About the Ganja La Pass Trek


The Ganja La Pass Trek is an 11-14 day trek that covers the Langtang Valley and then crosses the 5122m (16,800 ft) Ganja La Pass before continuing on. The trek involves at least three nights of camping in a remote area with one of the tougher technical passes to cross.

While the Langtang Valley is known as a moderate trek crossing Ganja La Pass is known for being one of the toughest passes to cross in Nepal. However, the views from the pass are the best in Langtang.

Though a guide is not mandatory and many people trek Langtang without a guide I would strongly advise anyone considering the Ganja La Pass Trek to take a guide and porter. There's camping equipment needed. The pass itself is tough and there's even a ladder in place these days to get over one section.

Tent on the Ganja La High Camp

Tent on the Ganja La High Camp

The highest pass is indeed the Ganga La Pass at 5122m. There's also Kyanjin Ri (4300m) and or Tserko Ri (4984m) to climb which adds to this treks challenging aspect.

Trek Overview

Difficulty: Challenging/Difficult

Days: 11-14

Max Altitude: 5,122m

Distance: 81.33 km (50.54 mi)

Accommodation: Lodge / Camping

Distance shown is a full trek, the final distance will depend on side treks, extra days taken etc. Acclimatization days should always be adhered to.  


Honesty counts! Every travel guide on this site has always been 100% independent, unbiased & honest. I do not accept sponsorships, free treks or tours. I do not own a trekking company or business in Nepal. I pay my own way & in turn write authentic guidebooks to Nepal. Rest assured, this is a genuine travel guide that you can trust.

Where is the Ganja La Pass Trek?


The Ganja La Pass Trek takes place in the  Langtang National Park located north of Kathmandu in the Langtang region of Nepal's central development region. After the pass you enter into Helambu area.

In many ways its easier to thing of the Ganja La Pass Trek as the Langtang Valley trek plus a high pass out of the valley into the Helambu area.

 

Map of Nepal showing the location of the Ganja La Pass Trek

 

The Langtang area was severely damaged in the 2015 earthquake. Landslides continue to remain an issue during the monsoon season. You should be cautious and only attempt this trek in the peak season.

There are up to three days of camping on this trek so you should be prepared with proper equipment including tents, sleeping bags, cooking equipment, and food.

View from Kanjin Ri
View from Kyanjin Ri
Buses or jeeps will take you to the start of the trail in the village of Syabrubesi. The first part of the trek follows the Langtang Khola (river) with tea houses and lodges offering accommodation.

Later the Langtang Valley has steep mountainous valley walls. Up ahead are the large white mountain peaks that you will have to reach and indeed climb!

The camping days and the Ganja La Pass days are the hardest for most trekkers. Ganja La Pass is steep, with broken trails, high boulders and indeed rock faces to climb up. An experienced guide is highly advised as accidents have occurred here. Going slowly with experience by your side is the best way to make the most out of this trek.


Map of the Ganja La Pass Trek


This map shows you the most popular Ganja La Pass trekking route.


Please note this map should not be used as a practical trekking map. Weather conditions, time of year, natural events and physical changes do happen to the trek paths. Detailed trekking maps can be obtained in Nepal at very low costs.


Facts about the Ganja La Pass Trek


The Ganja La Pass Trek is not a well-known trek. The main reason for this is that it involves camping and a difficult high pass. Langtang, on the other hand, is one of the most popular treks in Nepal. Ganja La Pass offers the best of both worlds for trekkers who are up for a challenge. A world-famous trek followed by camping and a rarely attempted high pass out of the Langtang Valley.

Highest point of the Ganja La Pass trek

At 5122m (16,800 ft) Ganja La Pass marks the highest point on the trek. However, as you are camping you can also go up to  there are several look out points you can reach on day trips from the Langtang side. These include Tserko Ri (4984m).

View from the top of Ganja La Pass

View from the top of Ganja La Pass

Highest sleeping point on the Ganja La Pass trek

The highest sleeping point can be at Ganja La Phedi 4300m (14,104 ft) which is one of the nights in a tent. Or, as you are camping you can also go up to high camp at 4869m which has space for tents (3 hours from Ganja La Phedi).

Total distance of the Ganja La Pass trek

The full distance trekked on the Ganja La Pass trek is about 81.33 km (50.54 mi). However, do note you can extend this distance as the trek on this page ends in Sermathang where there are jeeps. You can trek for an additional two days all the way to Tarkegang or Tharepati.

How long have people been trekking the Langtang Gosainkunda route?

Cheese Factory in Kanjin Gompa
Cheese Factory in Kyanjin Gompa

The Langtang Valley part of the trek has been trekked since Nepal first opened it's doors to commercial tourism in the 1960s. The Ganja La Pass itself is somewhat of an unknown trekking area or at least undocumented up until now.

Locals in the area have reported missing trekkers in this area for years before the 2015 earthquake as solo trekkers went for day trips and got lost. Again, these missing trekkers are also unconfirmed for the most part and could well be part of old stories told in the area. However, it does give an indication that the Ganja La Pass should not be underestimated and you should go with a guide.

Is there any wildlife to see on the Ganja La Pass trek?

Yes, Wildlife can be found throughout the Langtang National Park area. Animals include Himalayan black bears, Himalayan tahr (mountain sheep), rhesus monkeys, musk deer, and red pandas. Wildlife is protected in this area and there are inspection points.

What mountains can you see from the Ganja La Pass?

Langtang Lirung 7,234 m (23,734 ft), Langtang Ri 7,205 m (23,638 ft), Dorje Lakpa 6,966 m (22,854 ft), Loenpo Gang 6,979 m (22,897 ft), Changbu 6,781 m (22,247 ft), Yansa Tsenji 6,690 m (21,950 ft), Kyunga Ri 6,601 m (21,657 ft), Dogpache 6,562 m (21,529 ft), Langshisha Ri 6,427 m (21,086 ft), Gangchenpo 6,387 m (20,955 ft), Morimoto 6,150 m (20,180 ft), Tsogaka 5,846 m (19,180 ft) Yala Peak 5,520 m (18,110 ft) are visible from within Langtang National Park and Ganja La Pass.


Highlights of the Ganja La Pass Trek


Highlights of the Ganja La Pass trek include:
 
Climbing a fixed ladder at Ganja La Pass
Climbing a fixed ladder at Ganja La Pass
  • Crossing Ganja La Pass
  • Views from several high mountains
  • Camping in the mountains
  • Close to Kathmandu
  • Moderate Langtang trek with several viewing points of mountains
  • Abundant wildlife
  • Valley trekking
  • Village trails
  • Friendly locals

 

 


How to arrange a trek to Ganja La Pass


Arranging a safe Ganja La Pass Trek

Finding an experienced guide who has crossed Ganja La Pass is important. Unfortunately in Nepal many guides and trekking agents will say they know the pass, but few will have crossed it. You will need due diligence to find a guide who has made this crossing for the sake of your safety.

 

Package treks & tours bought online

Package treks & tours to Langtang are very easy to find but add in Ganja La Pass and you are down to a handful. After a few trekking agents read this article, even more, will probably pop up online! Once again with online tours, you'll be at the mercy of the trekking agency to know if they have a guide who as actually done this trek or not.

Many online Ganja La Pass treks are sold with 14 or more days. Do read the itineraries carefully to be sure none are "extended just for profit". Package tours usually include a guide, food, accommodation, camping equipment, cooking equipment, and permits. Costs can be from USD $1400+

Pro's of a package tour to the Ganja La Pass Trek include that everything is done for you ahead of time.

Con's include paying a higher than average price. You will not get to meet your guide beforehand. And the biggest question of all is they have done the trek before or not. Many online prices have additional hidden costs for solo trekkers. Many will have hidden extras examples of these include guides transport fees, meals, your meals etc.

Package treks bought in Nepal

Those with a couple of days in Kathmandu can arrange a package trek to Ganja La Pass with a lot more ease. The downside will be trying to figure out if the guide knows the pass or not - mobile photos help but look out for those copied from the internet. Selfies help!

Valley between Lama Hotel and Langtang
Valley between Lama Hotel and Langtang

Likewise, be sure you are going at the right time of year and the trekking company tells you this. If they don't, walk away.

It's also important you make sure that both you and the trekking company agree on what's included in the total price. This should include your camping equipment, permits, bus fees, meals etc.
The Langtang side of the trek has accommodation but we aware of trekking companies trying to make out you need to pay extra due to the earthquake. Langtang village was completely destroyed but the New Langtang is up and running.

Pro's of a local package trek to Ganja La includes meeting your guide before your trek and getting to see your tents/equipment. Being able to customize your treks itinerary to your own needs. See costs for pricing but expect it to be lower than the online packages.

Con's include having to spend a day going between trekking companies and possibly even waiting to meet the experienced guide.

If you'd like to take the hard work out of this before you arrive then do try my Find a Trekking Guide Service as I've been with experienced Ganja La Pass guides.

Hiring a local Ganja La Pass Guide yourself

There are many local guides that can take you on a Langtang Valley trek. However, do not listen to the bluster that they've crossed Ganja La Pass. There's a huge difference in difficulty between the two. You do not want to be crossing Ganja La pass without an experienced guide who has done it before.

You'll also need a porter to help with the tents, sleeping bags and cooking equipment. I get many trekkers saying they can carry their own gear but the reality is the gear is heavy and you'll need to carry supplies. Do not take Ganja La Pass lightly.

Pro's here include a more independent trek.

Con's include having to get your own permits, making sure the porter is good, interviewing guides, getting camping equipment and getting cooking equipment. If you've not trekked in Nepal before and are attempting Ganja La Pass then my advice is to hire a guide who will do all this for you.

If you are looking for a guide on the Ganja La Pass Trek I recommend you read my article on How to find a trekking guide in Nepal. However, do be aware that many agencies will simply say that they have an experienced guide for Ganja La but don't actually have one. Yes, they'll take this type of change.

You may save some time by using my Find a Guide Trekking Service.

Independently trekking the Ganja La Pass Trek yourself:

Ganja La Pass is hard! There are elements to the pass that will require an additional set of hands. Do not go in the offseason as it's often blocked. Unless you are very experienced with trekking alone in Nepal and have an emergency satellite phone then Ganja La Pass should not be attempted alone.

The  Langtang Valley part of this trek is a different type of trek and people do often go alone. Locals have told stories of solo trekkers attempting Ganja La Pass and either coming back down or disappearing.

If you are looking for a guide for the Langtang trek I recommend you read my article on How to find a trekking guide in Nepal.

You may also use my Find a Guide Trekking Service.


Best time of year to go trekking  to the Ganja La Pass


Nepal's traditional peak seasons offer the best months for trekking within Langtang national park and the Ganja La Pass. Do note that the Ganja La Pass is often blocked by snow. Do not attempt to cross the pass in the winter or monsoon seasons. Even in the early first season be aware that the pass might be blocked and there will be snow ice.

Langtang National Park & Ganja La Pass Weather by month

  Avg. Temperature
(°C)
Avg. Temperature
(°F)
Precipitation / Rainfall
(mm)
January -0.6 30.9 14
February 0.6 33.1 16
March 4.4 39.9 27
April 7.3 45.1 23
May 9.6 49.3 25
June 11.6 52.9 93
July 12.1 53.8 182
August 11.8 53.2 176
September 10.6 51.1 92
October 7.7 45.9 35
November 3 37.4 3
December 0.7 33.3 3

There are no weather stations on Ganja La Pass. It's important to note that extreme cold winds and cloud can rush in around viewpoints, passes, and peaks even in Langtang Valley. Trekking in the middle of peak seasons is recommended.

Temperature Chart for Langtang National Park & Ganja La Pass

Ganja La Pass annual temperature index graph

Once again, do note there is no weather station on Ganja La Pass. Expect large fluctuations in the weather on the pass compared to Langtang Valley. Minus five degrees Celsius on average with winds driving it down further by minus ten.

Months with the best weather to trek Ganja La Pass

Mid Sept-October - November/(early)December: Nepal's peak and best time to go trekking to the Ganja La Pass and Langtang region.

February-March-April: this is the end of the dry season in Nepal and the second-best time of year to go trekking to Langtang but not necessarily Ganja La Pass. Snow may be blocking the pass so do ask your guide for local weather reports in Langtang to find out.

December to January/February: the skies are clear but it can get very cold. passes on Langtang and Ganja La Pass are likely to have snow on them while also being completely blocked.

May - June: The hot pre-monsoon season means things get uncomfortable and humid. All around Langtang Valley grasses are green and starting to bloom with flowers. Clouds will be a major consideration with Ganga la Pass often becoming completely hidden in cloud and dangerous to try and navigate through.

June - Mid September: this is Nepal's Monsoon season and the least popular time to go trekking to Ganja La Pass. The risk of landslides is high in Langtang and trekking is discouraged. The views are nearly always obstructed by cloud.

For more details please see my guide on the best time of year to go trekking in Nepal


What permits do I need to go on the Ganja La Pass trek?


The good news for Ganja La Pass is that the trekking permits are the same as Langtang with no other permits other than a TIMS card needed.  Your guide or trekking agency should take care of all your permits for you. If you are a solo or independent trekker you'll need to arrange your own permits. Here's how you can do it.

You need three permits for the Ganja La Pass Trek

  1. Langtang National Park Permit
  2. Trekker Information Management System (TIMS Card)

The first two of these permits can be bought in Kathmandu at the Tourist Information Center. The offices are open between 10 am - 5 pm however it is better to arrive an hour or so before closing time.

 

Get a Langtang National Park Permit

A Langtang National Park Permit covers all of the Langtang National Park including Ganja La Pass.
A Langtang National Park Permit
A Langtang National Park Permit
The permit is however only valid for one entry and one exit. This means you cannot exit the part and enter it again using the same permits.
 
  1. Fill out the permit form
  2. Hand over the completed form, your passport and 2 passport photos (they are taking photographs for free at the moment but bring a set just in case)
  3. Pay the 3,000 rupees (only payable in Nepali Rupees)
  4. Get your Langtang National Park permit

Get the Trekker Information Management System Card (TIMS)

The Trekkers Information Management System Card (TIMS) is meant to help protect trekkers through registration checkpoints along a trek including Langtang National Park and after Ganja La Pass. The fees also go towards guide and porter insurance. The current TIMS office is closed in the Langtang Valley but the permit is still officially required.

Right next to the Kathmandu permit office is the TIMS card office.

A TIMS Card
A TIMS Card
  1. Fill in the TIMS card form
  2. Have your photograph taken by a member of staff (bring 2 extra passport photos just in case). 
  3. Pay 2000 rupees *
  4. Get your TIMS Card
* Do note that if you are trekking with a guide the TIMS Card is only 1,000 rupees and the guide will usually do this for you as they must go to a separate office. A good guide will also get your Langtang National park Permit too so you don't have to go to the offices.

Where are permits checked?

Dhunche on the way to Syabrubesi is where the first permit check is before entering Langtang Valley. The army searches all bags for illegal trade here too. In Syabrubesi there is another permit checkpoint. Ghoda Tabel has another checkpoint. There is a Langtang permit office check-in at Sermathang.

Important: the checkpoint in Dhunche means all vehicles are stopped and all bags are searched including trekkers. These searches are to prevent the trafficking or sale of wildlife.


What equipment do I need to go on the Ganja La Pass Trek?

You will need tents and cooking equipment for the Ganja La Pass trek. Warm windproof clothing is also essential. The following are usually necessities:

Camping gear on the Ganja La Pass Trek
Camping gear on the Ganja La Pass Trek
  • A pair of boots or shoes suitable for off-road walking (ankle protection helps)
  • A wind cheater style jacket
  • Long sleeve shirts
  • Trekking pants
  • Shorts
  • Socks
  • Rubber sandals
  • Water bottles
  • Water purification system
  • Map
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunblock
  • Tents
  • Sleeping bags
  • Sleeping mat
  • Cooking equipment
  • Cooking gas
  • Camping food

Additional equipment considerations are a pair of trekking poles that can help if you have knee problems coming downhill in particular.

Tents should be windproof. Sleeping bags should be warm enough - do check the weather before going as you will be in exposed areas sleeping on stone.

Regular bottled water is available along with filtered water in the Langtang Valley. However, on camping days you will need to source water from streams and snow. It is better to bring your own water filtration system and boil water. A pair of quality heat resistant water bottles are essential for this trek. The use of a Steripen or Lifestraw (does not protect from fecal matter) is also useful though do note they do not remove viruses and all bacteria. It is worthwhile to bring a small medical kit including bandages for burns or ankle injuries.

Please note the above is a very basic list. For a full comprehensive list please see my article on trekking equipment you need for Nepal


How difficult is the Ganja La Pass  trek?


The Langtang part of the trek is easy to moderate however the Ganja La Pass part of the trek is difficult. Indeed, Ganja La Pass is one of the hardest high altitude trekking passes in Nepal. Again, while the Langtang Valley trek is in a relatively moderate trek with side treks making it more difficult the Ganga La Pass section is more technical and difficult than any other trekking pass.

Ganja La Pass trek difficulty chart

Trekkers have several options on the Ganja La Pass trek. Most can complete the Langtang Valley part of the trek. By doing some side treks on the Langtang trek you will get a feel for the current conditions. If Kyanjin Ri or Tserko Ri prove to be too difficult, inhospitable or covered in snow then make alternative plans rather than trying to cross Ganja La Pass.

Using an eleven-day itinerary you'll have an average trek in terms of difficulty until day four.

Day four takes you from Langtang Village to Kyanjin Gompa and then up Kyanjin Ri. It's a tough day with high altitude on Kyanjin Ri. This is where many people will extend their trek for an extra night.

Day five is slightly easier but does involve a high altitude trek up Tserko Ri. Both day four and five high altitude sides treks are important for acclimatization.

Day six is a tough day and the first-day camping at altitude.

Day seven is, without doubt, the hardest day which involves crossing Ganga La Pass

Day eight involves camping but you'll be back down in altitude.

Day nine to eleven are back to normal trekking days again.

 

Crossing Ganja La Pass

Crossing Ganja La Pass

The hardest parts of the Ganja La Pass comes in several parts. The side trek to Kyanjin Ri will be your first real test of difficulty. Then on Tserko Ri will be your second test. After that the first night of camping followed by two more nights at altitude before crossing Ganja La Pass itself. 


How fit do I need to be to go on the Ganja La Pass Trek?


Fitness for the Ganja La Pass Trek is like any other trek and relative to your fitness levels. While Langtang Valley is considered moderate Ganja La Pass is considered difficult and challenging. Camping and high altitude a difficult pass means you should bring your A-game to this one.

As always I would advise anyone going trekking to see a doctor before they go for a check-up and to talk about dealing with altitude sickness.

The Langtang portion of this trek is the easier part. That's not to say you don't have to be fit. Trekking 5-7 hours a day for 11-14 days is not an easy task. Add in three or more days camping plus a difficult pass and you've got a challenge on your hands.

Guides and trekkers generally break the day up into early mornings of 3-4 hours and after lunch of 3-4 hours. On this trek, you'll need to manage tents, camping, and cooking too. While a lot of this will be done by your guide and porter you'll need to pitch in too.

The Ganja La Pass trek contains high altitude passes and sleeping at altitude. As a precaution do read about altitude sickness in Nepal.


What's the food like on the Ganja La Pass Trek?


Due to its location near the Kathmandu Valley, the Langtang part of the trek usually has a good supply of food. Once you start camping you'll be eating pasta, tuna fish and some pasta sauce.

All teahouses on this trek will offer typical Nepali trekking food like Dal Bhat with plenty offering tourist menus. Vegetarian options are available as are momos and curries.

Cooking noodles on a camping stove on the Ganja La Pass Trek

Cooking noodles on a camping stove on the Ganja La Pass Trek

 

Most of the food is either grown locally from the Langtang Valley or from the nearby Helambu region. Most everything else is brought up from Kathmandu. For camping food porridge, milk powder, soup, pasta, and canned tuna are the mainstays. When shopping for camping food keep in mind cooking times need to be short to conserve gas and keep in mind boiling water takes longer at altitude. Quick noodles are a guide's favorite but many trekkers complain they do not provide enough energy. This is particularly true of cheap noodles mainly from China.

Typical Langtang / Ganja La Pass Trek Menu

Item Price
Porridge with milk 400-450 Rupees
Fried eggs (2) 200-300 Rupees
Cheese Omelet 450-500 Rupees
Vegetable Momo 350-400 Rupees
Dal Bhat (Meat) 450-1000 Rupees
Dal Bhat (Veg) 400-700 Rupees
Sherpa Stew 500-800 Rupees
Fried Noodles (Veg) 300-400 Rupees
Fried Potatoes with Cheese 450-600 Rupees
Pasta with sauce 450-600 Rupees
Tea/Coffee 50/100 Rupees
1 liter beer 600+ Rupees
Soft Drinks (Coke, Sprite etc.) 120-150 Rupees
1 liter filtered water 50-70 Rupees
1 liter boiled water (for filtering) 50 Rupees
1 liter bottled water (not available)* 100-150 rupees

Please note that although bottled water is available in the Langtang region it may not be around much longer due to plastic bottle restrictions. Installed water filters in lodges and teahouses are not maintained well. It is strongly advised you use your own water filtration system and boil your water.

Beer, soda, coffee, tea, and hot lemon are also widely available throughout the region.

Boiling water on a camping stove on the Ganja La Pass trek

Boiling water on a camping stove on the Ganja La Pass trek

Chocolate, sweets, biscuits, and candy bars are widely available. However local teahouses can charge to three times the price for them. You would be wise to carry some boiled sweets or chocolate or energy bars for the camping part of this trek. If going with a guide and porter it is custom in Nepal to share so you may want to consider this when packing for yourself.


What's accommodation like on the Ganja La Pass trek?


Accommodation along the Langtang part of the Ganja La Pass trek is quite good. Teahouses and lodges have largely been rebuilt after the earthquake. There are typical shared bathroom tea houses along with comfortable lodges and a few with private bathrooms, Wi-Fi and hot showers. Once you cross Ganja La Pass accommodation is also quite good.

Camping tent on the Ganga La Pass Trek
Camping tent on the Ganga La Pass Trek

Do please read about accommodation on the Langtang Valley trek specifically as there have been issues with overcharging.

Minimum costs for a room on this trek range from 400 rupees to 600 rupees.

As you've read camping is a part of this trek. You will need to bring your own tent as none are available. This means taking it through the entire trek. A porter is a great help here. If you don't want to share a tent with the guide or porter then they will also need a tent.

Tents in Nepal are not high quality but are getting better with trekking companies brining in tents from overseas. Beware of cheap Chinese dome tents as the no not last for long. You'll also need a quality sleeping bag and a sleeping mat.

Read more and see what trekking accommodation is like in Nepal.

List of teahouses on the Langtang part of the Ganja La Pass trek

Tea House/Lodge Name Location
Yak Hotel Syabrubesi
Old Hotel Syabrubesi
New Bridge Guest House New Bridge
Domen River View Hotel Domen
Namaste Guest House Pairo
Bamboo Tibet Guesthouse
Hotel Langang View Rimche
Hotel Ganesh View Lodge Rimche
Friendly Guest House Lama Hotel
Sherpa Hotel and Lodge Riverside
Hotel Ganesh View Riverside
Lovely Lodge Ghortetabela
Hotel Tibetan Ghortetabela
Tashi Delek Guest House Langtang
Buddha Guest House Langtang
Yeti Guest House Kyanjin Gumba
Hotel Sherpa Kyanjin Gumba
Hotel Mountain Rest Laurebina
Hotel GBC Laurebina

Teahouse & Lodge owners are welcome to get in contact to have their accommodation listed. Those named here are not endorsed nor recommended but may help trekkers.


How much does the Ganja La Pass Trek cost?


This trek will not be as cheap compared to the Langtang trek. Essentially it's Langtang Valley plus camping and a porter. Renting tents and cooking equipment is possible but it's best if your trekking agency has its own.

You will need to pay for the following permits:

  • A Langtang National Park permit which is 3,000 rupees.
  • TIMS Card (Tourism Information Management System) which is USD $20 for solo trekkers or USD 10 if you are with a group. Both available via trekking agents and through the official Nepal Tourism Board offices in Kathmandu.

Average cost of camping equipment rental in Nepal

  • Two-man tent can cost $3-5 per day
  • Sleeping bag $1-2 per day
  • Sleeping mat buy $4
  • Cooking stove $2 per day
  • Potsx2 $8 to buy
  • Gas $5 cylinder

As you can tell the costs can add up quickly. It's often better to buy a package from a trekking agency for the above. Trekking goods stores don't often have the best of equipment (tents) to rent which is the main problem. Don't forget the guide/porter also need a tent. So again, hiring directly from the trekking agency/guide for the full duration of your trek often works out cheaper than hiring from a trekking goods store.

Working out your trekking budget

Package tours bought overseas are the most expensive for those looking for a guide to Ganja La Pass. Package tours bought within Nepal are the next most expensive. But, as you may note camping equipment is where most solo or guide only trekkers get caught out financially. It's often better and safer to find a company that can provide all of these for you at once.

Trail from Kaldang
Trail from Kaldang

Online package tours for eleven days can cost between over USD$1500+pp.  This does include a guide, porter, camping equipment, accommodation, permits, and meals. Ganja La Pass is not a common trek. So the real problem with online packages is making sure the guide is genuine and knows the pass.

In country package tours to Ganja La Pass for 11+ days can cost $1200 pp. This includes a guide, porter, camping equipment, permits, meals, and accommodation.

Guide only services can cost from $27 to $50 per day. The more you pay generally the more experienced your guide should have. Which in this case is important for the pass.

Porter fees are about USD $20 per day.

The Langtang half of the Ganja La Pass trek can get very busy during peak seasons with both international, independent and domestic trekkers. A guide can pre-book accommodation with lodges they know or you also have tents if need be!

If you are looking for a guide for the Ganja La Pass Trek then I recommend you read my article on how to find a trekking guide in Nepal. Alternative use my Find a Trekking Guide Service.

Average 11 day trek cost to Ganja La Pass

Item Cost USD $
Permits (Langtang National Park Permit, TIMS) 40
Guide x 11 days 330
Porter x 11 days 220
Accommodation x 9 (shared) 45
Tent, sleeping bag/mat, cooking stove hire/gas hire 200
Meals 3x5 165
Water 4 liters a day (filtered & boiled) 36
Transport (public-RTN) 10
Total 1046

Extras: Don't forget to include a tip for your guide 10%. Soft drinks, sweets, hot drinks etc. you may want to purchase along the way. You'll also need to buy food for your camping days for everyone on the trek.

  • The cost of an average teahouse on this trek with shared bathroom is 300 rupees in the off-season and 500 in peak for a shared bathroom. For a private bathroom, they are about 1000 rupees.
  • Bottled water is available. The cost of one liter of locally filtered water is 50-80 rupees (not boiled).
  • The cost of a plate of Dal Bhat starts at around 450 rupees and climbs to 700+ rupees with ease during the peak season.

If you are calculating the above and thinking that doing it alone is cheaper than an in-country or package trek then do remember this. It's not easy getting camping equipment in Nepal. You'll need to get your own permits etc. And you also need to factor in the guide and porters food and tent! All in all, a package trek is better value than doing it all yourself.

Travel insurance should be included and do make sure you are covered for trekking! Here is my recommendation for travel insurance when in Nepal.

How to reduce your budget on the Ganja La Pass Trek

Bring your own camping equipment! It's not practical for everyone but many people do bring their own gear.

What is important to note is that you should not skimp on the cost of a guide for this trek. Nor your tent, cooking equipment or sleeping bag.


Ganja La Pass trekking itinerary & routes


The Ganja La Pass trek is basically the Langtang Valley trek + 3 days Ganja La + 2 or more days Helambu region trekking.

While it is possible to speed the trek up by eliminating some of the mountain climbs early on, it's important to include them for acclimatization. You are basically going over 5,000 meters and need to be prepared which takes time.

Syabrubesi is only 6 hours from Kathmandu by bus or taxi on the much-improved road which has shortened the trek compared to some older itineraries you might find out there. Otherwise, you can continue your trek past Sermathang for another day if you like the scenery.

Glacier from the top of Kanjin Ri

Glacier from the top of Kyanjin Ri

 

Here is a thirteen day Ganja La Pass trek route itinerary

Day Route Distance (km) Highest Altitude
1 Kathmandu to Syabrubesi 80 km (bus/car) (6 hours avg) 1,460 m
2 Syabrubesi to Lama Hotel 6+ hours avg 2,450 m
3 Lama Hotel to Langtang Village 7 + hours avg 3,430 m
4 Langtang to Kyanjin Gompa 4+ hours avg + 3 hours 3, 870
5 Kyanjin Gompa to Kyanjin Ri (side trek) * 3+ hours avg 3, 870 m/4,773m
6 Kyanjin Gompa to Tserko Ri (side trek) * 5-6 hours avg 3, 870/4,930 m
7 Kyanjin Gompa  to Ganja La Phedi (camp) 6-7 hours avg 4,300 m
8 Ganja La Phedi to Keldang (cross Ganja La Pass)(camp) 6-7 hours avg 5,122m/4,350m
9 Keldang to Dhupku (camp) 5-6 hours avg 4,000 m
10 Dhupku to Tarke Gyang 5-6 hours avg 2,590 m
11 Tarke Gyang to Sermathang 4-5 hours avg 2,610 m
12 Sermathang to Tarkegang 5-6 hours avg 2,560m
13 Tarkegang to Kathmandu (drive) 5-6 hours avg 1,400 m

 

Here is a short eleven day Ganja La Pass trek route itinerary

Day Route Distance (km) Highest Altitude
1 Kathmandu to Syabrubesi 80 km (bus/car) (6 hours avg) 1,460 m
2 Syabrubesi to Lama Hotel 6+ hours avg 2,450 m
3 Lama Hotel to Langtang Village 7 + hours avg 3,430 m
4 Langtang to Kyanjin Gompa * 4+ hours avg + 3 hours 3, 870 m/4,773m
5 Kyanjin Gompa to Tserko Ri * 5-6 hours avg 4,930 m
6 Kyanjin Gompa  to Ganja La Phedi (camp) or high camp  (camp) 6-7 hours avg 4,300/4,900m m
7 Ganja La Phedi to Keldang (cross Ganja La Pass)(camp) 6-7 hours avg 5,122m/4,350m
8 Keldang to Dhupku (camp) 5-6 hours avg 4,000 m
9 Dhupku to Tarke Gyang 5-6 hours avg 2,590 m
10 Tarke Gyang to Sermathang 4-5 hours avg 2,610 m
11 Sermathang to Kathmandu (drive) 6-7 hours avg 1,400m

* Day treks up to Tserko Ri and Kyanjin Ri for acclimatization. You can also extend your trek by making these days treks.

*** Shortening the trek Due to the high pass at Ganga La it's not advised to shorten this trek under 11 days. Extending the trek would be better!

 

Detailed Ganja La Pass Itinerary

The following is a detailed day by day 11-day itinerary from day one to day eleven on the Ganja La Pass Trek. Days one to five are quite similar to the Langtang Valley trek though on this itinerary take a slightly different route to change the scenery. Do keep in mind the weather, time of year, how experienced you are, your age and who you are with will greatly influence your trek! The following is written in a practical sense for trekkers.

Day one - Kathmandu to Syabrubesi

An eleven-day Ganja La Pass trek starts from Kathmandu early on day one where you take a bus or private transport to the trail-head at Syabrubesi. This is where your trek starts from.

Starting the trek from Syabrubesi to Lama Hotel
Starting the trek from Syabrubesi to Lama Hotel
 Buses leave near Gongabu bus station at Machhapokhari in Kathmandu at 6 am. There's no real need for a jeep as the road is now blacktopped (tarmacadam) and is much better than what you might read online or in out of date guidebooks. The only issue is after the monsoon season then roads can get damaged.

Day two - Syabrubesi to Lama Hotel

The first full day of trekking starts with the usual permits checks and then a steep trek up to the first Chorten. 

Mountain views outside Lama Hotel Village
Mountain views outside Lama Hotel Village
If you are trekking during the spring season you'll get the bonus of blooming is rhododendron forests and green bamboo forest territory. The mountains of Kurphu danda and Chilimi offer your first snow-capped views.

The village of Pairo for lunch is a good idea. 

After lunch, it's an uphill trek on the way to Bamboo village. It's all forest here until you reach Lama Hotel which really is the name of the village!

Day three - Lama Hotel to Langtang Village

Langtang Lirung along with the pristine river is your company today. You'll climb upwards while the river tumbles below. Ghumnachowk is the next village followed by Chunama before you finally enter to Ghoretabela.

Trekking into Langtang Village
Trekking into Langtang Village

After lunch, the forest thins out while meadows and some farmlands take over. There's an army camp here and sometimes wildlife trafficking inspections. The village of Thyangshyap has a few lodges then there's a suspension bridge leading to Ghyamki followed by Gumba Village.
The trek to Langtang village is rough and rocky. You'll pass by the area destroyed in the 2015 earthquake while just up ahead will be new Langtang Village.

Day four - Langtang Village to Kyanjin Gompa

 Day four is tough depending on what you want to do. It sees the trail become steeper and slightly more difficult to trek over. The Langtang river will be beside you and Gangchenpo comes into view. Early on you'll come across the old white Gompa that is the landmark for the Langtang Lirung basecamp.

After another hour and you'll reach Kyanjin Gompa. However, you are at a village where there are many spectacular side treks to enjoy.

If you are early then a trek up lower Kyanjin Ri will help with the coming days of acclimatization.

View from the top of Kyanjin Ri
View from the top of Kyanjin Ri

From the top, the view of Langtang Lirung, Naya Kang, Gangchenpo and the Ganja La pass can be seen. The trail down to Kyanjin Gompa is often hampered by cloud so caution is advised as trekkers have become lost here.

Many trekkers extend their trek here and do Kyanjin Ri as a side trek the next day. There is also a small cheese factory you can visit here.

 

Day five - Kyanjin Gompa to Tserko Ri

It's another long day which is a side trip to the Tserko Ri which will help with altitude that needs to be taken seriously.

View from the top of Tserko Ri
View from the top of Tserko Ri
Like many tough trails this one starts by ascending before descending into a moraine and a river from Tserko Ri itself. From here, it's all the way up which is steep!  

Expect snow at certain times of the year. It's also important to note that this area can be blocked with snow. If this is the case then the chances of Ganja La Pass being blocked are extremely high. If this is the case, and Tserko Ri has a lot of snow then you may well want to change your itinerary and leave Ganja La Pass for another time.

An alternative trek to continue on would be the Langtang Gosainkunda trek though you may not have enough time for it. The other option would be to take another day to explore the far north of Langtang Valley with a trip to Langshisa. You'll need your cooking equipment or packed food as there are no lodges there. Camping here is also possible but be cautious of altitude. You can then change over to the regular Langtang Valley trek route on the way back. 

Day six - Kyanjin Gompa to Ganja La Phedi/High Camp (camping)

The first order of business today is crossing Langtang Khola below Kyanjin Gompa. Tshona Kharka the trail is quite manageable and during certain times of the year green with vegetation. However slowly the terrain becomes more moraine. The trail is not clear aside from the vast expanse of Ganja La Pass. Behind you, the Langtang Valley views are quite exceptional and among the best of the trek.

Kyanjin Ri
Kyanjin Ri viewpoint

Shortly afterward you'll be confronted by a large range of steep rock with a battered trail to the side. Take care as the stone beneath can be loose. The views here look down at the valley from afar.

It's tough going here once again as the rocks are hard to walk on. Take your time to get a firm footing. Up one more steep pass of rock and you'll come across the camping area. Keep an eye on your acclimatization at this junction. Snow can be used here for water, boiled and filter. The night falls fast so get your tents set up early!

 

Day seven - High Camp crossing Ganja La Pass to Keldang (camping)

Today is the big day. Take note of the weather and snow/ice conditions. This is one of the toughest trekking passes and you'll need to have your game face on.

Going up to Ganja La Pass
Going up to Ganja La Pass

It's all up towards the yawning Ganja La Pass. The sight of the near vertical wall of rock is daunting. To the side of this rock face is a treacherous trail which in recent years has a high risk of rock fall. There's a chain in place to help people hold on as they go up and around it on a well-hidden route. But it's often covered in snow. As a result of this, a tall fixed ladder has been placed that allows you to climb up over the rock face. It's one of the few treks and passes with a ladder. Ensure the ladder is steady and fixed before climbing it one at a time. Try to disperse weight between yourself, the guide and the porter so no one person is carrying a heavyweight. Go slowly, steadily and one rung at a time.

 

At the top, you'll be on the way to Ganja Pa Pass proper. The views here are some of the best you can expect to see. Looking back at Langtang Valley you'll see it like few other people. There's a grand roof of the world feeling from Ganja La pass as you trek out and over a world-famous valley en route to the Helambu region and Kathmandu beyond. The descent from Ganja La pass is a slow and steady one with more of those difficult rock-strewn areas to cross. Be careful about rocks falling behind you from atop Ganja La Pass! Likewise rocks easily become displayed by people behind you and clatter down at speed! Ahead a valley opens up with distant cloud below settled into a layer above Helambu. Setting up camp in Kaldang with a nearby stream for water would be good for the night.

Day eight - Keldang to Dhupku (camping)

There's a vast difference in the terrain on your last day of camping. Behind you peaks of Langtang and Ganja La pass ebb out.

Farmers stone house from Kaldang to Dhupku
Farmers stone house from Kaldang to Dhupku

The ground is gravel strewn with green or dried out vegetation depending on the time of year. Large slabs of rock are becoming covered by loose dirt. Don't get too overconfident here as it can give way and the slabs can move.

Ahead the valley becomes closer and the cloud is often still beneath you making for some spectacular scenes. Sunset on this side of the Ganja La Pass is often golden. There are several camping sites here which are often marked out by old stone campfires.

Day nine - Dhupku to Tarke Gyang

The terrain takes on a wonderful series of alterations here from the day before. You'll start by heading down and then up a short pass by Ama Yangi.

Valley view from Tarke Gyang
Valley view from Tarke Gyang
Dry tundra changes to woodland areas. The hills around you become greener. While above the green areas the white peaks of the mountains and passes you climbed add to the beauty of the area.

You are essentially along the border of Helambu here as you descend into the village of Tarke Gyang where you'll be glad to know there are nice lodges with hot water and attached bathrooms.

Day ten - Tarke Gyang to Sermathang

It's clear you are back in civilization today. There's a road in Tarke Gyang and it is possible to arrange a jeep here to Kathmandu though they are usually shared. There's still some very pleasant scenery to enjoy and better transportation options later.

Lodge near Sermathang
Lodge near Sermathang

Green meadows and farmlands will surround you on your trek down the valley. Distant mountains keep the air fresh and your memories of Ganja La Pass to the forefront.

Arriving into the bustling village of Sermathang you'll largely find it to be a modern Nepal farming junction. Try to arrange your transport to Kathmandu the next day when you arrive if you want a jeep as they need to be called ahead. Otherwise it's good to book a bus seat in advance.

Day eleven - Sermathang to Kathmandu

There's not much to today. Unfortunately, most buses leave early in the morning so there's little chance of a lie in either. If you wanted to continue on trekking there's a route to Melamchi Pul Bazaar. However the scenery is much the same, the roads increase and it's decidedly hotter.

Meadows near Sermathang
Meadows near Sermathang
After breakfast, it's about finding your bus or jeep to Kathmandu and the occasional discussion about getting a better seat.

With improving roads the journey is still bumpy but has improved. It usually takes about six to seven hours to reach Kathmandu. Getting an earlier bus or jeep will help with any traffic jams entering Kathmandu.

More information on Trekking in Nepal


For alternative treks do read my list of treks in Nepal which is continually being added to based on popularity or request.

If looking for a trekking guide I recommend you read my article on How to find a trekking guide in Nepal or you can use the Find a Guide Service.

On the following pages below I've compiled detailed articles on the specifics of trekking in Nepal that may be of use to you.

You will find them to be a great place to research your whole trekking trip to Nepal - be sure to bookmark them so you don't forget!

You might find my following free guides helpful:

Trekking in Nepal

My guide on trekking in Nepal

  Trekking Equipment Check out my guide on equipment & gear needed for trekking in Nepal
 
List of treks to hike in Nepal Check out my list of treks to do in Nepal complete with maps   Nepal Mountain range Check out my guide on how to travel overland into Tibet for a lot more!
Trekking in Nepal How to choose a trekking guide in Nepal   Record of Mount Everst Base Camp Trek in the Winter My Day by day account of trekking to Everest Base Camp in the off season (winter)
 
Traveling overland into Nepal Check out my How to travel overland into Nepal guide   Guide to traveling Nepal Check out my country Guide to Nepal
 

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