Lhasa in central Tibet.
Potala Palace atop Mt Potalaka with view of Lhasa

Highlights of Lhasa to Kailash Tour

Going to Mt Kailash and western Tibet? Why not visit the cultural city of Lhasa while you acclimatize and then enjoy the drive along Mt Everest and other high Himalayan peaks to the wild western Tibet? Avoid driving the treacherous monsoon road from Kathmandu to the border twice and instead fly to Lhasa and drive back to Kathmandu.

What makes the Lhasa to Kailash route the best?

Tibet is wild empty land with rich medieval Buddhist culture and history. The route from Lhasa to Mt Kailash gives an opportunity of visiting both the cultural highlights, high Himalayan peaks and the pristine wild western Tibet.

Here are some of the highlights of the tour.
  • Spectacular flight crossing the Himalayas to the Tibetan plateaus.
  • The most sought after tour of central Tibet – Lhasa, Shigatse and Gyantse.
  • Driving tour of wild western Tibet with the most pristine and sacred mountains and lakes.
  • Panoramic view of Mt Everest, Shishapangma (8012m / 14th highest) and other spectacular peaks from high passes.
  • Drive past some of the biggest lakes in Tibet at the altitude of about 4,500 m - Yamdrok Tso, Peiku Tso and Lake Manasarovar.
  • Trekking around the sacred Mt Kailash and visit some of the authentic and highly spiritual monasteries.
Mt Everest seen along the Lhasa to Kailash drive.
Mt Everest and Himalayan range seen during the drive from Lhasa - Kailash.

The journey from Lhasa to Kailash

Fly from Kathmandu to Lhasa and visit the most sought after Holy city while you are acclimatizing.

The journey from Lhasa to Kailash starts with a one and half hour flight from Kathmandu. The flight glides along the eastern Himalayas of Nepal and then traverses it to the Tibetan plateau dotted with turquoise lakes. Lhasa is at 3,600 m and it is normal for travelers to feel mild symptoms of altitude sickness. However comfortable accommodation and easy sightseeing days around Lhasa will help to acclimatize. Lhasa and Shigatse are the cultural and spiritual center of the vast arid land whose area is as big as South Africa but has 20 times less population. Sightseeing of central Tibet will give you deep insight into the Tibetan lifestyle, spirituality, architecture and history.

Drive from Lhasa to Mt Kailash (western Tibet)

The second half of the journey cruises through the plateaus at the top of the world overlooking the snow capped mountains. The vast empty land is flecked with high mountains, pristine turquoise lakes and highest motorable passes in the world. Drive past the nomadic villages and wide open pastures grazed by wild yaks, Tibetan wild ass, blue sheep in the backdrop of the Himalayas.
The detour of Rongbuk monastery at 5,009 m offers the unclose view of Mt Everest. The northern Everest base camp (Tibetan side) is just 8 km away from the monastery.

Holy mountain Kailash and Lake Manasarover in western Tibet.
Mt Kailash across Lake Manasarover from Chiu Gompa monastery
The Holy Mt Kailash and Lake Manasoravar

After a tedious drive of about 1250 km, we will have easy days to just explore around and immerse ourselves into the enchanting surroundings with Mt Kailash and Lake Manasoravar. Revered by the world's four oldest religions, this holy land has been a pilgrimage since time immemorial. Hindus revere Mt Kailash as the earthly manifestation of Mt Sumeru which is the physical, metaphysical and spiritual center of all the universe. For Buddhist Mt Kailash is where their Tantric god Demchong resides. It is also the pilgrimage done by the 12th century poet and Buddhist philosopher Milarepa. The preBuddhist Bon religion revere the entire surroundings as the site where their founder Shenrab came down from heaven. Mt Kailash is the nine storied Swastika for them which is the center of all spiritual power. For Jain, it is Astapada Tirtha (pilgrimage) where the first Jain Tirthankara, Rishabhadeva, attained enlightenment.
Similarly Lake Manasarovar is considered as Shakti (Hindu) or female principle by Buddhists. Mt Kailash and Manasarovar represents Shiva and Shakti for Hindus and the wisdom and compassion principle for Buddhists.

Trek around Mt Kailash
The trek around Mt Kailash is highly spiritual as well as physically challenging. It starts from the Tarboche valley known as valley of gods or Yamadwar at the altitude of 4,600 m and then climbs gradually to Dirapuk at 3,900 m. The view of the Mt Kailash north face and the Dirapuk monastery makes the place very auspicious. This is also the basecamp for the 5,630 m Dolma La pass. The entire Kailash Cora or Parikrama is marked with sacred places of Buddhists and Hindus. Pilgrims offer their item of cloth or hairlock at Shivastal near Dolma La pass as a symbol of leaving their past life behind. The uniquely four-faced Mt Kailash has four Tibetan Buddhist monasteries at each cardinal directions which are also the origin of four Asia's greatest rivers - Indus, Sutlej, Brahmaputra and Karnali. Kailash cora or trek around Mt Kailash.
3 day trek around Mt Kailash starts from Tarboche, the valley of gods.
Drive back to Kathmandu
After the 3 day trek, we will drive another 900 km back to Kathmandu. The total journey is about 2,250 km with 53 km of trekking around Mt Kailash and 80 km around Lake Mansarovar. The Kyirong border is one of the historical Himalayan corridors linking Kathmandu with Tibet. The Nepalese side of the border is preserved as Langtang national park.

Tholing, the capital of Guge kingdom.

Guge Kingdom - the hidden gems of western Tibet.

Kailash to Guge Kingdom

The ruins of the Guge kingdom is the most bizarre abandoned settlement with residences and chapels on the mountain side and an underground palace at the top of a 300 m hill. Buddhist murals and a few statues are still standing in a dilapidated stage. The yellow earthen hills along the bank of windy Sutlej River consists of 445 rooms, 879 caves, 58 pillboxes, 4 secret tunnels and 28 Buddhist pagodas spread in the area of 7,20,000 sq meters. The Guge kingdom was established along the intersection of trade routes in around the 9th century and had Tholing and Tsaparang as their capital until the mid 17th century. With two extra days in your Kailash itinerary, you can visit this cultural relic of western Tibet known as hidden jem among travellers.

Tibet Tour with us:
  • Support local company.
  • Expertise over 20 years.
  • Cost effective Treks.
  • Cultural immersion experience.
  • High quality services.
  • Eco friendly & sustainable practices.

Tibet Tour Review

A week in Nepal and Tibet

When I think of my holiday travels one of my best weeks was my time in Nepal and Tibet. I was living and working in Kuwait at the time and needed help and guidance via email and Rabi was super- always answering my questions and taking care to arrange everything. I saw everything I wanted to see and had fun and knowledgeable guides the whole way. So much fun! Thanks Rabi and team!!!!


Global Adventures USA

Tibet Travel Info


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