Nepal 2014 – The Expedition
Langtang Valley, White Water Rafting and Chitwan National Park
- 21 day trip, airport to airport
- 11 nights and 12 days on trek; moderate to challenging trek
- Maximum altitude 4980 metres
- 6 nights in Kathmandu
- 2 days white water rafting in the Trisuli river
- 2 nights 3 days in Chitwan National Park
To reach your trek starting point of Syabrubensi involves a long, approximately 6-hour road journey from Kathmandu. After first passing Balaju and Nagarjun, the road leaves the Kathmandu Valley at Kakani (2145m), where there are excellent views of Annapurna II, Manaslu and Ganesh Himal, and then descends into the broad Trisuli valley. The vehicle usually makes a tea stop at Ranipauwa, the only large village on the route, at km 27. This region is the radish capital of Nepal; in season you can see huge piles of long, freshly washed radishes (mula in Nepali) alongside the road, awaiting transport to the markets of Kathmandu.
After a long descent through terraced fields, the road crosses the Tadi Khola, then climbs onto a plateau and passes fields of mustard, maize and rice planted in bright red soil. There is a police check post 2 km before Trisuli Bazaar where trekking permits are usually examined.
The Dhunche road follows the east bank of the Trisuli River out of the Bazaar, climbing slightly towards Betrawati soon after passing two bridges carrying massive pipes that feed the hydroelectric project there. After Betrawati you will experience 47km of steep switchbacks on a wild road to Dhunche.
En route, the road passes through Brahman and Chhetri villages, to Kalikhastan at 1390m, which is the entrance to Langtang National Park. Villages now become sparser as the elevation increases, and the intense cultivation of the lowland rice-growing country gives way to herding, and small fields of maize, millet and vegetables. The road reaches its high point on the ridge at 1980m, and then makes a long contour, with a few ups and downs through oak and rhododendron forests, finally reaching Dhunche, the administrative headquarters of the region at 1950m, three to four hours’ drive from Betrawati.
Another 15km drive will reach Syabrubesi, and overnight. Starting out from there, on trek, the following morning, the trail elevates quickly and after crossing the Bhote Kosi river, it climbs gradually up to the village of Briddim (2,229m).
Next, the trail passes through lovely pine forests with large trees, where pheasants and other birds are frequently spotted – fewer tourists mean that the birds are not as shy as in some parts of Nepal. The first part of the trail retraces its steps, and from then on is a gentle walk through the forest, where there is a variety of wildlife, including possible sightings of yellow-throated marten, wild boar, langur monkey, red panda and the Himalayan black bear. Soon the trail begins to descend gently to Changtang, popularly known as Lama Hotel, passing through some remote Tamang and Sherpa settlements. Overnight will be at Lama Hotel.
The next day starts with a gentle climb, soon becoming steeper and passing high above the Langtang Khola. Tantalising glimpses of Langtang Lirung (7246m) appear through the trees as you trek on to Ghora Tabela at 3000m and thence on to Langtang (3,500m The houses of Langtang have Tibetan-style flat roofs and are surrounded by stone walls enclosing fields of buckwheat, potatoes, wheat, turnips and barley. The villagers keep herds of yaks and cattle here and in pastures above the village.
After leaving the village the trail climbs onto a ridge dominated by a large, square chorten and a long row of mani walls. Continuing through yak pastures as the valley becomes broader, the path crosses a bridge and climbs a moraine from which you can finally see Kyanjin Gompa, where there is a cheese factory started through a Swiss initiative in 1955. You should reach Kyanjin before lunch, allowing time to explore the surroundings.
There will be an acclimatization and exploration day in Kyanjin, and this may be used for optional excursions to the Langtang Glacier, walking to Numthang and back, or climbing Tsergo Ri (4984m).
The next day’s trek takes you back to Lama Hotel and from there the trail moves on to Thulo Syabru, a pleasant Tamang village with many elaborately carved windows in the older, traditional houses which are strung out along a ridge.
From Thulo Syabru the next day will be a gentle climb up through dense pine forests as far as Sing Gompa where there are a few lodges and yak pastures. The following day is a short one, and it may be that the group would like to rest at Sing Gompa during the morning whilst others might like to explore towards Gosainkund and return to have lunch together, and then carry on down to the Trisuli riverside for the last night camp. An alternative to this would be to descend, heading south-east, all the way down to the Trisuli river side, for lunch, and then carry on to Dhunche for the last night’s celebration, prior to driving back to Kathmandu.
In either case, the following morning is spent driving on towards Chitwan, breaking the journey in Charaudi, to take a short rafting trip down the Trisuli river en route to the wildlife resort, where you will enjoy one of the finest wildlife experiences in Asia. You will be taken on an elephant safari and visit Nepal’s famous elephant breeding centre which is reached via a journey by dugout canoe. There will be a chance to visit the local Tharu village on oxcarts and a once-in-a lifetime opportunity to wash elephants in the river. There will also be time to swim in the resort pool, which is a wonderful antidote to the heat of Chitwan.
On leaving Chitwan you will return to Kathmandu by air.
- Day 1
- Arrive in Kathmandu and transport to Hotel.
- Day 2
- Kathmandu morning sightseeing (Monkey temple and Patan or Bhaktpur Durbar square). Preparing for trek.
- Day 3
- Drive to Syabrubensi (1460m) and over night.
- Day 4
- Trek to Bridim (2229m).
- Day 5
- Trek to Lama Hotel (2370m).
- Day 6
- Trek to Langtang Village (3330m).
- Day 7
- Trek to Kyanjing Gompa (3730m).
- Day 8
- Acclimatization and exploration day around Kyanjing Gompa and Langtang glacier or optional climb to Kyanjing Ri (4500m).
- Day 9
- Optional climb- ascend Trseko ri (4980m).
- Day 10
- Trek back to Goratabela (2992m) or Gumnachok (2340m).
- Day 11
- Trek to Thulo Syabru village (2210m).
- Day 12
- Trek to Sing Gompa (3210m).
- Day 13
- Optional excursion to Chandanbari (3250m) and trek to Yunglang (2000m) on the Trisuli.
- Day 14
- Early morning trek to Dhunche (2030m), join with submit time and drive back to Kathmandu.
- Day 15
- Kathmandu. Leisure time.
- Day 16
- Drive to Charuidai and rafting on Trisuli River, and camp on riverbank.
- Day 17
- Short rafting on Gaighat, and continue to Chitwan.
- Day 18
- Chitwan National Park; jungle adventure and elephant back safari.
- Day 19
- Late afternoon drive to Bharatpur and fly back to Kathmandu.
- Day 20
- Visit to EPHC (our underprivileged children school project) and Free time/shopping in afternoon.
- Day 21
- Transport to airport for departure.