There are different programs of Mt Kailash tour including a program starting from Lhasa to Kailash and back to Lhasa or Kyirong to Kailash and back to Kyirong or Hilsa to Kailash or back to Hilsa etc but to have a very unique and adventurous Kailash tour program is quite rare.
Where did you start a New Kailash northern route tour with Guge Kingdom via Dawa Dzong?
During this difficult time of Covid 19, we took a Mt Kailash tour by ourselves instead of resting. We started our Mt Kailash tour from Lhasa on 6th July 2020, driving along the Kyichu and Yarlung Tsangpo river, surrounded by some beautiful Tibetan villages, driving through Gyantse, Shigtase which are the most important cultural sites of western Tibet.
We continued our new Kailash northern route tour through Sangsang, Saga, Mansarovar lake, Mt Kailash, Purang county, Tirthapuri, Dawa Dzong, Tholing, Guge Kingdom, Changtse, the best Tholing scenic spot in the western part of Tibet, Tashigang monastery, Ngari prefecture, Pangong tso lake, Rutok Wujiang village, Kailash northern route through Gegye, Gertse, Tsochen, Nima, Bangga counties, Namtso lake, Damxiong county and finally to Lhasa.
What we can see on the way between Lhasa and Shigatse when you travel to Kailash from Lhasa?
After passing by Kyichu, which starts from Nyenchen Thangla mountain range and Yarlung Tsangpo valley which creates by the Yarlung Tsangpo, know as Brahmaputra River, starts it’s source from Mt. Kailash, we drove through Kampala pass at the elevation of 4974m. The weather is very nice, sunny with blue sky and the scenery is extremely beautiful from the top of the pass. All the tourists when they start their Kailash pilgrimage tour from Lhasa, they go through this route and take photos of the Yamdrok lake from the top of Kampala pass.
What we can see before reaching the top of Kampala pass during our Mt Kailash tour?
During the travel to Mt. Kailash from Lhasa, we stopped at a scenic spot before reaching Yamdrok lake. while we were driving through the zigzag roads of Kampala pass during our Kailash pilgrimage tour, there are some beautiful animals, owned by local people including a very cute mountain goat, big Tibetan traditional nomad dogs and Yak. You can take some nice and cute photos of those animals but it is better to ask the locals before you take photos because they charge a little bit of money for photos. It is always better to ask before showing your action so that you won’t get bad experience during your Mt Kailash tour.
Tibet is a very beautiful place and it has lots of beautiful scenic spots including snow mountains, beautiful lakes, monasteries and temples as well as very kind and friendly people that you can see during your Mt Kailash tour but sometimes, people might not be interested in behaving like a real Tibetan if you did not ask him or her to allow you to take photos.
What we can see from the top of Kamapa La pass when we travel to Kailash from Lhasa?
Driving continuously up to the top of Kampala pass, we got a very beautiful view of Yamdrok lake and Noijin Kangsang snow mountain, located to the west of Yamdrok lake near Nakartse county. The height of Noijin Kangsang snow mountain is 7206m and it is one of the most difficult snow mountains to climb. Going through Yamdrok lake and Kampa la pass is a must during your Kailash tour and it is one of the highest snow mountains during Mt Kailash tour apart from Mt. Everest.
What we can see after Nakartse county during our Mt Kailash tour?
After having a great view of entire western part of Yamdrok lake, continue driving along the Yamdrok lake and enjoy seeing the most beautiful view of Yamdrok lake from your car’s window.
After Nakartse county, we stopped at Karola glacier which is just after crossing Karola pass at the elevation of 5050m above sea level. The glacier with a very beautiful white Tibetan stupa in front of it is extremely beautiful. At the same time, you can also see a small herder’s camp at the foot of the glacier with Tibetan Yak and sheep. Visiting Karola glacier and Noejing Kangsang snow mountain is one of the interesting things to have during your Tibet tour and all the tourists who travel to Mt. Everest Base Camp, Tibet to Nepal overland tour or travel to Kailash from Lhasa always stop here for photos.
After spending around 15 minutes of taking photos and seeing the glacier of Noijin Kangsang snow mountain, we drive down the valley towards Gyantse through Simila pass at the elevation of around 4200m. From the top of the pass, you will see a reservoir, looks like a small beautiful lake. This is the only lake made by men that you see during the Mt Kailash tour.
Visit Gyantse town is a must during your Mt Kailash tour but not recommend to spend a night in Gyantse.
Reaching Gyantse, the most least influenced of modernization and a beautiful fertile land of Tibet, visit Palchoe monastery and Kubum Pagoda stupa which has around six hundred years history is highly recommended during Kailash travel.
If you like to have an entire view of Gyantse town including Palchoe monastery and Kubum Pagoda stupa, it is a good idea to climb to the top of fortress in Gyantse, known as Gyantse Dzong in Tibetan. Gyantse Dzong is located on a rocky hill in the center of Gyantse town and it has several hundred years of history. If your dream is to have beautiful view of every parts of Tibet during your Kailash travel, it is highly recommend to climb to the top of the Gyantse Dzong where you can get a great view of entire Gyantse town.
The old town of Gyantse is worthy to visit and walk around. You can meet lots of local people, riding horse carts like in the olden days and most of the shops in the old town of Gyantse sell different kinds of Tibetan traditional clothes, furniture, ornaments etc.
If you like to walk more during your Mt Kailash tour, it is recommend to go to visit Palchoe monastery and Kubum Pagoda stupa by walking as you are passing by the street of the old town of Gyantse which takes you around 20 minutes to get to the monastery by walk.
After Gyantse, we continue our Mt Kailash tour and drive to Shigatse, the second largest city of Tibet. The distance between Gyantse and Shigatse is 90km and nowadays, it takes you around one hour only because the road condition is extremely good, especially the highway after Bainang county. Shigatse is the important place to stop over when you travel to Kailash or to Everest base camp.
Can we visit a Tibetan family on the way during our Mt Kailash tour?
We stopped in a Tibetan family on the way in order to have a better and more authentic experienced Kailash trip program for the clients during their Tibet tour after the Covid 19 is over. The Tibetan family is located after around 20Km drive from Gyantse near Drongtse monastery. Drongtse is the second largest monastery in Gyantse town.
We were welcomed by the family and all the members of the family are very friendly and kind. They offered us Tibetan traditional tea, Barley beer, different kinds of Tibetan traditional snack. We can see the real life of Tibetans living in the farming land and enjoying their rich, happy and beautiful life.
The way of their dressing, way of their living, way of welcoming to the people into their family, how the Tibetans treat a guest who come to visit a family. At the same time, we can also see those who are wearing beautiful Tibetan traditional clothes and offering Tibetan tea or Tibetan food to their guest in a very polite way.
The house of this Tibetan family is a two story high and the furniture in the houses are beautifully designed in Tibetan traditional style and the wall is beautifully painted in Tibetan traditional style too with different kinds of flowers and other drawing. Many of the furniture including the cushion are made of wool.
The architecture of the house is in a real Tibetan traditional styled two stories high and it was built by rocks, rabbles, wood and mud. The outside of the building is extremely beautiful and white washed along the walls. All the frames of the window is black and they said this black color can keep inside the house cool when it is hot and warm when it is cold.
The prayer flags onto the rooftop are extremely beautiful and they said that the prayer flags are displayed with new prayer flags during Tibetan New Year in order to wish a good luck for the New Year and to get good luck and auspiciousness for all the members of the family and their loved ones. Visiting a Tibetan family can make Mt Kailash tour more authentic and unique.
Do we have to take the old road to Shigatse from Bainang county when we travel to Mt. Kailash from Lhasa?
During our Mt Kailash tour, we don’t necessarily have to take the old route from Bainang county to Shigatse. We can take a highway to Shigatse after Bainang county.
We continued our journey towards Shigatse and just after Bainang county, we saw a sign board to go to Shigatse Heping airport which is a high way, built recently.
Heping airport was built 30th October 2010 and it has become one of the most important airports in Tibet for the tourists who go to Kailash two times. They did not have to go to Lhasa for their second time and instead, they can fly directly to Shigatse from Chengdu and drive directly to Mt Kailash from Shigatse.
The distance from Bainang county until we get to the next sign board of the highway to the airport and to Shigatse is 7 Km and from there to Shigatse is 18Km. The road condition between Gyantse and Shigatse is very good and we can drive over 100Km per hour.
What we can see in Shigatse when we do Mt Kailash tour from Lhasa?
We reached Shigatse very quickly because of a very good road condition. It has been for a while for me since I did not go to Shigatse. I found Shigatse got a big development and the city has been extended to the east and south, much bigger than before. Another surprising thing about Shigatse is that the city has become very clean and more beautiful.
If the tourists fly to Shigatse direclty from Chengdu for their second or third time Mt Kailash tour, Shigatse is an important place to acclimatize to the high altitude and we recommend to spend two nights in Shigatse. The tourists can have a visit in Shigatse in the morning and a short excursion to Shalu monastery in the afternoon which is around 25km distance from Shigatse.
Eventhough it is the crucial time of Covid 19 in other parts of the world, Tibet still acts like normal since there is not any single case of Corona virus so we saw a lot of Tibetans and domestic tourists are visiting Tashi Lhunpo monastery, one of the six largest Gelukpa sect monasteries in Tibet and it is the seat of the Penchen Lama. During Tibet Nepal overland tour or Mt Kailash tour from Lhasa, visiting Tashi Lhunpo monastery is a must.
If you arrive in Shigatse on a right time, you will also see Thangka displaying festival. When you plan your Mt Kailash tour, it is very important to look for a professional Tibetan travel agent like Tibet Shambhala Adventure so that they will design you a very good Mt Kailash tour program including those famous festivals in Tibet.
What we recommend to visit in Shigatse during your Mt Kailash tour?
If you stopped in Shigatse during the Kailash pilgrimage tour , it is always recommend to go to the old market of Shigatse which is located to the foot of Shigatse fortress ( Dzong in Tibetan ). You can see different kinds of Tibetan traditional items including souvenirs and local Tibetan products. Even if you don’t buy, it is always very interesting to see local Tibetan products as they are so beautiful and unique.
Is it important to include Gyantse and Shigatse during your Mt Kailash tour?
When you take a Mt Kailash tour, starting from Lhasa, visiting Gyantse and Shigatse is a must visit places during the Kailash tour since you can see lots of interesting things on the way including the most beautiful and historical sites of Palchoe monastery, Kubum Pagoda stupa and Tashi Lhunpo monastery. They are the most important sites to visit during Tibet tour.
Nowadays, is it important to spend a night in Gyantse during the new Kailash northern route tour?
Since the road condition is extremely good on the way to Kailash, especially the road condition between Lhasa and Shigatse via Gyantse is extremely beautiful and nice so there is no point for you to spend a night in Gyantse during your Mt Kailash tour because you can reach Shigatse easily including a visit to Yamdrok lake, Palchoe monastery and Kubum Pagoda stupa so we recommend to drive to Shigatse directly especially, when you take a New Kailash northern route tour with Guge Kingdom via Dawa Dzong so that you will get more time to explore around Kailash, Guge Kingdom, Ngari prefecture and Purang county.
Is accommodation better in Shigatse than in Gyantse during Mt Kailash tour?
Regarding on the accommodation during the Kailash tour, it is far better accommodation in Shigatse than in Gyantse and you can get plenty of options to choose the hotels in Shigatse including many 4* hotels. During our new Kailash northern route tour, we stayed in Jomo Langzom hotel, located in the center of Shigatse. The rooms are big, nice and shower is available for 24 hours so it is good.
Is there a 5* hotel available in Shigatse during Mt Kailash tour?
So far, the best available hotel in Shigatse is 4 star hotels but according to old Shigatse hotel’s up-grade, the original Shigatse hotel was completely destroyed and now they are building a new hotel. They said the old Shigatse hotel is going to be displaced by a new Hilton in Shigatse which is under construction.
Once this new Hilton is ready, we will get a facility of 5 star hotel on the way to Mt Kailash after Lhasa. We will definitely update to our dear guests about this up-coming Hilton in Shigatse as it is a very important Tibet travel news for our clients who travel to Mt Kailash from Lhasa.
How many passes we drove through from Lhasa to Shigatse during our Mt Kailash tour?
We drove through three high mountain passes, including Kampala pass at the elevation of 4794m, Karola pass at the altitude of 5200m as the highest mountain pass during our Kailash travel between Lhasa and Shigatse. The third highest pass is Simila pass at the altitude of 4200m above sea level.
How to travel to Kailash and Mansarovar in one day from Shigatse?
We woke up by around 5.30 in the morning and continued our Mt Kailash tour at 6.00 Am from Shigatse. The road condition for today is very good and our aim is to drive to Purang county from Shigatse at the distance of over 1200km. We reached Mansarovar lake and Kailash by around 17.50 and continued to Purang county and reached there by around 19.30 but for the tourists and pilgrims, we don’t recommend to drive that long in a day because in the one hand, you don’t get much time to enjoy the scenery and in the other hand, you really need very good 4*4 land cruisers to drive like that if you want to finish Kailash trip in a shorter period of time.
What we can see and how many high mountain passes between Shigatse and Saga during our Mt Kailash tour?
We drove through Tongsa la pass at the altitude of 4000m just after we left Shigatse city. On the way, we will see some beautiful Tibetan villages and their traditional Tibetan houses. We drove through Tsola pass at the elevation of 4500m and enjoy seeing colorful and beautiful Tibetan prayer flags on the top of the pass. We continued towards Saga via Lhatse county.
Lhatse county is located at the altitude of 4018m above sea level and it is a very important junction where people travel to Mt Kailash and another way is to go to Mt Everest Base Camp and to the Kyirong border between Nepal and Tibet. The people in Lhatse county live on farming and they also rear cattle, sheep, Yaks and cows. The living standard of the people in Lhatse county is quite good.
After Lhatse checkpoint at 318 friendship highway, we left the friendship highway which is the way to Kyirong border, the border between Tibet and Nepal and took 219 Tibet highway which is the main highway to travel to Mount Kailash. The road condition is still the same and it is very good.
The next county seat that we encountered is Ngamring county at the distance of 70Km and the scenery is quite similar. We drove through Ngamring pass at the altitude of 4500m and could see a small beautiful lake on our left hand side. Ngamring county is the starting point of western Tibetan plateau and you will begin to see Tibetan nomad camps and wild animals during the Mt Kailash tour.
From Ngamring county, continued our Mt Kailash tour by crossing several mountain passes until we reached Sangsang town. The distance between Ngamring county and Sangsang town is 40Km.
We passed by Ngamring small pass at 4520m just after Ngamring county, second pass called Bangla pass at 4710m and Gala pass at 4783m. On the way, we can see a beautiful small monastery on our right hand side, looks like a retreat, called Riwo Tasang Gon. It is a very sacred Nyingmapa sect monastery and there are monks who are doing meditation in the monastery all the time.
If you had enough time during the Mt Kailash tour, it is recommend to have a short Tibet trek to the monastery from the road. The monastery is located on a small hill in the middle of nowhere and it is around 45 minutes’ walk to go there and come back.
The scenery between Ngamring county and Sangsang town during the Mt Kailash tour is very beautiful. It is a vast grassland, dominated by Tibetan nomad camps and their Yak and sheep, grazing on those beautiful green grasslands. We took our breakfast in Sangsang town and found out that the best hotel in Sangsang is Sangsang Nesang hotel which has over 50 rooms with shower and toilet attached. The altitude of Sangsang is 4587m above sea level.
Prior to the construction of the highway to Mt Kailash, lots of tourists spend a night in Sangsang and camped in the grassland but nowadays, there are very less tourist who stop over in Sangsang since they can reach Saga easily from Shigatse in a day as the entire road was paved.
What is the distance from Sangsang to Saga and how many mountain passes and how beautiful the landscape in between is during Mt Kailash tour?
Sangsang is the starting point of the real adventure of Mt Kailash tour and it is a beautiful and vast grassland plateau. Sangsang town is the junction to go to Mt. Kailash and another way is to go to Dangra Young Tso lake. Dangra Young Tso lake is one of the most beautiful lakes in Tibet and it is one of the second largest lakes in Tibet. Around the lake, there is a beautiful snow mountain called Mt. Targo and you can reach the snow mountain by driving from Sangsang directly or from Tongmon county in Shigatse.
After Sangsang, around 20km drive, Lhade Karpo monastery is on your right hand side and it’s good to walk to the monastery on the hill. If the Kailash tour has enough time, visiting those monasteries on the way and do some short meditation is another paradise during Mt. Kailash pilgrimage tour.
The next junction is at 22 road maker station at the distance of 110km from Sangsang town. From there, you can decide to take Kailash northern route or Kailash southern route tour. If you take 219 road continuously, you are taking Kailash southern route and if you left the main road and are going to take your right-side road, then you are going to travel to Kailash through Kailash northern route which means, you are traveling through Tsochen, Gertse, Gegye counties and then to Ngari prefecture respectively and finally drive to Mt. kailash from Shiquanhe.
From 22 road worker station, there is still 70km to Saga. After Sangsang , the first pass is Kodola at 4990m and the highest pass between Sangsang and Saga is at 5070m.
Just before reaching Saga, we crossed the last pass between Saga and Lhatse is at 4831m above sea level. We finally reached Saga located at the Yarlung Tsangpo river bank with the elevation of 4470m above sea level. Saga is a very important stop over county when the tourists or locals who travel to Mount Kailash. The tourists who got Mt Kailash from Nepal border also spend a night in Saga in order to acclimatize to the high altitude.
Nowadays, there are around 5 good hotels and around 10 other small hotels and guest houses in Saga so most of the time, you can get accommodation booked easily but if you want to book the best hotels in Saga, we recommend to make the reservation a week before since there are lots of tourists during the peak season of Mt kailash travel.
What we can see between Saga and Zhongba county when we travel to Kailash from Lhasa?
We stopped for petrol in Saga and then continued our Mt Kailash tour. Just after Saga county, the first pass that we drove across is Tatsel la pass （ཁྲ་ཚལ་ལ in Tibetan）at the elevation of 4797m and if the weather is clear, we can see beautiful rocky and snow mountain on our right hand side.
After around 20Km drive from Saga county, we can see Ringsong Rinyur monastery on the right hand side in old Saga and another monastery called Dargyeling monastery on the right hand side. If you are camping between Saga and Zhongba county when you drive from Kailash to Saga, it is recommended to camp at Dargyeling monastery. It is a very beautiful campsite and you can have a beautiful and quite night in the western Tibetan plateau during the Mt Kailash tour.
We continued our Mt Kailash tour by passing second pass after Saga, called Togyela at the elevation of 4920m and finally reached old Zhongba with a small beautiful monastery. We drove into new Zhongba which is the present county seat and need to drive around 3km in the right hand valley to reach the county seat. We had nice Tibetan styled lunch in Zhongba county.
Old Zhongba is a very important place for Indian pilgrims who do Mt. Kailash pilgrimage tour to stop for their tea break and toilet time. Nowadays, there is a newly constructed building for the Indian pilgrims, built by Tibet Tourism Bureau for the tea break and resting during their Kailash pilgrimage tour. For the local Tibetan pilgrims and tourists, it is also interesting to stop in old Zhongba because there is a beautiful and small monastery that they can visit in old Zhongba county.
What is the distance from Zhongba to Kailash and what can we see on the way during our Kailash northern route tour?
After Zhongba county, we were driving through a vast grass land and on the way to Mt Kailash, we passed by some beautiful small desert. We drove through another mountain pass at the elevation of 4760m and while we were driving down the valley, the landscape is very beautiful dominated by a huge western Tibetan plateau, surrounded by snow capped mountains, beautiful green grassland, exotic desert land and beautiful lakes. It is another paradise for the tourists who like to take photos during Mt Kailash tour.
The distance between Zhongba county and Baryang town is 90km and we drove along the Brahmaputra river. There are 200Km more from Baryang to Mansarovar lake and Mt. Kailash.
Continuously drove through the vast plateau of western Tibet, seeing different kinds of wild animals, beautiful Tibetan nomad camps and many Tibetan nomads who are grazing Tibetan Yak and sheep. Such kind of landscape is tremendously beautiful, unique and fantastic that you can only see during Kailash travel.
The highest pass that we drove through during our Mt Kailash tour is Mayumla pass at the altitude of 5211m which is even higher than Everest base camp. Before reaching Mansarovar lake, we encountered another lake called Duktso means poison lake on our left hand side. From Duktso lake, we will reach Mansarovar lake pretty easily. The road condition for today is also very good and there is no speed limit so we can drive over 120km per hour and it is the most beautiful part of during our Kailash travel.
When can we see the Mansarovar lake and Mt Kailash for the first time when we travel to Mt. Kailash from Lhasa?
Reaching Chaktsalkang which is the first view point of Mansarovar lake and Mount Kailash. Just after checkpoint, when your car is driving towards Chaktsalkang, the first time of seeing Mansarovar lake and Mt Kailash is the most exciting moment during the Kailash journey.
When we saw Mansarovar lake and Mount Kailash at our first site, it was just a paradise, Nothing else can be described. After over a 1000km distance drive in a day, when we saw Mt Kailash and lake Mansarovar, we were just overwhelmed and couldn’t explain how beautiful, energetic and spiritual feeling that we had in our spirit.
The Mansarovar lake is as beautiful as it was before and Mt Kailash is as great and mysterious as before. The prayer flags at Chaktsalkang is still extremely beautiful which gives us more peace, spirituality and comfort in our soul where we can feel the real blessing of Mt. Kailash and Mansarovar lake.
What is the distance from Mansarovar lake to Chiu Gompa and from Chiu Gompa to Purang county?
After having a great time of taking photos and enjoy seeing the most beautiful view of Mansarovar lake and Mt Kailash from distance, we continued to Chiu Gompa at the distance of 30Km. From Chiu Gompa, you will get another fantastic view of Mansarovar lake and Mt Kailash. We continued to Purang county from Chiu Gompa at the distance of 80Km and spend our night in Purang county.
During your Mt Kailash tour, visiting Chaktsalkang, Chiu Gompa and Tarpoche is a must because from all those three places, you will get different kinds of excellent view point of Mt Kailash and Mansarovar lake.
Purang is one of the most beautiful and comfortable county seats in Ngari prefecture. The actual altitude of Purang county is 3980m above sea level and it is one of the lowest places in the Kailash region. We can see trees and fields in Purang county. There are a couple of most sacred monasteries and temples which have thousand years history and contains a lot of relics including the statue of Jowo in Korcha monastery ( Korchanath by Hindu people )
Purang was a trading town in the olden days between Nepal and Tibet and now it is the administrative center of Purang county under Ngari prefecture. Nowadays, it is one of the important borders between Nepal and China Tibet for both tourists, Indian pilgrims and trades who want to do Kailash pilgrimage or Kailash trek. Purang is also the place where it has many famous river sources of Himalaya including Indus, Ganges, Brahmaputra river ( Yarlung Tsangpo in Tibetan ) and Karnali river, known as peacock river.
From the county seat of Purang, there is 16Km distance to Khorzhak monastery (also written Korchak monastery ) located in Khorzhak town at the elevation of 3730m. Khorzhak monastery is a very old and historical Buddhist monastery in Tibet and it is also believed by Hindus and called as Kojanath for both town and the monastery by Indians. It is recommended to visit Khozhak monastery during Mt Kailash tour.
We drove further down to the Sher border located at 3650m and the driving distance is 30Km. Sher border is the place where usually our tourists come to Kailash by trekking throughout the west Nepal or the tourists or Indian pilgrims who want to exit the border between Tibet and Nepal from Purang county after the Kailash travel.
Purang is a very important place for the tourists or Indian pilgrims who are sick from high altitude during the Kailash tour and could not do Mt Kailash Kora. When they have bad headache or feeling bad from high altitude, it is recommend to drive to Purang county because the altitude between Dharchen or Mansarovar lake and Purang county is over 1000m different so as soon the tourists or pilgrims drive down to Purang county from their Mt Kailash tour, the next day,, they will feel better or they can go to hospital too because Purang county is the closest county seat from Mt Kailash where there is a better hospital facility during the Kailash trekking.
How is the accommodation facility in Purang county of Kailash region?
There are two very good hotels and some basic hotels and guest houses in Purang county. The newest and best hotel is Purang Yincheng Shengtai hotel and the second best hotel is Purang Himalaya hotel. Both of the hotels have shower and restaurants. Some of those basic hotels do also have shower but they only provide hot water during a specific time so Purang county is one of the richest and best conditioned county seat entire Kailash region.
What we can visit around Purang county during the Kailash travel?
There are three very nice and historical monasteries in Purang county. The most sacred and oldest monastery is Khorzhak monastery which has many old statues and relics that have very long history. When the tourists travel from Simikot to Kailash to do Kailash trek, it is always recommended to visit this monastery.
The second monastery is Gokung monastery, built on a cliff overlooking Purang county. When you visit the monastery, you need to climb through steep ladders. There are some beautiful caves and meditation rooms. The third monastery is Shepeling monastery, located on a small hill, overlooking Purang county. The monastery was rebuilt into the present site. In the olden days, they said there were also Dzong within the monastery. Purang is also one of the most cultural and historical site to visit during your Kailash journey.
Can we have a good view of Mt Kailash, Mansarovar and Rakshastal lake when we drive to Tarpoche near Mt. Kailash from Purang county?
After breakfast, we left Purang county and drove towards Tarpoche ( Sershong Darchen in Tibetan ) at the distance of 115Km from Purang county. Sershong is the place where there are colorful prayer flags and a giant prayer flag pole which has been displaced by new ones every year during the Kailash Saga Dawa festival. Thousands of local Tibetans including important Tibetan monks gather in Sershong every year during Kailash Saga Dawa Festival and change the prayer flags and do a big religious ritual ceremony. At the same time, there are full of tourists and Indian pilgrims too for doing Kailash Kora during this special Kailash Saga Dawa festival.
On the way, we had a great view of Rakshastal lake ( Nganglark Tso in Tibetan ), standing at the altitude of 4575m and the Mansarovar lake ( Mapam Yumtso in Tibetan ) standing at the altitude of 4590m. While we were driving nearby Chiu Gompa, we got a fantastic view of Mt Kailash in the distance.
The colorful giant prayer flag ( Tarpoche ) just standing in front of the west face of Mt Kailash , surrounded by thousands of different kinds of colored prayer flags, raised by the pilgrims, coming from different regions of Tibet and the tourists from all over the world for doing Kailash trek. Above Tarpoche, there is a mountain of 500 Bodhisattva and above that sacred mountain is the mountain seat of of the God of wealth, Zampa la in Tibetan. There is also a sky burial in Tarpoche where the local people in Ngari region use this for the sky burial. During your Mt Kailash tour, you might see Tibetans with dead body for the sky burial but not recommend to make photos of the dead body which is not good for the family of the dead people.
How can we drive to Tirthapuri & Guru Gyam via exploring the source of Sutlej River during the Kailash tour?
From Tarpoche, we continued our Mt Kailash tour and drove towards Tirthapuri. After around 20km drive from Tarpoche, we saw a small road on our left side to Dulju Gompa at the distance of 14km from the main road. Dulju Gompa is a Nyingmapa sect monastery and it has over 1300 years history so it is the most historical monastery in the Kailash region.
If we drove further to the south at the distance of around 15Km, we reach the source of Sutlej river. Many of our second or third time visitors to Mt Kailash, they like to explore the Sutlej river. When the tourists did not get enough time to travel further to Guge Kingdom, but still many tourists or pilgrims like to extend their travel to Tirthapuri during the Kailash trek because Tirhapuri is another historical and important pilgrimage place in the Kailash region.
Continued our Mt Kailash tour towards Guge Kingdom and Tholing. We directly drove to Tirthapuri at the distance of 31Km on a durt road. The road condition is quite good so even a mini van can also drive this way to Tirthapuri.
We had a short visit to Tirtapuri monastery and continued our Kailash adventure tour to Guru Gyam monastery at the distance of 13Km. Guru Gyam monastery has a very long history and it is a Bon monastery which preserved a lot of antiques and relics of the monastery with more than thousand years history. The most important object of the monastery is the statue, made of stone with thousands of years history. From Tirtapuri on wards, the road condition is really good.
After finishing Mt Kailash Kora, it is recommend to do a short excursion to Tirthapuri and Kyunglung Guru Gyam as Kyunglung Guru Gyam is the head quarter of Shangshong Kingdom and Shangshong kingdom was a very large kingdom until the Tibetan King Songtsan Gampo reunited Tibet in the 7th century so it is very worthy to visit Guru Gyam during your Kailash pilgrimage tour.
Can we travel to Tholing and Guge Kingdom via Dawa Dzong during the Kailash northern route tour?
The good news that since 2020, we don’t have to drive back and forth to the main road between Mt Kailash and Ngari prefecture from Guru Gyam when we drove to Tholing. What we could do is we can directly drive to Tholing from Guru Gyam monastery by taking the most adventurous and mysterious route of Dawa Dzong so we could just do a loop tour around Tholing instead of taking the same road for two times like before which is the road from Mt. Kailash to Tirthapuri and then to Tholing and back to Tirthapuri from Tholing through the same road .
Previously, the road through Dawa Dzong was very bad but since this year, the road between Guru Gyam to Tholing via Dawa Dzong was completely paved and wide so even if there are many mountain passes, it’s easy and safe to drive to Tholing via Dawa Dzong and the scenery along the way is fantastic. Driving to Tholing via Dawa Dzong is a dream for many of our old customers who already did Mt Kailash tour and we think this will be a very important and nice loup tour of Mt Kailash and Tholing in the future.
Just after Guru Gyam, we continued our Kailash journey and started driving through our first zigzag pass at the elevation of 4520m and passed by a small village and a monastery called Choelung, we again crossed our second pass at 4741m. After the pass, we saw a sign board that shows another way to the south to go to Lagnyi Tso lake at the distance of 90Km. After that we drove through our third mountain pass at 4933km and drove down, reached the fourth pass at 4536m, fifth pass 4530m, and sixth pass at 4521m so this is the real road of adventure during Mt Kailash trek and it is the paradise of Tibet adventure tour.
Just after sixth pass, we reached the ruins of Dawa Dzong and the village nearby. Dawa Dzong was a very important and famous Dzong in the olden days and it had monastery called Dawa Dongpo monastery, caves and the Dzong. There is a village called Dawa Dongpo village. In the olden days, Dawa Dongpo Dzong was one of the riches Dzongs in Kailash region as people say that there are lots antiques that people could find from under ground and consider the antiques that come from Dawa Dongpo village are the most expensive and the best quality ones.
After Dawa Dzong, we continued our Mt Kailash tour and crossed the seventh pass at 4488m, eighth pass at 4510m, 9th pass at 4508m, 10th pass at 4444m. When were climbing our last pass between Gurugyam and Tholing, we stopped at Malang scenic spot viewpoint. From there, we can get one of the best view of the Tholing landscape. If you had enough time, it is recommend to include Tholing and Guge Kingdom in your Mt Kailash tour.
How is the road condition to Tholing via Dawa Dzong that we took from Mt. Kailash?
Just after Malang scenic spot viewpoint, we continued our Mt Kailash tour by crossing the 11th pass which is the last pass between Guru Gyam and Tholing through Dawa Dzong. The distance from Guru Gyam to Dawa Dongpo Gompa and it’s ruins of Dawa Dzong is 110km and from Dawa Dzong to the junction to go to Guge Kingdom and Tholing monastery or Tsaparang county is 115Km. From the Junction to Tsaparang county on your right hand side is 10Km and the Guge Kingdom on your left hand side is 8Km.
Since there are many mountain passes, climbing up and down too many times, it is better to start a bit earlier from Mansarovar lake or Dharchen to Tholing if you took the road via Dawa Dzong. The mountain passes that we took are not the same as the other mountain passes that we took between Saga and Kailash because Dawa Dzong and Tholing area are located in a Tholing gorge so the mountain passes are more steep eventhough they are not very high comparing to other mountain passes in Ngari but the scenery between Guru Gyam and Tholing through Dawa Dzong is extremely beautiful and unique so we recommend to do this route if you go further to Tholing and Guge Kingdom after your Mt Kailash tour.
How is the accommodation facility in Tholing and Guge Kingdom during your Mt Kailash tour?
Sofar, the best hotels are Tholing Chengbao and Guge hotel. Both of these two hotels have very good rooms, shower for 24 hours available. The breakfast is Buffet. There are also a few other smaller hotels which also provide shower and toilet attached but they are small hotels so for a bigger group of Mt Kailash tour, it is always recommend to use Chengbao or Guge hotels. Below the Guge Kingdom, there is a neighborhood of Guge town and there are around 15-20 families who run family guest house. They are clean and do have public shower so it is also nice to have family stay in order to get more authentic experience of your Mt Kailash tour.
When is the best time to see the sunrise view of Guge Kingdom and Tholing landscape during the visit to Mt. Kailash?
We woke up by around 6.30 Am and drove to Guge Kingdom at the distance of 18Km. We reached at the foot of Guge Kingdom by around 7.00 Am and the light already came during that time. The best time to have a very good sunrise view of Guge Kingdom and Tholing landscape is by around 7.50 in the morning so what you can do is you directly drive to Guge Kingdom early in the morning, enjoy the sunrise view of Guge Kingdom and Tholing landscape and then back to hotel and have breakfast. To enjoy the view of the sunrise of Guge Kingdom and Tholing landscape is one of the most beautiful part of your Kailash travel.
Can we visit Changtse village and Changtse Tholing scenic spot when you travel to Mt. Kailash from Lhasa?
We drove directly to Changtse from Tholing through the newly paved road at the distance of 70Km. The road condition is very good and the scenery of Tholing is extremely beautiful. After around an hour drive, we reached Changtse scenic spot. It is a fantastic place to see the most beautiful landscape of Tholing. It is more beautiful than the one in Tholing gorge. Changtse gorge is the most beautiful scenery of the Tholing entire Ngari region. It is highly recommended to include in the program of your Kailash and Guge Kingdom tour.
After visiting Changtse, can we directly drive to Namru and then to Shiquanhe ( Ngari prefecture ) in order to continue Kailash northern route tour?
After Changtse, we continued our Mt Kailash tour by crossing three very high mountain passes, the first pass is at 5385m, second pass is at 5247m and the last pass is at 5329m above sea level. The scenery on the way is completely changed from Tholing landscape into a green grassland and high plateau pasture land.
On the way, we saw some beautiful landscape of Tholing, marvelous snowcapped mountain and green grassland, beautiful nomad camps and flock of Yak and sheep, grazing on the beautiful grassland and hot spring at Namru. From Changtse to Namru is 87Km and from Namru to Shiquanhe is 72Km. The road all the way from Tholing to Shiquanhe via Changtse and Namru is completely paved. This is a newly paved road between Tholing county and Shiquanhe so it is a good plan if you include this route in your Kailash trip.
During our Mt Kailash tour, can we drive directly to Tashigang monastery near the border to India?
After 18km drive from Namru on the way to Shiquanhe, there is a road on our left hand side just before reaching Gunsa airport ( Nagri Kunsha airport ) is the junction to go to Tashigang monastery and from the Junction to Tashigang monastery is 71 Km and the road is paved all the way.
The scenery on the way is extremely beautiful and different from Tholing area. Just before reaching Tashigang monastery, there is a very beautiful pasture land with some small ponds.. The Yak and Sheep are being grazed on this beautiful green grassland. It is extremely beautiful with green grassland, blue sky and black Yak in the middle of nowhere. Tashi Gang is one of the borders that is very close to Indian border. If you had time during Kailash trip, it is recommend to drive here.
Is it worthy to visit Tashigang monastery during our Kailash northern route tour?
Most of the tourists don’t go to Tashigang monastery when they do Mt Kailash tour because it is very far and not familiar to other tourists but it is a very interesting place to visit and the monastery has a long history with lots of old statues and relics that we can see even in the present day. From Tashigang monastery to Shiquanhe is 90Km. We took a loop way to Shiquanhe and on the way, we saw the ruins of Rala Karmar Dzong, built by Kyide Ngima Gon with more than thousand year’s history. There is a very beautiful picnic place and we had our lunch at the picnic place. The ruins of Rala Karmar Dzong is just infront of the picnic place.
We reached Shiquanhe in the early afternoon. If you like to continue your Kailash adventure towards Kashgar, then you can drive further to Rutog county at the distance of 124Km and further to Yecheng at the distance of 1052km from Shiquanhe.
In Shiquanhe, there is not much to do since it is a new city but it is a good place to take a rest in a comfortable hotel with nice shower after a long Kailash tour. After dinner, you are recommended to have a short walk along the Shiquanhe River as the view of the Shiquanhe city is beautiful in the night time.
How is the accommodation in Shiquanhe ( Ngari prefecture ) during the Kailash tour?
Nowadays, the accommodation facility in Shiquanhe is far better than before and the best hotels are Ali Da Jiudian ( Ngari grand hotel ) and Shangshong hotel. They provide 24 hours hot water and the breakfast is also quite good eventhough most of the items are in Chinese styles.
In the rooms of Ngari grand hotel, they also have oxygen attached and if you are in the need of emergency of taking oxygen, you can ask the reception to provide the oxygen, and take it from your room. They charge according to the hours that you use.
There are some other nice and standard hotels which also provide shower and toilet attached and the rooms are clean enough. The accommodation in Shiquanhe is already very comfortable and it is nice to spend a night there to take good shower and relax during the Kailash trip.
How far is it from Shiquanhe to Rutog county in the Kailash region?
The distance from Shiquanhe to Rutog county is 124Km and it takes you around one hour and thirty minuets. The road condition is very good and it is the way to go to Kashigar and Urumqi after your Kailash travel. Between Shiquanhe and Rutog county, we crossed a high pass called “Lamila at 5130m。In Tibetan, if we directly translate Lamila into English, it means no pass. Why it’s called Lamila is because the pass is kind of flat , neither need to climb a mountain nor need to drive through zigzag road. It is just a kind of flat mountain pass that’s why it is called Lamila pass but the altitude is pretty high already comparing to the mountain passes in the Tholing region.
What can we see around Rutog county when you make Mt Kailash tour?
Rutog at 4313m is a county seat in Nagri prefecture, Tibet Autonomous Region of People’s Republic of China located near the border between India and China Tibet. There is a beautiful Gyawo snow mountain in Rutog and Maka grassland. We can visit Bangong Tso which is a very beautiful lake and at the harbor of the lake, we can see beautiful birds flying above the lake. During your Mt Kailash tour, it is a good idea to include Bangong Tso if you had enough time to explore.
The Bangong Tso lake covers an area of 604 square Kilometers, from which of China is 413 square Kilometers, accounting for about 68.5%, the Indian-controlled Kashmir area is 191 square Kilometers, accounting for about 31.5%. The east-west length is about 150 kilometers, and the north-south average width is about 4 Kilometers. Bangong Tso is one of the most beautiful scenic spots after Mansarovar lake. It is also interesting for the tourists to see another half part of the lake who already went to Ladahk and saw half part of the Bangong Tso lake from Ladhak.
In Rutog, we can visit a very beautiful monastery located on a small hill near the beautiful grassland of Rutog county. The monastery is called Lhundrup Choeding monastery at 4311m. It is a Gelukpa monastery and it was a branch of Sera monastery in Lhasa. The main object of the monastery is the statue of Maitreya and there are many old statues which have more than hundreds years of history. There is a ruins of a castle ( Dzong in Tibetan ), built during the time of Shangshong but it was completely destroyed during the cultural revolution.
Can we explore a unique flower land in Rutog county?
If we drove further to the southwest of Rutog county along the Bangongtso, we reached Wujiang village. We continued our Mt Kailash tour to explore a beautiful flower land to the further southwest.
After driving around 35km distance from Wujiang village, crossing one of the highest mountain passes at 5365m, we reached a beautiful flower land at the altitude of 5168m, dominated by beautiful Tibetan nomad camp, surrounded by beautiful snow capped mountain. On the way, you can see beautiful flowers, grassland, high mountain passes with a great view of snow capped mountain.
Once you reached the campsite, you can take photos of the most beautiful flower land, green grassland, snowcapped mountain, nomad camp with Yak. It is one of the most beautiful natural landscapes that we saw during our entire Mt Kailash tour.
How to take Kailash northern route tour from Ali?
We started our Mt Kailash tour at 8.00 in the morning from Ali and today’s goal is to drive over 1200Km distance to reach Nima county as the road condition is very good. We drove through high mountain passes, western Tibetan plateau, inhabited by beautiful wild animals and Tibetan nomads and lots of beautiful lakes on the way between Ali and Nima county. It is the start of the Kailash norther route adventure tour and we felt like we were driving in the middle of nowhere.
The distance from Ali to Gegyai county at 4522m is 168km and from Gegyai county to Gertse at 4439m is 357Km. The landscape between these two counties is very beautiful and can feel the real plateau of the western Tibetan region.
If we took a direct Kailash northern route tour, we could drive from Gertse county to Nima county directly instead of driving to Tsochen but today why we took the way to Tsochen from Gegyai is because we wanted to visit Tashi Namtso and Dangra Yutso. Tashi Namtso is located in Tsochen county while Dangra Yutso is located in Nima county of Nagqu prefecture. Driving like this is the big adventure of Kailash norther tour.
During our Kailash northern route tour, there are around 5 small lakes Between Gegyai and Gertse and another big lake after Gertse towards Tsochen is Dongtso at the distance of 146Km, after that, we reached Dawa tso at 4671m at the distance of 50Km from Dongtso.
Before reaching Tsochen, we crossed a pass called Tsoshong la at the elevation of 5080m, and again another small pass at 4920m pass, we finally reached Tsochen county at 4676m. The total distance from Gertse to Tsochen is 317Km on a very good paved road. Tsochen county is a very important stop over place when you do Kailash norther route tour, no matter whether you drive clockwise direction of the Kailash tour or anti clockwise direction of the Kailash tour.
Can we visit Tashi Namtso and Dangra Yutso lake during our Mt Kailash tour?
After driving around 3Km towards Nima county on the main road from Tsochen county, we drove right on the dusty road to Tashi Namtso lake at the distance of 38Km. Tashi Namtso lake at 4613m is the third largest lakes in Tibet Autonomous Region and it is 53.5Km long from east to the west, 26Km wide from north to south. We found Tashi Namtso is one of the most beautiful lakes in Tibet and highly recommended to take camp at the lake side for a night.
How to get to Dangra Yutso lake near Nima county in Nakqu prefecture?
Continued our Kailash norther route tour and from Tashi Namtso to Dangra Yutso is 85Km distance and the road is under construction so within one year, it will be a new paved road. Tashi Namtso and Dangra Yutso lake is the borderline between Nakqu prefecture and Ngari prefecture and it is the important joint of Mt. Kailash norther route tour.
Dangra Yutso lake, also known as Dangratso is located in Nima county at the elevation of more than 4,600 meters on the northern Tibetan plateau with an altitude of 4530m. Dangra Yutso is believed as a very holy lake by the Primitive Bon Religion in Tibet and it is considered as the largest lake for the worship of Bon religion and the third largest lakes in Tibet. It covers an area of 1,400 square kilometers, is 70 kilometers long and 20 kilometers wide.
Just after driving around 15Km distance from Dangra Yutso lake, we reached Shana village with a new paved road and then continued our Kailash tour through Wenbu town, then the next village with a big monastery called Dangchong, surrounded by Denchung lake and Denchung monastery. Just after monastery, we climbed a pass at the altitude of 4923m and finally reached Nima county. Nima county is the place where there is full of big and small lakes and it is the biggest area of no man land in Tibet. If you had time of around 20 days to do Mt Kailash tour by exploring a real no man land in Tibet, then doing a Tibet trip through Nima county and Tsochen and all the way to Kailash is a perfect Kailash travel route.
How to get to Lhasa from Nima county during Kailash northern route tour?
Near by Nima county, there is a beautiful lake called Taktse tso and after around an hour drive from Nima county, there is another lake called Jagoe tso at 4571m. We continued our Kailash journey and after around 144Km drive from Nima county, we could also see a sign to go to Shenta county. Shentsa is another bigger county in Nakqu prefecture next to Nima county.
After driving 167Km distance, we reached Selingtso at 4564m. Selingtso is the largest lake in Tibet and the second largest saltwater lake in China. After crossing a pass called Tsomula pass at 4728m, we reached Banga county at the altitude of 4707m. The total distance from Nima county to Banga county is 329Km with a very good paved road and from Banga county to the junction where we could drive to Damxiong and Nakqu prefecture is around 20Km distance. Here we can choose whether you want to extend Kailash tour throug Nakqu or finish the Kailash tour via Namtso lake and Damxiong county which is under the administration of Lhasa city.
From the Junction to Damxiong county is 181Km and to Nakqu prefecture is 208Km. The road condition from the junction to Namtso lake is very good and on the way, we crossed three mountain passes, the first pass with a beautiful view of a lake is at 4735m, second pass is at 4856m and the last pass is at 4880m where you could see Namtso lake. During the big Kailash norther route adventure tour, it is always recommended to include Namtso lake.
After crossing Lagenla pass, we reached Damxiong county and from Damxiong county, we continued our Mt Kailash tour towards Lhasa at the distance of 200Km. After around 20Km drive from Damxiong county, we reached a junction where we could drive to Lhundrup county at the distance of 132Km which is located to the north east of Lhasa city. On the way during our Mt Kailash tour from Damxiong county to Lhasa, there were quite many nomads, standing by the road and selling yellow mushroom as it is the period of harvesting yellow mushroom in Tibet.
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