Trekking in Nepal
Trekking around Langtang combines the picturesque valley of Langtang, with the high mountain lakes of Gosainkund and the beautiful Helambu Valley lower down. The Langtang valley lies within one of the most pristine national parks of Nepal, which perhaps explains the high appeal of this trekking route. Situated north of Kathmandu near the Tibetan border, it is the most easily accessible trek route from the capital. This is the only trek that can begin right from the edge of Kathmandu valley. However, most trekkers prefer to begin their journey from Shyabrubesi on the banks of the Langtang River that lies on the newly built road to Tibet through Rasuwa.
The unique Langtang valley is encircled by snow-capped mountains with the peak of Langtang Lirung (7,246m) standing tall above the rest. The trek takes you through forests, delightful farmland, and simple highland villages. The deep gorges of Bhote Koshi and Langtang Khola are thickly forested with rhododendron, oak, maple, and alder. Larch, a rare deciduous conifer, is also found in the forests of lower Langtang Valley. The stretch of forest around GhodaTabela in the lower Langtang valley and below Gosainkunda is inhabited by the Red panda, a rare and threatened animal that is on the list of endangered species. Besides the Red panda, the forests are inhabited by varied wildlife: wild boar, Himalayan black bear, ghoral, Grey langur monkey, and leopard are some of the animals found here. In the higher altitudes reside the Himalayan thahr, musk deer, and the beautiful, elusive cat, the Snow leopard.
Langtang is best explored on foot. There are many possible trails to choose from depending on the time at hand and your interests. The original starting point for the Langtang trek used to be Dhunche, the main trading post of the area, but with the motor road reaching Shyabrubesi which is only a day's drive from Kathmandu, treks today begin here. The usual trek to the upper reaches of Langtang takes four days. Once Ghoda Tabela is reached, the valley opens out and the landscape takes on a dramatic transformation with great mountain views, massive rock overhangs and waterfalls spilling over from the top. The climbing stops and it’s an easy hike all the way to Kyanjin Gompa from where you can explore the high valley of Langshisa, Yala peak, and Tsero, Ri. The villages of upper Langtang are inhabited by people of Tibetan stock whereas the villages of Dhunche, Bharkhu, and Shyabrubesi are almost entirely inhabited by the Tamang people whose ancestors crossed into Nepal from Tibet centuries ago. The people of Langtang are Buddhists and refrain from slaughtering animals. They earn their livelihood by herding yaks and sheep and their favorite meal is Shyakpa, a delicious mixed vegetable soup- based dish.
Kyanjin is a summer settlement, with the popular Kyanjin Gompa (made famous by the book “Snow Leopard”) and a cheese factory at 3,740m, known as Yala Cheese Factory. Kyanjin is also known for the local bakery where trekkers line up to buy their delicacies. There is a STOL airstrip at Chhaldang, a short distance east of Kyangjin. Visiting the Yala Cheese Factory and the small lakes beyond Yala are worth the trouble. Yala is half a day’s walk from Kyanjin Gompa. Further up the pastures of Langsisa (4,084 m) are amazing views that await the determined trekker.