Langtang Valley Trek is an amazing and diverse trek that takes you from beautiful forests to the base of the Himalayas. Although it is a day's drive from the capital, it receives fewer tourists than other more famous treks. So, it is perfect for a peaceful trek with the culture and natural beauty that Nepal is famous for.
The trek offers expansive views of Langtang Lirung (7,234 m/ 23,734 ft) and various other peaks along with numerous lakes and glaciers. As the trek runs through the Langtang National Park, trekkers can enjoy untouched forests of cedar and rhododendron and wild animals, including Himalayan pheasants, musk deer, and the adorable red panda.
This trek introduces the Sherpa and Tamang people with their unique blend of Tibetan and Nepali culture. Sherpas are world-renowned for their mountain climbing expertise and experience. Tamangs, on the other hand, were known as traders of Tibet. Both these ethnic groups, especially the Tamangs, are the original inhabitants of the Langtang region. The off-beat nature of this trek ensures a taste of their lifestyle.
The beautiful Langtang Valley is the closest mountain range from Kathmandu city, very close to old Tibet. It was once an important trade route and still has an important history and culture. This valley is a must-visit if you are an avid lover and a huge fan of nature. The mountain ranges are so beautiful from a small town with a rustic lifestyle, and walking through the lush green hills will take your breath away.
Langtang Valley Trek Key Facts
- The Langtang Valley, known as the valley of glaciers, is a narrow valley running from east to west. Langtang Glacier, the longest glacier river of Nepal, is located here. It is located about 70 km/ 43 mi north of Kathmandu. It has a length of about 18 km/ 11 mi. It covers an area of 46.5 sq. km/ 11 sq. mi. Other glaciers include the Yala and Lirung glaciers. Due to global warming, lakes have formed at the end of many glaciers. However, this has offered an opportunity to generate electricity. The lakes are drained, and from the water, hydroelectricity is produced.
- The best time for this trek is between September and Mid December when the weather is warm. Trekking is easier, and a clear view of the mountains is visible. The relatively low temperature will also make the trek more pleasant. The lush forests filled with red rhododendrons and blossoming wildflowers attract many nature lovers from March to May. Summers between June and August are hot, and the rainfall may make the trail slippery. However, you can see the mountains the clearest after rain. In winter, there is snowfall but also fewer trekkers.
- The trek duration is usually 11 days and a maximum of 21 days. It is relatively short and easy compared to the other famous treks of the Himalayas in Nepal. However, it is still a trek into an elevation of 5,033 m/ 16,500 ft and a distance of about 117 km/ 72.7 mi. At these elevations, altitude sickness is also a threat. So, you must be prepared physically and well supplied. With proper acclimatization, the threat of altitude sickness can also be reduced. Although not mandatory, it is recommended to get a guide. They will ensure you are safe and take you along the best path.
- The trail is the only route into the Langtang Valley. So, supplies for the inhabitants are transported through it on the backs of donkeys and yaks, and you will likely encounter them. Always stay on the uphill side of a trail when being passed by them for your safety. Due to this, the price of everything is higher than in urban areas. So, it is recommended for you to buy non-perishable supplies while in Kathmandu or other urban areas. Do not approach yaks if you see them. They are not aggressive normally; however, they may be if they have a baby calf.
- This trek is described as a tea house trek. Across the Himalayas in Nepal at higher altitudes, many tea houses and lodges offer basic meals and beds to trekkers. Thus, you will not need to carry any camping gear. You might not find facilities like in lower altitudes. However, they will serve you hot meals and adequate bedding. As you will be tired from a whole day of trekking, you will not much care about it. Each night is spent in one of these tea houses, hence the term. Staying in a teahouse also gives you an insight into the way of life in these regions.
- A 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit Nepal at 11:56 am on Sunday, 25 April 2015. Due to this, a vast landslide fell off Langtang Lirung, bringing a large glacier and a frozen lake. The landslide struck Langtang village and destroyed it. The landslide produced winds that flattened every tree on the opposite side of the valley for many kilometers downstream. A new village near the destroyed one has been rebuilt. These natural disasters had a huge effect on the valley, but reconstruction has reopened it to trekking again.
- Tserko Ri (5,033 m/ 16,500 ft) is a hill that is the highest point of the trek and offers the best views on the whole trail. Yala Peak (5,520 m/ 18,110 ft) is seen most prominently from this viewpoint, and other peaks that can be seen are Langtang Lirung (7,227 m/ 23,734 ft), Langtang Ri (7,205 m/ 23,638 ft), Changbu (6,781 m/ 22,247 ft), Ganja La Peak (5,844 m/ 19,173 ft), Loenpo Gang (6,979 m/ 22,896 ft), Morimoto (6,150 m/ 20,180 ft) and Yubra (6,035 m/ 19,800 ft). Ganjala Pass (5,132 m/ 16,837 ft), the way out of the valley in this trek can also be seen.
- The village of Kyanjin Gompa is named after the ancient Kyanjin Gompa (Monastery), which is said to be 700 years old. Sitting at an elevation of 3,870 m/12,697 ft), it is the highest human settlement of the trek. Located on a plain after days of uphill hiking, it offers a dramatic view of the Langtang range. Kyanjin Ri and Tserko Ri, two unique viewpoints are reached from here. The Langtang Lirung Glacier and an unnamed lake are just above it.
- Swiss-style cheese made with local yak milk is produced in a factory located at Kyanjin Gompa. Swiss dairy specialist Werner Schulthess established it. He was sent to Nepal in the early 1950s by The United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to find a profitable solution to the excess milk produced in remote mountain areas. The factory was one of them. He built it as Langtang valley is a 6 to 7 days journey from Kathmandu, the nearest market. Due to this, milk to be sold would spoil. The people were not familiar with this product at first. So, he gave out many for free. It was also affected by the Nepalese Civil war (1996-2006). Now, demand is greater than supply. He was given the nickname "milkman" for this and his other contributions.
- Gosainkunda is a freshwater lake and an important pilgrimage site for Hindus. It sits at an elevation of 4,380 m/ 14,370 ft. It is one of 108 glacial lakes in the area. It was declared a Ramsar Site on 29 September 2007. It is said to have been created by Lord Shiva, one of the major Gods in Hinduism. It receives many pilgrims mainly during two major festivals: Janai Purnima and Ganga Dussehra. It is believed that all the Hindu deities descend to the lake in Janai Purnima, and therefore, taking a dip in the lake is a chance to get closer to divinity. The Laurabina La pass (4,610 m/ 15,124 ft) offers a great view of the surrounding. It lies two hours on foot to the southeast of Gosainkunda.