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What to eat during Mt.Kailash trekking?

October,16 2018 BY Master Catherine Jigme 0 COMMENTS

Groups of people were trekking on Mt.Kailash kora.

It took us two days to complete Mt.Kailash kora in a clockwise direction. Trekking from Darchen for 22km, we overnighted in Dirapuk monastery. On the second day, we climbed over Drolma La and then went back to Darchen for the rest of 34km. 

Trekking is an activity which definitely consumes a lot of energy and strength, and you had better bring some food and warm water with you. However, one day’s food is enough as some tents would sell goods and you can replenish your energy en route. And the price here would be a little bit higher. As for the supplies, you would not have many choices to choose from as some tents only sell instant noodle and yak butter tea. 

Many tents would sell foods on the circuit but the choice is limited.

Day1 Trekking: Darchen(4,560m)-Dirapuk monastery (5,210m)

Starting from Darchen, we had lunch in a tent at around 3 o’clock. After eating instant noodle, i fell asleep once hitting the pillow and then continued our trekking. Compared with road condition on the second day, the first half of the circuit was relatively easy although altitude keeps rising. The sunlight was so strong that i got sunburn even if i have wore a hat with a scarf around my face. We arrived at the Dirapuk monastery near seven o'clock. Here we had dinner and breakfast. 

Many pilgrims were preforming the full-body prostrations on the circuit.

How about our food during Mt.Kailash trekking?

Under such kind of condition, hot yak butter tea and tsampa have become staple food for pilgrims and Tibetans. Thermos bottle is the most common item in their daily life.

Yak Butter Tea 

The tent owner was making yak butter tea.

Yak butter tea was ready for us.

Yak butter tea is the Tibetan unique beverage and collocates with tsampa. It’s become a necessity for Tibetans as it can relieve highland sickness and help resist desiccation and coldness. This kind of drinking consists of yak butter, tea and salt and has a strong milk flavor. 


Highland barley have been ground into flour.

It is common to see Tibetans eat tsampa everyday. As for many visitors, it would be a totally fresh experience to have a try. First, Tibetans would make highland barley dry in the sun, stir-fry it and then ground into flour without peeling off the skin. Second, they would put flour into the bowl,add some yak butter tea and stir with water continuously. And finally tsampa comes into shape. 

Yak butter tea and tsampa are the staple food for Tibetans.

Tsampa is easy to carry away and suitable for Tibetan herdsmen. All they need is wooden bowls,leather bags for tsampa (tsampa pocket, also named Tanggu in Tibetan language) and a little bit of water. Without lighting a fire, they can enjoy their meal anytime and anywhere. Usually yak butter tea matches well with tsampa, but as for many tourists, they can’t get used to the special Tibetan taste. Adding some sugar and milk residue  is a good method to enrich the favor. You can also try some tsampa porridge, Tuba in Tibetan language, by adding some meat and vegetables into flour. However, tsampa contains a lot of fat and it’s good for your digestion and absorption to try a small amount every time.

Too many supplies have become a burden for us.

If you don’t like those foods or cannot get used to Tibetan taste, you can bring some alternatives for one day. And just a kind reminder, it’s really necessary to take the weight of food into consideration for trekking two days at an average altitude of above 5000m. I brought some food with me such as beef jerky, chocolates, nuts, raisins and so on. 

We ate egg-fried rice and stir-fried potato strips at Dirapuk monastery.

At Dirapuk monastery, our dinner has changed from instant noodle to egg-fried rice and stir-fried potato strips. Trekking over 22km on the Tibetan plateau, we were so hungry and exhausted. Anything but instant noodle would make us happy. Egg-fried rice was too dry for me and went well with yak butter tea. We chatted for a little while and then went bed early. 

Day 2 Trekking: Dirapuk monastery (5,210m)-Drolma La (5,630m)-Gaurikund Lake -Darchen(4,560m)

The rest circuit was much tougher than the first day. We left Dirapuk monastery before six o’clock and arrived at Drolma La (5,630m), the highest point in the trekking, around ten o’clock, while the altitude has risen dramatically by 700m and thousands of colorful prayer flags were fluttering in the wind. 

A family had a short rest on the meadow.

A steep descent and Gaurikund Lake follow on. Getting to the valley, we had a picnic, including yak butter tea,tsampa,beef jerky, chocolates, nuts and so on.There are 18km left which made us feel that the circuit has no ending. Finally, we reached Darchen at about five o’clock and completed the kora safely.

Master Catherine Jigme

About the Author - Master Catherine Jigme

With exceptional passion and outstanding leadership, Mrs. Catherine has dedicated herself to Tibet inbound tourism and China tour for 15 years. As one of the handful females who see great potential of Chinese inbound tourism, Catherine has made great contribution to promoting Tibet tourism and enhancing the employment of Tibetans and prosperity of local Tibetan community.

Over the years, she travelled overseas with Tibet Tourism Bureau many times to promote Tibet tourism. Currently, Catherine works as the marketing director of Tibet Vista, an opinion leader behind the whole team of Tibet Vista.

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