Journey To Mount Kailash

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$4,690/person

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Explore Kailash, the most sacred mountain in the Himalaya, during the Saga Dawa festival, and experience the traditional culture of sacred Tibet.

Details

Duration: 18 Days
Starts in: Tibet
Group Size: 5-16

Operated by:

World Expeditions

World Expeditions is an adventure travel and ecotourism company that offers guided small group trekking and adventure holidays.

Itinerary

Arrive Chengdu, China

You will be met by a representative of World Expeditions and transferred to the hotel. Remainder of the afternoon/evening at leisure. Overnight: Chengdu Jaho Forstar Wenshuyuan or similar

Fly Chengdu to Lhasa (3,670m)

This morning we are transferred to the airport for the flight to Lhasa. You will be advised which flight to book as the group are required to arrive into Tibet together due to the group permit. On arrival at Lhasa Airport you will be transferred to the city – a drive that takes around two hours. Due to the high altitude, you need to take it easy when you arrive in Lhasa. (Chengdu to Lhasa flights not included in trip cost.) A briefing will be given around 5pm by your guide, where arrangements will be made for the distribution of your kit bag, sleeping bag and down/fibrefill jacket. Drive: 65km, ~2hrsAltitude: 3,670mOvernight: Gangjian Hotel or similar

In Lhasa (3,670m)

The following two days are scheduled to appreciate the long and rich cultural history of Lhasa. We include visits to the Jokhang, the Norbulingka (the Summer Palace of the Dalai Lama), and the famous Potala Palace. We also include visits to the nearby monasteries of Drepung and Sera. The Jokhang The Old City of Lhasa was built around the Jokhang, the most sacred temple in Tibet. Drive: N/AAltitude: 3,670mOvernight: Gangjian Hotel or similar

Commence drive towards Kailash to Gyantse (3,900m)

Today we commence our drive across the Tibetan plateau, which is perhaps much more mountainous than you might expect, towards Kailash. It is approximately 1300kms from Lhasa to Darchen, at the base of the Kailash. There is a newly imposed lower speed limit of 60km/hr on the highways outside of Lhasa, which means plenty of time to take in the extraordinary Himalayan views!From Lhasa we drive down the Kyichu Valley to the Yarlung Tsangpo (Brahmaputra) before ascending to the Khamba La (Khamba Pass) at 4900m. The views are outstanding – in the foreground is the vast freshwater Yamdrok Tso or Turquoise Lake, while to the south the snow-capped ranges merge with the main Himalayan range. We drive around the lake before crossing the Karo La (5200m) to reach Gyantse. We visit the remarkable octagonal chorten, the Kumbum (or Pango Chorten) – built in 1444 on a series of four levels, each of which contains separate chapels. Note: while we endevour to stick to the projected itinerary, travel in Tibet is by nature unpredictable and a flexible approach is always needed. Drive: 290km, ~8-9hrsAltitude: 3,900mOvernight: Gyantse Hotel or similar

Drive to Shigatse (3,800m)

In Shigatse we visit the famous Tashilhunpo Monastery, founded in 1447 by the very first Dalai Lama. Since the time of the fifth Dalai Lama in 1642, the abbot of Tashilhunpo has been known as the Panchen Lama (literally the 'Great Scholar'). Over the generations, the Panchen Lama became established as the chief spiritual and temporal adviser of the huge western portion of Tibet known as Tsang, and at times was even considered a rival to the Dalai Lama. Drive: 90km, ~3hrsAltitude: 3,800mOvernight: Manasarova Hotel or similar

Drive across the Tibetan plateau to Saga (4,640m)

The drive to Kailash is a spectacular but demanding adventure across the roof of the world. From Shigatse, we head west across the Tibetan plataeu to the trading town of Saga. Roads in Tibet are under continuous development and are very different from what you might be used to at home. At times they can be very slow moving but this is all part of the adventure in this remote part of the Himalayas. Drive: 450km, ~9-10hrsAltitude: 4,500mOvernight: Saga Hotel or similar

Drive across the Tibetan plateau to Lake Manasarovar (4,600m)

Today will be a demanding drive. We will pass through the settlement of Pharang then traverse a number of sandy sections en route to the to Chui Gompa on the shores of Lake Mansarovar, our overnight stop. Drive: 240km, ~5hrsAltitude: 4,600mOvernight: basic guesthouse/ lodge (no single supplement availability)

Drive across the Tibetan plateau to Darchen (4,575m)

Today's drive is a short one so this morning we can take our time to enjoy the truly spectacular views of Lake Manasarovar, also called Mapam Yumtso. This high altitude freshwater lake is fed by melt water from the Kailash Glaciers near Mount Kailash. The lake is revered a sacred place in four religions, Bön, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism. After soaking up the magnificent views of the Himalaya, we continue on the final section of this epic and memorable drive across the expansive Tibetan plateau to Darchen, a small village in Purang County. Darchen is situated right in front of the sacred mountain, Mount Kailash, and is the starting point for pilgrimages in the regionDrive: 40km, ~1hrAltitude: 4,575mOvernight: Chongqing Hotel or similar

In Darchen, prelude of Saga Dawa Festival (4,575m)

We witness the arrival of many Tibetan pilgrims for the Saga Dawa Festival who may have spent up to a month travelling across Tibet to attend the festival. An ideal day to explore the trails in the vicinity of Mt Kailash that afford fine views of the South Face of this sacred mountain. Drive: N/AAltitude: 4,575mOvernight: Chongqing Hotel or similar

Saga Dawa Festival, commence Mount Kailash trek to Dera Phuk (5,000m)

After the full moon the monks offer their prayers and blessings to the huge gathering before the ceremonial pole is slowly lifted by means of support poles. The event takes several hours creating a feeling of awe and expectation before the pole is finally put into place. It is then time for the more devout pilgrims to commence the 'kora' or pilgrimage around Mt Kailash, a 49km trek that we will undertake together with many of the pilgrims. In the afternoon we commence our trek – the 'kora', around the base of Mt Kailash. We follow in the footsteps of the pilgrims, guiding us past a dome outcrop known as “Padasambhavas Tomb" before the valley widens out below the Dri Puk Monastery. Please note that the accommodation during the trek is very basic but following the ban on camping by the authorities, there are no alternatives. Drive: ~30minsTrek: ~6hrsAltitude: 5,000mOvernight: basic local lodge (no single supplement availability)

Trek around Mount Kailash to Zutrul Phuk via Dolma La (5,600m)

Today, we trek the the second stage and climb to the Dolma La (5,600m). En route the trail passes an area referred to as Shive Tso which is marked by a large collection of discarded clothing – where pilgrims are said to undertake a symbolic death, leaving an item of clothing behind before proceeding to the pass. The final 200m climb to the pass is not unduly strenuous while on the pass the pilgrims pay homage to the gods of the pass. It is a very special occasion particularly at this time of the year. From the top of the pass we head down the valley to the small monastery of Zutrul Puk. The site known as the miracle cave marks the place where the celebrated Buddhist teacher Milarepa performed miracles in a contest with the high priest of the Bon Po's, the original animistic religion of Tibet before Buddhism. Milarepa won the contest but consented for the followers of Bon Po to continue their own pilgrimage around Mt Kailash in an anti clockwise fashion, a tradition that still holds today. Drive: N/ATrek: ~10hrs walkingAltitude: 4,900m Overnight: basic local lodge (no single supplement availability)

Complete Mount Kailash trek (4,575m)

From Zutrul Puk it is a further 4 hours trek across the open plains and past lines of mani walls and prayer flags which brings up back to the small town of Darchen. We have the afternoon to savour our final views towards Kailash we are reminded of the sacredness of this region for the many pilgrims that venture here each year. Drive: N/ATrek: 4hrsAltitude: 4,575mOvernight: Chongqing Hotel or similar

Drive to Kathmandu across the Tibetan plateau (4,640m)

In total, it is a four day drive to Kathmandu from Hor Chu. Following the 2015 earthquake the former friendship highway was badly damaged resulting in its continued closure. This new route was opened initially to ensure that trade between Nepal and China could continue. In 2017 the border post was opened to tourists allowing for travel along this legendary overland route to recommence. This road is sure to add to the sense of adventure as it traverses parts of both Tibet and Nepal new to tourism. Road conditions along this route are changeable as improvements to the road continue to ensure that it can accommodate the traffic using it. Tonight's overnight stop will be in Saga.Drive: ~9hrsAltitude: 4,640mOvernight: Saga Hotel or similar

Drive to Kathmandu across the Tibetan plateau (4,130m)

Continue our drive to Kathmandu. Today we are heading for the border town of Kyirong. Following the 2015 earthquake the former friendship highway was badly damaged resulting in its continued closure. This new route was opened initially to ensure that trade between Nepal and China could continue. In 2017 the border post was opened to tourists allowing for travel along this legendary overland route to recommence. This road is sure to add to the sense of adventure as it traverses parts of both Tibet and Nepal new to tourism. Road conditions along this route are changeable as improvements to the road continue to ensure that it can accommodate the traffic using it. Drive: ~9-10hrsAltitude: 4,130mOvernight: Pingcuo Raoxi Hotel or similar

Drive from Kyirong to Kathmandu (1,400m)

Today we cross the border into Nepal and complete the final stage of our journey from Lhasa via the earthquake ravaged Langtang region. It is a fitting conclusion to an epic overland journey and the comfort of the Radisson Hotel in Kathmandu will no doubt be welcomed with open arms. Drive: 160km, ~6hrsAltitude: 1,400mOvernight: Radisson Hotel

In Kathmandu

Today you have a full day to explore Kathmandu’s bustling streets and significant landmarks. You may wish to start by exploring the city’s two most important World Heritage Listed spiritual sites: Pashupatinath, Nepal’s most sacred Hindu temple and an important cremation site; and Boudhanath, the largest Buddhist stupa in Nepal and the most sacred Tibetan Buddhist shrine outside of Tibet. Alternatively you could wander through the markets and shops of the busy Thamel precinct or explore some more of the city’s significant sites such as Swayambhunath (Monkey Temple) or the World Heritage Listed plazas of Patan, Bhaktapur or Durbar Square.Drive: N/AAltitude: 1,400mOvernight: Radisson Hotel

In Kathmandu, trip concludes

After breakfast, your trip concludes.

Additional Information

Mount Kailash is said to be the mythical Mount Meru, the centre of the universe. It is revered in both Hindu and Buddhist legends, while its location, close to the sources of the four main rivers that flow across the Indian sub-continent, contributes to its mystique. Our adventure includes a week long journey from Lhasa (via Gyantse and Shigatse) across the vast Tibetan plateau. We plan to reach Mount Kailash at the time of the Saga Dawa festival when many thousands of pilgrims from throughout Tibet gather to pay homage to the mountain. After the celebrations we will undertake a three day trek, or kora, around Mount Kailash, with inspiring views of one of the world's most iconic mountains, before the drive back to Lhasa and onto Kathmandu.

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Starting From

$4,690/person

Add your business today to reach The Outbound's audience of adventurous travelers.