Kailas - Tibet's Sacred Peak

A classic trekking holiday to Tibet and Mount Kailas

20

days

Trek

From 0 Land only

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Holiday Overview

Highlights

  • Excellent 5-day Mount Kailas circuit trek
  • Enter Tibet from Simikot in Nepal
  • Dip in the holy lake of Manasarovar
  • Chill out in Kathmandu at the end of the trek

In the remote Ngari Province in far western Tibet, an area which is too high to support agriculture and which is home only to nomadic Drogpa herdsmen, lies the strikingly symmetrical Mount Kailas (6714m) which is revered by the devout of several religions - Tibetans call the mountain Kang Rinpoche (Precious Jewel of the Snows), whilst both Buddhists and Hindus see the mountain as the earthly manifestation of Mount Meru - the spiritual centre of the universe. Pilgrims make their way to this sacred peak from as far away as Bhutan and Ladakh, believing that the sins of a lifetime can be washed away simply by completing a circuit trek of the mountain. During this 3 week adventure we trek to Kailas in Tibet from Nepal following an ancient pilgrimage route (certainly a most interesting way to approach the mountain!), and complete the 5-day cirumambulation of this most sacred peak. Flying into the airstrip at Simikot, we then trek through the high valleys of Humla to the Tibetan Border town of Purang, from where we will drive via the holy lake of Manasarovar to Darchen. Geographically speaking Humla is one of the westernmost of all the high valleys in Nepal, and lies along the Humla Karnali gorge close to the border with Tibet. The villages of the lowest sections of this remote valley are inhabited by people of Indian extraction, whilst the higher settlements are home to Bhotias who are of Tibetan origin. In the higher villages the traditional way of life is based on animal husbandry and the growing of a meagre barley crop, supplemented by cross-border trade with Tibet, a trade which used to extend as far as Lhasa and still reaches Kathmandu. Regular pilgrimage to sacred Mount Kailas and Lake Manasarovar is an important aspect of the lives of these hardy folk. Trails in this area have long been important trading routes between Nepal and Tibet, and the main passes are passable for loaded yaks and thus no serious obstacle for a trekking party. From the Nara Lagna Pass (4600m), which we cross shortly before reaching the Tibetan Border, the mountains of Central Tibet can be seen stretching away to the horizon - arid, bleak and thoroughly enticing.

Is this holiday for you?
The trek from Simikot to the Tibetan border is not particularly difficult or sustained. The average walking day is around 6 to 7 hours though there may some longer days. In general the underfoot conditions are good and we follow a well established trail. It should be noted however that trekking at altitude makes more physical demands than the equivalent terrain at lower elevations. During the 5-day circuit trek of Mount Kailas, we will be following excellent trails used by the thousands of pilgrims who complete the route each year. Although short, this trek does present a reasonably tough proposition on account of the altitude. We will be averaging just 10 kilometres (6 miles) per day. The high point of the walk is at the Drolma La (5600 metres) and our highest camp will be at Jarok Donkhang - at 5250 metres. The trek is suitable for most regular hill-walkers and those with a good level of fitness.

Brief Itinerary

View in full
  • Meet at the group hotel in Kathmandu. Transfers from Kathmandu Airport are provided.
  • Sightseeing around Kathmandu.
  • Fly to Nepalgunj with superb views of the Himalaya.
  • Fly to Simikot and trek to Masigaon (2600m) or Dharapori (2580m).
  • Trek to Kermi (2900m) via the spectacular waterfall at Chachera.
  • Trek to Yangur, with superb views of the Saipal Himal.
  • Border formalities and trek to Thumkot.
  • Trek to camp about Yari (3900m).
  • Across the Nara Lagna (4460m) to Purang (3800m) in Tibet
  • Drive to Manasarovar (4556m) across the Grla La (4900m0 with superb views across to Kailas.
  • Morning hike along the south shore of Lake Manasarovar. Drive to camp on the Northern Shore (4600m).
  • Visit Chiu Gompa and drive to Darchen (4600m).
  • Begin the Kailas Kora. Camp at Diraphuk Gompa (4775m).
  • Cross the Drolma La (5600m). Continue to camp close to the Zutulpuk Gompa (4760m).
  • Trek down the Lham Chu Valley to Darchen.
  • Contingency day for possible delays, or hike to Seralung Gompa.
  • Drive eastwards through Tibet to camp near Paryang.
  • Drive to the Chinese border checkpost of Zangmu.
  • Return to Kathmandu.
  • Departure day. Transfers to Kathmandu Airport are provided.
The LAND ONLY dates and prices are for the itinerary joining in Kathmandu. For clients making their own flight arrangements, Kathmandu Airport is the most convenient for transfers to the group hotel. Please refer to the 'Joining arrangements & transfers' section in the trip dossier for further details.

Flights SHOULD NOT be booked until you have received your booking confirmation and this trip is showing the 'Guaranteed to Run or Limited' symbol. If your trip is still showing 'Spaces', we will contact you as soon as it has reached the guaranteed status.

Though improved relations between the UK and China have made travel to Tibet an easier prospect in recent times, please be aware that the Chinese authorities do have a history of opening and closing the Tibetan borders or refusing to issue visas without warning. For this reason we would highly recommend that if you are planning to travel to Tibet, you make a flight inclusive booking or book flights which are refundable in the event of your holiday having to be cancelled.


BOOK WITH KE CONFIDENCE - No surcharge guarantee

We have undertaken to guarantee that all of our Land Only prices will not change once you have booked your holiday. Unlike some of our competitors we have decided never to surcharge, whether you are booking for this year or the next.

Map & Itinerary

The Route

  • peaks
  • point
  • airport
  • trip direction
  • transfer
  • trek

Holiday Itinerary

  • Meet at the group hotel in Kathmandu. Transfers from Kathmandu Airport are provided.

    Meet at the group hotel in Kathmandu. Complimentary airport transfers are provided for all clients regardless of arrival time. Once everyone has arrived the trip leader will gather us together for a briefing and to collect passports for the final stage of the Tibetan visa process. KE Land Only package services begin with dinner and overnight at the group hotel in Kathmandu.

    • Accommodation Hotel

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  • Sightseeing around Kathmandu.

    A free day for sightseeing in Kathmandu. There is an ‘optional’ guided tour of some of the city’s main attractions. Alternatively, you may prefer to do your own thing, especially if you have visited Kathmandu before. This is a vital day for our local staff to finalise the arrangements for the group’s Tibetan visas. With advance notice it is possible for us to arrange seats on the scenic flights over the Everest National Park.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals bld

  • Fly to Nepalgunj with superb views of the Himalaya.

    We take the short internal flight to Nepalgunj in the far west of Nepal. This one hour flight is quite remarkable as it traverses the entire length of the Nepal Himalaya west of Kathmandu, with superb views of Langtang, Manaslu, the Annapurnas and Dhaulagiri. Nepalgunj is close to the Indian Border and quite warm in comparison to Kathmandu. In Nepalgunj. It is also well away from the normal tourist track and the infrastructure cannot compare with Kathmandu. We check in to a basic but comfortable Hotel.

    • Accommodation Hotel

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  • Fly to Simikot and trek to Masigaon (2600m) or Dharapori (2580m).

    We have arranged an early morning charter flight to take us on to Simikot, the administrative centre of Humla. Peering through the perspex windows of our aircraft as it comes in to land at Simikot, there are glimpses of the snowy mass of Saipal to the north. This small town is perched on a ridge above the Humla Karnali River and enjoys wonderful views out over the deep valley. We meet our trek crew at Simikot. They have walked in to this remote spot from a roadhead far to the south. Simikot is at an altitude of 3170 metres and the inhabitants are a Nepali Hindu people, called Thakuris, who regularly trade north-westwards into Tibet via the route that we will be taking to Taklakot, following the Humla Karnali to the border. There is only a very gradual altitude increase on the approach to the Tibetan Border. At the point where we will cross the river to enter Tibet (in 5 days time), we will be only 300 metres higher than the altitude at Simikot. Beyond Simikot, the villages are inhabited by an increasing proportion of Bhotia (Tibetan) people. We will pass several small settlements, which make best use of any suitable flat land in the narrow gorge of the upper Humla Karnali. Leaving Simikot we climb quite steeply to a pass where there is a welcome tea-shop. Beyond here its downhill all the way for the rest of today as we descend 1000 metres into the valley of the Humla Karnali. At this point the valley is a steep gorge, quite densely forested and with many tributary waterfalls. After approximately 3 hours downhill we reach our first camping place either at the small hamlet of Masigaon (2600m) or further down at the river in Dharapori (2580m).

    • Accommodation Camping

    • Meals bld

  • Trek to Kermi (2900m) via the spectacular waterfall at Chachera.

    Lots of up and down today, as we negotiate steep sections of trail above the river. Very little overall height gain, but the nature of the terrain means that we have at times to climb up to avoid otherwise impassable sections of the gorge. After approximately 4 hours we reach a lunch just beyond a spectacular waterfall at Chachera. Two more hours of straightforward trekking after lunch takes us to Kermi. This is the first village which is recognisable as being purely a Bhotia settlement, with prayer flags fluttering above the houses and the well preserved mani walls attesting to the Buddhist influence. Above the village there are monasteries of both the Sakya and Nyingma Buddhist orders and nearby there are hot springs. We camp below the village, which is perched high above the trail. Altitude 2900m.

    • Accommodation Camping

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  • Trek to Yangur, with superb views of the Saipal Himal.

    We continue a gradual ascent beside the Humla Karnali, passing a number of forested tributary valleys on both sides of the river. Ahead of us, there are superb views of the Saipal Himal. The Nepal government with help from China are planning to build a road from the Tibetan border all the way to Simikot. although this will take several years to construct through such difficult terrain, we will today come across isolated sections where clearing for the new road has begun. We climb gradually away from the main river and crest a ridge which gives access to the tributary Chungsa Khola Valley which comes in from the north. Dropping down into this valley, we cross the tributary river and regain the main valley at a point where it opens out appreciably. Passing through a number of small villages, we reach the river plain a short distance before our overnight camping place at Yangur. Yangur was once a very remote place but the new road, extending southwards from the Tibet border will in future give a much wider world access to this town.

    • Accommodation Camping

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    • Time 4 - 5 hrs trekking

  • Border formalities and trek to Thumkot.

    Easy going at first through Yangar and the village of Yalbang with its collection of closely built houses. The route now passes through a gorge section of the river. It used to be necessary for the pack animals to take a higher route than those on two legs, but now we can all follow the new track being prepared for the road which runs along the river. After 4 hours walking we reach Muchu, where we have our passports stamped (effectively our exit point from Nepal) and we then continue easily downhill as far as the camping place at Thumkot. We say goodbye to our yaks and to part of the trek crew today as our bags will be transported by vehicle from this point.

    • Accommodation Camping

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    • Time 5 - 6 hrs trekking

  • Trek to camp about Yari (3900m).

    Here we begin a steep climb away from the river. The Humla Karnali disappears away to the right into a steep-sided and impassable gorge. It is a long pull up the valley of the Bumchiya Khola to Torea and then more uphill on a good trail which cuts between the long zig-zags of the jeep track, to a lunch stop after approximately four hours. After lunch, an hour’s walking leads to Yari, where there is a monastery and a fortress-like arrangement of houses. A further hour takes us to our camping place - at an altitude of 3900 metres. A level grassy camp with good water.

    • Accommodation Camping

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  • Across the Nara Lagna (4460m) to Purang (3800m) in Tibet

    A stiff climb for 2 hours up to the summit of the Nara Lagna (4460m), passing the small village of Sip Sip at around 4200 metres. Our efforts are rewarded by splendid views of Saipal and of a range of peaks heading westwards towards Nepal’s border with India. The trail leading off to Limi heads off to the right at the pass and the impressive bulk of Gurla Mandata is straight ahead. We have been forced to cross this pass, which is the low point on a spur above the Karnali River, to avoid an impassable section of gorge. We now make a long steep descent from the pass back down to the river. The pilgrims trail goes more directly and steeply down cutting out the switch-backs of the road and providing breathtaking views. The hillside becomes more precipitous as we near the river and trail and road come together for the final section into Hilsa, the last Nepalese town before Tibet. We can take some refreshment here before crossing the suspension bridge into Tibet. On the other side of the river we make a short climb up to the Chinese customs post at Sher. We aim to arrive here around midday or early afternoon and we have to go through the formalities of border crossing. We then board our waiting transport for the 2 hour drive to Purang (Taklakot), via Khojarnath, which is the lowest village in the Ngari Province of Tibet and has an important monastery. Taklakot is an important bazaar town. Tibetans, and especially Khampas from the eastern part of Tibet, set up their tents in one part of the town, whilst the Nepalis establish two more, separate market areas during the summer months. There is still a quite important wool trade between the local, nomadic Drogpa herdsmen and certain of the Nepali traders. We are obliged to stay in a very basic guest house at Purang while further immigration formalities are attended to by our guide.

    • Accommodation Guesthouse

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  • Drive to Manasarovar (4556m) across the Grla La (4900m0 with superb views across to Kailas.

    It is an impressive drive out of the valley of the Karnali River, climbing steeply to the Gurla La at 4900 metres, where there are views across to Kailas, before dropping down to Trugo Gompa situated on the southern shore of Lake Manasarovar (4556m). We set up camp and there is the opportunity for the brave, devout or just plain dusty to take a dip in the lake. It is said that the sins of a lifetime are cleansed by bathing in Manasarovar.

    • Accommodation Camping

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  • Morning hike along the south shore of Lake Manasarovar. Drive to camp on the Northern Shore (4600m).

    This morning we take a walk of around 2 - 3 hours along Lake Manasarovar's southern shore. We then drive between the twin lakes of Rakas Tal and Manasarovar and stop to visit Gosul Gompa. From here we continue around the lake to a camp on its northern shore below Chiu Gompa (4556m). There are spectacular views of Gurla Mandata and of the Himalaya to the south.

    • Accommodation Camping

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    • Time 2 - 3 hrs trekking

  • Visit Chiu Gompa and drive to Darchen (4600m).

    Chiu Gompa is situated atop a rocky outcrop rising above the lake. This morning we can climb the hill to visit the monastery and for a sensational view to Kailas. In the afternoon we drive across the flat Barkha Plain with the ice-capped pyramid of Kailas growing ever nearer to Darchen (4600m) where we check into a simple guesthouse. Darchen was once an important centre of the wool trade, prior to the break down of the cross border trading between Tibet and India in the 1940’s. Now the village is mainly inhabited in summer (when a sprawling tent city grows around the cluster of permanent structures) and serves as a point of departure for the many pilgrims who come to Kailas from far and wide. Only the very top of Kailas is visible from Darchen, as the foothills of the mountain approach the northern side of the village and obscure the view.

    • Accommodation Guesthouse

    • Meals bld

  • Begin the Kailas Kora. Camp at Diraphuk Gompa (4775m).

    The traditional circuit of Kailas proceeds in a clockwise direction, according to the requirements of the Buddhist religion, whose followers walk around all sacred sites in this direction. Hindu pilgrims also complete clockwise circuits. Conversely, the Tibetan Bon Po religion requires its adherents to circle the mountain counter-clockwise. Darchen is due south of Kailas, and the kora starts by heading in a north-westerly direction to reach the broad valley of the Lha Chu. A relatively new road built by the Chinese follows the course of the Kora as afar as the foot of the Drolma La. Only government officials are permitted to use this road beyond Darboche but we begin the kora of Kailas by driving on this road in local vehicles, crossing a low ridge to drop into the Lha Chu Valley. On reaching the tall flagpole at Darboche (which is decorated every year with new prayer flags during the spring festival of Saga Dawa valley) we meet our trek crew and their yaks. This is as far as we are permitted to drive and we continue the kora on foot. Heading north, our route gains height very gradually, passing mani walls and the impressive, arched Kangnyi Chorten, to Chukku Gompa on the western side of the river. We can make a detour to climb up to this monastery and admire the view of Kailas. Returning to the east of the river, the pilgrim trail continues through a narrowing of the valley, the Lha Chu Canyon, and then begins to turn towards the east, passing a huge conglomerate boulder at Damding Dongkhang after a couple of hours walking. A further 2 to 3 hours of level trekking takes us to our camping place at Diraphuk Gompa (4775m). This is a superb little gompa with an exquisite interior and a good view of the North Face of Kailas.

    • Accommodation Camping

    • Meals bld

  • Cross the Drolma La (5600m). Continue to camp close to the Zutulpuk Gompa (4760m).

    We start out today, with a couple of hours walk to Jarok Donkhang (5250m). From this point, the main valley heads north and is one possible route towards the source of the Indus. Our route crosses the Drolma La Chu (a tributary of the Lha Chu) and heads towards the high point of the circuit, the Drolma La (5600m). Initially the climbing is interspersed with level sections and then becomes more continuous, passing the sacred site of Shiwa Tsal where the Buddhist and Hindu pilgrims leave items of clothing or locks of hair as an offering, which is supposed to smooth the passage of their spirit after death. The final rocky scramble to the pass is lined with hundreds of cairns, and looking back there is a last view of the north side of Kailas. It is approximately 4 hours to the pass from our overnight camp. At the pass is a huge boulder, the Drolma Stone, festooned with prayer flags and daubed with yak butter. The devout of all religions prostrate before this stone and walk around it three times before continuing. A steep and rocky descent from the pass leads past a large frozen lake and after about an hour, to the more level floor of the Lham Chu Valley where we once again meet a Chinese road. We continue down the valley for a further 2 - 3 hours, looking out for the single spot where we can look back for a view of Kailas’s mysterious east face. We make our camp close to Zutulpuk Gompa (4760m) after a long day.

    • Accommodation Camping

    • Meals bld

    • Time 8 -9 hrs trekking

  • Trek down the Lham Chu Valley to Darchen.

    Near to Zutulpuk Gompa is an interesting cave, which legend has it, was carved by Milarepa during a magical contest. Our trek continues south towards a narrowing of the valley and a short section of gorge beyond which, we turn towards the west. After 2 - 3 hours walking we crest a rise and we can see Raksas Tal, the lake which lies just to the west of Lake Manasarovar, framed by the snowy peaks of the Himalaya almost like a mirage. We can also see the gompa at our destination, Darchen. Arriving here we have completed the circuit or kora of Kailas and we say goodbye to our trek crew and to the yaks before driving for approximately 1 hour to Hor on the western shore of Manasarovar. We set up camp near this small town.

    • Accommodation Camping

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  • Contingency day for possible delays, or hike to Seralung Gompa.

    This is an important contingency day against any delays to our trekking schedule up to this point. There is little to see at Hor which is not particularly attractive but we can use this day, if not used for contingent plans at this point, to hike to nearby Seralung Gompa.

    • Accommodation Camping

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  • Drive eastwards through Tibet to camp near Paryang.

    Today we are met by our vehicles and we make steady progress on a good road eastwards through the dusty open expanse of the arid Tibetan plateau. Travelling parallel to the main chain of the Himalaya away to our south, the snows of the mountains form a stark contrast to rocky hues of the landscape to the north. After passing through the isolated town of Paryang we reach our camp for the night approximately 100km further on. The breathtaking views south to the main Himalayan chain (we are now due north of the Ganesh peaks and Manaslu) compensate for the rigours of the drive.

    • Accommodation Camping

    • Meals bld

  • Drive to the Chinese border checkpost of Zangmu.

    Our journey continues, at first travelling east. We pass the town of Saga and then, reaching the ‘Friendship Highway’, we turn towards the west and cross two 5000 metre passes, the Lalung La and then the Shung La. A photo stop is a must at the prayer flagged crest of the Shung La, for on one side of the pass is the huge bulk of Shishapangma, the only 8000 metre peak which stands completely in Tibet, whilst on the other side of the pass is a unique panorama of the north faces of Cho Oyu, Menlungste and Gauri Shankar. Photo session over, we begin the longest road descent in the world, from 5200 metres to 590 metres at the Sun Kosi River in Nepal. We leave the cold, arid Tibetan Plateau and drop down into the warm jungle of Nepal. The road enters a steep, narrow gorge with many waterfalls and the hillsides are covered with trees and plants of many colours. It is all very verdant, after the arid Tibetan Plateau. Overnight at a hotel in the Chinese border checkpost of Zangmu.

    • Accommodation Hotel

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  • Return to Kathmandu.

    After the border formalities, and the crossing of the 'Friendship Bridge', we continue our descent, reaching a low point at Dolaghat. The road then climbs again to Dhulikel and from there it is an easy drive to Kathmandu. We check in to the group hotel and have the rest of the day free for relaxing. Tonight we will celebrate a really exceptional adventure in one of the city’s popular restaurants.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals bld

  • Departure day. Transfers to Kathmandu Airport are provided.

    KE Land Only package services end after breakfast. Transfers to Kathmandu airport are provided. There are lots of extensions that can easily be added to your holiday in Nepal. Why not pre-book a simple day-tour in the Kathmandu Valley, or a multi-day excursion to one of the important wildlife reserves at Chitwan or Bardia. You might also like to add a visit to neighbouring Bhutan. Contact our office for details

    • Meals b

Holiday Information

  • A professional English-speaking local leader
  • Kathmandu Airport transfers
  • All land transport and internal flights involved in the itinerary
  • All accommodation as described in the trip dossier
  • All meals throughout the holiday
  • Guided sightseeing tour of Kathmandu
  • A full service on trek including food and all equipment (excluding personal equipment)
  • Travel insurance
  • Nepalese and Tibet Visas
  • Tips for porters and other trek staff
  • Miscellaneous expenses - souvenirs and drinks etc.

The food served during the trek is a mixture of local and Western, mostly purchased in Tibet or Nepal and cooked for us by our own highly trained Nepalese trek cooks. The emphasis is on providing a high-carbohydrate and largely vegetarian diet, which we have found to be easily digestible at high altitude. In Kathmandu and in Lhasa we take our meals in restaurants or in the group hotel and there is generally a choice of food. All meals whilst on trek and when staying in hotels are included in the trip price.

All meals are included in the holiday price from dinner on day 1 until breakfast on day 20.
All clients travelling to Kathmandu will be met at the airport by a KE representative who will arrange the transfer to the group hotel. Clients MUST provide the KE office with full details of their flights and should let us know if Kathmandu Airport transfers are not required. Hotel contact details and an emergency number will be provided with your booking confirmation.
During this trip the group will spend 3 nights in Kathmandu at a centrally-located tourist-class hotel. There is also a night in each of the towns of Nepalgunj , Purang, Darchen and Zangmu at basic provincial hotels. There are 12 nights camping. All accommodation is based on twin-sharing. If you are travelling by yourself you will be paired up with another single client of the same sex. It is possible to hire a single tent while on trek for an additional cost. Please note single tent hire does not include single rooms in hotels. Single rooms are available for a supplementary cost. Additional hotel nights in Kathmandu are also available. For Hotel prices and single supplement costs please refer to the dates and prices page of the trip on our website. Hotels are subject to availability and prices may vary.

View the gallery below for images of the style of accommodation used

Shortly after first light one of the cook crew will wake you with a cup of tea or coffee brought to your tent. You will have plenty of time to get up and pack your trekbag before sitting down to a hot breakfast, during which camp will be struck and the baggage animals loaded. We will generally reach our lunch stop after 3 or 4 hours walking. The cook crew, having overtaken us on the trail, will already have the lunch preparations well under way. Lunch on most days is a cooked meal. This usually takes an hour or even two and this is a great time for relaxing, reading and sitting in the sun. It is usual for the afternoon’s walk to be shorter than the morning session. During the day we will stop at the various monasteries and other interesting sights along the route and there is always plenty of time to take photographs and to interact with the local people we meet along the way. On arrival in camp, the Shepas will quickly put up the tents and prepare some tea and biscuits while we settle in. Dinner is ready at around 6 p.m. and is a 3-course meal served in the mess tent. This is a great time of day for reliving the events of the trek so far and for general socialising. After dark, the temperature quickly falls and everyone will soon be tucked up in their sleeping bags.

Internal Flights

Access to the high and remote areas of the Himalaya where our treks start is often only possible using internal flights. The changeable nature of mountain weather makes flying conditions complex. In addition the Civil Aviation Access to the high and remote areas of the Himalaya where our treks start is often only possible using internal flights. The changeable nature of mountain weather makes flying conditions complex. In addition the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal does not operate to the same standards as those of western nations and all airlines in Nepal appear on the European Commission’s list of airlines that are banned from flying into EU member states. Flying in Nepal is an acknowledged risk, and the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office travel advice provides further details which you can read on their website at: www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/nepal/safety-and-security. KE is mindful of its duty of care to clients travelling with us in Nepal and we were stakeholders in a recent independent air audit of Nepal airlines undertaken by UK tour operators during 2013. KE uses only three airlines in Nepal which were approved by this audit as safe carriers. These airlines are: Yeti Airlines, Tara Air and Buddha Air. We continue to cooperate with other tour operators to monitor aviation safety in Nepal and will ensure we remain a stakeholder in any further air safety audits. While we have taken appropriate action to try to minimise the risks of flying in Nepal, you should be aware that flying in mountainous terrain is not without any risk. Please note that poor weather can cause delays on the flights to and from the higher mountain air strips. If flights are cancelled for the day, you will spend an extra night at a hotel near your departure airport. There is enough flexibility in the trekking itinerary to make up 1 or even 2 lost days, but alternative arrangements must be made if your mountain flights are cancelled for a third day. We have included 2 nights in Kathmandu at the end of the trip as a contingency against delay on the flight back from the mountains. Helicopters can sometimes fly when the scheduled fixed wing aircraft cannot. If your group is offered the opportunity to use a chartered helicopter, either flying up to or back from your trekking area, the cost will be shared between those choosing to take this option. In the extremely unlikely event that flight cancellations cause you to miss your homeward international flight, KE will render all assistance, but cannot be held liable for any extra costs incurred. We advise you to take out suitable insurance and to keep your receipts, as you may subsequently be able to make a claim.

The group will be accompanied by an experienced English-speaking tour leader. On trek we will have the services of a full Nepalese trek crew, including a local guide or sirdar and several Sherpas. Additionally, there will be a team of yak handlers and their animals on the circuit of Kailas and ponies and their handlers on the trek through Nepal.

Approximately £250 (or equivalent in US dollars, Euros etc.) changed into local currency should be allowed for miscellaneous expenses including porter and trek crew tips. It is not necessary to obtain local currency prior to departure. Sterling, US Dollars and Euros are equally acceptable for exchange in Kathmandu. We recommend that you change approximately £150 into Nepal rupees on your arrival in Kathmandu. Once you have crossed the border into Tibet you will be able to change money into Chinese renimbee. The best currecncy for exchange in Purang (Tibet) is US dollars and we recommend you change $100. Once you return to Nepal you may need to change more money or it is possible to withdraw money from ATMs (Nepalese rupees only).

Tipping is the accepted way of saying ‘thank you’ for good service. Tips do not form part of the wages of your porters and trek crew but they are very much appreciated. It is important to remember that tipping is voluntary and should be dependent on good service. Normally the tips are given at the end of the trek and this is best done as a group. Most groups will give the tips with a bit of ceremony (or sometimes a party) on the last evening, to mark the end of the trip. On this trip you may have two or more tipping ‘ceremonies’, as you end each distinct section. The level of tipping is entirely up to you but we realise that some guidance is needed and we suggest that each group member contributes a total of £60 - £80 (in equivalent local currency) to these tips. You will need approximately £40 - £50 of this in Nepalese rupees (avoid 1000 rupee notes – these are too big to be useful), and approximately £20 - £30 should be in Chinese Renminbi. At the end of a trek many people also like to donate various items of their equipment to the porters and trek staff who work so hard to make the trip a success. Boots, gloves, hats, scarves and even socks (clean of course) are always warmly received by the porters, many of whom are simple farmers earning extra cash by porterring for trekking groups. Technical clothing and equipment such as head-torches and trekking poles are highly prized by the local guides and camp crews. If you think you would like to donate equipment at the end of your trip, your trek leader will make arrangements for a fair distribution among the crew.

Your baggage on trek will be carried by porters or baggage animals. The packed weight of your trek bag whilst trekking should be no more than 15kg (33 pounds). It is possible to leave clothes or other items not required on trek at the group hotel in Kathmandu.

All KE clients will receive a FREE KE trek bag.  These have been specially made to stand up to the rigours of adventure travel.  Your KE bag will be posted to you when your trip is guaranteed to run or on receipt of your booking if the trip is already guaranteed.  If you have travelled with us before and already have a KE trek bag you can select an alternative free gift in the booking process.

This holiday involves going to very high altitude. During the course of your trip you will be spending at least one night above 4000 metres and/or trekking to 5000 metres or above. This is not something that you should worry about; the human body is quite capable of adapting to a very wide range of altitudes, but it is important that we follow some simple rules in order to acclimatise successfully. Before coming on this holiday you should read the advice on trekking at high altitude. Unless you have previous experience of trekking above 4000 metres you should consult one of our trekking experts before embarking on this holiday. On this trip we carry a portable altitude chamber (PAC-bag) and/or bottled oxygen for use in emergencies.

The following checklist should help you with your packing. As a general rule, you should always try to keep the weight of your equipment to a minimum. The packed weight of your trek bag while trekking should be no more than 15 kgs. For all flights to STOL airstrips in Nepal, the maximum allowance for hold baggage AND hand baggage combined, is 15 kg. It is essential you keep the total weight of your baggage within this limit. Paying for transportation of excess baggage is not normally an option on these flights. It is possible to leave clothes or other items not required on trek at the group hotel.

You must bring the following items:

  • Hiking boots

  • Socks

  • Trekking trousers

  • Waterproof overtrousers

  • Baselayer shirts

  • Casual shirt and/or T-shirts

  • Fleece jacket or warm jumper/sweater

  • Waterproof jacket

  • Sunhat

  • Warm hat

  • Sunglasses

  • Gloves or mittens

  • Headtorch with batteries

  • Sun protection (including total bloc for lips, nose etc.)

  • Water bottles 1 Litre x2

  • Washbag and toiletries

  • Antibacterial handwash

  • Small towel

  • Selection of dry bags (to keep trek bag contents dry)

  • Daypack (approx. 30 litres)

  • Sleeping bag (Comfort rated to -10°C)*

  • Thermarest or similar sleeping mat*

  • Warm jacket (down)*

  • Basic First Aid Kit including: Antiseptic cream, throat lozenges, diarrhoea treatment (Imodium), altitude (Diamox), painkillers, plasters and blister treatment, insect repellent, and re-hydration salts (Dioralite).

  • Small padlock (to lock trek bag)

The following items are optional:

  • Trekking poles (recommended)

  • Training shoes or similar for camp use

  • Shorts

  • Baselayer – thermal leggingsGaiters

  • Sleeping bag liner

  • Scarf or buff

  • Swimwear (for a chilling dip in Lake Manasarovar)

  • Travel clothes

  • Camera and batteries

  • Repair kit – (eg. needle, thread, duct tape)

Notes

Equipment hire: Items marked * are available for hire through KE Adventure Travel. Please make all requests at least 6 weeks prior to the trip departure date. Please note all hire equipment is issued in Kathmandu. Please remember to allow room in your trek bag for these items.

For each holiday there is a minimum number of participants required to enable it to go ahead. Once the minimum number is reached, the trip status will change from 'Available' to 'Guaranteed to run'. You can check the trip status for each departure in ‘Dates and Prices’ table. Other than in exceptional circumstances, we will not cancel a trip once it has achieved this guaranteed to run status and so you are free to proceed with your international flight booking and other travel arrangements.

A passport with 6 months remaining validity at the end of your stay is generally required. The information that we provide is for UK passport holders. Please check the relevant embassy or consulate for other nationalities. It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the correct travel documents and visas for your holiday. Visa requirements and charges are subject to change without notice. If you are travelling outside the EU you should have at least 2 blank pages in your passport.

Visa Tibet (China) from Nepal

It is important that you do not make your own arrangements for the China visa since the group must enter Tibet on a group visa. We will make all arrangements for the group visa and include the cost of this ($175 for US citizens, $85 for all other nationalities) on your invoice. In order for our agents to process the group visa we will require the following information:

  • Your: Name; marital status; current occupation; employers’ name, address and phone number.
  • Your emergency contact with the following details: Their name; nationality; occupation; relationship to you and telephone number.
  • A copy of the information page(s) of your passport and a recently taken passport sized photo (colour scans of these documents will suffice).

You should send all the above information to us as soon as possible and no later than 6 weeks prior to departure.

Visa Nepal

All nationalities require a visa. The visa fee is $25 for 15 days, $40 for 30 days, $100 for 90 days and is obtainable on arrival. Payment must be made in cash and USD, GBP or Euros are accepted. You will require 2 passport photos.

For all the regions of Nepal that we visit an additional permit is required. This is included in the holiday price and KE will apply for it, with your full passport details and 1 passport photo (sent by post or emailed). You must supply this to us at least 4 weeks prior to departure.

For the following holidays, in addition to the above, we will also require you to supply a copy of the information page of your passport (sent by post or emailed).

These trips are: Kanchenjunga (KAN), Mustang (MUS), Dolpo (DOL), Manaslu (MAN), Hidden Valleys of Naar and Phu (NAP), Naar to Mustang (NTM), Humla and Limi Circuit Trek (HUM), Naya Kanga and the Ganja La (NKG), Yala Peak and the Ganja La (YPGL), Tent Peak (TPK), Ramdung and Parchemo (RAM), Mera Peak, Island Peak and the Amphu Labsta (MIP), Island Peak Climber (IPC), Peaks and Passes on Nepal (MTR); Mera Peak Climb (MER); and Chulu Far East & the Tilicho La (CTL); Tabsar Peak and the Tsum Valley (TVC), Mukot Peak (MKP).

Transit via India

If you are travelling via India (Delhi or Calcutta) to your destination you may also require a visa for India. This may apply even if you are not leaving the airport unless your baggage has been checked all the way through to your destination. Generally, if you use the same carrier for both legs of your journey, you will not need an India Visa. Please download the detailed information document: Visa PDF India.

You should contact your doctor or travel clinic to check whether you require any specific vaccinations or other preventive measures. You should be up to date with routine courses and boosters as recommended in the UK e.g. diphtheria-tetanus-polio and measles-mumps-rubella, along with hepatitis A and typhoid. Malarial prophylaxis is not usually required for trips in the mountains, however if you are visiting rural and remote low lying areas then they might be necessary. On holidays to more remote areas you should also have a dentist check up. A good online resource is Travel Health Pro.

Politically part of China, the unit of currency in Tibet is the Chinese Yuan Renminbi. 

The unit of currency in Nepal is the Nepalese Rupee.

We recommend you check if you require an adaptor for your electrical items at:

http://www.worldstandards.eu/electricity/plugs-and-sockets/

It makes a lot of sense to spend some time before coming on a trekking holiday getting some additional exercise. The fitter you are, after all, the more enjoyable you will find the experience. For this trip you need to be aerobically fit and also comfortable with walking up to 7 hours or more each day on a variety of terrain and to high altitude. We would suggest that you adopt a weekly exercise regime. Regular hiking in hill country is the best training but any regular work out such as running or swimming is also good for developing cardio-vascular fitness and stamina. Before departure, we suggest that you try to fit in a number of long walks in hilly country.

As a reputable tour operator, KE supports the British Foreign & Commonwealth Offices ‘Know before you go’ campaign to enable British citizens to prepare for their journeys overseas, and we recommend that all KE travellers take a look at the FCO Travel Advice for their chosen destination on the official FCO website: www.fco.gov.uk. North Americans can also check out the U.S. Department of State website: www.travel.state.gov for essential travel advice and tips.

KE treat the safety and security of all clients as the most important aspect of any trip we organise. We would not run any trip that we did not consider reasonably safe.  Should the FCO advise against travel for any reason, we will contact everyone booked to travel to discuss the situation.  We receive regular updates direct from the FCO and are in constant touch with our contacts on the ground.  If you have any questions about government travel advice, please call our office.

At the time of our Kailas departure, the temperatures we will encounter on the Tibetan Plateau should be reasonably mild. We can expect daytime temperatures of between 10°C and 15°C, dropping close to freezing point at night. At our highest camp below the Drolma La, the daytime temperatures will be just a few degrees above freezing, falling to minus 10°C at night. Tibet is sheltered (by the Greater Himalaya) from the full effects of the monsoon and receives very little precipitation at any time of the year. By contrast, some of the initial trekking days in Nepal where we are at a much lower altitude, may be quite hot with maximum temperatures of 30ºC possible. The weather should be excellent at this time as the monsoon has ended but rain especially on the trek in Nepal cannot be ruled out. The expectation should be for predominantly blue skies and good visibility, but weather in mountainous areas is notoriously difficult to predict, and short-lived storms and even snow can occur at any time of the year.

  • Tibet Handbook. Victor Chan.

  • Trekking in Tibet - A Traveller’s Guide. Gary McCue

  • The Tibet Guide. Stephen Batchelor.

  • Abode of Snow. Kenneth Mason.

  • Seven Years in Tibet. Heinrich Harrer.

  • People in High Places. Audrey Salkeld

  • To a Mountain in Tibet - Colin Thubron

Kailash. 1 : 50,000. Gecko

Detailed topographic map with contours at 20-metre intervals plus spot heights and relief shading. Overlay shows the trekking route around Mount Kailash and highlights various places of interest - monasteries, ritual sites, viewpoints, etc. Includes a plan of Darchen at 1:4,000. Legend includes English.

Extend Your Holiday

Extensions

When booking your holiday, you will be able to 'add an extension option'.

Once we have received your booking we will contact you to discuss additional services required for the extension and to take any additional deposit.

Chitwan Jungle Extension

The jungles of southern Nepal are an interesting counterpoint to trekking in the foothills or the high Himalaya. Tiger Tops Tharu Lodge provides a relaxing and comfortable base for a wildlife safari and cultural village experience. During two days of wildlife viewing in the Chitwan National Park 'buffer zone' - the interface area between visitors and the animals that live at Chitwan – you will be accompanied by expert guides on safaris by jeep by boat and on foot. 



Chitwan Jungle Extension

From $1110 per person

More info

Kathmandu Tour - Nagarkot and Bhaktapur

The Kathmandu Valley contains the cities of Patan, Bhaktapur and Kathmandu itself, all of which were once independent kingdoms. An exploration of the valley’s historic and cultural sights is an excellent way to begin or end your adventure in Nepal. Highlights of this tour includes a very early drive up to Nagarkot on the Kathmandu Valley rim, the perfect place to watch a Himalayan sunrise. This is followed by a tour of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Bhaktapur, renowned for its temples and traditional buildings. 

 

Kathmandu Tour - Nagarkot and Bhaktapur

From $135 per person

More info

Malla Hotel

From $100 per room per night

Gokarna Forest Resort Kathmandu

From $138 per room per night

Shanker Hotel

From $100 per room per night

Situated next to the grounds of the former Royal Palace and only a 10-minute walk from the popular Thamel district, this former Rana residence was converted into a hotel in 1964. The original architecture was based on a French palace and the hotel has a grand appearance. Set in a large and beautifully tended garden, it provides a hideaway from the hustle and bustle of city life and is an ideal base from which to explore Kathmandu. All its rooms which are en-suite have been recently refurbished and the hotel facilities include 2 restaurants, 2 bars and a swimming pool where you can also order drinks.

Shangri La

From $119 per room per night Another of Kathmandu’s original ‘luxury’ hotels. While the sophistication of its amenities may be upstaged by Kathmandu’s more modern concrete and glass hotels, the Shangri La maintains an old world charm that cannot be beaten. Located in the diplomatic enclave of Lazimpat, away from the hustle and bustle yet just 10 minutes walk from tourist centre of Thamel, the hotel is set in a pleasant garden and facilities include a pool, tennis court and massage therapist. The hotel has a speciality Indian restaurant and a garden café serving international cuisine as well as a bar.

Dwarikas Hotel

From $279 per room per night Dwarika’s is a heritage hotel modelled on the grandeur of the palaces of the Newar Kings. Consisting of several buildings arranged around a quiet courtyard, the hotel incorporates many original 15th – 17th century features in its architecture from the lifetime collection of its founder. The rooms are in the same Newari style and lavishly luxurious in their appointments. Its location close to Pashupathinath and Bouddhanath is perfect for exploring this side of Kathmandu. There are 3 restaurants serving Nepali, Japanese and international cuisine, a bar, spa and fitness centre, and a swimming pool.

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