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 to help you with this post detailing a great adventure by our favorite Tibetan-owned travel agent.
2023 Travel Advisory: Even though travel restrictions in China are lifting, at the moment, permits for travel to Tibet are not yet available for foreign nationals, whether you are currently living inside China or not. No one knows when they will open, but we will always update you as restrictions lift. To learn more, ask us for an introduction to a reliable Tibetan travel agency here.
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.
KAILASH TOUR ITINERARY
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.)
HOW TO PREVENT ALTITUDE SICKNESS?
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.
- Check out our popular Beginner’s Guide to Avoiding Altitude Sickness to get a complete discussion of this very important topic.
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.)
NOW IT’S YOUR TURN
That’s it for our breakdown of taking a Mount Kailash tour.
Now we’d love to hear from you.
What do you think will be the biggest challenge for you in undertaking this adventure?
Would it be the altitude, or the distance?
Let us know what you think in the comment box below.
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