Tibet - Mount Kailash Trek -11 Days

Trip Facts

 Tour Name     : MOUNT KAILASH TREK 11 DAYS
 Entry / Exit  : Drive in/ Drive out
 Grade         : Strenuous and adventurous
 Max Elevation : 5630m/18466ft
 Accommodation : Hotel/ Camp/ Guesthouse
 Meal          : Bed and breakfast
 Transport     : Private vehicle
 Trek Days     : 11

Highlights:

  • High passes over 5000m. and Lake en-route drive
  • Lake Mansarovar
  • View of Holy Mt. Kailash
  • 3 Days trekking around Mt. Kailash

Trip summary:

The beauty of the 6700-meter high Mount Kailash that looks like a symmetrical cone shaped rock capped by pure crystalline ice is equally venerated as the holiest pilgrimage site by Hindus, Buddhists, Jains and Bön-Po. Tibetans regard this mountain as the manifestation of Mount Meru, “the navel of the earth” where founder of Bon religion, Tonpa Shenrab, is believed to have descended from heaven, Hindus as the abode of Lord Shiva, Buddhists as the abode of Samvara and Jains as a scared site where their prophet, Rishaba attained spiritual enlightenment. With its four sheer walls, distinctive snow-capped peak, and valleys interspersed with brightly-clad Tibetan pilgrims, Mount Kailash or Khang Rimpoche (‘precious snow-peak’, as known by the Tibetans) is an awe-inspiring sight.

Four great rivers of Asia: the Karnali, the Indus, the Sutlej and the Brahmaputra (Tsangpo) originate from here. A three-day trek (Parikrama or Kora) around Mount Kailash over a 5630 meter Drolma La (pass), clockwise for Buddhists and Hindus, and anti-clockwise followers of the ancient Bon religion, is said to erase the sins of a lifetime. To complete the Kailash pilgrimage one should bath in the sacred Lake Mansarovar, stunningly set on the Tibetan plateau bordered by the majestic Gurla Mandata.

The tour begins with a comprehensive trip briefing in Kathmandu followed by a sensational Trans Himalayan flight to Lhasa that passes over Mt. Everest and many highest peaks of the world. This is the only Everest flight that flies over Mt. Everest and other highest peaks. If you start your tour in Lhasa arriving from mainland China; Tour briefing will take place in Lhasa.

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Itinerary

Days Outline Itinerary Overnight
01: Drive to Zhangmu then to Nyalam Guest House (BB)
02: Acclimatisation day in Nyalam Guest House (BB)
03: Drive to Saga via Pigu Tso Lake Guest House (BB)
04: Drive to Lake Mansarovar Guest House (BB)
05: Rest day in Lake Mansarovar Guest House (BB)
06: Drive to Tarboche, Trek to Dirapuk Guest House (BB)
07: Trek to Zutulpuk cross Dolmala Pass Guest House (BB)
08: Trek end. Drive to Lake Mansarovar Guest House (BB)
09: Drive to Saga Guest House (BB)
10: Drive to Zhangmu Guest House (BB)
11: Drive to Kathmandu
Detailed Itinerary
Day 02:   Acclimatization in Nyalam (3750m/12300ft):
Day 02:   Acclimatization in Nyalam (3750m/12300ft):

After breakfast you will be briefed about the day’s program. Sightseeing begins as follows:

Day 03: Drive to Saga (4840m/15875ft) 270km, 5hrs
Day 03: Drive to Saga (4840m/15875ft) 270km, 5hrs

 

Today we drive approx 5 hours to the huge lake called Peiku-tso crossing two high passes. After a quick stop at bank of Peiku-tso Lake, we continue our drive to Saga along many small lakes and cross the Yarlong Tsangpo (Brahmaputra) river on the way. Further ahead, a river valley sprawls over and then traditional picturesque villages come into picture. This scenically rewarding drive provides plenty of opportunities for photography. O/N at Guest House in Saga (BB)

Day 04:  Drive to Lake Mansarovar (4558m/14950ft) 560km, 9hrs:
Day 04:  Drive to Lake Mansarovar (4558m/14950ft) 560km, 9hrs:

Today is a longer day’s drive travelling more than 500km. First we begin our journey towards Paryang which is almost 450km drive from Saga. From Paryang, we set out across the plains to Mansarovar located just 30km south of Mt Kailash. As you near this breathtaking sacred lake, historic Chiu Monastery becomes visible on the North West shore of the lake. From this vantage point, you can even glimpse at majestic Mount Kailash. This journey stimulates you spiritually. O/N at Guest House in Lake Mansarovar (BB)

Day 05:  Rest day at Lake Mansarovar (4558m/14950ft):
Day 05:  Rest day at Lake Mansarovar (4558m/14950ft):

Today is your free day at Lake Mansarovar, the lake of compassion, tranquility and bliss.  This place is spiritual and truly inspirational and remote, so quiet and peaceful. You can explore around the lake. O/N at Guest House in Lake Mansarovar (BB)

Day 06:  Drive to Tarpoche (50km, 1 hr). Trek to Dirapuk (4900m/16072ft.)
Day 06:  Drive to Tarpoche (50km, 1 hr). Trek to Dirapuk (4900m/16072ft.)

Leaving the lake, we drive for about 50 km towards Tarpoche, the Base Camp of Kailash or the starting point of Kora where we begin our first walk of 6-7 hrs, towards Kailash. Here you meet your team of yaks and Tibetan yak drivers who will escort you around the Kora. Further ahead from Tarpoche, you have to trek past verdant meadows and picturesque streams to Lha Chu Valley. The trail overlooks Turquoise River cascading over a narrow canyon with high steep cliffs. En route, north face of Kailash comes into vision. The trail will approach 13th century monastery of Dirapuk. We spend an overnight in Dirapuk. O/N at Guest House in Dirapuk (BB)

Day 07:  Trek Dirapuk to Zutulpuk. Cross Dolmala Pass (4790m/15711ft):
Day 07:  Trek Dirapuk to Zutulpuk. Cross Dolmala Pass (4790m/15711ft):

Lha Chu Valley blurs as you turn towards Drolma Chu Valley. Looking forward to the amazing Mount Kailash tour and trek, you ascend to Drolma La (5630m), the highest point of the trip. Enjoy the breathtaking view of Thukpe Dzingbu Lake, known as the Lake of Compassion at the summit; you realize that this tough and challenging ascent has indeed been very worthwhile and fruitful. Several prayer flags can be seen at the summit. Further on, the trail descends to the flat fields of Zuthulpuk which houses a monastery and several fascinating caves. The caves at this locale are most popular for meditation; Milarepa’s cave being one of them with Milarepa’s footprints and elbow prints believed to be imprinted all over this cave of Mani stones. After a tough challenging day walk of approximately 10 hrs, we reach Zuthulpuk, our overnight place. O/N at Guest House in Zuthulpuk (BB)

 Note:

Offer “Lungta” and prayers flag (printed prayers for the peace and good health/happiness) together with your Tibetan Guide. Offering Lungta in high passes and temple is believed to bring good fortune and long life in Tibetan culture

Day 08:  Finish Trek. Drive to Lake Mansarovar (4558m/14950ft) 30km, ½ hr:
Day 08:  Finish Trek. Drive to Lake Mansarovar (4558m/14950ft) 30km, ½ hr:

The Last day of Kailash Parikrama/ Kora is easy walking on beautiful valley. We will walk for about 4-5 hours to where our vehicle will be waiting for us to bring us back to Mansarovar.  O/N at Guest House in Mansarovar (BB)

Day 09:  Drive to Saga (4840m/15875ft) 560km, 9 hrs:

We continue driving today along a 250km stretch of road to Saga through dusty town of Zhongba. O/N at Guest House in Saga (BB)

Day 10:  Drive to Zhangmu (2300m/7544ft) 300km, 5hrs:
Day 10:  Drive to Zhangmu (2300m/7544ft) 300km, 5hrs:

As you drive down, you descend from the arid Tibetan Plateau to verdant Zhangmu on the Nepalese border. After driving for 300 km, you find yourself amidst the lush and verdant vegetation of Zhangmu at 2300m Zhangmu is a small border town teetering on a precipitous hillside. It serves as the main port of entry into Tibet when coming overland to and from Nepal. O/N at Hotel in Zhangmu (BB)

Day 11:  Drive to Kathmandu (1300m/4265ft) 123 km, 5hrs:

After breakfast we drive down to the Chinese Immigration, Zhangmu. The Friendship Bridge across Bhote Koshi River brings you closer to Immigration Control in Kodari where you will part with your Tibetan guide and driver and walk across the river to meet your Nepalese escort who will  drive you to Kathmandu. After 5 hours of driving for 123 km, you finally arrive in Kathmandu.The Nepali foothills and the greenery will make the drive pleasant and enjoyable.

Tour Concludes.

Customize your trip

Cost Inclusion / Exclusion

SERVICES INCLUDED:

  • Accommodation in Twin sharing and Dormitory on BB basis as per the itinerary.
  • English speaking Tibetan Guide.
  • Transportation as per the itinerary by necessary vehicle.
  • Tibet Travel permits.
  • All entrance fees.
  • All necessary entrance permits.
  • Yak and yak herder.
  • Emergency mineral water in the vehicle.
  • Emergency portable oxygen cylinder in the vehicle.
  • Service of Porterage while crossing Friendship Bridge into Nepal (Nepal-China border).
  • Trip briefing by Tibet expert & entertain question.
  • Trip Information pack.
  • Gift pack (prayer flag or string of flag & paper prayer Lungta).

Note: Offer Prayer flag or Lungta (string of prayer flag) in high passes, temple for good fortune or long life.

SERVICES EXCLUDED:

  • Tibet Visa Fee (Acceptable in US$ cash only).
  • Transportation: Kathmandu- Kodari – Kathmandu.
  • Travel insurance.
  • Expenses during any rescue operation.
  • Lunch and Dinner.
  • Nepal re-entry visa fee.
  • Alcoholic beverages & bar bills.
  • All expenses of personal nature, phone calls, laundry etc.
  • Gratuity to staff.
  • Services of Porterage and other vehicles in between in case of landslides and other natural calamities beyond our control and expenses incurred during rescue services.
  • Additional portable oxygen cylinder (US$ 20 per bottle).
  • Extra charge for hiring yak and yak herder personally.
  • Services not mentioned herein.

General Info

General Information:

Tibet, standing at an average elevation of 16,500ft above sea level, till today, still remains one of the most interesting, mysterious, enchanting, remote and in many of the areas still underdeveloped. Besides being the highest plateau in the world; its transformation from a warring and aggressive to a peaceful, pious and gentle people by the influence of Buddhism, is very amazing. Its isolation nearly till the second half of the twentieth century; its diverse climatic and geographical conditions strongly attract people of all types from historians, adventurers, pilgrims and so on.

A trip to Tibet is more of an adventurous and spiritual for those who believe Tibet as a Power Place. Due to its high altitude, those travelers with a history of heart, lung or anemic problems should consult their doctor before considering a visit.

Overland travel between Kathmandu and Tibet is an incredible journey where you get to see the world’s highest plateau and the Himalayan Ranges in all its glory before you. The trip becomes more wonderful and amazing as you pass through high winding roads and passes.

It’s most important that visitors should understand that Tibet was only opened to tourism since the mid eighties and you should be ready for a bit of adventure regarding hotel accommodation and other services especially en-route.

Hotels En-Route:

Budget hotels en-route are very basic provide dormitories accommodation and common toilets. Most of the hotel staff do not speak English. However, many popular deluxe category hotel of international standard have employed English speaking staffs, many of them are from Nepal. There are several continental restaurants available in Lhasa.

Transportation:

Overland Transport:

We use Land Cruiser 4500 (New Model) or  van, mini bus, coaster and deluxe coaches as necessary. All vehicles have air-conditioned.

Flight: Air China is the only airline fly between Lhasa – Kathmandu, this is the only airline in the world that fly over Mt. Everest, make sure you take a left hand seat while flying to Lhasa and vice versa to view the majestic Himalayas including Everest.

Photographs:

Taking photographs is prohibited in sensitive areas like in Check Posts/Army Areas. There is an extra charge if you wish to take photographs inside Monasteries. Sometimes, Monasteries charge extra for each different section of the same Monastery. If you want to take a photograph of an individual please ask him or her first, Carry plenty of rolls of films and batteries.

 Road Condition:

The road from Kathmandu to Kodari (Nepal-China Border) is quite narrow but most of it is tarmac. The driving in central Tibet is much more comfortable since roads from Zhangmu to Lhasa are fully pitched except in some area between Zhangmmu and Shigatse which is under construction and about to be completed. From Zhangmu to Nyalam it is one of the most mountainous with many twists and turns, you will enjoy breathtaking views including water falls pouring down to the river Bhotekosi. The landscape changes from green forest to barren Tibetan plateau or vice versa.

Toilet En-Route:

Toilet en-route Zhangmu to Lhasa during drive is a problem for ladies, you will require going to toilet often due to required consumption of water, it is best not to use common toilet, we advise using open air toilet which is available. One can go behind the rock or off the road. We suggest asking driver to stop the vehicle for toilet in less populated areas before stopping for a meal in town where clean toilets are not available.

Languages:

Tibetan and Chinese are highly spoken in Tibet Autonomous region, in remote areas more majority speaks Tibetan Language however, there are different Tibetan dialogues used.

Food:

Traditional meal of Tibetan is Tsampa (roasted Barley flour) and butter tea. There are not so many choices of restaurant in small towns. However, there are many Tibetan, Chinese and continental restaurants in big cities such as Lhasa, Shigatse, Tsedang. Mostly you get yak meat, sheep meat sometime pork.

Some recommended restaurants:

Lhasa: Kyichu restaurant, Snow Land restaurant, Lhasa Kitchen, Third Eye, Tashi Restaurant, Crazy Yak,  Duniya

Bars: 52beer bar, Last Bus Bar

Shigatse: Mandala Restaurant, Tashi restaurant

Entertainment in Lhasa: There are discotheques, nightclubs, bars, karaoke, well organized spa facilities, Nangla (cultural show) with traditional music.

Exchange Rate, ATM and Credit Card: 

The exchange rate of - approx. US$1 = Yuan 6. Banks in Tibet/China are closed on Saturday and Sunday. Regarding the budget for your tour, it is entirely up to you how much you want to spend with shopping etc. However, we advise you to carry at least US$150 per person for a week. Major currencies such as US Dollar, Euro, UK sterling can be exchanged at the Bank of China branches in Zhangmu, Shigatse and Lhasa. There are ATM Machines in Lhasa and Shigatse. Big stores, restaurants and hotels accept major credit cards.

While entering Tibet by overland through Nepal border, you can change with local moneychanger in Zhangmu but consult with your guide for reliability of the money changer in order to avoid any counterfeit notes.

Communication from Tibet:

There are internet centers and private phone booths in Lhasa, Gyantse and Shigatse, it is best to ask your tour guide, it is usually written INTERNET CENTER on their signboards. Nowadays, there are Wi-Fi facilities in most of the hotels and restaurants in major cities.

Local Transport: 

Taxi is available, charges Yuan 10 within the city centre. There are three wheeler pushbikes as well for short distances. You will have to make sure you have someone with you who speaks Chinese while taking taxi or any local transport or you must know the Chinese and Tibetan name of the your destination.

Electricity: 220 volt.

Passport Size Photographs:

Please make sure that you carry some passport size photographs in case it is needed.

Itinerary:

The agency reserves the right to amend the itinerary at the last minute without prior notice as per the local conditions.

Acclimatization & Altitude Sickness:

Due to the very high altitude - over 12,000 ft, acclimatization is very important. You may be likely to experience some of the minor symptoms and discomfort of altitude sickness (headaches, mild nauseas, loss of appetite) until your body adjusts to the elevation.  This can take from a few hours to a couple of days depending on the individual. Do not exert yourself and drink plenty of non-alcoholic liquids. It is very important to drink at least 4-5 liters of liquids daily to avoid any altitude sickness; this is probably the best remedy for AMS.

Do not forget - the common effects of altitude such as:

  • You may feel breathlessness on exertion; some headache is treatable by aspirin.
  • May be some difficulty sleeping and a little loss of appetite.
  • You might also wake up suddenly at night trying to catch your breath. Do not panic! Your metabolism has simply slowed down.
  • You may also experience an exaggerated thumping headache, which will not go away, breathless even at rest, extreme nausea.
  • The lack of oxygen in the system will first affect either the brain (HACE - Height Altitude Cerebral Edema) causing loss of physical and mental coordination OR the lungs (HAPE - Height Altitude Pulmonary Edema), coughing up persistent sputum or both.
  • Do not drink any alcohol specially on the first two days of the tour. It seriously impairs the ability to acclimatize, and confuses the symptoms of AMS.

The following medication has been found to be helpful:        

Diamox the common name for Acetazolamide originally developed as a diuretic, but pragmatically found to aid acclimatization available in Kathmandu pharmacies. Some people feel it is ‘cheating’, but as trekking at altitude is not a competition and you are here to enjoy it to altitude, not just mask the symptoms. It will make you pee more as intended, and possibly give you a tingly feeling in your fingers, but is understood to have no more serious side effects. Taking it is entirely down to personal choice, but if you do decide to use it as a preventative we have found that a half a 250 mg tablet works just as well as a whole one and minimizes the side effects, each morning and evening, from the night before the trek through to the start of the descent from the highest point.

Oxygen Cylinder:

We provide reserve oxygen cylinder in our private tours. There will be minimum charges for using it.

Drive:

The length of time of drive everyday may vary from 3 hours to 8 hours including lunch, tea break depending upon the condition of the road; you will notice continuous construction of road in many places. There are many check posts en-route specially while driving outside Lhasa. There are Speed limit rules also and very strict monitoring on vehicles moving on the highway.

 Political Situation:

The political situation in Tibet is highly sensitive. You would be well advised not to discuss or talk or take anything of political with the local people that may aggravate the situation. Confine yourself to the interests of the tour.

 Single Supplement:

Please note that all tours are organized on twin sharing basis. If you want to stay in a single room than you will be required to pay single supplement, and you must inform us before the start of the tour so as to enable us to book the room in advance, otherwise it will be difficult to get rooms. Hotels in Tibet normally do not have triple sharing room.

Guide:

We always use our own Guides employed by our office. Guiding is considered the most important factor to ensure quality services. Tourism is still considered new to Tibet compare to many Asian countries, so Guides in Tibet do not get enough exposure, Tibetan Guides have limited English and you may not expect a fluent explanation about culture and religion or any other academic topics however Guide will try to do best to their capacity. Your frequent questioning will encourage him/her to explain more in details.

Immigration Formalities: 

Zhangmu Immigration is the main immigration point while entering Tibet from Nepal by overland. Gongkar airport is the main immigration where you have to go through the formalities while flying into Tibet.

Tipping:

It is customary to give US$75 each to Guide and Driver per week. It is not compulsory to tip, only if you believe staff have done remarkably good job putting extra effort to make your trip enjoyable.

NOTE: I suggest you to buy few prayer flags and Khadas (scarf) from Kathmandu to offer to your guide and driver upon arrival.

It can easily be bought in local market in Lhasa as well to offer in monasteries in Tibet.

Clothing:

Cold Season (September – March)

  • Thermal underwear, Down Jacket, Warm Trousers and sweaters, Woollen Shirts full sleeves.
  • Hat (ear cover), Gloves water proof, Woolen socks

Warm season (April – August)

  • Comfortable trousers, T-shirt, Windproof jacket, Fleece jacket, Scarf

Normal checklist:

  • Casual wear and comfortable walking shoes, Sleeping bag (if you are trekking or using guest houses)
  • Bring all your films, Cosmetics, Personal toilet items that you will need from home, Wind breaker
  • Sun hat, Food snacks along way (power bars), Water Bottle, Sunglass, Swiss knife, Sun Cream
  • Toilet paper, Flash light batteries, Day pack camera and enough film, Mask : roads can be dusty sometimes
  • Rain Jacket, Personal medical kit, Recommended Guide Book (Foot Print by Gyurme Dorje)
  • Kathmandu Lhasa Road Map (easily available in Thamel)

Do and don’t:

  • Wear proper dress code during visit holy area, remove your hat, do not interrupt prayer
  • Do not point with your finger to any holy object
  • No antique are allowed to take from Tibet
  • China time is 8 hours ahead of GMT
  • Always keep copy of your visa or permit with yourself.
  • Do not take photograph without asking
  • Do not talk about any sensitive issues
  • Important Tibetan words are Tashi Delek which means “greetings”, Thucheche means “thank you”.
  • Use always both hand whenever you give or take anything.
  • Do not touch, walk over, or sit on any religious texts, sacred objects or prayer flags.
  • Tibetan people do not eat horse, dog, or donkey, as well as fish (in some areas).  While in Tibet, you should follow local dietary restrictions.
  • It is not polite to clap your palms and spit behind the Tibetan people.
  • Tibetan people stretch out their tongue to say hello to you. Also it is a courtesy to put their hands palm in front of breast.
  • Do not smoke in monasteries. Also it is not permitted to touch or photograph Buddha statues and religious articles.
  • In addition, when walking around the monastery, you should always walk in a clockwise direction (with the exception of Bon temples).
  • When walking around dagobas, monasteries or Mani piles, please go around them in a clockwise direction (with the exception of Bon sites), without crossing them.
  • Eagles are sacred birds in the eyes of the Tibetan people. Do not disturb them, drive them away or injure them.
  • You should also not disturb sheep or cows decorated with red, green or yellow cloth.
  • It is advisable to offer Khada ( silk scarf to anyone you meet for the first time)
  • It is advisable to offer Prayer flag or Lungta sacred script (string of prayer flag) in high passes, temple for good fortune or long life.
  • Note: We will offer you each prayers flag before you leave for Tibet as a gift.

Have a great time !

Basanta Adventure Treks & Expeditions (BATE) ©

 

 

 

 

 

 

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