Saturday, July 19, 2014

Langtang: A brief Wildlife watch

Langtang National Park, one of the most trekked destination in Nepal. Langtang Himalayan range is shortest distance from Kathmandu for any Himalayan trekking destination. The trek starts at Syafrubesi, or you can alternately start from Dhunche to trek up to Thulo Syafru then down to Bamboo.

The easiest way to reach Syafru is to get a bus from Machchhaa Pokhari Balaju. You might want to book the tickets a day ahead as there are few buses and lots of people travelling daily. Syafrubesi is a small town with plenty of hotels, many more under construction and the resting place for the first day's travel. Next day the trek starts from Syafru as you cross Kerung River and then join Langtang river basin on the right side as you walk below the rocky cliff, the trail is awesome!

We started off with Breakfast at small bakery right after crossing the bridge in the old part of Syafrubesi. Good place to have tea and breads at a normal price. After that there's no normal price. The trail is pretty easy for about an hour just plain and slightly up and down with zig-zag terrain.After you reach Domen, then the trail goes up hill gradually gaining height. Up to domen, you the common  birds, Sparrows, Crows, Bulbuls, Mynas. After domen you reach Pairo (Landslide -  Pairo in Nepali). The place is named so because there's a massive landside on the right side blocking the flow of Lantang river on the left side of your trail. Wildlife wise you can see Assamese Macaque's, cliff or rock bees colonizing on the debris of landslide. After passing through landslide the  trail continues in is regular fashion until you reach Bamboo which is a beautiful place. You can see Himalayan Langurs, Assamese Macaque's lots of birds species , Fly catchers, Bulbuls, White tailed Ruby throat, Thrushes, warblers. The most tiresome walk of the whole trek lies few hours after bamboo, the hill of Rimche (I found a beautiful Snake in the hill of Rimche)  it manages to depress lots of people. After climbing Rimche hill then the trail is pretty easy and you drop down few hundred meters and reach the days pit stop, but if you can walk fast then you can reach Langtang in a day but it might be hard but not impossible.

The first days rest is at Lama hotel, with plenty of places to stay. You can see Snow Pigeons apart from above mentioned birds and 5 species that I couldn't identify. The next morning, as we left Lama hotel climbing up the hill for sometime then dropping down right into the Langtang river and then climbing up again, and mostly the first day of trek is right through the forest with just  a view of Langtang river on the left or right which changes after Rimche to left there's nothing much to see but the second day's trek show's you the glimpse of Langtang Lirung which give you energy to walk fast.The next destination is beautiful place called riverside, few small tea houses on the bank of Langtang river, after crossing Riverside, you see lots of Squirrels up to Ghodatabela, we did see Pika  in between as well. There are lots of Squirrels, saw Whistling thrush. Ecologically, as you pass ghodatabela  you see a clear distinction on the two slopes, South facing with small trees and less vegetation and North facing with plenty of Pines. I saw Barking deer around ghodatabela, its a good spot to look for Barking deer. You can see Yellow billed Chough and Red billed chough, saw few yellow billed blue magpie. The trail is beautiful, best trails start from there, and as you climb up a small hill and reach Thyangsyaap you start to see the Langtang valley up ahead in the distance, but its not that close at it looks. Langtang valley has lots of hotels, plenty of places to stay, but a quick suggestion for Nepali travelers, if you're travelling in group then pre booking might help because, they dont give Nepali's room if there are few groups of foreigners living in the hotel, as they say "Nepali halla garchhan bideshi risaauchha - Nepali's make noises and the foreigners get irritated".

In the valley, if you look towards the North, you'll see plenty of himalayan Tahr grazing, flocks and flocks of Snow Pigeons, lots of yellow billed and red billed chough's and if you wake up early in the morning and climb one the small hills you will see the national bird of Nepal - Dhanphe (Lophophorus), I did see the Lammergeier vulture in Langtang valley. As you start the trek to Kyanjin valley early in the morning you might see the Lophophorus, and Pika's. Half way through the trek to Kyanjin I saw a Snipe, and lots of small birds that I couldn't recognize. Kyanjin valley is one of the best places I've ever been to, its almost a cup shaped area with the valley in the middle of the cup and if you're there in post winter season, it looks as though you're surrounded by mountains the whole 360 degrees. Kyanjin has to be one of the best places I've ever been to.  Even at the top of Kyanjin Ri which is almost 4900 meters I saw yellow billed chough. Plus you get to see few glaciers as well. The walk is so worth it. I'd highly recommend you all to do the trek plus stop in the destination I mentioned and look for the signs of Wildlife.

+ If you're lucky you might see Snow Leopards, Red Panda's Musk Deers!! I've added photos of few animals I saw during the trip! Langtang is famous for wildlife experience and it wont disappoint you! You'll see plenty of Birds and Wildlife!! Enjoy!

Take nothing but pictures
Kill nothing but time,
Leave nothing but footprints

                                                              Himalayan Langur

                                                                  Yellow billed blue magpie
                                                                  View from half way to Kyanjin ri

A short Itinerary :

First day : Kathmandu to Syafrubesi : About 7 hours
Second day : Syafrubesi to Lama hotel : About 5-6 hours
Third day : Lama hotel to Langtang : 5 hours , you can reach Kyanjin the same day or you can stay in Langtang but its better to walk 2 more hours to reach Kyanjin and stay there!

If anyone of you are wondering how much will cost then, the maximum rate for Daal Bhaat was 350, but depends upon your bargaining skills and rooms doesn't cost much. Tea cost a lot if you get a single cup so if you're a group then its better to get a whole thermos that way its cheaper.  

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