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How to Plan a Mount Kailash Tour from Lhasa?

Last Update: March 25, 2020

Taking a trip to Mount Kailash in western Tibet’s Ngari Prefecture is one of the most epic adventures on the plateau. Sitting at an elevation of 6,636 meters above sea level, and more than 1,200 kilometers from Lhasa, Mount Kailash is the most sacred mountain in the world, held in reverence by four separate religions.

A trip to Mount Kailash is an awe-inspiring adventure that stretches out across the Tibetan plateau. And planning such a trip requires you to be on a guided tour with a registered Tibetan travel agency. While you may think that the planning for such an epic journey might be almost impossible, with our help, you really need to do very little, as we will handle most of the details.

Getting to Mount Kailash from Lhasa

Traveling to Mount Kailash from Lhasa can be done in one of two ways, by flights to the Ngari Prefecture then overland to the mountain, or overland from Lhasa to Darchen, at the foot of the sacred mountain.

Lhasa to Mount Kailash by Overland

The overland trip to Mount Kailash is a journey that takes you from the stunning capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) to one of the most amazing holy destinations on the planet. This awesome yet extreme journey is the best way to travel to the sacred mountain, and there is no better way to reach the farthest western reaches of the plateau than by taking an overland route. Not only do you get to stop at Mount Everest along the way, but you also get to enjoy the amazing scenery of the plateau while you are driving across its vastness.

Lhasa to Mount Kailash by Overland past Lake YamdrokLhasa to Mount Kailash by Overland past Lake Yamdrok.

The trip to Mount Kailash from Lhasa is done as part of a 15-day tour of Tibet, which gives you the first few days in Lhasa to acclimatize and do some sightseeing, before heading off on the road out west. Whilst in Lhasa, you will get to visit the famous and iconic Potala Palace and the sacred Jokhang Temple, as well as some of the most famous monasteries in the capital.

The road out west takes you past Lake Yamdrok, one of the Great Three sacred lakes, and on to Gyantse, where you will stop to visit the Gyantse Kumbum Stupa in Pelkor Chode Monastery. Then you will continue on to Shigatse for the night. Before leaving Shigatse, you will visit the Tashilhunpo Monastery, and then head out through Tingri to visit Everest Base Camp (EBC), where you will stop for the night. The next day you travel back to the G318 Friendship Highway, then take the G219 National Road, which heads northwest to Saga. From there, it is a day’s journey on the Darchen, at the foot of the sacred mountain. Overall, this amazing and epic journey covers a total distance of around 1,672 kilometers.

Lhasa to Mount Kailash by Air

If you are thinking of flying to Mount Kailash, then the closest that you can get to the sacred mountain by flight is the Ngari Gunsa Airport in Shiquanhe, almost 200 kilometers to the northwest. While it is just a single day’s drive from the airport to the small town of Darchen at the foot of the sacred mountain, you do miss out on the amazing landscapes and scenery that an overland trip gives you.

Get to Mount Kailash by air from LhasaGet to Mount Kailash by air from Lhasa.

However, if time is of the essence, and you really need to travel to Mount Kailash quickly, then the flight from Lhasa to Gunsa is an ideal way to get to the mountain. Daily flights depart from the Lhasa Gonggar International Airport in Shannan prefecture, arriving at around 9:30am in Gunsa. The flights take around two hours, and cost from around 392 US dollars per person.

Best Time for Mount Kailash Tour from Lhasa

Much as the summer months are the main period of the peak season in Tibetan tourism, the best time to visit Mount Kailash in western Tibet is normally in the spring and autumn. Spring, from April to June, and autumn, from mid-September to the end of October, is when the weather is at its best for trekking around the sacred mountain.

Trekking around the Mount Kailash in the springTrekking around the Mount Kailash in the spring.

Dry weather, clear skies, and almost no rain at all means that you have the best weather possible for hiking around the sacred kora route. While it may be a little colder, it is better than the muddy terrain that comes with the summer monsoon season. And in the winter, the whole area is covered with snow, making the trek untenable.

Travel Permits for Mount Kailash Tour from Lhasa

For the epic adventure to Mount Kailash, there are certain permits that are required for you to reach the sacred mountain and take the trek around it. All tourists heading for Tibet, and especially Mount Kailash, are required to be on a re-arranged tour of the plateau region, complete with private tour guide, driver, and private vehicle. The permits that you require for the trip to the sacred mountain are then applied for by us, on your behalf. Personal applications for these permits is not permitted, and they are only issued on proof of a booked tour.

Chinese VisaChinese Visa for the UK

The permits you need for the trip to Mount Kailash are:

Tibet Travel Permit (TTP) - This is required for entry to Tibet and to travel around in the area of Lhasa. The permit is applied for using a scanned copy of your passport and Chinese Entry Visa.

Alien’s Travel Permit (ATP) - Required for travel to the “unopened” areas of Tibet outside Lhasa, including Shigatse. The permit is applied for using your original passport and TTP once you arrive in Lhasa.

Restricted Areas Permit - This is often called the “Military Permit”, and is required for travel to military-sensitive areas such as Ngari, Nyingchi, etc. The permit is applied for in advance of your trip, and can take up to ten days to be approved.

Everest National Park Pass - Obtained prior to leaving Shigatse for EBC, the pass is checked before you can enter the Chomolungma National Nature Reserve area around Mount Everest.

Packing List for Mount Kailash Tour from Lhasa

While the list of clothes and gear that you will need is essentially up to you, there are a few things that you will need to make sure that you include in your packing, which you will find that you need along the route around the sacred mountain.

Clothes and Trekking Gear

The weather is colder around the mountain, and it is best to bring layers of t-shirts or trekking tops to keep warm. You can remove or add layers, depending on how cold or hot you get. And cover the layers with a light fleece sweater to keep your body heat inside. It is also essential to bring along a fleece or down jacket for the colder periods, such as when you stop or for the evenings. Hiking pants are the best option for this climate, but if you do not have them, go for track pants or light slacks, rather than jeans, which are heavy to hike in.

Trekking Gear for Mount Kailash TourTrekking Gear for Mount Kailash Tour.

You will need a good arctic-rated sleeping bag, as the weather can get cold at night. And bring along some high SPF sun block to keep your skin from burning in the intense sunlight. And remember to bring gloves, a warm hat, trekking poles (if you feel you need them to help maintain a sure footing), sunglasses, and a small backpack for the daytime hiking.

Medicine and Personal Items

You will need to make sure that you have all the personal medications that you need, especially if you are on medication prescribed by your own doctor. A first aid kit can be useful, and should include the standard bandages and Band-Aids, alcohol, iodine, anti-septic creams, painkillers (ibuprofen or paracetamol), and nausea tablets. These can help with the symptoms of altitude sickness.

Budget the Cost for Your Lhasa to Mount Kailash Tour

Choose to Travel in Low Season

If you are looking to reduce the cos of the trip, then taking a tour in the low season is much less expensive, and you can still get just as good an experience at Mount Kailash. The depths of winter are not a good idea for a trek around Mount Kailash. But you can still take the hike around the sacred mountain in November and March/April, which are outside the main peak tourist season in Tibet. Taking the trip in the lower or shoulder months means that hotels are often cheaper, as is transport, thanks to fewer tourists traveling to Tibet.

Join in our Mount Kailash Group Tour

Another way to save money is to join our Small Group Tour to Mount Kailash. An awesome experience, you will be able to join in with other like-minded individuals that are heading to the sacred mountain for the trek. The Small Group Tours have a set itinerary and a pre-set departure date.

Join our Small Group Tour to Mount KailashJoin our Small Group Tour to Mount Kailash.

The main advantage of the Small Group Tours is the saving you get on the overall cost of the trip. As a member of the party, you will share the high costs of the tour guide, driver, and vehicle with the other members of the party equally. This means that you can save a huge amount on the total cost of the private our version, making the trip more affordable. You can even choose which date you want to take your tour, from the list of our 15-day Mount Kailash and Lake Manasarovar Small Group Tours on the website.

Conclusion

Planning a tour of Tibet to Mount Kailash can only be done with the help of a registered travel agency in Tibet, as independent travel is not permitted. And while you can choose the places you want to see in Tibet, the length of your stay, and all the other details, we will be the ones making it all happen, while you just sit back and enjoy the trip. Planning a tour to Mount Kailash is as easy as calling us and talking to our professional tour consultants about your requirements.

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