The Langtang region sees far fewer trekkers than both Annapurna and Everest, but the area certainly has no less to offer. In fact, the Langtang area is absolutely ideal if one is a little limited on time but still wants to experience the Himalayan mountains in their full splendor far from the usual tourist trails. With only approx. 7,000 trekkers a year, Langtang can offer the coveted “far out” experience while the area’s facilities are good, albeit a little simple.
Langtang has seen a decrease in visitors since the earthquake in 2015. The area suffered a lot of damage, tea houses collapsed, and facilities were put out of use for a while. However, the area has long been rebuilt, the tea houses are standing again, and Langtang is therefore only waiting for trekkers to turn their gaze to the region again.
Read about the routes in Langtang below.
Difficulty: C (light medium)
Number of days: 8
Height (max.): 3,900 / 4,985 m.
See Tourists: Langtang trek
The trek through the Langtang Valley provides overwhelming Himalayan landscapes in just a few days and is therefore ideal if you are pressed for time but want to experience the best Nepal has to offer.
Drive to Syabrubensi, from where the trek starts. The trail is good and runs along the river through the forest where langur monkeys and red pandas live. It continues past waterfalls and through valleys before reaching the Langtang area itself. Here is drier but still with great vegetation and large parts of the route still goes through wooded areas that offer lots of exciting wildlife.
As the route ascends, the landscape becomes more alpine, and the great white giants of the Himalayas appear on the horizon. Over 3,000 meters, the yakoks begin to appear on paths and pastures and several small villages appear on the route. At Kyanjin Gompa, the highest settlement in the Langtang area, the high, white peaks tower so close that it seems to be found just at the end of the nearest hill. The small town has a small monastery and something as fascinating as a Swiss cheese factory where you can taste delicious yakoste and yoghurt.
After Kyanjin Gompa, there are several opportunities for day trips to the top of Kyanjin Ri or Tsergo Ri, both of which are almost 5,000 meters high and constitute the highest point of the route. From here, the road goes through the central Langtang, which is somewhat lower, and down through the more unknown part of Langtang, before the path goes back to Syabrubensi, where the trek ends.
Langtang & Helambu
Difficulty: C (light medium)
Number of days: 12
Elevation (max.): 4,620 m. / 4,985 m.
Like another Shangri La between high snow-capped mountains and enclosed behind a deep gorge lies the Langtang Valley.
A narrow path leads under the dense, temperate rainforest up through the gorge, where the valley above the tree line opens with lush farmland, small villages and a mountain panorama created by peaks and glaciers.
According to shoe-wiki, Langtang is located in the upper part of the valley, where the landscape is high alpine. The trail passes a number of grazing yak oxen, some beautiful maneuver walls, and then continues through the small villages of Muuna and Singdu to Kyanjin Gompa. From here, hike to the top of the 4,985-meter-high Tsergo Ri before reversing the route.
The way back is via the Pilgrim Lakes at Gosainkunda, a beautiful, deserted landscape with four lakes located on a high plateau. From here continue to Helambu, where the climate becomes milder and the hike goes along rice fields and through groves of banana palms. Helambu offers beautiful terrace landscapes and exciting villages.
The trek ends in Sermathang.
The Manaslu area has approx. the same number of annual visitors as Langtang and is characterized by unspoilt nature and towering high, white mountain peaks. The area is experiencing a growing popularity in these years, which is especially due to the very beautiful route around Manaslu. For many, the route has become a good alternative to the otherwise popular route around Annapurna, which lost its charm due to large road constructions along the route.
The area is named after the world’s 8th highest mountain, which rises a full 8,153 meters to the sky and is located on an old salt trade route. Hiking in the Manaslu area is a bit like stepping back in time. Here, cultures and landscapes have not changed much for many years, apart from the fact that more tea houses have been opened, which warmly welcome trekkers.
Read about the routes at Manaslu below.
Difficulty: D (average +)
Number of days: 12
Height (max.): 5,110 m.
See Tourists: Manaslu Around trek
The move Manaslu Rundt is a good alternative to the classic Annapurna round, which sees significantly more trekkers.
Manaslu Rundt is a route that has it all: good hiking trails with a good altitude profile, fantastic panoramic views and fine villages with lots of culture.
The first days go past steep rock walls and through wooded warm valleys. In terms of altitude, the trail rises only quite slowly and thus provides some of the best acclimatization conditions for such a beautiful trek in Nepal. Along the way you come through Buddhist villages and get an insight into life in the wooded valleys.
After a few days, the trail rises to the mid-tooth silk pine and rhododendron, and the mountains begin to get closer just as quietly. From here it climbs up to the Tibetan high valleys with monasteries, yakoks and the world’s highest mountains at close range, and the bare Manaslu rests majestically in the landscape. The hike passes the old Manaslu Base Camp, which the Japanese set up in 1955 on the glacier lake at the foot of the mountain, and part of their route up the mountain is still visible.
Furthermore, it goes through a Tibetan village close to the border with Tibet, and then through the Sanam Valley along the old caravan route or towards the top of the 5,220 meter high Samdo Ri, from where there are the most beautiful views out over the valley. The trail stays in the highlands and now winds its way into the trek’s probably most beautiful area, where Larkya Bazaar, the ruins of a former caravan trading town appear. There are white mountain peaks everywhere you look.
The modern Manaslu Base Camp exposes at an altitude of 4,400 meters, and the route continues further up the Larkya pass at an altitude of 5,110 meters. From the top of the pass, the path dives down through valleys and forests before the trek ends and it goes by car back to civilization.
Tsum Valley and Mu Gompa
Difficulty: C (light medium)
Number of days: 16
Elevation (max.): 4,000 m.
Se Tourists: Tsum & Mu Gompa trek
Hidden behind dense forests and narrow gorges, high up in the Himalayas on the border with Tibet, lies one of Nepal’s most exciting and at the same time least visited valleys, the sacred Tsum.
Tsum was opened for trekking in 2008, but the hidden valley has been known for a thousand years as a Buddhist Shangri-La. With only two mountain passes between Tsum and Tibet, the people of Tsum have had closer contact with their relatives to the north than to the Nepalese peoples to the south. Numerous maniures with Tibetan inscriptions and fluttering prayer flags along the trekking trails tell us that Buddhism is still the basic cultural focal point.
The trek starts at Soti Khola in the Manaslu area after a drive from Kathmandu, and the path goes through small villages, lush potato and millet fields, past magnificent monasteries and glittering Himalayan peaks. The Tibetan influence becomes more and more pronounced the deeper one moves into the area.
The route has two absolute highlights: The visit to Mu Gompa, which is located at an altitude of 3,700 meters in beautiful isolation between sparkling white mountains and Ganesh Base Camp, where the mountain panoramas match the most beautiful in the Himalayas.
The small Mu Gompa Monastery, one of Nepal’s most legendary monasteries. According to legend, the monastery was supposed to have been visited by Guru Rinpoche himself, who led Buddhism to Tibet, and the monastery is also closely surrounded by high, dramatically white mountains on all sides.
Ganesh Base Camp, five days later, can be a challenge to reach; the trail is poorly marked and the area is cramped and densely vegetated, but if successful, one arrives at a part of the Himalayas that sees vanishingly few tourists. The mountain is also climbed only extremely rarely.
After the visit to Ganesh Base Camp, the path winds its way down again, back to Soti Khola, where the trek has its end.