October 2016 Mt. Kailash Trek

20 Day Journey from Lhasa to Mt. Everest, Mt. Kailash Trek and Lake Manasarovar 

Dates: October 8—27, 2016


To join, please email: thelandofsnows@gmail.com

This 20 day journey through central and western Tibet will allow you to see just about everything that Tibet has to offer. You will start be exploring the holy city of Lhasa for 3 days. You will start by rubbing shoulders with thousands of Buddhist pilgrims as you work your way through the Jokhang, Tibet’s most famous temple. From there, you will explore Barkhor Square, Sera Monastery and the Potala Palace, Tibet’s most iconic building.

From Lhasa, you will then journey through central Tibet to Yamdrok Lake, the Karo La Glacier, Gyantse and Shigatse’s Tashi Lhunpo Monastery. You will then make your way over the Gyatso La Pass at over 5200 meters before arriving at Mt. Everest Base Camp. From Rongphu Monastery and from base camp itself, you will get up-close views of the world’s highest peak.

From Everest Base Camp, you will explore the little-visited region of Ngari in far western Tibet. This amazing landscape is home to Lake Manasarovar and Mt. Kailash. The 3 day trek around Mt. Kailash will certainly be a highlight! From western Tibet, you will then make the journey back to Lhasa, where the journey will conclude.

Here are some pictures of the places you will be going to!

Here is the itinerary we will be following:

8 October
All participants must arrive in Chengdu, China by 3pm on 8 October. The Land of Snows will give you detailed instructions on how to easily get to the hotel we will be staying at. We will eat dinner together during a time of meet and greet at a centrally located restaurant near our hotel. In Chengdu, we will be staying at the Fraser Suites.

9 October
In the morning, we will fly to Lhasa and arrive in the late morning/early afternoon. The Tibetan capital sits at 3590 meters and is the cultural and spiritual heart of Tibet. After getting situated in a modern, centrally located hotel, we will explore and photograph the center of the Old Tibetan Quarter in the heart of Lhasa. The Barkhor is the main shopping market for local Tibetans. It is one of the most interesting markets in all of Asia and is an excellent place to photograph modern Tibetan culture. In Lhasa we will stay at the Kyichu Hotel, which is located within walking distance of the Barkhor.

10 October
After breakfast, we will spend the morning going through the Jokhang, Tibet’s holiest and most famous temple. Each day, thousands of Tibetan Buddhist pilgrims work their way through this nearly 1400 year old temple. We will also explore Tsamkhung Nunnery, one of the largest nunneries in the Lhasa area. In the afternoon, we will photograph the Buddhist philosophy debates at Sera, one of Tibet’s largest monasteries. The monk debates will be a major highlight during your time in Tibet.

11 October
We will start the day by exploring Tibet’s most iconic building, the Potala Palace. Towering above Lhasa with more than 1000 rooms, the Potala Palace served as the winter residence of the Dalai Lama’s for hundreds of years. After this, we will explore Ramoche Temple and more of the Old Tibetan Quarter of Lhasa.

12 October
In the morning, we will depart from Lhasa and drive to Gyantse via Yamdrok Lake. Yamdrok Lake, during clear weather, is a brilliant turquoise color and is one of the 4 main holy lakes in Tibetan Buddhism. The huge, glaciated 7191 meter Mt. Nojin Kangtsang forms the backdrop of the lake. The lake sits at an elevation of 4441 meters above sea level. Along the way to Gyantse, we will stop by the glaciers of Mt. Nojin Kangtsang at the Karo La Pass, which come down almost to the highway. Gyantse is a small, but modern Tibetan town, that lies at 4025 meters. We will be photographing the Pelkor Chode Monastery as well as the Gyantse Kumbum, the highest stupa (Buddhist pagoda) in Tibet. The drive from Lhasa to Gyantse covers 260 kms (162 miles). In Gyantse, we will stay at the Yeti Hotel.

13 October
After breakfast, we will photograph the 600 year old Pelkor Chode Monastery. This beautiful monastery lies within a walled complex in the Gyantse Old Town. The short hike to the top of the wall gives an excellent panorama view of the monastery, town and the high plateau in the distance. After lunch, we will depart Gyantse and drive to Shigatse, elevation 3840 meters. The distance from Gyantse to Shigatse is 95 kilometers (60 miles). In Shigatse we will stay at the Gesar Hotel.

14 October
Shigatse is home to Tashilhunpo Monastery and its 600+ monks. This monastery, one of the largest in Tibet, is the seat of the Panchen Lama, the second most important lama in Tibetan Buddhism. We will walk around the pilgrim route that goes up and around the famous monastery as well as explore inside the huge monastery complex. In the afternoon, we will explore the walking street and markets in the Old Town.

15 October

We will depart from Shigatse in the morning and drive 305 kilometers (190 miles) to the small village of Basum going through small farming villages. Along the way, we will cross the Gyatso La Pass, which rises above 5000 meters and the Geu La pass, which rises to 5050 meters. From the Geu La pass, you get a sweeping view of the Himalaya’s where you can see 5 of the worlds highest mountains, including Mt. Everest. Basum is a small Tibetan village only 40 kilometers (25 miles) from Everest Base Camp. We will stay with a local Tibetan family in their traditional-style home. The elevation of Basum is 4270 meters.

16 October

In the early morning, we will drive 40 kilometers (25 miles) from Basum to Everest’s North Face Base Camp. Along the way, we will stop at the the beautiful Rongphu Monastery, the highest monastery in the world at nearly 5000 meters. The small monastery has an amazing view of Everest. We will explore and photograph this region, getting excellent pictures of the world’s highest mountain. After our time at Everest Base Camp region, we will drive 75 kilometers to the town of Old Tingri, which offers a fantastic sweeping view of the Himalayas.

17 October

From Old Tingri, our next stop will be the spectacular lake of Peiku Tso, elevation 4585 meters. Giant Himalaya peaks are found along the way to Peiku and there is a good chance of seeing some wildlife! From Peiku Tso, we will continue on to Saga, elevation 4500 meters. The distance from Old Tingri to Saga is 225 kilometers.

18 October

In the early morning, we will leave Saga and continue through Western Tibet to Manasarovar, the holiest lake in all of Tibet. The lake is holy to both Hindu’s and Buddhists. This stunning lake lies at an elevation of 4560 meters and is surrounded by spectacular snow-covered Himalayan peaks. We will stay in a guesthouse near Chiu Monastery, which sits atop a small hill overlooking Manasarovar. The distance from Saga to Lake Manasarovar is 485 kilometers.

19 October

We will spend this day resting from the long overland journey and prepare for the upcoming trek around Mt. Kailash. There is a short pilgrimage circuit around Chiu Monastery that we will hike as well as hikes along the shores of Lake Manasarovar.

20 October

In the late morning, we will depart Lake Manasarovar and make the short 35 kilometer drive to the town of Darchen, the starting point of our trek around Mt. Kailash. In Darchen, elevation 4690 meters, we will finalize preparation for our 3 day trek.

21 October

The first day of our trek will take us 20 kilometers from Darchen around Mt. Kailash to Dira Puk Monastery. You will follow this ancient pilgrimage route with Tibetan Buddhist and Indian Hindu pilgrims. You will stay in a small guesthouse near the monastery. The elevation of Dira Puk Monastery is 5080 meters.

22 October

The second day of our trek around Kailash will take us up and over the Dolma La Pass, the highest pass on the circuit at 5630 meters. Excellent mountain and glacier views will follow you for most of the day. From the Dolma La Pass, you will descend to Zutul Puk Monastery, elevation 4820 meters. The total trekking distance this day is 18 kilometers

23 October

The third and final day of our trek will cover 14 kilometers from Zutul Puk Monastery back to the town of Darchen. After the trek, we will return to the shores of Lake Manasarovar for one more night before making the journey back to Lhasa.

24 October

From Lake Manasarovar, we will continue the journey back to Lhasa. We will go through the wilderness of Western Tibet to the town of Saga, a distance of 485 kilometers.

25 October

In the morning we will leave Saga and drive 450 kilometers to Shigatse, Tibet’s second largest city.

26 October

We will finish the journey back to Lhasa this day, arriving in the Tibetan capital in the mid afternoon with enough time to walk the pilgrimage circuit around Jokhang Temple one more time and get those last minute souvenirs.

27 October

Depart Lhasa

Mt. Kailash in western Tibet. We will take 3 days to trek around this famous mountain.

The Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet

Dates: October 8—27, 2016   LHASA—EVEREST—KAILASH TREK

The cost per person is $3999. Participants are responsible for their own travel arrangements to Chengdu, but we will take care of just about everything else after that! Send us an email at thelandofsnows@gmail.com to apply for this tour or for any questions you may have.

Included in the price:

  • One-way airfare from Chengdu to Lhasa
  • All accommodations (based on double occupancy)
  • All meals from the evening of 8 October until morning of 27 October
  • All drinking water
  • All ground transportation in Tibet
  • All entrance fees
  • All Tibet permit fees
  • Local Tibetan guide fees
  • Chengdu Airport transfer on morning of 9 October
  • Lhasa Airport transfer on morning of 27 October

Not included in the price:

  • Passport and Chinese Visa fees
  • International airfare to/from Chengdu, China
  • Airfare departing Lhasa on 27 October
  • Porters for the Mt. Kailash trek
  • Travel vaccinations
  • Insurance (travel, medical, etc)
  • Souvenirs or personal items such as laundry, excess baggage fees, snacks, alcohol drinks, etc
  • Photography fees inside temples and monasteries
  • Gratuities to the Tibetan driver and guide

Each participant will be sent a list of required and recommended clothing and gear for the tour that they will be responsible for as will information on how to obtain a Chinese Tourist Visa.

Accommodations: In Chengdu, we will be staying in a highly rated 4 Star international-chain hotel. In Lhasa, Gyantse and Shigatse, we will be staying in pleasant 3 and 4 Star Tibetan-owned hotels. Hotels in other areas of Tibet will be the best available in each town. In the village of Basum, near Everest Base Camp, we will stay in a traditional style Tibetan home, which will be very simple. Along the trek around Mt. Kailash, we will be staying in very basic guesthouses.

Meals: For this tour, we will be eating a variety of Western, Chinese, Tibetan and Nepali food. If you have any food allergies or dietary restrictions, please let us know so we can plan accordingly.

Eligibility: Participants must be in good health and be able to spend each day walking around towns, villages and monasteries while carrying their own equipment.  The 3 day trek around Mt. Kailash is 52 kilometers long (32 miles) reaches a high point of 5630 meters/18,470 feet. Porters are not included in the tour price, but can be hired if needed for an additional cost. Most of this tour will take place in mountainous terrain between 3600 meters and 5630 meters (11,800 feet to 18,470 feet) above sea level. We will spend 1 night in Chengdu and 3 nights in Lhasa for altitude acclimatization before going above 3600 meters. Ascent will be slow and gradual with the highest sleeping elevation being at 4700 meters (15,420 feet). This tour is not recommended for those who have severe asthma, have no trekking experience or who have had problems with high elevation in the past.

This is a combination overland and trekking journey. It is open to anyone who is interested in Tibetan culture and the Himalaya Mountains. Unfortunately, people holding a Norwegian passport are unable to join this tour due to government restrictions that are beyond our control.

Responsible Tourism: The Land of Snows is foreign-owned, but Tibetan staffed. All of our guides and drivers are local Tibetans who have been working in tourism for many years. It is a top priority for us to support as many Tibetan-owned businesses as possible. During this tour, all of the hotels we will be staying at in Tibet are locally-owned, as are all of the restaurants we will be going to. The preservation of the culture of Tibet, as well as the protection of the environment of Tibet, are extremely important to us. In fact, when we are not out leading journeys across Tibet, we are working with local Tibetans in numerous eco-tourism and conservation projects.

Jamin “Lobsang” York along the Karo La Pass in central Tibet at 5039m/16,530ft

The Leader

Jamin “Lobsang” York has lived full-time in Tibet for nearly 14 years working in education, community development and tourism. In addition to traveling over 450,000 kilometers overland across Tibet, Ladakh, Sikkim, Nepal and Bhutan, Jamin has led and arranged hundreds of tours across the Himalaya’s. Jamin’s expert knowledge on Tibetan culture, history and religion has been put to use for The Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, BBC, Frommer’s Travel Guides, Fodor’s Guidebooks, DK Eyewitness Travel and Lonely Planet Guidebooks.

Jamin is the owner of The Land of Snows and serves as lead guide on journeys through Tibet, India, Bhutan and Nepal. His goal is to help clients understand, appreciate, and respect the people and cultures they photograph and explore. During each journey in the Himalaya, Jamin gives lectures on different aspects of Tibetan culture and history. Along with Jamin, his excellent Tibetan staff will be serving as drivers, cultural guides and trekking guides.