Tibet Treks

Trekking in Tibet is in its infancy and it is likely to remain that way as long as regulations are so cumbersome and unpredictable in Tibet.  However, there are two routes that are fairly well established, the kora (cirumabulation) around the sacred Mt. Kailash (the holiest mountain for Tibetan Buddhist and Hindus alike) and the trek near Lhasa between Ganden and Samye monasteries.  Unfortunately regulations have gotten considerably more strict since I was trekking in Tibet back in 2007, and it is now virtually impossible to travel in Tibet independently much less trek.  A loosing of these restrictions seems unlikely in the near future. 

Best Season:  May-September

Base Cities: Lhasa (Trains and Flights from Beijing, Jeeps from Kathmandu)

Guide book/MapsLonely Planet Tibet

Alternative Trekking Locations

If you do want to trek in culturally Tibetan Areas Independently there are a number of alternates to the strict regulations of the Tibet Autonomous region


There are several areas in China that are essentially historically Tibetan but fall into other Chinese Provinces. Areas of Sichuan, Gansu, Qinghai, and Yunnan all have Tibetan areas.  The area around Ganzi in Sichuan is particularly scenic and would have good potential for trekking though I've only done day hikes in the area.  The northeastern corner of Yunnan, near Deqen is another area though I have not been there personally.


Ladakh is the one of the easiest places with Tibetan culture to trek independently and has some spectacular scenery as well.

Spit Valley just south of Ladakh in Himachal Pradesh is another Tibetan region within India which has number of monasteries and impressive mountain scenery.

Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh are options in Northeast India though these areas also have regulations, though not as burdensome as Tibet.


The areas in Nepal most similar to Tibet, Dolpo, Upper Musatang, and Nar Phu, all required restricted area permits which basically puts them off limits to independent trekking.  However all of the treks in to the high Himalayas of Nepal will give you a taste of Tibetan culture, as most areas are heavily influenced by Tibetan religion and culture.


Indie T&T Reviews of Guidebooks & Maps

Published: 2011-03-01
Indie T&T Review in Brief

At one time this was a pretty good book for traveling indpendently in Tibet but now since the area has become tour only, guidebooks are probably less necessary.  It covers a number of treks including Ganden to Samye, Kailash Kora, and Everest Base Camp as well as a few others.  Its still a good book for planning if you trip is only to Tibet, if you are going other places in China you may be better off with the country guide and making do with the skimpy tibet chapter in that book.

Published: 2012-02-15
Indie T&T Review in Brief

A good guide for the standard route to Everest Base camp and also covers the approach from the Tibetan side as well as Nepal.  Unfortunately since independent trekking is off limits at the moment the Tibet section is little more than extra weight for those not on a group organized trek.  If you are just planing to do the standard base camp or Gokyo Valley this is a good option.  It is also available in ebook Kindle format unlike the Trailblazer guide, which is great for saving weight.  Unfortunately it does not cover the region as well as the Trailblazer guide, it spends its pages giving more detail on the standard routes instead of supplying more detailed information about interesting side trek options.  But as an ebook option for someone planing to do the standard route with addition of Gokyo its a great option.  Treks covered: Nepal: Jiri to Namche, Gokyo Valley, Thame (Bhote Valley), Everest Base Camp, Tibet: Tingri to Everest Base Camp, Kharta to the Kangshung Face.