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Ngari Loop with Mt Kailash Kora Tour

Duration:
20 Days
Route:
Lhasa - Gyantse - Shigatse - EBC - Saga - Lake Manasarovar - Darchen - Mt.Kailash Kora - Zada - Gegye - Gertse - Shigatse - Lhasa
Season:
  • Spring
  • Summer
  • Autumn
  • Winter
Tour Type:
Private Tour
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Overview

Tibet is known as the Roof of the World, and Ngari of Tibet can be labeled as the ridge of the Roof of the World, which is the world`s third pole in the true sense. There are countless magnificent snow-capped mountains and glaciers as well as vast grasslands and alpine lakes. Driving through the Ngari Northern Loop route usually takes about 20 days. Starting from Lhasa, you will appreciate beautiful landscapes including the jaspideous Yamdrok Lake, the world's highest mountain - Everest, Shigatse`s largest lake Peikutso, pay three days to pilgrimage around Mt. Kailash, admire the West Jade Pool of Lake Manasarovar and mysterious devil lake of Lake Rakshastal, as well as the boundless mountains and lakes in Northern Tibet. On the way, it's possible to meet a variety of wild protected animals, such as Tibetan wild donkey, Tibetan antelope…What you see along the way can subvert almost all the beautiful scenery you have seen before!

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 the highest-ranking monastery in the Gelug Sect.
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 - Manasarovar

Saga to Zhongba, 145km, there are several ruined monasteries along this stretch. From Zhongba to Paryang, 78km, there's a photogenic section of sand dunes, lake and mountains. Photos taken along this route can often get desert dunes and snow-capped mountains in the same shot.

Paryang to Hor Qu, 223km, this route is a pleasant 4hr-drive along with many snow-capped mountains of the Himalaya in the south. After crossing over the Mayum-la Mountain Pass(5220m), your will soon get your first magic views of Mt.Kailash, just before the town of Hor Qu(4620m).

From Hor Qu, it's 22km to the settlement and checkpoint of Barkha. Lake Manasarovar comes right after.

Lake Manasarovar and holy mountain Kailash.
Day 8 Manasarovar - Darchen

In the morning, we will drive to the holy Manasarovar Lake (4558m). As one of the three holy lakes in Tibet, it is said that Manasarovar Lake is the holiest one. The sacred water can wash away the troubles and obstacles in the soul. You may take a leisurely kora around the Manasarovar, meditate beside the tranquil lake, or even take a holy dip, etc.

In the afternoon, we will visit the 8th century Chiu Monastery. Although it is located in the west of the lake, it's between the holy lake and the ghost lake. Standing on the mountain, you can have a panoramic view of the two lakes. It is said that Guru Padmasambhava once meditated in a cave of the temple and there are also his footprints inside. When the sun sets in the afternoon, the setting sun is reflected in the temple, which has a special flavor.

After sightseeing around the sapphire-blue holy Lake Manasarovar, head to Darchen, where's located at the foot of Mt.Kailash.

You can enjoy the stunning scenery of Manasarovar from Chiu Monastery.
Day 9 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 10 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 11 Mt Kailash Kora③: Zutulpuk – Darchen; Drive Darchen - Tirthapuri - Moincer;

It's an easy day of the trek. You'll trek 9km to complete the Kora then take the eco bus back to Darchen. According to Buddhism theory, doing a kora around a holy mountain for one circle can get rid of the sins and miseries for the whole life. Only after going through lots of hardships, you can feel the happiness and gratification brought by kora.

Your driver will be waiting for you at Darchen. After lunch, you will drive 65km to Tirthapuri Monastery, which is regarded as the third most important Buddhist pilgrimage site in western Tibet, also known as the collar of Mt. Kailash. According to folklore, doing kora around Mt. Kailash without circumambulating Tirthapuri Monastery is hard to achieve great virtue. This monastery is famous for Guru Rinpoche’s footprint and hot springs. After visiting the monastery, you will also have hot springs bathing here.

Then transfer to Moincer for the night.

Tirthapuri Hot Springs
  • Tirthapuri Hot Springs
Day 12 Moincer - Tsaparang - Zanda

In the morning, we will drive 4 hours to the Guge Kingdom(Tsaparang) via Zanda. After entering Zanda, you may feel like getting into a earth forest world beyond the earth.

The ruins of the Guge Kingdom located on the bank of earthen in Langchen Tsangpo Valley, 18km west of Zanda. It covers an area of about 180,000 square meters. The building is divided into the upper, middle and lower floors, which are the palace, temple and residence in turn, with a large number of cultural relics left. In the evening, the setting sun shines on the castle. Under the blue sky, the ancient golden castle and the earthen mountains are integrated into one. Its mysterious historical background makes the majestic architecture even more shocking.

Later, return to Zanda for accommodation by a half-hour drive.

Guge was an ancient kingdom founded in the 10th century in Western Tibet. It covers an area of about 180,000 square meters.
Day 13 Zanda - Gar - Rutog

Today, you will head to Rutog, with a distance of about 400 kilometers. The road passes through the earth forest, just like driving on Mars. The earth forest in Zanda Valley is magnificent and imposing. After that, you will enter a plateau meadow with snow-capped mountains beckoning you in the distance. On the meadow, you can see Tibetan wild asses, it's an easy seen large wild animal on the plateau.

When reaching Gar(Ali) County, you will find that the Gangdise Range always is on your right. Gangdise means the“King of Mountains" in the Tibetan Language, which is also called the Axis of the World. In Gar County, the capital of Ngari, you will have a rest for one hour. Then continue to drive, passing Lalung-la Pass (5,191m), finally, you will arrive at Rotug.

Zanda Clay Forest is the masterpiece of the nature.
Day 14 Rutog - Pangongtso - Gar - Gegye

Today your will mainly visit Pangong Tso, a lake on the western Tibetan plateau. It lies about 12km northwest of Rotug County. The eastern and western sections of the lake are part of China, and the western end extends into Kashmir. The lake has an elevation of 4241 meters and an area of ​​413 square kilometers. Pangong Tso means "long-necked swan" in Tibetan. The lake is clear and has the highest bird island in the world. It is a paradise for birds, such as black-necked cranes, bar-headed geese and brown-headed gulls. Surrounded by the snow-capped mountains, the scenery around the lake is extremely beautiful.

After the visit, you will return to Rutog and follow G219 to Gegye County via Gar. The whole journey drives on the tarred road and it takes 6 hours. On the way, you will cross Lalung-la Pass (5,191m) again and encounter some Tibetan antelope, horses and cattle.

Bird Island in Pangong Tso is a famous tourist attraction in Tibet.
Day 15 Gegye - Gertse

Today's journey is also long, taking about 7 hours, with the full-course tarred road in good condition. After breakfast, you will start from Gegye County and then proceed to Salt Lake City. Along the way, you will travel around countless snow-capped mountains and lakes.

The scenery from Gedye to Gertse
  • Gegye to Gertse
Day 16 Gertse - Tsochen

Drive from Gertse to Tsochen, which is about 257km, 7hrs driving distance. Along the way, there are many lakes and snow-capped mountains. The snow-capped mountains accompany you all the way out of Gertse, stretching dozens of kilometers under the background of the blue sky and white clouds.

Dung-tso, Dawa-tso, and Qiduo Co birds island are the highlights of the day.

Scenery along the way
  • Gertse to Tsochen
Day 17 Tsochen - Raka

Today, we will drive from Tsochen to Raka, the junction of the road with Northern road to Gar or Mt Kailash. Along the valley, you will pass Songma-la pass (5,500m), then you will see Tagyel-tso and other small lakes.

Only 21km north of the Raka junction are the Tagyel Chutse or King Tiger Hot Springs. You will smell the warm spring and see the steaming steam from far away. It's a collection of geysers, bubbling hot springs, puffing steam outlets, and smoking holes that seem to lead straight down into the bowels of the earth. You can take a hot spring bath here.

Tagyel-tso
Day 18 Raka - Lhatse - Sakya - Shigatse

In the morning, we will get back to Lhatse first, then move further south back to Shigatse. En route, we will detour to Sakya Monastery

Sakya Monastery is 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 being 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".

Sakya Monastery is a Buddhist monastery on the road to Tingri.
Day 19 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 20 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

Uma.***

2020-02-25

Which season is good to travel Kailash. Mansarover

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Catherine

In your inquiry, you mentioned you would like to have a Kailash tour. We can arrange a Kailash tour for you starting and ending in Kathmandu. From April to October is all ok to travel to Kailash, and the best season is May, June, September, and October.  Here is the itinerary, 01    Arrive Kathmandu  02    Trip preparation and half-day Kathmandu pilgrimage sightseeing 03    Drive from Kathmandu to Syabrubesi 04    Drive from Syabrubesi to Gyirong 05    Drive from Kyrung to Saga 06    Drive from Saga to Mansarovar and Puja 07    Drive from Mansarovar to Darchen 08    Witness Saga Dawa Festival and trek to Dirapuk 09    Holy Trek to Zuthulpuk 10    Holy Trek to Darchen& drive to New Dong Pa/Saga 11    Drive from New Dongpa/Saga to Gyirong 12    Drive from Kyrung to Kathmandu 13    Puja at Pashupatinath Temple and departure

Char***

2019-08-21

I am planning to do as much trekking as possible. I am getting the train from Shanghai hopefully on either the 20th or 21st. I am an individual traveller, but would like to go as part of a group if possible. My budget is from £1500-2000

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Catherine

In your inquiry, you mentioned you would like to do as much trekking as possible. Trekking tour is usually a private tour. Considering your interests and budget, I recommend 9 Days Ganden to Samye Tibet Trekking Tour and 12 Days Tingri to Everest Base Camp Trekking Tour for you. Please check if it meets your need. May I know which month you would like to come? Here is the itinerary of 9 days Ganden to Samye Tibet Trekking Tour,

Istv***

2019-07-29

Hello, this is just an initial inquiry to get an idea what one can expect in terms of overall costs and I would also like to get some recommendations concerning what clothing to plan with. I appreciate you soon response. Best regards, I.Keller

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Catherine

In your inquiry, you mentioned you would like to have 21 Days Ngari Loop with Mt Kailash Kora Tour. The tour is very long, so it is not easy to organize travelers in a group during a specific time schedule. We can arrange it a private tour for you. The advantage of a private tour is you have your own driver, guide and vehicle. You are more flexible to handle with your driver. You can say stop whenever you want to have a rest or take a stunning picture. Thedisadvantage is the cost is more expensive than a group tour.

May I know when you plan to have this tour? Different month, the cost will be different.

If you have any further questions or doubts please let me know without hesitation, it is my pleasure to work with you at any time.

Looking forward to hearing from you!

ludg***

2019-07-17

I want to do a 14-21 days Kailash pilgrimage tour in between Aug. 3rd and Sept 6 th. what Dates, Tours and Costs do you realize? how many people in the group? please indicate altitude, as I need GOOD acclimatisation.

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Catherine

In your inquiry, you mentioned you would like to have Ngari Loop with Mt. Kailash Kora tour. This tour is too long, it is difficult to organize travelers in a group during a specified time frame. So we can arrange it as a private tour for you.

We happen to have a 14 Days Mt.Everest & Mt.Kailash Kora Pilgrimage Group Tour with fixed departure date on Aug.3rd. Will you be interested in it?

Kindly note, it takes at least 15 days to apply for your Tibet permit and Military Permit. Now it is the time to start the process. What you need to do is to send us a scan of your passport photo page and China visa.

Sa***

2019-07-14

may be there a group that i can join who is going to the "21 days Ngari loop with ailash Kora tour"' end september or october?

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Catherine

In your inquiry, you mentioned you would like to have 21 days Ngari loop with Kailash Kora tour in end Sept. or Oct. Currently, we don't have a fixed group tour because this route is too long, it is difficult to collect travelers at a particular time. Here I recommend 15 Days Mt.Everest & Mt.Kailash Kora Pilgrimage Group Tour, we have fixed departure date on Oct.17th, what do you think?

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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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