Having returned from 10 days of Langtang Circuit Trek, both my pinky toes were swollen. One of them was little watering and turning blue, my leg calves muscles were sore, and my entire body felt heavy but my heart and soul felt light and at peace. This feeling of weird unusual peace is what makes me want to go to the mountains again and again.
So to unfold the story we started planning the trip very early on. Originally the idea was the Mardi Himal Base camp trekking but just 2 weeks before the trip our plans changed and we decided to go on Langtang Circuit Trek instead.
Usually Langtang circuit trek starts from Syabrubesi to Lantanag Valley to Kyangin Gompa then all the way down and extends the uphill climb towards Gosaikunda. But we decided to start the other way around.
The Journey Starts from Kathmandu to Dunche
Day 1, 18th October 2022. The A/C bus we booked was supposed to leave from Machhapokhari bus station at 6:20 AM so we hurried up early in the morning and went to the bus station. Reaching the station we could see so many people traveling on the same route. The landscape had changed within a few hours. The broad roads and big buildings of Kathmandu had transformed into narrow pathways surrounded by beautiful mountains and pine trees and white streams.
On approach to Dunche (1966m.), all the travelers on their way to trek to Langtang National Park were stopped at Dunche Check post to obtain a permit in order to enter the national park The permit cost 100 per person for Nepali Nationality. The cost was different for foreign nationalities and for those who belonged to SAARC nations. After getting our permits we then got on the bus. The bus journey ended after 6 hours and we finally reached Dunche trek to start the trail.
By this time, we had already started feeling tired from the bumpy bus ride so we decided to eat something. After a 15 minutes walk, we reached a place called Mini Godsaikunda where we ate out lunch. We waved goodbye to the hotel owner and then continued our trek. Our destination for the day was Deurali. We had to climb up the utterly uneven stairs which were hardly stairs – they were stones that were laid far apart from each other. Carrying my black backpack and my mini white bag, I took one step at a time. Nothing wrong with that but I realized it was our first day hence we were too slow and we might have to walk in the jungle at dusk.
So with some slow steady walk, we reached Deurali just before it turned dark.
Deurali to Lauribina
Day 2, 19th October 2022. We woke up early at 6 am and had breakfast. Today was the longest day of the trek so we left as early as possible. I carried my backpack and started climbing the rocky stairs and by the time we reached Dhimsa, we were short of breath and panting like hell. We ate some chocolates there. Then after 15 minutes, we started to walk again.
Into the dense forest and climbing uphill for about 2 hours and reached a place called Chandanbari. This place had a monastery called Shing Goempa. The area was covered with beautiful hills and also cheese factories for the visitors to buy cheese and churpi (hardened cheese). We ate our lunch there. Then again hit the trail.
The trail was easy and took us through beautiful pine forests. It was about 3 pm when we arrived at Cholangpati. This place offered a satisfying view of Ganesh Himal, Langtang Himal, and the Tibetan Mountains. It was getting colder as we were approaching the higher altitude. Without wasting any time we started climbing steep uphill to Lauribina. As we were about to reach our destination of the day it started to snow. We had all kinds of mixed emotions. We were so happy that snow welcomed us. It was so cold but in our hearts, we felt the warmth.
Reaching Lauribina (4300mright on time was so relieving. Here we could see the snow had stretched out for miles. The winds started getting colder and colder and we all retreated inside the hotel. The hotel owner played Tungna (plucked string instrument) for us and it was a beautiful musical atmosphere that night.
Lauribina To Gosaikunda and Back to Cholangpati
Day 3, 20th October 2022. We woke up at 5 am, surprisingly we were all fine in spite of the cold and high altitude. Today’s climb was really steep and the hardest trail we encountered. It was minus 2 degrees when we started our ascend.
It was really tough today as we had to walk in the snow and it was slippery. The trail towards Buddhapark was treacherous. Sometimes it was narrow and extremely slippery due to the snow. One silly mistake and you could slip off the cliff.
My friend Shreya and I took baby steps but were a little ahead of our other friend Sujen. We decided to move forward at a slow pace as the altitude got higher. It was already difficult and a narrow trail then horses were walking right behind us too. It was like a scene straight out of any adventure movie. We were in between lakes on one side and rocky mountains on the other. We were overwhelmed to see the various lakes Sarawasti Kunda, Bhairab Kunda, and the waterfalls dramatically falling down on the lakes on our way to Gosaikunda.
It took us the most challenging two and a half hours to arrive at the almighty Gosaikunda (4381m).
I was awestruck to see the magnificent lake in front of me. I had only heard the tales of it from my grandfather and reaching there was a dream come true. My heart was full. My best friend Shreya and I hugged each other for accomplishing the journey together.
The Gosainkunda Peak (4380m.) was already glistening in the sunlight. The reflection of it on the serene lake and the idol of Lord Shiva at the lake was something that would remain in my heart for a very long. I rushed to the temple and the lake to offer puja to Lord Shiva. Being a person who has been brought up in a very religious environment it was really wholesome for me to be able to do puja there. It got me a little emotional too.
Later, Shreya called me to have lunch by the lake at the hotel as our friend Sujen had finally arrived. We sat by the lake for a few hours, had our lunch and sipped tea, and then went back to Laurbina as it was getting colder and had started to snow.
On our way back to Laurbina (4300m.) we met Pragya, a friend from our last trek to Annapurna Base Camp. It is so amusing that the world is so small and round and scientifically proven, we never know who are we going to encounter next. It was already very late when we reached Lauribina but we decided not to stay there as the altitude was high. So we continued walking downhill and stayed overnight at Cholangpati (3500m).
Cholangpati to Thulo Syabru
Day 4, 20th October 2022. The view of Gosaikunda was all we were talking about in the morning too but there we had to say goodbye to the trails of Gosaikunda and move towards the Langtang Valley (3307m.).
We had our breakfast at 8 AM, a little later than usual, and then started the second phase of our trek.
It was a steep downhill walk through the pine jungle. This side of the trail was completely different from the first phase. As we went more downhill we could see a small Sherpa Village. It was a beautiful small settlement of people. There at a place called Sherpa Cottage, we bought cheeses for our homes as gifts. Our next stop was Thulo Syabru where we decided to call it the night because we wanted to rest more for we had long way to go.
Thulo Syabru to Lama Hotel
Day 5, 21st October 2022. At Thulo Syabru (2210m.) we woke up as early as possible, had our breakfast, and started our hike.
It was the longest part of the Langtang trek as we had to reach Lama Hotel (2500m.) the same day, also, before it got dark. Walked downhill still until we reached a place called Pahiro and from there the landscape changed. The trail was now full of rivers, waterfalls, streams, and girdling hills. We kept walking totally mesmerized and reached a place called Bamboo.
It was yet another beautiful place in the middle of the hills. We were informed that the walk from Bamboo to Lama Hotel was the longest one and there were no tea stops in between until Rimche. It was a steep uphill and we were totally exhausted. We had to cross the landslide trail which was of course very scary so it was such a relief to reach Rimche.
We noticed many trekkers had called it for the day at Rimche but we stuck to the plan and decided to cover that extra 30 minutes stretch to the Lama Hotel. We arrived at Lama Hotel around 5 PM and there we had our first glimpse of the snow-covered mountain.
We had our dinner, sat in the fire for a good 2 to 3 hours, talked with other travelers, and went to bed.
Lama Hotel to Langtang Valley
Day 6, 22nd October 2022. We began our journey from Lama Hotel after a light breakfast.
Walking through dense bamboo, birch, rhododendron, and oak forest, we came across Gumanchowk (Riverside) along the Langtang River. After a few hours we reached a place called Ghoda Tabela (lit. a horse stable). When we reached Ghoda Tabela, the trail entered green meadows and the Langtang Range stretched on both sides of the valley. My personal favorite place of all the trails was Ghoda Tabela. The entire Journey from this place appeared like a heaven with trees, rocks, and soil that were so alive and vibrant. They all resonated with different levels of energy. I was totally blown away by this place.
There were amazing water streams and the water there was so pure, fresh, and sweet. All the tiredness of the trek was washed off by the water and I was overflowed with intense energy to trek further. The trail got even better at Thangsyap. There we had our lunch. We could view the Langtang Valley directly from Thangsayp. It seemed so near but in reality about 2 hours away.
We had to cross the big Landslide trail to reach Langtang Village. In recent years Langtang is best known for the amount of destruction it suffered during the 7.9 Richter scale earthquake of 2015. A part of the great peak of Langtang Lirung fell off, and a huge, devastating avalanche of ice and rocks covered the Langtang village fully. Despite such terrible incidents the Langtang people bounced back and they rebuilt a new village and new life around it. The village is surrounded by mountains and rivers where we stayed overnight that day.
Langtang Valley to Kyanjin Goempa
Day 7, 23rd October 2022. We explored Langtang village after breakfast. We learned that only 25 percent of the locals of the village survived the earthquake. Our destination today was Kyanjin Goempa (3798m.) and the trail to the Goempa was really smooth. The route was shorter today as compared to other days and we enjoyed Buddhist artifacts such as chortens, prayer flags, and Buddhist inscriptions engraved rocks across the trail.
Watermills and yak pastures were also of interest, and of course, the mountain views were breathtaking. Reaching Kyanjin Goempa by lunchtime offered us a relaxing time and extra time to explore the area.
The Kyanjin Goempa village is believed to be 800 years old. The Goempa was serene when at it I made kora (circumambulation) according to Buddhist tradition. It was a beautiful feeling. The cheese factory, the monasteries, and the traditional local houses made Kyanjin village look even more appealing.
After exploring the village for a few hours we went back to the hotel and we met Peter. He was a 66-year-old artist from Oregon, USA, and we were so happy to meet him there because he was so full of life. It was so inspiring to listen his way of living life in his own terms and never giving up on his passions. It was beautiful how we could relate to what he was saying. Meeting him was one of the most amazing parts of the trek. We had to climb up the Kyanjin Ri the next day so we went to sleep.
Kyanjin Goempa to Kaynjin Ri to Sindum
Day 8, 24th October 2022. After a very early breakfast, we set out to Kyanjin Ri at 6:15 AM. The climb was steep, slippery and without any support. It was no less than climbing big snow mountains. When we were halfway on the trail we could already see Kyanjin Valley, very tiny from that altitude. It was scary to look back so we kept on walking.
When we reached Lower Kyanjin Ri (4300m.) all three of us were laughing and screaming that finally made it to the top. There were payer flags all around and a panoramic view of the mountains. Shreya and I decided to go further up, towards the Upper Kyanjin Ri (4773m.). It was a challenging walk but we made it and was one of the happiest moments of my life. For making it to 4773m. high that too with my best friend.
We were so close to the mountains, that we could almost touch the mountains and glaciers just by stretching our little hands, little further. The wind was so strong that we descended the Kyanji Ri quickly. The best part of trekking was moving downwards. Getting down from the rocky uneven mountains with the support of two sticks only sounded like a suicide attempt to me. There was no other option but to muster the courage and take each step carefully to get down.
That day I experienced how it feels to overcome my fear and the feeling was amazing.
On reaching the hotel we decided to climb further down that day. So we waved a goodbye to Peter and also to didi, the hotel owner that day and walked down to a village called Sindum (3410m.). That night we stayed at a homestay and probably had the best momos of the trip. It was such a homely feeling and the Aama of the hotel made us feel comfortable during our stay there.
Sindum to Lama Hotel
Day 9, 25th October 2022. Our stay at Sindum had been the most memorable so far so it was hard for us to say goodbye to Aama but we had to leave. We were moving all the way down that day so we didn’t stop at many places. We only stopped for at Ghodatabela for lunch. Thinking of Ghodatabela still makes me want to go there again and again. At around 4 PM we reached Lama hotel and stayed there overnight.
Lama Hotel to Syabrubesi
Day 10, 26th October 2022. It was downhill to Syabrubesi. We kept backtracking our steps as we again met the bamboo and rhododendron forests and we finally reached Syabrubesi.
Syabrubesi to Kathmandu
Day 11, 27th October 2022. Early in the morning, after breakfast, we got back on the bus to Kathmandu. The bus ride was so scary and bumpy that still gives me chills thinking about it.
It was a little weird to be back in Kathmandu and in chaos after a long time. I reached home sweet home.
The next day I visited the notes on my phone where I had noted all the expenses of the trip. The tentative calculation was NRs 17,000 therefore I would say Nrs 20,000 is enough to make the trip.
- The bus fare normally is Nrs 600 from Kathmandu to Dunche and if someone is traveling to Syabrubesi then it costs Nrs 800. It was Tihar time and due to the festive season the bus fair was hiked and we paid Nrs 1000 each, for up and down the road.
- Our per day cost on the trek was Nrs 1500 but in higher altitudes for example in Gosaikunda and Kyanjin Ri the per day cost is Nrs 1800.
- I am a vegetarian so my per day cost was Nrs 1200 or even less on some days but if you are someone who enjoys eating meat then the cost will differ. But I tell you it is hard luck to find meat items in the Gosaikunda trek because the lake area is religiously significant. It’s the same with the Langtang trail too because the myth is if you kill animals for eating purposes then the area will suffer avalanches. Langtang People strongly believe in the myth hence we better respect their beliefs too.
In this 10-day long trek, I did break barriers within myself. It was a genuinely laborious spiritual experience. It pushed me out of my comfort zone and broke all limitations within myself. And as I return to normal city life, memories from Langtang Circuit have made a special home in my heart forever.
All photos by the author