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What to Pack for Mount Kailash Tour

Last Update: February 23, 2024

Trekking around Mount Kailash in Ngari Prefecture in western Tibet is one of the most amazing experiences on the high-altitude plateau. One of the most sacred sites in the world for Tibetan Buddhists and Hindus, this sacred mountain plays host to thousands of tourists and pilgrims every year, to tackle the amazing kora route around the mountain. Careful preparation is required for such an arduous and grueling trek, and it is essential to make sure that you pack all the things you need for the trip, and leave out those items that are completely non-essential. However, for anyone attempting to take on this three-day, 52-kilometer trek, we can also provide a range of equipment for you, such as sleeping bags, tents, etc., to save you from bringing them all the way around the world from home.

Clothes and Shoes for Mount Kailash Tour

The gear you are taking with you is essential for the weather you are expecting at the sacred mountain, and can depend on the time of year. However, since most treks around Kailash are done in the spring and autumn, the list can be general, with less warm clothing required for a summer trek. A general list of clothing for Tibet normally includes thick woolen sweaters, thick, warm pants, warm, fleece or down jacket, waterproof jacket, warm hat or hooded jackets, several T-shirts, and decent warm gloves.

Clothing should be good for trekking and comfortable, as you will be trekking for several hours each day. On top of the general list of clothing, you will need to have good thermal underwear, or hiking shirts, to wear under the main clothing. Temperatures can get very cold at night, and while it may be warm enough in the daytime, you will need them when you camp. Windcheater jackets are a good idea, and a windcheater that is also waterproof is even better, as you only need one jacket, not two.

Shoes for trekking Mount KailashYou need a good, strong pair of hiking boots.

Your hiking boots should be good enough to give you good grip on the rough and rocky terrain around the kora route, as well as being strong enough to fully support your ankles when hiking. Slips and twists of the ankle can end the trek early, so make sure that your hiking boots are well-fitting and comfortable, and most definitely waterproof.

Trekking Gear and Accessories for Mount Kailash Tour

You will need to have a decent backpack that you will be comfortable carrying around the trek for up to 6-7 hours each day. While you may bring a suitcase for the rest of the trip, your backpack will need to carry your clothes and other essential items for the duration of the trek, and should be correctly positioned to sit high enough on your back to make the trekking less arduous. The lower the center of weight of the pack, the harder it will be to carry around the trek. Good backpacks should have padded shoulder straps and connecting chest and waist straps to properly secure it.

Gear for Mount Kailash trekkingA good backpack is recommended for trekking aorund Mount Kailash.

While a good backpack is recommended, we do offer the services of horses and yaks for the trek around Mount Kailash. The horse or yak will carry the bulk of your gear for you for the trek around the mountain, leaving you free to trek without the added weight. However, a smaller day-pack is still needed for your essential items, such as cellphone, camera, documents, etc.

As you may not always be sleeping in a normal bed on the trek around the mountain (and at the tent guesthouses at EBC as well) it is a good idea to have a decent sleeping bag with you, to keep you warm at night. There are guesthouses at Drirapuk and Dzultripuk Monasteries, but they are often full in the peak seasons, so camping is the only other option. There are no five-star hotels at Mount Kailash.

You can also bring your own tent if you wish, though we normally provide the tents for trekkers to sleep in for the trek around the sacred mountain. If you wish to have your own tent, but do not want to bring it from home, tents, as well as sleeping bags, can be bought or rented in Lhasa before you travel to Ngari and Mount Kailash.

Food and Drinks for Mount Kailash Tour

Whilst you can get the best of almost any cuisine in Lhasa, once you reach Darchen and Mount Kailash, the food available is going to be very basic. This remote region does not normally have much in the way of fruits and vegetables, and most dishes consist of yak meat, noodles, etc. For the best protein enhancement and energy replenishment, it is a good idea to bring instant food with you that you will be able to prepare quickly and easily. Snacks, such as chocolate, nuts, dried fruits, and biscuits can be useful for a fast energy boost while you are hiking, as the high altitude saps the energy faster than at sea level.

Food during Mount Kailash trekWe prepare basic food for clients when trekking in Mount Kailash.

Water is an essential anywhere, and more so in the higher altitudes of Tibet, as dehydration can cause severe altitude sickness, which you do not want. There is water available on the trek, but you need to bring a good water flask with you, for drinking while you are hiking, to remain as hydrated as possible. While it may be cold this high up, you will still sweat some with the exertion of the hiking, so replacing the lost water is essential throughout the trek.

Medicines & Personal Items for Mount Kailash Tour

While your tour guide will normally have a decent first aid kit with them, it is still a good idea to bring your own, in case there are items you might need that your guide does not normally carry. As well as the usual first-aid items of bandages, Band-Aids, etc., you should bring any medications that you might need whilst on the trek. Advil, Nurofen, or other NSAIDs can be useful to help with headaches and aches caused by altitude sickness while acclimatizing or resting, though they should not be relied on too heavily.

Medications for Kailash trekThere are some medications you may need for the Mount Kailash trek.

Medications are not available around Mount Kailash, and are still hard to procure even in Lhasa. If you are on any regular medication prescribed by your own doctor, then you will need to bring enough medication with you for the entire trip, and maybe extra to cover a week or so after, just in case. Altitude sickness medications are available for taking to help with the symptoms, but you should refer to your own doctor for their recommendation before taking them, as they may cause side effects and react with other prescribed medications.

Travel Documents for Mount Kailash Tour

Your travel documents are some of the most important things to have ready for the trek around Mount Kailash, as without the correct permits and passes, you will not be able to proceed with the trek or the tour. However, we can help to handle all these documents to ensure you a smooth journey throughout the way.

The first thing you need, after you get your Chinese Entry Visa and book your tour, is the Tibet Travel Permit. This is required for all tourists traveling to Tibet, and is needed to board trains and flights to the region, travel around in the area of Lhasa, and obtain the necessary permits to travel elsewhere on the plateau. The permit is applied for by us on your behalf once you book your tour, and we will use scanned copies of your passport and visa to make the application with the Tibet Tourism Bureau (TTB) in Lhasa. Processing can take 15-20 days, so it is essential to book your trip well in advance.

The Alien’s Travel Permit is the second permit you will need, and is required for travel to the “unopened” areas outside Lhasa, which includes Shigatse, Everest Base Camp, etc. The permit is obtained once you arrive in Lhasa, and will be applied for by your local Tibetan guide using your original passport and Tibet Travel Permit while you enjoy the tour of the stunning Tibetan capital. Processing normally takes less than an hour.

The Restricted Areas Permit, sometimes known as the Military Permit, is required for all tourists that are traveling to the more restricted military-controlled areas of Tibet, which includes Ngari Prefecture where Mount Kailash is. The permit is applied for before you travel to Tibet, using the scanned copies of your passport and visa, as well as the Visa Invitation Letter from the TTB in Lhasa. While it does not take as long to process as the Tibet Travel Permit, it can take as much as two weeks to receive the approved permit, so it needs to be applied for well in advance of the trip as well.


While the preparations for a Mount Kailash Trekking tour may appear to be complex and convoluted, with all the requirements for visas, permits, packing, etc., it is really fairly simple to make all the arrangements. Most of the documentation you need cannot be obtained personally, and will need the travel agency to make the applications for you. Many of the other arrangements are also handled by the travel agency on your behalf, leaving you free to deal with the rest of the arrangements.

Since all of the complicated preparations are handled for you by our professional and friendly tour advisors, ensuring that your documents, hotel accommodation, overland travel arrangements, guide, driver, and vehicle are all done well in advance of your arrival, when you join in with one of our amazing Mount Kailash Trekking Tours, you can relax and work on your packing while we do everything else for you. We can even handle the bookings for your travel from mainland China to Lhasa, if you wish. You just need to let us know in advance when you book the tour.

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