For the best views of India's highest mountain head to Singalila National Park. At 8,586m Kanchenjunga is the third highest mountain in the world, but you only need to reach 3000m to catch the dawn over this spectacular Himalayan massif.
The first leg is the steepest, but once on the ridge the walk is less strenuous. Tiny wild strawberries littered the trail when we were there in May, but we were too late for the wild rhododendron bushes and orchids which carpet the mountains in April. Renowned for its wide variety of bird life, the park is also home to wild boar, black bears and the beautiful clouded leopard. If you are very lucky you might see its most famous resident, the shy and rare red panda.
In the dark, smoky huts dotted along the trek, try quenching your thirst with 'tongba', a millet beer served in bamboo segments. If you want something stronger then the Himalayan hooch 'rakshi' will warm up hands and heart. After a well-deserved hot evening meal a cosy night's sleep under heavy blankets is all you'll need.
The clearest skies are usually found in November when panoramic views will enthuse budding photographers looking for the perfect image to enter in the Guardian's 'Been there' photo competition.
Guides are compulsory and can be pre-booked in Darjeeling. Apart from showing you the way, they have encyclopaedic knowledge of the area's flora and fauna.
Google map: bit.ly/xXcEk9
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