The Langtang Gosaikunda and Helambu Trek will take you on a magical journey through lush forests, and beautiful villages into the homeland of Buddhist Tamang and Sherpa people. With the mountains of the Langtang Range towering over you, rivers running off these mountains cascading below and around you, and the stunning clear waters of several high altitude lakes to be explored, this 17 day trek offers some of the best scenery in Nepal. Gosaikunda Lake itself is a sacred river, revered by Hindus who come here to worship Lord Shiva. Standing on its shores, staring up and the snow-capped mountains reflected in its still waters, you can feel the mysticism.
You will pass through Langtang National Park, which ensures the area remains a pristine home for abundant flora and fauna. Wildlife here includes Himalayan pheasants, monkeys, Himalayan deer, Himalayan bears, monkeys, and red pandas. Within the Langtang Valley several villages were heavily impacted by the 2015 earthquake. Langtang Village itself was completely destroyed. Resilience has persevered and the locals have rebuilt their homes and tourist lodges and have been welcoming visitors back to the area.
Other highlights of this trek include a visit to Kyanjin Gompa and climbing up Tserko Peak (5,000m). And of course, the spectacular views of Dorje Lakpa (6,990m), Langtang Ri (6,370m) and Langtang Lirung (7,245m) and more. This area is less touristy than many other parts of Nepal as is the perfect trek for people who want something a little different.
If you would like to know more about this trip, or any other trip in Nepal, please do not hesitate to contact Sherpa and Swiss Adventures. Basically, the itineraries on our websites are for the most popular destinations. You can contact us and let us know your requirements. For example, your intended length of stay, your preferences of hotels, your choice of route for trek, the places you would like to visit, or any kind of customization. We would love to hear your unique choices and travel ideas; based on which we can curate a blend of our ideas and come up with the most suitable trip itinerary for you as an individual or a group.
It all starts here. But first, the formalities…
Our airport representative will be there to meet you outside the terminal at Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu. You will recognise her/him from the Sherpa and Swiss Adventures signboard they will be holding. You will then be transferred to your hotel by our private tourist vehicle.
Later that day there will be a pre-trip meeting in our office. If your flight arrives after 4pm you will be briefed when you reach your hotel. Please ensure to ask any questions you may still have about the trip regardless as to when or where your briefing meeting takes place.
Please bring to the meeting: your original passport, three passport-sized photos and your travel insurance policy (hard copy please). During the meeting we request you to clear any outstanding monies and sign the legally binding trip form and a non-liability disclaimer. Thank you for your cooperation.
Today your Nepal adventure begins! After breakfast, at around 8.30am, our tour guide and private vehicle will collect you from your hotel to take you to some of the most historical and interesting heritage sites in Kathmandu. Kathmandu Valley has no less than seven world heritage sites; today we will cover three of them:
Swayambhunath: Swayambhunath Stupa (or Monkey Temple as it’s often known) has great importance to the Valley’s indigenous Newar population whose religion is a unique blend of Buddhism and Hinduism. We reach the top by a long staircase from the east. In addition to devotees, visitors can see many monkeys on the climb up to the stupa (please do not feed or pet them), and have a wonderful view over Kathmandu.
Boudhanath Stupa: Boudhanath Stupa is one of the most revered Buddhist sites in Kathmandu. Here in the early morning and late afternoon, hundreds of Tibetan and Nepali Buddhists come to circumnavigate the stupa in prayer with the sound of spinning prayer wheels and the ringing of bells filling the air. It is possible to eat in one of the many good restaurants around the stupa.
Pashupatinath: Pashupati Temple is the most holy and significant temple among worshipers of Lord Shiva. Non-Hindus are not allowed into Pashupatinath Temple itself but by standing on the opposite banks of the Bagmati River, visitors can view the ghats where worship and ritual bathing takes place. A few metres downstream the burning ghats often present a horrific fascination. If that is too intimate, there are plenty of small shrines and trails to explore.
Shopping: There is just enough time to explore the tourist hub of Thamel and do some last-minute shopping for trekking essentials, such as nuts and other snacks.
After breakfast we leave the city behind and start the long drive to Syabrubesi, the starting point of your trek. To compensate for the road journey, on the way we can see views of Manaslu, Annapurna and Ganesh Himal... a promise of what is to come! Overnight in Syabrusbesi.
Today’s trek takes you through peaceful oak and rhododendron forests and along the Langtang Khola (river). Finally, crossing a bridge, the steep trail takes you up to Lama Hotel. Interestingly, Lama Hotel is not just one hotel, nor is it a village, but a small group of trekking lodges that have grown up along the trail. You will stay here for the night.
The trail today takes you through green pastures, and past many glistening waterfalls. Depending on the time of year it is likely you will meet herders grazing their yaks in the Langtang Valley. By now we can see the snow-covered peaks of the Langtang mountain range. Passing on along the Langtang Valley we head a little further from Langtang village itself to the small settlement of Mundu where we stop for the night.
By now it will be very clear you are an area where the majority of the people are Buddhist. Obvious from the prayer flags and chortens (shrine like structures) along the way. Today your trek takes you to Kyangjin, also known as Kyangjin Gompa. On the way you will experience more chortens, and the largest mani (mantra/ prayer) wall in Nepal. This fascinating wall is made of stones with prayers carved into them. Feel free to spin the rows of prayer wheels you will also experience on the way, sending your wishes and hopes up to Heaven. In the afternoon you are free to explore the Buddhist shrine at Kyangjin Gompa and contemplate the stunning mountain views in front of you. There is also a cheese factory here which was rebuilt by the local community after the 2015 earthquake, and is again making tasty yak cheese. Yes, you can try some! Cheese making was introduced and started here in Kyangjin nearly 70 years ago by Swiss geologist Toni Hagen, and has become very popular all over the country. Overnight at Kyangjin.
Today we reach the highest point on this trek – Tserko Ri. Rise early to beat the strong winds that set in later in the day. The trail passes through yak pastures before we start to climb. Being at the top for sunrise is the ultimate goal! The panorama of Langtang to the west, Yala peak in the north, and Dorje Lakpa and Shisha Pangma to the east, glinting orange with the rising sun is a stunning sight. Well worth getting up early for. As daylight comes, you can see Kyanjin Gompa far below and over to the Ganja La pass. Today, in addition to a great trek with stunning views, acts as acclimatization for the rise in altitude we will come across on Day 11. Returning to Kyangjin Gompa you can relax and again explore the surrounding countryside.
After breakfast we return to Lama Hotel to embark on the next exciting part of the trek! Today the trail is mainly downhill and through cool forests and interesting Tamang villages. With the mountains still in view, this is a day to reflect on yesterday’s fantastic mountain panorama. Overnight at Lama Hotel.
Setting out after breakfast the trail takes us along the valley and up to Rimche village before bringing us back down to the banks of the Langtang Khola. The way gets easier until the village of Bamboo when you will ascend to the interestingly named Landslide Lodge. Thulo Syabru is situated at the top of a ridge which we reach through climbing up through terraced fields and passed farm houses.
In order to help you acclimatize to the steady gain in altitude today and tomorrow, today’s hike is short. This will enable our bodies to cope better with the rise in altitude. But it is still important to stay well-hydrated and pay attention to how your body feels. On the way to Shin Gompa we pass a chorten and a trekking route checkpoint. Heading south, we pass Garta village and Phulung Monastery. Overnight at Shin Gompa.
This is the highlight of your trek! Not only are there panoramic views of the Annapurnas, Hiunchuli, Mansalu, Ganesh and Langtang, but today we reach Gosaikunda Lake. Setting off along a ridge for most of the day, as we approach we catch our first sight of this holy lake. Reaching its shores we can understand why this high altitude lake is of religious and cultural significance. Surrounded by mountains and nine smaller lakes, Gosaikunda secretes a sense of magic and mystery. More so as in the centre is a large rock which is believed to be part of an ancient shrine to Lord Shiva. If you come here in August during the festival of Janai Purnima, you can see hundreds of Hindu pilgrims bathing in the lake’s purifying waters. At that time the air is electric with the sights and sounds of sadhus and pilgrims, which only seems to increase the mystery of the place. We overnight at Gosainkunda giving you time to explore the lake.
After breakfast the trail takes you to the Laurebinayak Pass (4,610m/ 15,124ft) where we say goodbye to the Langtang Region, and are welcomed by Helambu Region. Here the trail crosses moraine and is pretty rough underfoot as we descend into the Melamchi Valley. On the way we pass three small lakes and gain excellent views of the surrounding areas from a small hill. The trail then passes by another lake, Surya Kunda, before reaching Ghopte where we overnight at a comfortable altitude.
Today’s trail takes a path through dense forests. There is a lot of ups and downs on the way until we reach Thare Pati village where we climb out of the forest and onto a ridge above the village. From the ridge we get excellent views of the lower hills, including Soli Danda (danda meaning hill). Crossing two suspension bridges we reach the village of Melamchi, or Melamchigaon as it is known locally.
Today we climb back up to the height of 3,800m at Ama Yangri. The trail goes through forests, and crosses a small stream to reach Ama Yangri where there is a stupa surrounded and draped in prayer flags. From this hill there are astounding close up views of Mt Shishapangma and other mountains in the Langtang Range. By contrast the trail then passes through yak pastures and enters another forest before reaching Tarkheghyang. In the earlier part of the trek through Langtang, the local people were mainly Tamang. Today we are staying in a Sherpa village.
Today is an easy day through forests and interesting villages. Passing more chortens, a monastery and a mani wall on the way we can feel the Buddhist influence still reaching out to us. Sermathang is another Sherpa village, one blessed with magnificent views of Ganesh Himal, Jugal Himal and Langtang Range. If the day is very clear, we can even see Mt. Everest off in the distance. After your short hike there is time to interact with the locals or simply stare in awe at the mountains displaying their best for your enjoyment.
This morning there is short trek to be taken through fields, meadows and villages to reach Melamchi Bazaar. From here you will be picked up by our vehicle for a two hours drive back to Kathmandu. Back in the hustle and bustle of the city, take the chance to relax or do some souvenir shopping before a final farewell dinner where you can relive your experiences over a glass of wine. Overnight in Kathmandu.
Depending on your flight time, you will be transferred to the airport three hours prior to the departure time. In case your flight is late evening please let us know if you require half day use of the hotel. This will incur extra charges as the check out time is usually 12 pm. Your airport representative will pick you up from your hotel accordingly and take you to the international airport for your onward flight.
Bon voyage and pheri bhetaula!
You will be staying in your choice of hotel in Kathmandu. All accommodation is on twin-share basis. Single supplement charge will be added for single rooms and will cost an additional USD 400 or more (depends on your hotel selection in Kathmandu). Also, please be aware that you will be trekking in remote village areas. The services in the teahouses are basic. We will try our best to arrange rooms with attached bathrooms; however, teahouses in some places do not have attached bathrooms. Paying single room supplement will get you a single room in Kathmandu but it might not be feasible on the trekking route due to high demand.
During your trek, you can enjoy authentic Nepalese food as well as more common international cuisine (Tibetan, Continental, Italian, Indian, etc.). Breakfast and dinner will be served from the teahouse or lodge where we spend the night. Lunch will be served on the trail, on route to the next overnight destination. All meals will be provided during the trekking period (breakfast, lunch and dinner) while only breakfast will be included in Kathmandu. However, there are many restaurant options in Kathmandu so you can explore on your own according to your budget. There will be a welcome and a farewell dinner for our guests.