A less congested trek into the land of the Sherpa and Tamang families. The Trekking trails of Langtang/Gosaikunda are challenging, with long steep climbs and descents. Often these temperate sub-alpine forests are likely places to find sky-blue gentians, epiphytic orchids and primrose. Langtang/Gosaikunda hiking gives you the opportunity to get right in amongst Himalayan peaks and get off-the-beaten-track rather quickly from Kathmandu; and it is a seemingly remote and relatively unpopulated area to the untrained eye. Just beautiful.
Day 1: Welcome at Kathmandu Airport We will meet you at Kathmandu Tribhuvan International Airport and transfer you to your hotel. When you have had some time to settle in and freshen up, we will get together for a briefing about your program. You will meet your trekking guide and complete any necessary paperwork for your trekking permits. If you arrive at night we can do this tomorrow AM after breakfast. Overnight in Kathmandu.
Day 2: Sightseeing in Kathmandu City and last minute shopping. Today, after breakfast we will leave for a day of sightseeing around Kathmandu City. We can visit sacred Pashupatinath Temple and Swayambhunath, both of which are UNESCO World Heritage sites. After that we can move on and visit the biggest Buddhist Stupa at Boudhanath and view the fine art and historical architecture of Kathmandu Durbar Square. On return to your hotel you will have time to explore the local area, have dinner and perhaps take a leisurely stroll through the popular streets of the Thamel district.
Day 3:Kathmndu to Syabru Bensi (1550m.) After breakfast we will drive along the north-western hills of Kathmandu for about 7/8hrs. The scenery is of snow-capped mountains such as Annapurna II, Manaslu, Ganesh Himal and other minor peaks, as well as green foothills, rivers and quaint villages. We will (by necessity) continue to enjoy views of the Himalaya and the lifestyle of local folk among the terraced fields and rustic villages. This scenery continues through Trishuli Bazaar, Betrawati and Dhunche; but the isolation of this region continues to grow around us. We will take our lunch at the Trishuli Bazaar before continuing on to Dhunche; then we begin to wind down a bit to Syabru Bensi for our overnight stay.
Day 4: Trek Sybaru Bensi to Lama Hotel (2450m) This first day of trekking crosses the Bhote Koshi (river), which flows down from Tibet, and then follows the Langtang Khola. After a visit to the Gompa of Guru Rinpoche we will follow the stone streets out of town over the Langtang Khola. After a suspension bridge the trail gradually ascends then works its way through sub-tropical forest of oak, maple, massive spruce, firs, blue pine and rhododendron. We may also see yellow-throated martens, wild boars, Langur monkeys, red pandas and Himalayan black bears. Now our trek ascends gently to Rimche (2400m).The end of today’s trail plateaus at the Lama Hotel for our overnight stay.
Day 5: Lama Hotel to Langtang Village (3430m) The day begins with a gentle climb, but it soon becomes steeper. We will soon be high above the Langtang Khola. Tantalizing glimpses of snow-capped peaks begin to appear. The trail leads to a log bridge and further on we come across lush meadows of Ghora Tabela (2992m).The trail ascends gradually as the valley opens up into a classic U-shaped glacial formation. This is yak pastureland inhabited by the Tamang people. The trail crosses a stream and climbs past several water driven mills and prayer wheels to the large settlement of Langtang (3430m.). The village has flat- roofed Tibetan style homes and elaborately carved windows. The Langtang upper village is worth exploring. Langtang Valley is surrounded by stone walls which enclose fields of buckwheat, potatoes, wheat, turnips and barley. It’s not unusual here to find yak and wild goats wondering around you. Overnight in Langtang.
Day 6: Trek to Kyanjin Gompa (3870m) The trail today winds through the village and climbs a ridge topped by a large chorten and a Mani wall eventually crossing a stream to the small village of Mundu (3442m). After crossing several small streams with wooden cantilever bridges and moraines you can see the monastery of Kyanjin Gompa and the dramatic icefall flowing from the peaks of Langtang Lirung and Kimshung. At this point there is a famous cheese factory; we will have a chance to taste this cheese made from yak milk (we will also stop for lunch). After lunch, we can explore the panoramic views of Langtang Lirung, Genjempol, Kyangjin RI, and Tsergo RI (5000m). Overnight in Kyanjin Gompa.
Day 7: Acclimatization Day in Kyanjin Whenever you see “Acclimatization Day” you know it means… we are going up! Today is a rest and exploration day. We might visit the monastery or the cheese factory; maybe hike up the moraine to see the spectacular ice faces and tumbling glaciers of Langtang Lirung. We could also climb Kyanjin Ri (4350m) or Tserko Ri 5,000m (which is highest point of this trek). Hike easy today for a breathtaking panoramas of the Langtang Lirung, Langtang Range, Kinshung or Yansa Tsenji. We also have options to do a side trip to Langshisa Kharka. There are many alternatives for side trips. Overnight again in Kyanjin.
Day 8: Trekking back to Lama Hotel Have your breakfast observing the mountains breathtaking beauty. Soon after eating we begin the same trail back following the Langtang Khola to Langtang village and on to Ghora Tabela. After lunch we will continue our descent to Lama Hotel. All the way down you will see fantastic views of towering mountains that you may have missed on the way up. The perspective is different in reverse. Overnight at Lama Hotel.
Day 9: Lama Hotel Trek to Thulo (Big) Syabru (2230m): The beginning of the trail gently descends along the river past the landslide then passes through pine forest until it reverses steeply up to Thulo (Big) Syabru. Also, we have the opportunity to view red pandas, boar, monkeys and various species of birds again. The Tamang Cultural Heritage organization takes a great deal of care in preserving all aspects of Tamang life in this area. Overnight in Syabru.
Day 10: Big Syabru to Sing Gompa (3330m) Todays trail leads us from Thulo Syabru up a steep ascent passing through Dursagang (2735m) and past many Chortens. Breathtaking views abound as we continue at steep grades through the forest, then level off through the rhododendrons. At the top of the ridge we arrive at Phoparng Danda (3190m). Watch the Langur monkeys playing in the forest and witness a beautiful sunset over Ganesh Himal. Then the path rises a bit before plateauing to Sing Gompa. We will spend tonight at a teahouse in Sing Gompa.
Day 11: Sing Gompa to Gosaikunda Lake (4460m) initially the trail climbs steeply up a ridge that marks a transition zone between rich moist mountain forests and scrub vegetation on the slopes. The slopes are sanctuary for the red pandas and provide magnificent views of snow-capped Ganesh Himal. The trail to Lauri Binayak (3920m) is steep and continues for 3 hours. We follow this rugged trail with dramatic views to the west of the Manaslu range and the Ganesh Himal range. We also see some Tibetan peaks to the north and across the valley is Langtang Lirung. From Lauri Binayak we hike into alpine country and cross above the tree line. Soon we will come to a small ridge and see the first view of the holy lake of Gosaikunda. There are about a dozen lakes around the Gosaikunda Basin; the main 3 lakes are Saraswatikunda, Bhairabkunda and Gosaikunda. The myth is: Gosaikunda was created by Lord Shiva when he pierced a glacier with his trident to obtain water after having swallowed a poison which threatened to destroy the world. Hundreds of pilgrims come here to worship and bathe during the full-moon festival every August. Overnight at Gosaikunda.
Day 12: Gosaikunda to Ghopte (3440m) After exploring Gosaikunda, we begin a challenging day. The trail traverses the northern side of Gosaikunda Lake ascending over rock. We climb through this rugged country, crossing glacial moraines and past four small lakes to the Laurebina La (4610m). On a clear day we can see Annapurna along the way. Then the trail leads us steeply down to Phedi (3740m).The route drops to the stream then climbs once again through scrub bamboo to a ridgeline; we continue this route until we reach Ghopte. At night you can see the lights of Trishuli Bazaar far below and the glow of Kathmandu to the west. Overnight in Ghopte
Day 13: Ghopte to Kutumsang (2440m) After breakfast we leave from the ridge at Ghopte. Today the trail is up and down, crossing ravines and the boulders of old moraines; eventually reaching rhododendron, oak and juniper forests before arriving at Tharepati (3510m). Finally, we progress downhill (with only one small ridge to cross) and arrive at Kutumsang. Kutumsang is an interesting old Helambu village (the Hyolmo people who live here are a small indigenous sub-group). Beautiful views of the Himalaya as well as interaction with the Yolmo culture and customs are worth the stopover. Overnight in Kutumsang.
Day 14: Kutumsang to Chisopani (2140m) A pleasant walk today down to the Pathi Bhanyjyang. It’s another up and down day as we make our way to Chisopani, where the view of the whole central Himalayas is breathtaking. We can see the Himalayan range from Manaslu to Everest. Landscapes are truly ‘reflective’ here in the evening. Chisopani is also a trekking junction point and a nice place to chat with other trekkers who are just starting out. We will overnight here is Chisopani.
Day 15: Chisopani to Kathmandu We start the day by climbing up the last pass at Borlang Bhanjyang (2240m). From here we descend steeply through deep chasms to the Tamang settlement of Mulkharka (1800m). Still, at 6,000 feet the panoramas are spectacular; we continue on to Sundarijal. From Sundarijal we will have private transport waiting for us to bring us back to Kathmandu (4 hrs.). Overnight in Kathmandu.
Day 16: Free day in Kathmandu (packing, last minute shopping, etc.) Today is a free day in Kathmandu. Take a leisurely stroll, buy some trinket, maybe a ‘Topi’? (look that up). This evening we will have our traditional celebratory dinner with music and laughing and trekking stories. Wear your Topi!
Day 17: Airport Transfer: We will arrange your airport transfer today (or accompany you if you wish) at whatever time is appropriate.