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Tibet - Part 2

Lake Manasarovar

View Round-the-world-trip on samandmarta's travel map.

We arrived at Lake Manasarovar in the evening of the 18th of September. Lake Manasarovar, at an elevation of 4’590 meters, is one of the highest freshwater lakes in the world. It is a holy place in 4 major religions (Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Bön) and is closely related to the nearby Mount Kailash, with Lake Manasarovar representing female and Mount Kailash representing male. We started our 4 day trek around the lake the next morning.

The first day was actually the best of the trek, as it provided great views of the mountain Gurla Mandhata in the south of the lake. At an elevation of 7’694 meters, this was the highest mountain both of us have seen so far. The trek followed the shore of the lake for the first half, but then moved away from it as we approached the town Hor, where we would spend the first night. Despite being almost entirely flat, the first day’s route exhausted us quite a bit, as we walked 29km at this altitude, after hardly moving for 3 days.


The second day started with a bit of a shock, as our guide announced that today’s route would be 30km instead of the 22km listed in the tour itinerary. There was an option of taking the car for half of the way, which Marta took, while Sam just about managed to walk the entire way. On this day, we could already see our next destination, Mount Kailash, in the distance.


Fortunately, the last two days were easier, day 3 was 22km and the last day only about 10km of walking. After the third day we stayed at a monastery on a cliff which offered nice views across the lake. However, the weather worsened during the 4-day-trek and it got more and more cloudy. On the last day there was even a little bit of rain.


Overall, we were not so happy with this trek. It might have a lot to offer for those who do it for religious reasons, but for people interested in nice hikes and good views, there is little to enjoy. The trek is naturally very flat and follows dirt roads for most of the way, we were passed by cars 4 to 5 times an hour. The views are interesting for a day, but you see the same lake and the same 2 mountains for the entire 4 days. Also, due to the high altitude and Tibet’s location in the rain shadow of the Himalayas, the landscape is dry and devoid of any vegetation. The one good thing about the 4 days was the valuable high altitude preparation we received.

Posted by samandmarta 19:00 Archived in China

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