Langtang Valley Trek- a comprehensive guide
Langtang Valley Trek Overview
One of the shortest high-altitude treks in Nepal, which can easily access from Kathmandu valley, is the Langtang valley trek. It is just 68 kilometers from Kathmandu and can be completed in 8 days, starting from Kathmandu and ending at Kathmandu. The valley is surrounded by mountains like Langtang Lirung, Ganesh Himal, Gang Cheenpo, Naya kangri, Yala peak, Dorje Lakpa, Loenpo Gang, and other small peaks. Within very short days of trekking, the trekkers can see these beautiful mountains and have 360 views of the magnificent mountains from the Tserko-Ri altitude of 5060 m.
Buddhism mainly influences Langtang valley, and the trekker will witness a few monasteries on their journey. The people of Langtang Valley have great faith in Buddhism, and monasteries are like the god’s home. Kyangin Gompa is the top attraction of Langtang valley trekking. This gumba is one of the oldest gumba in Nepal.
Kyangin Ri and Tserko-Ri are the final destinations of this trek, if you are novice trekkers, then Kyangin Ri would be the first choice, and if you are an experienced trekker,,, then Tserko-Ri is the best choice. However, you can do Kayngin Ri first and then hike to Tserko Ri to get acclimatized properly if you have time. Finally, if you want to extend this Langtang Valley trek, you can combine the Tamang Heritage trek or Gosaikunda trek or combine all these three treks in one.
During the devastating Nepal earthquake of 2015, the Langtang region suffered severely. However, with immense support from national and international donors, Langtang valley overcame massive destruction.
Why trek to Langtang Valley
- 360-degree view of massive Himalayas.
- Langtang People, Culture and Arts.
- Trekking inside the Langtang National Park.
- Short distance trek from Kathmandu.
360-degree view of massive Himalayas
Langtang valley offers the most beautiful views of the mountains. The valley is surrounded by mountains like Langtang Lirung, Ganesh Himal, Gang Cheenpo, Naya kangri, Yala peak, Dorje Lakpa, Loenpo Gang, and other small peaks. Within short days of trekking, the trekkers can see these beautiful mountains, and also they will see the magnificent 360 views of the Himalayas.
Langtang People, Culture and Arts
Buddhism mainly influences Langtang valley; the trekker will witness many monasteries on their journey. Monasteries are a spiritual haven for Buddhists. It is a holy place where monks and nuns recite their spiritual texts and continue their spiritual journey. The people of Langtang Valley have great faith in Buddhism, and monasteries are like the gods’ home. Inside the monasteries, you may witness many holy monks reciting the hymns playing their traditional instruments, and meditating for the world’s goodwill. You can also visit the monastery if you wish to; it’s a great place to calm your mind and learn meditation.
Kyangin Gompa is the top attraction of Langtang valley trekking. This gumba is one of the oldest gumba in Nepal. Locating at the altitude of 3870 meters in the lap of the Mountains, this gumba is the most beautiful gumbas of Nepal. The trekkers are heartily welcomed inside the gumba to see the daily life of the monks. They can also contribute to the welfare of the gumba and the local people.
Langtang valley has its own unique identity dominated by the majority of Tamang people, and they are very kind and hospitable. They have successfully run the Tea houses and offered the trekkers their kind hospitality. Buddhism and Guru Rinpoche also influenced the Tamang people; the Dalai Lama and Buddha are considered their main Gods. Tamang people are very friendly, kind, and open to foreigners.
While trekking through the valley, you may witness unique arts and artifacts like the mani walls, chortens, Tibetan paintings, prayer flags. All these Arts have their own unique story. You will be amazed by the ancient arts and wonder how they have constructed such beautiful masterpieces in those times.
Trekking inside the Langtang National Park.
Langtang valley has been known as the paradise for bird watchers since the starting of the trek; you can witness the beautiful birds in their natural environment. However, it would be best if you were silent to listen to their songs. There are more than 150 different species of birds found in Langtang Valley.
Some of the birds are migrated from Siberia. Also, birds like cuckoo, barbets, owls, nightjars, red-billed, parakeets, hoopoe are found inside this big National Park. If you are lucky, you can see them dancing.
Short distance trek from Kathmandu.
Langtang valley is one of the shortest treks of Nepal and can be easily accessed from Kathmandu valley; it is just 68 kilometers from Kathmandu. Trekkers can complete this trek in as short as nine days, starting from Kathmandu. The trekker can fully enjoy the Himalayan views, mountains, and culture within eight days.
Getting to Langtang valley
The actual trek starts from Syafru Besi; the only way to reach Syafru Besi is by bus or jeep as there are no airports in that area. The bus leaves daily from Gongabu bus park to Syafru Besi around 8 pm. The ride can take 7 to 9 hours, depending on the road condition as the roads are not in good condition, so the drives take the bus very slowly. The driver will make lots of stops on the way to get the passenger in and out. The ride may seem tiring, but it’s going to be fun as you can have local experiences with the people and their daily rides.
Another way of getting to Syafru Besi is to hire a private jeep from Kathmandu, which will be more comfortable and faster. The jeep will take 5 to 6 hours to get there. But it will be more expensive than the bus.
The weather of Langtang Valley
Spring season weather in Langtang valley
The Spring season (March, April, and May) is one of the favorable weathers for the Langtang trek. The temperature is between 10 to 20 degrees Celsius during the daytime.
During this time, lower zones of trails will be filled with colorful flowers and lush green forest. The weather remains clear most of the time, offering mind-blowing views of the mountains.
The mornings and nights are pretty chilly because spring comes after the winter season in Nepal, so you need to pack some warm clothing if you are trekking in early spring. During this season, the trails and tea houses will also be crowded with tourists and guides because spring is one of the high trekking seasons in Nepal.
Summer season weather in Langtang valley
June, July, and August are the summer season in Nepal and the monsoon season. During these months, the climate will be hot with a temperature higher than 30°C (86°F). Since you might experience heavy rainfall in the Langtang region during this time, this season is the least recommended season for trekking. The walking trails will be slippery, which will make the walk quite challenging and have lots of bugs and leeches. During this time, the view will also not be clear. The heat from the scorching sun will also add difficulty to this trek.
But if you do not have other free time around the year and want to trek in this season, make sure you are well prepared both mentally and physically. You need to carry raincoats and insect repellents and not to forget hats and sunglasses to avoid sunburns from the scorching sun. Also, since the routes are pretty slippery when it rains, bring shoes with a good grip.
Autumn season weather in Langtang valley
Autumn (September, October, and November) is another best time for trekking since the monsoon will be over, the weather remains clear, and the trails and roads are also not muddy. Furthermore, the temperature is moderate during the day, i.e., 10- 20 degrees Celsius, and the night is cold around 5 degrees Celsius.
During this season, the greenery flourishes, and you will witness colorful flora and fauna. You will witness the beauty of nature in the most beautiful form during this time of the season. The weather is clear, and you will see the stunning Himalayan ranges.
If you plan your trekking during this season, make sure you book it in advance to get the accommodation in the tea houses and lodges. Since this is also the peak season, there might be a chance of not getting the accommodation at that very moment.
Winter season weather in Langtang valley
December to February are the coldest months, and the temperature will be freezing at night. The temperature during the day will be 6- 9 degrees Celsius and drop down below 0 degrees during the night. There will be harsh wind and sometimes 24/7 snowfall, making the trip a challenging one.
The skies are clear and blue, and the view is mesmerizing during this time of the year. Yet the trail is challenging because of the high inches of snow in the route. As a result, most guesthouses will be closed as there will be very few tourists trekking in that area.
If you plan your trekking during this season, you must be well prepared and care for certain things. Crampons are a must to carry during this time to have a good grip on your shoes.
Accommodation during the Langtang Trek
The whole Langtang valley trek is a Tea house trek. Tea houses are guesthouses made for trekkers. When Jimmy Roberts started trekking as a tourism industry, the tiny houses of Langtang valley were converted into beautiful Tea houses. Most of the Tea houses were destroyed by the devastating 2015 Earthquake, but the People of Langtang valley quickly started rebuilding their homes. Now the valley has more Beautiful Tea houses than before.
Rooms at Tea houses
The room may not be as luxurious as in Kathmandu and relatively small. Most of the rooms have double beds where the trekker can share their rooms with trekking partners. The beds are made up of wood with comfortable mattresses. Usually, the room has a small window right next to the bed so the trekker can enjoy the beautiful landscapes. If the trekker is traveling solo, it is optional to share the room. You can get a blanket, pillow, and bed sheet from the tea house, but the blankets may not be warm enough for that weather, so we recommend the trekkers also bring sleeping bags of their own.
Toilets and showers
Some rooms come with attached toilets for making the trekker’s journey more comfortable, and some tea houses have shared facilities. The attached toilets are pretty small, with a squat Asian toilet or a western toilet. The trekkers should never put their used toilet paper or sanitary pads in the sink but instead throw them in the dustbin. The trekkers are also recommended to bring their toilet paper, soap, and towel.
Most Tea houses have a hot shower facility, and if they do not have a hot shower, they will provide hot water in a bucket where the trekker needs to pay for the bucket of hot water, which costs around 2 USD per bucket. One bucket is usually enough for one person. In the lower zones, showers are readily available. However, getting a hot shower in the higher altitudes can be difficult.
Dinning or a communal area
All the Tea houses have one large dining area where 15 to 20 trekkers can easily sit. The dining area is the most common area where the trekker spends their free time. Dining halls are very friendly to pass the time by playing cards, exchanging stories, or just sipping the warm tea with the fantastic views of the mountains. Most dining halls have a wood stove to warm up the room.
Electricity, charging and WIFI
All the rooms are equipped with bright lights for the room. Some rooms have charging sockets; if the room does not have charging sockets, the trekkers can charge their items in the dining hall. The trekkers might need to pay to get the facility; usually, it’s no more than 2 USD.
All the Tea houses have Wi-Fi, but you need to pay to use it. The Wi-Fi is not as great as the city and is very slow, like dial-up internet. But you can give it a try.
Food on Langtang Valley Trek
The foods are very similar to any other trekking region of Nepal. The tea houses have a combined Western, Chinese, Indian, and Nepali food menu. Usually, the trekkers are offered four meals; breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner are very common throughout the trek.
Local foods that you must try
Suki is a traditional Himalayan dish. Sukuti is dried meat: Goat, buffalo, lamb, or yak. In ancient times getting food in the Himalayas was very hard; there were no good crops, and the source of protein was only meat. But since they only get the meat in festivals, the people wanted to preserve the meat for winter and other seasons and not waste any parts of meat, so they dried the remaining meat in summer, preserving it for future use. Though the times have changed, it is still tough to get meat in the Himalayas, and the villagers rarely have poultry farms. The tea houses imports meat from lower zones to satisfy the customer’s needs. But the Tea houses have a huge stock of Sukuti. Suki is available in soup, fried or cooked. Fried Sukuti tastes best as snacks, and cooked Sukuti tastes best with Daal Bhaat. Suki tells the story of the Himalayan people.
Potatoes are part of Himalayan life. It’s very difficult to grow crops in the Himalayas since the land is not fertile, and in winter, the snow makes it more difficult. However, Himalayan lands are blessed with Potatoes. Potatoes are rich in carbs, and they make a perfect diet for trekkers as you need more carbs while trekking in high altitudes. You can try various dishes of potatoes; Our favorite is potato chilly; the tea houses serve mashed potatoes, boiled potato, potato chips, and thick potato soup.
If you are tired of regular bread, you should try the traditional Tibetan Bread. Tibetan bread is fried sweetbreads which are great for breakfast. This bread is a typical Sherpa dish and tastes great with jam/butter/honey or Masala Tea.
Masala Tea is a unique tea made with different herbs and spices, either in black tea or milk tea. The herbs and spices used in masala tea give a unique aroma and directly benefit the health. Masala Tea and Tibetan bread are some of the best combos that you should not miss.
Sherpa Tea (butter tea)
Sherpa Tea is a popular drink among people living in the mountains. This unique tea is what trekkers needs in the high altitudes. Sherpa Tea is made from yak butter, salt, and black tea. The butter is a rich source of fat and salt, and black tea helps to hydrate the body quickly. Sherpa Tea keeps you warm as well as hydrates your body.
The teahouses open their kitchen pretty early in the morning so that the trekkers can have their breakfast and leave early for their trek. Usually, the tea house serves breakfast from 6 to 9 am. The most common breakfast that you can get at the Tea house is:
- Eggs (any style)
- Bread and toast with jam/butter/honey
- Hash brown potatoes
- Snicker/Mars rolls
Lunch and dinner
After the long hours of trekking, lunch and dinner are the most awaited meals of the day. The tea houses prepare the lunch and dinner as per the customer’s request. Some of the standard options are:
- Pasta and noodles
- Dal Bhat
- Spring rolls
The Tea houses have a small shop where the trekker can buy the snacks. The shops have chocolate, biscuits, chips, candy, Choco bars, and drinks. You may also find many shops on the route. However, the shops may not have your favorite snacks, and the products are minimal, so we recommend you pack your favorite snack for the trek.
When you reach the tea house, the first thing is the warm tea welcomes you. The Tea house has a good culture of greeting their customers with a warm cup of black tea. The warm tea makes the trekkers more relaxed, and the people’s hospitality takes away their tiredness. The tea house serves both hot and cold beverages, including alcoholic drinks. Some of the standard drinks are
- Black tea
- Milk Tea
- Masala tea
- Hot chocolate
- Red bulls
- Ginger Tea
- Mint Tea
- Hot Water
- Pepsi/Coke/Fanta/Mountain dew
Langtang valley trek difficulty
Langtang valley trek is regarded as one of the easy treks of Nepal. These ten days trekking is easily accessible from the Kathmandu valley. Langtang valley trekking can be done by any age group and can also be done with family. We have divided the difficulty into three parts:
- The Road and Trails
- Personal Fitness
- Technicality and Altitude
The Roads and Trails
The road from Kathmandu to Syafru Besi is quite nasty; the ride may not be comfortable as the roads are paved with gravel, and there are many potholes on the road, making the ride very bumpy and uncomfortable. The seats on the bus are also very uncomfortable, and for a tourist, it may be really small, and you need to find a good place to adjust your legs. But it is not so bad as you will have good views of the white rivers and green forest and you will also get to know the Nepali style of traveling. Once you reach Syafru Besi, your actual trekking will start, and the trails from Syafru Besi are well maintained, and it is not so steep, making walking easier. There are many Tea houses throughout the trekking region so that you can walk at your own pace. The condition of trails also depends upon the season of trekking. It might not be the same during the monsoon and winter, as landslides and snow are unpredictable.
Fitness is a crucial part of trekking. Trekkers need to be fit to complete the trek. However, the trekkers do not necessarily need to run or climb. People of any age group can do this trek. However, a little exercise before the trek is always found to be beneficial as it keeps the heart and body in good shape. Langtang valley trek is not as difficult as the Everest base camp trek and other trekking regions of Nepal. You can walk at your own pace and take as many breaks as you want. If you are athletic and super fit, this trek will be easy for you. Even though you are not fit and do not have athletic performance, you can still complete this trek comfortably. So do not worry about your physical fitness for this trek.
Technicality and altitude
Langtang valley trekking is a softcore adventure that does not require any skills as the trekkers will rarely use the technical gear. In spring and autumn, trekkers do not need any technical gear, but in the case of winter, the trekker might need a crampon, trekking poles, and good pair of shoes.
Like any other high-altitude trekking, getting altitude sickness is a severe case; however, the trekkers will not cross any high passes in Langtang valley trekking. They will only be traveling up to 5000meters of altitude. The Tsergo Ri viewpoint is the highest altitude of this trek, and you will only be trekking there with proper acclimatization, the right diet, and a good amount of water. After acclimatization, the risk of altitude sickness is minimal, so the trekkers will not need to worry about altitude sickness in Langtang valley trekking.
Permits for Langtang valley trekking
Langtang region lies inside the Langtang National Park, and to enter the park; the trekker needs to have two different permits:
- Langtang National Park permit
- Tims Card
Langtang National Park permit
The cost of a national park permit is NPR3000, which you can also pay in American dollars. You can obtain National Park permit from the Nepal tourism board. To get the Langtang National Park’s permit, you need your original passport.
The cost of a TIMS card permit is NPR 2000, which you can also pay in American dollars. Nepal Tourism board distributes the permit for the trekker. To get a TIMS card, you need to have your original passport and two PP size photos.
You will be required to show your permits at different checkpoints throughout the trekking; you will be penalized if you fail to show these permits. However, our company and guides will help you obtain these permits to have a comfortable journey.
Langtang valley trek with a guide and porter VS independently.
Trekking in the Langtang region with a guide is not compulsory, as the Langtang region is not a restricted region you can get the permits on your own. However, if you are not an experienced trekker and have no idea of high-altitude trekking, elevations, geography, and the local lodges, trekking alone can become very difficult. Therefore, if you are new to trekking and just planning to start your trek from Langtang valley, we recommend hiring a guide. For inexperienced trekkers, trekking independently can turn out into a disaster. Even basic problems can ruin your whole trek, like getting the permits, booking the ticket, getting into the Tea house, forecasting the weather, and knowing the trail’s condition. All these things are crucial while trekking which might make your trip bizarre.
If you trek with a guide and porter, you will never have to worry about these things. Your guide will arrange all the necessary logistics transportation and help you with all the permits. They make sure you get comfortable accommodation and hygienic foods. They will give you information about the culture, people, and trails and keep you updated about the trail’s weather, temperature, and condition. The guide will also arrange for you, the porter, to carry your backpacks to make your journey easy. The porter will carry your Rucksack up to 25-30 kilograms.
Packing list for Langtang valley trek
While trekking in Langtang valley, you may not need to take loads of stuff, and you don’t need any technical gear. For experienced trekkers, packing can be no big deal, but it can be big trouble for beginners as they might get confused about what to pack. At first, you may think that you could easily carry all those heavy stuff, but once you are on the trail, you may regret that you shouldn’t have brought all those stuff. If you are with a guide and porter, you may not have to worry about carrying your backpack as they will carry it for you. But if you are trekking on your own, you should make it light. To make it easier for the ten days trek following are the essential items that you need to pack:
- Hiking shirts: 2-3 pairs of hiking shirts (a quick-dry shirt will be best for you).
- Hiking pants: 2 pairs of hiking pants will be enough for this trek.
- Warm fleece: a fleece will keep you warm on chilly nights.
- Down jacket: A synthetic or down jacket will just be perfect. You don’t need the north face summit series; a normal one will be just perfect for the Langtang trek.
- Warm thermal set: 1 pair
- Trekking boots: You may want to get a good pair of trekking shoes and invest some in quality shoes as cheap shoes are not comfortable and do not last long, which might also break in the middle of trekking.
- Trekking socks: Two to four pairs of socks for walking and one extra pair for night.
- Rain jacket: no matter what season you trek, you should always pack a rain jacket.
- Cap/Hats/ Beanie: While trekking in the sun, cap/hats is very important. And beanie will keep you warm at night.
- Buff: If there is a strong wind, a buff will protect your skin.
- Undergarments and sports bra
- Rucksack 40 liters
- Trekking poles
- Head torch
- Sleeping bag (-10)
- Other items
- First aid kit
- Hand sanitizer
- Toilet paper
- Wet wipes
- Books or kindle
- Extra batteries
- Chargers and cables