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Mt Kailash Kora during Saga Dawa Festival

Duration:
14 Days
Route:
Lhasa – Gyantse – Shigatse - EBC – Saga – Darchen - Mt Kailash Kora – Lake Manasarovar - Saga – Shigatse – Lhasa
Season:
  • Spring
  • Summer
  • Autumn
  • Winter
Tour Type:
Private Tour
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Overview

Saga Dawa Festival falls on 15th, April according to Tibetan Calendar. Mt Kailash rises from the Barkha plain like a giant four-sided 6714m chorten. During Saga Dawa Festival, hundreds of pilgrims clamour to watch the annual raising of the Tarboche flagpole.

Daily Itinerary

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Day 1 Arrival in Lhasa (3650m)

This is the first day in Tibet. Your guide will greet you at Lhasa Gonggar Airport/Railway Station and transfer you to your hotel. It usually takes around 1.5 hours to drive from Lhasa Airport to downtown Lhasa and takes about 20mins from Lhasa Railway Station. Tourists could have a look at the Yarlung Tsangpo River, the largest and longest river in Tibet on their way to the hotel. After check-in, you can have a good rest first. And if you feel like going out, you can wander around the city. But just remember that don't take too much stuff, try to go with a light pack. Meanwhile, drink some more water, do not move strenuously. It’s really useful to get acclimatized to the high altitude.

Stay overnight in Lhasa

Day 2 Lhasa City

In the morning our guide will meet you at the hotel and first take you to visit the famous Potala Palace, the cardinal landmark of Tibet and the masterpiece of Tibetan architecture. It was first built by the 33rd King - Songtsen Gangpo in the 7th century and rebuilt later by the 5th Dalai Lama in the 17th century. Now it's a museum and world heritage site. 

In the afternoon, we will go to visit Jokhang Temple in the center of the Lhasa old town. Jokhang Temple is one of the most sacred temples all over Tibet and it is always bustling with earnest local pilgrims since the early days. After that, you will take a walk around the Barkhor Street - one of the most devotional circuit as well as a crowded central market of Lhasa. Barkhor Street is a very ancient round street surrounding the Jokhang Temple and the locals are always proud of it. As a symbol of Lhasa, it‘s also a must-see place for visitors.

Stay overnight in Lhasa

A Tibetan granny turning players at Potala Palace Square.
Many pilgrims are worshipping and performing their devotions at the gate of Jokhang.
Day 3 Lhasa Suburb

In the morning, we will go to visit Norbulingka. Norbulingka park is considered the premier park of all such horticultural parks in similar ethnic settings in Tibet. During the summer and autumn months, the parks in Tibet including the Norbulingka, become hubs of entertainment with dancing, singing, music, and festivities. The park is where the annual Sho Dun or 'Yoghurt Festival' is held.

In the afternoon, you are heading to Drepung Monastery, which means Monastery of Rice Heap in the Tibetan language. The entire monastery is large in scale and the white buildings cluster and covers the hillsides. They look like huge rice heaps in the distance, so it is called Drepung. Drepung monastery is the largest Tibetan Buddhist monastery, also the highest-ranking monastery in the Gelug Sect.

Stay overnight in Lhasa

Drepung Monastery is also a Buddhist education base. It is the best place to learn and impart Buddhism.
The yard for Buddhist debates at Sera Monastery.
Day 4 Lhasa - Gyantse - Shigatse

From Lhasa to Gyantse is about 264km, en route you will pass by Gambala Mountain Pass (4990m), where's the best place to overlook the Yamdroktso lake. Then head to Shigatse via the fertile Nyangchu Valley, a wide agricultural plain where colorfully decorated yaks and horses are used by Tibetan farmers to cultivate this land.

Stay overnight in Shigatse

Yamdroktso Lake is a freshwater lake in Tibet
The white glacier looks spectacular for visitors passing by.
Day 5 Shigatse - Tingri - Rongbuk - EBC

Tibet has a serious rule about speed-limit. Though from Shigatse to Everest region is only abt 350km or so, no-more-than-40km/hr speed limitation, and the many road checks dotted on the way, really slow us down. So be prepared to spend around 8~10hrs on the road including mealtime. The upside is the view along the way is superb. Also please take some snacks with you for the long-time driving.

In the summertime, usually May~Oct, we will stay overnight at Everest Tent Camp; in wintertime, usually Nov~Apr, we will stay at Rongbuk Monastery’s guesthouse. There are dorm beds available in the 2 places. Both places you can see the glorious Everest sunset if the weather is good.

Stay overnight at EBC

At the site of Rongbuk Monastery, you can view the highest mountain of the world brightly shining and clearly sparkling. The snowy peak seems happily to touch the blue sky.
Far view of Mt.Everest
Day 6 EBC - Saga

From EBC to Saga is abt 460km, a hard-drive of abt 10~12hrs. The sprawling truck-up town of Saga is the last of any size on your tour to Mt Kailash, cherish it – have a lavish meal and take a long hot shower, of which you have to do without for the following days. 

At an altitude of 4580 meters, Peikutso Lake is the largest lake in Shigatse.
Day 7 Saga - Darchen

Drive from Saga to Zhongba to Paryang to Hor Qu then finally today’s destination of Darchen. A photogenic section of dunes, lakes, and mountain views in 60km from Zhongba. Photos taken along this route can often get steppe, streams, desert dunes and snowcapped mountains in the same shot.

Day 8 Mt Kailash Kora①: Darchen - Dirapuk (4700m), Drive 5km, Trek 15km, Approx. 7~11hrs

In the morning, you will take an eco-bus (included in the cost) to Sarshung valley and start the trekking from there. Then you will meet your porters and yaks at Sarshung Valley(the cost of hiring yaks, horses, and porters are not included in the package). You’ll trek about 15 km from Sarshung Valley to Drirapuk Monastery along the Lachu River Valleys. During your trekking today, you can see both west and north face of Mt.Kailash. Finally, you will visit Drirapuk Monastery and stay overnight here.

Stay overnight in Guesthouse, Dorm Bed

The top of Mt. Kailash is covered with sparkling snow all year round. You will be deeply touched by its sacred and solemn face!
Day 9 Mt Kailash Kora②: Dirapuk - Zutulpuk (4790m), Trek 22km, Approx. 11~14hrs

Today is the most challenging day of the trekking, you’ll climb over the highest pass of the Kora, the Dromala pass(5630m). After a short rest at the top, we will climb down into the long valley and stop for lunch at the Shabjay Dakpo nomadic tent. On the way, you can have a rest in a teahouse. Then you will continue to the Zultulpuk , built by two important religious figures, Milarepa and Naro Bonchung. At last, you will visit Zutulpuk Monastery. You will find the footprint and handprint of Milarepa inside the cave. 

Stay overnight in Guesthouse, Dorm Bed

Gang Rinpoche the Precious Snow Mountain
Day 10 Mt Kailash Kora③: Zutulpuk – Darchen; Drive Darchen - Chiu;

From Zutul-puk Monastery the trail follows the river closely for an hour or so then climbs above the river valley and enters the lovely Gold & Red Cliffs, a narrow canyon whose walls are stained purple, cobalt and rust.

When the canyon narrows look for holes gouged into the cliff walls. These are not natural but made by pilgrims looking for holy stones. Also look for prayer flags festooned across the river, and in the far distance the blue waters of lake Raksas Tal.

Where the trail emerges onto the Barkha plain, close to the fourth prostration point, Gurla Mandata is again visible in the distance. It’s now an easy 1hr walk back to Darchen along a dirt road.

Then drive to Chiu for the night.

  • Chiu Monastery & Hot Springs
Day 11 Chiu - Manasarovar - Payang - Saga

Enjoy the ride back with leisure. Our vehicle will stop along the ride for you to take photos.

Lake Manasarovar and holy mountain Kailash.
Day 12 Lhatse - Shigatse

You will get back to Shigatse via Sakya County. There is a famous Tibetan Buddhism monastery in Sakya County - Sakya Monastery, the main monastery of Sakyapa, built in the 1360s. The walls around this monastery were mainly in gray, but the top part of the walls was painted in red and white stripes. That’s why Sakyapa is also called Variegated Buddhism.

There are many cultural relics such as seals, Buddha statues, a large collection of books, more than 3000 exquisite murals, etc. The murals of the Yuan Dynasty are the most distinctive, which makes Sakya Monastery known as the "second Dunhuang".

Stay overnight in Shigatse

Sakya Monastery is a Buddhist monastery on the road to Tingri.
Day 13 Shigatse - Lhasa

In the morning, we will visit the home of Panchen Lama - Tashilunpo Monastery, which was founded by the 1st Dalai Lama in 1447. It is a historic and culturally important monastery in Shigatse. It's located on the central hill of the city. The full name in Tibetan of the monastery means "all fortune and happiness gathered here" or "heap of glory".

Then, we will drive back to Lhasa from Shigatse along the Friendship Highway, via the northern route to Lhasa. It is the most direct route and usually takes around 6 hours to reach the capital. We will make several stops on the way in order to enjoy the views of the Yarlung Tsangpo River Valley.

Standing on the entrance of Tashilhunpo,visitors can see the grand buildings with golden roofs and white walls
Yarlung Tsangpo Valley
Day 14 Departure from Lhasa

Your tour ends today. Our guide and driver will collect you from your hotel to transfer to Lhasa Airport/Railway Station for your next destination.

Our Service

INCLUSIONS
  • Tibet Tourism Bureau Permit (TTB) and all other necessary permits to Tibet;
  • All entrance tickets fee for tourist attractions listed in the itinerary;
  • Experienced local English-speaking tour guide;
  • Travel-licensed vehicle according to group size & season as itinerary needed including gas and parking fee;
  • All lodging listed in the itinerary; it’s your decision about the accommodation class: luxury 5-star international hotel, comfortable 4-star hotel, economic 3-star hotel, or guesthouse. Please tell us your preference;
  • All meals listed in the above itinerary;
  • Pick-up & Drop-off service from Airport/railway station;
  • Travel Agency Liability insurance;
  • Government tax;
  • Express delivery fee of Permit (eg. SF. Express);
  • Food & lodgings for guide & driver;
  • Oxygen tank for emergency use;
  • Free use of sleeping bag;
  • Two bottles of mineral water per person per day.
EXCLUSIONS
  • International flight to and out of China;
  • Chinese Visa/China Group Visa; (Note: we could help you by providing the hotel or domestic flight reservation copies for your Chinese Visa or the invitation letter for your China Group Visa)
  • Domestic flight/train to and out of Lhasa; (We can help you book the domestic flight/train ticket at the BEST price. Please contact us for details.)
  • Meals are not included but we will recommend some good ones for you according to your requirements. Usually, it takes 3-10 USD per person for each meal.
  • While Gratuities for guide and driver is NOT mandatory, it is expected. Based on their service, you can tip them on the last day of the tour. Each of you is suggested to tip them 5-10 USD/day in total;
  • All the commission and tax charged by PayPal, Bank, and government when making payment. (e.g. PayPal --- 4.2%. Wire transfer --- 2%);
  • Personal expenses, like laundry, phone call, snacks, soft drinks, optional tour activities, etc.
  • Anything not mentioned in the Inclusions.

Typically Asked Questions from Our Clients

Vinc***

2019-01-12

I plan to visit Tibet starting Dec 25 to Jan 15 and like to inquire and potentially sign up for the 14 day tour (Mt Kailash Kora during Saga Dawa Festival) any information you can provide will be helpful and cost. Thank you.

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Cherry

In your inquiry, you mentioned you would like to have a Mt.kailash tour in December. It is very cold in December at Mt.kailash. There is no Mt.Kailash tour from November to the whole of March. The date of the Saga Festival is Jun.17th in 2019. So, how about having this tour in June?

DEVE***

2019-01-11

KAILASH YATRA

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Cherry

In your inquiry, you mentioned three of you would like to have the Mt Kailash Kora during Saga Dawa Festival. I am sorry we can't arrange Indian travelers to visit Mt.Kailash. Only two organizations can allow Indian pilgrimage tour in Tibet. The first one is Foreign Affairs Office of TAR(governmental); the second one is Pilgrim Center (non-governmental).

Shaw***

2018-12-07

I plan to visit Tibet starting Dec 25 to Jan 15 and like to inquire and potentially sign up for the 14 day tour (Mt Kailash Kora during Saga Dawa Festival) any information you can provide will be helpful and cost. Thank you

Image

Cherry

In your inquiry, you mentioned you would like to have 14 Days Mt Kailash Kora during Saga Dawa Festival Tour which is a private tour. As travelers less than 5, we often suggest them to join our small group tour to keep the cost down. We have 15 Days Mt.Everest & Mt Kailash Kora Pilgrimage Group Tour. 

There is no Mt.Kailash tour from November to next April. It is very cold at Ngari prefecture from November to next April. How about having this group tour in April. We have 15 Days Mt.Everest & Mt Kailash Kora Pilgrimage Group Tour with the departure date on Apr.15th. 

Mich***

2018-11-20

Last Two weeks of May. My friends nationality is Cambodia. When is the Saga Dawa festival in 2019?

Image

Cherry

In your inquiry, you mentioned you would like to have the 14 Days Mt Kailash Kora during Saga Dawa Festival which is a private tour. As travelers less than five, we often suggest them join our small group tour to keep the cost down. We have 15 Days Mt.Everest & Mt Kailash Kora Pilgrimage Group Tour with the departure date on May.16th. Is it available to you?

The date of the Saga Dawa festival for 2019 has not yet been released.

Vale***

2018-04-11

I like the sound of the itinerary for the 14 day Saga Dawa Festival and would prefer to travel in the autumn. Can you give me some more information about dates etc.

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Cherry

In your inquiry, you mentioned that you like the 14-day Kailash Kora During Saga Dawa Festival, which is a private tour. Saga Dawa Festival  2018 starts on May 29th.  For a solo traveler, the best option is to join our small group tours to keep the cost down. We have a 15-day Mt.Everest & Mt Kailash Kora Pilgrimage Group Tour on May 23rd. which I think perfectly match your needs. 

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What Our Customers Say
Yamdrok lake

My TIBET experience with Great Tibet Tour was very brilliant.   It was the 2nd-time visit to TIBET but Shigatse and Gyantse. The hotel you chose me at Shigatse had very Lovely Tibetan decoration. and Guides ( both 2 guys)  were very kind and gentle. So I could relax. ....

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