Wed. 30th May – Day 1 “Adventurous bus ride!”
Kathmandu – Syabru Bensi (1470m) – 7 1/2h
Hot shower :)
Today I’m starting my Langtang Trek by myself. Got up at 5.30am, took the microbus, which is a small Minivan, where you can get from A to B for 15Rp (20c) – great institution! At 7am I got on the main bus. The state of the bus was similar then the bus from Sunauli (Indian boarder) and we had at least the same amount of people on it. The bus was packed, frankly speaking ;)
I was sitting next to a monk; hope that is a good “omen”!
The roads were treacherous when we left Kathmandu. That was the worst and scariest bus ride I had so far. The first 3 hours were extremely curvy, big holes everywhere and it was getting hot – inside & outside.
During the whole trip people were climbing onto the top of the bus to sit there instead, but as soon as we came to a police or army checkpoint they all had to get back inside the bus. This repeated itself at least 7 times or so today ;) Unreal, and at the same time a bit funny :) The 2nd part of the bus ride was a bit smoother, at least not so many holes anymore, but now we drove a really winding, narrow road uphill and on our left side was a really steep gradient of at least a few hundred meters. Very scary!!! Hopefully the bus driver knows what he’s doing ;) We passed a few parts where landslides came down previously, so it was still hard for the bus to cross these parts. After a really adventures bus ride we finally arrived at Syabru at 2.30pm in one piece! Thank good :)
I found a little affordable guesthouse, where a lot of children were playing in the courtyard.
After settling in, I explored the town a little bit, but it wasn't the prettiest town really. But I visited the Stupa nearby which was nice.
Thu. 31th May – Day 2 “ Steep uphill climb + Dal Bhat”
Syabru Bensi – Ghoda Tabela (1470m – 3008m) – 7h – 1600m altitudes!
Hot shower :)
I started trekking at 6.30am and after 10min I ran already into the first police checkpoint. Crossing a bridge I came into Syabru, the old village. I should have stayed there instead. So cute houses, much better then the bus drop-off point. I continued crossing another bridge so I was walking on the right side of the river, which continued apparently for almost the whole day ;)
I passed Doman and Landslide, where a cute little girl chitchatted with me. They had a really cute lodge called Namaste lodge and maybe I can stop there on my way back. I continued following the trail, which got steeper. After 3 hours I arrived at Bamboo where I had some rest. A lodge owner joined me and we talked for a bit.
I continued walking and the next part was really steep. I had to stop a few times to rest and drink some water. But the scenery was lovely – I walked through another enchanting forest – beautiful. Finally I saw some prayer flags and a lodge :) I had reached Rimche at 11.15am and decided to have lunch as I was starving! There were two girls sitting up there and invited me to stay with them. So nice, I had company for lunch :) They were from Denmark and we had a lovely chat. I had Potatoe Roesti and started to walk at 12 again towards Ghoda Tabela. I passed by Riverside, where I had a short rest and then continued. It was a steep enough trek and I was looking forward to reach Ghoda Tabela.
Around 2ish I arrived and found a nice lodge called “Tibetan Guesthouse” with a hot shower. The first I did was having a shower, washed my clothes and had a rest.
An hour later the two Danish girls arrived with their guide and porter and it turned out that they actually stay in the same lodge. What a lovely coincidence!
During my trek today I was amazed that no matter how fast the trail seemed to gain elevation the river seemed to never get that far below.
We had a nice afternoon and evening. I ate for the first time Dal Bhat as the guide from the Danish girls told me it isn’t spicy. And he was right, it was really tasty :) Dal Bhat power as the Nepalese say! As desert I shared a Chocolate Momo with Marie, the Danish girl. Mmhh, was that good :)
Fr. 1st June – Day 3 “Lovely view onto snow-capped peaks”
Ghoda Tabela – Kyanjin Gumba (3008m – 3800m) – 4h – 800m altitudes!
Hot shower :)
I had an apple momo for breakfast. Mmhh, was that tasty like an apple roll :)
Good decision and I wrapped some of it and brought it with me.
The weather was really nice this morning, not cold at all and just a few clouds. After half an hour I already started to sweat! Unreal, but it was also a steep climb up. I stopped several times to take pictures.
The scenery got more beautiful by the minute! The Langtang valley opened up and I had some stunning view onto the snow-capped mountains. That’s why I love trekking! As soon as you can see the snow-capped mountains all effort was worthwhile!
Finally I saw real Yak’s!!! And quite many of them :) Look at that beautiful one!
I reached Langtang village, which is a really old stone built town. I liked it :)
Took a rest for a few minutes and thought about staying there on my way back. The next part was a bit of a boring walk, however the landscape was still nice.
It was just a straight upward trail, nothing exciting on the way. The small little lodges and teahouses were all closed :( Low season I guess! I met a few tourists and they all told me how nice it was up there :)
Finally at 10.45am I saw a lodge and it was the beginning of Kyanjim Gumba. So nice up there! What a lovely view onto the snow-capped peaks! Wow!
|Kyanjim Gumba - 3800m|
I got a few recommendations of guesthouses on the way, so I did a small guesthouse tour. It turned out, that the “Yala Peak” was the best one with hot shower and a Western toilet ;) The room was for free and gorgeous with wood all around a view to the mountains! It can’t be better!!!
Unfortunately the bakery in town was closed since over two weeks now L Sad news!!! I so was looking forward to an apple pie. But my lady from the guesthouse told me she can make Apple & Mars momo’s! Oh well, that’s it then!
I had a hot shower up on 3800m and washed my clothes. It was a lovely sunny day! So nice :) The Danish girls arrived in the afternoon and stayed in the same lodge! I explored the little village a bit, ate some chocolate/apple momo in a different guesthouse and met some other trekkers from Belgium and US. We chatted for a little while about Nepal and India. In the evening I had my 2nd Dal Bhat!
I decided to go with the Danish girl Marie and her guide Ganesh on a day trip to Tsergio Ri (4984m) tomorrow starting at 4am!
Have you ever wondered how Nepalese built houses up in the mountains?
Well, here you go...
Sat. 2nd June – Day 4 “ On top of the world in clouds”
Kyanjin Gumba – Tsergo Ri - Kyanjin Gumba (3800m – 4984m - 3800m) – 6h – 1184m altitudes!
Hot shower :)
That was my earliest start so far during trekking in Nepal! Got up at 3.45am and ready to trek at 4am :)It had been raining during the night and we didn’t know if we could go up to the peak or not. But we started walking, the three of us, with our headlamps until 4.30 until dawn set in.
When we slowly hiked up the steep trail it was great to see the surrounding landscape. Stunning snow capped and green mountains, a glacier, a valley in clouds and we were on top of it all ;)
But the trail was really steep and the high altitude didn’t really help!
However the view we had made it all worthwhile!
The trail gets even more difficult further up, as you have to climb over a couple of boulders and rocks, sometimes at a strong upward angle.
At 6.30 we stopped and unwrapped our light breakfast we got from our guesthouse – Tibetan bread and a hard cooked egg.
It was good to eat something :)
Breathing was really difficult I have to say and I had to stop several times to catch my breath. Must be the high altitude and the high amount of meters we go up! However the view was stunning!!!
No sunshine yet, but slowly you could guess where it will come through.
Unfortunately, when we were hiking further up the clouds got thicker and thicker! We could only see a few meters by now and we still had another 30 minutes to the peak. Was it worthwhile to push on?!
We decided to wait for 5 minutes and contemplated to go back down even when Marie and myself were disappointed.
But then, after a few minutes it got a bit clearer and we turned around and hiked up again! We decided to try to reach the peak! We finally did at 7.45am after 4 hours of steep uphill climbing!
The view was white – just clouds everywhere, but we reached 4984m!!!
There were at least some prayer flags and wooden poles up there. It was a good feeling to have reached the top! We were all very pleased with ourselves!
Now it meant going downhill all that way! Marie and I decided to go slowly, as she had problems with her ankles and myself with my right knee! A slower pace felt much better for my knee, it did still hurt, but not so badly.
We saw beautiful flowers on the way down as well as wild Yak's!
Ganesh saw some branches of a fir tree and wanted to take some for his mother, as it is good for making incense. The branches were so strong that he wasn’t able to collect any. Suddenly I remembered, that I had my small Swiss knife with me, which my parents had bought for me a long time ago. I always carry it with me when travelling. Now it was used and Ganesh was so happy :) Big thank you to my parents!!!
The clouds travelled down with us - that's at least how it felt ;)
Back at our guesthouse we had a lazy relaxing afternoon & evening! The sun was shining down here through the clouds ;)
|Yala Peak Guesthouse|
|Yak in front of our guesthouse|
|Local Cheese Factory|
|Cheese storage place|
|We had a look at the cheese, but were unable to buy some - not ready yet :(|
|Yak, who wants to clean the dishes ;)|
Sun. 3rd June – Day 5 “ Going down…”
Kyanjin Gumba – Landslide (3800m – 1800m) – 73/4h – 2070m descend!
Cold shower :/
I didn’t sleep very well as there were rats or mice running on the attic above my room and the noise they made was just not pleasant.
So I decided to start early and left the lodge at 6am! The weather was beautiful :)
Blue, clear sky, perfect view and brilliant pictures! It couldn’t have been better. But I had to be careful with my face and neck today as I got pretty sunburned yesterday up on 3800m and didn’t realize it of course that the sun was so strong. So I was wearing my hat and scarf to cover my skin.
It was a really gorgeous walk down to Langtang. I don’t know how often I stopped to take pictures. I guess every 5 min ;) It was amazing!
You could even see the clouds moving up the mountains. Incredible close!
I wanted to check out the Cheese/Bread factory in Langtang, dreaming of some pastries. But the place was deserted unfortunately, I guess because it was low season. So I decided to press on to another small village where I had met a woman on my way up and she had offered me fresh Yak curd. I promised her to stop on my way down.
|Nepalese woman with her son selling Yak Curd|
So I kept on walking, saw a lot of Yaks, locals carrying all kinds of things uphill including all these heavy wooden beams.
|Yak with lots of wood!|
|Local men carrying heavy wooden beams uphill!|
I finally reached the little guesthouse, where I ate some fresh Yak curd (yoghurt) – my breakfast.
The portion was a little small, so I had another idea. I could stop at Ghoda Tabela, where I had slept on the way up and eat an apple momo there. I continued walking and at 10am I had my 2nd breakfast. Very tasty :) I just need more food when I am trekking! That’s it ;) Now I was ready to descend even further also my knee a little bit of a hard time.
So I slowed down and reached Rimche by noon, where I decided to break for lunch, as there was a mobile reception for the first time after a few days of trekking! I send some text and it was good to have some contact with the outside world ;)
I felt much better after my potato momo and so I was ready to move on.
My way continued through beautiful forests with lots of shade and the river next by :) Thank god!
Finally at almost 3pm I reached the Namaste lodge at landslide, where I had stopped on my way up and met the chatty girl called Maya. It was about time, as 20 minutes after I reached the lodge it started thundering and lashing down! Good timing ;)
There was only a cold shower from the hose available, but I had one anyway. It was freezing cold, but it felt still good :) I hope, that the Danish girls will still make it and hadn’t decided to stop earlier. After 4pm the girls arrived and it actually had stopped raining! But it soon started to pour down again. We had a really tasty dinner and huge portions, which were actually needed as I was starving!
I was so tired and exhausted that I went to bed at 8pm and I had some lovely rest and a good night sleep as the lodge was next to a huge river and the sound of the river felt like music in my ears ;)
Mon. 4th June – Day 6 “Gorgeous view & getting lost”
Landslide – Sing Gomba (1800m – 3250m) – 6h – 1450m ascend!
Cold shower :)
I started at 6.30am and I already had some challenges in the first half an hour to find the right trail to Thulo Syafru. However, I finally hit the right trail and it was a steep uphill climb!
|First monkeys I spotted!|
Some really huge grey monkeys played in the trees – very cute and impressive!
|Huge monkey with a long tail!|
It took me 45min to reach the teahouse at the top. Even during the uphill climb I had some lovely views onto the snow-capped mountains – Langtang and Ganesh Himal range!
That’s why it always pays off to go up! You will be rewarded with gorgeous views!
The trail levelled off and I had to round the mountain to a suspension bridge. After crossing the bridge, the trail went downhill again almost underneath the bridge and then steep uphill again with lots of steps.
Thulo Syrafru was a lovely cute little town with lots of flowers, greeneries and guesthouses all spread out on the hill.
|Some typical local Nepalese houses|
|Trail through the village|
I headed up to the top of the village past the army post and stupa onto the trail towards Singh Gompa. So far so good!
I followed the trail, which was a steep uphill climb and there were now and again some labels on stones for directions. The view was still stunning and I stopped now and again for pictures.
I passed a big Buddhist Statue and continued on the trail.
There were a few moments, where I wasn’t sure where to go. The trail seems to split up into 2 or more directions sometimes. An hour after I had left Thulo Syrafru I didn’t know where to walk anymore!!! No signs, only a few empty houses and many barley fields.
I followed one trail, but had a strange feeling that this wasn’t the right way. Finally I saw a local woman in the far distance, so I speeded up and caught her, asking for directions. She had no English at all :( OMG, well so I took out my small piece of paper, which I had prepared in Kathmandu with some useful Nepalese expressions. I read out in Nepalese “Where is the way to Singh Gomba” and she pointed back the way I came from and up the hill! OMG, I was lost and I had walked quite a bit in the wrong direction – and all of it uphill!
Ok, so I walked back towards Thulo Syrafru and as soon as I could see another house I walked towards it and shouted: “Namaste” a few times. Finally an older woman appeared and she spoke English :) She told me the trail is straight up the mountain! “Big trail! Walk straight!” Ok, I thought, straight up was steep, no trail, lots of greenery and forest! So I started and was thinking: “Be careful, don’t strain your ankle or fall!” It was tough, and I was really worried that I wouldn’t be able to find the trail. It was already 11am and I had no clue where this big trail should be. Another thought I had was: “Ok Kerstin, don’t panic. You have enough water purification tablets with you and enough chocolate, which would last for days ;)” – So I had enough food and water for sure!
I was just walking up steeply through thick bushes and trees, praying to find the trail. 15 minutes later I had found it!!! OMG that looked like the trail! I could hardly believe my eyes! I sat down, took off my backpack and ate a “Twix”! I was starving and I needed some chocolate after this excitement to calm down my nerves!
Ok, I though, I can do that. At the top of the hill should be a teahouse. So I got up and started walking steeply uphill again. Finally I saw a local Nepalese man going down. So glad, I was able to meet another person and confirm the path. I spoke to him and he reassured me, that this was the right trail and another 45 min uphill to reach the teahouse! OMG, thank God for that! The right trail!!! I was relieved! But it was steep and I had spent quite some energy beforehand to find the right trail.
After 40min I saw the teahouse at Foprang Danda :) I walked in and the owner came up to me. I asked him if there had been two Danish girls with a guide and porter here and he told me that they had just left 10min ago towards Sing Gumba! OMG, I must have been lost for quiet a while if they overtook me!
Ok, I needed some company, so I decided to continue and try to catch them. I increased my speed, even when I was already exhausted. It was a trail through the woods, uphill in-between and it was pretty hard to keep going! Finally I heard some voices. Around the next corner I saw some people, but not the right ones! Two Nepalese guys and a couple! I was so disappointed! But after 30 minutes already I had reached Sing Gomba, which usually takes an hour! I must have been running!!!! I didn’t even realize!
I found the guesthouse “The Green View” and got a room.
Hot shower first and then some lunch! I was starving once again! Fresh Yak Curd with apples….yummy!
At 2.30pm the Danish girls arrived! It was really nice to share my scary story I have to say.
|Marie and Johanne washing clothes|
There was a Cheese factory in town and it was actually open :) So we all went there and bought 500g of Yak cheese for 335Rp (4US$)! Wow! So tasty :) We ordered some Tibetan bread and ate some fresh cheese with it! Delicious :)
Tomorrow I won’t meet the Danish as I will trek up to Gosakund and they will stay lower because of the altitude. A bid sad about it, but they will anyway not go over the pass, so at some stage we had to say goodbye. But we’ll meet in Kathmandu again, as they are still around for another four weeks :)
|In the evening sitting around the fireplace|
Tue. 5th June – Day 7 “Beautiful lakes & reaching the pass”
Sing Gomba – Gosainkund lakes – Lauribina Pass – Gosainkund lakes (3250m – 4380m – 4610m – 4380m) – 4h + 2h – 1360m ascend!
I started at 6.30am as usual and headed towards Chalongpati.
The trail was beautiful through the forest and some stunning views onto Langtang range and Ganesh Himal.
After one hour I already reached Chalongpati. I had a quick rest and chatted with the guesthouse owner there. Very cute place to stay!
I continued towards Laurebina Yak, which was a steep uphill climb with lots of rocks on the trail. After another hour I reached the guesthouse in Laurebina that had a big area outside as a viewpoint more than a 180-degree angle.
Lovely view, but unfortunately there were already some clouds covering the mountain ranges.
A quick water break and I continued hiking up – very steep trails with lots of rocks, but there was a goal: the stupa on the top! It got colder and windier and I put my jacket on.
After one hour I had reached the stupa! What a view up there – 360 degrees really! Wow!
As it was pretty windy I quickly continued moving forward.
After getting to the top of the ridge the trail began to hug the side of the cliff, giving spectacular views of the surrounding streams, waterfalls and the lakes themselves. It was stunning!
|The first lake :)|
I think I stopped every 10 meters to take another picture! This was the most amazing and beautiful scenery I have seen in Nepal so far. I just loved it!
The trail is relatively wide, however it goes steep down into the valley on one side and I was more than careful where I placed my next foot on that path. I’m actually afraid of heights, but I managed to walk as closely as possible towards the mountainside. I think I was so impressed with the scenery that I all forgot about the height! ;)
|The trail continues ...|
The trail continued for another hour with another lake showing up and finally I could see the first guesthouse.
There were 3 guesthouses up there in total, one was closed but the others were open. The owner of the guesthouse to the left invited me to have a seat outside in the sun first of all. I ordered some “Tatopani” (hot water) and met a Nepalese couple, which had just arrived as well. We talked a little bit and then I had a look at the rooms in both guesthouses. The Namaste guesthouse won, as they had a cosy dining area with a view onto the lake and my room had a lake view as well.
|The view from my window :)|
What a beautiful spot! I already considered staying two nights instead of one.
First I ordered some Tibetan bread, I unwrapped my Yak cheese and had a lovely snack. All the day hikers had left at noon and I decided to walk a little bit up the hill towards the pilgrimage site, which was surrounded by prayer flags. Then I kept going, as the view onto the lakes got better by the minute.
The whole landscape reminded me of the West coast of Ireland – just stunning! After a while I passed some more lakes and thought I just might continue walking. The sun was out and it was such a peaceful walk. Then a thought crossed my mind: “Maybe I could reach the pass?!”
Then I saw a sign towards Phedi, but I still hadn’t crossed or even seen the pass.
Ten minutes further I saw the top, the prayer flags and a pile of rocks to mark the 4610m. Wow, I already had reached the pass today! That wasn’t planed ;)
So I had another idea. Maybe I walk towards the Danish girls 2morrow morning, hike up with them and stay one more night at Gosainkund lakes with them. The view might be even more stunning walking down to Laurebina Yak in the early morning! I could walk down with them to Dhunche and share the Jeep if possible. Well, let’s see! There is still lots of time to decide what to do.
One my way back down towards the guesthouse I collected some stones and built a small little pile of rock, which was looking onto the lake. The Nepalese told me you can build one of those piles and they portray your dream :) So I did ;)
When I was almost back at my guesthouse I realized that I had left my gloves at the top of the pass! OMG, the 2nd time my gloves went missing. Well, but I won’t walk back today – maybe tomorrow.
I decided to have something to eat and just enjoyed the view onto the lakes! In the meanwhile two more tourists had arrived – a French couple with a porter and a guide. Nice, so I wasn’t on my own in the lodge.
The lady from the guesthouse put on the oven in the dining room at 4pm :) Thank god as it was freezing cold! We were all sitting in the Dining room around the oven ;) The only place you could really be! I got talking with the French couple and they were on their honeymoon. They taught me a Swiss Card game and we played until Dal Bhat was ready!
Most of the lodges work with Solar Energy, which means you are not able to charge any mobile phone or camera battery and no light in the room ;) Well, but that’s why we brought headlamps :)
The night was freezing cold. It took me very long to get warm, even my nose was ice cold!
Wed. 6th June – Day 8 “Nice company ”
Gosainkund lakes – Lauribina Yak – Gosainkund lakes – Cholang Pati (4380m – 3900m - 4380m – 3584m) 7h –
Lukewarm bucket shower :)
|Gorgeous lake with the full moon in the background!|
I got up at 5.45am, went outside to take some stunning pictures of the lakes with the full moon in the background! Amazing morning :)
I started walking down towards Laurebina Yak at 6.15am to pick up the Danish girls. It only took me one hour to go down compare to the 2hours going up. I took a lot of pics on the way as the view in the mornings is stunning and I so enjoyed walking that small scenic trail with a light backpack!
The Danish girls were just getting ready in front of their guesthouse to hike up, when I surprised them :) We all walked up together, but they had changed their planes as well and didn’t sleep at the lakes, instead they’ll walk down to Cholang Pati so the descend isn’t too much for the next day. Makes actually a lot of sense. We arrived at my guesthouse, I had some breakfast with fresh Yak cheese and then we kept walking around the lake.
Beautiful and as the lakes are actually sacred, Johanna decided to go in for a quick 10 second bath ;) Wow, I wouldn’t be bothered, as it was freezing cold!
|Marie, Johanne and myself|
After 11am we decided to walk down together. So I will sleep in Cholang Pati as well. It’s much easier on my knee! The weather got cloudier and it even looked like rain up at the lakes. We arrived at 1.30pm in Cholang Pati where we stayed in the “Langtang Lerong View Guesthouse”. I had a lukewarm bucket shower, I didn’t care, but I needed one!
We had such a relaxing afternoon, sitting in front of our guesthouse on the wooden benches in the lovely sunshine reading a book :) Life couldn’t be better! Beautiful mountains & friendly Nepalese people surrounded us.
The guesthouse was very basic, but the people were so nice. The food was good and we had an oven in the dining area, where we were all able to sit around and eat together. Very cosy!
Thu. 7th June – Day 9 “Going down”
Cholang Pati – Dhunche (3584m – 2030m) 3 3/4h – 1550m descend
Hot shower :)
The view this morning from the lodge was impressive onto the snow-capped mountains. We even had breakfast outside in the sunshine. Brilliant!
I didn’t look forward to today, as we had to descend 1500m! Oh my knee! So we started at 7ish and stopped at Sing Gomba again to buy some fresh Yak cheese.
|Cheese Production Centre|
|Slicing the cheese - mmhh!|
I already felt my knee. From there we walked a different way, down to Deurali, which was a really steep descend. Marie and myself walked slowly. We hiked through beautiful forests with lots of shade, chirping birds and bamboo trees. But I hate going down :( We stopped for a quick rest at Deurali (2600m) and then continued to Dhunche.
|Deurali - 2600m|
We arrived at 11am and settled in our guesthouse. I had a Vegi Burger and a lovely shower :) I felt like a new person! We strolled a little bit through Dhunche, bought some Pringles and had some Coke! Finally affordable again ;)
We passed by a local bank, which had open wooden counters to the front of the building – I have never seen anything like that ;) Very funny!
Then we all had a rest before dinner. I decided to order meat for the first time in three months – Chicken Garlic steak!!! Oh it was so tasty ;)
Fr. 8th June – Day 10 “Back in Kathmandu ”
Dhunche - Kathmandu
I was able to get a lift in the Jeep from the Danish girls. That was luxury for sure, compare to spending 7 hours or more on a packed bus on these treacherous roads.
The scenery was still beautiful so!!!
Do you know how the children go to school close to Dhunche ? Have a look - isn't that cool? I'm sure all of us would have enjoyed going to school on the back of a truck ;)
It took us only 4 hours to arrive in Kathmandu :) Wow, and it was of course much more comfortable in the Jeep! But it was hot back in Kathmandu. We went for some lunch and then I made my way back to the guesthouse. In between I stopped to return my sleeping bag and then I was hoping that the nice guesthouse still had a room for me. I arrived and I actually got a room up on the 2nd floor! Lovely, I really liked it and the price was good as well :)