Langtang Circle Trek-Red Panda’s Home -17 Days
This is a medium trek of 16 days to a beautiful alpine valley close to Kathmandu, climbing through forests of pine, rhododendron and bamboo, ascending through pastures to arrive at the alpine meadows of Kyanjin Gompa from where we get the outstanding views of mighty Langtang Lirung (7246m) to the north, Gang Chhenpo (6388m) and the peak of Naya Kangri (5846m) in south and Dorje Lakpa (6966m) in the east, just a stone’s throw from the Tibetan border. This area was designated as first Himalayan National Park of Nepal in 1971. While on our way from Sing Gompa to Laurebina Yak, the area on the northern slope is a sanctuary for the red panda, an endangered species that the Nepalis call the ‘cat bear’. In this circle trek we make a circle route of Kathmandu-Syabrubesi-Kyanjin Gompa-Sing Gompa-Gosaikund-Kutumsang-Kathmandu, in which we visit Langtang first, then swing south to Thulo Syabru and begin the hike via the holy lakes of Gosaikund back to Kathmandu. This circle route has the advantage of allowing us to acclimatize before we reach the higher elevations of Gosaikund.
Day 1: Arrival KATHMANDU (1300m/4265ft)
Namaste and welcome to Nepal and the start of our adventure! We’ll be waiting with a warm greeting and transfer to your hotel.
Day 2: Full day sightseeing in Kathmandu
Full day sightseeing in UNESCO listed historical sites such as Kathmandu Durbar Square, Boudhanath, Swayambhunath (Monkey temple), and Pashupathinath in Kathmandu valley with experienced Tour Guide by private car/van,
Stay overnight in hotel.
Day 3: Drive to SYABRUBESI (1470m/4823ft)
In the morning after breakfast we have a trip orientation meeting after which we head for a drive to Syabrubesi, 132km from Kathmandu.
Day 4: Trek to LAMA HOTEL (2480m/8137ft) 6-7 hours/1070m ascent
In Syabrubesi the trail branches off the main road and hiking northward past a police post we cross a suspension bridge over the Bhote Koshi. We turn right at the eastern end of the bridge and then take left climbing to enter the village of old Syabrubesi. The village monastery is in a small stone building at the far end of the village. After a visit to the monastery, we follow the stone paved main street out of town to a bridge over the Langtang Khola. Crossing this bridge we reach a junction from where we continue straight and cross a log bridge for a pleasant walk through trees, side stream and landslide to reach another suspension bridge and waterfall of Doman. Crossing through few settlements and forests with a variety of wildlife such as yellow throated martens, wild boars, langur monkeys, red pandas, Himalayan black bears and birds, we climb a rocky ridge and descend to the river bridges and waterfalls with a small hot spring across the river. Now a long climb in forests takes us to another trail junction, beyond which the trail gently climbs to Bamboo. Beyond bamboo the trail crosses the Dangdung Khola and then climbs past a small landslide to a small suspension bridge over the Langtang Khola. From the northern bank of the Langtang Khola the route climbs alongside a series of waterfalls formed by a jumble of house sized boulders. Crossing the dry forest consisting scrub oaks, cactuses and nettles we climb steeply to a landslide in lower Rimche. Passing by another trail junction in upper Renche, we ascend gently to Changtang, popularly known as Lama Hotel.
Day 5: Trek to LANGTANG (3430m/11254ft) 4-5 hours/980m ascent
Climbing through a steep forest of hemlocks, oaks, maples and white and pink rhododendrons high above the Langtang Khola to reach Gumanchok and then we cross a stream and climb steeply to a pass marked with prayer flags to reach Ghora Tabela which is now a Nepal Army and National Park Post. The trail now ascends gradually as the valley opens up into a classic U shaped glacial valley. We follow the trail across the helipad and yak pastures and climb through rhododendron forests to reach Thangshyap. The route now climbs the hillside diagonally above the fields to reach Ghumba village that has a nice gompa to visit. The trail crosses a stream and climbs past several water driven mills and prayer wheels to the large settlement of Langtang which is a headquarter for Langtang National Park. Huge twin waterfalls pour out of a cleft in the rock wall above town and there are views of 6581m Langtang II. In Langtang we hear and watch for varied species of birds such as hawks, drab coloured cuckoos, fruit eating barbets, owls, laughing thrushes, red billed and yellow billed magpies, parakeet and many more.
Day 6: Trek to KYANJIN GOMPA (3860m/12665ft) 2-3 hours/460m ascent
The trail winds through the village and climbs a ridge topped by a large chorten which again climbs gradually past a mani wall, crossing a stream to the small village of Mundu. The trail further joins the rushing river and climb to a yak wool shop and yak pastures of Yamphu and climb a moraine to a viewpoint where we finally see the monastery of Kyanjin Gompa and the dramatic icefall flowing from the peaks of Langtang Lirung and Kimshung. We have enough time to acclimatize and explore around including the Nyingmapa school monastery before reaching Kyanjin Gompa.
Day 7: Trek to KYANJIN RI (4600m/15093ft) and back
To the northeast of Kyanjin Gompa is the viewpoint of Kyanjin Ri. We can hike up the Lirung valley north of the Kyanjin Gompa for spectacular views of Langtang Lirung, Kimshung (6781m) and Yansa Tsenji (6575m) peaks on the border with Tibet and the glaciers that tumble off them. We can sometime spot Himalayan tahr on the slopes above. The path from the monastery passes a junction where the main trail continues up the true left side of the river, the Laja or Lirung Chu. If we descend to the north across glacial streams, we can climb the moraine ahead for close up views of Kimshung Glacier from where we can either return back or continue making some short side climb before returning back to Kyanjin Gompa.
Day 8: Trek to LAMA HOTEL
Retracing the footprints we came up we trek back to Lama Hotel.
Day 9: Trek to SYABRUBESI
Now again we reach Syabrubesi back again from Lama Hotel retracing the way we went earlier.
Day 10: Trek to CHANDANBARI (3330m/10926ft) 5-6 hours/1790m ascent
From Syabrubesi, first we follow the main Langtang trail and after crossing the bridge to the south side of the Langtang Khola, we branch right and climb continuously till we reach fields at the top of a pleasant village of Thulo Syabru. We climb past the gompa, to the left of army post and switchback up the steep hill above the village and after passing a line of chortens we are at Dursagang (2735m). The trail continues steeply through forests of hemlock and oak, past an ancient looking chorten and then less steeply through rhododendron forest and pastures to the top of the ridge at Phoprang Danda (3190m) where we can watch the langur monkeys in the forests and fine sunset views over the Ganesh Himal. This is also a trail junction from where we take the larger trail that cuts across the ridge top. We take the uphill trail at each junction and cross another ridge in a forest of large spruces to reach a final ridge at 3260m from where we walk past a walled government agriculture office and branch left to reach Chandanbari also known as Sing Gompa that has Newari style door frame with a statue of Chenresig.
Day 11: Trek to GOSAIKUNDA (4400m/14436ft) 4-5 hours/1130m ascent
The trail climbs steeply up a ridge with great views of the village framed by snowcapped Ganesh Himal. The area on the northern slope is a sanctuary for the red panda, an endangered species. The trail crosses behind the ridge and stays in deep forests to reach a saddle at Chalang Pati (3550m) after a while. From here onwards we are in the Gosaikund protected area where killing of animals, lighting of wood fires and grazing of goats are prohibited. And through ascending trail with great views we reach Laurebina Yak (3920m). The views are truly magnificent and we can see the Annapurnas, Manaslu (8156m), the four peaks of the Ganesh Himal (with Paldor Peak), some enticing unnamed peaks in Tibet and finally Langtang Lirung. Now the trail ascends into the alpine country above the treeline, up the ridge to a small concrete temple with a statue of Sakyamuni. We continue to goths for views of the waterfalls from the first of the lakes, Saraswati Kund. The trail leaves the ridge and heads high above the Trisuli Valley which is spooky and very dangerous if covered with snow. The trail climbs gently to a spur marked by prayer flags and two rock carvings of Ganesh, as the second lake in the chain, Bhairav Kund, comes into view which is further 35 minutes to the third and largest lake Gosaikund.
Day 12: Acclimatize GOSAIKUNDA
At Gosaikund there is a Shiva shrine, helipad and numerous stone shelters for pilgrims. Gosaikund which has a black rock in the middle is said to be the head of Shiva. According to legend, Lord Shiva created this high altitude lake when he pierced a glacier with his trident to obtain water to quench his thrust after consuming poison gathered from the churning of the oceans. There is a white rock under the water which is said to be the remnant of ancient Shiva shrine. It is also said that the water from this lake disappears underground and surfaces in Kumbheswor pool next to the five storey Shiva temple in Patan, more than 60 km away. For the best views of the lake we climb the ridge to two viewpoints (4640m) decorated with prayer flags. It is also possible to follow faint trails south from the southeast corner of the lake to a series of smaller half frozen lakes: Dudh (Milk) Kund, Chandra (Moon) Kund, Ragat (Blood) Kund and finally Ama (Mother) Kund along with views of Chhyarkung Chuli peak to the right.
Day 13: Trek to LAUREBINAYAK PASS (4610m/15125ft) down to THAREPATI (3640m/11943ft) 8-9 hours/1320m ascent; 630m descent
This day is a long and arduous day of trekking that we start climbing on a rocky trail from northern side of Gosaikund lake and passing through more small lakes finally we reach Laurebina Yak Pass where we explore the fine views of surrounding hills and large lake Surya (sun) Kund just to the southwest. From the pass the trail descends alongside a stream to reach Bhera Goth from where we should not forget to take lower safer trail because the upper trail has several very steep parts that are extremely dangerous when there is snow and there is no food or accommodation in this trail until we reach Tharepati. Following the lower trail along a rough, knee busting descending route we reach the middle of the valley of Phedi. The concrete chorten beside the Dawa baby is a memorial to a Japanese victim of the Thai airbus crash in 1992. From Phedi the route drops to a stream and then climbs through scrub bamboo to a crest and crossing through difficult rocky trail across moraines and dry streamand then now descending through forests , climbing in and out of ravines below the towering cliff of Thare Danda we reach Gopte (3440m). Descending from the ridge at Gopte, the trail makes numerous ups and downs across ravines and the boulders of old moraines, then make a final descent to Tharepati where we can climb to the ridge top for early morning views of Dorje Lakpa, Shisha Pangma and a line of peaks all the way to Khumbu.
Day 14: Trek to GUL BHANJYANG (2140m/7021ft) 5-6 hours; 210m ascent, 1650m descent
From Tharepati we descend steeply through dense pine forest to the appealing village of Magin Goth (3285m) from where we pass many locals hauling bamboo and reach Mere Danda (3510m). After climbing Yurin Danda ridge, the sawtooth peaks above Langtang and Gosaikund soar into view and our trail ducks in and out of fir and rhododendron forest to reach Kutumsang (2450m) and continuing over small pass we descend down the hill to reach the Tamang village of Gul (Golphu) Bhanjyang.
Day 15: Trek to CHISOPANI (2140m/7021ft) 5-6 hours; 970m ascent, 790m descent
Passing a gleaming white chorten the path leads to a friendly sprawling Tamang village of Thotong at 2260m. We will have good views of the peaks as we climb up through rhododendron forests to the village of Lapchu Danda (2420m) and descending for 200m past a series of ruined huts and through fields and secondary growth forest to a larger village of Chipling (2170m). Now descending steeply we reach a small chorten at the Sherpa village of Thakuni Bhanjyang from where gentle descent takes us to chhetri village of Pati Bhanjyang (1770m). Finally through muddy zigzagging path with good mountain views the trail continues level among pine plantations to reach Cisopani village.
Day 16: Trek back SUNDARIJAL (1350m/4429ft), KATHMANDU
Trek back from Chisopani crossing Borlang Bhanjyang (pass) at 2440m and then trek down the Shivapuri ridge to the road at Sundarijal, Kathmandu from where we will be picked up and drop to the hotel. This is a leisure day which can be utilized buying gifts and souvenirs for your friends and family. In the evening we will enjoy a farewell dinner & review great photos and share experiences of the trip.
Day 17: Extend your trip or Final departure.
You may want to consider extending your trip with endless activities such as Chitwan Jungle Safari, White Water Rafting, Paragliding in Pokhara & many more. If you are departing then our representative will drop you off at the Kathmandu Tribhuvan International Airport a few hours before the scheduled flight. Namaste and we hope to see you again soon!
Cost, Includes and Excludes
- All airport/hotel pick up and drop in private car/van
- 12 Nights stay in Lodge/Guest House during trek.
- An experienced English speaking Trekking Guide and a Porter during trek.
- Salary, food, insurance and lodging cost for guide and porter
- Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and Tea/Coffee during trek.
- National Park Permit and TIMS for Everest.
- Air fare from Kathmandu to Lukla and return flight to Kathmandu and domestic flight departure taxes
- Nepal entry visa fees.
- International airfare and departure tax.
- Bar bills, laundry and other expenses of personal nature.
- Travel insurance including evacuation.
- Tips for local staffs, guides and porters.