Samthar - The village tourism destination
Far from the modern civilization, far from city pollutions is a small village Samthar tucked away deep inside the remote part of Kalimpong hills. At a distance of 80kms from the Kalimpong town via Lava and Loleygaon the Samthar village is a unique natural resort where nature opens wide with a majestic landscape. The undulating hill slopes, interlocking valleys covered with lush green forests, numerous small and medium streams cutting across the valley to reach the distant plains, terraced agricultural lands, thatched cottages, hospitable Lepcha community all combine together to mark the landscape of Samtahar.
The plateau of Samthar stands amidst an arc of hills at an elevation of 1600 Meters. The forested hills in Samthar have some rare collections of flora and fauna. The journey to Samthar from Lava runs through a 24kms metal forest road up to Loleygaon. Thereafter it is a rough wilderness trail, fit for 4 wheel drive vehicles or jeeps. Through dense forested hills comprising oaks, pines, juniper in a perennial mossy and moist atmosphere you reach the Samthar Village. The road ends at Samthar Farm House, which is the starting point for some more fabulous treks.
Samthar, an offbeat destination in the Kalimpong hills, is growing in popularity mostly to the foreigners for its tranquility, pristine environment, friendly people and of course for the brilliant view of majestic Kunchenjunga, the third highest peak of the world. Mt. Sinialcu, Mount, Pundim Mt. Simvo, Nathula Pass, Chola, Pass, Jelepla Pass and the famous tiger Hill are also visible from Samthar.
Sunrise and sunset view over Mt Kanchenjunga and other peaks
Forest & Nature exploration
Nature treks & hikes
Swimming in cascades & nature pools
Bird & butterfly watching
Picnic in river pool & cascade
Lepcha Gumpa (monastery)
Ethnic drink with local families
Samthar is an ideal place for trekkers and hikers. Several short and interesting trek routes originate from Samthar village to different directions through river valleys, small villages and forests. Samthar can also be a model place to enjoy various Himalayan bird species. Innumerable species of colourful birds add an extra flavour to the place.
List of few important trekking, hiking and birding areas in Samthar:
1. Samthar Top: A forested ridgeline overlooking the valley, the highest spot in Samthar. The hilltop provides good view of the Samthar village and surrounding forests. There is no human habitation in that hill and is ideal for bird watching and trekking. One-hour trek through the forested trails yields good results for the bird watchers.
2. Upper Lish River Valley: One hour easy walk from Samthar village along a ridgeline, leads to the upper reaches of Samthar hill. One can have a look at a network of Jhoras or small stream tribute to the Lish River far below. Dense forest cover makes the place a good birding area. To get better collection of birds it is advisable to camp overnight or start from the village one hour before sunrise.
3. Ponbu: A small village on the top of a ridge overlooking the Teesta River Valley and the vast plain lands of Terai Ponbu is nice refreshing trek in the lower Kalimpong hills. On the Western slopes there are a number of Jhoras running down to the Ponbu Khola and then farther down to Tista. These streams form small isolated valleys. It is a day trek and accommodation is arranged in privet village huts or in treks.
4. Samco Ropeway and Riang valley Trek: A 5 to 6 hours downward trek through rolling hill slopes descends to the confluence of Tista and Riang River at Tista Valley and provides access to the Sikkim Highway via a hand pulled ropeway over the Tista River. The beautiful riverbed of Riang encircled by forested hills is an ideal place for camping and bird watching. Scattered homesteads, simple lifestyle of villagers, beautiful climate, streams and wide valleys make an unforgettable countryside trek.
5. Kalimpong: One of the most popular treks from Samtahar to Kalimpong takes about 6 hours. The first phase of trek descends to virgin Relli Khola (stream) Valley and then again a steep trek route climbs to Kalimpong after crossing the Relli stream. One can also reach Samthar from Kalimpong by the same way.
6. Dong Khola Valley, Solag and Nazeok village: In the remote areas of Kalimpong hills these places are some of the new areas for exploration and becoming vastly popular for the nature trekkers.