Darchen, Tarchan, or Taqin（塔钦）is a small village in Purang County of the Tibet Autonomous Region of China. Darchen is situated right in front of the sacred mountain, Mount Kailash. Its altitude is 4,575 meters and is the starting point for pilgrimages in the region.
It contains a couple of restaurants and the Ganges guesthouse and restaurant, the Zhusu guesthouse next door, and the Gandise Hotel where Public Security Bureau (PSB) officers are stationed from spring until October, and where pilgrims must get their travel permit stamped, and buy a "ticket" if they wish to circumambulate Mt. Kailash. There are also a few houses, the Swiss-funded Tibetan Medical and Astro Institute and dispensary where doctors are trained in Tibetan medicine, a number of stores and kiosks, and some camping grounds.
Darchen is a completely Tibetan town though there are now more and more Chinese settling down opening hotels and restaurants. It contains a couple of restaurants and hotels or guesthouses. Mountain Horse Kee Restaurant by the main road is favored by travelers for its bright the environment and its attention to health. There are several good accommodations for travelers to choose, such as Kailash Hotel, Mount Kailash Hotel, Gangdise guesthouse, Zhusu guesthouse next door and Gandise Hotel where Public Security Bureau PSB officers are stationed from spring until October, and where pilgrims must get their travel permit stamped, and buy a "ticket" if they wish to circumambulate Mt. Kailash.
The Darchen town is not exactly on the main road that connects Shiquanhe and Purang but buses to/fro these two places will turn into Shiquanhe to drop and pick up passengers. By the way, the main road is also part of the southern route to Lhasa. Generally the buses run every other day but occasionally they may skip a day. There is also a bus going to Shigatse every other day. You also can hire a 4WD, which is quite easy for there are many 4WD’s that are happy to do the run to Lhasa. Moreover, there is a bus, actually only a one day bus running from the town of Shiquanhe (or Ali) to the northeast, where Kunsha Airport is located offering flights twice a week to Lhasa and Chengdu.
However, if you want to visit the holy Lake Manasarover which is only 22 km south of the town, the only transport to the lake is to charter a 4WD; there are many 4WD’s for charter and their drivers normally hang around the town square.
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