Make a rendezvous with the remote Himalaya Mountains of Humla and Kailash in our ultimate Tibetan journey through the ancient salt route. Humla, the land of the Oscar nominated Caravan fame, Thinley, and once a part the western Tibet region of Ngari, lies in the north-western Nepal just below the sacred Mount Kailash. Mount Kailash is the origin of many Himalayan rivers including the four greatest rivers of Asia: the Ganges, Indus, Tsangpo and Sutlej. Mt. Kailash and Lake Mansarovar hold an important place among the followers of Bön, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism. In Buddhist cosmology Mt. Kailash is the centre of the world and hence making the Kailash Kora one of holiest acts of merit. The myths and legends surrounding the region prove the essential unity of all the religions. Mount Kailash also represents Kang Rimpoche, believed to be the resting place of Buddha Demchok. The region is also considered to be the site of the battle between the master of Tantric Buddhism Milarepa and the champion of Bon religion Naro Bonchung. Later In some Buddhist works, Mansarovar is described as Anotatta or Anavatapta meaning the lake without heat and trouble. The jouney to Mt. Kailash via Humla proves to be not only an act of merit and adventure, but also culturally and scenically rewarding experience.
The route to Mt. Kailash via Humla was opened for the foreigner only recently. There are no roads to reach Humla. Only a small run-way connects Simikot of Humla with the rest of the world. From Simikot, we follow the Humla Karnali River and rise higher with changing landscapes, occasionally visiting the monasteries overlooking the village. Meet pilgrims, traders, adventures yaks and ponies, pass by stone houses, chorten, sky burial sites, memorials and gompas. We move on toward Mt. Kailash and Manasarovar visiting many important Tibetan towns and Buddhist sites on our way. We head toward Darchen in our preparation for Mt. Kailas Kora. Making a Kora around the Mount Kailash is an important part of our Tibet trip. After making the complete Kora of Mt. Kailash in three days, we proceed to make the Kora of Mansarovar Lake. From Saga, cross the Yarlung Tsangpo or Brahmaputra River to Nyalam. Finally, cross the Nepal China Border on the way to Kathmandu.
Day to Day Itinerary
Day 01: Arrive in Kathmandu
Upon your arrival in the Kathmandu airport (TIA) you will be greeted by a representative from Kumar Adventure . After completing your custom formalities (Visa, etc) pick up your luggage and look for our representative with a Kumar Adventure display board at the arrival gate. You will be then transferred to Hotel Shanker or a similar category hotel. After check in, you can take a rest, hang around in the city or visit our office – it all depends upon your interests and condition. In the evening we will organize a “Welcome Dinner” at an excellent traditional Nepalese Restaurant where you will enjoy a Nepalese cultural program as well as a fine meal. Overnight at Kathmandu.
Day 02: KTM Sightseeing Tour: Kathmanu Durbar Square, Pashupatinath, Swayambhu, Boudhanath
We start a guided tour to four of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Kathmandu. Kathmandu Durbar Square holds the palaces of the medieval Kings who ruled over the then Kathmandu Kingdom. Pashupatinath houses a sacred lingum, or the phallic symbol of Lord Shiva. The Aryaghat alongside Pashupati and on the banks of the Bagmati River is a famous funeral site for the Hindus. The Buddhists shrine of Boudhanath is one of the largest stupas in the world, and one of the holiest Buddhist pilgrimage and tourist destinations in Kathmandu.
The area of Boudhnath is also famous for over 50 Tibetan Gompas or monasteries. Swayambhu meaning the “the self-existent” is popular among the foreigners as the Monkey Temple owing to the large number of monkey population residing in the area. Overnight at Kathmandu.
Day 03: Flight Kathmandu-Nepalgunj
We take an hour’s flight from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj in Western Nepal. Nepalgunj which is a border town near Nepal-India border is the gateway to Simikot of Humla. The town itself is an interesting Terai town of Nepal – with influences from both the Nepal hills as well as local Hindu & Muslim cultures. Some sightseeing places in Nepalgunj include Mini Zoo, Muslim bazaar, or if possible and interested take a walk into nearby villages. We have to also make preparation for tomorrow’s flight to Simikot.
Day 04: Flight to Simikot (2910m, 9,545ft) and trek to Dharapuri (2250m/7,380ft, 4-6 hrs)
We fly from Nepalgunj to Simikot in the early morning. The flight takes for about 40-minutes. Enjoy the fantastic scenery of vertical mountain cliffs. Simikot, cut off from the rest of the country due to its remotenesss, is also the headquarters for of Humla district. You will notice that the people, culture, and traditions of Simikot belong to the Tibetan origin. We take our lunch at Simikot and also register the permit at the police office. From Simikot, climb initially before descending towards the village of Tuling. Continue walking through jungle & villages along Karnali River toward Dharapuri. Camp at Dharapuri.
Day 05: Trek to Salli Khola (2700m/8,856ft, 6 hrs)
The walk is relatively flat until Kermi. We follow the Humla Karnali basin. There are two hotsprings near Kermi. Bypass the village of Kermi, enter into the widening valley. Walk through the thinning pines. Cross the Salli La Pass (2990m, 9807ft). Descend to the Salli Khola. Camp by the river.
Day 06: Trek to Muchu (3120m/10,235ft, 6 hrs)
Cross the suspension bridge at Salli Khola. Walk along a relatively flat terrain. Arrive at Yalbang. Visit the Namkha Khyung Dzong Monastery. Climb higher above the Karnali River. The vegetation gets increasingly thinner as we go higher. Cross the suspension bridge over the Karnali River and arrive at Muchu. Overnight at Muchu.
Day 07: Trek to Sipsip (4300m/14,104ft, 6hrs)
Pass the Muchu Checkpoint. Descend to Tumkot. Visit the Dhungkar Choezam Monastery up the hill. We leave the Karnali River behind and climb higher. By the time we are in Yari, the landcapes gets increasingly barren. Pass the police checkpost at Yari. Enjoy the views of Erega mountain. Walk on a relatively flat ground for some time. Arrive at Thado Dhunga (4043m), also the base camp for the Nara la pass (4580m). Climbing further higher, we arrive at Sip Sip.
Day 08: Trek to Hilsa (3720m/12,201ft, 6 hrs)
Ascend the Nara Lagna Pass (4580m, 15,022ft). Enjoy the great views of the Tibetan plateau while descending from the Nara La pass. Arrive at the Ranipauwa village of Ranipauwa. Make a steep descend to the Humla Karnali. Descend down to Hilsa. Hilsa is the border town on the Nepal side of the Nepal-China (Tibet) border. It is also a dropping point for the pilgrims on their way to to Mt. Kailash on Helicopter.
Day 09: Cross the border, visiting of Purang and and transfer to Tritapuri (4560m/14,956ft)
Cross the Nepal-China (Tibet) border. Now we are in Tibet. Taklakot is a trading town on the Tibetan side of the border. The Chinese call in Purang. Drive to the customs office in Taklakot. Visiting of ancient Purang gompa, and sightseeing of unique buddhist frescoes of IIX century. Evening drive for 130km to Tritapuri.
Day 10: Garuda Valley Sightseeing, Evening Transfer to Darchen (4560m/14,956ft)
The Garuda Valley or Kyunglung lies to the southwest of Mt Kailash. The Garuda Valley contains mysterious caves some of which have never been explored. The valley is the source of an ancient kingdom of Shangshung, the ruined cave cities in the valley are remains of early Tibetan civilization. For those interested in the archeological and historical sites, Garuda Valley offers a magnificent exploration. Return back to Manasarowar in the evening. Overnight in Manasarowar.
Day 11: First day of kora: hiking to Dira Puk Monasterys (5120m/16,792ft, 6 hrs)
Today we begin our Kora of the Mount Kailash. The first day out of Darchen involves a six-hour hike in a deep valley through walls of red rock.Continue across the plain to Shershong. Cross a bridge leading to Chhuku Gompa high on the hill visible from the valley. The trail leads to few ups and downs till we reach Dirapuk with a fine view of the north face of Mount Kailash. Overnight at Dirapuk.
Day 12: Second day of kora: acclimatization, short hiking to North Face of Kailash (6 hours by walk)
The second day of the Kora. It essential to acclimatize properly during the climb. We will also hike to the north face wall of Kailash. Although the hike is not part of the actual Kora, it will certainly put us face to face with the greatness of Kailash.
Day 13: Third day of kora: hiking to Dzutul-puk (4790m/15,765ft, 18km, 6-7 hours by walk) via Drolma-la pass (5,750m/19,910ft)
Today we are going to climb at Drolma-la pass (Pass of Tara), filed with five-colored praying flags. This is the most difficult part of our way. Then we start the descending to Dzutul-puk. Very attractive lake Thugje Zinbu (Lake of Compassion) opens to our eyes. Some ancient meditative caves are visible here.
Day 14: Fourth day of kora: hiking to Darchen (4560m/15,000ft, 14km, 3-4 hours) and transfer Transfer to Manasarowar
We gradually wind out of the valley getting finally in to the Barka plain. After completing the holy Kora of Mount Kailash at Darchen, we drive to Lake Mansarovar. The drive from Darchen to Mansarowar takes about 2 hours. Overnight at Mansarowar.
Day 15: Manasrovar full day. Kora around the lake by jeep.
Full day at Lake Mansarovar. Lake Manasarowar has a circumference of 90 kilometers. It’s one the highest fresh water lakes in the world. The belief is that the Kora of Mount Kailash completes only with a holy dip in the Lake Manasarovar and a drink of its holy water delivers one from the sins of a hundred lives. We also make the Kora around Mansarovar Lake by Jeep. Time Permitting visit Chui Gompa.
Day 16: Transfer to Saga (4600m/15,088ft)
Today, we have a long drive from Mansarovar to Saga. We pass by the sacred and historic Chiu Monastery. Continue driving past Hor Quo and across the Mayum La pass (5200 m). Pass by the small towns of Zhongba and Paryang. It’s 270 km from Mansarowar to Paryang. From Paryang, it’s 255 km to Saga. From Saga instead of going toward Lhasa, we drive along a different route toward Kathmandu.
Day 17: Transfer to Zangmu (3750m/12,300ft, 280km)
Cross the Yarlung Tsangpo or Brahmaputra River and then drive to Nyalam. Pass by a huge lake Paigu-Tso with Mt. Shishapangma (8027m) in the background. Don’t miss the sight of Everest as the road climbs the Lalung La at 5124m. After crossing another pass, the Tong La at 5120m, we finally reach border town Zangmu.
Day 18: Cross the Border, Transfer to Kathmandu (180km)
Drive to the border check point. Go through the custom formalities. After reaching Friendship Bridge, we’ll be leaving our Tibet side vehicles, and will walk for approximately 15 minutes towards Nepal. From Kodari it takes another 8-9 hours drive to Kathmandu. Overnight at Hotel in Kathmandu.
Day 19: Fly Home
Your adventure in the Himalayas comes to an end today! There is nothing to do but trade emails with travel companions and organize the photos. If you have more time you can do some shopping or sightseeing. A representative from Kumar Adventure will take you to the airport approximately 3 hours before the scheduled flight.