Langtang-Gosaikunda-Helambu (16 days)

Langtang is a narrow valley that lies just south of the Tibetan border. It is sandwiched between the main Himalayan range to the north and a slightly lower range of snowy peaks to the south. Langtang Lirung (7246m.) dominates the valley to the north; Gang Chhenpo (6388m.) and Naya Kangri (5846m.) lie to the south; and Dorje Lakpa (6966m.) protects the east end of the valley. The area was designated Nepal's first Himalayan national park in 1971.

Langtang has over 70 glaciers of varying sizes; the Langtang and Ganesha Himal mountain ranges. The three major areas are Langtang, Gosainkunda (a holy lake 4300m) and Helambu, which is combined in many different ways to make treks from 7 to more than 16 days. Hence, the name –Lang in Tibetan means ‘yak’ and ‘tang’ means ‘to follow’. Yaks still live in the valley. Other remarkable places on this trip are Gosain Kunda (4610m.) and Helambu.

Gosainkunda is a sacred lake, which is very important for both Hindus and Buddhists. Thousands of Hindu pilgrims visit the lake during a full moon festival that is observed on August every year.

Helambu valley is very famous for its natural beauty and wonderful climate with the superb views of the magnificent snow-covered mountains. The area covers typical highland Sherpa villages along with beautiful Rhododendron forests. This region extends from the north to Taramarang to the Gosainkund Lake and the lower Jugal Himal from the north. The valley is approached from Trishuli River Valley, north of Kathmandu.

Day 1:
Drive from Kathmandu to Dhunche (1966m.) which takes about eight hours. You head north out of Kathmandu driving through scenic foothills and ridgeline vistas to Dhunche. The first part of your drive upto Trishuli Bazaar is quite smooth. The path now moves along the gravel road. During the rainy season, the way is sometime blocked due to landslides. Your drive from Kathamandu to the destination is to be made by either local bus or land cruiser.

Day 2:
Trek from Dhunche to Syabru Gaon (2581m.) which takes about five and half hours. Trek to Syabru Gaon (6950ft, 2120m). The trek today is very leisurely through forests and terraced hill slopes. As you enter Syabru, you descend to the ridgeline that separates the Langtang Khola from the Trisuli River. Syabru is a beautiful village stretched out along the ridgeline. You will continue through the village to your campsite about fifteen minutes beyond on the slopes below the village. The sunset is spectacular; brilliantly backlighting the houses perched on the ridgeline above. From here you can enjoy spectacular view of Lantang Lirung (7245m.), Tibetan Himal ranges and so on.

Day 3:
Trek from Syabru Gaon to Lama Hotel (2470m.) and it takes about five hours. The trail descends along the ridge on Syabru's main street and then drop to the Ghopche Khola (2050 m.) and again descends to the Landslide (1810m.). Afterwards, you trek ascends gently to Rimche (2400m.) through Bamboo (1960m.) and at the end your trail is level to the Lama Hotel. En route you could see red pandas, monkey and bear if you are lucky. There are few lodges and shops which provides the trekker supplies.

Day 4:
Trek from Lama Hotel to Langtang village (3430m.) via Ghore Tabela which takes about six hours. As you continue climbing there are occasional glimpses of Langtang Lirung between the trees. At Ghora Tabela [3000m], the trail emerges from the forest. While walking here, you can catch a glimpse of white monkeys and local birds. Once there was a Tibetan resettlement project here, but now it is a Nepalese army post though it has no permanent inhabitants. The trail continues to climb gently and the valley widens, passing a few temporary settlements used by herders who bring their livestock to graze in the high pastures during the summer months. There is a monastery which we can visit shortly before arriving at the village of Langtang, the headquarters of the Langtang National Park. The houses of Langtang and its neighbouring villages are of the flat-roofed Tibetan style, surrounded by stone walls enclosing fields of buckwheat, potatoes, wheat, turnips and barley.

Day 5:
Trek from Langtang Village to Kyangjin (3870m.) which takes about three hours. The trail climbs gradually through small villages and yak pastures as the valley opens out further and the views become more extensive. After crossing several small streams and moraines, the trail reaches the settlement at Kyangjin. Here there is a small monastery and a government-operated cheese factory. We should arrive at Kyangjin by lunch time allowing time to acclimatise and explore the area. It is a dramatic setting, with snow covered peaks surrounding us in all directions. At this point, you can enjoy the panoramic view of Dorje Larpa (6990m.), Langtang Ri (6370m.), Langtang Lirung (7245m.) and so on.

Day 6:
Rest day at Kyangjin Gompa and excursion in and around. This is day to rest and explore the area. You can visit the monastery and the cheese factory, walk up the moraine to see the spectacular ice faces and tumbling glaciers of Langtang Lirung or ascend Kyangjin Ri [4350m], directly behind the village, for a breath-taking panorama of the Langtang peaks.

Day 7:
Trek from Kyangjin Gompa to Lama Hotel and it takes about six hours. From Kyangjin you retrace your route, following the Langtang Khola to Langtang village and on to Ghora Tabela. After lunch you continue the steep descent to Lama Hotel.

Day 8:
Trek from Lama Hotel (2470m.) to Thulo Syabru (2260m.) which takes about five hours. The beginning of the trail is gently descent up to Landslide and then goes steeply up to Thulo Syabru. En route you could see red pandas, monkey and various species of birds..

Day 9:
Trek from Thulo Syabru to Sing Gompa or Chandan Bari (3330m.) and it takes about five hours. The trail from Thulo Syabru to Foprang Danda (3200m.) follows steeply ascent path passing through Dursagang (2660m.) along with the view of Langtang Himal, Ganesh Himal, Tibetan Mountain and oak, Hemlock, firs forests. Now the path gently ascends for some distance and then follows flat level to Sing Gompa. There is a well managed local cheese factory and a Buddhist Monastery.

Day 10:
Trek from Sing Gompa to Gosaikunda (4460m.) via Lauribinayak La (3920m.) which takes about five and half hours. You follow a rugged trail with dramatic views; to the west lie Himal Chuli (7893m.,) Manaslu (8156m,) and Ganesh Himal (7406m.) On a clear day, even the Annapurna range can be seen rising up behind and to the north across the valley is Langtang Lirung. You pass a few huts in the high pasture of Laurebina, cross a small ridge and have your first views of the holy lakes. There are about a dozen lakes in the Gosainkunda Basin, the main three being Saraswatikund, Bharab Kunda and Gosainkunda. According to legend, Gosainkunda was created by Shiva when he pierced a glacier with his trident to obtain water to quench his thirst after having swallowed a poison that threatened to destroy the world.

Day 11:
Trek from Gosainkunda to Lauribinayak Pass (4610m.) to Ghopte (3430m.). The trail leaves Gosainkund and climbs through rugged country, past four more small lakes to the Laurebina La [4610m], the highest point of this trek. Keep looking back for spectacular views of Manaslu and the mountains of the Ganesh Himal, as well as the now familiar Langtang Lirung. You then descend steeply to camp near Gopte.

Day 12:
Trek from Ghopte to Melamchi Gaon via Tharepati Pass (3490m.). The first part of the trails slightly descends and then begins to ascend through the rhododendron forests until Thearepati and then you trek goes in descending order. Before climbing to Tharepati, a group of herders' huts at 3579m, you cross a stream after coming through rhododendron, oak and juniper forests. From Tharepati the trail gradually descends through pine and rhododendron forest with good views down into the Helambu valley and across to Jugal Himal and Numbur in the Solu Khumbu. Melamchi Gaon is surrounded by beautiful forests, which is mainly inhabited by Sherpa people with their distinctive culture. There are situated some Buddhist monasteries.

Day 13:
Trek from Melamchi Gaon to Tarkeghyang (2743m.) which takes about three hours. The early part of the trek descends until you cross the stream named as Melamchi. Now you trek gently up to Tarkeghyang passing through Sherpa settlements. Tarkeghyang is a beautiful Sherpa village with one of the oldest and biggest monasteries.

Day 14:
Trek from Tarkeghyang to Shermathang (2621m.) and it takes about five hours. This day the trail is quite easier through flat land with beautiful forests on the way. You trek on crossing some small streams on the way. There is situated a beautiful village on the half way to Shermathang. To add your joy, Shermathang is another pretty Sherpa village where you can visit many ancient monasteries. There you can see Jugal Himal range at the north face of Shermathang village.

Day 15:
Trek from Shermathang to Melamchi Pul Bazaar (846m.). The trail gradually descends all the way to Melamchi Pul Bazaar through meadows ad cultivated fields. On the way, you come across several old villages with their own particular tradition. Walking this day is quite pleasant with mountain views and interaction with local and friendly people.

Day 16:
Drive from Melamchi Pul Bazaar to Kathmandu and it takes about five hours. You travel through gravel and bumpy path up to Zero Kilo and then you follow the pitched road up to Kathmandu.

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