tibet-tour-discounts tibettour-wechat1
Get Tour Quote

Nepal to Mount Kailash: How to Get There? By Road or Flight?

Last Update: March 18, 2024

Taking a tour from Kathmandu in Nepal to Mount Kailash is more than a trip; it is an odyssey of the soul. The journey unfolds through diverse landscapes, from the vibrant streets of Kathmandu to the high plateaus of Tibet. Whether choosing road travel or soaring through the skies by flight, the Nepal to Mount Kailash journey promises an immersive experience that transcends the ordinary.

Where is Nepal and Mount Kailash? How Far are They?

Nepal, a landlocked country nestled in the heart of the Himalayas, is renowned for its breathtaking landscapes, rich culture, and vibrant traditions. Located between China and India, Nepal is a haven for trekkers, nature enthusiasts, and spiritual seekers.

Towering at an elevation of 6,638 meters above sea level, Mount Kailash stands as the highest peak in the Gangdise Range of the Transhimalaya, located in Ngari Prefecture in the remote western part of the Tibetan Autonomous Region.

The Sacred Mount KailashMount Kailash is located in Ngari Prefecture in western Tibet.

The approximate straight-line distance from Kathmandu to Mount Kailash is around 538 kilometers. However, the actual travel distance may vary depending on the route taken and the mode of transportation chosen for the journey. The pilgrimage from Nepal to Mount Kailash involves traversing challenging terrains, making the adventure both physically demanding and spiritually enriching.

Nepal to Mount Kailash by Road: The Time-saving Route via Gyirong

Embarking on a road journey from Kathmandu to Mount Kailash not only unveils the ideal route to explore this sacred mountain and the plateau's spectacular attractions but also offers a time-saving expedition. Entering from Nepal proves to be the easier option for travelers worldwide.

Kathmandu to Gyirong Port

The first leg of the trip starts in Kathmandu and takes you to the newest overland border checkpoint between China and Nepal, at Gyirong Port. After departing from Kathmandu in the morning with your driver, you will head towards the border checkpoint of Rasuwa Gadhi/Gyirong Port, 130km away from Nepal’s capital.

 Kathmandu to Gyirong Port The Road from Kathmandu to Gyirong Port

The drive to the border normally takes around 6-7 hours. The route from Kathmandu to Gyirong Port follows good roads up to Syabrubesi, though from the time you enter Langtang National Park, the roads to the border are mostly dirt and gravel. Langtang National Park is the oldest and most well-preserved park in Nepal and lies right on the border with China.

At the border, you will be met by your guide and driver, who will transfer you to Gyirong Town in Gyirong County. The drive to Gyirong town, around 23 kilometers, takes approximately 40 minutes, and the route takes you through the beautiful Gyirong Valley, with views of the amazing high mountains of the Himalayas on all sides.

 Gyirong Port Meeting the Tibetan guide at Gyirong Port

Gyirong to Mount Kailash

The second leg of the tour is the journey from Gyirong County to Mount Kailash, in Ngari Prefecture. A drive of around 456 kilometers, the trip is normally done in two days. The first part of the trip takes you to Saga, passing by the stunning lake Peiku Tso on the way. Lying at an altitude of 4,591 meters, the lake is a stunning sight with the 14th highest mountain in the world, Mount Shishapangma, in the background.

The second day of driving takes you from Saga to Darchen. Traveling around 145km first to Zhongba County of Shigatse Prefecture, the road conditions are good, with asphalt surfacing all the way. After Zhongba, however, the road conditions worsen, changing to dirt and gravel for the rest of the ride to Lake Manasarovar. However, the rough section of the route has some amazing panoramic views of the mountains.

After Lake Manasarovar, you will then finish the last 30km to Darchen, at the southern foot of Mount Kailash. A small village, Darchen is the start and finish of the trek around Mount Kailash, and is the only place to stay in before heading onto the kora route.

Nepal to Mount Kailash by Flight: The Popular Route via Lhasa

If you are not inclined to travel overland across the border, then you have the option of taking the flight to Lhasa from Kathmandu, the only country with international flight access to Tibet. You will then take the overland journey from Lhasa to Mount Kailash, which is the more popular route to the sacred mountain.

Fly from Kathmandu to Lhasa

Flights from Kathmandu to Lhasa run daily, with more flights per day in the peak season from May to October. Flights generally take around 90 minutes to make it across the plateau to Lhasa Gonggar International Airport. Located in Gonggar County in Shannan Prefecture, the airport lies around an hour’s drive from Lhasa city. Flights are provided by Air China and Sichuan Airlines, and the direct flight to Lhasa from Kathmandu crosses directly over the peak of Mount Everest.

To catch the flight, you should head to Kathmandu Tribhuvan International Airport, located approximately six kilometers from the city center on the Kathmandu Ring Road. As the sole international airport in Nepal, this is where your flight from your home country would arrive as well. Your connecting flight to Tibet will depart from the international flight departure area at TIA.

Travel Overland from Lhasa to Mount Kailash

Upon your arrival in Lhasa, take a few days to explore the city's captivating sights and attractions, allowing yourself to acclimate to the higher altitude of the plateau. Following your city tour, set out on a road trip from Lhasa toward the sacred Mount Kailash. The journey primarily follows the G318 Friendship Highway, leading you to the Shigatse prefecture. From there, the route transitions to the S214, guiding you all the way to Darchen.

Leaving Lhasa, your first destination is the enchanting Lake Yamdrok, followed by a visit to Gyantse ancient city. Continuing the journey, you'll proceed to Shigatse City, where you will spend the night.

 Lake YamdrokLeaving Lhasa, your first destination is the enchanting Lake Yamdrok.

Next morning, you will continue along the Friendship Highway to Old Tingri, where you will turn south along the Zhufeng Road to reach the world’s highest mountain, Mount Everest. There you will stop at the base camp to get photos of the mountain, and explore the nearby Rongbuk Monastery, officially known as the world’s highest Buddhist Monastery at 4,980 meters above sea level.

After leaving EBC, you will take the long road back to the G318 and turn west once more to head for Saga, and then on to Darchen.

Why Opt for the Kathmandu to Mount Kailash Route via Lhasa

Choosing to travel overland to Mount Kailash from Kathmandu poses challenges in proper acclimatization along the way, elevating the risk of altitude sickness. For a more viable option, many find that flying to Lhasa and then embarking on the overland journey to Kailash from Lhasa is a preferable choice. This allows nearly three days for acclimatization in Lhasa before venturing to Shigatse and Darchen.

Beyond acclimatization benefits, this route offers the opportunity to explore some of Tibet's most remarkable Buddhist monasteries, capture photographs of a lake integral to Tibetan culture, and even take a moment for a selfie with the world's highest mountain. Renowned as one of the most popular tour routes to Mount Kailash, it proves to be a superior and more enriching travel experience.

What Travel Permits to Obtain for Visiting Mount Kailash from Nepal?

Traveling to Mount Kailash from Kathmandu does require you to have a number of documents, though this should not put you off traveling. All tourists to Tibet are required to have a pre-arranged tour with a registered travel agency, who handles all the documentary requirements and paperwork for you.

Tibet Travel Permit is Needed for All Tibet Tour

The primary permit for entering Tibet and touring the region is the Tibet Travel Permit. Once you book your tour, our team will apply for this permit on your behalf with the Tibet Tourism Bureau in Lhasa. Using a scanned copy of your passport, the application, and approval process may take 15-20 days. So it is advisable to book your tour as early as possible.

Tibet Travel PermitTibet Travel Permit is a must for visiting Tibet.

Group Tourist Visa is Needed for Entering Tibet from Nepal

To enter Tibet from Nepal, obtaining a Group Tourist Visa is a crucial step in the travel process. Unlike the standard Chinese Entry Visa, the Group Tourist Visa is specifically required for travelers journeying to Tibet from Nepal.

Once you arrive in Kathmandu, our agent will collect your passport and assist you in completing the application form. After the approval process, which typically takes around three working days, we will collect the visa and deliver all necessary documents back to your hotel, ensuring a smooth continuation of your journey to the sacred Mount Kailash.

More Permits for Mount Kailash Tour

Beyond the Tibet Travel Permit and Chinese Group Visa, additional permits are required for various parts of the trip. The Alien's Travel Permit is necessary for "unopened" areas outside Lhasa, the Restricted Areas Permit (Military Permit) is mandatory for military-sensitive regions like Ngari and Nyingchi. These permits must be obtained before travel, regardless of whether the journey is by flight or overland, and are crucial for those crossing the border to travel to Lhasa.

What to Pack During Your Trip from Nepal to Mount Kailash?

Packing appropriately is crucial for a trip to Mount Kailash, considering the varied terrains, weather conditions, and the remote nature of the destination. Some essential items to pack include:

Warm Clothing: Given the high altitude, temperatures can drop significantly, especially at night. Pack layers, including thermal wear, insulated jackets, and waterproof clothing.

Good Quality Footwear: Sturdy and comfortable footwear is essential for both the road trip and any trekking activities around Mount Kailash.

Altitude Sickness Medication: As a precautionary measure, it's advisable to carry medication for altitude sickness. Consult with a healthcare professional before the trip.

Sun Protection: The high-altitude sun can be intense. Pack sunscreen, sunglasses, and a wide-brimmed hat to protect yourself from UV rays.

Manasarovar LakeTaking in the beautiful scenery at lakeside of Manasarovar Lake.

Travel Adapter and Power Bank: Charging facilities may be limited, so it's wise to carry a travel adapter and a power bank to keep your electronic devices charged.

First Aid Kit: A basic first aid kit with essential medications, bandages, and antiseptic ointment can be useful, especially in remote areas.

Snacks and Water: Carry some non-perishable snacks and a reusable water bottle to stay hydrated during the journey.

Camera and Binoculars: Capture the stunning landscapes and wildlife along the way. Binoculars can enhance your experience, especially in the wide-open spaces.


Embarking on a journey from Nepal to Mount Kailash is an adventure of a lifetime. Whether choosing the road trip via Gyirong or the flight to Lhasa, each route offers a unique perspective and an opportunity to immerse oneself in the diverse cultures and landscapes of the region. It's essential to plan meticulously, obtain the necessary permits, and pack wisely to ensure a safe and enjoyable pilgrimage to this sacred destination. And we can help you do just that. Get in touch with our travel experts for all your Nepal to Mount Kailash queries.

Have a question?
Scan the QR code below
Contact Us via our Wechat

Quick Inquiry

We'll get back to you within 24 hrs FOR FREE.

Ask a Quick Question

Question Summary*



Please fill in your contact information, we will send you the answer by email


Be the First One to Comment "Nepal to Mount Kailash: How to Get There? By Road or Flight?"