Journey through the Langtang Valley: Trek under the Himalayas’ shadow

16 December, 2020 | Reccy Guide

Nepal is located near India, with its northeastern lands marked by the Langtang Valley and the Himalayan ridge that separates Nepal from Tibet. Those who explore this remarkable area of the country discover the various climates and terrains that comprise the valley. Moreover, Langtang valley trek offers visitors a chance to glimpse the cultural and religious history and customs of the Buddhist and Hindu population.

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The city of Kathmandu lies to the southeast of the Langtang Valley National Park. There is an international airport in the city, making it a prime spot for travelers to use as a springboard for local adventures. Lodging in Kathmandu is diverse; the city is a sprawling metropolis, and there are plenty of cheap and luxury options available.

For those who want to venture outside of the city limits, trekking in Nepal in Langtang Valley offers visitors remarkable views and plenty of peace. There are multiple touring companies that can take you on different trekking routes through the valley. It’s common for most travelers to visit the site of the Langtang Village and Kyanjin Gompa, or the Ganja La pass, or even the Gosainkunda Lake and temple.

crossing a suspension bridge during the trekCrossing a suspension bridge during the trek

No matter which route you choose, your journey will take multiple days as you wind through the valley’s diverse landscapes. Most trips last between five and ten days. Lodging and meals are provided along the way for most treks, allowing you to leave many typical backpacking supplies behind. The lodging system of Nepal allows visitors to rest and dine at various teahouses that exist within the valley. The fees are relatively cheap—only $5-$10 per night for simple accommodations—and the homemade food is provided by the individual families who run each teahouse. 

The country of Nepal suffered heavily in April 2015 when an earthquake destroyed much of Kathmandu and its surrounding areas. The Langtang Village was entirely buried under a landslide from a nearby mountainside, and most of the villagers and tourists perished in the disaster. Today, multiple villages and pockets of the population are in the process of rebuilding. Tourism through the area offers economic support to these citizens while offering visitors the chance to learn about the history of the valley.

Kyanjin Gompa is a perfect example of living history; this 600-year-old Buddhist monastery is still inhabited and maintained. Although the gompa lies at an impressive 4,400 meters, it is overshadowed still by the Langtang Lirung peak, whose snowy peak exceeds 7,000 meters.

Panoramic view during the Langtang TrekPanoramic view during the Langtang Trek

The Ganja La high pass is high enough up (over 5,000 meters in altitude) that there’s often a layer of snow throughout the pass. If you’re willing to brave a couple nights of true camping in areas far away from the nearest teahouse, you’ll be treated to star-speckled skies and a fantastic alpine view.

The Gosainkunda Lake is the site of a Hindu temple—even the lake itself is believed to be holy. During religious festivals, thousands of worshipers journey to the lake and pay homage to gods Shiva and Gauri. The deep blue waters of this lake, along with the rugged mountains that surround it, tempt travelers to climb to the local altitude: 4,380 meters.

Whatever your preferred level of hike is, there is a way to adapt your trek. The simple trek through the Langtang Valley, with a visit to any of the 40 plus remote villages along the way, delights all by offering beautiful meadows and a backdrop of the Himalayan mountains that border Tibet. However, if you’re able and have the time, visiting the gompa, pass, or lake will be even more rewarding. 

Though multiple companies offer tours, the shortest trips are usually around five days. Most treks require 5 to 6 hours of walking per day, morning to early afternoon, with breakfast and lunch being purchased at a teahouse. Packing lists vary, but it’s typical to bring a sleeping bag to ensure warmth while staying in teahouses, as not all are insulated or warmed. Groups of 2 to 12 can travel together, and this a great option for adventurous families with older children.

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