Langtang & Helambu

  • Langtang & Helambu

The snowy south face of Langtang Lirung(7227m) peers right over the looming green mass of Shivapuri, and presides over the closest trekking area to the Kathmandu Valley. Here you may join Hindu and Buddhist devotees on a full moon pilgrimage to the high-altitude lakes around Gosainkund, explore the unfrequented passes overlooking Tibet up from the flower-scatteredalpine meadows of the Langtang Valley, and enjoy the heartfelt hospitality of Sherpa and Tamang households. Rhododendrons blend into moss-hung pine giants, yaks trundle down pastures on their way home, and in the monsoon, the blanket of clouds filling the lower valleys transports you a world away from the hustle and bustle of the capital city, Kathmandu.

An ideal destination if you are short on time or simply want to cut out the uncertainties of air travel, Langtang and Helambu offer landscapes and cultural experiences every bit as spectacular as anywhere else in Nepal.

The Helambu and Langtang trekking areas are a hop and a skip away from Nepal’s capital city. You can literally walk out of the Kathmandu Valley to get there. Yet you can still experience the intact, unique cultures of Tamangs, Newars and Sherpas, living in some of the most beautiful scenery in Nepal.

The welcoming Sherpas who live here call themselves Hyalmo after the name of their sacred valley, Helambu. Here is a green and pleasant land of quiet villages, terraced slopes and pine forests leading up to Langtang National Park – perfect for relaxed, culturally oriented trekking. A little more adventurous is the popular route to the alpine lakes of Gosainkunda, holy to Hindus, Buddhists and Tamang shamans alike. Time your visit with the August full moon, when thousands of pilgrims trek up to bathe in the frigid waters at 4000m, and you’re in for an intense experience.

The Great Himalaya Trail passes over into Langtang via the 5308m Tilman pass from where you can see right into Tibet. The descent delivers you into another, very different hidden valley, of glaciers, alpine meadows and cheese factories.After sampling the delicious yak cheese and curd, you can head homeward via the verdant gorge of the Langtang Khola, keeping an eye out for families of playful grey langur monkeys and the iridescent Impeyan Pheasant, the national bird of Nepal. Langtang seems too good to be true, but it’s as good as anywhere else!

 

Photos of Langtang & Helambu

  • © Richard Bull © www.thegreathimalayatrail.org, Samir Jung Thapa © www.thegreathimalayatrail.org, Samir Jung Thapa © www.thegreathimalayatrail.org, Samir Jung Thapa
  • © www.thegreathimalayatrail.org, Samir Jung Thapa © Alex Treadway © www.thegreathimalayatrail.org, Samir Jung Thapa © www.thegreathimalayatrail.org, Samir Jung Thapa
  • © Richard Bull © Richard Bull © Richard Bull © www.thegreathimalayatrail.org, Samir Jung Thapa
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Fast Facts

  • Langtang National Park, which covers 1,710 sq. km and occupies the upper catchment areas of two of Nepal’s largest river systems – the Trisuli and Koshi
  • Langtang is home to Tamang people as well as Helambu Sherpa and Newar people long separated from their main cultural groups and with unique cultural traditions
  • You need a permit to enter the Langtang National Park