Planning a visit to Mount Kailash, whether for spiritual purposes or adventure, requires careful consideration of the best time to go. In this comprehensive guide, we provide you with all the essential information you need to know about the ideal time to visit Mount Kailash, including details about the weather, the recommended visiting season, and a helpful packing list.
Whether you're seeking a soulful pilgrimage or an exciting expedition, this guide will simplify the decision-making process, ensuring that your journey to Mount Kailash is both memorable and enjoyable.
Overall Weather at Mount Kailash
Located in western Tibet, at a high altitude, the weather around Mount Kailash is colder and harsher than most of the tourist destinations in Tibet, and throughout the year, the average temperatures range from around -12°C to as high as 14°C. Temperatures range greatly from day to night, with an average difference of between 14°C-20°C between night and day, depending on the season. One of the coldest areas of Tibet, Ngari is much colder throughout the year than both Lhasa and Shigatse.
Mount Kailash at a high altitude has a harsh weather.
In the summer months, from July to August, the average temperatures at Mt. Kailash range from 16°C to 21°C, while the winter months often have temperatures between 0°C and -4°C during the daytime, and dropping to well below freezing at night. Throughout most of the year, except for the summer months, the temperatures at night are normally around or well below freezing, with the coldest month of the year being in January. Wind chill is also a factor throughout most of the year, with the biting winds gusting to as high as 20km/h, making it feel much colder at times.
Spring and autumn temperatures normally range from around 5°C to 17°C in the daytime, with temperatures dropping as low as 0°C to -6°C at night. Spring weather is normally fairly dry, with very little rain. As the colder winter weather slowly passes, the bright sun makes the temperatures feel warmer when out of the biting winds. Autumn weather is similarly dry, with a few rain showers sometimes lingering around well into September. With the monsoon gone, the weather remains fairly warm through to the end of October, and the plains are still covered in lush green grass from the summer monsoon.
Spring and Autumn (Apr, May, Jun, Sep, Oct): The Best Time to Visit Kailash
Spring, from April to June, is one of the best times of the year to visit Mount Kailash. Clear skies, warming temperatures, and a more pleasant climate make this an ideal time to travel to the sacred mountain and take on the challenging three-day Kailash Kora Trek. While it can still feel a little chilly in April, and there is still the chance of snow in the area, the modern asphalt roads are kept well cleared, and by May and June, the warmer weather makes for easier travel and a more pleasant visit.
The best time to visit Mount Kailash is spring and autumn.
Autumn is the second best time to travel to Ngari, which runs from around early September to the end of October. Once the summer has passed and the monsoon rains have gone, the skies clear up quickly and the warmer weather that continues after the summer carries on well into September. The area is lush and green in the plains and meadows of the region, and while the skies are bright and clear most of the time, there is still the chance of a shower in September. By October, the weather has cooled down a little, and the chance of showers has long gone. Dry clear weather prevails, cooling slowly towards the end of October.
Summer (Jul & Aug): A Pleasant Time to Visit Kailash
Summer, which is the monsoon season from July to August, is often not rated as a good time to visit Mount Kailash in Ngari. However, the area in the northwest of Tibet actually sees very little rain in comparison with the rest of Tibet’s tourist areas.
Summer is good time to visit Lake Manasarovar and Mount Kailash.
The monsoon rains in July and August normally see only around 22mm of rainfall a month, which is little more than a few showers throughout the summer. The grass is lush and green, and the plains and prairies are at their most beautiful, with delightful summer blooms dotted across the grasslands.
Temperatures are warm, not hot, ranging as high as around 20°C to 22°C throughout the summer months, and dropping to only around 6-7 degrees at night. Therefore, summer is a pleasant and warm time to visit Kailash, for those that are not afraid of a few rain showers.
Winter (Nov-Mar): Not Recommended for Visiting Kailash
The wastelands of Ngari experience extremely cold temperatures during winter that are too harsh for most people. With temperatures dropping to around freezing most of the days, and getting as low as -20°C at night in the coldest month of January, even few Tibetans venture out in the wastelands of Ngari in the winter months.
With winter and the extreme cold weather comes snowfall and difficult travel conditions. The roads around Mount Kailash can become inaccessible due to snow and ice, and authorities may restrict access when there are safety concerns. Due to the low tourist activities, services in the area are limited, and tourists who do go face limited daylight hours during this period.
Best Time to Visit Mount Kailash for Saga Dawa Festival
Held on the 15th day of the fourth month in the Tibetan Calendar, the Saga Dawa Festival is one of the most important festivals in Tibet. It is a day of special spiritual significance that celebrates the birth, death, and enlightenment of Sakyamuni Buddha, the founder of Buddhism. Celebrations are held in many places throughout Tibet, but the most spiritual festival is held at the foot of Mount Kailash.
Mount Kailash Saga Dawa Festival is attended by thousands of pilgrims and tourists every year.
The festival includes several rituals from Tibetan Buddhism, and is attended by thousands of pilgrims and tourists every year. After the ritual ceremonies around Tarboche, the flagpole is taken down and the prayer flags replaced, before pilgrims begin their treks around the outer kora route.
The kora is a circumambulation in a clockwise direction where pilgrims walk around the sacred Mount Kailash. At 52 kilometers long at an elevation of 5000m, Kailash Kora is one of the most challenging koras in Tibet, but during the Saga Dawa Festival it offers tourists the chance of experiencing the deep spiritual essence of local traditions.
Tourists are able to engage in many of the activities and capture moments through photography, but remember to be mindful to not disturb the ceremonies and respect the privacy of the pilgrims and locals.
Best Year to Visit Mount Kailash
The Year of the Horse holds a significant place in the Tibetan calendar when it comes to visiting Mount Kailash. Occurring once every 12 years, completing the kora during this time holds great importance for Tibetan Buddhists, as it is believed to be equivalent to completing 13 circuits in a regular year.
Mount Kailash Kora normally lasts for three days and is one of the most challenging treks in Tibet.
Lake Manasarovar is renowned for its spiritually purifying waters, and according to Tibetan beliefs, drinking from or bathing in the lake can cleanse one's soul of a lifetime of sins. Moreover, taking the Lake Manasarovar kora during the Year of the Goat is said to magnify the pilgrimage's impact 100,000 times compared to a normal year, granting individuals infinite merit and wisdom.
What to Pack for Mount Kailash Tour?
Permits are necessary when visiting Ngari Prefecture, and you need to make sure that they’re in order. These permits include the Tibet Travel Permit, the Alien’s Travel Permit, the Military Area Entry Permit and Foreign Affairs Permit. We will help you to handle them, and with everything prepared beforehand, you’ll be able to focus on enjoying unique scenery.
Packing for a Kailash Kora trekking tour is important, and you really do not want to include anything in your trekking pack that will weigh you down too much. The trek is rough and rocky, and an arduous hike, and unnecessary gear will make it even harder. Don’t overlook the basics. Good hiking boots and warm woolen socks, weatherproof trekking pants, several layers of trekking shirts to help you stay warm and regulate your own temperature when trekking, and a good waterproof jackets and warm fleece or down jacket for the colder evenings will all help ensure an enjoyable experience.
Packing your pack well is important before the Mount Kailash Kora trekking tour.
Your day pack should be light enough to manage, but able to carry all of the gear you need for the trek, as there is no support vehicle meeting you at each campsite. Sleeping bags are a necessity, as the weather can still get cold and guesthouses may not have enough blankets to keep you warm. Trekking poles are also useful, as the climbs can be rough and uneven. You should also bring sun block, moisturizers, and lip balm for the intense sunlight and cold winds, and a good hat to keep the sun off your head. Sunglasses are also recommended for the bright sunny days.
Mount Kailash offers a unique and rewarding experience for tourists interested in a challenging trek through breathtaking scenery. The best times to visit Mt. Kailash are from April to June and September and October. While the temperature can be quite warm in the daytime, it can still get very cold at night. You will still need a few warm sweaters in the evening and early morning during your tour.
Whether it’s the classic 3-day Kora trek, attending the famous Saga Dawa Festival, or circling the beautiful Lake Manasarovar, you have the chance to come away with a deep impression of the traditions and ancient spirituality of the far west of Tibet. If you still have any questions about visiting Mt Kailash, please feel free to contact us or leave your comments below.