Maximum Altitude: 15660 ft
Duration: 7 days
Let’s follow the yaks in one of the prettiest trails of Nepal. The name Langtang comes from Tibetan language where ‘Lang’ means yak and ‘Tang’ means ‘to follow’.Langtang Valley is a beautiful valley to the north of Kathmandu. The small Langtang valley borders with Tibet in north and small snowy peaks in the south. The region covers Langtang National Park – a pristine countryside with majestic flora and fauna, yak pastures and local cheese factories! The park is home to the Gosainkunda Lakes, which are sacred to the Hindus and Buddhists.
Langtang is spectacularly beautiful and the Langtang Valley Trek is one of the most visited trekking routes of Nepal. This trail is gifted with sublime mountain views and impressive scenic landscapes. You’ll pass through stunning forests, high alpine meadows, and yak pastures. You’ll experience Tibetan Buddhist culture and life first hand. You’ll collect blessings at old Buddhist shrines such as Kanjanjin Gompa. You’ll stay in interesting tea houses along the route. You’ll be amazed by the panoramic view of snow-capped mountains such as Langtang Ri, Langtang Himal, Langsisa and Ganjala Peak. And you’ll escape the busy trails of Annapurna and Khumbu, which can, at certain times of year, make you feel like just a face in the crowd.
But there’s one more thing that has made this trek popular. We all know about the Nepal earthquake of 2015. Where many villages around Nepal saw significant damage, high above Langtang village, part of the great peak of Langtang Lirung sheared off, and a huge avalanche of ice and rock buried homes and lodges. Many died and the survivors of the landslides caused by the earthquake were forced to leave the valley. But they came back and worked incredibly hard to get back on their feet. They rebuild their homes and re-establish their farms. Trekking routes were open once again and the valley started calling the trekkers back. So not only will you be visiting a beautiful trek, but your visit will also provide vital support for local livelihoods.
The trek starts from the small town of Syabru Besi which takes 8 hours of driving to reach from Kathmandu. You’ll drive along the scenic banks of Trishuli River with views of the Annapurna Himalayas in the west, to Manaslu, Ganesh Himal and the peaks of the Langtang region ahead. From Syabru Besi, the trail begins passing through small villages, farmlands, and streams, paired with lush pine, bamboo, and rhododendron forests. During the spring, the bright red blooming rhododendrons are a delight to look at. These lush, lively forests house the elusive, yet beloved Red Panda, in addition to many other animal species. The biodiversity along the trek is rich and well-preserved.
The trek will give you many opportunities to have a glimpse at the local life. Langtang region has been a popular trans-Himalayan trade route from ancient and medieval period. The people in this place are mostly of Tamang and Tibetan origin, whose culture goes back to hundreds of years. The craftsmanship, dress, traditionally-built stone houses, and the beautifully carved wooden porches reflect their rich Himalayan heritage. The valley has been a safe haven for Buddhim.
As you walk through the lower part of the Langtang valley, you’ll pass through rich forests, filled with birds and the occasional monkey. Tamang villagers grow their crops on steep terraces. Slowly you’ll pass through to thin pinewoods split by waterfalls. And then on to the high valley with yak pastures, open skies and glaciers, and the homes of the Langtang people. Throughout the region you’ll find some of the best flower displays in Nepal and a blend of cultures from Newari, Hindu, Tamang, Bhotia and Sherpa communities.
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Like other treks in Nepal, you’ll be staying in the teahouses which are mostly looked after by the locals. So here is your chance of befriending the people from the region. They are warm, welcoming and extremely helpful.
The trail climbs gradually passing through the tiny villages, yak pastures, stone-built houses, and chortens along a gentle path of hill. After crossing several small streams and moraines, the trail makes a final push towards Kyanjin Gompa, the famous village that is named after the monastery there. You have to make some steep ascents, but you get rewarded with amazing views of the mountains further north. You can enjoy the panoramic view of Dorje Larpa, Langtang Ri, Langtang Lirung and several other peaks.
The village is tiny but has a lot to offer. There is a cheese factory here that you should definitely visit. There are several charming cafes that offer a beautiful mountain view with a cup of hot chocolate. And then there is the ancient monastery of Kyanjin Gompa where you can meet the monks and learn more about Buddhism.
From Kanjin Gompa you can make great day trips to explore the area. Go for a day hike to Kyanjin Ri, the highest elevation of the whole trek. The hike can be exhausting at times but the magical views will help you to look beyond the exhaustions. You’ll see the colossal Langtang glacier and if you walk a little further up, you’ll reach the beautiful yak pasture called Langshisha Kharka. It looks like a fairytale with beautiful snowcapped mountains forming the backdrop while the yaks lazily roam around. Kyanjin Ri offers magnificent view of Langtang valley and snow peaks in all 360 degree. And on a clear day, you can see all the way into Tibet. Hey maybe we can follow one of the yaks into Tibet, just like did to Langtang.
Best Time To Visit
The fall season (September – mid-December) and the spring season (March-May) are the best seasons for the Langtang Valley Trek. The climate is very pleasant and moderate, with beautiful views. The months from October and December provide the clearest skies but spring is when the whole evergreen forest covered with the blossom of colorful rhododendron blossoms making the trail look the prettiest.
How To Reach
Take a flight into the capital, Kathmandu, the only international airport in the country. From there, you can either take a public bus to Syabrubesi or hire a Jeep.
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