Mount Kailash Tour from USA : how to plan Kailash Mansarovar Yatra from USA

Last updated: December,25 2019

In a straight line, the United States is between 11,500 and 12,500 kilometers from Mount Kailash in western Tibet. Lying on separate continents, traveling to the sacred mountain can be done by traveling through either mainland China or Nepal. Most tours of Tibet start from mainland China, traveling to the Tibetan capital and then on to Ngari, while some run from Kathmandu and cross the border into Tibet to get to the mountain. And one of the great options of traveling from mainland China is that you can fly directly from US to gateway cities to Lhasa and exit Tibet into Nepal to continue your trip in this amazing landlocked country in the Himalayas.


    Travel to Kailash from USA via Mainland China

    Why Choose to Go from US to Kailash via Mainland China

    There are a huge number of direct flights into China from across the United States, to such amazing cities as Beijing, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Xi’an, and many more. With around nine destination cities across China to choose from, you are spoilt for choice. What’s more, there are also a huge number of departure airports across the United States for you to choose from, including Los Angeles, Seattle, Chicago, New York, Dallas, Atlanta, Detroit, San Francisco, Washington DC, Las Vegas, Boston, Houston, and San Jose. So no matter which part of the United States you are from, there is an airport offering flights to China from a state nearby.

    Fly from USA to Gateway Cities to Tibet

    There are seven gateway cities to Tibet for the Tibet Trains, and around 24 for flights, and there are flights to most of them from the United States direct. For the Tibet Trains, you can get direct flights to four gateway cities, while for flights to Lhasa, there are direct flights to five gateway cities. Flights from the United States to China can cost from as little as 350 dollars to as high as 1,124 dollars per person, and can take anything from 14-18 hours when flying direct.

    Gateway Cities to Lhasa by Train or Flight

    Flights to Lhasa from the connecting cities for US flights include direct flights to Beijing, Xi’an, Changsha, and Chengdu, which all have direct flights to Lhasa on a daily basis. While there are direct flights to Shanghai, there are no direct flights to Lhasa from the city. For those wishing to travel Tibet by train, you can get the trains from Chengdu, Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou, which all have incoming direct flights from the United States.

    Best Traveler’s Choice: Get to Lhasa by Train
    The best option for travel to Tibet is by train, and the best choice for traveling by train to Tibet is from Chengdu, in southwest China’s Sichuan Province. One of the most popular gateway cities to Tibet, this up-and-coming major tourist destination is a delightful place to start your tour pf the plateau from. Chengdu Lhasa Train to Tibet takes around 36 hours 30 minutes to reach Lhasa, and cost from as little as 94 dollars per person, depending on the ticket class of your choice. Covering a distance of around 3,360 kilometers, this amazing journey takes you over two vast high mountain ranges, over the world’s highest railway pass, and across the stunning and vast Changtang Prairie, where you can get a great view of the wildlife of the northern plateau.

    Most Convenient and Fastest Option: Get to Lhasa by Flight
    If it is speed and convenience that you are looking for, then there is no better way to travel to Tibet than by flight. The distance to Tibet from the main gateway cities for flights ranges from 1,248 kilometers to 2,580 kilometers, depending on your departure airport, and can take from just over two hours to as much as over four hours to reach the Tibetan capital airport. Flights run daily from all the major airports to Tibet, and cost from as little as 98 dollars.

    Lhasa to Kailash Manasarovar Overland

    Covering a distance of around 1,200 kilometers, the trip from Lhasa to Darchen, at the foot of Mount Kailash, is an epic journey of four days, as part of the 15-day Tibet Kailash Tour. A trip that costs around 1,880 dollars per person, the tour gives you the highlights of Lhasa, including the Potala Palace and Jokhang Temple, before heading out onto the plateau. Passing through Gyantse (home of the stunning Gyantse Kumbum Stupa) and Shigatse, location of the Tashilhunpo Monastery, the trip also takes in the sights of Mount Everest Base Camp, one of the most popular highlights of any Tibet tour.

    Traveling in KailashAppreciating the stunning sunrise over Mount Kailash

    Travel Visa and Permits for Mount Kailash Tour from US via Mainland China

    When traveling to Tibet from China, it is required to first have a Chinese Entry Visa, which can be obtained before you book the tour from the nearest Chinese consulate or Embassy. There are several in the United States, and for some, there is the option of mailing in their visa application via USPS. Scanned copies of your passport and visa will be used to process the applications for the required permits for Tibet.

    The other permits and passes that are required for a trip to Ngari include:
    Tibet Travel Permit - This is required for entry to Tibet and to travel around in the area of Lhasa. The permit requires up to 15-20 days to process, so your tour should be booked well in advance.
    Alien’s Travel Permit - Required for travel to the “unopened” areas of Tibet outside Lhasa, including Shigatse. The permit is applied for once you are in Lhasa by your tour guide.
    Restricted Areas Permit - This is often called the “Military Permit”, and is required for travel to military-sensitive areas such as Ngari, Nyingchi, etc. This permit also requires at least two weeks to process, and will be applied for as soon as your tour is booked.
    Frontier Pass - While most tours will not actually cross the border out of China, the Frontier Pass is required for all tourists traveling in the areas of the Chinese border with India, Nepal, and Bhutan, which includes Mount Everest and Mount Kailash. The pass can be applied for by your guide in Lhasa or Shigatse, and takes around 30 minutes.

    Travel to Kailash from USA via Kathmandu, Nepal

    Why Choose to Go from US to Kailash via Nepal

    Since there are no direct flights to Kathmandu from the United States, one of the main reasons to make this your point of entry into Tibet is the ability to travel easily and freely into Nepal with minimum fuss, and the fact that you do not need to obtain a Chinese Entry Visa before you travel. With the Group Visa being issued once you arrive in Nepal, and being applied for by us on your behalf, this can be an advantageous route to Tibet. Nepal is also good for trekking, and it is the ideal locations for a good hiking trip before or after your trip to Tibet. And with entry to Nepal being very easy for US nationals, using Nepal as your entry to Tibet can be a lot easier.

    Flying from USA to Kathmandu, Nepal

    There are no direct flights to Kathmandu from the United States, and all flights from the major airlines and cities across the US require at least one or two stops along the way. Prices of flights range from as little as 552 dollars to as high as 1,500 dollars, depending on your departure location and the number of stops and connections. Despite it being easier to get into Tibet from Nepal, getting to Nepal from the US can be much harder and a lot more costly.

    Traveling from Kathmandu to Kailash via Lhasa, Gyirong or Simikot

    If you are traveling to Kailash from Nepal, then you have three main options for getting to the mountain.

    The main option, and often the most popular, is to take a flight to Lhasa and then travel overland from there. One of the best trips for travelers to the sacred mountain from Nepal, this amazing tour allows you to experience the best of Lhasa and the highlights of the plateau on the way to the Ngari region. A trip of more than 1,200 kilometers, this will cost from 1,880 dollars for the tour and the cost of the flight into Lhasa from Kathmandu.

    Travel from Kathmandu to Kailash ManasarovarTravel from Kathmandu to Kailash Manasarovar

    You also have an option of traveling overland from Kathmandu, crossing the border at Gyirong Port, and driving to Ngari. The trip covers a distance of 839 kilometers and takes around five days, excluding the return trip and the hike around the Kailash Kora.

    For those in a hurry, and with money to spare, the expensive but fast way to get to Darchen is to take a flight from Kathmandu to Simikot, via Nepalgunj, and then get a helicopter flight to Hilsa, close to the Tibetan border with Nepal in Burang County. Once there, it is a short hike across the border, where you will be collected by your guide and driven to the mountain. This route can be done in one day, and is a very scenic trip, taking in the high mountains of the Himalayas from above. - Read more about Mount Kailash Tour from Nepal: top 3 classic Kailash Manasarovar tour packages from Kathmandu.

    Travel Visa and Permits for Mount Kailash Tour from USA via Nepal

    For a trip to Tibet from Nepal, you will still need the same travel documents as from China, with the exception of the visa. The major permits and passes for traveling into and around Tibet are, however, all required to be in hand before you enter Tibet, and failing to have one of the relevant passes or permits will mean you will be refused entry. Since two of the permits can take from 2-3 weeks to obtain, it is vital to book early for the tours of Tibet.

    The visa is a little different, and the normal Chinese Entry Visa is not applicable from Nepal. Instead, you will be issued with a Group Visa once you arrive in Kathmandu, which takes around three days to process. When you arrive, our representative will meet you and use your original passport, Tibet Travel Permit, and supporting documents to process you visa application with the embassy in Kathmandu.

    Best Time to Visit Kailash from the United States

    For most tourists to Tibet, the best time to visit Kailash is in spring and autumn, from April to May and September to November. The weather at these times of year is ideal for visiting the sacred mountain and for the great views of the summits of the surrounding Himalayas. The skies are clear and the landscape is dry, with cooler weather and milder nights than in the summer, yet warmer than in winter too. However, if you do not mind the odd shower, then summer, from June to August, is also a good time to visit, though this is the peak season in Tibet. The area around the mountain sees very little rain in the monsoon season, so you can only expect a few daily light showers, with plenty of clear skies for more than half of the days of the summer months.

    Visiting Kailash in AutumnVisiting Kailash in Autumn

    Dining and Accommodation in Kailash Manasarovar Yatra from USA

    In Lhasa and Shigatse, you will be able to find five-star hotels and a lot of good restaurants to keep you happy. However, once you leave the major cities, most of this is not available. Accommodation in Ngari especially consists mostly of small local hostels and guesthouses, which have very basic facilities, often with no electricity and running water. The same can be said of the dining available in western Tibet, with only local and small eateries to choose from, with the odd hostel having its own restaurant, most of the fare you will find is local food, which is delicious and nutritious. However, for those that do not like Tibetan cuisine, it may be a good idea to bring some packet and tinned foods of your own from Lhasa when you travel.

    How to Budget the Cost of Kailash Tour from USA

    If you are thinking of the budget for a trip to Mount Kailash, then there are some things you can do to cut back on the overall costs. Booking on a Group Tour is a lot cheaper than a private tour, as you will share the costs of driver, guide, vehicle, etc. with the other members of the group. You can also book in the early spring and late autumn seasons, before and after the peak months in Tibetan tourism, as these are still low season periods and a lot cheaper for hotels, flights, and even the tours themselves. And for the best deals in international travel, the comparison websites often have some great deals on flights in the low season months, as well as good discounts.


    Traveling to Tibet for a Mount Kailash tour from the United States is the adventure of a lifetime, and is one that you should not miss. While the US may be more than 11,000 kilometers away, it is still easy to arrange a tour of Tibet and Mount Kailash by using Tibet Vista as your travel agency. We will make all the arrangements for the tour for you, allowing you to just sit back, relax, and enjoy your epic adventure to the sacred mountain of Hindus and Buddhists, known in Tibet as Gang Rinpoche.

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