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Across China via train to Lhasa and overland to Mt Kailash and into Nepal. The trip was prepared through Chloe, responses to our queries were prompt and detailed. Additional tours, all permits and train tickets were part of the package Chloe organised on our behalf and everything went smoothly.

Get Prepared for my Mt. Kailash Journey

We organized some things for ourselves and that was quick and easy using the trip advisor site and booking online, also a Yikatong card was great for getting around using the Beijing subway - no real problems but we tried to avoid peak hours.

Pack light weight warm clothes that you can layer, for May still quiet cold, beanie, gloves, wind proof jacket and wet weather gear – it snowed at Kailash. Walking poles are also recommended and a day pack for the Mt Kailash Kora, light weight negative Celsius rated sleeping bag. Wet-wipes and toilet paper supply. Personal water bottle, although we had sufficient bottled water supplied by the company and stops for meals always gave the opportunity for cups of tea other beverages. Food was generally great but you need to like Chinese, there are some western options available in some places but why go if you are not going to try the local cuisine.

Looking out the train window during the ascent to the Plateau

Feel Lucky to Travel with My Guide--Lotse

Tibet Vista small group tours tries to provide a varied itinerary that can be a little flexible but this can cause issues if your group is divided on what they wish to see, not all sights are possible in the day of travel and so decisions regarding what is going to be the actual itinerary need to be made and agreed in advance, our guide, Lotse, tried to make sure that happened with the least group angst but there are always disappointments. Accommodation was mixed, hotels in larger urban centres were just like western facilities, isolated urban centres were basic but still acceptable standard (my standard may be very different to some - I grew up in remote Australia and enjoy camping and bush walking in remote areas with limited or no man-made facilities).

May 2019 Our Group at Sera Monastery

Journey to Mt.Kailash from Lhasa

Be aware that if you choose to go overland to Mt Kailash there is a great deal on time on the road in the bus but the scenery is spectacular and there is wildlife to see, toilet stops are regular (and extra urgent call stops are generally no problem road conditions permitting), however facilities can be unlike those in western countries - take wet wipes and your own paper.

Winding roads take you up and over the numerous passes during the trip, the view from lookout on top of the passes is spectacular. There are also many winter mud brick dwellings and other stone ruins dotted over the plateau.

Lookout stops are interesting, usually crowded and there are always stalls with trinkets (real and not so authentic) and animal photo opportunities if you are interested in holiday snaps with cute (miniature goats) and brute (yaks and warrior dogs).

Lookout stops are interesting, usually crowded and there are always stalls with trinkets (real and not so authentic) and animal photo opportunities if you are interested in holiday snaps with cute (miniature goats) and brute (yaks and warrior dogs).

Wild goats are just one species you could see, we saw antelope, donkey, black cranes, hare, fox and domestic herds – yak, sheep, goats.

My Tips for Your Tibet Tour

Time is limited in some sights so be prepared to move through the Potala with groups pushing behind you - not a big issue but can be crowded and there is a viewing time limit that the guides need to adhere to or be penalized (I think this what our guide implied). Be on-time for your tours or you miss-out.Train travel to Tibet was also interesting - notices came across mainly in Chinese and as non-speakers we were always having to ask what was happening - changing trains at 9pm and short notice was fun (don't unpack too much gear in your tiny capsule) soft sleeper is always for 4 people and trains are generally full so if you don't like sharing this could be an issue (train toilets are also messy unless we were just unlucky but you can imagine squatting in a confined space on a moving platform).

The Potala Palace – spectacular but be ready for the stairs and enjoy the interesting architecture.

How to Deal with Altitude Sickness Issue?

We took Diamox preventatively for altitude sickness and still had some issues, but this is a complete unknown for majority of people it just happens to some and not to others. Had a terrible night at EBC (our guide Lotse was attentive and helpful - out of bed at 2:30am to assist us) but one of us did the Kailash Kora and one of us did not Kora at all.

Mt Kailash on the day we left, most of the time there were clouds.

Be Flexible for the Trip

Prepare for the unusual - it may not happen but there are so many issues that could slow down your trip (road works for example) your guide and driver may have to make alternative arrangements at very short notice or even divert around an area, the plateau is isolated and resources are limited. Our hotel ran a generator twice a day for a few hours for power but we were always able to find a teahouse with warm food and drinks - showering was at your own discretion - wet-wipes were a good alternative.

Darchen glacier runoff lined with prayer flags.

Things to Mention for Crossing Chinese Border to Nepal

Transiting to Nepal was a shock and everything happens in primitive settings your visa is issued while you stand at a kiosk type window off the road, bags were searched on a table in front of a tin shed, this will probably change as the infrastructure gets completed but the Nepal arrivals lounge is still very alfresco. (May 2019)

Get some Nepalese Rupee while in your last night accommodation or at the border crossing – there were people asking for money swap but I thought there would be somewhere official to transact at the border check but there was not – do not exchange much just enough to get you to Kathmandu and there you can find an official exchange outlet. The drive from the border to Kathmandu is time-consuming due to extremely rough roads and there can be delays, we had to wait for information on a civil unrest issue in Kathmandu the day we arrived and had a police escort some of the way. Not generally an issue that tourist would have but it could happen.

The Plateau was many shades of brown in May as there had not been rain since winter thaw. Overall our trip was wonderful, thanks to Chloe in the office, Lotse our guide and Norbu our driver.

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