There are 4 ways to reach Mount Kailash from India.
By road from India. The Government of India organizes tours to Lake Mansarovar. This is a 28-30 day trek but the disadvantage is that it has to be booked well in advance and there is no certainty that one can go despite being in physical shape, because the number of seats is limited and participants are chosen by a draw by Ministry of External Affairs, India. About 650 people make it from the 7000 that apply each year.
By air to Kathmandu and from there by road to Lake Mansarovar at the base of Mount Kailash. One may fly to Kathmandu from Delhi, Varanasi, and Kolkata & Mumbai. This has become the most popular route.
Helicopter tours of Kailash for those who are short of time or cannot take the rigours of a grueling high altitude road journey. The tour uses fixed wing aircraft for the flight from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj and from there to Simikot. From Simikot a helicopter flies to Hilsa. Land cruisers are then used to reach Mansarovar.
Tour via Lhasa wherein one will fly to Kathmandu and then to Lhasa by China Air and from there one will visit various towns in Tibet like Shigatse, Gyantse, Lhatse, Prayang etc. and will reach Mansarovar. Lhasa to Ali by Air then Ali to Mansarovar by Land Cruiser.
On the way back, there are three options :
A) drive back to Lhasa and fly back to Kathmandu
B) drive to Hilsa and fly via Helicopter and fixed wing aircraft to Kathmandu
C) drive back to Kathmandu via Rasuwagadhi Border (Friendship Bridge)
While tours operate from April to September in that region, please check the fixed day tours, and itinerary for details on dates. The Tibet plateau is a dry region and rain/precipitation is very little so any month between May-September is good except for August when you can expect heavy rainfall in Tibet. Weather wise although May and September will be colder. However, June-Sep, is the rainy season in Nepal and on the road to the border, landslides do take place and might require a 1-2 km walk on extreme cases. Weather in Tibet is very uncertain.
Fitness is very crucial. It is advisable to get a medical examination with your regular doctor before you plan this trip. People suffering from asthma or any kind of dust allergy are forewarned that the amount of dust on the road necessitates wearing a mask. Apart from that, it is a good idea to prepare in advance with brisk walking, and some regimen of exercise or preferably yoga asanas and pranayama. Eventually, for most people the Kailash Parikrama is an act of faith.
Both mental and physical fitness is required to complete the trip. It is one of the toughest land journeys which you would have ever taken on earth. Physical preparations include ANY or all of the following: walking 4-5 kms. a day, swimming, playing badminton, jogging, freehand exercise, climbing a 10/20-storey building etc. All this not only helps muscle development but also expands capacity of the lungs, which is vital in high altitudes due to lower levels of oxygen. This is not a yatra in which you can depend on ‘palkis’ or ponies to take care of you. You have to depend on your own reserves of strength and stamina. Mental preparation means being absolutely positive about wanting to complete the journey. Yoga helps. A medical check up is strongly recommended. Take your personal physician’s advice on your participation. If you consume alcohal and smoke, better quit it.
Try and make friends with the Tibetan guide and driver. They may appear stand-offish initially but are warm and simple people. Small gifts like Hindi movie cassettes, dark glasses, a cap/hat etc. go a long way in overcoming language problems and establishing rapport.
The first two to three days are particularly tough as you get used to the rigours of the journey and acclimatize to the sudden change of altitude. This can cause breathlessness, lethargy, drowsiness, nausea, lack of appetite, sleeplessness, headache, irritation, anger, and lack of judgment. Drink plenty of water (2-3 liters a day), remain calm and quiet, avoid petty arguments, rest as much as possible, eat properly at mealtimes. Talk to the helpful and caring staff and inform them of any difficulties.
If you are not allergic to sulphar drugs (please consult your physician), take one tablet of Diamox at Kathmandu the night before leaving for Tibet as well as on the 2nd and 3rd nights, or even longer. Alternatively, take half tablet in the morning and half in the evening. Now a day, we do have non-sulphar drugs available by Ranbaxy. Oxygen cylinders are carried for anyone having major problems.
If you can’t do the Parikrama, say so. Don’t take the altitude lightly. Many people understand at Darchen that the Parikrama cannot be done by them and decide accordingly.
Please note that our Kailash Tour Package does not include any rescue or evacuation expenses in emergencies.