I know things have changed a lot and for good in the last nine years, I used to go to Illam during the festival, I would end up going to a 4 1/2 hour Hike to Mai Pokhari, its a beautiful nine cornered lake, along the way, there are plenty of small liquor places ( bhatti, to be more precise), try those home made liquor, it always a nice hike with some kinda buzz.
And, there will be plenty of places to maintain your buzz along this 4 hour hike. I reminisce, the holy Mai Pokhari open to some kind of boating or some kinda of Canoe, I am not so sure though.
Don't forget to check out those Orchid Trees around the outside of the lake.
Sandakpur will definitely be on my bucketlist if I go back there, its about 3000 Meter High, Google Sandakphu, I am not sure about the exact elevation. This place is definitely for a little Hardcore Trekkers. It's a 24 hr trek amidst Wild, may be not quite as thrilling as the Annapurna Circuit but you will be surprised.
If you are big into watching Sunrise and Sunset, Sandakphu is the place to be. I would also recommend Sri Antu Hill, you will see a beautiful Vibrant Sunset. This place should be a little less than 5 hours to hike.
Ilam, rightfully is called Tea Town and you will figure that out as soon as you grace this beautiful place. Kanyam, is the biggest and by far the most scenic tea Estate which you will catch glimpse of, as you head North to the main town, the Pine Trees, the misty weather, those small tea places, enhances the serenity of this place.
The other tea Estate is the one that surrounds the town, as soon as you step out of your bus, just turn around, you will not miss the tea Estate.
Ilam has Super friendly people, lets put it this way, if you think Nepalese are friendly, people from Ilam are angels then. You can flag anyone down, ask for information even hangout. Acknowledge with a smile, try stoping younger people as most of them speak fluent English.
Most youth in Ilam play Basketball and Soccer, I don't think there is a lot as far as Nightlife is concerned! Everything should shut down by 8 PM. I heard they will have an airport soon. Another thing to do is to go Fishing down in Mai Khola, some 5 miles away. Don't expect to catch a big Grouper or a Tuna here but hey you are not required a Fishing License, you get what you pay for.
Places to stay is Greenview hotel, however, I am sure many have popped up in recent times. Don't forget to hangout with the youths, who knows, they might invite you to go on a trek to Mt Kanchanjunga, the third highest mountain the the world.
Don't hesitate to ask me any questions via this portal. I still know a lotta locals there and I can help you find someone who can lookout for you.
I spend more than 25 years of my life in ilam as i it's my hometown. The best things in ilam is Furee Dai ko Tongba & Sukuti, I really miss it. I used to go to that Kanchanjanga Restaurant with my friends (Bombay, Chuke, Aslam Bhai, Pitre, Suke) i really miss you guys, and inside the restaurant oh God! how to explain singing, playing guitar.....those days i never forget in my entire life.
Don't miss Tongba (it's a local beer which was made by millets) you really enjoy it and Sukuti (it's a dry meat) ummmm.
Ilam was the district of Nepal - apart from Mustang - that remained independent, or rather unoccupied by the forces of Gorkha that formed Nepal into a single kingdom toward the end of the 18th century.
The dominant political and economic group at that time was the Limbu people. In the east there were the Kiranti kingdoms of the Rai and limbus, with their own separate languages and literature. Alongside were other, less numerical groups such as Sherpa, Rai and Lepcha - and others, too. There was a steady trickle of immigrants to the hills from the Terai lowlands, but that really shot speed as Ilam became integrated in the Nepalese nation state. The state set up a bureacucracy staffed by cheetri and brahmin people who in turn created favorable conditions for settled private agriculture and as last century came to and end, Ilam was more of a brahmin district than a Limbu one. Historically, the now minority groups have felt squeezed out of their land, but this feeling doesn't seem to linger as a political force anylonger. Apart from the occupational socalled low cast people, the real minority in Ilam today are the Lepcha, a people of Tibeto-Mongolian stock who also had their core areas and ancient kingdom here in Ilam. Remains of a Lepcha castle is situated on top of a pyramidical tree covered peak south of the ridge from Fikkal as it dips toward Maikhola. Nowadays, a mere 2500 Lepchas remain in Ilam, centered on Fikkal bazaar.
This history of Ilam is worth putting a thought into as you travel the eastern hills and watch people going about their lives.
Mai Beni site is where the rivers Maikhola and Jog Maikhola meet, and it is a major site of pilgrimage, with thousands of pilgrims and devotees converging here once a year. In fequent use, the temple and site is worth a visit most days with local religious activities going on. A bit upstream in the Jog Mai river there is a nice pool for swimming, exactly at the location of the trail crossing up to Namsaling.
Maipokhari is a small star-shaped lake (1.6 hectar) located in Sulubung VDC, 11 km from Ilam Bazaar and at 7200 ft altitude. This is a beautiful spot surrounded by very nice forests protected by religious belief and a smallish temple complex. The Maipokhari Lake has religious significance and is a site of pilgrimage during Kartik Ekadasi and a big mela once a year on the day of the Thulo Ekadasi.
Close to Maipokhari is the 3400-metre peak Chhintapu, separating the Singalila Range and the Mahabharat Range. Nice to visit for a view around and a sunset stop on the \weay back at Kothidanda. Beautiful rhododendron forests up here.
Sandakpur lies at the northern edge of Ilam District, and is Illam's highest point at 3636 meters. Sandakpur provides a fantastic view of the eastern Himalayas from Bhutan to Everest. But the main view of Kanchenjuga is what takes your breath away.
Sandakpur straddles the border between Nepal and India and is a bit of extraterritorial area. You can visit from both the Indian and Nepalese side, with the visa from the country com arrive from. Due to maoist conflict, it is probably best now to arrive from the West Bengal side/Darjeeling. A very beautiful approach whichever way is chosen. There is a rough road from India via Mane Bhanyang. From the Indian side there is a trekking route north along the border, and dropping back down to the valleys after reaching Sandakpur. From the Nepal side there is a road to Khorsanitar from Ilam (21 km), and from there you have a few hours walk.
The best teas in Nepal come from the Kanyam area. Most of the tea fields here are owned by the Kanyam Tea Estate, on private lease from the government.
The tea fields are a popular picninc spot, scenic as it is. You are able to look into India toward Darjeeling. Unfortunately, but good for the tea, there is frequently a very cool and clammy fog here.
Ilam District (along with Jhapa and a few other eastern Nepal places) is a major tea producer. The tea quality here is just as good as Darjeeling's across the border to India. In fact, much tea is carried across the border and added to Darjeeling's production of "Darjeeling Tea".
You will pass tea gardens and see tea pluckers on your way by road, and around Ilam Bazaar.
The best tea is probably not available in Ilam, but in Kathmandu. The big tea houses have their offices and outlets in Kathmandu. Look for Ilam's orange pekoes, Ilam - especially Kanyam's first flushes and others if you wish to bring home a tasty and home-grown souvenir.
The darker side of Ilam? Perhaps not, but in the shadowy, soggy side valleys and foggy slopes of Ilam's huge hills the cardamom is a major cash crop. Under tree cover normally, you will find huge amount of these leaves (photo). Underneath are knobbly scaly roots, that are dried and sold to middlemen and exported to India for the most part. A smoking house in Ilam is most often the sign that moneymaking cardamom -drying is on the way. Go, take a look!
we make your trekking trip to illam highest hills Sandakpur and Chintapu ..we Also planning our advantageous Trek to Mt Kanchenjunga base Camp .Art of Tea making in Ilam .tea tourism.And many more .