This trip takes you to Alizhou, the “Roof of the World“, with an average altitude of more than 4,500 meters. It is famous for its remoteness. Its mountains and holy lakes are important to followers of Buddhism, Bon, Hinduism, and Jainism, and attract many believers from Nepal and India every year. Hiking in Kailash Mountain for three days, you have plenty of time to admire the unique scenery of Tibet.
Recommended groups: highly recommended to students, teenagers, and couples, especially photographers.
Conditions: This trip will take you from central Tibet to the western end of Tibet. This is a long journey. You will stay in the car for 6-8 hours a day, but most of the roads are fine except for the rainy season or winter.
Best time: May to early October is the best time to visit Ngari Region. Avoid July and August because it is both the peak season and the rainy season. Certain road sections may be closed in the winter and rainy seasons, and it may be too cold from November to March to travel to Ngari Region.
Mount Kailash Pilgrim tour
Day 1 Lhasa Arrival
Welcome to the roof of the world! You will be pick up at the airport or train station, then be escorted to your hotel in Lhasa city at the comfort of your own private vehicle. En route, enjoy the breathtaking view along the Yarlung Tsangpo River. Tibetan features can be seen along the way, including Big Buddha engravings on the hill near the road, colorful prayer flags, and friendly Tibetan people.
After arrival at your hotel, the rest of the day is free for you to explore the local area and acclimatize yourself to this high-altitude city at the top of the world.
Day 2 Lhasa Sightseeing
After breakfast, you will firstly visit Norbulingka Park, the former summer palace of Dalai Lama. Explore the beautiful gardens and experience one of the holiest sites in Tibetan Buddhism while soaking up the rich history. Next, come to Drepung Monastery, which was once the largest Tibetan Buddhist monastery housing 10,000 monks in its heyday. Learn about the lives of Tibetan monks.
Your tour ends at Sera Monastery, where you will get the chance to experience “Buddhism Scriptures Debating”. These debates are unique to Sera and are quite famous. Enjoy the debates!
Day 3 Wondering Lhasa
The overwhelming Potala Palace is your first stop. As the symbol of Tibet, it was built in 641 AD and was the winter palace of Dalai Lama who is Tibet’s pope. Impressive Tibetan architecture, huge golden Buddha statues, red-robed lamas, and devoted pilgrims all make it a must-visit.
In the afternoon, you’ll visit the Jokhang Temple, the spiritual center of Tibet. Every day, pilgrims from every corner of Tibet trek here from long distances to worship. Finally, walk the special circular pilgrimage route as local followers always do at Barkhor Street.
Days 4 Lhasa to Shigatse
Today you will drive from Lhasa to Shigatse (6.5-hrs). En route, you’ll stop to see Yamdrok Lake, one of the three most famous holy lakes in Tibet. For Tibetans, it is one of the four holy lakes of Tibet and the home of the “wrathful deities”. The scenery of turquoise blue water in the lake with the reflection of surrounding snow-capped mountains is awesome. After arrival in Gyantse, you will tour Pelkor Monastery to admire fancy frescoes, statues, and sculptures. Overnight at Shigatse.
Tips: The road condition from Lhasa to Gyantse via Yamdrok Lake is a rough road around mountains. Feel free to ask your driver to stop and have a rest on the road.
Day 5 Shigatse to Lhatse
Drive to Lhatse from Shigatse today. Enjoy the stunning landscape along the way up to Lhatse.
Stay overnight in Lhatse. 308km, 6-7 hours
Feel free to ask the driver to stop the vehicle so you can take breaks to stretch your legs and take pictures! Also, make sure you bring snacks and water with you.
Day 6 Lhatse to Saga
Drive to Saga from Lhatse today. Enjoy the stunning landscape along the way up to Saga. Drive through typical Tibetan villages where you can see how normal Tibetans live. Stay overnight in Saga. Saga’s altitude is 4,640m above sea level. Very close to the Nepalese/China border, you will see a garrison of Chinese border soldiers in Saga that patrol the area. Saga is the last stop for pilgrims and travelers on their way to Mt. Kailash.
Distance: 300km, 8-9 hours
Feel free to get out in the villages to take pictures and explore a little bit. Make sure you bring snacks and water.
Day 7 Saga to Baryang
After early breakfast, proceed to Paryang. Drive through the windswept territory passing many villages and camps of Yak herders. There are many opportunities to take great pictures! Stay overnight at a hotel in Paryang.
Distance: 200km, 6-7 hours
Tips: On this day the road is quite flat, hence the drive will be comfortable compared to other days.
Day 8 Paryang to Hor Quo and Mansarovar Lake
Today, you’ll arrive at the Holy Mansarovar Lake after a 5-6 hour drive. This holy lake is one of the highest freshwater lakes in the world (4,590m above sea level). It is also one of the most important pilgrimage sites for Hindus and Buddhists. In Hinduism, Lake Manasa Sarovar is a personification of purity, and one who drinks water from the lake is believed to be cleansed of all his sins committed over even a hundred lifetimes. The lake is very popular in Buddhist literature and associated with many teachings and stories in Buddhism. Lord Buddha, it is reported, stayed and meditated near this lake on several occasions. Mansarovar Lake attracts thousands of tourists and religious people every year from all over the world. Spend the night camping on the bank of Holy Mansarovar Lake.
Distance: 223km, 5-6 hours
Tips: The restaurants in the area are not so good, so it is best if you bring plenty of food with you.
Day 9 Mansarovar Lake to Darchen
Today, enjoy the sunrise over Mansarovar Lake, and then have a picnic lunch on the bank of the Holy Lake. Later, drive to Darchen (4,575m), s small village with a couple of guesthouses located beneath the majestic holy Mount Kailash.
During auspicious pilgrimage times, Darchen will be flooded with Pilgrims with hundreds of tents all over the small village. Darchen is both the beginning and endpoint of the Kora.
Distance: 223km, 5-6 hours
Stay overnight at Hotel Darchen.
Day 10 Trek to Dirapuk Monastery
Trekking Time: 5-6 hrs, 20km
Trek from Darchen (4,560m) to Dirapuk Monastery (4,750m). The trek is a gradual walk with local pilgrims chanting and praying along the way. Camp on nice grassy meadows with a view of Kailash, northwest face at Dirapuk for overnight halt.
Day 11 Trek to Zutulpuk Monastery
Trekking Time: 6-7 hrs, 15km
Trek from Dirapuk Monastery to Zutulpuk Monastery by crossing Drolma-la Pass (5,200m) before quickly descending to Dzutulpuk monastery (Dzutulpuk means “magical cave” in Tibetan). Camp overnight near the monastery, beneath Mt. Kailash.
Day 12 Trek back to Darchen
Trekking Time: 4-5 hrs,14km
The winding trails finally end at our holy pilgrimage site after roughly a 5-hour trek. Stay overnight at Darchen.
Day 13 Darchen to Saga
After breakfast, drive back to Saga. Stay overnight in Saga. There will be many pilgrims and travelers going toward Mt. Kailash. Soak in the atmosphere!
Tips: Be sure to take advantage of this opportunity to take great pictures of the beautiful area and the pilgrims
Day 14 Departure from Lhasa
Today is free for you until your tour guide transfer you to the airport in time for your flight or drop you off at Border Check Point.