Trekking up a wooded gorge past waterfalls to alpine meadows, then past Hindu holy lakes, to panoramic views from the Annapurnas, to the Everest regions.
The Lantang and Helambu regions are within easy striking distance of Kathmandu and contain a great many different treks from 8 days to 24 days. We can guide you on gentle beginners treks or remote treks. If you can tell us for how many days you would like to trek and at what grade of difficulty you want, then we can put a trek together for you. To give you an idea, we’ve suggested this trek which gives you a mix of terrain, views and cultures. It goes though wooded gorges to a Tibetan ethnic group of villages and a climb through typical hill farming country to walk alongside lakes where thousands pilgrimage to every year.
You start with a choice of catching a local bus, which is cheap and colourful or hiring an expensive jeep to get to Syaphru Besi, the gateway to the Langtang valley.
Starting next day, we trek up the narrow wooded gorge of the Lantang Khole river which thunders down the gorge. The forest varies hugely from almost jungle, through English type woodland, to bamboo forest and eventually alpine meadows above the treeline. It takes us two days to get up to Langtang village where the Hindu religion has given way to Buddhism and the people look very Tibetan in appearance. If possible you will stay in a Tibetan families lodge.
Langtang means ‘Ox lays down with full tummy’. The Ox of legend was chased all the way from Tibet and, in time, the ox died at Langshisa Kharka.
Seeing the valley had good grazing the Tibetans stayed. This story explains why Tibetan people are here.
From here the trees thin out until Kyanjin Gompa where the alpine meadows begin and local cheese is made. The gompa is a Buddhist monastery set up on a hill overlooking the village. At Kyanjin there are several large lodges, a yak hair weaving shop which sells delightful shawls but it’s best to take the claims that this is yak hair with a pinch of salt and a decent coffee shop with cakes!
From here, it’s a steep climb up to Cherko Ri viewpoint, which is about 4200mts. All this time, you’ve been walking below the Langtang Lirung (7225mts) catching glibmpses of it but now from Cherko Ri you get a fine view of it across a glacier, together with a panorama of lesser peaks up to the border with Tibet which is close by. From Kyanjin, a day walk takes you to Langshisa Kharka, which is a flat area where the valley divides into three. Its a nice place.
Also from Kyanjin, two remote treks head south back to Kathmandu and you can walk right back to the outskirts of the city or to roadheads. The first is an up to 14 day trek (including the days you have just trekked), over the Kangja La pass, which, at 5130mts, is a technical pass followed by a descent to Melamchi Bazaar and we suggest a bus back to Kathmandu or just keep trekking to Kathmandu.
The second route is across Tilman Pass and is rarely trekked. Bill Tilman was the first European to explore this region in 1949, and very few have ever retraced his footsteps.The ‘challenging’ Tilman Pass is named after him. The pass itself involves easy mountaineering with crampons and ice axes but it’s fairly straightforward. It’s a long and remote camping trek of about 18 days duration and it’s unlikely you’ll see another trekker.
The shortest trek is one to Langtang only. Maximum altitude 3730mts at Kyanjin Gompa, more up to the viewpoint but you’re sleeping at Kyanjin. This is 10 days, Kathmandu and back to Kathmandu. Another option is the Tamang Heritage Trail. This is 10 days, Kathmandu and back to Kathmandu. Probably the most exciting option is to head west from the Tamang Heritage Trail along the Great Himalayan Trail to join the Manslu circuit, trek the circuit, then the Narphu valley and end up crossing the Tilicho Pass to Jomsom. A huge and tough trek which I doubt has been done in it’s entirety in one go. The advantage is that there are several resting places like Manang and chances to bail out, should you wish to.
As you see, there is plenty to choose from. Please ask for details on these treks.
Returning to our described trek.
We go back down the gorge to and turn southwards into Helambu, which is more primitive and less trekked than the Langtang valley. We overnight in Thulo Syaphru, a village on a ridge. Next day is a long and hard 1400mts ascent up little tracks through rice paddies, barley fields and past farms that most trekkers never see, only local people and porters use them but for us it’s a good route up to and along a treeless ridge to Lauribina at 3900mts. I know that 1400mts in one day sounds like breaking every acclimatising rule in the book but you just spent two nights at 3730mts at Kyanjin Gompa, so whilst it’s a long way and you will feel the altitude, it’s not too bad. The reward for all that hard work is a awesome late afternoon view of most of the western front of the Nepal Himalaya. The Annapurnas are just visible as is Manaslu and nearer the Ganash Himal massif, lastly there is a line of brownish, less snowy hills that are the Tibetan border and beyond. In the golden evening light it’s a superb sight.
Next stop is Gosainkund village, on the shores of a group of sacred lakes. A famous legend recounts how Shiva, having saved the world by drinking a dangerous poison, struck this mountainside with his trisul to create the lake and cool his burning throat. During the full moon of July–August, Janai Purnima, a massive Hindu pilgrimage is held at Gosainkund. Nearby, you pass the spring that Shiva made and the simple shrine around it. At Gosainkund we have the option of a rest day and a climb up to a viewpoint or to push on over Laurabina La pass 4610mts and the highest point of the whole trek.
After two days, we stay at Tharepati, where we see another stunning panorama but this time eastwards as far as Cho Oyu, Everest and Makalu and again, at sunset, the colour is magical. This long line of Himalayan giants is still getting light well after sunset. The hills are dark with the sky very dark blue and the stars are out but the snow peaks glow faintly before fading to black. Separated by only a few days you see two enormous panoramas of the Nepal Himalayas and the trek is worth it just for that alone.
Next day we start to long descent to Melamchigaon village and then down a wooded gorge to Thimbu where there is a gompa with a mysterious Buddha in a cave. Last time I was there, there was the sound of monks chanting their evening prayers as we entered the village.
Next day we catch the local bus to Kathmandu.
This trek is 21 days from Kathmandu and back to Kathmandu.Your first day is an administration day, getting permits, etc, checking your kit and resting. We leave the following morning at about 6am on the day long road journey and start trekking next day. On return to Kathmandu you overnight then fly home the next day.
You pay a flat fee for guiding and portering. Then you pay for all your living expenses plus travel, etc. on top of that. We’ve estimated your living expenses at the upper end of the scale. Depending on your wishes, you can either save money or spend more by, lets say, drinking beer every night.
Based on two trekkers sharing a room with one guide and one porter, the guiding only will cost £360 each. That includes the staffs’ accommodation and food which they pay for. On top of that, you have your costs as individuals, which is roughly £590 each, which includes your food and accommodation on trek, 3 nights in an average hotel in Kathmandu, permits, local taxis, etc. So it’s roughly £950 each in total. The only other thing which you may want to do is to hire a jeep to get from Kathmandu to Syaphru Besi. This costs an additional £140 approximately and saves about £20 on a local bus. Jeeps seat up to six so you’ll have to spare seats and there is a chance that we can find someone to share the cost of the jeep.
The way it works is: You pay the guide up front in full and pay the rest directly to the provider, eg lodge owner. The guide will organise the bill for lodges, etc. I find it best just to hand over a sum of money for the guide to pay the daily expenses and keep track of the running total. It makes life simpler that way.
This doesn’t includes staff tips. These are poor people, so please bear that in mind. I always give 12%.
This doesn’t include your international flight, extra days, etc.
More details from Steve Climpson via the contact form or phone 01256 895600.