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Mt. Kailash Trek

Trip Route: Ktm-Zangmu-Nylam-Manasarover-Darchen-Dirapuk Gompa-Zutul-Puk-Saga-Nylam-Ktm
Max Altitude: 5,300 m.
Trip Duration: 14 days
Transportation: Drive
Best Season: Spring & Autumn
Mt. Kailash Trek

A remarkable journey, covering the best parts of Tibet and truly a fabulous journey which offers awesomely beautiful rock formation, cascades and canyons slightly hidden under the thin mists.

With numerous high passes with stunning views of the picturesque landscape, tranquil lakes , rural villages, large meadows with nomad camps scattered all around the overland trip is one of the best in short duration. Enriched by the ancient most lavishly decorated monasteries and temples with chanting saffron coloured monks, ever-smiling faces of people and their typical lifestyle all contributes to this trip a memory of your lifetime. A land so rich in culture, tradition and steeped in religion with its unique landscape cast an enchanted spell that holds you in thrill and excitement.

Mount Kailash, situated within Tibet to the Northern part of the Himalaya. It is the spiritual center for four great religions: Tibetan Buddhism, Hinduism, the Jain religion and the pre-Buddhist animistic religion - the Bonpo. And strangely enough, four major rivers i.e. the Karnali, Sutlej, Indus and the longest one - Brahmaputra, originate from near Kailash mountain. For the Tibetans it is a particularly special place, the poet saint, Milarepa, spent several years here meditating in a cave. For the Hindus Mount Kailash is the earthly manifestation of their spiritual center of the universe, 'world pillar' around which all else revolves, its roots in the lowest hell and its summit kissing the heavens and on top lives their most revered God Shiva. The governments of Nepal and China reached an accord 3 years ago, that allowed the first treks across the border between the two countries. While it had been a route for Nepalese pilgrims for years, the foreign trekkers were never allowed to trek from Nepal to Tibet.

Mt. Kailash 6,714m / 22,028ft is situated to the north of the Himalayan barrier, wholly within Tibet. It is the perfect mountain with awesome beauty, with four great faces, the eastern face is belived to be crystal, thewestern ruby, the southern sapphire and the northern gold. It is the spiritual centre for four great religions: Tibetan Buddhism, Hinduism, the Jain religion and the pre-Buddhist animistic religion-Bonpo. To Tibetans it is known as Ghang Rimpoche(Precious Jewel of Snow) and they see it as the naval of the world. It is said that a stream from the mountain pours into a nearby lake and from here rivers flow in the four cardinal directions.

For the Hindus...their spiritual centre of the universe, described as a fantastic 'world pillar' 84,000 miles high, around which all else revolves, its root in the lowest hell and its summit reaching the heaven and the abode of their revered God Shiva and his consort Goddess Parvati.

For the pre-ancient religion Bon, it is the site where its founder Shanrab is said to have descended from heaven and it was formerly the spiritual centre of Zhang Zung, the ancient Bon Empire that once included all western Tibet. Bon people circummbulate this holy mountain in an anti-clockwise manner, unlike the other religion does it clockwise.

Over the centuries, pilgrims from all corners of the world have constantly journeyed immense distances to achieve enlightenment or cleanse themselves from sins, braving enormous distances, particularly harsh weather and bandit attacks.

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Outline Itinerary

Day 01: Kathmandu (1,300m)-Zangmu(2,300m)-Nylam(3,450m)
Day 02:
At Nylam for acclimatisation. 
Day 03:
Drive to Saga or camp enroute. 6-7 hrs journeys.
Day 04:
Drive to Paryang. 6-7 hrs. 
Day 05:
Drive to Manasarover near Horpa. 4,550m. 6-7 hrs ride. 
Day 06:
Acclimatization and Rest Day at Manasarover.
Day 07:
Drive to Darchen 4,600m and begin 3/4 hrs Parikrama. 
Day 08:
Trek & Camp at Dirapuk Gompa 5,300m. 5 hrs. 
Day 09:
Trek to Zutul-Puk. 4,760m. approx 6 hour walk.
Day 10:
Trek to Darchen and drive to Chui Gompa. Approx: 3-4 hr.walk.
Day 11:
Drive to Paryang.
Day 12:
Drive to Saga.
Day 13:
Drive to Nylam.
Day 14:
Drive to Kathmandu.

Service includes
  • All necessary Tibet travel permits
  • Flight ticket Kathmandu - Lhasa
  • Transportation in Tibet with 4WD Land Cruiser
  • Budget accommodation in Tibet
  • English speaking tibetan guide
  • Monastery entry fees / sightseeing entrance fees
  • Zhangmu (Tibetan boarder town) - Kathmandu transfer by private vehicle
  • Tibet group visa
  • All applicable taxes and service charges
Service does not include
  • Meals other than breakfast in Tibet
  • Airport tax in Kathmandu while flying to Lhasa
  • Nepal re-entry visa fee
  • Your travel insurance
  • Any additional expenses due to unforeseen circumstances
Detail Itinerary

Day 01: Kathmandu (1,300m)-Zangmu(2,300m)-Nylam(3,450m)
Morning Bus drive to Nylam via Zangmu, after a few hours drive at Dhulikhel, continue 4-5 hours drive, to Kodari. Kodari the last Nepalese frontier, here your passport will be checked after the formalities walk to the friendship bridge (depending upon the road condition due to monsoon rain) either transfer in local truck or walk, by truck 1/2 hour drive to Zangmu from the bridge, by walk a little more than 1 hour uphill, on reaching Zangmu you will be received by our Tibetan Guide and driver, after a brief formalities at the Chinese Immigration and Custom our drive continues to Nylam a scenic drive on the narrow road at someplace, following the Bhote Koshi upstream in the midst of the oaks-rhododendron and pines forest, on reaching Nylam the tree lines disappears with only high altitude vegetation of berberry bush and some alpine plants. At Nylam transfer to the nearby Guesthouse/Lodges. Dinner at local Chinese Restaurant just across the main road.

Day 02: At Nylam for acclimatisation.
A necessary acclamatisation day, at Nylam one can go for a short walk and visit the 11th Centaury poet saint Milereppa Cave and its monastery nearby.

Day 03: Drive to Drive to Saga 4,400m. 6-7 hrs journey.
Morning wake up call on Bejing Standard Time which is about 2 hours 15 minutes ahead then the Nepal standard time. After breakfast prepare for the most adventurous journey on the Tibetan windswept landscape, today passing through two high passes of Lalung-La at 5050m with great view of Shishapangma (8013m)-Gaurishanker (7134m) Langtang (7234m) and array of other mountain range, the drive continues with a brief stop, drive is on the dirt road passing through numerous villages and farm fields and Nomads camps with their cattle’s of sheep’s and Yak grazing, as you come to town the road improves with the paved-road. Journey turns south at first then heading towards west to the most remote corners of Tibet and probably in the world. After leaving the good road, drive continues passing through many farm villages and high passes. The drive today actually seems long than the other past days then the drive finally ends at the town called Saga.

Day 04: Drive to Paryang. 6-7 hrs. 
Starting earlier, another long day drive leads past the suburb of Saga for complete wilderness, after few hours ride the drive winds and climbs to a pass of about 4,900m. then descending to the long stretch of Tibetan plains, on a clear day great views of the distant peaks of north western Nepal can be seen while on the drive most of the way. The drive passes few villages after every few hours of this scenic drive and then eventually coming to a desolate windswept village of Paryang. Paryang at approx 4,550m is a village of 15-20 houses mainly serving as Guest houses and Lodge, where the facilities are very simple and basic.

Day 05: Drive to Horpa eastern side of Manasarover. 4,550m. 6-7 hrs ride. 
Today's drive leads to more barren, harsh landscapes with occasional stops and passing through some small villages and nomads camps, and large Tibetan tents serving as teahouses and restaurants, the drive continues leaving the vast plains and then climbing up to the last pass of Mayam-la at 5,150m the road meanders to a long ascend the road gains altitude rapidly at first, then levels crossing the barren base below the pass and with a gradual drive of few hours reaches at the shore of Lake Manasarover for the overnight stop.

Day 06: Acclimatization and Rest Day at Manasarover.
Rest day for acclimatization at leisure or short hike and visit to the nearby monasteries. Manasarovar, a sacred lake, located in West Tibet between Mt. Kailash 6,714m. and the Gurla Mandhata Range 7,694 m.Manasarovar floats beneath the shadow of holy Kailash as the lake formed in the mind of God. In any language, this is the holiest, most famous lake in Asia. The best time to circle Manasarovar is in late autumn and early spring when the streams and rivers flowing into the lake are low. It is then possible to walk very near the shoreline. An optional parikrama trip of Manasarover Lake can be done on request which takes approx. 4-5 hrs.

Day 07: Drive to Darchen 4,600m and begin walk to Dhiraphuk 4,900m.
Two hours drive will bring to Darchen,a small settlement with few guesthouses this places can be quite busy with pilgrims during the auspicious time for the parikrama / kora (circummbulation). Darchen, is the starting and ending point of the holy walk around. The holy walk leads west from the guest house compound high above the Barkha plain to a cairn and prayer flags, an excellent view of Mt.Kailash from this spot. The trail continues across the plain to Shershong, an hour past Shersong is a bridge leading to Chhuku Gompa high on the hill above, The west bank trail leads across the scree slopes to our overnight camp just by the streams on the meadow, before Damding Donkhang that offers a good view of the west face of Mt.Kailash. Kailash (6,714m.), Asia’s most sacred mountain, is said to be at the heart of the ancient Shangshung kingdom, the supposed land of origin of the pre-Buddhist Bonpos. Mount Kailash is their soul-mountain. This is the very place where the sect’s legendary founder, Tonpa Shenrab descended from heaven to earth. After 4-5 hrs walks brings you at Diraphuk Gompa. This is a superb little gompa with an exquisite interior and an excellent view of the North Face of Kailash, at present there are few shops and a Lodge on the opposite side of the monastery.

Day 08: Trek to Zutul-Puk. 4,760m. approx 6 hour walk. 
After a good rest here at Dhiraphuk, walk continues on the gradual path for some time, after the bridges the parikrama route climbs onto a moraine, eventually meeting the trail from the east bank. The trail from here climbs steeply to a meadow for the overnight camp. Parikrama / kora continues with a steep climb for 20-30 minutes with great views of North East Face of Mt.Kailash after reaching the ridge the path leads to a gradual walk for a while till it reaches to the last final climb towards Dromo-la at the highest point of this journey. The trail today leads up past piles of clothing, the local Tibetan pilgrims leave an article of clothing or some of their possessions leaving their past life behind them, the kora continues past thousands of small rock cairns beyond to a stone hut and across a boulder field and up to the high pass of Dromo- la at approx.5, 470m /18,525ft. A big boulder represents the goddess Dolma or Dromo (Tara) is festooned with prayer flags. This spot is the physical and spiritual high point of the pilgrimage kora.

The track from here descends to the plain below, a few hours walk brings to the overnight stop at Zutul-Puk Gompa, Zuthul means cave. The place is named after a cave in which the poet, saint Milarepa stayed meditating. His footprint still remains on the roof.

Day 09: Trek to Darchen and drive to Chui Gompa. Approx: 3-4 hr.walk. and 2 hrs drive.
The last day of our holy ‘kora’ leads to an easy walk of only 3 to 4 hours on the broad level winding trail, passing numerous mani walls, then coming to a narrow valley and short section of gorge as the route turns towards west to Darchen, the last leg of the trek make a dramatic exit from the river valley on to the plain the walk passes to a mani walls decorated with carved yak skulls. A short walk from here brings you to the windswept little township at Darchen and the end of this great walk. From here drive back to Lake Mansorover for the overnight halt near Chui Gompa for the overnight stop.

Day 10-11: Retrace the drive back to Nylam via Paryang and Saga.
These two days drive leads back to Paryang and Saga before reaching to Nylam by the same way back.

Day 12: Drive to Nylam.
From Saga drive back to Nylam for the last overnight stop in Tibet, Nylam is also the starting and ending point of the Tibetan Plateau where the green vegetation ends and begins with the desert like landscapes.

Day 13: Drive back to Kathmandu.
From Nylam the drive leads downhill through the gorge with views of cascading waterfalls and back to rich vegetation and tree lines on reaching at Zhangmu the frontier town after completing the visa formalities drive back to Kathmandu with another visa formalities at Kodari.

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