The Langtang Valley trek used to be one of the most popular trekking routes in Nepal, until the earthquake hit in 2015. Now, tourism is slowly coming back to the region. My Nepali friend encouraged me to go trekking in this area but I left it until my third visit to the country to follow this good advice. Then, I went twice in two months! Here are ten reasons why it is one of the best treks in Nepal, and why you should do this trek.
It gets few tourists
Since the earthquake, this area has seen a dramatic drop in tourism. Now it has started to pick up again, but there’s still nothing like the traffic jams found on the Everest Base Camp trek or Annapurna treks. I love going off the beaten path, into nature. Sharing the experience of the mountains with hordes of tourists just ruins it for me.
The mountain views
This is the number one reason why most people come to Nepal. Langtang Lirung, the highest in the area, dominates the skyline from Kyanjin Gompa village. One can see snowcapped peaks from the first day of the trek, and you will see glaciers up close too.
If you are an experienced mountaineer, there are a few peaks you can attempt too: Yala Peak (5500 metres) that can be climbed in two days with one night camping, or Naya Kanga (which is more technical and requires a permit), are just two of the most common ones.
Choose whether to camp or stay in tea houses
From the treks I have done in Nepal, the Langtang Valley trek is the most suitable for camping. You can camp in the Langtang Valley, further from Kyanjin Gompa, or cross the Ganja La Pass and spend three days camping on the way down, as there are no more tea houses on that side until Tarkeghyang.
Kyanjin Gompa is the last inhabited village in the valley, and sits at 3800 metres. The Langtang Valley continues to Langshisha for 12 km. There are no teahouses further up and you walk alongside the river, where yaks and wild horses graze. You can rent a tent and camping gear, take some food with you and go camping in the valley for a night or more.
But if you want the comfort of teahouses, there are plenty of these, too.
The forests you’ll pass through
If you love rhododendrons then this is a trek you will enjoy, especially if you hike in the spring. The forests are also full of oaks, bamboo and other beautiful greenery, and it is quiet and peaceful to walk through.
Because many people in the Langtang Valley lost relatives in the earthquake and tourism has since dropped, the people here are all welcoming. They are grateful if you step into their guest houses and will treat you with the famous Nepali kindness, which has been lost in more touristy places. A lovely lady I met might be the reason why Kyanjin Gompa is my favorite village: she received me into her home like I was her child. For two days it was just me in her really nice and comfortable tea house. I had a room with direct views of the mountains, and I ate what she and her little girl were eating. I didn’t want to leave her house, and I will certainly return.
This is a national park where you can see many animals. I saw a lot of monkeys as well as wild deer, dzo, huge falcons and colorful lizards. I didn’t see so much wildlife on any of the other treks I did in Nepal. It’s said that you can also spot red panda in the Langtang Valley, but I wasn’t so lucky.
Easy availability of hot showers
After the earthquake, many guesthouses had to be rebuilt. Many now have solar hot showers with really hot water. In the mountains, this is a real joy!
In Kyanjin Gompa there are a couple of coffee houses where a proper Italian coffee machine has been flown in by helicopter. There, you can enjoy a delicious coffee surrounded by amazing scenery at 3800 metres!