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Join Serene Himalaya’s trekking expedition to Kailash via Simikot with visits to four UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Kathmandu. We then fly to Nepalgunj, a city in the western Terai plains of Nepal followed by a visit to one of the most remote towns of Nepal, Simikot.
We travel along ancient pilgrimage routes, and trek across the border into Tibet. On our 20-day journey we also circumambulate the holy Kailash and tour Mansarovar Lake, both of which hold great cultural and religious significance.
Another important aspect of the trip is the opportunity to visit 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.
Day 01: Arrival in Kathmandu (1,350m/4,428ft)
You will be welcomed by an amazing view of The Himalayas as you approach Kathmandu. At the airport, you will be welcomed by a representative of Serene Himalaya. In the evening, you will be served excellent authentic Nepalese cuisine which will introduce you to the country’s food culture. Overnight in Kathmandu.
Day 02:Sightseeing in Kathmandu, and preparation (1300m/4264ft):
We depart in the morning to the Pashupatinath temple, a famous 5th century Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva located on the banks of the Bagmati River. We then tour Boudhanath, one of the holiest Buddhist stupas, and the Patan Darbar square that has heritage buildings representing the four kingdoms (Kantipur, Lalitpur, Bhaktapur, Kirtipur) in Nepal. Overnight in Kathmandu.
Day 03: Fly from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj: 1 hour
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 plane. Simikot, the headquarters of the Humla District, is cut off from the rest of the country due to its remoteness. We have lunch at Simikot and 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
We begin our walk on a relatively flat trail at the Karnali River, then through the fields cultivated mainly with barley, buckwheat, rice and potatoes. There are two hot springs near Kermi where we may relax a little. 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
We trek on a steep ascent to a small pass then cross 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 giving way to pine trees and rocky hills. After reaching Tumkot, we visit the 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 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), and 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 IIX century. Overnight in Purang.
Day 11: Purang to Montser (4,450m/14,599ft) and sightseeing in Tirtapuri: 3 – 4 hours
We begin our journey to Montser via the Rakshas and Mansarovar lakes. Upon reaching Montser, we 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 to Montser. Overnight in Montser.
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 Mount 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. For those interested in 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 Monasteries (5120m/16,792ft), 5 – 6 hours
Today, we begin our Kora of Mt. Kailash. We take a six-hour hike in a deep valley through walls of red rock, and continue across the plain to Shershong. We further cross a bridge leading to Chuku Gompa 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, where we come across the incredible Thugje Zinbu (Lake of Compassion) and a few ancient 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 Mansarovar
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. 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 fresh water lakes in the world. Like Mount Kailash, the sacred blue and emerald green Lake Mansarovar that lies at a height of 15,015 ft, is known to be an epitome of purity, containing healing properties and the power to cleanse all mortal sins.
Those who have visited the holy spots of Lake Mansarovar and Kailash carry with them a memory of a lifetime which remind them of the presence of Lord Shiva in their lives and gives them a feeling of peace and tranquility. The pristine beauty, magnificence, and serenity of these religious sites is truly awe inspiring and instills in people the feeling of being one with Shiva. You can perform a holy dip in the spectacular Mansarovar Lake and explore the area. Overnight in Mansarovar.
Day 17: Mansarovar to Saga (4,600m/15,088ft) 495 km, 8 – 9 hours
We take a long drive from Mansarovar to Saga traversing through the sacred historic Chiu Monastery, Hor Quo, and the Mayum La pass (5,200m). 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 Zhangmu (3,750m/12,300ft) 325km, 4 – 5 hours
We will drive to Nyalam, and on the way, enjoy fabulous views of two spectacular passes, the Thong La pass (5050m/16,568ft) and Lalung La pass (5082m/16,668 ft), and the Himalayan mountain range including Mt. Everest (8848m/29,028 ft), Shishapangma (8,013m/26,289 ft), and Gaurishanker, We will also cross the holy river Bhramaputra. We finally reach the border town of Zhangmu. Overnight in Zhangmu.
Day 19: Zhangmu to Kathmandu: 153km, 4 – 5 hours
We take a 30-minute drive from Zhangmu to Kodari where we must pass the Tibetan immigration checkpoint.
Upon crossing the Sino-Nepal Friendship Bridge over the Bhote Koshi River, you will be greeted by our Serene Himalaya representative. You bid goodbye to your Tibetan guide and drive back to Kathmandu. Overnight in Kathmandu.
Day 20: Departure
Representatives of Serene Himalaya will transport you to the airport.