Where to Stay in Ngari - Ngari Accommodation Guide
Ngari, where the most sacred mountain in the world - Mount Kailash (Gang Rinpoche ), one of the three holy lakes in Tibet – Lake Manasarovar and the Guge Kingdom Ruins are located, attracts numerous pilgrims to purify souls and explore ancient Tibetan culture in western Tibet.
Though Ngari covers a vast territory, a little smaller than the biggest Nagchu Prefecture in Tibet, it is thinly populated, less than one hundred thousand. With the development of tourism, local accommodation in Ngari improves a lot but still quite simple and basic, especially very rough and rumble around all places of interest scattered in Ngari.
Every year almost all pilgrims worship at the shrines as backpackers to circumambulate Mount Kailash or Lake Manasarovar on foot in Ngari. The largest pageant in Ngari is the pilgrimage to Mount Kailash done by all kinds of palmers from worldwide countries.
Accommodation around Mount Kailash
The journey of circumambulating Mount Kailash is very laborious. Time of innercircle circumambulating is shorter within one day than the outer Kora which costs about 3 days which is more popular among tourists. As for a three days’ long trekking, where to stay is the most concerned topic all palmers care about.
Live in Darchen
Darchen, a small village at the south foot of Mount Kailash, is the starting point and terminus of Mount Kailash Pilgrim Circuit. Elevated at 4600m, Darchen only consists of two small side streets, where can be walked around in an hour. It’s the first stop travelers arrive and gather with Tibetans, Nepaleses, Indians and other pilgrims from all around the world.
Receives lots of pilgrims each year, Darchen has many hostels and restaurants for pilgrim. But all the living condition in Darchen is relatively basic and less developed than destinations like Lhasa, Shigatse, Nyinchi.
In Darchen, most restaurants, hostels, stores and post office are concentrated in a south-north commercial street where camping tents and bungalows are also constructed. Some camping tents sell instant noodles, beers, biscuits and a few daily necessities. According to statistics, there are 23 hostels except guesthouses of Tibetan herdsmen. Almost all guesthouses only provide beds without any bathroom, merely few public bathrooms you can use. For dining, there are some little and shabby restaurants mainly including Tibetan restaurants and Sichuan restaurants.
As a fact, you can’t see the Mount Kailash blocked by nearby mountains from Darchen, except the north face of Gurla Mandhata Mountain – the 7694m high snow covered Goddess Peak facing Mount Kailash in far distance.
We list some hostels in Darch village for your reference.
1. Gangdise Hotel - An old and most famous hotel can be seen once you enter into Darchen. It charges more expensive in peak seasons. Gangdise Hotel offers an open space to pitch tents, hot water for shower and generator-powered service until 12:00 pm. You can choose a Standard Room or a room contains 4 beds.
2. Lhasa Restaurant - A tent restaurant in east side of Gangdise Hotel. It is thought to be the best dining place in Darchen. Besides, it also provides accommodation for travlers.
Drive into Darchen Village
Commercial Street in Darchen
Live during Circumambulating
The outer pilgrimage of Mount Kailash can’t be finished within one day. Therefore if you want to walk around this holy mountain successfully, you have to know where you can stay while circumambulating. Staying in temples or camping tents is both available.
1. Chuku Monastery. As the first temple pilgrims meets in the circumambulating journey of Mount Kailash, Chuku Monastery is located in the west of Mount Kailash, north of Darchen, Purang County, Ngari. Although Chuku Monastery offers accommodation, few pilgrims choose to stay here for it is not far from Darchen, they often keep hiking to higher places.
2. Dirapuk Monastery. Nearly all pilgrims stay the first night in this monastery, which sit north face of Mount Kailash. Walk across an iron bridge, the second temple of Mount Kailash Trekking – Dirapuk Monastery will be found straight forward. It is regarded as the best place to view the back of Mount Kailash. The temple is 5,210m (17,093ft) above sea level, little higher than the Rongbuk Monastery under Mount Everest. Filled with Prayer Flags and Marnyi Stones, this small monastery is made up of a main shrine, several monks ' dormitories and few rows of white towers. The row of houses in front of the temple is the hostel for religious people.
There are two kinds of rooms in Dirapuk Monastery: old wooden rooms with several beds and new concrete houses of twin rooms and triple rooms. Being a rest site, the Dirapuk Monastery also offers paid instant noodle and hot water in duty room. You are suggested to carry a sleeping bag and more warm clothes for the accommodation condition are rather poor.
Interestingly, the south face (dayside) of Mount Kailash is snowcapped all year round while the north (shaded part) is always snowless.
3. Shishapangma Hotel. If you turn right before crossing the iron bridge, you can find the hotel. Located at an elevation of 5,200m (17,060ft), Shishapangma Hotel simply offers high priced beds for sleeping, no bathroom neither, and power supply is only available during the short 2 hours from 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm per day. Instant noodles are the only food here. However, the hotel is another best site of watching sunset from north face of Mount Kailash.
4. Zutulpuk Monastery. Situated in the east of Mount Kailash, Zutulpuk Monastery is the third temple pilgrims will meet when returning back to Darchen. As a rule, tourists stay the second night of Mount Kailash Trekking in Zutulpuk Monastery because it’s near the terminal village, which conduces to refection for the return trip.
Facade of Dirapuk Monastery
House Appearance of Dirapuk Monastery
Shishapangma Hotel and Camping Tents
Except the above three monasteries and the Shishapangma Hotel, there are many tents camps set up by Tibetans for option. Have a rest or put up a tent around the resting areas guarded by armed polices on the trekking way is permissible as well. A Kora of high altitude Mount Kailash should be pack light, wherefore the idea of taking tents stuff is not recommended for individual tourist.
Accommodation in Lake Manasarovar
Most group or individual travelers accommodate themselves in a small village near Jiwu Monastery. The village consists of ten mud huts without any restaurants. Guesthouses under crude condition are the one and only choice. Rooms are usually narrow and crowded with a few beds inside. Besides, water and electricity are not available here, and there is only one hostel in the south offers limited vegetables dishes and rice which have to reserve in advance. Snacks such as instant noodles and drinks are sold in some guesthouses, or you can cook by yourself if you like. No bathroom you can take a show, but you can have a hot spring bath in a river valley near the village.
Viewing Lake Manasarovar from a mountain slope beside Jiwu Monastery is the best place for photography. It is the exact reason why many tourist stay in the village to enjoy the overall view of sacred blue gem lake despite its living circumstance. Jiwu Monastery is about 30km from Darchen, easy to get to within 1 hour driving.
View of Beautiful Lake Manasarovar
Accommodation in Guge Kingdom Ruins
Guge Kingdom Ruins is about 20km of west Zanda County, where can be arrived less than one hour. Zanda, a small town, has built up many kinds of hotels and guesthouses. Price of commodities and restaurants are very expensive here due to poor traffic. Other sights like Tholing Monastery and Zanda Soil Forest are close to Zanda, thus, tourists can visit these scenic spots together within one day and back to Zanda to stay at hotels and have meals in restaurants with good condition.
If you would like to stay in Zanburang Village, 1 km away from Guge Kingdom Ruins, several family guesthouses offer basic sleeping beds as your alternative. Sometimes tourists have to do the cooking on your own for the deficient tourism development.
Grandiose Guge Kingdom Ruins at Dusk
Warm Travel Tips:
1. Must Travel Permits and Visas. If you want to trek around Mount Kailash, Border Pass and Aliens’ Travel Permit are also required as Tibet Entry Permit. You can contact us for more Kailash tour guide.
2. Useful Packing Advices. During the three days’ Kora, you should prepare enough high-calorie foods such as chocolates, biscuits and bottled purified water, instant noodles, sleeping bags, daily medicines, oxygen cylinder, warm clothes and refuse bags for environmental protection. Leave your unwieldy baggage at the guesthouse to avoid physical exhaustion of overloaded backpacking.
3. High Altitude Sickness Precaution. If you have extra time in Darchen, warm up around before the Kora. Since Darchen is at the lowest elevation than later sites around Mount Kailash, you can take some relaxing walks to acclimate to plateau environment there.
4. Weather Attention. Weather changes quickly on high mountain areas. Safety comes first when you meet the unsettled weather. Accompanied by our local guide, you have to tell your true physical condition to the guide timely.
5. Trekking Information. Tourists may feel toilful while climbing up winding mountain roads particularly can be quite strenuous when going up the hill forwards. Remember to bargain with the porters at the door of some hostels if you need one.
Verdurous Mercy Lake - Gouri Kund
Devout Tibetans Circumambulate to Mount Kailash
Ngari Travel Guide
Recommended Mount Kailash & Lake Manasarovar Tour Packages
Following are our well-designed popular tour package to Mount Kailash and Manasarovr Lake, including a fixed-departure group tour and two customizable private trips. You can also contact us to design a trip of your own based on your personal needs.
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Thanks for your question. Most of the guesthouses enroute around Mount Kailash are in very basic condition – no separate rooms, no shower, no heating and very limited separate beds at present. There are available communal squat toilets without doors or running water. Only in Darchen – the starting point and terminus of Mount Kailash Pilgrim Circuit, there are simple hotels offering hot water for showers in limited time and independent toilets.