Why Consider a Langtang Trek in Nepal

Spectacular views on the approach to Tilman Pass in the Langtang region | Robin Boustead
Spectacular views on the approach to Tilman Pass in the Langtang region | Robin Boustead

For decades, a Langtang trek was high on many trekkers’ bucket list: the beautiful Langtang Valley was the third of the great trekking areas of Nepal – only Solu Khumbu (beneath Everest) and the Annapurna region saw more visitors. But in recent years, Langtang has become better known for something else – the devastation wreaked on the main village during the earthquake of 2015. Where many villages around Nepal saw significant damage, high above Langtang village, part of the great peak of Langtang Lirung sheared off, and a huge avalanche of ice and rock buried homes and buildings.

Langtang Valley View East towards Langshisa Ri - World Expeditions

Many died and, understandably, people stayed away for a time. But the surviving families have worked incredibly hard to get back on their feet. Trekking trails are open once more, lodges have been rebuilt, and the valley can once again be visited. There are some incredibly painful sights and stories, of course – a huge fan of grey rock covers the area where the village once stood, and close-knit families lost many loved ones. But that is no reason to turn away, and the people of Langtang don’t want sympathy. They just want travellers to return, as they always had before.

A few reasons to consider a Langtang Trek as your next walking holiday:

1. Langtang is spectacularly beautiful

There are no 8000m peaks here, but Langtang Lirung rises well over 7000m and its east face rears up for more than 3km (the same as the difference between Everest and its base camp). The village of Kyanjin Gompa is surrounded by snowy peaks on all sides, and if you head farther up the valley to the shrines of Langshisa Kharka, you’ll have breathtaking views all around. A vast wall of peaks lies between you and Tibet and to the south Ganchenpo (Fluted Mountain) climbs gracefully into the heavens.

Wildflowers in the Langtang region |  <i>Soren Kruse Ledet</i>

2. Easy access to Langtang treks

You can (if you want) walk there all the way from the outskirts of Kathmandu, climbing through Helambu and past the holy lakes of Gosainkund, before dropping into the Langtang Valley itself. Alternatively, a half-day jeep ride will deliver you to Syabru Besi, at the bottom of the valley – from where three days of gentle climbing will get you to Langtang or Kyanjin Gompa at the head of the valley, with no high passes to cross.

Langtang II peak in Nepal - World Expeditions

3. Diverse cultures and landscapes

As you rise through Helambu, or the lower part of the Langtang valley, you’ll pass through rich forests filled with birds and the occasional monkey. Tamang villagers grow their crops on steep terraces. Slowly you’ll pass through to thin pinewoods split by waterfalls. And then it's on to the high valley with yak pastures, open skies and glaciers, and the homes of the Langtang people. Throughout the Langtang/Helambu region you’ll find some of the best flower displays in Nepal and a blend of cultures from Newari, Hindu, Tamang, Bhotia and Sherpa communities.

4. It’s quiet – so you can experience (and contribute) much more than elsewhere

Going on a Langtang trek means you’ll escape the busy trails and teahouses of Annapurna and Khumbu, which can, at certain times of year, make you feel like just a face in the crowd. In Langtang, local Nepali people are incredibly keen to see trekkers come back - and the welcome you receive will be genuinely warm and occasionally emotional.

Even if you know nothing of its recent history, Nepal’s Langtang is a special part of the world. By choosing to spend time in Langtang and with its people, you can perhaps gain richer insights into what life is really like here, beneath the great snow mountains of Nepal.

Interested in a Langtang trek yourself?

World Expeditions organises several treks that (partly) take in the trails of Langtang.

This article is by Keith MacIntosh, a travel photographer and trail runner who visited Langtang in November 2016. Pictures and words are ©Keith MacIntosh, and you can find more images from Nepal (and elsewhere) through his website. Updates through Facebook - search for keithmacintoshphotos. 

Himalayas, Nepal, trekking

Comments (4)


Always come back here to research and recommend trekking for myself and my clients!

8 months ago
Forever Trek

I am really happy to say it’s an interesting post to read.
I learn new information from your article. Great job. Keep it up!!

5 years ago
Mark Henderson

The Dorje Bakery is the BEST! This guy has figured out how to bake at major altitude in Kyanjin Gompa. And he and his family are accommodating and super friendly. The trail is incredibly beautiful and easy and tea houses are spaced about right. My son and I went in April 2015, about 2 weeks before the cataclysm. Big rhododendrons were in full bloom. The drive there atthe time was beyond the pale (in fact I was rather pale) but the funky little truck-stop town of Syabrubesi had some of the best food we had during our month in Nepal (home made Rakshi if you ask the right folks; was incredible). The Tamang people were so nice, well, they're the reason I want to go back.

5 years ago
Enjoy Nepal Treks

great blog

6 years ago
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