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Mt Kailash Trek - Most Sacred Tour in Tibet

West Tibet
Start - Finish
Drolma La (5630m)
Apr. to Oct.
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Mt. Kailash (6,714m), Asia's most sacred mountain, is located in a high and isolated enclave of West Tibet. Mt Kailash is their soul-mountain. To Buddhist believers, it is the abode of Demchok, the wrathful manifestation of Buddha Sakyamuni. For Hindus, Kailash is at the center of the universe. Four major rivers of Tibet, India and Nepal have their sources near Kailash.

Trekking around Mt. Kailash once in the Year of Horse is equal to 13 koras, which will enrich good Karma 12 times and purge Souls of Sin 12 times.

3 days' Kailash trek tour is a 53km-pilgrim-path around Mt. Kailash. It begins and ends Darchen, a small settlement at the mountain's south base. Three days is perhaps the minimum time required to walk leisurely around the mountain, spend two nights in or near Drirapuk and Zutrulpuk monasteries. If conditions permit, try to stay four or five days, which would allow time for short trips to the inner regions of the area.

Itinearary Day by Day

Day 1 Fly into Lhasa

Today's Highlights:

Airport Pickup; Rest in the Hotel


Taking the flight into Tibet. Upon your arrival, local guide will meet you and transfer you to Lhasa. On the way, you can enjoy the heart-beating highland view along the Lhasa River. The rest time is free for relax and adjustment.

Day 2 Lhasa Sightseeing

Potala PalaceToday's Highlights:

Potala Palace; Jokhang Temple


Today, our highlights are Potala Palace and Jokhang temple. The cardinal landmark of Lhasa, Potala Palace, is a structure of massive portions. Its towering image already appearing on various occasions, but your first sight of the Potala will still be an awe-inspiring moment. Potala Palace is a place where you can appreciate the Tibetan culture, religion and art of architecture as well.

Jokhang Temple is the spiritual center of Tibet. Every day, pilgrims from every corner of Tibet trek a long distance to the temple to pray for their now and future. The temple is the product of Han, Tibetan and Nepalese architectural techniques. Around the temple is the Barkhor Street, the oldest street in a very traditional city in Tibet. We can have a visit after the Jokhang visit. Out there, we can visit a handcraft product store.

Day 3 Lhasa Sightseeing

Drak YerpaToday's Highlights:

Drak Yerpa; Sera Monastery


Drak Yerpa: This morning, our tour begins with a 20km-drive out of Lhasa to one of the holiest cave retreats in Tibet, the Drak Yerpa hermitage. In old times, some ascetics and kings have sojourned here for meditation. Among them, the most famous ones are Guru Rinpoche, Atisha, Lhalung and King Songtsen Gampo. Here we could visit some meditation caves once used by those famous figures, like Lhalung-puk (monk Lhalung), Dawa-puk (Guru Rinpoche) and Chogyal-puk (Songtsen Gampo).

Sera is one of the greatest Gelugpa monasteries. Around 5km north of central Lhasa, It was founded in 1419 by Jamchen Choje, one of the eight disciples of Tsongkhapa, the founder of Gelugpa Sect, covering an area of 114,964 square metres. The structure is imposing, picturesque in disorder, and splendid in green and gold. It is a typical Tibetan architecture. The 'Buddhism Scriptures Debating' in Sera is very famous.

Day 4 Lhasa to Shigatse

Yamdroktso LakeToday's Highlights:

Drive to Shigaste; Yamdroktso Lake; Palkhor Monastery;


Today we will drive to Shigatse. Make a tour to Yamdroktso Lake on the way. Yamdroktso Lake is a coiling, many-armed body of water shaped like a scorpion. It doubles back on itself on the western side, effectively creating a large island within its reaches. For Tibetans, it is one of the three holy lakes in Tibet.

Also, we will go for the tour of Palkhor monastery, built in the 15th century, is situated in the west of Gyantse Town with mountains enclosing form three sides of the east, west and north. Its uniqueness is that its three sects of Buddism-Shaja, Ningma and Guolu stayed harmoniously under one roof. We will stay in Shigatse tonight.

Day 5 Shigatse to Shegar

Today's Highlights:

Tashilhunpo Monastery; Free Market; Drive to Shegar


After today's visits to Tashilhunpo monastery and the local free market in Shigatse, we are heading to the town of Shegar, we might call it the gateway to Mt. Everest area. On the way, you are going to pass two high mountains named Gyula and Gyatsola.

Day 6 Shegar to Mt. Everest base camp to Lhatse

Mt.EverestToday's Highlights:

Mt. Everest Base Camp; Back to Lhatse


Transfer to Mt. Everest Base Camp En route, visit Rongbuk Monastery, the highest monastery across the world, then appreciate the beautiful views in the base camp and drive back to Lhatse for overnight

Day 7 Lhatse to Saga

Today's Highlights:

Drive to Saga


Today we drive to Saga, en route visit the stunning Himalayan views.

Day 8 Saga to Paryang

Today's Highlights:

Drive to Paryang


From Saga it is 145 km to Zhongba. The road is good and the trip can be completed in 4-5 hrs. There is also a small monastery at the western end of town on a hill. From Zhongba onwards the southern road deteriorates. There is also danger of vehicles getting stuck. But this section of the road has panoramic views of mountains on either side of the road.

Day 9 Paryang to Lake Manasoravar

Lake ManasoravarToday's Highlights:

Lake Manasorovar;


From Paryang to Lake Mansorovar is a long drive of 10 hrs or more. There will be several river crossings and we drive past Mayum La Pass (4,600 M). The scenery is stunningly beautiful with panoramic views of the Himalayas.

Day 10 Lake Manasoravar to Darchen

Today's Highlights:

Drive to Darchen; Prepare to the three days kora


In the morning view the lake and its beautiful surrounding landscapes. Then drive to Darchen. About 30 km north of Lake Manasoravar is Darchen, the main gateway and the village. The monastery at Darchen, Darchen Gon, is a part of the Drukpa sect. The two-story monastery structure in the center of the town serves as a trading post and shelter for pilgrims. While beginning their kora pilgrimage around Kailash, many pilgrims often circumambulate the Darchen Gon Monastery and the Mani Lhakhang before setting out.

This Kailash kora covers 53 kms and can be done in 3 days.

Time Chart

Day     Places to Trek     Trekking Time   Distance  Ascent    Descent
 1     Darchen-Dirapuk       6 hours           20km     200m
 2          Zutrulpuk           8 hours           18km     550m      600m
 3           Darchen          3-4 hours         14km                    150m

Day 11 Darchen to Dirapuk monastery 10 hours/ 20km/ 200m ascent

Mt. Kailash KoraToday's Highlights:

Trekking to Dirapuk Monastery


We head west in clockwise direction. Only 4 kilometers from Darchen the trail climbs up over the southwest end of the ridge to reach a cairn (4,730m). Then, trail bends around to north to the Tarboche flagpole. The flagpole is replaced each year at the Saga Dawa festival. After passing the Lha-chu valley, we arrive in Chuku monastery where we can have a break. Another 3 hours trek along the river, we hit our first day's stop, the Dirapuk monastery. O/N: Camp.

Day 12 Diraphuk to Zutulpuk monastery 6-7 hours/ 18km/ 550m ascent/ 600m descent

Mt. KailashToday's Highlights:

Trekking to Zutulpuk Monastery


Trek along Drolma Chu and reach the Jarok Donkhang (5,210m). A little while, Shiva-tsal (5,330m) comes in front. It is a rocky expanse dotted with stone cairns draped with items of clothing. Our next challenge is to get over Drolma La Pass (5,630m), the highest point of the entire kora, where you can look south for your last glimpse of the north face of Kailsh. After the ascent, we are experiencing a steep descent. Almost immediately, Gauri Kund Lake comes into view. Finally, after a long valley and river, we reach our second day's stop, the Zutulpuk monastery. O/N: Camp.

Day 13 Zutulpuk to Darchen 3-4 hours/ 14km/ 150m descent

Today's Highlights:

End the kora at Darchen


The final day's walk begins with the easy stroll down to where the river emerges onto the plain. The valley narrows and the prayer flags fluttering across the river. There is a rough road from here back to Darchen and it's less than an hour's walk, passing many mani walls embellished with yak skulls. Finally, our kora end up at Darchen.

Day 14 Darchen to Paryang

Today's Highlights:

Back to Paryang


After breakfast, drive back to Paryang for overnight.

Day 15 Paryang to Saga

Today's Highlights:

Back to Saga


After breakfast, drive back to Saga for overnight.

Day 16 Saga to Lhatse

Today's Highlights:

Back to Lhatse


After breakfast, drive back to Lhatse for overnight.

Day 17 Lhatse to Lhasa

Today's Highlights:

Back to Lhasa


After breakfast, drive back to Lhasa for overnight.

Day 18 Say goodbye to Tibet

Today's Highlights:

Tour ends


After breakfast transfer to the airport or railway station and say goodbye to the memorable tour in Tibet.

Tips for Mt. Kailash Trek and Pilgrimage and Manasarovar Yatra

1. The conditions of hotel/guesthouse are rather poor, having a good tent for camping;
2. Bring enough food for three days if you don't have cook
3. Don't bring too much luggage, an easy walk is necessary;
4. Don't move too fast when ascending, especially on day 2;
5. Start early every day and have more rests;
6. Drink lots of water before departure;
7. No alcohol;
8. Avoid catching cold and bring some medicine;
9. Most important is taking it easy;
10. Cold in night, bring enough clothes to keep warm;
11. Heavy sunshine in daytime, bring sunglasses and sunblock. If necessary, bring a walking stick

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