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We have shown the itinerary on the basis of a complete holiday purely for illustrative purposes. Naturally as tailor-made Nepal holiday specialists we would be happy to discuss additional options, whether it be other activities, more/less sightseeing, alternative/upgraded accommodation etc dependent upon your interests, preferences and time available. We even tailor-make a suggested 'what to pack' list for you based upon your ultimately chosen Nepal tailor-made holiday too.
Day 1 - Arrive Kathmandu
Arriving at Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu, you'll be met and receive a private transfer for the short distance into central Kathmandu and to the "KGH" Hotel in the heart of the Thamel district. You'll be given a briefing on your forthcoming adventure, and in the evening can take dinner at your leisure in one of the many choices of cafes & restaurants in Kathmandu, although the open air courtyard cafe of the KGH Hotel is as good as anywhere,
Whilst the final arrangements are being made by our team in Nepal in respect of the permits and visas necessary for your party to enter Tibet you'll be given full days guided tour of the principle highlights of Kathmandu. One option (must be arranged in advance) would be to include a spectacular mountain flight to see Everest too.
A private transfer back to the airport for the short flight to Nepalgunj. This rather uninteresting place is down in the Terai region, not to far from the Indian border. It's not a place foreign tourists visit, other than to take other internal flights like you will the following day to Simikot or to Juphal to go trekking in the remote Dolpo region. It's an unavoidable consequence to spend a night in Nepalgunj and as this is not a tourists place the accommodation is rather basic. However, it's likely to be warm, so you can enjoy some warmth as there won't be much of that as you get into the journey proper.
Another short flight, but dramatic as you fly into the Himalaya and land at the STOL airstrip at Simikot (3170m). Here you'll meet your support team for your trek into Tibet. Oddly enough where you enter Tibet is only around 300m higher than Simikot itself. Today's walk only takes around 3hrs and following a shortish (but steep climb out of Simikot) there's around 1000m of descent to camp at around 2600m.
A longer day of around 6-7hrs walking with plenty of uphill and downhill, and sometimes steep. Things are becoming increasingly Tibetan influenced. Camp today is below the Buddhist village of Kermi (2900m).
Bizarrely enough you're likely to come across roadworks, particularly today. One day there'll be a road to Tibet from Simikot. But, as you'll see, it's a challenging undertaking, so you may just encounter sections that currently don't go anywhere. The walk today climbs gradually as the trail follows the Humla Karnali River upstream to begin with. It's then up and over a ridge and then back down to the main valley once more and to camp at Yangur (approx 3100m). Around 5hrs walking today.
Probably for part/most of today you'll be walking on tracks that are in preparation for the road to come. It takes around 4hrs of fairly gradual walking to reach Muchu where your passports are stamped and as such have to all intent and purpose left Nepal, although you are actually still in Nepal!. The walking then becomes rather easy as you make your way down to Thumkot. It is likely that from here some of your trek crew will be leaving you as baggage can be transported by vehicle beyond here. Walking time today is around 6hrs.
Some steep ascent to begin with and then a long mostly uphill slog. The trail often crosses over the jeep road. A further two hours of walking after a lunch stop and passing through Yari village with its monastery brings you to camp (3900m). Total walking time about 6hrs.
In the morning you cross the Nara Lagna, the mountain pass into Tibet. It takes around 2hrs of uphill walking to reach the 4465m pass. As with most Himalayan passes there are great views. From the pass there's a considerable amount of downhill walking, steep at times and down to the river far below. Beyond the village of Hilsa you cross the river by a suspension bridge and are now in Tibet. A stiff walk up to the official border crossing at Sher, followed by some slow official bureaucrcacy, but eventually the formalities are completed and you're officially in Tibet. From here a private vehicle will drive you to Purang and accommodation tonight is in a very basic guest house.
More overland, but a pretty spectacular drive up to the Gurla La (4900m) and from where you should get sight of distant Kailas. It's then down to where camp will be set up by Lake Manasarovar (4556m) on the southern shore. You can wash away the sins of your life time if you're one of the devout in the bitterly cold waters of the lake.
In the morning you can take a 2-3hr walk by the lake, and then be driven to the northern shores. Along the way you can visit the Gosul Gompa. Camp tonight will be below Chiu Gompa and is obviously the same altitude as last night.
No great rush today. So, in the morning you can hike up to the Gompa for a look around and enjoy the views across the lake to Kailas. Later you'll be driven across the relatively flat, dusty scrub plains to Darchen (4600m).
Followers of the Bon Po religion perform the Kora of Kailas anti-clockwise. Others (including you) go clockwise. At first there's a drive as far as you are allowed and at Darboche you'll meet your Tibetan trek crew and from here it'll be Yaks that carry everything. The walking gains height gradually and then goes through the Lha Chu canyon and then up to camp by the Diraphuk Gompa (4775m). Walking time is a good 5hrs.
You continue to gain altitude as you walk steadily up to Jarok Donkhang (5250m) and then must make the climb up to the Drolma La (5600m). Towards the top of the pass there's a bit of easy scrambling required. The ascent to the pass is of course hard work because of the high altitudes involved and today is certainly the toughest day of the entire journey. But, from the prayer flagged, cairn lined pass there are fine views of Kailas. It is then of course down, and it is steep and very rough in places, but after about 4hrs descent into the Lham Chu Valley things become more even and make camp at Zutulpuk Gompa (4755m). A very hard 8-9hrs walk.
Thankfully, the punishment of the Kailas Circuit is mostly behind you as you walk through a gorge and then up to the crest of a ridge, which you reach in around 3hrs of walking. From here you lose height steadily as you walk down to Darchen. You'll then travel overland for a further hour to the village of Hor on Manasarovars western shore. Walking time today is around 5hrs total.
Today is a necessary contigency day that may have been necessary at any time up to this point in your ambitious adventure. If you're here on schedule then the nearby Seralung Gompa makes for an interesting walking excursion.
A full day of driving. Although you'll travel for about 100km beyond Paryang and will be moving parallel to the Himalaya. It's tiring driving (or being driven as the case may be) across the Tibetan Plateau but you do have some great views as compensation.
Eventually today you join the main road that links Lhasa to Kathmandu and there has to be an obligatory stop at the Shung La (5200m+) as there are stunning views to Cho Oyu and Gauri Shankar, but even more impressive is the 8000m monolith of Shishapangma. At long last you are going to be heading properly down, leaving the chilly Tibetan Plateau behind and into the warmer climes of sub-tropical Nepal. Essentially you go from 5200m to just 590m! But, there's one more night in Tibet at the not particularly pleasant Chinese Border Post town of Zangmu
More faffing about with border formalities, and then you continue down into Nepal. A full days drive again to reach Kathmandu. At long last a proper hotel! No doubt you'll make the utmost of the many choices of places in Kathmandu to fill yourself with all manner of what seems like luxury foods after the monotony of Tibet.
Tibet & Sacred Kailas
Detailed Example Itinerary