Langtang & Helambu
T he 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. 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 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.
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!
Top 3 Treks
Challenging but stunning, trek via Panch Pokhari, over the glaciated Tilman Pass (5308 meters) and down the Langtang Valley. This is a camping trek.
Short low-altitude trek close to Kathmandu through authentic and remote villages providing great views of the Langtang range and Dorje Lakpa. This trek is mostly camping, but there are some basic teahouses in some places.
Off the beaten track route through Tibetan Tamang villages: enjoy views of the Langtang Range and Ganesh Himal, and take a healing bath in the natural hot springs. It is possible to stay in basic teahouses or in homestays along this route.
- 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
|GHT Section||Specific area||Permits||Where to get the permit||When|
|Langtang & Helambu||All trekking areas where no Trekking Permit is needed||TIMS (Trekkers’ Information Management System):
Organized trekkers: blue TIMS cards;Nepali currency equivalent to US $10; can also be payed in US$
Individual trekkers: green TIMS cards;Nepali currency equivalent to US $20; Nepali currency only
|TAAN or NTB office in Kathmandu or Pokhara (individual trekkers)
Through travel agency (organized trekkers)
|Before the trek|
|Rasuwa District : Thuman and Timure||Trekking Permit: US$ 10 (or equivalent convertible foreign currency) per week||Department of Immigration
Can be arranged through travel agency
|Before the trek|
|Sindhupalchok District||Gaurishankar Conservation Area Project (GCAP) entrance fee: Foreign Nationals: NPR 2,000||Entrance of GCAP||During the trek|
|Langtang National Park||Langtang National Park entrance fee: Foreign nationals: NPR 3,000 SAARC nationals: NPR 1,000
Nepali crew: NPR 25
|Entrance of National Park||During the trek|
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