15 days Mount Kailash and Saga Dawa Festival Tour - The year of 2024

⇀ Shigatse
⇀ Saga
⇀ Manasarovar Lake
⇀ Mount Kailash Kora
⇀ Saga
⇀ Shigatse
⇀ Lhasa
Traveling to Mount Kailash at Saga Dawa Festival with local pilgrims will ensure you a unique lifetime experience. Saga Dawa Festival celebrates the birth, death and enlightenment of Buddha, a great time to experience Tibetan religion & culture.
15 days
Trip code
From 1,425 per person

Saga Dawa festival is called 'the festival to free captive animals' in local custom. Through the whole fourth month, monks don't eat meat and don't commit slaughter. They only concentrate themselves on turning prayer wheels and reciting Buddha's scriptures. It is said that on the 1st of the fourth month is the day that Shakyamuni was born, became enlightened and achieved nirvana. And you will see large numbers of pilgrims at Lhasa's Jokhang, on the Barkor circuit and also Mt.Kailash.

Day 01 :
May 15, 2024 Arrival at Lhasa (3,658m)

Upon arrival at Lhasa airport or train station, to be met and transferred to your hotel in Lhasa. Then have a good rest to acclimatize the high altitude. Overnight at Lhasa.

Day 02 :
May 16, 2024 Lhasa City Highlight Tour - Visit Jokhang temple and Potala Palace - Walking Tour

Today, you will explore two of Tibet's most revered sites: Jokhang Temple and Potala Palace. Jokhang Temple, established in the 7th century, is the spiritual heart of Tibet, nestled in Lhasa’s historic Barkhor Street. This area is not only a place of deep religious significance but also a vibrant market where you can find a wide array of Tibetan souvenirs and handicrafts.

Potala Palace, an iconic symbol of Tibet, stands majestically as a monumental structure that has dominated the Lhasa skyline for centuries. Once the winter residence of the Dalai Lamas, this architectural marvel features an intricate layout of chapels, galleries, and libraries, housing numerous Buddhist statues, relics, and murals, each steeped in history.
If time allows, follow your Tibetan guide to enjoy a cup of sweet tea in a local tea house before heading back to your hotel. Overnight in Lhasa.

Day 03 :
May 17, 2024 Lhasa Monasteries Tour

Today you will visit Drepung and Sera monasteries, as well as the Summer Palace, Norbulingka. Both Drepung and Sera monasteries belong to the Gelugpa (Yellow Hat) sect of Tibetan Buddhism. Drepung Monastery, once the seat of government before Potala, was historically the world's largest monastery, housing up to 10,000 monks from various parts of Tibet. Sera Monastery is renowned for its practice of Buddhist philosophical debates, where the monks' clapping and expressive debates are a sight to behold. Norbulingka, the summer palace of the Dalai Lama, allows visitors to explore the residences of different Dalai Lama lineages. Overnight in Lhasa.


Day 04 :
May 18, 2024 Lhasa / Yamdrok lake (4,441m) / Gyantse (3,900m), 270km, 6-7 hours' drive

In the morning, drive up to Kampala Pass (4,794m) where you will catch a glimpse of Yamdrok-Tso and enjoy spectacular views of Holy Mount Nyenchen Khangsar in the distance. The turquoise-colored Lake Yamdrok-Tso, one of the three holy lakes in Tibet, presents an unforgettable vista of pincer-shaped turquoise waters. The amazing spectacle of Mt. Nyenchen Khangsar's glacier from Karo La Pass is a wonder of the day. Then, continue along the Friendship Southern Highway to Gyantse and visit the famous Gyantse Kumbum, the most stunning architectural wonder in Tibet. Overnight in Gyantse.

Day 05 :
May 19, 2024 Gyantse / Shigatse (3,800m) / Shegar (4,150m), 300km, 6-7 hours' drive

Morning head to Shigatse, there you will be arranged to visit Tashilunpo Monastery and the spectacular tombs of Panchen Lamas, monks of this monastery are nice looking with their home-made traditional shoes. If you like hiking, don't miss the Kora of Tashilhunpo monastery where you can have the nice views of Shigatse and surroundings. Then continues today's driving to Shegar, you will go through several high passes and get to see the first sight of Mount Everest before you reach Shegar. Overnight at Shegar. 

Day 06 :
May 20, 2024 Shegar / Rongbuk (4,900m), 100km, 2-3 hours' drive

Morning as you enter Mount Everest National Nature Reserve, the winding road takes you to Gawula Pass [5,250 m]. Here, you'll experience breathtaking panoramic views of the Himalayas, including a remarkable view of Mount Everest, which stands at 8,844 meters. You'll also see four other majestic peaks over 8,000 meters: Mt. Makalu (8,463 m), Mt. Lhotse (8,516 m), Mt. Cho Oyu (8,201 m), and Mt. Shishapama (8,020 m).

You will switch to the local sightseeing bus at Tashi Zong Village, and from there, it is another hour's drive before you reach Everest Base Camp (E.B.C.).
Afternoon visit Rongbuk Monastery, the world’s highest buddhism monastery at 5154 meters above sea level where nuns and monks live together. And get to Everest Base Camp to witness a splendid sunset (just depending on the weather).

Stay overnight at the tent guest house at E.B.C or the monastery guest house near Rongbuk. 

Day 07 :
May 21, 2024 Everest Base Camp / Saga (4,610m), 310km, 7-8 hours' drive

After breakfast at Rongbuk, then head to Saga, on the way you will stop to see the stunning lake of Pelku Tso and Mt. Shishapama, the rest day's driving will be on the grasslands, nomads herders with their yaks and sheep also can be often seen along the road. Stay overnight at Saga. 

Day 08 :
May 22, 2024 Saga / Paryang (4750m) / Darchen (4,670m), 500km, 8 hours' drive

Morning drive from Saga to Paryang, you weave your way through small dusty town of Zhongba amidst enchanting panoramic views, dotted nomads tents are mingled with their herds of animals on the open plateau. Pass numbers of villages and camps of Yak herders with the distance view of snow-capped mountains, cross the Mayun-la pass (5,220m), if lucky might see many wild animals at the plateau grasslands. Check-in at Darchen and prepare for the following days trekking.

Day 09 :
May 23, 2024 Saga Dawa Festival celebration, Start the 1st day Trek to Dira-puk Monastery, 20km, 6 hours' trekking

Morning head west to Tarboche to experience the Saga Dawa Festival, the most important religious festival in Tibet to celebrate the birth, death and enlightenment of Buddha Sakyamuni, the main purpose of the festival is to pray for the long life of all the gurus, for the spreading of teachings of Buddha, and for the happiness of all the sentient beings. Many Tibetans come to join this festival. Many rituals like Buddhism, Bon, and Hinduism will be taking place around Tarboche. The most important part of the festival at Mount Kailash is to replace the 'Tarboche Flagpole, every year the flagpole is brought down and a new pole will be replaced. The festival offers a great opportunity for photo shootings.

Afterward, we will start the first day's trekking of this 3 day Mount Kailash Kora, the walk will start from the Sershong and a gradual walk with multitudes of other local pilgrims chanting and praying. From the valley, you can see the Choku Monastery up on the hillside. The trail leads to a few ups and downs until we reach our camp at Dirapuk (4,750 m). You will meet many more Bon pilgrims going in the opposite direction (Anti clock-wise) because Mt. Kailash is being worshipped by four different religions:  Buddhisms, Bons, Hindus, and Jains. Overnight at Dirapuk guesthouse.

Day 10 :
May 24, 2024 Trek to Zutul-puk Monastery by crossing Drolma-la Pass, 15km, 6-7 hours' trekking

Today our trekking leads to much higher side of the holy path just beneath the Mount Kailash. The walk will bring us to one of the highest points at Drolma La (5,200m), and the pass is quickly descending to the gradual field towards Zutul-Puk for the overnight camp, Dzutul Puk in Tibetan and which means magical cave, this small monastery is connected to an interesting story of talent competition between Great Yogi Milarepa(Buddhist) and Naropa(Bon). Overnight at Zutul-Puk guesthouse.

Day 11 :
May 25, 2024 Trek back to Darchen, 14km, 2-3 hours' trekking / Drive to Lake Manasarovar

The winding gradually comes out of the valley and the river allows to follow into the Barka plain, the trekking stops at Trangser Trangmar and your car takes you back to Darchen. After a short rest at Darchen, you will be arranged to drive about 50km to Lake Manasarovar, one of the three holy lakes in Tibet. In Buddhism and Hinduism, Manasarovar is the lake of compassion, tranquility, and bliss. Climb up to Chiu monastery and have a good view of the lake or wander along the lakeshore to have a relaxing afternoon. Overnight at the local guesthouse near Chiu monastery (dorm bed).

Day 12 :
May 26, 2024 Lake Manasarovar / Paryang / Saga, 500km, 8 hours' drive

Morning enjoys a brilliant sunrise at Lake Manasarovar, then start driving back to Saga retracing the same route, you will have a last view of the Mt.Kailash on the way. Overnight at Saga.

Day 13 :
May 27, 2024 Saga / Shigatse, 450km, 9 hours' drive

Today start driving back to Shigatse, enjoy the landscapes on the way. Overnight at Shigatse.

Day 14 :
May 28, 2024 Shigatse / Lhasa, 280km, 5 hours' drive

After breakfast, start driving back to Lhasa from Shigatse via northern friendship highway, driving along Yarlutsangpo river and enjoys its beautiful sceneries. Overnight at Lhasa.

Day 15 :
May 29, 2024 Lhasa airport/ train station dropping off

Morning Lhasa airport or train station dropping off, the time comes to say your farewells to your guide and driver, end the trip.

Tour notes:

Please note prices are based in CNY.

General inclusions:

All required government taxes and fees.
Please contact one of our Tour Advisors to get a custom quotation made to your requirements.
All required Tibet permits and domestic travel documents.
Necessary oxygen and medicine for the acute high altitude sickness.
Where possible 3 star hotels will always be provided, if the city or town does not have then the local guest house or monastery guest house will be provided (i.e. tent / dormitory bed, no private bathroom etc.)
All entrance tickets as noted in the tour's itinerary.
Local Tibetan guide fluent in English, Chinese or Japanese that is certified by the state tourism build. (If your native language is not listed please let us know, we are certain we can assist your needs.)
Airport and/or train station pick-up and drop-off.
Comfortable and clean 7/8 seats minivan for groups of 5 persons or less; for larger groups minibus and tourist coach are available.

General exclusions:

Personal expenses such as laundry, drinks, internet access, fax, telephone calls etc.
Tips for your guide and driver.
Meals that are not specified in the tour itinerary.
Optional Attractions that are not specified in the itinerary.
Flight tickets or train tickets in and out of Lhasa (Please note: We can offer you train and/or plane tickets in and out Lhasa from all cities within China. Please check the latest price with us via email.)

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