I have been in Nepal since August. I have been exploring different sections of the great Himalayan trail. My last trek was to the scenic Langtang/Helambu region. Some areas are still rebuilding after the April earthquake. However, the trails through Gosainkunda and Helambu are safe and adventurous. There are plenty of lodges to make tea house trekking possible.
Following the earthquake, there was a lot of confusion regarding the trekking trails to different places. A lot of conflicting information about which trekking areas were damaged, and which one are still open and issuing permit was being spread globally. After arriving in August, I trekked quite a few GHT sections for instance : the Far West, Annapurna Circuit, and Manaslu. After these places I got a chance to visit Helambu region. I was allowed to visit the Gosainkund part of the park, and Helambu to the south. The northern parts of the park were still closed to tourists, including the trail that went through Langtang village.
Coming directly off Manaslu, my guide and I took a bus to Dunche, and started our uphill trek the same day. I thoroughly enjoyed the 1300 m ascent through the lush forest. I was fortunate enough to see few wildlife including wild pigs, musk deer, and large grey Langur monkeys! I was told that Red Pandas also inhabit this forest but since they are nocturnal animals, I couldn’t catch a glimpse of those cute little fellows. The moment I reached Chandanbari Village, I felt like I reached Nirvana, overlooking a magnificent view of the valley. We stayed in a Hotel owned by Sherpa family. We were served the best dal bhat with wild mushrooms picked from the jungle. It was honestly the best Dal Bhat I have had till date. On top of that the yak cheese I bought from Cheese factory was also found here.
The hike from Chandabari Village to Gosainkunda was extremely fun, climbing and then traversing through jagged rocks and cliffs speckled with pretty blue and pink flowers. Up through the clouds we went until we reached the small village of Gosainkund, perched at 4380m on the edge of the sacred lake by the same name. After feeding our stomach , we made our way up to the Lauribha pass which was additional 230m upwards.
In the morning, we travelled to a place which was once a hometown of Ghopte. All the properties here were destructed by the earthquake and there was no habitation there anymore. It was sad to see buildings being completely abandoned by people. We continued ridgetop through ThadePass where one teashop was open, then down to the settlement of Mangengoth. One section of woods contained trees with red, peeling bark which I nicknamed “tourist trees” making my guide laugh. We stayed with yet another Sherpa Family at Mangengoth. They again served me the best tibetan tea(a salty tea made with butter) I have had till date. I absolutely loved it.
The trail descended steeply from Mangengoth. I witnessed a little bit more destruction upon reaching Kathmandu. In some cases, nearly whole villages of people were now living in temporary tarp or tin shelters, next to piles of rock rubble which used to be their homes.
In a nutshell, the hike to Helambu/Langtang was extermely enjoyable and recommended. It is undoubtedly a must be place. There are enough hotels open after the earthquake to ensure a teahouse trek is possible, and locals need the tourist dollars now more than ever. Visit Langtang!
Read more about Michelle’s travels in Nepal on her own blog.