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PILGRIMAGE OF THE HEART: Lhasa to Mt. Kailash

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Duration: 19 days, 18 nights
Minimum Age: Min Age : 15+
Grade: 5 - Challenging
Max Elevation: 18,400 ft
Accomodation: Hotels and Lodges

Mount Kailash (6,714m/22,028ft) in western Tibet is the holiest mountain in the Himalayas. It is the perfect mountain shape with four great faces: the eastern face believed to be crystal, the western ruby, the southern sapphire, and the northern gold. It is the spiritual center for four great religions: Tibetan Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism, and the pre-Buddhist animistic Bon. To Tibetans it is known as Khang Rinpoche (Precious Jewel of Snow), and they percieve it as the navel of the world. The circumambulation of Mount Kailash is an important pilgrimage for Hindus, Buddhists, Jains and Bons. Hindus perform a parikama, Buddhists call it a kora. Buddhists believe that a single kora washes away the sins of one life, and 108 circuits secure nirvana in this life. Devout Tibetans often make the 52-km circuit in a single day. Hindu, Buddhist and Jain pilgrims make a clockwise circuit of the peak, while Bon tradition is to circumambulate in the opposite direction.

The trip begins with a flight to Lhasa. Drive West to the other major cities of Tibet including Gyantse and Shigatse with a quick diversion to the Everest Base Camp. Return to Kathmandu is overland via Gyirong.

This trek is non-technical and suitable for anyone in good shape who likes to hike. This is not a backpacking trip: yaks will carry your gear. It is a camping trek: you will be sleeping and eating in campsites in tents along the trail.

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Trip at a glance

Brief Itinerary

Day 19Final departure

Day Description Overnight Altitude
Day 1 Arrival in Kathmandu Kathmandu  1340m
Day 2 – 3 Exploring Kathmandu Kathmandu  1340m
Day 4 Fly to Lhasa
Nepalgunj
Day 5 Lhasa Lhasa
Day 6 Lhasa Lhasa
Day 7 Gyantse Gyantse
Day 8 Shigatse Shigatse
Day 9 Shigatse to Rongbuk. Visit Everest Base Camp
Rongbuk
Day 10 Drive to Saga
Saga
Day 11 Drive to Darchen via Lake Mansarovar
Darchen
Day 12 Begin Trek. Trek to Diraphuk
Diraphuk
Day 13 Trek to Zultrulphuk
Zutrulphuk
Day 14 Trek end at Darchen
Darchen
Day 15 Drive to Saga
Saga
Day 16 Drive to Gyirong
Gyirong
Day 17 Drive to Kathmandu
Kathmandu
Day 18 Contingency day in Kathmandu
Kathmandu
Day 19 Final departure
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Detailed Itinerary

Day 1Kathmandu

Arrive Kathmandu. Met on arrival and transfer to Hotel. Day free. Overnight Hotel Tibet. (Dinner)

Day 2 and 3Kathmandu

Sightseeing of Kathmandu. On these days, we will apply for and obtain your Tibet Travel Permits. Overnight Hotel Tibet. (Breakfast)

Day 4Kathmandu to Lhasa

Fly to Lhasa. Overnight Hotel. (Breakfast)

Day 05 Explore Lhasa

Visit the Jokhang temple at the Barkhor Square. The Jokhang is the most sacred temple for many Tibetans and was built by King Trsong Tsang Gampo. A not to miss experience is to circumbulate the temple along with thousands of Tibetans. Overnight Hotel. (Breakfast)

Day 6Explore Lhasa

Visit Potala Palace, the official residence of the Dalai Lama until he fled to India after the Chinese invasion. The palace has over a 1,000 rooms, 10,000 shrines and 200,000 statues. Continue to Sera Monastery, one of the three major Gelukpa temples along with Drepung monastery and Ganden monastery. A highlight is watching the monks practicing their debating skills in the monastery courtyard. Overnight Hotel. (Breakfast)

Day 7Drive to Gyantse

Gyantse is located 159 miles south-west of Lhasa. Traveling on a land-cruiser, cross the Khamba la (15,700 ft.) from where there are stunning views across the waters of Yamdrok-Tsho. Continue over Karo La (16,600 ft.) driving past a road which is within a few hundred meters of a huge glacier. Overnight Hotel. (Breakfast)

Day 8Drive to Shigatse

In the morning, explore the sites of Gyantse. Gyantse is famous for Kumbum, the largest stupa in Tibet. The Kumbum stupa and the Pelkor Chode Monastery are housed within the monastery compound. The chorten is packed with exquisite Tibetan sculpture and painting and rises 35m over four main symmetrical floors. A clockwise route leads pilgrims and visitors through the six floors.

Continue to Shigatse; a short 56 mile drive on the paved Friendship Highway. After lunch visit Tashilunpo Monastery, the seat of the Panchen Lama and the largest functioning monastery in Tibet. The monastery is essentially a walled town in its own right with busy cobbled lanes twisting around the ancient buildings. Overnight Hotel. (Breakfast)

Day 9Drive to Rongbuk. Visit Everest Base Camp.

Drive to Xegar and continue to Rongbuk. This is a 218 mile drive. At Rongbuk, you have the option to either hike to Everest Base Camp (2 hours), take a horse cart or an “environmental” vehicle (costs are extra). Overnight at the Rongbuk Guest House (Breakfast)

Day 10Rongbuk to Saga

Another long day of driving of approximately 280 miles to Saga. Overnight at a lodge. (Breakfast)

Day 11Saga to Darchen via Mansarovar

Today is another near 280 mile drive into Darchen. We will also visit the holy Mansarovar Lake. Overnight lodge. (Breakfast)

Day 12Darchen to Driraphuk

Our trek begins at Sarshung valley. Today’s hike is around 8 miles. Overnight local lodge. (Breakfast)

Day 13Driraphuk to Zutrulphuk

Today’s hike is the crux of the trip as we cross the Drolmala pass (18,400 ft). Overnight local lodge. (Breakfast)

Day 14Trek end at Darchen

Today is a short day of around 4.5 miles. Stay at hotel in Darchen (Breakfast)

Day 15Drive to Saga

Drive 280 miles to Saga. Stay in local hotel. (Breakfast)

Day 16Drive to Gyirong.

We continue our drive towards Nepal to Gyirong (184 miles). Overnight hotel. (Breakfast)

Day 17Gyirong to Kathmandu

After immigration formalities, cross over to Nepal. Drive back to Kathmandu. Overnight Hotel. (Breakfast)

Day 18Kathmandu

Today is a contingency in Kathmandu for unexpected delays. Overnight Hotel. (Breakfast)

Day 19Final departure

Transfer to airport for final departure. (Breakfast)

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Detailed Cost Information

Per person price (valid until 31 Dec 2018)

4-6 persons: USD 4,500 per person

7 or more persons: USD 4,200 per person 

Single Supplement: USD 450

 

Price Includes

Expert pre-trip advice and detailed information | Meeting and assistance at airports and airport transfers | All airport transfers | Twin sharing accommodation (Tent and hotels) | Meals as indicated on itinerary | Tours and excursions as indicated on itinerary | Airfare: Kathmandu – Nepalgunj – Simikot | Simikot restricted area fee | Tibet permit | Nepali Sherpa Staff | Yaks and Tibetan guides | Gamow Bag and Satellite phone (for use in Nepal only)

Price Excludes

Your international airfare, Nepal Visa, Meals not indicated in the itinerary, Tips and gratuities, Personal equipment (a suggested list will be mailed to you), Travel insurance (Required), Other expenses of a personal nature

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