Planning a Journey to Mount Kailash in Your Tibet Tour the year 2020
Apart from the religious importance of Mountain Kailash, which assists pilgrims from all four religions to make the journey to the mountain to perform the ritual kora trek around its base, it is a famous destination for tourists. The Kailash kora course, one of the significant rituals in the four faiths to obtain merits towards enlightenment, is also the fittest trek in Tibet for ardent high-altitude trekkers.
Traveling a distance of 52 km, the route around the mountain is one of the toughest in the region, reaching an elevation of 5,636 meters at its highest point, the crest of the Dolma La Pass. The majority of the terrain on the route around the mountain is rugged and rocky, and for many people, the three-day trek is needed to get around the route. Also, for those that are not part of the four religions, the trip to the mountain can be a very spiritual experience, let us learn how to plan your journey to Mount Kailash as an expert.
Travel Documents Needed for a Journey to Mount Kailash
Going to Mount Kailash needs a lot of red tape and paperwork, though most of it is prepared by us on your behalf. All tourists to the region are required to be on a pre-booked tour, and once that has been booked, we will get the applications for your permits and passes. The principal permit, which is required for all travelers to Tibet, is known as Tibet Travel Permit.
Tibet Travel Permit
For a fact, Tibet Travel Permit is required for all foreign travelers to enter Tibet.
Collected by us from the Tibet Tourism Bureau in Lhasa, it needs scanned copies of your passport and Chinese Entry Visa and takes approximately 20 days to process. The Restricted Areas Permit, often known as the Military Permit, also takes about 15-20 days to process, and we will do this for you once your tour is reserved or booked. The Restricted Areas Permit required for visiting certain military restricted areas of Tibet, such as the Ngari Prefecture in which Mount Kailash exists.
You will also require the Alien’s Travel Permit, for travel outside Lhasa, and the Frontier Pass, required for all tourists traveling in the regions of the Chinese borders with India, Nepal, and Bhutan. Both of these permits are used for by your guide once you reach Lhasa, and can be prepared within a few hours. Your passport and Tibet Travel Permit are needed for the processing.
How to reach to Mount Kailash from Lhasa
Actually, there are two ways of traveling to Mount Kailash from Lhasa, either overland through Saga and Shigatse, or by flying to the Ngari Kunsa Airport at Shiquanhe from Lhasa Gonggar International Airport.
Overland from Lhasa to Kailash
The overland route from Lhasa is by far the most common option for travelers traveling to Mount Kailash, as it takes you through some of the region’s most magnificent landscapes and remarkable cities, getting the chance to visit some of Tibet’s most wondrous sights along the way. The route starts by taking the road out of Lhasa towards the airport, then continuing southwest to Gyantse, one of the cities in Shigatse Prefecture. The road passes by the beautiful Lake Yamdrok, one of the Best Three Holy Lakes of Tibet, before stopping shortly in Gyantse to see the Kumbum, the 32-meter-high one-of-a-kind stupa that the town is famous for.
map of Lhasa Kailash overland route
After visiting Gyantse, it is then on to Shigatse, and a visit to the Tashilhunpo Monastery, the seat of the second-highest incarnation in Tibet, the Panchen Lama. Then you will travel to Mount Everest to view the huge mountain from the northern Everest Base Camp (EBC), as well as visiting Rongbuk Monastery, the world’s highest monastery at the height of 4,980 meters above sea level. Then it is back on the road to head to Saga, the seat of Saga County in Shigatse Prefecture and the garrison town for the Chinese border patrols.
Saga is the last big town before you reach Mount Kailash, and from there, it is a brief ride to the small town of Darchen, which lies at the foot of Mount Kailash and is the origin point for the kora and the trek.
Flight from Lhasa to Ngari Gunsa Airport
The flight to Ngari Gunsa Airport from Lhasa runs one a day, leaving at around 7:30 in the morning. The flight takes about two hours, and lands in Shiquanhe at about 9:30 am. From Shiquanhe, it is a 200 km drive to get to Mount Kailash to the south of the airport, which is usually done in just one day of driving.
Recommended Kailash Travel Route
There are about two tours to Mount Kailash that are suggested for travelers to the mountain. You can take the tour that covers the three-day trek around the Mount Kailash kora route if you are into trekking at high altitudes, or you can take a tour that does not include the trek for those people that do not want to spend three days hiking one of the most difficult trails in Tibet.
Classic Mount Kailash Kora from Lhasa
Our perfect 15-day tour for Mount Kailash, this tour covers a two-day sightseeing tour of Lhasa, including the Potala Palace, the Jokhang Temple, and the monasteries of Drepung and Sera, before heading off to visit Yamdrok Lake, Gyantse Kumbum, Shigatse, and Mount Everest Base Camp, before going northwards to get to Mount Kailash.
Once reached Darchen, you will prepare yourself for the Kailash kora trek, and leave the following morning, taking the route up the valley to the first stop for the night at Drirapuk Monastery. The second day of the trek leads you over the high Dolma La Pass to the Dzultripuk Monastery, where you will stop for the second night. The last day sees you trekking along the valley, heading first south, and then west once you depart the valley to get back to Darchen. Then you will usually visit the nearby Lake Manasarovar, another of the Great Three Holy Lakes of Tibet, before heading on the long drive back to Lhasa.
Mount Kailash Trekking MapMount Kailash Trekking Map
While some people might like to trek, it is not everyone’s cup of tea, and a tour of Mount Kailash without the trek is also possible. The journey is the same, traveling from Lhasa to Darchen via Lake Yamdrok, Gyantse, Shigatse, EBC, and Saga, and getting an opportunity to view this stunning mountain in all its glory before heading back towards Lhasa, or even heading on into Nepal across the border at Gyirong Port.
Nearby Attractions That You Can Add to Your Mount Kailash Tour
Lying as it does in the Ngari Prefecture of Tibet, Mount Kailash is also close to some of northwestern Tibet’s most stunning attractions, which can all be incorporated into a tour of the region.
Manasarovar Lake is known to be one of the great three Holy Lakes of Tibet, Lake Manasarovar, is sacred to both Buddhists and Hindus and is believed in Buddhism to be the place where Mayadevi conceived Gautama Buddha. For both religions, it is generally believed that bathing in the waters or drinking from the lake can wash off the sins of a whole lifetime. Lying as it does near the sacred mountain, it is usually visited by pilgrims and tourists alike after trekking around the Kailash kora and has its own kora route that you can trek around if you wish.
Manasarovar LakeManasarovar Lake is one of the Great Three Holy Lakes of Tibet.
Ruins of Guge Kingdom
In ancient Tibet, after the fall of the Tibetan Empire, a lesser royal escaped the devastation of the collapse of the empire and proceeded to what is now Burang County of Ngari. There he built his own Guge Kingdom, stretching from Tibet into parts of Kashmir and India, and which remained for centuries. Destroyed and defeated by both Mongols and Tibetan Buddhists, all that survives of this small empire are the ruins of a few of the cities, which lies desolate among the sands of the remote region of Ngari. However, this is one of the greatest places to visit in Ngari after Mount Kailash, and it is an experience worth having.
Ruins of Guge KingdomGuge Kingdom is one of the first major cultural relic sites under protection.
To the north of Tibet rests the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Prefecture of China. The Kashgar city lies far to the north of Tibet and is the start of one of the most classic road journeys in the world. While it might not be as long as some roads around the world, it is the highest drivable road in the world and is an adventure that must not be missed, nor taken easily. Traveling along some of Tibet and Xinjiang’s most remote and desolate roads, the route runs south through Xinjiang to the Aksai Chin territory and then into Tibet, heading down through Ngari to Darchen and Mount Kailash.
The capital city of Nepal, and what is often regarded to be the most exotic city in continent Asia, Kathmandu is a hotpot of cultures, with Buddhists and Hindus standing side by side and living together in harmony within the city. Filled with Hindu Temples and Buddhist monasteries and stupas, a trip to the Kathmandu Valley is an eye-opening adventure, traveling overland across the border of the Himalayas to the lush and stunning valley that is deemed to be the “real Nepal.” – See details of 13-day Lhasa EBC Kailash Kathmandu overland tour
Boudhanath Stupa Boudhanath Stupa in Kathmandu.
Some of Travel Tips for Your First Journey to Mount Kailash
Altitude sickness can be a debilitating illness, which can destroy a tour in Tibet, so it is necessary to know what the symptoms are and how to avoid them or reduce the risk of getting them. Most people experience a little altitude sickness once they reach Lhasa and other high-altitude areas, and there are methods to reduce how much this can affect your trip to Tibet. Rest, a high-protein diet, and avoiding strenuous exercise, alcohol, strong coffee, and cigarettes can all assist in reducing the risk of getting more severe symptoms and can aid you to acclimatize faster. – Know more about Altitude of Mt. Kailash Tour or Kora and How to Avoid the High Altitude Sickness
Tibet has some very good and big roads these days, thanks to loads of construction work to make traveling around the regions easier and more convenient for the tourists that descend on the plateau in their millions. Though, while the road to Mount Kailash from Lhasa and Kashgar is much good, paved with asphalt the whole way, the roads around Kailash are mostly gravel and dirt roads and can be rough and bumpy.
From Mount Kailash, you have various sites that you can visit during your trip. To the south lies Lake Manasarovar, which is worth a trip to see this most sacred of Tibetan lakes. Saga, a short way back along the road, is also a lovely small town, and while there might not be a lot of attractions, it is a true Tibetan settlement, and the cultural experience in this remote area is unforgettable.
Mount Kailash is prominently the most sacred site in Hinduism and Buddhism, and there are various rules and taboos that you must be aware of. The sacred mountain has never been climbed, due to its religious status, and it is restricted to set foot on the slopes of the sacred mountain. It is also restricted to trek to the site of the Buddhist sky burials that lies in a side-valley on the western lower slopes of Mount Kailash. Sky Burials are private and cannot be seen by the eyes of one who is not a Buddhist. You must also remember that Buddhists and Hindus walk clockwise around the mountain for the ritual kora, and you should respect and appreciate this tradition and do the same.