Many of you who want to visit Tibet have asked us about joining a group to take a Mount Kailash tour, and we’re happy to be able, finally, to help you, with this post detailing a great adventure by our favorite Tibetan-owned travel agent.
The beauty of this Kailash trekking tour is that it includes a bunch of Tibet’s top travel destinations, all in one swoop.
You start off in Lhasa, and visit all the major sites in and around the city for a few days — including the Jokhang, Potala, the Barkhor, Sera and Drepung monasteries — while you begin to acclimatize to the altitude. You then move on to Gyantse and Shigatse by way of Yamdrok Lake and the Karola Pass.
By day 5 you reach Everest Base Camp (EBC), for many, the dream of a lifetime. After an overnight at EBC, the tour heads to the far Western reaches of Tibet, to Saga, Lake Manasarovar, and finally, to Mount Kailash. Once you reach the mountain, one of the most sacred spots on the planet, you spend 3 days trekking the Kailash kora alongside pilgrims from all over Tibet. On the way back, you have the choice of continuing on to Nepal, or returning to Lhasa for your return flight or train.
Since no independent travel is allowed to Tibet and you must work with a travel agency, you want to be sure to choose a Tibetan-owned agency, which hires Tibetan guides only. The simplest way to do this is ask us to connect you to a reliable Tibetan-owned travel agent to plan a great trip for you that also supports the local Tibetan economy and culture. (Note to our Indian friends: Sorry, our agents cannot assist Indian nationals.)
KAILASH TOUR ITINERARY
|Day 01||Arrive Lhasa|
|Day 02||Lhasa: Jokhang, Potala Palace, Barkhor|
|Day 03||Lhasa: Drepung and Sera Monasteries|
|Day 04||Travel Lhasa to Gyantse to Shigatse: Lake Yamdrok, Kumbum, Karola Pass|
|Day 05||Shigatse and drive to Everest Base Camp: Tashilumpo Monastery, EBC, Rongbuk Monastery|
|Day 06||Everest Base Camp and travel to Saga: Lake Peiku and Western Tibetan wilderness|
|Day 07||Saga to Lake Manasarovar: Sand dunes and lake|
|Day 08||Manasarovar to Darchen: Views of Mount Kailash|
|Day 09||Trekking Day 1: Darchen to Dirakpuk|
|Day 10||Trekking Day 2: Kirakpuk to Zuktulpuk|
|Day 11||Trekking day 3: Zuktulpuk to Darchen|
|Day 12||Travel Darchen to Saga|
|Day 13||Saga to Zhangmu|
|Day 14||Some depart the group for Nepal; some travel on to Lhatse or Shigatse|
|Day 15||Travel Shigatse to Lhasa|
|Day 16||Depart from Lhasa by flight or train|
This tour is a good tour, and we can recommend a good agency for you, but like many popular tours offered by Lhasa agencies, it puts you at a decent amount of risk of getting altitude sickness. Fortunately, there are a few steps you can take to help:
- Before getting to Lhasa, take a little time to acclimatize by going to Xining, on the edge of the Tibetan Plateau, and staying there from 1-3 nights, the longer the better. (Because Xining is outside of the Tibetan Autonomous Region, you can do this on your own without being on an official tour.) Plus, there are good local Tibetan sites to visit.
- Catch the train from Xining to Lhasa for a little more acclimatization.
- Spend 2-3 extra nights after you arrive in Lhasa. You have to be on an official tour while in Lhasa, but this can be a private tour, so you can ask your travel agent to add a few private tour days to the beginning of your group tour.
- And consider asking your doctor for a prescription for Diamox, an effective altitude sickness prevention medication.
- Need an introduction to a good Tibetan-owned agency? We’re happy to help. Request the introduction here.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
Check this page with sample costs of common Tibet tour packages here.
To get an exact quote fill in our Tibet Travel Inquiries form and we will pass your information along to our preferred Tibetan-owned travel agent. The agent will work with you to find a departure date with at least 3 travelers. Not that if you book 3 months in advance you get a 5% discount.
WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO TRAVEL TO KAILASH?
The travel season for Kailash is April, May, June, September or October. July and August are not good bets due to summer monsoon, and winter is too cold. See more here about weather in Tibet.
WHAT DOES THE MOUNT KAILASH TOUR PRICE INCLUDE AND EXCLUDE?
- English speaking Tibetan guide
- Pick up at beginning and drop off at end of tour
- Private transportation in Tibet
- All Tibet travel permits
- Oxygen and first aid
- International or domestic flights or train (Though our agents can book, separately, your domestic flights and train.)
- Meals (This is common for Tibet tours. Meals in Tibet are average $5 USD per person. Your guide will bring you to eateries.)
- Porters or yaks for Kailash trekking. (Can be hired for 300 CNY per day.)
- Personal expenses (alcohol or laundry, for example)
- Tips for your driver and guide
- Travel insurance (like trip cancellation or medical evacuation. This type of insurance is recommended.)
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- Get your visa and Tibet permits
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