The Langtang Gosaikunda trek combines two trekking routes – the Langtang Valley and the high-altitude lakes at Gosaikunda. This narrow valley lies just north of Kathmandu and was designated Nepal’s first national park in 1971.
This amazingly beautiful trek is a popular and rewarding choice for those who want to explore mid-range hills and meet the people who inhabit them, learning something of their culture, lifestyles, Buddhist and Hindu traditions. Buddhist culture is strong here and you can visit beautiful monasteries like Shin Gompa and much of the route is marked by colorful prayer flags and mani-walls. Gosaikunda is particularly sacred to Hindus and attracts many pilgrims.
There is a variety of cultivated lands, oak and rhododendron woods and you even cross glacial moraine on the way to the Tamang village of Langtang. Famous for their picturesque and distinctive peaks, the valley between the two ranges of Langtang and the Jugal Himal is one of the world’s most beautiful. Much of the route is through semi-tropical forests where moss covers the ground and lush ferns and orchids cling to tree trunks. During the full moon in August, the sacred lake of Gosainkunda is the where thousands of Hindu and Buddhist pilgrims come to bath in its icy water.
Trek Grade: This trek is a Grade 3 but relatively easy with days of walking up to 5 hours. Although you climb above 3000m, you do this gradually. One day you reach 4400m but by this stage in the trek, you should be well acclimatized.
Drive from Kathmandu to Syabru Besi.
From Trishui Bazaar follow the Trishuli River north toward Syabru Besi. The scenery if of foothills and ridgelines with a glimpse of Ganesh Himal; many of the hillsides covered with terraced farms.
Trek from SyabruBesi to Lama Hotel.
The first part of the trail crosses through Bhote Koshi and follows the Langtang Khola, gradually climbing to Bamboo (1960m) on the bank of the Langtang Khola. Enjoy the suspension brighe and the hike through the rhododendron and bamboo forests, home to a variety of wildlife including yellow-throated martens, wild boar, langur monkeys, red panda, and Himalayan black bear. Ascend gently to Lama Hotel / Rimche (2400m) for the night.
Trek from Lama Hotel to Langtang Village.
Today the trail climbs up a steep forest slope to the Langtang River and beautiful views into a valley, often populated by grazing yaks.
Water-driven prayer wheels mark the approach to the large settlement of Langtang. This is one of the oldest villages along this trekking route and the views from here are spectacular. Spend the rest of the day exploring the Tibetan style village.
During 2015 Nepal Earthquake, Langtang Village was completely destroyed due to avalanche, the current village is 500m ahead from the previous location.
Trek from Langtang Village to Kyanjin Gompa.
Today is a short walk to allow for acclimatization. The trail leads us to a tiny village called Sindum and Yamphu filled with stone-built houses. Climb up to a Chorten past a huge mani stone walls. After crossing the Laja Khola, you climb the glacial moraine to a viewpoint from where Kyanjin Gompa and the dramatic icefall flowing from Langtang Lirung and Kinshung are visible. We have the chance to taste cheese and curd made from yak milk, a local specialty – there is a famous local cheese factory. This beautiful valley is in the lap of the Langtang Lirung and is a good place to explore the local culture which is remarkably similar to Tibetan culture.
Trek from Kyanjin Gompa to Lama Hotel.
Today, we will return all the way to Lama Hotel/Rimche. Most will be walking a bit faster now that the route is mostly a gentle downhill. Stopping for lunch, once again, in GhodaTabela, we walk on, retracing our footsteps to Lama Hotel/Rimche, where we stop for the night.
Trek from Lama Hotel to Thulo Syabru Village.
From Lama Hotel/Rimche, we hike down via Bamboo to Pahiro Thapla. Then there is a 1.5hour steep, painful and exhausting climb up a sharp incline. A little tea shop at the top is a welcome sight – providing soft drinks, tea and snacks to help to recover your energy. This vantage point offers an excellent view of Ganesh Himal, Langtang and other nearby mountains. The last hours’ climb to Thulo Syapru is much gentler.
Trek from Thulo Syabru to Sing Gompa.
The trail leading from Thulo Syabru to Foprang Danda (3,200m) follows a steep path, passing through Dursagang (2,660m) and forests with rhododendron, oak, hemlock. There are breathtaking views of Langtang Himal, Ganesh Himal and the mountains of Tibet.
The path gently ascends for a while then flattens out for the last stretch to Sing Gompa. The local well-managed cheese factory and a Buddhist Monastery are worth visiting whilst admiring the panoramic views. The cheese manufactured here is considered the best in Nepal.
Trek from Sing Gompa to Gosaikunda.
From the steady climb through rhododendron forest the trail emerges at Lauribinayak, pasture and a few huts. Then it is a steep ascent all the way to Gosaikunda.
The rugged trail offers dramatic views to the west: the Manaslu, Ganesh Himal ranges, Tibetan peaks, and to the north across the valley is Langtang Lirung. Even the Annapurna range can be seen rising up behind on a clear day.
There are about a dozen lakes in the Gosaikunda Basin, the main three being Saraswatikunda, Bhairabkunda and Gosaikunda. According to legend Gosaikunda was created by Shiva when he pierced a glacier with his trident to obtain water to quench his thirst after having swallowed a poison that threatened to destroy the world. Hundreds of pilgrims come here to worship and bathe during the full-moon festival each August.
Trek from Gosaikunda to Ghopte.
Today is a bit of a challenging day. The trail climbs through rugged country, crosses glacial moraines and passes four small lakes to the Laurebina La (4610m), the highest point of this trek. Keep looking back at the spectacular views of Manaslu in the far west to surrounding mountains of the Ganesh Himal as well as the familiar native mountain Langtang Lirung. Even on a clear day we can see the Annapurna range. Then the trail leads us steeply down to Phedi and continues down across a rocky hillside with pine and rhododendron trees to Ghopte.
Trek from Ghopte to Kutumsang.
Today, start out with an hours’ downhill walk. Forest starts filling the landscape and soon, we arrive in Tharepati and take a break to absorb the views.
Lunch stop is at Magen Goth (pasture lands), after which knee testing descents are broken by flat stretches. With trees on either side the route leads us on to Kutumsang (about 3 hours)
Trek from Kutumsang to Chisapani.
A trail of ups and downs, the route leads through a landscape becoming ever greener. Arriving in Gulfu Bhanjyang right in time for lunch you will appreciate the energising Dal-Bhat. Move on, mostly through cultivated land, reaching Firfiré after an hour or so. The beauty of the landscape around with the addition of that refreshing air spurs you along a trail lenient on the legs as far as Bhanjyang. Then a sharp uphill climb of about 1 hour to Chisapani.
Chisapani is yet another village that comes with a spectacular view of the gigantic elevations to the north: Annapurna, Manaslu, Ganesh Himal, Langtang Himal, Dorje Lakpaand, Gaurishanker.
Trek to Sundarijal 3-4 hrs- drive to Kathmandu.
Today, we traverse through the Shivapuri National Park for about 3 hours to reach Mulkharka village. Then almost another hour to Sundarijal – a town on the north-eastern outskirts of Kathmandu. Here transport is waiting to take you back to the city.