Langtang National Park
Situated in the Central Himalaya, Langtang National Park is the nearest park to Kathmandu. The area extends from 32 km north of Kathmandu to the Nepal-China (Tibet) border. Langtang was designated as the first Himalayan National Park in 1970-71, and was gazetted in March 1976. While the main reason for the park is to preserve the natural environment, an equally important goal is to allow local people to follow traditional land use practices that are compatible with resource protection. Details About the Park:
* Langtang National Park encloses the catchments of two major river systems. One draining west into the Trisuli River and the other east to the Sun Koshi River.
* Some of the best examples of graded climatic conditions in the Central Himalaya are found here. The complex topography and geology together with the varied climatic patterns have enabled a wide spectrum of vegetation types. These include small areas of subtropical forest (below 1000 m) Oaks, chirpine, maple, fir, blue pine, hemlock spruce and various species of rhododendron make up the main forest species. Above these alpine scrub and grass give way to rocks and snow.
* The variations in altitude and topography along with the existing forest cover (approx. 25% of the total area) provide habitat for a wide range of animals including wild dog, red panda, pika, muntjac, musk deer, Himalayan black bear, Himalayan tahr, ghoral, serow, rhesus monkey and common langur. The Trisuli-Bhote Koshi River forms an important route for birds on spring and autumn migrations between India and Tibet.
* About 45 villages are situated within the park boundaries, but are not under park jurisdiction. In total about 3000 households depend on park resources, primarily for wood and pasture lands.
* Culturally the area is mixed, the home of several ethnic groups . The majority of people are Tamang, an ancient Nepalese race. The Tamangs, traditionally farmers and cattle breeders, are especially well known for their weaving. Their religion is related to the Bon and the pre-Buddhist doctrines of Tibet. Today this religion has merged with the newer teachings of Tibetan Buddhism.
* The Helambu area, immediately north of Kathmandu, has many scenic villages inhabited by Sherpas and Tamangs who emigrated from Tibet.
* Over the centuries the dependence of people on natural resources has influenced the environment. Their settlements, cultivation patterns, livestock grazing, and daily use of resources which, in combination with the diversity of flora and fauna and views to the Ganesh Himal, make Langtang an attractive national park.
* From mid-October to mid-December and from mid-February until mid-April the weather is usually clear but cold at higher elevations. From mid-April to mid-June, it is warm but often cloudy with thunder showers, spring flowers are at their best. Summer monsoon lasts until the beginning of October. During the winter months daytime temperatures are low and snow may occur even at low levels.
* The Langtang Valley, which is reached from the road end at Dhunche or Sybrubensi, offers an opportunity to explore villages and gompas (monasteries) as well as glaciers, with magnificent views of the mountains.
* Permission from the lamas must be gained before visiting any gompas and a small donation is expected.
* The Langtang Valley is the most visited part of the park and for those who do not wish to camp, accommodation in lodges is available.
* Gosainkunda, an area of high altitude lakes, is reached either from Dhunche or from Sundarijal in the eastern part of Kathmandu Valley. Thousands of Hindu pilgrims visit these lakes during Janai Purnima festivals in the month of August. Gosainkunda lake is believed to have been created by Lord Shiva.
* Simple lodging is now available along the routes from Sundarijal and Dhunche to Gosainkunda. National Park fuel regulations are strictly enforced so fuel and camping gear must be carried.
* Outstanding views to Langtang Lirung (7246 m) , Himal Chuli (7864 m) are visible from the trail. The route from Dhunche passes a Buddhist monastery, Sing Gompa.
* An alternative route from the Langtang Valley to Kathmandu crosses the Ganja La pass (5106 m) This pass is difficult and dangerous when snow covered. It is generally open from April to November, but unusual weather can alter its condition at any time. Essentials for crossing the Ganja La are a tent, alpine equipment, food and fuel as well as guide who knows the trail.
* The Helambu circuit, from Sundarijal to Tharepati, barely enters the national park but is nevertheless an interesting route passing through several Bhotia villages and without ascending to more than 3400 m. From this trail it is possible to connect with Gosainkunda and eastern parts of the park (Panch Pokhari).
How to Get There:
* Public bus or taxi reach Dhunche (Park H.Q.) via Trisuli Bazaar from Kathmandu (approx. 7-8 hrs. ) A seasonal road reaches Syabrubensi.
* Alternative routes from Kathmandu are public bus to Sundarijal or Melamchighat . From either point, trek through Helambu to Gosainkunda via Laurebina pass or cross Ganja La pass (5106m) to reach Langtang Valley .
* Local customs should be respected and shorts for woman are not acceptable attire.
* Only local people are allowed to cut limited wood for fuel. Visitors are required to use kerosene or similar liquid of gas fuel, purchased in Dhunche or outside the park. Please make sure your porters also use kerosene.
* Mountain sickness can affect anyone and must be taken seriously. To allow your body to become acclimatized to high altitudes, do not ascend more than 300 m per day above 3000 m.
* There are no medical facilities in the park. Carry a comprehensive first aid kit including medicines for intestinal problems and chest infections.
* Bring sufficient warm clothing so that you do not have to rely on fires for warmth.
* There is a park sub-office in Shermathang on the south/eastern boundary in the Helambu area.
* The Park has two lodges in Langtang Valley: at Ghora Tabela and Kyanjin. Both are run on a concession basis.
* There is a radio at the Park headquarters at Dhunche and at the guard post in Ghora Tabela. At the Yeti Guest House in Kyanjin Gompa there is a satellite phone which can be used in an emergency. Helicopter evacuation is possible, but not reliable, and is only arranged at the patient’s expense.
Entry Fees into Langtang National Park: The park Headquarters is at Dhunche, and a check post at Ghora Tabela. All visitors must stop at either place to pay an Entrance Fee, and are required to show your passport.