Langtang Trek Day 1
The Langtang Trek is my second favorite trek in Nepal. I love the sights, the smells, and the sounds, but I will get to those descriptions later. Day 1 of my Langtang Trek was primarily just an 8-hour bus ride from Kathmandu to Syabrubesi. Day 1 is kind of an interesting story and a prelude into the trek. Kick back, relax, and enjoy the post.
I woke up in Kathmandu at 6:00. The bus stop to Syaphrubesi was a 30-minute drive away and I had to be there by 7:00. I hired a guide for this Langtang Trek and he was more excited than I was. We were out the door and in a taxi by 6:20. That’s pretty good.
Normally Kathmandu is a giant dust bowl with traffic. This morning though, most of the dust settled and you could breathe without getting sick. We passed a flipped over 3-wheeler, which delayed us a few minutes, but we made it to the bus stop on time.
By 7:30 the we were cruising the streets of Kathmandu on our way to Syaphrubesi. The bus took an obscure route making the ride enjoyable but long. We made it to the ridge of the Kathmandu valley 30 minutes later, and you could see the dust and pollution starting to grow. I was glad to be out of that nasty mess.
The landscape quickly changed from piles of garbage and pollution to beautiful jungles and hills. I could only imagine what Kathmandu would have looked like before colonization. Hindu text says it was a giant lake with a single lotus flower growing from the center.
We twirled around on the road like doodle bugs in the sand until we crested the ridge and descended into Kakani. The roads flattened and straightened out. Kakani reminded me of Kathmandu without the pollution and population issues, but it is growing. We passed a lot of construction sites, which only painted a gloomy picture of the future.
Driving to Dunche
The road to Syaphrubesi is paved in some sections and not in others. Despite the quality of the road, it was still a more enjoyable ride than the bus trip from Jomsom to Tatopani on the Annapurna Circuit. If you are prone to car sickness, this may be a terrible experience for you. You can try taking a window seat in the front of the bus or a private car to alleviate the motion sickness.
We passed Ranipauwa and crossed Tadi river. A few minutes later, just before Bidur, we started following the Trishuli River, which is an excellent river for white water rafting. We passed a few waterfalls too that were more like water cascades than falls, but they were still nice to see.
After Trishuli village the road gradually became steeper and we started climbing. We crossed green valleys and terraced farms. Most of the farms were rice paddies, but some had potatoes and tomatoes. We climbed a higher and the surrounds became jungle, thick with underbrush.
The jungle gave way to dry shrub brush and steep rocky slopes. We had entered a new climatic zone. I was happy because I was getting a chance to see a new part of Nepal. But, I was also a little nervous because of the steep cliffs the bus was driving next to.
I have been on scarier roads in Nepal, but there were a few sections I didn’t care to see how far we would fall if the bus slipped off the road or if the road eroded off the mountain. It was a long way down.
I started to see rhododendron trees as I was trying not to look down. There were not a lot of trees and few had flowers, but it was something to distract me from the danger on the side of the bus. Before I knew it, we were entering Dhunche.
Dhunche to Shyaphrubesi
We stopped at a checkpoint in Dhunche. All tourist exited the bus and took their bags to be inspected. There was also a passport, TIMS card, and entrance permit checking counter. You can buy an entrance permit and TIMS card at the ticket counter, but it is more expensive.
The bag and entrance permit check delayed the bus 30 minutes, but we were back on the road before long. The bus stopped at a second checkpoint that again checked everyone’s passports, TIMS cards, and Entrance permits.
We arrived in Shyaphrubesi at 3:30. We were greeted by another police check point that was checking TIMS cards. From here, we began looking into hotels to stay at. I wanted to stay at the end of the main street, which I regret now, because the hotels are not that great there.
Every hotel in Shyaphrubesi charged for a room. The cheapest room I found was for $2 per night. The rooms were ok, but the food was terrible, and the owner was mean. They had western style flush toilets but most of them were broken.
Buddha Guest House might be a better option. I didn’t stay there, but heard it was nice. You can expect to pay $5 to $10 per night.
Also, do not eat at the Moonlight Café! It is the only bakery in Shyaphrubesi. I heard multiple accounts of people eating there and getting sick.
My guide and I spent the rest of the day walking around the village and talking with the locals.
This video can cause motion sickness!