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.


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

How long is the Kailash trek?
It’s a very high-altitude 32 mile/ 52 kilometer path around the base of the sacred mountain, shared by Tibet travelers and pilgrims. Most travelers take three days while many Tibetans do it in one.

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

Why is Mt. Kailash known for?
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.

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.

What is the mountain called by Tibetans?
Tibetans know Kailash as Kang Rinpoche.

Start here to learn how to experience this genuinely once-in-a-lifetime journey for yourself:

Mount Kailash: A Walk on Sacred Ground

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

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.
Read more

Mount Kailash Tour

Prayer flags at the Dolma La Pass on the Kailash kora.

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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Mount Kailash Trekking: 3-Days at the Holy Mountain

Trip to Kailash: Prayer Flags in the Foothills of Mt Kailash

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

The lovely little Zutulpuk Gompa on the 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

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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Mount Kailash Videos

Mount Kailash Videos: Pilgrims in the early stages of the Kailash kora on the first day out of Darchen

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 February 20, 2021. 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.