Short Mt Kailash Kora Tour 12-Day

Short Mt Kailash Kora Tour 12-Day

Short Mt Kailash Kora Tour 12-Day(KN07)

This is a relatively cheaper Mt Kailash Kora tour, but certainly not the most cost-effective one. Instead of sightseeing along the way to make the most of it, this itinerary set Mt Kailash Kora as the single determined goal, to head to it from Lhasa with as little detour as possible. This 12-Day Short Mt Kailash Kora Tour is especially suitable for those who have been to Tibet before, or just interested in Mt Kailash Kora.

  Route Activities
D1 Arrival in Lhasa Transfer from Lhasa Airport
D2 Lhasa Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, Barkhor Street, Sera Monastery
D3 Lhasa > Gyantse > Shigatse (360km/7hrs) Yamdrok Lake, Karola Glacier, Pelkor Chöde Monastery with Gyantse Kumbum
D4 Shigatse > Lhatse > Saga (460km/8hrs)  
D5 Saga > Paryang > Darchen (630km/9hrs)  
D6 Trek from Darchen > Dirapuk (20km/6hrs/200m ascent) Mt. Kailash, Chuku Monastery, Dira-puk Monastery
D7 Trek from Dirapuk > Zutulpuk (18km/8hrs/550m ascent/600m descent) Mt. Kailash, Zutul-puk Monastery
D8 Trek from Zutulpuk > Darchen (14km/4hrs/150m descent)
Drive Darchen > Manasarovara (50km/1hr)
D9 Manasarovara > Paryang > Saga (580km/8hrs)  
D10 Saga > Lhatse > Shigatse (460km/8hrs)  
D11 Shigatse > Lhasa (280km/5hrs) Tashilumpo Monastery, Sumer Palace of Pachen Lamas
D12 Departing from Lhasa Transfer to Lhasa Airport


Short Mt Kailash Kora Tour 12-Day map


Day 01: Arrival in Lhasa
Be greeted by your local Tibetan guide at Lhasa Airport/Railway who will wait you there holding your name board. Transfer to hotel in downtown Lhasa, guide will help you check in before leave. You ll have the rest of the day to yourselves. A good rest is highly suggested to better acclimatize high altitude in Tibet.
Overnight: Lhasa.

Day 02: Lhasa
Activities: Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, Barkhor Street, Sera Monastery

Potala Palace: it is the landmark of Lhasa, and one of the great wonders of world architecture. Potala Palace, winter palace of the Dalai Lama since the 7th century, symbolizes Tibetan Buddhism and its central role in the traditional administration of Tibet. The complex, comprising the White and Red Palaces with their ancillary buildings, is built on Red Mountain in the centre of Lhasa Valley, at an altitude of 3,700m.
Jokang Temple: included on UNESCO’s World Heritage list in 2000 as part of the Potala Palace , the Jokhang Temple is located in central Lhasa. With an area of 25,100 square meters (about six acres), it is the ultimate pilgrimage destination for Tibetan Pilgrims. In front of the entrance to Jokhang is a forecourt that is perpetually crowded with pilgrims polishing the flagstones with their prostrations.
Barkhor Street: located in the old town of Lhasa, Barkhor Street is a very ancient round street surrounding Jokhang Temple. It’s said that in 647, the first Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo (617-650) built Jokhang Temple. Due to its magnificence, it quickly attracted thousands of Buddhist pilgrims. As a result, a trodden path appeared. It was paved by hand-polished stone boards. Though it is not broad, it accommodates thousands of pilgrims and tourists every day. Varied shops stand on its both sides and thousands of floating stands are on every corner.
Sera Monastery: located at the foot of Tatipu Hill in the northern suburb of Lhasa, Sera Monastery is dedicated to the Gelugpa or Yellow Hat Sect, a branch of Tibetan Buddhism, and built it in 1419 during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). Sera literarily means wild rose in the Tibetan. When the monastery was built, the hill behind it was covered with wild roses in bloom, the name was thus decided. Between 3pm~5pm from Monday to Friday, debating is held in the monastery’s debating courtyard, which is a sight so extraordinary and enchanting even you don’t understand a word they’re saying.
Overnight: Lhasa.

Day 03: Lhasa > Gyantse > Shigatse (360km/7hrs)
Activities: Yamdrok Lake, Karola Glacier, Pelkor Chöde Monastery with Gyantse Kumbum

Yamdrotso Lake: dazzling Yamdro-tso (elev 4441m) is normally first seen from the summit of the Kamba-la(4700m). The lake lies several hundred meters below the road, and in clear weather is fabulous shade of deep turquoise. Far in the distance is the huge massif of Mt. Nojin Kangtsang (7191m). Yamdrotso Lake is 130km long from east to west and 70km wide from north to south with a total perimeter of 250km and the surface area of 638 sq km, average depth of 20-40 meters. It is the largest lake at the north foot of the Himalayas.
Karola Glacier: Mt Nojin Kangsang stands tall with an elevation of 7,191 m (23,592 ft) between Gyantze County and Nagarzê County, with several snow-capped mountains over 6,000 m (19,685 ft) surrounding it. Mount Nojin Kangsang is the most accessible glacier site on the Tibetan Plateau. The famous Kharola Glacier (elevation 5,560 m or 18,241 ft) is below the south ridge of Nojin Kangsang.
Pelkor Chöde Monastery with Gyantse Kumbum: the sprawling compound in the far north of town houses Pelkor Chöde Monastery and the monumental Gyantse Kumbum, a chörten filled with fine paintings and statues. Both are deservedly top of the list on most travellers’ must-sees. Palkhor lies at the foot of Dzong Hill. It is well-known for its Kumbum, which has 108 chapels in its four floors. The multi-storied Kumbum Stupa was crowned with a golden dome and umbrella, surrounded with more chapels filled with unique religious statues and murals.
Overnight: Shigatse

Day 04: Shigatse > Lhatse > Saga (460km/8hrs)
Start the day from Shigatse, drive 150km southwest to Lhatse, which is a one-street town with a small square near the town centre. Then continue further west to Saga, the last town of any size before we start the Ngari southern route tomorrow. So have a lavish meal, enjoy the 24hr electricity, and above all take a good shower.
Overnight: Saga

Day 05: Saga > Paryang > Darchen (630km/9hrs)
Although no major sights along today’s ride, but it’s a very photogenic section of sand dunes, lake and mountains. Enjoy the view along the way. After arrival in Darchen, we will have some preparation to do for the following 3-day hike.
Overnight: Darchen

Day 06: Trek from Darchen > Dirapuk (20km/6hrs/200m ascent)
Activities: Mt. Kailash, Chuku Monastery, Dira-puk Monastery

Mt Kailash kora path begins on the western edge of Darchen. Quickly leaving all traces of the village behind, you head westward across the Batkha plain, a sandy expanse speckled with greenery like a massive camouflage jacket. To the north, the east-west ridge blocks your view of Mt Kailash, but to the southeast are clear views of huge Gurla Mandata(7728m). Api and other peaks in Nepal are visible to the south, while look to the southwest for the twin, sharp humps of Kamet(7756m) in India.
Only 4km from Darchen the trail climbs up over the southwest end of the ridge to reach a cairn at 4790m. The cairn is bedecked with prayer flags and marks the first views of Mt Kailash’s southern face, the first of the kora’s four prostration points. Very quickly the trail bends round to the north and enters the barren Lha-chu Valley. The valley is so open at this point you can see ahead to the tall Tarboche flagpole(4750) in the distance, one of the most significant sites for Saga Dawa Festival.
Just west of Tarboche is the ‘two-legged’ Chorten Kangnyi. It’s an auspicious act for pilgrims to walk through the small chorten’s archway. A short climb above Tarchorten to the east is the sky-burial site of the 84 mahasiddhas. The first of the kora’s three Buddha footprints is here, but hard to find. The views of the valley are superb from here. Beyond Tarboche the valley narrows dramatically at an area called Sershong. You can begin to get clear shots of Mt Kailash now, standing to attention above the eastern ridge.
Chuku Monastery(4820m), founded in the 13th century by Gotsangpa Gompo Pel, a Kagyupa-order master, is perched high above the valley floor on the hillside to the west. It bends so secretively into its rocky background you may not able notice it’s there.
From the Chuku it’s abt 3hrs to Dir-puk Monastery. Take your time between this stretch for it has some of the best scenery of the entire kora. High sedimentary faces, wonderfully puckered and dented, and chiseled into shapes that seem alive, hem you in on both sides. When the weather is warmer there’s even the occasional ribbon of water tumbling down the slopes from hundreds of meters high. Along the route you will find the second prostration point, with its prayer flags and clear view of the east side of Mt Kailash. 30mins later, just past a tea tent selling the usual drinks and snakes, look for the second Buddha footprint, and a carving of the god Tamdrin, a wrathful horse-headed deity, on a black stone smeared with aeons of yak butter. From the rock, the trail starts to climb and heads northeast toward Dira-puk Monastery.
Dira-puk(Lhalung Dira) Monastery(5080m) sits in a superb location on the hillside north of the Lha-chu. It directly faces the astonishing north face of Mt Kailash, which from this angle appears as a massive, jet-black slab of granite ornamented with alabaster-white strips of snow. Three lesser mountains are arrayed in front of Mt Kailash: Chana Dorie to the west, Jampelyang to the east and Chenresig in the centre.
Overnight: Dirapuk

Day 07: Trek from Dirapuk > Zutulpuk (18km/8hrs/550m ascent/600m descent)
Activities: Mt. Kailash, Zutul-puk Monastery

The main Mt Kailash kora path heads off to the east, crossing the Lha-chu by bridge and then climbs on to a moraine to meet the trail on the east bank. The long ascent up Drolma-chu Valley that will eventually lead to Drolma-la has begun. Less than an hour along is the meadow at Jarok Donkhang(5210m). Near Jarok Donkhang a trail branches off to the southeast, leading over the snow-covered Khando Sanglam-la. Also nearby, Polung Glacier descends from the east ridge off the north face of Mt Kailash, down through the Polung Valley between Chenresig and Jampelyang.
Only a short distance above Jarok Donkhang, is the rocky expanse of Shiva-tsal(5330m). Pilgrims are supposed to undergo a symbolic death at this point, entering in the realm of the Lord of the Deas, until the reach the top of the Drolma-la and are reborn again. It is customary to leave sth behind at Shiva-tsal, an item of clothing, a drop of blood or a lock of hair, to represent the act of leaving this life behind. After Shiva-tsal the trail mercifully flattens for a time and proceeds along a glacial ridge. There are a number of interesting sights ahead, such as the sin-testing stone of Bardo Trang(a flat boulder that pilgrims are supposed to squeeze under to measure their sinfulness).
Abt 30mins from Shiva-tsal the trail turns eastward for the final ascent. Allow around an hour for the 200m climb to the top of the Drolma-la(5640m). After a few false summits, the rocky pass is reached. The great cubic Drolma Do(Drolma’s Rock) that marks the top is barely visible behind an enormous number of prayer flags. Weather permitting, most pilgrims and trekkers pause at the pass for a rest and refreshment before starting the steep descent. Almost immediately, Gauri Kund(5608m), the Lake of Compassion, comes into view.
It takes approximately an hour to make the long and steep 400m descent to the grassy banks of the Lham-chu Khir. En route there is a much-revered footprint of Milarepa. When the trail reaches the valley, you may find nomad tents and a teahouse selling drinks and noodles. A huge rock topped by the kora’s third Buddha footprint stands nearby. About 30mins south, a valley comes down from the Khando Sanglam-la to join the western trail. This valley provides the only glimpse of Mt Kailash’s eastern or crystal face. The kora’s third prostration point is at the valley mouth. Grassy fields start to appear alongside the river. A couple of hours from the third Buddha footprint a side valley enters from the left. From here on the river changes name to the Dzong-chu, translated as ‘Fortress River’. Soon you will see Zutul-puk Monastery(4820m). The miracle cave that gives the monastery its name is at the back of the main hall. Milarepa’s footprint and handprint can still be seen today.
Overnight: Zutulpuk

Day 8: Trek from Zutulpuk > Darchen (14km/4hrs/150m descent)
           Drive Darchen > Manasarovar (50km/1hr)
Activities: Mt. Kailash Kora, Lake Manasarovara(with shuttle bus)

From Zutul-puk Monastery the trail follows the river closely for an hour or so then climbs above the river and enters the lovely Gold & Red Cliffs, a narrow canyon whose walls are stained purple, cobalt and rust. When the canyon narrows look for holes gouged into the cliff walls. These are not natural but made by pilgrims looking for holy stones. Also look for prayer flags festooned across the river, and in the far distance the blue waters of lake Raksas Tal. Where the trail emerges onto the Barkha plain, close to the fourth prostration point, Gurla Mandata is again visible in the distance. It’s now an easy 1hr walk back to Darchen along a dirt road.
Your driver will be waiting for you at Darchen. Transfer to Manasarover.
Lake Manasarovar: it is the world’s highest freshwater lake, with the mirror like image of snow-capped mountains in its crystal clear waters. Lake Manasarovar is located at the southern foot of Mt Kailash, stretching up to 55miles in perimeter, going 330 feet deep and abt 120sq meters of total area. Lake Manasarovar has exceptional beauty that varies from crystal clear blue water near the shores and a deep emerald green colour at the center. There are a few monasteries on the shore of the lake and most striking of all is the ancient Chiu Gompa Monastery, which has been built right onto a steep hill.
Overnight: Manasarovar

Day 9: Manasarovara > Paryang > Saga (580km/8hrs)
No particular sights of the day. Enjoy the view along the way. If you see anywhere you’d like a stopover to take some photos, pls feel free to let our guide and driver know.
Overnight: Saga

Day 10: Saga > Lhatse > Shigatse (460km/8hrs)
No particular sights of the day. Enjoy the view along the way. If you see anywhere you’d like a stopover to take some photos, pls feel free to let our guide and driver know.
Overnight: Shigatse

Day 11: Shigatse > Lhasa (280km/5hrs)
Activities: Tashilumpo Monastery, Sumer Palace of Pachen Lamas

Tashilhunpo Monastery: it is a real pleasure to explore the busy cobble lanes twisting around the aged buildings. Covering 70,000 sq meters, Tashilunpo is essentially a walled town in its own right. from the entrance to the monastery, visitors get a grand view. Above the white monastic quarters is a crowed of ochre buildings topped with gold—the tombs of the past Panchen Lamas. To the right, and higher still, is the festival Thangka Wall that is hung with massive, colourful thangkas during festivals.
Summer Palace of Pachen Lamas: though it ranks far below Tashilunpo, but Summer Palace of Pachen Lamas still worth a drop-by. This walled palace complex built in 1844 by the 7th Pachen Lama on the south end of Shigatse is a strange blend of Buddhist temple and Victorian-era mansion with marvelous wall murals covering every surface of the rooms in vibrant colours and fantastic images.
Overnight: Lhasa

Day 12: Departure from Lhasa
This 12-Day Short Mt Kailash Kora Tour ends today. Give yourself a big thumbs-up for accomplish this marvelous yet challenging adventure, which is not only a test of physical but spirit as well. Whatever challenge fate may present you in the future, pls always remind yourself that you are the one who made through Mt Kailash Kora. We ll transfer you to Lhasa Airport/Railway, safe trip home with all blessing from Tibet.
End of service!