Often visible from Kathmandu city centre, the Langtang range offers the most accessible trekking in Nepal. If the city pollution and traffic wasn’t so off-putting, you could start walking from your guesthouse straight to the mountains. This accessibility, easy-to-follow trails and lots of lodges has meant Langtang has always been, alongside Everest and Annapurna, one of the big three independent trekking areas.The 2015 earthquake caused massive damage and loss of life in and around the Langtang Valley. The beautiful stone wall village of Langtang was buried under a huge avalanche. Today, all the trekking areas have reopened and once again there are lodges along the routes. But the reminders of the disaster are still there. Where there were yak pastures, pine forests and the village itself, there is now a grey wasteland of rubble stretching for at least two kilometers.
But don’t be put off. This is a beautiful area to trek with high Alpine pastures, rewarding side trips, holy lakes, stunning mountain views, cultural interactions, relatively few other trekkers, and easy and cheap access with no internal flights needed. And the local people desperately want trekkers to return to help them rebuild their lives and their businesses. The Langtang trek is a fantastic place for those with limited time, with the shortest routes taking just a week (or even slightly less) including travel time from Kathmandu. There are also many ways of combining treks to create routes lasting several weeks.
Langtang Valley Trek introduces you to the Buddhist culture of the Tamangs and Sherpas and the ancient monastery of Kyanjin Gompa, situated near Tserko upholds this tradition. This trek includes the spectacular views of the Dorje Lakpa 6990m, Langtang Ri 6370m and Langtang Lirung 7245. The trek passes through the Langtang National Park, a pristine countryside with majestic flora and fauna, yak pastures and local cheese factories. It is dominated by the Langtang Himalayas.
Moreover, this valley trek is relatively short but runs through rhododendron and bamboo forests, alongside thundering waterfalls and snow capped mountains. It offers you an exclusive picture of Himalayan Pheasants, Himalayan Deers, Himalayan bears, monkeys and the elusive red panda. Langtang village was massively destroyed during the 2015 earthquake. Likewise, the villagers have been busy rebuilding the area. Although the Langtang valley can be reached by a day drive from the Kathmandu valley, this trekking area is still unknown to the majority of trekkers.
The Langtang area has it all. Start walking from Kathmandu and before you know it, find yourself in a tranquil mountain village, breezing through flower meadows, picnicking in the shade of pine trees, crossing rushing rivers, and a snowbound pass, and standing atop a minor Himalayan peak.
The small village of Kanjin Gompa (3,860m) at the head of the Langtang Valley, might be the official end point of the Langtang Valley trek but in truth this is where the fun really starts. Numerous day and overnight trips fan out from the village. You can make the almost obligatory hike up to the Kyanjin Ri viewpoint (4,600m) for sensational views, or have a rollicking day’s adventure to the glaciers and yak pastures of the Lirung Valley. A bigger challenge is the long and exhausting day trip to the Tsergo Ri viewpoint at 4,984m, or, for the adventurous, an overnight camping trip to the summit of Yala Peak, which at 5,500m often requires ropes, crampons and an experienced guide.
The holy lake of Gosaikunda (4,400m) has a black rock sticking out of it that Hindus believe is the head of Shiva, and the lake attracts scores of Hindu pilgrims particularly over the August full moon. Like any good pilgrimage, the trek to Gosaikunda is a challenging one involving a high pass crossing and memorable scenery. Once at the lake there are a number of side trips to other lakes and high viewpoints.
Gosaikunda is also one of the biggest alpine freshwater lakes, situated at an altitude of 4, 380 meters in the Langtang National Park, Rasuwa district. The lake is categorized under the Ramsar site, including 108 small and average size lakes. The Gosaikunda area is portrayed as the major tourist destination of Nepal. Tourists can experience the mesmerizing view of Gosaikunda area, following the four days long Dhunche-Helambu trekking route and adjoining the another popular Langtang Valley trek in the same district. The treks provide quite impressive accommodations; residents of the place offer varieties of food, snacks, tea to the tourists.
Moreover, the lake also reflects religious and cultural values as well. According to Hindu mythology, Gosaikunda is home of Lord Shiva and Gauri. Its freshwater is considered not only pure but also holy and sacred. Visitors from India and Nepal come to take a holy bath on the occasion of Janai Purnima and Ganga Dashara.
The Langtang area offers the most accessible trekking in Nepal. Take a taxi across Kathmandu to the Shivapuri National Park and start walking the Helambu Circuit within an hour of leaving your guesthouse. If you’re heading straight to the Langtang Valley, Ganesh Himal or Tamang Heritage Trail, a day’s bus ride from the city will get you to the trailheads.
Don’t think that because the Langtang region is so popular there’s no adventure left. Grab some tents and a guide in Kyanjin Gompa (or bring them from Kathmandu) and walk for a day or so further up the Langtang Valley to Langshisha Kharka. Moreover, towards the Langtang glacier, and you’ll feel as if you have the Himalayas all to yourself. The nearby Ganesh Himal is perhaps the most overlooked range in the Nepalese Himalayas. You could trek here for days without meeting another foreigner.
The Langtang Valley is confined in the premises of the Langtang National park. This region proudly projects the rich biodiversity of Nepal. The forests are filled with trees of oaks, bamboos, and rhododendrons which nurture some of the most amazing wildlife species such as the: Himalayan Black Bear, Himalayan Tahr, Rhesus monkeys, and the Red Pandas. Trekkers, if lucky, will get to sight these animals while exploring the forests in the national park.
Helambu and the Tamang Heritage Trail offer a delightful combination of mountain views and pretty villages. The latter offers a real insight into local life thanks to an exciting tourism-based community initiative in which trekkers can stay as guests in village houses, and traditional dances and events are laid on. Both these treks are (for the Himalayas) fairly low level with little risk of altitude-related problems.
With the Langtang Valley Trek, explorers will get an opportunity to delve into the Tamang culture. The Tamangs are the most prominent ethnic groups in this region. The trails go along settlements inhabited by these Tibetan-descendant Tamangs and Sherpas. The communities along the trekking trail are of Buddhist faith and you can observe similar flavor in their art, architecture, and traditions. The cultural practices carried out in these communities date back to ancient times yet are well-preserved and held firmly by the local Tamangs and other ethnic communities.
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