15 Day Mt. Kailash Trekking Tour
An unforgettable journey through the Tibetan Himalayas
You will be in exclusive company if you come on this 15 Day Mt Kailash Tour that takes you on the journey of a lifetime. To do a “kora” around Mt Kailash is supposed to erase a lifetime of karma in the religion of Tibetan Buddhism, and as you trek this incredible landscape you will witness the faithful prostrating along the same path. Mt Kailash sits in the western reaches of Tibet and is a pilgrimage not only for Tibetan Buddhists, but also followers of the Bon religion, Jainism, and Hinduism. This is a unique place in the world full of ancient traditions and customs, as well as being all together wild and remote. Have the adventure of a lifetime and let us transport you to a place that abounds in magic and mystery in the wilderness of Tibet.
Tour itinerary at glance
Day 1 - Lhasa (Arrival)
You are welcomed warmly in Tibetan by the greeting “Tashi Delek” at Train station/ Airport by our professional Tibetan guide. After meeting your guide you will be transferred to your prearranged hotel in Lhasa. The choice is yours, either enjoy some time relaxing or take a stroll through the city’s’ streets to take in some of the local flavor. Whatever you choose it is important to take it slow as your body needs time to acclimatize. This will help you to have a more enjoyable experience for the rest of your time.
Day 2 - Lhasa
In the morning, we will begin the tour with the grand Potala Palace! Built in 7th century, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is the highest building in Lhasa. With roughly 1000 stairs to climb, you will enjoy a commanding view of beautiful Lhasa City and the surrounding mountains. There are many rooms, courtyards, and views to explore in Potala Palace, so the better part of the morning will be spent here. In the afternoon we will visit Jokhang Temple, which is considered the most sacred and important temple in Tibet. It was built approximately 1350 years ago in a mix of styles including: Tibetan, Tang Dynasty Chinese, Nepalese and Indian. After experiencing this incredible and ancient temple you will find it is the perfect opportunity to envelope yourself in the famous shopping district of Barkhor Street. Beautiful and unique handicrafts from all over Tibet can be found here, and the shopping is enjoyed by both tourists and locals alike! After perusing the wares, join in with locals and pilgrims from around the country and the world in a traditional “kora”. A kora is a clockwise walk done around Buddhists sites, and is traditionally done three times. You may see some walking counterclockwise, however this is only for Bon religion followers, and it is best to stick to clockwise as a tourist. After your kora, sit and watch the many faces and colorful clothed locals while sipping traditional Tibetan butter tea, made with fresh yak butter and yak milk. Free welcome dinner will be arranged for the first night!
Day 3 - Lhasa
First on the itinerary for your 3rd day is Drepung Monastery. It is considered to be one of the three great Gelug monasteries in Tibet. Drepung Monastery is also famous for hosting the unveiling and displaying of the enormous Thanka of the Great Buddha and the Tibetan Opera Show during the Shoton Festival. Later in the afternoon, we will explore another of the “Great Three” monasteries, Sera Monastery. Visitors will have the unique privilege in witnessing one of the magnificent traditions of Tibetan Buddhism, the courtyard debates among the monks. These lively debates contribute to the monks understanding of Buddhist philosophy and achieve a higher level of study. The debates are held on weekdays from 3pm to 5pm in the afternoon.
Day 4 - Lhasa/Gyantse/Shigatse
On day four, our tour leaves the bustling and ancient city of Lhasa and heads into the Nyangchu Valley. The valley follows the Nyang River, one of the tributaries to the Yarlung Zangbo which later becomes the Bramaputra River. This wide floodplain is home to a host of wildlife and bird species. The road will also cross over the Gampala Pass(4900m), on the way to Yamdrok Lake(4400m). Yamdrok Lake with its turquoise waters looks surreal as it stretches from horizon to horizon. After driving along the picturesque lake, and leaving it behind we then meet the Karo-la Glacier(4960m) which is in easy view from the roadside. Once pictures are taken and memories made we continue on to Gyantse, a famous historical city, where we will pay a visit to Pelkor Monastery and Gantse Kumbum. Later we arrive in Shigatse, the second largest city in Tibet.
Day 5 - Shigatse / Tingri
This morning you will first visit Tashilunpo Monastery which is the seat of all the Panchen Lamas. it was built in 1447, and the monastery houses a giant statue of the Maitreya Buddha, considered the biggest gilded statue of Maitreya (Buddha of the future) in the world. Also at the monastery is the tomb of all the Panchen Lamas, containing many jewels and gold. Afterwards the tour continues to Tingri.
Day 6 - Tingri / Everest Base Camp
For your sixth day, you will make your way to the highest monastery in the world, Rongbuk Monastery (5100m). First the tour will pass by Latse, and Shegar before arriving at the Rongbuk Monastery where both monks and nuns live and practice together. A little further on you will find the guesthouse run by a wonderful family where you will spend the night. From here, it offers a commanding view of Everest, or “Qomolangma” in Tibetan. Rongbuk Monastery sits small and unassuming tucked into the rock, a visit to this retired monastery with its one monk caretaker is a window into the past with its secret spaces and wall frescos. The Rongbuk Monastery has an intimate connection with the Tengboche Monastery just on the other side of Qomolangma where the Sherpa people, who are Tibetan in origin, came through the pass some 500 yrs. ago
Day 7 - Everest Base Camp / Saga
Leaving behind Mount Everest today we drive to Old Tingri in the morning, and it will be last place where we can see Mount Everest on the way west. The scenic drive will also take us through the Lalongla Mountain Pass, and it is the best place to view Mount Shishapangma. Shishapangma is 8012 meters above sea level, and it is the only mountain above 8000 meter that is entirely located in China. On the way, we will also pass by Peikutso Lake. It is the largest lake in Shigatse with more than 300 square kilometers surface area. This clear, sapphire blue lake is a heaven for the wild animals on the plateau.
Day 8 - Saga / Lake Manasarovar / Darchen (4680m)
After breakfast we drive to the sacred Mount Kailash. It is the main peak of the Gangdise and dominates the landscape at 6638 meters above sea level(the foot of the mountain is about 4500 meters above sea level). Kailash in Tibetan means “the treasure of the snow mountain”. It is recognized as the center of the world by Tibetan Buddhism, Hinduism, Bon and Jainism. Interestingly the mountain has four sides, similar to a pyramid that each face one of the cardinal directions. It also is close to the source of four major rivers of the world including the Indus River, the Brahmaputra, the Karnali (tributary of the Ganges) and the Sutlej. Before reaching this spectacular mountain we will enjoy a detour to Lake Mansarovar, which is located 20 kilometers southeast of Mount Kailash, and 4588 meters above sea level. Together with Yamdrok Lake, and Namtso Lake, they are called the three great lake of Tibet. Later, we drive to the Darchen to prepare for the next three days of trekking around Mount Kailash. Our guide will help to arrange yaks for carrying your luggage if there is need.
Day 9 - Trek Day One - Darchen to Drirapuk(4920m)
The journey begins after passing the prayer flag square and we step onto the famous kora route. The journey to the west side of Darchen (4560m ) is not very far and the scenery will take you to another place and time. Our first stop is six kilometers down the trail to Qugu Temple, where lunch, hot water and instant noodles are available. Further along we come to some basic tents that offer a chance to rest. Then we continue on for another 2 kilometers and reach Drirapuk.
Day 10 - Trek day two - Drirapuk to Dzultripuk(4760m)
One of the magical moments during this adventure is waking up with the sounds of the river and the distant clang of the bells around the yaks necks at the foot of the sacred Mount Kailash. You will feel transported to a different century as you rise and get ready for the days hike. From Drirapuk the trail ascends to Dromala Pass(5630 m) about 6.5 kilometers along the hike. It will be the highest place during this trek. At the pass is a great opportunity to rest and enjoy Mount Kailash in the not too far distance to the west. We then continue to walk roughly 10 kilometers and start to follow the river with ample places to relax before another nine km to Dzutrpuk. You will fall deeply asleep from the exhilarating and physical day.
Day 11 - Trek day three- Dzultripuk to Darchen
Today the journey will be a more relaxed hike from Dzutrpuk Temple down to the mountain. The views s always on this adventure, are astounding and the saunter downhill will lift your spirits. About 6 kilometers along the hike you have the option of taking a vehicle here with your guide, or walking another 3 kilometers to Darchen.
Day 12 - Darchen / Saga
The drive back to Saga will descend through a vast desert landscape from Darchen. Either sit back and enjoy a nap as the ride in the bus lulls you to sleep, or enjoy snapping photos of this moonlike landscape and an almost 2000 meter descent.
Day 13 - Saga / Shigatse
After a restful night in Saga, we continue our journey back to Lhasa via Shigatse. Overlooking the town is the Potala-like Shigaste Zong, but it is mostly empty and what is seen is from a reconstruction in 2007.
Day 14 -Shigatse / Lhasa
Shigatse is the administrative center of Western Tibet, and the second largest city after Lhasa. The drive back from Shigtase to Lhasa will reward you with some familiar sites including sweeping golden fields of barley offset by bright blue skies. The quality of light found in Tibet is truly unique and on this last day driving back to Lhasa you will feel the dream like effects of this other world.
Day 15 - Lhasa Airport/Train Station Drop Off
Our journey ends today, and your guide will help transfer you from your hotel to the airport or train station and wish you a safe journey.
Flexibility of Tour Itinerary
Visitors may also choose to end at the Gyirong Border so as to depart to Kathmandu. If the group has members exiting Tibet from Gyirong, we will adapt the itinerary slightly to enjoy a small detour to an incredibly green and beautiful valley at the foot of Himalaya Mountain Range. Then see them off at the Sino-Nepal border, afterwards, we continue the drive back to Lhasa.
Please note this shall not affect the itinerary for the visitors continuing on to all the sights mentioned above, nor their original departure date.
Detailed price information
Prices are different per season. The weather is more comfortable in summer, but the experience is more private in winter.
- Apr – Jun | $ 1850 / CNY 12950
- Jul – Aug | $ 2000 / CNY 14000
- Sep – Oct.7th | $ 1890 / CNY 13230
- Oct.8th – Oct.31st | $ 1800 / CNY 12600
- Apr – Jun | $ 2040 / CNY 14280
- Jul – Aug | $ 2195 / CNY 15365
- Sep – Oct.7th | $ 2085 / CNY 14595
- Oct.8th – Oct.31st | $ 1990 / CNY 13930
What is the difference?
A standard class tour includes a clean, standard hotel room including breakfast. A comfort class tour includes an upgrade in hotel or room type. This option is especially recommended if you are used to traveling in upper class hotels.
Included in this trip