Syapru Besi, Nepal

Backpack the Langtang Valley Trek

37 Miles Total - 7766 ft gain - Out-and-Back Trail

Originally added by Rachel Davidson

Visit the “Valley of Glaciers” in one of Nepal’s easiest and most accessible 5-7 day trek.

The Langtang region of Nepal is also known as “the valley of glaciers” for good reason. This trek takes you through a valley walled in by jaw-dropping snowcapped peaks, and is popular for its camping, trekking, and rafting. Plus, its lower elevation means that the valley is accessible in the winter, and you’re also less likely to experience symptoms of AMS.

Langtang Valley also attracts tourists for some of its most recent history; it was one of the most badly damaged areas from the 2015 earthquake. In the years following the quake, trekkers may see rebuilding efforts, crumbled valley walls, and the shrines put in place to honor the lives lost.

Sample itinerary from Lonely Planet:

  • Day 1: Syabrubesi to Lama Hotel (8,136 ft.)
  • Day 2: Lama Hotel to Langtang (11,253 ft.)
  • Day 3: Langtang to Kyanjin Gompa (12,697 ft.)
  • Day 4: Local treks around Lantang Valley – Opportunity to climb Kyanjin Ri (15,092 ft.) or Tsergo Ri (16,351 ft.)
  • Day 5: Local treks
  • Day 6: Kyanjin Gompa to Lama Hotel (8,136 ft.)
  • Day 7: Rimche to Syabrubesi (4,931 ft.)

Of course, it is best to be flexible with your itinerary and allow a few days of wiggle room in case you choose to spend an extra day acclimatizing or adding on a detour. 

Logistics

This trek begins out of Syabrubesi (also spelled Syabru Bensi), which can be anywhere from a 5-8 hour bus ride north of Kathmandu, around $3 USD. This trek also ends in Syabrubesi, and it's important to know that busses usually only leave town 2-3 times during the early morning for the city, and if they are full, you'll have to wait until the next day to return to Kathmandu.

On this trek especially you should not expect to find an ATM, hot shower, pharmacy, laundromat, Wi-Fi, or other amenities. You’ll need to allot a full extra day in Kathmandu to collect your TIMS (Trekkers Information Management System) card and Lantang National Park Permit before you take off on your trek.

Expectations

  • Cost: Nepal is well known for its affordability. Many lodges are $1-3/night, or totally free, but it is expected that you purchase all meals where you overnight. Budget $10/day and you’ll be just fine.
  • Lodging: This is one of Nepal’s “teahouse treks,” where you are walking through villages with ample food and accommodation options. That means no packing a tent, stove, and other cumbersome camping items – though you still will want a sleeping bag. Teahouses have virtually no insulation, though the common room is kept warm by burning yak dung (during limited hours). The higher you hike, the more primitive lodges will become. 
  • Food: Meat is available in the Langtang region, though it will be increasingly expensive in the higher-elevation lodges. Dal bhat is the Nepalese staple that you will find on every menu: Rice, lentil soup, and curried vegetables. It’s inexpensive, filling, and carbo-loaded for extra stamina!
  • Weather: Langtang is unique in that the entire valley is at a relatively low altitude, so people hike here year-round. That being said, conditions at high altitude conditions are often unstable, and you should be prepared for rain, snow, and even blazing hot temperatures anytime you trek.
  • Support: Local guides are a great resource to help you navigate and learn the history and culture of Nepal, as well as a great way to contribute to local economy. Porters are available out of Kathmandu, Syabrubesi, or nearly anywhere along the trail. You can also hire a guide for the day if you choose to take a detour to summit Tsergo Ri and would feel more comfortable with a partner.

Common courtesies and culture

Only give and receive things with your right hand, left hands are considered unclean. Nepalese eat with their hands, and if you choose to do the same, be extra careful your left hand does not touch your food or plate.

Pay attention to cultural sensitivity. Nepalese do not wear shorts, and while some Westerners think “it’s okay” to make an exception for themselves, be aware that you will stand out. You should also honor religious customs, like walking clockwise around stupas and shrines, and always staying left on the trail – especially past prayer stones.

The bottom line

Visiting Langtang Valley isn't only great for its accessibility, length, and views - it's great for its local economy. If you're looking to make an impact during your time traveling, visit Langtang and simply offer your business as a trekker. Talk about a win-win.

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