airfare, train fare, insurance premiums
- Cost for service provided on a personal request
- Cost for personal expenses such as laundry, bottled water, soft drinks, incidentals, porter charges, tips, etc
- Cost for any other service not mentioned under the “Cost Includes” head.
To summarize, there are many options and activities that are possible during your 5 nights visit to Singalila, all these activities listed above are included in your plan. Since this a species-specific plan, the focus will be to maximize the chances of seeing the Red Panda, and to that effect, we will keep the plan flexible and based on the discretion of your naturalist and tracking team and the consensus of the group. Optional visits to Sandakphu can be arranged based on the sighting.
The Red Panda Expedition promises to be an experience of a lifetime. We will be trekking as much as possible, which is the best way to enjoy and photograph the beauty of the place. We will have a team of porters to help us with our trekking equipment.
We will be staying in pristine locations, relishing magical sunrise/sunsets. The location is remote, and accommodation and facilities will be basic, clean, and hygienic.
Chinmay Deshpande – 22 November to 27 November 2022
With over 12 years of field experience, Chinmay has worked in different parts of the country searching for wildlife including parks like Satpura, Kanha, Bandhavgarh, Pench, Tadoba and Chitwan in Nepal. A passionate naturalist, Chinmay has a keen interest in snakes and reptiles. Not only does he have a wealth of knowledge about reptiles but he does his part in conservation by rescuing snakes and holding awareness programs on reptiles in different localities in Central India. A computer graduate and swimming coach earlier, Chinmay is now a seasoned naturalist with diverse knowledge on the fauna of India.
- Based on the sightings we may also make the schedule flexible so as to maximize chance of seeing the Red Panda or other wildlife that participants are expecting to see.
- Due to the elusive nature of almost every animal in Singalila guests must know that we do not give any guarantee of viewing and you will need a good deal of luck to see the Red Panda apart from the obvious skills of the tracking team.
- There is a fair amount of walking during the Red Panda expedition and guests should be moderately fit to walk at high altitudes.
- Guests are required to obtain a valid travel insurance which also covers adventure travel. This will be mandatory before signing up for the program.