Hiking Destinations in Tibet

NO.1: Mêdog County (Motuo County)

Best time to visit: July to October

Medog, which means “hidden lotus” in Tibetan, is a county of the Nyingchi Prefecture. It is located in the southeast of the Tibet Autonomous Region and at the lower branch of Yarlung Tsangpo River. The Yarlung Tsangpo River has a big turn at the juncture of the four counties: Nyingchi, Mainling, Medog and Bomi. To the east of the turn stands the 7,782-meter-high Namjagbarwa Peak. Facing the Indian Ocean, it reflects an obvious vertical landform. In its valley is tropical rain forest and above the snow line is a world of snow.

Hiking in Mêdog, a county of Nyingchi in Tibet

Covering an area of 34,000 square kilometers, the mysterious Medog County is mainly inhabited by the Menba and Luoba ethnic groups who have a population of about 9,700. Until 2013, it was the only county in China with no highway, and it is a paradise for travelers and adventurers. Starting from Paixiang, and passing through Lage, Aniqiao, Badengze and Damu, you can walk around the county in about nine days. And you should prepare well for the altitude, climate and tough walking conditions.

NO.2: Mount Qomolangma (Mount Everest)

Best time to visit: March to May or September and October

At 8,844.43 meters, Mount Qomolangma, also known as Mount Everest, is the world’s highest peak. It stands in the Himalayas on the border between Tibet and Nepal. In the area of 5,000 square kilometers around the mountain, there are four peaks being more than 8,000 meters high and 38 peaks being more than 7,000 meters high. At the foot of the Mt. Qomolangma stands the Rongbuk Monastery (or spelled as Rongpu Monastery), with the highest elevation in the world. The monastery has become a camp of mountaineers from northern slope to Mt. Qomolangma. On the northern slope of the peak, there are 217 glaciers, with the Rongpu Glacier being the largest.

Mount Qomolangma

As the roof of the world, Mount Qomolangma draws millions of travelers and climbers to challenge themselves and enjoy the unique beauty. But because of the altitude, weather, wind and other difficulties, hiking or climbing requires special training and professional guides.

NO.3: Mount Kailash (Kangrinboqê Mountain or Gangrenboqi Mountain)

Best time to visit: June to September

Kailash Peak, located in the west of Tibet, is 6,671 meters above sea level and is the main peak of the Kangdese Mountains (Gangdise Range). More than 250 glaciers around the peak make it the sources of the Indus, Ganges and Yarlung Tsangpo Rivers. Mount Kailash is the holy mountain in Tibet, and one of the pilgrimage centers of Hinduism, Tibetan Buddhism and the Bon. Hindus, Tibetan Buddhists and followers of the ancient Tibetan Bon religion believe Mount Kailash is the center of the world and the most sacred mountain. Every year, thousands of pilgrims from all over the world gather there to walk around the mountain and worship.

Mount Kailash

Besides the pilgrims, the mountain also attracts millions of ordinary tourists. Hiking in the area not only lets you experience the breathtaking scenery but also the local customs and sacred culture. It takes three days to walk around the mountain. You may need a special permit to visit Tibet and you should certainly prepare suitable clothing for the plateau climate.

Travel Tips:

For foreign tourists, there are two documents you have to obtain in advance in order to enter Tibet smoothly: the Chinese Visa which you can apply for in the Chinese Embassy in your country, and the Tibet Travel Permits (TTP for short) which is issued by Tibet Tourism Bureau.

There are no independent hiking tours allowed in Tibet. You should join an organized group or have the local travel operator arrange a hiking tour for you.

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