Langtang Trek: High Altitude Adventure in Kathmandu's Backyard

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Langtang Trek: High Altitude Adventure in Kathmandu's Backyard
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Close to the Tibetan border there’s a magical valley with towering mountains that exceed the 7000 meters mark. Welcome to the Langtang Valley, a hidden gem not far from Nepal’s capital city Kathmandu. From the lush forests in the shadows of the Langtang Himal to the picture perfect viewpoint of Tsergo Ri at almost 5000 meters, the Langtang Valley trek has it all. The great news is, this trek is doable for almost every trekker as the distances and elevation gain are relatively small. Bookatrekking.com has taken numerous trekkers to this forgotten corner of the Himalayas. And we’re thrilled for you to join us too!

At Bookatrekking.com we ensure that you find your next epic trek in the Nepali Himalayas. As experienced trekkers we'd like to share our knowledge and advice for the trek to the beautiful Langtang Valley. Unleash the explorer in you and get in touch!

The Langtang Valley Trek: The Most Accessible High Altitude Trek in Nepal

Nepal is famous for its long-distance hiking trails like Everest Base Camp and the Annapurna Circuit, covering lots of mileage and vertical gain. This may not be for everybody. The Langtang Valley Trek is ideal for those who don’t want to commit to a strenuous trekking journey, but still want to experience the very essence of trekking in Nepal.

The Langtang region is located straight north of Kathmandu, geographically the closest Himalayan mountains from the capital. The enormous ridge of snow and ice called the Langtang Himal forms a formidable natural barrier of more than 7000 meters high with neighboring Tibet. The mountains and the valley below are part of the Langtang National Park, the first designated national park in the entire Himalayan Range. It’s a safe haven for elusive animals like the red panda, ghoral (mountain goat) and the snow leopard.

The trek starts in Syabrubesi, at the bottom of the Langtang Valley where you pay your Langtang National Park fee. A skinny trail winds along the banks of the at times raging torrents of the Langtang Khola. The route is mostly in the shade of the rhododendron and pine trees, keeping you a bit cooler in the hot, lower parts of the valley. The landscape opens up as you approach Langtang Village. To the north is the huge wall of Langtang Himal’s highest peak, Langtang Lirung (7234m). Six kilometers further up the valley there’s Kyanjin Gompa, with a 300 years old monastery. This friendly village is a huge contrast to its barren surroundings, and it’s the highest overnight stop on the Langtang trek. From here, there’s the option to climb up Tsergo Ri, more than a 1000 vertical meters up. It’s a long, tough, but non-technical climb to a large buddhist stupa. From the top at 4985m you have panoramic views of Langtang Lirung and the world’s 14th highest peak, Shishapangma (8027m high!). It is in many ways the highlight of trek.

The Langtang Valley Trek: The Most Accessible High Altitude Trek in Nepal

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How Hard Is the Langtang Trek?

In short, the trek is not that hard. The Langtang Valley elevation is fairly modest compared to for example the Everest treks. The trails up the valley are in good condition, and they ascend gradually along the river Langtang Khola. The distances are very manageable, leaving enough time to enjoy downtime in the villages after the day’s walk. The hardest day is the trek up the 4985 meter high Tsergo Ri from Kyanjin Gompa, which is a bit like ascending a mountain (higher than Mont Blanc!). However, this ascent is optional, as you will come back to stay in the same place at Kyanjin Gompa. You could also go for a slightly lower viewpoint at Kyanjin Ri at 4779 meters above sea level. For those who want to take it easy, you can stick around in Kyanjin Gompa and take in the spectacular mountain scenery while sipping endless cups of tea. All in all, this trek is doable for every reasonably fit hiker.

How Hard Is the Langtang Trek?

When to Hike the Langtang Valley Trek

The Langtang Region, along with most of the other trekking areas in Nepal, has four distinct seasons. Spring, summer, autumn and winter. The months from March to May, pre-monsoon, and from October to early December, post-monsoon, are the most popular for hiking the Langtang Valley trek. Every season offers its own excitement and atmosphere and in principle, you can go trekking year-round. There are good reasons why spring and autumn are considered the trekking season. Below we’ll explain more what each of the seasons are like.

Spring

Spring (March-May) is the prime trekking season and trekkers from around the globe come to the Nepali Himalayas in large numbers. In springtime, the temperature is pleasant, the precipitation is low and the hiking conditions are great. On the trail there’s a lot of excitement to head up to the maximum Langtang Valley altitude of almost 5000 meters at the Tsergo Ri. While temperatures in daytime along the trek are balmy, the temperature higher up in Kyanjin Gompa and beyond can be very cold in the early morning. To prepare yourself for this, check our complete Langtang trek packing list further below in this blog post.

Summer

Summer season falls in the months of June, July and August. Summer is the period with higher temperatures and in that sense it is quite pleasant. However, this is also the monsoon season, and it rains a lot. The chance of seeing the mountains around you is smaller as it is cloudy most of the time. The trail will be wet and slippery and there is an increased risk of landslides. And leeches are very active during these months. On the flip side, it’s almost empty on the route and the traditional villages feel calm and serene.

Autumn

Autumn in the Langtang Valley (September, October, November) is, like springtime, prime trekking season with similar trekking conditions. There is one difference. The air in spring is sometimes a little hazy due to the dust in the atmosphere. Post-monsoon the air is very clear, allowing for stunning views of the surrounding mountains.

Winter

Winter season runs from December to February. This period is the toughest time to trek the Langtang Valley. The sun is low and doesn't get above the mountain ridge lines for a period of time, especially in the lower parts of the valley. Night temperatures drop to -10 degrees Celsius. Add wind and snowfall and you’ve got yourself proper winter conditions. Why do we still run the Langtang Valley hike in winter? We work with some of the best trekking companies in Nepal. Besides trekking trips they also organize climbing expeditions to some of the highest peaks in the Himalayas. Our partners can keep you safe and comfortable, even in these cold conditions. And you will probably have the entire trail to yourself!

When to Hike the Langtang Valley Trek

Langtang Valley and the 2015 Earthquake

The earthquake that struck Nepal in April 2015 was a devastating event, and Langtang was one of the severely affected areas. The earthquake had a magnitude of 7.8 and caused widespread destruction, triggering avalanches and landslides in the Himalayan region.

In Langtang specifically, the earthquake triggered a massive avalanche that swept through the valley, burying entire villages under tons of snow and debris. The aftermath was heartbreaking, with many lives lost, homes destroyed, and families shattered. The remote and mountainous terrain made rescue and relief efforts challenging. The avalanche also caused a glacial lake to burst, compounding the destruction downstream. The entire community of Langtang was essentially wiped out, and the survivors faced the daunting task of rebuilding their lives amidst the ruins. The earthquake highlighted the vulnerability of communities in seismic zones and the need for better preparedness and infrastructure to mitigate the impact of such disasters in the future.

The villages have mostly been rebuilt, albeit in different more safe locations. Also the walking trails have been restored and trekkers have returned to enjoy the Langtang Valley hike.

Langtang Valley and the 2015 Earthquake

Langtang Valley Trek Itinerary

The Langtang trek can be done in 7, 8 or 9 days. If you want to have enough time to acclimatize and get the most out of the trek, we recommend a minimum of 8 days. The following itinerary is our 8-day Langtang Valley Trek.
Day
1

Drive to Syabrubesi

Namaste! We start early in the morning after breakfast and drive up to Syabrubesi. This will take us about 8 hours. We drive along the scenic banks of Trishuli River with beautiful views of valleys, meadows, rivers and mountains. After reaching our destination at an altitude of 1450m, we will check-in to the hotel and spend the night there.

Syabrubensi

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Syabrubensi
Day
2

Syabrubesi trek to Lama Hotel

Duration: 05:00 h
Distance: 11.4 km / 7.1 mi
Ascent: 1080 m / 3543 ft
Descent: 40 m / 131 ft
We won’t sit around: the trek for the day starts right after breakfast. At first the trail ascends for a couple hours and takes us to Bamboo village where we will enjoy our lunch. After that we walk on more flat trails with the possibility to see a number of bird species in the area as well as natural beehives hanging on the cliffs. We will then get ready for another steep climb before we finally reach the Lama Hotel. Here we will stay for the night.

Lama Hotel

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Lama Hotel
Day
3

Trek to Langtang

Duration: 05:00 h
Distance: 12 km / 7.5 mi
Ascent: 1000 m / 3281 ft
Descent: 30 m / 98 ft
A pleasant hike through rhododendron and pine forests takes us to Ghoda Tabela. After our lunch here, we trek into the dense forests and herbs in the area. Another 3 hours hike over a scenic trail finally takes us to Langtang Village where we will spend the night.

Langtang

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Langtang
Day
4

Trek to Kyanjin Gompa

Duration: 02:30 h
Distance: 6.32 km / 3.9 mi
Ascent: 400 m / 1312 ft
Descent: 10 m / 33 ft
Today is an easy 2 to 3 hour hike to visit the Kyangjin Gompa at an altitude of 3817m. The final destination of the trek, the Gompa is a serene and beautiful place that allows us to have the stunning views of Mt. Ganchhenpo and Mt. Langtang Lirung. The yak cheese factory, the monasteries and the traditional local houses are the main attractions of this short excursion.

Kyanjin Gompa

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Kyanjin Gompa
Day
5

Side trek Trek to Tsergo Ri (4985m)

Duration: 07:30 h
Distance: 12.3 km / 7.6 mi
Ascent: 1090 m / 3576 ft
Descent: 1090 m / 3576 ft
This day is dedicated to soak up the natural beauty and serenity of the Gompa area. We can enjoy the splendid mountain views as well as relish in the peaceful environment. Another option is to climb up to Tsergo Ri at 4985m and reach the Langtang glacier and the beautiful yak pasture called Langshisha Kharka. This is quite a tough day. We will follow the same trail back to Kyanjin Gompa and spend the night in the same hotel as where we spend the night before.

Kyanjin Gompa

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Kyanjin Gompa
Day
6

Trek to Rimche

Duration: 06:40 h
Distance: 19 km / 11.8 mi
Ascent: 50 m / 164 ft
Descent: 1450 m / 4757 ft
Today we will enjoy backtracking our steps from Kyanjin Gompa to Rimche. As it is the second last day of the Langtang trek, we will be mostly descending. This makes things a lot easier and more enjoyable.

Rimche

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Rimche
Day
7

Trek to Syabrubesi

Duration: 03:40 h
Distance: 9.8 km / 6.1 mi
Ascent: 20 m / 66 ft
Descent: 1030 m / 3379 ft
We keep backtracking our steps through the bamboo and rhododendron forests before we finally reach Syabrubesi. Our hike will take us about 4 to 5 hours. We'll stay in Syabrubesi tonight and enjoy the last dinner together with the guide and the porters. Next day you hop on the bus ride back to Kathmandu.

Syabrubensi

Info
Syabrubensi
Day
8

Drive back to Kathmandu

Early in the morning, after breakfast, we get back into the bus to Kathmandu. We can enjoy the evening traveling around the tourism spots in the capital city or go shopping for souvenirs in Thamel.
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Langtang Trek Map

This Langtang Valley Trek map gives you an overview of the trekking route that Bookatrekking.com offers.

What Permits Do I Need For the Langtang Valley Trek? 

For trekking in Langtang National Park, you need the following permits:

TIMS (Trekkers Information Management System):

This permit is important for every trekker wishing to trek in Nepal. From the Annapurna Circuit to the trek to Poon Hill, all trekking routes require this permit. This costs NRS 2000 per person. This equals about 17 USD or 15 EUR.

Langtang National Park entrance fee

The Langtang trek leads through the Langtang National Park. This costs an additional 25 USD.

All permits are arranged by your trekking provider.

What Permits Do I Need For the Langtang Valley Trek? 

What Are The Teahouses in Langtang Valley Like? 

Experiencing a stay in the traditional villages along Nepal's trekking routes is, in our opinion, an integral and enriching aspect of trekking in Nepal. It represents a harmonious blend of rugged mountain wilderness and a distinctive mountain culture. Staying in these mountain villages provides a genuine glimpse into life in the Langtang Valley.

Each village offers accommodations in a tea house, the local term for a guesthouse. During our trekking adventures in Nepal, we always look forward to reaching the next destination early. Why? Because we cherish the tranquility and simplicity of life in these mountain villages. Enjoying a cup of tea, we can immerse myself in the daily rhythm of life in the Himalayas. Some villages may feature monasteries, and fortunate trekkers might encounter one of the many Buddhist festivals. While the tea houses themselves are generally simple, in recent years, some have undergone improvements, now equipped with flush toilets, warm water, and even WiFi. Fortunately, the delectable dhal bat, a staple in Nepalese trekking cuisine, remains a highlight on every tea house menu. Immerse yourself in Nepal's mountain culture on the Langtang Trek!

Not sure yet or want to discuss your plans for the Langtang Valley Trek with one of our trekking experts? Get in touch today and turn your dreams into memories!

Packing List for the Langtang Valley Trek

Trekking in Nepal requires good quality and appropriate equipment. Especially the essentials like a good pair of hiking boots and breathable hardshell rain jacket. We highly recommend that you read our suggested packing list to hike the Langtang Valley Trek.

  • Technical Clothing

  • Headwear

  • Handwear

  • Footwear

  • Accessories

  • Equipment

  • Other

Langtang Valley Trek 6217

How To Identify and Prevent AMS On The Langtang Valley Trek?

It's essential to understand that altitude sickness can affect anyone, regardless of age, fitness level, or previous high-altitude experience. These days there are several tools to monitor your health at altitude. A widely-used (analog) method is the Lake Louise score card. It ticks the altitude symptoms while keeping the severity in mind. It’s a common tool used by guides. Nowadays, most trekking and mountain guides bring a blood oxygen saturation meter, which also measures the heart rate. These are key indicators whether a person adapts to altitude well or not. AMS can occur when trekking the Langtang Valley Trek. Below you can find everything you need to know about altitude sickness.

  • Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS)

    Altitude sickness, also known as Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) is a health condition that occurs when someone is exposed to low levels of oxygen at higher altitudes. AMS is a serious condition and as the name suggests acute. It needs to be dealt with immediately, as it is potentially life-threatening. Most people will experience some mild symptoms of altitude sickness. It’s important to be aware of these symptoms and act before symptoms become more severe. Below we break down the different forms of AMS and how you can reduce the risk of getting it.

    AMS symptoms

    It is key to know how to identify altitude illness. You may experience the following symptoms due to the jump in altitude: headache, lack of appetite, breathing difficulties, insomnia, nausea and vomiting. The intensity and severity of these symptoms may increase with altitude and an overall feeling of fatigue will take all your joy away. This may further deteriorate to one of these life-threatening conditions.

    High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE): HAPE is a condition in which fluid accumulates in the lungs, making it difficult to breathe. Symptoms may include shortness of breath, a persistent cough, chest tightness, and an increased heart rate. It can be a life-threatening condition and requires immediate descent to lower altitudes and, in severe cases, medical treatment.

    High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE): HACE is a more serious condition in which fluid accumulates in the brain. Symptoms may include severe headaches, confusion, loss of coordination, and altered mental status. HACE is also a medical emergency and requires immediate descent and medical attention. Below 7 ways of minimizing the risk of AMS:

    • 1. Gradual Ascent

      One of the most effective ways to prevent AMS is to ascend gradually. When traveling to high altitudes, try to take several days to acclimatize before going higher. This allows your body to adapt to the reduced oxygen levels. All our treks in Nepal keep sufficient acclimatization into account.

    • 2. Stay Hydrated

      Dehydration can increase the risk of AMS, so drink plenty of fluids. Avoid excessive alcohol and caffeine consumption, as they can contribute to dehydration.

    • 3. Diet

      Consume a balanced diet with adequate carbohydrates and avoid heavy, fatty meals. Carbohydrates can help your body utilize oxygen more efficiently at high altitudes.

    • 4. Medication

      Some individuals may consider taking medication, such as acetazolamide (Diamox), to help prevent AMS. Consult with a healthcare professional before using any medication, and be aware of potential side effects.

    • 5. Rest

      Ensure you get enough sleep and rest during your ascent. Fatigue can increase the risk of AMS.

    • 6. Avoid Overexertion

      Pace yourself and avoid overexertion. Listen to your body, and if you experience symptoms of AMS, rest or descend to a lower altitude.

    • 7. Descend if Symptoms Persist

      If you experience symptoms of AMS, such as headache, nausea, dizziness, or difficulty breathing, it's crucial to descend to a lower altitude. Symptoms should not be ignored or dismissed.

Where Can I Book the Langtang Valley Trek?

At Bookatrekking.com you can book this trek and many others. Our guided options come with experts on the ground, and offer you a convenient, stress-free, safe, and educational way to explore the outdoors. Find our offers here. Our easy-to-use platform allows you to browse and compare different trekking options and find the perfect fit for your interests, abilities, and budget.

If you have any questions about a specific trek or need help choosing the right one for you, our team of trekking experts is here to assist you. Simply reach out to us and we will be happy to provide you with personalized recommendations and advice to help you plan the trekking adventure of a lifetime.

Is this not your cup of tea and are you looking for other epic adventures? Check out one of our blog posts:

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