17 Days Overland Tour from Xinjiang to Tibet via Mt. Kailash

17 Days Overland Tour from Xinjiang to Tibet via Mt. Kailash
Apr - OctBest Time
MediumTour Pace
5630mMax Altitude
Physical Demands
Kashgar / Guge Kingdom Ruins / Mt. Kailash / Shigatse / Lhasa
The overland tour from Kashgar to Lhasa via Xinjiang-Tibet highway is challenging and exciting. It is considered the longest and the most difficult route among the four main roads into Tibet. The altitude ascends to 5000 meters while driving along the northern foot of the Himalayas. The spectacular scene of Gobi desert, the pilgrimage to Mt. Kailash and the mysterious Guge Kingdom Ruins are the highlights of this trip.
DAY BY DAY SUMMARY
D1-2: Kashgar / Yecheng
D3-4: Yecheng / Duoma
D5-6: Duoma / Zada
D7: Zada / Darchen
D8-10: Kailash Kora
D11: Darchen / Saga
D12: Saga / Shigatse
D13-16: Shigatse / Lhasa
D17: Tour Ends
Itinerary Details
Includes & Excludes
Tour FAQs
Itinerary Details

Day 1 Pick up in Kashgar

Today, our guide will meet you in Kashgar. Kashgar lies in the westernmost corner of China, and was the center of the Uyger nationality in ancient times, a hub of regional trade and cultural exchange for more than two thousand years. Get prepared for the next day’s overland journey. Overnight in Kashgar.

Day 2 Kashgar / Yecheng[1100m], 250km

After breakfast, drive about 250km to Yecheng, which is the name of both the oasis and the town. Yecheng is situated on the southern rim of the Taklamakan Desert and is where the Xijiang-Tibet Highway starts. Enjoy the spectacular scene with sand dunes and gray-black rocks along the way. Upon arrival, visit Jama Mosque and the bazaar around. Overnight in Yecheng.

 

Jama Mosque
Jama Mosque
Taklamalam Desert
Taklamalam Desert

Day 3 Yecheng / Dahongliutan[4200m], 430km

Today, we’ll drive across several Daban Mountains to Dahongliutan along the Xinjiang-Tibet Highway. Kudi Daban comes first, where a Military Check Point stands, and you have to stop for checking about half an hour. Then, we drive about 80km to reach Mazar Daban, the longest Daban in this route. Mazar Road can access to the famous K2, the second highest mountain in the world. As the border with Pakistan, you may have a chance to enjoy the marvelous view of K2 in the distance. Afterwards, you’ll pass Heiqia Daban, with an elevation of 4930m. Overnight in simple guesthouse at Dahongliutan.

 

Dahongliutan
Dahongliutan
K2
K2

Day 4 Dahongliutan / Duoma [4300m], 345km

It is the hardest day today since we will come across the highest and most dangerous section-Jieshan Daban with an altitude of 5245m. About 300kms’ drive along the well-paved road leads us to the hero valley which is surrounded by high mountains so the oxygen content is low. Driving through Jieshan Daban, you will see Lomcuo Lake on the left side and Songmuxicuo Lake on the right. We drive to Duoma, the first town we enter Tibet. You might have the chance to see wild animals such as Tibetan Ass or Kiang.

 

Jieshan Daban
Jieshan Daban
Lomcuo Lake
Lomcuo Lake

Day 5 Duoma / Shiquanhe [4350m], 231km

This day we will firstly drive to Pangong Tso. It is a lake with two third in Tibet China and other one third in India. It is breathtaking to see the transparent water and shadows of snowcapped mountains on the lake. It is the breeding ground for kinds of birds including the bar-headed goose and Brahmini ducks. If you come in summer, you can see many birds here. We forward to Shiquanhe, the capital of Ngari prefecture. In this little town, there is not so much to see but it is a good place to rest, cleanup and have a good meal after the long journey. It is also the transport base to visit the other places within the prefecture as well as getting to Lhasa.

 

Pangong Tso
Pangong Tso
Shiquanhe
Shiquanhe

Day 6 Shiquanhe / Zada [4000m], 252km

Today we will visit the two remaining sites of the ancient Guge Kingdom: Tholing Monastery, the 11th-century Buddhist monastery, back then the region's most influential lamasery; and Tsaparang, the old capital of Guge. Although in ruins, we can have a glimpse of the vanished age from the statuary and dozens of well-preserved murals in the splendid West Tibetan style. Stay overnight in Zada.

 

Guge Kingdom Ruin
Guge Kingdom Ruin
Tholing Monastery
Tholing Monastery

Day 7 Zada / Darchen [4600m], 237km

Drive to Darchen where is the start point of the Mt. Kailash Kora. The Kora involves a trekking of 52km and includes the pass at the height of 5600meters. Do some preparation and have a good rest tonight for the next three days’ arduous trekking.

 

Darchen
Darchen
Mt. Kailash
Mt. Kailash

Day 8 Trek from Darchen to Dirapuk [5080m], driving 7km, trekking 13km

From Darchen, we will take the green car and drive 7kms to Sershong village where we will start our kora. Before that, you might need to rent horse, yak or porters to carry your belongings. We will come to the Tarboch Flag Pole, one of the most essential facets of Tibetan spirituality. In Saga Dawa Festival, this giant flagpole which has multitudinous prayer flags on it will be pulled down and replaced with new flags. Along the Lha-chu river and valley, we head to our destination today, Dirapuk Monastery. On the way, we can see occasionally the west and north face of Mount Kailash.

 

Darchen
Darchen
Kailash Kora
Kailash Kora

Day 9 Trek from Dirapuk to Zutulpuk via Dolmala Pass [4820m], trekking 18km

We will climb up to the Dolmala pass which is at an elevation of 5640m. It is the hardest part of the three days’ Kora considering all the climbing and strong wind. Be prepared with plenty water and some snacks. You can also find some teahouses to drink some tea or restore your energy. Our trekking ends till we come to Zutulpuk Monastery. According to the legend, it was built by Milarepa as a shelter from the rain.

 

Dolmala Pass
Dolmala Pass
Kailash Kora
Kailash Kora

Day 10 Trek from Zultulpuk to Darchen, trekking 14km

The locals always do the kora in 1 or 2 days. We normally cut it into 3 days to make it possible to finish for normal tourists. Just some easy trekking will take us back to Darchen in early afternoon. One more night in Darchen to relax.

 

Kailash Kora
Kailash Kora
Kailash Kora
Kailash Kora

Day 11 Darchen / Saga [4487m], 500km

In the morning we drive for Lake Manasarovar , one of the holiest lakes in Tibet and the world’s highest fresh water lake. Spend some time here to adore the beauty of the lake. In summer, you might see flocks of swans gathering on the lake, bringing life and harmony to this land. Drive forward to Saga.

 

Manasarovar Lake
Manasarovar Lake
Saga
Saga

Day 12 Saga / Shigatse [3850m], 448km

We head for Shigatse, which has a history dating back to 600 years ago and it serves as the traditional seat of the Panchen Lama, one of the spiritual leaders in Tibet. On the way, we stop to visit the Sakya Monastery, famous for its extraordinary collection of multitudinous Tibetan Buddhist scriptures, murals and Thangkas.

 

Sakya Monastery
Sakya Monastery
Shigatse
Shigatse

Day 13 Shigatse / Gyantse [4050m], 90km

Before leaving for Gyantse, we visit the Tashilumpo Monastery, which was founded by the First Dailai Lama in 1447, and later expanded by the Fourth and successive Panchen Lamas. Besides of the grandeur of the palace and Buddha statues, the monastery is precious for delicate wall paintings. Drive 90km to Gyantse. In ancient times, this small town has been a hub for commercial movements and pilgrim activities between India and Tibet. We pay a visit to the Gyantse Dzong. Perched one huge rock, it was the fort confronting the British army’s attempt to march on Tibet in 1904. Here you can have a panorama view of the old town. Coming down we continue to see thePalcho Monastery, a monastery combined the features of Han, Tibetan and Nepali architecture.

 

Tashilumpo Monastery
Tashilumpo Monastery
Gyantse Dzong
Gyantse Dzong

Day 14 Gyantse / Lhasa [3650m], 270km

Start for Lhasa today. En route we will stop at Karo la to see the holy mount Nyenchen Kangsar glacier. Cross Kambala Pass which is 4794m high, which will provide you the first sight of the holy lake - Yamdrok tso. Drive down to the bank of Yamdrok tso Lake to enjoy the great beauty. After that arrive in Lhasa and have a good rest.

 

Karola Glacier
Karola Glacier
Yamdrok Lake
Yamdrok Lake

Day 15 Lhasa Sightseeing

Our Lhasa tour starts from thePotala Palace, the palace at the highest elevation in the world. Before coming to the main hall, you have to climb 1080 steps as it is located on the Red Hill with the Red Palace as the center and the White Palace as two wings. It was built as the epicenter of Tibetan government by the fifth Dalai Lama in 1645. After, we come to the Jokhang Temple, the most scared shrine in Tibet, which was built in 7th century and located at the heart of old town in Lhasa. The circuit around the Jokhang called Barkhor Street is a good place to purchase souvenirs. Both of them are the focal points of pilgrims from entire Tibetan world, multitudinous pilgrims are circumambulating and prostrating in their strong faith.

 

Potala Palace
Potala Palace
Jokhang Temple
Jokhang Temple

Day 16 Lhasa Sightseeing

About 8km west of central Lhasa is the Drepung Monastery, once world's largest monastery with about 10,000 monks. This day's sightseeing begins with these white monastic buildings piled up on the hillside. Walking up to the hill is a pleasant thing, an easy break from the solemn ambience inside the halls and chapels. At the plat roof of hillside, you can have very good views of the whole Lhasa city and the distant mountains. Drepung is one of Lhasa's two great Gelugpa monasteries, the other is Sera Monastery. Around 5km north of central Lhasa, Sera may not be as grandiose as Drepung, but is more serene surrounded by many small temples. The 'Buddhism Scriptures Debating' in Sera is very famous. Overnight in Lhasa.

 

Drepung Monastery
Drepung Monastery
Sera Monastery
Sera Monastery

Day 17 Depart Lhasa, tour ends

Your tour ends today. The airport or train station see off will be arranged according to your specific time. Thanks for traveling with GOTOTIBET.

Includes & Excludes
What’s included in this tour package?
Transport: Private vehicle with professional driver
Airport / Train Station drop-off after tour ends
Twin-sharing / double room accommodation
Local English-speaking guide
All entrance fees of sightseeing places mentioned in itinerary
All necessary Tibet permits
Government tax
What’s excluded in this tour package?
Chinese Visa fee
Tips for the guide and driver
International flight tickets
Meals not included in the itinerary
Personal expenses such as laundry, drinks, fax, telephone calls, etc
Tour FAQs
1. Why the overland tour from Xinjiang to Lhasa is recommended? 
Xinjiang Tibet Highway starts from Yecheng in Xinjiang Province and ends in Lhatse county Tibet Autonomous Region. It was renowned as the most dangerous road into Tibet because of the high altitude, harsh weather, poor road condition. But the road in Tibetan area is paved with pitch and there is only a small part of bumpy road near the Heiqia pass now. Driving through the wild west, you will see the vast desert, snow covered steep mountains, hundreds of miles no-man’s land, lakes, herds of wild animals etc. It is said only the bravest man dare to take this route. 

2. What is the best time for overland tour from Xijiang to Tibet?
Because of the high altitude, the road might be covered by heavy snow in winter. It will be hard and dangerous to drive through. The best travel duration will be from May to early October. You are suggested to take a thick coat and rain coat since there might be unexpected rain or snow even in summer. 

3. What permits are needed for an overland tour from Xinjiang to Tibet?
Traveling from Xinjiang to Tibet, except of the Tibet Travel Permit, you will need Alien’s Travel Permit(PSB) and Military Permit. But all these permits will be handled by GOTOTIBET. You only need to sit back to enjoy and enjoy the tour. 

4. What is the packing list for overland tour from Xinjiang to Tibet?
Because of the high altitude and harsh weather, it is necessary to pack warm jacket, rain coat, sunscreen, sunglass, medicine for altitude sickness, lip cream. As we will drive through some remote area and no-man’s land, it is better to take some snacks or instant food, and medicine for common illness. Power bank for your phone or camera is also a necessity since some area might not have power. The last but not the least, please take some bags for carrying the rubbish away to the trash can. Let’s take sustainable tour and protect the environment. 

5. Is the overland tour from Xinjiang to Tibet family-friendly?
This overland tour from Xinjiang to Tibet is popular for friends, couples, groups but not very good for family tour if you travel with young kids or senior citizens considering the long driving, bad weather and poor accommodation in some places. 
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Mt. Kailash Mt. Kailash

Client Feedback

From Emma & Tracie From Emma & Tracie
GTT-V-3230, 08-07-2019

Hello Violet, Your stress free booking process, speedy & informative communication and the knowledgable & friendly tour guide (Tampur) all contributed to us both having a great time in Tibet. Here’s hoping more like minded travellers book your tours and get to see Tibet as we did. Thanks again, Emma (& Tracie)

From Mrs. Florentina Gadau From Mrs. Florentina Gadau
GTT-V-3026, 28-05-2019

Hello Violet, We arrived home safe and happy. The experience in Tibet was wonderful. Thank you for your professionalism and way of organizing our trip. Kind regards, Florentina