Langtang is often known as Nepal’s best-kept secret. Overshadowed by the Everest and Annapurna region for a reasonable period, Langtang’s popularity has been slowly but steadily growing over a period of a decade. For many trekkers, Langtang trek was high on many trekkers’ bucket list, until the earthquake hit Nepal in 2015.
Set at an average elevation of 3,400 meters, a massive avalanche of rock and ice and ice buried the homes in Langtang village after a part of the mighty Langtang Lirung peak sheared off. Many died, and, understandably, people didn’t come back for a time. However, the surviving families returned and worked incredibly hard to get back on their feet. Today, the trails are open once more, lodges have been reconstructed, and the valley can be visited once more.
Three years have passed down since the devastating quake, and now tourism is breathing life into the Langtang Valley again. Here we present ten reasons to visit Langtang for your next walking holiday:
It is beautiful
Beautiful would be an understatement. Although the region doesn’t boast of 8000m peaks like other major trekking areas, Langtang Lirung, the highest peak in the area, rises well over 7,000m and dominates the skyline from Kyanjin Gompa village. You can see snowy mountains from day-one of the trek, and you can see amazing glaciers and ice-lakes from up close, too. If you hike further up towards shrines of LangshisaKharka, you will be met by breathtaking views of south Ganchenpo (also known as Fluted Mountain) that climbs graciously towards heaven.
Easy to reach
Located in the north-central region of Nepal, Langtang Valley is just 30 kilometres away from the Kathmandu. If you want, you can begin your walk all the way from the outskirts of Kathmandu, hiking through Helambu and past the holy lakes of Gosainkunda, before dropping down to reach the valley. Then again, a half-day scenic jeep ride will take you to SyabruBesi, at the bottom of the valley – from where only three days of mild climbing will take you to Kyanjin Gompa or Langtang at the head of the valley, with no problematic passes to cross.
If you are an experienced mountaineer and are looking for mountains to climb-practice before you conquer the eight-thousanders, Langtang region might be the perfect choice for you. There are a few peaks you can attempt: Yala Peak (5,500 meters) that can be climbed in just two days with one-night camping, or Naya Kanga (5,846m), which is albeit technical and requires a permit.
Especially, since the last earthquake, Langtang has seen a dramatic drop in tourism. While it has slowly started to gain momentum, you will not experience any hustle and bustle as you’ll do in the Everest and Annapurna areas. Sharing the mountains with hordes of tourists can ruin the experience for some. So, going to Langtang will mean escaping the busy trail and tea houses, and going off the beaten path into nature. A bonus: since people here are immensely keen to trekkers come back; you will receive a genuinely warm welcome.
The people and their diverse culture
Following the damaging earthquake and its repercussions, people here are more welcoming than ever. They will be genuinely grateful if you step into their lodge/teahouse and will treat you with best of world-famous Nepali kindness. Another highlight is that you will be able to witness and experience the several diverse cultures of different ethnic groups during just one trek. From day one, you will be able to see the display of the blend of cultures from Newari, Tamang, Bhotia, and Sherpa communities among others.
The flexibility of teahouses and camps
Many trekkers are of the opinion that the Langtang Valley trek is one of the most beautiful destinations for camping. You can either camp in the Langtang Valley itself, further from Kyanjin Gompa, or cross the Ganja La Pass and spend three days camping on the way down, since there are no more tea houses on that side until Tarkeghyang. You can easily rent a tent and camping gear, take some food with you and go camping in the valley for a night or two. But if you don’t want to stray from the comfort of your teahouse, there are plenty of these, too, offering all kinds of amenities even at such trying elevations.
Langtang National Park
Here, you can have sightings of all kinds of animals. From red panda to huge falcons to colourful lizards, Langtang has a very rich biodiversity, elevating the trekking experience even more. Some other animals and birds you can have sightings of are: mountain chain black bear, ghoral, snow leopard, grey catarrhine monkey, the rare mountain chain piciform bird, Impeyan, pheasant, and Kalij.