Nepal’s Langtang Trek is the perfect trek if you want to combine the cultural experience with the beauty of nature. Over several days, trekkers walk through the Langtang Valley until they reach the famous monastery of Kanjin Gompa and get an intimate view into the Tamang lifestyle of the people in the villages along the way. From Kanjin Gompa, the valley leads further north towards Tibet and trekkers find themselves in a world from a different time. An amazing experience that will stay with you forever!
The Basics of the Langtang Trek
Closest Major City: Kathmandu
Costs: Less than $800 – $1000 with guide and porter
Length: 6 – 8 Days (excluding travel days)
When to Go: Spring or Fall
Essential Info for the Langtang Trek
To do the Langtang Trek, you will require an entry ticket for the National Park and the TIMS card. The TIMS (Trekkers’ Information Management Systems) card needs to be purchased in Kathmandu, the entry for the National Park can be bought on the way, in Dhunche. Carrying your original passport for this is essential. As regulations can change quite frequently, make sure to ask your agency before you leave if you have to get any permits in Kathmandu.
Getting to the start of the Langtang Trek
To get to Nepal, most people take a flight into the capital, Kathmandu, the only international airport in the country. From there, you can either take a public bus to Syabrubesi or hire a Jeep. As the road is terrible, we recommend going by jeep, as the journey by bus can take up to 12 hours and can be very strenuous.
To get used to the altitude and the different climate, you should spend some days in Kathmandu before leaving for the mountains. The capital has many interesting cultural sites that you can visit while you get over your jetlag and get acclimatized.
Langtang Trek Route
The starting point for the Langtang Trek is the busy little town of Syabrubesi. If you reach here early on your travel day from Kathmandu, we would recommend that you cross the river and find a hotel on the other side – it is much calmer there, and you won´t be woken up by the honking of the buses leaving for Kathmandu in the early morning.
On your first day, you start your trek towards Lama Hotel, where you will spend the first night. The trail follows the river up the Langtang Valley, offering some beautiful spots along the river bank to take short breaks and cool off. The first half of the day is relatively relaxed, but after lunch, in Bamboo, the trail starts to go up, and you have to climb the second half of the day.
After a relaxing night with the sound of the river as a lullaby, you continue the trek towards Langtang village. The trail keeps following the river, and you can choose on which side you want to walk. Through the forest, you keep going up, until the trees get less and the valley opens up before you. The village of Langtang was devastated in the 2015 earthquake which triggered a massive landslide, so before you reach your destination for the night, you have to cross the landslide area – a good reminder of the power of nature. The village has been rebuilt though, and you will find many cozy guesthouses here.
Day 3 sees you make your final push towards Kanjin Gompa, the famous village that is named after the monastery there. You have to make some more steep ascents, but you get rewarded with amazing views of the mountains further north. After a short day, you reach the village where you should spend some extra time choosing a great guesthouse – depending on your schedule, you will stay here for a couple of nights.
The village itself is small but has a cheese factory that you should not miss and several charming cafes. Don’t miss the monastery either, they also have a guesthouse that offers amazing dal bhat – rice with lentils. From Kanjin Gompa you can make great day trips to explore the area. You cannot miss the colossal glacier coming down from Langtang Lirung that is visible from the village. You can also walk further up the valley towards the Tibetan border, passing countless yak herds and taking in the fantastic views along the way. The most demanding but also most spectacular day trip is the one to the top of Kanjin Ri at about 4600 m – from here you can see all the way into Tibet on a clear day.
You can easily spend up to 3 days in Kanjin Gompa, exploring the area.
Depending on the time you have available, you will start your descent, which will take two days after you saw everything you wanted to see up there. Many people combine the Langtang Trek with the Helambu Trek (which leads all the way back to Kathmandu), the Gosaikunda Trek or the Tamang Heritage Trail.
Food and Accommodation on the Langtang Trek
You will stay in teahouses that are available in every village along the Langtang Trek. Even though the Langtang Valley was hit very hard by the 2015 earthquake, the infrastructure is rebuilt! Be prepared for simple accommodations, though. It is recommended that you bring your own sleeping bag, so you don´t have to rely on extra blankets from the guesthouses once you get higher up.
The food on the Langtang trek is delicious. It is highly influenced by the Tibetan cuisine, as Tibet is just north of the valley and many people that live here are from Tibet. Don´t miss out on the delicious varieties of Momos (a special kind of Nepali dumplings) that you can get here – especially the ones with yak cheese.
Health on the Langtang Trek
To be able to make the most of your trek, it is essential to be healthy! Like on most treks in Nepal, there are three main things you should look out for to keep good health – the altitude, food poisoning, and the cold.
The Langtang Trek starts at a low altitude and slowly leads up to Kanjin Gompa at 3860 m above sea level. Make sure to go slowly and listen to your body to see how you react to the altitude. Some trekkers have no problems at all at that elevation, others already develop symptoms of altitude sickness. Physical fitness is no guarantee to stay untouched by altitude sickness. Watch out for symptoms like headaches, stomach issues or loss of appetite and make yourself familiar with the symptoms before you go on the trek.
Food poisoning and stomach bugs used to be one of the main concerns in Nepal. The situation has gotten much better with awareness about hygiene amongst guest house owners growing, but there are still some things you should keep in mind. Make sure you only drink water that has been treated – it is best to carry tablets or a filter and not have to buy water in plastic bottles. It is also worth considering a vegetarian diet during the trek, as the meat is often not stored properly and can cause issues. You should carry travel medicines and have travel insurance for any health issues. And go easy on the spices – Nepali cooks use a lot of chili!
A cold on the trek is not life-threatening – but it can definitely dampen your spirit. To avoid it, make sure to eat healthy, drink lots of liquids (clean water or ginger tea) and dress according to the weather. This can mean changing several times a day – especially on the first two days. It can get tropically hot, while it might go down to freezing temperatures at night further up. It is good to layer your clothes to be able to adjust to the changing temperatures quickly.
Sample Itinerary of the Langtang Trek
The Langtang Trek is a fantastic trek that leads you through beautiful nature and lets you experience the fascinating culture of the Tibetan plateau at the same time. It is not too difficult and can be split up into more days if needed as well. Walking up the Langtang Valley, you will get a glimpse into several different climate zones, as you start in an almost tropical forest and end above the tree line next to glaciers and mountain tops. It can be done with children as well, as long as they adapt well to the altitude.
- Drive to Syabrubesi (1450 m)
- Syabrubesi to Lama Hotel (2640 m)
- Lama Hotel to Langtang Village (3340 m)
- Langtang Village to Kanjin Gompa (3860 m)
- Daytrip in Kanjin Gompa (optional)
- Daytrip in Kanjin Gompa (optional)
- Kanjin Gompa to Lama Hotel (2640 m)
- Lama Hotel to Syabrubesi (1450 m)