Langtang Trek Day 2 Shyaphru to Lama Hotel
If you missed day 1, click here.
In this blog post, we follow the Langtang river from Shyaphru to Lama Hotel. We pass through Bamboo, which has occasional falling rocks to look out for, and some beautiful forests. Most of the mountains were covered by clouds, which prevented me from taking a lot of mountain photos. Otherwise it was a great first day hiking! I hope you enjoy it.
So long Shyaphru, hello Lama Hotel
My guide and I woke up and left the hotel at 7:30. There was no reason to stick around for a terrible breakfast. We could eat one of those on the trail. My guide asked the hotel owner for the quickest route to the trail, as we were leaving. The women pointed us in the exact opposite direction of the trail. My guide knew exactly what she was doing, therefore we went the way he knew. Another reason I recommend a local guide.
We crossed the Bhote Koshi river to Shyaphru Besi. There has been a lot of development work in Shyaphru Besi. The city center has a concrete walk way courtesy of a German company. There is also a very nice monastery with a Himalayan cherry tree in the back. Just outside the village is a bridge that crosses the Langtang river. We stayed on the North side of the river, but both sides are pleasant to walk on.
Our trail led us through a desert savanna type ecosystem with a lot of succulents and grasses. In addition, there were a few trees and a lot of monkeys. It was fun to watch them play for a few minutes.
The trail along the river was extremely pleasant to walk on. It had a very gradual slope and nice views of the Langtang river. The mountain views were restricted by the clouds looming overhead, but I’m sure if they weren’t there, the views would be fantastic.
We passed through a small village then crossed the river on a metal bridge. The trail continued up the hill then seemingly disappeared. My guide pointed out the trail, which saved me an hour of wondering around with a stupid look on my face.
Trekking through a pristine jungle forest
The trail led us through a pristine deciduous forest and jungle above the river. As we climbed though, we came to a side trail that lead to Gosaikunda Lake. Once again, I was happy I had my guide, because I would have gotten lost on the wrong trail.
The correct trail descended into the forest once more. The forest was beautiful, because it was open and dense and covered in moss. We were walking right above the river and could hear the water rumbling against the rocks and the birds singing in the trees.
The forest looked like spring but smelled like fall. It was a subtropical temperate deciduous jungle. You could smell the leaves and the earth and the rain; you could see the shades of green and new growth precipitously thrown onto the landscape by the vegetation.
There wasn’t a soul around us. It was so peaceful. A breeze wondered into the jungle fluttering the leaves like wind chimes and cooling us down. How nice it was.
A little further the forest opened to show a cliff with an overhang. Under the overhang were multiple colonies of Himalayan honey bees. It was cool to see, and if you are interested I would recommend watching the YouTube video at the end of this post.
We came to Hot Spring Hotel, where my guide ordered food and I started talking with the owner. She said that unfortunately the hot spring has now dried up to the size of a “puddle.” She also mentioned that to get to it they must build a bridge, which is washed away during each monsoon season. Lastly, she told me that they aren’t building the bridge anymore because it isn’t worth it.
Hiking through Bamboo to Lama Hotel.
We found Bamboo (yes there is a village called Bamboo) a short distance from Hot Spring Hotel. It is a little village under a rock fall zone. I would not recommend staying here for safety reasons, but a lot of people do. I admit, it is a nice place, but it is also expensive as well as risky.
As we were leaving Bamboo, we crossed a small wooden bridge and entered a very different forest that reminded me of the Appalachian wilderness. It was a small grove of slender birch like trees that were probably planted for firewood.
The forest soon returned to its normal lush green character. We also saw more monkeys walking around on the mountain and had an amazing time hiking. After a little way further, we crossed another bridge to the other side of Langtang river and found shop keeper selling overpriced goods in an outdoor tarped store.
We rested for a bit then continued. Just outside the shop the vegetation changed to bamboo with oaks and rhododendrons. Most of the rhododendrons were not in bloom, but a few had flowers on them. At this point the trail became a little steeper, however still very easy and walkable.
We passed a very beautiful water fall that was on the opposite side of the river between two mountain ridges. The water seemed to pour through rocks and into other rocks. It was remarkable to watch.
My guide and I stopped for lunch in Rimche. It was rather expensive at $3 for a bowl of chow mein noodles. From here, Lama Hotel was 30 minutes away.
We arrived in Lama Hotel at 3:00. Lama Hotel is not a hotel (I know, it fooled me too). It is a small village a few minutes’ walk from the river. It has 8 to 12 nice sized hotels. Some of the hotels will let you stay there for free, if you buy their food. Others will get mad if you ask them for this deal. I stayed at the Sherpa Lodge.
The Sherpa Lodge is the first hotel on the right-hand side of Lama Hotel. It has about 16 rooms that it rents out as well as dining room floor space.
The 70 square foot rooms come with a single bed or double beds. The walls of the rooms are made of exposed rock, which are either left bare or covered with wood. You can see through the walls in some places. Tarps cover the ceilings to prevent debris from falling on you.
There are two common bathrooms outside behind the dining hall. The bathrooms are eastern style squat toilets. A separate shower facility is also available. They claim to have hot water, but I didn’t check.
The kitchen food is ok and expensive. You can buy a large bag of muesli for a few dollars at a general store above the hotel or buy a small bowl of it for $5 at the hotel.
You can continue the journey with me by clicking here for day 3.