Those on the group flight from London will arrive in Kathmandu and will be transferred to The Royal Singi Hotel in the early evening. Those not travelling with the group from London will meet us in the hotel this evening. There will be a full trek briefing this evening.
Leaving the Kathmandu valley we drive northwards to Trisuli Bazaar, and then join the military road which winds above the river valleys, eventually dropping to cross the Trisuli River. Passing the village of Dhunche, which lies just inside the boundary of the Langtang National Park, we reach Syabrubensi, a Sherpa village at 1,462m. We spend the night here.
We begin our trek by following the Langtang Khola, a river we willl see much of over the next few days. At first the trail undulates steadily through forests of oak and rhododendron. After passing the Langtang Khola bridge we climb steeply up a winding path finally arriving at Lama Hotel, not far from the rushing waters of the Langtang Khola. We stay here tonight.
Ascending through the forest,we will have glimpses of Langtang Lirung through the trees, before arriving at Ghora Tabela (3,048m). There was once a Tibetan resettlement project here, but now the only residents are the soldiers of the Nepalese army post. The trail continues to climb up the widening valley, passing a few temporary settlements used by herders who bring their livestock here in the summer months. In spring the forests are ablaze with rhododendrons. Shortly before arriving at the village of Langtang (3,307m), headquarters of the Langtang National Park there is a monastery, which we might be able to visit. In Langtang the houses here are Tibetan style and are surrounded by fields of wheat, buckwheat and potatoes. Above the village yaks and other cattle graze..
As we continue our climb beyond the village, the valley opens out to reveal spectacular mountain views.To our left the impressive Langtang Lirung towers directly above us and ahead is the great snow-covered bulk of Ganchempo. At 3,849m we come to the monastery of Kyanjin, well above the Langtang River. In the afternoon we can either head up a side valley to the foot of the Langtang and Kyimoshung glaciers, or climb onto some of the surrounding ridges for close up views of Langtang Lirung and the beautiful so called Fluted Peak.
We spend a day at Kyanjin Gompa with a chance to explore the area. There are various optional day walks around here. The most popular walk is up to Kyanjin Ri (4,350m) and Kyimoshung Ri (4,620m). These two viewpoints above Kyanjin gompa offer some of the most stunning mountain views in Nepal. An impressive array of peaks surrounds us - Langtang Lirung and Kyimoshung whose huge glaciers tumble to the valley floor. Straddling the Tibetan border are Dorje Lhakpa, Ganchempo and a whole host of 6,000+m peaks whilst across the valley are Naya Kang and the Ganja La pass. For the very energetic there is the chance to climb Tsergo Ri (often written Cherko Ri) - at 4,984m. This is a full day's walk but worth it for the views from the top. Another option is walk towards the Tibetan border and Langshisha, where we get wonderful views of the mountains bordering Tibet.
We leave Kyanjin and retrace our route westwards, following the Langtang Khola down through Langtang village to Ghora Tabela, and on towards Lama Hotel, a small collection of lodges in the forest.
We continue down the valley. After crossing the Langtang Khola Bridge our trail undulates through the forest and finally climbs steeply up to Syabru (2,285m).
We begin with a long steep climb out of Syabru, passing through scrub forest and the occasional settlement among the fields, and then through magnificent rhododendron thickets, until we reach the top of the ridge and the small monastery at Sing Gompa.
Climbing a little less steeply this morning we follow the ridge for most of the day. We will have fantastic panoramic views of the Annapurnas, Himalchuli, Manaslu and Ganesh Himal to the west and Langtang Himal to the north-east. After crossing to the south side of the ridge,we descend and catch sight of the first of the holy lakes. The third lake, Gosainkund, at 4,380m, is particularly sacred and a place of pilgrimage in the summer. It is said to have been created when the god Shiva, suffering from thirst due to a poison, thrust his trident into the mountainside, whereupon three streams burst forth and ran together to form the lake. We stay close to a shrine by the lake, where there are a few pilgrim shelters. As the sun sets the reflection on the lake is incredible as the lake becomes one shimmering mass of gold. It is a truly magnificent sight.
The trail climbs gradually through bare and rugged terrain, passing four smaller lakes before we reach the summit of the Laurebena Pass at 4,610m. There are magnificent views to the north and west, and as we descend there are superb panoramic vistas over the Nepal midlands. After descending we continue along a delightful trail through rhododendron forest, with splendid views to the south.
Day 13 - 14
Two relatively long days follow taking us through the unspoilt and culturally interesting Helambu valley. The villages of Helambu are inhabited by Sherpas whose language, culture and dress are very different from the Solu Khumbu Sherpas. We continue walking through thick rhododendron forest before descending steeply into open landscape. Further on are forests of giant Himalayan oak, with very few branches due to the local custom of cutting branches for animal fodder. There are fine views back to the Langtang and Jugal Himals, and if it is clear other ranges can also be seen. We pass through the well maintained villages of Gul Bhanjyang (2,142m.)and Pati Bhanjyang. A fairly steep climb brings us to open pastures, more forest and then the summit of the ridge,from which there is a magnificent view of the Himalaya;Annapurna in the west Everest in the east. We spend the last night on trek at Chisopani.
A short walk brings us to the road, from where we pick up our transport for the short drive to our hotel in Kathmandu. The rest of the day is free for sightseeing in Kathmandu. You may wish to visit Durbar Square in the heart of the old city where the old Royal Palace, with its intricate woodcarving is located. Outside is Kumari Chowk, home of the Kumari, the young girl who is revered as a living goddess. The whole area is a maze of temples and images. Alternatively you may wish to visit the monkey temple at Swayambhunath, one of the largest Buddhist Stupas in the world at Bodnath, or the most important Hindu temple in the valley at Pashupatinath.The leader usually organises a meal in one of Kathmandu's many restaurants for the whole group this evening.
End Kathmandu after breakfast. Those on the group flight will leave for the airport after breakfast.