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  • Writer's pictureVoita

Coming up next: Langtang

Is it worse to have to wake up at five-thirty in the morning or to be awakened just before that by a madman walking down the street and vigorously blowing a whistle? At least the ride to bus was rain-free. In exile of a bend of KTM's ring road, the station is busiest early in the morning. Buses head out in all directions and destinations across the whole country and beyond. My task is to find a local with sufficient English who will guide me through the chaos to the right bus.

busy 'bus terminal'


empty bus

The goal of the impromptu trek is Langtang, straight north of KTM, on the border with Tibet. On paper, it's a simple trek. 25 miles and a 10,000 feet of elevation to a glacier, presided over by two 16.000 feet high peaks. Problem is in China (like along the entire border), sat only 14 kilometers away from the valley - and, of course, the monsoon. The worst season for any movement in the Himalayas, let alone hiking up among their peaks. But since I've already paid for the visa extension, I feel compelled, entirely within the boundaries of Czech mentality, to make the most out of the money spent.

out of KTM

wide Trishuli River valley

The journey is a little over 60 miles and usually takes 8-10 hours. That doesn't stop us from picking up passers-by riding a couple hundred meters, functioning as a hired taxi when passengers need to take care of something at the roadside shops, or slowing down to exchange a few words with grandmothers yelling angrily at the bus. Here's a riddle for the wise: where do you squeeze a goat in an overcrowded bus?

into clouds


answer: on the roof! (oh yes)

here... I've been here before

We're heading towards Pokhara, a trip which six years ago was my first encounter with the mountain roads. Nothing has changed, but I still vividly remember how wide my eyes were and how dizzying the road nested on the endless slopes seemed. Through today's perspective, it resembles an old highway: jammed, torn-up mess, but overall nothing exceptional.

Several hours in, the road breaks off into the Trishuli River valley, which it subsequently follows all the way to Tibet. At first, we travel through a wide valley at 1.600 feet above sea level, full of freshly planted fields and lush jungle on the slopes of the hills. The idyll doesn't last long, and soon the road transcends into a breathless climb into the clouds comfortably settled at 6.500 feet. The cool air sucked all the sweat off me and left only the stench. In my defense, when I dozed off, someone smuggled a box of chickens under my seat.

regional centre Dhunche / Langtang permit


deeper into the valley, Syabru Besi in the back:

The closer we get to the border, the more frequent the military road blocks and checks demanding copies of my passport become. For a moment, I feel like I'm back in Pakistan. After crossing the cloudy ridge, we begin the final descent into the local Rivendell. Skillfully maneuvering the bends, the bus travels through a narrow valley with clouds replacing the sky's dome and a rocky bottom. I sway to the rhythm of the anthem spit-your-lungs-out and enjoy the view.

Syabru Besi / gambling bored locals

Syabru Besi lies at the confluence of the Trishuli River and the Langtang tributary, which I will follow starting tomorrow. The trip will take 5-7 days, and hopefully, there will be Wi-Fi in the lodges, following the Everest model. In terms of prices, locals definitely got inspired by the higher-altitude resort. I'm learning not to take the blatant price manipulations personally; for the locals, it's merely a sign of progress.

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