Kailash Tour via Simikot - 20 Days

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Trek the ancient route to Mt. Kailash via Simikot in western Nepal and tour the magical Garuda Valley and Mansarovar Lake
Group size: Minimum 4 people Max-Altitude: 5,750m/19,910ft
Destination: Tibet,Nepal
Arrival on: Kathmandu, Nepal Departure from: Kathmandu, Nepal
Meals: Breakfast in Kathmandu, Nepalgunj and Tibet. All meals during the trek
Accommodation: Hotels in Kathmandu, Nepalgunj and Tibet. Tea houses during the trek

Trip Introduction

Kailash Tour via Simikot is an excellent journey to Mt. Kailash whereby we experience trekking in one of the most remote western parts of Nepal before entering Tibet.  We arrive in Kathmandu and spend a day resting and preparing for the trip and fly to Nepalgunj, a city in the western Terai plains of Nepal the next day. On our Simikot to Kailash journey, we travel along ancient pilgrimage routes and trade links, trekking across the border into Tibet. The our Tibet tour starts with a visit to the Garuda valley, a place believed to be the cradle of the Tibetan civilization during the ancient times when bon religion was practiced throughout Tibet, long before Buddhism was introduced. Next, we circumambulate Mt. Kailash and tour Mansarovar Lake, both of which hold great natural, cultural and religious significance. The Kailash Tour via Simikot ends in Lhasa which is called the ‘cradle of Tibetan civilization.

Day to Day Itinerary

Day 01: Arrival in Kathmandu
After arriving at the Tribhuwan International Airport (TIA) in Kathmandu, we will be greeted by a representative from Himalayan Glacier who will drop us off at our hotel. After checking in, we take a rest or visit Himalayan Glacier’s office.  In the evening, there will be a welcome dinner hosted by Himalayan Glacier where we get acquainted with the excellent Nepalese cuisine.
Day 02: Free day in Kathmandu with visa and trip preparation
We spend the whole day in leisure. If we have any more questions about our trip, we can visit Himalayan Glacier’s office in Thamel after breakfast. We can spend most of the time today taking a rest and relaxing. We can stroll in the streets of Thamel which is a popular tourist hub. Overnight in Kathmandu.
Day 03: Fly from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj: 1 hour
After our short excursion in Kathmandu, we take an hour-long flight from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj, located in Western Nepal. Nepalgunj, a town near the Nepal-India border, is also the gateway to Simikot, Humla. The town itself is an interesting Terai town that showcases the diverse culture of Nepal. In Nepalgunj, we visit the local market, mini-zoo and nearby villages. Overnight in Nepalgunj.
Day 04: Fly to Simikot (2,985m/9,790ft) and trek to Dharapori (2,360m/7,740ft) 4 - 6 hours
We take a 40-minute flight from Nepalgunj to Simikot and admire the beauty of the soaring mountain cliffs from our airplane. Simikot, the headquarters of the Humla District, is cut off from the rest of the country due to its remoteness. While here, we learn about the local people and their rich culture, which is closely tied to the Tibetans because of the close proximity of the two places. We have lunch at Simikot and also register for the permit at the police office. From Simikot, we ascend for a while, then descend towards the village of Tuling. We continue walking through jungles and villages along the Karnali River towards Dharapori. Overnight in Dharapori.
Day 05: Dharapori to Kermi (2,860m/9,383ft): 5 - 6 hours
Our walk is on relatively flat trails beginning with the trail alongside the Karnali River. We walk along the fields cultivated mainly with barley, buckwheat, rice and potatoes. There are two hot springs near Kermi where we may soothe our aching bodies. We can also visit ancient Buddhist monasteries close to Kermi --Laikyo Gompa and Lhundrup Choeling Gompa.Overnight in Kermi.
Day 06: Kermi to Yalbang (2,879m/9,445ft): 5 - 6 hours
Today’ trek is a flat and steep ascent until reaching a small pass and crossing a suspension bridge over the Salli River. From here one can enjoy views of the beautiful pine trees and the mighty Karnali River. We will also visit the remote Namkha Khyung Dzong Monastery. Overnight in Yalbang.
Day 07: Yalbang to Tumkot (3,073m/10,082ft): 5 - 6 hours
We walk on a trail above the Karnali River. As we ascend further, the greenery begins to vanish and so do the smaller bushes. They give way to pine trees and rocky hills. After reaching Tumkot, we visit Dhungkar Choezom Monastery, one of the most important Sakya monasteries in the Tibetan region. Overnight in Tumkot.
Day 08: Tumkot to Yari (3,663m/12,017ft): 6 - 7 hours
Today's trek is on a relatively easy trail above the Karnali River. After walking a few miles we begin to notice the change in climate, vegetation and landscape which becomes more rocky and secluded. The trees that you see are not pine trees anymore. They are now short and low junipers. Overnight in Yari.
Day 09: Yari to Hilsa (3,647m/11,965ft) via Nara La pass: 5 - 6 hours
We cross the first pass of the trek today, the Nara La pass (4,620m). The vegetation is bleak by now and the landscape is familiar to that of Tibet. After crossing the pass we will be greeted by excellent views of the beautiful Tibetan plateau and Yari Village. From here on, it is a shaky descent down until Hilsa, a border town which is also a dropping point for the pilgrims on their way to Mt. Kailash by helicopter. Overnight in Hilsa.
Day 10: Hilsa to Purang (3,772m/12,375ft): 2 - 3 hours
We walk across the Friendship bridge at Hilsa where the Chinese officials will check our permits and passports. We also meet our Tibetan guide here. We ascend from Hilsa to Purang and pass Rinzin Zangpo Gompa and Kangje Village along the way. In Purang, we visit the ancient Purang Gompa and explore the unique Buddhist frescoes of the 12th century. Overnight in Purang.
Day 11: Purang to Montser (4,450m/14,599ft) and sightseeing in Tirtapuri: 3 - 4 hours
On our way to Montser we pass through Rakshas and Mansarover lakes. After reaching Montser, we settle down for a while then visit Tirtapuri (4510m). Located northwest of Mount Kailash, the Tirthapuri Hot Springs are closely associated with Padmasambhava (Guru Rinpoche). Pilgrims bathe in pools fed by the springs, visit the monastery containing the guru's footprint and dig for healing stones along a one-hour pilgrimage route. After touring Tirtapuri we return back to Montser to spend the night.
Day 12: Sightseeing of Garuda Valley, then transfer to Darchen (4,560m/14,956ft): 3 - 4 hours
It takes us around 2 hours to reach the Garuda Valley that lies to the southwest of Mt. Kailash. It contains mysterious caves, some of which have never been explored. Many believe that this was the cradle of the Tibetan civilization during the time of the Shang Shung kings, long before Buddhism reached the roof of the world. For those interested in the archeological and historical sites, Garuda Valley will be a dream come true. After touring the amazing valley we move to Darchen, a small town situated right in front of the sacred Mount Kailash. Overnight in Darchen.
Day 13: First day of Kora: hiking to Dira Puk Monasterys (5120m/16,792ft), 5 - 6 hours
Today, we begin our Kora of Mt. Kailash. The first day out of Darchen involves a six-hour hike in a deep valley through walls of red rock. We continue across the plain to Shershong. We further cross a bridge leading to Chhuku Gompa which is high on the hill visible from the valley. The trail leads to Dirapuk from where we will have a stunning view of the north face of Mt. Kailash. Overnight in Dirapuk.
Day 14: Second day of Kora: hike to Dzutul-puk (4790m/15,765ft): 18km, 6 - 7 hours
Today will be the most difficult section of our journey.  We climb Drolma-la Pass at 5,750m/19,910ft. The pass whose name literally means the pass of Tara is beautiful and is filled with five-colored praying flags. From Drolma-la Pass, we descend to Dzutul-puk. At Dzutul-puk, we come across the incredible Thugje Zinbu (Lake of Compassion) and a few ancient meditative caves. Overnight in Dzutul-puk.
Day 15: Third day of Kora: hiking to Darchen (4,560m/15,000ft): 14km, 3 - 4 hours and transfer to Manasarovar
We gradually wind out of the valley towards Barka plain. After completing the holy Kora of Mount Kailash at Darchen, we drive for 2 hours to Mansarovar Lake. The lake holds religious significance for both Hindus and Buddhists. As per Hindu theology, Lake Mansarovar is a personification of purity, and one who drinks water from the lake is believed to go to the abode of Lord Shiva after death. Buddhists also associate the lake with the legendary lake known as Anavatapta in Sanskrit where Queen Maya is believed to have conceived Buddha. Overnight in Mansarovar.
Day 16: Tour of the Mansarovar Lake
Today, we circumambulate the beautiful Mansarovar Lake which has a circumference of 90 km making it one of the highest freshwater lakes in the world. The belief is that the Kora of Mount Kailash is completed only with a holy dip in the lake and a drink of its holy water relieves one from the sins of a hundred lives. We circle round Mansarovar by Jeep, and if time permits, we visit Chui Gompa, another attraction of Manasrovar. Overnight in Mansarovar.
Day 17: Mansarovar to Saga (4,600m/15,088ft) 495 km, 8 – 9 hours
Today, we have to accomplish a long drive from Mansarovar to Saga traversing through the sacred historic Chiu Monastery. We continue driving past Hor Quo and across the Mayum La pass (5,200m). While passing through, we will have glimpses of small towns like Zhongba and Paryang. This journey covers 270 km from Mansarovar to Paryang and adjoins Saga, 255 km away from Paryang. From Saga instead of going towards Lhasa, we drive along a different route to Kathmandu. Overnight in Saga.
Day 18: Saga to Shigatse (3,900m/12,795 ft): 445km, 8-9 hours
From Saga we travel to Shigatse via Latse. Our trail will be along the Tsangpo River in a region crisscrossed by the upper Brahmaputra and its tributaries. Upon reaching Shigatse, we freshen up and later visit the Tashilhunpo Monastery which was founded by Pachen Lama in 1447. Overnight in Shigatse.
Day 19: Shigatse to Lhasa (3,650m/11,972ft): 265km, 4-5 hours
After breakfast, we drive towards Lhasa. On the way, we visit Shalu Monastery. Founded in 1040, Shalu Monastery is known for its beautiful and ancient mural paintings. After the tour we continue to Lhasa. On the way, we come across the Karo La Pass (5,045m). Before reaching Lhasa, we also cross the Khamba La Pass (4,794m) with a brief halt to savor the beauty of the Yamdrok Tso (Turquoise Lake), one of the three largest sacred lakes in Tibet and the beautiful Nazin Kang Sang glacier (7,252m). Overnight in Lhasa.
Day 20: Final Departure
The Kailash adventure in the Himalayas comes to an end today. There is nothing to do but trade emails with travel companions and organize the photos. A representative from Himalayan Glacier will take us to the airport approximately 3 hours before the scheduled flight.

Important Note

Your safety is of paramount concern while traveling with Himalayan Glacier. Please note that your leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the itinerary if it is deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Every effort will be made to keep to the above itinerary; however, since this adventure entails travelling in remote mountainous regions, we cannot guarantee that we will not deviate from it. Weather conditions, health condition of a group member, unexpected natural disasters, etc., can all contribute to changes in the itinerary. The leader will try to ensure that the trip runs according to plan, but please be prepared to be flexible if required.

Included in the Cost

  • Pickups and drops from airport(s) and hotel(s)
  • Hotels in Kathmandu, Nepalgunj and Tibet. Teahouse during the trek
  • Breakfast in Kathmandu, Nepalgunj and Tibet
  • All meals while trekking in Nepal (only)
  • Flight from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj and from Nepalgunj to Simikot with airport departure taxes
  • Assistance in acquiring the Chinese visa
  • All necessary permit(s) and entry fees (including Tibet Travel Permit)
  • Hilsa, Kailash, Garuda valley, Lhasa transfer by private vehicles (van or Hiace or bus)
  • English-speaking, trained and experienced local guide(s)
  • Fees for porter or horse from Simikot to Hilsa and during Kora
  • T-Shirt, sleeping bag , down jacket,  and duffle bag
  • All applicable taxes and service charges
  • Lake Mansorver Kora bus fee
  • All necessary paperwork

Not Included in the Cost

  • All international airfares
  • Chinese visa fee
  • Accommodation(s) outside the itinerary
  • Lunch and dinner (including any meal except breakfast) in Kathmandu, Nepalgunj and Tibet
  • Travel and rescue insurance
  • Extra cost in the event of landslide for hiring additional transportation and porters
  • Horse rental while on Kora or personal porter
  • Emergency evacuation costs (cost for renting a Land Cruiser and medical and rescue insurance is recommended). We advise you to purchase insurance with a zero deductible.
  • Personal expenses, e.g. phone call, laundry, bar bills, photography charges, web usage, and telephone calls
  • Tips for guides, drivers, porters, etc.

Travel Insurance

It is a condition upon joining any of Himalayan Glacier's trips that all clients be insured for comprehensive expenses that might incur due to medical issues or accidents (this includes air ambulance, helicopter rescue, and treatment costs). Please note that we don't arrange or sell insurance.

Accommodations

We will be staying at Hotel Moonlight in Kathmandu, Hotel Siddhartha in Nepalgunj and teahouses during trek. While trekking in Nepal (Simikot to Hilsa), it should be understood that the area is developing so the accommodation facilities there will be fairly basic. Therefore, we can decide to either stay in the local tea houses or in tents (which will be arranged by Himalayan Glacier). Accommodations in Kathmandu, Nepalgunj and Tibet (except trekking) will be on twin-shared basis but while trekking (both in Nepal and Tibet), you will be accommodated in a common dormitory.

Meals

We will be served breakfast in hotels in Kathmandu, Nepalgunj and Tibet whereas all meals including breakfast, lunch and dinner will be provided during the trek (in Nepal). A basic meal during trekking in Nepal will include rice, potatoes, noodle with soup, etc. However, note that we will not be provided any meals in Tibet. Therefore, it is better to set aside a food budget of up to $20- $30 for lunch and dinner per day while in Tibet.

Leader(s) & Staff Arrangements

During trekking in Nepal, we will be under a Nepali guide and while in Tibet a Tibetan guide will be our leader. This kind of arrangement will ensure that our guide has thorough knowledge of his respective region. Also, during trekking in both Nepal and Tibet, potters and ponies/yaks will be responsible for carrying our luggage.

Acclimatization

The trekking section in Kailash via Simikot is moderate. However, it could be challenging for some due to the high elevation. All of Himalayan Glacier’s treks are planned with high degree of awareness of AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness). Going up at higher altitude too fast causes a medical condition serious enough to kill. We understand that for a safe trek, it is essential to allow sufficient time for acclimatization. Sensible planning is therefore required to minimize the risk of AMS. Himalayan Glacier's itineraries are designed to prevent AMS as much as possible. But, it is important to remember that some visitors are more vulnerable than others.

Physical Condition & Experience Requirements

This trek entails a couple of days in high elevations, walking for long hours and 6-12 hours of driving per day in some days. The trek itself is not difficult. However, it could be challenging due to high elevation. Therefore being physically fit is highly recommended. It is also advised that we consult our doctor prior to the excursion and obtain necessary advice, as well as medications for traveling in extreme altitude.

Visa & Entry Procedure

We at Himalayan Glacier would like to assist you in making your Tibet tour an adventure of a lifetime as well as trouble free. Therefore, please visit this page for information on Tibet entry procedures and other things you should know about before travelling to Tibet.

Best Time to Travel

Summer months between May to September is an ideal time to undertake this journey. The weather is pleasant with a moderate climate, with average temperature of around 0 to 20C. Plus, summer is also perfect for all outdoor activities- temple visit, dip in holy waters and also for visiting nearby attractions.

Equipments & Packing List

The following basic equipment check list should help you with your packing. Please remember that you should always try to keep the weight of your equipment to a minimum.

The items in the list below with an asterisk (*) are also provided by Himalayan Glacier and included in the service. However, guests are also free to bring and use their own. 

Documents
  • Valid Passport
  • Necessary visas and permits
  • Medical insurance
  • Business cards
  • Airline tickets
  • Passport size photographs (minimum 4)

Note: Make copies of your passport, visas, permits, airline tickets/schedule, and travelers’ checks. Please leave a copy with someone at home and put another copy in a separate place in your luggage.

CLOTHINGS

Head:
  • Sun hat or scarf
  • Light balaclava or warm fleece hat
  • Sunglasses with UV protection
Lower Body:
  • Undergarments
  • Hiking shorts
  • Lightweight cotton long pants
  • Light and expedition weight thermal bottoms
  • Fleece or wool pants (seasonal)
  • Waterproof (preferably breathable fabric) shell pants
Feet:
  • Thin, lightweight inner socks
  • Thick, warm-wool hiking socks
  • Waterproof hiking boots with spare laces
  • Gaiters
  • Camp shoes (sneakers and/or sandals)
Upper Body:
  • Light T-shirts
  • Fleece jacket or pullover (Wind-Stopper products are very versatile)
  • Waterproof (breathable fabric) shell jacket
  • Down vest and/or jacket (highly recommended for Tibet trips)
  • Light- and expedition-weight thermal tops
  • Fleece jacket or pullover
  • Fleece wind-stopper jacket (optional)
  • Waterproof (preferably breathable fabric) shell jacket
  • Down vest and/or jacket *
Hands:
  • Lightweight gloves
  • Heavyweight gloves or mittens with a waterproof outer shell (seasonal)
Accessories:
  • Sleeping bag rated to -30 to -40 degree Celsius *
  • Headlamp (e.g. Petzl Zoom) with spare bulbs and batteries
  • Trekking bags/duffel bag *
  • Basic first-aid kit (Antiseptic cream, throat lozenges, diarrhea treatment, aspirin, band-aids/bandages, blister treatment, insect repellent and multi-vitamin tablets)
  • Large plastic bags for keeping items inside your trek bag dry
  • Daypack (approximately 2500 to 3000 cubic inches)
  • Trekking poles *
  • Water bottle (2) or camel bag
  • Toiletries (small wash towel, toilet paper, etc.)
  • Ear plugs (as some people in your group may be prone to snoring)
Toiletries:
  • 1 medium-sized quick drying towel
  • Tooth brush/paste (preferably biodegradable)
  • Multi-purpose soap (preferably biodegradable)
  • Deodorants
  • Nail clippers
  • Face and body moisturizer
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Small mirror
Personal Hygiene:
  • Wet wipes (baby wipes)
  • Tissue /toilet roll
  • Anti-bacterial hand wash
Extras/Luxuries:
  • Binoculars
  • Reading book
  • Trail map/guide book
  • Journal and Pen
  • iPod
  • Pencils and small notebooks
  • Travel game(s) like chess, backgammon, scrabble
  • Modest swim suit (for Kathmandu)

Additional Information

Our website contains as much information as possible about this trip. However, if you wish to discuss any aspect of this trip or your suitability for it please contact us by email. If you want to talk to us directly feel free to call us at: 00977-98510-55684

Source:www.himalayanglacier.com