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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 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.

Attractions nearby Darchen

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Typically Asked Questions from Our Clients

Asked by Dian***

We are looking for a private tour to Mt Kailash, and Lake Manasarovar. Without trekking. Thank you

Answered by Beatrice

Dear Diane, Good morning!  We can arrange your Kailash and Manasarovar tours without trekking. 

Asked by moll***

We want to book a tour...complete with our own 4×4 and guide and accommodation...for total journey...prepare a itinerary from the air port and back to the airport.

Answered by Freya

Dear Moll**,   We can arrange this tour for you. I can customize the tour plan according to your preference. Here are two classical group tour itineraries for your reference: 8 Days Lhasa Gyantse Shigatse Mt. Everest Group Tour 15 Days Mt.Everest & Mt.Kailash Kora Pilgrimage Group Tour Before I quote you, could you please kindly let me know the following info? 1. What's your nationality? 2. When are you going to have Tibet tour? Different seasons, different costs. 3. How many people in your group? 4. what do you want to see on your Tibet tour? It's much appreciated to have your reply. Due to Tibet's unique background, Tibet requests a well-organized group for any foreigners, which means every group, even a one-participant one, must be escorted by a travel-licensed guide & vehicle touring along with the prearranged time & route. 

Asked by Elai***

questions:1) cost of 4WD from Darchen to Lhasa2) cost of 4WD from Xigaze/Shigatse to Lhasa3) cost of 4WD from Darchen to mansarovar4) Any other mode of transport available from Shigatse to Darchen?

Answered by Caroline

In your inquiry, you kept asking the 4WD cost in Tibet. I am confused, you want to book a tour or just rent a 4WD?

Please advise!