Day 1 Arrive in Lhasa, Transfer to Hotel (12,000 ft ~ 3,656m)
Arrive at the Lhasa Gonggar International Airport, the capital and largest city of the Tibet Autonomous Region. Your local guide will meet and assist you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel. Lhasa is at a high elevation, and so there is very little planned for you today apart from resting in your hotel. This ensures that you’ll be well-rested and have a good start at acclimatizing to the altitude to begin your adventure in the morning. B/L/D, 4-Star Hotel.
Day 2 In and Around Lhasa (12,000 ft ~ 3,656m)
After breakfast, embark on a full day grand tour of the legendary city of Lhasa. The magnificent Potala Palace is the former home of the Dalai Lama and the place where the former great Dalai Lama’s stupas are being kept. Until recent times, it was the seat of the Tibetan government for many centuries. The Potala Palace is over 1,300 years old and holds the treasures of Tibetan religion and culture, scores of Buddha statues, murals, thangkas, sutras, and so forth. After visiting the Potala Palace, we’ll take a short drive outside Lhasa to Sera Monastery. Situated at the base of a very tall mountain, Sera is one of the largest monasteries of the Gelugpa sect. Your day comes to a close with a tour of the Dalai Lama’s summer palace of, a treasure of Tibet, the Norbulingka. B/L/D, 4-Star Hotel.
Day 3 Fly to Ali, Relax (14,020 ft ~ 4,274m)
Today is dedicated to your relaxing trip to Ali. We’ll enjoy breakfast in our Lhasa hotel before the scenic drive to the Lhasa Airport. The flight to Ali is your window to a great span of the Tibetan Plateau with a healthy dose of Himalaya to our south. Initially, we’ll meet the Nepal Himalaya, followed by a flyover of Mt. Kailash itself before landing in the western Plateau town of Ali. Upon transfer to our hotel, the rest of the day is yours to enjoy this small town and regroup a bit before embarking on our great Kailash adventure. B/L/D, Flight, Hotel.
Onward to Lake Manasarovar and Chiu Gompa (15,200 ft ~ 4,634m )
The mighty Tibetan Plateau, awaits our imminent arrival. Driving out of Ali, we make our way up and over the Shazi Pass and with it, brand new dramatic views to snowy mountains ahead. Presently our route brings us closer to the Indian border and distant views of the crest of the Highest Himalaya. As we continue, the divine Mt. Kailash itself rises sensationally to our north while Lake Rakshas Tal lies to our south. Across the lake, the heights of the hulking Mt. Gurla Mandata occupy a grand position with panoramic views over all. A short while later, we take a right turn onto Rt. 207 and soon arrive at Chiu Gompa, a Buddhist Monastery that’s embedded in cliffs high above Lake Manasarovar. The afternoon allows for plenty of time for pilgrims to perform the holy bath, puja, hawan, and so forth. B/L/D. Guesthouse.
Day 5 Hot Springs, then drive to Darchen (15,350 ft ~ 4,680m)
After breakfast at Chui Gompa, you’ll have a chance to visit the hot springs nearby. Then, we will drive for a mere 1.5 to 2 hours to Darchen, AKA, Mt Kailash Base Camp. Darchen is a cluster of buildings within a walled compound that makes the pilgrim’s gateway to Mt. Kailash. We’ll use the rest of the day to explore in and around town, prep for the start of the pilgrimage trek, or maybe hike to the Ashtapad, a revered viewpoint in the northern foothills below Mt Kailash. B/L/D. Guesthouse.
Day 6 Holy Kora to Dirapuk (15,780 ft ~ 4,811m)
After breakfast our holy trek begins by driving to the Tarboche Flagpole, a maze of prayer flags all fanning out from a center pole, and an important site for sky burials. As we continue through the gateway, we’ll visit Yamadwar and drive onward to Sershong where you’ll be met by your porters and ponies to begin the trek. Walking upward along the floor of the Lha Chu Valley to the west of Kailash, we eventually encounter the two-legged chorten known as Chorten Kangnyi. We’ll meet nomadic herders watching over their yaks and sheep . . . it’s a gentle hike on a well-defined path along the right side of the river. Continuing to the north, then east we stop for the night at the Dira Phuk Gompa and its otherworldly views of Mt Kailash. B/L/D. Guesthouse.
Day 7 Holy Kora to Drolma La Summit and Zutrulpuk (18,600 ft ~ 5,670m / 15,780 ft ~ 4,810m)
Continuing our parikrama, prepare to be amazed at what lies ahead and how your body rises to the challenge. Our trek begins with a steep climb on a winding path over a moraine ridge to a level meadow area. Our route will take us to Shiwa Tsal cemetery where we can see that the Tibetans have left part of their clothing or drop of blood to respect the dead ones. From here is a steady climb to the Drolma La at the height of 18,600 ft or 5670m! Drolma La is marked by streamers of prayer flags and a huge Drolma stone that represents the goddess Drolma. Then the trail descends by the series of rocky switchbacks above the frozen lake of Gauri Kunda to reach the Valley of Zhong Chu. We will follow the river and call it a day to camp in the area of Zutrul Phuk Gompa at the height of 4820m. This hike will take around seven to nine hours of your time. What you will pass through and things you will come across in this tour will make it a truly memorable day. B/L/D. Guesthouse.
Day 8 Holy Kora to Darchen, drive to Ali (14,020 ft ~ 4,274m)
This is our third and final day on your Holy Trek around Mt Kailash. Today we will take an easy three hours trek as we exit the Zhong Chu valley through a narrow gorge before reaching Darchen. From there, we return to our vehicle and start our four-hour road trip to our airport town of Ali. It’s our luck that we are again able to be driving just north of the highest Himalaya, showing us dramatic mountain views with sand dunes and desert landscape in the foreground. B/L/D. Hotel.
Day 9 Fly to Lhasa, Transfer to Hotel (12,000 ft ~ 3,656m )
Again we find ourselves in the enviable position of flying over the endless Tibetan Plateau with views to our south along the spine of the Himalaya. Depending on your flight route, you’ll be able to look onto the north face of Mt. Everest from right side window seats. Enjoy your flight to Lhasa, then relax as you continue to your Lhasa hotel. B/L/D. Hotel.
Day 10 Transfer to Lhasa Airport for end of Tour (12,000 ft ~ 3,656m)
After your hotel breakfast, prepare for final departure and a transfer to Lhasa Gonggar International Airport for your homeward-bound flight. It has been our pleasure to travel with you on such an important journey!