The Langtang area is best known for its pristine forests, high-elevation meadows of wild sheep, Tibetan-like culture and lovely mountain views. The name “Langtang” comes from the story of the ancient Buddhist lama who followed his lost yak into the valley – “Lang” means “yak” and “Tang” means “follow”. The Langtang National Park , established in 1976, has an area of 1710 sq km and buffer zone area of 420 sq km covering three districts Rasuwa, Nuwakot and Sindhupalchowk encompassing 26 VDCs. The LNP’s buffer zone was declared in 1998.
The park holds its importance being the melting point between Indo-Malayan and Pale-arctic realms and represents the important ecosystems of both realms as the conservation priority (LNP Annual report). Langtang represents the good spectrum of vegetation type along the altitude range between 1000m and 7245m. Landscapes produced by the complex topography and geographical settings and altitude can be experienced by walking three days from the Bhotekoshi River to Langsisa. Being the nearest Himalayan park from the capital city Kathmandu, it is the third most popular trekking destination among all protected areas of Nepal .
In the coming years, the project will emphasize on the sustainable community management of the forest through community forest and the proper management of rangeland through highlander rangeland communities. The project will initiate major activities on snow leopard and red panda conservation and will support improve livelihoods of LNPBZ communities through eco-tourism and community based management of non-timber forest products/medicinal and aromatic plants.
Langtang is one of the most unspoiled national parks of Nepal. Situated North of Kathmandu, it is the most easily accessible highland sanctuary from the capital. Langtang covers 1,710 sq. km. forming the upper catchment areas of two of Nepal’s largest river systems – the Trishuli and Koshi. There is great latitudinal variation, starting at 1,500 m. and ascending to the top of Mt. Langtang Lirung at 7,234 m. As a result the park has immense ecological diversity. Some of the most attractive areas of the park include the Langtang Valley, the holy lakes at Gosainkunda, and the forested hillsides above the village of Helambu.
The deep gorges of Bhote Koshi and Langtang Khola are thickly forested with rhododendron, oak, maple and alder. The stretch of forest around Ghoda Tabela in the lower Langtang Valley and below Gosainkunda is inhabited by the red panda, a rare and threatened symbol of a healthy Himalayan ecosystem. Other animals, common to these forests are wild boar, Himalayan black bear, ghoral, grey langur monkey and leopard. The rare Himalayan hony guide has been sighted here and the park is also the home for Impeyan, Tragopan and kalij pheasants among others. Larch, a rare deciduous conifer, is also found in the forest of lower Langtang Valley. Further up, Himalayan tahr, musk deer and snow leopard can be found. The upper Langtang Valley is one of he few known breeding grounds of the ibils bills besides the Tibetan snow cock and snow partridge.
Like other Himalayan nature parks, Langtang has to be explored on foot. There are several possible trails to choose from depending on preference and time available. The langtang Valley is easily approached from Dhunche town and park office, which is a day’s drive from Kathmandu. The upper reaches of Langtang can be reached in four days of easy walking, however, it is advisable to spend a few days around the forest at Ghoda Tabela to watch for the red panda. Once above Langtang village and the monastery at Kyangin, visitors can explore the high valley of Langshisa Yala peak and Tsero, Ri. These and other villages of upper Langtang are inhabited by people of Tibetan descent whereas the villagers of Dhunche, Bharkhu and Syabru further down are home to the Tamangs of Nepal’s middle hills.
The high pass out of Langtang, Gang La(5,132 m), can be negotiated only by well prepared hikers with guides, food and camping equipment. The Gosainkunda can also be reached in a few days from Dhunche, making it possible to visit both areas in the same outing.
Alternatively, trekkers can hike to Gosainkunda from Sundarijal in the Kathmandu Valley via the picturesque villages of Helambu. The richly forested route that climbs steeply from here to Thare Pati and Gopte Cave is alive with birds and flowering rhododendron and orchids in the spring. Tourists can visit the Langtang National Park anytime from March to November but it is best to avoid the monsoon season because of rains and overflowing rivers. The nature enthusiast on the other hand might find the rainy season ideal because of the profusion of plant life.
Entrance fee not required for children under 10 years
Entrance fees is regulated by Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation (Phone: 4220850). Entrance fees for mountain National Parks can be paid at ACAP counter (Phone: 4222406) at Sanchaykosh building in Thamel, Kathmandu, or at the Park gate. For other National Parks entrance fees are to be paid at the Park gate
Summary of Langtang National Park:
- Activities: Trekking, mountaineering, experience of Tamang culture
- Accommodation: Lodges, camping
- Access: From Dhunche, which is 117 km by road from Kathmandu
- Wildlife: Wild dog, red panda, pika, muntjac, musk deer, Himalayan black bear, Himalayan tahr, ghoral, serow, rhesus monkey, langur monkey, snow leopard
- Birds: 373 species of birds including tragopan and impeyan pheasant
- Vegetation: Sub-tropical forests below 1,000 m giving way to alpine shrubs and grasslands
- Best Season: October-November and March-May (cold at higher elevation); June-September (monsoon), December-February (snow)
- Park Headquarters: Dhunche
- Added Attraction: Holy Lake Gosainkunda
- Entrance Fee: Nepalis – Rs. 25 per person per entry, SAARC nationals – Rs. 1,500 per person per entry, foreigners – Rs. 3,000 per person per entry