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Enjoy the Top 6 Mountain Passes from Lhasa to Mt.Kailash via Everest Base Camp

Latest Update: November,24 2019

Tibet, as a vast highland plateau with a size of about 5 times of Metropolitan France, has an average elevation exceeding 4,500m. Because of this high altitude, Tibet is home to many high mountains, lakes and glaciers.

When touring Tibet, the numerous mountains passes allow you to enjoy the lofty peaks without exerting yourself too much. Among them, there are the following 6 that are reckoned the most beautiful mountain passes in Tibet, and you can enjoy most of them in our 15 days Mt.Kailash kora tour, of which you can find the most up-to-date information in our latest reviews. Now, just follow the route to unveil the beauty of them.

Gangba La Pass

As we leave Lhasa for Everest, the first mountain pass we encounter is the Gangba La Pass near the sacred Yamdrok Lake, one of the main three holy lakes and the biggest freshwater habitat for migratory birds in Tibet. Lying at the altitude of 4,800m meters, this pass is still accessible in winter time from Dec. To Feb.

However, it still snows here in winter and weather is unpredictable in the summertime as well, so always have some warm clothes at hand to use, especially when you stay still to take photos.

Photos here are best from April to June and late September to the end of December when taken at the Gangba La Pass where you can have an overview of the turquoise lake with the mountains at the background. Also, the migratory birds are good to see especially in spring and autumn. To get the best shot, a wide-angle lens is the best option. You can also take a close touch with the tame Tibetan Mastiffs dressed in their colorful ruffs.

Gangba La Pass and Yamdrok LakeTaking a photo at Gangba La Pass with the overview of Yamdrok Lake in the background

Simila Pass

Moving further toward Gyantse, you will come to Simila Pass at 4,200 m. This pass is known for the colorful prayer flags all over the mountain and the Manla Reservoir, also known as Simila Lake, besides it.

It is a great place to take nice photos of the weaving prayer flags. The reservoir, although a man-made lake, is still like a blue diamond down there and thus give you some nice photos.

Although lower compared to other passes, you’re suggested not to move abruptly as well, which may lead to altitude sickness.

Simila PassOur guest hiking in Simila Pass

Gyatso La Pass

As we get closer to EBC after passing Sakya, we’ll come across Gyatso La Pass, one of the highest mountain passes in Tibet. It’s best to go through this 5,200-meter-high pass is in the summertime because of unpredictable snowstorms and blizzards in the winter time, and driving under these conditions can be extremely challenging. This is not a problem, though, when you travel with the company of our local drivers who have many years of experience driving at all kinds of roads in Tibet.

The highest point on the Friendship Highway, which extends its way to Nepal, you’re suggested to wear warm clothes and scarfs and stuff to make your stay more comfortable when taking some gorgeous photos of the Everest and the broad and open view of the Friendship Highway.

Gyatso La PassOur guest enjoyed the snowy view in Gyatso La Pass

Gawu La Pass

Gawu La Pass, the last pass before reaching EBC, is an incredible place where you can enjoy the spectacular panoramic view of the Himalayan mountains: Mt.Everest, Mt.Shishapangma, Mt.Makalu, and Mt.Cho Oyu, etc.

Likely being one of the most winding roads you’ve ever experienced, the hairpinned road toward EBC proved to be amazing for photo-shooting. If you have car sickness, however, you’d better stay still, eyes closed or just looking into the distance. Keeping yourself warm at all times and resting well the night before also helps.

Gawu La PassAn amazing photo at Gawu La Pass with a panoramic view of the mighty Himalayan mountains

Dolma-La Pass

Leaving EBC, you will be heading towards the sacred Kailash, the holy pilgrim center to Tibetan Buddhists and Hinduism believers. On the way of the Mt.Kailash kora, you will trek over the 5,630-meter Dolma-La Pass, the highest point of the whole trek.

Although this is certainly the hardest day of the 3-day trek, you will find it rewarding when seeing the excellent mountain and glacier views. And there are teahouses before and after the pass for you to enjoy some hot tea and regain some energy.

You can also try to hang your own prayer flags there to send your best wishes to your family and friends. But be prepared that snow can be encountered at a moment’s notice so bring some good trekking clothes and a pair of comfortable hiking boots.

Dolma La PassOur guests hanging prayer flags in Dolma La Pass - it just happened a few days ago!

Nargen La Pass

As we get back to Lhasa, there is the final pass that will take your breath away - the Nargen La Pass on the way to Namtso. At an altitude of 5,190 m, similar to Gyatso La Pass, Namtso will allow you to have a glance of the Nyenchen Tanglha snow mountain ranges.

Although it’s not included in our 15 days Mt.Kailash and Mansarovar tour, it is just 4 hours driving from Lhasa northwards. However, the pass can be inaccessible in winter due to potentially too much snow. Right now it’s just ready for visiting, as April is the beginning of Tibet tour each year.

Nargen La PassThere may be too much snow to visit Nargen La Pass from Dec. to Feb.

Other Tours in Which You Can Enjoy these Mountain Passes

Apart from this tour mentioned above, there are other small group tours that allow you to enjoy some of the mountain passes.

For example, the 8-day Lhasa to EBC tour will show you the beauty of 5 of the above 6 passes, except for the Dolma La Pass in Mt.Kailash kora.

Another tour, the 7 days Lhasa to Kathmandu overland tour, will also make it possible for you to enjoy the all the passes except for Dolma-La Pass, especially the stunning view of the whole Friendship Highway all the way to Nepal, with our hassle-free transferring service from Gyirong border to Kathmandu.

You can also see them all in one go in a tailor-made tour. Should you be interested, drop an email to inquiry@tibettravel.org to have your dream tour come true!

So if you’re ready to a Lifetime Tour to Tibet, our dedicated and professional teams are expecting you in Tibet! Please feel free to reach us, sharing your great ideas. We would like to offer the most useful Tibet tour advice, For Free!

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