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Preparing for the Langtang Trek

Preparing for the Langtang Trek

Langtang trek to Kyanjin Gumba
Kyanjin Gumba, Langshisa Ri, and Ponggen Dopku,

The Langtang Trek is an excellent trail for beginners and advanced hikers.  It has a lot of great qualities that made this trek a wonderful experience.  My favorite parts of this trek are its duration, landscapes, forests, and wildlife.  The trails are very easy to walk on and there are a lot of spots to rest and spend the night.  The primary trail ends in Kyanjin Gompa (pictured above), where you can extend your trek to side trails, which are a little more difficult to maneuver.

In this blog post I will review the necessities of the Langtang Trek.  You will learn about where to buy your TIMS card and entrance permit, where to stay, what to look out for, how much it costs, what to pack, the best time to go, and to top it off, you will receive a great itinerary courtesy of Upper Himalayan Treks and Adventure!

Permits in Kathmandu

I went to the Immigration office in Kathmandu.  Just inside the building there was a receptionist that directed me to a room on my left.  There is also a room next door to it where you can get information and resources for your treks.  You will want to do your research and data collection in advance because they do not have a lot of information available.

The primary room is partitioned into smaller rooms.  Each room sells a different trekking permit.  I noticed three rooms.  One room was for Annapurna, a second room was for Everest, and the third room was for Langtang.  I didn’t see it but there is also another room for restricted areas and other treks.

TIMS cards
Individual and Group TIMS cards (trekker’s information management system)

The room I wanted was at the far end and on the left.  I asked the man at the front desk to purchase a TIMS card for individual trekkers, and an entrance permit for the Langtang National Park and Reserve.  He gave me a blank TIMS card, asked me to fill it out and return it with my passport and two passport pictures.

The TIMS card was 2000 rupees and the Langtang entrance permit was 3000 rupees with a 13% tax.  In addition, the guy charged me an additional 10 rupees.  I asked him for additional information about the trek and he sent me to the tourist resources room.  When I asked them about it they sent me back to the man overcharging for permits. Again, do your research in advance.

I realized quickly that they both didn’t have anything to offer but were too embarrassed to say, so I left.  This is a very culturally acceptable thing to do and is done frequently in Nepal.  If you run into this problem, understand that it is there way of saving face. For tips on what else to expect in Nepal, click here.

Permits entering the Langtang Conservation area

Langtang ticket counter
Langtang ticket counter

If you are pressed for time or can’t find the immigration office, you can buy your permit in Dhunche.  There is a police checkpoint here, that checks everyone’s bags and permits.  You can also receive a trekking map in the office, which is nice.

You can also buy a TIMS card in Dhunche, but it is more expensive.  The permit and TIMS card was about double the standard price in Dhunche.

If you don’t want to risk it, you can have Upper Himalayan Treks and Adventure arrange for your TIMS card and entrance permit.

Where to stay?

This is a bit of a tricky question.  It depends on how far you want to hike per day.  I recommend staying in Syabrubesi on the eve of your trek, then hiking past Bamboo to Lhama Hotel.  After your second night you will want to hike past Langtang and stay in Mundo.  On your last night hiking up the trail, I recommend staying in Kyanjin Gompa.  This place has the best views and is the starting point of advanced trails that take you further into the mountains and glaciers.

If you have more time and would like to hike half days, you can start in Syabrubesi then stay in each of the villages you come to.  These villages are Bamboo, Lhama Hotel, Langtang, Mundo, and Kyanjin Gompa.

 

Note: Most of the villages that sustained damage from the 2015 major quake are being rebuilt.  These areas are now at a capacity to accept a limited number of trekkers.

Try this itinerary for a new twist on an old trek

Day 01: Meet guide in Kathmandu and check in to a hotel. Enjoy free time.

Day 02: Travel to Syabrubesi. ~07 hrs

Day 03: Trek to Sherpagaon. ~06 hrs

Day 04: Trek to Thyangsyap village. ~06 hrs

Day 05: Trek to Kyanjin Gompa. ~04 hrs

Day 06: Spend a day in Kyanjin to acclimate and go on day hikes

Day 07: Trek to Lama Hotel. ~07 hrs

Day 8: Trek to Syabru village. ~06 hrs

Day 9: Trek to Singh Gomba/ Chandanbari. ~05 hrs

Day 10: Finish the trek in Dhunche. ~05 hrs

Day 11: Travel Kathmandu and check into a hotel. ~05 hrs

What to look out for

Himalayan bees
Himalayan bees, Apis dorsata laboriosa

Langtang is full of wildlife. You can see the largest honey bee in the world, deer, red pandas, monkeys, Himalayan thar, bears, and many others.  You can also see a lot of different kinds of wild flowers and plants.  I am quite fond of the rhododendrons, but there are many other favorites.

wild iris
wild iris

None of the plants or animals pose any major threat and chances are, you will probably not see any bears or big cats. Being mindful of you surroundings will ensure you have the best opportunities to stay safe and have an amazing trip.

Butterfly in the leaves
Butterfly in the leaves. (how many do you see?)

How much does it cost?

That’s a tricky question.  It depends on how long you stay, where you stay, what you eat, and your guide and porter.  The short answer is $54 dollars! But that only covers the TIMS card and the entrance fee.  Food and lodging are not accounted for.  If you book your trek through Upper Himalayan Treks and Adventure, your trek will cost $1,250.  This price includes all transportation, all meals, all hotels and lodges, a guide and a porter.

If you do not wish to have an all-inclusive trip you can contact us, and we can build a trip that works for you.

Packing list

One of the things I really like about the Langtang trek is how little you need.  But be careful you will be trekking through a series of different climatic zones ranging from tropical to alpine.  The following packing list is for an 11-day trek.

  • 11 pairs of socks (if you don’t wear socks, you can cross it off the list)
  • Lightweight trekking pants
  • 11 pairs of underwear (if you can get around with fewer, great!)
  • Light t shirt
  • Medium weight long sleeve shirt
  • Light weight jacket
  • Sunglasses
  • Hat

Optional gear

  • Sunscreen
  • Band-Aids
  • Toilet paper
  • Crampons (depending on the season)
  • Rain jacket (depending on the season)
  • Mosquito repellent not normally needed but considered
  • Gloves
  • Water bottle
  • Thermals
  • Pillow case
  • Sleeping bag

Best time to go

The best months to trek the Langtang trail are October/November, and March/April.  These months are in the fall and spring seasons.  However, if you want to go on a pilgrimage to Gosaikunda Lake, which is off the main trail, you will want to go in August.

During October and November, you will have the best mountain and scenic views.  You may also have a difficult time finding a place to stay because this is the busiest season in Nepal.

During March and April, you will have more cloudy days, but there are a lot less people to contend with.  I had a phenomenal experience when I did the trek in late March and early April.  I had 3 days of clouds and 3 days of perfect weather. You can read about my Langtang Trek here.

Youtube video

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