This guidebook describes the Mount Kailash trek in Tibet that leads trekkers around the sacred mountain following the pilgrims' route. Though short, this high-altitude trek is not to be undertaken lightly - Mount Kailash remains isolated and remote, and getting there is an epic journey in itself. Isolated for centuries behind the Himalayas in Tibet is a mysterious and mythical mountain, Mount Kailash, standing 6714m (22,028ft) high. The mountain has for more than a thousand years been a central pilgrimage site for some of the world's major religions.
Also included in the guide is a visit to the lost kingdom of Guge, still almost unknown in the west. The ethereal ruined fortress of Tsaparang, Guge's former capital, is Tibet's greatest Buddhist treasure-house of art and paintings - a stunning location not to be missed. In this book, the Kailash trek, and other treks in the region, are described in detail, including the key approach routes (by foot and road) and return route to Kathmandu or Lhasa. Also included is extensive practical information for planning and preparation and historical, cultural and religious background information about the places visited.
Sian Pritchard-Jones and Bob Gibbons met in 1983, on a trek from Kashmir to Ladakh. Since then they have led and organised treks in the Alps, Nepal and the Sahara; hitched across Tibet, driven a bus with 'over-fifties' clients overland to Nepal and driven across Africa. Finally making it to Western Tibet was a wonderful experience for them, one to be shared with like-minded trekkers and travellers, for Kailash is surely the most mystical of all the fabulous Himalayan mountains.
Contents Preface Introduction Geography Tibetan landscapes Flora and fauna Plants Bird Animals Climate Typical temperature Tibetan culture Brief history of the Tibet region Early foreign visitors to Kailash Religious aspects of Kailash Tibetan religion Bonpo Buddhis Principal Tibetan Buddhist sects Nyingma-pa Kadam-p Kagyu-pa Sakya-pa Gelug-pa Festivals Official holidays A few cultural considerations Pre-departure preparation Trekking seasons Style of tre Fully supported group treks Independently organised trips with a local trek operato Completely independent travel Accommodation and food Washing Toilets Food Visas and permits Chinese visa Chinese embassies Nepalese visas Nepalese embassies Money matters Banks and ATMs Health matters Water sterilisation Vaccination suggestions Malaria prophylaxi Other nasty bugs Common ailments Dental care Clinics First aid kit Mountain sickness/altitude What is altitude sickness? Altitude problems specific to Tibet Options from the pharmacist Hyperbaric bag and oxygen cylinders Mountain safety Equipment and supplies Food Maps Photography Getting there Routes into Tibet (via China and Nepal) Flights from China to Tibet Overland from China Flights to Nepal Kathmandu - Gateway to Tibet What to see Accommodation Eating out Lhasa What to see Accommodation Using this guide Notes on trekking and road routes Altitudes, distances and timings Alternative names Milestones Prices Approach routes to Kailash 1 From Simikot: the trekking route Stage 1 Simikot to Tuling (Masigaon) Stage 2 Tuling to Kermi Stage 3 Kermi to Yangar Stage 4 Yangar to Muchu Stage 5 Muchu to Yari Stage 6 Yari to Sher Drive to Purang Stage 7 Purang to Lake Manasarovar/Darchen Alternative return trek route from Sher to Simikot 2 From Kathmandu to Kailash (Darchen) (by road) Kathmandu to Kodari Kodari/Zhangmu to Nyalam Xixapangma trekking routes Xixapangma south approach Nyalam to Tara Tso day hike Nyalam to Saga Saga to Paryang Paryang to Lake Manasarovar/Chui Gompa Lake Manasarovar to Darchen 3 From Lhasa to Kailash (by road) The Kailash Kora trek Darchen Stage 1 Darchen to Chuku monastery Stage 2 Chuku monastery to Driraphuk monastery Day hike to Kangyam Glacier Stage 3 Driraphuk to Shabje Draktok, via Drolma La Stage 4 Shabje Draktok to Zutrulphuk monastery Stage 5 Zutrulphuk to Darchen Other treks in the Kailash region 1 Darchen Day Walks Darchen ridge walk Gyangdrak monastery Serlung monastery 2 Inner Kora 3 Lake Manasarovar Lake Manasarovar Circuit Trek Stage 1 Chui monastery to Hor Stage 2 Hor to Seralung monastery Stage 3 Seralung to Trugo monastery Stage 4 Trugo monastery to Gossul monastery Stage 5 Gossul monastery to Chui monastery Chui village ridge walk 4 Lake Rakhas Tal 5 Tirthapuri The Guge kingdom Brief history and cultural aspects The southern route to Guge Lake Manasarovar to Toling Toling monastery Toling to Tsaparang Tsaparang A walk from Tsaparang Other hikes The northern route from Guge to Darchen Toling to Darchen Return to Kathmandu or Lhasa Darchen to Paryang Paryang to Saga Saga to Sangsang Sangsang to Zhangmu Xegar (Shagar) Qomolungma National Park The last word Appendix 1 Bibliography Appendix 2 Glossary of Bon and Buddhist deities Significant Tibetan Bon deities Significant Tibetan Buddhist deities Other definitions Appendix 3 Route summaries Trekking routes Road routes Appendix 4 Language hints (Tibetan and Chinese phrases) General phrases Other useful words Food Numbers Appendix 5 Films and music Films Music Appendix 6 Useful addresses/websites Tour operators in the UK Tour operators in Nepal Tour operators in Lhasa and Chengdu Other websites Other Chinese embassies