kashgar to kathmandu
distance:        2,627 km / 1,632 mi
time:             48 days / 43 riding
avg speed:     10 kmph / 6 mph
high point:     5,400 m / 17,700 ft  
a journey to mount kailash by bicycle
Kailash as a sacred place
Venerated by four different religions, Mt. Kailash is perhaps the most sacred place in Asia. To Hindus it is home to Lord Shiva who spends his time atop Kailash practicing yogic austerities, making joyous love with his divine consort, Parvati, and smoking ganja.  By some Hindu texts, Kailash and near by Lake Manasarovar, comprise the center of the world.  
To Buddhists, Kailash is central to the story of how buddhism came to Tibet and is know as The Precious One of Glacial Snow.   The most devout buddhist pilgrims will circle the entire mountain bowing and laying flat to the ground every step of the way.
To complete the 52 km trek around Mt. Kailash (in any fashion) is a ritual of great significance offering release from ignorance and delusion. However, due to its remote location, harsh climate, and border restrictions, only a few thousand pilgrims make the journey each year.  
Kailash as a bike tour
Kailash is only accessible via a high altitude jeep road. The infamous ‘Highway 219’ rolls for 2,000 km across some of the most sparsely populated stretches of Asia. Reaching heights of nearly 18,000 ft and rarely dropping below 14,000 ft, Highway 219 is more commonly know as “the highest road in the world”.  Originally built by the Chinese in the 1960s, the road sparked the 1962 Sino-Indian war when both countries claimed the territory that the road traverses.  Though the fighting ended in the 60’s, the border dispute is still unresolved.  As a result Highway 219 is highly militarized and closed to tourism.  
Traveling by bike, however, it is possible to quietly pedal down Highway 219 and slowly approach Mount Kailash.  Cycling from Kashgar, in far Western China, it took 28 day of hard riding to reach Kailash and an another 17 to reach Kathmandu. The going is slow due to the poor road conditions, high altitudes, and unpredictable weather.  Riding over 2,000 km of Highway 219 we averaged 5.7 mph; about the pace of a brisk walk.
The following pages are a photo tour, road notes, and travel information for Tibet.   Enjoy....            Go to week 1
north face, mount kailash
Highway 219
week 1
week 2
week 3
week 4
week 5
mt kailash
week 6
week 7

travel info