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Our 14 day journey takes us to one of Tibet’s most holy places! We combine fascinating overland travel through Central and Western Tibet with a 3 day trek at Mt Kailash.

Departure: Kathmandu
Duration: 14 Days
Best season: April - September
Grade: Moderate

Mt. Kailash is said to be the centre of a geographic mandala, with points in the surrounding landscape, stretching for hundreds of kilometres, corresponding to spiritual concepts.

We travel overland from Kathmandu into the heart of this sacred mandala, through Central Tibet. Reaching its centre, we explore the sacred Lake Manasarovar, representing purity and Lake Rakshas Tal, representing power. We then complete an incredible trek, taking 4 days to circumambulate the holy Mt Kailash, washing away the sins of a lifetime and enjoying one of the most stunning walks on the planet.

We complete this amazing trip by then heading back overland and exploring Central Tibet on our way back to Kathmandu.

BRIEF ITINERARY

Day 01: Drive from Kathmandu (1300m) to Nyalam (3750m)
Day 02: Acclimatisation in Nyalam
Day 03: Drive from Nyalam to Paiko Tso (4350m)
Day 04: Drive from Paiko Tso to Zhongba (4700m)
Day 05: Drive from Zhongba to Mayum La (5200m)
Day 06: Mayum La to Lake Manasarovar (4550m)
Day 07: Explore Lake Manasarovar and drive to Tarboche (4750m)
Day 08: Start Trek around Mt Kailash from Darchen to Dirphuk (4890m)
Day 09: Trek from Dirphuk to Zutul Puk (4790m)
Day 10: Trek from Zutul Puk to Darchen (4560m)
Day 11: Drive Darchen to Paryang (4750m)
Day 12: Drive Paryang to Saga (4450m)
Day 13: Drive Saga to Nyalam (3750m)
Day 14: Drive Nyalam to Kathmandu (1300m)

DETAILED ITINERARY

Day 01: Drive to Nyalam (3750m)
We leave Kathmandu after an early breakfast and drive northwards through Nepal’s beautiful terraced hillsides, river valleys and forests and catching glimpses of the Himlayas.

We reach Kodari on the Nepal - Tibet border and must complete the border formalities at both the Nepalese and Chinese immigration posts. Once in Tibet we follow a series of incredibly steep switchbacks climbing up a mossy gully with cascading waterfalls to Nyalam where we stay the night.

Day 02: Acclimatisation day
With Tibet’s average altitude being over 3500m above sea level we take altitude sickness very seriously, so we spend today resting in Nyalam in order to acclimatise before heading up higher.

We take the opportunity to go a short way out of town to visit a small temple, Nyalam Pelgye Ling, associated with eleventh- and twelfth-century poet-lama and saint Milarepa, credited with bringing Buddhism to Tibet.
 
Day 03: Drive from Nyalam to Paiko Tso (4350m)
After breakfast this morning we drive 150km to the huge and stunning turquoise lake called Paiko-Tso.

From Nyalam, we cross two high passes, before leaving the Friendship Highway and following the road towards the lake.
 
Day 04: Drive from Paiko Tso to Zhongba (4700m)
Today we have a longer day's drive, with 255km to cover. Our road takes us first to Saga, where we join the main route to Kailash from Lhasa.

Just before Saga, we cross the Yarlung Tsangpo [Brahmaputra River] on a ferry, which is quite an unusual experience! We continue on across the vast and arid Tibetan plains to the small town of Zhongba.

Day 05: Drive from Zhongba to Mayum La (5200m)
After breakfast we depart from Zhongba, setting out across the plains once more to Paryang. This section of our journey has some incredibly stunning panoramic vistas, so have the camera out.

Beyond Paryang, there are several river crossings to negotiate and we make our camp just below the 5200m pass called Mayum La

Day 06: Mayum La to Lake Manasarovar (4550m)
Today we drive the final stage to the beautiful and sacred Lake Manasarovar, just 30km south of Mt Kailash. Manasarovar is the manifestation of peace and compassion, while Rakshas Tal, from which hit is separated by a narrow strip of land, is the black manifestation of power for shamans and trantists, or simply evil to lay people. The two lakes are linked by a small channel and on the rare occasions when water flows in this channel, it is said to be a good sign for the Tibetan people.
 
Day 07: Explore Lake Manasarovar and drive to Tarboche (4750m)
Today will be spent at Manasarovar, exploring this fascinating place. We will visit the picturesque Chiu Monastery on the north west shore of the lake, with the imposing sight of Mt Kailash in the background.

After some peaceful hours at the shores of the sacred Lake Manasarovar with the snowy massif of Gurla Mandata (Memo Nani) towering at 7694m just across the lake, we will drive about 35km along the jeep trail to the start of the kora at Tarboche. Tarboche is marked by a tall flagpole adorned with thousands of multi-colored prayer flags and kata scarves strung out in radiating lines from the pole.

Day 08: Start Trek around Mt Kailash from Tarboche to Dirphuk Gompa (4890m)
This morning we meet our team of yaks and Tibetan yak drivers who will escort us around the kora. From Tarboche, we walk up the Lha Chu Valley through beautiful green meadows and streams with Mt Kailash towering above us. We follow the beautiful turquoise river which enters a narrow canyon with high, steep cliffs and spectacular waterfalls. Continuing up the valley, the north face of Kailash comes into view before we reach the 13th century monastery at Dira-puk

Day 09: Trek from Dirphuk to Zutul Puk (4790m)
We now leave the Lha Chu Valley and enter the Drolma Chu Valley, heading up towards a high pass, the Drolma La (5630m) which is the highest point in our trek. It's a tough climb to the summit which is festooned with prayer flags but from there it is all downhill or flat to Zutul-puk, with views of one of the highest lakes in the world, the breathtaking Thukpe Dzingbu Lake, known as the Lake of Compassion.

Our trail descends to the flat fields of Zutul-Puk which houses a monastery and several fascinating caves. These caves are popular for meditation, with Milarepa’s cave being one of them with Milarepa’s footprints and elbow prints believed to be imprinted in its walls. We camp tonight at Zutul-Puk.
 
Day 10: Trek from Zutul Puk to Darchen (4560m)
This morning we have an easy walk along some impressive gorges and around many mani stones and mani walls, with magnificent views of Mt Kailash along the way. We then enter the Bharka plain and it's about an hour's walk through this desert-like landscape to Darchen.

Our kora is finished – we have erased our sins, endured cold nights and mornings, crossed one of the highest passes in the world and met countless fellow pilgrims along the way.
 
Day 11: Drive to Paryang (4750m)
Today we bid the sacred lakes and holy mountain farewell as we head back east to Paryang. The scenery along this section is some of the most beautiful of the entire journey, with Tibetans, horses, yaks and sheep against the background of the Himalayas.

Day 12: Drive to Saga ( 4450m)
Today we drive through the vast Thang Kiang Naga, or ‘Plain of wild donkeys and grass’ on our way to Saga. We have 330km to cover and pass through several small towns, including Zhongba, crossing the Torkyo La at 4880m before coming down into Saga.
 
Day 13: Drive Saga to Nyalam (3750m)
Crossing Yarlung Tsangpo (Brahmaputra River) by a ferry, we continue driving 250 km to Nyalam. Soon after leaving Saga the road opens into a wide flat plain and passes the huge turquoise lake, the Paiko-Tso with spectacular views of Shishapangma (8027m) as the backdrop.

We continue driving across Lalung La (5200m) through a perfect blend of breathtaking views, alpine meadows, picturesque hamlets and an abundance of wildflowers finally coming back to Nyalam.

Day 14: Drive Nyalam to Kathmandu (1300m)
Today we bid farewell to Tibet as we load up into the jeeps again for the trip down to the border crossing and re-entry into Nepal. After border formalities we head to the Last Resort for lunch in this lovely canyon setting. If you like we can arrange a stop over here for you to check out Nepal’s only bungy jumping, the world’s biggest swing and the high ropes course (optional and extra). Otherwise we head back to Kathmandu for a final dinner to celebrate our Tibetan adventure!

 

 

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