Mt. Kailash: How to Travel to the Holiest Mountain on Earth

Mount Kailash Trekking: A view of Kailash from the Barkha Plain
Mount Kailash Trekking: A view of Kailash from the Barkha Plain

Our goal in this post is to give you all the travel tips and tools we know about traveling to holy Mt Kailash, which for many is a highlight of their visit to Tibet.

2020 Coronavirus Note: Due to the COVID19 crisis, Tibet is temporarily closed to all foreign travelers, at least through the end of July 2020. However, travelers who pre-book Tibet tours by the end of June 2020 will get a rare opportunity for special discounts plus extraordinary flexibility on dates of travel. At the same time, you will support local Tibetan-owned businesses at a time when they are struggling to survive. To learn more, ask us for an introduction to a reliable Tibetan travel agency here.

Known to Tibetans as Kang Rinpoche, Mt. Kailash is one of the most holy and unique spots on earth, and is a sacred pilgrimage site for people of the Buddhist, Hindu, Jain and Bon faiths.

Tibet travelers and pilgrims all walk the same route around the base of the sacred mountain — a very high-altitude 32 mile/ 52 kilometer path. While it’s not for every traveler, those who make the journey are forever changed by the powerful experience.

MT. KAILASH Q&A

Where is Mt. Kailash? It’s in the far west of Tibet, near the intersection of Tibet, Nepal and India.

How can I travel to Mt. Kailash?  You need to be on an official tour in Tibet (on a private or group tour with a travel agency), starting in Lhasa. If you want help with that, click here to ask us to connect you to a reliable Tibetan-owned travel agent. (Sorry, our agents cannot assist Indian nationals.)

How high is the mountain? 21,778 feet/ 6638 meters

Does the Mt. Kailash trek reach the peak of the mountain? No. The pilgrimage trek circles the base of the mountain on a very high altitude trekking route that tops out at the 18,372ft (5600m) Dolma pass. Mount Kailash itself has never been climbed, because it is considered so sacred to Buddhists and Hindus.

Mount Kailash: A Walk on Sacred Ground

Although it is little known in the western world, Mount Kailash is one of the most sacred spots on earth, and is a holy pilgrimage site for people of the Hindu, Buddhist, Jain and Bon faiths.
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Mount Kailash Trekking: 3-Days at the Holy Mountain

Mount Kailash Trekking: A view of Kailash from the Barkha Plain

Get an inside look at the extraordinary 3-day trek around one of the world’s most holy mountains…
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Practical Travel Tips for the Mt Kailash Trek

Mt Kailash Trek

Here are some practical considerations if you’re considering the Mt. Kailash trek. These tips were compiled by Meg Moser to accompany her guest post. Read more

Trekking Mount Kailash

If you plan on trekking Mount Kailash, and want to avoid getting altitude sickness, this itinerary gives you a relatively slow entry to Lhasa, and ascent to Everest Base Camp, plus an extra rest day before you hit the extreme high altitudes of Kailash.
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Mount Kailash Tour

Mt. Kailash

Many of you 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.
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How to Prepare for a Mt Kailash Trek

Prepare Mt Kailash Trek

Here’s the first in a series of videos on preparing for a Mt Kailash trek in Central Tibet — which includes preparing to visit Lhasa and Everest Base Camp — since you usually visit both of them on the way.
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Collection of Mount Kailash Videos

A view of Lake Manasarovar and the Barkha Plain from the foothills of Mount Kailash.

This collection of Mount Kailash videos were taken in September 2017 by Yolanda O’Bannon and Meg Moser during their kora (a pilgrimage walk around the holy mountain).
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Kailash Photos

On the Kailash tour, looking back at Mount Kailash from Lake Manasarovar.

In this gallery you will find Kailash photos by artist, papermaker and Tibet traveler Carol Brighton.
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Updated on May 1, 2020. First published on February 16, 2019.

Your Tibet travel advisors, Lobsang and Yolanda

Most people who want to go to Tibet don't know how to get there or who to trust for help. We’re Lobsang Wangdu and Yolanda O’Bannon, and we help make Tibet travel more simple, safe and ethical so you can feel peace of mind about your trip. Learn more about us and YoWangdu here.