Langtang Trek Report May 2016

Langtang was devastated by the earthquake on 25th April 2015. The village itself was destroyed by an avalanche and landslide. So what is it like now for trekking?

I hiked the Langtang trek in May 2016 one year on from the earthquake, and the trek was definitely doable. There are tea houses open for the business again. Although Langtang village was destroyed, you can stay in Mundu, a small settlement 30 minutes from Langtang Village.

This trip report gives you an overview of the Langtang trek as it is today.

Kathmandu to Syaphru Beshi

We reached Syaphru Beshi after an extremely tiring 10 hours jeep ride. The landslide after Ramche made the trip more exhausting. Rasuwa is the only border that is open to China after the earthquake, and therefore there are many heavily loaded vehicles struggling to pass through the landslide area. These vehicles need several attempts to get across, which increases the travel time for everyone.

Heavy Truck in the Highway struggling to pass.
Heavy Truck in the Highway struggling to pass.

The army checkpoint before entering Langtang National Park area is another hectic part of the travel. You have to unload all your bags from the vehicles and put them on the desk outside the checkpost. Each bag is checked individually – one-bag- at-a- time – then you have to load it back in the vehicles. You also have to make an entry at several checkposts. I recommend you to carry a photocopy of your passport, which will save a decent amount of time.

After struggling through the muddy yet also somehow dusty road, we reached Syaphru Beshi at 7:30pm and stayed there for the night.

Syaphru Beshi to Lama Hotel

We left the dusty road of Syaphru Beshi and turned right past the tourist checkpoint. Anticipation was rising – at last we were about to start trekking! There were a few others trekkers that were starting their hike also. The damage done by the earthquake slowly began to appear, and we noticed volunteers were working to rebuild houses. After walking over several suspension bridges we stopped to have lunch at Bamboo. Here the owner told me they had only returned to the hotel a month earlier. “We stayed in Kathmandu for almost a whole year. I used to have four different cooks, now I am alone here.”

Lunch place pairo Langtang trek

After lunch we kept walking and reached Lama Hotel at 4pm. Here we found electricity and hot water – it was the last hot water shower we had on our trek! As is usual when trekking, we had dinner around 7pm and went to bed.

Tibet Guest House at Lama Hotel.
Tibet Guest House at Lama Hotel.

Note: Lama Hotel is the name of the settlement. Lama Hotel, being the first hotel in the area, gave its name to the village itself.

Lama Hotel to Mundu

We left Lama Hotel at 7:30 am, after a delicious breakfast which fueled us for the long day from Lama Hotel to Mundu. We passed through a rhododendron and pine forest and noticed there were several landslide areas on the way. Bamboo which had previously grown there had collapsed and there was not a single house left in which to have lunch.

Therefore, we kept on walking and had lunch at our next stop. Our Initial plan was the stay in Langtang. However, with the whole village being buried under a landslide and avalanche we had to move on. There had been more than 100 houses, an army post, a health post, and a suspension bridge linking the Langtang Valley. Now, nothing is there at all. Sadly, at least 200 people died here in the disaster.

Lama hotel to Langtang
On the way from Lama hotel to Mundu

The sky started to change colour. The weather was changing gradually. Suddenly, the sky lit up with lightning and a short hailstone storm began. Since we were in a disaster zone, despite being exhausted, we suddenly started to walk very fast to reach Mundu at 6:00 pm.

langtang valley after earthquake
Langtang village after the earthquake. The avalanche and landslide after the earthquake killed more than 300 people.

Mundu is a small settlement, 30 minutes from Langtang. The tea house owner said “Our hotel is fully booked. There is a group of eight people coming”. I had been looking behind while walking through the dangerous disaster zone.

There were no people coming. So I convinced the hotel owner to give us rooms. Another group of 12 people that came after we had to sleep in the dining room.

Mundu to Kyanjin Gompa

The view from Sindhum. It takes 2 and half hour to reach Kyanjing Gompa from Sindhum
The view from Sindhum. It takes 2 and half hour to reach Kyanjing Gompa from Sindhum

As it was a short two-hour walk, we decided to start around 7 am so that we wouldn’t miss any beautiful morning view. Indeed we enjoyed the panoramic view of Dorje Lakpa (6,966m), Mount Ganchempo (6,387m) and several other mountains during our short walk.

The weather was good in the morning, but when we reach Kyanjin Gompa it suddenly started to snow. You can’t predict the weather in the mountains. It can change anytime. We reached Kyanjin Gompa around 11 am.

View of Dorje Lakpa (6,966m), Mount Ganchempo (6,387m)
Dorje Lakpa (6,966m), Mount Ganchempo (6,387m)

Interestingly, this small settlement has so much to offer. We walk around and had a look at the cheese factory and bakery shop. It started to snow again at noon and although we had planned to go to Kyanjin Ri (4,773m) and Tserko Ri (4,984m) we had to postpone it due to the bad weather. The next morning, the weather was bad as well.

Way Back to Syaphru Beshi

While descending, which was both easy and interesting, we reached Syaphru Beshi in two days. On the first day, we walked to Lama Hotel. I was expecting rain on the way and I knew we had to be careful in the landslide zone. But, thankfully it didn’t rain.

helicopter crash in Langtang
The helicopter crash in the Langtang Village. The helicopter was use to carry goods to Langtang for reconstruction.
Rebuilding house in Langtang village
The reconstruction of the building in Langtang village.
Only surviving small hosue in Langtang
Only surviving small house in Langtang Village

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Article by Pradeep Guragain

Pradeep is the co-founder of Magical Nepal. He was born and bred in Nepal and is a seasoned hiker and rider.

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