Langtang & Helambu
Langtang is a mystical narrow valley which lies south of the Tibetan border. It is sandwiched between the main Himalayan range to the north and a slightly lower range of snowy peaks to the south. Langtang Lirung (7246m) extends the valley to the north; Gang Chhenpo (6388m) and Naya Kangri(5846m) lie to the south; and Dorje Lakhpa (6966m) protects the east end of the valley. The area was designated Nepal’s first Himalayan National park in 1971 A.D.
This high and isolated region is inhabited by Tamang whose religious practices, language and dress are much more similar to those of Tibet region than to the traditions of their cousins in the Middle Hilly region. After visit to the Langtang Valley which offers an opportunity to explore village, to climb small peaks and to visit glaciers at a comfortably low elevation. According to legend, a lama following a runway yak discovered the valley. Hence the name- lang is Tibetan for ‘Yak’ and teng (more correctly dhang) means ‘to follow’. Yaks still lice in the valley, but they now share it with trekkers who make a seven to 11 moderate climbing excursions here, you should allow a few extra days for exploration of the gigantic glacier system.
You can modify your trek to langtang by returning to Kathmandu via the holy lakes of Gosainkund. Thousands of Hindu pilgrims visit the lakes during a full-moon festival in August. The lake is very sacred to Buddhists people.
Helambu, which is about 75 km north of Kathmandu, is an area inhabited by Sherpas. You can include Helambu in a Langtang trek, either via Gosainkund or across the 5106m Ganja La. In winter, both of the high routes from Langtang are usually snow-covered and dangerous, difficult or impossible. There are two versions of the Helambu trek. You can make a loop from the edge of the Kathmandu Valley at Sundarijal, over the Shivapuri ridge and down to Talamarang, and then trek to Tarke Gyang and back down the ridge through Sermathang to the road. This loop is popular because it is short and is feasible all winter, but is still a good short trek that avoids high elevations. Helambu treks are easy to organize because transport from Kathmandu to Sundarijal, the starting point of the trek, is freely available and cheap.
The language, culture and dress of the Helambu Sherpas are very different from those of SoluKhumbu Sherpas. Helambu has created an influx of tourists who have encouraged begging, the sale of “genuine antiques” aged over the family fireplace.