Travels in Nepal

Matt Welsh

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Trekking in Langtang: Thulo Syabru

After spending a few days in and around Kathmandu, we went trekking up the Langtang Valley, a Himalayan region north of Kathmandu, along the Tibetan border. Getting to the trailhead takes 7 1/2 hours by bus along a "road" -- really an unpaved dirt path full of potholes and other hazards -- winding its way up into the mountains. To make things even more exciting the bus is completely packed and a bunch of people sit on top of the bus as well. The driver blasts terrible Hindi music the entire time and seems more interested in carrying on conversations with 3 of his buddies than driving (at one point, he even let someone else take over so he could buy some fake Adidas sportswear from one of the passengers!). But it's cheap: only $1.50 for the whole trip!

We ended up buying extra seats on the bus for our rucksacks, which is in my opinion the best way to go. The guidebooks mention leaving your bags on top of the bus (where they will be flattened, or worse, stolen) or cramming them into the small boot at the back of the bus; forget it, just pay for extra seats.

The first day's trekking took us from Dhunche to this village, Thulo Syabru, at 2200m (7220 ft). Here we left a large bag of clothes, books, and other junk behind -- our bags were far too heavy for the steep Himalayan trails. I've backpacked with a lot more weight in other places, like the California Sierras, but there's something about the insane up-and-down of the trails in Nepal which doesn't lend itself to carrying so much.

While trekking we stayed in small lodges or "teahouses" along the way; about every hour or so you pass at least a couple. These places have food, very basic accomodations, and a warm fire -- just about all you care about! The best part of staying in teahouses is the interaction with the local people and getting a sense of village life in the Himalaya. In total we trekked for 13 days, not including the 2 days for the bus ride there and back.

As you can see the hills are terraced for farming. The Ganesh Himal range is seen in the background.

Photograph Copyright (c)1999-2000 by Matt Welsh. All rights reserved.