- This article is an itinerary.
For information on preparing for this trek, including when to go, what to bring, what permits are required, and safety precautions including altitude sickness, and water contamination, see Trekking in Nepal.
The Langtang Valley Trek is characterised by steep, jungle covered valleys at lower elevations, and wide, barren alpine valleys once the trail climbs to Langtang Village.
It is best to visit the park in October and November, after the monsoons have ended and before winter sets in. The sky is clear and the leaves are colourful, providing a photogenic background. March to May is also a good time to visit as the wildflowers and rhododendrons are blooming.
Langtang Valley was severely impacted by the 2015 Nepal earthquake. The village of Langtang was completely destroyed by an avalanche in which several hundred residents and foreigners perished. Though most of the trail has been repaired, the scars are still visible in the form of damaged bridges, abandoned villages and crumbling structures.
This trek is relatively short and easy, and there are many teahouses along the way to eat and sleep. The path is also well indicated, and you will need a map in any case to be sure. So if you are fit, neither a guide nor a porter is necessary.
You first need to purchase your TIMS card for the trek. Go to the Tourism Board’s Tourist Service Centre in Kathmandu. As of 2018, the cost is:
- Independent trekkers, green card, Rs. 2,000
- Trekkers who are part of a group with a guide, blue card, Rs. 1,000
The entrance fee to the Langtang National Park is Rs. 3,000 (2018). You can purchase it at the Tourism Board’s Tourist Service Centre (ask for the Langtang National Park office) when you get your TIMS card. Another option is to purchase it when the bus stops at the entrance of the park, just outside Dhunche.
The trek starts at Shyaphru Besi (also spelled Syabru Besi), approximately 120 km (75 mi) north of Kathmandu by road. Depending on the route, the road conditions range from okay to horrible. If you suffer from motion sickness, consider taking along medication.
Buses from Kathmandu leave from Macha Pokhari bus stand (Ring Road, north of Thamel). A taxi from Thamel to Macha Pokhari should cost Rs. 200-300.
The bus ride takes 8-11 hours, longer if it rains or if Kathmandu traffic is bad. Be prepared for a bumpy/scary/spectacular ride, beautiful scenery as the road turns and crosses the countryside. If possible, try sitting as much in front as possible to have a smoother trip. Bus ticket is Rs. 660.
A (much) more expensive option is to take a car/jeep. Jeeps are easy to arrange from any tour agency and will pick you up just outside of Thamel. The driver may take a different route than the bus to avoid the worst of the traffic but will rejoin the bus route at Bidur. Jeeps seat up to 7 passengers and most have racks to tie luggage on the roof. Consider not filling every seat to make the ride more comfortable and to keep gear inside away from the dust. The drive takes 7-8 hours and the driver will expect a tip. Expect to pay around USD150 (for an entire jeep) one way.
It is possible to trek to Shyaphru Besi from Dhunche, or even from Kathmandu (via Helambu & Gosainkunda Lake Trek).
The times listed below are estimates. The lower bound is for someone in good physical condition, that has a good walking pace but nevertheless allows himself a break once in a while. The higher bound is an estimate of someone (or a group) who would be hiking more slowly
- 1 Shyaphru Besi (Syabru Besi). (1460m) A small town with a dozen of guest houses on the main road, some shops, and a river flowing below. The main road continues north to the Chinese border (15 km). The start of your trek.
If you took the bus, it will drop you off in the center of Shyaphru Besi, sometime in the afternoon. If you have booked a guest house, it shouldn’t be very far away. If you haven’t, you have the choice to get some rest (in one of the many guest houses along the main road) and start hiking the next morning, or head directly to the trail ! The first teahouses are only 1-2 hours away, so it’s a great warming up. A bit higher on the main road there should be a police checkpoint, ask them if it is reasonable for you to reach Domen, Hot Spring, or even Bamboo before it gets too dark.