Langtang trek – a 2023 guide & itinerary
The Langtang trek is one of the shorter hiking routes in Nepal. It offers fantastic scenery from the jungle with banana trees and monkeys at lower altitudes to glaciers and ice peaks at higher elevations. Short doesn’t mean easy the route is quite challenging from the beginning with many long and steep ascents which is a typical thing for trekking in Nepal.
The trek can be done as a single trek, in combination with the Tamang Heritage trek, or as an acclimatization trek before attempting one of the longer and more challenging routes like the Everest Base Camp trek or the Annapurna Circuit trek.
Langtang trek overview
- Distance – 77 km/48 mi (including Kyanjin Ri peak)
- Days required – 5-7 days + 2 days to get to and back
- Total ascent – 3925 m/12 877 ft
- Total descent – 3925 m/12 877 ft (the same way up and down)
- Highest point – 3800 m/12 467 ft on the Langtang trek itself and 4600 m/15 000 ft if you climb Kynajin Ri peak.
- Difficulty – moderate/difficult
- Permits – TIMS card and Park entrance permit required
- Cost per day – US$23 per person including permits and transportation
- Guide – not compulsory, can be done independently, with a guide/a porter, or in a group.
- Accommodation – guest houses
How long is the Langtang trek?
The Langtang trek is 77 km/48 mi (including Kyanjin Ri peak). It takes 5-7 days on average to complete the route. You can add some side treks to the route which will increase your total distance. If you walk to Tserko Ri peak from Kyanjin Gompa it will add around 8 km to your trek.
The trek can be combined with the Tamang Heritage trek, it’ll add 3 extra days to your itinerary. Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough time to do it but from what we’ve heard the Tamang trek is a great cultural experience.
How difficult is the Langtang trek?
The trek is quite demanding due to elevation gain, in the first two days you go over 2000m up, and there are many steep and long ascents on the route. Still, it’s one of the easier hiking routes in Nepal and a good one for people who have never done a high-altitude trek before. The main reason I considered the Langtang trek as an easier option is the elevation. The maximum elevation on the trek is 3800 m (4600 m if you climb Kyanin Ri peak) which is much lower than on most other popular routes such as the Annapurna Base Camp trek or Mardi Himal trek.
Travel insurance for the trek
The Langtang trek is a high-altitude trek through remote and difficult-to-access areas of Nepal. It’s actually required when applying for the TIMS card hiking permit to have insurance. Nobody has ever asked us for any proof though. Getting injured or sick at isolated locations, especially at altitude evacuation can be very complicated and expensive. You can quickly get a quote for travel insurance. World Nomads Travel Insurance.
Do I need a guide for the trek?
Not. The Langtang trek can be walked independently. If you’re an inexperienced hiker I would recommend rather hiring a guide or joining a group tour.
There are several advantages of joining a group tour:
- You don’t have to worry about permits, transportation, accommodation, etc. everything is arranged for you.
- You don’t have to plan your route.
- You have better chances to communicate with locals not many of them can speak good English.
- You can get more information about the region, local traditions, lifestyle, etc.
- If you’re traveling alone it’s much more fun to meet new people. Lagtang trek tours
Langtang trek tours
How much does the Langtang trek cost?
Hiking the Langtang trek will cost you around US$25 per person per day including permits, transportation, accommodation, and food.
As I already mentioned above for the Langtang trek you’ll need the TIMS card and the Park entrance permit. The TIMS card – NPR 2000/US$15; The park entrance permit – NPR 3000/US$23. Total – NPR 5000/US$38 per person.
- A bus from Kathmandu to Syabubesi – NPR800/US$6 one way per person, NPR 1600/US$12 return. If you take a jeep it’ll be more expensive.
- A taxi to the New Bus Station in Kathmandu – NPR 500/US$4. Total – NPR 2100/US$16 per person.
The cost of accommodation
Accommodation on the Langtang trek is very cheap if you eat at your guesthouse. If you don’t eat there they charge you more for rooms. In season for a double room, you pay NPR 500/US$4, usually, if you’re one person they charge half. Off-season you can stay for free if you buy food there.
The cost of food
Food is the main expense on the Langtang trek. The higher up you go the more expensive it gets which is easy to explain there is no road everything is carried up by donkeys and porters. Prices vary depending on what you order. The average price for a meal is about NPR500-700/US$4-6. It might be pasta with cheese, Dal Bhat, eggs, fried rice, soup, oat porridge, momos, pizza, etc. Hot drinks (tea, coffee) are between NPR 100-200/US$0,7-1,5. Snacks (chocolate, chips, cool drinks, etc.) from NPR 250/US$2.
The cost of our Langtang trek
We didn’t try to save on the trek and pretty much bought and ate whatever we wanted and didn’t bargain too much.
The cost of the trek (per person) for 7 days
|NPR 5000||NPR 2100||NPR 1000||NPR 10 500||NPR 500|
Total: NPR 19 100/US$145 per person for 7 days or US$21 per person per day. The cost of the trek is significantly less than the cost of trekking to Everest Base Camp where our budget was about US$58 (including the return flight to Lukla).
Bring a LifeStraw bottle or any other water purification system. It saves you a lot of money and helps to reduce plastic pollution in the region. There are plenty of rivers and streams along the route, you can refill your water from a tap at any place for free.
Bring tea bags/coffee with you, it’s much cheaper to buy a pot of hot water and make your own tea than to pay for a cup of tea or coffee.
Pack snacks (nuts, cookies, chocolate, dried fruit, etc.) it’s obviously cheaper to buy these in Kathmandu than on the trek.
If you’re very hungry order Dal Bhat it’s usually bottomless once you finish your rice and dal (fried lentils) you can ask for more at no extra cost. It’s a good meal to have if you want to eat only twice a day.
Permits for the Langtang trek
For the Langtang trek, you’ll need a TIMS card and a national park permit. Total cost for both NPR 5000/US$38 per person.
TIMS cards can be obtained at the Tourism Board Office in Kathmandu, address Pradarshani Marg Bhrikutimandap. Open Mon-Fri and Sun from 10am to 5pm. Closed on Saturdays.
To get the TIMS card you’ll need:
- Filled form (you get it at the office)
- Two passport-size photos, color or black&white (if you don’t have photos they can take a copy of your passport photo but I’d recommend bringing photos with you).
- NPR 2000/US$15 to pay the fee, it can be paid only in cash in Nepalese Rupees. There is an ATM outside the office where you can draw money.
Depending on the number of people it can take from 15min. to 1 hour.
If you don’t have time to get your TIMS card in Kathmandu it’s possible to get it at the first checkpoint on the way to Syabrubesi. The price is the same NPS 2000/US$15. We got ours in Kathmandu but we asked at the checkpoint and they confirmed it. It might be a bit inconvenient if you go by local bus because the bus will have to wait for you. Make sure to bring two photos, there are no facilities for taking photos or making copies.
The National Park permit you can get on the way to Syabrubesi, at the second checkpoint about one hour before the town.
To get the hiking permit you’ll need:
- TIMS card
- NPR 3000/US$23 to pay the fee, it’s paid in cash in local currency.
At the same checkpoint where you get your permit, they check your luggage. If you have a drone make sure you put it in your hand luggage they don’t check small backpacks. According to Nepalese law, you are not allowed to use a drone without a special permit from the local authorities.
They do check TIMS cards and permits; 3 times on the way to Syabrubesi, 3 times on the way back to Kathmandu, and once on the Langtang trek itself. All buses and jeeps stop at every checkpoint, tourists have to get out and go to the office. It doesn’t take long, they write down your name and stamp your TIMS card.
How to get to the Langtang trek?
The trek starts and finishes in Syabrubesi, a small town 120 km from Kathmandu.
There is no airport in the area. The road is the only way of getting to Syabrubesi. The road is in bad condition; partly tarred, and partly gravel, with ongoing road works. Buses drive very slowly and stop a lot on the way people get in and out all the time.
The bus costs NPR 800/US$6 per person one way. It takes between 7 and 9 hours. Buses leave daily between 6am and 8am from New Bus Station (on Google Maps it is marked as Machha Pokhari microbus stop). The easiest way of getting there is to tell your taxi driver where you want to go and he’ll bring you to the right bus station.
Buses make at least two long toilet/food stops where you can buy water and snacks. Sometimes they play local music very loudly for hours; taking earphones or earplugs might be a good idea.
A taxi from Thamel (the main touristy district) to New Bus Station costs around NPR 500/US$4.
Taking a jeep from Kathmandu to Syabrubesi is a faster option for getting there. It is faster and more comfortable but a lot more expensive. At our hotel, the price was 100US$ per person but maybe if you shop around in Thamel you can find a cheaper option. If you’re a group of people sharing a jeep it’s not that much.
Places to stay in Kathmandu
Thamel is the main tourist area in Kathmandu most of the hotels, restaurants, travel agencies, and shops can be found here. Thamel is quite a big area it’s important to find a hotel with a good location.
There are many hotels on the street we stayed at Aryatara Kathmandu Hotel many times. The staff is extremely helpful and friendly. We stored our extra luggage here every time we went hiking for free without any problem.
When is the best time for trekking?
The peak season for hiking the Langtang trek is March-April and October-November, with April and October being the busiest months. The rainy season, June to August is the worst time for trekking. It rains a lot, trails and roads get very muddy, many guest houses close for the offseason, and at lower elevations, there are many leeches.
Winter months December – February are the coldest and driest months. In January there might be a lot of snow higher up in the mountains. Many guesthouses close for the winter season because there are very few tourists and it’s just too cold to stay up there.
We hiked the Langtang trek in mid-February. It was quite cold at night but during the day it was warm. We had one rainy day, the last day of the trek. There were very few tourists on the route. On the downside many guest houses, bakeries, and cafes were still closed for the off-season, we were told they were going to reopen in March.
From our hiking experience in Nepal March is the best time for trekking, because;
- it’s the end of the dry season not much rain and clear skies
- roads and trails are not muddy
- many guest houses open after the winter season
- there are not too many people
- comfortable temperatures for hiking, not too hot not too cold
What is the accommodation like on the trek?
Langtang is a tea house trek every night trekkers stay at guest houses. The facilities can vary from place to place. Most guesthouses have;
- double rooms with two single beds each
- a dining room with a stove and tables
- an in-door toilet – some have rooms with an attached toilet some have shared facilities, it might be a Western sit-down toilet or an Asian hole toilet.
- electricity – some places have power outlets in the rooms or in the dining area. We didn’t pay extra for charging.
- hot shower – usually it’s a solar shower if it’s cloudy it doesn’t get hot. Sometimes it’s a bucket shower, you buy a big bucket of hot water, NPR 200/US$1,5 (one bucket is enough for two people).
- blankets – every place has thick blankets but we used our sleeping bags as well.
- wi-fi – you have to pay extra for using it, some places charge a fixed rate for unlimited usage but most places sell cards, 200Mb to NPR500/US$4 and 1Gb for NPR 1000/US$8.
Be prepared not to have electricity, hot water, or wi-fi on the trek even if a place has all the facilities. Often something doesn’t work e.g. there is no power in the village, it was a cloudy day and a solar panel couldn’t warm water in the shower, they ran out of Internet cards, there is no running water because pipes are frozen, etc. I’d recommend asking if everything works fine before checking in.
What is the food like on the trek?
Menus in all guest houses are pretty similar and not very different from menus on the other treks in Nepal. Oat porridge, eggs, chapati, pancakes with jam, or peanut butter for breakfast. Dal Bhat, curry, pasta, spaghetti, soups, fried rice, and momos (local dumplings) for lunch and dinner. Hot drinks – different teas, hot chocolate, instant coffee. Every guest house has a small shop where you can buy snacks and sweets like chips, chocolate, cool drinks, etc. Overall food on the Langtang trek is similar to the food on the Everest Base Camp trek.
Must-try local dishes on the Langtang trek
- Tibetan tea – black tea with yak butter (almost like bulletproof coffee);
- Sukuti – dried yak meat (it might be beef, fish, or buffalo) like American jerky served fried;
- Dal Bhat – rice, thick lentil soup, potatoes, and sauce, the most popular meal in Nepal;
- Masala tea – black tea with Masala spice and milk;
- Yak cheese and milk
- Buckthorn juice – a sweet juice from local berries.
Langtang trek itinerary – 6 days
Day 1. Syabrubesi (1492m) – Lama Hotel (2447m), 15,7 km/9,7 mi
Route: Tiwasi – Pairo – Bamboo – Rimche – Lama Hotel
- Distance – 15,7 km/9,7 mi
- Time – 5 hours*
- Ascent – 1247m
- Descent – 278m
*We usually walk a bit faster than an average person. I’d recommend adding 1-2 hours to our walking times.
The Langtang trek starts at the end of the road that goes through Syabrubesi towards the river. There will be the first sign just before the suspension bridge. After crossing the bridge take left there will be another sign indicating the way to Langtang. After that the route was quite easy to follow, it’s just one trail that goes along the river up.
There was one place at about 5km where the suspension bridge looked quite broken and we didn’t know at first where to cross the river but in the end, it was fine to walk across the bridge, it was quite steady.
It was a very beautiful and quite tough walking day. The scenery was fantastic; all the way along the river, through the forest, and over a couple of suspension bridges. There are several places to stop on the way for tea or lunch.
- Beautiful scenery; the river, several waterfalls, huge boulders along the trail, small villages, beautiful forest.
- Several ascents and descents at the beginning of the day
- A very steep and long ascent from Bamboo to Lama Hotel
Stops on the route
Day 2. Lama Hotel (2447m) – Langtang Village (3500m), 14 km/8,6 mi
Route: Riverside Lodge – Ghodatabela – Thyangsyapu – Chyamki – Langtang
- Distance – 14 km/8,6 mi
- Time – 4 hours
- Ascent – 1075m
- Descent – 155m
Another beautiful walking day with breathtaking scenery and many places along the route to stop for tea or lunch. The ascent is not as long as the previous day but it was quite tough due to the higher elevation.
The route is easy to follow though there are no route markers it’s just one single trail along the river. The first half of the day is through the forest, the second half is through a valley with great views of the mountain range.
Halfway through the day at Ghodatabela, there is a permit checkpoint.
- Beautiful forest
- Fantastic views of the mountain range and snow peaks
- A long ascent in the second half of the day
- A steep though not long ascent just before Langtang Village
Stops on the route
Day 3. Langtang Village (3500m) – Kyanjin Gompa (3800m), 6,7 km/4,1 mi
Route: Mundu – Singdum – Yamphu – Kyanjin Gompa
- Distance – 6,7 km/4,1 mi
- Time – 2 hours
- Ascent – 418m
- Descent – 42m
A very short and relatively easy walking day with the best scenery on the trek so far; snow peaks, turquoise color river, huge boulders, bizarrely shaped rocks, stupas, many yaks, and great lookout points.
- Incredible scenery
- Two beautiful stupas about 2km before the town
- Great views of the valley from Kyanjin Gompa
- A couple of steep but short ascents
- Increasing altitude makes you tired and out of breath very quick
Stops on the route
Day 4. Kyanjin Gompa (3800m) – Kyanjin Ri (4600m) – Kyanjin Gompa (3800m) – Chyamki (3380m), 13,5 km/8,3 mi
Route: Kyanjin Gompa – Kyanjin Ri – Kyanjin Gompa – Yamphu – Singdum – Mundo – Langtang – Chyamki
- Distance – 13,5 km/8,3 mi
- Time – 5h.30min.
- Ascent – 804m
- Descent – 1237m
Kyanjin Gompa (3800m) – Kyanjin Ri peak (4600m) – Kyanjin Gompa (3800m), 5 km/3,1 mi
- Distance – 5 km/3,1 mi
- Time – 3 hours
- Ascent – 696m
- Descent – 696m
It was a tough climb to the top of the mountain. The trail is not well-marked, there is only one sign, right at the beginning. Somewhere after about 20min. of going up we missed the turn and took a longer route to the top. At the first split take right and follow a well-walked trail all the way to the top.
The scenery from the top was truly spectacular we were very lucky with the weather the sky was clear we could see the valley, several snow peaks, and mountain ranges. It’s better to walk up in the morning when it’s usually nice and sunny, After lunchtime, it often gets cloudy and you won’t be able to see much. If you don’t feel strong enough to walk all the way to the peak, you can walk to Lower Kyanjin Ri it’s about halfway.
Kyanjin Gompa (3800m) – Chyamki (3380m), 8,5 km/5,2 mi
- Distance – 8,5 km/5,2 mi
- Time – 2h30min
- Ascent – 108m
- Descent – 541m
Our original plan was to stay two nights at Kyanjin Gompa we were thinking of going to both peaks Kyanjin Ri (4600m) and Tserko Ri (4800m). We were a bit worried about altitude. I didn’t sleep well and woke up with a headache. We decided to go up to the peak first and then walk down and sleep at a lower elevation.
The Langtang trek is a return route you walk to and back the same way to diversify it a bit we decided to stay at different villages on the way back. We walked past Langtang to the next place Chyamki and stayed there.
Stops on the route
Day 5. Chyamki (3380m) – Bamboo (1970m), 18 km/11 mi
Route: Thyangsyapu – Ghodatabela – Lama Hotel – Rimche – Bamboo
- Distance – 18 km/11 mi
- Time – 4h30min.
- Ascent – 198m
- Descent – 1574m
We walked the last two days in one day, we arrived at Bamboo around lunchtime and decided to go all the way to Syabrubesi and the next morning to take a bus back to Kathmandu. It was a long walking day, took us 6 hours with a lot of downhill walking, in total 2254m down in one day. Don’t push yourself if you feel tired or your knees start hurting rather stop at Bamboo and continue the walk the next day.
On the way down we saw many monkeys in the forest we didn’t see them on the way up. The walk, in general, was easy but after Bamboo, it started raining and it got a bit slippery we had to walk more carefully.
Stops on the route
There are a couple of guesthouses and restaurants in Bamboo, so it won’t be a problem to find a place.
Day 6. Bamboo (1970m) – Syabrubesi (1492m), 9,5 km/5,9 mi
Route: Pairo – Tiwasi – Syabrubesi
- Distance – 9,5 km/5,9 mi
- Time – 2h20min.
- Ascent – 183m
- Descent – 680m
If you walk it on a separate day it’s a very short and easy walk with beautiful scenery.
Stops on the route
We stayed at the same place Hotel White Palace we arrived too tired to walk around trying to find a better place (if it exists). It was fine, the owner arranged for us a bus back to Kathmandu for the next morning.
Getting back to Kathmandu
The bus picked us up at our hotel at about 7am and we started the exhausting journey back to Kathmandu. It took between 8-9 hours to get back on the way we ran out of petrol, forgot somebody at one of the stops and got heavy traffic at the entrance to the city.
What to pack for the Langtang trek?
If you’re going to carry your backpack it’s very important not to pack too heavy and take only the essentials. Here is our essential packing list for the Langtang trek which is quite similar to our Everest Base Camp trek packing list.
- Backpack – a 40L backpack will be enough.
- LifeStraw – it’ll save you quite a lot of money.
- Sleeping bag – most places have blankets but we personally prefer sleeping in our sleeping bags under a blanket.
- Hiking poles – on the way up we didn’t feel like they were necessary but on the way down starting from Kyanjin Ri peak, I wished I had the poles.
- Waterproof pouch for documents, money, phone, permits, etc.
- Small combination lock – you can use it to lock your room in a guest house.
Hiking shoes – just before coming to Nepal we both bought new hiking boots, Salomon X Ultra 3 GORETEX. We didn’t have time to wear them the Langtang trek was the first time we walked in our new shoes we even got a chance to test them in the rain. The shoes are awesome, very comfortable, and waterproof, our feet weren’t sweating or getting cold. We’re super happy we bought these shoes. I really like my new Salomon shoes.
Hiking socks – we always wear merino wool socks for hiking, they work great, last long, don’t absorb odors and protect your feet from blisters, etc.
Down jacket – we used ours quite a lot on the trek for wearing inside and outside, they are great; warm, light and pack small.
Trekking pants – Campbell always hikes in normal trekking pants I prefer wearing yoga pants if it’s warm and fleece trekking pants if it’s cold.
Hiking shirt – Colombia hiking shirts are Campbell’s favorite, I like hiking in long sleeve running shirts with sports bras.
Rain jacket – it might be not necessary to pack one if you pack a down jacket and a rain poncho.
Fleece – a very useful item to have on the trek for walking outside and inside.
A cap beanie – we wore them quite a lot in the morning for hiking and at night for wearing inside.
Sleeping clothes e.g. long cotton pajama pants and a thermal shirt for sleeping and wearing in guesthouses after the shower – it’s comfortable and warm. Ladies’ options; pants and a shirt.
Hiking towel – we had a shower/a bucket shower every day on the Langtang trek.
- Kindle Paperwhite. If you’re an owner of Kindle by joining Kindle unlimited program by Amazon you’ll get access to thousands of e-books and audiobooks.
- GoPro HERO10 we used it a lot for taking photos and videos.
- Garmin Fenix 5X – we can’t imagine how we hiked without this watch (now we both have one), we use it a lot for outdoor activities and training. Thanks to this watch we could add elevation profiles, exact distances, stops on the route, etc. to our post.
Toiletries & miscellaneous
Recommended books and guidebooks
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The pretty half of Stingy Nomads, responsible for all our land adventures (hiking, climbing, walking the Camino) and following them write-ups. Alya loves walking since she was a child, she prefers to walk 1000 km with a backpack rather than to do a 10 000 km road trip (actually any road trip). Alya is a big fan of Latin America, the Spanish language, and dancing. Every time we go away she desperately misses our dog Chile.