Trip report by site editor Rick McCharles
Why We Like This Hike
- mighty peaks of Langtang (7234m) and Ganesh (7446m) as well as a sprawl of endless 6000m+ summits
- sacred lakes of Gosainkund in the nearby Helambu region
- wonderful photographic opportunities
- it’s fun to leave the main trails, take challenging side trips
- very little gear is needed (though I took a ton)
- walk with no tent, stove or food (though I carried all of those)
- stay in simple lodges, eat in simple restaurants.
- safe and easy to hike solo
- no need to speak Nepali, only English
Langtang is considered the easiest of the four. We learned, however, that Langtang is NOT easy.
Langtang is lower elevation … unless you opt to do side trip trekking peaks or base camp hikes, that is. Many do. I did.
The 2014 Nepal snowstorm disaster had just happened, killing at least 43 people including at least 21 trekkers. That was in Annapurna and Dhaulagiri. Alarmist news headlines had parents of hikers worried, but on the ground in Kathmandu it was business as usual. Some people did divert from Annapurna to Everest or Langtang.
It was easy to find the trekking permit office in Kathmandu. And to buy my own TIMS card. And Langtang National Park permit.
As with many Nepal hiking adventures, the biggest challenge (and risk) for the independent trekker is getting to the trailhead. Bus rides in Nepal can be more dangerous than high alpine passes. 😦
For Langtang, almost everyone needs to get from Kathmandu to Syabrubesi 1500m.
It’s simple to organize transport back from the small town, but in Kathmandu it’s not so easy to find transport up into the mountains. My guidebook (by Bob and Siân) was useless.
The boss at Kathmandu Environmental Education Project (KEEP) told me there were 4 main modes of transport:
• Super Express mini-bus $5
• Express mini-bus
• local bus
They all left from the same area of town – Macha Pokhari.
In Thamel, travel agents seemed disinterested in me paying them a commission for arranging a ticket for the following day. Instead, I ate my free hotel breakfast at 7:30am, then took a taxi to Macha Pokhari arriving about 8:20am.
I’d happily pay for a Jeep, if I could get a seat. Super Express was my second choice.
Unfortunately I missed all modes of transport heading north for the day. 😦 The trip takes 6-11 hours, depending, and it’s dark in November by about 5:30pm.
Feeling stupid, I walked back to Thamel (via the Monkey Temple) as punishment for not showing up by 6:30am, to be sure of getting a seat.
This is one of the challenges for an independent hiker in Nepal. If I had a guide, he would have arranged my travel. (Most likely on the local bus, as it’s a few dollars cheaper.)
I was delayed a day. 😦