A magnificent spiritual JOURNEY ACROSS THE ROOF OF THE WORLD IN TIBET
One of the world’s holiest places, Mount Kailash is considered a place of immense spiritual power. Completing the kora at Mt Kailash is believed to earn great karma. Join hundreds of pilgrims on the circuit around this holy mountain. It takes a full week of travel and acclimatization, during which time you will visit UNESCO World Heritage sights in Lhasa and Shigatse, to arrive at Mount Kailash. Drive across the roof of the world through ever changing spectacular scenery, meet the locals, and complete the ultimate spiritual journey.
This trip is designed for adventurous travellers who must be in good fitness for this high altitude trek. This journey is not recommended for travellers under 12 or over 70 years of age. To provide the ultimate Tibet experience, we have hand-picked the accommodation. You will be accompanied by an experienced English speaking Tibetan guide who will totally look after you throughout your journey, and play a special part in your Tibetan experience.
Enquire for price
12 night tour
Maximum elevation: 5,600 m
Availability: May to September
Minimum group size: 4 people
Single room supplement available on request.
Find out approximate trip price in your own currency here
- International airfare to Chengdu. (This can be arranged for you. Please contact us for details).
- Chengdu airport pick up on return
- Stopover hotel if needed
- China Visa
- Comprehensive travel insurance. Click here for an insurance quote.
- Additional activities not included in the itinerary
- Alcoholic or soft drinks
- Tips for guide & driver
- Domestic flight from Chengdu to Lhasa
- Hotel accommodation in Chengdu at start and end of trip
- Chengdu airport drop off
- All accommodation (twin share)
- All meals
- Private vehicle and driver
- Tibet Travel Permit (TTP)
- All entrance fees and activities as included in itinerary
- Excellent english speaking Tibetan guide
- Use of a cell phone with local number for duration of the trip
Begin this special pilgrimage journey in Lhasa on the roof of the world. Here we acclimatise with visits to UNESCO World Heritage sights before driving toward Mount Kailash in the far western frontiers. From Lhasa, we head west to spend a few nights in the historic towns of Gyantse and Shigatse, passing by glaciers, rivers, and incredible alpine scenery. At Mount Kailash we join pilgrims on a three day trek around the kora of the mountain - a walk that's been done for hundreds of years by millions of Buddhists, Hindus and Jains.
If this isn't enough to satisfy your wanderlust, add on an optional two-day journey to the ancient ruins of the Guge Kingdom, near Mount Kailash, or a one-day stop at Everest Base Camp to see the world's highest mountain. The incredible journey ends back in Lhasa, from where you'll take a scenic flight back over the mountains to your next destination.
Lhasa: Explore the lively Barkhor old town that surrounds the venerated Jokhang Temple, the center of Tibetan life in Lhasa.
Driving time: 1 hr Altitude: 3,656 m Overnight: Lhasa
Lhasa: Stroll through the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Norbulingka , meaning "Treasure Park." Visit the Norbulingka Palace and gardens, the traditional summer residence of the Dalai Lama. After lunch, visit Sera Monastery in the foothills north of Lhasa to watch the monks engage in their daily religious debate.
Altitude: 3,656 m Overnight: Lhasa
Lhasa: Start the day with a tour of the Potala Palace, the former residence of the Dalai Lama. After lunch visit a Tibetan rug factory to see how these beautiful rugs are made.
Altitude: 3,656 m Overnight: Lhasa
Gyantse: Drive along the Friendship Highway linking Tibet to Nepal. This scenic drive offers superb views of the otherwordly turquoise Yamdrok Lake and a stop at the Karola Glacier. Soon you'll reach the historic town of Gyantse, famous for a battle against British invasion in the 1900's. Driving time: 6 hrs Altitude: 3,956 m Overnight: Gyantse
Shigatse: Visit the Kumbum in Gyantse before continuing to Shigatse, the second city of Tibet. Visit the enormous Tashilhunpo Monastery, the traditonal seat of the Panchen Lamas, and wander the ancient market streets in the old town. Driving time: 2 hrs Altitude: 3,800 m Overnight: Shigatse
Saga: Depart early for a drive through ever changing amazing scenery. The harsh barrenness of the Tibetan plateau contrasts with lush grasslands and emerald lakes. Stop for a break in Lhatse before continuing to Saga for the night. Driving time: 9 hrs Altitude: 4,610 m Overnight: Saga
Darchen: We follow the Yarlung Tsangpo River (which later becomes the Brahmaputra in India) through rolling Himalayan foothills. As you approach Darchen, watch the sunset over remote Lake Manasarovar with your first glimpses of Kailash. Driving time: 8 hrs Altitude: 4,575 m Overnight: Darchen
Kailash Kora (Day 1) : Watch the sunrise light up the south face of Kailash before breakfast, then start your trek. Day one is a fairly easy trek up a wide valley, with excellent views of Kailash's north face from our overnight camp. Share the trail with Tibetan families, pilgrims, and a few herds of yaks. Walking distance: 18 km Altitude: 5,080 m Overnight: Camp at Dira-puk monastery
Kailash Kora (Day 2): Although some pilgrims do the remainder of the Kora on the second day (33 km), we take the more leisurely three days to complete the Kora. The trail ascends quickly and continues up switchbacks for the next seven or eight kilometres before crossing a 5,600 metre pass. Dropping down the other side, catch your breath as you enjoy the superb views. You'll pass an alpine lake before the narrow valley opens up at the monastery where you will spend the night.
Walking distance: 22 km Altitude: 4,820 m Overnight: Camp: Zutul-puk monastery
Kailash Kora (Day 3): As most of the elevation has already been gained and lost, it is a relatively flat walk back to Darchen. The trek becomes easier and you are surrounded by rolling grasslands. Arrive back in Darchen for a late lunch and a shower at a local bath house. Walking distance: 11 km Altitude: 4,575 m Overnight: Darchen
Saga: Return to Saga for the start of your journey back to Lhasa. You'll pass back through the extreme moon-scape of western Tibet's frontiers to the more inhabited lands of central Tibet.
Driving time: 8 hrs Altitude: 4,640 m Overnight: Saga
Shigatse: After breakfast, set off for our comfortable hotel in Shigatse. Re-enter the modernized world of conveniences, hot showers, and good coffee.
Driving time: 8 hrs Altitude: 3,800 m Overnight: Shigatse
Lhasa Airport: A morning drive to Lhasa airport follows the Yarlung Tsangpo River and offers beautiful views of idyllic Tibetan farming villages along the way. This afternoon you bid a reluctant farewell to your guide and depart from the roof of the world.
Driving time: 4 hrs
Want to see more?
- Everest Base Camp: + 1 Day/ 1 Night, ex. Saga
Drive from Saga to the base camp of Everest, the mountain that needs no introduction. You'll arrive in time for sunset, to watch the snowy mountain peak turn pink and gold, and stars appear around it. Stay in the local monastery guesthouse, where you'll fall asleep and wake up to the most unforgettable views. The next morning, soak up the sun in the lap of the world's highest mountain, before setting off for lower altitude Shigatse.
Extra Driving Time: 9 hrs Saga to EBC, 8 hrs EBC to Shigatse
Altitude: 5,150 m
Overnight: Rongbuk Monastery, EBC
- Guge Kingdom Cave Ruins: + 2 Days/ 2 Nights, ex. Darchen
After completing the kora at Kailash, drive to Tirthapuri Hot Springs, where pilgrims traditionally bathe their feet after completing the hike. Continue to Khyunglung to walk around the ruined cave city, preserved for centuries in this remote corner of the world. Drive to Zanda for the magnificent sunset colours over the moon-like landscape. Spend the next morning at the ancient Guge Kingdom sites, and return to Lake Manasarovar in the evening. Relax beside the holy lake and enjoy some final views of Mount Kailash.
Extra Driving Time: 10 hrs round-trip
Altitude: 4,590 m
Overnight: Zanda and Lake Manasarovar
Let Beyond The Clouds take care of your transit arrangements too.
We recommend staying in Chengdu or Kathmandu on your way to Lhasa, but if there's somewhere else you would prefer to transit, please don't hesitate to ask.
Stay in a boutique hotel near the peaceful Wenshu Temple. Our local team will pick you up and deliver you safely to and from the airport to ensure your journey to Lhasa begins smoothly and comfortably. If you arrive with time to spare, Chengdu is packed with interesting cultural and scenic experiences.
Stay in a comfortable guesthouse that's one of our old-time favourites in the city. Our local team will pick you up and deliver you safely to and from the airport to ensure your journey to Lhasa begins smoothly and comfortably. With a spare day or two, you can visit some of the many UNESCO sites in this ancient city and explore the rich Nepali culture.