Nepal is popularly known worldwide for adventure sports. It’s topographical composition makes it an excellent destination for extreme sports. The entire northern region is decorated with the Himalayan range. Many people visit Nepal every year to trek to these white mountains.
Among many treks that are available in Nepal, Langtang trek is a very popular one. It is located in Langtang Valley which is the 3rd most visited trekking region of Nepal. The valley is only few hour drive from Kathmandu city. despite of being so close to the city, it remains unaffected by modernization.
Even though Langtang trek doesn’t see as many visitors as the treks in Annapurna or Everest region, it’s beauty cannot be underestimated. A good number of people trek to Langtang valley every year and have claimed to really enjoy it. This article is a complete guide for all those who are looking forward to trek to Langtang.
What to Expect From This Trek?
The trek is situated in Langtang valley , not too far away from Kathmandu city. It is the perfect destination for someone who wishes to trek to the Himalayas but is looking for a relatively easy route with shorter walks and lower altitude.
Being very close to the city, it is nothing like the city. The rich ecosystem of the valley is extremely well preserved. The area is a demonstration of a typical rural landscape comprising of villages, terraced farms and forests encircled with green hills with a backdrop of the white Himalayan ranges.
The route is a scenic one through dense bamboo forest, amazing rhododendron forests, elegant waterfalls, and snow-capped mountain. The trek is known to have one of the best view of the Annapurna Range.
The bonus that comes along with the wild scenery is the chance t get acquainted with a unique culture. Being close to the Tibetan border, the culture resembles to theirs’. You will get a chance to learn from their unique practices and traditions. You will also come across several Buddhist temples and monasteries.
The region is also rich in wildlife Inhabitants. The Langtang National Park is situated in this region. The permit is restricted and hence needs to be paid for. You may also encounter some wild animals along while walking through the forest areas. There is yet so much more Langtnag you can expect from this place. Kick your heals and set yourself on the trail to draw the most amazing experience for yourself.
Langtang after earthquake
The earthquake that struck Nepal on 24th April 2015 annihilated many homes and lives. Langtang, among all the devastated areas, was the most adversely effected region. The catastrophe destroyed almost all the guest house and marred some parts of the trek. The region was also closed for trekking for a really long time.
The good news is that the region has already been open for trekking. Most of the guest houses are still under reconstruction . You might have to spend your night in tented camps if you fail to find a room for yourself in any of the few guest houses. The routes that were a part of the trek but were destroyed in the earthquake have been recreated following a different path. You need not worry about the comfort. The trek is as pleasant as it always has been.
In fact, by trekking to Langtang, you will actually become a part of rebuilding the region. Your recreation will be a major contribution to the economical upliftment of the local residents.
The trek is graded as a moderate trek. Unlike easy treks, moderate treks have longer walks and higher altitudes. The route in some places steeply ascends or descends. You will require an average level of physical fitness to enjoy the trek.
However, a moderate trek doesn’t not require as much skill, knowledge and experience as the strenuous ones. Even if it is your first trekking experience, Langtang can be a good option to start with. If you are chubby or a senior citizen, take enough rests and shorter walks so that you don’t strain yourself and hence can enjoy the trek.
Required Physical Fitness
The Langtang trek is not a strenuous trek and hence doesn’t require exclusive level of physical fitness. But it is advisable to be average fit for any kind of trek. Being fit will help you enjoy the walk without putting much stress on your body. Train your body a few weeks before the trek. Go for a city tour on foot. Do some regular routine exercises. But try and not over do it. you don’t want to come to trek with a weary body.
Things to Pack
It is very important to have the right kind of equipment to enjoy any trek. Do a detail research on things to pack for the trek. If you suffer from plantar fasciitis, please get the best hiking boots for plantar fasciitis.
Where to buy?
You can purchase them in your hometown or in Nepal. Nepal has several branded stores as well as economical stores that sell trekking essentials. You can also rent most of them if you want to.
Food and Accommodation
You do not have as many options of teas houses to chose from as before the earthquake. But the few standing tea houses appetizing food. The most preferable meal is Dal Bhaat. The dish is filling and will fuel you up for the long walks. Rice is served with lentils, vegetable curry, salad, chutney and meat cooked in Nepali style. The best part of the meal is that you can take as many additional helping of rice and vegetables as you want without having to pay extra.
You will get a variety of other dishes. For breakfast, the tea houses serve pan cakes, eggs, cereal and porridge. For lunch and dinner, you can also ask for noodles, pasta, momos and various other dishes.
Since most of the guest houses were destroyed during the earthquake, only a few of them are in good condition to accommodate customers. You will be either sleeping in tented camps or tea houses depending upon the availability of the rooms. Do not expect luxurious home stays. The tea houses are simple, comfortable and cozy. In some, you might as well have to share the restroom. Most of these restrooms have squatting toilets.
It is safe to carry your electronic devices with you. But make sure to purchase a cover to insulate your devices from extreme temperatures. Nepal has acute electricity shortage. Therefore, carry along a lot of spare batteries just in case you may not get to charge them. In higher altitudes, the tea houses will charge you extra for charging your devices.
Before trekking, it is always advisable to consult a doctor to check if you are physically healthy enough for high altitudes. But despite of how fit you may be, there is no guarantee that you won’t fall a victim of altitude sickness. Some of the early symptoms of altitude sickness are-
- Nausea and vomiting
- Loss of appetite
- Upset stomach
- Feeling unsteady
- Shortness of breath
- Increased heart rate
- Difficulty sleeping
If you notice any of the symptoms, do not take it for granted. Take some precautionary measures like-
- Do not climb any higher for the next 48 hours
- Descend to a lower altitude if possible
- Take complete rest until you feel well
- Do not exercise
- Do not smoke
- Drink plenty of water
- Take external oxygen supply if necessary
- Take anti-sickness medicines
If you don’t feel better but notice further degradation of health, you will have to be immediately deported in a helicopter. Therefore, make sure you purchase your insurance before you trek. The insurance will cover your health costs such as minor injuries, major injuries and emergency helicopter rescue.
There are a couple of local clinics you can consult for minor injuries. You can also get a medicine prescription for other heath condition is you want.
Hiring a Guide and a Porter
Although there is no law as such, hiring a guide and a porter is highly advisable. A guide will help you through navigation. The guide will also help you during times of your emergency. the guide will also know the best places to eat and halt for the night. When you hire a guide, make sure that he or she is a licensed guide.
A porter will carry your baggage for you. this will allow you to enjoy long walks without feeling too tired. IF you hire a guide or a porter, you are responsible to supple them with adequate gears and clothes necessary for the trek. You also much take care of their medical supplies if needed.
Best Season to Trek to Langtang Valley
The best seasons to trek to Langtang are Autumn and Spring. The Autumn is from September to December and the Spring stretches from March to May. The weather is warm and the heat is bearable. There will be very little or no rainfall. The sky will be clear allowing you to get the best view of the mountains.
Langtang trek is one of the best way to experience the Himalayas. It has its own special characteristics that makes it worth experiencing. The beauty of the place will hypnotize you under a spell. It may not be as famous as the Annapurna or the Everest trek, but the experience you will gain from the trek cannot be compared.
Trekking to an unknown place can be quite difficult. If you keep the above mentioned things in mind, there is no way you could have an unpleasant experience.