Embarking on the Mount Kailash trek is a lifetime pilgrimage filled with spiritual significance. In this ultimate guide, we address six key concerns to ensure a fulfilling journey. From travel time and transportation to permits and packing list, this guide equips you with essential information for an unforgettable trek to this sacred mountain.
When is the Best Time for Mount Kailash Trek?
The weather in Ngari can be uncompromising at certain times of the year, so the best times for taking on this amazing trek are from April to early June (spring) and late September to the end of October (autumn). These are the times when the weather is dry and pleasant, with clear skies and almost no rain to interfere with your trekking.
Spring and Autumn are the best time for Mount Kailash trek.
The trek can also be done in summer, as the area around Ngari sees very little in the way of monsoon rains, though there are times when it can get pretty wet in late July and August. Unless you can be sure of good weather, it is best to stick to spring and autumn. Winter is definitely out, as it can get too cold in this region of Tibet, and there is often snow by the end of December, making the pass almost impossible to cross.
What Permits to Obtain for Mount Kailash Trek?
Permits are required for trekking around Mount Kailash, but you have little to worry about when it comes to getting them. All visitors to Tibet are required to be on a pre-arranged tour with a registered Tibet tour operator, and it is the tour operator that obtains the permits you need on your behalf. The permits you need for the Kailash Kora trek are:
Tibet Travel Permit – This is required for entry to Tibet and to travel around the area of Lhasa.
Aliens’ Travel Permit – Required for travel to the “unopened” areas of Tibet outside Lhasa, including Shigatse.
Foreign Affairs Permit - This is a must for visiting sensitive borders such as Mt. Kailash and eastern Tibet.
Military Permit - Required for travel to the military-sensitive areas in Tibet, such as Mount Kailash in Ali and Rowok Lake in Chamdo.
These permits are all included in our tour package, and we will assist with the application process to ensure a smooth journey to Mount Kailash. However, please note that the Tibet Travel Permit requires approximately 15-20 days for processing, so it is advisable to book well in advance.
How Can I Get to Mount Kailash?
To get to Mount Kailash for the holy trek, you can start your journey from either Lhasa or Kathmandu, depending on your entry point into Tibet.
If you're coming from Kathmandu, you have two options. You can travel overland from the Gyirong Port border with Nepal to reach Mount Kailash in Ngari. Alternatively, you can fly to Lhasa and then continue the journey overland to Mount Kailash.
Getting to Mount Kailash via overland from Lhasa.
If you choose to start from Lhasa, you'll embark on a picturesque overland route covering approximately 1,577 kilometers. The drive takes around four days, with stops at various attractions along the way, including the famous Mount Everest Base Camp.
Our most popular 15-day Mount Kailash tour includes a visit to the iconic landmarks of Lhasa, a trip to the majestic Everest Base Camp, the lifetime 3-day Mount Kailash kora trek, and exciting Tibet highlights along the route. It's an ideal option for trekkers of all levels who want to experience the incredible beauty of Mount Kailash.
How to Take the 3-day Mount Kailash Trek?
The Mount Kailash Kora trek starts and ends at Darchen village, located below the sacred mountain's southern face. Covering 52 kilometers in three days, the trek takes you past three Buddhist monasteries: Chuku, Drirapuk, and Dzultripuk. On the second day, you'll cross the highest point, Dolma La Pass, between Drirapuk and Dzultripuk, while exploring the scenic river valleys of Lha-chu and Lham-chu.
Day 1: Darchen - Drirapuk Monastery (driving 7km, trekking 13 km, 200m ascent)
The trek starts at Darchen, where you will take an eco-bus to Sarshung Valley. Then you will meet the yaks and porters at Sarshung village. After everything settled down, you will start the trek from Sarshung to Drirapuk Monastery.
Mount Kailash Kora trek starts from Darchen village.
The trek route follows the mountain's southern edge along the Lha-chu Valley. You can take your time on the trek up to the first camping ground, at Drirapuk, as the route up the valley boasts some of the best scenery of the entire kora.
Day 2: Drirapuk Monastery to Dzultripuk Monastery (Trekking 18km, 550m ascent, 600 descent)
After spending the night camping or staying in the monastery guesthouse, day two of the trek presents the most challenging section. Today, you will conquer the high pass of Dolma La (5,630m), where Prayer flags and Mani Stones adorn the pass, offering breathtaking views of the Gangdise Mountain Range, which are unparalleled in Tibet.
Views of the Gangdise Mountain Range from Dolma La Pass (5,630m)
The pass is a place for a rest and a cup of tea to revive ailing limbs, before starting the steep descent down to the Lham-chu Valley and the next stop at the Dzultripuk Monastery. After about three hours of trekking from the pass, you will enter the grassy fields that herald the next rest stop.
Dzultripuk Monastery has camping grounds for trekkers who are camping the route, and the lush fields make it a great place to camp for the night. The monastery also has a good guesthouse for those that like sleeping in a bed.
Day 3: Dzultripuk Monastery to Darchen (Trekking 7km, driving 5 km, 150m descent)
After a good night’s sleep, the final day of the trek follows the river valley closely for a little more than an hour, before climbing up above the river to a narrow canyon.
The canyon has some interesting holes dug into the sides, where pilgrims dig to look for holy Mani stones, and the entire canyon is strung with prayer flags from one side to the other. After you reach Zongto, you can take the bus back to Darchen, and finish the trek.
Mani stones can always be seen along Mount Kailash trek.
Where to Stay during Mount Kailash Trek?
Darchen does have hostels and guesthouses, so you can get a good night’s sleep before starting the trek. While there are guesthouses along the kora route at Drirapuk and Dzultripuk, during peak seasons or holy Tibetan festivals, these guesthouses may be fully occupied.
Fortunately, both monasteries also have awesome camping sites in lush grassy fields below the monasteries, close to the river. Camping is a popular way to spend the night, and you can sit and relax in the evening watching the stars in the night sky before turning in for the night.
What to Pack for Mount Kailash Trek?
When preparing for the Mount Kailash trek, it's essential to pack wisely to ensure a comfortable and safe journey. Here are some key items to include in your packing list:
Clothing: Layered clothing for varying weather conditions, including a warm jacket, thermal base layers, waterproof pants, and a hat.
Footwear: Sturdy and waterproof hiking boots with good ankle support, along with extra pairs of socks.
Backpack: A comfortable backpack with a rain cover to carry your essentials, including water, snacks, extra clothing, and personal items.
Camping Gear: A lightweight tent, sleeping bag, sleeping mat, and cooking utensils if you plan to camp along the route.
First Aid Kit: Include essential medications, bandages, blister plasters, and any personal medical supplies.
Trekking Poles: These can provide stability and support during the challenging sections of the trek.
Sun Protection: Sunscreen, sunglasses, a wide-brimmed hat, and lip balm with SPF to protect against the strong sun.
It's important to pack well when trekking to Mount Kailash.
To have a better trekking experience, it's important to pack responsibly and keep your backpack as light as possible. We can provide you with trekking poles to help reduce the strain on your body and make traveling lighter. If required, our local guide can assist you in arranging porters or yaks to carry your bags. This way, you can focus on enjoying the trek without the burden of heavy luggage.
Insider Tips for Your Smooth Mount Kailash Pilgrimage
Firstly, it is advisable to pre-book your Mount Kailash tour with a reliable tour operator like us. With years of experience in handling Mount Kailash tours, we can help to obtain necessary documents such as the Tibet Travel Permit, arrange accommodations, book flight or train to Lhasa, and provide knowledgeable local guides who are familiar with the trekking route. We have faith in offering you a smooth journey to Mount Kailash.
Our professional tour guide accompanies you throughout the Mount Kailash Tour.
Secondly, it is important to ensure you have a good level of fitness before embarking on the trek. Engaging in regular exercise and training can help prepare your body for the physical demands of the journey.
Thirdly, it is crucial to pay attention to the effects of high altitude sickness. Taking necessary precautions, such as acclimatizing properly, staying hydrated, and listening to your body, will help minimize the risk of altitude-related health issues during the trek.
Planning the Mount Kailash trek is pretty easy - just book the trip and come prepared with the right clothing and gear. We will do everything else for you, from arranging the permits to providing the guides and driver. Join us now to trek around the world’s most sacred mountain!